From the Sun-Times:
When Bush and Abdullah held hands walking into their meeting, the gesture prompted questions about two men showing that kind of physical intimacy.It also said to Americans, "This is my friend and we are both rich oil-men. Our mutual love of that sweet, sweet black gold transcends any bounds of nationality and religion. And we would both like you peasants to stop whining about record fuel prices."
Fred Jones, the National Security Council spokesman, said hand-holding is an Arab expression of "friendship, respect and trust."
The gesture goes further than a symbol of friendship, according to James Zogby, of the Arab American Institute, a Washington-based Arab civil rights organization. "The president and Crown Prince Abdullah were also sending a real political message that they are partners and friends and intend to remain that way," Zogby said.
"To the Saudi people, the message was that their leader has the respect and support of the American president. And the fact that President Bush confidently took the crown prince's hand and held it all the way into the office said to Americans, 'This is my friend and I am going to walk with him,'" Zogby said.