WASHINGTON (AP) — GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told donors in a newly released video clip that Palestinians “have no interest” in peace with Israel and suggested that efforts at Mideast peace under his administration would languish.
Romney says that Palestinians are “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel” and that the prospects for a two-state solution to Mideast peace were dim.
“You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem.and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it,” Romney said.
The remarks are contained in a clip posted Tuesday on the website of the magazine Mother Jones. The magazine said it had obtained the video of a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., on May 17.
In the latest clip, Romney is asked about the “Palestinian problem.” He gives a detailed, though somewhat rambling response, and says, “the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace,” and “the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”
The magazine’s website quotes Romney as saying he was against applying any pressure on Israel to give up disputed territory for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
“The idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world,” Romney says, according to the magazine. Mother Jones did not provide video of that comment, however.
The new video is from the same event as the clip released Monday, in which Romney says almost half of Americans “believe that they are victims.” Late Monday, Romney did not dispute the clip but said his remarks were “not elegantly stated.”
Romney also blasted President Barack Obama’s foreign policy approach as “naive.”
“The president’s foreign policy, in my opinion, is formed in part by a perception he has that his magnetism, and his charm, and his persuasiveness is so compelling that he can sit down with people like (Vladimir) Putin and (Hugo) Chávez and (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, and that they’ll find that we’re such wonderful people that they’ll go on with us, and they’ll stop doing bad things,” Romney says. “And it’s an extraordinarily naive perception.”
The Romney campaign has not disputed the authenticity of the video released Monday. In a brief news conference late Monday, Romney said his comments were not “elegantly stated” and were spoken “off the cuff.”