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In Israel, Bush outlines a blunt vision for the Middle East

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In the speech, Bush offered unwavering support for Israel, referring to its enemies in Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as dark forces that Israel and the West should not be fooled into "appeasing," evoking the world's appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s.

"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."

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