Romney to meet with Netanyahu, Peres, Fayyad
July 22, 2012 2 Comments
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Jerusalem, July 22 – Mitt Romney leaves Wednesday for his first oversees trip since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for president, a trip the campaign hopes will highlight the former governor’s foreign policy credentials. Romney’s trip will take him to three American-allied countries: the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland.
While in Israel, Romney is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two leaders have known each other for decades since the two men worked at Boston Consulting Group together. Romney also will meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. In addition, Romney will receive a briefing from U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro and meet with President Shimon Peres.
Romney is scheduled to be in Israel on Sunday, July 29, which is Tisha B’Av, an annual Jewish fast day that commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred on the same Hebrew calendar date. The day, which has been called the saddest day in Jewish history, also commemorates other Jewish tragedies that occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
The former governor also is scheduled to deliver at least one public speech in Jerusalem. These remarks will most likely be made in the evening, after the fast of Tisha B’Av ends.
In 2008, then-presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama visited the country, with an itinerary that included stops at the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem and an Israeli town, Sderot, that is often targeted by missiles fired from Hamas-run Gaza.
Romney often has criticized the Obama administration for perceived shortcomings in the U.S.-Israel relationship, including a soft stance on the Iranian nuclear issue. Obama and other White House officials often have asserted the unprecedented amounts of financial and military aid to the Jewish state. The Romney campaign has said the presumptive Republican nominee will not discuss politics during his oversees trip and will steer away from criticizing Obama or the president’s foreign policies.
The Romney campaign has called this trip one for the former governor to listen and learn, not to announce foreign policy specifics.
“This trip is really an opportunity for the governor to learn and listen,” Lanhee Chen, the campaign’s policy director, told reporters on a conference call this week. “There are a number of different challenges that the world faces today, and it’s an opportunity for him to visit three countries that have a strong and important relationship with the United States.”
Romney will deliver a speech in Reno, Nev., during the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Tuesday before leaving for his trip. The campaign says Romney will deliver any new foreign policy specifics during this speech and not offer new foreign policy specifics during his oversees trip.
After Romney’s visit in Israel, he will travel to Poland on Monday-Tuesday, July 30-31. Romney is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Donald Tusk, former President Lech Walesa, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and President Bronislaw Komorowski. He also plans to visit historical sites and deliver public remarks.
Before visiting Israel and Poland, Romney will be in England, participating in various meetings, including with Prime Minister David Cameron and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and attending the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies.