Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – The U.S. cannot allow Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government to obtain nuclear weapons and should not “second guess” Israel if it decided to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, said Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in an interview with ABC News on Thursday.
“I believe that under the leadership of Ahmadinejad, nuclear weapons in the hands of his government, are extremely dangerous to everyone on this globe,” Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate said.
“We have got to make sure these weapons of mass destruction -- that nuclear weapons are not given to the hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them. So we have got to put the pressure on Iran,” Palin said.
Palin, who has never visited Israel, was asked how the U.S. should respond if Israel feels the need to strike Iranian nuclear facilities.
“Well first, we are friends of Israel, and I don’t think we should second guess the measures Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security,” she said.
Asked two more times if the U.S. should cooperate or agree with an Israeli strike, Palin repeated that the U.S. shouldn’t “second guess” what Israel needs to do to secure the nation.
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama also has said that Israel must decide on matters concerning its own security. He says that all options are on the table in dealing with Iran, but he also has expressed willingness to sit down and talk with the radical leadership in Tehran.
On his visit to Israel in July, Obama said he wanted to mobilize the international community to offer a series of “big sticks and big carrots” to persuade the Iranian regime to back away from its nuclear program. (See earlier story)
But some analysts here say that Obama’s has surrounded himself with foreign policy advisers who believe that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and not Iran -- is the foundation for resolving all other Middle East conflicts.
Sen. John McCain has taken a tougher stand on Iran, calling it a “terrorist nation” that poses “an enormous threat to Israel.”
McCain has said he would be willing to meet with the Iranians, but only with they recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce terrorism, scrap their pursuit of nuclear weapons and stop training terror groups.
In an interview with Israeli television in July, McCain said that he hoped Israel would never feel so threatened that it needed to attack Iran. But he said that the U.S. would never allow a second Holocaust to take place.
Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli diplomatic liaison to the U.S. Congress, said Palin’s world view is more important than her experience.
“Palin’s dedication to Judeo-Christian values should provide a high degree of comfort for Israel,” Ettinger told CNSNews.com.
He also hailed “Palin’s sense of patriotism and realism as far as international terrorism and rogue regimes [are concerned].”
According to Ettinger, Palin’s world view, which is based on the Bible, he said, is more important than any speeches that she or the other candidates may deliver.
But Hillel Schenker, vice chair of Democrats Abroad in Israel told CNSNews.com earlier this week that “most American Jews,” except for “right-wing” religious Jews, would have a problem with Palin’s “Christian fundamentalist” faith.
There have been whispers here that Israel may attack Iran some time after the presidential elections in November and before the new administration takes office – particularly if Obama wins.
Israeli media reports have said that Washington has warned Israel against attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.
On Thursday, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that a security package requested by Israel -- which the U.S. has so far refused to give Israel -- includes a large number of “bunker-buster” bombs as well as permission to use an air corridor to Iran.
The U.S. reportedly is worried that Israel would use the aid to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. If the U.S. rejects the aid request, it would make it difficult for Israel to attack Iran, the paper said.