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It was a busy morning in the Middle East as President Bush went to meet Palestinian President Abbas in the same city where they threw a mass party on 9/11.

Before he went to meet with the terrorist leader, Bush met with former Prime Minister Bibi Netanyau:

Netanyahu to Bush: J’lem to stay under Israeli control for eternityOpposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday morning told visiting U.S. President George W. Bush that “Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people and will remain under Israeli sovereignty for eternity.” Netanyahu, who is chairman of the Likud party, made the remarks at a meeting with Bush at the King David hotel in Jerusalem. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams also participated in the meeting, which centered on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. Israel and the U.S. accuse Iran of covertly developing nuclear weapons. Netanyahu said he sees in the U.S. president a true friend, and expressed his esteem for Bush’s role in protecting the free world against extremist Islamic terror. At the beginning of the meeting, which ran 45 minutes over the time allocated to it, Netanyahu gave Bush an ancient coin discovered in Jerusalem that dates from the third year of the great Judean revolt against the Romans in the first century CE. The coin bears Hebrew writing, signaling that the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem has lasted thousands of years.

Also today Israel announced that despite the objections of American Secretary of State, and NFL Commisioner Wanna-be Condi Rice, expansion of existing settlements to ease over crowding, will continue and that indeed Israel views Jerusalem MUCH different than the rest of the disputed territories:

Construction to continue in major settlement blocs, J’lem’

Israel will continue building in Jerusalem as well as in major settlement blocs in the West Bank, even as a construction freeze continues elsewhere in the territories, a senior Israeli official said Thursday. The remarks come just days after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told The Jerusalem Post that the US opposes any new construction in the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa and views the area as a settlement. “It is very clear that we are committed not to build new settlements, and Israel has taken action to curtail settlement activity over the last years,” the official said. “[But] it is well understood that there are [densely populated areas where] some activity will continue,” he added.Israel plans to keep several major West Bank settlement blocs as part of any final peace treaty with the Palestinians. The senior official added that Israel was determined to continue building in Jerusalem, and that there was no change in the position on the issue despite the rare criticism by America’s top diplomat.”Nobody in the region could expect Israel to interpret this matter to be relevant to our capital,” he said.

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