“If Israel has to take action on its own, the governor would respect that decision,” Senor said in a briefing before Romney’s speech yesterday. But Romney later walked back Senor’s remarks, telling ABC: “I think I’ll use my own terms in that regard and that is that I recognize the right of Israel to defend itself.”
"As president," he said in March, "my first foreign trip will not be to Cairo, Riyadh or Ankara. It will be to Jerusalem."
"Make no mistake, the ayatollahs in Iran are testing our moral defenses,” Romney said. "They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel. … We recognize Israel's right to defend itself."
"I believe that the issue of settlements is something which should be discussed in private by the American president and our allies," Romney told Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." "When we show diplomatic distance between ourselves and our ally, I think we encourage people who oppose that relationship to seek other means to achieve their ends."
Governor Romney will sit down with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders on Sunday, as part of his efforts to juxtapose his own high regard for Israel with what he says has been Mr. Obama’s “shabby treatment” of America’s closest Middle East ally.
Even Israelis themselves thought the statement could have been more artful and cognizant of the nuances of the age-old conflict. “I might have put it a bit differently,” Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., told the Daily Beast. “There’s no doubt about Israel’s economic achievement over the years, but I would not compare that to the Palestinian economy because obviously the Palestinian economy operates under different conditions.”
Palestinian leaders expressed offence and outrage at comments by Mitt Romney during his lightning visit to Israel, in which he said the Jewish state's economic success compared with its Palestinian neighbours was due to "cultural" differences and the "hand of providence", and declared Jerusalem to be "the capital of Israel".
Romney's remarks in Jerusalem: “And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel, which is about $21,000, and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality.”
Romney declaring that "Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear" and that "no option should be excluded," presumably endorsing another devastating round of military action in the Middle East.
Mitt Romney took some heat for his efforts to praise Israel’s financial prowess during his visit to Jerusalem last month, angering Palestinians by suggesting that their economy was doing worse than their neighbor’s in part because of culture.
Mitt Romney said Sunday that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear capability should be America’s “highest national security priority,” stressing that “no option should be excluded” in the effort.