Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against CBS News’s John Dickerson after the host insinuated that Israel is not doing enough to ensure its missile attacks are not killing civilians in the Gaza Strip.
The story: Netanyahu made the comments during an appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday where he discussed the country’s conflict with terrorists in Gaza, which has escalated in the last several days. Netanyahu defended his nation’s attacks on Gaza and argued the U.S. would respond the same way as Israel if it were on the receiving end of missile attacks from terrorists.
What he said: Netanyahu was responding to a question about the rising death toll among Israelis and Palestinians as part of violence between the countries that started last week.
Dickenson pressed the prime minister on civilian casualties, saying that “Israel, because of its strength and power and dominance, has an extra burden on these questions of casualties. The question is whether Israel is meeting its extra burden in responding to these rocket attacks from Hamas.”
Netanyahu highlighted that Israel takes “special pains” to make sure that they’re not harming innocent civilians.
“The fact is they’re sending thousands of rockets on our cities with a specific purpose of murdering our civilians from these places,” Netanyahu said of Palestinian terrorists. “What would you do if it happened to Washington, to New York? You know damned well what you would do.”
The Israeli Prime Minister argued that it was Palestinian terrorists who show a disregard for civilians.
“[I]f Hamas thought that they could just fire rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity. That’s false. We are targeting a terrorist organization that is targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians, using them as human shields,” he said.
“That’s the difference between Israel and Hamas. They deliberately target our cities, deliberately target our civilians. They glorify in the death of children and civilians and old people. They’re happy with it. I think they’re happy with any deaths that are caused to them,” Netanyahu argued.
Worth noting: Israel drew some backlash over the weekend after it destroyed a building containing the offices of The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday.
Netanyahu claimed that the building was a “perfectly legitimate target” and pointed out that no civilians died in the attacks because the IDF had previously wanted occupants.
The numbers: Palestinian authorities say that the Israeli attacks have killed at least 197 people, including 58 children. Rocket attacks from Gaza, the territory controlled by the militant group Hamas, have killed at least 10 people in Israel, including two children, according to Reuters.
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