Return to Transcripts main page


Hamas Claims 50 of its Members Killed in Deadly Protest Incident at Israel/Gaza Border; Israel States Hamas has Won the "P.R War" Surrounding the Incident; Noura Erakat Claims Palestinians Have No Choice but to Keep Protesting; Celebrations in Madrid After Local Football Team Atletico Wins Europa League for the Third Time; Middle East has Strong Representation in the Competition for the World Cup; Fashionable Modesty Gear is a $44 Billion Business Making Strides Towards Normalization; The Royal Bride To Be`s Father Will Not Attend Wedding Due To Health Issues. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired May 17, 2018 - 11:00:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, you`re watching Connect The World, I`m Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi for you, 7 P.M. here, 11 A.M. in

Washington, which is where we start this hour with the many dramatic developments of the White House over the past year.

There`s been one persistent question, what role did Russia play in the election that brought Donald Trump into the Presidency? It`s been one year

since Robert Mueller was put in charge of the investigation. Mr. Trump marked the anniversary with this tweet, once again calling it a witch hunt.

So far the President hasn`t spoken with investigators, Jessica Schneider then looks at whether he will.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trumps lawyer, Rudy Giuliani telling CNN that special council Mueller`s team does not believe they can

charge a sitting President with a crime under justice department guidelines. Giuliani saying, all they get to do is write a report, they

can`t indict.

At least they acknowledge that to us after some battling, they acknowledged that to us. Giuliani later indicating that Mr. Trump`s legal team may use

this reasoning to justify potentially refusing to grant Mueller an interview with the President.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENTS LAWYER: What we`re going to do is, we`re going to see what kind of legal remedies are available to us, including if they

subpoena us, challenge the subpoena. The same reason they can`t indict him, they can`t issue a subpoena to him.


SCHNEIDER: But the issue has never been tested in court and it remains unclear if Mueller`s team, which declined a comment, would try to challenge

the long standing guidelines.


RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: The President is not above the law and an indictment, if that`s the course that Robert Mueller chooses to

go, I believe would be upheld by the court.


SCHNEIDER: This has more than 200,000 pages of newly released documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee, shed light on the infamous June 2016

meeting in Trump Tower. According to his testimony, British publicist Rob Goldstone who arranged the meeting thought Russian lawyer, Natalia

Veselnitskaya, had a smoking gun against Hilary Clinton.

The President`s son, Donald Trump Jr., celebrated the prospect. A Russian lobbyist present for the meeting told Senators, Trump Jr. kicked off the

meeting by telling his Russian guests, so I believe you have some information for us. But multiply attendees told investigators that they

ultimately left empty handed.


DONALD TRUMP JR.: It was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. It was literally just a waste of 20 minutes, which was a shame.


SCHNEIDER: Goldstone testifying that President Trumps son in law, Jared Kushner, appeared "infuriated" when the Russian lawyer focused on Russian

sanctions, telling her I really have no idea what you`re talking about, could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again.

In his testimony, Donald Trump Jr. admitted that he was interested in listening to information about Hilary Clinton, contradicting the initial

story put out by the White House that the meeting was about adoptions. Asked about the President`s involvement in crafting that statement, Don Jr.

telling investigators he may have commented through Hope Hicks, something the White House later conceded.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President weighed in, as any farther would.


SCHNEIDER: Donald Jr. also repeatedly testified that he does not recall telling his father about the meeting. Phone records show that he called a

blocked number before and after arranging the meeting and again on the day it occurred.

Democrats note that former Trump campaign aid, Corey Lewandowski, previously testified that candidate Trump`s primary residence has a blocked

number. And two days before the meeting, then candidate Trump teased a speech about Clinton that never happened.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: And we`re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clinton`s. I think you`re

going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.


ANDERSON: Well that`s CNN, Jessica Schneider reporting there. So there are a lot of tentacles to follow aren`t there? CNN`s Matthew Chance

watched it all from Russia for us. First, before I get to you Matthew standby, I want to get to the White House reporter and regular guest of

this show Stephen Collinson who is in Washington.

And think, just break this down for us, what do we know at this point? What are we still waiting to learn? And without being facetious here, why

do we care?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN COORESPONDENT: Right, I think we are waiting to learn the two most crucial aspects of this Mueller investigation. They are

- was there a conspiracy by Sr. Trump campaign aides in 2016 to collude with Russia`s interference in the election and does Mueller have sufficient

evidence to bring a case that the President obstructed justice, including in the firing of former FBI director, James Comey?

