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On the other hand, just because an American official – even a president – makes a declaration, it doesn’t mean it should necessarily be binding on Israel. To take the present controversy as an example, were a President Gingrich to speak of the Palestinians as candidate Gingrich just did, the Israeli prime minister should be free to either accept it or reject it. And there is the rub. The issue is not what was said, but whether Israel would be given the leeway to act according to its own lights. Mr. Romney seems to viscerally think otherwise despite his seemingly deferential comments.

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