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February 26, 2016 11:03 am

Rubio, Trump and Israel

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Marco Rubio, left, and Donald Trump during Thursday's presidential debate. Rubio argued on Thursday night,, "The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald." Photo: Twitter.

Marco Rubio, left, and Donald Trump during Thursday’s presidential debate. Rubio argued on Thursday night,, “The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald.” Photo: Twitter.

During Thursday night’s CNN-hosted Republican debate in Houston, Texas, candidate Marco Rubio finally took on leading contender Donald Trump, face-to-face, about Israel. Referring to Trump’s statements that he would be a “neutral broker” between Israel and the Palestinians, Rubio argued, “The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald.”

“A deal is a deal,” Trump replied.

“A deal is not a deal when you’re dealing with terrorists,” Rubio said.

This is what Rubio knows in a nutshell — something the Obama administration has ignored for the past seven years, and not only in relation to the Palestinian Authority. It is a key reason, though by no means an exclusive one, for getting the Democrats out of the White House and State Department.

Rubio has been consistent about his grasp of why Israel and America are both the globe’s good guys and natural allies.

At a rally on Wednesday night, in the lead-up to the final debate before Super Tuesday on March 1, Rubio was inspired and inspiring on this point.

“We’re going to have a policy of moral clarity,” he said. “I’ll give you a perfect example — Israel. Israel is the only pro-American free-enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East. I’ll put it to you this way: If there were more Israels in the Middle East — more pro-American, free-enterprise democracies — the world would be so much safer.”

He also attacked the UN for being “obsessed” with the Jewish state. “Every week, they’ve got new resolutions condemning Israel,” he said, using this to illustrate the “new face of antisemitism in the world.”

As for the Palestinians, Rubio said, “They teach little kids — five-year-olds — that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews.”

Indeed, he emphasized, “The Palestinians don’t want a deal, [and] they’ve already said, ‘We want to destroy Israel.’ So what are you going to negotiate? The rate of the destruction? The date of the destruction? We will not be an impartial advocate when it comes to the issue of Israel. When I’m president, we’re going to take sides. We are going to be on Israel’s side.”

Even before Rubio announced he would be running for America’s highest office, however, he made impassioned speeches on Israel’s behalf.

Two days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected in March 2015 — nearly a year ago — Rubio delivered a 15-minute tribute to Israel on the floor of the Senate. Netanyahu had won by a surprise landslide, after polls predicted a very different outcome. Yet he was still under attack at home and abroad for asserting there would be no two-state solution on his watch.

“[Netanyahu’s] right,” Rubio stated unapologetically. “The conditions don’t exist. But first, let’s go through the history. In 2000 at Camp David, Israel offered the Palestinian Authority nearly all of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza. And the Palestinians said no. In 2000, Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon. You know what that is today? A place [from] where they launch rockets against Israel. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. You know what that is today? A place that they launch rockets against Israel from. In 2008, Israel offered the PA, again, nearly all of the West Bank — Judea and Samaria — and all of eastern Jerusalem. The PA said no. What about the Palestinian record? … About 6% of the Palestinian budget is diverted to pay the salaries of … terrorists, of people who have blown up centers and killed civilians, including Americans. And they are being paid salaries and benefits, including with money from donors, such as the US, Great Britain, Norway and Denmark.”

He then listed ways in which the PA envisions and educates its people to hope for a world without Israel, quoting blatant anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist passages from a Palestinian school book and the PA-run press.

“And these are the people that we’re pressuring [Israel] to cut a peace deal with,” he said, referring to people who say “that there is no such thing as the Jewish people; that any method of destroying them is valid.”

Rubio concluded: “No people on earth want peace more than Israel. No people have suffered more at the hands of terrorism than the people of Israel. … If America doesn’t stand with Israel, who would we stand with?”

Hearing Trump — whose consistently soaring popularity is due to Americans being rightly fed up with the totalitarianism of the left-wing “political correctness” that has been corroding American power, exceptionalism and free-market economics — assert even-handedness solely in relation to Israel is cause for serious concern.

If the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians were a real-estate problem, even the Democrats would have been able to solve it. In fact, if it were an issue of dividing up plots of land, the Arabs of Palestine would have had a state starting in 1947. Indeed, if killing or kicking the Jews out had not been the true bone of contention all along, the Palestinians today could and would be leading the kind of normal lives that Israelis take for granted.

Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner.

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