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Israel - Rand Paul: Israel Building In Jerusalem Is None Of US's Business

Published on: January 12, 2013 11:32 PM
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Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul paid a visit Jan. 8 2013 to the Western Wall for his first stop on a week-long tour of Israel and other parts of the Middle East. Photo courtesy: Sen. Rand Paul Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul paid a visit Jan. 8 2013 to the Western Wall for his first stop on a week-long tour of Israel and other parts of the Middle East. Photo courtesy: Sen. Rand Paul

Israel - It is “none of our business” whether Israel builds new neighborhoods in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should not tell Israel how to defend itself, US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said Saturday night at the end of a week-long visit to the country.

Paul, a maverick libertarian senator known for his advocacy of slashing US foreign aid, said at a press briefing that the issue of cutting aid to Israel—something he advocates as part of a gradual process—did not come up during his meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or President Shimon Peres.

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Paul said that he was not interested in the message of his trip being that he came here “touting and spouting “ cutting aid to Israel. “I came here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel and America,” he said.

The first-term senator’s anti-foreign aid approach does concern some pro-Israel advocates in the US, concerned that he wants to significantly trim Washington’s annual $3billion military aid to Jerusalem.

“The biggest threat to our nation right now is our debt,” said Paul, adding that a bankrupt America would not be a good ally for Israel. “This does mean that we have to reassess who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries that are burning our flag and chanting death to America. No one is accusing Israel of that.”

Paul said he was not talking about anything different than what Netanyahu said in a 1996 speech to Congress, in which he advocated Israel gradually weaning itself of American aid dollars. Paul said this would benefit Israel and its defense industry, because it would not have to buy all its weaponry from the US, and that a curtailment of US foreign aid would also mean less money for arms for Israel’s neighbors.

Stating that the US gives more foreign aid to Israel’s neighbors than to Israel, Paul said that if the US gives 20 F-16 fighter plans to Egypt, Israel then feels it needs to buy 25; or if the US gives Egypt 200 tanks, Israel feels the need to purchase 300.

Paul stressed that he was worried about giving weapons to Egypt at the present time, especially since he said Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is listening to a spiritual leader calling for “the death of Israel and all its friends.” He said he was “very disappointed” that after giving Egypt some $60 billion in aid over the last 30 years, rioters there climbed the roof of the embassy last year, took down the US flag and burned it. “That should never have happened and is inexcusable,” he asserted.

Paul said the issue of his position regarding aid toward Egypt did come up in the conversation with Netanyahu.

Unlike most senators who visit the country, Paul had two public appearances during his week here, an indication perhaps that he is indeed—as has been widely speculated—gearing up for a 2016 presidential bid. He also spent a day in Jordan, meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Paul, a newly appointed member of the Senate’s foreign relations committee, would not comment on the controversial nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, or how he would vote. Regarding the overall direction of the US-Israel relationship in a second Obama term, he said that “even with the problems,” America’s ties with Israel are so strong that they will remain that way “even with the Obama administration not seeming to be going out to dinner with Netanyahu, or playing bridge, or whatever you do with your friends.”

While Paul said the US should not meddle in Israel’s decision making regarding settlement construction or the Golan Heights, he said Iran was a different issue because it had ramifications for the entire Middle East.

The senator, who voted for sanctions against Iran, said the sanctions would have a better chance of success if Russia and China were involved, and advocated using trade leverage with those countries to get them on board. As opposed to what he termed “show votes” on sanctions at the UN, where some countries do whatever they can to show their strong opposition to the US, he advocated “ quiet diplomacy” with China and Russia on the matter.

“We do a lot of trade with Russia, and Iran does some,” he said. “But I think the trade with America is more important to China and Russia, and I think that trade should be used with some leverage to get them to cooperate and help talk Iran down and get them to do the right thing.”

Paul was not the only republican senator in the country over the weekend, and Netanyahu on Friday met another delegation of five republican senators—led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, another Kentucky senator—where Iran was the focus of discussion.

“My priority, if I’m elected for a next term as prime minister, will be first to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told the delegation.“I think that was and remains the highest priority for both our countries. I appreciate the American support and your support for that end. “

McConnell, at the meeting, talked about the storing bipartisan support for Israel, even as Republicans and Democrats are at odds on so many other issues.

