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Perry, McCaul talk border crisis; Netanyahu, Ross on Gaza offensive
Written by Brit Hume / Published July 13, 2014 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michael McCaul, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Amb. Dennis Ross
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," July 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRIT HUME, GUEST HOST: I'm Brit Hume, in for Chris Wallace.
Israel warns residents of northern Gaza to evacuate their homes after announcing its military would use great force to strike the region in the next 24 hours.
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: No country on earth will remain passive in the face of hundreds of rockets fired on its cities, and Israel is no exception.
HUME: We'll talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the offensive launched by his country, and with former Ambassador Dennis Ross who says other conflicts in the Middle East have sidelined concern over Israeli Palestinian peace.
Then, the stalemate over immigration continues after President Obama travels to Texas, but decides not to visit the border.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The best way to truly address this problem is for the House of Representatives to pass legislation fixing our broken immigration system.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: He's been president for 5 1/2 years. When is he going to take responsibility for something?
HUME: We'll discuss with Texas Governor Rick Perry, who met with the president this week, and with the chair of the House Security Committee, Michael McCaul.
Plus, with all finger pointing between the White House and Congress, how will immigration affect the November election? Our Sunday panel weighs in.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
HUME: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
What began as a humanitarian crisis, thousands of Central American children attempting to cross the southern U.S. border is now a matter of policy and politics. President Obama has called on Congress to approve nearly $4 billion to address the influx of children, but his discussion not to visit the southern border this week during a trip to Texas has been criticized by the right and even some on the left. We'll talk with a key House leader in a moment.
But, first, the governor of Texas, who met with President Obama this week, Rick Perry.
Governor Perry, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: Good morning.
HUME: Let me ask you, Governor, first of all, about the call you and others have made to send the National Guard down to the border. What exactly would national guardsmen and women do on the border?
PERRY: We called some four years ago for 1,000 National Guard troops to temporarily go to the border so that they could help push forward that show the force, if you will. And they're there for a limited period of time until you have an opportunity to train up some 3,000 more border patrol agents to go and replace them.
What that does -- and you move the border patrol forward. The president was not even aware that his border patrol was 40, 45 miles away back from the border at these checkpoints. They need to be right on the river. They need to be there as a show of force, because that's the message that gets sent back very quickly to Central America.
And it's important to do that, because this flood of children is pulling away the border patrol from their normal duties of keeping bad people, keeping the drug cartels, they're being distracted, so that I would suggest is a very obvious reason that those National Guard troops should come play an important role.
HUME: But if you strung them out along the border, national guardsmen and women, they are not, under the law, allowed to apprehend any of these children that are crossing, are they?
PERRY: Well, the issue is with being able to send that message, because it's the visual that I think is the most important. And we know that. We listen to the conversations -- or I should say their conversations are being monitored with calls back to the Central America, and the message is, hey, come on up here, everything is great, they're taking care of us.
And that needs to stop, because if you don't stop the bleeding, if you don't staunch the flow of individuals that are coming up here, this is only going to get worse. And at that particular point in time, the size of this crisis is even going to be more monumental.
HUME: I think nearly everybody agrees with that, Governor, but the question I'm trying to get at with you is this -- if these children who undergone these harrowing journeys, to escape the most desperate conditions in their home countries, have gotten this far, are they really going to be deterred by the presence of troops along the border who won't shoot them and can't arrest them?
PERRY: And I think we're talking about two different things here. And what we're talking about is sending the message back now so we can staunch the bleeding. Those that are already here to address them, to humanitarily take care of them, to make sure that they are safe, process them as quickly as you can to reunite them with their families. That's the most humanitarian thing that we can do.
And the National Guard is absolutely a trained group of men and women that can address that particular function, one that they should. They're not there in a vacuum. We have massive amounts of Texas law enforcement now, whether it's our Texas Ranger recon teams there. You saw some of that on FOX this last week with the boats that we have in the river, the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Those are all law enforcement individuals who can in fact arrest those that have illegally come in and appropriately deal with them.
But more importantly, this is allowing the border patrol to get back to what they are supposed to do. Right now, reports of up to 70 percent of them are taking care of these young people who have come in rather than doing their job of securing the border.
HUME: Governor, let me turn, if I can, to the president's comments the other day after his meeting with you, in which he said that he hoped that you would put the heat on the Texas delegation, Texas congressional delegation to pass this nearly $4 billion measure that he's proposing to deal with this crisis.
First of all, what do you think about the proposal? And second, are you prepared or at least encourage the members of the Texas delegation to vote for it?
PERRY: Well, I appreciate the time the president gave me. I think it was important for him to take time and listen to what is really going on, on the border. I do think he should go to the border himself and take a look at this, just like some of these Democrat colleagues, and a number of us on the Republican side want him to.
