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Bush: Israel Has Right To Defend Itself


Bush: Israel Has Right To Defend Itself

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, do you think that Israel's air strike in Syria was justified? And do you think that you can work with the Palestinian Prime Minister, who says he would not use force under any circumstances against Palestinian militants?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Terry, I talked to Prime Minister Sharon yesterday. I expressed our nation's condolences at the needless murder of innocent people, by the latest suicider. That murder came on a weekend of a high holy holiday.

Secondly, I made it very clear to the Prime Minister, like I have consistently done, that Israel has got a right to defend herself, that Israel must not feel constrained, in terms of defending the homeland. However, I said that it's very important that any action Israel take should avoid escalation and creating higher tensions.

The speech I gave June 24, 2002, should explain to the world and to the American people the policy of this government. We have not changed. Parties need to assume responsibility for their actions. In order for there to be a Palestinian state, the Palestinian Authority must fight terror and must use whatever means is necessary to fight terror. In order for this road map, which is a way to get to a peaceful settlement, people have got to assume responsibility. All parties must assume responsibility. The Palestinian Authority must defeat the terrorists who are trying to stop the establishment of a Palestinian state, a peaceful state, in order for there to be peace.

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