The repercussions of US Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel were being felt across the international community as allies China and Iran both criticised the presidential hopeful for hi ‘irresponsible’ position on the Jewish State.
Romney’s weekend visit was well-received domestically as he defiantly referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite the majority of western powers giving that title to Tel Aviv where most international embassies are based, however the Chinese Xinhua news agency hit out at his comments Tuesday, claiming they could further complicate the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
Describing his position as “hawkish” (far-right wing), Xinhua added: “Romney’s remarks totally neglect historical facts and are actually irresponsible if he just meant to appeal to voters at home”. Referring to the Republican candidate’s implication that he would be open to relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem should he come to power, the Chinese agency asserted that the “status of Jerusalem will not be resolved until a comprehensive solution is found to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
Meanwhile in an Iranian state tv broadcast also on Tuesday, Islamist president Mahmoud Ahmadinijad accused Romney of “kissing the foot” of Israel with his carefully-positioned comments. Responding to Romney’s voiced support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Iran and his insistence that America must stand with the Jewish State over the issue, Ahmadinejad questioned whether Romney had deliberately made such foreign policy “concessions to get some pennies for (his) campaign”.
The White House was also left considering how the presidential pretender’s comments may have offended Palestinian sensibilities after chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed his “racist” comments on the relative lack of Palestinian economic success compared to rivals Israel.
After Erekat accused him of “lacking information and understanding” for not taking into account “that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation”, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed the remarks had left President Obama’s staff “scratching their heads a little bit”.
Highlighting Romney’s contested lack of foreign policy experience, he added: “One of the challenges of being an actor on the international stage, particularly when you’re travelling to such a sensitive part of the world, is that your comments are very closely scrutinised, for meaning, for nuance, for motivation”.
Re-inforcing China’s position on the Jerusalem debate stirred by his visit, he concluded: “It’s the view of this administration that the capital is something that should be determined in final status negotiations between the (Israeli and Palestinian) parties.”