Clinton projects cautious optimism on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Story highlights

  • Clinton eschewed any perceived partisanship in the current U.S.-Israeli relationship
  • She called for a "common strategic vision" with the Israeli government

Washington (CNN)Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton warned on Sunday that a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not be enough to stabilize a region in turmoil, delivering a forceful speech on the state of the Middle East while still making a pitch to keep hope alive in efforts toward a two-state solution.

At Sunday's Saban Forum, Clinton covered lots of ground, from her stances on the Iranian nuclear deal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. But the foreign policy address also served to highlight her intentions to bolster the U.S.-Israeli alliance should she reach the White House.
The former secretary of state said she would "extend an invitation to the Israeli prime minister to come to the United States" on her first day in the Oval Office, making an effort take the relationship "to the next level."
    Clinton eschewed any perceived partisanship in the current U.S.-Israeli relationship, calling for a "common strategic vision" with the Israeli government and deepened "cooperation and consultation across the board." She also pledged further involvement with the Middle Eastern ally; boosting air defense systems in Northern Israel, helping to build tunnel detection technology and expanding high-level strategic consultation in enforcement of the Iranian nuclear deal.
    In facing an "ambitious" Iranian agenda, Clinton vowed to distrust and verify, stressing the importance of Iran's influence in the region, maintaining that she would keep military options open in enforcement of the nuclear deal. In the question-and-answer segment of the event, Clinton went as far as saying that she would keep the "nuclear option" on the table if the agreement were tested, a rare slip up that she quickly corrected, saying she had meant a "military option."
    Cautious with optimism, Clinton suggested that the new regional threats of ISIS and extremism have laid the ground work in making bedfellows of Israel and some neighboring Arab countries, opening the parties to the potential of new strategic opportunities.
    Quoting David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, Clinton made a nod to Sunday being the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday celebrating miracles.
    "In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles," she said.