Romney or Gingrich: Who's better for Israel?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich are emerging as the frontrunners in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and the right to challenge US President Barack Obama in this year's election. But which is better for Israel?

As predicted, Israel has been a primary topic of discussion along the campaign trail. In numerous public debates, all of the Republican candidates with the exception of Representative Ron Paul have expressed strong pro-Israel positions.

But Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were both "pro-Israel," too, and they still pushed Israel to surrender strategic and biblically significant assets. Would a Romney or Gingrich presidency be just more of the same?

Romney has repeatedly criticized Obama for "throwing Israel under the bus" and insists that Israel must be free to decide its own fate, but he has consistently shied away from laying the blame for the lack of peace on Israel's enemies.

It can be deduced from Romney's remarks that he would maintain the status quo established by Clinton and Bush - a slow-moving peace process that periodically requires Israel to make dangerous concessions, but that in the short-term leads nowhere. It is possible to suggest the opposite of Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich has spent some time criticizing Obama for his treatment of Israel, but has expended far more effort trying to clarify the purposely muddied Israeli-Arab conflict. Gingrich has slammed the Palestinian Authority as a gang of terrorists and facilitators of terrorism, and is adamant that the starting point of the peace process must be the basic truth that there never was a sovereign Palestinian Arab nation.

A Gingrich presidency could potentially produce a seismic shift in the Middle East peace process.

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