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Mitt Romney angers Palestinians with 'racist' speech in Israel (+video)

Mitt Romney praised the cultures of economic success in Israel, and criticized the Palestinian economy. Palestinian leaders called Romney's comments 'racist.'

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The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have said repeatedly that the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.

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"It's Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that's why Palestinians cannot realize their potential," Erekat said.

The breakfast with top donors concluded the second leg of Romney's three-nation overseas tour. Poland was next Monday. Romney started last week in Britain, where he attended the opening of the London Olympics after drawing criticism, including from Prime Minister David Cameron, for calling some of the city's late-breaking preparation issues "disconcerting."

Romney and other Republicans have said Obama is insufficiently supportive of Israel, but Obama still leads among Jewish voters. A Gallup survey of Jewish voters released Friday showed Obama with a 68-25 edge over Romney.

Standing on Israeli soil for the first time as the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, Romney on Sunday declared Jerusalem to be the capital of the Jewish state and said the United States has promised never to "look away from our passion and commitment to Israel."

The status of Jerusalem is a critical issue in peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Romney's declaration that Jerusalem is Israel's capital was keeping with claims made by Israeli governments for decades, even though the United States, like other nations, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.

During his visit to Israel, Romney did not meet with Abbas or visit the West Bank. He held a brief meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

He also met with President Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders and visited the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, where he was mobbed by worshippers.

In his remarks, Romney steered clear of overt criticism of Obama, even though he said the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran "has only become worse" in the past five years.

The Jerusalem fundraiser raised more than $1 million for Romney's campaign. A fundraiser in London attracted about 250 people to a $2,500 per person event.

Both presidential candidates have aggressively courted American donors living abroad, a practice that is legal and has been used for decades.

Adelson, the American businessman who has promised to donate more than $100 million to help defeat Obama, was among a several donors who flew to Israel for a day of sightseeing with Romney in addition to private meetings with top Israeli officials.

RECOMMENDED: Are you more (or less) conservative than Mitt Romney? Take the quiz

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AP writers Amy Teibel and Karin Laub in Jerusalem and Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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