Those are the two central questions now, Trump`s people say that the fact that we haven`t learned the answers to those questions, mean that there is

no case to answer. But there`s no sign that Mueller is wrapping up yet. The other issue is in many ways, we don`t know what we don`t know about the

Mueller investigation.


There are things that he`s investigating, for instance when he`s unveiled indictments as he has done against Trump campaign aides, we`re always

astonished with the depth of detail the breath of the investigation, how much he knows. Witnesses who`ve come out of his grand jury have commented

the same. So I think there`s a lot going on below the surface, as well as those two central questions that we`re still to find out.

ANDERSON: Is this evolution of Donald Trump within the probe as it were, still riling him as much as it was?

COLLINSON: So now and again we hear reports coming out of the White House that are saying, well the President is much calmer about this, he`s happy

about where this is going. I think a lot of that is spin, there are also counter reports that the President is obsessively asking about the Mueller

probe and whether it will end.

It just doesn`t seem very much in keeping with Donald Trumps character that he`s calm about this. He`s an emotional person, everything he feels

automatically comes out very quickly on twitter and elsewhere. So I think the idea of the President just saying when and waiting for this to end is

probably not very creditable.

ANDERSON: Before we talk about when it might end, Matthew just remind us who the key Russian stakeholders are, if you will, within this probe.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN ANCHOR: Well I mean there are quite a few, I`d have to say. I mean of the people that have indicted in the Mueller probe, 13 of

them are Russians. They`re all connected with the internet research agency, better known I think to many of our viewers as the Troll Factory,

which exists in St. Petersburg for most amongst them you have Yevgeny Viktorovich who`s an individual who`s very close to Vladimir Putin has been

dubbed Putin`s chef because he does the catering for the Kremlin as well as run this and own this research agency.

But it doesn`t stop there, there haven`t been any other indictments of Russians as such but of course there are all sorts of areas of

investigation. The Trump Tower meeting back in June 2016, we`ve all ready mentioned. Natalia Veselnitskaya was the lawyer that took part in that

meeting and who irritated Jared Kushner so much by banging on about the Magnitsky Act, instead of delivering him the dirt on Hilary Clinton that

they were all expecting.

That`s an area of investigation too and also a crucially, the role of Paul Manifort who was of course the campaign chairman in the Trump- the Trump

Campaign and in the early days of his Presidency. And his relationship with a prominent Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, through a previous

business relationship, Manifort owed Deripaska millions of dollars and he offered private briefings to the Russian billionaire.

Perhaps as a way of repaying some of that money, I actually tracked down Oleg Deripaska who`s very media shy when it comes to this issue and tried

to question him on it, take a listen.


CHANCE: It`s a big issue in the United States sir, did he offer you those private briefings to try and repay some of the debt to you? Is that why

the offer took?

OLEG DERIPASKA: Get lost please.


CHANCE: So he was not happy with those questions. Another Russian oligarch as well has been embroiled in this saga also. Viktor Vekselberg,

he`s being looked at now as - in terms of a company affiliated to his financial, sort of umbrella group, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to

Michael Cohen who`s Trumps lawyer, for the reason for that has not been made clear.

Was it for access to the President? Was it to - was it for some other kind of reason? That`s also now being looked at and so you know there`s still

so many angles that have yet to be explored in the Mueller probe.

ANDERSON: Stephen how long does this go on, this probe? And we know there`s huge public support for a public report of its conclusion. Is this

a given? Part of the mandate?

COLLINSON: We don`t know how long it`s going to go on Becky, it doesn`t seem that it`s close to wrapping up from the activity that we can ascertain

from witnesses going into the grand jury. It`s an interesting question about whether there would be a report as you mentioned if Mueller decides

that there`s no case to answer.

He can simply just say to the Justice Department that`s it, and wrap it all up. If that is not the case, he believes there was some activity that

needs to be looked at. Most people think he will do a report, that he will send to Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, who is over seeing this



It will be up to Rosenstein therefore to decide whether this should be sent to Congress for further action, potential impeachment proceedings et cetera

and whether it should be released publicly. It`s pretty difficult to believe that in Washington that something like that could be kept under

wraps and there are a lot of legal scholars who believe that this is such an important issue.

So critical to the future health of American institutions that the public is owed a report and an accounting so that we can move on finally .


COLLINSON: . finally from this 2016 election drama which is sort of infected politics in every institution in Washington right now.

ANDERSON: Matthew briefly it has been a year to the day of Mueller. It`s also been 365 days of course of Kremlin denial. Has Moscow`s position in

any way evolved on this probe?

