Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital; Israel prime minister faces allegations of corruption; Ventura country fire 96,000 acres, Five percent contained; Jerusalem, a world away for Palestinian refugees. Aired at 10-11a ET
Aired December 7, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:30] BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: Welcome to Jerusalem and welcome to a very special show. "Connect the World" I'm Becky Anderson
right here on the ground to help show you why the whole world is talking about this age old city. It's your world and we are connecting it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think President Trump tonight made the mistake of his life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good step forward towards peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, at the same time as that, we are watching the savage wildfires closing in on the second biggest city in the United States. As
the winds get stronger, the flames are getting harder and harder to fight. Just ahead this hour, we'll have a live report from Ventura, California,
just northwest of Los Angeles. That coming up.
Back now to the anger boiling over across the west bank in Gaza after Donald Trump's decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of
Israel. Palestinians are protesting in the streets during a day of rage. Israel has deployed hundreds more troops to the west bank where clashes
like this have been going on for hours. The Palestinian red crescent at least 43 people have been injured. Most of them by tear gas and rubber
bullets. Palestinian leaders in the west bank call Mr. Trump move the death of the peace process. The U.S. Decision drawing condemnation today
not just from Arab nation but also European allies. Israel's Prime Minister is not only downplaying the backlash. He also says he is in
contact with other countries that could follow Mr. Trump's lead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish state of Israel, if you weren't aware of that until yesterday, you
are now. But we've been aware of it for 3,000 years. I think yesterday was a momentous day, an important one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, I'm here in Jerusalem right at the very heart of this conflict while my CNN colleagues are spread out across the region covering
this story for you like no one else can. Let's start with Ian Lee who's been in the thick of it all day in Ramallah. Nic Robertson also joining us
from Damascus. Ian, what can you tell us about what's going on there as we speak?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, right behind me, I don't know if you can see it, it is getting dark here, but there are a number of Palestinian
men, there's a front line, there's been clashes between Palestinian and Israeli army. This has been going on for four or five hours now. You have
this back and forth clashes. You see plumes of dark smoke filling the air, burning tires, the ground littered with debris. You see this rocks, they
put them in their slingshots, and Palestinians throw them over the Israeli respond with teargas and rubber bullets. We've seen a number of people
injured today as well with injuries to the head, arms, and other extremities. And then ambulances carrying people back, you can see this
ambulances are just stage, ready to go in case something happens, someone is injured.
We've been at these protests all day and we saw it peak. There was thousands of people here. This is a spot where you do tend to get
protests, but not in this number. We've seen numbers that we really haven't seen before and also a cross section of Palestinian society. This
is just young men coming out. You're seeing the young, the old, men, women, everyone, coming out here participating in their way. Some people
working as medic others going to the front throwing rocks and really going back and forth. This is the kind of tensions and conflict that Arab
leaders around the region had predicted could happen.
[10:05:03] This is the beginning of the three days of rage. But this could continue. As you very well know, Becky, Thursdays are not typically known
as days of rage. That usually goes to Friday after midday prayer. This is happening on a Thursday. It could expand tomorrow. We're expecting more
of the same tomorrow, more of these protests and clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic, you have been speaking just in the past hour to the Israeli security spokesman. What has he told you about how the Israelis are
expecting to secure this place against any other violence?
NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, I was trying to get an understanding from what he was seeing here in Jerusalem with the
protests that he was seeing here in relative terms bigger or smaller than past times and moments of tension. He said the one here at Damascus gave
this gate in the old city of the Jerusalem just you across from the gate where you are, this is a gate into the old city that many Palestinians
would use, he said in relative terms the numbers were low. However, the security forces are ready and prepared for whatever may happen and are
making considerations right now about how they should police and the number of police that they should use for prayers here on Friday.
As we were saying, that this is a potential contentious moment. Friday prayers is often when we see a spike in violence in times of tension like
this. Having said all of that however, the protests we've seen here today a bit have been nonviolent. There is an ebb and flow. There are moments
of excitement. There was moments of pushing and shoving. There' been no rock throwing or violence. I've spoken to some Palestinians about their
thoughts of what President Trump has said. There's a real element here of frustration with their own leadership. This is what one man told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We Palestinians have our dignity and our right to pursue our rights, so I don't - I honestly don't know what will happen on
the ground. It's anybody's guess. But the international community needs to step up to the plate. I think the burden is on us, the Palestinian
leadership, to pursue a different course of action. That is my honest opinion about it. Abandon the peace process and start from scratch in a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: What would that different course look like? What would it take to get to peace talks that might not be a two state solution peace talks?
He really didn't know. But he felt as many people here have today that they're frustrated with their leadership, they're frustrated with Mahmoud
Abbas that he is not strong enough isn't doing enough, and the sense that President Trump has sort of shut down the possibility of peace talks at the
ANDERSON: Right. Nic, Israel's education minister has been very outspoken on all of this. Let's just have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI EDUCATION MINISTER: I also think, though, it's a good step forward towards peace. We all know that never could you achieve
peace that is predicated on dividing Jerusalem. And in offense by setting that aside, by calling a spade a spade, that Jerusalem will always be
Israel's capital now we can get down to the real business of bringing upon us peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Global consensus, Nic seems a long way away from that. In fact the very opposite, correct?
ROBERTSON: It feels like it at the moment. Those are the feelings that have been expressed to us here, that from a Palestinian perspective, this
makes attaining peace, of course, 25 years ago. On that basis it just seems almost out of reach as a sense that it was slipping out of reach for
some time. That feels for many people to he pushed it out of touch from an Israeli perspective that this can potentially be something that initiates
an improved ability to negotiate peace. That does seem to be at a variance. However, the gentleman I spoke to, we were listening to just
now, he said that if there -- oh I said really you're saying that the leadership at the moment isn't suitable, isn't capable, that the Oslo peace
process is no longer applicable, no longer useful, what then? And his answer was yes, we do need to start again and look at it again and if that
process has run out of road, then potentially he is saying something new needs to happen, could happen. So maybe it does take a log jam.
[10:10:23] ANDERSON: It is in Ramallah for us still and Ian, you will have heard the Abbas leader in Gaza today calling for a new uprising. How has
that gone down with people where you are?
LEE: Well, we've heard people all day voice their frustration and anger, Becky. They're angry at a lot of people. First they are angry at
President Trump. I've heard that time after time again. People saying that the President had no right to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel
and plan to move the embassy. Because as we've talked about a lot, the Palestinians want east Jerusalem the future capital of their state.
They're also expressing anger towards the Israelis. You'll have that come along with it. Also we've heard about anger toward the Palestinian
leadership. People here are saying there's no guidance, no direction and that is what they're looking for.
You know we've seen this over the past summer where the Palestinian street, the protesters drove the narrative, they drove their cause without really
any political oversight. The politicians took a back seat to the street. That is possibly what we could be seeing here right now with the number of
people who have come out into the streets. But they do want some sort of direction. Everyone wants to know what President Abbas, what the different
factions are going to do. We have heard that President Mahmoud Abbas is in Jordan talking with King Abdullah, he is talking about other Palestinian
factions. We'll have to wait and see what they say their way forward is going to be, Becky.
ANDERSON: Sure. Ian Lee in Ramallah, Nic in Jerusalem, to both you, thank you.
Bring upon us peace. That is the Israeli perspective which of course is in stark contrast to the view across the Arab world including that of Jordan.
This is what the country's foreign minister told me earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We are extremely concern about the consequences of this dangerous decision not just in Jordan. Across the
Arab Muslim world. No issue is more sensitive to Arabs, Muslims and Christians than Jerusalem. People are angry. We are all disappointed with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Turkey's prime minister says Donald Trump's Jerusalem decision has, quote, pulled the pin of a grenade and that specific choice of
language could have some significance. Here's why. Ankara is a major American ally on the battle field with the U.S. for example, making
strategic use of this air base in southern Turkey. While it may have been smiles back in May when America's top diplomat Rex Tillerson visited
Ankara, he says a lot has changed since then. Now huge question marks hangover the state of this and other alliances in the region. Michelle
Kosinski has the view from Washington for you, Michelle?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Becky right, you know, what we hear from the administration today, they're trying to echo what
Trump announced yesterday. We're hearing from Secretary of State Tillerson saying he was just stating a fact that this is not going to settle any
borders or anything. We also heard from the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. Here's how she tried to frame this decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We don't want to pick a side on this. What we want to say is it is time for the sake of Israeli
children and Palestinian children, it is time for those two sides to come together and time to negotiate and the United States is pushing that
process. They get to decide the details. It's not for us to decide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: So U.S. administration officials are putting this in very simple terms. This is a fact. It's a reality. We need to establish this now.
