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    Israeli President Says Change in the Arab World Provides Opportunity

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    The Israeli President met with American politicians in Washington over the political crisis in the Arab World. But he expressed optimism over the wave of political change.

    After meeting with politicians in Washington, Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday that "the awakening of the Arab world is a great opportunity."

    [Shimon Peres, Israeli President]:
    "All of us should do whatever we can, that the younger generation that wants to introduce freedom and dignity in their lives will be successful. Because the moment the Arab world becomes free and open and peaceful it will be a major change in the world experience and in the innards of the Middle East."

    Peres has insisted that Israel must take advantage of the "Arab Spring" that has seen leaders toppled in Egypt and Tunisia, and sparked a revolt in Libya.

    A new diplomatic push by the U.S. is widely seen as vital to kick-start peace talks at a time when turmoil in the Arab world has many Israelis fearful of the rise of Islamists more hostile toward the Jewish state.

    Last September U.S. President Barack Obama set a one-year goal for reaching a final deal on Palestinian statehood, a time-frame most analysts called a long shot.

    But Obama has yet to abandon that target despite the collapse of talks late last year in a dispute over Israeli settlement building on occupied land.