Return to Transcripts main page


Ebola Outbreak; Ukraine Tug of War; Majority Of Israelis Don't Want Cease-Fire; Palestinian Officials: 1,300 Dead In Gaza

Aired July 30, 2014 - 15:00   ET


HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: The state of the world right now, from Syria and Egypt to a relentless period of violence inside Gaza.

Also, the bloody tug of war between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

And all the while an unprecedented outbreak of one of humanity's deadliest diseases.

I'm Hala Gorani live from London. We would like to welcome our viewers in the United States this hour, as well as all of our viewers around the globe. This is a special edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

Hello, everyone.

On CNN, we are used to covering conflict and crisis, of course. But this news cycle has reached levels of intensity few of us have seen in our careers. This hour, we tell you how the world, quite frankly, seems to be in a terrible mess, what leaders should do to stop the violence, but are not, why diplomats are failing, and where we all go from here.

In the end, these events may be happening very far away, but they are our problem too.

And we begin in Gaza, as we have over the last several weeks, topping the news headlines, where the prospect of a cease-fire seems increasingly remote, and the death toll continues to soar. On the Palestinian side, more than 1,300 have been killed in the three-week conflict. Meantime, 59 Israelis, most of them soldiers, have been killed.

Both sides blame each other. There is no end in sight, unfortunately, to this bloody conflict. In the last few hours, Israeli airstrikes shattered a brief humanitarian window, and earlier shells hit a market and a U.N. school, killing 37 Palestinians.

Karl Penhaul was at the scene of the U.N. school inside a Gaza refugee camp and he joins me live from Gaza City.

This isn't the first time we have seen this, these U.N. shelters and U.N. schools, and now this market, Karl. What did you see earlier today?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, this is the second time in less than a week that a U.N. school turned into a shelter has been struck by some kind of ammunition, and has become a graveyard.

Today, the Palestinian health authority are telling us that 17 people were killed. Most of them were sleeping when artillery rounds pounded down on to their schools. We went there, and talked to a couple of witnesses. They say they explained to us how a rain of shrapnel came on to them as they were sleeping. The men were outside. The women were inside. One woman told us the smoke was so thick, they had to pour water on their eyes so they could see to get out.

Another man said he saw old men lying around him cut to shreds by the shrapnel. But, of course, the question is here, how did this happen? And who caused it?

Well, today, U.N. investigators were down there at the scene pretty quickly. And they spent the morning combing through the wreckage, and they say that they have picked up shrapnel, they took crater analysis. They had a pretty specialized team down there, and that would also have included a weapons specialist as well.

And this afternoon, the head of the United Nations Relief Agency for Gaza was here taking charge front and center of the inquiry. And he had a strong condemnation. He is blaming Israel, squarely, for this attack. Let's listen to what he said.


PIERRE KRAHENBUHL, UNRWA COMMISSIONER GENERAL: What I am able to say at this stage based on the initial elements is that we have clear indications in the first assessment that we have that three projectiles hit the school. And on presenting and analyzing the pieces of shrapnel, we believe that we have all the elements in place to conclude that it was Israeli artillery.

This is the sixth time in this phase of the conflict that one of our school buildings sheltering displaced people has been hit in this way. And I think the word is just simply, enough is enough. Now measures have to be taken. People who go to these places expect that they go there because they will be safe. And here is the confirmation that it appears there is nowhere where you can be safe.


PENHAUL: Now, you might ask, how can the United Nations be so sure that Israel was to blame, how can they be sure that three Israeli artillery rounds fell on that school?

Well, CNN has learned additional details about the investigation, but I can't disclose those details to you for now in order not to prejudice the neutrality of that inquiry. But, of course, we are interested in hearing the side of the Israeli military. And a CNN team asked Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces.

He said that there had been fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas in that area. He said he would investigate the incident, but he did not rule out that Hamas mortar fire could have fallen on the school, although that is something that the United Nations firmly rules out, Hala.

GORANI: All right. Well, in fact, you are mentioning there the Israeli reaction and explanation for what happened, the death and destruction there at that U.N. shelter as well as the market. We're going to get to that in a moment. Karl Penhaul, thanks very much.

Karl was talking about what the Israeli government is saying about those deaths in that U.N. school. They're calling it -- quote -- "a shocking tragedy," but it is saying that Hamas is actually to blame and claims that the group is using the building as a base.


MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON: But the question that has to be asked is, why has a U.N. facility been turned into a combat zone? And the answer is clear. Hamas has had a deliberate policy of abusing U.N. facilities.


GORANI: All right, Mark Regev, that is the spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

And this is a line we have heard before from the Israeli government, that, in fact, when these schools used as shelters from people fleeing more dangerous neighborhoods in Gaza are hit, it's because Hamas probably misfired a rocket.

But in the case of the school yesterday, you heard from Karl there that they believe with some degree of certainty that it was a U.N. hit. Now, let's give you a bit of context as far as Gaza is concerned. Imagine, I don't know, something the size of Washington, D.C., with 1.8 million people in it.

But you have children here that have become so often the victims of all of this violence. Charity groups say that at least 20 percent of those who have been killed so far are children. Now, demographically, Gaza's population is very young. More than 43 percent is under the age of 14. And the median age within Gaza is just, if you can believe it, 18.2 years.

Now, CNN has learned that the U.S. is resupplying the Israeli military with several different types of ammunition. American defense officials are not releasing details of the sale until the deal is final. And an official says the deal doesn't have anything to do with Israel -- quote -- "running out of ammunition" because of this operation. But a second official says it is clear Israel's stockpile has decreased in the last three weeks.

Let's get some perspective for you.

Aaron David Miller is the vice president with the Woodrow Wilson International Center. He's also a former adviser to six U.S. secretaries of state on the Arab-Israeli peace process that right now is moribund, doesn't look like it's anywhere near being revived. Quite the contrary. War is raging. Aaron David Miller, did you think we would be here today, three weeks



You know, we only have two prequels to this horrible and tragic movie. We have got 2008 and '09, which went on for three weeks; 300 Palestinians killed, 13 Israelis. The vast majority of casualties on the Palestinian side were civilians, a fair number of Hamas fighters. And we have 2012. That operation lasted a week.

Casualties were reduced substantially. I would have thought by now that the urgency to end this would have somehow made itself manifest on the two combatants. But, clearly, as a consequence of their escalating needs and requirements, this really doesn't have right now an apparent track to de-escalation. The Israelis...


GORANI: Yes. I wanted to ask you about you -- yes, go ahead.


MILLER: The Israelis clearly, in terms of their public statements, have decided to try to avoid a stalemated conclusion, and to devastate, destroy and deter Hamas' military capacities.

Hamas has, seems to me, maybe made a judgment that this is going to be their last and final conflict, and has decided that unless Gaza is fundamentally changed, the status for 1.8 million Gazans and they are allowed to breathe economically with respect to freedom of movement, they're not going to de-escalate. So, I think...

GORANI: Right. But let me -- but, Aaron, I need to ask you something about U.S. influence here, because you would think with the amount of aid that flows from the United States to Israel, that Washington, the secretary of state, John Kerry, would have some sort of leverage.

Is it a lack of will? Or is it a lack of ability to influence events? Which is it?

MILLER: Hala, you have been around this. You have watched this for quite a while now.

And let's be very clear. You know, we're not -- the United States is not an honest broker in these matters. At times, we can be an effective broker, but we have a quite extraordinary, remarkably close relationship with one side to this conflict and confrontation.

And that relationship is driven -- you know, look at the public opinion polls. Support for Israel in this country remains unchanged as a consequence, even with the pictures of civilian deaths, particularly the fact that 200-plus children have been killed; 200 kids have been killed. And I don't want to trivialize anxieties, uncertainties, the losses, 59 IDF forces, three Israelis, and the disruption of life in Israel.

But the United States gives the Israelis, particularly when it comes to matters involving Israeli security, a very wide amount of latitude in which to operate.

And I do not believe, even in these circumstances, no -- and we didn't see it in Cast Lead, which was during the middle of a transition from a Republican administration to a Democrat -- we didn't see it there either. So, no, I don't think the United States is on the verge of sanctioning Israel. I don't think the United States is on the verge of...


MILLER: ... you know, reducing assistance.

GORANI: Aaron, Aaron, please stand by, because we're going to get back to you later. We have a lot more to talk about regarding this story that seems to be getting worse and worse every day on this special edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

It is the crisis that led to the tragedy of Flight 17 that is leading to what some call a new Cold War. We will examine exactly what is going on. Is it a new Cold War? We will be right back.


GORANI: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani, and welcome to our viewers in the United States.

