Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized the timing of the Annapolis peace conference in an interview with The Jerusalem Post Saturday and said the Palestinians have not taken the steps necessary for peace.
"I do not believe that this is a time when my expectations would suggest a major peace breakthrough," Romney said of the international meeting beginning Monday night.
He pointed to the tenuous hold Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has on power following the coup which left Hamas in control of Gaza, as well as "the fact that the Palestinians have not put in place the security institutions or the governmental institutions which were the doorway to the road map."
Romney backed the phased implementation approach of the internationally backed road map peace plan, which calls for Palestinian security and governance reform - as well as a freeze on Israeli settlements and removal of outposts - before substantive negotiations begin.
He stressed, though, "It's important to me that we not in any way place pressure on Israel to take action which would further weaken its negotiating hand."
So he's backing the phased implementation plan of the 'roadmap.' Which is suddenly looking mighty good in comparison to what Condi Rice is suggesting will be the Bush administration's new position at Annapolis. Funny how the goal post keeps moving left while those who are moving it keep pointing to the right.
>>>> Hey! Look thataway! Kittens! >>>>
Call me jaded, but I put no stock in the pronouncements of any campaigning Presidential candidate on his or her preferred policy toward Israel. Candidate George W. Bush promised repeatedly that he'd move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But (6/12/2001)...but (12/17/2001)...but (6/19/2002)...but (10/01/2002)...but (6/13/2003)...but (12/09/2003)...but (6/15/2004)...but (12/15/2004)...but (6/15/05)...but (12/14/2005)...but (6/15/2006)...but (12/18/06)...but (6/01/2007)...
A promise he forgot before the hanging chads had even been counted (yes, I know he's continued to claim he's "working on it" but come on). Why no outrage? A good question. And it will come up again in just a few weeks when, for the 13th time, Bush will exercise his "national security" waiver to delay the move once again.
Shame on him!