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Israeli Forces Occupy More of West Bank; Are Americans Rude?

Aired April 3, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Israeli forces move into more areas of the West Bank as the pressure and the protests spread across the Middle East.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley, Some conservatives may find fault with the president, but at the end of the day, he's still their man.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Karl at the Lexington Avenue line, where the latest installment of the "Subway Series," features the man who hopes to become New York's first African-American governor.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Bruce Morton. A new survey finds Americans are increasingly rude and nasty. You got a problem with that?

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Israeli troops are expanding their operations in the West Bank, just hours after Egypt took new diplomatic action against Israel. And Arab demonstrators hit the streets in capitals across the region.

Israeli tanks rolled into the West Bank city of Nablus tonight. This was the scene outside the city before nightfall, just before the operation got under way. Nablus is the latest Palestinian-controlled city to be occupied by Israeli forces since the military operations began last week.

Meanwhile in Bethlehem, the street fighting continued. Scores of Palestinians remain holed up inside the historic Church of the Nativity, as Israeli tanks patrol the streets outside. Just a few hours ago in Bethlehem, a group of American and British citizens were evacuated from the city. The group, along with a Japanese national, had asked to be rescued from the escalating violence.

Across the region, anti-Israeli protesters march through several Arab capitals. Government troops clashed with demonstrators outside the U.S. embassy in Beirut. Twenty-five people were reported injured. Earlier the Egyptian government announced that it was suspending all contact with Israel, except for diplomatic relations.

For the very latest on developments across the region at this hour, let's turn to CNN's Christiane Amanpour. She is in Jerusalem -- Christiane. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, as you mentioned, really the latest is the tanks and Israeli troops occupying Nablus, which is the biggest city in the West Bank. Israeli officials have long believed that many of the suicide bombers have come from there.

This, after they went into Jenin in the early hours of today. And their expanding military offensive continues apace, with Yasser Arafat continued to be holed up and isolated inside his -- what remains of that compound in Ramallah. And he, even despite that isolation, seems to be managing to get messages out and to maintain contact with the outside world. Today he sent a message of support to the gunmen and people in Jenin who were resisting the Israeli military incursion.

In Bethlehem itself, which has been the scene of some of the worst fighting and the worst clashes, there is still that ongoing very tense situation at the Church of the Nativity, where it is believed Jesus Christ was born. There are dozens, if not hundreds of people in there, including armed people, who, we're told, many of whom, are Palestinian police and security people, and perhaps also those who are wanted by Israelis.

We're told that clergymen and nuns are busy tending to those who are wounded, but that there are some seriously wounded who need proper medical attention. Today for the first time, the Israelis allowed a couple of ambulances to go into Manger Square, the center of that holy site in Bethlehem. And, some rescue workers report, taking out about three corpses, but saying there are about 10 bodies lying around the square.

As you mentioned also, foreign nationals who were inside Bethlehem have been evacuated by cars, armored cars, from the various embassies in Israeli. And they have been taken out. At the same time, there has been military activity by Hezbollah, who have fired rockets and things into northern Israel.

The Israelis again warning Syria and Iran, who they say are backing Hezbollah, from widening this conflict. Israel responded to those Hezbollah attacks into Israel today with counterattacks, including warplane attacks. So the situation is very, very tense, and getting more dramatic by the moment, with many people now questioning the end game, wondering how this is going to end and what the actual result of all of this will be -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Christiane Amanpour reporting for us from Jerusalem. Thanks, Christiane. And we want to let you know, Christiane will be back tonight with more on the Middle East situation. She will host a special one-hour "LIVE FROM JERUSALEM," and that is at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Egypt's decision to suspend most contact with Israel is likely to increase the pressure on Jordan to take similar measures. For more now on where the Jordanian government stands, I spoke earlier with the Jordanian foreign minister, Marwan Muasher. I began by asking him if Jordan is considering diplomatic action against Israel. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARWAN MUASHER, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, we have seen demonstrations in Jordan that are unparalleled since the 1950s. And there is no question that a lot of Jordanians are frustrated about what is going on in the West Bank. We have to evaluate, of course, our relations as developments occur.

Cutting off contacts, or the relationship with Israel is not on the table. We of course have a peace treaty with Israel, and the peace treaty is here to stay. But short of that, I think we might be prepared to take measures, if the Israeli government is not prepared to withdraw.

