Those who believe that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represents a hawkish alternative to President Barack Obama on foreign policy are due for a rude reminder of Clinton’s true instincts Tuesday when Fusion America airs her interview with Jorge Ramos. Portions of the interview that have already been released show the former chief diplomat defending Hamas’s practice of placing weapons in schools because Gaza is “small.”
Clinton’s exact remarks to Ramos on the subject (1:36) were as follows:
I think what–the problem is, and this is something, I’m not a military planner, but Hamas puts its missiles, its rockets in civilian areas. Part of it is that Gaza is pretty small, and it’s very densely populated, they put their command and control of Hamas military leaders in those civilian areas. Israel, I know, has sent warnings, and tried to get people to move, but in any kind of conflict there are going to be civilian casualties, and we need to try to get to a ceasefire as soon as possible.
Under the Oslo peace accords, signed by Israel and the Palestinians when Clinton was First Lady, Gaza is supposed to be demilitarized. Regardless, there are plenty of open spaces in Gaza, and international law does not recognize space constraints. If you cannot fight any other way, tough–that is why laws of surrender exist.
Note, too, that Clinton says she is “not a military planner”–an odd statement for someone who wants, or at least wanted, to be Commander-in-Chief–and that she embraces the Obama administration’s push for an immediate ceasefire, even though that would leave Hamas’s terror infrastructure in place.
As Secretary of State, Clinton was part of the relentless pressure on Israel that emboldened Hamas, once berating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over some apartments in Jerusalem. And as First Lady, Clinton was one of the first to endorse a Palestinian state, and infamously lent credence to absurd charges that Israel was using chemical weapons.
Clinton is not doing anything to distance herself in a meaningful way from Obama’s disastrous Middle East policies–nor can she, since she helped carried them out and shares much of his ideological orientation.
So the idea that a President Clinton might have been friendlier to Israel, or might be in the future, lacks any real evidence–other than her long track record of interest-group pandering, which saw her lean opportunistically to the pro-Israel side when she represented New York in the U.S. Senate.
Furthermore, those who look beyond Clinton to the Democratic Party bench are unlikely to be consoled. On Israel, the party lost its way long ago.