CHANCE: Well not in terms of the denials, no. I mean even just today when we asked them about their thoughts on this sort of year anniversary of the

Mueller probe, they said look it`s not - we`re not even going to answer that. There`s nothing - it`s not on our agenda. But they noted that there

have been no substantial conclusions reached by it. I think what has evolved though is the Kremlin`s attitude and hopes and dreams for the Trump


They went into this administration thinking that he was their man in the White House, that was going to result in a massive turn around, a dramatic

turn around in the relationship between Russia and the Untied States which of course has been rocky for several years and that never happened. If

anything it has got even worse with sanctions being ratcheted even tighter by Washington on Russia. So there`s an immense sense of disappoint here.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is in Moscow, Stephen Collinson in Washington. To both of you, thank you for helping sort this all out for us and for even

more help in sort of some of this out. You can go online, lays out the full cast of characters in the tentacles of the probe and we will take

you behind the scenes inside the rather nondescript building where this investigation is being carried out.

North Korea has said through state media that it won`t talk to South Korea while its neighbors are engaged in military drills. Pyongyang canceled

Wednesday`s high level meeting with officials who saw at a sort notice. Sighting fanned (ph) joints drills by South Korea and the U.S. North`s

unification chairmen said further relations depend solely on South Koreas actions. Well meanwhile the up coming U.S. North Korea summit is on tender

hooks but the White House says it still believes it will go ahead. Ivan Watson has the details for you from Seoul.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky I think the news right now from the Korean peninsula is we`re in a wait and see mode. North Korea after a

charm(ph) offense(ph) that lasted for months suddenly canceled high level talks with South Korea, threatened to cancel next months planned summit

with president Trump amid complaints which include protests over U.S. South Korean annual joint military drills now underway. The response from

Washington and from Seoul have been somewhat muted, and I think that that silence speaks volumes.

President Trump for example has not retaliated on his Twitter account to direct insults from North Korea against his administration, against his

national security advisor John Bolton who the North Koreans described as repugnant and sinister. And accused the U.S. of direct military

provocations, he stayed quite thus far. John Bolton came out and said that this was out dated behavior from the North Koreans and that his bets were

that there still would be a summit next month but if the North Koreans weren`t ready to give up their nuclear weapons that it could be a very

short meeting.

We`ve had a statement come out in recent hours from North Koreans state media that has included a fresh round of criticism of the South Korean

government which a senior North Korean official described as a regime. And once again put blame on the South Koreans for the canceled high level talks

from Wednesday. But it does still appear that the U.S. and South Korea, they`re working together, they`re trying to figure out what it is exactly

that North Korea wants to continue with the peace process and they seem to be trying to avoid escalating the situation.

Notably South Korea which described the North Korean cancelation of the high level talks as growing pains in a very complicated peace process.


ANDERSON: Ivan Watson in Seoul for you. Well a new complication in what is this Ebola outbreak in the democratic republic of Congo.

[11:15:00] The virus has now moved from rural areas to importantly and densely population city. The countries health men call it a "new phase of

the disease" which has already killed nearly two dozen people. Now the first batch of experimental Ebola vaccines arrived in the capital of

Kinshasa on Wednesday with vaccinations set to start this weekend. The vaccine not even licensed yet but was found to be effective in a 2016


Let`s get you to David McKenzie who has been Congo recently, he`s back in Johannesburg now. Just how worrying David, is this news that the virus

outbreak has reached a large city? And what do we know about the effectiveness of what is this experimental vaccine?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky it`s very worrying one senior WHO, World Health Organization official said it`s a game changer.

When this virus as we saw in the huge outbreak in West Africa hits urban areas it`s extremely difficult to contain because they have to isolate the

suspected cases and then later confirm whether they have Ebola or not. And trace all of their contacts. That becomes much more difficult when you

have to isolate urban areas then rural areas. So one confirmed case in Mbandaka in the North West of the country.

A city of more then one million people and close to boarders of neighboring countries and a major thoroughfare on the Congo river. So that is

worrying. Now in terms of the question you ask about the vaccine, this is an experimental vaccine that showed incredibly good results in the later

stages of that outbreak in West Africa. But it hasn`t been licensed and as such it has very strict protocols. Some 4,000 odd vaccines are in the

capital Kinshasa. They`re trying to set up a cold chain where they`ll take that vaccine up to minus 60 degrees centigrade, as close as they can to the

epicenter and then distribute it to the contacts of people suspected of Ebola symptoms and the contacts of those contact.

