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Israelis Celebrate as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem; Palestinian Officials Accuse Israel of "Terrible Massacre"; U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem Sparks Protests; Palestinian Envoy Calls for International Protection. Aired 11a-12n ET
Aired May 14, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.
We are coming to you with a special show this hour from the Jaffa Gate in the old city of Jerusalem. We've been watching history unfold over the
last few hours. A long-awaited day of celebration for Israelis ushered in by U.S. President Donald Trump just a short time ago. The U.S. embassy
officially opened in Jerusalem, relocating from Tel Aviv in solidarity with Israel's declaration that Jerusalem is its eternal undivided capital.
Here was the moment of the official unveiling. Just a short distance away from the celebrations, a totally different deadly scene. Israeli troops
once again using live bullets to control mass Palestinian protests along the Gaza border. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health at least
43 people have been killed in what officials call a terrible massacre.
Israel blames the violence on Hamas saying rioters are burning tires, throwing Molotov cocktails and trying to breach the border fence. CNN's
Oren Liebermann joining me now live here with more. And Benjamin Netanyahu calling it a glorious day, Oren, that will be engraved in the memory of her
Israelis for generations. The Prime Minister lavishing praise on Donald Trump for, quote, having the courage to keep his promises. Let's just
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump by recognizing history, you have made history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: An emotional day then for Israel. There is no doubt that this has been an emotive one across the city and beyond.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From Israel's perspective the last few weeks, today and the next few weeks couldn't have gone better. Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pushing President Trump to leave the Iran nuclear deal, he did. He'd been pushing for a long time for him to move
the embassy, he did. Recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he did. And next month to continue essentially what has been this good wave
for Israel, there's a royal visit expected from England. So, from Israel's perspective this all could not have gone better. And when Netanyahu spoke,
he was genuinely happy at how well this has all gone for him. And he knows that regardless of what happened in Gaza, 43 Palestinians shot and killed,
there's likely no serious international consequence. Because he knows the Trump administration will protect Israel at the United Nations.
ANDERSON: Let's have a listen to what U.S. President Donald Trump said at the ceremony. He didn't attend, but he sent his congratulations to Israel
in this video message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own
capital. Yet for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious -- the plain reality that Israel's capital is Jerusalem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Your thoughts?
LIEBERMANN: This is a statement he echoed or a statement he made when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital back in December and he tried to
frame it as a recognition of reality and history. The Prime Minister sits here, foreign leaders from the U.S., Europe, and around the world, meet
Israeli leaders here. The Knesset, Israel's Parliament, is here and the Supreme Court sits here. The government functions from Jerusalem. So, he
tried to say, look, I'm just recognizing that this is how diplomacy works with Israel.
He tried to add a hedge there in saying, look, I'm not determining Israeli sovereignty in the overall city, boundaries, borders are still open for
negotiations. And yet ever since that declaration the Palestinian authority has frozen contacts with the Trump administration. So, even if
he tried to hedge it and add some subtlety, it hasn't worked, and it's been Israel's moment from then on with the Trump administration.
ANDERSON: Much of what Donald Trump said echoed by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, it's not often that we hear from Jared Kushner. But he did play a
key part in today's ceremony. Saying the United States is tipping the scales in favor of the righteous. Again, let's just have a listen to what
he said moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER SENIOR ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: Today also demonstrates American leadership by moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the
world once again that the United States can be trusted.
[11:05:00] We stand with our friends and our allies and, above all else, we've shown that the United States of America will do what's right, and so
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The United States of America will do what's right and so we have. There will be people here and around the region saying what is right
would be the details of a new peace plan. And this has been touted by the U.S. administration. Did we hear anything about today?
LIEBERMANN: Well, Kushner said all of the right things in terms of trying to pursue a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and yet it
doesn't change the fact that only a handful of people in the Trump administration and probably even fewer in the Israeli government have
actually seen what it is this peace plan has in store. And then it faces a very difficult political reality on both sides, not just the Israeli, not
just the Palestinian. The Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, is trying to hang on to his own power as he becomes increasingly unpopular
on the streets. Netanyahu has a coalition not geared for a peace plan, a peace process to make concessions to the Palestinians either for Jerusalem
or for any of the other major central issues.
