Mitt Romney & Norm Coleman Pen Op-Ed on Palestinian Bid for Statehood

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presented his case for Palestine to recognized as a member state to the United Nations today, Mitt Romney and his newly-named campaign special adviser, Norm Coleman, paired up to write an op-ed. It was published in the National Review:

Mistakes That Led To The Palestinian Statehood Bid, And How To Fix Them

By Mitt Romney & Senator Norm Coleman
September 22, 2011

This Friday, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will appeal to the General Assembly for United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood. We need to be completely clear about what is transpiring. This is not a step forward in the quest for peace and, legally, will not create a Palestinian state. Rather, it is a step forward in the vicious campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel.

The Palestinian action in the United Nations does not conform to the process for arriving at a two-state solution laid out in the Oslo Accords. Indeed, it is taking place in naked defiance of an agreement to which the Palestinians are signatory. Its effect will be to once again dash the hopes of all who seek lasting peace in the Middle East.

This is an especially dangerous moment for the state of Israel. It has deteriorating relationships with Turkey and Egypt. It faces longstanding dangers from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, a violent and highly unstable Syria, and a nuclear-aspiring Iran. United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at this juncture will serve only to further isolate the Jewish state, sap its confidence in the peace process, and exacerbate regional tensions.

Worse, because it will not change the facts on the ground, it will raise and then dash Palestinian and Arab expectations. This increases the likelihood of violence, particularly at a moment when despots like Bashar al Assad want nothing more than to divert attention from their internal crises by scapegoating Israel.
Without question, a blow is being struck against peace. How did we arrive at this point?

Unfortunately, the road was paved largely by a series of mistakes and miscalculations by President Obama. He and his administration have badly misunderstood the dynamics of the region. Instead of fostering stability and security, they have diminished U.S. authority and painted our ally Israel into a corner.

To begin with, President Obama for too long has been in the grip of several illusions. One is that the Palestinian–Israeli dispute is the central problem in the region. This has been disproved repeatedly by events, most recently and most dramatically by the eruption of the Arab Spring. But it nonetheless led the administration to believe that distancing the United States from Israel was a smart move that would earn us credits in the Arab world and somehow bring peace closer. The record proves otherwise.

But the administration’s errors extend in other directions as well. […]

(emphasis added) Read full article here.

Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President, addressed the U.N. General Assembly yesterday (9/23/11):

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, also addressed the U.N. General Assembly yesterday (9/23/11):

► Jayde Wyatt

Obama & Palestinian U.N. Membership Bid: Romney “Unmitigated Diplomatic Disaster”

As part of a middle east 'listening' tour last January, Governor Mitt Romney met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (1/13/11). They discussed a series of issues, including advancing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Yesterday, Romney issued a strong statement on the Palestinian Authority's expected bid for U.N. recognition.

The United Nations is gearing up to hold historic sessions this week…

Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President, is launching a bid before the U.N. Security Council for state membership – which has caused a foreign relations uproar.

The Palestinian statehood issue is complicated, but I’ll try to keep it simple. In a nutshell, Barack Obama is in a pickle over the Palestinian bid to be recognized by the United Nations. A year ago, Obama addressed the U.N. and said that he envisioned a day within the next 12 months when a new Palestinian state could become a member of the United Nations:

BARACK OBAMA: When we come back here next year we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel.

Many have not forgotten the President’s treatment of Israel (as evidenced in the recent election of a Republican to fill disgraced Anthony Weiner’s seat in New York District 9). Remember back in March when Obama gave the dinner snub to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu? And, it was just in May of this year that Obama called for for pre-1967 borders for Israel – a condition that Israel can not accept.

May 20, 2011 – Netahyahu: 1967 Lines Are Indefensible, Can’t Negotiate With a Government Backed by Hamas

By petitioning the U.N. Security Council for membership, President Abbas is by-passing the peace process and negotiations with Israel. Now, Obama is reversing gears:

The current negotiations center around a Quartet statement of principles, which would lay out the terms of reference for peace negotiations with a one-year timeline for concluding a peace deal. In essence, it restates the ideas President Obama laid out in his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring.

For starters, Israel gets recognition as a Jewish state. The Palestinians get a state along 1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps and a settlement freeze. Neither side will get everything it wants[…]

From A New Kind of Warfare at the U.N.:

The Palestinians will make the case that they are seeking to determine their future through democratic means. They will use democratic rhetoric, though they are not a democracy. And they will cast their opponents as booster of the supposed Israel occupation, though they have been responsible for years of terror upon the Israeli citizens.

Romney says aid to Palestinians should be threatened:

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney this morning criticized President Obama for being unable to stem off a Palestinian bid for recognition before the United Nations, saying the president should threaten to withhold foreign aid and reconsider funding of UN programs if the Palestinian bid is successful.
Romney also says the United States should reevaluate its funding of UN programs, as well as its relationship with any nation that votes in favor of recognition.

“Actions that compromise the interests of the United States, our allies, and all those who desire a lasting peace must have consequences,” Romney said.
The Palestinian Authority is pushing for recognition of statehood this week at the United Nations. The US has vowed to veto any such bid in the body’s Security Council, but the Palestinians could still push for more limited recognition before the General Assembly.

Obama is also in New York today, and plans to meet later in the week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Governor Romney released a statement yesterday on the Palestinian Authority’s expected request that the United Nations recognize a Palestinian state:

What we are watching unfold at the United Nations is an unmitigated diplomatic disaster. It is the culmination of President Obama’s repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position. That policy must stop now. In his speech to the U.N. this week, President Obama must unequivocally reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the security of Israel and its continued existence as a Jewish state. And he must make clear that if the Palestinian Authority succeeds in gaining any type of U.N. recognition, the United States will cut foreign assistance to the Palestinians, as well as re-evaluate its funding of U.N. programs and its relationship with any nation voting in favor of recognition. Actions that compromise the interests of the United States, our allies, and all those who desire a lasting peace must have consequences.”

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