Bush starts regional tour, hailing Israeli democracy
U.S. President Bush said Wednesday that 60 years of democracy in Israel is cause for optimism for democratic change throughout the Middle East. "What happened here is possible everywhere," Bush said as he started a new trip to the region. "I suspect if you looked back 60 years ago and tried to guess where Israel would be at that time, it would be hard to be able to project such a prosperous, hopeful land," Bush said during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
"No question, people would have said, 'We'd be surrounded by hostile forces." But, according to the AP, Bush said he doubted that people would have been able to envision a modern Israel — the reason he brings optimism to the Middle East.
"The objective of the United States must be to support our strongest ally and friend in the Middle East ... and, at the same time, talk about a hopeful future."