Earlier today, President Bush participated in a joint press conference in Estonia with President Ilves. Following a question from the AP, Bush expressed his frustration and dissatisfaction with Palestinian terror groups in Gaza that undermine Israeli overtures to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:
We're trying to help get a democracy started in the Palestinian Territory. Prime Minister Olmert has reached out at one point to Prime Minister Abbas -- President Abbas. And you know what happens as soon as he does that? Extremists attack, because they can't stand the thought of a democracy. And the same thing is happening in Iraq. And it's in our mutual interest that we help this government succeed.
Clearly, Bush is referring to the ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades among others. Just yesterday, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert delivered a very important speech in which he said that "the cessation of terrorism and violence will enable us to offer you a series of steps, which will be taken in joint coordination, in order to facilitate the improvement of the Palestinian population's quality of living, which was severely affected as a result of our need to take defensive measures against your terrorist actions."
Among these steps would be a significant reduction in the number of roadblocks, an increase in freedom of movement in the territories, facilitation of movement of people and goods in both directions, improvement in the operation of the border crossings to Gaza, and release of Palestinian funds for the purpose of alleviating the humanitarian hardship which many of you suffer.
Of course, there still remains the problem that the Palestinian Authority is led by Hamas, which refuses to abide by the demands of the Quartet to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept all prior agreements. While there may be some diplomatic progress through the ceasefire, we should not get our hopes up for a lasting peace and the fulfillment of the two-state solution until those preconditions are met.
UPDATE 11/28 @ 12:22: Since Sunday's ceasefire took effect, terrorists have fired at least a dozen rockets into Israel.