President Trump said this is a step on the way to finding a solution. But they are not really explaining what this means in terms of - it is stopping
finding a solution at least for a period of time. CNN has heard from two senior White House officials who acknowledged yesterday that yes, this
decision could derail that peace process, but they're seeing that a temporary.
[10:15:05] In fact, they tried to explain it as being, well, the President really wanted to make this decision. It was a campaign promise of his. It
does appeal to evangelical, and a portion of his base. So maybe it's better for him to do it now than when the peace process is really under
way. Of course what we're hearing from many, many other countries is this is backwards. Why are you doing this now and raising the tensions at a
time when you could be, you know, really trying to smooth things over, which was your stated goal as well. But the administration just doesn't
see it that way. At least these senior White House officials who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity say that, if it is going to derail things as
they put it, they think it will likely only be temporary. Becky.
ANDERSON: Michelle Kosinski with the view in Washington. Right. Let me just get you an update to our other major story this hour. The hot dry
wind in and around Los Angeles expected to get even stronger today spreading those wildfires that have already scorched more than 100,000
acres. People have been forced from their homes. The flames so intense. Firefighters unable to say just how many buildings have been destroyed. A
portion of major motor way along the pacific coast may be closed until Friday. It's so dangerous that our reporter had to leave where she was to
get to safety. As soon as she is able to broadcast from a better location, we will bring you more on that.
All right. Still to come in what is a very busy hour, right ahead we've seen widespread condemnation against President Trump announcement on
Jerusalem. One country in particular is extremely sensitive to any changes in this city's status. We see to it, foreign minister up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: I call on all countries that seek peace to join the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:20:10] ANDERSON: Israeli prime minister seemingly emboldened by Donald Trump's decision to recognize this city of Jerusalem as the capital of
Israel. One country that won't heed Mr. Netanyahu's call is Jordan, a staunch U.S. Ally and signatory of a peace accord with Israel, but also
home to many displaced Palestinians and very concerned about what this move could mean for the region. Earlier today I asked its foreign minister
about the fallout of what he calls a dangerous decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAFADI: Definitely dangerous, alarming times across the region, across the Arab Muslim world. We're extremely concerned about the consequences of
this dangerous decision, not just in Jordan. No issue is more sensitive to Arabs and Muslims and Christians than Jerusalem. No issue is more potent
in terms of its ability to rally a public opinion. So people are angry. People are outraged. We are all disappointed with this decision. And
again, the consequences are going to be extremely difficult for all of us. Not just in Jordan. Everybody in the Arab Muslim, Christians, Muslims
ANDERSON: Donald Trump says this is just a recognition of reality and he says the decision is in no way a departure from America's lasting
commitment to the peace process. On the face of it, the region would have us believe that any opportunity for a peace deal is now dead and buried and
that Donald Trump has disqualified himself from any other further role as a peace negotiator. Is that Jordan's position too?
SAFADI: We've always said that Jerusalem is an extremely sensitive issue whose final status needs to be determined through direct negotiations as a
final status issue. International law, all U.N. Security Council resolutions, even U.S. itself has committed a 9091 for the letter sent by
then Secretary Baker that does not recognize the occupation of east Jerusalem and that this is a final status issue. There is a very difficult
reality in the Middle East. The most difficulty reality is that there an occupation. There is an injustice and we believe this decision
consolidates that feeling of injustice at the time when we are all trying to fight radicalism. I think consolidating that feeling of injustice is
only going to play into the hands of those who are trying to spread radicalism and anger.
What we need to do is look at that reality. The reality is occupation is untenable. Occupation has to end. Jerusalem is sensitive to all and we
have to understand that unless we're able to create an independent Palestinian state of 1967, with Jerusalem as capital, this region is going
to be under the threat of explosion at any moment. We've seen what Jerusalem did in July 14 when Israel tried to change the reality on the
ground and encroach. We've seen how whole the Arab and Muslim world, Christians as well, came out extremely angry about that.
