This regional tour comes month after the Annapolis conference (photo), hosted by the US, which aim was to restart the stalled Middle East peace process.
George Bush began his tour in Israel, where he addressed the Knesset (Israeli parliament), as the Jewish state celebrated its 60th birthday. His speech prompted criticism, saying that he is not acting as an honest broker in the peace effort.
“Bush has forgotten his role as the just mediator [of the Arab-Israeli conflict] and exposed his real self in the Knesset” said an editorial in the Egyptian state-owned Al-Gomhuria newspaper.
Bush said the close relationship between the US and Israel is “unbreakable”, and that Israel is facing threats by adversaries in the Middle East.
On Saturday, president Bush met Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, and will hold talks with Barham Ahmed Saleh, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, on Sunday.