All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, July 18th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
July 18, 2014
Guest: Mark Regev, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Job Henning, Linda Kinstler,
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, we are ALL IN.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don`t have time for
propaganda. We don`t have time for games.
HAYES: All eyes on Russia. A case against Russian-backed separatists is
made on the world stage.
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Russia can end this war.
Russia must end this war.
HAYES: Separatists obstruct investigators at the crash site of Malaysia
Airlines Flight 17, while mourners across the globe grieve for the lives of
nearly 300 people on board.
Plus, ground invasion in Gaza. Israel`s prime minister warns of a larger
ground offensive. I`ll talk with his spokesman.
MARK REGEV, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER`S SPOKESMAN: The Israeli rules of
engagement are clear. If you see civilians are going to get killed, you
cannot pull the trigger.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight, the case of who was responsible for shooting down Malaysia
Airlines Flight 17, killing all 298 people on board is coalescing around
Russia. U.S. officials tell NBC News, they suspect that Russian military
trainers and advisers embedded with separatist forces inside eastern
Ukraine either fired the missile that took down the Malaysian airliner or
at least gave the command to shoot down the plane. Separatists have denied
taking down the plane.
And President Obama today was careful to stop short of any direct
accusations, instead making a strong suggestion that Russian-backed
separatists were, indeed, responsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air
missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed
separatists inside of Ukraine. We know that these separatists have
received a steady flow of support from Russia. This includes arms and
training. It includes heavy weapons. And it includes anti-aircraft
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The anti-aircraft system that the United States says was
responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is a Soviet-era
surface-to-air BUK missile also called the SA-11.
The Ukrainian government has those weapons in its possession as well.
United States says it was unaware of any Ukrainian systems near the scene
of the crash, but as the ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power,
told the Security Council this morning, there were other SA-11s near the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWER: Early Thursday an SA-11 SAM system was reported near Snizhne by a
Western reporter and separatists were spotted hours before the incident
with an SA-11 system at a location close to the site where the plane came
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And Ukraine offered up what it said was evidence of such a system
in separatist hands.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Today, Ukraine`s security service released this footage
purportedly showing a Russian-made missile system moving into the town of
Torez, just two hours before MH-17 was downed. And they claim this shows
the same missile launcher being hurriedly taken away today, crucially two
of its four missiles are missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The United States today made it clear that a separatist did have a
missile launcher, they likely could no have operated it alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWER: Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely
that the separatists could effectively operate the system without
assistance from knowledgeable personnel.
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECY: It`s strange credulity to
think it could be used by separatists without at least some measure of
Russian support and technical assistance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tonight, the United States and international community are calling
for a full and unimpeded investigation into what happened to Malaysia
Airlines Flight 17.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWER: If, indeed, Russian-backed separatists were behind this attack on a
civilian airliner, they and their backers would have good reason to cover
up evidence of their crime. Thus, it is extremely important that an
investigation be commenced immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Investigators with the organization for security and cooperation in
Europe did arrive in Eastern Ukraine, today only to be stymied by a group
of heavily armed separatists who blocked off a large part of the crash
After what has been described as an hour-long standoff, the investigators
retreated. "The Guardian" reporting tonight that they were sent on their
way by warning shots fired by the rebel unit commander, and a spokesman for
the monitor said tonight, quote, that "We had expected unfettered access.
That`s the way we work. Unfortunately, the task was made very difficult.
Upon arrival to the site, we encountered armed personnel who acted in a
very impolite and unprofessional manner. Some of them even looked slightly
Meanwhile, Russia today repeated its claim that Ukraine is to blame for
what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): We place
all blame on the Kiev powers or government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now: Job Henning, senior fellow at the Truman National
Security Project, and former member of then-Senator Hillary Clinton`s
National Security and Advisory Group.
Joe, there seems to be strong evidence, at least according to intelligence
officials in the U.S. government and certainly Ukrainian government that
this was done by Russian rebels. Talk to me about the belief that they
must have had some technical assistance from Russia, itself.
JOB HENNING, TRUMAN NATIONAL SECURITY PROJECT: Well, Chris, good to be
with you. This is obviously a weapon system that`s complicated weapon
system as you`ve covered in early part of your broadcast here. This is
something that in all likelihood had to have the direct involvement of the
Russian government in supporting.
But I think at a broader level, it`s important to stay focused on the idea
that this -- none of this would have happened. It`s important to have the
investigation. It`s important to get in the details of what transpired
there. It`s important to do that in a deliberate sort of fashion, to the
extent that`s possible. But none of this would have happened unless Russia
had not supported separatism in Eastern Ukraine and continued to support,
so it`s important to keep that, I think, at the front of our minds.
