Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pilloried Donald Trump on Monday for his intention to take a "neutral" position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, telling AIPAC that Israeli security was not negotiable and anyone who thought otherwise "has no business being our president."
"All of this work defending Israel's legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties, taking our alliance to the next level, depends on electing a president with a deep personal commitment to Israel's future as a secure, democratic Jewish state, and to America's responsibilities as a global leader," Clinton said.
"We need America to remain a respected global leader, committed to defending and advancing the international order, an America able to block efforts to isolate or attack Israel. The alternative is unthinkable. Yes, we need steady hands, not a president who says he's neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything's negotiable. Well, my friends, Israel's security is non-negotiable."
Clinton relayed a story of sitting in Israeli hospital rooms, "holding the hands" of people riddled with shrapnel from terrorist bombs.
"That's why I feel so strongly that America can't ever be neutral when it comes to Israel's security or survival," Clinton said. "We can't be neutral when rockets rain down on residential neighborhoods, when civilians are stabbed in the street, when suicide bombers target the innocent. Some things aren't negotiable, and anyone who doesn't understand that has no business being our president."
Trump was booed at the most recent Republican debate on March 10 when he claimed to be the most pro-Israel candidate on the stage. He is scheduled to address AIPAC Monday evening, along with fellow Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Trump announced his intention to be neutral on the issue during an MSNBC town hall on March 10, the Hill reports:
"Let me be sort of a neutral guy," the billionaire added. "I have friends of mine that are tremendous businesspeople, that are really great negotiators, [and] they say it’s not doable.
"You understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. So I don’t want to say whose fault it is — I don’t think that helps."
Trump said he would seek harmony in the Middle East as commander in chief no matter the difficulty.
"That’s probably the toughest deal in the world right now to make," he said. "It’s possible it’s not makeable because, don’t forget, it has to last.