Israel will not stop its rocket attacks and ground offensive in Gaza until Hamas is unable to continue firing rockets at Israel, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat says.
"With all due respect, it's not a symmetrical war," Barkat said Monday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
"Unfortunately, there's terrorists who have no clue what honest means, what the Geneva Convention means. And we will hunt them and kill them before they kill us."
Israel has come under criticism in much of the world media for hitting civilians, including children, in its retaliation against Hamas. Secretary of State John Kerry was caught
on an open microphone Sunday sounding critical of Israel's offensive.
"It's a hell of a pinpoint operation," he said in frustration to an aide on the other end of a cellphone.
Barkat told Cavuto that Israel is trying to pinpoint as much as possible and not hit innocent children, but that is difficult when Hamas bases its rockets under schools, then tells people to ignore Israel's warnings of retaliation.
Cavuto suggested Kerry might have intended the private conversation, held in a TV studio between Sunday news show interviews, to be overheard as a means of sending Israel a public message that it is overreaching.
"Well, we'll do even more to target the terrorists and the militants using their children as protective shields and hitting our children," Barkat responded. "We will continue with force to hit the militants."
Barkat said Israel feels for every innocent person or child who is hurt, but that Hamas cheers when Israeli children are hurt.
"We will not stop until we are sure that they cannot fire missiles," he said. "If they hide behind children, we will warn them once, warn them twice, and go after terrorists. And God forbid, take those innocent children of innocent people away, because we will not stop."
Israeli soldiers hold their fire if they aren't certain they won't hurt civilians, Barkat said. But he added that critics have to realize "there are new chapters to write" on how to deal with terrorists hiding behind children.
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