President Bush celebrated Israel's 60th anniversary on Thursday, assuring the Jewish state that America will always stand by it in the battle against terror and extremism.
"Some people suggest if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away," the president noted in his speech to the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem. "This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of the enemies of peace, and America utterly rejects it."
Bush said the fight against terror and extremism "is the defining challenge of our time" and that when the nation of Israel is confronted by terror and evil, they "are 307 million strong, because the United States of America stands with you."
"[T]hey (the killers) reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis," the president stated in his speech commemorating of the day when Israel was created and Palestinians bitterly lost claim to the land. "And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the 'elimination' of Israel. And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant 'Death to Israel, Death to America!' That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that 'the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties.' And that is why the President of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.
"The killers claim the mantle of Islam, but they are not religious men," Bush asserted. "No one who prays to the God of Abraham could strap a suicide vest to an innocent child, or blow up guiltless guests at a Passover Seder, or fly planes into office buildings filled with unsuspecting workers. In truth, the men who carry out these savage acts serve no higher goal than their own desire for power. They accept no God before themselves."
The president referred to the relationship between Israel and the United States as an "unbreakable" alliance and a "friendship [that] runs deeper than any treaty."
"America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary," Bush said.
Notably missing from the president's speech, for the most part, were remarks about the high-profile Israel-Palestinian peace talks that the United States is brokering and which seek to create a Palestinian state before Bush leaves office in January.
Bush made only fleeting comments about the important peace talks during his address.
In one such comment, the president said the Palestinian people "will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserved – a democratic state that is governed by law, and respects human rights, and rejects terror."
But Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that took over the Gaza Strip last summer, denounced Bush as sounding "like a priest or a rabbi" after receiving news about his speech to Israel.
They also said that Bush's speech was a "slap in the face" to Palestinians who had placed hope in his administration to mediate a fair negotiation with Israel.
On Friday, Bush ended his three-day trip to Israel with a visit to Jerusalem's Bible Lands museum, which displays artifacts dating back to biblical times. He then headed off to Saudi Arabia for talks about the record high oil prices that have hit the United States, according to Agence France-Presse.
Bush arrived in Egypt on Saturday for talks with Palestinian leaders about the peace talks amid criticism from Arab leaders that he is biased toward Israel.
Christian Post reporter Ethan Cole in Washington contributed to this article.