Mitt Romney is misleading Americans on the President’s support for Israel’s security and best interests in the Middle East peace process. In a Fox News interview last year, Mitt Romney said:
“We don’t negotiate with terrorists [Hamas]. And the President was suggesting that Israel should negotiate with terrorists. And that’s why people like myself believe that he threw Israel under the bus.”
Romney’s hyperbolic attack doesn’t account for actual facts. President Obama has never demanded that Israel negotiate with Hamas. On the contrary, he believes the group to be a violent terrorist organization and an unrealistic negotiating partner.
The Obama administration considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization—one that will never be “a credible partner for peace” until “it ceases its use of terrorism and recognizes Israel’s right to exist.”
President Obama said Hamas is not a “realistic” participant in the peace process, and shared Israel’s concern over the prospect of the group’s role. “It is very difficult for Israel to be expected to negotiate in a serious way with a party that refuses to acknowledge its right to exist,” he said. “Hamas has been and is an organization that has resorted to terror; that has refused to acknowledge Israel’s rights to exist. It is not a partner for a significant, realistic peace process.”
The President has condemned Hamas for carrying out violent rocket attacks and suicide bombings against Israel, has called for a non-militarized Palestinian state, and has secured an additional $205 million in U.S. security aid for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system, which is designed to stop attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah.
After condemning the terrorist activities of Hamas and securing funding to help Israelis defend themselves against Hamas attacks, President Obama did not suddenly suggest that Israel negotiate with Hamas. As he said in support of Israel last year: “How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?” Romney’s claim just doesn’t hold up.