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Rep. Scalise talks GOP agenda, border crisis; Benjamin Netanyahu and Hanan Ashrawi on conflict in Gaza
Written by Chris Wallace / Published July 27, 2014 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Rep. Steve Scalise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," July 27, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
Will Congress do anything about the immigration crisis? Before it goes on its long summer recess?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We've got a president that's AWOL, and the president ought to get engaged in this if he actually wants something to happen.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What's really going on is Republicans in congress are directly blocking policies that would help millions of Americans.
WALLACE: We'll discuss immigration and the GOP agenda with Tea Party favorite Steve Scalise in his first national interview since being elected House majority whip.
Plus, with thousands of children crossing the border, will the battle over immigration boost Democrats or Republicans in the November election. Our Sunday group weighs in.
Then -- the fighting resumes in Gaza as Hamas rejects one cease-fire and then asks for another. We'll discuss the conflict with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi.
And our Power Player of the Week, designing and testing our Navy's future ships.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Prospects for a plan to deal with the flood of children coming from Central America are looking less and less likely. There are still big differences between the president and Republicans. And Congress is scheduled to go home Friday for its five-week August recess.
Joining us now, a key new member of the Republican leadership, Louisiana congressman and Tea Party favorite, Steve Scalise, in his first national interview since being elected House majority whip.
Congressman, congratulations, and welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA), HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: Thanks. Good to be with you, Chris.
WALLACE: For all the talk of the immigration crisis, there are three different plans on how to deal with it. The president wants $3.7 billion to help the children and also beef up enforcement, but no change to the 2008 law to make it easier to send children home to Central America. Senate Democrats want $2.7 billion to do roughly the same. And House Republicans want less than $1 billion focusing on enforcement and also changing that 2008 law.
Congressman Scalise, will Congress and the president make a deal before you guys go home for this five-week recess?
SCALISE: Well, Chris, we're going to keep working until we get this problem solves. The bottom line is you've got a crisis going on. The president refuses to acknowledge that it's even exiting. He's been AWOL on this from the very beginning. We want to actually fix the law, and wouldn't it be good to allow the governors of those border states to be able to call the national guard and to help security the border?
This all has to start with securing the border, not writing the president a blank check, to keep doing what he's doing that's not working, but actually solve the problem. Even his own Homeland Security secretary said the 2008 law needs to be changed. We've got to go make those changes.
And ultimately, this is the president's responsibility. He could fix the problem today. He's chosen not to, but the House is going to lead.
WALLACE: Well, you say you're going to stay and work until you solve the problem. This August recess is not set in stone, this five- week recess. You could delay it, and in fact, that's what the president called for this week.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It is my hope that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans will not leave town for the month of August for their vacations without doing something to help solve this problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question: will House Republicans postpone your vacation as the president put it, to deal with this problem, to make a deal if you don't settle it by Friday?
SCALISE: It's ironic, we're here in Congress right now, and the president doesn't want to work with us while we're in town. He wants to wait until we're gone.
The president has a lot of time on his schedule to secure fund- raisers. He has no time to secure the border. He has not taken his job seriously in this regard.
The House is willing to lead. The House has laid out what we'll do to solve this problem. The president wants to sit back and play politics. He's flying around doing fundraisers. He doesn't have time to come and sit down and work with Congress. We're going to get this problem solved.
WALLACE: But, sir, you're not answering my question, which is -- and there are still big differences and I think there's every chance you will pass a bill this week, but if you don't have a deal, if the problem hasn't been solved or at least a plan to deal with it hasn't been addressed, will Congress delay its recess?
SCALISE: Well, Congress is here working right now.
WALLACE: But I'm asking a question, sir. Will you delay your recess?
SCALISE: Look, whatever we pass, if the president doesn't want to do his job, whatever Congress passes, is going to sit over in the Senate or ultimately go to the White House, the president still has to take leadership. He's the president of the United States.
Like I said, he's got a lot of time to do a lot of other things and play politics. They're trying to fundraise off this. At some point, the president should sit down and say, do we really want to solve the problem?
I want to solve this problem. I'm going to stay working until we get it done. The House is going to take leadership.
WALLACE: Last time I'm going to ask, though, you're not willing to commit to postpone your recess if need be to deal with the Senate, Senate Democrats, I'm not saying who's right or wrong, but you're not willing to commit to delay your recess?
SCALISE: We're not even on recess, Chris. We're here right now and we're ready to work. We're going to do our job this week.
And if the president wants to sit back and just continue to point fingers at other people, he's the president of the United States. He could solve this problem today.
He's been AWOL on it. He doesn't want to solve this problem.
But we do. So, we're going to stay and we're going to work and we're going to get our job done. I'd like the Senate takes something up and do their job. I'd like to see the president do his job.
We're not going to wait for that. We're going to actually do our job. Let's see what the president is willing to do.
