(JTA) – Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said he does not regret his recent statement that in forging a nuclear deal with Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama is “marching Israelis to the door of the oven.”
In a speech Tuesday in the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, the site of what is believed to be the first capital of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, Huckabee also voiced his support for Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, where the Palestinian population outnumbers the Jewish one.
“The connection between the Bible and Israel is important,” Huckabee said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “I see the West Bank as an integral part of Israel,” and if elected president, “I will support the strengthening of Jewish settlements.”
“If you’re going to visit Israel, you should visit all of Israel, and that would include Judea and Samaria,” he added, using the biblical names for the West Bank.
Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, has visited West Bank settlements before, according to Haaretz.
Believed to be the site of the biblical tabernacle, Shiloh is home to a museum showcasing archaeological findings from the site.
Asked about his “oven” comment, Huckabee said, “It was the Iranians who invoked the imagery and very word holocaust, they have said that they have developed missiles that will deliver Israel to the Holocaust. Those are their words, Israeli officials regularly remind the people of Israel and the people of the world that the Iranians’ intent is to wipe Israel off the map.”