This article originally appeared on Jewish Insider
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Bernie Sanders is not backing down on his claim that Israel used ‘disproportionate’ force against Hamas in the 2014 Gaza war.
“You cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people,” Sanders said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday. “I think in the Gaza, it was a disproportionate response. You had some 1,500 civilians killed. I think you had 10,000 or so wounded. That was a disproportionate response.”
Sanders took the role of Israel’s opposition leader in suggesting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is wrong “on occasion.”
“You can’t just always nod your head to Netanyahu,” he told George Stephanopoulos. “He is wrong on occasion.”
The Democratic presidential hopeful also responded to ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt accusing him of playing into the hands of those who claim that Israel is the main problem in this conflict.
“Well, they can say what they want,” said Sanders. “I didn’t say Israel’s the main problem. All I am saying is you cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people. And right now, as you know, in Gaza, there is mass destruction that has not been addressed right now. Poverty rate is off the charts; 40 percent people are unemployed. We are United States of America. If we want to bring people together, we have got to address those issues.”
Asked to rate President Barack Obama’s approach to settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sanders said, “I think he’s done much better than his predecessors. But I think we still have a way to go. And I was not criticizing President Obama; I was criticizing Secretary Clinton.”
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