Huckabee appearance sparks strong reaction in Jerusalem

Mike Huckabee's (R) Monday speaking engagement at an East Jerusalem hotel has sparked a series of protests both for and against Israeli policy in the area.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the 2008 presidential hopeful's appearance at the Shepherd Hotel will attract protests from two groups; Peace Now and Im Tirtzu, who will hold simultaneous protests for and against the Israeli government's building rights in East Jerusalem, which is a disputed area between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Shepherd Hotel itself has attracted controversy of its own this year. The U.S. government recently requested that the development company overseeing the site halt construction on additional apartments being built at the Shepherd.

Huckabee, who is a former Arkansas governor and a likely 2012 presidential candidate, is holding a dinner with Jewish and Republican leaders.

"Our protest is aimed at voicing our objection to the attempts of right-wing groups to exert control over east Jerusalem," Peace Now official Yariv Oppenheimer told the Post on Sunday. "We believe that these moves will only breed more anger and distrust among Arabs in the capital, and we see these attempts as nothing more than a provocation meant to undermine the possibility of a future peace agreement in the capital."

"We want to safeguard a unified Jerusalem and express that the vast majority of Israelis are against making concessions in the capital. We're talking about the Temple Mount, we're talking about the Old City, the historic sites in Jerusalem," Amit Barak, an Im Tirtzu official said.

"These are the places that the Jewish people have yearned for throughout thousands of years in exile. We're not talking about Malha Mall," he added.