All-Star Panel: Reaction to Israeli troops entering Gaza

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 18, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER, (via translator): As it is not possible to deal with the tunnels only from the air. Our soldiers are also doing it from the ground. There is no guarantee for 100 percent success.  We are doing the best to it achieve the maximum.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and that all of us are working hard to return to the ceasefire that was reached in November of 2012.

MUSHIR AL-MASRI, HAMAS OFFICIAL: Netanyahu has made the wrong decision by going into Gaza. The resistance knows how to respond heavy. We know that the occupation will regret this when the resistance will make Gaza a graveyard for them.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: No Lightning Round tonight so we can bring you the other major story of the week, the fighting in the Middle East and expanded operation in Gaza by the Israeli forces. We're back with the panel. You heard all sides there, Steve. Thoughts?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think, you know, if you look at the position that Prime Minister Netanyahu is in, there has got to be a temptation to go sort of all out right now while he has got Hamas on the ropes and while he can sort of press his advantage. But as we have noted before on this panel, there is looming in the background this other major issue of Iran. And the news today that the talks have been extended, that Iran has basically, I think, been given a lifeline to November 24, pushed back yet again, I think takes a card away from Benjamin Netanyahu as he is trying to think about this.  And as he looks at that bigger picture he has got to be more and more concerned with Iran in the context of this every day street-to-street fighting.


A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, Israel remains under existential threat from several sources. And they have made it clear the ground operation, though, doesn't look like they intend to occupy Gaza again. It's meant to really decimate Hamas' capability, which he they are complimenting as they are now saying, you know, with the help of Iran, Hamas is a formidable foe. They are going after the tunnels. They are not going to get out until the job is done.  And it wasn't done through the air. And they have decided that they need to be on the ground and they are going to be there as long as it takes to make a dent in Hamas' capability.

BAIER: You know, Gaza is not a big place, and Israel can say that this is a pinpoint targeted operation. But there are civilian casualties, and they are mounting, 63 today. How does that affect this scenario?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, it does because Hamas is hoping for cameras so it can show dead children, which is exactly how it thrives, cameras outside all of the hospitals. The fact is they are using human shields. The use of human shields is a violation of international law, humanitarian law.

There is Dick Durbin, who is a Democrat, Barbara Boxer have now stepped out on this issue. They have written a letter to the U.N. high commissioner on this. This is a breach of international -- it's a deliberate attempt to create casualties in their own people. It is a form of true moral depravity. And that is what they thrive on.

And the reason the Israelis had to go in very reluctantly is because there was, as we saw on film just yesterday, a tunnel outside of Gaza, from which 13 heavily armed terrorists emerged, less than a mile from a Kibbutz. What would have happened had the Israelis not found them and shot them would have been a massacre of the worst proportions. Israel has to do this operation. It's an incursion which is not intended to occupy the zone but to go in perhaps a mile or two, and that's exactly what the Israelis are hoping to do. They have no interest in a major occupation or a major invasion.

BAIER: How long does it last?

KRAUTHAMMER: Probably a week.

STODDARD: It could be longer.

HAYES: Days, not weeks.

BAIER: Up next, the panel's winners and losers, stay tuned.

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