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BEIJING - US presidential candidate Mitt Romney's statement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is likely to worsen the already tense Mideast situation, and even reignite a war between Palestinians and Israelis.
Romney told the CNN on Sunday that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and he thought the US embassy should be moved to Jerusalem from the current location in the city of Tel Aviv.
The US presidential hopeful's dangerous words should be carefully watched out.
Jerusalem is a holy city to the three major Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and its future status has always been a critical issue in the current stagnant Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, as they both declared Jerusalem to be their own capital.
The status of Jerusalem is highly sensitive, which involves the religious sentiments and dignity of most Arab people. Until now, all the nations that have established diplomatic relations with Israel have set up their embassies in Tel Aviv or other cities, instead of in Jerusalem, due to the later's uncertain status.
Recently Romney has delivered a series of hawkish remarks. For example, he pledged to "employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course," and he also said the United States would never look away from its "passion and commitment to Israel."
Romney's remarks totally neglect historical facts and are actually irresponsible if he just meant to appeal to voters at home.
In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which states that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and says the embassy should move there. But Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all refused to implement the law.
However, Romney stubbornly vowed to carry out this law, which, if translated into action, will cause international concerns.
Romney's radical words were intended to win the support of US Jewish voters in the upcoming November 6 presidential elections. The status of Jerusalem will not be resolved until a comprehsensive solution is found to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Before that, any words that favor any party to the conflict regardless of history and reality are irresponsible and unfair for Palestinians who are in a less powerful position in the peace talks.
They may even result in a much worse situation in this region by intensifying the differences between the two sides. What's more, according to the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 by Palestinians and Israelis, the future of Jerusalem is left to be decided at the final permanent status negotiations, and no unilateral action is allowed to change Jerusalem's current situation.
On these key issues, every serious politician should watch out for his or her words, especially those from the United States.