HAYES: Well, the question then becomes, if it is established that it was
the rebels, again, the rebels deny that and right now we are going with
unnamed officials talking about American intelligence, Samantha Power
talking about American intelligence and Ukrainian officials talking about
Ukrainian intelligence. If that is the case, though -- I mean, why will
this change anything for how Russia reacts?
I mean, it`s striking to me they have basically been saying all along,
fairly preposterous things about the rebels. I remember when the soldiers
showed up in Crimea with no flags on their uniform, Russia said, well, we
don`t know, they don`t have Russian flags. I mean, they don`t seem to care
that much, frankly, about the credibility of their statements.
HENNING: Right. I think that`s not only fair, it`s very accurate. I
think it is part of a broader strategy by Russia to exploit vulnerabilities
in Western security strategies and defense policies. We`re just not good
at asymmetric strategies. We haven`t been good at it in Iraq and
Afghanistan. I think the Russian Federation spent a lot of time looking at
those vulnerabilities. They`ve been exploiting them really very well in
Crimea and here in Eastern Ukraine.
And they`ve made it easy for the West to not call it a war because a war
requires to actually do something. When in all reality, it has been a war.
It`s an armed conflict. There never should have been airliners flying over
that part of the country, but because everyone pretends or declines to call
it a war, that`s what`s transpired.
So, I think it`s important to see that strategy overtime. There is a
deliberate lack of interest in credibility from the Russian government. I
think the question is, what is the response from the West?
HAYES: You know, there`s been a lot of commentary suggesting that Vladimir
Putin is outmaneuvering the West, he`s outmaneuvering the E.U., he`s
outmaneuvering Barack Obama in the way that he was able to acquire Crimea,
in sort of supporting the rebels.
But it also strikes me that this is bad for Vladimir Putin. I mean, what`s
happened here doesn`t make his objectives more achievable today than they
were at the beginning of the week.
HENNING: Well, Chris, I think it`s always important not to mirror image
the interest and objectives of the adversary or the opponent in this
instance. We don`t really know what Putin`s win-set is, we don`t know
really know how he perceives of his situation. I think it`s important to
keep focus on the Western alliance, how we see the situation and calibrate
our responses accordingly.
And the evidence before us suggests Russia has acted as a rogue state.
They`ve acted wildly irresponsibly. It doesn`t mean we have to take any
immediate action. But I think it`s important when you heard comments like
from Senator McCain today, those comments make it too easy to dismiss the
idea of doing something, but we do have to do something.
It`s important to think of this in the context of a European security
strategy and it`s important to have some sort of coherent response to it.
The upcoming summit in Wales certainly affords an opportunity to do that.
The G-7 Summit we had a couple weeks ago unfortunately missed some of the
opportunities to be stronger about those positions.
HAYES: Job Henning, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
HENNING: Thank you.
HAYES: The wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 stretches across six
square miles of Eastern Ukraine. The exact whereabouts of the plane`s
black boxes is unclear. Separatist rebels claimed to have recovered them
then claimed they didn`t have them.
The Ukrainian government claimed that it had possession of at least one of
the recorders. Ukrainians also say they plan to move the bodies which are
scattered across the crash site to the city of Kharkiv, though it is not
clear whether the separatists have agreed to the plan.
This as the country that lost so many civilians when the plane was brought
down, demanded action. The Dutch prime minister joined calls for an
independent investigation to uncover the facts and Australia made it clear
it wants justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: This is not an accident. It`s a
crime. I stress it`s not an accident, it`s a crime. And criminals should
not be allowed to get away with what they`ve done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Linda Kinstler, managing editor of "The New
You`ve been reporting on this, Linda. From the perspective of Ukraine,
what is the next step for them?
LINDA KINSTLER, THE NEW REPUBLIC: Well, I think Ukraine has been fighting
this anti-terrorist operation very successfully for the past few weeks
which is why we`ve seen the clustering of rebels in Donetsk where the
wreckage site is located. Both Obama and Biden called for cease-fires on
the part of the anti-terrorist operation and the rebels, something that
they are not going to agree to. Neither side has fully adhered to the
previous two ceasefires that we`ve seen.
And despite these international calls for a cease-fire, there`s no appetite
for this in Kiev, because their take is that, you know, guys, we`ve given
you a chance twice to come to the negotiating table and now, we`re going to
fight and we`re going to take you out of Donetsk.
HAYES: I mean, they think they can press on to a military victory and
reclaim the rest of Eastern Ukraine.
