For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 23, 2005
Mrs. Bush's Remarks to the Press in Jerusalem
Church of the Resurrection at Abu Ghosh
8:20 A.M. (Local)
MRS. BUSH: This is a beautiful site for us to have as our last stop before we go on to Egypt. This Abu Ghosh was the site that was considered Emmaus, if you know the walk to Emmaus when Jesus revealed himself to the two disciples after the resurrection. So it's a holy place for Christians. And this beautiful church has been here. It's a 12th century church. It's still pretty much the same way it was. But in this Arab town, Christians and Jews and Muslims lived together in peace. The Sultan actually gave this church to the Catholic Church that had owned it for a while in its history.
So I think that Abu Ghosh, as we leave Israel, can show us what it's like for the people of the three religions that have so many holy sites here in the Holy Land, can do to live in peace with each other. And I know from meeting with the Palestinian women yesterday and the Israeli women yesterday that that's what mothers and women want. They want to be able to live here in peace. We all want and we all pray for a day when our children and our grandchildren and our great-great-grandchildren, and our great-great-grandchildren can come to these holy sites with each other and live in peace with each other.
So thank you all. It's been a really wonderful visit here.
Q Were you surprised by the reception you had yesterday or even offended by the people who were protesting?
MRS. BUSH: No, not at all. I mean, I knew very well exactly how emotions run in this very, very important part of the world. And I was welcomed very warmly by both the Palestinian women and the Israeli women that I met, by my tour guide at the Dome of the Rock, by the people that -- the Rabbi who gave me the tour at the Western Wall. And many other people also welcomed me here.
This is a -- as we all know, this is a place of very high tension and high emotion, and you can understand why when you see that people with a deep and sincere faith in their religion are living side by side. There are thousands of years of fighting and hatred, but what I'm hoping is that we can put that aside, that it can be our generation that puts that aside so that we can all come to the Holy Land in peace and so that the people who live here, the people -- the Palestinians and the Israelis can live side by side in two safe and secure states.
Q Mrs. Bush, would you say that those protests perhaps overshadowed your message of reconciliation?
MRS. BUSH: No, I don't think that's what happened at all. I don't think that happened at all. I think the protests were very expected. If you didn't expect them, you didn't know what it would be like when you got here. This is -- everyone knows how high the tensions are. And believe me, I was very, very welcomed by most people.
END 8:25 A.M. (Local)