JERUSALEM (AFP) - US President George W Bush was greeted at Israel's parliament on Thursday with pomp and ceremony before a keynote speech marking the Jewish state's 60th birthday that several Arab MPs boycotted. In his first appearance before the legislative body, the visiting US President exalted the "unbreakable" friendship between the two close allies and promised US support for Israel in the face of future threats, describing the Jewish state as a thriving democracy threatened by regional adversaries and their armed proxies."We consider it a source of shame that the United Nations routinely passes more human rights resolutions against the freest democracy in the Middle East than any other nation in the world," he added. "Happy independence day" Bush said in Hebrew, drawing a raucous standing ovation. Arab members of the Israeli parliament boycotted the US president's address, and Palestinians expressed outrage at the decision to hold the event on their Naqba Day. As Bush received a standing ovation at the start of his speech three Arab MPs entered the chamber and held up pictures of Iraqi and Palestinian children killed by US and Israeli troops, with a sign blaming their deaths on Bush. Bush is "responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the region," said Jamal Zahalka, one of 10 MPs from Arab-led political parties. "His speech... shows complete indifference to the Naqba of the Palestinian people and its suffering." Addressing the Knesset, Bush hoped to encourage Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. He talked only in broad terms about the Middle East peace process he helped to relaunch in November but which has failed to make much headway since. He said he hoped that by Israel's 120th anniversary the Palestinians "will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserved - a democratic state that is governed by law, respects human rights, and rejects terror." He vowed to support Israel in battling "terror" groups. "America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary," Bush told the Israeli parliament. "Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas will be defeated, as Muslims across the region recognise the emptiness of the terrorists' vision and the injustice of their cause," said Bush, on a five-day tour of the region that will also take him to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said, comparing the supposed strategy to Britain's 1930s appeasement of the Nazis."We have an obligation to call this what it is - the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history." Bush warned that allowing "the world's leading sponsor of terror Iran" to obtain nuclear weapons would be "an unforgivable betrayal of future generations". Bush hit out in particular at his counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "The fight against terror and extremism is the defining challenge of our time. It is more than a clash of arms. It is a clash of visions, a great ideological struggle," he told MPs. "And that is why the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map." "Hezbollah is supported by Iran, and it's an Iranian effort to destabilise Lebanon's democracy, and the US stands strongly with the Siniora government," he added.