KINSTLER: Absolutely. And I think that --
HAYES: And they`ve had some military success so far.
KINSTLER: Right, absolutely. And even today, we`ve seen 20 people were
killed in Luhansk. There`s continuous shelling there. There`s an oil
refinery that`s ablaze. And now, this site, this accident gives the
Ukrainian military all the more motive to go in and reclaim their
HAYES: It also probably gives them some international cover in terms of
how they`re perceived. I mean, we have as Job just alluded to, this has
been essentially a hot war for about a month. I mean, there are people
dying. There are 46 -- I don`t -- I think it was surprising everyone there
were 46 members of the Ukrainian armed forces that died on Monday when the
cargo plane was shot down. They will now have more cover internationally
to press whatever military vantage they have.
KINSTLER: Right, and also, it`s imperative that they regain control of
where the plane is located right now, because we are losing all of this
evidence that is imperative to finding out who is responsible for this
HAYES: What do you think the dynamic will be in terms of Europe`s
perception of this? I mean, obviously, most of the people on that plane
were European. More than half were Dutch. The E.U. has been reticent to
ratchet up sanctions, reticent to insert itself in the middle of the
Do you think that will change?
KINSTLER: Right. Absolutely. I do think -- I think it has to change. At
this point, I think there`s immense -- I hope that there will be immense
popular pressure to at the very least increase sanctions. At the most,
they should go in and try and help Ukraine, first of all, secure its
border, because we don`t know that Russia has stopped the flow of fighters
and equipment into Ukraine. The border was never secured.
And though NATO has ratcheted up the presence of troops in Ukraine and in
the surrounding area, we don`t know what impact that has had. I would
point out that the Baltic States aren`t E.U. members and they`re the ones
who feel quite threatened by what`s going on. And though we have sent more
troops to help protect them, that is not really doing anything directly for
HAYES: But the danger that strikes me here is the most dangerous syllogism
in all of foreign policy. Job referred to it, we have to do something. If
we have to do something, this is something, so let`s do it, right?
The question is, what`s the something? And it seems that Russia`s been
perfectly -- Russia`s calculations of its interests that securing a buffer
of influence around its border is so important they`re willing to sacrifice
all kinds of things. I mean, they did it over Crimea which everyone just
saw them yoink in front of the world.
KINSTLER: Right. Absolutely. The thing that remains the most important
thing for Putin in this crisis is making sure that the newly elected
Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, has an incredibly difficult time
securing power. The whole purpose of undermining the anti-terrorist
operations by continuing to send arms to Russia is to undermine
Poroshenko`s government and make sure that there is no popular revolution
in a former Soviet state.
HAYES: Linda Kinstler from "The New Republic" -- thank you very much.
KINSTLER: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: All right. For one country, the downing of Malaysian Airlines
Flight 17 could be their 9/11. The impact of the tragedy on the medical
community and on the nations most impacted, next.
HAYES: For true understanding of nations most affected by the downing of
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, next.
And ahead, the ground invasion of Gaza intensifies. I had an opportunity
to speak to a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
about the ongoing incursion into Gaza. You do not want to miss that
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Three children from one family, Mo, Otis, and Evi Muslin (ph)
were traveling back to Perth with their grandfather, while their parents
stayed on in Amsterdam for a few more days.
Marie and Albert Risk (ph) were the second members of their family to die
in Malaysian Airlines disasters. Two relatives were on MH-370, the flight
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, we got our first real glimpse of the passengers aboard
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. As the dead are being named and mourned.
Malaysia Airlines has identified 11 countries that lost citizens in
But by far, the country that lost the most people was the Netherlands.
More than half of the people on board the flight were Dutch. To really get
an idea of just how much of an impact this was for the country, Samantha
Power, U.S. ambassador for the U.N., tweeted the scale of the disaster is
to horrific, the number of victims relative to total population is the same
for the Netherlands as 9/11 was for the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Outside a florist in the tulip growing west of Holland, the
flowers pave the road. Here, they`re mourning the shop`s owner and her
partner who left a note saying they`ll be back from holiday soon, and
another chilling good-bye message.
On his Facebook page, as he boarded his flight yesterday, he posted a
picture and wrote, "In case, it disappears, the plane looks like this."
More haunting images were posted by a student from Amsterdam. "I`m feeling
a bit nervous" he wrote, as passengers stowed their luggage. Two hours
later, they`d be dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Condolences poured in for the Dutch victims in Ukraine today where
people were laying flowers outside the Dutch embassy.
