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CONNECT THE WORLD
Source: Special Coverage of Eve of Crucial Israeli Elections; Prime Minister Netanyahu Facing Possible Indictment; CNN Drives the Divide, Three Different Towns in Israel; U.S. Designates Iran's Revolutionary Guard a Terrorist Group; Centrist Benny Gantz Poses Stiff Challenge to Netanyahu; Netanyahu Vows to Annex West Bank Settlements; The Hopes and Concerns of Israeli Arab Voters; Inside Sudan's Brutal Crackdown on Anti-Government Protests. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired April 8, 2019 - 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: The Baha'i gardens literally translating from Arabic as the beautiful gardens. You can see why as the
sun set glistens on the hanging terraces. The domed building there, a place of worship for a tiny group of people here Israel. A symbol of the
complex and even fractured religions and politics here that are literally pre-biblical.
Hello and welcome to what is this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. We are live in Haifa, in Israel on the eve of crucial
elections, and there is so much at stake as voters get ready to head to the polls.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life against the toughest challenger he has faced in years. We are, as I say,
in Haifa, Israel's third largest city. Bringing you extensive election coverage this hour. The city often held up as a model of diversity and
coexist between its Jewish and Arab citizens. And that's a reminder that Israel's political future isn't the only thing at stake in these elections.
But perhaps the entire peace process as well.
Well, Mr. Netanyahu trying to win last minute support from the right wing with a promise to annex all West Bank settlements. His main challenger,
Benny Gantz, now firing back, calling that irresponsible. Here's why that support is so crucial to the Prime Minister. He wants to keep the
headlines off corruption scandals that could get him indicted. He's not running head-to-head with Gantz, these are Parliamentary elections. No
Prime Minister in Israel's history has won enough seats outright to avoid governing by coalition. This time will be no different.
Now the final polls before the elections show Mr. Netanyahu's Likud party running slightly behind Gantz's Blue and White party. But look at the
other parties involved. Prime Minister Netanyahu has a better chance of forming a ruling coalition if he can keep the right wing under his fold.
Let's get to CNN's Oren Liebermann, who is live for you in Jerusalem at the CNN Bureau. And before we talk about coalition building and what the real
sort of priorities and policies are if any, because in the end it seems about personalities. Let me ask you this one question. Has the Israeli
Prime Minister just been gifted an early election prize by President Trump with the U.S. president's decision to designate the Iranian Revolutionary
Guard as a foreign terror organization? Some will ask is there anything the Trump administration won't do to get this Prime Minister reelected?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well this certainly looks much like U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights like a
political gift for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They came just two weeks before the election. In fact, President Donald Trump signed the
official proclamation with Benjamin Netanyahu sitting next to him in Washington. And this, even if this isn't as blatant or as big of a sort of
political gift, it certainly follows in that suit. U.S. designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization.
And we saw Netanyahu's response. We knew it was coming. It came a few minutes ago in a tweet from Netanyahu. Where he said, I'd like to thank my
dear friend, President Donald Trump, for recognizing and declaring that Iran's Revolutionary Guard is a terror organization. But then in that same
tweet he appeared to take some credit for it, saying, thank you for responding to another one of my requests.
So regardless of what Trump meant by it, whether the timing was for Netanyahu that's exactly how Netanyahu is playing this. Let's remember
that Trump is more popular here than he is in the United States. Netanyahu is more than happy to play up the warm, the strong relationship he has with
the American leader going into tomorrow's election.
ANDERSON: I started this by suggesting that this election feels like it's less about policy, more about personalities. And in the end, from those
we've been talking to here in Haifa and up the Mediterranean coast and various towns today, this is a referendum about Benjamin Netanyahu,
LIEBERMANN: It is for the vast majority of Israeli voters. A lot of the opposition parties have essentially run an anti-Netanyahu campaign. Sure
they had other elements in their but the big thing has been let's change, let's get Netanyahu out of there.
[11:05:00] Part of that is Netanyahu himself. He's focused not only on his foreign policy and that means not only foreign trips, for example, the U.S.
and Russia, but he's hosted leaders here. He wants to be in that photo, that puts him at the center of the campaign itself. The corruption
investigations, they continue to make headway. And that has Netanyahu's squarely in the headlines as well. So as much as there are other issues,
course, economy, the cost of living, security, Netanyahu himself is still the biggest issue in this campaign, I would say.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem. We -- as I say -- are in Haifa. This is Israel's third largest city. And we've been here for some
hours now. It lends its name to a region of mixed communities, faiths and income levels. I took to the road to visit three other towns, close
together but in many ways, worlds apart.