ANDERSON: Donald Trump's advisers say that they are fairly optimistic that this decision will ultimately create greater stability rather than less
here and in the region. There are those who say that this move of the embassy makes an already impossible mission more so and, in the process, it
has undermined the credibility and effectiveness of the U.S. as a mediator. Has it?
LIEBERMANN: Well, we've that echoed. The Palestinians have said that all along. We heard Turkish leaders say it today. The fact of the matter is
that even if the Palestinians don't trust the U.S. as a mediator, the U.S. has truly been the only mediator, the main mediator over past decades. And
even European leaders who are much more sympathetic to the Palestinians have said, look, you can't count the U.S. they've always been the leaders
of the peace talks.
The Palestinians would like to see somebody else take over. The Russians, the UN, the EU, somebody and yet nobody is willing to say that you can just
count out the U.S. The U.S. still has to have a role according to what we're hearing from everyone who wants to play a part in this. There simply
too important to both the Israelis and the Palestinians in the bigger picture to suddenly be cut out of whatever a peace process at this point
looks like. If it were to start.
ANDERSON: It has been a historic day for Israelis, the opening of the U.S. embassy here in Jerusalem. Oren, for the time being, thank you. Just a
short drive away from here and, well, you enter another world. While Israelis celebrate in Jerusalem, Palestinians mourning the biggest death
toll in Gaza in years. At least 43 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during mass protests near the border fence. More than 1,600
others are injured according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Israel calls the demonstrators violent rioters and says, several tried to plant an
explosive device near the border fence.
Let's bring in Ian Lee who is on the Gaza side of the border. What have you witnessed and heard today?
IAN LEE CNN CORRESPONDENT: Quite a bit, Becky. I'll give you a rundown of kind of what we've seen and what we've heard. What's been taking place is
behind me. Now it's a bit quieter. People have gone home. But earlier in the day tens of thousands of people were here. You would see thick, black
smoke from tires that were being burnt to obscure the site of Israeli snipers.
Well, here we have an ambulance, looks like it's actually heading down towards that fence. But also, we've been hearing heavy gunfire all up and
down this border, in the north of me heavy machine gun fire earlier in the day. And that's because protesters have been trying to breach that border
fence and Israel says that's just not going to happen. They say they're going to use nonlethal means. But if they get too close, then they will
start shooting at the people who are trying to cross over. But the people say that they are going to cross over.
Also, we've heard is heavy artillery in the southern part of Gaza. And then in the northern part the Israeli Air Force says it struck five Hamas
targets today as well. So, you can see that there's just been this chaotic atmosphere even with the tear gas drones they've been flying over us
dropping it into the camp as well as Palestinians lighting kites on fire, flying them into the air and trying to fly them over the border to light
fields on fire. We've seen a number of wildfires on the other side.
[11:10:00] And so, you know, when you have this many people trying to do one single objective, cross that border, you are going to get a day like
today where you have the highest death toll since the 2014 war in Gaza. But they tell us that they're going to keep trying. Tomorrow we're
expecting the same thing -- Becky.
ANDERSON: For Palestinians the timing of what has been this embassy move here to Jerusalem shows, and I quote, administration officials great
disrespect coming as it does, they say, just a day ahead of the day of al- Nakbah day, which in Arabic of course means, stay of disaster or catastrophe. And just ahead of what will be the start of Ramadan. You
just set out what you believe the goals of those protesting where you are. What does happen tomorrow?
LEE: Well, we're expecting the same thing because the people keep telling us that they're not going to stop. And you see these high death tolls and
yet still people try to cross that border. You know, this just shows, though, how angry Palestinians are at the current situation. Whether that
be the political process, the peace process as well as the United States moving their embassy to Jerusalem. And as we heard from Oren just a while
ago, he was talking about the difficulties of trying to kick start this peace process. Where you have the Palestinians saying essentially, they
don't want to be a part of it.
