(CBS News) -- A transcript from the July 13, 2014 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included: Holly Williams, Benjamin Netanyahu, Rick Perry, Luis Gutierrez, Ron Dermer, Maen Areikat, Jane Harman, Gerald Seib, Danielle Pletka, and Nia-Malika Henderson.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I'm Bob Schieffer and this is Face the Nation. Breaking news overnight as both sides step up their attacks in the Mideast. Israeli troops moved into Gaza on the ground to take out a rocket facility in what may be the opening stages of a wider war.
Its day six of the Mideast conflict and as the rocket attacks intensify and casualties mount in Gaza, neither side seems interested in a cease fire. We'll talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and hear from the top Palestinian delegate to the United States and the Israeli ambassador to the US...then we'll turn to the immigration crisis. As tens of thousands of children pour across our southern border we'll talk with Texas Governor Rick Perry and House Democrat Luis Gutierrez. 60 years of news because this is Face the Nation.
Good morning again, to get the news on the overnight developments, we want to go first to Holly Williams in Gaza City. Holly what's the latest?
HOLLY WILLIAMS: Good morning Bob, Israeli commandos clashed with Palestinian militants on the coast here earlier this morning, it's the first gun fight since this escalation began and it comes as Israel considers whether to mount a ground invasion. The Israeli military says four of its soldiers were lightly wounded as they attacked a site used to fire long-range rocket in what may be the first ground incursion of this conflict.
The militants have launched hundreds of rocket into Israel over the last week. They've caused some damage and injuries but so far no Israelis have been killed, and that's thanks in large part to Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile Defense System, which shoots those rockets down.
Now, the Palestinians have no such protection and Israel bombarded them again for a fifth night last night, one air strike on the home of Gaza's police chief, killed 18 people. The Israeli military says its targeting sights used by militants but Palestinian officials say more than 150 people have lost their lives and they say that includes scores of civilians.
The Israeli military dropped leaflets from the air in northern Gaza, warning residents to evacuate for their own safety and today hundreds of families have fled their homes and taken refuge in school buildings here in Gaza city.
The Israeli military meanwhile has called up more than 30,000 reservists and has massed troops on the border adding to fears of a ground invasion, and despite calls for a ceasefire from the UN Security Council; so far both sides have resisted international pressure to end the violence.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And we begin this morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Prime Minister, thank you so much for joining us. I understand as we begin this interview, Tel Aviv is again under an alert that the sirens have just gone off.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, the sirens went off because Hamas have fired rockets on Israel's major city, they're firing rockets on all our cities. I want your audience to imagine what it would be like if all the cities of the United States, I'm not just talking about New York and Washington, I'm talking about all the cities of the United States, from the East Coast to Colorado, 80% of your population would be in bomb shelters with a minute to a minute and a half red alert warning time to get into those shelters. That's what we're experiencing right now as we speak, so this is an unconscionable terrorist attack on civilian populations. And of course, we have to act to defend ourselves.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How many rockets have been fired so far, Prime Minister, from the Gaza?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Right now, we're 400 rockets on Israeli cities. Maybe the number has increased closer to 500. That is, many more rockets were actually fired, but those are the ones that made it into the space above our population centers. So we're talking perhaps a larger number.
But you know there are two things about this. One is the fact that this is a deliberate, Hamas terrorist weapon, and with the exception of chemical weapons and nuclear weapons, it's the ultimate terror weapon. And any country would act to defend itself against this. We are doing exactly what any country would do; you would do if you were targeted from across the border. You would try to pinpoint the rocketeers, that's what we're doing.
Now we come into the other problem. See, Hamas and the Islamic, the other terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad, are firing from Gaza when their rocketeers and their command posts and embedded in homes, hospitals, next to kindergartens, mosques.
