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The economic disparity between the Israelis and the Palestinians is actually much greater than Romney stated. Israel had a per capita gross domestic product of about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza had a per capita GDP of just over $1,500, according to the World Bank.

Romney, seated next to billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson at the head of the table, told donors that he had read books and relied on his own business experience to understand why the difference in economic disparity between countries is so great.

His comparison of the two economies did not take into account the stifling effect the Israeli occupation has had on the Palestinian economy in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas Israel captured in 1967 where the Palestinians hope to establish a state.

In the West Bank, Palestinians have only limited self-rule. Israel controls all border crossings in and out of the territory, and continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967, but has invested much less heavily there than in Jewish west Jerusalem.

And although Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it continues to control access and has enforced a crippling border blockade since the Islamic militant Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have said the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.

“It’s Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that’s why Palestinians cannot realize their potential,” Erekat said.

The breakfast with top donors — including New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and hedge fund manager Paul Singer — concluded Romney’s visit to Israel, the second leg of a three-nation tour designed to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

Standing on Israeli soil for the first time as the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Romney on Sunday declared Jerusalem to be the Israeli capital and said the U.S. has promised never to “look away from our passion and commitment to Israel.”

The status of Jerusalem is a critical issue in peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

In Israel, Romney did not meet with Abbas or visit the West Bank. He met briefly with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Romney’s campaign says the trip, which began in England last week, is aimed at improving the former Massachusetts governor’s foreign policy experience through a series of meetings with foreign leaders. The candidate has largely avoided direct criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama while abroad.

The Jerusalem fundraiser, however, was a political event that raised more than $1 million for Romney’s campaign. It marks at least the second fundraiser during the tour. The first, in London, attracted about 250 people to a $2,500-per-person fundraiser.

Both candidates have aggressively courted American donors living abroad, a legal practice that has been used for decades.

Romney’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital was in keeping with claims made by Israeli governments for decades, even though the United States, like other nations, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.

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