Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Kristen Welker about the ongoing war between his country and Hamas, as well as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. With civilian casualties being reported at well over 10,000 in the Gaza Strip, there has been enormous international concern about Israel’s role.
In response to the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, who said both Israel and Hamas have committed war crimes, Netanyahu said, “I can say that what the commission has said is hogwash, because we’re— the main difference is, are you deliberately targeting civilians?”
He continued, “No, we’re deliberately doing everything in our power to target the terrorists. And the civilians, as happens in every legitimate war, are sometimes what are called ‘collateral damage.’ That’s a longer way of saying ‘unintended casualties.’”
In contrast, Netanyahu said, Hamas is “doing everything in their power to have their civilians hurt.”
The prime minister expressed concern that “the moral clarity of supporting the force that is fighting the terrorists” might be lost by many.
The pair also discussed who will be in charge of Gaza following the war. Netanyahu insisted Israel needs to keep “military responsibility” for the Gaza Strip after the current conflict and told Welker, “I think the only force right now that can guarantee that Hamas, that terrorism is not, does not reappear to take over Gaza, again, is the Israeli military. So overall, military responsibility will have to be in Israel.”
As for who can govern civilians in Gaza, he dismissed the possibility that the Palestinian Authority, the elected government in the West Bank, has the ability. Netanyahu said, “Gaza has to be demilitarized and Gaza has to be deradicalized. And I think so far, we haven’t see any Palestinian force, including the Palestinian Authority, that is able to do it.”
“They teach their children to hate Israel. They’re not fighting terrorists,” he said. “They’re paying for slaves.”
Watch the interview with Netanyahu in the video above.