Bush to Suggest New Ideas for Israeli-Palestinian Agreement

U.S. President to speak on issue on June 24; officials say not clear what ideas the U.S. is formulating.

Officials believe U.S. President George W. Bush will make new suggestions for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement in a speech slated for June 24. The event will mark the fifth anniversary of the speech in which he unveiled his "two-state vision" to end the conflict.

It was not clear what ideas the administration is formulating, the officials said.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to meet with Bush in the White House on June 19, a few days before the presidential speech.

Their meetings will focus on advancing an agreement with the Palestinians, as well as efforts to block Iran's nuclear program.

Olmert aides Yoram Turbowicz and Shalom Turgeman left for Washington yesterday for preparatory talks ahead of Olmert's visit.

The officials said Bush was expected to report progress on a memorandum of understanding to increase U.S. military aid to Israel. The current accord expires next year, as does the civil economic aid package. Israel wants the U.S. to gradually raise the military aid to more than $2.4 billion annually, as the current accord stipulates.

The officials said the Americans see increasing military aid to Israel and supplying new American weapons to the Gulf states as important steps to bolster the moderate countries in the region and counter Iran's rising strength.

This is why the U.S. wishes to supply the JDAM bombs to Saudi Arabia despite Israel's objection.