President Bush deplored the violence in the Middle East, again urging Israelis and Palestinians to show restraint.

"I feel very strongly about it because I'm worried about the cycle of violence continuing to escalate," Bush said Tuesday. "It's not good for that part of the world, nor is it good for the rest of the world."

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "must clamp down on the suicide bombers," Bush said, "and the Israelis must show restraint."

At the State Department in Washington, spokesman Philip Reeker said Israeli incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas are "provocative and undermine the efforts of the parties and the international community to defuse the situation and stop the violence."

He said both sides need to recognize that the path of escalation and retaliation leads to disaster.

"We're continuing to urge both sides to exercise restraint, reduce the violence, promote an atmosphere of calm," Reeker said. "There is no military solution to this conflict. And we will continue to make that message quite clear."

Reeker also said an Egyptian delegation headed by Osama el-Baz, national security adviser to President Hosni Mubarak, will hold meetings this week with senior administration officials on bilateral and regional issues.

Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Maher said Monday night that time may be running out on what he called Israeli colonialism.

"We've seen through the eras that colonialism in its last hours becomes more oppressive," Maher said in a Cairo seminar, carried by the Middle East News Agency. "We are aware of this fact and we want to expedite the end."

Maher said Egypt's role is to support the Palestinians and help them through political means to achieve peace and independence.