We have a lot of enraged people in the streets, and I think that we need to send the Israeli government a powerful message that they cannot go on with this and threaten the life, not only of Mr. Arafat, but of the peace process.

WOODRUFF: Well, for example, what steps are you considering? I know that King Abdullah of Jordan is going to be meeting soon with Egypt's president, the foreign ministers are meeting in a few days. What steps is Jordan considering?

MUASHER: Jordan has to weigh the steps that it will take, in view of its relations with Israel, with the whole world. But I think that we do need to send a message. And we are trying to do everything short of that. We are contacting the Americans, the Egyptians, everyone, in an attempt to de-escalate the crisis and agree on a sequence of steps that would have the Israelis withdraw, that would start the implementation of Tenet, and that would start the implementation also of U.N. Resolution 1402 and the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

If we are able to do that, I think that is the best course that we can take towards resuming the peace process. I hope that Israel will heed our warnings and I hope that it will not go on in its present aggression against unarmed civilians.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned the United States. Is the United States, the Bush administration, right now doing everything it should be doing in your opinion, in your government's opinion, to bring this to some sort of peaceful resolution?

MUASHER: I think everyone is looking to the United States as the only party that can stop this. And I think that the United States needs to play an active role in, first of all ,making sure that the life of Mr. Arafat is preserved. Because if anything happens to him, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as I said, the whole Arab world would erupt in anger. And we are really risking the possibility of the death of the peace process.

It is of the utmost importance for the United States to effect the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the compound, to enable us to use all our good auspices, in order to agree on the Tenet plan, agree on a cease-fire, and agree on a resumption of the peace process. But the first step, it seems to us, is to have the Israeli army withdraw.

WOODRUFF: But is the U.S. doing what you're asking them to do?

MUASHER: We are urging the U.S. to do this. There are efforts being made, but I think these efforts need to be intensified. The United States is the only party today that is able to influence the Israeli government into taking some of these steps. And we continue our contact with the United States, urging them of the need to do that.

This is now starting to affect not only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but this conflict is spilling over to include all of the Arab world, the moderate states in the region, and U.S. interests as well. It is in everybody's interest for the U.S. to take a strong stand.

WOODRUFF: Is it undermining support in that part of the world for the U.S. war against terrorism -- global war?

MUASHER: There is no question, there is no question, that the U.S. image in the area is being affected very negatively. I think that we need to say two things. We need to say that we condemn suicide bombings in the strongest possible terms. But we also need to say that there is an occupation and that there is a need to address that basic problem. And only the United States can help us do that.

We have put forward, as an Arab -- you know, all of the Arab states -- a very forthcoming initiative last week that addresses the needs of both Arabs and Israelis in a very satisfactory manner, that gives the Israelis a collective effort -- collective commitment to end the conflict. A collective commitment to have a peace treaty been all Arab states and Israel, and a collective commitment to guarantee the security of all Israelis.

And we believe that this is the right way to proceed. We hope that the U.S. government and the Israeli public will join hands with us in order to affect such an outcome.

WOODRUFF: All right. Mr. Marwan Muasher, who is Jordan's foreign minister, we thank you very much for joining us.


And we have this story just in from CNN justice correspondent, Kelli Arena. She reports that the captured al Qaeda leader, Abu Zubaydah, is talking. And, according to highly-placed U.S. government sources, he is providing useful, but not extensive information to the people interrogating him.

What's more, the U.S. believes it interrupted a planned terrorist attack. That was learned by investigators as they go through materials that were found during raids last week in Pakistan, during which Zubaydah and others were arrested. So, once again, the No. 3 leader in al Qaeda, Abu Zubaydah, is talking to U.S. and other interrogators.

We'll have more on the Middle East crisis and other top stories straight ahead. I'll ask former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey about the violence, the White House response and domestic politics here at home.

President Bush and the political right. The White House walks a fine line between reaching out and alienating its base.

And, the second stop on the New York "Subway Series." Our Jon Karl talks with Carl McCall about his race for governor.


WOODRUFF: "On the Record" today, former United States Senator Bob Kerrey, who is now the president of New School University in New York City. And he's with us now from New York.

Senator Kerrey, first of all, the situation in the Middle East. There are those who argue that the United States should have been more engaged, and more engaged much sooner. Do you agree with that?

