WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Former President Bill Clinton implored Israel to push for a two-state solution with Palestinians, noting that Israel cannot remain a democracy with the Palestinian population growing faster than that of the Jewish community.
Clinton’s speech in Rehovot was made at the Peres Academic Center in honor of President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday. Clinton reiterated his vision shared by Peres for a long-term, two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israelis, reports The Times of Israel.
“If you don’t have a vision of where you want to wind up,” said Clinton. “Bad things are going to happen sooner or later…You have a better chance if you are driven by a vision of peace and reconciliation.”
Despite numerous failures for agreement in the past, Clinton cautioned the Israelis that they will have to come to terms with the growing Palestinian population and a democracy that refuses such a majority to vote. Clinton stated that the demographic and political challenges for Israel will only worsen in the future.
“No matter how many settlers you put out there, the Palestinians are having more babies than the Israelis as a whole, said Clinton. “You’ve got an existential question to answer.”
Clinton rhetorically asked if the Israelis could deny the vote to a majority of people in an expanded Israel and still identify themselves as a democracy. While on the other hand, he asked, “If you let them [the Palestinians] vote, would you be a Jewish state?”
Clinton showed his solidarity with Peres, and continued to press the Israelis to come up with a two-state solution sooner rather than later.
“I’m like President Peres. I don’t see any alternative to a Palestinian state, said Clinton. “You’re going to have to share the future. Paint a picture in your mind of the future you want to have and take the logical steps to achieve it.”