President George W Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.
In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.
Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."
The series charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from President Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999/2000 to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza last August.
Norma Percy, series producer of The 50 Years War (1998) returns, with producers Mark Anderson and Dan Edge, to tell the inside story of another seven years of crisis.
Presidents and Prime Ministers, their generals and ministers tell what happened behind closed doors as peace talks failed and the intifada exploded.
Israel and the Arabs: Elusive Peace - Mondays 10, 17 and 24 October, from 9.00 to 10.00pm on BBC TWO.