WALLACE: All right. Meanwhile, White House officials say that the president intends to take executive action by the end of the month, perhaps, to defer deportation for millions more immigrants.
You're already suing the president for overreach. The question I have is, if he does this, if he takes executive action, which I know you all believe is illegal, will you do nothing, will you do something such as cut off funding for the administration, will you consider impeaching the president?
SCALISE: You know, this might be the first White House in history that's trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president. Ultimately, what we want to do is see the president follow his own laws. But the president took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of this land and he's not. In fact, the Supreme Court unanimously more than 12 times, unanimously said the president overreached and actually did things he doesn't have the legal authority to do.
WALLACE: Again, on executive action to defer more deportations, what will the House do?
SCALISE: We've made it clear. We're going to put options on the table to allow -- to allow the House to take legal action against the president when he overreaches his authority. Others have already done that. Cases are going to the Supreme Court. Like I said, more than a dozen times the Supreme Court unanimously -- I'm not talking about a 5-4 decision -- 9-0, unanimously said the president overreached.
So, we're going to continue to be a check and a balance against this administration.
WALLACE: But impeachment is off the table?
SCALISE: Well, the White House wants to talk about impeachment, and, ironically, they're going out and trying to fundraise off that, too.
WALLACE: I'm asking you, sir.
SCALISE: Look, the White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the president's failed agenda -- people paying higher costs for food, for health care, for gas at the pump. The president isn't solving those problems. So, he wants to try to change the subject.
We're going to continue to focus on getting the economy moving again, solve problems for everyday people. I would like to see the president engaged in that, too. That's his job.
But for whatever, he wants to change the topic, talk about things like this.
WALLACE: All right. There is --we talked about the fact you are the first Tea Party member to be part of the top House Republican leadership. I think you would agree there is a split in the GOP caucus between the Tea Party members and the so-called Republican establishment. In fact, dozens of Tea Party members in the House may not vote even for the $1 billion that you guys are talking about to deal with the immigration crisis.
How do you intend on this issue and others to bridge the gap inside the GOP caucus? And where do you come down on the issue of purity on the one hand, ideological purity versus unity on the other?
SCALISE: Well, first of all, Chris, I think what we need to do is focus on those things that unite us, not only as Republicans but as Americans. There are lot of issues we passed out of the House that have gotten not only a lot of Republican support, Tea Party and every group within the Republican conference, but even Democrats. There are over 300 bills sitting in the Senate that passed, including a number that are exclusively focused on creating jobs, many of which have broad bipartisan support.
Look at the Keystone pipeline, broad bipartisan support for that across the country. It unites Republicans, but unites other people that don't consider themselves part of the Republican Party. And yet, the Senate refuses to act, the president doesn't want to act.
So, there are a lot of things that unite us that revolve around solving the problems facing this country. That's what I'm going to bring to the leadership table, is a way to move those conservative values forward in a way that unites us and solves problems for hard working taxpayers.
WALLACE: Let's do a lightning round, quick questions and answers about some of the issues you're going to have to deal with in the House before the November midterms. Excuse me.
The government runs out of money on October 1st. Will you support a continuing resolution to keep funding and keep the government going at current levels or are you willing in an effort to cut spending to risk another government shutdown?
SCALISE: We're going to keep the government running at current levels. In fact, we have passed a majority of the spending bills out of the House already. Not one has been taken up by the Senate.
Look, shouldn't the Senate at least be able to agree on the bill to fund our troops? That's a bill that got over 100 Democrats when it passed out of the House.
WALLACE: But no government shutdown?
WALLACE: OK. Another question, I'm enacting the lightning round rules on you, sir.
SCALISE: Let's go.
WALLACE: You called for passing a conservative health care plan and let's put up some of the aspects of that, repealing Obamacare, expanding health savings accounts and letting people buy health insurance across state lines. Will you push to have the House pass that and to give voters a clear Republican alternative before the November
SCALISE: I'm passionate about that. Let's lower costs for health care. Let's put patients in charge of their solutions. So, I absolutely want to see that get done.
WALLACE: So, not just oppose Obamacare but present a Republican alternative.
SCALISE: Not only repeal but replace it with reforms that lower health care costs and put patients back in charge.
WALLACE: In the past, you have called for raising the eligibility age for Medicare over the next 10 years from 65 to 67, and for Social Security from 67 to 70.
Question, should that be part of the Republican platform?
SCALISE: We ought to have a platform to plan to save Medicare from bankruptcy. Under current law, Medicare goes bust. I don't think that's responsible. We have laid out a plan to save it from bankruptcy not only for current seniors but for future generations. I'd like to see the president and the Senate put some plan on the table other than letting it go bust, which is it will do right now.
WALLACE: Are you happy for voters to vote on that idea, Republican idea of raising the eligibility age?
