Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry criticized the Palestinian Authority's effort to seek formal recognition by the UN General Assembly yesterday and assailed the Obama administration's broader policies in the Middle East.
Speaking in New York, Perry pledged strong support for Israel and criticized President Barack Obama for demanding concessions from the Jewish state. The Texas governor said the Obama move emboldened the Palestinians to seek UN recognition.
"We would not be here today at this very precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama policy in the Middle East wasn't naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous," Perry said. "The Obama policy of moral equivalency which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a very dangerous insult."
He accused the administration of "repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position."
Perry also criticized Obama's stated goal that any negotiations should be based on the borders Israel had before a 1967 war that expanded the Jewish state. While the 1967 borders have been the basis for diplomatic negotiations, they have never been embraced before by a U.S. president. Perry called that stance "insulting and naive."
Perry's remarks came as the Obama administration redoubled its efforts to block the Palestinian bid. The United States has promised a veto in the Security Council, but the Palestinians can press for a more limited recognition of statehood before the full -- and more supportive -- General Assembly.
Perry also expressed support for allowing Jewish settlements to be constructed on the West Bank, a practice Obama has asked the Israeli government to cease. And Perry said that the entire city of Jerusalem should be part of Israel, a move that would make key religious and historical sites part of the Jewish state. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967.
Perry even suggested he would move American diplomatic personnel out of Tel Aviv and instead recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "As the president of the United States, if you want to work for the State Department, you will be working in Jerusalem," he said.