And so, we're trying to operate to target them surgically (PH). But the difference between us is that we're using missile defense to protect our civilians and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles. So naturally, they're responsible for all the civilian deaths that occur accidentally. We're sorry for any accidental civilian death, but it's the Hamas that bears complete responsibility for such civilian casualties.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Prime Minister, the UN Security Council of course called for a cease fire yesterday by both sides, I take it that's not going to happen for a while as far as you're concerned?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, our goal is to achieve sustainable quiet and security for our people, and we're doing that by degrading Hamas and other terrorist capabilities. I'm not going to say right now how and when that goal will be achieved, whether by diplomatic and military means. But that goal has to be achieved. We need to have quiet restored to our people for a sustainable period of time and not just for five minutes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Last night, Israeli forces on the ground went into Gaza to take out a rocket launching facility there. Is this a sign that this war is about to get wider or are you going to go in, enforce into Gaza with ground forces?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, we use whatever means are necessary to defend our people, as would the United States or any other government faced with such a predicament.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Prime Minister, how long do you think this is going to go on? I mean, I understand what you're saying here, but how will you know you've won?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I think the issue is achieving the mission, and we'll have to see how that is achieved. I was asked by someone is this the beginning of the end, and I said, "I don't know if it's the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end." We've just received now a quiet alert. As we are giving this interview, can you hear this? Can you hear this? No? (BACKGROUND VOICE)
BOB SCHIEFFER: Ah, yes.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, what you're hearing right now is the, that's the calm (PH) alert. In other words, when we began this interview, we were under bomb alert, and as the minutes passed, now we are being told that people can go out into the open area again. This is the kind of reality we are living in, Bob, and we'll do, as I said, whatever is necessary to put an end to this.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think that this can never be solved militarily, Prime Minister? Isn't there going to have to be some kind of negotiated settlement here, some sort of a diplomatic settlement? I'm not sure I know what that is, but where does this go from here?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, when you have something like Hamas who talks about, they don't care about political settlements, they want to destroy the state of Israel, they're not even talking about building a Palestinian state, they want to establish some kind of, their version of the caliphate. They say they have to murder Jews wherever they find them worldwide. So these people are not into political settlements.
But it doesn't mean that we cannot have the necessary action, coupled with diplomatic backing to achieve the protection of the Israeli citizens from these rocket threats, tunnel threats and so on. But again, I'm not going to get into the specifics of this. Sometimes, we just have to fight against people who want to murder you and kill your state. So--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Prime Minister, do you think that the whole idea of a two-state solution is now dead? Has that just gone by the by?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Now look, I think there are two separate issues. Whether we can achieve a negotiated settlement with those Palestinians who are willing to coexist next to Israel is one question, but that doesn't fly in the face of the other need. In fact, I think it is complimented by the other need that you've got to fight back and roll back the forces who are seeking to extinguish the Jewish state completely.
We need to defeat those people, roll them back or peace is not going to be possible. Because as far as Hamas is concerned, they couldn't care less if you come with a two-state solution, a three-state solution or a four-state solution; they want a no-state solution, no Jewish state. And therefore, if you want to have peace, you have to fight these people and you have to roll them back. Otherwise, there's no prospect for peace.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me talk to you a little bit about the negotiations going on now with Iran over these sanctions and so forth. The Iranian representative to those talks going on said on NBC this morning that there really was no reason for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. What's your response to that?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I think it's comical. Iran has invested an untold fortune, certainly over $100 billion, probably close to $200 billion in building ICBMs (PH), which are only used for nuclear weapons and building underground nuclear facilities for nuclear weapons.
And enrichment, Iranian enrichment and centrifuges that are only for nuclear weapons and plutonium and heavy water, that is only for nuclear weapons. If they wanted civilian nuclear energy, they wouldn't need any of that. 17 nations have civilian nuclear energy and they don't have a single centrifuge.
So Iran is lying, that's a straightforward lie. Second point is that I think that the capability to make these weapons is what's at issue right now, that's what's being negotiated as we speak in Vienna. And I think the crucial thing is not to trust Iran; I think nobody in his right mind would, and not to inspect Iran -- that's secondary and largely immaterial.
The crucial question is to deny Iran the capability to make the nuclear weapons that they seek, and that means taking the enriched nuclear material and the means to enrich it and to make a bomb, to take it out of Iran, just as it was done vis-à-vis the chemicals and the means to make chemical weapons out of Syria.
That's the deal that should be done, any other deal would be a bad deal, and it's much better to have no deal than a bad deal.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Prime Minister, thank you so much, we'll let you get back to work now and keep your head down.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Thank you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll have a lot more on all of this later in the broadcast when we talk to the Palestinian Representative to the United States and the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. But we want to turn now to the other major story we're covering today, that of the tens of thousands of Central American children crossing the border illegally into the United States.
Texas Governor Rick Perry joins us now from Austin. Governor, thank you for coming. You have called a federal response to this crisis inept. Do you mean the President's inept or his Congress inept, too?
