World Bulletin / News Desk
Bernie Sanders went on the defense during Thursday’s Democratic primary debate, criticizing Hillary Clinton for “barely mentioning” the Palestinian people during her speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation’s most powerful pro-Israel group, last month.
Sanders, and Clinton, agreed on most of the issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They both believe Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state and that the Palestinian people are also entitled to have state of their own.
On Thursday, Sanders doubled down on his past argument that Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2014 in response to rocket attacks was “disproportionate,” said the U.S. and Israel need “to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity” and argued that the U.S. “cannot continue to be one-sided.” During the clash however the most historic point was the exchange between the two candidates over how Clinton talks about Palestinians and whether the U.S. grovels to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too frequently.
“I read Secretary Clinton’s speech before AIPAC. I heard virtually no discussion at all about the needs of the Palestinian people,” Sanders said. “Of course Israel has a right to defend itself, but long-term, there will never be peace in that region, unless the United States plays an even-handed role, trying to bring people together and recognizing the serious problems that exist among the Palestinian people ... There comes a time when, if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”
During AIPAC in March Clinton had said that “Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity,” and that “Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements.” Despite this comment, the vast majority of her speech was spent talking about defending Israel’s security, strengthening the U.S.-Israel alliance and holding Iran accountable.
In a speech in Utah, Sanders spoke about Palestinian unemployment and poverty, dedicated more than a sentence to condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and criticized groups like AIPAC for trying to torpedo the nuclear deal with Iran.
Referring to Clinton he said, "You gave a major speech to AIPAC, which obviously deals with the Middle East crisis, and you barely mentioned the Palestinians ... All that I am saying is we cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to the issue," Sanders said.
The topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a highly contentious issue during the debate, with the politeness and political correctness broken as both candidates are fighting for their home state of New York ahead of the April 19 primary.
Source: Vox News/YNet