Israeli official shuts down Joy Reid grilling him on Gaza deaths: ‘Be a little circumspect of those numbers’

MSNBC host Joy Reid pressed Israeli official Mark Regev to defend the country’s tactics in a tense interview on Monday. Regev pushed back against accusations Israel had not taken enough measures to protect women and children in Gaza.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry has reported 18,000 people have died in the Gaza Strip since Israel started its bombing campaign in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack that took hundreds of hostages and killed 1,200 people. 

Reid presented these numbers to Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on her Monday night show.

“How has causing that much death and destruction, 80% of those dead estimated to be women and children, how does that achieve the goal of eradicating Hamas?” she asked.

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Mark Regev, adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, defended Israel’s tactics and questioned MSNBCs use of Hamas-released casualty numbers, in a Monday night interview on “The ReidOut.” (MSNBC/Screenshot)

Regev responded that Israel’s goal was not to harm civilians, but to destroy Hamas. However, Reid pressed him again. The Israeli official then cautioned the MSNBC host to question the accuracy of these numbers.

“Joy, can I urge you please to be a little bit circumspect of those numbers. They are put out by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza. And therefore, you have to presume that Hamas has reasons for playing with the numbers,” Regev said. “You know that they were very cruel, they have no qualms whatsoever about killing people and innocent civilian civilians. You can presume also they have no qualms about killing the truth,” he said.

Reid asked if he was disputing numbers that the United Nations and other human rights organizations agree with.

However Regev again urged the liberal host to “be careful” in reporting figures put out by Hamas.

Orketz canine troops

Israel Defense Forces troops cross the Gaza war zone accompanied by dogs from the Okretz unit.  (IDF Spokesman’s Unit)

“What I’m saying is we have to be very careful with numbers that are put out by Hamas. They would have you believe that they’re all innocent civilians,” he began.

The Gaza Ministry of Health numbers do not distinguish between combatant and civilian deaths, nor do they specify how they die. The United Nations maintains that the ministry’s numbers have held up to scrutiny in past conflicts and have largely proven accurate. 

President Biden has said he has “no confidence” in the numbers the health ministry is citing.

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Hamas terrorists in Gaza

Israeli official Mark Regev told MSNBC host Joy Reid to question numbers put out by the Hamas-run health organization. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Regev acknowledged that innocent lives had been caught up in the cross-fire between the IDF and Hamas terrorists, but Israel had taken measures to make sure those numbers stay “as low as possible.” He argued this was made more difficult because Hamas terrorists hide in civilian areas like schools and hospitals and use civilians as human shields.

Reid continued to aggressively press the official about Israel’s military tactics, questioning if it would bomb a hospital in Israel if a Hamas terrorist was hiding inside.

Regev answered they would send in special forces on the ground to eliminate the threat, as they’d done in Gaza. 

This wasn’t the first time Regev clashed with a MSNBC host. When appearing on the network last month, far-left MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan accused Israel of killing Palestinian children during its warfare with Hamas terrorists.

“They’re dead, Mark,” Hasan said, arguing that he has seen Palestinian children “with my own lying eyes being pulled from the rubble” from bombings. “But they’re also people your government has killed. You accept that, right? You’ve killed children? Or do you deny that?” 

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MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan and Israeli official Mark Regev

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan had a tense exchange with Israeli offical Mark Regev on MSNBC in November. (Getty Images)

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt previously chided MSNBC for its reporting while appearing on “Morning Joe.”

Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.

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