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Politics

Romney Adds Israel To Campaign Itinerary

Mitt Romney meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on January 13, 2011. Romney was not yet an official candidate at the time.
Mitt Romney meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on January 13, 2011. Romney was not yet an official candidate at the time.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to visit Israel this summer.

While details of the trip were not made available by the Romney campaign, the former Massachusetts governor will reportedly visit the Jewish state in conjunction with his trip to the London Olympics at the end of July.

The New York Times, which first reported the trip, says the GOP candidate will hold a public event there in addition to meetings with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Romney has strongly criticized the Obama administration for encouraging Israel to freeze settlements in the West Bank and for pressuring the Israelis not to attack Iran's suspected nuclear sites.

Those policies hurt relations between the two countries, but the relationship warmed last year when the U.S. blocked a Palestinian effort to attain U.N. membership.

President Obama also visited Israel as a candidate in 2008. Romney has often criticized Obama for not returning since taking office. Romney told the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC in March that his first overseas trip as president would be to Israel.

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