One of Israel's Palestinian citizens challenged US President Barack Obama on Thursday to acknowledge that Israel has Arab as well as Jewish citizens.
Rabea Eid, a student at Haifa University, heckled Obama when the President addressed Israeli youth at the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem and insisted that "Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state". In response, the young man stood up and yelled, "Do you know that Israel has Arab as well as Jewish citizens?" He continued, "Have you really come to promote the peace process, or to provide Israel with more weapons to kill the Palestinian people?"
As the student was far from the platform his words were not clear for Obama, who cupped his hand to his ear as if to hear better.
"On your way here did you see the West Bank wall, or the killer of Rachel Corrie?" asked Eid, in a reference to the US citizen killed by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to stop Palestinian homes being demolished just over ten years ago.
According to Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery, the young heckler was also screaming at Obama about the case of Jonathan Pollard. Pollard, an American convicted of spying within the United States for Israel, received a life sentence in 1987 and Washington is under a great deal of pressure from the pro-Israel Lobby to release him.
Although security officers took Eid out of the auditorium, they melted away when journalists crowded around the Palestinian to ask him questions.
Obama made light of the interruption: "This is a part of the debate we have talked about. I would like to say that we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home. I would not feel comfortable if I did not have at least one heckler."