ANDERSON: We're in Israel, driving the divide. Route 2 slicing through Israeli society. Our first stop, Jisr az-Zarqa. This is the only
remaining Arab town on Israel's coast. It's one of the poorest and most densely populated in the country. This is a village which is ridden with
crime, densely populated. Life here feels hemmed in. For many of the Arab men here, fishing is their main livelihood. I want to go down and talk to
some of the fishermen here down on the coast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No, Netanyahu never gave us our rights and will never do.
ANDERSON: Who are you going to vote for? You're not going to vote? Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I never voted and will never vote. It's helpless. No one will help us. Not Jews and not Arabs.
ANDERSON: Well it's clear that the fishermen here in Jisr making a living from the across the road from Jisr now to a blue-collar Israeli Jewish town
to found out how life is for residents there.
Or Akiva is a working-class town. Back in the 1950s this became home to many Moroccan and Romanian Jewish immigrants in the 1990's. The population
here swelled from the post-Soviet area. This is a staunchly Likud voting population. And we want to find out what's going on with the political
fair this time around. Let's find out how their voting this time around. I think it's pretty clear actually. Why are you voting for Bibi?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He cleaned up here and made history like no other Prime Minister or president before him.
ANDERSON: Well it's clear that Bibi's head is not on the chopping block in this town. Let's go to his home is and find out what the real meat of the
issue is there.
Life here for the 5,000 well off residents of this gated community of Caesarea, couldn't be more different. The Prime Minister owns a house in
Caesarea. But will his neighbors vote for him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Benjamin Netanyahu, we love him. Just for the quite simple reason because I think he have done to this country, in the last ten
years or even more than that, more than anybody else.
ANDERSON: Who will you vote for?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I don't like him.
ANDERSON: You're talking about Benjamin Netanyahu. Why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like what's happening in the country now.
ANDERSON: Arab or Jew, rich or poor, for all the differences and overlaps coming they're joined by a common destiny here in Israel and one they are
still figuring out.
Let's bring in the man who until last year was the mayor of this Israel's third largest city, Haifa. His name Yona Yahav, and he's joining me now
live. I took a trip up route 2 our viewers have just seen the result of that. We were in the only Arab town on the Mediterranean coast. I saw
evidence of such poverty there in a blue-collar working-class town of Israeli Jews who are big Benjamin Netanyahu supporters. And then Caesarea
where the Prime Minister has his home. There is such a polarization between those who have and those who have not on both sides. So what can
be done about this?
YONA YAHAV, FORMER MAYOR OF HAIFA: Take the example from Haifa. Our biggest failure is that we couldn't export what's going here more than 100
years. This is one city, five denominations.
[11:10:00] And we were born into the situations that we are living together. We are honoring one each other, and here all the denomination
succeeded to break the glass roof.
ANDERSON: And still, sir, with respect, when you walk off this main drag, and this is a wonderful city and a real model of peaceful coexistence. But
when you get off the main drag, there is evidence of inequality between Arabs and Jews even here in Haifa.
YAHAV: Not in Haifa, no.
ANDERSON: Well sir, I think there are. There are areas here.
YAHAV: No, there is area here in which we invested a hell of a lot of money in order to upgrade them. And the name of the game is honor them and
give their feel they're part of what's going on here.
ANDERSON: You're talking about Arabs.
YAHAV: Yes. And we fail, the Israeli people fail, especially the leadership, in embracing the Arab population, the local Palestinian
population. And what's going on now, there is a (INAUDIBLE) Palestinian populations, there is a tendency of Israelization, they want to be with us.
These extending numbers of Arabic mothers who are sending their kids to Jewish schools. They want to be with us.
ANDERSON: Listen, I wonder how the views of Palestinians in Gaza and in the West Bank would ever be reflected in an election like this that they
cannot vote in? We can discuss that, because that's important. If we're talking about issues here, surely that is an existential issue for both
Arabs and for Jews. And yet they cannot vote in this election.
YAHAV: Nowadays discrimination can't exist. And can't exist for long term. It doesn't work. It will explode.
