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Truth Squad: Did Obama criticize Israel in U.N. address?

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:57 AM EDT, Fri September 23, 2011

(CNN) -- The statements:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama's stance on Israel, during Thursday night's Republican presidential candidates debate in Orlando.

"He addressed the United Nations in his inaugural address and chastised our friend Israel for building settlements and said nothing about the Palestinians launching rockets into Israel. He threw (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu under the bus."

The facts:

In his 2009 speech to the United Nations, Obama did criticize Israel on the issue of settlements: "We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

However, Obama did acknowledge the violence faced by Israelis, as well as the hardships faced by Palestinians:

"We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It's not paid by politicians. It's paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of the night. It's paid for by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own."

Read full transcript of Obama's 2011 speech to the U.N.

In his most recent address to the United Nations on Wednesday, Obama never mentioned Israeli settlements or brought up Netanyahu by name.

Obama did directly address rocket attacks into Israel:

" Israel's citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel's children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. ..."

He went on to express support for a two-state solution:

"We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own, with no limit to what they can achieve. There's no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long."

Read full transcript of president's 2011 speech to the U.N.

Official U.S. disapproval of Israeli settlements goes back past the Obama administration.

In the summer of 2008, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the Israeli settlement plans "simply not helpful." She further elaborated at the time: "I'm very concerned that at a time when we need to build confidence between the parties, the continued building and the settlement activity has the potential to harm the negotiations going forward."

After meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the spring of 2008, then-President George W. Bush expressed hope that peace could be achieved in the Middle East before Bush's term ends in January.

"I assured the president that a Palestinian state is a high priority for me and my administration," Bush told reporters as Abbas looked on. "A viable state, a state that doesn't look like Swiss cheese, a state that provides hope."

The verdict:

Misleading.

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CNN's Forrest Brown contributed to this report.

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