With former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's surprisingly good showing in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday (he trailed winner Mitt Romney by a mere eight votes) there is increasing scrutiny among Conservatives and Progressives of his views on Israel.
Several blogs and web sites, including Foreign Policy's Passport blog, dug up a video on Wednesday, apparently filmed by CNN, showing Santorum debating a young man in Iowa in November over Israel's settlement policy.
"Do you think Israel should dismantle its settlements?" the young man asks Santorum during one of his Iowa campaign stops.
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"Should we give Texas back to Mexico?" Santorum replies.
"I don't think we should recognize a recent annexation," the young man argues.
"Oh, so it depends on whether its recent or not?" says Santorum.
"The West Bank was conquered because of an aggressive attack by Jordan and other countries on Israel," Santorum continues, "It wasn't annexed. It was ground that was gained during a war. So are we saying that ground gained during war has to be given back? [Israel] was attacked and they responded. Should every country that gained territory through war have to give it back? In that case we'd have to redraw all the maps of the world depending on how far you want to go back."
Next, echoing his campaign rival Newt Gingrich's statement that the Palestinians are an invented people, Santorum continued:
"All the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis. They're not Palestinian. There [are] no Palestinians. This is Israeli land. They have a right to negotiate what they believe is in the best interests of their country and they have a right to build things based on the ownership of that land."
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 at the age of 32, and from 1995 to 2007, served in the U.S .Senate. He is known for his fiscal and culturally conservative views and was one of the architects of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. He is also a strong opponent of abortion.
If elected president, Santorum has vowed to take out Iran's nukes and has said that Iranian nuclear scientists are "enemy combatants" that should be targeted for assassination.
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