A heated exchange unfolded on live television between former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and CNN’s Anderson Cooper concerning a devastating rocket strike on Gaza’s Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.
The incident reportedly took place on a Tuesday night, claiming numerous lives according to the Gaza Health Ministry, controlled by Hamas. The subsequent finger-pointing saw Gazan authorities swiftly blaming Israel, a claim refuted by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson. The spokesperson attributed the misfire to a rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a narrative backed by U.S. President Joe Biden during his visit to Israel.
On a CNN segment, Bennett fervently contested the divided narratives surrounding the event.
“There are no two sides to this hospital. Either it was bombed by Israel or it was targeted by someone else on the Palestinian side. And if it’s—if two people come and say, one says it’s raining outside and the other says it’s dry, you don’t bring the quotes of both sides. You just goddamn open the window and look whether it’s raining or not. That’s what we did. And this hospital, in fact it’s a parking lot, was hit definitely, a hundred percent, by Islamic Jihad barrage shot fired at 6:59 p.m,” Bennett said.
Bennett proceeded to underscore the presence of video evidence from different angles, ballistic analyses, and intercepted communications between Hamas operatives as irrefutable proof against the alleged Israeli involvement. He critiqued the media’s penchant for presenting a dichotomized view, insinuating a double standard applied against Israel.
“We have three different videos from different angles showing it. We have the ballistics. We know that an Israeli bomb would have created a crater, which does not exist. We know that the propellant in the rocket, because it was a long-term rocket targeted for Israel, so a lot of that propellant was still in the rocket, which created a lot of fire. We have two Hamas [inaudible] talking to each other and saying and admitting that it is from Islamic Jihad. So, Anderson, with all due respect, there aren’t two sides to this. Not everything is two sides,” he said.
Cooper, attempting to convey CNN’s position, emphasized the network’s inability to independently verify the claims and affirmed the reporting of information as provided by Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies.
“We’re simply saying we have not been able to independently verify the claims that have been made. We have reported exactly what Israel has put forward and also that the U.S. intelligence community has backed up as well,” Cooper said.
Interrupting Cooper, Bennett drew a parallel to the 9/11 attacks, decrying what he perceived as a double standard in the portrayal of Israel in the global media landscape. His impassioned discourse extended to a critique of the Palestinian actions, delineated as acts of terror and violence, contrasting starkly with the principles and actions of Israel.
“Anderson, I have to barge in here. I have to say something. I was in 9/11, I was in Manhattan when it happened. And if, a day later, al-Qaeda would have said that it’s America who perpetrated it, no one would have quoted al-Qaeda. No one would — and you didn’t have validation back then that it was al-Qaeda, but you knew it’s not America. And somehow there’s a double standard here,” Bennett added.
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