Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Sunday replied to her opponent Bernie Sanders, who called Israel’s response against Hamas “disproportionate.”

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” and quoted by Politico, Clinton touted Israel’s right to defend itself and said that when “your soldiers are under attack, you have to respond.”

“Hamas provokes Israel. They often pretend to have people in civilian garb acting as though they are civilians who are Hamas fighters,” she added.

“It’s a very different undertaking for Israel to target those who are targeting them. And I think Israel has had to defend itself, has a right to defend itself,” said Clinton.

Earlier on Sunday, in an interview of his own on CNN, Sanders called for a more "balanced" American Middle East policy and deemed Israel's actions in the 2014 Gaza war "disproportionate."

"Israel has 100 percent -- and no one will fight for that principle more strongly than I will -- has the right to live in freedom independently and in security without having to be subjected to terrorist attacks," he said. "But I think that we will not succeed to ever bring peace into that region unless we also treat the Palestinians with dignity and respect."

"In Gaza right now, poverty, unemployment, their community has been decimated," Sanders continued. "You can't ignore that fact."

"And you can't just be only concerned about Israel's needs." he added. "You have to be concerned about the needs of all other people in the region."

Sunday’s comments came days after Sanders sparked a firestorm when he claimed Israel killed 10,000 Palestinian Arabs during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in an interview with the New York Daily News.

The comments elicited criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, whocalled on Sanders to publicly correct his statement.

Sanders’ campaign later denied he made those claims, saying that Sanders’ position was “distorted.”