In an exchange in Iowa on Friday, Rick Santorum defended Israel's right to build settlements in the West Bank -- saying that it is fully part of Israel, having been conquered in the 1967 war, and that as a result all of the people in the West Bank are Israelis, not "Palestinians."
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This would, however, differ from Israel's actual policy in the West Bank since 1967, which does not extend Israeli citizenship to the territory's Palestinian inhabitants.
Santorum likened the West Bank's situation to how the United States gained the West in the Mexican-American War of the 1840s. "So we should have given it back --Â we should have given New Mexico and Texas back 150 years go?" Santorum asked defiantly in the CNN Web feed, picked up by Think Progress.
He later added: "The bottom line is that that is legitimately Israeli country. And they have a right to do within their country just like we have a right to do within our country. If they want to negotiate with Israeli -- with Israelis -- all the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they're not Palestinians. There is no 'Palestinian.' This is Israeli land."