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Ex-Israeli PM rejects CNN’s Tapper pressing him on Gaza civilian deaths: Hamas is ‘placing them in harm’s way’

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett rejected the premise of questions made by CNN anchor Jake Tapper over civilian deaths in Gaza due to Israeli airstrikes following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas. 

There has been a temporary ceasefire over the past several days between Israel and Hamas as the terror group has been releasing dozens of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners kept in Israel, the vast majority of them convicted of violent crimes including acts of terrorism.

But in the days leading up to the cease-fire, Israel was facing mounting pressure from the international community to end its bombings in Gaza due to the growing death toll based on numbers released by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health, which the Biden administration has been vocal with skepticism over its truthfulness. 

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“The one thing I continue to hear from Israeli supporters in the U.S. government, whether it’s the Biden administration or Congress, whether it’s the Democrats or Republicans, I keep hearing that the IDF needs to be much more careful when it comes to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, that the IDF needs to use more precision munitions, that the IDF needs to take fewer risks” Tapper told Bennett on Tuesday. “Even if the conservative estimates are right, with 15,000 killed, even if 5,000 of them are Hamas, that’s still a 2-1 ratio of civilians to Hamas. That’s a lot of civilians who have been killed.”

“Is Netanyahu going to continue to ignore President Biden on this issue of civilian casualties?” Tapper asked. 

WHITE HOUSE BATTLES REPORTERS AS IT REJECTS HAMAS’ GAZA DEATH COUNT: WE WON’T CITE A ‘TERRORIST ORGANIZATION’

Naftali Bennett clashes with CNN's Jake Tapper

“Well, Jake, we’re not magicians,” Bennett responded. “There is no magic way to dramatically reduce collateral damage when Hamas’ deliberate goal, intentional goal is to increase Gaza casualties in order for you to ask me that precise question. You see, Hamas wants to stop the war in a cynical way by effectively killing its own people by placing them in harm’s way.” 

He continued, “If there were some magical solution where we could tweezer people out and just hit the rocket launcher that’s shooting rockets at Israelis, we would do it. We do try to reduce unnecessary civilian casualties, but the reality is that there is no magic… The current ratio is lower than what it was at the beginning and lower than international standards from World War II through Iraq and Afghanistan. You will see that Israel has one of the lowest ratios.”

BIDEN REFUTES PBS REPORTER’S QUESTION ON HAMAS-PROVIDED GAZA DEATH COUNT: ‘I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE’ IT’S TRUTHFUL

Netanyahu briefing

Later in the interview, after Bennett expressed Israel’s goal of ending Hamas’ indoctrination of teaching young Palestinians to hate Jews, the liberal CNN host circled back to the topic of civilian deaths in Gaza, pressing the ex-Israeli leader, “Don’t you think the last six weeks have done a lot to incite and inspire a whole new generation of terrorists? I mean, all the civilian deaths?

“Don’t you worry that that in itself is going raise and inspire a whole new generation of Palestinians who hate Israelis?” Tapper followed. 

“It depends what we do next,” Bennett responded. “I want to remind you that Nazi Germany, in the final months of the war, there were many, many civilian casualties yet Germany was de-Nazified after the war and we had a new Germany.”

He later added, “Look, if anyone has a magic plan on how to eradicate Hamas without any collateral damage, bring it on and pull it out then. Barring that, we’re gonna have to get the job done and de-Nazify Gaza.”

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