BOB KERREY (D), FMR. U.S. SENATOR: I do agree with that. I think the United States has sent very confusing signals, sometimes contradictory signals. Nonetheless, the bottom line is, Al-Aqsa, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, are terrorist organizations supported by many of the same people who are urging the United States to try to get Israel to try to exercise some constraint. So they need to exercise constraint, and criticize the very people who are supplying terrorists with the supplies necessary to keep this thing going.

WOODRUFF: What are you saying needs to be done right now, on the part of all the parties? What should the Israelis do? What should the Palestinians do? What should the U.S. do?

KERREY: I think the U.S. needs to take a very strong line against terrorism, which they've been attempting to do. But when the vice president goes to Saudi Arabia, a nation that arguably was providing at least indirect support to terrorists who had inflicted great damage to the United States on the 11th of September, the Saudis say oh, we won't even talk about Iraq unless you figure out what to do with the Palestinian problem. And we changed our agenda. And I think we sent a signal that terrorism works.

So I think you have to be very careful in this process not to send signals that encourage Al-Aqsa, encourage Hamas and encourage Islamic Jihad. And we've got to be very strong with those Arab nations that are silent, because they've got to step forward.

And I don't think you're going to get this thing solved unless both the United States of America takes a very strong and leading role, and our Arab allies come forward and take a very strong leading role as well, in saying -- criticizing, condemning and calling on those leaders who have the capacity to stop the violence on that side. Otherwise, Israel has no recourse other than to do what it can to defend itself. WOODRUFF: But hasn't the administration already vocally and repeatedly called on Yasser Arafat to do everything he can to speak out against this violence?

KERREY: Well, they have. But for a long time they weren't engaged at all. For a long time they said, well, we're not going to go over there unless we're asked. We're going to try to stay -- we're not going to do what Bill Clinton did. Unfortunately, there's a direct correlation between the decline in violence and U.S. involvement.

And then when they start to get involved, as I said, they've been sending very conflicting signals. Yes, they've been calling on Arafat to stop the violence. But I think as well, when you go to Saudi Arabia, you have to say to the Saudis, look, you as leaders have to call on Al-Aqsa and Islamic Jihad and Hamas, to stop the violence.

Instead what we see is an unwillingness to criticize Iran, when they're supporting the delivery of weapons that would radically increase and make this an even more violent conflict than we have right now. So we can't simply call on Israel to do this, or Arafat to do that. We've got to look to Arab nations and Arab leaders in the region, to be also more balanced in calling for a cessation of violence.

WOODRUFF: So you're saying, just by calling on these groups to speak out more, that this would turn things around?

KERREY: Well, I think it certainly would help for us. Look, when the vice president made a trip to the Middle East, the purpose of the trip was to try to get our Arab allies in the region to support our effort to reduce terrorism in the region by overthrowing Saddam Hussein. They said to him, well, we're not going to do anything because the violence is increasing in Israel, and you've got to help us do something about that.

Then we send a signal to Sharon to withdraw and cease the violence. And we should have said to the Saudis, look, you have a significant role. We'll do what we can to try to get the Israelis to reduce the violence. But you've got to step forward with real words and real action, to reduce the delivery of means of killing Israelis in the region. And I don't see us doing that.

WOODRUFF: Let me turn you just quickly to U.S. domestic politics. There are those, Senator, who are saying that the Democrats don't really have a big issue or issues to run on this year. That they are facing pretty bleak prospects, when it comes to the 2002 Congressional elections. What do you think?

KERREY: I disagree. I mean, President Bush campaigned on a promise to do something about Social Security. We just learned last week that the amount of money necessary to solve the Social Security problem, that is, to make it solvent for 75 years, is less than the tax cut that he enacted last year.

So I don't think the Democrats have any difficulty presenting, both on the domestic front and the foreign policy front, a very clear difference, in a respectful way, an honest way, that makes it possible for them to win elections in November.

WOODRUFF: Have they been doing that?

KERREY: Yes, I think they have. I think it's very hard, in a time of war, to do it in a way that doesn't undercut. And I think they've done that, our capacity to engage that war against terrorism. I think they cooperated with the president where necessary. They made certain the divisions between the parties stop at the water's edge.

But there are clear differences between the democratic positions on the domestic economy, on education, on civil rights, on the environment. I think they've got a very good opportunity of presenting those differences in a compelling fashion, that enables them to win in November.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, on that note, we're going to have to leave it there. Former Senator Bob Kerrey, joining us from New York. Good to see you.

KERREY: Nice to see you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Thank you.

