July 15, 2024

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday pushed back on claims that Israeli is breaking international law in its war with militant group Hamas, calling such arguments “hogwash.”

Pressed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the argubment by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that the “collective punishment” of Palestinians amounts to a war crime, 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?

“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,’” Netanyahu said. “That’s a longer way of saying unintended casualties. That’s clearly what Israel is doing.”

Israel has come under criticism from humanitarian agencies and leaders, who have argued its bombardment of Gaza is trapping innocent civilians in the violence. Israel’s attacks, which have included airstrikes, bombings and ground attacks in Gaza City, are in response to militant group Hamas’s surprise assault agains the Jewish State on Oct. 7 that killed over 1,200 people, including hundreds of civilians.

Over 11,070 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war broke out last month, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Netanyahu said Hamas’s actions in the conflict are “opposite” what Israel is doing.

“They’re doing everything in their power to have their civilians hurt. Because they want this ridiculous and wanton attack on Israel, this — and Israel’s legitimacy to take root,” Netanyahu said. “And unfortunately, people are giving into this. If we lose sight, you know, if we lose the moral clarity of supporting the force that is fighting the terrorists that are hiding behind civilians, and blaming the victim for these attacks, the victim who takes the just action to defend itself, then we’ll never be able to fight the terrorists.”

Israel has repeatedly warned civilians in northern Gaza to move south in the wake of ground attacks, but Hamas leaders have told civilians to stay in their homes while others lack the resources to move south.

Netanyahu argued Hamas will “always hide behind civilians and we’ll never be able to fight them.”

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