It`s a huge logistical challenge and because it`s in that urban area we can expect the World Health Organization to act as fast as they can to stamp

out this outbreak, Becky. But we`ll know later tomorrow when they have a press conference where they could announce that this is a global health

emergency. But at this stage it`s unclear whether they will do so or not. Becky.

ANDERSON: David McKenzie with the very latest for you from Johannesburg this evening. Still to come tonight we have less then 48 hours until the

royal wedding, concerned Meghan Markle breaks her silence on her ailing father. That after this.



ANDERSON: You`re watching CNN this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back to Abu Dhabi. Going to get you out of here and

thousands of miles away because it`s less than 48 hours until the U.K.`s Royal Family welcomes its newest member.

It`s the wedding it seems the world is watching. But it`s also far more than a royal fairytale. For some it shows real progress for diversity as

U.S. biracial actress Meghan Markel marries Britain`s Prince Harry entering into what is this exclusively white royal family. Well earlier "CNN Talk"

discussed some of the challenges facing the newest royal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I think about her being biracial and entering this family. I think - I think about some of the moments I have

experienced as a woman of color where you are in rooms that are predominately white, and some of the statements are made where people I

guess forget you`re different and speak to some of those stereotypes and kind of those ugly undertones and forgetting that you are other. And that

challenging you always have of do I speak up? Do I challenge it? And I now every woman, I know you Jessica (ph) and Bonnie (ph) you probably

experience that in various spaces.

And I wonder how Meghan is going to cope with that. Because this has been a very insular family and which is kind of like Emily said as we`ve seen in

public spaces, some dubious troubling attitudes. How does Meghan deal with that in the personal space? I wonder about that.

I think it`s important to say also because Meghan`s been referred to as black in - on various platforms. Meghan isn`t a black woman. Meghan is

mixed heritage and there is a level of privilege which just comes with having lighter skin.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My experience as a mixed heritage woman is not the same as some of my friends who are fully black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so happy you said that. I am so happy you said that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it`s not the same, and practically if they are darker skinned.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And to not acknowledge that is to ignore something - an ideology which is so unhelpful to all of us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that is there. But she is a mixed heritage woman who from my experience working with her is very comfortable about embracing

her black side. And she is very willing and courageous in using her platform to speak her truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So she wants - she`s comfortable do that. Is the black community comfortable with having her on board?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what I wanted to add to and Isha - Isha and Jessica (ph) and I we`re speaking about this. You come here as an African

American and you are taught she`s the University educated and very sophisticated that there is an African (inaudible), there is a panoply,

there is a world.

But when you come here and you live here you find out that you`re an American. In fact the first time I was ever called an American was in the

United Kingdom. And I was quite shocked because I heard it and I thought are they talking about me? And yes, with all the good, the bad, and the



ANDERSON: Well two days to go now. And it`s official. Meghan Markel will marry Prince Harry without her father present. Sets (ph) off the back of

media reports that Thomas Markel is recovering from heart surgery.

Meantime a taste of what is ahead. You`re looking at a military rehearsal for the wedding procession. It took place just a short time ago. In

Windsor a small visit into the Pomp and Circumstance that you would expect and that is planned.

I want to bring in "CNN`s" Anna Stewart. She`s live in Windsor for us. Amid the celebrations, we`ll get back to some of those images of the

rehearsals in a moment. One major question does remain. Who will now walk the bride down the isle?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is the big question. After days of will he, wont he come? We now know for sure that Thomas Markel

will not be attending the wedding. We don`t know who will be taking his place to walk Meghan down the isle.

But in a statement by Kensington Palace she said "Sadly my father will not be attending our wedding. I`ve always cared for my father. And hope he

can be given the space he needs to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who`s offered generous messages of support. And please know

how much Harry and I are looking forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."

Now while we understand that Thomas Markel won`t be attending due to health concerns. Of course seems he was reporting he had a heart operation which

will take some time to recover from. That has also been the story about him staging photos with the paparazzi.

And it`s been highly embarrassing for the Royal Family. But it`s also raised questions as to whether they did enough to protect him. And to

advise him on how deal with the U.K. media.

ANDERSON: Alright. Well look, tell us about some of these rehearsals we`ve been watching if you will.

STEWART: Yes. I mean on to the fun stuff. Earlier today I was on Long Walk which is where the carriage procession will go through. And Prince

Harry himself drove on past, apparently with Meghan Markel in the car to, although we couldn`t quite spot her in the back there.

