Hillary Clinton on Monday repeatedly stressed that Israel was “provoked” by Hamas in the current conflict roiling the Middle East, offering among her strongest statements yet concerning the hostilities in Gaza, reports Washington-based news organisation POLITICO.
The former secretary of state and possible 2016 Democratic front-runner delivered those comments during a question-and-answer session at the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. She weighed in on the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in several interviews last week as well, criticizing the leadership of Hamas as Israel launched a ground invasion into Gaza in response to rockets Hamas was lobbing into the country.
“You mention, in particular, the difficulties we currently are seeing in the Middle East,” she said, in response to a question about how Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces use Twitter. “Because of the actions by Hamas, first to rain rockets onto Israel, Israel being provoked -- because I do think that was part of the Hamas calculation, to provoke Israel to respond, to defend itself, which any nation has to do if you are under attack like that, and then we see the unfortunate effects of any conflict with innocent people being caught in the crossfires.”
Her remarks came as part of a question-and-answer session with Katie Stanton, Twitter’s vice president of global media who previously served on the innovation team at the State Department during Clinton’s tenure there.
The live stream event appeared to draw only several hundred viewers, and the bulk of the questions seemed to come from celebrities and well-known activists including Kerry Washington, Malala Yousafzai, Amy Poehler and Melinda Gates, along with Twitter employees.
In the interview, which ran a little over 45 minutes, Clinton touched on a wide range of issues, from empowering women and girls -- a favorite subject of hers, to blasting Russia’s Vladimir Putin, telling women not to be too hard on themselves, and lamenting the skyrocketing costs of college.
“College education just costs too much,” she said. “It’s hard to relate the rise in cost to the actual product, that has certainly changed somewhat, but not so dramatically as to justify those costs.”
Clinton, who is on tour to promote her memoir of her time at the State Department, “Hard Choices,” has come under fire for the way she discussed her personal finances -- saying, for example, that when she and former President Bill Clinton left the White House, they were “dead broke.” On Monday night, she appeared cautious as she struck a personal note about how she and her husband paid for law school, noting that after graduation, they took “relatively” low-paying jobs.
“When we were in law school, we both took out loans, we both worked two, three, four jobs but when we graduated, we had the opportunity to pay back as a percentage of our income,” she said as she outlined possible answers to handling education costs. “And we both took relatively low-paying jobs -- I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, Bill became a law professor in Arkansas, I later moved to Arkansas, taught at the law school and made, like, $17,000, and we were paying back as a percentage. And we could keep up with those payments without having to sacrifice too much.”
She also sought to inject humor throughout the conversation. At one point, responding to a tweet that asked her about her biggest accomplishment as secretary of state and was signed “xoxo,” Clinton replied, “Spreading ‘xoxo’ everywhere,” before launching into a weightier response touching on a number of her foreign policy achievements.
Asked by soccer star Julie Foudy about who her running mate might be, Clinton said she would take a pass on the question.
“I’m not even ready yet to say that I’m going to do it or that I would get it done,” she said of 2016.
Earlier in the day, Clinton hosted a Facebook chat, where she received several hundred questions. She fielded a wide range of issues, from campaign finance -- she would “consider” a constitutional amendment “that would prevent the abuse of our political system by excessive amounts of money if there is no other way to deal with the Citizens United decision” -- to which is the first book she plans to read to her grandchild, whose birth is expected later this year (“Goodnight Moon” was her answer.).
In both the Facebook chat and on Twitter, Clinton said she supported an investigation into the fallen Malaysia Airlines flight, which crashed in Ukraine last week, and urged Europe to step up its efforts to hold Russia accountable amid questions over Moscow’s ties to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.