Bush calls to end Israeli occupation
U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday urged an end to "the occupation" of the West Bank. "The establishment of the state of Palestine is long overdue. The Palestinian people deserve it," Bush said in a statement he read to reporters in a Jerusalem hotel.
"There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967," Bush said.
Bush also reaffirmed a U.S. commitment to a 2003 peace "road map" under which Israel was to halt settlement activity and Palestinians were to crack down on armed groups. "On the Israeli side, that includes ending settlement expansion and removing unauthorised outposts. On the Palestinian side that includes confronting terrorists and dismantling terrorist infrastructure," the American leader said.
"Security is fundamental. No agreement and no Palestinian state will be born of terror. I reaffirm America's steadfast commitment to Israel's security."
Earlier, the White House announced Bush had appointed U.S. Lieutenant-General William Fraser to monitor steps both sides are supposed to take under the road map as part of a peace process revived at the international summit in Annapolis.
Preparing to head to the Gulf on Friday, Bush said he would urge Arab states to "reach out" to Israel.