How Would Clinton Handle Relations With Israel?

With her campaign for the presidency underway, Hillary Clinton will begin her appeal to voters, and she'll have to clearly define her positions on important issues. While she's stressing that her campaign is going to be focused on policies that affect the American middle class, any president has to be able to handle foreign affairs and develop relationships with leaders of other countries. As a former Secretary of State, she's uniquely experienced in dealing with foreign heads of state, but The New York Times notes Clinton has been quiet lately about one foreign nation in particular: Israel.

According to The Times, Clinton has supported a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine for a long time, and has said she is "an emphatic, unwavering supporter of Israel's safety and security." But in the weeks leading up to the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has alternated between saying he does support and does not support a Palestinian state, Clinton avoided talking about U.S.-Israeli relations, The Washington Post reported. In her memoir Hard Choices, Clinton described Netanyahu as a "complicated figure." The Post reported that in an interview last year. Clinton said she had a good relationship with the Israeli prime minister "in part because we can yell at each other, and we do. And I was often the designated yeller."

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Relations with Israel were strained when Netanyahu spoke before Congress in March and criticized what he termed President Obama's "bad deal" with Iran. Netanyahu, who was reelected a few weeks after the speech before Congress, later expressed his gratitude for the Obama administration's support of Israel. But relations between the two countries are very tenuous now, and Clinton knows she will have a lot of work to do if she becomes president. She told a representative of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations late last month that the U.S.-Israel relationship needed to be repaired through mutual cooperation, according to CBS News.

Secretary Clinton thinks we need to all work together to return the special U.S.-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests, including a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
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It will be a tricky situation for sure, and it's likely that Clinton may need a secretary of state that will visit Israel more frequently than she did when she held that job; The Washington Post reported in 2013 that Secretary of State Clinton made only five visits to Israel, the lowest number of any full-term secretary of state since the Nixon administration. This delicate state of affairs will probably require a lot more face time than that.

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