Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said in an interview on CBS “if Hamas thought they can just fire rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity that’s false (foolish). We are targeting a terrorist organisation that’s targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians using them as human shields. We are doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches, their arms.We are not going to just let them get away with it. Nor will they do
Netanyahu was firm in stating “Hamas is criminally attacking Israel from civilian neighbourhoods, from schools, homes and office buildings. That’s what they are doing and we are taking action, trying to target them with this great precision that we can. Unfortunately, there are occasionally civilian casualties which we regret.”
On the Bombing of the building that housed Associated Press and Aljazeera in Gaza, Netanyahu said an intelligence office for the Palestinian Terrorist organisation was housed in that building to plot and organise terrorist attack against Israeli citizens. It was a perfectly legitimate target. “We took every precaution to make sure there were no civilian injuries. In fact there were no deaths, no injuries whatsoever. Well I can’t say about injuries if someone recieved a fragment of a stone, I don’t know that but no people were killed. Now imagine, ask yourself how is that possible. You see these high rise towers that are used by Hamas over and over again. They collapsed and no one is killed. Why does that happen. Because we, unlike Hamas, take special precaution to tell people to leave the building, leave the premises. We make sure that everyone is gone before we bring down those terrorist facilities and that’s the difference between Israel and Hamas. They deliberately target our cities, deliberately target our citizens. They glorify the death of children, civilians and old people. They are happy with it. I think they are happy with any deaths that are caused. We grieve for every non-combatant loss in Gaza and we grieve for all our civilians who die. We are not happy with it and we try to minimise.”
When Netantahu’s attention was drawn to the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remark that Israel because of its strength and power and dominance has this extra burden on the question of casualties during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and was asked whether Israel is meeting its extra burden in responding to these rocket attacks from Hamas, he responded by saying
Certainly (we) are (meeting the extra burden) and I can tell you that there are many studies by serious military analysts who have compared Israel’s action with other western armies in similar situation fighting the radical Islamists – whether its in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere and do you know how prolonged those conflicts are, how many casualties are caused. I think there has to be a measure of fairness, there has to be a measure of reasonableness in projecting this kind of criticism against Israeli Army which is second to none in minimising civilian casualty and protecting our own citizens.”
Netanyahu further said, “If Hamas would simply move these rockets out of the civilian areas, if they move their command out of these homes and offices then there wouldn’t be any problem. But the fact is they are sending thousands of rockets on our cities with the specific purpose of murdering our citizens. If that happened to Washington and New York, what will you do.”
When his attention was drawn to United States Senator Burney Sanders, who has said that the treatment of Palestinians is so rough that they are marginalised, demonised in such a fashion that there can never be peace, never a two State solution. And more specifically that the treatment of Palestinians outside of this week is to create conditions that are always going to lead to this kind of unrest not just the missile attack but the riots one sees in cities, Netanyahu replied: “Let’s divide it into two. First of all the Hamas is not attacking us because they are trying to increase the welfare of Palestinians. In fact they are taking huge funds to build the terror tunnels we have been able to neutralise, to have rockets, missiles and other armaments. They are not building Gaza. They are doing everything in their power to turn it into a fortified terror camp in order to destroy Israel. And they openly say, their goal is to destroy Israel. They are not interested in any kind of coexistence, any kind peace. The four peace treaties I have made with the Arab countries, they are changing the middle-East (but) they are doing everything in their power to avoid the path of peace and reconciliation. Any objective observer understands that Hamas is out to destroy the State of Israel and they are not a partner.As far as the citizens of Israel or Arabs, I have done more than any other Prime Minister. Have spent billions and billions of dollars and Israeli shekel – five times more than all the previous governments combined to ensure that the Israeli Arab citizens, all of them, are part of the Israeli miracle, the great economic success story. I invested that because I believe in it.
There has been a minority, a violent minority that’s trying to challenge that as well.”
On the ongoing hostilities, the Israeli PM expressed hope that it doesn’t continue very long. He further said Hamas on our national day, Jerusalem day, attacked or provoked attack on our Jerusalem and then thousands of rockets and missiles on our cities and any country has to defend itself. It has the natural right of self defence. We’ll do whatever it takes to restore order, quiet and security of our people and deterrence. We are trying to deprive Hamas’ terrorist abilities and deprive their will to do this again.
When asked to comment on reports stating “Egypt offered truce, Hamas said yes and you said no, Netanyahu responded by saying: “Frankly if Hamas thought they can just fire rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity that’s false. We are targeting a terrorist organisation that’s targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians using them as human shields. We are doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches, their arms.We are not going to just let them get away with it. Nor will they do. Just imagine what would happen, if you had 2900 rockets fired on New York and Washington, you would understand our position.”
On criticism from international community, the Israeli PM said: “But here is what happens: When the international community attacks Israel, they are actually encouraging Hamas to continue these attacks because Hamas is great, for both killing Israeli citizens and they are happy with their own civilian casualties because it gets the international community to focus their attacks on Israel instead of Hamas.”
On persisting criticism, and personal attacks by his own opponents in Israel, Netanyahu said: “It persists because I have been re-elected 5 times. It persists because I beat every candidate in public polls and direct election. Apparently the people of Israel, the majority don’t agree with this false criticism, this cynicism. They know that I am standing there for Israel and that I am doing what I can for the safety and prosperity of the Israeli people – by the way of all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike.”