(CNN) - Mike Huckabee, the former GOP presidential candidate who is thought to be eyeing a second run for the White House, is standing by his recent comments in Israel criticizing the White House's policy toward the country.
On a trip to the Israel earlier this week, the former Arkansas governor positioned himself in against the Obama administration's policy of asking Israel to halt construction of settlements in predominantly Arab neighborhoods including East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
"It concerns me when there are some in the United States who would want to tell Israel that it cannot allow people to live in their own country, wherever they want," Huckabee told reporters in comments that drew accusations he was criticizing American policy on foreign soil.
But in a posting on his political action committee's Web site Wednesday, Huckabee said he was merely traveling to Israel as a private citizen, and as such was free to speak his mind.
"As a private citizen, I disagree, and I have a right to disagree, with President Obama's demand for a freeze on Israel's building new settlements, and with his further demand for a freeze on expansion of existing settlements, despite the natural growth that a community experiences," Huckabee wrote. "His call for such a complete freeze contradicts the policy not just of President Bush, but of President Clinton, indeed of all our presidents since Israel's victory in the 1967 war."
According to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, the potential GOP presidential hopeful arrived in Israel Sunday. He attended a gala Monday in East Jerusalem - on land Palestinians have claimed for a future state - with Jewish activists from the United States.
On the trip Time magazine is calling "Huckabee's first 2012 campaign stop," he also visited Israeli homes in East Jerusalem and settlements in the West Bank.