As I look at that piece of legislation, it is a very large amount of money. As you analyze it, very little of it is for border security. I think until he gets realistic about the problem and how you deal with the problem -- and it is a border security issue.
And we've got a track record of five-plus years of disregarding what's going on on the border. Here's his opportunity to truly lead. Don't blame this on anyone. Be a leader, lay out a plan.
And I will suggest -- actually the president doesn't have to have this big amount of money. He could pick up the phone today, call the DOD and direct them to have the 1,000 National Guard troops on the border.
HUME: So, in other words, Governor, you don't particularly support the bill and you're not encouraging your delegation to pass this. Is that a fair assessment?
PERRY: I think -- I think you have distilled the correct answer.
HUME: Let me see if I can make another distillation, Governor. The laws on the books now seem to mean that if one of these children from Central America is able to set foot on American soil, he or she is entitled to be taken into custody, given an immigration notice, and then cared for by the federal government until their case can be disposed of by a judge.
That being the case, doesn't the law have to be changed to stem the flow of these children coming into the country?
PERRY: Yes, it does -- well, there are two things going on here. That law needs to be changed, partly because it is discriminatory, if it will, between -- other than Mexicans and individuals who come from Mexico. So, that law needs to be changed. I think members of Congress understand it needs to be change, both Democrats and Republicans.
But the other side is, to staunch this flow, you do not have to have a change of law. What you have to have is this clear presence on the border, where people understand that you no longer can just freely go and walk across the Rio Grande and stay in America from now on. That's the message that we sent by these failed policies.
HUME: I get that's the message, Governor. What I don't quite understand is, how it is with the law being the way it is, the presence of more troops or forces on the border who are not legally able to apprehend these immigrants, these border crossers, is going to change anything without the law being changed first.
PERRY: Here's the way it will. The presence -- and we've done this multiple times. We've surged large amounts of Texas law enforcement with local law enforcement and coordinating with the border patrol into sectors. We don't have the ability on a 1,200-mile border to do that. About 20 percent of the individuals coming across are these unaccompanied alien children. You got 80 percent of people out there that these laws don't fall into, but we're being pulled away having to deal with these children.
And my point is, you bring boots on the ground to send that message clearly, both visually and otherwise. At that particular point in time, I think this flow from Central America gets staunched by a substantial margin. The president would be wise to put those National Guard troops on the border, and he doesn't have to have Congress's approval for that.
HUME: All right.
PERRY: Pick up the phone, be a leader, make a difference.
HUME: Governor, I think we got the message. Thank you very much for joining us today.
PERRY: Yes, sir.
HUME: Let us now bring in House Homeland Security chairman, Congressman Michael McCaul, also of Texas.
First of all, Chairman, let's talk about this situation. I'm not talking about the flow of adult aliens from everywhere, but about these children who have come in such numbers now in the last year and more from Central America.
As Governor Perry noted, the law treats them differently than those from Mexico or from Canada. There were never any from Canada. What is your view on the law and the changes that may be needed in it as -- and what kind of priority does that deserve in trying to address this crisis?
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-TEXAS: There are two laws at issue. One was an executive action taken by the president after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act. In 2012, when you look at the surge --
HUME: What does that do?
MCCAUL: Well, it allowed illegal aliens, children to stay in the United States.
HUME: But only a certain category of illegal alien children, correct?
MCCAUL: Prior to 2007.
HUME: So, these children crossing the border now are ineligible for the protection afforded by that law.
MCCAUL: They are, but the problem is the drug traffickers who market this to the children in Central America, and make money off them, $5,000 to $8,000 a head, are selling this line that if they get into the United States, they can stay. What DHS, Department of Homeland Security, interviewed 90 percent of these children said, "I came because I could get a free pass, a permiso to stay in the United States."
HUME: But that doesn't necessarily mean that the Obama order caused that. Isn't it the case, as I discussed with Governor Perry, that under the law, if they get their feet on the ground on this side of the border, they're entitled to a range of protection to keep them in this country for some period of time.
MCCAUL: Correct. So --
HUME: And at the rate of 50,000 a year, it's likely to be a long time indeed before deportation proceedings can be carried out.
MCCAUL: That's correct. So, the first executive action created the perception they get a permiso or free pass. The second piece is 2008 law --
HUME: 2008, right?
MCCAUL: If you're from Mexico, you have a more expeditious removal from the United States, returned homes. Other than Mexicans are treated differently, and we think they should be treated the same.
HUME: If they were treated the same, that would that mean, would it not, a border patrol agent apprehending a group of these children could say, I'm sorry, they turn them away on the spot, correct? MCCAUL: It would provide for more swift removal and return to home safely to Central America. Now, those with a fear of persecution you and violence will have a legal basis to possibly stay.
But we think that law needs to be changed. And you have to do that because you have to have a message of deterrence.
