Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney supports a two-state solution to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, he told CNN during his visit to Jerusalem.
In an interview with the American news network, which took place in Jerusalem on Sunday, Romney was asked if he saw the starting point for negotiations as the borders which existed prior to the 1967 Six Day War. He responded by saying, “I'm not being that specific. I'm saying that there will be borders that have to be negotiated and what the starting point is something which will be decided by the parties involved.”
He added, “What the ending point is will be decided by the parties involved.”
Addressing the issue of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, which the U.S. has criticized, Romney said that the issue “is something that should be discussed in private by the American president and our allies.”
“When we show a diplomatic distance between ourselves and our ally, I think we encourage people who oppose that relationship to seek other means to achieve their ends,” he added.
Romney also repeated that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, something he also said during a speech in the Old City on Sunday.
The GOP candidate stood by his position that the U.S. should “keep a military option available” to handle Iran, should diplomatic efforts and sanctions not “dissuade them from becoming a nuclear capability nation.”
“I certainly hope that our military, under the direction of the president, has, in fact, prepared a whole series of contingency plans, not only to previous Iran from becoming nuclear but to respond were Iran to become more belligerent in its - in its efforts,” Romney said.
He added that the sanctions currently in place “could be, I'm sure, even more punitive.”
On Monday, Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Romney of “rewarding occupation, settlement and extremism” and saying his positions are “harmful to American interests.”
“I don't think occupation and aggression is rewarded even during an election campaign,” Erekat was reported as saying, according to CNN.
“East Jerusalem is occupied territory,” Erekat continued. “Those who seek peace between Palestine and Israel and those who seek to save lives must stand tall for the two state solution and for East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine.”