ANDERSON: Is this a country heading towards apartheid?
YAHAV: If this kind of people will get the lead in this country, maybe.
ANDERSON: Well, OK. Let's talk about those kind of people. You've got Benjamin Netanyahu on one side, Benny Gantz on the other. When you look at
their policies, it's pretty hard to put a paper between them. Benny Gantz's policy towards the Palestinians sort of reflects where Benjamin
Netanyahu was four, five, six years ago. Where is this country headed? And who is going to win this election?
YAHAV: Look, there's an expression which was by two of the most extremist leadership of Israel, one is Menachem Begin and the second one is Ariel
Sharon. What you see from here you didn't see from there. What you have seen from the benches, from the back benches you don't see when you are the
Prime Minister. Therefore Menachem Begin gave back whole Sinai. And Ariel Sharon withdrew from the Gaza Strip.
ANDERSON: Take back Gaza, of course.
YAHAV: And this is what will happen also in the future.
ANDERSON: And Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to annex the settlements in the West Bank should he get elected.
YAHAV: This is bull shit.
ANDERSON: Thank you, sir. We haven't got a beeper so I'll just have to let that one go. As we move into the final hours of this election, it's
becoming clearer and clearer to me as I speak to people around here that this is an election, this is a referendum about Benjamin Netanyahu and
there has been a huge Trump effect when it comes to support for him. Am I right in saying that?
YAHAV: Definitely so. This is the ugliest campaign ever. And I've been in very many campaigns. In the first campaign no issue, which is our --
for the importance of our existence was raised ever just being one against the other. Dividing these tribes. You have to bear in mind that this
society after 70 years is not a society that still tribes. Only 20 years ago we adopted 25 percent of our population from Russia. This doesn't work
yet. And now to do what the Prime Minister does, it's inconceivable.
ANDERSON: I should have started by saying that the former mayor of Haifa is no fan of the incumbent Prime Minister, but I think that's probably
YAHAV: Yes, but I was running three time, in the three election I got 90 percent from the Arabs.
ANDERSON: Got you. Thank you, sir. It's been a pleasure having you on.
Haifa often held up as a city in Israel where Israeli and Arab citizens live relatively harmoniously. Just last year, he said that Haifa's Jews
and Arabs are the same Jews and Arabs as in Israel but here things work in a stable way. And we've discussed whether that stability is being tested
by this election. Still to come as Israelis head to the polls. We'll look at the country's political fractures with the daughter of renowned Israeli
author and peace advocate Amos Oz.
[11:15:02] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I vote for Bibi because I think he's the only one with a lot of experience. He's the only one who knows how to talk, how to
convince the people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I hope Bibi won't be elected. He didn't do good things for this country, he stole, and he hasn't helped
the country progress forward, especially with the young people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my opinion, they're all the same. They're not all of them towards the peace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I used to call for boycotting the elections and look for an alternative for Knesset. But this time I call
Arabs to vote because I believe this state should be for all citizens. They're playing a game to let us out of politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The view from the ground in Haifa. Now that's important to our next story here because I began this hour talking to Oren Liebermann about
what is surely music to the ears of the man hoping to be crowned king Bibi. Just a day before the election President Trump announcing that the U.S. is
labelling Islam's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. It's the first time the U.S. has ever named a part of another government a
foreign terrorist organization. And it's part of an increasingly aggressive strategy by the White House towards Iran. U.S. Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo spoke a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Our designation makes clear to the world that the Iranian regime not only supports terrorist groups but
engages in terrorism itself. This designation also brings unprecedented pressure on figures who lead the regime's terror campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Right. Let's get to our Frederik Pleitgen, he's in Berlin tonight. He's travelled and reported extensively from Iran. And as this
line made official by the U.S. President and indeed the Secretary of State, today so we have already heard from Iran.
[11:20:00] The threat of a tit-for-tat retaliation should the Revolutionary Guard be designated. Just explain.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Becky. And one of the things that we heard just a couple
minutes ago was that that apparently the foreign ministry of Iran has said it will propose to Iran's Supreme Security Council to designate the U.S.
military forces in what they call the West Asia region, which is obviously the greater Middle East region around that area, around where Iran is
situated, to declare the U.S. forces a terrorist organization as a tit-for- tat response.
