Reports that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at a fundraiser in Jerusalem that "culture" is among the reasons Israel's economy is much stronger than those in "areas managed by the Palestinian Authority" have led a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accuse Romney of racism.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is in Israel today. He spent the morning meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials, and he paid a visit to the historic Wailing Wall. Romney, just a few minutes ago, wrapped up a speech near the Old City in Jerusalem. And in it he talked of his commitment to stand side by side with the Israeli government on Iran.
The Kalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank is best known as a flashpoint between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. Images of masked youths throwing rocks by the painted concrete wall here are ubiquitous.
Protesters gathered at Kalandia again last week, but their focus wasn't Israeli soldiers: It was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
For decades, Muslims around the world have been unofficially boycotting Islam's third holiest site, the Al-Aqsa mosque Jerusalem.
Many Muslims believe that visiting legitimizes Israel's claim to the site, which also sits atop the holiest place in Judaism. The Palestinians, meanwhile, are seeking a state with a capital in east Jerusalem, where the mosque is located.
But Palestinian religious authorities at Al-Aqsa and Palestinian officials are now calling on Muslims to visit the shrine, a change that is creating controversy within the Palestinian community.