Clinton: Abbas could be replaced by ISIS flag

Leading presidential candidate tells Saban Forum that PA chairman must be strengthened, says she believes in "two-state solution".

Elad Benari,

Hillary Clinton at the Saban Forum
Hillary Clinton at the Saban Forum
Ralph Alswang

If the Palestinian Authority collapses, the black flags of the Islamic State (ISIS) could replace PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Sunday.

Speaking at the Saban Forum in Washington, the leading Democratic presidential candidate also said she would work to improve the United States’ relationship with Israel if elected.

"Palestinian Authority leaders should condemn and stop incitement in all its forms," she said, according to i24news, while referencing the recent wave of car ramming and stabbing attacks in Israel and evoking the memory of Ezra Schwartz, an American Yeshiva student who was killed in a recent terrorist attack in Gush Etzion.

She also echoed Secretary of State John Kerry's calls, made at the same forum a night earlier, to strengthen Abbas and prevent the PA from collapsing, warning, "The alternative to Abbas could be the black flag of the Islamic State."

As well, like Kerry, Clinton said that she “remains convinced” that peace is possible through the “goal of two states for two peoples”.

“Only a two-state solution can provide Palestinians independence, sovereignty and dignity and provide Israelis the secure and recognized borders of a democratic Jewish state,” she stressed.

“Inaction is not an option and a one-state solution is no solution, it is a prescription for endless conflict,” added Clinton.

Clinton called Israel America's "core ally in a region of chaos" and described "three converging trends" on which Americans and Israelis must develop a common strategic vision to address: the rising tide of extremism, Iran's continued aggression, and attempts to delegitimize Israel on the world stage.

The former Secretary of State also said American and Israeli leaders “must remind our peoples how much they have in common and keep our relationship always above partisan politics.”

“It is in our national interest to have an Israel that remains a bastion of stability and a core ally in a region in chaos,” she added.

"Tehran's fingerprints are on virtually every conflict across the Middle East," she said, according to i24news, adding that the United States should be ready to "snap back sanctions" in response to any provocation from Iran.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the Saban Forum in a video call and responded to Kerry’s accusations against Israel from Saturday.

The prime minister noted in his remarks that in order to make peace, one needs a partner, and that Abbas has not been one.

"The only workable solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Netanyahu, "is not a unitary state, but a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state."

He added that "the root cause of the conflict with the Palestinians is their refusal to recognize the Jewish state," and that while "settlements and territory are an issue to be resolved… they are not the core of the conflict."

Netanyahu said that recent events disproved the claim that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was at the heart of regional turmoil, "that was never true, but now it's demonstrably false."

He cited a recent statement by Abbas, according to which Israel has been occupying Arab land for 67 years. He asked if Abbas meant by this that Tel Aviv, too, was occupied Arab land.

"President Abbas refuses to address his people and say – 'it's over. No more claims after a peace deal,'" the prime minister said. "The Palestinians have not been willing to cross the emotional and conceptual bridge of a state next to Israel, not one instead of Israel. Not just Hamas, but also the PA. They refuse to accept a Jewish state for the Jewish people."




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