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Tue, 31 Jul 2012 12:01 - Updated Tue, 31 Jul 2012 12:01

Romney's Israel Comments Anger Palestinian Leader


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Gdansk - A top Palestinian aide accused Mitt Romney today of making a "racist statement" when comparing the economic vitality of the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the Romney campaign said his remarks were "grossly mischaracterized."

Romney's statement, the Palestinian said, appeared to credit Israel's higher income to cultural differences.

"It is a racist statement and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation," Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the Associated Press.

"It seems to me this man (Romney) lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people," Erekat said. "He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority."

During his time in Israel Romney met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but did not meet with Abbas.

The criticism came as Romney left Israel and landed in Poland on the third leg of his international tour.