Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has outraged Palestinian leaders after declaring that Israeli culture allowed it to be more economically successful.
"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 (€16,231), and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like 10,000 (€8,116) per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," he said in Israel.
["And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognise the power of at least culture and a few other things," he said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the "hand of providence."]
The reaction of Palestinian leaders was swift and pointed, as Mr Romney continued to make gaffes on a three-country trip designed to bolster his foreign policy credentials while challenging President Barack Obama for the November election...
"It is a racist statement and this man doesn't realise that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation," said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
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