Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not answering questions about his perceived failures following the Oct. 7 attacks on his nation by Hamas. CNN’s Dana Bash pressed him Sunday on the topic after “multiple people inside Israel” asked her to ahead of their conversation.
To this, he said, “Well, did people ask Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor that question? Did people ask George Bush after the surprise attack of November [sic] 11th?”
Netanyahu told Bash that now is not the time for these concerns, and “I’m going to be asked tough questions. Right now, I think what we have to do is unite the country for one purpose, one purpose alone, and that is to achieve victory.”
The prime minister’s mistake aside (his return fire was clearly a reference to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City), his refusal to admit he personally made mistakes following the Oct. 7 attacks has been a hot issue in his country.
CNN's Dana Bash pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the hospital situation in Gaza, efforts to get hostages released and whether he takes responsibility for failing to prevent the surprise October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel. https://t.co/DcGVlcJcHj pic.twitter.com/XVA0iPq6pJ
— CNN (@CNN) November 12, 2023
In October, Netanyahu appeared to blame his security chiefs for failing to alert him to the threat posed by Hamas. In a since-deleted tweet, he wrote, “At no point was a warning given to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Hamas’s intention to start a war,” a since-deleted tweet from his account stated. “On the contrary, all the defense officials, including the heads of the Intelligence Directorate and the Shin Bet, assessed that Hamas was deterred.”
Families of the 240 people who have been taken hostage by Hamas were outraged by the statement. Netanyahu’s subsequent apology did little to quell those feelings. Meirav Leshem Gonen, mother of hostage Romi Gonen, said that the prime minister needs to do more.
Gonen explained, “We spoke bluntly and made it clear to the prime minister in no uncertain terms that a comprehensive deal based on the ‘everyone for everyone’ principle is a deal the families would consider, and has the support of all of Israel.”
Ariella Marsden, a journalist at The Jerusalem Post, wrote on Nov. 5 that Netanyahu’s refusal to take any accountability will likely be his downfall when the war is finished.
She explained, “But even if he doesn’t resign, the decision could be taken out of his hands as recent reports have indicated that a vote of no confidence is in the works for after the war. Therefore, to keep his government going, Netanyahu will have to maintain the government’s and the people’s confidence.”
Netanyahu and Bash also spoke about the crisis at Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, where generators are shutting off and patients, including at least three premature babies in the NICU, are dying. On Saturday the IDF said it had plans to evacuate infants from the hospital, but at the time of this writing, no such evaucations appear to have taken place.
In a notable exchange, Bash asked, “Just to be clear, sir, Israel will aid, help these civilians who are quite sick and inside these hospitals come out, not just in Al Shifa, but there are other hospitals where this is happening?”
Netanyahu replied, “Yes. Yes. We’re telling them to leave.”
Bash clarified, “Telling them or helping them?”
Watch the interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the video above.