Peres butts heads with Obama admin over settlements

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

In front of the television cameras, Israeli President Shimon Peres said that his meeting with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday had revealed no rifts between the two governments when it comes to making peace in the Middle East.

"There is no space between us and the United State," Peres told reporters after leaving the White House.

But a meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden demonstrated that great tension still exists over Jews living and building on their ancestral lands in Judea and Samaria.

Earlier on Tuesday, Biden had told the annual gathering of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that Israel must stop building Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria if it wants peace.

Similar demands by the present and past US administrations usually focus on the construction of new Jewish settlements, but in reality even the building of new homes inside existing Jewish communities elicits outrage and condemnations.

In his meeting with Biden later in the day, Peres said, "Israel cannot instruct settlers in existing settlements not to have children or get married."

Meanwhile, Tony Blair, envoy for the US-led Quarter of Middle East mediators, revealed on Wednesday that the group will soon present a framework for ramming through the creation of a Palestinian state.

Speaking to Palestinian reporters, Blair said people should start to have some hope, since this framework was being vigorously worked on at the highest levels of the American government.

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