SCALISE: Well, they have seen the proposal for the last two election cycles and Democrats actually tried to make it a campaign issue, and when seniors look at it, they said, wait a minute, Republicans have a plan to save it from going bankrupt and it actually makes sense. Democrats have no answer. They want to let it go bust.
WALLACE: Congressman Scalise, thank you. Thanks for talking with us today. And please come back, sir.
SCALISE: Great being with you. Go Tigers.
WALLACE: OK. LSU, yes, I get that.
All right. So, will Washington do anything to deal with the flood of children across our border? Our Sunday group weighs in.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the immigration debate? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is a problem of the president's own making. And then he tries to -- says he wants to solve the problem so that we can stop this influx, but then he changes his mind. We've got a president that's AWOL. And the president ought to get engaged in this if he actually wants something to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: House Speaker John Boehner calling out the president, especially for flipping on whether to change that 2008 law and make it easier to send children home to Central America. And it's time now for our Sunday group. Brit Hume, FOX News senior political analyst, "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, syndicated columnist George Will, and FOX News political analyst, Juan Williams.
As I discussed with Congressman Scalise, it's looking more and more likely that Congress is going to go home without making a deal to try to handle this flood of immigrants over the border.
Brit, if that happens, who pays the political price?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's hard to know. Obviously, the flow of these young -- I mean, if we're talking here principally about these minors, minor children who are crossing over -- that flow has begun to slow on its own. The reason being there are only so many kids in Central America who can make the harrowing journey and get here. And most of them, they -- who can make it may already be here.
So, as the problem subsides, there might not be much blame to go around. Otherwise, who knows who's going to win the finger-pointing battle? But that's what they'll be in the wake of this no action.
The president really did flip on changing the 2008 law. The 2008 law really is a factor here. It is what makes it possible for these kids to avail themselves of a legal process that keeps them in the country. Whether they technically qualify eventually for asylum here or to stay here is another matter. It gets them in and it helps them stay for at least a while. You need to change the law to fix that piece.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel and we got a bunch this week about Congress taking that five-week recess starting on Friday, that we were talking about with Scalise.
Like this one, as you can see here on Facebook, from Shon Haskins, who wrote, "They don't deserve a recess, period. If someone has a crisis in their job, they just don't leave. They fix it first. Worthless Congress, worthless administration."
Kirsten, how do you respond to Shon?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY: Well, I agree that they should deal with this. The problem is the parties are so far apart. They're just having completely different conversations. Nancy Pelosi has said these are two different issues. One is basically a refugee crisis. The other is an immigration issue. The Democrats have for a long time wanted a deal with the immigration issue and they're happy to deal with immigration issue. They think that the House should pass the House version of the Senate immigration bill.
I think the White House has flip-flopped on this, but they seem to have moved in the same position I think the Democrats in Congress are, which is they don't want to make these changes to the 2008 law. And look, the Republicans don't really seem to want to work on immigration until it comes to deporting children. This is the only thing they really have been willing to do at this point, is just to say, we'll pass the bill to deport children, but we won't talk about any sort of broader comprehensive immigration issue.
WALLACE: Well, George, I want you to respond to this. We're talking in this case, again, these are not the people from Mexico coming across the border. We're talking about people coming from Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, who are treated different under the 2008 Wilberforce law. We're talking about 50,000 unaccompanied children who have come over the border, and tens of thousands of more of parents with children.
How do you respond to Kirsten and her talking about Republicans who don't want to deal with immigration except deporting children? And is there a right way to deal with the problem?
GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Well, I think Kirsten is largely right. My view is that we have to say to these children, welcome to America. You're going to go to school and get a job and become Americans.
We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can't assimilate these 8-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous.
Long term, Chris --
WALLACE: You've got to know -- I mean, I can feel them clicking off that we're going to get tons of e-mail of people saying this guy doesn't understand the border. Why should we be dealing with Central America's problem? We can't import the problem. They have to deal with it there, and our border has to mean something.
WILL: We can handle the problem is what I'm saying. We have handling, the same as they call the wretched refuge of the teaming shores a long time ago and lot more people.
Long term, the most effective legislation passed concerning immigration wasn't an immigration bill at all. It was Bill Clinton's greatest act, passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement that put North Americans on the path to prosperity. We need to do something similar for the countries in which these children are fleeing, including the fact of trying to get Americans consuming so much of the drugs that are imported from these countries.
WALLACE: Getting back to John Boehner's opening comment about President Obama flipping, as he did on whether or not to change this law, and, Juan, a lot of people think the reason he did flip is because of pressure from Democratic groups, particularly pro- immigration groups who feel this is above all a humanitarian crisis -- is there a danger for Democrats here that they will be seen as soft on the issue of enforcement?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there's potential, especially with people who are antagonistic to the cause, in the first case, Chris. I think they have a legitimate point. There was a change in position -- a flip, as you describe it. But, remember, when you talk to people of the congressional Hispanic caucus who met with the president, they're at the heart of the effort, what they say is this is an effort to end due process for these children, so that under the '08 law, as you wall it, the Wilberforce law, these young people have a right to adjudication to go before a judge to see if they qualify for refugee status.
