Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia's Parliament votes on new Government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French court rules #burkini ban "clearly illegal"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Biden in Turkey, Colombia Peace Deal, Ethiopia Olympic Protest (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Earthquake in Italy, French Burkini Ruling (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The hidden secrets of Les Invalides

Read more

FOCUS

Pro-Opposition stronghold Port-Gentil feverishly awaits presidential elections

Read more

ENCORE!

Alexis Michalik: treading the boards in the footsteps of 'Edmond'

Read more

REPORTERS

Getting away with murder in DR Congo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Why does Italy refuse to see the seismic risk?'

Read more

An interview with a French or international personality from the world of economics, politics, culture or diplomacy. Every Wednesday at 4.45 pm Paris time and Saturday at 7.45 am.

THE INTERVIEW

THE INTERVIEW

Latest update : 2014-08-05

Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip showed no sign of abating, FRANCE 24’s Washington correspondent Philip Crowther spoke to Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Israel is taking enormous precautions to safeguard civilians in Gaza but Hamas continues to put civilians in harm’s way, the Israeli ambassador told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview.

Asked about the White House's warning that Israel must do more to prevent civilian deaths, Dermer said: “Israel is doing more than any country faced with similar circumstances would do... We have about two-thirds of Israelis that have to run into bomb shelters day after day. If you had 200 million Americans who are in bomb shelters day after day, I can assure you that the American military would use more force than Israel has to actually achieve the objective.”

He said Israel should be admired internationally for its efforts to keep civilians safe, and that he stood by an earlier statement in which he said the Israeli military deserved a Nobel Peace Prize.

“That doesn’t mean that we're perfect. It doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes…. But we are taking measures that no other country has taken – dropping flyers, making phone calls, sending text messages, giving people sometimes 48 hours [to get out] ... I think it is working very well.”

He said Gaza was a very densely built up area, which made it more difficult to avoid civilian casualties.

“If Israel [were not] taking these precautions, you would see a much greater number … maybe 10 times or 100 times the casualties. And don’t forget Israel is taking all these measures when our own civilians are facing daily rocket fire."

“Why are there civilian casualties? I’ll tell you why. Because despite the fact that we are being so cautious, you are facing an enemy in Hamas that uses their own civilians as human shields, that [turns] hospitals into military command centres, that turns mosques into weapons depots, that puts rockets into UN schools. [This is] an enemy that is telling their people to go into harm’s way when we are trying to get them out.”
 

By Philip CROWTHER

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-08-10 USA

Investigative journalist and author Johnston: ‘Trump had ties with mobsters’

David Cay Johnston began covering Donald Trump in the 1980s when he was working as a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Johnston’s book, "The Making of Donald Trump," looks...

Read more

2016-08-05 Iraqi politics

Iraq expert: ‘We are facing a conflict that has become cyclical’

Just over two years after the Islamic State group seized control of a third of Iraq, are the days of the self-proclaimed caliphate numbered? The Iraqi army, with air power and...

Read more

2016-07-30 Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan's purge: The end of Turkey's European ambitions?

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once said: “Democracy is like a bus ride. Once I get to my stop, I'm getting off.” Prophetic words, especially when you look at the...

Read more

2016-07-27 human rights

HRW chief Kenneth Roth: 'Putin cares about European public opinion'

FRANCE 24 welcomes one of the world's most high-profile human rights campaigners. Kenneth Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch, the international non-governmental...

Read more

2016-07-23 France

'Lady Liberty': The story behind the pictures

Our guest is Luce Lebart, a curator and historian of photography. Her latest show involves a trip across the Atlantic and back in time - a look through the archives at Lady...

Read more