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Obama 'chastised' Israel: Romney

23 september 2011, 18:44
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. ©Reuters
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. ©Reuters
President Barack Obama threw Israel "under the bus" by criticizing the key US ally on settlement building, AFP reports, citing Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney Thursday.

"The president went about this all wrong," Romney said about Obama's approach to the long-stalled Middle East peace process.

"He went around the world and apologized for America. He addressed the United Nations in his inaugural address and chastised our friend Israel for building settlements and said nothing about the Palestinians launching rockets into Israel."

Romney, who was speaking at a Republican presidential debate in Florida, said Obama "threw Netanyahu under the bus."

But Romney's claims came a day after Obama gave a speech at the United Nations seen as unashamedly pro-Israel and that prompted praise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the US president's opposition to a Palestinian push for statehood recognition at the United Nations.

And earlier Thursday, more than 1,000 angry Palestinians poured into the streets of Ramallah and Gaza to protest Obama's speech.

Obama's UN address, in which he reiterated his opposition to a Palestinian bid for UN membership, and empathized with Israel's struggle in a hostile region without mentioning the occupation or Jewish settlements, has sparked almost unanimous condemnation across the Palestinian territories.

"The right course is not to try to negotiate for Israel. The right course is to stand behind our friends, to listen to them and let the world know we will stay with them and support and defend them," said Romney.

Businessman Herman Cain, a longshot Republican hopeful, seconded Romney and warned the Palestinians over their efforts to get state recognition at the UN, saying they should "have had second thoughts about trying to pull such a move without negotiating with Israel."

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