Day Two of President Bush's Visit

Day two of President Bush's visit to Israel and the West Bank was greeted by heavy fog over Jerusalem, forcing Bush and his motorcade to take to the roads for his journey to Ramallah. His helicopters were grounded.

Before he left, the president held meetings in his hotel with the two sons of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with whom Bush had forged a close working relationship. Since January 2006 Sharon has been in a coma after a stroke.

President Bush also had a brief meeting with Benyamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, which is the main opposition party in Israel.

Inside the Muqata in Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, Bush was greeted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The two men walked the length of a red carpet flanked by an honor guard of Palestinian soldiers.

This used to be the headquarters of Yasser Arafat. For the last years of his life Arafat lived here under siege, and the sprawling complex was witness to countless battles with the Israeli army.

Abbas is a different kind of leader and the Muqata has become a different kind of place. It's not so much a military complex, but more a seat of government for the Palestinian Authority.

The presence of Arafat is nonetheless still felt. He is buried on the grounds in a recently completed mausoleum. President Bush did not visit the site, and no wreath was laid there.

After a closed session of talks with advisers both presidents emerged into a reception hall for a joint news conference. The event started chaotically, beset by technical problems that interrupted opening remarks by Abbas.

But Bush was in a relaxed mood, bringing with him his message of peace and his vision of two states living side by side.

"In order for there to be lasting peace, President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert have to come together and make tough choices," Bush said. "And I'm convinced they will. And I believe it's possible — not only possible, I believe it's going to happen — that there can be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office. That's what I believe."

Later Bush will travel to Bethlehem, where he will visit the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem is also controlled by the Palestinian Authority and security will be tight.

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