It underscored a chasm between the country`s official support for creating an independent Palestinian state and the hard-line opponents who dominate Israel`s ruling coalition.
Repeating arguments made for years by Israeli doves and centrists, Clinton warned that increasing numbers of Palestinians under Israeli rule will ultimately force the country to lose either its Jewish majority or its democratic nature if Palestinians are not given equal rights as citizens.
"Is it really okay with you if Israel has a majority of its people living within your territory who are not now, and never will be, allowed to vote?" Clinton asked at a conference in central Israel honoring President Shimon Peres, who is turning 90.
"If it is, can you say with a straight face that you`ll be a democracy? If you let them vote, can you live with not being a Jewish state? And if you can`t live with one of those things, then you are left with trying to cobble together some theory of a two-state solution," he said, with a Palestinian state next to Israel.
Clinton was referring to the 4.4 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories that Israel conquered in the 1967 Mideast war. Another 1.4 million live inside Israel, alongside about 6.5 million Jews.