"They don't give a whit about the Palestinian people," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC's George Stephanopoulis Sunday in an interview about the escalation of hostilities with Hamas. Netanyahu accused Hamas of a "double war crime" for using the Palestinian civilians, including women and children, as human shields.
On Sunday, the fighting between Hamas and Israel has been the bloodiest that it has been in five years, according to a recent report by The Inquisitr. Much of the loss of life has occurred among the Palestinian civilians, and both mainstream media and social media have been quick to show the tragic images and stories of civilian tragedy, especially when children are involved.
They have gained much sympathy from around the world and Netanyahu has been blamed by Hamas.
It is always tragic when innocent children pay the price for adult wars, but a CNN analyst points out that the Hamas terrorists "know that dozens of Palestinian victims of Israeli fire capture more headlines and airtime than tens of thousands of Syrian victims of Syrians or Iraqi victims of Iraqis." It is a strategy specifically aimed at gaining sympathy for their cause, downplaying their own role in using the Palestinian people as pawns in their agenda.
Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Hamas Sunday, telling Stephanopoulis:
"Hamas has to understand you can't just sit there and claim a moral rectitude or the higher ground while you're busy rocketing people and capturing people and digging tunnels to attack them."According to Prime Minister Netanyahu, "Hamas is deliberately targeting our civilians. They have fired 2,000 rockets - 2,000 rockets - at Israel's cities. Seventy-five percent of our population has to be in bomb shelter alert of 60 seconds or 90 seconds."
Hamas has spent the last few years spending millions of dollars on building at least 36 tunnels from Gaza into Israel for what the Palestinian militia has documented as being "to surprise the enemy and strike it a deadly blow that doesn't allow a chance for survival or escape or allow him a chance to confront and defend itself," reports the Washington Post.
The view by Hamas is consistent with Israeli evaluation of the purpose of the war tunnels, which they say is "to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios."
These objectives are being carried out by Hamas against Israel. Soldiers have been using these tunnels to infiltrate Israel, firing upon people as they emerge. On Saturday, "Hamas militants were found carrying handcuffs and tranquilizers in an apparent attempt to kidnap soldiers," according to the Washington Post. Prime Minister Netanyahu says that those militants were killed.
"They've emerged there and killed Israelis and run back, or tried to run back into their territory," said Netanyahu, "so we've had to take action."
Benjamin Netanyahu continued:
"What Hamas is doing, very cynically, is embedding its rocketeers, its rocket caches, its tunnels, these terror tunnels, in homes, in hospitals, in schools. And when we take action, as targeted as we can, they then use their civilians as human shields. So Hamas is both targeting civilians and Hamas is hiding behind conventions. That's a double war crime.... All civilian deaths, as regrettable as they are, fall on their shoulders."
When George Stephanopoulos asked Netanyahu if Israel's actions against Hamas would be perceived negatively by the rest of the world and turn opinion against Israel, Netanyahu responded:
"Well, they'll always look at the last reel of the movie. They won't see the fact that our forces are coming in there, trying to ferret out the rocketeers, trying to shut the tunnels at their source. And, of course, they get hit from the houses there by Hamas and Islamic Jihad fire.Stephanopoulos asked Prime Minister Netanyahu the obvious question, "How can they leave right now when Israel is hitting from all sides?"
"The interesting thing is this, we've asked the civilian population, the people in Gaza, who are not our enemy- they're hostages of Hamas. We've asked them, please leave. We text messages to them. We call them with cell phones. We drop leaflets.
"And Hamas says, 'No, don't leave. Stay."
To which Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the Palestinian people "have plenty of exit points and they know it. But Hamas is saying, 'Don't use them.' Hamas wants to kill civilians on the Israeli side and the amazing grotesque and gruesome fact is they want to have as many civilians killed on the Palestinian side, because it gets you to ask me these questions."
Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that Israel's goal "is not to hurt a single individual, not to hurt a single civilian." He added that he wants a cessation to the fighting:
"I called for a cease-fire right away. And then I accepted the Egyptian cease-fire, backed up by the Arab League. Then I accepted a U.N. humanitarian cease-fire, which Hamas rejected, as well. Then we did now a humanitarian cease-fire and Hamas has violated that, too."As of yet, the majority of missiles that Hamas has fired at Israel in the current conflict have not taken lives, though Netanyahu reports that Israel's citizens must remain on constant high alert from the increased number of sirens going off daily from Hamas-fired missiles. Partly this is due to the Iron Dome missile defense system, but there is another explanation given by the Jewish people in Israel: God is protecting them.
As reported in a recent article from The Inquisitr, even a Hamas terrorist acknowledged that "their God" was helping Israel. The militant was asked why Hamas "couldn't aim their rockets more effectively," he replied, "We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air."
Benjamin Netanyahu summed up the reason for the tragic death toll among Palestinian civilians last week in an interview with CBS and FOX:
"We use missiles to protect our citizens; Hamas uses citizens to protect their missiles."[images via Bing, ABC, YouTube screenshot, IBTimes, IDF Declassified Photo]