And to take that away, then, is essentially undermining the law and saying, we're shutting the door on these young people. We're changing the law at this moment because it's expeditious and our need right now, and I think for many Democrats, the view is Republicans are really using this to sort of stir fear of immigrants generally, to spur turnout for the midterm election.
WALLACE: I mean, the law that was passed in 2008 was an anti- trafficking law.
WILLIAMS: Sex trafficking.
WALLACE: Right, these people are not coming because of sex trafficking. They're coming because of the conditions in their country. I mean, hasn't the law been perverted in terms of the current flood of people.
WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it's perverted. I think it's being used to their advantage, if that's what you, but not perverted. There's a real issue for these young people --
WALLACE: But it isn't sex trafficking.
WILLIAMS: It's not sex trafficking, but it goes beyond it. Violence was part of that law.
WALLACE: But that's not refugee.
WILLIAMS: Yes. That's what the whole idea.
WALLACE: Refugee has a specific meaning, which is if you're a member of a religion or a race or a --
WILLIAMS: A group of children who are living in fear of these gangs, and they're being exploited by them.
HUME: Juan, I wish the refugee definition in our law did apply to these children. It really doesn't. They're fleeing and they're fleeing in fear of their lives in many cases, but it doesn't quite fit the definition.
You have to change that definition in law in order to allow them to qualify and apply for asylum as refugees. This law, as Chris correctly points out, the Wilberforce law, was supposed to be about sex trafficking, but it created process where if you come from other than Mexico, you're entitled, whatever the validity of your claim, to a process that keeps you in the country.
And the history of this is, is once you get in and get in the process, the chances are that one way or another, you're going to find a way to stay here. That's where --
WILLIAMS: Refugee also includes social group. In this case, these young people as a social group of people who are being threatened by these gangs and whose lives are at stake --
HUME: It doesn't work.
WILLIAMS: Well, that's how you qualify social group.
But let me say, even evangelicals this week writing to Republican in Congress that you must consider these children as children, and give them due process.
HUME: I think the evangelicals are correct, and I wish the law says something other than it says, but it doesn't.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. We're not going to settle it anyway. We'll see you later in the program.
When we come back, with a cease-fire, and now the resumption of fight, where do things stand in the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas? We'll have a live report and we'll talk with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and a top Palestinian official.
WALLACE: Fighting resumed today in Gaza after Hamas rejected one cease-fire but now wants another one. We'll talk with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and a top Palestinian official in a moment.
But, first, we want to get the latest from FOX News correspondent John Huddy, who's on the Israel-Gaza border -- John.
JOHN HUDDY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, despite air strikes and artillery fire earlier this afternoon, it's been very quiet for the past couple hours here along the Israel-Gaza border, perhaps indicating that more cease-fire negotiations are going on, maybe in the works, though we have not heard of Israel accepting any new cease-fire agreement.
That said, Chris, we continue to see the destruction in Gaza City.
HUDDY: There was nothing but rubble where homes and buildings used to stand. The areas along the Israeli border and Gaza have been hit the hardest by the ongoing fight, now in day 20, of the war in Gaza.
Israel says its main objective is destroying Hamas's network of attack tunnels. So far, military officials say 32 tunnels have been found, about half destroyed. Israeli leaders say the battle will not end until that job is done, cease-fire or not.
So far, 46 Israelis have been killed, 43 of them soldiers, while more than 1,000 people were killed in Gaza and over 6,000 wounded. Hamas vows to continue firing rockets and battle Israeli soldiers as long as the offensive continues.
The Islamic group wants Israel and Egypt's block aid of Gaza lifted and for Israeli tanks to be withdrawn, among other demands.
HUDDY: So again, we've seen those images, not only in Gaza City but throughout the Gaza Strip, as well. Again, it remains very quiet here along the Israel and Gaza border, though we have not heard of any new cease-fire agreement. Israel's security cabinet is meeting, though, in about 30 minutes.
So, Chris, we'll see what comes out of that. Chris, back to you.
WALLACE: John Huddy reporting -- John, thanks for that.
Now, let's bring in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr. Prime Minister, first, Hamas broke the cease-fire and the fighting resumed. Now, Hamas wants a cease-fire. Will Israel accept that, and what happens next?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, Hamas has broken five cease-fires that we accepted. And we actually implemented. They rejected all of them, violated all of them, including two humanitarian cease-fires in the last 24 hours. Now, they come with their own cease-fire proposal, and believe it or not, they have violated even their own cease-fire proposal. They're shooting at us as we speak.
So, Israel is not obliged and is not going to help a terrorist organization decide when it's convenient to fire at our cities, at our people, and when it's not, when they can restock. We'll take the necessary action to protect our people, including, by the way, continuing to dismantle the tunnels. That's my policy.
