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Laura Bush Visit to Middle East Met With Protest

U.S. first lady Laura Bush says she was not surprised to be met by protesters during her tour of Mideast holy sites. Mrs. Bush was heckled by some protesters during her visits Sunday at some holy sites.

Her five-day visit to the Middle East was primarily intended to diffuse anti-American sentiments in the region, inflamed in recent months by the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and allegations that American interrogators have mistreated Muslim detainees.

While visiting a 12th Century church in an Arab town outside Jerusalem Monday, Mrs. Bush said she hoped that one day, people of different faiths could peacefully co-exist in the Holy Land.

The previous day, Mrs. Bush was heckled by some Muslim worshipers during a visit to the Dome of the Rock mosque.

At the Western Wall, Jewish protesters shouted at Mrs. Bush, demanding the release of American Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. after being convicted of spying for Israel.

Mrs. Bush spoke about her expectations during the tour, "I think the protests are very expected. If you didn't expect them you wouldn't know what it would be like when you got here. There are thousands of years of fighting and hatred, but what I'm hoping for is that we can put that aside -- that it will be our generation that puts that aside -- so that we can all come to the Holy Land in peace and so that the people who live here, the Palestinians and the Israelis, can live side-by-side in two safe and secure states."

Mrs. Bush later traveled to Cairo, where she met with Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak. The two women taped a segment for the Egyptian version of "Sesame Street," and discussed the importance of reading to children.