Well, let's just entertain the idea the Palestinian leadership does want to be a part of the peace process. When you have the death toll that you're
seeing here in Gaza, and the anger that your seeing on the Palestinian street, even if the leaders wanted to negotiate, even if the U.S. comes out
with the peace process, it's just going to be very difficult to appease the street after they believe that this is a huge slight against them. You
know, yesterday we were out at this camp as well talking to people and they were chanting, no, no, Trump. So, that sums up kind of the current
situation. And tomorrow we're expecting to see more of it -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ian Lee there in Gaza. Well, my next guest has a message to critics of this embassy opening. He says if you don't think the U.S.
embassy belongs in Jerusalem, get over it. Naftali Bennett is Israel's education minister and leader of the Jewish Home Party joining me now live.
And you were at the inauguration event today. Just describe the atmosphere, if you will.
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI EDUCATION MINISTER: It was a sense of an historic day, making history. We've been here for 70 years as a state and almost
4,000 years as a people and being recognized and having the world's greatest power inaugurate the embassy in Jerusalem means a lot. I'm
confident that within months or a few years we're going to see many, many other countries follow suit. And Jerusalem will be recognized universally
as our capital as it should have been long ago.
ANDERSON: An undivided capital or a capital that can be shared with the Palestinians?
BENNETT: Well, Jerusalem has always been the Jewish capital, it's never the capital of any Palestinian state.
ANDERSON: The Palestinians -- let's just be absolutely clear. The Palestinians would like to see this as their capital, too. Is that a
BENNETT: No, it isn't. Because it never was their capital. And just as, you know, the United States would not consider dividing up Washington DC or
British, London. Even if someone desires it to be divided we're not going to divide Jerusalem again.
ANDERSON: So, you say Jerusalem is off the table, any future negotiations to your mind, Jerusalem is now off the table. I want to get some clarity
BENNETT: Absolutely. I mean, if you look it at the city right behind us, it's very peaceful and it's peaceful because it's undivided. If you, God
forbid, divide it, we'll going to have this square mile will become the deadliest place on earth.
ANDERSON: But, sir, again, with the greatest respect, that means effectively any future negotiations are going nowhere, and the United
States, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, today suggesting that they have a plan. They will release this plan and they expect everybody to get engaged
and onboard. So, are you saying today that you're not interested in what that peace plan is going for?
BENNETT: No, I'm not. I'm saying we won't divide Jerusalem. I've not heard anyone suggest dividing Jerusalem. That would be a ridiculous move -
ANDERSON: Well, the U. S. says it's for final status negotiations.
BENNETT: Mark my words, Jerusalem will not be divided again. We will not give up our holiest location on earth and our national center for thousands
of years. Even if some Arabs feel they want it.
[11:15:00] We will always allow all Muslims, all Christians to exercise their faith. We've kept it open for all religions and we always will, not
like the Arabs did that forbid Jews to go up and pray. So today it's a free city for all three religions and we will keep it that under Israel's
ANDERSON: So, Donald Trump and his son-in-law are aware of your position? Because it seems to me that they both kept -- it doesn't just seem to me --
they both kept Jerusalem on the table today.
BENNETT: Have you ever heard them talk about dividing Jerusalem?
ANDERSON: They have both alluded to the fact this will be a city which will be part of final status negotiations. You know that, sir, with the
greatest of respect.
BENNETT: What I know is that my great-great-great grandparents and their thousands of years back always prayed to this city and were not about to
divide it. And I don't think President Trump wants to do it nor Jared Kushner. Because they know that's the only way to create a massive war is
to divide this great city.
ANDERSON: Earlier I spoke to the head of the Palestinian Authority's delegation to the United States, a man that you all know, Husam Zomlot.
This is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUSAM ZOMLOT, HEAD OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY'S DELEGATION TO THE U. S.: This act by the President Trump's administration is an act that recognizes
illegality and it's an act that really gives up on the prospects of peace and gives in to the fanatics and the extreme religious leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: What happens tomorrow and going forward?
BENNETT: Going forward I think the long-term prospects for peace have improved dramatically. Because --
ANDERSON: How, sir? How, sir? Explain.
BENNETT: Because any peace that was predicated on divided Jerusalem was never going to succeed. Have you ever asked yourself, why is it always
failing? Because Jerusalem was going to be divided. And it's not going to work. It's just not going to work. By taking Jerusalem off the table
effectively all sides face reality. And now we can talk peace. We want peace. We don't want to fight them. I've lost my best friends in battle.
I don't want to do that. I've got four kids. I want them to be secure as do the Arabs. But only by mutual respect and not by carving out our
capital will we achieve peace.
