Israel’s defense minister is visiting Washington and will meet with his U.S. counterpart. Amir Peretz set off early Sunday for the United States, where he will meet Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.But Ma’ariv reported that unlike his predecessors, Peretz would not be meeting with either the vice president or the secretary of state. The newspaper described the unavailability of Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice as a “show of disrespect” toward Peretz, whose popularity in Israel has plummeted since last year’s Lebanon war.Peretz aides denied feeling snubbed by the Bush administration.”The defense minister’s visit to the United States is important,” chief Defense Ministry strategist Amos Gilad said in an Israel Radio interview. During his trip, Peretz also will meet with high-level AIPAC donors. Unlike Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is visiting the United States as well, Peretz is not expected to address AIPAC.
Peretz goes to Washington