NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday President Obama's "moral equivalency" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a "dangerous insult."
"The Obama policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a dangerous insult. There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction," Perry, the front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, told reporters in New York ahead of the Palestinian Authority's expected bid for statehood at the United Nations later this week, CNN reported. The Obama administration has vowed to veto any such vote in the Security Council.
"America should not be ambivalent between the terrorist tactics of Hamas and the security tactics of the legitimate and free state of Israel. By proposing 'indirect talks' through the U.S. rather than between Palestinian leaders and Israel, this administration encouraged the Palestinians to shun direct talks," Perry said, adding it is "wrong for this administration to suggest the 1967 borders should be the starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
"When you consider this suggestion was made on the eve of the Israeli prime minister's visit, we see in this American administration a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is insulting and naive."
Perry, flanked by Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Danny Danon and U.S. Rep. Dan Turner, who last week won the New York congressional seat vacated by Democrat Anthony Weiner, said Obama's Middle East policies are "arrogant, misguided and dangerous" and amount to a "policy of appeasement" toward the Palestinians, The Washington Post reported.
Perry said he supports a two-state solution, but only if Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of Israel. He also said the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"Unfortunate errors by the Obama administration have encouraged the Palestinians to take steps backward away from peace," Perry wrote in an op-ed last week for The Jerusalem Post and The Wall Street Journal. "It was a mistake to inject an Israeli construction freeze, including in Jerusalem, as an unprecedented precondition for talks. Indeed, the Palestinian leadership had been negotiating with Israel for years, notwithstanding settlement activity."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Perry's closest rival for the GOP presidential nod, added to the criticism of the Obama administration, saying in statement Tuesday: "What we are watching unfold at the United Nations is an unmitigated diplomatic disaster. It is the culmination of President Obama's repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position. That policy must stop now."