Romney: Palestinians 'committed to the destruction' of Israel

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Palestinians of being “committed to the destruction and elimination” of Israel and dismissed the likelihood of a two-state solution during a recent fundraiser.

Portions of the video from the May 17 Boca Raton, Fla., fundraiser with rich donors were first published Monday by Mother Jones, which obtained it from a source who secretly recorded the conversation. The left-wing publication first released video showing Romney speaking disparagingly about Obama voters, and followed suit with his foreign policy remarks on Tuesday. 

“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 says in the video. “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.

“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. We don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently,” Romney adds.

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The GOP candidate goes on to argue that "the idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world."

The search for a two-state solution has long been official U.S. policy for both Democratic and Republican administrations.

The Romney campaign sought to downplay the remarks, saying they were nothing new.

"Gov. Romney laid out a detailed description of the many difficult issues that must be solved in order to reach a two-state solution. And as he’s often said, there is this one obvious truth: peace will not be possible if the extreme elements of the Palestinian side refuse to come to the table for talks or to recognize Israel's right to exist," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an emailed statement. "A possible unity government between Hamas--a terrorist organization--in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank would squelch the prospect for peace. Gov. Romney believes that the path to a two-state solution is to ensure the security of Israel and not to throw up any more barriers to the two sides engaging in direct negotiations."

The remarks could prove harmful to Romney because they appear to confirm Palestinian concerns that he wouldn't be a fair arbiter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After he told wealthy Jewish donors in Israel this summer that Palestinians were lagging behind Israel because of their culture, Palestinian leaders accused him of racism.

“It is a racist statement,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said at the time. “This man does not realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation.”

In his remarks, Romney went on to paint Obama as “extraordinarily naive” in his dealings with foreign leaders.

“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 [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chávez and [Iranian President 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. And it's an extraordinarily naive perception.”