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 frequently violently attacked and your family members are sometimes killed. Although painfully saddened, your resolve to remain in your neighborhood is not weakened.
That neighborhood is the dwelling place of Israel, a nation surrounded by many of its enemies.
Having spent last week touring Israel and talking with many of its citizens — including 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 — I now have a greater appreciation for the threats Israel faces as well as Israelis’ frustrations and their genuine desire for peace.
The threats posed by neighboring nations and the Palestinians are very real. After seeing first-hand the proximity of Israel’s enemies’ borders to Israeli communities and the peaceful and positive developments in the city of Ariel, 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 is not just something that I have recently concluded from visiting Israel. This is something I’ve concluded from decades of watching the developments between Israel and the Palestinians.
One of Israel’s major frustrations stems from a lack of clarity about its relationship with the United States.
Different administrations have shown different levels of support for Israel, but the actions of the Obama administration have signaled renewed and disappointing confusion about our support for the country. Suggesting that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders only emboldens Israel’s enemies.
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.
And for those who may challenge or remain silent on these two critical issues, I challenge them to spend time (as I have) experiencing what many people do not know, and what some people don’t want the rest of the world to know.
I am convinced that the Israelis want peace and that, unlike some of their neighbors, they have been willing to make many concessions over the years for the sake of peace.
I attended the closing program of Glenn Beck’s special event in Israel, “Restoring Courage,” which could not have been held in a more appropriate location. No other nation has better exemplified courage throughout its history than the nation of Israel. It has consistently survived and thrived against the odds.
The United States must have the courage to stand with its friend Israel. It is in our shared interests 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.
Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, is a Republican candidate for president.