Governor Romney caused a stir when he said in a speech Sunday that “it is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”
In both cases – Obama in 2008 and Romney this week – the candidates backtracked from their statements. In Romney’s case, he told CNN after his speech that “It’s long been the policy of our country to ultimately have our embassy in the nation’s capital, Jerusalem,” adding that “I would follow the same policy we have in the past.”
Mitt Romney on Sunday gave his unequivocal support to Israel and its effort to thwart Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability, saying the United States has "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to help in that effort...
"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..."
“Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of GDP on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation,” he said Monday at a breakfast fundraiser, according to the New York Times. “We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”
Romney has repeatedly dismissed efforts to put pressure on Israel over settlements, or any other issue, as counterproductive. In his foreign policy speech shortly before embarking on the trip to Israel, Romney assailed Obama for putting pressure on the country, accusing the president of contributing to a "chorus of accusations, threats and insults."
"My view is that the United States' role is to stand by our ally, to show not a dime's worth of distance diplomatically between us and Israel, to work to bring the parties together and to see progress," Romney added in the CNN interview.
"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."
As president, Mitt will reject any measure that would frustrate direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He will make clear to the Palestinians that the unilateral attempt to decide issues that are designated for final negotiations by the Oslo Accords is unacceptable. The United States will reduce assistance to the Palestinians if they continue to pursue United Nations recognition or form a unity government that includes Hamas, a terrorist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction.
To ensure Israel’s security, Mitt Romney will work closely with Israel to maintain its strategic military edge. The United States will work intensively with Turkey and Egypt to shore up the now fraying relationships with Israel that have underpinned peace in the Middle East for decades. The United States must forcefully resist the emergence of anti-Israel policies in Turkey and Egypt, and work to make clear that their interests are not served by isolating Israel.
Mitt Romney stepped forcefully into a diplomatic stalemate here Sunday by calling on the United States and Israel to use “any and all measures” to lead the effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
In a speech delivered from a terrace overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, Romney said the United States would support Israel’s efforts to defend itself, a principle President Obama has also endorsed. And the Republican presidential hopeful stopped short of asserting that he would support a unilateral military strike by Israel against Iran to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear capability, though a top adviser said he would respect Israel’s right to take such action.
“The right course for (us on) Israel is to show that we care about Israel, they are our friend, we’ll stick with them,” Romney said in a foreign policy debate with rivals seeking next year’s Republican presidential nomination, according to AFP.
“If I’m president of the United States, my first trip, my first foreign trip will be to Israel to show the world we care about that country and that region.”
Romney, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said Obama had breached a "first principle of American foreign policy" by suggesting the shift [to 1967 borders for Israel and Palestine].
"President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus," Romney said. "He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace. He has also violated a first principle of American foreign policy, which is to stand firm by our friends."