And we`ve had a great dress rehearsal. Now for the procession you know the Royal day only involved 250 members of the Armed Forces. Many of them will

be inside Windsor Castle lining the streets within there. Plus there will be many on the staircase as the Royal couple come out after the wedding.

And they will be there.

Not just to look good. Although I`m sure they will because these men love the uniforms. But they are there for security first and foremost. We also

got to see the carriage that the couple will be using. The (inaudible) was driven by four Windsor grey horses as it will be on Saturday.

It was all closed up obviously on the day it`s expected to be another lovely sunny day like this. It will be open and it will take about 25

minutes to go the whole way through the town and there will be thousands of people, 10`s of thousands of people coming here to watch it, Becky.

ANDERSON: And [it`s in] Windsor it looks like a beautiful day there. And we wish them the best. Thank you. Now you can have a front row seat at

the wedding of the year. "CNN" cordially inviting you to be a part of our special coverage as Harry and Meghan tie the knot. That is Saturday, here

on CNN.

All live from Abu Dhabi. Your watching "Connect the World" it is just before half past seven here. This is our Middle East broadcasting help.

And events in Jerusalem and Gaza, two places barely an hour apart dominated the headlines earlier this week, and the (inaudible) a Palestinian American

lawyer who`s called out the U.S. for its role in this conflict.


[11:30:00] ANDERSON: It`s half past seven here in Abu Dhabi. This is our Middle East broadcasting hub. You`re watching CNN. This is Connect the

World, and I`m Becky Anderson.

Welcome back, and for those who are just joining us, as ever at this time, we always say you are more than welcome.

Days after the deadliest violent (INAUDIBLE) we`ve seen in years, a senior member of Hamas says 50 of the people killed by Israeli forces in Monday`s

protests were members of the group.

The Israelis say that supports what they`ve claimed all along -- that Hamas orchestrated the violent demonstration. Let`s bring in CNN`s Ben Wedeman.

He is live in Gaza.

And, Ben, according to the Israeli newspaper, Harretz, the top spokesman for the Israeli military has reportedly said that Hamas won the, quote,

"P.R. war."

He said, quote, "We haven`t been able to get the message out, what we are defending and the winning picture, overwhelming by knockout, unfortunately,

have been the graphics from the Palestinian side," by which I think he means the graphic images of those being killed.

He says, "The amount of casualties has done us tremendous disservice. Unfortunately, it`s been very difficult to tell our story. Hamas wanted

the casualties. Hamas wanted people dying."

Ben, the Israelis have also said that the demonstrations were orchestrated. We are talking about dozens of dead people. So to some it might seem very

odd that this is being touted as a P.R. win that Hamas wanted. Your thoughts?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so that`s (ph) the absurd nature of this struggle, where a struggle for land, a struggle for politics, for

power, somehow becomes a P.R. game.

I mean, the facts are as follows: it`s the original organizer of this series of marches, which began on the 30th of March, is not affiliated with


But there`s no question that Hamas encouraged people to take part in these demonstrations, provided transportation to those who couldn`t otherwise get

to them, and certainly used their media outlets, the mosques, and whatnot to encourage people to go to those demonstrations.

And, of course, even today we heard a nearby mosque and a car doing down the street with a loudspeaker encouraging people to go back to the area

near the fence that separates Gaza from Israel, to do it all over again.

Now, last night on Baladna, which is a local T.V. station here in Gaza, Salah Al-Bardawil, who`s a member of the Hamas Palid (ph) Bureau, came out

and said, "Hamas had 50 martyrs among the dead."

Now, the question is, were these so-called "martyrs" members of Izz ad-Din and al-Qassam (ph) Brigades, the military brigades, or were they merely

people in some way affiliated with Hamas?

Maybe they worked for the Hamas Ministry of Public Works. Maybe they were members of families that are known to be affiliated with Hamas. It`s not

at all clear.

What is clear is that at least 60 people were killed by Israeli bullets in the area along the fence that separates Gaza from Israel, that more than

1,300 people were wounded with gunfire, and those shear numbers are going to be very useful for Hamas and those who are in favor of the Palestinian

cause to bring home to the point that, perhaps, Israel did use excessive force on Monday. Becky?

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Gaza for you. Ben, thank you. Monday`s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem came as the violence unfolded in

Gaza, and the world noticed what was a jarring contrast.

Take a look at the cover of the New York Daily News with the headline, "Daddy`s Little Ghoul". That was Tuesday`s headline as blood spilled just

kilometers away. It reads, "Ivanka Trump all smiles at embassy unveil."

