David E Price

Bush lauds Olmert's 'bold ideas'

WASHINGTON -- President Bush yesterday praised Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's controversial plans to redraw the West Bank's borders as "bold ideas" that could open the way to a separate Palestinian state, even without agreement from Palestinian leaders.

In his first White House meeting with the Israeli leader, Bush emphasized that he was only beginning to learn about Olmert's "convergence" plan, which would remove some smaller Israeli settlements on the West Bank while absorbing larger Israeli settlements into Israel.

But Bush said the ideas "could lead to a two-state solution if a pathway to progress on the [U.S.-designed peace plan] is not open...