ANDERSON: You've just talked about your own kids, and I talked to a 17 1/2-year-old Palestinian while we were here who's just got into Georgetown
ANDERSON: And I know that you will absolutely applaud that success from her. One thing that struck me when we spoke was a term she used to me.
She said, being stateless is just grueling. Do you recognize that as an emotion from a young Palestinian Jerusalemite?
BENNETT: Well, you know, the Palestinians already have one state in Gaza, a full-blown state.
ANDERSON: She grew up here in Jerusalem.
BENNETT: That's fine. That's fine. We pulled out of Gaza back to the '67 lines. Gave them the keys, Mahmoud Abbas. They have a state. They want a
second state. The first state has become a terror state that's undisputed. They've been shooting rockets. We're not about to make that mistake again.
We can make one mistake. We're not going to make it a second time.
ANDERSON: Naftali Bennett is the Israeli Education Minister and leader of the Jewish Home Party. Sir, thank you for joining us.
BENNETT: Thank you very much.
ANDERSON: Live from Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, today is not a day of celebration for all. For many it has
become a day of anguish. More on that after this.
[11:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Gun and smoke grenades fired by Israeli security forces in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. This scene unfolding just hours ago as
Palestinians protest the U.S. embassy and recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. With it a severe blow it seems the hopes that east
Jerusalem will someday be their capital.
We are live from Jerusalem this hour. This is a special CONNECT THE WORLD for from Jaffa Gates in the old city. Welcome back. And for those of you
who are just joining us, you are more than welcome.
I want to bring in Michael Oren, who is the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., who attended the inauguration events at what is this new U.S.
embassy in Jerusalem today. Sir, thank you for joining us. Just describe the scene and the atmosphere there if you will.
MICHAEL OREN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Good to be with you, Becky. Greeting from the newly inaugurated United States Embassy in
Jerusalem, Israel. It was a remarkable ceremony here, historic, truly uplifting. And Israel's waited 70 years for this moment and it comes as
quite a relief. Quite a sense of gratification and gratitude for the President of the United States for making this happen.
ANDERSON: Michael, as we've been watching the embassy moved has provoked a furious response in Gaza. Dozens have already been killed. A former U.S.
intelligence officer telling CNN that the embassy move is dangerous. And, in his words, akin to throwing a can of gasoline on the fire. Your
OREN: Exactly opposite. 100 percent wrong. The demonstrations in Gaza have been taking place for weeks before this. Hamas is determined to
destroy the state of Israel. The demonstrations are not about moving the U. S. Embassy at all to Jerusalem. The demonstrations explicitly call
for breaking through the fence and destroying the state of Israel. That's what it's about. And Hamas is sending young people to be used as human
shields to try to break through that fence. They are actually paying these young people $500 if they get shot. That's what Hamas is.
As for other demonstrations occurring around here -- back in 2000, Israel actually offered to divide this country with the -- this city with the
Palestinians. It offered to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. In the Palestinians didn't just demonstrate, Becky, they went to
war against us and killed 1,000 Israelis. So, is not about moving this embassy. And, in fact, the President has stated on more than one occasion
that should the Palestinians come to him now and ask for concessions towards him he would be willing to entertain it.
ANDERSON: So, let's just assume for one moment that this is a symbolic move, that this is just the reality as Trump administration officials would
suggest, the moving of this embassy. But we have to agree that Jerusalem is an issue and it is a real issue to Palestinians. I've been talking to
Naftali Bennett, the education minister here, and he says Jerusalem is now off the table. This is no longer an issue.
[11:25:00] He doesn't accept that it should be under final status negotiations in any new negotiations that Jared Kushner and the Trump
administration may have, and we have not gotten the details of those. Do you agree with Naftali Bennett?
OREN: Well, I agree that Jerusalem as Israel's eternal and undivided capital recognized by the United States of America is off the table. That
the President and members of the administration have said repeatedly, and it was said again today, that the final borders of the city of Jerusalem
will only be determined in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
ANDERSON: Daniel Shapiro -- you will know him, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel -- wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post" just last week. Which
reads in part, and I want to you have a listen to this, advocates of a two- state solution see the embassy move as a blunder by the United States that signals the death knell of prospects for peace. But, he says, the sky is
not falling. Moving the U.S. Embassy to a location in West Jerusalem is correct and reasonable, Shapiro says. West Jerusalem, he says, has served
as Israel's capital since the founding of the state, and no plausible two- state map would change that. Our embassy's presence in the city reinforces the legitimacy of historic Jewish ties to the city, which are too often
denied by Palestinians.