Prominent Americans also spoke out about the violence, including producer and director Judd Apatow. He slammed the New York Times for their Tweet

saying, "Dozens of Palestinians have died in protest."

And comedian Chelsea Handler Tweeted in part (ph), "I`m glad Ivanka and Jared can take time away from their busy schedules to celebrate moving the

capital while 50 plus Palestinians have been killed."

Well, my next guest says that Palestinians have no choice but to keep protesting. "This resistance is not about returning to the 1947 borders of

some notion of the past," --


-- she writes in the Washington Post, "but about laying claim to a better future in which Palestinians and their kids can live in freedom and

equality rather than being subjugated as second-class citizens or worse."

Noura Erakat is a Palestinian-American human rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University in the U.S. She is also co-founder of

the online magazine Jaddaliyya.

And (ph) we spoke earlier on in the week, and I appreciate you being back on with us. This is a struggle about laying claim to a better future. In

that (ph) better future, is Hamas fully representative of Palestinians?

NOURA ERAKAT, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Hamas is definitely not fully representative of all Palestinians, but a significant sector of them. They

were electorally and democratically elected in 2006.

But I think here it`s important to point out why we`re pointing fingers at Hamas. It`s part of a dehumanizing project, because of an Islam-aphobic

troupe around Muslims being violent, being driven by irrational hatred, we are able to collapse all Palestinians and their struggle for freedom in

that particular demonizing troupe to justify lethal use of force where it wasn`t necessitated.

Also note that we don`t punish any other population for democratic leaders that they elect. For example, the United States elected the Bush

Administration, the second one, which decimated Iraq based on false information, actually killed about half a million to a million Iraqis.

No one -- no one would justify or excuse the targeting of American civilians for electing Bush into office. And so why are we even allowing

this to fly?

ANDERSON: Yes. And you make some very good points. I want to just stick with the notion of Hamas, just for the time being, because it`s very much

making headlines this week, of course.

Ben, reporting, as he describes it, the sad absurdity of this struggle is that power becomes a P.R. game. Let me put this to you: is Hamas doing

Palestinians a service or an injustice at the moment?

ERAKAT: Hamas is, unfortunately, not doing a service to the Palestinians, because rather than combat (ph) these media troupes, they`re also

opportunistically claiming these lives as their own in order to enhance their own standing. That goes without contest.

But the problem, here, is let`s assume that these were Hamas members. Hamas employs the public sector. Hamas was democratically elected.

Basically, you can argue that all those Palestinians are legitimate targets because they somehow supported Hamas.

That`s not the question. The question should be -- we be asking is, "Why is Israel using lethal force against civilian protesters who were on their

land, who did not pose a lethal threat to Israeli civilians, Israeli soldiers, or Israeli military installations?"

Don`t make this about Hamas. Keep your eyes on what Israel is doing. Stop blaming the victim, and scrutinize what the aggressor is doing here.

Why did Nikki Haley walk out of the U.N. Security Counsel when the Palestinian representative was about to speak, asking for an international


Why, on March 30, did Avigdor Lieberman explain that there (ph) will never be a domestic investigation of Israel`s use of force, and they will thwart

all international investigations?

And so, yes, I agree with you. Hamas is part of the problem here, but the bigger problem is international complicity in allowing Israel the

continuous lethal use of force, and dehumanizing Palestinians.

ANDERSON: And let`s talk, then, about the international community, here, because Egyptian officials have reportedly pressured the leader of Hamas to

reduce protests along the Gaza border.

Israeli intelligence telling Israeli radio, "It was made clear to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh what will happen to Hamas if they cross the borders

in both senses of the word."

But a Hamas spokesman denies that Egypt put any pressure on the Islamist organization, saying, "The Egyptian brothers` (ph) position is always to

avoid pushing Gaza towards a military confrontation."

I want to put this to you, at this point: who is supporting (ph) the Palestinian cause (inaudible) who is supporting the Palestinian at present,

and do you see other Arab regimes paying (ph) anything more than lip service to the cause and to the prospect of any peace going forward?

And I`m thinking about the U.S. still being a broker, here. Should they be one?

ERAKAT: Well, first of all, about whether Hamas is actually quelling protest -- Hamas, actually, in its interest, in its political pursuits,

because it is a rational political player, has quelled any kind of confrontations within Gaza.

Because it serves its interest, it has been vying to enter into (ph) a unity (ph) government, and save itself from complete bankruptcy because it

has been unable to continue its governance. That`s one.

