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Ted Cruz: Palestinians Must Recognize Israel's Right to Exist

Image: Ted Cruz: Palestinians Must Recognize Israel's Right to Exist

By Elliot Jager   |   Tuesday, 27 May 2014 06:42 AM

Middle East peace won't be possible until the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Palestinians "have refused to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and have refused to renounce terror," Cruz said, according to the newspaper. "Unless and until the Palestinians can agree on those very basic starting blocks, no lasting peace solution is likely."

The senator was in Jerusalem over the Memorial Day weekend to meet with Israeli government leaders and parliamentarians, the Post reported. The tea party-aligned Republican noted that it was his third trip to Israel in the past year and a half, in an earlier interview with Israel's Channel 10.

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He made clear his disagreement with the Obama administration's approach to Iran. "The threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapon capabilities is the gravest national security threat faced by Israel and by the U.S.," he said.

"Appeasement is a foolhardy strategy with regard to Iran," he said. President Barack Obama, Cruz said, according to the Post, "should make unequivocally clear that under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuke weapons capability. It will either stop trying to develop that capability or we will stop it for them." 

Cruz chided Obama for his approach to Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking, which he characterized as criticizing, haranguing, and pressuring the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Terms of peace should not be dictated by outsiders," Cruz said, according to the Post. "America has a role facilitating negotiations, helping bring the parties together and providing a fair and neutral forum where both sides can engage, if they wish, in good-faith negotiations, but any decisions about the terms of a peace deal should be made by Israel and the Palestinians."

With Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza having announced the creation of a unity government, Cruz said he anticipated the Obama administration would find loopholes to allow it to continue to fund the yet-to-be-formed regime.

Hamas is openly committed to Israel's destruction and as a terrorist organization is legally ineligible for U.S. aid. Cruz said no one should be surprised if the Obama administration simply ignored U.S. law as it had done on other issues, the Post reported.

The senator's visit to Jerusalem coincided with Pope Francis' pilgrimage.

Wearing his signature black cowboy boots and a Lone Star belt buckle, Cruz met with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Cabinet member Naftali Bennett, and Labor Party opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

The senator's two-day Israel stopover, followed visits to Poland, Ukraine, and Estonia, the Post reported.

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