Former US secretary of state and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton voiced support for Israel’s operation in Gaza, saying in an interview with The Atlantic published on Sunday, “I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets.”
Clinton said that, “Israel has a right to defend itself. The steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas, this makes a response by Israel difficult.”
Clinton said that, like the United States, Israel had endeavored to avoid killing civilians in Gaza.
“I don’t know a nation, no matter what its values are – and I think that democratic nations have demonstrably better values in a conflict position – that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas.”
She added: “It’s impossible to know what happens in the fog of war. Some reports say, maybe it wasn’t the exact UN school that was bombed, but it was the annex to the school next door where they were firing the rockets. And I do think oftentimes that the anguish you are privy to because of the coverage, and the women and the children and all the rest of that, makes it very difficult to sort through to get to the truth.”
Clinton said that, “you can’t ever discount anti-Semitism” reflecting the inordinate amount of criticism and scrutiny against Israel as compared to other international actors currently embroiled in conflicts.
The former secretary of state expressed understanding for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s reticence to relinquish control of the West Bank given the Islamist threat in the Middle East.
“If I were the prime minister of Israel, you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security, because even if I’m dealing with [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas, who is 79 years old, and other members of Fatah, who are enjoying a better lifestyle and making money on all kinds of things, that does not protect Israel from the influx of Hamas or cross-border attacks from anywhere else.
With Syria and Iraq, it is all one big threat. So Netanyahu could not do this in good conscience,” she said.