Huckabee: Israel can build in West Bank, Jerusalem
By JOSH LEDERMAN
The Associated Press
Monday, January 31, 2011; 7:46 PM
JERUSALEM -- Potential 2012 U.S. presidential candidate Mike
Huckabee told Jewish settlers Monday that attempts to prevent them
from building in east Jerusalem are as outrageous as housing
discrimination in the United States.
"I cannot imagine, as an American, being told I could not live in
certain places in America because I was Christian, or because I
was white, or because I spoke English," he said.
Huckabee dismissed the notion that Jewish settlements on land the
Palestinians want for a future state are obstacles to peace.
Instead, he backed the settlers' view that they have the right to
build anywhere in "the place that God gave them."
Most of the international community - including President Barack
Obama - considers the settlements illegal because they are built
on occupied land. Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and a
serious contender for president in 2008, is expected to seek the
Republican nomination to run against Obama in 2012.
An evangelical minister and Fox News host, Huckabee makes frequent
trips to Israel to voice support for Jewish development throughout
the biblical Land of Israel. On his last trip in August 2009, he
rebuffed Washington by opposing a Palestinian state.
Huckabee spoke Monday at the dedication of a new Jewish
neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the
1967 Mideast war, as the capital of a future independent state,
but Huckabee referred to the area as part of Israel's "eternal
capital." He also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
members of Israel's parliament.
The Jerusalem Reclamation Project, a group that promotes
settlements in an attempt to bolster a Jewish presence in mostly
Arab areas, hosted Huckabee and actor Jon Voight on the first day
of their three-day visit.
Huckabee visited the Shepherd Hotel, the former residence of the
mufti of Jerusalem that was destroyed in early January to make way
for Jewish homes. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
had rebuked Israel for knocking down the hotel - a position
Huckabee brushed off.
"I think we ought to be more concerned about Iran building bombs
than Israelis building bedrooms," Huckabee said.