That's something that the Iranians have announced that they would do before this announcement took place, and apparently that's something that Iran's
Foreign Ministry is now proposing.
One of the things that's been going on over the last couple weeks, the past couple of months, I've been speaking with members of the Revolutionary
Guard, including the head of the Revolutionary Guard, Mohammad Ali Jafari. And he was saying if something like this happens that Iran could for
instance, target American installations in the Middle East.
One of the things that we keep hearing is, look, America has so many bases, all of those could become targets if, in fact, the United States escalates
the situation with Iran. Obviously, something like this is something that the Iranians would believe is a large-scale escalation.
And if you look at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, I think it was yesterday there was a tweet from Javad Zarif, where he linked all this or he tried to
link all of this, to the place where you are right now, Becky, to Israel. Where he said that he believes that this might have something to do with
the Israeli elections. He said to all the Netanyahu-firsters -- he put that ass a hashtag. By saying that he believed the U.S. could be going
into a quagmire in the Middle East if in fact it takes a tougher line on Iran.
Obviously, the Iranians believing the Trump administration is doing this to somehow help Benjamin Netanyahu in that upcoming election. Of course, very
much unclear whether or not that is actually the case, but certainly the Iranians have said that there would be a staunch response. They have said
that U.S. assets in the Middle East could be a target.
And if you look at some of the places where the U.S. and Iran are in very close proximity, there certainly does seem to be that threat. You have for
instance, Syria, you have for instance, Iraq very much. Where of course, Iran is a very, very strong force on the ground there as well. So
certainly, this is something that could be a very large escalation and very much something that is seen as such by the Iranian government and no doubt
by the Revolutionary Guard as well -- Becky.
ANDERSON: And Iran front and center on the mind of one Benjamin Netanyahu, the incumbent Prime Minister facing an election just 24 hours or less from
now. Thank you, Fred.
We got through a lot this hour already. So let's just step back a tad and talk about not just the news but the stories. The more fundamental
mechanics of what we are seeing here. My next guess is one of the top brains on Israeli society and current affairs. She's also the daughter of
the highly admired Israeli novelist, Amos Oz. He wrote "A Tale of Love and Darkness" and was one of the first Israelis to advocate for a two-state
solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Many called your father the conscience of Israel. Fania Oz-Salzberger, welcome. What would your dad
make of what we are seeing today here?
FANIA OZ-SALZBERGER. ISRAELI WRITER AND HISTORY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA: Hello, Becky. It's good to be here despite the wind, which is
nothing compared to the post-election storm we are going to face in this country. I cannot tell you what my father would have said. I can say what
my father did say, and with your permission, also a little bit of mine.
ANDERSON: Of course.
OZ-SALZBERGER: So what would you like to know?
ANDERSON: He knew Benny Gantz, the opposition leader, and the thorn in the side of Benjamin Netanyahu.
ANDERSON: At present they are running neck and neck. This is a very, very tight election. What do you think of Benny Gantz? Because a lot of our
viewers won't know who the leader of the opposition is.
OZ-SALZBERGER: Yes, so first the facts and then going a little deeper. Benny Gantz and my father were friends, have been friends for years now,
met many times, had many talks, never told me what they talked about. But my father said two things and I think these two things are crucial.
Firstly, quoting the American President, Harry S. Truman, whom he admired. A true leader doesn't try to be liked by anybody. A true leader doesn't
try to force people into anything. A true leader is the one who makes people realize they have to do what they don't want to do. In this case
the partition to two states, Israel and Palestine.
ANDERSON: Is two states now just a figment of its supporters' imagination? It's gone, isn't it?
OZ-SALZBERGER: I belong to the part of the Israeli left, left and center that believe that can still have two states in Israel and Palestine. My
father went on and said that Benny Gantz could be such a true leader. A great leader he said needs to have four qualities.
[11:25:00] The four qualities are understanding human nature, reading the map, courage and compassion. He thought that Gantz has them all.
ANDERSON: Had all of that. During the last election campaign, you said Israel never has an Israeli election been so devoid of serious debate on
the core issues. The distance between right and left has widened to a chasm, mutual abhorrence has reduced political conversation a cacophony of
hurled insults. What's happened to that chasm since then?
OZ-SALZBERGER: Let me suggest three things that this election is about. It is not about Israel and Palestine, unfortunately. It is not about Jews
and Arabs, unfortunately. Nor about social justice. Hopefully the next one round would be.
This election is about three issues, the future survival or collapse of Israeli democracy as a separation of powers state of law, rule of law.
Secondly about corruption. And I mean Netanyahu's corruption and his entourage. And thirdly about the downfall of civil public discourse in
Israel. We have become an internet-ridden society of extremely low standards of debate.
ANDERSON: And yet when I go out and I talk to people in some of the towns outside of here, blue collar workers, Jews who see no alternative -- want
no alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu. They see him as an extremely good statesman. They feel secure under his watch. They believe that he is good
for Israel. And they say this economy is a great example of that. This economy and a decade worth of good news effectively, reflects decent
stewardship to which you say what?
OZ-SALZBERGER: The economy and its success is not merely or mainly about Benjamin Netanyahu. It is sitting on the shoulders of hundreds of
thousands of talented Israeli. As to Netanyahu's boasts of the love of Trump and Putin and Bolsonaro and Viktor Orban, and other extreme right
leaders in the world, I would say the following. Beware of Trump bearing gifts. Because Trump and Putin are not here for the love of Israel. They
do not care. They couldn't care less. Netanyahu's accomplishments, so- called accomplishments, in global policy are short lived. We need to go back to our liberal friends even if they are critical.
ANDERSON: Fania, it's been a joy having you on. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson here in Haifa in Israel for you. We're going to take a very short break. Back after this.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: A rolling hills of Haifa behind us here, packed and bustling. But also full of unusual calm perhaps between everyone here in Israel.
You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from Haifa for a special program for you. Today we're counting down
the clock until voters here in Israel head to the polls. It's said to be the closest fought general election the country has seen in years.
The incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is battling to stay in office. Final polls show his main rival Benny Gantz, with a slight lead.
But amid all the campaigning within the country's Arab minority, there is division on whether or not to that part in voting at all. There are
growing calls for them to boycott the election. But one Israeli/Arab lawmaker is urging people not to heed those words. Michael Holmes has that
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ahmad Tibi, electioneering like any other politician in Israel ahead of Tuesday's boat, not in Hebrew
but in Arabic.
AHMAD TIBI, ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER (through translator): The more Arabs vote, the more chance to weaken the parties on the right.
HOLMES: Tibi is perhaps Israel's best-known Palestinian politician and has an important electorate around 20 percent of Israeli voters.
TIBI: We should be there in order to try to prevent more racist laws and to bring the voice of this community, of this minority to the most
influential place in Israel, the Knesset.
HOLMES: One of Ahmad Tibi's goals isn't just winning voters to his party, it's getting them to vote at all. A mission made more difficult after a
new nation state law passed last year which made no mention of equality or minority rights and statements like this from Benjamin Netanyahu.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Israel is a Jewish democratic state. Of course, it respects the individual rights of
all its citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike. But it is a nation state not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people.
HOLMES (voice-over): Most of the Israel's Arab citizens, its Palestinians citizens have never felt they've had much of a political voice in this
country, and even less so after that comment from the Prime Minister. Basically saying that they're not equal citizens here. And that has led to
some to call for a boycott of this election.
RULA MAZZAWI, BOYCOTT ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN (through translator): We are Palestinians and can't be part of the colonial system. And the second
reason we should boycott is that for the last 71 years we didn't achieve peace or stop the siege on Gaza.
TAMER NAFFAR, PALESTINIAN RAPPER (through translator): Did they deal with poverty Did they bring us schools and jobs? We only see them out there
during elections --
HOLMES: One of the best-known Palestinians wrappers, Tamer, released a plea for you to ignore boycott calls and vote. And it's been widely shared
on social media.
TAMER: I wanted to boycott but decided that I don't want to stay outside. For my brothers and sisters in '67 I'm going to vote.
HOLMES: Neither Netanyahu's Likud or Benny Gantz's Blue and White parties say they will ask Arab/Israeli parties to join a coalition despite polls
suggesting those parties could win between eight and 11 seats in the Knesset. Ahmad Tibi says, he doesn't want to join a coalition either but
said he'll do anything short of that to stop another Netanyahu government.
TIBI: I will be a preventive block to Netanyahu. We will not support Netanyahu.
HOLMES: On election day 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu was widely criticized for an alarmist warning to supporters that Arabs were voting, quote, in droves.
