JERUSALEM (BP)--On what Time magazine dubbed his "first 2012 campaign stop," Mike Huckabee said in Israel Aug. 18 there should be no Palestinian state in the West Bank and expressed support for Israeli settlements there.
"The question is, 'Should Palestinians have a place to call their own?' Yes. I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That's what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic," Huckabee, a former Republican candidate for president, told a small group of foreign reporters in Jerusalem.
The trip marked Huckabee's 11th visit to Israel since 1973, and he told Time he purchased his own plane ticket despite being hosted by the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, a pro-settlement group.
"It's inconceivable that we would ever understand how two sovereign governments would control the very same piece of real estate. We don't know how that would work," Huckabee said in opposition to a two-state solution.
Time said he compared the ban on Israeli settlements in Arab areas of East Jerusalem and the West Bank to segregation between black and white Americans in the deep South during his childhood, and he called for integration between Israelis and Arabs.
Huckabee's stance is in opposition to President Obama, who in May told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Jewish settlements on the West Bank must stop in order for the peace process to move forward.
Critics have compared Huckabee's visit to a diplomatic mission House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took to Syria two years ago against the will of the Bush administration, but Huckabee said he traveled "purely as a private citizen" and did not meet with Netanyahu.
During his three-day trip, Huckabee visited a planned housing development in East Jerusalem that Obama has insisted not be built as well as a contentious settlement outpost on the West Bank.
On trips to Israel in the 1970s and '80s, Huckabee had no problem visiting the Palestinian city of Nablus on the West Bank, according to a statement posted on his political action committee website Aug. 19.
"But this time, I couldn't go because I was with Israelis, and they cannot enter Nablus or Bethlehem or Ramallah," Huckabee wrote. "I commented on this because I thought it was remarkable that there are places Israelis can't go ..." Read More