And coming up, the crisis in the Middle East tops the agenda. Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with Arab-Americans. We'll hear from an official with the Arab-American Institute, and from the Israeli consul general in New York, on the U.S. role in the region.


WOODRUFF: Checking the stories in our INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," the crisis in the Middle East is intensifying. Israeli tanks have now entered Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank. And the town known as the birthplace of Jesus also is caught in the crossfire.

Some Americans were among a group of foreigners evacuated from Bethlehem after they asked to be rescued from the violence.

Dozens of Palestinians are still holed up at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with Israeli tanks sitting outside.

In Beirut, Lebanon, meanwhile, clashes broke out today at a demonstration against U.S. support for Israel. Police beat demonstrators and sprayed them with tear gas.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said today that his mind is open to the idea of a meeting with Arab and Israeli leaders. Powell is scheduled to take a three-day trip to Europe next week.

This afternoon, Arab and American leaders from across the country met with Secretary Powell. James Zogby is president of the Arab- American Institute. He's with me here in Washington. Also with us is Alon Pinkas. He is the Israeli consul general in New York. First to you, James Zogby. Your meeting with Secretary Powell, did you learn anything new about what the U.S. is planning to do?

JAMES ZOGBY, AMERICAN ARAB INSTITUTE: Well, nothing specific. But the fact is that the secretary is deeply engaged. We came away convinced that, despite our concern with the inadequacy of the public response of the administration, that steps would be taken to ratchet that up.

The secretary gets it. He understands the region is boiling over. He understands our concerns. And he is a man, I believe, in his own right, very balanced in his understanding of the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean that you learned, you feel now that steps will be taken to ratchet up?

ZOGBY: Well, look, I think that there's a general agreement that the administration got into a hole a week ago. There's a sense that the initial response was inadequate. They have been, almost daily now, moving language, I think, more toward a balanced approach. We feel it should be more vigorous. We feel it should be more rapid.

I think that you're seeing the demonstrations around the Arab world making it clear that our allies are at risk. Our interests are at risk. Secretary gets it, and he understands how dangerous the situation is. And the fact is, is that more will be done and more will be said in the days to come to move this situation forward.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Pinkas, I'm assuming that moving toward a more balanced approach, in the words of Mr. Zogby, is not what you're looking for.

ALON PINKAS, ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL: Well, Judy, it's really not for me to make recommendations for Secretary Powell, how to conduct foreign policy. Definitely, U.S. involvement is welcome. Definitely the United States has been involved, to various degrees and various depth.

What Mr. Zogby and other Palestinians are talking about is something very simple. It's to do all over again what they rejected a year and a half ago at Camp David. I don't think that any administration in the next 100 years could parallel the commitment, the involvement and the dedication of the Clinton administration. And the Palestinian leadership double-crossed that administration.

So I can understand why, as an observer -- which I'm really not -- but as an observer, I can understand why this administration is thinking twice before getting involved with a Palestinian leadership who's bankrupt, whose ideologically corrupt, who's financially corrupt, and whose political ability to perform in a way that would be conducive to the conduct of U.S. policy, is questionable.

ZOGBY: Alon, I think that -- look, you can call names if you want, but that's not going to help us get out of this box, No. 1. No. 2, if it's inappropriate for you to comment on the administration's thinking, don't comment on mine. The fact is, is that we supported the negotiations as far as they went, and believe they should have gone further.

And I believe that this administration made a mistake not continuing. But I think they're at the point right now where they realize that they have to go forward. And that in fact the U.N. resolution was the first step. But engagement, and engagement that moves this process forward, has got to take place.

Our interests and our allies and our ability to protect them are at risk. And I think that that's what this is about right now. We gave the perception of a green light, and it is taking us nowhere.

WOODRUFF: Well, Mr. Pinkas, what about this question of greater U.S. involvement? Will that work, you believe, toward a fair solution here?

PINKAS: There is no substitute for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. There is absolutely not going to be a meaningful, credible political process, as long as a corrupt leadership heads the Palestinian people.

WOODRUFF: Are you referring to Yasser Arafat?

PINKAS: I'm referring to Yasser Arafat. I'm referring to his allies in the Arab world, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who just today increased the money that he's going to provide families of homicidal maniacs, which he calls suicidal martyrs, to $25,000. Funny, children in Baghdad claim not to have food, but he has $25,000 to give to families. But that's another issue.

