Bush Visits Middle East in Historic Trip

By: Simon McGregor-Wood
By: Simon McGregor-Wood

President Bush is in Israel today, beginning a historic eight-day tour of the Middle East.

The President is hoping to further the peace process between Arabs and Israelis.

For the first time in almost ten years, an American President is in Israel.

On the tarmac President Bush was welcomed by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"You are our strongest and most trusted ally in the battle against terrorism and fundamentalism," stated Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"We seek lasting peace," proclaimed the President.

"We see a new opportunity for peace in the holy land and for freedom in the Middle East."

There was no doubting the warmth of the welcome from Israeli children in Jerusalem, a red rose and the promise of dreams coming true in both Hebrew and Arabic.

At the Prime Minister's home, it was down to business.

The two leaders are trying to push forward the peace process and maintain the momentum of the Annapolis summit.

Trying to balance Israel's demand for security with the Palestinians' demands for their own state by the end of 2008 will be hard.

In Gaza, the Palestinian Militants still fire rockets and mortars every day into Israel, over 20 in the just last 24 hours alone.

And in the West Bank, Israel has yet to fulfill its promise to shut down illegal settlements.

The President will go to Ramallah on Jan.10 to meet President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership.

After that, a trip to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity.

It will be a day of high security.

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