Video: President Bush addresses the KnessetDuring a special Knesset session in his honor, US president George W. Bush criticizes deadly the tactics of extremist groups, and (most importantly) denounces anti-Semitism, 'especially by those who question Israel's right to exist.'
Not in the video: Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert tells Bush 'future peace agreement based on your vision will be approved by this house and by the Israeli public.'
Let's go to the videotape.
Here's more from the President's speech:
"Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away," Bush said in his prepared address. "This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you."That last part sounds like Shimon Peres' 'New Middle East' doesn't it? Here's more from Bush:
Bush took special aim at Iran and said the United States stands with Israel in opposing moves by Teheran to obtain nuclear weapons.
"Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations," the president said. "For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
There was only one mention of a timetable for achieving a Palestinian state in Bush's speech and the only reference to the Palestinians came in a passage envisioning the future of Israel 60 years down the road.
"Israel will be celebrating its 120th anniversary as one of the world's great democracies, a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people," Bush said. "The Palestinian people will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserved a democratic state that is governed by law, respects human rights, and rejects terror.
"From Cairo and Riyadh to Baghdad and Beirut, people will live in free and independent societies, where a desire for peace is reinforced by ties of diplomacy, tourism, and trade. Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, where today's oppression is a distant memory and people are free to speak their minds and develop their talents. And al-Qaida, Hizbullah, and Hamas will be defeated, as Muslims across the region recognize the emptiness of the terrorists' vision and the injustice of their cause."
"They claim the mantle of Islam, but they are not religious men," Bush said. "No one who prays to the God of Abraham could strap a suicide vest to an innocent child, or blow up guiltless guests at a Passover Seder, or fly planes into office buildings filled with unsuspecting workers."Olmert did not get as warm a reception, with several right-wing MK's walking out when he spoke. But I think he spoke for everybody (amazingly) when he said the following:
Bush said that those who carry out such violent acts are serving only their own desire for power.
"They accept no God before themselves. And they reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis," Bush said. "That is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the `elimination' of Israel. That is why the followers of Hizbullah chant `Death to Israel, Death to America!' That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that `the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties.' And that is why the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map."
"It is not customary in such events, where protocol plays such a big part ... but I want to tell you, man to man, father to father, family man to family man: In politics one gets to hear many statements, which are duly recorded and filed and then forgotten. [The welcome] you and your wife have received here today, is true and will not be forgotten. And not because it is written in the Knesset's protocols, but because it comes from my heart, from the heart of this house and from the heart of the people of Israel."Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu also spoke: Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) addressed the Knesset before Bush, and also welcomed the president:
"We welcome today a great friend of Israel… since the establishment of Israel the US has stood by us time and again, and for that we say thank you.I wonder how hot it was at Masada.
"The beginning of the 21st century sees us facing yet another threat. You have challenged this threat and you are tireless in your fight against terror and tyranny... Israel strives for regional peace in order to strengthen the moderate forces and weaken the radical ones," continued Netanyahu. "For that to happen, Israel will have to maintain its borders. It must be able to protect itself and the future peace."
UPDATE 6:55 PM
The full text of President Bush's speech may be found here (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).