Simultaneously, we're seeing hot spots erupt all over the world, after the Arab spring, of course, the civil war in Syria, as well as what's happening in Egypt, Libya on the verge of becoming a failed state. We will talk later about Ebola in Western Africa, and, of course, let's not forget Eastern Ukraine, a tragic and divisive conflict, deteriorating even further on several fronts.

It began after a popular uprising in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, that overthrew the pro-Russian government there. Now it has become a brutal battle between Ukraine's military and separatists, and also a big diplomatic conflict between Russia and the West. Some are calling it a new Cold War.

There's fierce fighting, of course. It's ripping across Eastern Ukraine, dark smoke, you see it there, rising from the center of the city of Donetsk. The Ukrainian military has reportedly been shelling this separatist stronghold, trying to drive out the rebels who want to be closer to Russia. Fighting is also reported in other areas, including near the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

International investigators say for a fourth day, they have not been able to reach that crash site. Ukraine now says separatists have mined the road, actually placed mines on the road to the wreckage site, and positioned heavy weapons in the area.

But senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh took another route into the site, still littered with debris and the last possessions of lost lives. Take a look.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The road isn't easy, past shelling, eerie separatist checkpoints. But where it leads is harder still.

In beauty nothing surely could spoil lies a horror still unresolved; 12 days since MH17 was blown out of the sky, it remains here, a monument to cruelty to how 298 souls, some shipped in parts, away on a separatist train, have yet to find complete rest. Questions left, what or who else did they love? What did they feel in their last moments?

(on camera): The silence in these fields is that of a tomb, like sorrow and loss have isolated it from the war around it. But you really have to stand here and see the things that people wanted to take with them on holiday, and, horrifyingly, even now, smell the stench of decay to understand the urgency the relatives of those who died must feel to get inspectors to this site and get some kind of closure.

(voice-over): In the hour we were there, no separatists, inspectors or Ukrainian soldiers at this site, just distant smoke that explains why the inspectors'; large convoy has not for the fourth day running got here.

"God save and protect us," the sign asks. Not here, still reeking of jet fuel, where you can see the heat the inferno they fell from the sky in. Strangers have tried to mourn. The scene of this crime has been abandoned, evidence tampered with, what must be shrapnel holes visible in the cockpit's remains, a wallet emptied, a cell phone looted, traces of daydreams that fell from the jet stream into a war whose daily horrors drowned out that which took their lives, whose blind hatred has yet to find space for the minor dignities they deserve.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Grabovo, Ukraine.


GORANI: A new Cold War, those are the words of a leading Russian lawmaker striking out at the U.S. on Twitter. It follows criticism from Russia's Foreign Ministry, which says the latest round of American sanctions will cause nothing but harm, not to Russia, but to their relationship.

New sanctions have recently been announced by both Washington and the European Union. They're designed to bite more. They include restrictions on Russian state-owned banks. Oil-related equipment and technology is also being targeted. We're talking about the equipment here that you use to modernize exploration for oil.

New contracts for arms exports and imports will be hit, as will eight of Putin's top associates, the names of whom have just been revealed in the past hour. These tactics are, of course, designed to pressure the Kremlin and

Vladimir Putin into ordering a U-turn on Ukraine. But will they work and will there be a wider economic impact?

Let's speak to one of the world's top economists, Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Also joining us from New York, our very own Richard Quest.

Richard, I will get to you in a moment.

First, Joseph Stiglitz, let me ask you this. Sanctions, the level of which have been announced, we're talking a third phase here, do they usually work, or not? How much do they damage an economy?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, it depends on how universal and how strong they are.

In the case of South Africa, in the apartheid period, sanctions did work. In the case of Southern Rhodesia, they worked. But when sanctions are not universal, and when they are limited, they tend to have limited effects.

GORANI: So, longer-term, these appear to have sort of -- they're designed longer-term to hinder the ability of Russia to invest in its own oil exploration, for instance.

It is hitting the banking sector, though, quite hard. I mean, some Russian banking officials are expressing concern. So is this strategy a longer-term, slow strategy to apply more and more pressure each time? I mean, can it work longer-term?

STIGLITZ: Well, I think the intent of these sanctions is to change the political dynamics inside of Russia, to persuade the Russians that the cost of carrying on their current policies is too great.

But, you know, one of the problems is that there is almost inevitably a kind of nationalism that arises when one country tries to force another country to do what it wants. And so there's always the danger that rather than pushing the political process in one direction, it could actually push it in the other direction.