And then his other best friend, Colonel Qadhafi of Libya. For the U.S. to become seriously involved, it needs to have an interlocutor on the Palestinian side.

Now, perhaps, if Arafat stands up and does what he needs to do and does what Secretary Powell, President Bush, President Clinton, Secretary Albright, the entire free world, including Israel, has demanded that he do, and the commitments that he has taken upon himself, then perhaps we could still talk to him. Somehow, based on his experience -- or in our experience with him, I'm very skeptical that that would happen.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Zogby, just finally, what about this basic point that Mr. Pinkas is making that it is no wonder that the Bush administration is reluctant to get involved given what happened when President Clinton got involved and Mr. Arafat refused to go along?

ZOGBY: Well, look, the secretary was very clear about that, that they took a break. And they took a break, in part, because every administration, when it begins, takes a break from a deep engagement in a very complex foreign policy issue in order to get their domestic agenda through.

They realize now that they have got to get engaged, that our interests are at risk. And, frankly, name-calling about Yasser Arafat is about as helpful as Arab name-calling about Ariel Sharon. What the United States has said, and what Secretary Powell and President Bush has said, is that the path to peace goes through Yasser Arafat. They are committed to that. They recognize him as the leader of the Palestinian people.

And that's what we've got do: Talk to him. Talk to Sharon. And bring the two parties together.

WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, I'm afraid we're going to have to leave it there. But we appreciate your joining us this afternoon.

ZOGBY: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: James Zogby, Alon Pinkas, gentlemen, thank you both.

ZOGBY: Thank you.

PINKAS: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

And you can give us your opinions on these topics and more at POLITICS. And, plus, don't forget to e-mail Bill Schneider with your ideas for this week's "Political Play of the Week."

Coming up in our "Inside Buzz": Some conservative leaders take aim at some of President Bush's policies.


OLIVER NORTH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There is some concern right now that what has happened in the Middle East is damaging his credibility.

LARRY ELDER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It was a big mistake to apply tariffs on certain imported steel goods.


WOODRUFF: We will find out what effect, if any, the grumbling might have on conservative voters.


WOODRUFF: Campaign finance reform, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and steel tariffs: Those are issues that have divided President Bush and some conservative leaders recently. But does that translate into disaffection among rank-and-file conservative voters?

Our Candy Crowley has been looking into that question.


NORTH: I'm Oliver North. This is Radio America. CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wonder what conservatives complain about now that Bill Clinton has left the scene? Answer: George Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in 62 countries right now, Ollie. We need to get the hell out. We need to close our doors and be isolationists.

CROWLEY: Conservative talk radio is where the grassroots go to vent.

ELDER: KABC, Larry Elder here. And my guess is the president of the NRA, Charlton Heston, of course.

CROWLEY: And from D.C. to L.A., lately, conservatives have found a lot to vent about.

ELDER: The issue that I think bothers most conservatives is the president's inexplicable support of campaign finance reform.

NORTH: There is some concern right now that what has happened in the Middle East is damaging his credibility.

ELDER: It was a big mistake to apply tariffs on certain imported steel goods.

NORTH: The idea of amnesty for illegal aliens set people's temperature just off the charts.

CROWLEY: Not to mention an education bill conservatives thought looked more Ted Kennedy than George Bush, what some saw as a too-late, too-tepid defense of doomed judicial nominee Charles Pickering, and that new federal budget, with 9 percent more spending, including an increase in foreign aid.

What's up here? Some conservatives fear it's poll numbers.

STEVEN MOORE, CLUB FOR GROWTH: It's almost as if, ever since 9/11, Bush has become -- has sort of transcended party. He's not even a Republican anymore. He's the president of all the people. And he is trying to make this full 80 percent happy.

CROWLEY: Asked if he worries about complaints from conservatives, one top Bush politico said: "Every single day. It is something you have to monitor." And that job falls primarily to the president's chief political strategist.

MOORE: Karl Rove will rush in and talk to the conservative groups and say: "Look, George W. Bush feels your pain. He is going to be with you on these things."

CROWLEY: So far, so good: Dissent has not meant desertion.

CHARLTON HESTON, PRESIDENT, NRA: The conservatives will still turn out, because he is the only guy we've got. And I think -- by and large, I think he has been doing a good job. CROWLEY: It is the half-a-loaf-is-better-than-none theory applied to politics. The head of the National Rifle Association has gone to court to overturn the campaign finance reform that George Bush signed into saw.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: I wished he'd vetoed it. Is that going to make Wayne cheer any less when I'm in a crowd and they introduce him? Probably not.

