Hillary Clinton says would reaffirm ties with Israel if elected
Hillary Clinton assured American Jews that she would reaffirm the United States’ “unbreakable bonds” with Israel and promptly invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington should she win the White House.
President Barack Obama has had a rocky, at times testy relationship with the Israeli leader, while Republican critics accuse Obama of not doing enough to support the Jewish state and of making too may concessions to Iran in a recently concluded nuclear accord.
Clinton, eager to avoid being tarred by Republicans as an unreliable ally of Israel, made her remarks in an opinion column Wednesday in the American Jewish publication The Forward, ahead of Netanyahu’s Monday visit to Washington.
The Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race wrote that the US-Israel relationship “transcends politics,” and that the alliance “is and should always be a commitment that unites us, not a wedge that divides us.”
“I 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,” Clinton said.
“I would also invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in my first month in office.”
She described Netanyahu’s upcoming visit as “an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds of friendship and unity” between the two nations.
Clinton stressed that she has stood with Israel throughout her career, and rattled off her peace-seeking accomplishments from her four-year stint as Obama’s first secretary of state.
“I convened Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas for three sessions of face-to-face peace talks, the last time that’s ever happened,” she said.
“And in 2012 I led negotiations for a cease-fire in Gaza to stop Hamas rockets from raining down on Israeli homes and communities,” she added. “As president, I will continue this fight.”
She said she believed Washington had a duty to bring Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table, and “as president I will never stop working to advance the goal of two states for two peoples living in peace, security and dignity.”
Clinton, who first visited Israel in 1981, said she has been appalled by the wave of violence in Israel, including deadly Palestinian stabbing and car-ramming attacks.
“It needs to stop immediately, and Israelis and Palestinians must move back toward the path of peaceful reconciliation,” she said.
Clinton also insisted she would remain committed to preventing Iran from “ever acquiring a nuclear weapon,” and would confront growing efforts to isolate Israel internationally, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.