MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday followed up a story on four children who were killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza by marveling, "How long can Israel withstand this kind of international pressure?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
While talking to reporter Martin Fletcher, she noted that Hamas had rejected an Israeli cease fire and insisted, the militant group is "getting the emotional and political benefit, if you will, of the horror of the deaths of their population."
Reporter Fletcher pushed back, wondering, "...Why didn't Hamas accept the cease-fire? Then there would be no shelling."
On Tuesday, MSNBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin parroted Hamas denials of using humans as shields. He told Mitchell:
AYMAN MOHYELDIN: They definitely reject the labeling of using civilians as human shields....Hamas military wing people that we've been speaking to and others – not just on these past few days, but in the past several years, because this is an issue that always comes up against Hamas – they will say that this is the nature of the battlefield that they have to fight in. That this is not an issue by design, but as a reality of what Gaza is like because it's so densely populated.
A transcript of the July 16 exchange is below:
ANDREA MITCHELL: Martin Fletcher, we know that the political context is completely different, but what the world is seeing is a very well-defended Israel and people going into bomb shelters on one side and the Hamas leaders, having rejected the cease-fire that Israel agreed to yesterday, are getting the emotional and political benefit, if you will, of the horror of the deaths of their population. How long can Israel withstand this kind of international pressure?
MARTIN FLETCHER: Well, that's right. First of all, I have to say it was very hard, wasn't it, listening to Ayman's report about how harrowing that was. And what struck me was when he said that the mothers were calling out to the international community, "where are you, where are you, why don't you stop this?" You know, I think with all the sympathy the Israelis will have for those children and their families, the sentiment here is, well, why didn't Hamas accept the cease-fire? Then there would be no shelling. Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israel and Israel continues to respond with its rockets, trying to target those rocket launching sites.
FLETCHER: There's a strong push – there's a strong feeling among the people of Israel that, for once and for all, Israel has to end the problem from Gaza, the problem being rockets fired by Hamas at Israel.