Mitt Romney Fails To See Ruthless Israeli Policies Reason In Large Part For Palestinian Economic Woes
It is most disappointing to read that Mitt Romney has again placed both feet into his mouth. Over the past days his mouth has housed his feet more often than not.
The latest–and largest–blunder took place during the Israeli leg of his overseas journey. If the trip was to showcase Romney’s brain-power on the world stage–lets just say the idea floundered. Badly!
What Romney proved was that racism and small-mindedness continue to be hallmarks of Republican thinking. No one–and I mean NO ONE–can look at the last 60 years of history in the region and not see the destructive policies of Israel has severely impacted the Palestinian people. To then pretend that there is a culture difference as to explain the economic plight of the Palestinians is absolutely numbing. To use a clearly racist context of rationalizing the end result of what Israel has to be held accountable for is unforgivable.
There are many in this nation who fail to grasp the need to concentrate on the foreign policy views of the candidates running for president. Too many voters think that everything related to the economy is all that matters. That thinking is clearly wrong, and Romney’s statement in Israel proves the case.
Is it any wonder that Palestinians often wonder about America, and the leadership that if offers the world? Is it any wonder there is anger and resentment in the Middle East after hearing the racist words of Mitt Romney?
At a fundraising breakfast Monday morning in Jerusalem with some of his largest donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Romney remarked that he saw the “power” of “culture” at work in the large disparity between living standards in Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.
Palestinian spokespeople, asked about the remark, initially by the Associated Press and then by other American reporters, reacted angrily, saying Romney had ignored the impact of Israeli government policy, which for years has favored economic development in Jewish areas, and the continued Israeli occupation of parts of the West Bank, which has disrupted commerce and communications in Palestinian areas.
“Oh my god, this man needs a lot of education,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “What he said about the culture is racism.” The “Israeli occupation” is “the reason” for the income disparity, Erekat added.
To Palestinians, even posing the question the way Romney did is likely to give offense. In their eyes, Israeli tanks, checkpoints and years of under-investment in roads, water lines and other infrastructure in Palestinian areas explains much of the difference in the economic status of Israel and the West Bank. Many Palestinians believe that Israel has deliberately hampered their economic growth in the hope of encouraging Arabs to leave the Palestinian areas for other countries, as many have done. Israelis, of course, see the matter differently, arguing that the measures they have taken are necessary for their security.
“Every extremist in the region is going to use what he’s said for ammunition for a long, long time,” Erekat said, referring both to the “culture” remark and Romney’s statement Sunday referring to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, language that departs from the long-standing U.S. position that the final status of the city is a matter for negotiations between the Israelis and Arabs.