Romney calls on US to cut foreign aid to Palestinians

GOP presidential candidate: Obama policies have thrown Israel under a bus, encouraged current "diplomatic crisis" at the UN.

September 20, 2011 17:19
2 minute read.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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US Republican candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Tuesday called on the US to cut aid to the Palestinians, and blamed US President Barack Obama for causing the current "diplomatic crisis" at the UN.

Romney said that he believes the US should "cut foreign assistance to the Palestinians, as well as re-evaluate its funding of UN programs and its relationship with any nation voting in favor of recognition" for Palestinians at the UN.

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The GOP candidate criticized US President Barack Obama's handling of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, saying the Palestinian petition at the UN is the "culmination" of the president's policies, which have shown disregard for the Israeli position.

Romney said the US president has made "repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position," and that Obama must "reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the security of Israel and its continued existence as a Jewish state" during his speech at the UN this week.

Romney insisted that Obama should declare the US will cut funding to the Palestinian Authority - $500 million annually in aid - and reevaluate its relations with any nation that votes in favor of Palestinian state recognition.

Romney's comments came days Texas Governor Rick Perry - Romney's party rival for the American presidency - said that he supported the using the US veto at the UN Security Council, but that he believed cutting aid to the Palestinians should be conditional to their willingness to return to negotiations with the Israelis.

Perry will hold a press conference with American and Israeli-Jewish leaders in New York on Tuesday in which he is expected to address the upcoming deliberations at the United Nations, MK Danny Danon (Likud), said on Saturday night.

Also on Tuesday, a group of fourteen US senators called on Obama to "issue a strongly worded defense of Israel during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday," and said that "political and physical" attacks on Israel threaten Middle East peace and stability.

The senators wrote a letter to the US president , in which they highlighted the recent "troubling" developments in the Middle East, including the storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the anti-Israel rhetoric of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the unilateral Palestinian decision to head to the UN for state recognition.

"We believe it is imperative for you to speak strongly, forthrightly and publicly about US concerns over these developments," the senators wrote, adding "We need to make it clear that we will not tolerate continued threats to Israel by governments or individuals in the region or attempts to delegitimize Israel at the UN or other international forums."

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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