Israeli minister says Sanders' Gaza death figures 'loony'

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 3:47 PM

The minister, Zeev Elkin, commenting on an interview by the VT senator in the NY Daily News on Monday, took a forgiving tack, saying politicians "sometimes create mistakes" in the heat of a campaign."I don't recollect the figures, but my recollection is over 10.000 innocent people were killed in Gaza.

An Israeli cabinet minister described as "loony" on Thursday an account by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of the no of Palestinian civilians killed in the two thousand fourteen Gaza war that went well beyond any official assessments.

The minister, Zeev Elkin, commenting on an interview by the VT senator in the NY Daily News on Monday, took a forgiving tack, saying politicians "sometimes create mistakes" in the heat of a campaign.

"I don't recollect the figures, but my recollection is over 10.000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?" Sanders told the newspaper. "I do believe and I don't think I'm alone in believing that Israel'south force was more random than it should have been."

Sanders, who trails Hillary Clinton in the pledged delegates needed to win the nomination ahead of the Democratic party’s July conference in Philadelphia, also criticized Gaza militants for launching rockets at Israel from civilian areas.

The war killed around 2.one hundred Palestinians, according to Gaza officials, Israel and foreign observers. The Palestinians declare most of the deceased were civilians. Israel says more than half were fighters. Israel lost sixty-seven soldiers and six civilians in the war.

Asked about Sanders' toll, Elkin, using the Israeli military'south duration for the Gaza war, said in a radio interview: "Anyone who knows a tiny about what happened in Operation Protective Edge understands that this was a weird and loony statement."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has kept out of the frequently acrimonious U. S. election race - a practice that Elkin, one of his closest cabinet colleagues, endorsed.

"What's ultimately necessary is what they (candidates) do and not what they declare in election campaigns," Elkin, who serves as minister for Jerusalem and immigration, told Israel Radio.

"Therefore I recommend to us all that we obtain a tiny less excited about this-or-that statement that is made."

On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League called on Sanders to exact his figures.

"As Mr. Sanders publicly discusses his approach to key U. S. foreign policy priorities ... accuracy and accountability are fundamental for the voting public, but also for U. S. credibility in the international community," said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt.

Sanders, who's Jewish, spent several months in Israel in the one thousand nine hundred sixty as a volunteer on a kibbutz, or communal farm.

"I lived in Israel. I've family in Israel. I believe 100 % not only in Israel'south right to exist, a right to exist in peace and security without having to face terrorist attacks," he told the NY Daily News.

He added: "I think the United States has got to assistance work with the Palestinian people as well. I think that's the path toward peace."

(Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Richard Balmforth)

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