"No nation should ever be forced to negotiate with killers pledged to its destruction," Bush said, a reference to suggestions from some mediators – such as former President Jimmy Carter in a recent mission here – that Israel should negotiate with Hamas, which controls Gaza. The comment was also seen as aimed at Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama who has suggested that the US sit down at the table with Iran and Syria.
"There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain their words away. This is natural. But it is deadly wrong," Bush said. "As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously," he added, after mentioning Mr. Ahmadinejad's suggestions that Israel ought to be "wiped off the map."
"Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," Bush said, engendering a long round of applause.
Analysts here were quick to note some of the words that he did not mention. These include the "Annapolis Process," which he launched last November, and Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, which Palestinians view as one of the primary obstacles to peace.
"I don't think that anything is going to happen here in terms of peace because of Mr. Bush's beliefs," says Ali Jarbawi, a political scientist at Birzeit University near Ramallah, after hearing Bush's address. In the Palestinian territories Thursday, Palestinians marked the nakba, or the catastrophe, which is their commemoration of the Arab exodus that coincided with the founding of Israel.