Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton lashed out at GOP candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Sunday, saying the two “missed the mark” when they described their posture toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The former secretary of state suggested on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the situation is far more complex. She pledged to “defend and do everything I can to support Israel, particularly as the neighborhood around it seems to become more dangerous and difficult.”
At the same time, Clinton said she believed in the Palestinians’ right to an independent state. “That’s why I support a two-state solution. That’s what I have worked on. That’s what I tried to move forward when I was secretary, and holding three very intense conversations between the prime minister of Israel and the president of the Palestinian Authority,” she told Jake Tapper in the interview.
“I happen to think that moving toward a two-state solution, trying to provide more support for the aspirations of the Palestinian people is in the long-term best interests of Israel, as well as the region, and, of course, the people themselves,” she added.
Clinton’s remarks to CNN came in response to an inquiry into recent remarks by Republican presidential candidates about US foreign policy with Israel. Trump has recently suggested that he’ll be “sort of a neutral guy” in the dispute. Cruz, meanwhile, says he has, “no intention of being neutral” in his support for Israel.
Last week Trump lambasted Barack Obama for his Middle East policies, telling Fox News that what the president has done to Israel is a “disgrace.”
Talking to Sean Hannity on Thursday night, Trump said that it was a wonder that the Jewish state would still even talk to the White House, given what he said was shoddy treatment at the hands of the Obama administration.
“Israel is so important,” Trump said in response to a question about the Middle East, before launching into fierce criticism of the president’s policies.
“What Obama has done to Israel is a disgrace. How they even talk to us is hard to believe. How do they talk to Obama? I have friends, they support Obama and I say, ‘How do you do it?’ It’s almost like they do it out of habit. They agree he’s been terrible,” he said.
“You look at what he’s done to Israel, with just this Iran deal, which is such a terrible deal. He has been the worst thing that’s ever happened to Israel,” Trump continued. “Now, a lot of my friends that are Jewish do not support him any longer. But I still have some that do. I say, ‘How can you do it?'”
On Wednesday Trump had weighed in on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, saying that if he were elected president, he would be “neutral” on the issue.
Speaking at a town hall event hosted by MSNBC in Charleston, South Carolina, Trump declined to ascribe fault to either Israelis or Palestinians over the failure to reach a lasting accord.
“You know, I don’t want to get into it, because … If I win, I don’t want to be in a position where I’m saying to you and the other side now says, ‘We don’t want Trump involved,'” he said.
“Let me be sort of a neutral guy,” he continued. “A lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. So I don’t want to say whose fault is it. I don’t think it helps.”
Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report