Look, Brit, I was down there on the border, unlike the president, I saw the children. It's very heart-wrenching as a father to see that -- mothers with their babies. I also saw some 17-year-olds who looked more like a threat coming into the United States.
But the fact is -- you know, they're caught in the middle between the administration's policies and what the drug traffickers are doing in Central America. So, they have this perilous dangerous journey through Mexico where they're exploited, abused, raped, and in some cases don't make it at all. We think if we change this law as a message of deterrence, we can actually protect and save these children.
HUME: All right. Now, what are -- where does this matter -- legislatively, where does this whole matter stand? The president has requested $4-plus billion, which I guess in addition to dealing with this also deals with money for wildfires, and this attempt to change the law. Can he get any of this money without the law being changed first or at least part of it?
MCCAUL: Well, our view I think as House Republicans, is, look, we're not going to write a blank check for $4 billion. It's going to be a more targeted approach, probably through the end of the fiscal year, but also on the policy side, I'm on the speaker's working group, we're looking at things like changing the 2008 law, we're looking at things like my border security bill passed out of my committee, putting that as a provision, so that finally we can get this thing done.
HUME: Well, how likely is it that there will be action on this issue soon?
MCCAUL: I think we have to act soon. It's a crisis at hand. It demands action, a call for action. It's a very tragic human crisis at the border, none like I've ever seen.
So, I think we need to act before the August recess.
HUME: What do you think -- so, what do you think -- what do you think the chances are?
MCCAUL: I think very good. If we can have a targeted appropriations bill that also --
HUME: How much would you be willing to vote for?
MCCAUL: Well, that's up to the appropriators. But I think it's going to be, again, very limited to the end of this fiscal year rather than a two-year appropriation. So, you know, 4 percent of the president's supplemental budget deals with border security. We think more should be allocated towards that
Again, my bill that came out of my committee deals with that in an accountable way, with a two-year timeline to get operational control. Most people want security first.
HUME: In the meantime, are you prepared to vote for money to accommodate these children who have already crossed?
MCCAUL: I think we have to deal with this in a humane and compassionate way, but I'm not in favor of building large warehouse in the United States to warehouse these kids. I think we need to have deterrent. And I think if we're going to build facilities, perhaps we should think about do that in the countries of origin in Central America, where they can better deal with these children.
HUME: That won't be cheap, will it?
MCCAUL: Look, again, it's about deterrence, and it's about security and it's dealing with these children in a humane, compassionate way to return them safely to home.
HUME: Mr. Chairman, good of you to come in. Thank you very much for joining us.
MCCAUL: Brit, thanks for having me.
HUME: What do you think about the administration's handling of the situation in the border? Join the conversation on Facebook with other FNS viewers.
And when we come back, rising tension in the Middle East -- how many times have you heard that? -- as Gaza and Israel continues strikes against each other. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins us next.
HUME: The Israeli Air Force dropped thousands of leaflets over Northern Gaza, warning residents to evacuate ahead of an expected military offensive, shelling and air strikes continued last night. For the first time in this round with Hamas, the Israelis put some boots on the ground.
Yesterday, the U.N. Security Council weighed in, expressing concern for the welfare of citizens on both sides, calling for an immediate cease-fire.
FOX News correspondent David Lee Miller is on the Israel/Gaza border with the latest.
Good morning, David.
DAVID LEE MILLER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brit.
For the first time since this current got under way, the Israeli military says its forces crossed the border into Gaza. Early this morning, under cover of darkness, a commando unit attacked long-range rocked launchers in Gaza City. During a firefight, four Israeli soldiers were wounded. And this all happened only hours after militants fired a barrage of rockets into central Israel.
MILLER (voice-over): Residents of Tel Aviv and the surrounding area much of Saturday night were racing to bomb shelters. Hamas issued a vague threat about an impending attack. At 9:08, a barrage of rockets rained down on Central Israel.
Rockets threatening lives and problem were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile system. There were no injuries.
Israel overnight continues airstrikes in Gaza. At least 21 people were killed during a strike at the home of the Hamas police chief, many were reportedly leaving a nearby mosque. Israel is targeting militants' homes as part of its offensive against Hamas. In total, 120 homes have been bombed.
So far, more than 150 people have been killed in Gaza. Many of them civilians, including children. Israel accuses Hamas of using its own people as human shields.
MILLER: And, Brit, as you mentioned, Israel in the past day has been dropping leaflets over northern Gaza, telling residents there to evacuate in anticipation of what they describe as a brief military operation. During the past few hours, we have seen a number of air strikes in that area, but nowhere near the number that some had expected. This is a part of Gaza that is home to some 100,000 Palestinians. And so far today, there have been at least 60 rocket attacks, rockets fired by militants into Israel -- Brit.
HUME: David Lee Miller, thank you very much.
Now, let's bring in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who joins us from Jerusalem.
Mr. Prime minister, thank you. Nice to have you with us.
