Sanders doubles down on criticism of Israel's conduct in 2014 war
In discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sanders doubled down on his criticism of what he termed as Israel's disproportionate use of violence in during the 2014 conflict with Gaza, and went on to say that there comes a time when the U.S. has to say that "Netanyahu isn't right all of the time."
On her part, Clinton took a strong pro-Israel stance, saying that Israel is seeking peace, and that Hamas deliberately placed its civilians in harm's way during the 2014 conflict.
"Of course Israel has the right to defend itself. That's not up for debate," Sanders said, but added: "We had some 10,000 civilians who were wounded, 1,500 who were killed. Was that a disproportionate attack? I believe it was."
"As someone who's 100 percent pro-Israel, in the long run, if we're ever to bring peace we have to treat Palestinian people with respect and dignity," Sanders said.
Clinton said Israel did not invite the rocket attacks on its territory. "There's always second guessing when there's a war," she said. Clinton added that the U.S. should continue to pursues a two-state solution for the conflict, and added that had Yasser Arafat agreed to Ehud Barak's proposal in Camp David, there would have been a Palestinian state today.
When Sanders accused her of evading the question of the use of force in the Gaza conflict, Clinton responded by accusing Hamas of conducting warfare in a way which deliberately placed civilians in hazard. Clinton accused Hamas of turning Gaza into a "terrorist haven" after Israel left the area and "turned over the keys to the Palestinians."
Criticizing Clinton for not mentioning the Palestinians in her AIPAC speech, Sanders said that the U.S. needs to assume an evenhanded approach to the conflict if it intends to bring peace to the area.
"Describing the problem is easier than trying to solve it," Clinton responded, and stressed her fair role during negotiations between the sides in her position as secretary of state.
Regarding Sanders' criticism of Netanyahu, Clinton said that while no Israeli leader is always right, "it's a difficult position." It's difficult to seek peace when there's a terrorist group in Gaza that doesn't want you to exist, Clinton said.