Mike Huckabee : Netanyahu 'one of the world's great leaders'

In this handout image provided by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets wih US unofficial Republican Party presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (C) and actor Jon Voight on January 31, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. During his 15th visit to Israel, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, is due to visit the Knesset and Jewish communities Judea and Samaria. (Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)

Feb 2 (KATAKAMI.COM / THE HILL / BIBI REPORT) — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) offered high praise this week for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has often been at odds with the Obama administration.

Huckabee, a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, after meeting privately with Netanyahu called him “one of the world’s great leaders.”

“I think in fact he is one of the world’s great leaders,” Huckabee said during an interview with Israeli television network Channel 10. “Not just an Israeli great leader. One of the world’s great leaders. One of the most articulate and clearest minds we have in the world today.”

Huckabee has demonstrated his close ties to the right-wing Likud Party leader during his 13th visit to the Jewish state this week as he considers another run for the White House.

Netanyahu affirmed his tight bond with Huckabee, telling Channel 10, “He’s a great friend, a great friend.”

When asked how great of a friend, Netanyahu replied, “None greater, none greater.”

But the relationship between President Obama and Netanyahu has not been as sunny since both became the heads of their governments. Netanyahu was reportedly snubbed for dinner at the White House in March and the U.S. has made little progress in resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Obama, however, has played down any notion of a rift.

“If you look at every public statement that I’ve made over the last year and a half, it has been a constant reaffirmation of the special relationship between the United States and Israel, that our commitment to Israel’s security has been unwavering. And, in fact, there aren’t any concrete policies that you could point to that would contradict that,” he said in July during the duo’s last face-to-face meeting.

Huckabee said that he believes he would be an “honest broker” in the Middle East if he were president, and blamed the lack of progress in the region on the “duplicity” of the parties engaged in diplomacy.

“I would like to think so. I think that the key there is honesty. One reason that we don’t have a lot of the solutions we would like diplomatically is because of the duplicity of the people who are engaged,” he said. “I think that a lot of people, even who disagree with me, would rather deal with me knowing where I came from rather than that I am going to tell people what they want to hear just because I happen to be with them at the time.”  (*)

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