Huckabee on Divided Jerusalem, Election

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JERUSALEM, Israel - During his visit to Israel this week, former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee talked with CBN News about a number of issues.

They included the division of Jerusalem and how the presidential race could affect U.S. policy in the Middle East.

A Divided Jerusalem

Huckabee took a whirlwind two-day tour of Jerusalem and its neighborhoods. Overlooking the city, he stressed Israel's capital should not be divided.

"You cannot have a divided Jerusalem and expect to have the kind of peace that I think everybody would long for," he said.

In the view of some Israeli officials, Huckabee's visit was timely.

"The fact that he's coming here, it's very important for us and the true nature of the man and his belief in a united Jerusalem and the unbreakable connection of the Jews to the Holy Land," said Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

Huckabee also addressed Senator John McCain's promise that if elected he would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a promise President Bush didn't fulfill.

"I wish he would do it," Huckabee said. "I think the embassy should be where the people whose country it's located would ask for it to be. This is the Israeli capital. Tel Aviv is not."

He added, "How would we feel if the Israelis said, 'We don't recognize Washington D.C., we're going to put our embassy in Denver. We'd say, 'Excuse us, that's not your choice to make.' And I think we frankly owe it to the Israelis to respect where their capital is."

Huckabee on Obama, McCain

Huckabee drew a distinction between the Middle East policies of the presidential candidates, especially in Barack Obama's approach toward Iran.

"Some of the comments he's made regarding Iran, [such as] 'I'd sit down and talk with them.' I'm not sure if he realizes Iran has stuff pointed right at Israel and would love to use it. And I just don't know if he fully grasps how serious the security issue is for Israel," Huckabee said.

Currently, Iran poses Israel's greatest security concern. How does Huckabee think Israel should respond to Iranian threats to destroy the Jewish state while it pursues nuclear weapons?

"Israel … has every right to protect itself under those circumstances and the United States has a responsibility to stand by them if they do or to help them," he said. "Because if Iran were to weaponize its nuclear capacity and to use it, it's not just Israel that needs to be worried, the whole world needs to be worried."

Finally, CBN News questioned Huckabee on the possibility of being chosen as McCain's running mate. Although he might not be the favorite, he's still one of the names listed as a potential running mate for McCain.

He said simply, "I don't think I have to worry about that."

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Chris Mitchell

CBN News Mideast Bureau Chief

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