Senator Ted Cruz to 'Post': US should stop lecturing the Israelis

In preview of interview to be published in full Friday, US Senator and presidential contender issues scathing rebuke of Obama administration's handling of the Mideast conflict.

Republican 2016 US presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Republican 2016 US presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Senator and Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz told The Jerusalem Post this week that the Palestinians are the true barrier to peace.
Below are highlights of the telephone interview. The full interview will be published in Friday’s Magazine.
Kerry links wave of terrorism in Israel to settlement activity
Senator Cruz, how would you characterize the Obama administration’s stewardship of US relations with the Palestinians?
This past week I publicly called for John Kerry’s resignation as secretary of state. This is the second time I’ve done so. A number of months ago I called for Kerry’s resignation when he wrongfully suggested that Israel could become an apartheid state, which is a slander.
It is one often repeated by the terrorists and it should not be coming out of the mouth of a United States secretary of state.
State Department: we’ve certainly seen some reports of excessive use of force
This past week John Kerry and the State Department accused the nation of Israel of terrorism. That is a blatant lie. There is a qualitative difference between antics of Palestinian terrorists murdering innocent women and children in response to the relentless incitement from the Hamas, from the PA. There’s a qualitative difference between that and the IDF defending the safety and security of the nation of Israel. And John Kerry’s suggestion that they are morally equivalent is wrong, harmful and deeply offensive.
If you are elected president in 2016, what would your relationship be with the Palestinian Authority?
I believe that nobody wants to see peace more than the Israeli people. The barrier to peace is not the government of Israel. The barrier to peace is Palestinians who refuse to renounce terrorism and refuse to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
As it regards to US policy, I think for far too long, American presidents have attempted to dictate the terms of a peace settlement. In my view America has no appropriate role dictating the terms of a peace settlement.
If Israel chooses to negotiate and reach a settlement with the Palestinian Authority, that is Israel’s right as a sovereign state and America can help provide a fair forum for negotiations.
But it is not the role of the American government to attempt to lecture the Israeli people or dictate terms of peace. No one has a greater incentive to seek peace than the people of Israel, who have lived with the daily threat of rocket attacks, of knifings, of terrorist bombs.
Do you think a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River is a US interest?
I think that is a question to be decided by the nation of Israel and the Palestinian people.
You don’t think it’s a question for America?
I do not believe the United States should try to dictate the terms of peace. We have seen now for two decades American presidents trying to dictate the terms of peace. And it hasn’t worked.
The Palestinians have turned down every reasonable offer of peace. And I believe America should stand unshakably alongside the nation of Israel.
If I am elected president that is exactly what we will do.
Right now the Palestinian Authority is spending around $150 million a year to pay salaries to convicted terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons. The US gives the PA about $550m. annually. Do you think the US should reconsider its commitment to funding the PA?
Of course we should. The PA has formed a unity government with Hamas. The idea that American taxpayer dollars are going to a government that is in unity with terrorists makes no sense whatsoever. The idea that American taxpayer dollars are going to the PA, which routinely engages in incitement, which celebrates the terrorists who murder women and children, makes no sense whatsoever. We should not be funding people who want to kill us. We should not be funding terrorists.
This goes back to what I mentioned before about the central failing of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy – that it fails to focus on the vital national security interests of America. Funding terrorists is directly contrary to our national security interests and we should not be doing so.
The prevailing wisdom is that building in Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice line causes Palestinian terrorism. Do you accept that?
That is yet one more area in which the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy is deeply misguided.
The question of settlements is a question for Israel as a sovereign nation to decide. I don’t believe an American president should be dictating to the nation of Israel where Israelis can choose to live. And the fact that Israelis choose to live in Judea and Samaria is not justification for terrorism or murder.
And it is yet another example of the Obama administration’s repeated false moral equivalency to suggest that it is.
That isn’t just Obama’s position. In the roadmap peace plan, the Bush administration also called for Israel to revoke Jewish property rights beyond the armistice line, saying that doing so promotes peace. Do you think that makes sense?
I do not. As I said, my views are markedly different from the Obama administration, but also from the Bush administration.
I do not believe the American government should be dictating terms of peace or settlement policy to the nation of Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation. Israel is our ally. We should stand with Israel. We should not presume to dictate matters of internal governance for the nation of Israel.
If I am elected president we will not do so.