Now what we need to do, there's a terrible situation. We need not to make it worse. I think the only way not to make that situation worse is to put
a plan, move forward very quickly. The U.S. needs to come in and put a plan on the table that would address the legitimate rights of Palestinians
to freedom and to Jerusalem as a capital.
ANDERSON: Right. So you are still of the mind that the U.S. is an honest broker in all of this?
SAFADI: What we believe is that we all need to work together to prevent the situation from getting worse. The decision to recognize Jerusalem as a
capital of Israel is illegal. It was against every decision. That puts us in a very dangerous situation. All of us peace in the Middle East is key
to all of our interest and therefore we need to all work together in peace. We need to make sure that we all pull our resources now and move as quickly
as we can to what's telling the Palestinians that the injustice is not going to last, that we care that the whole community is not going to
abandon you to the suffering of occupation and that we bring a two state together whereby your rights as people to freedom, to independence, to
Jerusalem as their capital will be recognized.
ANDERSON: Ok. Foreign minister, let me put this to you. CNN has heard from a senior Palestinian authority source that when President Abbas went
to Riyadh to meet with this Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman recently, the Crown Prince asked Abbas to accept certain perimeters of a
peace plan and we had been told that the prince told Abbas that Israel would maintain major settlement blocks, and major military presence only
some territorial exchange, no right of return. And it is reported that Mohammad bin Salam also said that east of Jerusalem, the east of Jerusalem,
the eastern part of the city would remain under Israeli control. Which we are told Abbas that he wouldn't accept. Was Jordan briefed on this meeting
and does this chime with what you have heard?
[10:25:45] SAFADI: We are in coordination with the Palestinian leadership. We're in coordination with our brethren in Saudi Arabia. We know that all
our positions, Saudi, Jordanian, Palestinian and not just Arabs, all the international community agrees that east Jerusalem in an occupied
territory. We know that we all support the two state solution. We've seen the statement that came off from Saudi Arabia yesterday. Very assertive
and very clear statement that it does not recognize what happened. It warns about the consequences of the decision and it does support the two
state solution which is embedded in the Arab initiative which was presented to the international committee by Saudi Arabia. We are all on this
together. Everybody in the international community believes that if Jerusalem is occupied territory that is what international law says. That
is what Security Council resolution say and that is what we all stand firm on.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, could the Palestinians ever accept Abu Dis as a capital?
SAFADI: The Palestinian position is clear and their position is consistent with all Arab Muslims position. East Jerusalem is the capital of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That was the Jordanian foreign minister speaking to me just a little earlier on today. We have got a lot more on what is this extremely
important story on the website as well as here on TV including a more unusual take. Some people say President Trump appeared to be slurring
towards the end of his speech recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Two experts analyze whether that a sign of any medical problems that the
president might have. Head to CNN.com/health for more on that. We just brought you the view from Jordan's foreign minister. In a moment Israeli
opposition leader joining me right here. Do stay with us.
[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: We are connecting your world tonight in what is a special program from Jerusalem. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, Jerusalem's mayor, and a number of other Israeli officials are hailing President Trump's decision to call this the capital of Israel.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog is among the -- Herzog says, now it's time for President Trump to focus on the future by helping realize the vision of
a two state solution.
Back in June, he was interviewed by the Jerusalem Post, telling them, Prime Minister Netanyahu wouldn't provide President Trump with what he needed to
bring Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
Well, Isaac Herzog, joins me now. Do you still believe that? That's a pretty pessimistic view, sir, given what we have just been through over the
past 24 hours.
ISAAC HERZOG, OPPOSITION LEADER: First of all, I want to commend President Trump I think his statement was historical justice made well over 70 years.
It was waiting and waiting, and definitely it's the right decision.
I want to make an explanation for a second. You are here because this is the capital of Israel. You are here because the essence is here, because
we've received hundreds of leaders from all over the world in this city as the parliament, as the government sits here.
So let's take of all the shutters and all the masks and realize that this city is our capital. Now as for the future, because it requires bold,
courageous, energetic process that should be brought forward by President Trump and the world community together with the leaders to break the
impasse and move towards a two state solution.
