Buttigieg: US aid should be used as ‘leverage’ to change Israeli policies
November 11, 2019
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg said over the weekend that he would consider using American military aid to “leverage” Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians.
Speaking at the University of Chicago on Friday, the South Bend mayor indicated that, as president, he would not allow the US to grant the same amount of aid to Israel were it to annex West Bank settlements, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to do.
During a question-and-answer session at the South Side campus, a freshman and activist with the Jewish anti-occupation group IfNotNow asked if the candidate would make aid to Israel contingent upon ending the occupation.
“I think that the aid is leverage to guide Israel in the right direction,” Buttigieg said. “If, for example, there is a follow-through on these threats of annexation, I’m committed to ensuring that the US is not footing the bill for that.”
He suggested that pressuring Israel to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution was in its long-term interest of remaining a Jewish democracy.
“It is in the American interest, as well as the Palestinian and ultimately the Israeli Jewish interest, that Israel not reach the point where there will have to be a choice between either being a Jewish state or a democracy,” he said, “and there is a trajectory toward that going on right now.”
Buttigieg, 37, would not vow to reduce US aid to Israel if he were elected, but suggested it was a possibility.
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