US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Israel Saturday amid row with Bush administration over her April 3 trip to Damascus

At the head of a delegation to the Middle East of Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi will address the Knesset Sunday, April 1. She will also call on Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The Syrian embassy in Washington hailed the trip by the highest ranking US official to visit Damascus in years as “momentous.” In Washington, the state department told the Democratic leader that she should carry a strong message to Syrian leaders: “End their support for Palestinian rejectionist groups, take a constructive stance on Lebanon and obviously do what they can to help support Iraq,” said spokesman Sean McCormack.
The White House said the Speaker would be handing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad a symbolic diplomatic victory. In addition to Syria, the Pelosi delegation will also travel to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Saturday, Pelosi with delegation member Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, toured Jerusalem’s holy places.

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