GORANI: All right.

All right, Richard Quest, if I can just ask you one question, because you have your eye on the markets all the time, markets don't seem to be panicking. They seem to be thinking this is no big deal, just as the Kremlin has said it's no big deal.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: No. No, the markets are holding their own for other reasons, low interest rates, continued good corporate profitability.

And, of course, the actual extent of Russian exports and imports and involvement as such is rarely limited, say, for example, to the United States. But I do assure you, if this gets worse, and if the level of exports and import restrictions on Europe increase, then you will see some reaction in markets like Germany, Italy, the U.K. It's early days for this sanctions regime.

GORANI: All right, Richard, I'm going to get back to Joseph Stiglitz on this.

And we were showing our viewers, by the way, the reaction, Joseph, of markets, which was muted. But you said that it worked for South Africa. And this is an interesting case. But let's talk about other cases our viewers may be familiar with, Iran, Iraq before the 2003 invasion. How effective were those in pressuring leaders of those countries politically?

STIGLITZ: Very little.

And even a more dramatic example is, we have had, in effect, sanctions against Cuba for more than a half-century, and it hasn't worked very effectively. And Cuba is just right off our shore. So these are examples, many examples where sanctions have been relatively ineffective.

GORANI: So, if -- let's -- OK. The Western powers have no intention and no appetite for any military involvement. What other economic pressure can be applied on a country if you are trying to sway them one way or the other, to act in a way that is closer to the way you want them to act? What kind of economic pressure can these countries use, if anything at all?

STIGLITZ: Well, I think the kinds of things that they have -- they have been doing are, unfortunately, the only kinds of economic sanctions.

You know, making sure that Russia doesn't access technology, to finance, to exports, to other vital imports, obviously, are the strongest punishment that we can impose. We have to understand that there are two or three consequences of these that we can't ignore. First, it changes the geopolitical balance. Russia will trade with those countries which are not imposing sanctions. It will get more engaged in other -- the geopolitical balance will change.

Secondly, it will encourage it to develop its own technology, rather than relying on the West. And they have good scientists. They have capacity. But it won't happen right away. It takes time. So -- and the third thing is that countries like Germany and many other countries in Europe depend on Russian gas, on -- are intimately connected with Russia. So they will pay a particular price. Their economies will be slowed down.

GORANI: All right. Joseph Stiglitz, thanks very much for being with us of Columbia University, and also happens to have won a little prize called the Nobel. Thanks very much for being with us on CNN and CNN International.


GORANI: Can the spread of Ebola be stopped? We go to our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta to separate fact from fear. We will be right back.


GORANI: All right. After the Middle East and after Russia/Ukraine, we are heading to West Africa in this special edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, where countries are scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of Ebola.

And global concern about the virus is growing fast. Right here in Britain, top officials are so worried about it, they held an emergency meeting on how to react to the disease after a suspected case of Ebola in the U.K. ended up testing negative.

But it shows you how jittery people are. As far away as Hong Kong, officials are on high alert after a suspected case there. The World Health Organization says nearly 700 people have died in the past four months, including one American. More than 1,200 people have been infected.

We have talked about the spread of this disease and how fatal it can be, and usually is in 90 percent of the cases. But I want to take a step back now and look at what Ebola actually is. How do you catch it? What are the symptoms?

Let's bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

First of all, for people concerned out there that people with Ebola might be taking planes and flying to all sorts of locations around the world, how do you catch Ebola? Let's be clear.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ebola is not something that is transmitted through the air, like the flu. This is something that typically is transmitted from someone who has Ebola and is very, very sick.

At the time that they're very, very sick, that's when most of the virus is in their body and is in their bodily fluids. If some of those bodily fluids get on somebody else -- often, it's health care workers, because they're taking care of these sick people -- some of those bodily fluids can transmit the virus to the other people. So if that -- that's typically the transfer.

It's got to be close contact, it's got to be bodily fluids, and typically the person that is transmitting it is already very sick.

GORANI: So why has this particular outbreak been so bad?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I think there's a few things, Hala.

First of all, you know, we move around more than we have in the past, so just movement. And, typically, in the past, Ebola was relegated to these small villages in remote Africa. And when I was there in Guinea in Conakry, a capital city, you had people there. It's a city of two million people with an international airport.

