Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in recent days gone on a US media blitz, at a moment American public opinion has become increasingly divided on Israel’s military action in Gaza and the soaring civilian death toll.
But in a new interview with CBS, he made a surprising admission – surprising especially given the current scrutiny on him after international institutions, including a panel of UN experts – have accused Israel of conducting “genocide” and “war crimes”. Netanyahu acknowledged to CBS that Israel has not been successful in minimizing civilian casualties among civilians.
He ultimately blamed Hamas for this while vowing the Israeli military would “try to finish the job” of eradicating the Islamist terror group.
But he emphasized in surprisingly blunt words: “That’s what we’re trying to do: minimal civilian casualties. But unfortunately, we’re not successful.”
He presented the context as one where Hamas was preventing civilians from leaving northern Gaza “at gun point”. He claimed that Hamas “fired at the safe corridors that we provided for the Palestinians.”
Israel has dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets over Gaza in the past weeks, warning civilians to exit northern Gaza, which includes the highly populated Gaza City, and move to the south. But just this week Israel has also told areas in the south to evacuate too. Palestinians have said they have nowhere to go, also as the Rafah crossing to Egypt remains closed to all but foreign passport holders.
“Any civilian death is a tragedy. And we shouldn’t have any because we’re doing everything we can to get the civilians out of harm’s way, while Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way,” Netanyahu explained.
Palestinian officials have sought to refute the Israeli/US narrative framing of the Gaza crisis at the UN:
In less than 2 minutes, the representative for the State of Palestine at the UN, eviscerates the entire myth of Western “civilization” under the US Military Industrial Complex. This should be mandatory viewing in schools and universities throughout the Western world, if we do… pic.twitter.com/nSN5wBXtJs
— Robin Monotti (@robinmonotti) November 16, 2023
The White House has very belatedly begun to warn Israel it must exercise restraint when it comes to “targets” like Al-Shifa hospital. Israel now has military control of it, but many Palestinians have remained inside.
According to Al Jazeera, at least 22 mostly ICU patients have died overnight. A Friday report cites Al-Shifa Director Muhammed Abu Salmiya who says that “7000 people — patients, medics and other civilians seeking shelter — are trapped in the hospital, and the complex remains cut of from water, electricity and communications.”
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Given Netanyahu just admitted very clearly that his forces have slaughtered civilians, and that they are “not successful” in preventing the soaring death toll of innocent bystanders… will he get the Assad treatment among Western human rights institutions and media? We won’t hold our breath…
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 15, 2023
Watch Netanyahu’s CBS interview below:
In an exclusive with @norahodonnell, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel had “concrete evidence” of terrorists at Al-Shifa hospital. Plus, what he said about a potential hostage deal. https://t.co/sRyyTbIOOq pic.twitter.com/lY0WFoBDU8
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 17, 2023
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