I guess the problem is, sir, that the sky is falling in for many, many Palestinians. What is your message to them?
OREN: My message to them is come back to the negotiating table. One of the great benefits of this move, of transferring the Embassy of the United
States to Jerusalem is that it has demonstrated unequivocally that President Trump is a man of his word. He stood by his word and withdrawing
from the terrible Iran nuclear deal. He's demonstrated that he is a man of his word again and again. And Becky, as someone who has participated in
peace talks, and the last time the Palestinians came to talks it was nine years ago. They came for six hours.
One of the major obstacles was the lack of a mediator who had credibility. This mediator has credibility. He has stated, again, openly, unreservedly,
that he understands that both sides when they come to the table will have to make concessions. I understand that as a member of Israel's government.
And it would be difficult for us. Still, I think it's worth it. I think it's worth it to try to move the Palestinian situation to a better place if
not an absolute solution or peace, but certainly a better place. And maybe make a new Middle East with relations with Israel and our Arab neighbors
and together we can stand up against Iran and with Israeli technology, with Arab resources and change the world.
ANDERSON: Michael Oren from what is the site of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Sir, thank you for that. Jerusalem an ancient city with very
modern concerns. We are here as the U.S. Embassy officially opens, a city claimed as both Israelis and Palestinians as their capital. We'll be back
with the very latest right after this short break. Do stay with us.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: World history in the making here in Jerusalem. Israelis celebrating the official opening of the U.S. embassy in this city after a
controversial relocation from Tel Aviv. It is a devastating blow for Palestinians. Who want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
But Donald Trump says it's just plain reality, and I quote him on that, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
thanked the U.S. President for keeping his promise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: We have no better friends in the world. You stand for Israel and you stand for Jerusalem. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Just a short drive from these celebrations, the celebrations at the U.S. embassy, these scenes. These scenes, deadly scenes. Israeli
troops once again using live bullets to control mass Palestinian protests along the Gaza border. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at
least 43 people have been killed today in what officials call a terrible massacre.
Israel blames the violence on Hamas saying rioters are burning tires and throwing Molotov cocktails. A day then of high emotions here in Jerusalem
and less than 100 kilometers away in Gaza and, of course, in the West Bank.
This is a special CONNECT THE WORLD for you today, from the city that has been at the heart of a decades old conflict. A conflict given new life,
some would say, by the U.S. President's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Joining me now is Arab/Israeli politician, Ahmad Tibi, a
member of the Knesset and the leader of the Arab Movement for Change. Sir, I didn't ask you before we started this, but I'll ask you now, did you go
to the celebrations today, the inaugural event to inaugurate the U.S. embassy?
AHMAD TIBI, LEADER, ARAB MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE IN ISRAEL: No. First, I was not -- naturally I was not invited. I was there protesting and
demonstrating with my colleagues, with hundreds of Palestinians against this move. Total adaptation of the narrative of the occupation that this
relocation of the embassy and the recognition of President Trump of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is indirectly accepting the annexation
of Jerusalem. Because he used the same phrasing that was used in the Jerusalem bidding back in 1990, about unifying Jerusalem. He did not say
anything about occupying Jerusalem. He supported the position of the right wing in Israel and the position of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
ANDERSON: Standby I want to get to the UN where the Palestinians are just speaking. Let me listen in.
[PALESTINIAN ENVOY SPEAKS AT U.N.]
RIYAD H. MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: The massacre today as we reflected that in a letter to the President of the security council, to
the SG and the president of the General Assembly. 45 Palestinian civilians have been killed including eight children under the age of 16 and more than
2,000 have been injured.
[11:35:06] This would bring, you know, the total number of Palestinian civilians killed since March 30th close to 100 and more than 11,000
injured. We condemn in the strongest term this atrocity by the Israeli occupying forces using this massive firepower against civilians who have
the right to demonstrate peacefully and they have been demonstrating peacefully.
We condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. We demand that this action to be stopped immediately, and we want those responsible to be
brought from the Israeli side which is not allowed under the provisions of international law. And we further demand international protection for the
civilian population since Israel's occupying power abdicated its responsibility in providing protection. In the contrary it is the source
of killing and the lack of security for our civilization.
We will go and meet with the President of the Security Council after we're done with this press conference. We have about half an hour a letter from
the Mission of Palestine reflecting demands in giving the details to the Security Council about this atrocity and acts that are committed against
our people today.
Of course, this massacre is taking place at the same time when the United States of America illegally and unilaterally and in a provocative way is
opening its embassy. It is very, very tragic that they're celebrating an illegal action while Israel is killing and injuring thousands of
Palestinian civilians. This is the life of the Palestinian people. And those who think that opening the embassy opens doors to peace, let them
look at what is really happening in the Gaza strip. Is killing 45 civilians and injuring 2,000 would be helpful to open doors for peace, or
is it deepening the resentment, the fear of hatred between people instead of moving in the direction of peace.
We will use all of our available rights available to us in the Security Council to see the seeking of Israel's shouldering its responsibility to
stop this massacre. In this massacre to bring those responsible to justice, and to shoulder its responsibility with regard to providing
protection to the civilian population.
So, we will be very busy in the next few days including the possibility of having an emergency meeting of the Security Council as soon as possible and
we are coordinating the step with our brother, the ambassador of Kuwait, Arab representative in the Security Council and with the President of the
Security Council, and we are ready to have this emergency meeting as soon as possible and it could take place within the next 24 hours. Thank you
ANDERSON: Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative to the United Nations, speaking in New York. The Arab Israeli politician, Ahmad Tibi, is
here with me now. And Riyad Mansour appealing for international support, and we've heard the voices of the Arab and the Muslim world, Turkish
President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, opposing the U. S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem. This is what the Turkish President told me during my interview
last week, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: Another mistake made by the Americans, or the administration. First, moving the embassy to Jerusalem
or that attempt was a huge mistake. You are in the position of moving your embassy to Jerusalem thinking that you're going to deal some challenges
once and for all, but that's not how it works. What are you trying to do here? Are you trying to send some positive messages in your point of view
to Israel? Are you trying to satisfy the Israeli administration? Is that what your intention is?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: President Erdogan, it has to be said, seems on somewhat of a collision course with the United States at present.
[11:40:01] But calling this embassy move and this decision by President Trump a huge mistake. What does regional support mean to you, sir, for
Palestinians? Real or lip service?
TIBI: Palestinians are willing to see much more support and Riyad Mansour said -- what he said that Palestinians need international protection not
only -- I respect very much the position of President Erdogan. There are some leaders or some governments with no reaction yet there's a massacre in
Gaza. 50 Palestinians are being killed by snipers and Arab/Palestinians. Meanwhile they are dancing with happiness in the embassy in a move by
President Trump provoking the very legitimate right in the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
ANDERSON: We talk about regional support. And I just want to put this to you. As we listened to Riyad Mansour, we did see the Saudi ambassador to
the UN standing shoulder to shoulder with him. At a time when we are also seeing the emergence -- and we've been witnessing this now over a period of
months -- of the U.S., Israeli, and Saudi led Arab alliance in what feels like the reordering of the Middle East at present. How do you, sir, feel
about an axis as it were, an alliance emerging. And where do you think that takes this country, the Palestinians, and the region?
TIBI: I am aware of the anti-Iran axis and I am aware of interest in the region, but how this should affect the life of Palestinians in Gaza and the
status of East Jerusalem as an occupied capital of the state of Palestine, all should be united in supporting Palestinians. I can understand
differences in national security of countries all over the region about threat here and there. But Israel is using the so-called Iranian threat by
making it much more loud, and to serve the interests of so-called normalization in the area. I am not sure there is a normalization. But
yet Palestinians deserve much more Islamic and Arab support in the area.
And I'm not sure that we have it yet to the very degree. That's why we shouted here in the demonstration in front of the embassy. We,
Palestinians inside Israel, Palestinians from East Jerusalem, saying that this move is a provocation and East Jerusalem was Palestinian and will
remain Palestinian before Trump and after Trump.
ANDERSON: Thank you, sir, for joining us.
