The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 22, 2005

Mrs. Bush's Remarks to the Press in Jericho
Hisham's Palace


MRS. BUSH: I'm really happy to be here in Jericho today. I was welcomed by the Mayor, and I appreciate it very much, and by the Director General of Antiquities, who is here with us, and by two women who I've met before, one of them before, at International Women's Day at the White House -- or at the State Department in Washington. As you can tell from our day here, this is a place of emotion, everywhere we went, from the Western Wall to the Dome of the Rock to here. This is such a crucial point in our world and has been for forever, really, for -- actually they say that Jericho is one of the oldest -- or the oldest city in the world. And so we are here at a place of old -- the start of three religions, and also, really, the cradle of what we think of in our country and people around the world do of religious thought.

And so I'm really glad to be here, but I also know that especially the American press who are here with me see what an emotional place this is as we go from each one of these very, very holy spots to the next. And it's -- we're reminded again of what we all want, what every one of us pray for.

I met with a group of Israeli women earlier. I just had tea with Palestinian women. All of them, many of them mothers, say that what we all want is peace. And the chance that we have right now to have peace, to have a Palestinian state living by a secure and safe Israel, both living in democracy, is as close as we've been in a really long time.

It will take a lot of baby steps, and I'm sure it will be a few steps backward on the way, but I want to encourage the people that I met with earlier and the women that I just met with that the United States will do what they can in this process. It also requires the work of the people here, of the Palestinians and the Israelis to come to the table, obviously, and we'll see.

But it's very emotional for me and very moving to be here and to see these sights that are important to me as a Christian, that are in the Old Testament, but that are also important to Jews and important to Muslims because of the very, very long religious history that's here in this country. So thank you all.


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