Can you tell us how much of your --
NETANYAHU: Thank you. I wish it could be under other circumstances.
HUME: Understood. Can you tell us how much of your mission you have accomplished so far, what the strikes that you have mounted have accomplished so far, in your judgment?
NETANYAHU: Well, first let me say what the mission is. Our mission is to restore a sustainable quiet, a sustainable security to our people by seriously degrading Hamas and other terrorist groups' capabilities in Gaza. I think we're proceeding and we'll continue until that goal is achieved. HUME: How much of it is achieved, sir, in your judgment so far?
NETANYAHU: Well, I'll leave that to the discussion of our inner cabinet and our general staff. But I think the important thing to understand is that we can't enable our population to be under continuous rocket fire. I mean, I just want your viewers to imagine the United States being bombarded not in one city or two cities, but in every city between New York and Colorado. Maybe 20 percent of the United States would be exempt from this, 80 percent of your citizens would have to be in bomb shelters or ready to go into bomb shelters within a minute to a minute and a half max.
You can't -- no country can accept that, we can't accept it, and we'll take the necessary actions to stop it.
HUME: There seems to be very little disagreement about that here in this country, Mr. Prime Minister. But obviously, there's concern that a conflict like this can have unintended consequences, and people I think are wondering whether you are nearer the beginning of this offensive or near the end of it. Can you give us an assessment of that?
NETANYAHU: Well, whether we're at the beginning of the end or end of the beginning, I'm not going to tell you right now, because we face a very, very brutal terrorist enemy.
I mean, you know, here's the difference between us. We are using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles. That's basically the difference. They're embedding these rockets that they're firing wholesale into our cities, terrorist rocketing, trying to kill as many as they can.
They're not succeeding because of two reasons. One is because we've developed this incredible missile defense system, which I think is a historic development in the history of defensive warfare, with U.S. help -- and I want to thank the American people, President Obama, the U.S. Congress, for helping us fund this amazing development.
But the other reason we're succeeding, you have to understand some of the rockets do pierce through this shield. The reason we're succeeding is also because we're targeting the rocketeers. The rocketeers are firing from homes, these homes are actually command posts of the Hamas and Islamic jihad army. So, that's where they have their secure communications, weapon caches, rockets hidden, map rooms, so on. These are the command posts.
Obviously, we're not going to give them immunity. So, we have to attack them and we try to minimize as we can civilian casualties.
But with this kind of enemy, we'll take whatever necessary means that we need to take. I tell you, Brit, we've tried surgical action. We're not indiscriminate. It's very tough. There will always going to be civilian casualties, which we regret, but we have to defend our people. And that's what we'll do.
HUME: How likely is it that you will need to mount a ground invasion to accomplish the mission you have described?
NETANYAHU: We'll take the means necessary. You know, if this can be achieved through diplomatic or military means, whatever military means, we'll do what is necessary and what any country would do, what the United States would do, what Britain would do, what France would do. Many, many other countries understand this.
I have spoken to President Obama and great -- and a good number of world leaders, and I think they all understand Israel's inherent right of self-defense, the fact that the attacks are unconscionable, that fact that they're rocketing our cities is something that no country should agree with -- and I'm not going to get into the specifics of our operational response. I assure you -- I assure you that we have an operational response.
Let me turn to the subject of Iran, which I know is of enormous concern to you. Iran's foreign minister was saying today on another broadcast, quote, "We don't see," said Mohammad Javad Zarif, "any benefit in Iran developing a nuclear weapon." And he went on to say it's simply not happening and so on. I think I know what your reaction to that would be, but let's hear it from you.
NETANYAHU: It's a joke. Of course, they're developing nuclear weapons. They invested, not billions. You can start counting it in maybe in hundreds of billions of dollars for what, for creating medical isotopes for Iranian patients circling the Earth? What are they developing ICBMs for if not for nuclear warheads? What are they developing these -- building these enormous underground nuclear facilities if not for nuclear weapons?
If they wanted to have just civilian nuclear energy, they could have it without centrifuges for enrichment, without plutonium and the heavy water. These are only use for nuclear weapons.
So, this is a sham. I mean, I don't think anybody could take this seriously.
I think we have to remember, this is the same Iran that is arming, financing, training Hamas and Islamic jihad. This is the preeminent terrorist empire of our time -- not even a terrorist state. It's a terrorist empire. It's got these terror provinces.
You don't want this Iran to have neither nuclear weapons, or the capability to make nuclear weapons, to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb in short order, in a few weeks or a few months. They could do that unless that's changed.
I think it's possible to stop them, Brit. I think the important thing is to replicate the Syrian deal, where the capability to make the weapons was actually dismantled and removed from the soil of Syria. The same should happen in --
HUME: We're about, what, eight days now from the deadline for the U.S. and its partners to reach a deal with Iran to try to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. The situation looks pretty bleak as of now. Your assessment of that and whether any -- you can see the outlines of any deal that would be acceptable to you?