ANDERSON: You seem to have no confidence that Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to provide President Trump with the sort of exacting price as it were
that the arch negotiator, Donald Trump, will want from him given that he has delivered what Netanyahu wants, that being this as the capital of
So I'll ask you again, how optimistic or pessimistic are you going forward about what happens next? What do you know of the details, for example, of
this peace plan that Jared Kushner seems to be putting together?
HERZOG: We've heard a lot of things in the recent months I've met many world leaders as well as American officials including Jason Greenblatt who
is the chief negotiator on behalf of President Trump.
I also had spoken briefly with President Trump during his visit early this year in the region, in Israel. And I told President Trump, if you come
forward with a bold plan, if you have a breakthrough, we will definitely give backing as the opposition for any future peace deal.
However, I don't know. I don't know where the leaders are. I sincerely say time and again that opportunities were missed. I hope there will be
political change in Israel. We've been talking about possible elections. I hope we will be able to prevail and take the helm, and lead the country
ANDERSON: If there is to be a peace deal, Benjamin Netanyahu will have to concede now on many fronts. Could this success that he is hailing also be
his failure so far as the right wing as Israeli's concerned?
HERZOG: You know, Israeli leaders if you test them historically.
[10:35:00] Many Israeli leaders tried -- tried really boldly and failed. One of them was unfortunately assassinated for plan to make peace. It's
So leaders in Israel have shown that they have the courage to seize the moment. And many times Arab leaders fail to seize the moment. And I think
in recent years, also Benjamin Netanyahu failed to seize the moment.
But I call upon him -- first of all I call upon both leaders to say OK, before it loses sight from the peace process, let's try to yet -- try it
again and again to make peace because this is essential for the future of our children.
ANDERSON: Of course it is. And we are hearing though around the region today, so many Arab leaders saying that this announcement from Donald Trump
has effectively signaled the death now to the people because -- hold on. Hold on for one second.
Let's just step back for a moment. Mahmoud Abbas view was vital in signing the Oslo Accords back in 1993 as you well remember. And to this day, sits
with world leaders speaking at the U.N. General Assembly as the head of the Palestinian National Authority. He had this to say yesterday. Have a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT (through a translator): He's denounced and rejected measures create deliberate constraints to all
the efforts towards realizing peace and these measures are consider, a reward to Israel for denying that accords and challenging the international
law. And it encourages the occupation policy, settlements, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: He says what Israel is doing amounts to ethnic cleansing. What chance is there of working together with such rhetoric or some might call
HERZOG: I must say at times it has explained me vitriol and Mahmoud Abbas speech in the U.N. this year as well was vitriol and unacceptable. His
comments are unacceptable.
First of all, I sit down and talk. I want you to realize how could you say, even when he speaks now, he doesn't mention the linkage of the Jewish
people or Israelis to Jerusalem. Admit the facts first of all.
I don't deny the fact that there is a connection -- a major connection of Islam to Jerusalem as well as Christianity. And we've pledged freedom of
religion always and we have kept it to the last iota (ph).
But the -- as was laid down actually by President Trump yesterday, he says the extent -- to which extent Israeli sovereignty will rein a Jerusalem
will be discussed in the peace process.
That's acceptable, by the way, because we all understand that there has to be a major arrangement and agreement on core issues. So don't deny, Mr.
Abbas, and look at the facts and deal with them.
ANDERSON: Mr. Herzog, is the U.S. still an honest broker in these peace negotiations? And a further question to you, what do you know of any deal
or process that is being worked behind the scenes between the Trump administration led by Saudi Arabia and the new crown prince there, Mahmoud
HERZOG: Let's understand the new -- the new reality in the region. The new reality in the region speaks for itself. As a result -- as a direct
result of a backlash of the agreement of the permanent members of the security council plus one with Iran, there's been a clinging and getting
closer, a relationship between the Sunni Arab moderate states in the region and Israel because we identify the common enemy, Iran.
And by the way as we've seen ISIL in the region as well, so sharing both of these challenges together as I would say unofficial partnership of sorts on
important issues of security and preserving the stability in the region, we've come closer and earning.
Now the question is, can that be served as a platform, as a launching pad of regional cooperation, both regional cooperation that brings both parties
into the room and tells them you Israelis will get your security and you Palestinians will get your state, but move on.
