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Rep. Ro Khanna argues with CNBC host in debate over Israel-Hamas war

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Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., clashed with CNBC host Joe Kernen over the Israel-Hamas war during an appearance on “Squawk Box” Sunday. 

“Here’s the reality,” Khanna told Kernen on the morning business show. “There are 38,000 to 40,000 Hamas fighters. Israel has killed by their own estimates 1,000 to 2,000 and there have been almost 12,000 civilian casualties. Children, killed. I mean, half of whom have been children,” Khanna started before being interrupted by Kernen.

“But do you remember that Hamas are holding children in front of them shielding themselves and they started this? They started this by slaughtering 1,400 people,” Kernen told Khanna.

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CNBC host Joe Kernen and California Rep. Ro Khanna split image

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., clashed with CNBC host Joe Kernan over the Israel-Hamas war during an appearance on “Squawk Box” Sunday.  (Getty Images)

Khanna then estimated that attempting to “eliminate all of the 40,000 Hamas fighters” means that the war may result in anywhere from “200,000 to 300,000 civilian casualties,” with “50% being children.” 

That makes the war not only a strategic question, but a “humanitarian” one, Khanna said. 

The California Democrat also argued that Israel “ought to diminish the military capability” and “make sure there’s no attack ever again like Oct. 7,” which he said was an unlikely possibility given Israel’s military response in northern Gaza. 

Khanna also called for a “negotiated peace which doesn’t involve Hamas.” 

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California Rep. Ro Khanna screenshot

The California Democrat also argued that Israel “ought to diminish the military capability” and “make sure there’s no attack ever again like Oct. 7,” which he said was an unlikely possibility given Israel’s military response in northern Gaza.  (CNBC screenshot)

He clarified his position on a possible peace agreement: “I’m not saying — the condition for negotiation of Palestinian state should be the recognition of Israel, and Hamas right now does not recognize Israel. I agree they’re a terrorist organization.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Khanna is backing a “lasting cease-fire” in the Israel-Hamas war. Other prominent Democrats, including members of the far-left “Squad” in Congress, have demanded that Israel pursue a cease-fire over “violations against children” in Gaza. 

Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend their cease-fire agreement for two more days, per Qatar’s Foreign Ministry.

Qatar announced the move Monday morning, and Hamas officials confirmed it soon afterward. Israeli officials have yet to comment on the development, however.

Hamas says the extension will follow the same terms as the previous exchange agreement, under which Hamas delivered at least 10 Israeli hostages for each day of the truce.

So far, Hamas has released 58 hostages, 40 of them Israeli, while Israel has released roughly 150 Palestinian criminals.

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Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.


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