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The Tatler

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May 23, 2011 - 6:55 am

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain fumbled a question about the Palestinian “right of return” on Fox on Sunday. He has issued a strong clarification.

I have long been a vocal and unwavering supporter of our friend and ally, Israel.

All Israeli governments have rejected the “right” of large numbers of Arabs or Palestinians to return to what is now the state of Israel. Such an en masse return would unbalance Israel’s demographic makeup as the world’s sole Jewish state.

In this light, should the “right of return” “be negotiated,” as I said, “if that is a decision that Israel wants to make”? Certainly, and to reiterate, it’s Israel’s call. Israel has a long record of being more gracious to its enemies than its enemies are to it, and this would be yet another example of that. But is the “right of return” a moral imperative? Is it something Israel must grant? Is it something the United States ought to encourage?

The answer is no on every count.

Our policy on Palestinian affairs must be wholly a function of our policy on Israeli affairs. Israel is a friend. Israel is an ally. Israel shares common values with us. Israel shares common interests with us, especially in the eradication of terrorism and the need for bringing peace to the region. As President, I will never lose sight of these basic facts. Any aspirant to the Presidency must have the unshakable US-Israeli alliance at the core of his or her strategic vision in the Middle East.

As your President, I would.

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