Israel, a strong U.S. ally in the Middle East, is a major focus of American foreign policy. Questions about how to deal with Palestinian statehood, internal Palestinian politics and Israel's neighbors influence much of the debate about U.S. policy. Read the stances of the presidential candidates below. The views of the vice presidential candidates are shown where available.
Barack Obama
Believes Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state should never be challenged. States on campaign Web site he "supports U.S. efforts to provide aid directly to the Palestinian people by bypassing any Hamas-led government that refuses to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist." Calls on Iran to abandon its nuclear program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, or face sanctions and isolation. Believes in working toward a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Said that any agreement must preserve "Israel's identity as Jewish state" and "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided."
Joe Biden
Believes that the U.S. should maintain close ties with Israel. Co-sponsored the Palestinian Terrorism Act of 2006, which expressed support for a "peaceful two-state solution" to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The act also branded the Palestinian Authority as a terrorist organization. Biden said in July, "I believe that now is the time for aggressive diplomacy with Iran, including direct U.S. engagement. There is still a realistic chance, but not a guarantee, that the world can change Iran's behavior. And if we go the extra diplomatic mile, the world is much more likely to stand with us if diplomacy fails."

John McCain
Has stated he is "proudly pro-Israel." Believes Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons poses an unacceptable risk to the United States and Israel. Says the United States must continue its "long-standing support for Israel, including by providing needed military equipment and technology and ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge." Calls for continued work toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians but believes the leadership of Hamas needs to be isolated. Believes peace between Israel and Lebanon "resides in a government that has a monopoly on authority within its country. That means no independent militias, no Hezbollah fighters, no weapons and equipment flowing to Hezbollah."
Sarah Palin
Advocates a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Stated during the vice presidential debate October 2, "Israel is our strongest and best ally in the Middle East. We have got to assure them that we will never allow a second Holocaust, despite, again, warnings from Iran and any other country that would seek to destroy Israel."
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The issues that make up American politics have many voices. Here are a few governmental organizations, interest groups and companies from across the political spectrum that are actors in the debate over policy toward Israel. * CNN does not endorse external sites.
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