Behind the Scenes: President Bush Visits Middle East

Posted by Nancy Brinker
January 9, 2008
President Bush Prior to Departure from Ben Gurion International Airport

This blog entry is written byNancy Brinker, Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State.

Our delegation arrived in Israel on Wednesday morning. The weather was beautiful and we were all very excited to be in the country. President Bush, President Peres, and Prime Minister Olmert all appeared together at the arrival ceremony at the airport.

Everyone was moved because we understood that we were witnessing a historic meeting. Everyone understands the significance of the commitment that has been made to achieving peace.

Yitzhak Eldan, the Israeli Chief of Protocol, and I immediately connect. As our gracious our host, he introduces Prime Minister Olmert to our delegation and I introduced President Bush to their delegation. It's a pleasure to work with someone like Yitzhak and it gives us an opportunity to even create more understanding between our countries.

We've been doing a whole lot of running and jumping throughout morning. When the helicopters landed at the airport to take us back to the hotel, they came in with such a rush of air we almost got taken to the ground! I enjoyed talking to Yitzhak; we had a great discussion about what shoes are best to wear in this hectic job.

After the arrival at the airport, we traveled by helicopter to Jerusalem and the Hebrew University sports stadium, our landing zone. From there, we proceeded to the King David Hotel. After some down time at the hotel, the President headed to the President Peres' residence for a very unique and special ceremony. Usually, when the head of state arrives in Israel, there is a military ceremony at the President's residence with a military band. This time, because there had already been a military ceremony welcoming the President at the airport, President Peres decided to have civilian ceremony, a unique one without precedent. They asked some young children -- age of 12, 13 -- to come and to sing songs of peace. The children, both Israeli and Arab, sang beautifully in both Hebrew and Arabic. One girl sang a beautiful rendition of "Over the Rainbow." You could see that the President was quite moved by the ceremony.



California, USA
January 12, 2008

Thomas in California writes:

The Peace Treaty must contain basic services for Palestine. The development of teacher training and parent support for school age children. Children with physical and mental disorders must be served in this Peace Plan. This is the way to truly bring people together by offering them practical help that will benefit the New Nation for long term growth of employment and the development of an educated population.

A Port of entry for Goods and Airport must be redeveloped for Goods to enter the New country. Profit making by Jewish business owners must be turned over to Palestine business corp. This is what will make a New nation strong and independent. 

I and my fellow educators and medical teams stand ready to help the Peace Plan by offering to teach, and practice medicine in the New Country and to work with the people of Palestine to develop employment and educational programs which will lead to mutual respect and cooperation between the two Nations. For Peace.

Michigan, USA
January 18, 2008

Alvin in Michigan writes:

It is truly enjoyable to read your blogs, the difficulty of the tasks that you do, the color that you provide to the inner workings of the Executive Branch. Personally, it gives me a greater appreciation and empathy as opposed to the constant criticism government often receives by the hands of the media. Thank you so much for the details that you provide. It truly brightens my day. Keep up the good work. We've earnestly been praying for the safety of the President and his entourage during this trip to the Middle East.

United States
January 22, 2008

D in U.S. writes:

This stuff is really embarrassing. Grow up Nancy, you are not on Sesame Street.

Texas, USA
January 25, 2008

Rachel in Texas writes:

What an amazing opportunity! In the middle of a tense context and surrounded by those who are interested, at least, in creating a different future. Imagine the kids and what they might have thought about being there...

That the meeting even took place is a step in the right direction. Peace in that region may have possibilities yet.

Perhaps Sesame Street isn't too far off the mark. After all, I wouldn't mind the world becoming Sesame Street even if we did have to deal with the occasional Oscar the Grouch.

Florida, USA
January 25, 2008

Lisa in Florida writes:

Ambassador Brinker, our family really enjoys reading your blog. We rest better knowing you're often the first person foreign dignitaries meet when interacting with our great country. You are an inspiration to us all! You have truly made an impact with your work for ending breast cancer. Because of you men and women live longer. Thank you for the sacrifices you've made to serve our country.


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