WALLACE: So, basically, the offensive, the Israeli offensive in Gaza is going to continue?
NETANYAHU: We'll do whatever is necessary to achieve our goal, which is to get a sustainable quiet.
And as far as Hamas and its so-called cease-fire, they're violating their own cease-fire. It has come to the level of absurdity now.
WALLACE: Your defense minister has talked this weekend about a significant expansion of the Israeli operation. What does that mean? And how long is it going to take? When will you know that you have achieved your goals?
NETANYAHU: Well, we'll continue to act until we bring quiet and security to our people. And I think that right now, as long as Hamas continues rocketing our people, attacking us, digging these tunnels under which, you know what they do? They dig. They got money from the international community to build kindergartens. They took that money and built tunnels, dug tunnels to blow up our kindergartens. So obviously, we have to dismantle it, and we are. And we'll continue to do it until we achieve our goal of having this security that we can bring to our people. I hope it's as soon as possible, obviously.
WALLACE: Mr. Prime Minister, Gaza officials say now that more than 1,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, have been killed. International opposition to your operation, as you well know, is growing. Is that not a concern to you, and what about the protests, even riots on the West Bank? Are you concerned at all about a third intifadah or an uprising there?
NETANYAHU: Well, first, I know that's what Hamas is trying to do. They're trying to instigate violence in the West Bank as well. And we expect President Abbas to do what he can and what he's responsible for, to keep the quiet on that front, because Hamas just wants that to blow up as well.
As far as the civilian casualties, I have to tell you, each one of them is a tragedy. We don't want a single civilian tragedy. We're not targeting a single civilian. And every time you see these pictures, they're heartbreaking, but why is it happening? It's happening because Hamas is firing 25,000 rockets on our cities. They're attacking us with terror tunnels dug into our territory. They're attacking us by land, sea, and air. And obviously, we have to respond. When we respond, Hamas, we're trying to minimize the civilians -- the civilian casualties. We tell the civilians leave, Hamas tells them to stay. Why does it tell them to stay? Because it wants to pile up these civilian casualties. So any of these regrettable, tragic civilian tragedies should be placed on the responsibility of Hamas.
Hamas is a terror organization, ruthless terrorist organization that not only wants to kill our people, it wants to sacrifice its own people. It uses them as human shields. And therefore, it should be blamed, and not Israel. That's the truth, and that's the simple clarity, more clarity that should not be lost in this conflict.
WALLACE: There are demands on both sides, though, sir, and I want to discuss a couple of those with you. Hamas is demanding an end to Israel's economic blockade of Gaza, and in fact, you do block most imports going into the country and all exports leaving Gaza to go either to the West Bank or to Israel. And unemployment in Gaza is now over 50 percent. Isn't -- don't they have a legitimate demand there, sir?
NETANYAHU: First of all, we're letting in economic goods come into Gaza. We're letting humanitarian goods as we speak, now. With a cease-fire, without a cease-fire, we continue to have trucks and trucks coming in, into Gaza.
The reason there's been constriction of access to Gaza is precisely because they have used the incoming material, including cement or concrete, to build these tunnels, to build terror rockets, to build missiles and so on, from which they fire. Naturally, we have to make sure such weaponry and such materials do not enter into Gaza.
I think there is a path to get out of this once we have -- I think the first thing is to accept the Egyptian proposal. That's the only game in town. What it will do is it will enable us to actually get a sustainable cease-fire. That sustainable cease-fire consists of two things. One, demilitarization of Gaza. We want to make sure that there are no more additional rockets, tunnels, missiles and so on. Otherwise we'll be back here every few months.
Second, economic and social relief for the people of Gaza. Now, if you want economic and social relief for the people of Gaza, you have to make sure the demilitarization works. Why? Because if the international community will rush again to give cement, concrete to Gaza to build -- for Hamas, to build the buildings, they'll use it for tunnels. So you have to have a mechanism to prevent the abuse of this cement or concrete.
If you want to give them money, you want money to go to the people of Gaza, but if the money comes in and Hamas uses it to manufacture rockets and missiles, we're going to be exactly where we are now. So you need demilitarization and economic and social relief for the people of Gaza. I think the economic and social relief is tied to the militarization, because otherwise, it will simply not work.
WALLACE: But don't you worry, sir, and not without taking sides on who is responsible for the civilian deaths, but that every time that an Israeli tank shell or a missile hits a family and people are killed, that demilitarization becomes even harder, that there are going to be thousands of Palestinians, many of whom will have lost some of their civilians -- and again, not saying who is responsible for that, but that's going to make the possibility of any kind of a peaceful situation in your part of the world even more difficult?
