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      Erekat: Romney's Comments Are Unacceptable

      PA negotiator Saeb Erekat attacks Romney over comments that the PA does not want peace. "No peace means continued occupation."
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 9/19/2012, 5:03 AM

      Saeb Erakat
      Saeb Erakat
      AFP/File

      Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday that comments by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that the PA did not want peace were “absolutely unacceptable.”

      “We consider these statements absolutely unacceptable,” he told AFP.

      “No one has an interest in peace more than the Palestinian people, because peace for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership means freedom and independence from the Israeli occupation,” he added.

      “No one loses from the failure to achieve peace more than our people and its leadership, because it means the continuation of the occupation and the (Israeli) settlements (in the occupied territories) and the continuing tragedy of our people,” said Erekat.

      A recording released on Tuesday shows Romney telling donors that the PA Arabs "have no interest whatsoever" in peace with Israel.

      The video, which shows Romney speaking at a recent fundraiser in Florida, was posted Tuesday on the web site of ultra-liberal Mother Jones magazine.

      At the event, Romney was asked if the "Palestinian problem" could be solved. He replied that the Palestinians have "no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. 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.

      Asked what his policy would be, Romney said that it would be to "move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem -- and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

      The White House slammed Romney's remarks, saying that President Obama's predecessors, both Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush, were very active in the search for Middle East peace.

      "It is simply the wrong approach to say, we can't do anything about it, so we'll just kick it down the field," said Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney. "That's not leadership. That's the opposite of leadership."