ANDERSON: So that would be current Palestinian leadership.
HERZOG: I don't -- I don't erase or eradicate or actually speak in a condescending matter towards the Palestinian leadership. I have respect
for the leadership of our neighboring nation. And I met Mr. Abbas many times. And I have my respects towards him.
But I think both him and Netanyahu in the test of history have failed to get him to the room, speak on the core issues and see how we can get on
from here by way of interim agreements.
[10:40:00] By way of permanent agreements, by way of support of the region and the international community, this is the moment actually in light of
the resolution of yesterday.
ANDERSON: With that we're going to leave it there, we thank you very much indeed for spending some time with us.
HERZOG: Thank you very much.
ANDERSON: Thank you, sir, for an extremely important story. The Israeli prime minister today in calling on other nations to follow America's lead
and proclaim Jerusalem as the capital but there could be a domestic reason for Benjamin Netanyahu to be so vocal about the move.
Remember he is currently facing a political crisis -- allegations of corruption. I want to bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann, usually here in
Jerusalem but in New York on assignment at present. How does this play out in Israeli politics? Before this announcement, Netanyahu was in a bit of
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I would say more than a bit. Before the last 24 hours, he was named a suspect in two separate criminal
investigations. Almost his entire inner circle was questioned or named a suspect in a third criminal investigation.
His coalition chairman was just questioned in a criminal investigation. It was starting to look very ugly and a few major pieces of legislation that
the coalition had tried to advance had fallen flat. The coalition had suffered some crises. It wasn't going well.
And the President Trump declared a recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and in a moment, everything changed for Netanyahu. You have to
believe even if there hasn't been any polling yet but if elections were held today, Netanyahu would win.
He was neck in neck with his competition up until now and this is a massive boost to his political base. It is essentially the biggest diplomatic
victory Israel or Netanyahu could have scored and that works very well for him. It would have worked very well for any other leader. But it's
Netanyahu who can claim that victory right now, Becky.
ANDERSON: Could this still end up hurting -- hurting him and what of Mahmoud Abbas at that point?
LIEBERMANN: This gets into something you were just talking -- that, Herzog, talk about. What is the price Netanyahu, Israel might have to pay
for such recognition?
Is Trump liable to say something like, look, I just gave you recognition, Israel your capital, now I want concessions and open commitment to a two
state solution, scaling back settlement construction or halting settlement construction.
If that's the price Netanyahu has to pay, and we don't know that it is, but if that's Trump's plan for some sort of peace process here, then it could
very well end up hurting Netanyahu with his base who sees this is nothing other than a victory right now.
Despite the fact that Trump in his statement basically said look, Jerusalem is negotiable which is something Netanyahu has very much spoken out
As for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, this can only be viewed as a defeat. His moves to work along with the U.S. administration on a peace
process, up until now his commitment to a peace process seems to have just backfired and there seems to no plan -- and I have talk to, Ian Lee, about
this, no plan from the Palestinian president, from the leadership on how to proceed from this point. Becky.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is in New York for you today, normally here in Jerusalem. As I say on assignment there. Oren, we really appreciate your
time. Thank you. You are, viewers, watching Connect the World.
Coming up, I promise you the very latest on the desperate effort to stop fast moving flames around what is the second largest city in the United
States. I'll get you that after this.
[10:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Let me get you back to a situation that is changing literally by the minute. The wildfires in and around Los Angeles, hurricane force winds
are predicted to making conditions even more difficult.
CNN's Stephanie Elam covering the fire. Let me hear -- we're going to hear from you earlier, Steph, but you suddenly had to move to get out of danger.
Tell us where you are and what you're witnessing at present.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Becky. Well, so we moved because this area here, this entire hillside back here was on fire over
night. Now the sun is coming up and it's still not very easy to tell because it's so ashy out here.
There's so much of the debris that is in the sky. So here we are watching the firefighters some back in to work on this area right off of the Pacific
Coast Highway freeway. The fire, though, they are now not so worried about the northern part of it.
But the southern side of it now here is on fire. This fire, the Thomas Fire has burned some 96,000 acres at this cite and is only five percent
contained, so still, very much out of control. And this is just one of the fires that's burning here in California.