That's part of the concern. There is also something a little bit more subjective, and that is a little bit of mistrust of the doctors that are coming in. So people haven't been as anxious or as earnest to seek medical care, I think, as a result. They don't trust them. Those doctors, when they come, usually represent something bad is happening, right, represents death, because there is no particular antiviral.

GORANI: Right.

GUPTA: And I think that's fueled this as well.

GORANI: Yes, we have heard a lot of cultural issues as well, where people fear the -- the -- the aid workers that are coming to help...

GUPTA: That's right.

GORANI: ... and thinking they're spreading it.

Now, for anyone watching, perhaps traveling to West Africa, or that part of the world, what should they be aware of? In terms of protecting yourself, if you're going there?

GUPTA: You know, this is a serious problem, but I don't think that there's any particular concerns for travelers, as long as they abide by some very basic rules. If you remember what I just said about how this disease is transmitted, how this virus is transmitted, you would know not to come in contact with people who are sick.

They're typically going to be in hospitals or some sort of clinics. Most travelers probably wouldn't be doing that anyway. Again, it's not airborne. So if you don't visit hospitals or visit people who are sick and you don't get any of these bodily fluids on you, you should be just fine.

So that's part of the reason going into Western Africa. If you develop any illness while you are there and you're concerned that for some reason you've come in contact with Ebola, you need to get checked out very quickly.

GORANI: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much for joining us on this special edition on "The World Right Now." when we come back, why the majority of Israelis say they support the Gaza offensive. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Welcome back, everyone. A special welcome to our viewers in the United States. This day we'll be with you all this week, because, really, of the state that the world is in right now. Simultaneously, we're seeing so many crisis areas and hot spots.

And we return to the Middle East, the conflict between Israel, its operation in Gaza, and what's going on with Hamas. All of that has raged for more than three weeks, and unfortunately, especially for the civilians in this case, it shows no signs of slowing down.

Palestinian health authorities say right now more than 1,300 people in Gaza have died. The Israeli military says 56 of its soldiers and three civilians within Israel have been killed. Now despite the loss of life, and these are harrowing images we've been seeing coming out of the Gaza Strip, over the last three weeks, in Israel public support for the operation is very, very high. Sara Sidner has more.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the Tel Aviv sea shore to the Israeli-Gaza border and beyond, the show of support from Israeli Jews for Netanyahu's war effort is clear. We're with you. Hebrew signs say it with words, the people prove it with deeds. Volunteers cook free meals. The sound of war booms behind them in easy striking distance from Gaza.

(on camera): This is who they're doing it for, the soldiers on the battlefield. The message? We are with you.

Two opinion polls done to measure support for Israel's operation, protective edge, revealed that up 95 percent of Israeli Jews are against a cease-fire and what they really want is Hamas dealt with once and for all.

REZY MERY, RESIDENT: Hamas is terrorism and terrorism, they hurt every -- corner in the world. We just have to put them -- take power from Gaza.

SIDNER: Rezy Mery says he is happy living side by side with Palestinians in Joffa, but Hamas is a different thing. Netanyahu's plan to destroy the tunnel network in Gaza got a pat on the back in Tel Aviv.

SHULY SEVY, SUPPORTS MILITARY OPERATION: We have to continue because we have a lot of work to do there. Otherwise, they will find a way to come inside, you know, all the tunnels. And I don't know the name and we have to destroy everything.

SIDNER: For this young lady, it's deeply personal. She is to be married soon, but her fiance is a soldier on the front lines. He's in Gaza somewhere, and we're afraid, she says. We shouldn't stop fighting. We shouldn't compromise.

We sat down with a former head of Mosad, Israel's top intelligence agency, about what it would take to fulfill the sentiment of those polled.

DANNY YATOM, FORMER MOSAD HEAD: It calls for concurring the entire Gaza, which means reoccupation, no doubt.

SIDNER: Danny Yatom says the price of that will be high, perhaps higher than the public realizes, costing lives and money.

YATOM: It means that we will have to stay in Gaza with relatively deployed forces for two, three, four years.

SIDNER: The former spy chief initially did not support Netanyahu's decision to put Israeli boots on the ground in Gaza. But he admits something to us spy chiefs rarely do.

YATOM: Now I understand that I was wrong because only with this ground operation, we could discover those tunnels.

SIDNER: Political analyst, Marcus Sheff, says the support for Netanyahu and his defense and army chiefs is remarkable.

