Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat last year. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said on Monday that presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney's assertion that Jerusalem is Israel's capital is "absolutely unacceptable."

In a speech in Jerusalem on Sunday evening that followed a day of meetings with Israel's leaders, Romney said it was a "moving experience to be in Jerusalem," and described the city as "Israel's capital." He suggested that he would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem if he were elected president. 

Palestinian officials have largely remained silent during Romney's Israel trip, and Saeb Erekat's comments Monday marked the strongest public criticism so far of the candidate.

Most of the world, including the U.S., does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The U.S. and others keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

After arriving in Israel on Saturday afternoon, Romney met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz. His meeting with Labor Party head Shelly Yacimovich was cancelled at the last minute.

Romney ended his visit with a fundraiser in Jerusalem. He is due to continue his trip with a visit to Poland later on Monday.