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Mitt Romney Photo: AFP
Mitt Romney Photo: AFP
 
Barack Obama Photo: EPA
Barack Obama Photo: EPA
 
 

 

Palestinians slam Romney over remarks

PLO top official Hanan Ashrawi urges Republican candidate to stop 'pandering to the Israeli lobby' while negotiator Saeb Erekat says no one wants peace more than Palestinians

Yitzhak Benhorin, AFP
Latest Update: 09.18.12, 23:31 / Israel News

Palestinian officials on Tuesday slammed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over remarks he made in a fundraiser last May suggesting the Palestinians aren't interested in peace.

 

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, called Romney's comments "dangerous" while Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat deemed them "absolutely unacceptable."

 

 

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On Monday, video footage taken at a private fundraiser in May 17 showing Romney discussing various issues surfaced on the web.

 

The Republican candidate was documented saying that the "Palestinians have no interest in establishing peace and the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish." Romney explained that the Palestinians were "committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel." He added that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to "remain an unsolved problem."

 

"He seems to think of himself as a mind reader since he claims to know what Palestinian intentions are," Ashrawi said. "It seems to me it is about time that he stops pandering to the Israeli lobby and funders by selling out Palestinian rights and by destroying the chances of peace in the region.

 

"Such statements are dangerous and could be irreparable damage to American credability and standings not just in the Middle East but throughout the world," Ashrawi added.

 

Palestinian negotiator Erakat stressed that "No one has an interest in peace more than the Palestinian people, because peace for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership means freedom and independence from the Israeli occupation."

 

"No one loses from the failure to achieve peace more than our people and its leadership, because it means the continuation of the occupation and the (Israeli) settlements (in the occupied territories) and the continuing tragedy of our people."

 

'That's not leadership'

Romney also came under fire from the White House. "That's not leadership. That's the opposite of leadership," White House Spokesman Jay Carney said.

 

"It is simply the wrong approach to say, we can't do anything about it, so we'll just kick it down the field," Carney said. He nevertheless acknowledged the difficulty in fostering peace between Israel and the Palestinians and mentioned it had been a challenge for previous US presidents as well.

 

Carney said that President Obama "believes and is committed to the principle that a two-state solution is the right solution for Middle East peace.

 

"This has been pursued by Democratic and Republican administrations prior to President Obama. And his two immediate predecessors worked on this issue under the firm belief that a two-state solution was the right solution, and it's what has guided this president."

 

The White House spokesman also stressed that Obama has been working to promote peace in the Middle East since he took office.

 

"It is a tough issue, but ultimately peace between the Israelis and Palestinians - a negotiated peace that provides security for Israel and a state for the Palestinians - is in the interests of the Israelis and the Palestinians and is in the interests of the United States of America. And this president will continue to pursue it."  

 

 

 

First Published: 09.18.12, 20:27

 

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