Keith Ellison claims visit to Al Aqsa and Imam who incited Muslims against Jews on Hamas radio proves "reconciliation is possible"
Keith Ellison visits Al Aqsa meets with Mufti Hussain who told Hamas radio Jews were agressing against mosque
Apr 1, 2007 8:59 am US/Central http://wcco.com/local/local_story_091100109.html
Ellison, Pelosi Meet With Israeli Prime Minister(AP) Jerusalem, Israel U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as part of a Mideast tour that has drawn criticism from the White House because of a planned stop in Syria.
Pelosi was slated later Sunday to give a speech to Israel's parliament, the Knesset.
Pelosi has irked U.S. President George W. Bush over her decision to include Syria in the tour. The White House had last week called Pelosi's stop in Syria a "bad decision" since the administration considers the Arab country a supporter of terrorism.
In her Knesset speech, Pelosi planned to talk about the challenges that Israel and the United States face in the Middle East. She was not expected to make any statements that would go against Bush's staunch support for Israel.
"She will talk about Congress' commitment to Israel's security," said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for the delegation. The group was also discussing in meetings with Israelis the "continued cooperation" between the two countries, he said.
Pelosi held talks on Sunday with Olmert in a closed meeting. She is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.
The California Democrat is traveling with a delegation that includes Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress.
The Minnesota Democrat is scheduled Monday to meet with the mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammed Hussein, at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City. Ellison said Saturday that his presence -- as a Muslim -- on the trip sent a message to Israelis and Palestinians that "people can come together."
"Reconciliation is possible," he said.
Also on Sunday, Pelosi's delegation met with the families of three Israeli soldiers captured by Arab militants this summer, one in Gaza and two on the border with Lebanon.
The group had on Saturday toured Jerusalem holy sites and met with Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres.
Pelosi's visit to Israel is her second trip to the Middle East since she took over leadership of the House in January and is an indication she plans to play a role in foreign policy.
Other representatives traveling with Pelosi and Ellison included Henry Waxman and Tom Lantos of California, Louise Slaughter of New York, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and Ohio Republican David Hobson.
The group will also visit Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. ( 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )