Speaking on CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said there was no clear end in sight to the violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“We’ll do whatever it takes to restore order and quiet,” he said, adding, “It will take some time.”
Mr. Netanyahu defended his nation’s bombing and shelling of Gaza, which Palestinian authorities say has killed at least 197 people, including 58 children. At least 10 people in Israel have died in rocket attacks fired from Gaza, the territory controlled by the militant group Hamas.
Representatives of the United States, Qatar, Egypt and others have tried to broker a cease-fire, so far to no avail.
“If there will be one it will be reached with our conditions, not Israeli conditions,” Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy leader of Hamas, told the Israeli public broadcaster Kan on Sunday. “If Israel does not want to stop, we will not stop.”
The general in charge of Israel’s Southern Command, Eliezer Toledano, told Kan, “it is important we continue to exhaust the campaign that we have entered and deepen the damage being caused to Hamas.”
Israel has faced wide condemnation from international press organizations for blowing up a building on Saturday that housed the offices of international media organizations including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. Israeli forces warned in advance of the attack, and there were no casualties reported.
Israeli officials claimed that the building harbored military assets for Hamas. Speaking on Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu provided no clear evidence to support that claim, and also did not confirm whether he presented any evidence of this assertion during a conversation with Mr. Biden.
“It’s a perfectly legitimate target,” he said, adding that Israeli forces “unlike Hamas, take special precautions to tell people ‘Leave the building, leave the premises.’”
On the killings of Palestinian children, Mr. Netanyahu pointed the blame at Hamas, saying the organization uses civilians as human shields.
“We are targeting a terrorist organization that is targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians, using them as human shields,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches and their arms, but we’re not just going to let them get away with it.”
He said Israel does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties. “They’re sending thousands of rockets on our cities with the specific purpose of murdering our civilians from these places,” he said. “What would you do?”