Bush in Israel on Peace Mission

President hopes to accelerate talks, but Olmert's position is fragile
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 6:32 AM CST
US President George W. Bush walks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, and Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, during an arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport Wednesday, Jan....   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – George W. Bush has arrived in Tel Aviv for his first presidential visit to Israel, where he hopes to boost momentum on the peace talks launched in Annapolis. Haaretz reports that both President Shimon Peres and PM Ehud Olmert met the president at the airport. Overshadowing the visit, though, is a threat by one of Olmert's coalition partners to quit the government and topple the PM.

Yesterday Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas agreed to restart stalled talks, which Bush hopes to accelerate. "We see a new opportunity for peace here in the holy land," said Bush, a sentiment echoed by the Israeli cabinet. But the head of the hard-line Israel Our Home party is threatening to quit the governing coalition because of "the direction that this government is taking."