Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is directly blaming President Barack Obama for the Palestinian move at the United Nations to win recognition for statehood without further negotiations with Israel.
Writing in the National Review Online
, the former Massachusetts governor described Obama as being “in the grip of several illusions” about the Middle East that are out of touch with reality and counter-productive to achieving a lasting peace in the region.
The first illusion, he said in the op-ed co-written with former Republican Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, is that the Palestinian–Israeli dispute “is the central problem in the region.”
“This has been disproved repeatedly by events, most recently and most dramatically by the eruption of the Arab Spring,” the two wrote. “But it nonetheless led the administration to believe that distancing the United States from Israel was a smart move that would earn us credits in the Arab world and somehow bring peace closer.”
Romney and Coleman accused the president of making impossible demands on Israel as preconditions for restarting peace talks with the Palestinians.
They called it just one in a “series of mistakes and miscalculations” that prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to strike out on his own in search of U.N. recognition.
“President Obama has picked fights with Israel over policies that were properly the subject of negotiations between the parties themselves,” they wrote.
They said Obama “threw Israel under the bus and emboldened the Palestinians to raise the ante even more” when he announced in May that the lines drawn in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war should be the starting point for resumed negotiations.
Romney said the events at the U.N. offer two important lessons: The first, he said, “is that the United States needs a president who will not be a fair-weather friend of Israel.” And the second, he added, is that the United States must work “to resist the worldwide campaign to delegitimize Israel.”
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