Did I say nice stuff about Mike Huckabee? Please forget it. What follows is an exchange he had with Wolf Blitzer on CNN a few weeks back (I can't make the link work, so I'm not including it) in which he calls for an Israeli state in all of Mandatory Palestine, from the Jordan to the sea, and there's enough room for the Arabs in Arab lands. There won't be "kumbaya" between Muslims and Jews, sayeth Huckabee. They've been fighting since Abraham. O.K., and what about Jews and Christians, and Christians and Muslims?
Let's understand the politics here. Bill Kristol and the neoconservatives believe that the Christian right is essential to Israel's fortunes in the U.S. It gives the Israel lobby a bigger footprint. And it's not just neocons, but more mainstream Israel supporters who have expressed delight that the Christians are on board. But these groups are essentially against a two-state solution and for the colonialist settlement project. Which means that more liberal Jews have to figure out where they stand on this one. Wolf Blitzer is clearly disturbed by Huckabee's views. He's a former AIPAC staffer, Blitzer; and he didn't ask the ultimate question: How are you going to move the Palestinians out of Palestine? With bulldozers?
BLITZER: Should Israel give up the West Bank?
HUCKABEE: No, I don't think so. I have been to Israel
nine times. I have been all throughout the Middle
East, to Lebanon, to Syria, to Jordan, to Egypt.
Anyone who goes to Israel, and if you just understand
the unique geography and the unique tension that
surrounds that area, it would be very problematic for
Israel to give up the West Bank, from their own
standpoint of security.
The same thing with the Golan Heights -- giving up the
Golan Heights makes most of Galilee a sitting target.
And it would be a very problematic concern for Israeli
security. Now it's their government. They'll make that
decision, not me.
But I certainly could not encourage them to give up
the West Bank.
BLITZER: Well, if they're not going to give up the
West Bank or with Syria, the Golan Heights, or at
least parts of the Golan Heights, what are they going
to negotiate about, from the Arab perspective, or the
Palestinian or the Syrian perspective if Israel
shouldn't give up the West Bank or the Golan Heights?
HUCKABEE: Well, there are a lot of options that
involve other territory that doesn't have to include
the West Bank or the Golan Heights. There is an
enormous amount of land in Arab control all over the
Middle East. And to say that it has to be on the West
Bank or that it has to be in the Golan Heights, I
think, limits the capacity to bring some type of
But let's be honest, there is not going to be some
instant kumbaya moment where everybody builds the
campfire, toasts marshmallows, and sings, holding
This conflict isn't new. It has been going on since
all the way to the time of Abraham. And it's not going
to be resolved any time in the immediate future.
The best we can hope for is that there will be some
level of loosening of the hostilities. But that
everybody is going to just get along merrily is
probably not something that's likely to take place any
time, at least, in the immediate future.
BLITZER: Well, I guess the question, though, is, do
you support what's called a two-state solution, Israel
and Palestine side by side, as President Bush says he
HUCKABEE: Well, I would want to see where that
side-by-side exists, Wolf, because if you do something
that puts the Israelis in a position of ultimate
vulnerability, that may not be a healthy solution.
You've got to realize that there are people in that
region who have stated that their primary purpose is
to annihilate Israel, to do away with them. And if you
surround them by hostility and give them very little
room in which to maneuver, you may not have created
anything other than a very, very temporary peace, but
for a long-term disaster.
BLITZER: So I guess you're not ready to endorse what
is called a two-state solution yet?
HUCKABEE: Not until you see where those two states are
going to be located and whether or not there is going
to be some guarantee of security and concessions on
the part of the nations that would surround Israel.
And the Israelis would have to be comfortable with it,
otherwise it's not going to be something that I think
they could live with.