MARCUS SHEFF, POLITICAL ANALYST: I can't remember an operation, which has had so much support for the Israeli people.

SIDNER: But the polls did not include Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, sometimes remembered to as Israeli-Arabs. Those we spoke with wanted to stop the offensive. But even Israeli peace rallies demanding an end to the war have been met with protesters in support of pounding Gaza until Hamas is crushed. Sara Sidner, CNN, on the Israel-Gaza border.


GORANI: Let's return to Washington. Aaron David Miller is there. He's advised six secretaries of state on this Arab-Israeli peace process. This is also a propaganda war. It's a war, obviously, with the horrible, terrible human consequences we see.

But for instance, Hamas is releasing videos of one of its operations and Israel is saying look, you see this justifies our actions in Gaza. It's almost like both sides are using the same video for their communication.

AARON DAVID MILLER, VICE PRESIDENT, WOODROWS WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Well, it's -- I mean, you know, there is a political, diplomatic and military clock and a public diplomacy clock. And the reality is that duelling narratives and images is very much a part of this struggle and always has been. And depending on where you are in the world, various constituencies are more receptive or amenable to one narrative or the other.

I can the asymmetry and in the casualties and certainly in the Middle East, the unwillingness to give any benefit of the doubt plays greatly in the favor of the Palestinian narrative in this case.

And Europe, as well, I think there is a high degree of sensitivity and sensibility to the very notion that the stronger party, Israel, should be the more magnanimous one. Only in the United States it seems to me where support for the Israelis rest on a number of other foundations.

And it has a strong foundation, do you find the Palestinian narrative and the Israeli narrative clashing with most people, I think prepared to give Israelis the benefit of the doubt.

GORANI: Well, but Aaron, as far as the benefit of the doubt, I think critics look at these images and say how can this powerful military, with all of its sophisticated equipment say that it's making every effort to avoid civilian casualties, yet day after day conduct operations that lead to the level of civilians. Are they just not trying hard enough? Is there equipment not good enough? MILLER: My take is this. I don't think that Israeli policy in -- toward Gaza is immoral. That is to say, I don't think the Israelis are wilfully targeting non-combatants. I think they're casual or reckless in the way they're trying to discriminate.

I don't think they're trying to punish Hamas by killing as many Palestinians as possible. I do believe, however, that what's driving government policy is the need to accomplish a set of objectives and those objectives --

GORANI: But --

MILLER: Clearly are designed to strike at Hamas and moral, ethical and humanitarian considerations may partly shape those policies. But they're clearly not driving it. And as you know, Hala, densely populated area -- this is what's going to happen. And it's cruel and tragic.

GORANI: Yes. Well, those -- there are some who would say, look, if a bunch of Hamas guys were holed up in Tel Aviv, you wouldn't see this type of bombing, because there are would be more regard for civilian life. That's what people are saying, as well.

What is the end game here, Aaron? This is the third time around. They're not going to eradicate Hamas. They're going to flatten half of Gaza and then what? We're back here in two years.

MILLER: Yes, I think you've identified the problem here. That the objectives each side has identified publicly, and the higher they climb up the tree. The Israelis clearly, and bring a permanent seat to what they regard as their Hamas problem, demilitarization, closing the tunnels, getting rid of all of Hamas' side trajectory weapons, and Hamas wants Gaza opened.

Now just open, they want a fundamental change in life in Gaza. And the reality is, Hala, I don't think either of those two sets of objectives are going to be accomplished.

Certainly not quickly or easily, and I would argue not at all. So the rational argument would be somewhere in the middle, why is the end game. What I just don't see is the path toward de-escalation right now.

GORANI: All right. Aaron David Miller, always a pleasure. Thanks very much for being with us on this special edition.

MILLER: Thank you, Hala.

GORANI: Coming up next on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, the strong man of Russia, Vladimir Putin, what is behind the veil of the Russian president's carefully groomed image? We take a look.


GORANI: Well, it's a special edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. And we're focusing of our world in turmoil with so many simultaneous crisis. Heavily involved acros it all is the Russian President Vladimir Putin, from the war in Syria, the civil conflict in Ukraine and the downing of an MH-17 flight.

The Russian president has loomed large, strongly influencing the global conversation. So what do we really know about the man U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says has no soul? Diana Magnay has our report.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over)I: Post MH- 17, he's front page news. Western media trying to get a sense yet again of just who Vladimir Putin is. Snippets of his daily routine. Late breakfasts, always with cottage cheese, says "Newsweek." A regular daily swim and a sweat before the power day begins.