“As everybody in Israel knows, there are a lot of things we disagree on in America,” McConnell said. “We’ve had big battles over deficit and debt, but there’s board bipartisan support for Israel, and our agenda in this part of the world is the same as your agenda. You’re one of our best friends, and we’re happy to continue that relationship.”


Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post


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Jerusalem - Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas movement, was released from Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem Sunday morning... Washington - Americans are beginning to feel the pinch from Washington's decision to embrace austerity measures aimed at bringing down the nation's budget...

 

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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 13, 2013 at 01:20 AM light Bulb Says:

Don't worry nobody is building anything its only talking big and doing nothing. Quietly Bibi is pushing off all building that he publicly approves.

2

 Jan 13, 2013 at 03:17 AM Brian Says:

Rand Paul is a fine man. A true friend of Israel. Even his father Ron, when the vote came up to condemn Israel for raid on Iraqi nuke reactor (Osirak), he was one of a few congressman that voted against condemnation of Israel. When asked why he cast his vote that way, he responded, that it was none of America's darn business what a sovereign nation did to protect its people.

3

 Jan 13, 2013 at 07:38 AM Anonymous Says:

uh-oh, now he did it, he will upset all the jewish democrats that voted for obama and hate the fact that israel exists

4

 Jan 13, 2013 at 08:56 AM Aron1 Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

uh-oh, now he did it, he will upset all the jewish democrats that voted for obama and hate the fact that israel exists

Then, I guess, he upset hardly anyone.

5

 Jan 13, 2013 at 09:26 AM pbalaw Says:

Paul 2016

6

 Jan 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM common-sense Says:

Reply to #2  
Brian Says:

Rand Paul is a fine man. A true friend of Israel. Even his father Ron, when the vote came up to condemn Israel for raid on Iraqi nuke reactor (Osirak), he was one of a few congressman that voted against condemnation of Israel. When asked why he cast his vote that way, he responded, that it was none of America's darn business what a sovereign nation did to protect its people.

This is total fiction. Congress never condemned Israel for the Osirak attack. Ron Paul, although claiming that the US should not get involved in foreign matters, bitterly condemned Israel for the Gaza incursion (before the last one) and has constantly criticized Israel. Remember the old saying, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.: Don't trust Rand for a moment.

7

 Jan 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM Aryeh Says:

Reply to #6  
common-sense Says:

This is total fiction. Congress never condemned Israel for the Osirak attack. Ron Paul, although claiming that the US should not get involved in foreign matters, bitterly condemned Israel for the Gaza incursion (before the last one) and has constantly criticized Israel. Remember the old saying, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.: Don't trust Rand for a moment.

UN Resolution 487, condemning Israel - US Vote: YES!

8

 Jan 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM Aryeh Says:

Reply to #6  
common-sense Says:

This is total fiction. Congress never condemned Israel for the Osirak attack. Ron Paul, although claiming that the US should not get involved in foreign matters, bitterly condemned Israel for the Gaza incursion (before the last one) and has constantly criticized Israel. Remember the old saying, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.: Don't trust Rand for a moment.

We are absolutely STUPID for not supporting Ron Paul, and owe it to ourselves to support Rand Paul!

9

 Jan 13, 2013 at 12:29 PM ZurechT Says:

Please dont talk about the paul's they are extremely dangerous, i think newt should come back in 2016, he is powerful and has a clear agenda, mitt who had no agenda at all changed it every minute was only a good attacker.

10

 Jan 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM Materetsky Says:

Rand Paul is definitely better than his father politically ---
and they both make a lot of great points--
but they do not fit in either the Dem or Rep party and probably can never win any sort of national campaign...

11

 Jan 13, 2013 at 03:55 PM Eli Says:

Reply to #7  
Aryeh Says:

UN Resolution 487, condemning Israel - US Vote: YES!

You really should be embarrassed for displaying such ignorance. Yes, as you point out, the U.S. voted to condemn Israel att he UN (under Reagan the Republican, by the way) but that has nothing to do with Congress! Congress doesn't vote on UN resoluitions. As the intelligent poster above correctly noted, there was never a congressional vote to condemn Israel on the Irai raid -- and if there had been, Congress would have overwhelmingly backed Israel.

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