Second, about international support -- the international community overwhelming supports the Palestinian cause for freedom. They -- that is

not the issue. The issue is diplomatic intransigence, the issue is political opportunism, and an inability to mobilize, to overcome U.S. veto

power, for example at the U.N. Security Counsel, to hold Israel to account in international criminal court, dozens of Security Counsel resolutions to

actually move this needle.


And, finally, what you point out in terms of the Arab governments -- they`re part of the problem, too. There is a shift in the Middle East, one

that Condoleezza Rice described as the new (ph) birth pangs (ph) of the Middle East, that has turned the Arab worlds against one another in order

to vie for either U.S. tutelage or, instead, against what they consider the axis of evil of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

And that, unfortunately, is also part of the problem, and Palestinians are not only fighting against the political opportunism, diplomatic

intransigence, Arab apathy, but it continues to fight for freedom.

And thankfully, they have the world conscious in a grass-roots movement that supports them, evidenced by a growing boycott divestment and sanctions


ANDERSON: Noura Erakat, it was good having you on. Thank you for your thoughts, and thank you for joining us here on CNN. This is Connect the


Live from Abu Dhabi tonight, you`re watching the show. We hear from Iran`s football team coach up next about the world cup, is (ph) his message, and

his message for his old friend, Sir Alex Ferguson.


ANDERSON: Celebrations in Madrid after local football club Atletico won the Europa League for the third time. I`m not getting this right. My

third time was (ph).

They beat Olympique de Marseille three-nil in the final strike by (ph) Antoine Griezmann led the way for Atletico, scoring twice.

There could be even more joy in Madrid if Real win the Champion`s League Final in just over a week from now.

Welcome back. You`re watching Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. With European Club Football wrapping up the season, attention will be

turning to the World Cup, which kicks off in less than a month.

As we are based in Abu Dhabi, we obviously have keen interest in teams from the Middle East and North Africa, and this time the representation is

record high.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Morocco, Trinidad (ph) are all heading to Russia with high hopes. Well (ph), the Saudis will open the tournament against

the hosts on June 14, four Thursdays from now.

Iran will play against Morocco in their first match the following day.

So let`s get you to Tehran (ph) where CNN`s Fred Pleitgen caught up with the head coach of the Iran National Team. What did he tell you?


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he told me he`s going to have a pretty difficult World Cup, Becky. Iran is in what some people call the

"killer group", or the "group of death" with Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, so they`re going to have a really, really tough time at the World Cup.

But at the same time, the Iranians have also been really successful when it came to getting to the World Cup. They were actually the second team after

Brazil that qualified for the World Cup, and there`s many people here in Tehran who believe that their head coach, Carlos Queiroz, a Portuguese

national -- that he is a large part of the reason why they`ve been so successful.

Now, he is also very much a disciple of Sir Alex Ferguson. Of course, there`s been a lot of concern about Sir Alex over the past couple of weeks,

and he still keeps in touch with him.

So I asked him in our interview how he feels about Sir Alex Ferguson, and how he`s doing. Here`s what he had to say.


CARLOS QUEIROZ, IRAN NATIONAL TEAM HEAD COACH: When I talk about him, I talk -- I reduce -- I try to reduce to simple words that, for me, have a

great meaning.

Sometimes people don`t pay attention to the meaning of the words, but when I talk about him, I talk about gratitude, and a friend. And when you

think, really, about the values that sustain what is gratitude and friendship, you understand what I feel about him.

And in this moment, special how much worry I am with his recovery, but knowing, as I know very close, working with him morning, night, minute by

minute, I know how much it is a fighter, and I`m sure he will beat this (inaudible) and then (ph) he`ll be back to the game.


PLEITGEN: Truly (ph) very much a friendship that transcends football, Becky, but of course, we also talked very much about the World Cup, as


And the Iranians -- you know, they`re in a situation, like many of the smaller teams at the World Cup -- is that a lot of the players that they

have, a lot of their national players are playing abroad.

Now, the Iranians have had their training camp going on over the past couple of days, but not many players have actually managed to come here to

Tehran, yet.

When we were at one of their practice sessions, there were only six players who were around. The rest are expected to trickle in very soon, and then

they`ll be heading to Russia soon.

I caught up with one of their strikers, who told me that despite the fact that they`re one of the smaller teams, they believe that they can go all

the way. Here`s what he had to say.


