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Romney questions viability of two-state solution in Middle East

September 18, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane in Santa Ana as he travels to Salt Lake City.
Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane in Santa Ana as he travels to Salt Lake… (Charles Dharapak / AP Photo )

In private remarks to donors, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney questioned the viability of a two-state solution to the Israel Palestinian dispute, a longtime staple of official U.S. policy, saying that Palestinians don’t want peace, according to a video released Tuesday.

Saying that he was “torn” over the matter, Romney told donors in Florida at a fund-raiser in May that he has long been concerned “that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish,” according to the recording, which was released by Mother Jones magazine

Tuesday marked the second day that Romney was dogged by his unscripted comments at the fund-raiser.

His remarks on the Middle East did not appear as politically damaging as his description of 47% of Americans as dependent on government for their needs, not paying any income tax, and believing they are victims.

PHOTOS: Mitt Romney on the campaign trail

In his comments, Romney questioned how a two-state solution, with Israel co-existing beside a Palestinian homeland, could function. 

To ward off threats from other nations, Israel would have to guard the Palestinian state’s borders and airport, Romney said, something that the Palestinians would clearly object to.

“These are problems—these are very hard to solve, all right? And 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. “And so what you do is you say, ‘You move things along the best way you can.’ You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem.”

In public remarks, Romney has called for a two-state solution, which has been a longtime staple of the United States’ policy on the Middle East. In July, on the eve of Romney’s visit to Israel, he reiterated his support in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“I believe in a two-state solution which suggests there will be two states, including a Jewish state. I respect Israel’s right to remain a Jewish state,” he said. “The question is not whether the people of the region believe that there should be a Palestinian state. The question is if they believe there should be an Israeli state, a Jewish state.”

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Seema.mehta@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSeema

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