NEW YORK — Wading into a tense foreign policy dispute, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is criticizing the Palestinian Authority’s effort to seek a formal recognition of statehood by the U.N. General Assembly.
In a speech scheduled in New York on Tuesday, Perry pledges strong support for Israel and criticizes President Barack Obama for demanding concessions from the Jewish state that Perry says emboldened the Palestinians to seek recognition by the U.N.
An aide to the Texas governor provided excerpts of the speech to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
“We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership,” Perry said. “And we are equally indignant that the Obama administration’s Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith.”
The U.S. has promised a veto in the Security Council, but the Palestinians can press for a more limited recognition of statehood before the full – and much more supportive – General Assembly. The Obama administration has pushed hard for countries around the world to block the Palestinian bid, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday there was still time to avert a divisive showdown.
Obama has been criticized by Republicans and many pro-Israel activists for seeming to push the Jewish state harder than the Palestinians to make compromises to achieve peace. Among other things, Obama has called on Israel to cease building housing settlements in the West Bank and to negotiate the scope of the Palestinian state using 1967 borders as a starting point – a diplomatic position the U.S. has long maintained but one that has never before been explicitly embraced by a U.S. president.
Complaints about Obama’s Israel policy helped a Republican, Bob Turner, win a special election in a heavily Jewish and Democratic New York congressional district last week.
“It’s vitally important for America to preserve alliances with leaders who seek to preserve peace and stability in the region,” Perry said. “But today, neither adversaries nor allies know where America stands. Our muddle of a foreign policy has created great uncertainty in the midst of the Arab Spring.”
Obama is also in New York on Tuesday for meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly. He planned to meet later in the week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.