NETANYAHU: Look, we face a very, very difficult situation with a ruthless enemy. It's the same thing you see with Al Qaeda, with ISIS, with Boko Haram, with Hezbollah. These people just don't care. We cannot pretend that we can allow them to continue to attack us, continue to fire rockets at us, continue to dig tunnels against us, and say, okay, because we don't want to take action against them, they can continue this. What choice do we have? Obviously, we try to minimize as best as we can civilian casualties. They're all incidental casualties. None of them are a direct target. But we have no chose but to defend ourselves.
And you're right, this creates a terrible tragedy when you have an enemy that deliberately wants to pile up its own people. The deaths of its own people as a human shield and as a battering ram in international diplomacy. The only thing I can say is appeal to the people who are watching this to say don't let them get away with it. Put the blame where blame belongs, on Hamas.
WALLACE: Prime Minister Netanyahu, thank you so much for talking with us today, sir. Always good to speak with you.
NETANYAHU: Thank you. Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Now, let's hear from the other side of this conflict. Joining us from Ramallah on the West Bank, Palestinian leader and the member of the PLO executive committee, Hanan Ashrawi. Ms. Ashrawi, Hamas requested -- rather rejected an Israeli cease-fire, then they requested one. You just heard the prime minister say they're now violating their own cease-fire. What's going on with Hamas?
HANAN ASHRAWI, PLO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER: Well, actually, the question is not just Hamas itself. There are several resistance groups in Gaza, but Mr. Netanyahu, who loves to lump everybody under Hamas, accused Hamas of everything, including killing its own people and so on. No, this is a situation where Israel is holding [no sound] Palestinian population captive under a cruel siege by air, by sea, by land, and bombing them and shelling them by air, by sea, and by land, and then blaming the victims for their own deaths. This is unacceptable. The cease-fire is something we wanted, and we have a government of national accord. And we've asked for cease-fires, but we need a cease-fire that will bring about also an end to the conditions that are creating and generating all this violence. Lifting the siege of Gaza, allowing the Gazan people to be able to fish in their own sea, to plant their own lands instead of having them declared battle zones by Israel. To be free to leave, to meet their families, to live, to study, to build. Israel is not allowing to do any of these things. That's why there's no use just dealing with the latest attack. We need to put in place conditions that will prevent its recurrence. That's why we are asking for a (INAUDIBLE) talks. We've agreed with John Kerry. The Paris proposal, we accepted all the Palestinians accepted this, but it was Israel that refused it. I don't know why it slipped Netanyahu's mind.
WALLACE: Ms. Ashrawi, you talk about Israel holding the people in Gaza captive. The death toll in Gaza now is over 1,000 people. But isn't a lot of the responsibility on Hamas and the various other resistance groups in Gaza who continue to fire thousands of rockets into Israel? If you were to stop the rocket attacks, which attack Israeli civilians and force them to run for bomb shelters, if you stop those, wouldn't the fighting end?
ASHRAWI: If it stops the occupation and its enslavement of the whole nation, its captivity of the people of Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, treating us like some subhuman species, then the violence will stop. The violence is generating by a very abnormal condition called Israeli military occupation. They devalue our lives and rights. They persist in bombing and shelling people, civilians and then they blame the victims. I'll tell you something, frankly. If Israel does not attack the Palestinians, if Israel does not continue with this ruthless bombing of whole families. Look, about 50 families were totally annihilated, whole neighborhoods, whole areas were demolished. They have F-16s, they have gun boats, they have Apache gunships. They have been shelling by tanks and so on. And the Palestinian people are being asked to leave their homes. Some of them, not all, because Israel thinks it has the right to demolish their homes. Whole neighborhoods, you're in Washington, imagine if Montgomery County or Fairfax, or whatever, they're being told leave your homes because we want to shell them.
WALLACE: Ms. Ashrawi.
ASHRAWI: They have done nothing wrong. They want to live.
WALLACE: Ms. Ashrawi, I don't mean to interrupt ...
ASHRAWI: They were either ...
WALLACE: But Ms. Ashrawi, I do have to ask you one more question. And that is, you talk about Hamas and the people in Gaza as if they were innocents. The fact is that Hamas puts its rockets, digs its tunnels in civilian areas, uses the civilians as human shields, and you talk about the economic blockade of Gaza, but the fact is when Hamas does get the cement and the steel for construction, instead of using it to build schools, they use it to build this elaborate series of tunnels to attack Israel.
ASHRAWI: Well, I'm not a spokesperson for Hamas, but whatever they build, whether tunnels or otherwise, they have the right to self- defense. Palestinians have the right to self-defense. You cannot place them under occupation, shell them and bomb them, and destroy them and then tell them, if they act that they are terrorists. It's very easy for Netanyahu to pull out the terrorist card. It's much more difficult for people to look at the truth and understand that Israel is engaging in state terrorism. They're doing it long distance. All the people who are killed, all the civilians have been Palestinians. 1,060 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. You have more than 6,000 Palestinians injured, you have over 150,000 who have lost their homes. As I said, you have 50 families who have been totally obliterated. Are you telling me that Hamas or any of the Palestinian resistance groups are responsible? It's the Israeli occupation. It's the Israeli siege, and it's the Israel's use of unbridled power and its mega-military machine that has led to this human tragedy. And what adds insult to injury is this persistent dehumanization. Netanyahu may be very glib, but no amount of verbal virtuosity or manipulation will hide the truth.
