The disgraceful Mitt Romney has managed yet another extraordinary failure of understanding of how the Arab world has to find a peaceful way forward. Romney seems incapable of understanding why decades of Israeli occupation of Palestine needs to be addressed.
Romney told a private meeting that the Palestinians do not want peace. In May, he said “the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish”, therefore any pursuit of a peace process would ultimately be feckless.
Romney’s words are in direct contradiction to the Republican Party’s manifesto, which says “We envision two democratic states ‑ Israel with [Occupied] Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine ‑ living in peace and security” and it goes on to say that “the US seeks a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, negotiated between the parties themselves with the assistance of the US”.
Of course, the in-built pro-Israeli bias in American politics drags candidates to favour Israeli positions, and every candidate knows that the Jewish vote is organised and effective. Therefore some of this might be politics as usual, but the depth of Romney’s exceptional ignorance and naïveté is unusual, so Romney will have a major problem in winning any respect for his understanding of the world, which is a serious handicap to his presidential ambitions.