KARIM ANSARIFARD, IRAN NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM PLAYER: So this is our dream, for sure. This is our dream. We cannot before the game to say,

"OK, we`re going to lose," or something like that.

For sure, we do believe in our dream. We believe in our dream, and what I said before is, "We have to work harder than another team to be stronger in

this competition, in the biggest in the world."

World Cup is the biggest competition for us, so everybody`s excited and everybody`s ready for this competition, for sure.


PLEITGEN: So that was Karim Ansarifard, part of the Iran National Team, and I can tell you from being here in this city that there is a lot of

excitement about the football World Cup coming up.

And, you know, the Iranians had a pretty good showing at the last World Cup. They had that one really close match against Argentina, where it

looked like they might get a draw. It was that one stroke of messy genius, that then, unfortunately, lost them the game.

So they hope to do better this time, and they certainly believe that their team is a more well-rounded one than during the World Cup in 2014, Becky.

ANDERSON: We talk a lot about sports diplomacy, and this region could do with a bit of -- an injection of positive diplomacy at present.

Does sport, in this case, given who else is playing from this region -- I include the Saudi Arabians, for example, in that -- does sport have the

power to change the world, or perhaps the region, at least?

PLEITGEN: Well, it`ll be difficult at the moment, I think, but I do think a lot of people here are all sort quite happy that this sport event is

coming up, and hoping that, perhaps, it could take the minds of some people off politics, and maybe bring some of these countries together.

As you`ve noted, the Saudis are also in the World Cup, the Moroccans are in the World Cup. This region, you know, is having a pretty difficult time at

the moment.

But at the same time, you know, you do have that love for football here in Iran, as well, and I think for some people, they`re just happy to be able

to see their team go to the World Cup, perform there, and they really hope that their team might have a chance, despite that they have this really

difficult group.

But you can really see how football is something, in this country, that really brings people together. And, really, all they want to do is go to

the World Cup, watch the World Cup, and have a good time, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, as they do across the rest of the region. Thank you, Fred. Fred`s in Tehran for you, tonight.

I`m in Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World. Coming up, the industry that has combined modesty and fashion, and a look at why Ramadan makes it come

to life.


[11:50:00] ANDERSON: Muslim women wearing the hijab, or head cover, have made strides in the mainstream media in 2016. The world`s second-largest

retailer, H&M, featured a hijabi model in an awareness campaign.

Well, Muslim-American journalist Noor Tagouri appeared in Playboy Magazine in a series about people risking everything they do for what they love, and

fashion giant Dolce and Gabanna launched its very own line of hijabs and abayas.

Well, then, it is no surprise that modest fashion is a booming industry -- we are talking multi-billion dollars -- and that the month of Ramadan is

seen as, "Well, it`s an ideal time to show off these fancy frocks."


ANDERSON: It`s edgy. It`s trendy. And above all, it`s modest. There`s a new kid on the fashion block, and it`s already worth over $44 billion.

SAFIYA ABDALLAH, FASHION DESIGNER: So the modest fashion movement, it`s actually a great thing because, in some ways, even with the high-end

couture brands, they`re bringing normalization to hijabs.

ANDERSON: Many Muslims want to express their faith while looking fun and fashion-forward, driving an industry that spans from the sleep boutiques of

haute couture all the way to local designers, like Safiya Abdallah.

ABDALLAH: When I first started covering my hair and wearing hijab five years ago, there were so many limitations. It was like black abayas. Now

you see color abayas, you see beading.

ANDERSON: The hijab, Islamic head scarf, is an expression of faith for many Muslim women, and in the Muslim month of fasting, large get-togethers

mean always looking your best.

ABDALLAH: In Ramadan I feel like it`s my busiest time. It`s the time I make the best sales. Everybody in the Middle East, at least here, they get

very ostentatious, where the dinners, the buffets, the (inaudible) and they can`t wear the same abaya twice.

ANDERSON: Safiya`s (ph) sales typically double in the holy month -- a double-edged sword, she says.

ABDALLAH: It`s a good thing, but it`s also a bad thing, because I feel like it takes away from the time that I could be spending, you know,

bettering myself.

ANDERSON: A faithful fashionista`s story of spirituality and making sure Muslim women far and wide can stay modest while looking good in a selfie.

ABDALLAH: Ramadan kareem.

ANDERSON: From a glamorous industry to a arguably even more attractive Facebook page -- do the fashion-forward thing and check us out on

I`m Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. So from our team here in Abu Dhabi, in Atlanta, and in London, to those of you who are fasting, we

wish you a very blessed Ramadan. Thank you all.