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Not just Romney: Many in Middle East are losing faith in a two-state solution, too

But Palestinian reasons differ dramatically from US presidential nominee Mitt Romney's secretly videotaped comments.

By Staff writer / September 18, 2012

In this July 29 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Charles Dharapak/AP/File

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Jerusalem

A newly leaked video shows presidential hopeful Mitt Romney questioning the longstanding US road map for peace in the Middle East – and, in fact, if the Palestinians want peace at all.

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“I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way,” he said, according to Mother Jones, which publicized the video taken at a private fundraising event.

Mr. Romney is not alone in his pessimism; many Israelis and Palestinians have also lost hope in the two-state solution outlined in the 1993 Oslo Accords. But Palestinians warn that blaming the stalemate squarely on their people risks damaging what little credibility the US has left in the Middle East.

“[Romney] has done everything possible in order to show himself not only [in support] of Israel but also of the most right-wing extremist parties in Israel,” says Qais Abdul-Karim, a veteran politician and a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. “I think that this tendency to stand in the camp of the right-wing … plays with the future of the United States and its position in the region, which is already fragile and shaky. Such a policy will completely be devastating to whatever credibility the States still have in the eyes of the public in the Middle East.”

Israelis, Palestinians lose faith in peace

Israeli faith in negotiations to deliver a peace deal is now at the lowest level since 2003, according to the Negotiations Index, part of a monthly public opinion survey published by the Israeli Democracy Institute in Jerusalem. The August index stands at 40.7, a significant drop even since April, when it stood at 49.5.

And even in April, 58 percent of Jewish respondents and 51 percent of Israeli Arab interviewees "saw no chance of ending the conflict in accordance with the 'two states for two peoples' formula at the present time," according to the monthly survey, known as the Peace Index.

Hopes are also flagging on the Palestinian side, with well over half a million Israelis now living over the 1967 borders that are widely seen as the basis for any eventual peace deal. The evacuation of the West Bank outpost of Migron last month underscores the enormous, if not insurmountable, challenge posed by the settlements to an eventual peace deal. The Israeli government, armed with a Supreme Court ruling and promises to build the residents new homes to the tune of some 33 million shekels ($8.7 million, or $187,000 per family), still faced stiff resistance in uprooting the tiny community.

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