US delegation tours Israel

Sunday, April 01, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi toured Jerusalem holy sites on Saturday along with a congressional delegation, including the first Moslem elected to Congress, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison.

The group arrived on Friday night and made their first full-day stop in Jerusalem, touring holy sites, including the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

Ellison said he hoped to visit the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aksa Mosque stand and are known as the Noble Sanctuary. The al-Aksa Mosque is also the third holiest site in Islam.

“I haven’t seen it yet, but I hope to, I'm really looking forward to it,” Ellison said of the compound.

Ellison said that as a Muslim this trip sent a message to Israelis and Palestinians that “people can come together.” “Reconciliation is possible,” he said.

Pelosi's delegation intends to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the coming days.

Pelosi is also to address the Israeli Knesset in her first speech to a foreign government legislature at a special dinner with acting President and Israeli Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.

Others 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. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi toured Jerusalem holy sites on Saturday along with a congressional delegation, including the first Moslem elected to Congress, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison.

The group arrived on Friday night and made their first full-day stop in Jerusalem, touring holy sites, including the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

Ellison said he hoped to visit the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aksa Mosque stand and are known as the Noble Sanctuary. The al-Aksa Mosque is also the third holiest site in Islam.

“I haven’t seen it yet, but I hope to, I'm really looking forward to it,” Ellison said of the compound.

Ellison said that as a Muslim this trip sent a message to Israelis and Palestinians that “people can come together.” “Reconciliation is possible,” he said.

Pelosi's delegation intends to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the coming days.

Pelosi is also to address the Israeli Knesset in her first speech to a foreign government legislature at a special dinner with acting President and Israeli Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.

Others 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.

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