(JTA) — Republican presidential candidate John Kasich criticized the Obama administration’s relations with Israel and defended Israel’s stance on peace with the Palestinians and settlements at a campaign appearance in New Hampshire.
Kasich, the governor of Ohio, at a Manchester business forum on Wednesday defended Israel’s handling of the peace process with the Palestinians, the JewishInsider reported.
“Israel has given a lot of stuff back. They gave Gaza back. How is that working out? They have everything launching into Israel,” Kasich said. “I don’t know how you get a two-state solution when people are walking into your country and stabbing people. I will say this: Recognize the State of Israel, guarantee their permanent security, stop launching Katyusha rockets into Israel, stop sending in people with knives to kill people in Israel — they went from rocks to knives now — and knock it off. And then, I think you can get to a two-state solution.”
Kasich asserted there will never be permanent peace and Israel should search for stability.
“Every day that you go by without there being major problems there, that is a win,” he said. “And I can tell you, we are not going to bully Israel; it’s their survival. It’s just very serious stuff. It’s like – man, we want to survive.”
Kasich criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March. Neither the Obama administration nor congressional Democrats had prior knowledge of the address.
“Let me tell you,” Kasich said, “If the prime minister of Israel came to America, I would meet with him as the president of the United States. OK? I think that was a horrible foreign policy mistake.”
Kasich also condemned the Obama administration’s handling of Israeli building in the West Bank, saying it should be more discrete in its criticism.
“Don’t tell them in front of a bunch of cameras. You see, if I want to correct my children, I don’t do it in front of other people. And if I ever get close to that, they make it clear they don’t like it,” he said. “[The same should apply] with the Israelis: You got a problem, you can tell them, but tell them in private.”
Kasich defended the settlement building and said he would not compromise on Israel’s security.
“Why are they building more apartments? Because it’s land; it’s security,” he said. “I would never, ever, ever jeopardize the security of that country. Never.”