CROWLEY: The truth is, there are three primary things that give George Bush maneuvering room with conservatives: the war on terrorism; the tax cut he pushed through last year; and the fact that he is not Bill Clinton. And the greatest of these is the war.

LAPIERRE: The fact is, we are six months away from the worst terrorist attack in America's history. And I think he's done a fabulous job.


CROWLEY: "Conservatives," said one of them, "will swallow hard on a lot of issues right now because of the war." But he warned the Bush administration not to downplay conservative grumblings. The source added there is a danger of arrogance that comes with high poll numbers. "We know," responded one Bush insider. "We hear them" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, is there one issue out there, one thing that would really be a relationship breaker for conservatives and the president?

CROWLEY: What I really gather, from talking to a lot of conservatives over the past couple of days is, look, as long as the war seems to be going well, as long as the economy seems to be getting better, he's fine. If there's a double-dip recession, if the war starts to goes sour, what's happened is, this safety net beneath him, the core conservatives, has reasons to fray on all those issues that we just heard.

So, it's not a single issue. It's like the overriding issue right now is the war and the economy. If that starts to fall apart, there's a problem.

WOODRUFF: As long as those two things continue, it is almost as if anything the president does, he'll survive, right?

CROWLEY: Well, and they know that this is calibrated very carefully. One conservative said to me: "We understand there's an election coming up. We understand he didn't want to spend a lot of political capital on campaign finance reform." So, yes, he's calibrating this carefully. I don't think he's going to go out and do something right in their face. But he's got some room there.

WOODRUFF: OK, Candy Crowley, thank you. We appreciate it.

And checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": The former stripper-turned-Colorado town mayor is out of a job. Voters in tiny Georgetown, Colorado recalled Mayor Koleen Brooks yesterday by a nearly 2-1 margin. Brooks was elected just a year ago, her tenure marked by controversies over her personal behavior and a zoning dispute.

Retiring Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson is making plans to return donations from political supporters. Donors will get at least part of their contribution back if they make a request in writing by the end of the month. Thompson has about $1 million in his campaign fund.

A former co-worker of John F. Kennedy Jr. says that Kennedy once considered a run for the New York Senate seat vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. That's the seat Hillary Clinton picked up. In a new book about Kennedy, Richard Blow (ph) writes that Kennedy decided against a Senate run because he did not want to subject his wife, Carolyn Bessette, to more of the media spotlight.

Coming up on INSIDE POLITICS: Jeff Greenfield looks at the impact of the Jewish vote in the United States on U.S. policy in the Middle East. Jeff and his "Bite of the Apple" are next.


WOODRUFF: With us now with his "Bite of the Apple": our Jeff Greenfield.


WOODRUFF: Hi there, Jeff.

You've been looking into the Jewish vote here in the United States. So, question: Is there really a Jewish voting bloc? And, if so, does it have an effect on U.S. Middle East policy?

GREENFIELD: Well, the honest answer is yes and maybe.

It's an uncomfortable phrase, because it has echoes a kind of old-time bigotry whispering about Jewish influences. And it's not as though it's a large percentage of the vote anywhere, really, outside of New York and a couple of other states. It's 4 percent. It was 4 percent of the 2000 vote.

Even in Florida, with our images of all those Miami Beach condos in "Seinfeld" episodes, the Jewish vote in Florida was about 4 percent. But what we do know about the vote is, it is as reliably Democratic, most of the time, as any vote other than African- Americans. And it is a bloc that really passionately cares about the survival of Israel as a Jewish state, not that everybody agrees with every policy. But that is an issue which can move Jewish voters than any other.

WOODRUFF: So, is this Jewish vote, Jeff, the reason the U.S. supports Israel as strongly as it does?

GREENFIELD: I think that's a real oversimplification. People often say that God, with a sense of humor, put all the oil in the Arab lands, but he put enough Jewish voters in the United States to make the world's superpower care about Israel. But the fact is that Israel, during the whole Cold War, was the one unswerving ally of the United States, while Moscow was playing footsy with the Arabs and vice versa.

And a lot of conservatives, a lot of cold warriors, not Jewish ones, saw Israel as our strategic ally. The fact that Israel is really the only democracy in the region also has strengthened ties on ideological grounds. The fact that the last poll I looked at -- literally a few minutes ago -- showed support for Israel running 5-1 in the United States over support for the Palestinians, you cannot explain that with the percentage of Jews in America.

