(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former US President Bill Clinton came to his wife's defense on Friday when the focus of a campaign event for the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton shifted to Israel, Politico reported.
Amid a speech discussing his wife's positions on the major issues at an event in New Jersey, a member of the audience interjected "What about Gaza?" and criticized her statement that neutrality is not an option when it comes to Israel.
"I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state," the former President responded. "I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza."
When the audience member continued to press the issue, Clinton elaborated on the complicated nature of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. "Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel, they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools, in the highly populous areas."
"[Hamas] said they try to put the Israelis in a position of either not defending themselves or killing innocents. They're good at it," Clinton elaborated.
Clinton lauded his wife's part in arranging meetings between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in efforts to facilitate peace in the region.
He concluded his statements by acknowledging that nobody is without blame in the Middle East, but said that Israelis must be reassured that America "cares whether they live or die."
The former head of state expressed that his wife's position as former Secretary of State and potentially as the future President of the US is not to blindly agree with the Israel, but to bolster their assurance that "if somebody comes for them we will not let them be wiped out and become part of the dustbin of history."
A poll taken in March revealed that a significant majority of Israelis would prefer Hillary Clinton over Republican front-runner Donald Trump in the November 8 American election.
Clinton was preferred by 38 percent of respondents, followed by Trump with 23% and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came in with 7%.
Kulanu MK Michael Oren, a former ambassador to the US, said he was not surprised by Clinton’s support.
“They prefer Hillary because she’s a known commodity,” he said. “The Clintons have always been popular here. She may disagree with Israelis on settlements and east Jerusalem, but she has a warm place for Israel. For Israelis, it’s about their security, not a popularity contest, and Trump right now is very big question mark.”Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.