According to NBC News, at least six people onboard the plane were heading
to an international AIDS conference in Australia. Including Joep Lange,
former president of the International AIDS Society and widely recognized a
giant of the field of AIDS/HIV research.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In this world today, we shouldn`t forget that in the midst of
conflict and killing, there are people like these. People who are focused
on what can be built, rather than what can be destroyed. People who are
focused on how they can help people that they never met. People who
defined themselves not by what makes them different from other people, but
by the humanity that we hold in common.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Richard Kim, executive editor of "The Nation."
Richard, you`ve been reporting on the AIDS researchers that were on the
plane. There has been some wild discrepancies about what percentage of
that plane was constituted by folks going to that conference.
RICHARD KIM, THE NATION: Yes, there were reports last night at 100 or 108
people, AIDS activists, going to the conference were at that flight. Today
it seems it`s six, seven, maybe 10. That`s all the International AIDS
Society has confirmed.
And it seems that the source of that 108 was a single unnamed, unconfirmed
conference delegate. So, it`s not clear the passenger manifest, we don`t
know yet, but -- and more could emerge, but it looks much smaller than it
did last night.
HAYES: Now, this is the big international AIDS conference and it`s 20th
anniversary if I`m not mistaken of this conference that`s being held in
KIM: Yes. And, you know, the real tragic irony is that there was a real
sense of profound optimism going into this conference. There was the
belief that between the development of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis as
prevention and the increase availability of anti-retroviral as treatment,
that you could really end the epidemic in a generation. That in terms of
the medical tools, we had all we needed to end the epidemic. What we
lacked was the political will, the human resources.
And that struggle to get the political will and the human resources, that
was Dr. Lange`s entire life. He was not just a brilliant researcher and
HAYES: This is the Dutch researcher who had been president of the
International AIDS Society who perished on this flight. And it is
confirmed he was on flight. Tell me about it.
KIM: Yes. So, you know, my friend, Peter Staley, the great AIDS activist,
who I think you had on your show, he calls Dr. Lange the pied piper of
treatment as prevention, and that`s the idea that if you get a community,
and you test them fairly rigorously in a voluntary manner, and then you
have universal access to treatment, you can lower the viral loads, not just
in people, but that community to almost zero. And you could really end the
HAYES: You could extinguish it.
KIM: You could extinguish it. That is what the conference was looking at.
The name of the conference, the subtitle of the conference, it was
"Stepping Up". And that`s what the Melbourne declaration was focused on.
It was looking at what we would need to get universal access to treatment
HAYES: And Joep Lange was key in that, right, because for people dealing
with this crisis for decades now, right, there`s been two sides of it.
There`s the sort of medical side of how do we develop, how do we understand
the virus, how do we attack it, medically and biologically? And that`s
come a huge way.
And then the other part is the public health aspect of it.
KIM: You know, and this is the great thing about Dr. Lange, he was both,
right? He was an incredible HIV researcher. He was one of the people who
pioneered the triple dose cocktail that cut mortality rates.
HAYES: That was the big breakthrough in treatment.
KIM: Yes, but from the beginning, he had married that to a profound sense
of social justice. He once said, you know, we can get beer and Coca-Cola
into every remote corner of Africa. There is no reason we can`t get these
drugs into every corner of Africa. That`s what he was committed to.
He was a pioneer in treatment for mothers so they wouldn`t transmit the
disease to their children. And using anti-retroviral to prevent the
transmission of HIV, and looking at treatment as a vaccine. That`s what he
actually called universal treatment. It functions as a vaccine.
HAYES: Joep Lange was headed to this conference, this conference is
happening, I mean, it`s still going to happen. It`s strange to contemplate
what kind of shadow this casts over.
KIM: Yes. You know, there are 14,000 activists that are heading to
Melbourne -- doctors, clinicians, public health advocates.
I will say, the conference in the past has always worked in the shadow of
profound loss and death. The very first AIDS conferences were in the worst
years of the epidemic.
So, AIDS activists are going to carry on from this moment. They have a
sort of learned skill set of working through grief, profound grief and have
every reason to believe, what I`m hearing from people in Melbourne, that
they`re rededicating themselves to Dr. Lange`s work.
HAYES: Dr. Lange, he will be missed, RIP.
Richard Kim, thank you so much.
KIM: Thank you.
HAYES: Really appreciate it.
The agony of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 is not the only big news today.
As the Israeli ground invasion is Gaza moves forward, I got a chance to ask
the Israeli government spokesperson about the Israeli mortars that killed
those four boys playing soccer on the beach this week. His answer, ahead.
