JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's statement that Jerusalem is Israel's capital is "absolutely unacceptable."
With the Old City walls in the background, Romney told some 250 attendees Sunday evening, "It's a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel."
"It is my firm conviction that the security of Israel is the vital national security interest of the United States," Romney continued. "Ours is an alliance based not only on shared interests but also on enduring shared values. In those shared values, one of the strongest voices is that of your prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu."
Erekat said Romney's remarks harms U.S. interests and rewards "occupation and aggression."
"Romney's declarations are harmful to American interests in our region and they harm peace, security and stability," Erekat told Agence-France Presse.
"Even if this statement is within the U.S. election campaign, it is unacceptable and we completely reject it," Erekat continued. "Romney is rewarding occupation, settlement and extremism in the region with such declarations."