Bush urges Arab countries to bolster Palestinian moderates in Gaza
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush called on Arab nations to help moderates in Gaza prevail over those bent on destroying Israel.
"The Arab world needs to help right now. They need to step in and help the peaceful, democratic forces within Gaza to thwart those whose stated objective is the destruction of Israel," Bush said in a speech to a Jewish Republican organization.
"Now there's an opportunity, and the opportunity rests with the Palestinian people to show that they can govern themselves in a peaceful way," he said.
Bush, who praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "tough and courageous" decision to withdraw from Gaza after 38 years of occupation, said the United States is "firmly committed to defending the security and the well-being of our ally Israel."
In mid-August, Israel completed its historic evacuation of all 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza, and the last remaining troops were later pulled out of the territory in the first-ever Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestinian land.
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