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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Laura Bush heckled in Jerusalem
Laura Bush inserting a note on the Western Wall
Laura Bush followed tradition at the Western Wall
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 to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon in 2000 sparked a series of Palestinian riots. These riots and Palestinian frustration at the failure of the peace process sparked what became known as the al-Aqsa 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.

How dare you come here - why is your husband killing Muslims?
Muslim protester

Israeli police held back demonstrators demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew who was jailed for life in 1987 after being convicted 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."

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