As Israel faces a public relations nightmare with its war in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken to appearing in the mainstream media to discuss the situation and hopefully drum up some renewed support for Israel as it wages a devastating war in the Gaza Strip and prepares for the worst with Hezbollah in its north.
Doing so, he recently appeared on CNN, where he argued with host Dana Bash, who insisted that he take “personal responsibility” for the bloody October 7 attack that left over 1000 Israelis dead, hundreds taken hostage, and many more wounded. Netanyahu refused to do so, saying that the politics of the matter should be hashed out after the war, not during it.
It began with Bash challenging Netanyahu over his argument that blame should be apportioned after the war is over. Particularly, she asked, “Why won’t you take responsibility now?” Responding, Netanyahu told her, “I’ve already addressed that many times. And I said this whole question will be addressed after the war.”
She then returned to the question, asking why he would try to postpone taking responsibility for a major Israeli intelligence and military failure. She asked, “Why not now?” He pointed to the two big surprise attacks in American history, asking, “Did people ask Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor that question? Did people ask George Bush after the surprise attack [of September 11th]?”
Bash argued that questions about their responsibility were asked at the time, telling him, “I think those questions were asked.” Netanyahu didn’t address that rebuttal, however, instead dodging the question of responsibility and calling on Israelis to remain united against Hamas. He said, “Right now, what we have to do is unite the country for one purpose, one purpose alone, and that is to achieve victory.”
During the interview, the two also debated Israeli tactics in the war. Bash asked, “How do you intend to go after Hamas without putting sick and injured civilians in that hospital at more risk than they already are?” Responding, Netanyahu told her, “There’s no reason why we just can’t take the patients out of there instead of letting Hamas use it as a command center for terrorism.”
He continued, “What would America do? It would take all its force and go after these killers. What if these killers embed themselves in hospitals, schools, U.N. facilities? You’d do everything in your power to get the civilians out, which is what we’re doing. We called them to leave, but you certainly wouldn’t give immunity top the terrorists. We’re obviously treading carefully when it comes to hospitals, but we’re also not going to give immunity to the terrorists.”
He then decided the tactics of Hamas, saying, “Imaging a baby is held hostage. Who takes a baby hostage? What is this, taking children hostage? Threatening to kill them? This is savagery of the highest order. We’re doing everything in our power to achieve two things: one, destroy Hamas, because without it, none of us have a future. It’s not only our war. It’s your war too, its the battle of civilization against barbarism. If we don’t win here, this scourge will pass to other places. The Middle East will fall, Europe is next, you’ll be next. The first goal is to destroy Hamas and the second goal is to bring back our hostages. We’re trying to do both.”
Watch the interview here:
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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