Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently criticized the way Israel’s government is handling the conflict with the Palestinians.
While the other four presidential candidates (Republicans Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich and Democrat Hillary Clinton) attended the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting, Sanders was giving his own speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
ABC News reports that Sanders declined to attend AIPAC, although he is the only Jewish presidential candidate.
In his speech while campaigning in Utah, Sanders said that as a friend of Israel, the U.S. must be open and honest with Israel concerning the Palestinian conflict.
"I will work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel. But to be successful, we have also have got to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people,” he said.
Sanders noted his “personal ties” to Israel, recalling the time he lived in Israel and worked on a Kibbutz.
He condemned the Israeli government’s proposal that Israeli settlements be increased in the West Bank. He spoke about the inequalities between Israelis and Palestinians, including economic rights.
He condemned Hamas’ violence against Israel, but also condemned Israel’s retaliation.
“Let me also be very clear: I -- along with many supporters of Israel – spoke out strongly against the Israeli counterattacks that killed nearly 1,500 civilians and wounded thousands more. I condemned the bombing of hospitals, schools and refugee camps. Today, Gaza is still largely in ruins. The international community must come together to help Gaza recover,” he stated.
Sanders has continued to be a supporter of a two-state solution for the region.
Publication date: March 22, 2016