Netanyahu Explains Airstrike on Building Housing Press: Contained ‘Palestinian Terrorist Organization’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the airstrike of a building that housed Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices was justified by intelligence the building contained a “Palestinian terrorist organization.”

Partial transcript as follows:

JOHN DICKERSON: The precision of that targeting has been up for question. There’s been a lot of focus on the bombing on Saturday in Gaza of a building that housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. The Committee to Protect Journalists, demanded “detailed and documented justification.” This morning, there’s a Jerusalem Post story that says the Americans were shown a smoking gun, that- proof that Hamas was in that building. What is that proof? And did you show it to the Americans?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, we share with our American friends all that intelligence and here’s the intelligence we had, it’s about Palestinian terrorist- an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization housed in that building that plots and organizes the terror attacks against Israeli civilians. So it’s a perfectly legitimate target. And I can tell you that we took every precaution to make sure that there were no civilian injuries. In fact, no deaths, no injuries whatsoever. Well, I can’t say injuries, I don’t know if somebody received a fragment of- of a stone. I don’t know that. But no people were killed. Now, imagine ask yourself, how is that possible? You see these high rise towers that are used by Hamas over and over again. They collapse and no one is killed. Why does that happen? Because we, unlike Hamas, take special precautions to tell people, leave the building, leave the premises. We make sure that everyone is gone before we bring down those terrorist facilities. And that’s the difference between Israel and Hamas. They deliberately target our cities, deliberately target our civilians. They glorify the death of children and civilians and old people. They are happy with it. I think they’re happy with any deaths that are caused to them. We grieve for every non-combatant loss in Gaza and we grieve for all our civilians who died.

JOHN DICKERSON: We want to get to–

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: But we don’t- we’re not happy with it and we try to minimize it.

JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get to minimizing those casualties. But you spoke with President Biden yesterday. It’s inconceivable you would have talked to him and not shared proof of Hamas in those buildings that housed the journalists. Did you share that with him?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, we pass it through the intelligence services to our people, to those people. Why do you think we brought down that building? The interesting thing is I would say that, you know, all the journalists, one of the, I think, AP journalists said we were lucky to get out. No you weren’t lucky to get out. It wasn’t luck. It’s because we took special pains to call people in those buildings to make sure that the premises were vacated. And that’s why we brought down that building. And look, you have your own experiences, I think, in Mosul and Fallujah and Afghanistan. I think you can appreciate the efforts we go through in dense urban fighting when terrorists are targeting civilians who are hiding behind civilians, how difficult that is. We do our best to avoid civilian casualties. And we did that yesterday with that building as well.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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