WATCH: Israeli President Herzog Blasts CNN for Accusing Israel of ‘War Crime’

Isaac Herzog / Facebook

Israeli President Isaac Herzog slammed CNN on Thursday for accusing his country of committing a “war crime” by imposing hardships on the people of Gaza as it responds to a massive terror attack by the Hamas terrorist group, which operates throughout the Gaza Strip.

Herzog, whose role is ceremonial and diplomatic, is a former left-wing politician who had advocated for peace and negotiations with the Palestinians. But he, like much of the rest of Israel, strongly supports overwhelming response to Palestinian terrorism.

In a news conference with the foreign press, Herzog described some of the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians, and said that Israel would respond to Palestinian terror with an “iron fist,” while adhering to the laws of war.

Herzog answered a question from the UK’s itv about avoiding hardship to ordinary Gazans by rejecting the idea that they were unaware of Hamas’s terrorist operations. “It’s absolutely not true. … There is a short memory in the world.”

He noted that Israel had left Gaza unilaterally in 2005, and that instead of building the “Hong Kong of the Middle East,” Palestinians had allowed Hamas to build a “machine of evil.” He said he was disappointed by the “same old rhetoric.”

“We are operating militarily according to the rules of international law. Period. Unequivocally. But we are at war. We are at war. We are defending our homes. We are protecting our homes. That’s the truth. And when a nation protects its home, it fights. and we will fight until we break their backbone.”

Becky Anderson of CNN then asked: “The collective punishment of a civilian population amounts to a war crime under international law. The U.S. has warned Israel to uphold laws at war.”

Herzog interrupted her: “Now we’re starting with the rhetoric about war crimes? Really? Truly? … With all due respect, I do believe that this comes totally out of context.”

A journalist from Channel 4 in the UK later followed up by accusing Herzog of “hold[ing] the people of Gaza responsible” for not removing Hamas, and therefore by implication that makes them legitimate targets.

“I did not say that … But with all due respect, if you have a missile in your goddamned kitchen, and you want to shoot it at me, am I allowed to defend myself? Yes!”

He continued, after back-and-forth with the journalist: “We have to fight! What do you want us to do? … We are fighting terror. Humanity has to decide: are we accommodating terror, or are we fighting terror? We are fighting terror.

“I agree: there are many, many, innocent Palestinians … but unfortunately, in their homes, there are missiles shooting at us, at my children, at the entire nation of Israel. … This is the tragedy of terror, and there is no mercy to terror.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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