ABC Doesn’t Think Saving Hostages Is a Good Reason to Blow Up Hamas

Over the weekend, Israeli Defense Forces soldiers put their lives on the line in a daring raid into a Hamas stronghold to rescue four of the October 7hostages. But during a moment of triumph for the forces of good, ABC host Martha Raddatz sided with evil during Sunday’s This Week. Throughout her interview with IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner (Ret.), Raddatz repeatedly interrupted, demanding to know why the soldiers decided to kill terrorists instead of letting themselves and the hostages be slaughtered.

After Lerner recounted how Saturday “was a very, very jubilant day” in Israel with people “cheering on the beaches of Tel Aviv and dancing outside the hospital where the hostages were brought,” Raddatz attempted to kill that mood.

Parroting unverifiable Hamas propaganda that 274 civilians were supposedly killed, Raddatz was less concerned about the lives of Israelis and more concerned with airstrikes on Hamas fighting positions. “Colonel, part of this mission were the air strikes we saw, buildings destroyed in a civilian area in broad daylight,” she huffed.

Raddatz refused to admit the fact that Hamas chose to use human shields and Lerner schooled her on it. “Martha, every civilian life lost in this war is a tragedy,” he said. “Every civilian life lost in this war is a result of how Hamas has operated. Let’s think about, just for a moment, where they were holding the hostages, within civilian houses, within people’s apartments.”

As Lerner was explaining how Hamas was trying to kill the hostages in the midst of the rescue operation, Raddatz interrupted him again to demand an explanation for the air strikes as if saving the hostages wasn’t good enough:

LERNER: And, indeed, when we extracted and snatched the hostages, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv – When we extracted them out, the forces came under extensive attack in an attempt to kill both them and the hostages.

RADDATZ (interrupting): And is that the reason for the air strikes? Tell me why those air strikes were necessary, why buildings were destroyed in that attack.

LERNER: The forces came under fire from a 360-degree threat. RPGs, AK-47s, explosive devices on the way, mortar rounds.

“It was and is a war zone,” Lerner told her off. “And so, civilians in that — the tragedy of civilians being caught up in this is precisely because of how Hamas is battling us on the battleground.”

He tried to warn that Hamas couldn’t be allowed to survive because “they will” try to take innocent civilians hostage again and bring them to “places like Nuseirat in apartment buildings,” but Raddatz wasn’t having it.

Interrupting him for a third time, Raddatz questioned the idea that the IDF ever thought about Palestinian civilians. “Again, again, Colonel, we are all grateful the hostages are safe, but just one final question. Would you carry out a similar rescue mission to get the other 116 hostages, no matter the cost to civilians in Gaza?” she pressed.

“We would not have to be at war at all with Hamas and the war can be over today if Hamas lets the hostages free. Is that too much to ask?” Lerner pushed back.

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

ABC’s Good Morning America
June 9, 2024
11:07:36 a.m. Eastern

MARTHA RADDATZ: I’m joined now by Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson and retired Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner. It is good to see you this morning, Colonel. We are also happy those hostages are safe.

Give us a picture of the scale of this mission. We just heard James report with some of the detail, but the ground troops, the air strikes, how long this lasted.

LT. COL. PETER LERNER (Ret., IDF spokesman): Martha, this was an effort conducted and planned over several weeks in order to get the best result. And indeed it came together with extensive intelligence, a map of intelligence that created a good grasp of how the enemy were holding the four hostages, and that then was translated into an operational plan to actually bring them out.

There was so much that could have gone wrong in this rescue mission. We need to keep in mind that all of our war efforts is crafted and designed about bringing back the hostages, so for the success of this operation at this time, I believe that it was a huge feat from a professional perspective, but also on the level of morale and here in Israel. And it was a very, very jubilant day yesterday where people were cheering on the beaches of Tel Aviv and dancing outside the hospital where the hostages were brought later for their medical examinations.

So, the operational side absolutely reflects and spills over into societal issues and there is a hope that we can continue to bring home the hostages either through negotiations or in special force operations like we did yesterday.

RADDATZ: And, Colonel, part of this mission were the air strikes we saw, buildings destroyed in a civilian area in broad daylight, there were people on the street during this attack through the air. Did you factor in the loss of so many Palestinians in this operation?

LERNER: So, we don’t know how many casualties were caused in the strike in the release and rescue operation. And I would be very cautious at accepting any figures and numbers that Hamas are putting out.

RADDATZ (Interrupting): But even the Israelis — Hamas is putting out 274, but even the Israelis, another spokesman from the IDF, said there were fewer than 100. That’s a significant amount of casualties. Did they come from those air strikes in broad daylight?

LERNER: Martha, every civilian life lost in this war is a tragedy. Every civilian life lost in this war is a result of how Hamas has operated. Let’s think about, just for a moment, where they were holding the hostages, within civilian houses, within people’s apartments. In the same apartment they were being held were the families that own the apartments. This exemplifies specifically how Hamas are operating.

And, indeed, when we extracted and snatched the hostages, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv – When we extracted them out, the forces came under extensive attack in an attempt to kill both them and the hostages.

RADDATZ (interrupting): And is that the reason for the air strikes? Tell me why those air strikes were necessary, why buildings were destroyed in that attack.

LERNER: The forces came under fire from 360-degree threat. RPGs, AK-47s, explosive devices on the way, mortar rounds. It was and is a war zone. And so, civilians in that — the tragedy of civilians being caught up in this is precisely because of how Hamas is battling us on the battleground.

Our responsibility, first and foremost responsibility, is to rescue the hostages, to bring them home, to create a better security situation for Israelis, and I would say for Palestinians alike. Hamas have to go. Hamas can’t be trusted with the powers of government because that is what they will do, they will build a terrorist army, they will infiltrate into Israel and abduct partygoers from the nova party and hold them hostage in places like Nuseirat in apartment buildings.

RADDATZ (interrupting): Again, again, Colonel, we are all grateful the hostages are safe, but just one final question. Would you carry out a similar rescue mission to get the other 116 hostages, no matter the cost to civilians in Gaza?

LERNER: There can be a rescue mission like what happened yesterday, but there also could have been negotiations that create the opportunity. Our role is to create the conditions either way that Hamas realize that they should give back the hostages, they should set the hostages free. We would not have to be at war at all with Hamas and the war can be over today if Hamas lets the hostages free. Is that too much to ask?

RADDATZ: We appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

LERNER: Good day.

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