Increasing tensions in the Middle East have prompted U.S. President George W. Bush to talk about a possible tour of the region after mid-term elections in November to address the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Senior political officials in Jerusalem mentioned organizing a Middle East summit as an alternative plan if the tour does not happen. 

U.S. officials in Washington confirmed Bush’s firm desire to advance a
diplomatic initiative, especially when taking into account the recent
war in Lebanon and the rising influence of Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmedinejad over the citizens of the Middle East. 

Heads of Middle East governments warned the U.S. that leaders like
Ahmedinejad and Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah are directly
affecting public opinion in their own countries. 

Peace between Israel and Palestine is seen as the most effective
approach to peace in the Middle East as many of the popular religious
and political leaders in the region gain support through their
enthusiastic opposition to Israel and the West.

Haaretz suggests that last week’s statement by U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice that she planned to visit the Middle East is “likely
to prepare the ground for a presidential tour of the region.”

After returning from talks at the UN, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi
has been positive about renewing the peace process between Israel and
Palestine. According to Haaretz, Livni felt that moderate Arab states
are starting to recognize shared interests with Israel and are also
interested in a renewed peace process. 

America’s most recent peace initiative was part of the Quartet’s road
map to peace, which has done little of what it set out to do, the
ultimate goal being an end of the conflict by 2005. After successive
setbacks due to more attacks from both sides, the Quartet limited its
presence. Instead, Bush threw his support behind the Gaza disengagement
plan, hailing it as a great success for Sharon and his apparent
commitment to peace. The Israeli incursion into Gaza after the capture
of the Israeli soldier this summer derailed the peace process once
Sourced from Haaretz