In the "New Yorker" a tale from Joe Biden about this meeting. I'm looking into your eyes, Biden recounted and I don't think you have a soul. Mr. Putin's reply, "We understand one another." Putin's domestic critics have long since given up expecting anything even resembling compassion from their president.

In the fate of all aboard the nuclear submarine in August 2000, dying as the Kremlin did it, to the Moscow theater seat in 2002 when Russian Special Forces killed 130 hostages alongside their hostage-takers in a liberation which many say showed a disregard for civilian casualties.

These incidents quickly forgotten by a public seduced by their strong man president. When Moscow annexed Crimea, Russians tiered. His popularity well over 80 percent, despite or maybe because of the dirty little war, which Russia reportedly funds and arms in neighboring Ukraine.

GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I have a fear about this, it's that Putin may actually light a fire that he loses control. In other words, these ethnic enclaves -- there is a rising tide of nationalism, and nationalism can be a very dangerous instinct and impulse.

MAGNAY: So far the tragedy of MH-17 has met with Russian's stone walling, a policy Mr. Putin seems to have carried over from his days with the KGB. In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Hillary Clinton said Russia would only understand tough action.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If the United States and Europe don't present a united front, I think Putin is the kind of man who will go as far as he can get away with. I think he is still smart enough and cautious enough to be pushed back, but there has to be a push in order to make that happen.


MAGNAY: So far, Mr. Putin has treated sanctions with a mixture of ambivalence and defiance, seemingly happy to take his country down the path of self-isolation and to risk losing face with the west. While in Eastern Ukraine, the battle rages around the debris of MH-17. Diana Magnay, CNN, Moscow.

GORANI: Do these growing tensions between east and west mean -- really mean the beginning of a new cold war? Both the U.S. and Russia have weighed in on that question in the last day. Here's what the American president had to say in response to a reporter's question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a new cold war, sir?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. It's not a new cold war. What it is, is a very specific issue related to Russia's unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path.


GORANI: Russian officials seemed to be seeing things quite differently. The head of Russia's Foreign Affairs Committee. He went on Twitter and said U.S. President Barack Obama will make history not as a peacekeeper. Everyone forgot about his noble price, but as the statesman who started a new cold war.

So is that what we're witnessing? The seeds being sewn of a new east- west standoff? Let's ask political analyst, David Gergen, adviser during the cold war to President's Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

He joins me now from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. So you've been an adviser to presidents during the actual cold war. Is this the beginning of a new one?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think so. I think it should be -- we should make a distinction between a time when we really had an extensional threat that if Russia and the United States came to blows with nuclear weapons, it would obliterate humanity, and we came very close, as you know, in the Cuban missile crisis, that close. It was really amazing.

But this -- this is not an existential crisis, but it is more than President Obama said. It is -- he's right, it's not a cold war. But it's a -- this is the worst moment we've had in U.S.-Russian relations since the cold war.

And it is very threatening. It's not only threatening Ukraine. The reason that many of us are cheering the fact that there are new tougher sanctions put on yesterday was it goes exactly to Hillary Clinton's point with Fareed. And that is, if -- the west need to deepen its spine and show Putin it is not going to roll over.

And that may, in fact, discourage him from continuing the expansion of these policies and he could easily be tipped into recession. There is a big piece in the "New York Times" today that under the surface, there is under the surface there's resistance starting to build up in his policies within his own country.

GORANI: But although the sanctions will take a while to bite, there are long-term sanctions, but can we look at this a little bit from the Russian perspective?


GORANI: If you're Vladimir Putin and you are sitting at the kremlin and you see this western-friendly government in Kiev and you see these western countries getting closer and closer to your border, wanting to woo Kiev and to NATO and other western organizations. Is he not simply acting his own best self interest right now?

GERGEN: Again, I think some distinctions are important. One absolutely understands why he went into the Crimea and wanted the warm water port. One understands why from his point of view, the crumbling of the Soviet Union and the push to the east by NATO and incorporating more countries into the European Union is threatening to his vision of Russia.

But, let's understand that fundamentally at heart he's a real nationalist and he's whipping up the nationalist sentiment as General Dempsey said here in one of the clips just before this. He's a chairman of the United States -- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the United States.