TIBI: Thank you for inviting me.
ANDERSON: A pleasure to have you on and your analysis is important.
Live from Jerusalem, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. After the break, as the U.S. embassy pivots from Tel Aviv to right here in Jerusalem we look
at what's been going on in the backgrounds in the region. Stay with us.
[11:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: This was a scene almost exactly a year ago. The U. S. President, Donald Trump, welcomed in Saudi Arabia, the center of attention
in Riyadh. And according to many analysts the linchpin of a new unofficial alliance. The U.S., some Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, and Israel
united by a mutual desire to curb Iran's regional ambitions and as ever this city of Jerusalem is at the heart of so many hopes, so much conflict.
Live from Jaffa Gate this hour. Welcome back. And for those of you who are just joining us as ever, you are more than welcome.
Just hours ago, the new U.S. Embassy in Israel opened in Jerusalem. No Donald Trump. But he sent a video message to what was a highly
controversial move by the U.S. administration, highly symbolic and part of a wider U.S. strategy. The Trump administration insisting regional anger
over the Israeli-Palestinian tensions is fading. Saying the move is not the flash point it might have previously been.
But as Palestinian officials have been telling us over the past hours at least 45 protesters have been shot dead in Gaza. We are seeing concern
from some of the regional heavyweights. Meantime beyond Israel and the Palestinians there's a larger backdrop to this embassy move. Conflicts and
instability in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, and joint efforts, too, as I pointed out at the beginning of this, curb Iran's influence.
So many major players here and so many separate threads. We should try to connect it all for you. That's what we do on the show and we are going to
do what we say on the tin as it were. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Iran's capital and Nic Robertson in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a regional
And to you first, Fred, as we witness events here, so we must remind ourselves that this is only part of a wider strategy, it seems, from the
U.S., part of which was the nixing of the Iran nuclear deal. Now we know that the Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, is on a mission to try and salvage
that deal. But when we step back from what has been going on. And we look at the bigger picture here, what's the perspective from where you are at
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that the perspective here is that obviously, the Trump administration, and
Many Iranians and the Iranian leadership believes and certainly, the Iranian leadership, believes is quite hostile towards Iran. I think that
something that they will feel is strengthened by some of the things that they've heard today for instance, from Jared Kushner as well.
You know, you had the nuclear agreement, which, of course, was a big blow to many Iranians and then, of course, the events that happened in the Golan
and on Syrian territory over the past couple of days. When you had that altercation apparently between the Iranians and the Israelis. Even though
so far, the Iranians have not acknowledged that they were part of that altercation just yet. But of course, the Iranians do feel that the Trump
administration is one that's tougher on them than has been the case in the past. And that really is an interesting thing.
Because on the one hand you have the moderates who are trying to open up to the West. Who were very happy, also, with some of the things that they saw
from the Obama administration not the least of which was a nuclear agreement between Iran and these other world powers.
And there were many Iranians, especially moderate ones, who felt that Iran was really opening up towards the West. Opening up its economy. Hopefully
also getting direct investment as well. Now a lot of them feel that that's obviously shifted during the Trump administration. The moderates fell that
the Trump administration is infringing on some of the things. They obviously are saying that it's the U.S. that's in violation of the nuclear
agreement and has then pulled out of the nuclear agreement.
Whereas the hard-liners are saying, look, no matter what the Trump administration does we are not going to back down. Whether it comes to
Syria, or whether it comes to their influence, for instance, in Yemen. They say they're simply not going to back down.
It's interesting though, Becky, if you look at the last couple of days, the reactions we've gotten from the U.S. pulling out of the nuclear agreement.
[11:50:00] The hard-liners still do seem to be giving a chance to negotiations to try and salvage the nuclear agreement. So far, the rift
that many thought would happen between the hard-liners and the moderates has not happened yet.
ANDERSON: Nic, I started this part of the show by reminding viewers that just almost a year ago to date Donald Trump arrived here in the city of
Jerusalem from Riyadh. Where he treated his first stop on what was his first international trip as the U.S. President to be vetted by the Saudis.
