Mitt Romney was widely criticized last week for saying that the disparity between Israeli and Palestinian economic prosperity could be attributed to “culture.” The presumptive GOP presidential nominee and his allies on the right have since defended that claim, however former Israeli foreign affairs minister and opposition party leader Tzipi Livni — lamenting Israel’s place in U.S. electoral politics — yesterday countered that Romney left out two important parts of the equation — that the Palestinians don’t have their own state and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank:
LIVNI: I’m of course proud of the achievements of the state of Israel. In a way, Israel is truly a miracle in the Middle East. But listen, it is also part of the reality that the Palestinians don’t have their own state now. And they’re under unfortunately an ongoing occupation since ’67 that must be ended, not for the sake of the Palestinians, for the sake of Israel, by the way.
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Indeed, while the prospects for a two-state solution are hanging by a thread, many commentators have noted that the World Bank blames Palestinian economic woes in large part on the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.