HAYES: Just hours ago, I spoke with Mark Regev, the chief spokesperson of
the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and I asked him about those
four Palestinian boys who were killed on the beach by an Israeli mortar
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REGEV: We don`t target civilians, we don`t target obviously children. We
are, indeed, regret that incident. When this sort of thing happens, it`s
an operational failure. We are disappointed with our own performance. It
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Mr. Regev and I spoke at length about the four boys killed on that
beach, as well as the current Israeli ground invasion of Gaza and the
implications of that ground invasion for any peace prospects. What are the
Israeli government`s precise intentions in days, weeks and months ahead?
The full interview ahead.
Next, we`re going live to Gaza for a live report.
HAYES: Flares and artillery shells light up the night sky over Gaza as
Israel`s ground invasion continues tonight. Residents and reporters on the
ground describing a harrowing night of sustained bombardment with buildings
shaking and the smell of smoke permeating the air.
What according to Israeli defense forces began as a limited tactical
operation aimed at knocking out Gaza`s underground tunnels now potentially
expanding into an open-ended engagement after Israeli Prime Minister
Netanyahu ordered the military to, quote, "prepare for the possibility of
Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel from Gaza, as many as 1,600 in
the last 11 days, according to the Israeli military, which sustained its
first fatality in the early hours of the ground offensive, a 20-year-old
The IDF says it has unearthed 22 tunnels in the Gaza Strip, attacking more
than 150 targets in total since the advance began. According to the Gaza
health ministry, nearly 300 Palestinians have been killed since Operation
Protective Edge began a week and a half ago. As many as three-quarters may
have been civilians, according to the United Nations.
The near-constant stream of casualties is threatening to overwhelm one of
the few functioning hospitals in Gaza, where doctors and nurses are working
24-hour shifts and supplies are already running low. Many of those
arriving after the ground invasion began, according to one doctor, are
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority officials are struggling to contain anger
in the West Bank over the Israeli military`s incursion into Gaza.
Protesters there clashing violently with security forces tonight.
Joining me now, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, he`s correspondent for Democracy
Now! and fellow at The Nation Institute. He`s in Gaza.
And, Sharif, what are you seeing there?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Well, Chris, thanks for having me
on. The shelling and the airstrikes on Gaza continue; just moments before
you called me to have me on, there was a triple strike right near our hotel
that had me diving to the floor, this is in northern Gaza City.
You know, this is part of the sounds of war that fill the Gaza night, the
booms of naval artillery, the screech of F-16s, the blasts of missile
shells and bombs that come crashing down that have become a part of Gaza
for the past 11 days.
And in the morning, you often see the devastation and you see the deaths
and injuries that have been caused. You can`t turn a corner in Gaza
without seeing a building having been -- it`s got sod ripped away, buckling
You can`t enter any hospital or medical facility, without seeing people
wounded, people amputated. Many of them, as you mentioned, children.
I spoke with one 16-year old, you know, who has cancer in her spinal cord
and is paraplegic -- she`s paralyzed from the waist down -- who was at the
El-Wafa (ph) hospital in Eastern Gaza last night when it came under attack
by the Israeli military.
Her and the executive director of the hospital said the top floors of the
hospital were shelled and they were forced to carry out the patients in
their arms, in stretchers, medical staff, and evacuate them under fire.
I also spoke to a journalist working for a TV production company, a local
one, where they, at 7:00 am this morning, there was a triple Apache
helicopter strike on the 8th floor of the building where 30 of these media
workers were sleeping, where they spent 24 hours a day for the past 11 days
covering the conflict.
And miraculously, no one was hurt. But these are the kind of stories you
come across in Gaza every day and the casualties continue to rise and just
this past night, eight members from a single family reportedly have been
killed when a tank shell hit --
HAYES: Is there any way from the first-person perspective of someone in
Gaza -- which only intermittently has electricity, as I understand it -- to
put yourself in a situation that feels safe?
Is there any logic from your first-person perspective to where attacks are
KOUDDOUS: It is very hard to feel safe anywhere in Gaza. There`s no air
sirens here, there`s no shelters, there`s no air missile defense system.
You don`t know when the attacks are coming.
You know to stay away from certain places, but really it`s a feeling of
And I`m speaking to you as a journalist, who is staying in a big hotel that
probably won`t get attacked. But for the thousands and tens of thousands
of Palestinians, there`s very little that they can do to have any kind of
sense of safety.
Tens of thousands of children have been traumatized -- and this is
according to the United Nations. Many families that you speak to, of
course, have lost family members, but also the kids that have survived
suffered deep psychological trauma. They shake uncontrollably when these
KOUDDOUS: And this is part of the long-lasting effects that this conflict
will have for many years to come.
