Following are excerpts from an interview with Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, which was broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network on August 1, 2014.
Ofir Gendelman: We agreed to seven ceasefire initiatives. It was only yesterday morning that we accepted a U.N. and U.S. initiative for a humanitarian ceasefire. Hamas gave assurances to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, through the mediation of Qatar, that it would honor this ceasefire. But Hamas immediately violated the ceasefire, just as it violated and rejected all the previous ones.
That is why we are where we are now, and the operation against the terrorist dens continues.
Ghada Owaid: So Hamas is the terrorist here, and it is Hamas that violated the ceasefires, but who killed over 1,600 civilians, including hundreds of children, in Gaza? Was it Hamas that killed them? It was you.
Aren’t you and Netanyahu ashamed to call Israel a moral country? He kills 1,600 civilians, and then purports to be moral? Aren’t you ashamed to say this, Ofir?
Ofir Gendelman: First of all, it was Hamas that killed them. Hamas rejected the humanitarian ceasefires, which could have made the lives of the civilians easier. We accepted all the initiatives immediately and with no preconditions, because we never have and never will target civilians.
Hamas bears full responsibility for the loss of civilian lives in the Gaza Strip. I cannot – indeed , nobody can – confirm the figures of civilian casualties, because Hamas distributes these figures as propaganda…
Ghada Owaid: It is you who spread propaganda. [Israeli Defense Minister Moshe] Ya’alon said: “This operation is conducted with responsibility and consideration.” I wonder if when he stands trial at the ICC, like the Nazis in Nuremberg, he will tell the judge that the operation was conducted “with responsibility and consideration,” when he is asked about the killing of 1,700 civilians in Gaza…
Ofir Gendelman: That question is a laughable one. It is Khaled Mash’al and the rest of the terrorists who should face trial at the ICC for killing hundreds and thousands of Palestinians.
Ghada Owaid: Are you referring to the same Mash’al whom you tried to assassinate? The same Khaled Mash’al whose family you have driven out and whom you tried to assassinate? What will he say at the ICC? That Israel tried to assassinate him and has driven out his family. He will say that he was exiled because of the Jews you received from Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland.
Ofir Gendelman: Are you speaking as a journalist or as a Hamas spokesperson?
Ghada Owaid: I am speaking as a journalist…
Ofir Gendelman: Hamas is a terrorist organization, according to Israeli law, as well as international law.
Ghada Owaid: Some journalists say worse things. I am being very fair towards you. You can find Hamas propaganda on Hamas websites.
Ofir Gendelman: A journalist would not speak this way…
Ghada Owaid: You are talking to a very fair and balanced journalist.