We also have the Skirball Fire by the Getty Museum closer into the middle of Los Angeles there running along the 405 freeway. They are working to
keep that contained on one side but we know that that fire burned 450 acres.
It's a much more populated area and that there are four homes that were lost and 11 that were damaged. The museum is still fine, but they are
The problem is we are going to see wind gusts between 50 and 80 miles per hour today. And what happens is that they pick up those embers and they
carry them to new fresh super dry brush after the dry summer that we've had.
And they can ignite, and cause a new fire. So that's the concern. And we're not out of the clear here yet in California as we still have a couple
more days of these red flag warnings, Becky.
ANDERSON: Stephanie Elam on the story for you. Terrible stuff. And, Steph, had to move earlier on. And we promise you that interview a little
earlier on. We've got it now. Stephanie, thank you for that.
We are in Jerusalem for you where we've been covering the direct impact of Mr. Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Coming up, a place where Palestinians aren't feeling that strongly about the issue, it's a bit of a surprise, that's next.
[10:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're back with us on Connect the World here in Jerusalem. Well, the mass exodus of Palestinian during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war meant
generation of Palestinians fled to go all over the world.
One of those places, Lebanon wherein one camp around 10,000 registered refugees shared two schools and one health center. Shatila refugee camp is
geographically close to the West Bank. But how has the reaction there to Trump's announcement compared to here on the ground. Well, Ben Wedeman is
live for us in Beirut for you this evening. Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, for the 450,000 Palestinians who live in Lebanon and certainly for those in the Shatila refugee camp, for
them it really doesn't make any difference where the United States considers Israel's capital to be. For them looking for a way out, a way
home, they see no end in sight.
WEDEMAN: Jerusalem is less than 150 miles from Beirut's Shatila Palestinian refugee. Reminders of the holy city are on the walls as are
the faces of their hero's past.
But for the thousands who called the camp home, the uproar over President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a world
Ninety-two-year-old Abdullah Talib shows me a hatchet, he says, was left behind by Lebanese Christian militia men who slaughtered hundreds of
Palestinian civilians here in September 1982, allowed into the camp by Israeli troops.
Abdullah's anger is focused not on the Israelis or the Americans, but rather on Arab leaders who loudly profess support for the Palestinian's
claim to Jerusalem can do nothing.
ABDULLAH TALIB, PALESTINIAN REFUGEE (through a translator): All the Arab States are traitors, he says. They're all the same, traitors.
WEDEMAN: The first generation of refugees is dying out. The camp teams with children, the latest generation of refugees. Plus, to the inhabitants
of this refugee camp never set foot in Palestine and given the failure of all intents to solve the issue probably never will.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are at best second-class citizens, most restricted to living in ramshackle camps like this, barred from a variety
With no solution in sight, this bleak existence is their lot for the foreseeable future. Against the odds, the dream of return lives on in the
heart of 77-year-old Ahmed Hadid (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through a translator): Until judgment day, I will wait, he says. And I will tell my children and my grandchildren our land is
WEDEMAN: The location of the American embassy in Israel won't make much difference to the people here. It's a minor detail.
WEDEMAN: And one bit of information we've received today is that today representative -- the senior representative of Hamas in Lebanon met with
the Politburo of Hezbollah and they said that resistance is the only way to liberate the land.
Now what this indicates is that Hamas which drifted away from Iran which backs Hezbollah in the aftermath of the Arab Spring may be drifting back to
Iran as it appears that more and more people may be thinking that perhaps diplomacy and negotiations isn't the way to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman in Beirut. Thank you.
[10:55:00] Well, some here in the region made their feelings known through light as an expression of protest and certainly Palestinians turned off the
Christmas lights -- the lights on the Christmas tree outside the church of the nativity and that's where Christians believe Jesus was born.
Lights were also switched off on the Christmas tree in Ramallah. While back here in Jerusalem in stark contrast, half the Israelis projected
images of the Israeli and American flags on to the walls of the Old City as a way to salute Donald Trump's decision.
Well, this is it for Connect the World from Jerusalem for you. Thank you so much for watching as we cover history in the making here and for the
most important people on every side of this story as you always expect from this show.
It is your show. I'm Becky Anderson. Thank you again for watching. Lots more from me in the hours ahead on CNN though, don't go away. See you on
the other side of this break.