CBS’s Rose Allows Hamas Leader to Compare Palestinian Terrorism to U.S. Defeating British in Revolutionary War

CBS This Morning aired multiple excerpts on Monday morning of co-host Charlie Rose’s interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, that will air on Rose’s PBS show on Monday night. In the excerpts that were aired, Rose allowed him to compare the Palestinian people in their fighting with Israel to Americans waging war with the British in the America Revolution. Further, Meshaal denied any possibility that, in his mind, a state of Israel could co-exist with any Palestinian state.

In the first excerpt, which aired in the 7:00 a.m. hour, Rose began by citing former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who said that “Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen” if they shot rockets toward Israel and that “they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so the rest of the world will condemn them”. Rose cited Clinton as someone who isn’t Israeli, but was “a man who worked hard to create peace between Palestinians and Israelis.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Meshaal wasn’t interested in what Clinton thought as he said “the world doesn’t want to blame the Israelis” and lamented that Israel’s so-called “occupation” is “actually the last occupation in the world.” Then, Meshaal launched into a ridiculous comparison between the Palestinians fighting the Israelis and the Americans fighting the British during the American Revolution: 

As a Palestinian, I want to be liberalized, I want to state, I want to live without occupation. You in America, the American Revolution, was it peaceful? Did you not kick the British out? 

Unfortunately, Rose’s lone misstep in this interview was that Rose allowed him to continue and didn’t interrupt him to dispute that absurd notion that somehow the actions of Palestinians and Americans are the same.

The second excerpt aired during the 8:00 a.m. hour and included Rose resuming to ask tough questions of Meshaal. At one point, Rose presented him with the simple premise of whether the Israeli and Palestinian people could co-exist. Meshaal told Rose that he would co-exist with anyone, so long as all his conditions are met and no one is an “occupier” (which, according to his definition, Israelis would currently fall under).

At the point of almost having seen enough, Rose asked him point-blank: 

It's one thing to say that you want to co-exist with the Jews. It's another thing you want to co-exist with the state of Israel. Do you want to co-exist with the state of Israel? You want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

Meshaal simply responded: “No. I said I do not want to live with a state of occupiers.”

When Rose asked him if he could still co-exist with the state of Israel if they were no longer “occupiers,” Meshaal lashed out at Rose for asking him a question about something that could happen in the future. However, he did emphasize that the “Palestinian people can have their say when they have their own state without suppression.”


The relevant portions of the transcript from segments that aired on CBS This Morning on July 28 are transcribed below. 

CBS

CBS This Morning

July 28, 2014

7:06:02 a.m. - 7:10:10 a.m. Eastern

CHARLIE ROSE: In an interview for my PBS program, I sat down with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha, Qatar, that is where he lives in exile and I asked him about charges that Hamas uses Palestinian deaths to sway world opinion against Israel. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The View From Hamas; Leader On Why Fight is Necessary] 

This is former President Bill Clinton. Quote, "Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets on Israel. They fired a thousand of them and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so the rest of the world will condemn them." That's President Clinton, not an Israeli, a man who worked hard to create peace between Palestinians and Israelis. 

KHALED MESHAAL: With all due respect to Mr. Clinton, unfortunately, the world doesn't want to blame the Israelis. Why do you call for security for Israel and why don't you call for lifting the siege and stopping the occupation of the Palestinians? Why don't you give the right to live for the Palestinians as the other nations? This is actually the last occupation in the world. 

ROSE: Let me ask you this, do you believe that you can solve this by violence? Do you believe you can solve this with a military power? Is this going to end because one side is militarily going to defeat the other? 

MESHAAL: In our culture as Arabs and Muslims, we have a Prophet's saying, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said the Prophet had two choices and he followed the easiest choice. That means we ought to follow the easiest path, the better path. As a Palestinian, I want to be liberalized, I want to state, I want to live without occupation. You in America, the American Revolution, was it peaceful? Did you not kick the British out? 

ROSE [NODDING]: Yes.

MESHAAL: The nations, if they – if they have a peaceful window to reach peace, then they will be better because we don't like to kill our sons and daughters, but if you don't have – if you don't have peace, then the resistence is legitimate. So the world has two choices, they need to help us peacefully to reach this state or we will expel this occupation from our land. 

ROSE: So unless the world will take the Israelis out of the West Bank and Gaza, you will expel them militarily? That's your objective? You believe you can do that? 

MESHAAL: I do believe this as I see you now. It is a conviction. Why? Because time and time in the history of nations says that peoples have the upper hand over the occupation. I have the will. I can die because of Israel. I cannot live under the occupation. The occupation is the worst thing that you can ever imagine. So every single Palestinian can die for the next generations to live in peace and freedom. 

ROSE: Some also ask, why are you here and not in Gaza? That if, in fact, you are the voice of Hamas, you should be in Gaza with the people of Gaza. That's the place for you. 

MESHAAL: Yes, this is a very reasonable question. I'm from West Bank. I was expelled and millions were compelled to live outside their own country. It is natural for me to be there, but occupation doesn't allow me to do so. You have hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in America and they long to go back to Palestine, although they are American citizens. Palestinians long for their home country. That's why we insist on the return of the refugees for me and others to return.

(....)

8:04:56 a.m. - 8:07:01 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The View from Hamas; Leader on Whether Israel & Gaza Can Have Peace]

CHARLIE ROSE: This weekend in Doha, Qatar, I sat down with the leader of Hamas. I asked Khaled Meshaal what it will take for his people to live in peace with Israel. 

KHALED MESHAAL: When Israel practically commits itself to withdrawal from Gaza completely from the West Bank without any settlements and if we have Jerusalem as our capital and the return of the refugees is there, then we will reach peace. 

ROSE: You believe in the co-existence of peoples and therefore you believe in the co-existence of Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East?

MESHAAL: I can't co-exist with occupation. 

ROSE: Without occupation, you can co-exist? 

MESHAAL: I'm ready to co-exist with the Jews, with the Christians, and with the Arabs and non-Arabs and those agree with my ideas and also disagree with them. However, I do not coexist with the occupiers, with the settlers, and those who – 

ROSE: It's one thing to say that you want to co-exist with the Jews. It's another thing you want to co-exist with the state of Israel. Do you want to co-exist with the state of Israel? You want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state? 

MESHAAL: No. I said I do not want to live with a state of occupiers. I do co-exist with –

ROSE: I'm assuming they're no longer occupiers. At that point, do you want to co-exist and recognize their right to exist as they would recognize your right to exist? 

MESHAAL: When we have a Palestinian state, then the Palestinian state will decide on its policies, but you cannot actually ask me about the future. I answered you, but Palestinian people can have their say when they have their own state without suppression. In natural situations, they can decide policies vis-a-vis others.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division