Clinton Criticized for Saying Palestinians Live 'Under Occupation'

CNN 'Crossfire' host wonders if the former secretary of state should apologize for description in her new book of Palestinians 'being denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted.'

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Hillary Rodham Clinton speaking in New York, March 19, 2014.Credit: AP

Hillary Clinton drew criticism on CNN Monday for mentioning in her new memoir, "Hard Choices," that Palestinians in the West Bank are living "under occupation."

In the book, released in stores Tuesday, the former secretary of state discusses both Israel and the Palestinians. In one section she recalls a trip she took with her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, to Jericho in 1981.

"When we left the city and visited Jericho, in the West Bank. I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted."

On the CNN television debate show "Crossfire," co-host S.E. Cupp, a hardline conservative, asked Tracy Sefl, a representative of the pro-Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary, whether the former secretary of state feels she owes Israel an apology for "using the same language that Chris Christie used," referring to the incident last March when the New Jersey governor apologized for referring to the “occupied territories” in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Sefl responded, "Hillary Clinton is going to stand by the words in her book. She is not going to apologize for something she need not apologize for," adding, "I’m unapologetically pro-Israel and Hillary is very, very strong on this. If that’s the tree you want to bark up, I wish you luck.”

Excerpts from the book, acquired by media outlets before its release, made headlines last week as they revealed, among other things, that Clinton viewed the Obama Administration's insistence on a construction freeze in the Israeli settlements as a "tactical mistake."