WALLACE: Ms. Ashrawi.
ASHRAWI: People are now beginning to question the very essence, the very nature of this occupation, and its cruelty and ruthlessness.
WALLACE: Ms. Ashrawi. Ms. Ashrawi, we want to thank you so much for joining us today and providing the Palestinian viewpoint on this continuing conflict.
ASHRAWI: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Thanks so much.
Up next, from Gaza to Ukraine, and now the evacuation of our embassy in Tripoli. President Obama's foreign policy continues to hit roadblocks. We'll bring back our panel to discuss it.
And what do you think about President Obama's recent struggles across the globe? Join the conversation on Facebook with other FNS viewers.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are suspending our current diplomatic activities at the embassy, not closing the embassy, but suspending the activities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Secretary of State Kerry announcing another setback for U.S. foreign policy, this time in Libya, and we're back now with the panel. So, the decision to move all U.S. diplomatic personnel out of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli to evacuate them to Tunisia comes amid growing fighting. Heavy fighting among various militias in Libya. Brit, fair to say that our intervention in that country back in 2011 to topple Qaddafi has not worked out quite the way President Obama thought it would?
HUME: Well, It toppled Qaddafi or helped topple Qaddafi, but you always have to deal with the aftermath. And it's possible to win the war, as people say, and lose the peace. There hasn't been much peace in that troubled country and it doesn't -- it's going to be much anytime soon, and it's pretty hard to argue the administration policy, when you factor in what happened in Benghazi, has been a success there. Now, which is not to say the United States could -- by itself have controlled the outcomes there. Maybe it couldn't, but you start looking around for, you know, where was the effort to make this work? What did they do? You know, what did Hillary Clinton do to try to make this work better in that country? And it's, you know, pretty hard to point to anything. It's one more place in the world among many where U.S. efforts such as they have been have not worked out.
WALLACE: Speaking about other troubled spots, ten days after the downing of that Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, Russian President Putin has not scaled back. In fact, he continues to send heavy weapons, tanks, surface to air, surface to surface missiles into Ukraine, and there has been new indication this week, videos and allegations from top White House officials that Russia is firing directly on Ukrainian military positions from inside Russia. Kirsten, clearly, Putin doesn't feel that there's a heavy price to pay for ignoring the U.S. and Western Europe.
POWERS: Well, there isn't. I think that's fair to say. And you know, there are reports that the White House or the Pentagon is looking at ways to provide intelligence support to separatists and the White House still has not really debated the plan, so we don't know what's going to happen there, but I have to say, as much as I think it's a fair criticism to say Obama has not handled this as well as he could have, there's a heavy onus on Europe. But at the same time, the president plays an important role to play there to get Europe more involved, to get Europe to see that they're going to have to probably make some sacrifices of their own, perhaps economically, to deal with this issue. And until they're engaged, I think it does limit somewhat what the U.S. can do.
WALLACE: While all this was happening, President Obama continued his fundraising tour on the West Coast, and even a loyal Democrat like California Senator Dianne Feinstein called Obama out for keeping to his schedule. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D) CALIFORNIA: I'm not going to tell the president what to do. But I think the world would very much respect his increased attention on this matter. And I think there ought to be increased attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: George, I'm not going to ask you what the president is thinking, but I'm going to ask you what is your best guess as he continues on this schedule, what he and his advisers are possibly thinking?
WILL: Well, because his policy is, unruffled placidity in the face of world chaos, he can be placid on the road or at home, it makes no difference. Were he conducting a more aggressive policy, he could do that from the living room of a rich donor's house in Beverly Hills. It's the policy, not the optics that go along with the problem. Just militant (ph) Libya. We have created a failed state in Libya. We intervened, remember, it was R2P, responsibility to protect, Benghazi. Instead, we went in and embarked on an eight-month, this wasn't mission creep, this was mission gallop, an eight-month attempt to assassinate Qaddafi. And eventually we got that job done. And what do we produce? A complete vacuum. This is probably the worst failer, I believe, Libya, of the entire regime, because it was so utterly optional and silly from the beginning.
WALLACE: Juan, whether it's Libya, whether it's what's going on in Gaza and the inability of Secretary of State Kerry despite the shuttle of diplomacy to engineer a cease-fire, whether it's Putin escalating, not de-escalating, how serious is it for the president and one could argue for the country when this is a growing perception that the U.S. is not leading the way it used to. WILLIAMS: I think their perception is -- it has to do with the optics and it has to do with a lot -- with the partisanship here in home in terms of the criticism.
