President Bush says Israel will respond appropriately if it is attacked by Iraq -- and Mr. Bush says Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has the right to defend his country.
The two leaders met in Washington Wednesday. Afterward, President Bush said the international community will not tolerate an unprovoked Iraqi attack on Israel or any other nation. President Bush said Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is a dangerous man who threatens not only Israel, but also his Muslim neighbors.
Israel has pledged to hit back if Iraq attacks it in response to a U-S military strike. At U-S urging, Israel did not retaliate during the 1991Gulf War, despite being hit by 39 Iraqi Scud missiles.
President Bush also said he and Mr. Sharon share a vision of two nations --Israel and Palestine -- living side-by-side in peace.
Prime Minister Sharon said he hopes the day will come soon when Israel can resume peace talks with Palestinians. Mr. Sharon also said Israel has never had better relations with any U-S president than Mr. Bush.
President Bush also warned the militant group Hezbollah against attacking Israel, saying the United States will not tolerate terrorist activities.
Today's (Wednesday's) meeting came amid U-S urging for Israel to ease restrictions on the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials recently announced they are taking several steps to improve conditions for the Palestinians. Israel said it reached an understanding this week to release about 400-million dollars in tax revenue it has withheld from the Palestinians.
The Israeli army entered nearly all major West Bank cities and towns in June after a series of Palestinian suicide bombings. Israeli soldiers pulled out of Bethlehem in August.