He is lighting fires he eventually cannot control. There is a sense that they've been humiliated and we need to be respectful in the west of their legitimate aspirations and their desire to play a larger role in the world stage. I think we have to respect that, but they can't do it by tearing up international norms and laws.

GORANI: Right, but David, I want to ask you one last question.


GORANI: In your experience and you've been in so many of these high- level, sensitive meetings with world leaders.

BERGEN: Right.

GORANI: How much of what happens is down to personality? Is down to how well, you know, leaders get along, what kind of rapport they have, whether or not a phone call can make a difference in a case like this one or in fact, not make a difference at all and perhaps make things worse?

GERGEN: Henry Kissinger argues they're mostly ruled by their own interests and not by personalities, but it's been my sense for a long time that personalities do matter. That the fact that Gorbachev can get along well with Reagan was a surprise. It meant that they were able to get an arms control agreement more easily.

The fact that Netanyahu really hates Obama and Obama hates Netanyahu makes it a much more difficult for the United States to play a mediating role in the Middle East today.

GORANI: All right, David Gergen, pleasure talking to you. Thanks for joining us.

GERGEN: Thanks so much, Hala.

GORANI: All right, on the world right now, Oscar-winning actor, Javier Bardem, is calling Israel's treatment of Palestinians genocide and he's getting support from other celebrities, as well. That story coming up.


GORANI: We continue our look at the world right now and all of the crises as we've mentioned that have been overlapping over the last several weeks and months. Throughout the show we've heard from both sides, from Israelis and as well from Palestinians.

But thousands of miles away some celebrities are also weighing in on what's going on in Gaza. Stephanie Elam has our report from Hollywood.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are Oscar-winning actors and people who are very respected in the film industry.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood golden couple, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are no strangers to the spotlight, but they've put themselves under a new level of scrutiny.

MATT BELLONI, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Via a letter in Spanish newspapers they became some of the most high-profile celebrities to come out against Israel's action in the Middle East and they called it a genocide.

ELAM: Joined by nearly 100 Spanish entertainers, Bardem and Cruz wrote an open letter calling for a cease-fire and an end to the blockade of Gaza.

(on camera): Do you think this could have backlash on their careers?

BELLONI: I don't know. Ultimately in Hollywood, talent is what matters, but there are some very prominent supporters of Israel within the entertainment industry and I think they probably looked at this and said, wow! This is a very, very strong opinion that's been voiced.

ELAM (voice-over): But Bardem and Cruz aren't alone. Other celebrities are making their opinions heard on social media. One Direction band member, Zayne Malik tweeted #freepalestine. The response was swift and furious with some of his 13 million followers responding with death threats.

A similar pro-Palestine tweet by Rihanna removed minutes later received a barrage of irate posts and Selena Gomez clarified she wasn't picking sides in the conflict after using Instagram to encourage people to pray for Gaza.

Among those who criticized Gomez, comedian, Joan Rivers outspoken in her support of Israel's military tactics. JOAN RIVERS, COMEDIAN: If New Jersey were firing rockets into new York, we would wipe them out.

ELAM: Talk show host, Bill Maher created a firestorm with this pro- Israel tweet. "Dealing with Hamas is like dealing with a crazy woman who is trying to kill you." Some celebrities are taking a more moderate position.

(on camera): Russell Brand went to YouTube with a 7-minute monologue on why things should change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing we can do as one make a decision as one to not to support or perpetuate violence by funding military activity on either side.

ELAM: Interestingly enough, another person that's not American.

BELLONI: A lot of actors do feel pressure to not voice opinions because they're afraid of what it might do to their careers.

ELAM: To speak out or not, a very personal decision in an era where even a tweet can live forever. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


GORANI: It certainly can. So this is the state of the world right now. Few of us imagined such death and destruction in so many cases all at the same time, as we've been mentioning from Gaza and Israel, and let's not forget ISIS gaining ground in Iraq and the chaos ripping Libya, and the civil war in Syria.

In Africa, already tackling an Ebola outbreak, the continent is also fighting the rise of al Qaeda-inspired terrorist groups, Boko Haram that kidnapped hundreds of girls and Russia, those growing fear of a new cold war.

We'll continue to tell you why all of this matters to you and what the world is doing to confront them in our closer look at the state of the world right now. So join me tomorrow at the same time here on CNN.

And you can always connect with us on social media @halagorani is where you can send me a message. Always appreciate your comments and questions. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.