Mayor of Jerusalem: This is not a symmetrical war

Nir Barkat on growing Gaza conflict


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 21, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Hell of a pinpoint operation. It's a hell of a pinpoint operation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. It's escalating significantly -- significantly and it just underscores the need for a cease-fire.

KERRY: We have to get over there.


KERRY: Thank you.

I think, John, I think we ought to go tonight. I think it's crazy to be sitting around.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, you have heard that a few times, Secretary of State John Kerry caught on a hot mike mocking Israel's ground offensive.

To Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Mayor, good to have you.

What did you think of what the secretary was saying?

NIR BARKAT, MAYOR OF JERUSALEM, ISRAEL: Well, you have to understand the situation we're in.

We have terrorists who want to kill us. They want to throw us to the sea. They aim at our children. They're using indiscriminate rockets to fire at our homes and -- and hurt us. So what we do is we put our kids as far away from the border.

We use our intelligence to create Iron Dome to protect ourselves. And we are focusing on targeting the terrorists. As much as we can, we will pinpoint and hit and kill the terrorists that are trying to hit us, and to do minimum damage that we can to the civilians and to the children that they use as shields to protect the terrorists.

So, with all due respect, it's not a symmetrical war. Unfortunately, there's terrorists that have no clue what honesty means, what the Geneva Convention means. And we will hunt them and kill them before they kill us.

CAVUTO: Mayor, do you think that the secretary is saying one thing in formal interviews and thinking another, and that this -- the comment about, this is more than just pinpointing indicates the administration thinking that you're overdoing it?

BARKAT: Well, we will do even more to target the terrorists and the militants that are using their children as protective shields, and hitting our children.

It is an absurd situation that no reasonable person in his mind will agree to. Therefore, we will continue with force to hit the militants. And every kid and innocent person that is, God forbid, hurt in Gaza, we feel for them, and we don't want that to happen, exactly the opposite of what they want to do. And they cheer when they hear that our children get hurt from missiles or from their terrorist attacks.

So, with all due respect, we expect the wisdom of the world to understand that this is not a symmetrical war. And we will not accept, not accept this kind of situation from the terrorists, the Hamas terrorist organizations, and we will hunt them.

And we will not stop until we are sure that they cannot fire missiles and they're not shooting and trying to hurt innocent people in Israel. We will not stop. And I don't think there's any room for cease-fire until it's clear for us that what they have done in the last few years will stop, period.

CAVUTO: Mayor, do you think then that Mr. Kerry's remarks were accidental in or these mike comments, off-mike comments were deliberate?

BARKAT: Well, nobody wants to see innocent people get hurt.

And I think that -- I understand it probably comes from his heart, to make sure that innocent people on the Hamas side, on the Gaza side don't get hurt. We are in there. We would -- we don't want that to happen.

But it's very, very clear. If they hide behind children, we will warn them once, warn them twice, and go after the terrorists. And, God forbid, take those children, those innocent people away, because we will not stop. We will not agree to getting shot from schools.

You know that they're shooting missiles from schools. Can you imagine if your own school, you would send your kids to school and underneath the school they shoot missiles? And then God forbid, when innocent children get hurt, they show them on television and say that we're the bad guys?

Give me a break. This is unacceptable. And the world has to understand that.

CAVUTO: You have said and Israel has stated repeatedly that this is really about protecting your sovereignty and your borders, and that any other country would do the same if missiles were being lobbed over its borders.

But it seems to, at least in the mainstream media, Mayor, to fall on deaf ears, and that Israel, at least in a lot of the press, is coming across as the bad guy. Do you think that's fair? Do you think Israel is being held to a different standard and that any other country would certainly do the same if its borders were compromised or, to this extreme, those on the other side of the border were lobbing missiles at you?

BARKAT: Well, this is not an army against an army.

This is a terrorist organization hiding behind civilians, using everything but Geneva Convention to kill innocent people on the other side. And, so, there's no book on warfare between an army and a state and militants.

And terrorists are using innocent civilians to hide behind them. This is an absurd situation. And I do think that the world has to recognize that there's new chapters to write in the world about how to deal with terrorist organizations that are hiding behind innocent people.

Anyway, I want to share one more point with you, Neil. Today, I went to the hospitals and spoke to some of the wounded soldiers. They all shared with me how they're committed to finalize this war and protect our families and our children that are used -- that rockets fired indiscriminately to our cities.

They also all shared with me their high degree of standards, of understanding that they don't want to hurt innocent people. They shared with me how many times they don't pull the trigger because they're not sure if they're using -- if they're shooting civilians, and that the morality of the Israeli soldiers is second to no other army I know, that nowhere in the world is there such an army. We're very proud of that.

And even if the world doesn't get it, we're totally committed to maintain those high standards. We will continue doing that, even if the world doesn't get it or even if the world doesn't share and understand how committed we are to this.

CAVUTO: All right, Mayor, thank you very, very much.

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