HAYES: Sharif Abdel Kouddous in Gaza, thank you for your reporting.
KOUDDOUS: Thank you.
HAYES: Answers from the Israeli government about the ground invasion of
HAYES: As the fighting in Gaza drags on, we have been reaching out to
representatives from both sides, asking key players to appear on this show
and answer questions about their part in the conflict.
We have not been able to connect with a representative from Hamas willing
and able to be interviewed, but I was able to speak earlier this evening
with Mark Regev. He`s chief spokesperson for the Prime Minister of Israel,
HAYES: First I want to ask about those four Palestinian boys who were
killed on the beach. Our correspondent and colleague, Ayman Mohyeldin,
witnessed their death a few days later.
Why were those boys killed?
MARK REGEV, NETANYAHU`S CHIEF SPOKESMAN: The investigation is ongoing.
But it appears to have been a tragic accident.
We don`t target civilians; we don`t target, obviously, children. There was
an identification of a legitimate Hamas terrorist target there in the
immediate vicinity and somehow there appears to have been a
misidentification. And it`s a tragedy. We`ve said so.
President Perez has apologized. And we are -- indeed, regret that
incident. When this sort of thing happens, it`s an operational failure.
We are disappointed with our own performance. It shouldn`t happen.
HAYES: Your government has said repeatedly that you do not target
civilians, that you`re taking extraordinary measures to avoid civilian
At the same time, the latest U.N. statistics -- and that`s before last
night`s ground incursion -- indicate that somewhere around 77 percent of
fatalities in Gaza have been civilians.
How do you account for that?
REGEV: First of all, one has to be careful with the numbers coming out of
Gaza because the U.N. will also tell you that all the numbers are coming
out from the Hamas-controlled ministry of health. And no one yet has the
ability to adequately assess if those numbers are accurate or not.
I do know that civilians are being hurt and being killed. They`re getting
caught in the crossfire between us and Hamas.
And our problem is that Hamas embeds itself amongst Gaza civilians, using
Gaza civilians as a human shield, deliberately bringing them into harm`s
The best example was by the United Nations yesterday, where the United
Nations put out a statement, saying they had an example of Hamas storing 20
missiles, missiles that are fired at Israel, inside a school.
And Hamas has no qualms whatsoever about burying its terrorist machine
inside schools, in mosques, in urban areas.
HAYES: The U.N. yesterday, when they discovered those rockets inside an
abandoned school, the school no longer being used, they also said that was
the first time in years of regular inspections at facilities that they had
ever found weapons in one of their facilities.
REGEV: Well, the truth is that that is, we think, a little farfetched.
There are countless examples of Hamas using schools, hospitals, other
humanitarian institutions for, to cover its --
HAYES: Mr. Regev, let me ask you this --
REGEV: -- in the last round of fighting.
HAYES: Let me ask you this, though. Let`s say that this is true, that
Hamas has been using the civilians of Gaza --
REGEV: It is true. It is true.
HAYES: -- and has embedded it, is there some point at which there`s a
moral calculation, which means you simply cannot strike some of these
If it is the case that there are civilians who are embedded, then at a
certain point, it seems to me there must be some moral threshold that just
says they`ve simply become illegitimate targets.
REGEV: That`s correct. You`re 100 percent right, and we do that.
In the last round of fighting with Gaza, we knew that the most senior Hamas
leadership was held up in the basement of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, and
so we couldn`t touch them.
And so I agree, there are some times where you just cannot target. And the
rules, the Israeli rules of engagement are clear. If you see civilians are
going to get killed, you cannot pull the trigger.
What we do do, however, is when it`s possible to take out a target and the
risk to collateral damage is low, then we`ll take out that target because
ultimately they`re shooting rockets at our people. They`re trying to kill
We`ve had some 1,600 rockets fired at Israel over the last 11 days, raining
down on our city, barrage after barrage. And so we`ve got to stop that
rocket fire and we do so as in a surgical as possible, in a very complex
HAYES: One more question on this, then I want to turn to the broader
context of the ground operation. But that hospital that you mentioned,
that hospital has already come under fairly sustained shelling twice in the
last several days with patients inside.
REGEV: You`re talking about a different hospital. I was talking about
Shifa Hospital. You`re talking about a different one.
We had a situation and there were -- I was hearing a report from a British
journalist, who reported that Hamas was shooting from the immediate
vicinity of that hospital, the one that you`re talking about.
