Washington, D.C. President Bush will make his first trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank next month to push Israel and the Palestinians toward peace and try to write his own chapter in the annals of Mideast diplomacy.
On a nine-day trip beginning Jan. 8, Bush plans to stop in Israel, the West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It will be Bush's first visit to each of the countries, except Egypt.
Mideast peacemaking has been on the back burner during most of Bush's presidency, but he emerged from a high-stakes conference in Annapolis, Md., last month re-energized about assisting Israel and the Palestinians in forming an independent Palestinian homeland. The trip is aimed at helping the two sides gain traction in talks that got under way earlier this month.