Haaretz reports: Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton took a strong pro-Israel stance in a presidential debate in Brooklyn on Thursday, while her rival Bernie Sanders again doubled down on his criticism of Israel’s conduct during the 2014 conflict with the Gaza Strip, proceeding to state that “we’re going to have to say that Netanyahu isn’t right all of the time.”
“Of course Israel has the right to defend itself. That’s not up for debate,” Sanders said, but added: “We had some 10,000 civilians who were wounded, 1,500 who were killed. Was that a disproportionate attack? I believe it was.”
Stressing what he said was the need for an “even-handed approach” by the U.S., Sanders said that “as someone who’s 100 percent pro-Israel, in the long run, if we’re ever to bring peace… we have to treat Palestinian people with respect and dignity.”
In response, Clinton touted her role negotiating a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in 2012, and added that “there’s always second guessing when there’s a war.”
Israel did not invite the rocket attacks on its territory, Clinton said, and accused Hamas of conducting warfare in a way which deliberately placed civilians in harm’s way. After Israel left Gaza and “turned over the keys to the Palestinians,” Hamas took over the Strip and turned Gaza into a “terrorist haven,” Clinton said.