WOODRUFF: But is there a specific effect, Jeff, of the Jewish vote on Mideast policy?

GREENFIELD: Well, you know, the one that really I think you have to acknowledge -- and certainly in New York, where the Jewish vote is sizable -- whenever a politician goes to a Jewish audience in New York, that politician, he or she, they always says: "I support Israel and I support Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel."

Well, the Barak peace plan that Arafat rejected had substantial parts of East Jerusalem in Palestinian hands. It happens to be where some of their holiest sites are. So you have got this odd notion that, in an effort to appeal -- or what they think is appealing to Jewish voters -- you find American politicians sometimes taking positions more rigid than the Israeli government itself.

And how much of an impact that is, I don't know. But you can't just say it's not there. You have to acknowledge it as one of the many factors that goes into this astonishingly complicated jigsaw puzzle.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield helping us understand it.

It's good to see you, Jeff. Thanks

GREENFIELD: It's good to see you.

WOODRUFF: And when we come back: Our "Subway Series" in New York rolls on. We're going back to New York. Today, Jonathan Karl speaks with the Democratic candidate for governor, Carl McCall.


WOODRUFF: With Congress in recess, our Jonathan Karl has moved his "Subway Series" from the little subway under the Capitol Building to the big leagues, the subways of New York.

Riding with him today: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, you're in the middle of a governor's race. It looks like you're slightly ahead in the latest poll against your Democratic opponent.

First black elected official statewide in New York state. You would be the first black governor. In fact, you're the first black candidate, major candidate for governor. How is that so after all these years?

CARL MCCALL (D), NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it just happens to be the case.

But, you know, that's not something I dwell on. I dwell on the fact that I think I'm the most experienced and qualified candidate for the job. The race issue just isn't important to me. I'm not asking people to vote on that basis. I hope nobody will vote against me on that basis.

KARL: Even if you believe this election is not about race, how is it that, after all those years, in New York state, of all places, that you are the first?

MCCALL: Look what I've had to do. I've had to be elected statewide first. And that's the big issue. I probably couldn't run for governor if I had not already been elected comptroller twice. And that's an advantage I have over my Democratic opponent. I have been elected, not only elected. But in the last election, I got 400,000 more votes than the governor.

So, I have got a track record that I'm running on. And that's what's important. Whatever your color, you have got to have a track record in terms of getting elected governor.

KARL: You've had the chance to work with both Governor Mario Cuomo and Governor George Pataki. Who did you find easier to work with?


MCCALL: Well, that's an interesting question. I see people over there. What do you think? Who was easier to work with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I didn't work with either of them.

MCCALL: You didn't work with either of them.

I had good relationships with both of them. I had to. You know, for me, you know, politics and governments you have to keep separate. I might have political differences with somebody. But, as a governmental official, I have to work with other governmental officials to get things done. So I don't let politics get into it. I think I got along with both of them.

KARL: George Pataki seems to be the unbeatable Republican in New York. He is up 30 points in the polls over both you and Andrew Cuomo. He's getting endorsements from the unions. The largest union in the state is supporting George Pataki. Is this guy really beatable?

MCCALL: Oh, sure, because, you know, a lot of his popularity comes from the aftermath of 9/11. That was a very emotional experience for most New Yorkers. And the governor was on television a lot. Every time Mayor Giuliani had a press conference, there was a tall guy standing behind him. And people said, "Oh, that's the governor."

But now that people know who he is, the next question they ask is, "What's he done?" And that's where we get him, because he hasn't done a lot for New Yorkers.

KARL: Congressman Charlie Rangel has suggested that if the race came down to Andrew Cuomo vs. Pataki, he'd support Pataki.

MCCALL: Charlie is a very smart guy. And he makes decision based on qualifications. He believes that, at this time, so he says, that George Pataki is more qualified than Andrew Cuomo.

KARL: What do you think?

MCCALL: I think -- that's not going to be a decision I'm going to have to make. I'm going to win the primary.

KARL: Now, you went to Israel a month ago. And Andrew Cuomo accused you of going on a political trip financed by taxpayer dollars. Now he has announced he's going to Israel. Has Israel become a stop on the campaign trial of New York?