RICK PERRY: Well, I think there's plenty of blame to spread around from this perspective, but when you're the President of the United States, you are at the tip of the sphere, so to speak, and whether it's a VA that's had scandals or whether it's the IRS, you're ultimately going to be responsible. And this border situation and I go back to multiple years in the past of which we've drawn attention to this administration and the problems on the border.
We've asked for 1,000 National Guard troops for over four years from this administration. As a matter of fact in May of 2012, Bob, I gave the President a head's up on what was happening with these unaccompanied children, these alien children who were coming in on the tops of trains. And we laid out exactly what we felt was going to happen if we didn't address that, and now we're seeing that become reality with literally tens of thousands of these young children, making this long, arduous, very dangerous trip, being separated from their parents, and it could have been stopped years ago, had the administration listened, had the administration been focused on the border with Texas.
I just don't think there's the interest, I've got to take that as "I'm not interested." When we asked the President to come this last week, he made a decision not to come. It's just time after time; you see a response from this administration that says, "You know what? We're really not that interested in the southern border of the United States."
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you, what do you do with these children, Governor? Many of them, as you well know, were escaping; drug cartels were told, human trafficking. Once they get here, aren't we going to have to find some way to help them? What can be done about this?
RICK PERRY: It is a problem of monumental humanitarian impact, and you have to go back to the source of what's going on here, I think, and this is like a triage, if you will. If you have a patient that is bleeding profusely, the first thing you have to do is stop the bleeding, and that's the reason we have been so adamant about securing the border.
Very quickly, that message will be sent to those Central American countries that you cannot send your children up here; you cannot catch a train or a bus or be coyoted up here, as you will, to walk across the border and you're freely going to be able to stay in the United States.
That was the message for years and months from this administration, that's what they saw and that was the message that went back.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about something else, you really whipped your fellow Republican Rand Paul in an op-ed in Saturday's Washington Post. You said, your words, "Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism or whatever term he prefers, would compound the thread of terrorism even further."
Well, he responded today. He said, "Unlike Governor Perry, I am opposed to sending American troops back into Iraq; I support continuing our assistance to the government of Iraq. I support using advanced technology to prevent ISIS from becoming a threat."
"I also want to stop sending U.S. and arms to Islamic rebels in Syria who are allied with ISIS, something Governor Perry doesn't even address. I asked Governor Perry, 'How many Americans should send their sons and daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won't defend for themselves?'" He really takes exception to your criticism. What is your response to what he says?
RICK PERRY: Well, I agree with him that it is the failed policies of this administration that find ourselves in this really bad position that we're in today, not unlike the failed policies on the border with Mexico and Texas that is causing this issue with all of these unaccompanied alien children that we are seeing flooding into the border.
But back to that part of the world, we have allies there in the form of Israel and Jordan that expect us to stand with them, to help them. They are very nervous because they've seen this President talk about red lines that he was going to draw on the ground, and then, those red lines mean nothing. I disagree with Senator Paul's representation of what America should be doing, and when you read his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, he talks about basically, what I consider to be, isolationist policies.
And America can no longer come back onto the Continental United States, and draw a red line around the shore of America, and think that we're somehow or another not going to be impacted. We must engage and tactically, thoughtfully, using the assets that we have against ISIS to keep these individuals from being able to create an Islamic state in that part of the world that will put Jordan and put Israel's literal future in jeopardy.
And we need to send clear messages and powerful messages. The idea that I'm for opening up the gates and sending, you know, multiple numbers of American troops back into harm's way, is a bit of a stretch. As a veteran, as an individual who has deployed hundreds and thousands of U.S. National Guard, Texas National Guard troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, over the course of the last decade, I understand as well as anyone the concept of putting our young people in harm's way. We need a strategy that is sound; we need a strategy that when we say we're going to do something, we do it. And our allies, again, can trust us and our enemies fear us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, Governor, I'm sorry, we have to end it there. Thank you so much.
RICK PERRY: You're welcome, thank you, Bob.BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in one minute to hear from a top Democrat on the immigration process.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with Congressman Luis Gutierrez, whose district is in Chicago, O'Hare Airport, Midway Airport, kind of the northwest and--
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: Northwest, southwest side.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --side of it, and we thank you for coming back to Washington to join us this morning. You just heard Rick Perry, some really strong words about the President. He said basically he's just not interested in solving this problem on the border.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: Well, Governor Perry's just wrong on that issue. Let's first go, he kept repeating "the border, the border, the border," and he wants to put more National Guards men in and if he put more National Guards man in, the children wouldn't come. The children come, Bob, fleeing violence and torture, murder and rape.
