In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. president George Bush hinted that the Palestinian leadership is not qualified as a peace partner. He called for Israel to freeze settlements and called Arab countries to adopt reform and normalize relegations with Israel.

Bush also called on Palestinians to adopt peaceful means to achieve the rights of their people.

‘Israel should impose a settlement freeze, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, and avoid any actions that prejudice final negotiations,’ Bush said.

‘World leaders should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause.’ he added.

Bush asserted that commitment to democratic reform is essential to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, saying that ‘Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, tolerate corruption, and maintain ties to terrorist groups.”

Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said Bush should find a way to make Israel comply with the settlement freeze.

‘We urge President Bush to put [into motion] the mechanism with the UN and other members of the Quartet to make the Israeli government comply once and for all with the settlement freeze now,’ Erekat said.

Israeli government sources downplayed Bush’s comments, saying it does not signal any rift between Israel and the United States.

Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom said Tuesday that Israel would meet Bush’s demands on settlements and unauthorized settlers’ outposts.

Bush called the entire world must unite in fighting terrorism and provide democracy and liberty to the entire Middle East region.

The American president admitted that most countries, including America, blinded eyes to lack of reforms and liberties in the Middle East for the sake of stability in the region, but added that as a result, reforms were lacking and stability was lost.

Bush reiterated commitment to the road map, but conditioned the establishment of a Palestinian state with a Palestinian leadership that “adopt peaceful means to achieve the rights of their people, and create the reformed institutions of a stable democracy,’ he also called on the Arab world to normalize ties with Israel.

‘Arab states should end incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism, and establish normal relations with Israel.’ he said.