Bush and Olmert Discuss Hamas, Iran in Visit

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President Bush meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the White House to discuss the new leader's plan to withdraw from much of the West Bank. Progress toward a Palestinian state has been clouded by leadership struggles among Palestinians, especially the election of the hardline Hamas Party to run the Palestinian Authority.

Despite praising Olmert's plan for a unilateral redrawing of West Bank borders, President Bush stopped short of a full endorsement. In addition to Olmert's initiative, the two leaders were also expected to discuss the creation of a Palestinian state, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and ongoing struggles in Iraq.

White House officials characterized Tuesday's meeting as merely a strategy session. Chief among their concerns is the Palestinian Authority that's led by Hamas, an organization that refuses to renounce violence. Listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, Hamas refuses to recognize that Israel has a right to exist.



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