In the video below, Mitt Romney implies that the two-state solution is dead, and after essentially stating that all Muslims in the Middle East are a threat to Israel, sums up his foreign policy strategy with “hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.” Oh, and he also thinks the West Bank borders Syria.
In a covert video from a May fundraiser for Mitt Romney published by Mother Jones on Monday, the Republican presidential candidate articulated that “there is just no way” for there to be a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and rendered any efforts at negotiations basically obsolete.
Romney also seems to have his geography very confused, as he suggests the West Bank borders on Syria (at 00:59).
The other side of the West Bank, the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point or Jordan.
To his credit, he admits he doesn’t have a map in front of him:
I don’t have a map here to look at the geography, but the border between Israel and the West Bank is obviously right there, right next to Tel Aviv..
His reasoning for the two-state solution being “unthinkable” is that the Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish” adding that they are “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel.”
He also links what would be a “new Palestinian nation” directly to Iran, arguing that the Shi’ite country would try to infiltrate the West Bank as it has with Syria and Jordan, bringing “missiles and armament.” His use of the word “nation” here is weird and erroneous, since the nation already exists and what he should have said is “state.” For example, it is quite awkward when he expresses concern for Israel’s security by asking, “How about flying into the Palestinian nation?”
My sense is that it is difficult for him to express the words “Palestinian” and “state” together in a single phrase, as it is for many in the ruling Likud party and others who have openly endorsed a one-state solution or a scenario (espoused most saliently by Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon, now touring the U.S. with his book Israel: The Will to Prevail) in which Israel annexes most of the West Bank and Palestinians come under Jordanian and Egyptian sovereignty.
As Ali Gharib points out in the Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog, Romney’s enumeration of objections to a two-state solution are not actually “obstacles to peace” but rather just his own personal political bias. For example, the fact that Syria and Jordan border Israel is not an obstacle but a reality, one Israel has had to deal with and will continue to deal with if it wants to become a permanent fixture in the Middle East.
Essentially, the video underscores that Romney is more aligned with the rightwing in Israel (possibly even more to the right than Netanyahu himself) than he is with his own party, whose platform does at least nominally endorse a two-state solution. Romney also lumps together the entire Middle East under one big threat to Israel – with absolutely no sensitivity to the different countries and their internal politics or the suffering of many people under these regimes.
Considering he sees all Muslims in the area as such a threat, it is pretty weird that his only offer for a solution is to “kick the ball around” and “hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.” Now that is what I call solid foreign policy.