[11:35:00] The message from politicians like Ahmad Tibi, and rapper, Tamer, is yes, vote in droves.
TAMER: Either we vote or end up outside of the homeland.
HOLMES: Michael Holmes, CNN Jerusalem.
ANDERSON: Well my next guest has described these elections as the equivalent of a choice between Donald Trump and Donald Trump. At least for
the Palestinians, Diana Buttu is a former adviser to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. She was also a spokesperson for the PLO and
worked to broker peace between Israeli and Palestinian groups. It's a joy having you on here and thank you for joining me. I know you're a resident
of Haifa. This is an interesting city. A good model of coexistence in Israel. Back to the elections, should Arabs boycott these elections?
DIANA BUTTU, POLITICAL ANALYST, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Look, I understand the frustration with people wanting to boycott because at the end of the
day this is an occupation government. This isn't a government that actually represents Palestinians. But I believe that very strongly that
this is the time that Palestinians should be getting out and making sure their voices are heard. Because with this vote alone we just may be able
to oust some of the right wing, some of the fascist parties like Bennett, like Lieberman, like the Jewish Power party.
ANDERSON: I wanted to bring up something that you tweeted out earlier on today. This election poster reads, no to a cease-fire, it's time for
nonstop fire. This is from the far-right political party Jewish Power.
If Mr. Netanyahu or Mr. Gantz wins the election, it will likely resort a more right-wing government than the last one. It certainly would if the
Arab parties are prepared in any way to get into bed with either Gantz or Netanyahu. Clearly not Netanyahu, but they've already said they wouldn't
build a coalition with Gantz, why?
BUTTU: Well, it goes both ways actually. Gantz has made it very clear that he will not form a coalition with the Palestinian parties, with the
anti-Zionist parties. That he won't even form a coalition with the left- wing parties that are not anti-Zionist parties.
The reason is very clear. At the end of the day Israel is an occupier. And so, joining the coalition means that you have to be part of the
government that is dropping the bombs on Gaza. Part of the government that is pushing for a settlement expansion inside the West Bank. Part of the
government that is denying rights to Palestinians and no Palestinian is ready to do that.
ANDERSON: It is hard to imagine this hand shake took place more than 25 years ago now. Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime
Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, sealing the Oslo peace pact. Fast forward, the Trump administration says it will soon release its so-called deal of the
century peace plan. They say sometime after tomorrow's elections here in Israel. Some say that that deal of the century is already being
implemented, step by step, creep by creep.
ANDERSON: How will the announcement of that deal be received by the Palestinians?
BUTTU: We've already seen what the shape of this agreement looks like. We've already seen that Trump has taken Jerusalem off the table. He's
already declared it, illegally, as Israel's capital and moved the embassy. We've already seen that he's trying to reduce the right of return, which is
something he cannot do. We've already seen that he's given carte blanche approval to build and expand settlements. So the way that it'll going to
be received is the same way that all of these other pronouncements have been received, which is to say very clearly what Trump is doing is illegal.
That the United States is not an honest broker. And instead we need to push for boycotts and sanctions.
ANDERSON: And the criticism will be that Palestinians are an obstacle to peace.
BUTTU: It's actually Israel that's the obstacle to peace. And the fact that the world is demanding that we give up our international rights in
exchange for Israel to be allowed to carry out more wrongs. It's the wrong path for this world to be going down.
ANDERSON: At a regional gathering of the World Economic Forum in Jordan, actually this weekend, Oman's foreign minister urged Arabs to reassure
Israel that it is not under threat in the Middle East. During its existence is not under threat. I caught up with the Omani Foreign
Minister, this is part of our conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Are you suggesting it is time to normalize relations with Israel, and do you have any red lines?
YUSUF BIN ALAWI BIN ABDULLAH, OMANI FOREIGN MINISTER: No, we are far beyond normalizations.
ANDERSON: By that you mean what?
BIN ALAWI BIN ABDULLAH: Israel needs to live in peace with Arabs. And the Arabs wants to see Palestinians taken in steps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The Omani Foreign Minister talking to me in Jordan just this weekend. Maybe a question of semantics here, but we are hearing and seeing
an outreach from both sides, Israel to the Gulf, the Gulf to Israel.
