USA TODAY's Richard Wolf reports that President Bush predicted today that a deal can be reached within a year to turn the West Bank and Gaza Strip into a Palestinian state.
"I believe there will be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office," the president said. He vowed to "nudge the process forward" by pressuring leaders on both sides and "be a pain if I need to be a pain."
Despite Bush's upbeat assessment, there was little to suggest concrete progress during his second day in the Middle East. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is powerless to stop militants in Gaza from firing rockets into southern Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is reluctant to close dozens of illegal outposts. Without those early moves, leaders on both sides say a deal isn't possible.
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