[JTA] Mitt Romney told fundraisers in a private meeting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "unsolvable" and that his strategy would be to "kick the ball down the field."
"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 at a May 17 fundraiser in Boca Raton hosted by Marc Leder, a private equity manager.
A video of the private $50,000 a plate event was released this week by Mother Jones.
"And so what you do is you say, 'You move things along the best way you can'," Romney continued. "You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it."
Romney and his surrogates have otherwise striven to defend the two-state outcome within the Republican Party, and rebuffed an effort in August to have it removed from the party platform.
Another passage in the fundraising video, in which Romney says 47 percent of voters would vote for President Obama because they feel "entitled" to health care, food and housing, and that these voters do not pay income tax, has dominated headlines, and has led Romney to stand by the comments, while acknowledging they were not "elegantly stated."
In the video, Romney also says that his team of political consultants includes some who have worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
[REUTERS] On the West Bank, Palestinians said Romney was wrong to accuse them of not seeking peace.
"No one stands to gain more from peace with Israel than Palestinians and no one stands to lose more in the absence of peace than Palestinians," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters. "Only those who want to maintain the Israeli occupation will claim the Palestinians are not interested in peace."