And so, they're going to continue to come as long as those conditions exist and we don't fix our broken immigration system. Let's just put in context what the governor just said. So at the height of George Bush's President in 2002, I'm sorry, not the height, during George Bush's Presidency, 1,600,000 people apprehended crossing the border between Mexico and the United States.
Today it's under 400,000. But George Bush, average of about 200,000 people deported a year, average over his eight years. Over six years of President Barack Obama, 400,000. Over two million deported under already. So (UNINTEL) border and border, in terms of deportation, there has been enforcement.
But there's the problem: We spend $18 billion a year on making sure that the federal government has immigrant enforcement agents. That's more than D.E.A. and the A.T.F. and the F.B.I. and all the other enforcements combined. But we still have a problem, right?
So you can keep throwing money and talk about enforcement, enforcement, enforcement, but you've got to put money also into your judicial system, and you've got to put money in a comprehensive program that deals with the issue. I want to make one last point to the Governor, look, these are children. I'm happy he didn't demonize the children, but there is a demonization that goes on. And all I say to the Governor is I wish you understood and accepted the law of the land, Governor. And the law of the land in 2008, we adopted in the Congress of the United States an anti-trafficking law. But wait, it wasn't only in 2008 that we said protect the children, we said protect the children in 2002 when we created the Department of Homeland Security. (UNINTEL) signed by President Bush said, "We must treat children who arrive at our shores differently."
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you about this, because I hear this from Democrats, as well as Republicans, and prominent Democrats are saying, "You know, if the President was going to Texas, he should have gone down to the border and he should have taken a firsthand look into this." Do you think he would have been better off if he had done that?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: Absolutely. I think the President should have gone down there, stated what the law is. In 2008, Bob, we-- look, Louie Gohmert from Texas (UNINTEL) immigrant that he has (UNINTEL) thought was bringing disease to this country. And went on the, no, went on the House Floor this week to compare the invasion of children to our encouraging into Mexico to seek out (UNINTEL), to our reaching the beaches of Normandy. So they put it in these terms.
But Steven King from Iowa, he always says they're criminals. He can never say "immigrant" and "criminal" without (UNINTEL). They voted for the 2002 and 2008 law that say, "Protect." So when there were calmer times, right, levelheaded people thinking about the issue, we put the children's interests first. Remember bipartisanship? This wasn't a Democratic bill--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well let me just say. Let's start with this, okay, don't you have to secure the border, though and take care of these children that are already here? How do you do that?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: The border is secure; the fact is, the children are handing themselves over to the Border Patrol Agents, and under our laws, they must be treated. So all I have come here to say is two things: America, there's American Exceptionalism, right? I believe in it, and I say we are the strongest, wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world and children are coming into our borders and we should protect them. Now I will say this, follow the law, and the law said that we must put the children's interests first, which is what President Barack Obama is doing.
I find Governor Perry interesting in that Republicans keep saying, "Well, we can't fix the immigration issue because we don't trust the President to enforce the law." And then, when the President actually follows the law in 2002 and 2008, the very law that was signed by President Bush, they said, "Well, he should do something different."
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well, Congressman, we have to stop there.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Thank you so much for joining us, and we'll be back.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well there's a lot more Face the Nation ahead...we'll hear from both the Palestinian representative to the United States and the United States Ambassador to Israel so stay with us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now, for most of you we'll be right back with a lot more Face the Nation, including our panel of analysts. Stay with us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to Face The Nation, we're going to turn now to the Palestinian Ambassador to the United States, Maen Rashid Areikat. He is the Chief Representative of the Palestinians here. Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much. You heard what Prime Minister Netanyahu said this morning, he said, "Look, as long as they keep firing rockets, we're going to retaliate and no country could expect us to do less."
AMBASSADOR MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: No country would expect anybody to do that, but Prime Minister Netanyahu forgets the fact that Gaza is still under military occupation. He forgets the fact that the Palestinian people are still under his military occupation, and therefore, he cannot compare the situation there to any situation around the world.
I think the root cause of all the violence that we have witnessed over the last 48 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in 1967, is due to the continued Israeli military occupation.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, having said that, and I understand what you're saying here, the fact is rockets were coming out of the Gaza, and what was it he said, 400, 500 of them coming out of there. They have to take action to protect their people when that kind of assault is going on.
