US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has claimed that peace in the Middle East is "almost unthinkable to accomplish" and a Palestinian state is not possible, a secret video has revealed.
In the same footage, secretly recorded at a private fundraiser held on May 17 and published by Mother Jones website, Romney also maintained that half of the American electorate are idlers and "victims".
During the conversation, a donor asked Romney about the Palestinian problem. The 65-year-old candidate argued that Palestinians have "no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish".
"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, without making any distinctions among Palestinians.
Hamas' Islamist militants in Gaza refuse to recognise Israel, but Al Fatah that rules the West Bank has signed up a two-state peace solution deal.
He hinted that his presidential strategy, if elected, would be to delay any significant action. "You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem [...] and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it," he said.
"The idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world," he added.
The latest video contradicts previous Romney statements to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In July, Romney said: "I believe in a two-state solution which suggests there will be two states, including a Jewish state."
However, the former Massachusetts governor is not new to remarks pandering to Israel.
The superiority of Israel
The Republican candidate told Jewish donors during his visit to Israel in July that culture and the "hand of Providence" are responsible for the country's economic superiority over Palestine. He asserted that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, where all foreign embassies are currently based, to Jerusalem as Israel deisres.
Palestinians want to set up a capital in east Jerusalem, which has been controlled by Israel since the 1967 war.
Israel pulled out from Gaza in 2005 but has had a blockade of the Gaza Strip in place since 2007, when Islamist militant group Hamas seized the territory. Israel allowed more food and non-military items into Gaza in 2010.
In the latest video, Romney also discussed the so-called Iran threat to US security using an anecdote.
"If I were Iran, if I were Iran-a crazed fanatic, I'd say let's get a little fissile material to Hezbollah, have them carry it to Chicago or some other place, and then if anything goes wrong, or America starts acting up, we'll just say, 'Guess what? Unless you stand down, why, we're going to let off a dirty bomb.'," he said.
"I mean this is where we have-where America could be held up and blackmailed by Iran, by the mullahs, by crazy people," he continued. "So we really don't have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon."
However, as Mother Jones website states, "a dirty bomb, which is an explosive device spreading radioactive substances - does not require fissile material from a nuclear weapons program".
Also,in the video address Romney sates that a new Palestinian state would border "Syria at one point or Jordan".
"Of course the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon and what they did near Gaza. Which is the Iranians would want to bring missiles and armaments in to the West Bank and potentially threaten Israel," he said.
By quoting Syria, Romney is believed to be referring to the Golan Heights, which are controlled by Israel from 1967, when it seized them from Syria. The area, however, has never been claimed by the Palestinians and is not bordering with the West Bank.
The presidential hopeful stated that a new state would border with Jordan, but the kingdom actually recognised Israel in 1994 and it is an ally of the West.