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NEW YORK - President George W. Bush called on Israel yesterday to enforce a freeze in the settlements and to end the "daily humiliation" of the Palestinians, and told the Palestinians that a "commitment to democratic reform is essential to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict."

In a speech to the UN General Assembly on its first day of the new session, the president said "this commitment to democratic reform is essential to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, tolerate corruption, and maintain ties to terrorist groups. The long-suffering Palestinian people deserve better. They deserve true leaders capable of creating and governing a free and peaceful Palestinian state."

Bush appeared determined that the U.S.-backed road map to peace is still a viable option.

"Those who would lead a new Palestinian state should adopt peaceful means to achieve the rights of their people, and create the reformed institutions of a stable democracy," he said

Bush appeared even-handed by challenging Israel as well.

"Israel should impose a settlement freeze, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, and avoid any actions that prejudice final negotiations," Bush said.