On Friday’s broadcast of “CNN NewsNight,” Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) responded to President Joe Biden’s criticism of Israel’s military response to October 7 by stating that Hamas hides behind civilians. He further stated that Hamas is “responsible for all” the deaths of Palestinian civilians while Israel wants to “minimize” civilian deaths and the conflict would end if Hamas surrendered and he doesn’t know why more people aren’t talking about them surrendering.
Host Abby Phillip asked, “So, you have, over the last several months now, been such a staunch supporter of Israel. You’ve backed how the State of Israel and the IDF [have] conducted this war inside of Gaza. President Biden also said last night during that press conference that the IDF operation in Gaza has been ‘over the top.’ Those are his words. Is the President wrong?”
Fetterman responded, “No, I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying that’s his opinion. I’m not necessarily going to agree with that. I do understand that Israeli intelligence believes that Sinwar is actually hiding there, because that’s what these cowards do. They hide behind civilians and children and women like that, as well, too. So, I believe that it’s very critical that they destroy and eliminate Hamas for there to be real, true peace there in Gaza.”
Phillip then asked, “Do you have any concerns about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans, it seems, to move more than 1.3 million people out of the Rafah area. That’s in southern Gaza. That’s basically where Israel told Gazan civilians to go. Are you concerned about what an operation there would mean for the civilian population that’s already displaced?”
Fetterman answered, “Of course I’m concerned. The death of any one innocent Palestinian is a tragedy, and that’s been. But we also must remember that all of the blood [on] the hands are all on Hamas’ hands as well, too. They’re responsible for all of that. And I don’t know why there [are] not more people talking [about why Hamas must surrender]. Why don’t they bring back the last hostages as well, too?”
Phillip then cut in to ask, “But is it something that you would support? Do you think that this is wise on the part of Israel to do what they, it sounds like, are planning to do?”
Fetterman answered, “Well, if they believe that Sinwar is hiding there, then I — it seems that could be reasonable…to eliminate the leadership, because he’s effectively the [bin Laden] of…October 7…I know that they really and I believe they want to minimize any [kind] of death of civilians as well, too. But right now I’d say, if they just surrendered — if Hamas just surrendered, all of this would be over.”
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