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Bill Clinton: “I Killed Myself to Give the Palestinians a State”

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

On Friday, former President Bill Clinton defended his wife’s position on Israel, as well as his own, after he was heckled at a Clinton campaign event in New Jersey.

An audience member repeatedly yelled, “What about Gaza?” during his speech.

Clinton responded by saying that his wife worked with the Egyptian government to stop the violence in Gaza during the 2014 assault.

The spectator reminded Clinton that Hillary said, “neutrality is not an option” in 2014, prompting boos from other audience members.

“Depends on whether you care what happens to the Palestinians as opposed to the Hamas government and the people with guided missiles,” Clinton responded.

The spectator said, “They were human beings in Gaza.”

“Yes, they were, and Hamas is really smart,” Clinton said. “When they decide to rocket Israel, they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools, in the highly populous areas, and they are smart. They said they try to put the Israelis in a position of either not defending themselves or killing innocents. They’re good at it. They’re smart. They’ve been doing this a long time.”

Clinton then went on to defend his wife’s position of making sure Israel knows that the United States supports the country. He said that there cannot be a peaceful solution to the 68-year old conflict unless Israel knows that America is on its side.

During his speech, Clinton also blamed the Palestinians for the failed peace process of his presidency.

“I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state. I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza… between 96 and 97 percent of the West Bank, compensating land in Israel, you name it,” Clinton said.

The former president blamed the late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader, Yasser Arafat, for the failure of the 2000 Camp David Summit, which brought together Israeli and Palestinian leaders to negotiate Palestinian statehood. In the negotiations, Palestinians were supposed to form a state comprised of 100% of Gaza and 72% of the West Bank, which would increase to a maximum of 92% in 10-25 years.

The deal was rejected because Israel would still have a significant annexation of the West Bank that would block Palestinian access from one Palestinian city to another. The deal was also rejected because Palestinians would only be awarded “custodianship” of small parts of East Jerusalem, and Israel denied any responsibility in the massive Palestinian refugee crisis, or their right to return to their homes in Israel.

President Clinton also recalled when Yasser Arafat called him a great man, but Clinton told him, “The hell I am… I’m a colossal failure, and you made me one,” because Arafat rejected “the best peace deal he was ever going to get,” referring to the 2000 Camp David Summit.

In 1993, President Clinton also commissioned the Oslo Accords, which brought together Yasser Arafat and then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for the first time. From the deal, Palestinians got official recognition of their government, the Palestinian Authority, and their international representation, the PLO, while also gaining control over Palestinian territories and withdrawal of Israeli Defense Forces from Gaza. The PLO recognized Israel’s existence, rejected Palestinian violence, and accepted settlements in the West Bank at the time as “permanent,” with an understanding that they would not grow.

However, the conditions of this deal were repeatedly violated, causing Palestinians to approach Clinton’s efforts in 2000 with suspicion and caution. Clinton believes nothing can be done to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without adamant support for Israel. Yet, it seems that it’s the unconditional support for Israel that’s stopping Palestinians from joining negotiations, while also allowing Israel to continuously violate these international agreements without consequence.

arabamerica.com *

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