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Bush: Talking to 'terrorists' like talking to Nazis before WWII

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  • Bush says talking to terrorists marks "the false comfort of appeasement"
  • Peace talks between Israel and Bush "secret," national security adviser says
  • Bush also to meet with Saudi king, Egypt's president, Palestinian Authority president
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- In his first address to Israel's parliament Thursday, President Bush reiterated the United States' "unbreakable" alliance with the Jewish state and denounced calls to negotiate with "terrorists and radicals."

In a speech before the Knesset, Bush compared calls to talk with unnamed terrorist groups as a "foolish delusion" that was suggested before World War II.

"As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared, 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided,' " Bush said. "We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Former President Jimmy Carter recently wrapped up a trip to the Middle East, which included talks with leaders of Hamas -- an Islamic militant group that controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Carter hoped to persuade Hamas to negotiate with Israel in an attempt to reach a broader Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Hamas has not been included in peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, under President Mahmoud Abbas, who control the West Bank. Israel and the United States refuse to negotiate with Hamas until it renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist.

Bush also chided the United Nations for regularly criticizing Israel's record of human rights. The president called it a "a source of shame that the United Nations passes more human rights resolutions against the freest democracy in the Middle East than any other nation in the world.

"We believe that religious liberty is fundamental to civilized society. So we condemn anti-Semitism in all forms -- whether by those who openly question Israel's right to exist, or by others who quietly excuse them," Bush said.

The Mideast peace talks, which Bush lauds as the path to an independent Palestinian state, are "largely secret," National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters Wednesday en route to the Middle East, but negotiations are moving forward.

"There is less known about them publicly than is going on," Hadley said. "The issues are hard.

"One of the things he [Bush] needs to do is rally the support of the Arab world behind both Israeli and the Palestinian leadership so that they will support whatever is negotiated between the two sides," he added. Key players »

In an interview with al-Arabiya television before he left for the Mideast, Bush said a peace deal by year's end was still possible, and that observers should not be discouraged that he was meeting separately with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. It was more about logistics than discord, he said.

"It's a very complicated process, and I don't think necessarily not having a trilateral meeting should be read as anything other than that it just didn't work out," he told the TV station Monday. "It's not a sign that the talks aren't going forward." Video Watch how the trip combines business, pleasure »

During his Mideast tour, Bush also is scheduled to visit oil-rich Saudi Arabia, where he will meet King Abdullah amid increasing American frustration at gas prices.

Congress on Monday directed Bush to stop filling the government's emergency oil supply for six months to try to bring prices down, a move Bush has argued would have little effect.

"His visit to Saudi Arabia will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the formal establishment of U.S.-Saudi relations," the White House said.

Bush will then head to Egypt, where he will meet with another U.S. ally, President Hosni Mubarak. He will also meet with Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II. advertisement


Egypt is trying to broker an agreement between Israeli and Hamas leaders to end attacks on each other because the tit-for-tat violence threatens the broader attempt to reach a peace deal. See Bush's full itinerary »

Bush is scheduled to deliver remarks at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday, the final day of his trip.

All About George W. BushIsraelEgyptSaudi ArabiaPalestinian Politics

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