AMBASSADOR MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Well, I think our objective right now is to reach an immediate cease fire, return to the 2012 understandings between Hamas and Israel. You have to also remember, so far Israel has carried out 1300 air strikes against the Gaza strip, dropped more than 1,000 tons of explosives on the more densely populated area on the face of the earth.
170 Palestinians have killed so far; 1200 wounded, and including destruction of more than 1500 homes. Hospitals, mosques, schools were targeted. You cannot target those buildings, even though if you suspected that militants were there. According to Amnesty International, that's a war crime.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But Ambassador, there were weapons being hidden in mosques. These things just go on. I mean, they are putting these weapons and things in civilian homes, and the Israelis say, "Look, we're even, you know, calling them on the phone and say, "Get out of there."
AMBASSADOR MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Yeah, calling, you know, I mean, they've done that in the beginning, now according to civilians in Gaza whom we spoke to. They no longer warned people yesterday in an attack on the building to take out supposedly, allegedly, one militant. They killed 18 people in the process.
Tell me what law, what international law allows a country, a superiorly military country to target a civilian population in order to take out targets. Gaza is very densely populated; now there may be instances that there has been rockets fired from within buildings, but this is just a surprise that you kill 170 people and wounded 1200 in less than a week? I don't think so.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I was recently in Israel, I went down to the border with Gaza, the Palestinians there kept telling me that the reason that Hamas wanted to form this new alliance with your organization, they said, "You know, Hamas is very weak, and that's the reason for this alliance." Well, it looks like Hamas is running the show, it looks like they're driving the boat right now, not your organization.
AMBASSADOR MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Well, I think that the purpose of that reconciliation effort by the PLO was to bring Hamas into the fold of the PLO. When we were divided, Israel kept saying, "Who should we talk to? The leaders in Ramallah, West Bank or the ones in Gaza?" Now that we are trying to unite our ranks so that whenever there are political negotiations with Israel, we can reach an agreement with Israel once and for all to end the conflict, the Israelis are saying: "we cannot talk to a United Palestinian Front", so we are confused here. I think Hamas has been practical in its political, you know, positions in recent years.
I don't think Hamas is seeking a confrontation with Israel. You have to keep in mind that the confrontation did not start with the kidnapping of these three teenagers on June 12. Ever since the negotiations between the United States and Israel started in July of 2013, until June of 2014, 66 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli Army. And that tells you that there is a problem there.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this: Do you think that President Abbas, who's the President of the Palestinian Authority, does he still have any influence at all over Hamas?
AMBASSADOR MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: Well, I think he is exerting his best. I think he's talking to Hamas political leaders, he's talking to different parties in the region, he's talking with the United States, with Europe, with Arab countries. President Abbas' main objective right now is to stop the carnage in the Gaza Strip, to stop the bleeding in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian innocent civilians, children and women, are paying the price for this massive Israeli air strikes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What would you like to see happen right now?
AMBASSADOR MAEN RASHID AREIKAT: I would like to see an immediate cease fire and engagement, and then, moving to deal with the root cause of the issue, which is ending the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian people.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mr. Ambassador, thank you for giving us your side. We will be back and talk to the U.S., the Ambassador from Israel to the United States in just a minute, so stay with us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, Ambassador, thank you for coming. This technology is just amazing now, and I want to ask you about what we just heard from the Palestinian. But I think this war really came home to a lot of Americans this morning. While I was interviewing the Prime Minister, the air raid sirens went off over Tel Aviv, and then before the interview was over, we heard the people in the background telling people they could come up from the shelters. You, actually, on your iPhone--
AMBASSADOR RON DERMER: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --get a report whenever those sirens go off. In fact, a siren goes off on your phone. What was that rocket? Because your phone tells you where that rocket came from.
AMBASSADOR RON DERMER: Well, when you were interviewing the Prime Minister, a rocket was fired from Gaza into Haifa, and it was intercepted, I believe, over Tel Aviv, and it's not just that Israel's Ambassador can get it on their phone, anyone can get it on their phone. They can download an app called "Red Alert Israel," and what happens is, every time a siren goes off in an Israeli city, when an incoming rocket is coming in, you'll get it on your phone and you'll know exactly what city is being targeted and when it's being targeted. And you just saw a real time example when you were interviewing the Prime Minister.