And that`s a further example -- once again, not Israeli intelligence; this
is a journalist, a British journalist who was there, reported seeing
hostile fire from the hospital, from the immediate vicinity of the hospital
into Israel, another example of Hamas using human shields, using Gaza
My prime minister, I thought, put it very well when he said, in Israel,
we`ve got missiles to protect people. In Gaza, they used -- Hamas used its
people to protect its missiles. It`s disgusting and it`s the entire
difference between us and them.
HAYES: More of that interview in just a moment. Stay with us.
HAYES: Yesterday your government said that the ground incursion into Gaza
would be limited, it would be tactical, it would be focused on the tunnels.
Today it seems you`re leaving the door open for something wider than that.
What is -- what is the ultimate goal? What is the end game here?
Given the fact we`ve now gone through this several times in 2009, again in
2012, in which there`s exchange of hostilities, there is airstrikes or
ground incursion, and then return to something that looks like the status
REGEV: The end goal is clear, the end game for Israel is crystal clear.
We want to have a situation where the Israeli civilian population does not
have to live in fear of these incoming rockets from Gaza.
Our goal is ultimately defensive. We want our people to live in safety and
security with peace and quiet. For us, victory is no more rockets fired
from Gaza into Israel. It`s as simple as that.
HAYES: So let`s say that`s achieved, then it remains remarkably unclear to
me what the trajectory is forward for the 1.7 million people of the Gaza
These are people who are just unlucky enough to be born in a 25-mile patch
of area, not in any kind of circumstances I think anyone would envy, and
yet there seems no path forward from the Israeli government about how they
will be brought toward something that is full statehood or the full dignity
of citizenship that people, I think, all aspire to.
REGEV: I beg to disagree. Their problem isn`t Israel. Their problem is
Hamas, an Islamist extremist movement that rules Gaza with an iron fist,
that stamped out all freedom. No independent press, no independent trade
unions. In a woman dresses immodestly, she can be beaten up. Bloggers who
write things critical of the regime there get arrested in the middle of the
We pulled out of Gaza. People forget this. But we pulled out of Gaza. We
took down all the settlements. The settlers who didn`t want to leave, we
told them they had to leave. We redeployed behind the `67 borders and we
hoped that following our pullout of Gaza, we`d have a different
relationship with Gaza, one based on peace and cooperation.
We signed an agreement through the United States, the Access and Movement
Agreement, so there would be border crossings, we`d have trade, we`d have
commerce, we`d have tourism, we`d have cooperation. There was every reason
for hope when Israel pulled out of Gaza. There was hope for the people of
What happened? Hamas took power in Gaza and, with its very radical and
extremism Islamist ideology, tries to force Gazans to live in this sort of
early medievalism with sharia law and so forth.
And at the same time instead of investing in schools and hospitals and in
the wellbeing of the people of Gaza, it invests in missiles and in weapons
and in what they call the armed struggle against Israel.
Now, you can`t expect Israel to have a normal relationship with Gaza if
they`re shooting rockets at our people, trying to kill our people. The
root cause of the problem here is the regime in Gaza, it is Hamas -- which
is not dissimilar to some of the other radical Islamist groups like ISIS in
Iraq or Hezbollah in Lebanon or even Boko Haram in Nigeria.
These groups are extremist and they have no qualms whatsoever about
sacrificing thousands of civilians for their very radical ideology.
HAYES: And yet I think you would agree there`s quite a difference in the
Palestinian Authority, which obviously has acknowledged Israel`s right to
exist, has cooperated with Israeli security forces in stopping terror
attacks, which has not pursued armed resistance against Israel.
And yet the people in the West Bank don`t seem like they are any closer to
having a state than those in Gaza.
REGEV: Well, we want to see a situation of two states for two peoples
where you have an independent Jewish state living side by side, an
independent Palestinian state in peace and cooperation --
HAYES: Mr. Regev, let me stop you there for a second. Your prime minister
-- your prime minister said just the other day that Israel could never
accept a situation in which it did not have security control over the land
west of the Jordan River.
REGEV: That`s 100 percent correct. It means, in the framework of peace,
both sides are going to have to make concessions. We`re going to have to
make tough choices and Palestinians will have to make their own tough
And one of the things we`ll insist upon in a peace agreement, and
rightfully so, is that there be security arrangements, because, in this
part of the world, there is no peace without security.
And you know if we ever sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians, and I
hope we do soon, there are no shortage of extremists who will use violence
to try to destroy that peace -- Hamas, Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, ISIS, the
So it`s crucial that you have security elements in a peace treaty to
protect the peace. That`s logic. That`s common sense. It doesn`t work
any other way in this part of the world.
