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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 16:27 GMT
In pictures: Bush visits Israel

George W Bush arrives at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Wednesday, 9 January 2008

George W Bush has begun his first visit to Israel and the West Bank as US president, as he tries to build momentum behind peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

George W Bush at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The US president said he glimpsed "a new opportunity for peace in the holy land" and told his hosts the US-Israel alliance "helps guarantee Israel's security as a Jewish state".

George W Bush at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Mr Bush was joined on the red carpet by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) and Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) as he was greeted by religious leaders.

Helicopter carrying Mr Bush flies over Jerusalem on Wednesday 9 January 2008

As Marine One, the helicopter carrying Mr Bush prepared to land in Jerusalem, security was at its tightest since Pope John Paul II's visit to Israel in 2000.

President Bush greets a group of children who performed a song upon his arrival at the residence of Israeli President Shimon Peres, Wednesday, 9 January 2008, in Jerusalem

Palestinian and Israeli leaders pledged to tackle core issues dividing them before Mr Bush arrived - and was treated to a song by these children at the Israeli president's residence.

A young girl hands a rose to President Bush as he arrives for a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Wednesday, 9 January 2008

A young girl handed Mr Bush a rose as he arrived to meet with Mr Peres (L), who called on Mr Bush to "stop the madness" of Iran and the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

Workers in a print house prepare posters for a Hamas rally in Gaza City, Wednesday 9 January 2008

But the three-day tour by Mr Bush was not welcomed by everyone - some people, like these Gaza print workers, were busy preparing for several planned demonstrations.





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