Asked at his foreign media press conference whether the high death toll in Gaza indicates that Israel is carrying out “collective punishment against the people of Palestine,” Netanyahu says: “Not a single civilian has to die. Hamas has to merely let them go to the safe zone” that Israel has created. “Hamas is preventing them from leaving, keeping them in the areas of conflict.”
He says the question should be directed to Hamas, but repeats that Israel is “going out of our way” to avoid civilian casualties.
“We cannot give immunity to these terrorists… these savages. We have to do everything we can to minimize civilian casualties. But we cannot give up the fight… This is a battle of civilization against barbarians,” he says.
He describes a Royal Air Force bombing of a Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen in 1944. “The British pilots missed” and hit a children’s hospital nearby, with the deaths, he says, of 84 children. (In fact, the errant strike, in 1945, hit a school.)
“That is not a war crime. That is not something you blamed Britain for doing. That was a legitimate act of war with tragic consequences that accompany such legitimate actions,” he says.
“And you didn’t tell the Allies, don’t stamp out Nazism because of such tragic consequences… They knew that the future of our civilization was at stake. Well, I’m telling you right now that the future of our civilization is at stake. We have to win this war. We’ll do it by minimizing civilian casualties. And may we succeed.”