HAYES: In terms of the origins of this latest round of violence --
obviously Hamas has launched somewhere around 1,000 rockets, according to
Israeli defense forces at Israel, at civilian targets, explicitly at --
HAYES: -- yes. Hamas says that the rocket fire started as a reaction to
the fact that hundreds of Hamas operatives were rounded up in the
operations following the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the three
Israeli yeshiva students, and that those people were apprehended, some
without charges, some in violation of the prisoner swap agreement pursuant
to the repatriation of Gilad Shalit.
They basically say that operation was what started the current round of
What`s your response to that?
REGEV: What started the current round of hostilities was Hamas violence on
the West Bank, where they kidnapped and killed those three teenagers. And
you`re aware of that story.
But let`s be clear --
HAYES: What is the evidence?
HAYES: Let`s just stop right there.
REGEV: -- let`s take a step back and look at Hamas.
HAYES: Your government --
REGEV: Can I --
HAYES: Let me just stop right there.
REGEV: -- the difference is clear and --
HAYES: What is the evidence? What is the evidence that Hamas was
responsible -- obviously they denied it and they also praised it.
But what is the evidence that has been presented publicly that Hamas was
responsible for that kidnapping?
REGEV: We`ve named the two individuals who are involved. It`s clear
they`re involved. Everyone in Hebron knows that they are local activists,
local operatives from Hamas, and the Palestinian security services will
confirm everything I`ve just said to you.
But can I answer the previous question?
Will you allow me to do that, please, sir?
REGEV: You said Hamas attacks us for all sorts of reasons. You know, when
the peace process with the Palestinians was moving ahead most aggressively
and we thought we were very close to a peace deal -- that was in the 1990s;
you`ll remember that -- then Hamas did the worst wave of suicide bombings,
killing scores of people in atrocious crimes where they targeted buses and
coffee shops and so forth.
Then we were told, well, that`s -- Hamas is killing Israelis because peace
is close and they want to torpedo peace.
Today people say, well, Hamas is targeting and killing Israelis because the
peace process isn`t moving forward enough. You can`t have it both ways.
Hamas is killing Israelis because that`s what that organization is all
about. You should read their charter. It says so openly. It says the
Jewish state has no right to exist, not in any frontiers. It says that the
only way to solve the problem of Palestine, they say, is through violent
They say every Jew is a legitimate target in the war of terrorism. This
isn`t Mark Regev speaking. This is Hamas, itself, speaking. It`s a very
radical extremist group that needs no excuses, unfortunately, to kill my
HAYES: Can I just return, though, to this question of culpability for the
It seems to me that it`s strange that those people have not been brought to
justice. They have not been indicted. They have not been tried. They
have not been found.
Given the fact that that monstrous murder of those three yeshiva students
is what was a kind of original precipitating moment, and given the fact
that the suspects in Israel of the burning death of Abu Khetar (ph) have
been indicted, as I understand it, today, why haven`t those people been
brought to justice?
REGEV: It`s a good question. We`re trying very hard to apprehend them. I
think there are many examples of crimes in the United States where it took,
unfortunately, a longer period of time to bring the perpetrators of
atrocious crimes to justice.
We will bring them to justice. We will find them and we`ll bring them to
justice. That is our commitment.
HAYES: And finally, Mr. Regev, Hamas counteroffered; they rejected the
cease-fire that was proffered by Egypt and Israel, the Israeli cabinet had
accepted. They have counteroffered with their own proposal for a truce.
It involves a number of stipulations, including re-opening the Rafa
What is your response to the Hamas offer of a truce?
REGEV: We`re not aware that Hamas has offered a truce. And it`s very
important to understand: there was an Egyptian proposal on the table, a
proposal that was backed by the United Nations and the Arab League.
Traditionally, neither organization has been particularly friendly to
And yet despite that overwhelming Arab and international support for the
Egyptian cease-fire proposal, Hamas said no on Monday. They said no again
on Tuesday. And they said no again on Wednesday. And that left us no
alternative but to escalate the situation, to put more pressure on Hamas,
to try to stop that rocket fire into Israel.
But you know who`s most angry at Hamas for saying no to the peace -- to the
Egyptian cease-fire proposals? The people of Gaza.
All our intelligence and reporters on the ground are saying the same thing:
the people of Gaza are furious with Hamas. They say Hamas turned away a
chance to totally deescalate the situation, to allow life to get back to
normal. Hamas will be held accountable for its actions.
HAYES: How long will Israeli forces be in Gaza?
REGEV: As long as it takes. I mean, ultimately, if you can tell me that
tomorrow the civilian population of Israel can live safely without fear of
these incoming rockets, they can leave tomorrow.
HAYES: Mr. Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin
Netanyahu, thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
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