msnbc | November 17, 2012
>>> as we have been reporting, the crisis between israel and hamas is escalating today. israel 's iron dome defense system hours ago shot down a tel-aviv missile. scores of bombs hit the center where hamas government buildings were targeted. and hundreds of thousands of troops are amassing at the border and the government authorized the call-up as many as 75,000 reservists. joining me is the ambassador. thank you for joining me.
>> good afternoon.
>> what's this trigger for the ground operation?
>> we have millions under rocket fire, over half the country. no country in the world, no government would tolerate such a situation where over half its situation is sitting in bomb shelters all night or never going more than 15 seconds run from the nearest bomb shelter because that's all you have. that's the time you have when the alarm gets off before the rocket smashes into your neighborhood. you have the equivalent of what would be 170 million americans under bomb shelters . if hamas continues to escalate, we will take the necessary and legitimate measures to defend our citizens.
>> living under the threat of rocket attack is a psychological trauma. what would say to those who say rockets are ineffective and rarely do damage and the response from israelis is dis disproportionate to the threat they're under.
>> i would say that to the three israel people killed by one of those rockets, 150 wounded physically and psychologically by this. these rockets paralyze an entire country. there is no school. people cannot go out of their houses, out of their bomb shelters . again, that's an utterly in intolerable situation for any country. imagine if one rocket had fallen in the united states and since the year 2009 , our last operation, wave had something in the vicinity of 8,000 rockets fall on the state of israel . that's more than twice all of the german rockets that fell on london during world war ii . you saw how the british and americans reacted to that.
>> you mentioned the amount of rocket attacks seen in israel , 209 and this year about 700 despite the fact we've been down this road again israel has responded with military force in the past. does this show israel 's policy towards gaza has been a failure?
>> our policy, everything can do into gaza , there's no food shortage there, no medical shortage. what you do have there is hamas . certainly no shortage of terrorists there. rather than investing in infrastructure and education they invested in 12,000 rockets, with one purpose only, to kill israeli civilians. we have no option and any other krin the world to have an option but to defend our citizens by all necessary and legitimate means.
>> the people of gaza say they've been under constant siege from israeli forces from the air and sea. gaza , as you know, is one of the most densely populated places in the world. how does israel justify force in such a crowded environment?
>> actually, it's not the most crowded place in the world. tel-aviv is more densely populated than gaza is. having said that we are dealing with a densely populated area, that is true. we have conducted more than 1,000 air strikes against rocket base, rocket launching pits, arsenals, command headquarters and we have taken extraordinary, i would even say super human measures to avoid inflicting civilian casualties there. we made tens of thousands of phone calls, dropped leaflets, sent text messages to people, civilians in these areas, warning them to clear out. as a result, we've been able to reducing civilian casualties to a minimum. it's always difficult between civilians are hurt. three-quarters of people hurt in gaza have been armed terrorists.
>> thank you for your time this afternoon. we appreciate it.
>> thank you.