Breaking with the traditional Western approach of trying to appease Palestinian terrorism, US presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Monday insisted violence against Israel must be confronted.
Trump was speaking at the annual gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), where he charged that “President Obama is the worst thing to happen to Israel.”
By contrast, if he wins the White House, Trump vowed a very different take at Middle East peacemaking.
The Palestinians “must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will exist forever as a Jewish state,” he said, adding that any other type of deal “would reward Palestinian terrorism… You don’t reward behavior like that. You cannot do it. There’s only one way you treat that kind of behavior. You have to confront it.”
Trump also promised that as president he would “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
Trump’s remarks won thunderous applause from an audience that many believed would be difficult to win over for the controversial billionaire.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton also addressed the conference. She spent most of her time on stage launched thinly veiled attacks on Trump himself, but also very subtly distanced herself from President Barack Obama’s contentious handling of Israel.
“If I am fortunate enough to be elected president,” she promised, “… we will never allow Israel’s adversaries to think a wedge can be driven between us. When we have differences, as any friends do, we will work to resolve them quickly and respectfully.”
It as almost a stab at the Obama Administration’s often harsh tone in publicly addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.