Just days after her husband went on Indian television to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, former secretary of state and presumed presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton took to the airwaves in the United States to voice criticism of Hamas and express support for the Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip.
“They’re trapped by their leadership, unfortunately,” Clinton said of the Palestinians during an interview with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show.
“It’s a two-pronged trapping. They have leadership that is committed to resistance and violence. Their actions are geared towards getting newer and better missiles to launch at Israel instead of saying, ‘Hey, let’s try to figure out how we’re going to make your lives better’.”
Clinton also appeared on Charlie Rose’s popular talk show which airs nationally on PBS. She told Rose that the Israeli response to the constant rocket fire from Gaza was appropriate.
“The Israelis are absolutely right in saying that they can’t just sit there and let rockets rain down,” Clinton told Rose. “They have a missile defense system which is working well but that can’t be certain. Now there are drones being launched from Gaza.”
During an interview with the Indian network NDTV, Bill Clinton said on Wednesday that Hamas was "forcing" Israel to kill Palestinian civilians by "raining rockets down" on the South.
"Hamas was perfectly well aware what would happen if they started raining rockets on Israel," the former president said. "They fired a thousand of them, and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn [Israel]."
Clinton said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "could and should" clinch a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority that would end the conflict in the Middle East.
The former president warned that Israel is "isolating itself from world opinion" by failing to clinch a peace deal with the Palestinians and launching military operations in the Gaza Strip.
"I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu could and should make a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians," Clinton told the NDTV network.
The former president said that the absence of peace would contribute to Israel's long-term international isolation.
"Over the long run it is not good for Israel to keep isolating itself from world opinion because of the absence of a viable peace process," Clinton said. "In the short to medium term, Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage on Israel by forcing it to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas."
The former president said that Israel and the Palestinians should be focused on "a peace process that gets Israel security recognition and peace, and that gets the Palestinians their state."
Clinton said that he believed "60 percent of Israelis" would back Netanyahu if he made an agreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that would pave the way for a Palestinian state.
Clinton also praised the Iron Dome system, calling it "a miracle that [Hamas] has fired 1,000 rockets and more people weren't killed."
The former president said that while Israel "was partly responsible" for the breakdown in peace talks, the Palestinians also bear some of the blame for refusing to talk to Israel during the nine-month settlement freeze that was declared during US President Barack Obama's first term in office.