On Tuesday’s edition of the tax-supported PBS News Hour, host Amna Nawaz disgracefully pushed Hamas’s fatality numbers while using the hostages taken by the Palestinian terrorist group as a rationale for the ridiculous idea of a ceasefire.
Nawaz opened with the account of released Hamas hostage 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz, then aired a hostile interview with Mark Regev, senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister.
Field Marshall Nawaz issued alternate battle plans for Israel in its existential fight for survival.
When Regev brought up “the inflated numbers” issued by Hamas (under the guise of the Gaza Health Ministry) Nawaz snapped back: “Do you have more accurate numbers?”
Nawaz conveniently skipped the facts that Israel abides by humanitarian conventions and avoids harming civilians when possible, while Hamas is a terrorist group that rapes and kidnaps and kills civilians and uses their own people as human shields, while inflating fatality figures as propaganda.
After a couple of emotional personal questions to Hammash about his family in Gaza, Nawaz invited her guest (by phone from Gaza) to dispute the U.S. president and side with the terrorist group Hamas on its fake fatality figures.
When a leader of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, was previously a guest on Amanpour & Co. (also airing on PBS) the show’s pro-Palestinian host Christiane Amanpour felt compelled to criticize Hamas’s war crimes when Egeland would not.
7:13:22 p.m. (ET)
Amna Nawaz: In Tel Aviv today, the first public account of what it’s like to be a hostage of Hamas; 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz was kidnapped from her home and taken to Gaza on October 7. She was released yesterday, and, today, said she had been through hell.
Yocheved Lifshitz, Freed Israeli Hostage (through interpreter): They rampaged through our kibbutz. They kidnapped me, laid me on a motorbike. The guys hit me with sticks on the way. They didn’t break my ribs, but it was very painful and made breathing very difficult for me. We started walking in the tunnels, where the earth was moist and it was always humid. We reached a hall where we gathered, some 25 people. They were very kind to us and made sure we were clean and fed. We ate the same food that they did, pita bread with cheese and a cucumber. That was a meal for a whole day.
Amna Nawaz: Lifshitz also accused Israel’s Defense Forces of not taking previous security threats seriously. Israel estimates Hamas is still holding 220 hostages, including the husband’s of Lifshitz and the other elderly woman hostage who was released yesterday. For more on the hostage situation and the larger war, I spoke earlier with Mark Regev, a senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister and a former Israeli ambassador to the U.K. Mark Regev, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” Thank you for joining us.
Mark Regev, Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister: Thank you for having me.
Amna Nawaz: So, let me start by asking about those hostages, more than 200 people, 30 different nationalities, we understand. If they are still held in Gaza, are they at risk in the continued bombing?
Mark Regev: I think there are a lot of people at risk. And when we send our troops into the ground, they will be in danger too. Hamas is a formidable enemy. It’s capable of the most atrocious brutality, as you have reported on the “NewsHour.” And our young men going into battle will face a fanatical, suicidal, dangerous enemy. And, unfortunately, I’m afraid they will be putting their lives on the line. There’s dangers for — obviously, for the hostages. And — but I think it is, unfortunately, unavoidable. We have to remove Hamas from power. We have to destroy its military machine.
Amna Nawaz: With regards to the 200 people still held, though, if there was still, say, potential for a cease-fire that led to their immediate release, would you support that?
Mark Regev: We would argue that the only reason we have had these four people released so far is because of the strong pressure on Hamas. They didn’t suddenly become humanitarian. So, they are only releasing the people they have released, the four out of the over 200, because of strong pressure on them. And we think, if we keep the pressure up, the military pressure, the international diplomatic pressure on their allies, specifically on the — on Qatar, that will deliver more releases. Without that pressure, they won’t release a single person.
Amna Nawaz: You mentioned — you likened this fight against Hamas, who have called for the end of Israel. As you mentioned, this is an existential threat for Israel. You compared that to the U.S.-led coalition fight against ISIS. You have seen this comparison before, that the U.S.-led coalition dropped some 2,500 bombs a month across Iraq and Syria in that campaign. Israel dropped some 6,000 bombs in the first six days of this war alone on a much smaller area in Gaza. So, how do you explain that level of firepower?
Mark Regev: Well, hopefully, we will get it done quicker. That’s one of our goals. But it could take longer than many Israelis would hope, because Hamas has been in power for 16 years. They have got a very elaborate system of underground tunnels and bunkers and defenses. And, as I said earlier, when we say, and our forces in, it could well be very difficult fighting. I mean, we will win, but it won’t be without cost.
Amna Nawaz: Mark, when you say get it done, what does that mean? I mean, what does mission success look like?
Mark Regev: There has to be a new reality in Gaza, a more peaceful reality, a more secure reality. The people in Southern Israel have to feel that they can rebuild their homes and reestablish their lives. And the people in Gaza deserve better.
Amna Nawaz: And in that new reality, who will govern Gaza?
Mark Regev: It’s clear we don’t want to stay in Gaza, that any Israeli presence there will be temporary to destroy the Hamas military machine. And I think, after that, we can talk about all sorts of options. Those options are being discussed in meetings with foreign interlocutors, but I’m at this stage not on liberty to go into any detail.
Amna Nawaz: I need to ask you about the level of civilian casualties as a result of those bombings, though, because you have said before that Israel will take the maximum steps to not — to avoid civilian casualties. As you know, the Gaza Health Ministry now says some 5,000 Palestinians have been killed in the last 17 days, including women and children. I just wonder how you square saying that you’re avoiding civilian casualties as much as you can and that number of 5,000.
