After his first-ever visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, US President George Bush made a statement that contradicted earlier US policy toward Israel.  He stated that a Palestinian state must be contiguous, not a 'swiss cheese state', and that the Israeli military occupation must end. But he made no statements about the status of Jerusalem, the release of Palestinians held prisoner by Israel, or the removal of Israeli settlements.


One day before, Bush had been visiting the Israeli side of the Wall, and made statements praising the Israeli Prime Minister (who has overseen much of the construction of the Wall).  At that time, he made a nonchalant comment giving credibility to Israel's claim that some of the colonies built on stolen Palestinian land are 'legal', while some are illegal.  Under international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, all of Israel's colonies on occupied Palestinian land are illegal.


The U.S. President said that resolving the 60-year old conflict, which began in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel on Palestinian land, would require "painful political concessions" by both the Israelis and the Palestinians.


He was protested while visiting the Palestinian city of Ramallah Thursday.  Palestinians gathered in the streets to challenge the Bush administration policy of unquestioning support for Israel.  Right-wing Israelis also protested in Jerusalem Friday, fearing that any peace process would result in illegal settlers being asked to move off stolen Palestinian land and back into Israel.