McCain and Lieberman at Western Wall in 2008
McCain and Lieberman at Western Wall in 2008Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former White House candidates Senator John McCain and Joe Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham spoke with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah Tuesday as part of a four-day “fact-finding tour.” They are scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other Israel leaders on Wednesday, followed by a news conference.

Sen. McCain was the Republican candidate running against Barack Obama two years ago, and Senator Lieberman, now an Independent, was the Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush won his first term in office.

The senators’ meetings with the PA came several hours before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama were scheduled to sit down for face-to-face talks at the White House. Fayyad and Abbas have stuck to their demands for PA control over all areas of Jerusalem, as well as all of Judea and Samaria, that were restored to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

All three senators have gone on record as saying that Jerusalem is the unified capital of Israel.

Sen. Graham, the lesser known of the three, is a South Carolina Republican who also is a judge advocate in the Air Force Reserves. The Obama administration considers him to be one of the most bi-partisan senators.

Speaking at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) banquet earlier this year, he stated, “Jerusalem is not a settlement. No government in Israel will ever look at Jerusalem as a settlement. No government in the United States should ever look at Jerusalem as a settlement. It is the undivided capital of the State of Israel. It is the eternal home of the Jewish faith. And it is now time to move on to other issues.”

On Iran, he told AIPAC, "Sometimes it is better to go to war than to allow the Holocaust to develop a second time."