U.S. President George W. Bush reportedly turned down a request to address Israel’s Knesset during his visit next month.
Israel’s Channel 10 television reported Wednesday that Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik asked Bush to address the plenum when he comes to Israel in early January, in keeping with a longstanding tradition for heads of state who visit Jerusalem.
But the White House said no, citing the fact that Bush would be precluded from making a reciprocal appearance at the Palestinian Legislative Council given the presence of Hamas lawmakers, according to Channel 10 diplomatic correspondent Chico Menashe.
Menashe added that Bush also declined to officiate at a gala dinner proposed in his honor in Jerusalem.
U.S. officials in Israel could not immediately be reached for comment.