Netanyahu also noted that Hamas had rejected several cease-fire offers in the past. | AP Photo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas is already violating its own cease-fire that it proposed Sunday morning.
“Hamas doesn’t even accept it’s own cease-fire. It’s continuing to fire at us as we speak," he said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Hamas announced a 24-hour cease-fire with Israel beginning at 2 p.m. local time. But Netanyahu said that Hamas hadn't abided by its own announcement, saying it has not ceased in its campaign against the Israel on Sunday.
“Hamas is simply continuing all its operations, and Israel will not let this terror operation decide when it’s convenient for them and not convenient for them to attack our people," Netanyahu said, suggesting Hamas entertains the idea of cease fires only when it has to restock its weapons supplies.
The prime minister also noted that Hamas had rejected several cease-fire offers in the past, including an Egyptian-brokered deal to which Israel had agreed. He added that he hoped for a cessation of fighting soon and that a solution could only come from Egypt, calling for a plan that provided economic relief for the Palestinians but also the "de-militarization of Gaza" in terms of Hamas's rockets supply and tunneling into Israeli territory.
Later on Sunday, in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Netanyahu again called for the Egyptian plan, saying it was the only chance for a "sustainable cease-fire."
"I think the first thing is we have to accept the Egyptian proposal," he said. "That's the only game in town. ... It will enable us to actually get a sustainable cease-fire."
Netanyahu skirted several questions about whether Israel would broaden its offensive in Gaza,
saying repeatedly: “We’ll take whatever action is necessary to protect our people.”
He also addressed concerns that Israel was losing the public relations battle in the conflict, particularly given the mounting civilian casualties among Gazans and Palestinians and the disproportionate death count on both sides. The Associated Press reported Saturday night that 1,047 Palestinians had died since the conflict began, with more than 6,000 wounded, compared with fewer than 50 Israelis. The United Nations estimated last week that 75 percent of those Palestinians who had been killed were civilians. And Netanyahu again criticized Hamas for wanting to "pile up more and more dead bodies" and using Gazans as human shields against Israeli rockets targeting Hamas operatives and their weapons supplies.
Hamas is trying to "mislead the entire world," he said, in its efforts to create a lopsided body count. The international community, he said, was giving Hamas "a tremendous victory" by suggesting Israel could not act against an organization using civilians as a human shield as it receives rocket fire.