Laura Bush Heckled In Jerusalem
BBC News - May 22, 2005
US First Lady Laura Bush has been heckled by both Jewish and Muslim protesters during a visit to Jerusalem's holy sites.
As she slipped a note between stones of the Western Wall, Jewish protesters demanded the release of an Israeli jailed in the US for spying for Israel.
At the nearby Dome of the Rock mosque, Palestinians said she was not welcome.
The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, is Judaism's holiest site and Islam's third holiest.
A visit there by Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2000 sparked the current Palestinian intifada.
Accompanied by the wife of Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Mrs Bush spent a few moments of silence in the women's section at the Western Wall.
Israeli police held back demonstrators demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli American who was jailed in 1987 (J4JP: 1985) on charges of spying for Israel.
Mrs Bush then rode in a motorcade for the short drive to the adjacent Dome of the Rock mosque - which she described as "magnificent".
Israeli police formed a cordon to prevent Muslim worshippers jostling her.
"How dare you come here! Why is your husband killing Muslims?", one shouted.
Palestinian militant group Hamas issued a statement saying "we see in the visit of Mrs Bush an attempt to whitewash the face of the United States, after the crimes that the American interrogators had committed when they desecrated the Koran".
That was a reference to allegations - now retracted - by American magazine Newsweek that US officials at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba had desecrated the Muslim holy book.
Several people have died in protests in various countries following the alleged desecration.
Mrs Bush arrived in Israel from Jordan where she attended the World Economic Forum conference on the Middle East on Saturday.
She urged Arab leaders to expand the rights of women in their societies.
"Freedom, especially freedom for women, is more than the absence of oppression," she said. "It's the right to speak and vote and worship freely."
(Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/4570993.stm)