Former US President Bill Clinton defended his position on Israel at a campaign event for his wife, Hillary, who is the front-runner in the primaries for the Democratic nomination. At the event in Ewing, New Jersey on Friday, Clinton was accosted by a heckler who accused his policies of leading to the devastation of Gaza in the wars against Israel.
“She and the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt stopped the shooting war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza,” Clinton responded.
“She said neutrality is not an option,” the audience member challenged.
“Depends on whether you care what happens to the Palestinians as opposed to the Hamas government and the people with guided missiles,” Clinton answered.
“They were human beings in Gaza,” the audience member said.
“Yes, they were,” Clinton said. “And Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel, they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools, in the highly populous areas, and they are smart,” drawing applause and approval from those present.
He continued, “They said they try to put the Israelis in a position of either not defending themselves or killing innocents. They’re good at it. They’re smart. They’ve been doing this a long time.”
“I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” the former president declared. “I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza,” Clinton said.
He praised his wife, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, for setting up meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“There’s nobody who’s blameless in the Middle East, but we cannot really ever make a fundamental difference in the Middle East unless the Israelis think we care whether they live or die. If they do, we have a chance to keep pushing for peace,” Clinton said.
“And that’s her position,” he said, stating her policy for the region. “Not to agree with the Israeli government on everything, not to pretend that innocents don’t die, not to pretend that more Palestinian children don’t die than Israeli children. But that we can’t get anything done unless they believe, when the chips are down, if somebody comes for them we will not let them be wiped out and become part of the dustbin of history.”
He defended Hillary’s successes in the negotiating process. “Hillary got the only three face-to-face meetings between Mr. Netanyahu and the leader of the Palestinians, President Abbas, that anybody has gotten in the last eight years,” he said.