What are 2016 presidential contenders saying about Israel's ground invasion of Gaza?

Possible presidential candidates for the 2016 US presidential election offer their thoughts on Israel's military operation in the Palestinian coastal enclave.

By , Staff Writer

Likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks with comedian Jon Stewart on Israel's ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

As Israel's ground incursion in to the Gaza Strip draws worldwide attention, some possible presidential candidates for the 2016 presidential election are speaking, and others are staying mum.

Democratic Party frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, made her first comments on the failed ceasefire and Israel’s invasion of the coastal territory during an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The former secretary of state expressed some concern for Gazan civilians who are "trapped by their leadership," but stated that Israel maintained the right to defend itself against Hamas, the Palestinian militant organization.

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“When I negotiated the cease-fire in November of 2012, it was right on the brink with Israel once again invading Gaza because of the rockets … and the Israelis are absolutely right in saying that they can’t just sit there and let rockets rain down. They have a missile defense which is working well, but that can’t be certain, and now there are drones, apparently, that are being launched from Gaza.”

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, echoed her remarks in an interview with an Indian television network. Hamas had "a strategy designed to force Israel to kill [Palestinian civilians] so that the rest of the world will condemn them," he said.

The Democratic Party's other touted candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, literally ran away from a reporter who broached the subject of Israel.

The senator had previously shied away from hawkish pro-Israel stances. In January, Warren opposed a bipartisan bill imposing additional sanctions on Iran, stating that she did not want to act "while diplomatic efforts to achieve a long-term agreement are ongoing."

Across the aisle, possible Republican Party candidates, for the most part, vied with another to provide the most pro-Israel statement possible.

Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal issued a statement supporting IDF activity in Gaza.

"We must condemn the terrorist attacks on the people of Israel. Let's be clear about this: Hamas and other terrorists are the perpetrators. There should be no ambiguity here," Jindal stated, adding that "the people of Israel must know that America stands with them."

Texas governor, Rick Perry, who had previously blasted President Obama's foreign policy in the region, expressed similar sentiment to Gov. Jindal.

"Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East, and we offer our complete solidarity with her today as she faces these attacks with courage and determination," Perry stated in a press release.

But New Jersey's maverick governor, Chris Christie, has flip-flopped on the issue. Last week, Mr. Christie told reporters, "I'm not going to give opinions on that."

On Thursday, Mr. Christie — who was the Republican frontrunner prior to the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal — criticized Mr. Obama for not supporting Israel to a sufficient degree.

"For six years he hasn’t spoken up loudly, firmly and clearly for Israel,” Mr. Christie said.

In the past, Christie had backtracked on Israel comments when he apologized to major Republican donor and casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, for calling the West Bank and Gaza "occupied territories."

Just as most candidates came out unequivocally in favor of Israel, the US Congress has previously expressed similar support for the Jewish state. Last week, the House unanimously passed a resolution to show "support for the state of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terror organization.”

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