WALLACE: But what about the situation on the ground?
WILLIAMS: Well, the situation on the ground is he's engaged. I think, you know, it's what George said is right. It's about the policy. So, do you agree or disagree with the policy? Now, let's take Libya, for example. I think the United States after what we have gone through in Iraq, Afghanistan, is out of the nation-building business. There's no political support for that kind of activity. You can say going after Qaddafi was wrong, but nobody is going to even make that case. People think it was good to depose Qaddafi. The question is what comes after and should the United States be investing time and energy in rebuilding Libya.
WILL: If you could rewind history back to 2011, would you be in favor of decapitating the regime in Libya? Wouldn't you rather if Qaddafi were back in power?
WILLIAMS: Well, at the moment, from the American perspective for the man who took down that airliner, for the man who was fomenting so much of the terrorism in the Middle East, you would have to say no, George.
WILL: So, you want a failed state?
WILL: It's what we've got.
WILLIAMS: It's much like the Arab Spring, when you look at what's going on in Syria today, when you look at Egypt, which is back now to this kind of autocratic strong man in charge, you'd say that's not what we as a democracy, people who want to promote democracy would want, that's true. I'm not arguing that with you, but I'm saying, we're in the business of standing up for our national interests and I think getting rid of Qaddafi falls within that ...
WILL: The point of the Libyan intervention was we had no national interest. It was pure in the sense of untainted ...
HUME: Yeah, it was an attempt to side with what we thought was the forces of- merging forces of history in the Arab Spring. It obviously hasn't worked out, but, you know, I can't help but point out the irony of the people who criticize the president for not working hard enough when they -- have done such a terrible job. So, why would they want him to work all the harder at doing things that they deeply disapprove of in the first place? It seems to me that a lot of his critics may be well advised to pipe down and not encourage him to work any harder.
WALLACE: So, more fundraisers, more political press?
HUME: Whatever. (LAUGHTER)
WALLACE: All right. Thank you panel. See you next Sunday. Up next, our "Power Player" of the week. We take you to where the U.S. Navy Fleet begins.
WALLACE: I've lived in Washington more than 30 years, but until last fall, I never knew what went on behind the walls of a Navy base just outside the city. Here's our "Power Player" of the week.
TIM ARCANO, DIR. NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER: We start with modeling and simulation and do model testing, and then that actually translates into a ship design. So we actually -- the fleet literally begins right here.
WALLACE: Dr. Tim Arcano is talking about the Naval Service Warfare Center outside Washington. A remarkable installation where scientists design, build, and test ship prototypes.
(on camera): How important is this facility in designing the Navy of the 21st century?
ARCANO: You don't want to just go out and build a new ship. You want to be able to develop it in a smart way, so you reduce the risk, reduce the cost by using models.
WALLACE (voice over): It starts on computer. They test the shape of the hull, materials to be used, how they can make it harder for an enemy to detect, and more fuel efficient. Then they make a scale model, usually 1/20 the size of the actual ship and take it to the Davon Taylor model basin. The basin is 3200 feet long. They can create two-foot waves and tow a model up to 60 miles per hour.
ARCANO: We can make sure that the ships that ultimately get designed and built are safe and survivable in effective war fighting platforms for the United States Navy.
WALLACE: That demands precision. They can record 400 types of data on how the model is going through the water. And the rails that run the 3,000 feet along the sides of the basin are shaped to curve with the Earth's surface.
ARCANO: They're actually designed within 2/1,000 of an inch or one tenth of the average thickness of a fingernail.
WALLACE: But they're not done, next the model goes to the MASK, the Maneuvering and Sea Keeping facility, 240 feet wide, 360 feet long. It's five acres under one roof.
ARCANO: We're able to run radio-controlled free running models up to 30 feet in length in open ocean conditions, creating the seas as if they were actually being generated up to the highest seas wave you could see I the ocean.
WALLACE: All that testing works. Arcano showed us a scale model of the Arleigh Burke Class destroyer to which they added a small flap in the stern to redistribute the flow around the hull.
ARCANO: It actually increases the efficiency tremendously of our ship moving through the water, so from that, we're able to achieve great fuel savings and it actually increases the range and the speed of the destroyer.
WALLACE (on camera): This flap here?
ARCANO: Yes, sir.
WALLACE (voice over): Navy ships are typically operational for more than 30 years. So it's essential to work out all the problems before they're built. As they say, this is where the fleet begins.
ARCANO: The walls of this facility are adorned with the history of the past in terms of all the models that have been tested here. Developing advanced cutting edge technologies that are going to benefit the sailor and Marine. We're on the tip of the sphere of our nation's defense. And what more could you ask for?
WALLACE: The Naval center recently updated its wavemaker system, allowing them to simulate conditions for ships anywhere in the world. From a sunny day off Tahiti to a hurricane barreling up the East Coast. And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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