[11:40:03] Many say this is part of a sort of U.S./Gulf/Israeli access with an effort in the end to isolate Iran. Is that a good or a bad thing for
BUTTU: Look, obviously what Israel is trying to do is it's trying to cast aside the Palestinians and pretend that we don't exist. The problem is
that we do exist and we will continue to exist. And until Israel deals with us as equals, this is going to be continue to be a problem throughout
the entire Arab world. If the Arab world seeks to normalize relations with Israel, that's for the governments to do. But the people are not going to
normalize with Israel because it's an occupier.
ANDERSON: So you think the Gulf leaders are on the wrong side of the Arab street.
BUTTU: Absolutely. They are on the wrong side of the Arab street and the wrong side of history. What they should be doing is pushing instead for a
boycott of Israel rather than trying to warm relations with Israel.
ANDERSON: Diana Buttu, it's very cold, I'm going to let you go. It's not only cold, it's windy. It's a windy spring us today in Haifa. It's been a
pleasure having you on, thank you very much indeed --
BUTTU: My pleasure.
ANDERSON: -- for joining us. Our election coverage continues ahead. First up, though --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're going from door to door trying to figure out who is out there. That sound you hear,
tear gas cannons. We're trapped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: In a CNN exclusive, Nima Elbagir goes undercover in Sudan where an uprising is brewing. What the country's government doesn't want you to
see after this short break. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Two more people have reportedly been killed in the ongoing protests across Sudan, bringing the death toll there to eight people since
Saturday. Even more have died since the demonstrations calling for the resignation of the country's long-time President began. In a CNN
exclusive, Nima Elbagir take us inside the uprising. I have to warn you. This report contains images that you may find disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is my hometown. For months now in the grip of pro-democracy protests. Much
of it brutally hidden from the world by Sudan's government. And yet people here are still risking everything for change. Even as the United States
works to restore diplomatic relations with Sudan's government.
TEXT: Sudan: A day in the life of an uprising.
ELBAGIR: Khartoum, Sudan's capital. As I was growing up here, the government's grip on its people was all encompassing. But a rise in the
cost of living in recent years has triggered protests against one of the world's longest serving dictators, President Omar al-Bashir.
[11:465:00] The Sudanese government doesn't want the world to know what's happening. Any journalist caught reporting on the demonstrations, risks
life imprisonment and the death penalty. In the crowd I try to stand back and film with secret cameras and smart phones and hope that I'm not
(on camera): You can smell the tear gas that they've been releasing in the demonstrations a little bit further away. The people here are starting to
(voice-over): Some of the demonstrators start shouting that national security agents are on their way. Operatives infamous for their brutality.
We have to leave. A family agrees to hide us in what people here call a safe house, but really is just someone's home.
(on camera): The national security agents have arrived, they've broken up the demonstration, they're going from house to house. We've been brought
into a safe house. We don't know how long we're going to have to wait here. They're trying to figure out how to get us out of here. We have to
got to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God protect us!
ELBAGIR: I just saw their cars driving past. They're going from door-to- door trying to figure out who was out at the demonstrations.
(voice-over): That sound you hear tear gas cannons. We're trapped. Hours pass. We can only watch and listen through a gap in the window. Just next
door to us, security agents are slapping and kicking a protester as they drag him out. The neighbor's son. In the end we leave our equipment
behind and take the risk to run.
We got lucky. But so many others didn't. CNN gathered detailed testimony from former detainees held in Sudanese government facilities. Of the over
3,000 people who have been arrested since the demonstrations began, almost all say they've been abused. One of them agrees to speak to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They were all masked, armed and holding batons. As soon as we stepped out, we were beaten with batons.
One man slapped me on the left side of my face. It became numb. Then he struck me with the butt of his gun in my back. It's not even an official
center. It was one of those ghost houses.
TEXT: Ghost Houses. "The worst two days of my life."
ELBAGIR: Ghost houses, torture houses which the government says don't exist. We went to try and find one. For all of us who grew up under
Bashir's dictatorship ghost houses conjures up immediately the horrors this government is accused of. Torture, sexual assault, brutal beatings. Right
in the center of town we find a heavy military and intelligence presence. On your left a screened off square, a holding pen. Activists picked up in
the city center tell us they're beaten here and sorted according to their alleged crime.
