TEL AVIV – Hillary Clinton said in a recent interview that Israel was not solely to blame for the failure of the peace process and that Palestinian inaction played a large part.
In a radical departure from the attitude of the Obama administration and the rhetoric coming from Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign, the former secretary of state placed the lion’s share of the blame for the impasse in peace efforts on the Palestinian leadership, saying she had a “long memory” of missed opportunities.
Clinton said it was “not accurate or fair or useful” for the Obama administration and the mainstream media in the U.S. to primarily blame Israel. She added that her commitment to Israel is “personal.”
The interview was published Tuesday in the New York Jewish Week ahead of the state’s critical primaries on April 19.
Unlike President Barack Obama, whose relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often borders on hostile, Clinton claims to “get along well” with the Israeli premier and that if she were elected president she would iron out any differences between the two countries “quickly, respectfully, and responsibly.”
Despite opposing the settlements, which she calls “unhelpful,” she slammed the Palestinians for failing to seize the opportunity to make peace when Israel froze settlement building during her tenure as secretary of state.
“I regret very much that the Palestinians didn’t take advantage,” she said. “The Palestinians couldn’t act.”
She further noted that late PLO leader Yasser Arafat “walked away” from one of the “most comprehensive efforts” for peace during the 2000 Camp David summit held by then-president Bill Clinton.
Clinton also said that it was time “to leverage the converging interests between Israel and Arab states to move forward together toward a two-state vision of a Jewish and democratic Israel with secure and recognized borders.”
Clinton reiterated her view that negotiations can only be carried out between the two sides and not imposed by a third party. This comes amid growing concerns that the Obama administration may choose not to use its veto power at the UN in Israel’s favor. Clinton cited the UN’s “terrible track record in addressing” issues relating to the conflict.
Referring to ongoing efforts by the BDS movement to delegitimize Israel, Clinton said, “Demonizing Israeli scientists and intellectuals, even students, and comparing Israel to South African apartheid is not only wrong — it is dangerous and counterproductive.” Language that “vilifies Israelis has no place in any civilized society,” she added.
In regard to the nuclear deal with Iran, Clinton stated that she would “use every tool for compliance,” and added that “Iran should be sanctioned” for its latest ballistic missile tests.