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Some have noted that the Republican nominee did not rule out the possibility of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace in the future. The initial portions of Romney’s remarks that were released by Mother Jones magazine, which had obtained the secretly recorded video from the Florida fundraiser, were truncated. The full video was released shortly thereafter and included what could be seen as Romney’s vision of how the U.S. can foster the conditions for an eventual peace by being a resolute ally of Israel.
“I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, ‘There’s just no way,’” Romney said in the remarks as first released at the $50,000 a plate dinner.
“And so what you do is you say, ‘You move things along the best way you can,’” Romney continued. “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
Left out of the original reporting was his conclusion to the thought: “So the only answer is show them strength. American strength, American resolve, and the Palestinians will some day reach the point where they want peace more than we’re trying to force peace on them. Then it’s worth having the discussion. So until then, it’s just wistful thinking.”
While opponents to a two-state solution within the Republican Party have grown louder, Romney is not considered to be among their ranks. Romney’s surrogates worked successfully to prevent language calling for two states from being pulled out of the Republican Party platform.
Daniel Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive vice president, said that he understood Romney not to mean that he was abandoning peacemaking but that he was acknowledging that other crises had superseded its importance in the Middle East.
“Events have pushed the issue to the outside,” said Mariaschin, citing Iran’s acceleration of its nuclear program and the unrest in much of the Arab world, particularly Syria. He noted renewed Palestinian plans to push for statehood recognition at the United Nations that have frustrated the Obama administration as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
“As long as the Palestinians are not fighting to get back into the circle” of peacemaking “the prospect for intensifying the process is not there right now,” Mariaschin said.
Romney’s remarks on the peace process, however, were criticized by Democrats.
“This guy wants to be president of the United States?” Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Middle East subcommittee, told JTA.