Israel shoots down Hamas drone amid continued violence


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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, as the seven-day-old battle between Israel and Hamas rages on, we turn to a newsmaker interview with a man who tried hard to avert this latest flare-up.

NewsHour chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner spoke today with Martin Indyk, who just resigned as President Obama’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Their conversation came as rockets rained on Israel and the Palestinian death toll from Israeli airstrikes topped 175.

MARGARET WARNER: Gaza shook with airstrikes and smoke smudged the skyline this morning, as Palestinians inspected the latest damage. At the same time, Hamas rockets sliced through the air over Israel, as air raid sirens blared and people ran for cover.

In the past week, Israel’s military has carried out more than 1,300 airstrikes, while Hamas has fired nearly 1,000 rockets. And, today, something new: Hamas launched a drone aircraft over Israel’s southern coastline, and released this video, apparently showing missiles under its wings. Israel’s military shot down the drone, but Hamas said the launch demonstrates its growing power.

MUSHIR AL-MASRI, Hamas leader (through interpreter) Using drones is new in this conflict, and it is another component the Palestinian resistance is using to fight the war against the Israeli occupation. This is an indication that the resistance has only used a limited amount of its military weaponry against the relentless Zionist enemy.

MARGARET WARNER: On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again defended the assault on Gaza and insisted the blame for what is happening lies squarely with Hamas.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel: You know, here’s the difference between us. We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles. That’s basically the difference.

MARGARET WARNER: Meanwhile, three Israeli Jews, including two minors, confessed today to abducting and burning a Palestinian boy alive, an apparent revenge killing for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers last month.

Now the two sides are locked in the worst fighting in almost two years, and worldwide calls for a cease-fire have made little headway. It’s a far cry from U.S. hopes during the Obama administration’s nine-month push for a comprehensive peace deal. That broke down at the end of April. This was Secretary of State John Kerry just after the deadline passed.

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We believe the best thing to do right now is pause, take a hard look at these things, and find out what is possible and what is not possible in the days ahead.

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