Mark Regev: So, first of all, I don’t deny suffering in Gaza. I don’t deny the fact that there have been Gazan civilians who have been killed in the crossfire between us and Hamas. But I would urge you please to be cautious with the numbers that come out of the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza.
Amna Nawaz: Sure.
Mark Regev: We saw the inflated numbers…Amna Nawaz: Do you have more accurate numbers?
Mark Regev: No, I can’t — I can’t give you more accurate numbers, but I’m urging you to be skeptical with those. Remember the incident with the hospital, where — in the end, it was conclusively, I think, proved that it wasn’t us. But they were talking about 500, 800 casualties. And it was clear afterwards that the numbers were much, much lower.
Amna Nawaz: Well, do you know how many Hamas terrorists you have hit, then?
Mark Regev: Well, lots. And if all those 5,000 are Hamas terrorists, that’s a good thing. We want to get them.
Amna Nawaz: But, clearly, they’re not. All 5,000 are not. Do you know how many Hamas members or leaders you have hit?
Mark Regev: We can only estimate. We can only estimate. We actually, if we compare our numbers — like, in any combat situation, like, when the United States was leading a coalition that is there to get ISIS out of Mosul, there were civilian casualties. We think our ratio between civilian and combat casualties, between the people we want to get and between people, innocent bystanders, compares very well to NATO and other Western forces.
Amna Nawaz: And, Mark, if I may, but what is that ratio? What are those numbers?
Mark Regev: I’m not at liberty to discuss that, I apologize, because we’re still got combat ongoing, and we haven’t had ground troops in yet, and the situation could change. But what I would say is this. We are trying to make a maximum method to avoid collateral damage. Hamas, unfortunately, has the opposite goal. And here is something that I think needs to be said. When we’re asking civilians to leave areas of expected heavy combat, Hamas is telling them to stay, and they must die for the crazy cause.
Amna Nawaz: But, Mark, if I may, many people tell us they fled the north to the south, and then there was Israeli bombing in the south as well.
Mark Regev: Yes, but — it’s true, because there are Hamas targets in the south. But there won’t be the same level of heavy fighting, because it’s — in the north there, especially under Gaza City, there’s a network of tunnels and bunkers and arms depots. And it’s going to — we expect very heavy fighting there. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy for those people who are internally displaced, but the idea is to find an area where they can be safer and with the international community to make sure they have their elementary needs until the fighting is over.
Amna Nawaz: Mark Regev, senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister, former Israeli ambassador to the U.K. Mark, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.
Mark Regev: Thanks for having me.
7:29:41 p.m. (ET)
Amna Nawaz: Gaza’s humanitarian crisis becomes more dire with every passing moment. With constant bombardment and dwindling supplies, it’s a struggle to find fuel, food, and even water. Before communication lines went dark, I spoke with Yousef Hammash yesterday, who works for the Norwegian Refugee Council, an aid group in Gaza, about life in the besieged territory for him and his family.
Yousef Hammash, Norwegian Refugee Council: It’s like we’re literally living in a horror movie. It’s horrific situation. This killing machine doesn’t stop.
Amna Nawaz: Yousef Hammash is the Gaza advocacy officer for the Norwegian Refugee Council. A former journalist, he’s been documenting this war for the last three weeks. He moved his family of four, including his kids, 5-year-old Elia and 3-year-old Ahmad, to Southern Gaza, taking shelter in Khan Yunis. With limited connectivity and power, he could only speak to me via phone.
Yousef Hammash: In spite of all the bombardment and all the violence, we have a lot of responsibility to our families and children, so we have to find a way every day to manage to find bread and water. So, the most challenge is water.
Amna Nawaz: If you needed water right now, what would you do?
Yousef Hammash: I will give you an example. We had the water two days ago, but we needed the fuel to push the water up to the house, and I couldn’t find it. And this mission takes me five hours. Everything is almost impossible.
Amna Nawaz: So, five hours just to try to get water for your family on one day?
Yousef Hammash: Yes, five hours to push the water to the house. I had to buy water through other private sources. We have more than 30 people in one apartment. Now we take showers once a week. We wash our face once a day. We consume less, because we want to make it last more. We are trying to protect our children. And the water is the one essential thing for that.
Amna Nawaz: Yousef, what do you tell your children about what’s going on?
Yousef Hammash: Elia, she’s 5 years old. She understands the bombing. She understands what’s going on. But with Ahmad, who’s 2 years old, sometimes, I try to convince him it’s raining, it’s from the sky, or this is fireworks. It’s not only the sound of the bombing. It’s also you feel that it’s an earthquake.
Amna Nawaz: Yousef, if you don’t mind my asking, how are you doing?
Yousef Hammash: I don’t think about me. But I don’t think there is a psychosocial support method in this planet will help us to recover from what we have seen here. And my children, when there’s a rocket or bombing around us, they run towards me, just hiding me, or crying. I feel a useless father. Extremely awful situation when you feel that you are useless as a father in front of your children, and you cannot even protect them and keep them safe.
Joe Biden, President of the United States: I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth.
Amna Nawaz: I’m sure you have seen the headlines. President Biden said this to my colleague that they have reasons to doubt the death toll as reported by the Gaza Health Ministry, because it is run by Hamas. I just wonder what you think about that.
Yousef Hammash: It’s not acceptable that they are arguing about the number of people who were killed. And, trust me, this number is not accurate, because it’s way more. We have more than 1,500 people missing under the rubble. So, this number if not accurate because it doesn’t mean that people are less. It’s way more. All across the Gaza Strip, the bombardment doesn’t stop. And you don’t know when you are next. And every night, when we sleep, we pray that we will see the daylight again. So, every day, we wake up, OK, we survived. Lucky. We have another day to live.