BOB SCHIEFFER: One of your people brought in with you this morning some video tape, again, that came off the phone, and this was when the Israelis were going to attack a target in Gaza. I want to play this and then we'll talk about it.
(RECORDING NOT TRANSCRIBED)
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, there you have it, and this was the pilot being told there are children there or something--
AMBASSADOR RON DERMER: Exactly, and this happens all the time. When our pilots are targeting a particular site, they try to make sure that it's clear of civilians. There are many, many military operations that are called off because we see that there are civilians that are going to come into harm's way, and that's the difference between us and Hamas.
Hamas is deliberately targeting our civilians; they want to kill as many civilians in Israel as possible. Thankfully, we have iron dome to protect our civilians, but as the Prime Minister said, they're actually using their civilians as human shields.
They place missile barriers next to mosques, schools, hospitals, it makes it very difficult for our military to fight this war in a surgical way, but we'll do it and we'll continue to uphold the highest standards.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you heard the Palestinian Representative saying and giving a very different take on that.
AMBASSADOR RON DERMER: Well he has to brush up on the rules of war, because apparently, he doesn't know them. When you take a home or you take a mosque, or you take any such a site, and you turn it into a site where there's terrorist activities, it actually becomes a legitimate target, and that's what Hamas has done.
They have taken hospitals, schools, mosques, homes, and they've turned them into legitimate targets. We haven't targeted many of them, because what we're trying to do is surgically get at the missile batteries, and I think we do a pretty good job of doing it. (SIREN)
Huh. Now we've just had, this is the siren that goes off on my phone. A rocket now is heading, as we speak, to Gedera (PH), that's actually the city, the village that my mother was born in. Right now, it is heading towards Gedera as we speak. And despite that, the fact that we have three-quarters of our population right now, who have to go into bomb shelters, the equivalent of almost, of over 200 million Americans, Israel is acting with unbelievable restraint.
Imagine what the United States government and the United States military would do if 200 million Americans were in bomb shelters and you were facing attacks from contiguous territory of a terror organization. I think we can be very proud of how Israel is fighting this war against terrorism.
BOB SCHIEFFER: How long does this go on, Ambassador? Where does this end?
AMBASSADOR RON DERMER: Well, it ends when we are able to achieve our military objective, which is to restore a sustained period of quiet for the people of Israel. The people of Israel deserve that, just as any nation deserves it, and hopefully, we can fight against the terrorists. And ultimately, we will have to go into some sort of political process to advance a sustainable peace.
But you have to understand one thing, Bob, this has nothing to do with the occupation. The Palestinian Ambassador sat in this chair right before I got on and he said, "The root cause of the problem is the occupation." But those talking points are nine years old.
Israel left Gaza; we withdrew all our settlements from Gaza, we withdrew all our military forces from Gaza, and since that time, we've had 9,000 rockets fired at Israel. It's unacceptable; we have to defend ourselves.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Ambassador, I want to thank you for coming by this morning, and let's hope that siren doesn't go off too many more times before some solution can be found of this. Thank you so much for being with us.
AMBASSADOR RON DERMER: Thank you, same to you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll be back with a panel of analysts in a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, we're back now for some analysis. Former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman is now with the Wilson Center here in Washington. Danielle Pletka is Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, also joined by Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief, Gerald Seib.
Well, boy, I tell you, we're seeing this thing in real time. I mean, here's I'm interviewing the Prime Minister of Israel, his alert goes off in Tel Aviv, and then the U.S., the Israeli Ambassador to the United States comes in. His siren goes off on his phone, this technology is just amazing, there's a rocket being fired at the very village where his mother is. I mean, this, it's just, this whole thing-- Jane, what's going to happen here?
JANE HARMAN: I don't know, Bob. I think it's a tragedy all around. And just imagine what would be happening to Israel right now if she didn't have the iron dome system, and pieces of that were cost shared and actually financed and developed by U.S. technology and supported by Congress on a bipartisan basis when that happened.
And so, 95% of these rockets are ineffective against Israel. But I think the next steps, my sense of Bibi Netanyahu, whom you just interviewed, is he's being prudent. I think it's underestimated how prudent he's being. And they may have to go in with tanks, I guess they went in with one tank, as you said, Bob, underneath these homes are the rocket launchers. And we just heard that people are being asked by some of the Hamas leadership to stay in their homes so they become human shields. It's a catastrophe for the Gaza and Palestinian people, and also, for the Israeli people.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What is Hamas trying to do, Danielle?
DANIELLE PLETKA: I think that we need to understand that Hamas, which is the government in Gaza, is really not interested in the well-being, as Jane said, of the Palestinian people. They're using their people as human shields. And I would say that they have a partly political agenda.
They have been doing badly politically. They had to join a unity government with Fatah with the PLO, and it's been very hard for them. They haven't delivered anything on the ground for the Palestinian people, whether its basic standard of living, education, prosperity, they've delivered nothing. So what are they doing? They're basically using attacks on Israel to re-up their popularity in the region, to re-up their popularity with extremists, and I think this has not been talked about enough, they are doing the bidding of the country of Iran. Let's not forget that Hamas is underwritten, financed, armed and supported in every way; without Iran, Hamas would not be able to do any of this.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What is Prime Minister Netanyahu's strategy as you understand it?
GERALD SEIB: Well, I think one of the interesting things about this is that, you know, Prime Minister Netanyahu is actually being outflanked on the right by people in his own cabinet; he's actually under pressure to go further, farther, faster than he's doing right now, which is not the position Americans are accustomed to seeing Prime Minister Netanyahu in. And so, that's the first thing. I was struck, really, Bob, by what he said his goal is here, which is "sustainable quiet" was the phrase that he used. Now I understand that's the goal. But if you think about it, that's a remarkably modest goal here.
Nobody's talking about peace; nobody's talking about a solution. Sustainable quiet is the best the situation can offer right now. He said it; Ambassador Dermer used the same phrase. So I think you have to take him at his word; that's the best he can hope for right now.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: And I mean, it's quite a departure from where we were many months ago when John Kerry talked about a path to peace, a month-long, you know, sort of negotiation around path to peace. And it looks like, I think, we have to figure out how Abbas comes out of all of this, he had been sort of the moderating voice in all of this.
But as you said, it looks like he is being outflanked by Hamas; you have, the President, obviously, President Obama calling for cease fire here, and Netanyahu, essentially, lowering the stakes here and saying the most we could hope for is quiet.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, does this have anything to do with the fact that the peace talks between the two sides have broke down?
GERALD SEIB: I don't think it does. I mean, I think that was happening, anyway. I do think that's a problem, though; because one of the things that happens in this situation is there is no dialogue under way, there's no process. Even a faltering Palestinian-Israeli peace process at least allows you a channel for conversations, and that broke down several weeks ago.
And so, I think it takes away one of the shock absorbers that might be useful at a time like this. It's just not there; there's no conversation under way, and there's no place to have that conversation.
DANIELLE PLETKA: Well--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Is there anything the United States, well, go ahead, Danielle.
DANIELLE PLETKA: No, I mean, I really, I disagree with you, Jerry. I think that a big part of the problem here was that fake peace process. It was, I hate to say it in such harsh terms, but the vanity of John Kerry in pushing forward a peace process without having done the spadework necessary.
Because, okay, let's not even talk about the Israelis, it made Abbas look so bad, it undermined his credibility with the Palestinian people, it made him look weak and incompetent, he already looked weak and incompetent. But worse still, for the United States, if you want the U.S. to come in and help broker a cease fire between Hamas and the Israelis, guess what? We have much less leverage, because we shot ourselves in the foot.
JANE HARMAN: Well, I couldn't disagree more there. Kerry had 30 years' experience in the United States Senate, and he knew all the players, drank beer with Bibi Netanyahu in Cambridge 25 years ago, had credibility with the Palestinians, and bet the farm on a process that yes, it was idealistic.
But boy, did I think it was the right thing to do, and Abbas, among others, were at the UN General Assembly last September, being very positive about it. So it's a tragedy that it collapsed. I don't think it was fake in any way. It failed, but I think it was admirable.
DANIELLE PLETKA: And you thought the one-year time horizon that they laid out for peace (UNINTEL) was a good idea?
JANE HARMAN: Well, they didn't want it gamed - didn't want one side gaming it against the other, and everybody knows how it comes out, they just don't know how to get there. And so, I actually, you know, I said once that John Kerry should be nominated for sainthood, which is tricky since he's partly Jewish, and the answer was, "Lots of our saints have been Jewish."
DANIELLE PLETKA: Well, I think John Kerry's the one who's mainly out for the sainthood for himself.
JANE HARMAN:I-- okay.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: I mean, this is a tragic thing here, is the debate we've been having for many years. And I think for Obama, and he's going into the midterms, if you look at the way Americans are seeing his foreign policy, a very low mark, 60% disagree with the way that he's approached foreign policy, so I think that's also sort of in the background here as we discuss it.
JANE HARMAN: Right, to just add to that, we don't have a good narrative about what we're trying to achieve. The other side perceives it as don't do stupid stuff, plus drones, and that's not persuading anybody, and that is urgent business, and I really think Obama has to address that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, Jerry, I was struck by something, just to switch to the other little problem that's going on right now, when Rick Perry said, "The President just doesn't appear interested," and you know, I hear Democrats as well as Republicans criticizing him for not going down to the border, but is this a broader problem for the President?
GERALD SEIB: Well, it's a broader perception problem, I don't think it's necessarily the reality of the situation, but there is a kind of a sense of the President that he is step removed, and that he analyzes things in sort of a clinical way from afar sometimes, but I'm not sure that's entirely fair. In this case, I think that, you know, his view of the visit to the border was, "Well, that's a photo opp, I don't need a photo opp." On the other hand, I think he'd have been better off to go and have that photo opp.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I think so, too.
JANE HARMAN: I don't think it would have been a photo opp. I think the President of the United States showing up when we have a humanitarian catastrophe is critically important. He has sent the variable Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson down there five times, and there are some good suggestions for a sixth.
But this is a failure of several levels; one is it's a failure of Uruguay and Guatemala and Mexico, to improve the lives of their people and stop these coyote transfers across Mexico and police their own borders. Two, it's a failure of comprehensive immigration reform, and we do need to have it in this country, including amending this, in my view, I disagree with Luis Gutierrez, but I think we probably need to amend this very intended anti-trafficking law to expedite the handling of these kids.
DANIELLE PLETKA: The problem for that President is that you need that crack, and it was kind of a crack about photo opps, but then he went off and engaged in a whole series of other remarkably shallow and silly photo opps, which are humanizing for the President, but of course, his job isn't to be humanized, his job is to deal with this challenge.
But I think part of this humanitarian crisis speaks to something that is a longer-term criticism of the administration and of the President, this isn't a crisis that just happened, this has been building for some years. And we can all accuse Rick Perry of politicking, but the truth is, he did write to the President in 2012, he did talk specifically about this, and you know, I agree with Mr. Gutierrez when he says that we shouldn't say anything about the children.
They are as much victims here as anyone else. But at the same time, we need to understand that the President's responsibility is to the American states and the American people and he needs to address this upfront, urgently.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you think? Do you think he will, Nia-Malika?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Perhaps so. I think the White House, their main concern is sending the message to Central American parents and families to not send up their kids to the border, and I think there was some concern of the President being there on the border might muddy that message. But eventually, he may have to go down there; I think we'll probably hear more from Democrats are pressing him to do that. We've got a big week ahead of us with this $3.7 billion package, Republicans balking at that sum, also saying that they don't think that sum of money will actually deter folks from actually coming to this country. So I think we've got a big debate ahead of us.
JANE HARMAN: There's some good news, I've heard the numbers are going down slightly. Just maybe the message is being received, and it should be a bipartisan message. These kids are not partisan and they shouldn't be pawns in anybody's play.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, we're going to end it right there. Thank you all very much, and I'll be right back with some personal thoughts about selfies, so stay with us.
BOB SCHIEFFER: As a father and a grandfather, I am familiar with the phrase, "Everybody does it." Having said that, I have to say this: "This is dangerous." I'm not talking the usual-texting while driving, talking with your mouth full, or the evils of super large sugary drinks. I'm talking about this: selfies. I know all the cool people do it. We saw that at the Oscars. Course it turned out they had a deal with the sponsors. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz couldn't help himself when he got to the White House. Had to have a selfie--turned out he had a sponsor too. And now this: spectators at the Tour d'France were so overcome by the selfie urge..well, some of them got themselves run over... So, I'm just going to say it, if you're going to a bike race....or a car race...or the running of the bulls....take a deep breath and just say no.
Truth is, after all the static the tabloids gave President Obama, if you find yourself seated next to a glamorous world leader, you might want to think twice about a selfie moment. So to be on the safe side. satisfy the selfie urge only in the privacy of your own home...or studio. Excuse me....that's it for us today, thanks for watching Face the Nation. We'll see you next week.
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