July 31, 2014 at 8:03 AM ET
The Israeli ambassador to the United States continued to defend his nation’s military actions, insisting Thursday that Israel must strike back against Hamas rather than cowering in bomb shelters.
“You have to put it in context. What do you think the United States would do if you had 200 million Americans in bomb shelters?” said Ambassador Ron Dermer, referring to the idea that roughly two-thirds of his densely populated nation has sought shelter against Hamas rocket fire over the past three weeks.
“Israel has taken great care to avoid civilian casualties, but we’re fighting an enemy that not only fires at our civilians but hides behind their civilians. That’s the problem.”
Earlier Thursday, Israel’s military announced plans to call up another 16,000 reserves in the campaign that has played out in the Gaza Strip. The campaign has claimed the lives of least 1,360 Palestinians, most of them civilians. At least 59 Israelis also have died during the conflict.
Dermer also defended Israel against other criticisms: