An advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to criticism from members of the so-called “Squad” in a recent interview where he discussed the conflict between the state and Hamas.
What they said: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) all blasted Israel as they fired missiles in Gaza in response to Hamas’ rockets, violence that lasted for 11 consecutive days.
Tlaib recently made news for confronting President Joe Biden on the airport tarmac in Detroit over the U.S. support of Israel.
Earlier this month, the congresswoman called the Israeli Prime Minister “Apartheid-in-chief” and accusing him of “war crimes.”
“Apartheid-in-chief Netanyahu will not listen to anyone asking nicely. He commits war crimes and openly violates international law,” Tlaib tweeted last week.
Ocasio-Cortez shared a video of Israeli attacks bringing down a high-rise in Gaza and wrote: “This is happening with the support of the United States.”
“I don’t care how any spokesperson tries to spin this. The US vetoed the UN call for ceasefire,” she tweeted. “If the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to? How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?”
In a separate post, she appeared to refer to Israel as an “apartheid” state.
The story: Mark Regev, who serves as Netanyahu’s chief spokesperson to international media, spoke to Fox News on Sunday in the aftermath of the deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas that led to the deaths of more than 200 people, most of whom were from Gaza. He also responded to the backlash from some lawmakers in the U.S., including “Squad” members.
His response: Regev insisted that Israel wants peace after pointing out that the state “gave Hamas a heavy blow” before the two sides agreed to a ceasefire. He also urged Hamas to “think twice” about attacking Israel again.
In response to questions about whether Israel used more force than necessary against Hamas, Regev accused the terror group of using civilians as “human shields.” He claimed that, unlike Israel, Hamas was unconcerned about killing civilians.
“They were firing thousands of rockets on our civilian population. They were trying to murder our people in their homes. We were defending ourselves. They were firing out of schools. They were firing out of built-up areas. They were firing out of homes, out of mosques, even out of playgrounds,” he told Fox News.
“We tried… to hit the terrorists and not to see innocent people caught up in the crossfire. And while our goal was to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas had actually the exact opposite goal… They were brutally abusing Gaza civilians as a human shield for their war machine. We know for a fact that many of the casualties in this operation were caused by Hamas munitions. Almost 20% of their rockets fell short, landing in Gaza, killing Gaza civilians,” he added.
When asked about criticism from lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib, he said: “The overwhelming majority of the American people stand with Israel, support Israel, are favorable towards Israel … Of course they want to see peace. But Israel wants to see peace too. We’d love to have peace with our Palestinian neighbors.”
“People need to understand — Hamas is not just Israel’s enemy,” Regev said. “Hamas is the enemy of everyone who wants to see peace and reconciliation in our part of the world. They are a brutal jihadist terrorist group. No one should make excuses
He also defended Israel’s decision to target the building that housed AP offices, reiterating claims that there were Hamas terrorists were operating inside the media building.
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