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PLO envoy: Romney video shows 'complete ignorance of facts'

Sept. 18, 2012 9:30 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 19, 2012 7:56 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The PLO's envoy to the US on Tuesday said presidential candidate Mitt Romney's videotaped comments about the Palestinians showed a "complete ignorance" of the facts.

"The leaked statements by the Republican presidential nominee once again show complete ignorance of facts and realities regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," ambassador Maen Areikat said in a statement.

"Romney’s allegations that Palestinians are committed to the destruction of Israel are baseless given the fact that Palestinians have expressed support for the two-state solution, and repeatedly recognized Israel’s right to exist."

Areikat added: "The best way the Republican nominee can help in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is by adhering to long-standing US policy regarding an acceptable solution that will lead to the end of military occupation of Palestine, peace, and security."

In the video, released Tuesday by a liberal American magazine, Romney is seen telling donors that Palestinians have no interest in peace and are committed to the destruction of Israel.

"And 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,'" Romney said in the video published by Mother Jones.

The presidential candidate, whose recent Israel visit stirred controversy over the issue of Jerusalem, went on to criticize the notion of a Palestinian state due to Israel's security concerns.

Diana Butto, a former legal adviser in negotiations with Israel, said that "Factual inaccuracies aside, Governor Romney has made it clear that he doesn't intend to end Israel's occupation of Palestine and that he won't ever challenge Israel or its violations of human rights and international law."

Butto added: "He seems perfectly happy with maintaining an untenable status quo. By taking a position that is so blatantly in favor of Israel, Romney will continue to perpetuate the conflict rather than resolve it. That's neither good for the Middle East, nor for America."
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