New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) reportedly apologized to GOP donor Sheldon Adelson after the governor used the term “occupied territories” to refer to the West Bank during a Saturday speech at a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering, according to CNN and Politico.
“I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across, and just felt personally how extraordinary that was, to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day,” Christie said during his speech, recollecting a trip he took in 2012, according to CNN.
Andy Abboud, senior vice president of Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp., told CNN that Christie later told Adelson that he “misspoke” when he used the term, which Adelson opposes.
“They had a nice meeting,” Abboud told CNN.
A source told Politico that Christie and Adelson met in a private meeting after the speech, where the governor “clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.”
The term “occupied territories” is charged because many on the pro-Israel right believe Israel has a legitimate claim to the region and that the land should not be referred to as “occupied.” Palestinians, however, believe that the area must be the territory of a future Palestinian state. Formally, the region remains under Israeli military occupation with certain areas administered by the Palestinian Authority.