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Pete Buttigieg says Palestinian leaders are no partner for peace and Israel needs ‘guidance’

(JTA) — Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg said Palestinian leaders are not “the right kinds of partners” for peace, but that Israel’s leaders need American guidance.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a former naval intelligence officer, made his remarks Thursday at a meeting with several dozen representatives of Jewish groups held in Washington, D.C. Thee meeting was arranged by Bluelight Strategies, a public affairs firm.

One of the “biggest problems” facing American policy with respect to Israeli and Palestinian leadership, he said, is “we don’t have the right kinds of partners in leadership on the Palestinian side, is that we have to invest more energy in constraining their worst impulses than in trying to get a good outcome.”

The right approach to Israel, he said, “comes about when you have an ally or a friend that is taking steps that you think are harmful and you put your arm around your friend and try to guide them somewhere else.”

The Jewish representatives included Alan Ronkin, a regional director at American Jewish Committee; Mark Mellman, founder of the Democratic Majority for Israel group; and Norman Goldstein, vice president for Israel and Overseas at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

CAP: Pete Buttigieg, right, speaking to Jewish community represenatatives in Washington DC on May 23, 2019. (Stefani Reynolds/CNP)

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