President Bush’s visit to Israel offered unprecedented reassurance on matters of regional security, the prime minister said.
Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet in broadcast remarks Sunday that Bush, in coming to celebrate Israel’s 60th Independence Day, also made clear his country’s permanent commitment to the Jewish state’s future.
Regarding Bush’s speech Thursday before the Israeli parliament, in which he pledged, in religious terms, Americans’ support for the “chosen people,” Olmert said: “Such statements about the State of Israel have never been spoken before by a U.S. president in the Knesset.”
Olmert added that he and the U.S. president also had in-camera discussions “on the most sensitive and important issues regarding bilateral relations, including the issues that top the agenda, namely the Iranian and Syrian issues, the situation in Lebanon, the negotiations with the Palestinians and the situation in the Gaza Strip.”
“It seems to me that it is possible to say in the most precise way that all emerged from these talks with the feeling that we have someone and something we can rely on,” Olmert said.
After Bush left Friday, Israel hosted a bipartisan Congressional delegation hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Her visit gives prominent expression to the entire American political establishment’s commitment to the State of Israel and I think that this is a very important visit,” Olmert said. “The State of Israel has always taken care that its relations with the U.S. does not solely depend on the important, vital and practical channel that flows through the White House.”