Netanyahu: Hamas Conflict the 'Cruelest, Most Grotesque War I've Ever Seen'
In response to critics of the Jewish State's response to Hamas rocket fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is showing "a hell of a lot of restraint" compared to the British response during World War II.
"Who wants civilian casualties? Who wants to accelerate and escalate? We're forced to do it. And what would you do? What would anybody do?" Netanyahu told Fox last night. "You know, you just have to put yourself in Israel's place. And if you're a leader, put yourself in my place. And ask a simple question, what would you do?"
"If you look at the historical antecedents, the answer is very clear. Israel is acting with great restraint because there's no other country that's been rocketed like this, with thousands of rockets. We've just had close to 2,000 rockets and mortars in the last few days, on every -- just about every one of our cities," he continued.
"Well, the only parallel, history parallel is Britain, rocketed by the Nazis in World War II. I don't -- you know, if we start drawing parallels, what Britain did compared to what we do, we've been showing a hell of a lot of restraint. So if there is any complaints, and there should be, about civilian deaths that they belong, the responsibility and the blame belongs in one place, Hamas. I don't think anyone should get that wrong."
The prime minister said there's still hope for some sort of ceasefire. "But, you know, in the Middle East, it takes two to tango, sometimes three and maybe four," he said, stressing that Hamas had rejected both the Egyptian proposal and a Red Cross humanitarian ceasefire.
"The point is that there's one side that is clearly bent on escalation and one side, that is Israel, that is bent on defending its people, as any country would under similar circumstances," Netanyahu said.
Of Secretary of State John Kerry's hot mic remark that Israel was engaging in "a hell of a pinpoint operation," Netanyahu said he doesn't "want to deal with off the cuff remarks."
"I'll tell you what my experiences have been. I've been in war. I've been in battle. And when you take a surgical operation, you can't guarantee when your soldiers are being fired from Hamas homes, that is, Hamas is targeting people with -- from private homes. And you hit them back. Of course, some people are going to be hurt. That's totally different from deliberately targeting them," he said. "We asked these civilians, before we went in, we said, please leave. We text them. We call them on cell phones. We drop leaflets. We told them where to go. And those who left were safe."
"Now, those who didn't leave, you know what they didn't leave? Because Hamas told them to be there, because Hamas, while we try to avoid Palestinian civilian dead, Hamas wants Palestinian civilian dead. The more the better, so they can give you telegenic fodder. So this is the cruelest, most grotesque war that I've ever seen. I mean not only does Hamas target civilians, ours, and hides behind their civilians, theirs, it actually wants to pile up as many civilian deaths as possible."