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Entries in Israelis (2)

Monday
Jul302012

Romney's Overseas Comment Riles Palestinians

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(GDANSK, Poland) -- The White House was subtly gleeful Monday as Mitt Romney's campaign dealt with the latest group to be offended during the Republican presidential candidate's overseas tour that was intended to showcase his foreign policy credentials.

Romney reportedly insulted the Palestinians by suggesting that the discrepancy between the wealth of Israel and Palestinians was due in part to their different cultures. A top Palestinian labeled the analysis racist.

In addition, Romney's campaign said Monday that they had hoped to go to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, but a senior Romney adviser said that she is on vacation.

"I will say though that the governor and the chancellor will find a time to speak soon," the Romney adviser said at a briefing on the plane to Gdansk, Poland Monday.

The White House weighed in on Romney's remarks that angered the Palestinians.

"One of the challenges of being an actor on the international stage, particularly when you're traveling to such a sensitive part of the world, is that your comments are very closely scrutinized for meaning, for nuance, for motivation," Obama Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday in the White House briefing.

"And it is clear that there are some people who have taken a look at those comments and are scratching their heads a little bit."

Senior Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod weighed in on Twitter: "Is there anything about Romney's Rolling Ruckus that would inspire confidence in his ability to lead US foreign policy?"

Sniping aside, Romney's comments came down to provable dollars and cents. At a fundraiser in Jerusalem's King David Hotel earlier Monday, the presumptive GOP nominee told his donors, "As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality."

"And that exists also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador; Mexico and the United States," Romney added, before noting that culture "makes all the difference." It's a point he consistently stressed on the 2008 campaign trail.

"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said.

Romney's campaign said his comments have been "grossly mischaracterized."

The controversy over his Palestinian comments come on the heels of his comments in London when he said the city's preparations for the Summer Games -- something he knows about after spear heading the 2002 Salt Lake Games -- were "disconcerting." Many news outlets and pundits had reported about lapses from the company charged with providing security for The Olympics in the days before The Games started. Those lapses -- which reportedly took U.K. soldiers to butress -- were what Gov. Romney's comment was addressing.

The comment ruffled feathers throughout this country and England and resulted in a public upbraiding by both the prime minister and London's mayor.

He was also forced to distance himself from comments anonymous advisers made to the Telegraph saying that Romney had a better appreciation of the "Anglo Saxon heritage."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr102012

Iran Claims Arrests of Israeli 'Terrorists'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Iranian government claimed Tuesday that it had arrested members of an Israeli-backed "terror" network plotting assassinations and sabotage inside the country.

Iran's intelligence ministry announced via state-run media that it had disbanded a "large and sophisticated Israeli terror and sabotage network after months of operations" just as the network was planning fresh attacks.

The statement also said that the government's apprehension of the "devils led to the discovery of the Zionists' regional command center" in a third country.

Iran has blamed Israel, the UK and the U.S. for a series of assassinations of nuclear scientists and explosions and disruptions at missile sites that began in 2007.

Iran has also accused neighboring Azerbaijan of sheltering spies who are planning attacks inside Iran. Iranian state media quoted an unidentified government official saying that "heavy bombs, machine guns, hand guns" and telecommunication equipment were recovered during the arrests, and that some arrests involved firefights.

Iranian accounts also cited past arrests of alleged "CIA and Israeli spies," saying that Iranian intelligence had disrupted an "espionage network" with a dozen members in Iran and Lebanon with the help of Hezbollah in 2011. U.S. officials confirmed to ABC News in November 2011 that Iran and Hezbollah had "rolled up" two distinct CIA espionage networks.

Time magazine reported in March that Israel was scaling back covert operations inside Iran, including assassinations, sabotage and spy recruitment, because of concerns that its networks had been compromised. According to Time, security officials said the confession by Majid Jamali Fashi that he had assassinated nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammad by motorcycle bomb in January 2010 was legitimate. Fashi, who has been sentenced to death, claimed that he was paid $120,000 by Mossad to carry out the hit.

Several of the scientists who were killed or wounded by unknown assailants in Iran were attacked by motorcyclists using so-called "sticky" magnetic bombs, or via bombs apparently placed inside motorcycles. In two incidents of apparent attempted retaliation, a motorcyclist placed a sticky bomb on an Israeli vehicle in India, and Iranian suspects were allegedly interrupted before they could mount an attack in Bangkok.

Azerbaijani authorities said they had disrupted a similar Iranian plot against Israeli, U.S. and Jewish targets inside Azerbaijan, and accused the suspects of links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The 22 Azerbaijani nationals arrested in the alleged conspiracy in March were originally accused of treason, but now reportedly face only drugs and weapons charges.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio