(NEW YORK) — During back-to-back Facebook and Twitter chats Monday evening, Hillary Clinton weighed in again on the growing tensions in the Middle East, reiterating her hope for a ceasefire in the region and stressing her view that Israel has largely been “provoked” by Hamas throughout the conflict.
“You mention in particular the difficulties we currently are seeing in the Middle East because of the actions by Hamas, first to rain rockets on to Israel. Israel being provoked,” Clinton told Twitter’s VP of Global Media (and former State Department employee), Katie Jacob Stanton, when asked how social media has changed diplomacy between conflicting nations, particularly with IDF and Hamas, who regularly communicate via Twitter.
She added: “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.”
Clinton went on to give an idealistic view of how social media should be used between countries: “It is a fact of social media right now that too often people use it as a weapon, instead of an opportunity. And maybe one of the ways we can think together about the next phase in the development of social media is as a tool of outreach, a tool of reconciliation, a tool of negotiation, and maybe even resolution.”
Earlier in the day during the Facebook Q&A, Clinton, who as secretary of state helped to negotiate the last ceasefire in November 2012, said she hopes there can be another ceasefire soon to end the current conflict, and added that she is “fully supportive” of Secretary Kerry’s efforts do so.
Secretary Kerry is currently in Cairo, Egypt where he is working to negotiate a ceasefire in the Gaza strip. Early Monday he announced the U.S. would give $47 million in aid to Gaza and voiced “concern” over civilian deaths — more than 583 Palestinians and 27 Israelis over the past two weeks — and meanwhile reaffirmed support for Israel’s self-defense.
Hillary Clinton’s comments were part of the two social media chats she participated in Monday during a swing through Silicon Valley, where she visited the headquarters of Google, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition to the Middle East, Hillary Clinton answered questions about Ukraine, saying there “was no doubt” in her mind that the Ukrainian separatists were getting help from Russia and pushed for European nations to enact stricter sanctions on Putin; abortion rights, where she again slammed the Hobby Lobby ruling; and college tuition, which she says, “costs too much.”
During the Twitter chat, Clinton took questions not only from users who submitted them using the hashtag #AskHillary, but from a range of high-profile friends and celebrities, which drew a bit of cynical skepticism from people watching online.
The questions came from Amy Poehler (who Clinton conceded “did do a really wicked imitation of me.”), Malala Yousafzai, Melinda Gates, and Scandal star Kerry Washington (who Clinton called “terrific.”) In addition, soccer star, Julie Foudy, snuck in a question about 2016, asking who would be her VP pick. But Clinton didn’t even pretend to answer.
“I’m going to take a pass on that,” she said and moved on.
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