Netanyahu Scoffs at CBS Question About Meeting with Hamas: ‘Could You Talk to Al Qaeda?’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scoffed at a question Tuesday about seeing himself talking to Hamas, wondering what they would discuss as long as the Islamist terror group seeks Israel's destruction.

In an interview with "CBS Evening News," Netanyahu said he wished the recent violence at the Gaza border had never happened. He told anchor Jeff Glor it was not a "peaceful demonstration."

"Hamas is pushing people with a view of a massive infiltration into Israel, openly declaring their goal is to destroy Israel," Netanyahu said. "They're paying these people so it's not the peaceful demonstration that you think about."

"They're pushing civilians, women, children, into the line of fire, with the view of getting casualties," he added. "We try to minimize casualties. They're trying to incur casualties in order to put pressure on Israel, which is horrible."

Asked if his army went too far, Netanyahu said he didn't know of any military that would do anything differently against a similar threat. No Hamas leaders were immune from Israeli targeting, he said, if they continue to dispatch "terrorists to kill us."

"Do you see yourself under any circumstance talking to Hamas?" Glor asked.

"As long as they seek our destruction, what am I going to talk about?" Netanyahu asked. "Could you talk to al Qaeda? Would you have discussions with bin Laden? About what?"

Glor drew parallels with the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"Sometimes, meetings that might be unimaginable end up happening," Glor said.

"You're right. It's happened to us with our Arab neighbors [like Jordan]. But that's when you have leaders who've decided that they abandon the goal of war and destruction and annihilating the other side," Netanyahu said.

The U.S. has defended Israel against international criticism of its response to the violent demonstrations along the Gaza fence. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley called Hamas "pleased" with the bloodshed.

Over the past seven weeks, thousands of Palestinians have massed at the Gaza border as part of what organizers called the "March of Return." During the Hamas-led demonstrations, some Palestinians, including terrorist operatives, have attacked Israel and Israeli soldiers with explosives, rocks, and other weapons.

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