Republican Senators affirm Israel support

Jan. 13, 2013 at 7:56 AM
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says it is "none of our business" whether Israel builds in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights.

"I came here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel and America," The Jerusalem Post quoted Paul saying Saturday night at the end of a week-long visit to the area.

During his visit he met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He also met with King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan. The newspaper said Paul was not the only Republican lawmaker visiting the country. Netanyahu Friday met with five Republican senators led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., where discussions focused on Iran, the newspaper said. McConnell reiterated America's strong ties with Israel.

Known for his advocacy for slashing U.S. foreign aid, Paul said: "The biggest threat to our nation right now is our debt. This does not mean that we have to reassess who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries that our burning our flag and chanting 'Death to America.' No one is accusing Israel of that." America gives more foreign aid to Israel's neighbors than to Israel he added.

Paul said he is concerned about giving weapons to Egypt, especially since President Mohamed Morsi listens to a spiritual leader who calls for the "death of Israel." He recalled last year's riots where Egyptians climbed the U.S. Embassy roof in Cairo and took down the U.S. flag and burned it. "That should never have happened and is inexcusable," he said.

Referring to Israel's ties with the United States, he said: "America's ties with Israel are so strong that they will remain that way even with the Obama administration not seeming to be going out to dinner with Netanyahu, or playing bridge, or whatever you do with your friends."

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