MCCALL: I've been to Israel several times. And I went to Israel this last time for two reasons: one, I wanted to show my solidarity with the Israeli people at this critical time; but, two, I invest in Israel. As the manager of the state's pension fund, I've invested over $70 million in Israel bonds in companies in Israel.

Everywhere I make investments, I need to go and see how those investments are doing. So the Israel Bonds Committee invited me over to look at the investments. And that's why I went.

KARL: And while you were in Israel, there's the famous photograph of you holding a gun in target practice. First of all, why did you do that? And what did make of the flap over it?

MCCALL: Well, I didn't -- the flap became the big issue.

While I was in Israel, I did a lot of things. I met with Prime Minister Sharon. I met with Deputy Prime Minister Peres. I met with the defense minister. I met with a number of people. One of the stops that was arranged by the committee was for me to go to a military base to see what they're doing to fight terrorism. While I was there, there was an army officer holding -- I think it was an M- 17.

So, he said, "Would you like to fire this?" So I said, "Sure." So I shot it a couple times. The next thing I know I get a call from "The New York Post": "We understand that there's a picture of you firing a rifle." That became the issue. I didn't send that picture out. It was not my intention to have that to be the ultimate expression of my trip. It is just one of the things that happened while I was there.

KARL: Carl McCall, thank you for taking a ride on the subway. I appreciate it.

MCCALL: It was my pleasure to be on the subway with you.


WOODRUFF: And we want you to know that we also asked McCall's Democratic primary opponent, former U.S. Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, for a subway interview, but he was not available.

Just ahead: A survey examines what apparently is a growing trend in America: rudeness.

But, first, let's check in with Kate Snow to see what's up at the top of the hour on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hello, Kate.


The Holy City at war: Americans are told to get out. Did they make it out? We'll go live to the Middle East. Backlash for an American who met with Yasser Arafat: why his family is now feeling threatened. And what did the Catholic Church do to deal with problem priests? Those stories after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: Tomorrow, Karenna Gore Schiff is in the spotlight, as our "Subway Series" in New York continues.


KARENNA GORE SCHIFF, DAUGHTER OF AL GORE: I really love grassroots politics. I care a lot about issues that other people do: environmental protection and health care and education. And it was such a privilege to be able to talk about those things out on the campaign trail in 2000. So I don't know if I'll be a candidate, but it is something that I wouldn't rule out.


WOODRUFF: A recent Public Agenda poll reveals an epidemic of bad manners. And a lot of people think the problem is only getting worse.

Our Bruce Morton would sincerely appreciate your attention to this report, please.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the road, on the cell phone, out shopping, wherever, eight out of 10 Americans say that lack of respect and courtesy is a serious problem. And six out of 10 say it has gotten worse in recent years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's shocking how rude people are. I don't have the time. But it's shame really. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York City bus driver. Rudeness has gotten much worse.

MORTON: Seventy-three percent say we used to be more polite, but when? Where are we rude? Fifty-eight percent of the people in the poll say they often see drivers who are aggressive and reckless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people that will cut you off. There are people that will swerve in front of you and this and that, especially on these highways.

MORTON: People cited rudeness on cell phones.

COMPUTER: All agents are currently assisting other customers.

MORTON: Eighty-four percent strongly agreed it was frustrating to call a company and just get recordings. Majorities said they had seen clerks being rude to customers and customers being rude to clerks. Companies trying to save money, some said, and, therefore, too little help in the stores.

Seven out of 10 said parents behave inappropriately at their kid's sports events. Remember the death of a parent in a hockey practice fight? Littering is a problem, 55 percent of those polled said. What's wrong? Values, some said, what parents teach their kids, and the media -- yes, the media.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We should be able to hold two contradictory thoughts in our heads, at least all of us except for Ben Stein, who seems to be only able to hold one thought. But we should be able, at one and the same time, to have...

MORTON: And it may just be the stress of daily life nowadays.

JEAN JOHNSON, PUBLIC AGENDA: All being busy, being crowded, being caught in traffic. Everybody is trying to do too much.

MORTON: Did the terrorist attacks last September make people more caring and thoughtful? Three-quarters of those polled said yes, but only about a third thought it would last.

JOHNSON: We asked about politics. And they even thought that, in Washington, the elected officials were a little kinder and less engaged in partisanship. But, again, most Americans did not think that is going to last. And a number of Americans think that has already passed.

MORTON: Yes, kinder permanently? Forget about it.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And we sincerely hope you appreciated that.

CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.





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