Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during an appearance on “Face the Nation” that the tumult in Gaza would not subside anytime soon and that Hamas, not Israel, was responsible for the deaths of Palestinian civilians.
“Right now over 400 rockets [have been fired into Israel] … many more rockets were actually fired, but those are the ones that made it into the space above our population centers, so we’re talking perhaps a larger number,” Netanyahu said. “Any country would act to defend itself against this. We are doing exactly what any country would do, you would do if you were targeted from across the border. You would try to pinpoint the rocketeers, that’s what we’re doing.”
Netanyahu said that Palestinian civilian casualties were a direct result of Hamas’ disregard for the safety of their people.
“Their rocketeers and their command posts are embedded in homes, hospitals, next to kindergartens, mosques, and so we’re trying to operate to target them surgically, but the difference between us is that we’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles,” he said. “So naturally they’re responsible for all the civilian deaths that occur accidentally. We’re sorry for any accidental civilian death, but it’s the Hamas that bears complete responsibility for such civilian casualties.”
The United Nations Security Council has called for a cease-fire on both sides.
The Palestine Liberation Organization’s Ambassador to the United States, Maen Rashid Areikat said that the Palestinian Authority would like to see “an immediate cease-fire.”
When asked on “Face the Nation” if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas still had influence over Hamas, Areikat said, “I think he is exerting his best. I think he is talking to Hamas political leaders, different parties in the region, talking to the United States, with Europe, other countries.”
Netanyahu indicated it is unlikely a cease-fire will occur in the immediate future.
“When we began this interview we were under ‘bomb alert.’ As the minutes passed now we are being told that people can go out into the open area. This is the kind of reality we are living in. We’ll do, as I said, whatever is necessary to put an end to this,” he said.
Additionally, the Sunday shows dealt with the crisis at the border—a crisis that is expected to grow, as White House officials report that “as many as 90,000 unaccompanied minors could be apprehended before the end of this fiscal year.”
Democratic lawmakers criticized President Obama for not yet visiting the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I wish he would’ve come to the border,” Rep. Beto O’Rouke (D., Tex.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I wish he would’ve visited McAllen, Texas, ground zero for these refugees fleeing Central America. I wish he would’ve come to my district in El Paso where we’ve seen thousands of family members. … I think it would’ve sent an important message to the rest of the country about how seriously he takes this issue, beyond the spending request that was sent to Congress last week.”
The president’s decision to not visit the border, despite being in the state for fundraisers, has led to harsh criticism from Republicans and from Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar, who called it a possible “Katrina moment.”
Cuellar has been the most outspoken Democratic critic of the administration’s handling of the crisis, but Sunday seemed to suggest a shift as two Democrats expressed some frustration over Obama’s failure to visit the border.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.) echoed O’Rouke’s sentiment, telling CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Obama “absolutely” should have visited the border last week.
“I think the President should’ve gone down there, stated what the law is,” Gutierrez said.