Palestinians Feel Neglected

Palestinian leaders were miffed that Mitt Romney snubbed their president and called their prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to meet him briefly at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, not in Ramallah, the seat of the PA government. 

On a similar campaign trip to Israel in 2008, Barack Obama met Abbas and Fayyad in Ramallah. Almost four years ago to the day, the Democratic candidate also went to Sderot in southern Israel, the target of persistent rockets and mortar attacks from Gaza

A PA official Sunday accused the presumptive Republican presidential nominee of showing Palestinians that he isn't really interested in the peace process on his trip to Israel, only in Jewish votes and donations. 

Although Romney did endorse the two-state concept, he didn't win any Arab-American votes when he declared Jerusalem is "the capital of Israel" and said the Western Wall is Israeli territory, but that's not why he went to Israel.  Ironically, Palestinians are also miffed at Obama, who they accuse of being too hawkish, too pro-Israel and not committed enough to the peace process.

Romney visited the Kotel with a large entourage of photographers and supporters, something that offended even some admirers since it was Tisha B'Av, a day of mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples. A settler spokesman who said he is a Romney admirer called it "major disrespect."

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Romney's comments about Jerusalem are "unacceptable" and  "harmful" to American interests in the Middle East and "harm peace, security and stability."

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.