NETANYAHU: Well, look, Brit, I think a bad deal is actually worse than no deal. And I can tell you what a bad deal would be and I'll tell you what a good deal would be.
A bad deal would be that Iran gets to keep its enriched nuclear material and the capacity to enrich further to make a bomb. And put inspectors there, leave them with the capability, put inspectors there, trust them not to break up. I think that's a terrible deal.
A good deal is what was achieved under President Obama, the United States cooperating with Russia in the case of Syria. They didn't tell Assad there, OK, you can keep your chemicals and the means to convert these chemicals into chemical weapons, and we'll inspect. That's what the Iranians are suggesting.
HUME: How --
NETANYAHU: But that's not the deal in Syria was. The deal was you dismantle these materials and these capabilities and you ship them out of Syria. That's a good deal.
HUME: Got it. How likely --
NETANYAHU: That deal would be good.
HUME: How likely --
NETANYAHU: And if you can get it, do it. If you can't get it, don't make a bad deal.
HUME: How likely is it, given what you know of the negotiations, that the kind of bad deal that you described may be what emerges here?
NETANYAHU: I certainly hope that doesn't happen because I think it would be a catastrophic development, because you know the Middle East is in turmoil, everything is topsy-turvy. The worst militants, Shiites and Sunni radicals, are vying with each other who will be the king of this Islamist hill. And from there, they'll go on and attack the United States, whom they see as the Great Satan.
We're in this case only as your appendage in their eyes. And in a certain sense they're right. We're a part of that same hated civilization of freedom that they despise so much.
But if any one of these sides, and in this case, the militant Shiites led by Iran, get their hands on nuclear weapons, and all bets are off.
I think the Middle East would -- many nations would rush to have their own nuclear weapons here, I think these people who support terrorists would now have a nuclear weapon shield. It would be a disaster for the United States and for everyone else.
HUME: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much, sir.
NETANYANU: I hope it doesn't happen. I'm working so it doesn't happen.
HUME: Understood. Thank you, sir.
NETANYANU: Thank you, Brit. Thank you.
HUME: Our next guest believes the possibility of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians is going less and less likely. Because focus on the Israeli and Palestinian peace has shifted instead to Syria, Iraq, Iran, other conflicts throughout the region. With us now, Fox News foreign affairs analyst and former ambassador Dennis Ross. Ambassador Ross, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
AMB. DENNIS ROSS, FOX NEWS FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you. Nice to be with you.
HUME: Benjamin Netanyahu didn't really answer my question about how worried he is that a bad deal will come out. But it's - of these peace negotiation, that it will emerge, in fact. It will be a deal, and not a good one. From your observation of the negotiations, what's your thought on that?
ROSS: Well, first, I think the prospect of a deal in the near term is very low. And the reason for that is that the essence of a deal that the five plus one, the permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany have been working on with Iran has been a rollback of the Iranian nuclear program for a rollback of sanctions. And what the Iranians have said is, you roll back the sanctions, and we'll give you transparency.
HUME: That's exactly what the prime minister was describing, inspections in exchange for our side lifting the sanctions, right?
ROSS: Right. Well, he's suggesting a dismantling of the capabilities. I think the five plus one has been focusing not on dismantling, but rolling them back to the point where Iran would be pushed back a couple of years and that would give you a high level of confidence with the transparency, with the appropriate verification that you would know if they were cheating and you would have time to do something about it.
HUME: What do you think of that concept?
ROSS: Well, I think that concept could be workable if you roll them back enough. You know, they have 20,000 centrifuges right now. If you are rolling them back to, say, 1,000, then you put them back a couple of years, and then you add -- if you have very extensive verification means and I would like to see much like what we had in Iraq. If you have that then you'd have a high level of confidence if they tried to cheat you could catch them and you have plenty of time to do something about it. And I would suggest if you had that kind of a deal we should work out with the Israelis very soon before such a deal what would be the consequences if you caught them cheating, and agree on what those would be. That puts you in a very different place. Right now even that deal isn't in the offing, because Iran doesn't want to roll back their program. They want to roll back the sanctions, but they don't want to roll back their program. They say we have peaceful intent ...
HUME: What you just - you were reading from Zarif's statement.
ROSS: We have peaceful intent, and all you need to do is have some verification here to see it. Well, this is a country that has basically violated all of its obligations under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty for a long time, so there's no reason to accept the peaceful intent. There's a very important reason to impose the set of verification requirements on them that are extensive and give the world a little of confidence they don't have today.
HUME: And you don't think that - anything like that, it's going to take -- They're not going to make this deadline.
ROSS: Not going to happen by July 20th.
HUME: And perhaps for - this sounds like long hard negotiations are yet to come, in your eyes, to get anywhere near, which you are talking about.
