MAALE ADUMIM – Israel “would only be acting on the property it already owns” if it annexed the West Bank, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said.
Huckabee was in the Jerusalem satellite town of Maale Adumim to attend a cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new neighborhood. The West Bank city, which has 41,000 residents, was condemned along with the rest of the settlements in the recent UN Security Council resolution as being a “flagrant violation of international law.”
On Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) said he was submitting legislation to apply full Israeli sovereignty to Maale Adumim.
Huckabee, standing in front of a sign that said “Build Israel Great Again,” agreed that it be legitimate for Israel to make moves towards annexation.
As far as Huckabee is concerned, the West Bank “is already in Israel. You could go back 3,200 years if you want to, and say this is when the borders were set. But look at 1917 and the Balfour declaration. 1922 and the League of Nations. That’s never been rescinded,” he said. “I don’t understand why anybody in the world would say that Israel should walk away from land that [it] justly possess[es].”
“I think Israel has title deed to Judea and Samaria,” said Huckabee, using the biblical term for the West Bank. “There are certain words I refuse to use. There is no such thing as a West Bank. It’s Judea and Samaria. There’s no such thing as a settlement. They’re communities, they’re neighborhoods, they’re cities. There’s no such thing as an occupation.”
“The Jews are the occupants,” he added.
The former governor also attacked Secretary of State John Kerry for his “irrational” speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the wake of the resolution.
“It was absolute bull-butter. It was insulting, to me as an American and I think certainly to Israelis as well,” he said.
The former Arkansas governor said he believed the incoming president would support Israel’s right to construction in the settlements.
“Everything [President-elect Donald Trump] has said to me indicates that he has extraordinary respect for Judea and Samaria and will have policies that reflect that,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Huckabee addressed a Knesset plenum organized by the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) Chamber of Commerce and its Public Policy Committee. Breitbart Jerusalem’s bureau chief Aaron Klein also gave a speech at the Knesset on combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Huckabee’s visit to Jerusalem coincided with the introduction of new legislation called the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, advanced by Senate Republicans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and to move the U.S. embassy there.
Huckabee, an evangelical Christian, condemned all moves to divide Jerusalem.
“Trying to split up Yerushalayim is really like asking [King] Solomon to cut the baby in half,” Huckabee told the Knesset, using the Hebrew word for the capital.
“The only people who have ever had Yerushalayim as a capital have been the Jews. Nobody else has ever made this city a capital, ever. So it shouldn’t even be controversial. Now it will be, but it shouldn’t be.”
Huckabee added his hope that Trump will make good on his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, saying that when that happens he “would be jumping up and down and celebrating.”