Israeli leaders are comparing their nation’s fight against Hamas to Britain's experience facing the Nazis during World War II.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened the experience of Israelis today to the British public that suffered the Nazi bombardment during World War II, while Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Hamas holds the same aim as did Nazi Germany: exterminating the Jews.
Following a meeting on Thursday with British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond, Netanyahu said Britain should understand what Israel is going through.
“There has only been one other instance where a democracy has been rocketed and pelleted with these projectiles of death, and that's Britain during World War II,” Netanyahu said, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during joint statements with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
In response to the rocket firing from Gaza, which has exceeded 2,270 projectiles, Netanyahu said Israel is “targeting the rocketeers and seeking to ferret out those terrorists who are hiding behind civilians while firing at our civilians.” He added it is “more difficult for us to fight this criminality because as I’ve told you the terrorists are firing rockets from mosques and schools.”
Netanyahu noted that British Airways was one of the few European airlines that did not stop its flights to Tel Aviv following a temporary FAA ban on American carriers and said “moral focus and moral clarity will be needed in the days ahead.”
While meeting Britain’s Hammond, Liberman said that just like the U.K. responded to Germany’s offensive during the Second World War, Israel must attack Hamas. Israel expected “a special understanding” from Britain, he said.
“We learned from [Winston] Churchill that even if the price is blood, sweat and tears, a nation seeking life needs to fight with determination for its freedom,” Liberman said, according to the Times of Israel. “So we cannot allow Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and cities in southern Israel to be threatened by missile fire. It’s our duty to fight resolutely to allow freedom and a normal life for the citizens of Israel.”
Hammond said that Britain is "gravely concerned" by the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza. At the same time, he said Israel had a right to defend itself from Hamas “indiscriminately” firing rockets at Israeli cities and towns, Britain’s Telegraph reported.
Netanyahu told Hammond Israel was doing “its best” to limit civilian casualties.
“All the civilian deaths there, and we regret every one of them, are the responsibility of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad,” Netanyahu said. The prime minister called Hamas’ hiding behind human shields “grotesque.”