Trump vows strong US ties with Israel
Republican presidential candidate assures AIPAC an unbreakable US alliance with Israel; US Senator Ted Cruz: As President I will not be neutral, America will stand unapologetically with Israel; Ohio Gov. John Kasich stresses his 'firm and unwavering' support for Israel.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday vowed in his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) an unbreakable US alliance with Israel if he is elected president in November.
Describing Israel as ready to negotiate a peace agreement, Trump said the Palestinians would have to be willing to accept that Israel will forever exist as a Jewish state and able to stop attacks on Israelis.
"The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable," the New York billionaire businessman said.
Trump has drawn fire for his position on Middle East peace negotiations. He has described himself as extremely pro-Israel, but has said he would take a "neutral" stance in trying to negotiate an elusive peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Trump's critics have said he could harm long-standing U.S. support for Israel. Trump's leading Republican rival, US Senator Ted Cruz, reminded the AIPAC gathering of Trump's position.
"Let me be very, very clear," Cruz said. "As president I will not be neutral. America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel."
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, used her AIPAC appearance to attack Trump.
"We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who-knows-what on Wednesday because everything’s negotiable," she said.
Clinton also took aim at Trump's vow that, if elected, he would deport illegal immigrants and bar Muslims temporarily from entering the United States.
Kasich's firm and unwavering support
Ohio Gov. John Kasich stressed his experience as he spoke in front of AIPAC and took subtle shots at rival Donald Trump.
"I don't need on the job training," explaining that he already knows about the dangers facing the US and its allies.
The Ohio governor also stressed his "firm and unwavering" support for the Jewish State and vowed to work to stamp out intolerance, racism and anti-semitism.
But some of his loudest applause came as he appeared to take on Trump.
"We are Americans before we are Republicans and Democrats," he said, adding: "I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land."
Unlike some of his GOP rivals, Kasich for months did not pledge to "rip up" the multi-nation deal on his first day in office. But he is now calling for a suspension in the US involvement in the Iran nuclear deal in response to recent ballistic missile tests, which he says are a violation.