Bernie Sanders says he would 'level the playing field' in Israeli-Arab peace brokering

Published March 9th, 2016 - 05:50 GMT
A Palestinian girl plays in the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 50-day 2014 Israeli war in Gaza City, July 21, 2015. (AFP/File)
A Palestinian girl plays in the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 50-day 2014 Israeli war in Gaza City, July 21, 2015. (AFP/File)

Speaking to an Arab-American stronghold in a rally in Dearborn, Bernie Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont bidding for the Democratic presidential nomination, pledged to work towards a "level playing field" in US Middle East policy.

Sanders, speaking on Monday at a rally in Dearborn, Michigan, said that brokering Israeli-Arab peace is daunting. 

"For decades now there has been hatred and warfare in the Middle East, everybody knows it," he said. "We've had some presidents — Carter, Clinton others — who have tried to their best to resolve it.

"All I can tell you is I will make every single effort to bring rational people on both sides together so that hopefully we can have a level playing field, the United States treating everybody in that region equally."

Arab-American groups have long deplored US policy in the Middle East as it often favours Israel.

The speech appealed to an important constituency in the state, Arab- and Muslim-Americans, the day before the primaries. It may have helped his surprise primary victory the following day. Sanders won 63% to 37% over Clinton in Detroit precinct of Dearborn, according to the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday.

Sanders, who is Jewish, maintained a position on the issue closer to Donald Trump, the front-runner among Republicans, than the other Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton. Trump has received heavy criticism from his Republican rivals and from Clinton for pledging to remain neutral in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"I know, I know there are people of good will in Israel and the Arab communities, this is not an easy task, but it is a task that we must pursue," Sanders said. "We cannot continue to have for another 60 years with the kind of hatred and conflict that exists in the Middle East."


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