Bush Promises to Defend Israel Against Attack

Speaking at a joint press conference following their first meeting, US President George W. Bush promised Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that America will respond if Israel is attacked by Iran.

Yechiel Spira , | updated: 5:49 AM

The US president stated the “moment of truth” was nearing, adding Iran must not be permitted to achieve nuclear independence. Mr. Bush spoke of the special relationship between Israel and the United States, adding if Israel were attacked, the United States would come to her side -- emphasizing Israel’s security is a US issue as well.

Regarding Prime Minister Olmert’s Convergence (expulsion) plan, the president did express support, but he did not offer the overwhelming support his predecessor, Ariel Sharon, received for his Gaza/Samaria Disengagement Plan. While referring to the plan as “bold,” Bush stressed negotiations and “agreement with the Palestinians” are preferable to additional unilateral Israeli policies.

Bush called on Israel to enter into talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as an alternate track to speaking with the Hamas-led government. The president called on Hamas to abandon terrorism and officially recognize Israel’s right to exist as well as abiding by all agreements signed in the past between Israel and the PA.

Bush’s comments came on the heels of statements released by Prime Minister Olmert this week, who explained Abu Mazen does not have the power, the authority, or the support to speak on behalf of the PA, realizing the Fatah leader has become of figurehead after his party lost control of the PA to Hamas in the winter election.

For Olmert, the first White House visit is being labeled a “success” with the president speaking positively about his plan, albeit falling short of the endorsement he was originally hoping to earn during the visit.

During his Tuesday meeting with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Olmert warned that both Hamas and Hizbullah were arms of Iran, all peddling the same agenda, seeking Israel’s destruction.

Regarding the Hamas-led PA government, Olmert stated Israel is a “willing partner” towards achieving peace, but there must be an effort by Hamas, which begins with abandoning terrorism and disarming Gaza-based terrorists. The prime minister added Israel would not enter into any agreements with an entity that refuses to recognize her legitimate right to exist.