As we saw the emergence of what looked like a U.S. strategy in this region, if you can call it that which is effectively, it seems, reengaging with old
allies. That being Israel and Saudi Arabia. It feels to me the U.S. -- and I've heard this from U.S. administration officials, it feels to me that
there is a sense -- this issue of Middle East peace, this issue of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict no longer galvanizes this region in the way it
once did. And therefore, the emergence, if you will, of this U.S., Israeli, Saudi led Arab alliance might just move this region into a new
era. Your thoughts.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think there's no doubt we're entering a new era for many reasons. That's one of them.
We're also entering an era of estrangement significantly across the globe between the United States and its European allies. Specifically, over the
issue of Iran, specifically over the United States recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and opening the embassy there today. Specifically,
over the way that the protests in Israel are being handled, the protests in Gaza right now are being handled by the Israelis. There are big
differences between the United States and the Europeans.
But to your point of the Middle East and President Trump going first to Saudi Arabia and then to Israel on his first big trip overseas, a trip last
year, and it actually spoke absolute volumes about President Trump's intent and his advisers have long said since he came to office 16, 17 months ago
now, that he would do what he said. I mean, he came in with a very anti- Iranian rhetoric and he has realized that rhetoric and has found allies in the region that share those anti-Iranian views. The views that they see
Iran as destabilizing influence in the region.
And today while admittedly in Tehran you have the moderates and the hard- liners saying they're going to give this nuclear deal and the Europeans a chance to work it out. You also have rhetoric coming from senior officials
who say the movement of the U.S. embassy, or the announcement of the U.S. Embassy and movement of it to Jerusalem today will speed the annihilation
of the fake Zionist regime meaning Israel. And it will unite Muslims against the United States and their allies.
So, you know, when you look broadly, yes, absolutely the way that this region is viewed, the way stability is brought to this region has been
shaken up. And I don't think anyone right now would want to predict what's going to happen in the next six months, what's going to happen in the next
year. What we do know is that the Israelis have decided to invest $42 million in additional security for small villages and towns in this area
and close to the border with Lebanon. Because they believe that Iran proxy, Hezbollah in Lebanon and cross the border there, fighter in Syria
are potentially going to rain trouble upon them and they're preparing for that. So, this is how Israel expects things to unfold in the near future.
They'll make those preparations by the end of the year.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson and Fred Pleitgen with analysis of what has been a historic day here in Jerusalem and with context as to where this fits into
the wider picture.
Live from Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up from international politics to the intensely personal.
What this all means for one coming up from international personal. What this all means for one resident of the city of Jerusalem. That's up next.
[11:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Well, our parting shots tonight, the U.S. Embassy move formally up ends decades of American foreign policy was today a day of celebration
amongst the Israelis. But also, one of mourning with Palestinians, for many of whom the prospect of peace has subsided after President Trump's
decision to formally declare the city the capital of Israel. Some like student, Malak AbuSoud, still has hope for a better future. What she wrote
in this powerful essay that helped the 17-year-old get her accepted into a top university in the United States. Have a listen.
MALAK ABUSOUD, PALESTINIAN JERUSALEMITE: I've experienced this many times throughout my life, trying to fit in a politically complex situation into a
seemingly in complex question.
Where are you from? The city that I'm connected with is now basically becoming Israeli. President Donald Trump's declaration of my home as the
capital of Israel, only erases me and every Palestinian in Jerusalem right off the map.
So, I try to talk about myself, how I identify. Who I am as a Jerusalemite and how I feel connected to the city. I fear the day in which I cannot
even have the option to say that I am a Palestinian. The day my people will be mentioned in history books among the many others that back by
Every day when the state of Israel tries to make you feel like, yes, you are a second-class citizen. Yes, you are under Israeli occupation.
Fasting again. Where's the emotional side? Where is the enemy side? What am I supposed to do? The political situation of Palestine can be improved
by letting the new generation take part in the Palestinian political strategy when it comes to negotiations.
I don't care about peace. I honestly think Palestinians do think the same way, think about justice. And yes, my people are very passionate. This
generation I'm not the only person who got accepted to Georgetown. We're a minority. But there are students getting into Kings College in London, in
Harvard, and in Yale. And all of these people they agree on one thing. They want to get the best education and then come back here and change the
world. They wanted to change this country.
I know that Jerusalem can accommodate the Palestinians, the Israelis and the conflict. I see that every day and when I do I know I'm home.