ROSS: Right. The only way it happens in my mind is if the Iranians come to the conclusion that they have much more to lose from - of diplomacy than we do.
ROSS: If they think they don't, there won't be a deal.
HUME: Let me turn to the current offensive going on in Gaza and the exchange of rocket fire. What's the danger this gets out of hand and we end up with a full-blown conflagration with Israel and its neighbors?
ROSS: Well, there's always a danger that something that's unintended takes place. It was very interesting in your interview with the prime minister that he was very careful to avoid saying where they were in terms of achieving their objectives, he's also very careful in terms of avoiding - what it is they will do whether there is a ground operation or not, this is someone who is -- a prime minister who is defining the objective as the restoration of calm. That's a very different from defining the objective as the dismantling of Hamas. So, it means to me that there's still a good deal of care that is being -- and judicious care that's being adopted by the Israeli government in terms of how they approach this. I think they want to avoid having that kind of major conflagration if they can, but the fact is, if the Hamas rocket hits the wrong target, kills a large number of people, you never know what could happen.
HUME: Well, but what you are suggesting, it seems to me is that Netanyahu is simply trying to suppress this rocket fire, that he's not trying to destroy Hamas, that he's not prepared to go that far. Is that's right?
ROSS: That's right. I do think ...
HUME: Why is that - why is that not? Why is he not prepared to do that?
ROSS: I think for a couple of reasons. If Israel has to go on the ground you're going into an environment that is least hospitable for any army to operate in. This is a teaming environment.
HUME: The civilians galore, right?
ROSS: Civilians, you will kill a lot of civilians even if that's not your intent. You will lose a lot of people of your own, you'll face international pressure, to bring this to a halt, and it's not clear what you could achieve. Even when you do all that. Having said that, there is a different situation today than existed before. Before you had tunnels from Egypt that provided constant material and constant smuggling, which allowed the Hamas to build up this rocket capability. Egyptians today have choked off those tunnels. That wasn't the case before. So, if you can in fact set back the rocket- producing capability, their storage capability, which is something that the Israelis are trying to do right now, then if you bring this to an end, you're buying a whole lot more time. So the costs of trying to go in there on the ground is quite high, which is one of the reasons, I think the prime minister is trying to avoid that, and I think there's a recognition that you can achieve something, even if you continue doing what you're doing. The problem is you never know for sure, can you keep this contained? One last point. I do think if the Israelis go in, a lot of what they will do will be - what we saw, specialized operations, on the one hand, and near the border they'll go after all the tunnels that Hamas has been digging to try to get into Israel to avoid the prospect of future kidnappings.
HUME: Just one final question. You have suggested that the preoccupation in the world with other parts of the Middle East, with all that's going on there, has detracted or subtracted from the intention focused on Israel and Palestinian peace. It seems to me that the current circumstances there, combined with what you said means the prospects for anything on that agenda are really way in the background now.
ROSS: You have two different worlds right now between Israelis and Palestinians. The gaps between them are enormous. Where we need to start is, you stop, when this conflict ends, prevent further deterioration and try to begin to rebuild a set of circumstances that makes peace possible down the road possible. It's not possible now.
HUME: Yeah, right, got it. Ambassador, thank you very much for joining us. Today, I should tell you that just as we finished with our question to Prime Minister Netanyahu, there was another alert in Jerusalem for incoming missiles from Gaza.
Should the U.S. be doing more to address the ongoing conflict in the Middle East? Just go to Facebook or Twitter at "Fox News Sunday," and let us know what you think. And up next, our Sunday panel weighs in on how the immigration standoff could affect the elections this fall and in 2016. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: Our message to those who are coming here illegally, to those who are contemplating coming here illegally into south Texas is we will send you back.
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: It is a disaster of the president's own making. It is a disaster that is the direct consequence of President Obama's lawlessness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: Well, there you had a couple voices on this issue. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson trying to present a strong front on immigration, while the White House takes heat from Republicans as you heard there from Senator Cruz.
Time now for our Sunday Group, GOP strategist Karl Rove, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post" and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams. Well, Karl, let's start with you on this issue. You got -- Ted Cruz and others saying this is all President Obama's fault. What about that?
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, a large measure of it stems from this 2012 order, and through, say, about 2009-2010 roughly 4,000 unaccompanied minors came into the United States for the better part of a decade each and every year. 2012, when he puts this order out FY 2012 that number jumps to 10,000. FY- 13 it is 20,000. FY-14 through June of this year it was 39. In the last four weeks it's been almost another 12,000.
HUME: Got it. All right. Questions, a question about that law. That law is the one that said that minors who came here before 2007 would have a path to citizenship basically.
HUME: So it doesn't apply to these kids.
ROVE: That's right. But Chairman McCaul made a point, which is, this is being exploited by people in the cartels as a source of income. But it's also just a generalized sense, and particularly in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that if you can get to the United States, you'll get a permiso (ph), you will be able to stay here.
