Imagine living in a neighborhood where most of your neighbors wish you would move away. Since you have a right to be there and it happens to be the home of many generations of your family, you refuse to be intimidated into leaving, even though you are violently attacked frequently, and sometimes family members are killed. Although painfully saddened, your resolve to remain there is not weakened.
That neighborhood is the dwelling place of Israel, a nation surrounded by many of its enemies.
Having spent last week in Israel talking and listening with many of Israel’s citizens, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, the leader of the opposition party in the Knesset, the mayor of Jerusalem, the mayor of the city of Ariel and the deputy prime minister, and touring the landscape of Israel, I now have a greater appreciation for the threats against Israel, their frustrations and their genuine desire for peace.
Threats against them from some of their neighboring nations and the Palestinians are very real. Those threats are not only from Iran wanting to wipe Israel off of the face of the earth, but also frequent terrorist attacks, most recently along its southern border.
After seeing first-hand the proximity of its enemy’s borders to communities within Israel, and the peaceful and positive developments in the city of Ariel, often referred to as the West Bank, it is easy to understand why the Israelis consider the idea of going back to the pre-1967 borders, as proposed by President Obama, to be unreasonable, impractical and, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, a non-starter.
Unreasonable and impractical demands by the Palestinians have stalled the so-called peace process for decades. This was not just a recent conclusion from one trip to Israel. This is from decades of watching the developments between Israel and the Palestinians as far back as the efforts of former President Jimmy Carter.
One of Israel’s major frustrations stems from a lack of clarity about its relationship with the United States of America.
Different administrations have always shown different levels of support for Israel, but the actions of the Obama Administration have signaled renewed and disappointing confusion about our support of Israel. Suggesting that Israel return to pre-1967 borders is a most egregious suggestion, which only serves to encourage Israel’s enemies to continue their hostility toward them.
Let me be direct and clear. I support Israel’s position that the 1967 borders must stand. I also support the position that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and that Jerusalem must never be divided for political or any other reason.
And for those who may challenge or remain silent on these two critical issues, I challenge them to spend the time as I have to experience and see what many people do not know, and what some people don’t want the rest of the world to know.
I am convinced that Israel wants peace with its neighbors, and that they have been willing to make many concessions over the years for the sake of peace, unlike some of its neighbors. All parties must truly want peace, but there comes a time when one must draw a line and give no more.
Glenn Beck’s special event in Israel on “Restoring Courage”, where I attended the closing program, could not have been held in a more appropriate location. No other nation has exemplified courage throughout its history better than the nation of Israel. It has consistently survived and thrived against the odds.
The United States of America must have the courage to stand with its friend Israel despite the enemies around it. It is in our shared interest to do so for the sake of peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
With me as president of the United States of America, we would stand with Israel.