We can't linger. Everywhere there is a high level of security. From here activists say they're moved on to any one of the ghost houses scattered
around town. Using descriptions given to us by eyewitnesses and activists formerly held there. We're able to pinpoint one using aerial images just
south of the Blue Nile in Garden City.
Keeping watch over this green building we witnessed national security pickups and what appeared to be detainees. Worse, though, is in store.
Many of the detainees we interviewed described being tortured just across the river here in what's known as the refrigerator. Its very name inspires
terror. And yet one woman agreed to speak to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They detained us in an abandoned building because we were so severely beaten, we went numb. I couldn't feel
my legs and arms. The place was so cold it felt like there were knives piercing our bodies. I only spent two days there, but they were the worst
two days of my life.
TEXT: Coming in from the cold.
ELBAGIR: So why, in spite of all this, is President Trump's administration in talks to restore relations with Sudan. This is the brutal aftermath of
the terror attacks on the U.S.S. Cole and the U.S. embassies in East Africa. For years families of victims have been seeking compensation from
Sudan's government who they believe was complicit.
CNN has learned that a key requirements for talks between Sudan and the U.S. is that Sudan enter into good faith negotiations regarding
compensation for victims' families.
[11:50:00] In a statement, the U.S. State Department does not deny that talks are continuing with Sudan or that this is ultimately about the terror
TEXT: "We are participating in a dialogue with the government that offer the possibility for improved relations."
ELBAGIR: But says relations will improve only if the Sudanese government takes steps related to human rights.
The Sudanese have shown no sign of doing so, and yet talks to improve relations continue.
After days of searching we are able to verify that the neighbor's son who we film being detained was released, only after hours of torture he says.
You can see it here. Another casualty in the litany of victims of Sudan's brutal repression. This is what we witnessed in just one day back home.
The demonstrations, the tear gas, the fear. But the horrors have been going on for so much longer. And there's still no end in sight.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, Khartoum, Sudan.
ANDERSON: Joining us back here in Haifa, in Israel, less than 24 hours now until the election. In fact, by this time tomorrow we'll be looking
forward to finding out exactly who will be running this country, at least trying to run this country, trying to build a coalition for Israel going
Moments ago the incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeting, thank you, President Donald Trump for your decision to designate the
Islamic Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iranian[MT1] aggression and terrorism.
Well this hour we've been digging into the nitty-gritty of Israeli politics and the deep divisions exposed during this election campaign. But we can
count on something to bring us all together, food. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel is an Arab molecular biologist and a chef. In 2014 she won the Israel's
master chef reality show. Now she aims to foster peace through cooking. So what is your recipe for peace?
NOF ATAMNA-ISMAEEL, ARAB ISRAELI CHEF: Well I believe in food, and I believe that doesn't matter what the results tomorrow of the elections,
everyone will need a good breakfast. So I'm using food, it sounds such a cliche, to bring people here in this country together through recipes,
through knowing the food, you'll know the culture, you'll know the people better.
ANDERSON: So what is a good breakfast as far as you are concerned?
ATAMNA-ISMAEEL: You want my type of breakfast?
ATAMNA-ISMAEEL: It would be finally chopped salad, labani and pita, I'm all set with that.
ANDERSON: I'm all set with that as well. You started a food festival in Haifa, tell me about that.
[11:55:00] ATAMNA-ISMAEEL: Well this food festival was established four years ago here in the city of Haifa. The city of Haifa is such a great
example of Jews and Arabs living here in a true coexistence. And what I did is just simply bring Jewish chefs and Arab chefs into the city.
They're cooking here for a few days. The festival laying the shim and everyone is coming and for a few days this country looks much, much better
ANDERSON: So if I were to ask you which food was better or perhaps which food you prefer, would it be Jewish or Arab traditional fare?
ATAMNA-ISMAEEL: You know, you prefer the food that you grow up on. So it's my own home food, my grandmother's, my mother's recipes. But you
know, I can appreciate great food, as long as it's great. I love gefilte fish and I like tabbouleh salad, so both of them work for me.
ANDERSON: Wonderful. I've got to say around the world as I travel to so many different places, it is food that so often brings us together. So I
applaud your efforts at sort of reconciliation, as it were, and this a great city as you say, a model of coexistence. One wishes there were more
examples of that.
That's it from us from Haifa tonight. We'll be in Jerusalem for you tomorrow. See you there.