Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said US-Israel relations must improve and that support for Israel must not become a partisan issue.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton rejected President Barack Obama’s approach to Israel in a phone call on Monday with Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Clinton spoke of the need to repair the recent damage to the special, bipartisan ties between the United States and Israel.
“We need to all work together to return the special US-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests,” Clinton stated. “We must ensure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue.”
Tensions between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been especially high in recent months. The Israeli leader accepted an invitation to address Congress on the Iranian nuclear negotiations without receiving presidential approval. Obama openly criticized comments made by Netanyahu during the Israeli elections and indicated a need to reassess US-Israel relations in light of his reelection. American strategists who consulted for Israeli parties during the election season accused the Obama administration of attempting to influence directly the outcome of the elections in favor of the opposition.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Clinton called for “a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.” The Palestinian Authority has recently taken several unilateral steps towards de facto statehood, including joining the International Criminal Court, to which it will accede on April 1.
In response to her comments, Hoenlein said, “Secretary Clinton’s views are of special importance and timeliness given recent issues in the US-Israel relationship. We note her call for direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, which, we believe, is the only possible route to a true peace.”
Clinton served as secretary of state under Obama during his first term in office. During her tenure, she was involved in initiating secret talks with Iran. Since then, she has generally been supportive of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, including military action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq and conducting nuclear negotiations with Iran.