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US president hopes to re-ignite peace process

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US president hopes to re-ignite peace process


George W Bush has arrived in Israel amid a flurry of declarations on the peace process but little concrete progress. The US president was welcomed by his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, and the prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

On the eve of his trip, Bush said the current status quo between the Israelis and the Palestinians was “unacceptable”.

He helped relaunch negotiations in November and has said he hopes a deal on a Palestinian state can be reached before he leaves office in January.

Many have called the deadline unrealistic.

Yesterday Olmert said he and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had reached “understandings and points of agreement” on some key issues.

But Olmert is mired in problems of his own with a police investigation into his finances hanging over him.

With Abbas in control of just the West Bank while Hamas runs Gaza, many have questioned whether the key players have enough clout to push through a difficult deal.

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