HUME: Well, as a matter of fact, Bob, the way the law is, for kids from Central America you can kind of get a permiso, can't you? At least to stay here for a while, just by setting foot on American soil?
BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, you are going to get a hearing. I think we have to use the language of soccer, and that is I think the administration and the Republicans are on the road to getting a yellow card on this issue and run the danger of getting a red card. This is really, it's a dual crisis, a humanitarian crisis, but it's a governing crisis. The government is not functioning. Obama and the Republicans should be able -- if we sat here this afternoon, all of us, and said let's work up some plan that could be executed and maybe some legislation, you could fix this thing. But everyone is playing ...
HUME: What would you do?
WOODWARD: Well, you would make it -- come up with something that is rational, something that is fair.
HUME: But what? What?
WOODWARD: Well, look, it's in Obama's proposal, some of it, and some of the things that Republican want -- what they want. They want a serious law enforcement effort. That should be the part of any plan.
HUME: Border security, in other words.
HUME: Laura, your thoughts.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Anyone who's spent any time in the villages of southern Guatemala knows that the intricacies of U.S. law isn't really what's driving this. There's an overall sense that the word deportation for both parties is a four-letter word. That Republicans don't want to talk about deportation for fear of offending the Latino vote. The Democrats don't want to do it because they just basically think it's unfair. And they want to build Democrat ranks. So, there's a sense, and I think they coyotes are very smart to take advantage of this. That look, you get here - as you said, Brit, you are not going to be deported. 568 days for a hearing at the average, right? Even if you are found at the border. So, and we know, and even Democrats have said, that most of these unaccompanied minors with an adult are not going to be showing up at these hearings anyway.
So, the message is, Republicans, many of them want immigration reform, you will be able to stay here. Democrats have wanted it for a long time. The president has facilitated this, but the Republicans are not off the hook. If John Boehner had taken this comprehensive reform off the table early on, I don't think he probably would have had as many unaccompanied minors coming here now.
HUME: You said the intricacy is of American politics were lost on these people.
INGRAHAM: No, because the general sense of that is deportation won't happen even if Republicans are in charge. It's not, you know, whether section 3-b applies, but the sense that you will be able to stay here, go to public schools, get Obamacare, right, but the Republicans, their attitude about this, I think has made it worse over the years.
HUME: Juan, your thoughts.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, you know, I go back to the 2008 law, signed by President Bush, but also remember, Congress approved this almost overwhelmingly, Brit. I mean it was 402 voters.
HUME: It was a voice vote.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, and remember, people who are strong opponents of the immigration reform, Gohmert, Steve King, they were all on board of this. Why? Because this is a compassionate law. The evangelical community on the conservative side, very supportive. People who are conservative said these is the right thing to do. And that's why now, when you say to Bob, what should we do specifically? I don't think it's any question, you want to have due process for these kids, give them the chance for the hearing ...
WILLIAMS: That's under law. But you've got to speed it up. Because right now things are so backlogged because of the absence of comprehensive immigration law, that things are just clogged up, and that makes everybody frustrated.
ROVE: I hate to engage in my regular routine of correcting Juan, but here's the law that he's referring. The 2008 Wilbur Force law. It affects, and I quote from section 211, victims of severe forms of trafficking. This only affects children who have either been forced child labor, forced into being child soldiers, or are victims of sex trafficking. This is bigger than the Wilbur Force law.
HUME: Let me interrupt just for a second. But the procedures, the process is such that if you get your feet on the ground in this country ...
ROVE: That's right.
HUME: You stay ...
ROVE: We have two ...
HUME: to get a hearing. As Laura pointed out, the average is, what, 558 days?
ROVE: Well, that's for some classes of them. It's less than 100 for all of them, but it is a problem. Here's the issue. We treat Mexicans and Canadians differently than we treat anybody else in the world. If you're from Mexico or Canada and you arrive in the United States, we can without an administrative hearing move you right back out of state- out of the country. Everybody else gets treated differently, and gets a hearing. We need to have everybody in the world treated like we treat Mexicans and Canadians. They refer to these non-Canadians and non-Mexican as OTM. Other than Mexicans. And they get an expensive time-consuming hearing, and it matters that they can be treated that way.
WOODWARD: But why are we in the weeds on this? I think it's a leadership question. I think the president and Speaker Boehner - now, the president will not stand for election again. A lot of people think Boehner is not going to seek being speaker again. These two should be able to sit down and work something out.
INGRAHAM: Obama thinks this helps the case for comprehensive immigration reform. That's what's going on here.
WILLIAMS: Don't lose focus on these kids. Give justice to these children.
HUME: All right, panel.
INGRAHAM: Justice to the taxpayers would be nice.
