If this is the second-best clip that Mother Jones has on Mitt Romney, I think his campaign can breathe a sigh of relief. MJ headlines this as “On Israel, Romney Trashes Two-State Solution,” but that’s not accurate. What Romney actually says is that peace isn’t possible because the Palestinians won’t accept a two-state plan as a permanent solution … a point that has been obvious ever since Yasser Arafat walked away from a carefully-crafted deal at the end of the Clinton administration and called for another intifada. With Hamas now in the mix and their parent group Muslim Brotherhood taking control of Egypt, the Palestinians have even less incentive to accept a permanent state of Israel.
All Romney does here is describe the situation realistically rather than aspirationally:
A new and potentially embarrassing video has surfaced from the same fundraising event that got Mitt Romney into hot water on Monday, but this time the focus is on foreign policy and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which he calls “almost unthinkable.”
In the video, Romney responds to a question about the “Palestinian problem” by saying that Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.” …
In the lengthy and detailed comments at a fundraising dinner in Boca Raton, Fla., in May, Romney describes how he believes a two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis would be nearly impossible to achieve, saying, “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, ‘There’s just no way.'”
Later, he says that, “you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem…and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
What exactly is supposed to be “embarrassing” about this? It’s a more honest assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than we’ve seen in decades from presidential-level politics, from either party. Barack Obama promised that his leadership would lead to a breakthrough in the impasse, but he set the process back several decades by fumbling the question of construction in Jerusalem, which Mahmoud Abbas hadn’t raised as a deal-stopper until Obama handed him the issue. That’s embarrassing. I’d rather hear an American President talk straight about the impasse and the actual problem rather than provide us another Lucy-and-the-football promise for something over which we have little actual control.