Clinton vows to meet Netanyahu during first month in office
In Forward op-ed, front-runner for Democratic nomination promises to confront Iran, pursue ‘two states for two peoples’
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said she would invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington during her first month in office and dispatch US defense officials to Israel to learn from Israeli commanders what Israel needs to maintain its qualitative military edge over its enemies.
In a Wednesday op-ed in the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper in New York, she promised that as president she “will do everything I can to enhance our strategic partnership and strengthen America’s security commitment to Israel, ensuring that it always has the qualitative military edge to defend itself.
“That includes immediately dispatching a delegation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to meet with senior Israeli commanders. I would also invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in my first month in office.”
Clinton noted the latest wave of terror attacks in Israel’s cities, saying “this violence must not be allowed to continue. It needs to stop immediately, and Israelis and Palestinians must move back toward the path of peaceful reconciliation. All parties and the international community should condemn any political and religious leader who stokes tensions with irresponsible rhetoric. Many of us have seen the video of a cleric encouraging worshipers to stab Jews as he waves a knife in the air. This incitement needs to end, period.”
She noted the killing of US-Israeli coexistence advocate Richard Lakin in a terror attack last month. “We now hear of daily stabbings and shootings of innocent civilians — teenagers, parents and senior citizens. Israelis have to look over their shoulders during everyday tasks, like carrying groceries and waiting for the bus. Some American citizens are among the victims, including Richard Lakin, a teacher and advocate who spent years working for tolerance and understanding.”
She also promised to rekindle the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying “the only way to guarantee” that Israel would remain “a secure and democratic Jewish state” was “through diplomacy.”
While “no solution can be imposed from outside, I believe the United States has a responsibility to help bring Israelis and Palestinians to the table and to encourage the difficult but necessary decisions that will lead to peace. As president I will never stop working to advance the goal of two states for two peoples living in peace, security and dignity.”
Her own record, Clinton said, was that of a peacemaker and defender of Israel.
“On behalf of President Obama, I convened Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for three sessions of face-to-face peace talks, the last time that’s ever happened. And in 2012 I led negotiations for a cease-fire in Gaza to stop Hamas rockets from raining down on Israeli homes and communities. As president, I will continue this fight.”
She also promised “bold and united responses” to regional threats. “We must remain committed to preventing Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon, and to vigorously enforcing the new nuclear agreement. I would move to step up our partnership to confront Iran and its proxies across the region, and make sure dangerous Russian and Iranian weapons don’t end up in Hezbollah’s hands or threaten Israel. I also will combat growing efforts to isolate Israel internationally and to undermine its future as a Jewish state, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. I’ve spoken out against BDS in the United States and at the UN, and will continue to do so.”
In the only hint at tensions between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations, she insisted “the alliance between our two nations transcends politics. It is and should always be a commitment that unites us, not a wedge that divides us.”