HUME: We have got to take a break here. When we come back. Could the scrutiny of his foreign policy, and his handling of the border crisis that is the president's and the number of ongoing other matters, affect 2014 hopes for Democrats and for Republicans? Our panel is back with their take in a moment.
HUME: Back now with our panel. Some recent polling might give us a sense of how people in this country are reacting to the wave of problems confronting the administration. This one is a Quinnipiac poll on how people feel about whether the president is competent or not. You see the question. 54 percent feel the president has not been competent running the government, that is I believe against, what, 44 percent who say otherwise.
Laura Ingraham, let's start with you. What are the politics of this issue, the border combined with this other wave of issues the president is facing, as we look at 2014 and later 2016?
INGRAHAM: I travel a lot, as I know a lot of the people on the panel do across the country, and there's a sense from people that things are just spinning out of the control. Who is in charge? Why, like Bob said, we don't have real leadership on these issues.
On the issue of the border, I know you guys have all talked about that Cantor race a month or so ago. The last four, five weeks of that campaign was really focused on the issue of immigration and the border. And people like legal immigration, they want legal immigration, but there is a sense of our government has to do better by us, we have a lot of unemployment, we have a lot of concerns, the American people, let's renew the homeland. Let's rejuvenate the homeland. We can deal with all these other issues, but we have to get Americans back to work. People are very, very concerned. I think it hurts the Republicans, hurts Obama, but the Republicans are not in the clear here. Their ratings are also bad.
HUME: So you don't expect them to gain from all of this in the (inaudible)?
INGRAHAM: Depends on how they play it. If their answer is we have got to do comprehensive immigration reform, I don't think the Republicans are going to get a big bump out of it. Maybe in some states, but I don't think as a general matter.
WILLIAMS: People think that things are just happening, and the United States is not acting. That President Obama is not acting in a commanding way.
HUME: So the political effect is?
WILLIAMS: Well, the question is, and I think Laura is exactly right, if you look at the numbers, Obama's numbers are, I think RealClearPolitics has him at 41, but then you look at the approval of Congress, it is close to single digits. And if you look at approval of Republicans in Congress, it's even lower than President Obama.
HUME: So what is the political consequence? So what happens in the fall as a result of all of this?
WILLIAMS: I don't think this plays in heavily except for the competence issue that you highlighted with that poll. If people think that the president is incompetent, some Republicans have said this is his Katrina moment. If that become a theme, a narrative in the campaign, it could be devastating.
HUME: Bob, how do you see this politically?
WOODWARD: It's a mess, and somebody's got to fix it. Karl Rove had a column in the Wall Street Journal about Obama going to all these fund-raisers, the equivalent --
HUME: Hold that thought for just a second. This is a statistic that may surprise some people concerning the number of fund-raisers that President Obama has attended at this stage of his presidency compared to President Bush, 393 against 216. I didn't have any idea the number was that high. What about that?
WOODWARD: That's an extraordinary number in focus. Now, all presidents do fund-raisers and so forth, but you spend some time talking to people on the Hill, Democrats, and they feel the president is disengaged from so many of these things. And I think the president has got to get engaged. He clearly is capable. You know, I think of the political pressure builds, as it will, he will act. He is capable of that. The relationship now, the White House likes to play this down --
HUME: You think the president will be able to do things between now and the fall that will ameliorate the political effects of these various crises?
WOODWARD: Sure. It's possible. If he would do things, if he would kind of say, look, this is the port to which we are sailing, on immigration and in foreign affairs. Key is the relationship with Speaker Boehner. I think Obama holds Boehner in some disdain. I know when I talked to Boehner for my last book, he said the big problem with the White House is you don't know who is in charge. Now, Obama is in charge, but for somebody like Boehner to say that and really believe that, there's lots of evidence, the question is who on lots of these issues is in charge so you can get something done, forward movement.
HUME: Karl? Politics?
ROVE: This is going to be an utter disaster for the president this fall. Because he doesn't have time or an inclination to get out of it. The worse the president is, the better it is for Republicans. You saw--
HUME: You know, let me just ask -- that may be so, but it's an interesting situation. Juan correctly pointed out that the president
ROVE: That's right, but you don't go, though, and vote between the president and Congress. We're not a parliamentary system. You go between one person who says I'm going to go there and support President Obama, and the other one who says I'm going to go there and act as a check and a balance on him. If you want to send a message to the president to do better, vote for me. And those people have an R behind their name. The people who are stuck -- that's why Mark Udall from Colorado this week didn't even show up at the president's fund- raiser for him in his own state.
HUME: Karl Rove, panel, thank you very much. Wish we could have heard more from all of you. We'll see you next week.
Coming up, a final word. Stay with us.
HUME: For the latest developments on immigration and the border crisis, plus Israel and Gaza, stay tuned to your local Fox station and the Fox News Channel. Chris Wallace, you'll be glad to hear, will be back next week. And that's it for today. Have a great week. We'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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