President Obama turned his back on Israel by considering a compromise to avoid a United Nations resolution condemning the Jewish state, potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday. 

The former Massachusetts governor responded to reports that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice offered to back a non-binding statement denying the "legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity" in order to avoid having to veto a stronger resolution put forth by the Palestinian Authority calling the settlements illegal. The Palestinians reportedly rejected the offer and the resolution is expected to be taken up Friday afternoon.


Romney penned an op-ed that appeared in the conservative National Review saying that Obama's decision to "lean hard" on Israel has the U.S. "once again currying favor with dictators and distancing itself from democrats."

"Putting forward a misbegotten U.N. statement as a compromise was a tactical, strategic, and moral mistake," Romney said. "The administration may conceive of its action as a low cost, split-the-difference gesture, but it has harmed an ally, sent a dangerous signal of inconstancy to allies and adversaries alike, and betrayed basic American principles."

The former governor's comments hitting at the president's foreign policy are yet another sign that he is preparing to officially enter the race against Obama.

Other potential Republican rivals appear poised to criticize Obama on Israel, as they did in 2008. Obama's rivals have looked to play up his outreach to the Arab world and his tough stance against Israeli settlements as signs that he does not strongly enough support the U.S.'s foremost ally in the Middle East.

Three possible candidates, including Romney, recently wrapped up visits to Israel. There, they met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a rocky relationship with Obama.

Pressure from Republicans has become compounded with Israeli worries over the direction of U.S. policy toward their country and the Middle East as a whole, especially in the wake of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's fall from power.

White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the administration's position on Thursday.

"We, like every administration for decades, do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and a two-state solution, which we strongly support, but to Israel’s future itself," he said. "And finally, we have long said that we believe direct negotiations are the only path through which the parties will ultimately reach an agreement."

Romney's comments were similar to those from lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill, who urged the administration to veto the resolution.