President Bush says Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has a right to defend his country, but adds he must be careful not to take steps that might lead to an escalation of violence in the region. The comments come shortly after some tough talk from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Prime Minister Sharon vowed Israel would act against its enemies in any place and in any way.

President Bush responded by drawing a parallel to America's war on terrorism. "We would be doing the same thing," said President Bush. "This country will defend our people."

He noted that Israel's attack on a suspected terrorist camp in Syria followed a suicide bombing in the Israeli city of Haifa.

The Prime Minister must defend his country," he said. "It's essential. This is a country that was recently attacked by a suicider that killed innocent children and women, people that were celebrating in a restaurant."

But Mr. Bush went on to say that it is important to keep in mind the consequences of any decision taken in the name of defense. He said the prime minister must make sure they do not lead to an escalation of violence.