If Hamas is weakened, discredited and demilitarized, then we may have a chance to work with more moderate forces and get a better future for all us.
Following are excerpts from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements during interviews on American news shows on Sunday (27 July): CBS – "Face the Nation", NBC – "Meet the Press" and CNN – "State of the Union":
Civilian casualties and human shields
"I can only appeal to decent people everywhere and tell them, if you’re concerned about civilian lives, it’s not because of Israel. Israel is not targeting a single civilian. It’s Hamas that wants to have Palestinian civilians killed and it’s Hamas that should be squarely blamed."
"We’re responding to Hamas’ action and we’re telling the civilians [in Gaza] to leave; Hamas is telling them to stay. Why is it telling them to stay? Because it wants to pile up their own dead bodies."
"The history of warfare has not yet enabled any army, any civilized army, the army of a democracy like Israel, to be able to deal with a ruthless terrorist enemy that uses civilians as a human shield without having some incidental civilian casualties. Israel does not target a single civilian."
"You don’t want to give the terrorists immunity because they use civilians as a human shield. That’s a mistake…. That’s deadly for the peace of the world, and a great victory for terrorism."
"We’ve accepted five ceasefires; acted upon them; Hamas has rejected every single one of them, violated them, including two humanitarian ceasefires which we accepted, and implemented in the last 24 hours."
"Now they [Hamas] floated a ceasefire proposal, and you know what? They violated their own ceasefire and they’re firing at us as we speak."
"I think what we need to do is go to the Egyptian initiative. The Egyptian initiative is the only game in town."
Gaza: Demilitarization and relief
"I hope we achieve a sustainable quiet that will enable us to address the issue of demilitarizing Gaza because I think that’s the real issue."
"We can’t allow them [Hamas] to restock this arsenal, or we’ll be stuck in another five-six months with the same problem."
"If Hamas comes out winning, not only in the propaganda war but it shows that it actually received a lot of goodies…I think it would be very hard to move peace forward."
"If Hamas is weakened, discredited and demilitarized, then we may have a chance to work with more moderate forces and get a better future for all us."
"Hamas is a terror organization that is committed to our destruction, supported Bin-Laden, condemned you [the US] for taking action against Bin-Laden, wants to eradicate the State of Israel. You don’t have a solution with them. "
"Obviously, we hope we can get a sustainable quiet as soon as possible. I think the only path to do that is by adopting the Egyptian initiative that basically has no conditions except to try to… have a ceasefire, a cessation of all hostilities, and try to address the two underlying issues here: security for Israel, which means demilitarizing Gaza from all these rockets and tunnels and so on, and social and economic relief for the Palestinians. I think the two are intertwined."
"You can’t get social and economic relief for the people of Gaza without having assured demilitarization because otherwise all the money, all the concrete, all the cement that will go in, will not be used to offer relief to the people of Gaza, but to build more terror tunnels and more rockets and more missiles."
"People said to us, enable concrete and cement to go into Gaza so they can rebuild, build Gaza, build schools, build hospitals and so on. They took all that cement and built this vast tunnel network… They took money, cement that was meant to build kindergartens for Palestinian children, and used it to dig tunnels to explode our kindergartens."
"Israel is doing what any country would do, and certainly the US would do, if 80 percent of your population were under rocket fire and you had 60 seconds or 90 seconds to get into bomb shelters, if terror tunnels were dug underneath your border in order to come in and explode your kindergartens and massacre your people and kidnap American citizens, you would take action."
"One of the things that we’re dealing with right now is how to dismantle this tunnel network. Our forces are busily engaging in it. I don’t think we’ll have 100% success, I can’t guarantee that, but we’ll have major success. We already have achieved quite a bit."