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Former President Clinton laments international crises

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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Former president Bill Clinton speaks at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton mingles with Trib Total Media staff following his speech during a memorial service for Richard Mellon Scaife at his property, Penguin Court, outside Ligonier on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Former president Bill Clinton speaks at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Former president Bill Clinton speaks at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Former President Clinton delivers Scaife memorial address Former President of the United States Bill Clinton addresses Trib Total Media staff members during a memorial service for Richard Mellon Scaife at his property, Penguin Court, outside Ligonier on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Former president Bill Clinton speaks at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton shares a laugh with Trib Total Media employees Kari Andren and Randy Bish following his speech at a memorial service for Richard Mellon Scaife at his property, Penguin Court, outside Ligonier on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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John C. Schisler | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Former president Bill Clinton greets Trib Total Media columnist and editor Nafari Vanaski for the Bridgeville Area News after speaking at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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James M. Kubus | Tribune-Review
Former President Bill Clinton and H. Yale Gutnick, chairman of the Trib Total Media board of directors, talk in 2014 at a memorial service for Dick Scaife on the grounds of Scaife's childhood home in Ligonier.
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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Former president Bill Clinton greets Trib Total Media employees after speaking at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Former president Bill Clinton shares a laugh with business columnist John Browne after speaking at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Former forty-second President of the United States, Bill Clinton, casually speaks with members of Trib Total Media after he spoke with the newspaper staff about his friendship with Richard Mellon Scaife during a memorial service for Scaife at his property Penguin Court in Ligonier, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, mingles with Trib Total Media staff following his speech during a memorial service for Richard Mellon Scaife at his property, Penguin Court, outside Ligonier on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton mingles with Trib Total Media staff following his speech during a memorial service for Richard Mellon Scaife at his property, Penguin Court, outside Ligonier on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Trib Total Media photojournalist Guy Wathen, of Squirrel Hill, takes a selfie with former president Bill Cliniton at Penguin Court in Ligonier on Saturday, August 2, 2014. Mr. Clinton spoke in memory of Richard Mellon Scaife at a special memorial service honoring the Trib Total Media publisher and philanthropist.
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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
From left to right, Trib Total Media employees James Borden, Carol Shrefler, Karen Price, and Bob Bauder listen to former president Bill Cliniton speak in memory of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife at Penguin Court in Ligonier during a memorial in Scaife's honor on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton mingles with Trib Total Media staff members following his speech at a memorial service for Richard Mellon Scaife at his property, Penguin Court, outside Ligonier on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
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John C. Schisler | Trib Total Media
Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, speaks to staff members of Trib Total Media during a private memorial for Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday at Scaife's property, Penguin Court, in Ligonier. Clinton spoke of his admiration for Scaife and how they became friends after leaving office.
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John C. Schisler | Trib Total Media
Yale Gutnick, a lawyer for both Richard Mellon Scaife and Trib Total Media, says a few words about his dear friend and what he meant to the newspaper business before introducing former President of the United States Bill Clinton during a memorial service for Scaife at Penguin Court in Ligonier, Pa, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.
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John C. Schisler | Trib Total Media
Trib Total Media Medical Editor Luis Fabregas (left) chats with Bill Clinton as the former President of the United States mingled with attendees of a memorial for Richard Mellon Scaife that was held at Penguin Court in Ligonier, Pa for members of the company's staff on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.
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John C. Schisler | Trib Total Media
Richard Mellon Scaife's Penguin Court. The staff of Trib Total Media awaiting the arrival of former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, to lead the memorial on a man, he said. ' was passionate about his country.'
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John C. Schisler | Trib Total Media
The staff of Trib Total Media listen to former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, lead a memorial remembering Richard Mellon Scaife, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014.
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Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Attorney Yale Gutnick talks to Trib Total Media employees about his long time friend and Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife at Penguin Court in Ligonier during a memorial in Scaife's honor on Saturday, August 2, 2014.

Former President Bill Clinton on Saturday sharply criticized Hamas for deliberately endangering civilians and using international aid to build a network of tunnels into Israel.

Speaking at a memorial service for Tribune-Review owner Richard Mellon Scaife, Clinton lamented the series of foreign policy crises that have cropped up from Eastern Europe to the Middle East in recent weeks.

“How could the people in Gaza, who started rocketing Israel, think that it was OK to use international aid money to dig tunnels to increase their ability to destabilize the region and kill people?” Clinton told about 150 Trib Total Media employees at the memorial service at Scaife’s boyhood home in Ligonier.

Israeli officials list the destruction of the tunnels, which Hamas has used for a series of incursions into Israel, as a chief objective of the 26-day-old war in Gaza.

The Israeli government has come under increasing international pressure, including criticism from the United States, for bombing and shelling that killed more than 1,600 Palestinian civilians, many of them children. About 60 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians have died.

But Clinton blamed the rising civilian death toll on Hamas as well, saying they deliberately placed munitions where civilians seek shelter, then use their deaths to foment international anti-Israeli sentiment.

“How could they put rockets in a school to follow a deliberate strategy to force the deaths of their own civilians so as to make Israel look bad in the world?” Clinton said.

Clinton has remained active in the international community since leaving the White House in 2001, using the Clinton Foundation to fund humanitarian projects around the world.

Scaife, an erstwhile political foe who became Clinton’s friend in recent years, donated more than $100,000 to the foundation. He gave $1 million to aid a global relief effort after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Clinton helped direct the effort.

The foundation in 2006 began a large AIDS program in Ukraine, where a Russian-backed rebellion has destabilized the eastern part of the country.

“I’m really worried about Ukraine,” Clinton said. His foundation’s work has introduced him to activists and politicians throughout the country, he said. “I know a lot of those reformers. They don’t want a hateful relationship with Russia. They just want to be free. They want to be a bridge between Europe and Russia.”

He used his relationship with Scaife — which transformed from an antagonistic one in the 1990s to collaboration in recent years — to contrast with the belligerent stance of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“If the Russians were thinking the way Dick Scaife thought when I first met him, they would see that (using Ukraine as a bridge to Europe) is far more in their interests than having a subservient,impoverished, angry Ukraine under their thumb,” Clinton said.

“The Russians would benefit. The Europeans would benefit,” Clinton said. He added later, “It’s a question of identity. What makes your life matter? That you can kill someone else? That you can crush someone else? That you can destroy someone else? You don’t have to do any of that to fight for what you believe in.”

Mike Wereschagin and Salena Zito are Trib Total Media staff writers. Reuters contributed to this report.

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