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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Two American Hostages Released By Hamas; IDF Says Majority Of Hostages In Gaza Are Alive; Man Remember Friend Who Was Killed Defending Kibbutz From Hamas Attack; Protest Erupt Across Middle East Over Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza; Hundreds Of Pro-Palestinian Protesters March Egypt; WH Clarifies Biden's Comment On Potential Israeli Ground Invasion; Hamas Claims They Are Working With Mediators To Release Foreign National Hostages; Inside Kibbutz Attacked By Hamas. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 20, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: ... and now in the middle of an active warzone. Their neighbor kibbutzim is mourning slaughter, death, and horrible destruction. They are alive, they are shattered, but grateful.
And just for a second I want to show you the toothbrushes again. Because we keep hearing about toothbrushes here. You may remember Amir Katz who is ready to get the call to invade along the Gaza border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMIR KATZ, IDF RESERVIST: They are bringing us -- they are cooking food for us, they are giving us everything we want. I have like, if I want like 10 toothbrushes. If I want -- like it's unbelievable to see the unity that our nation has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: After Amir said that, another IDF soldier mentioned toothbrushes to me and we have actually come to see toothbrushes as a mundane sign of human dignity.
You can go without a shower for days, but tooth brushing is different. Toothbrushes have come to symbolize strength and fortitude here in Israel and it is worth remembering tonight that of course in Gaza where there is toilet water or no water for many, many lack even that basic dignity.
Thanks so much for watching. AC 360 begins now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It is 3:00 AM here in Israel, the early hours of freedom for an American mother and daughter held hostage for nearly two weeks by Hamas.
Just a moment ago the American embassy in Jerusalem released this photo of Judith Raanan and Natalie Raanan, speaking with President Biden. They appear to be smiling.
In a new photo posted by the White House on social media, the president's end of the conversation in the Oval Office. There is no doubt that he is broadly smiling.
Judith and Natalie seen here in this IDF photo shortly after their release, were captured at a kibbutz where they were visiting Judith's mother, Natalie's grandmother.
In a moment, all we have been learning about how their freedom was secured, why it happened now and what it might signal at such a pivotal moment in this crisis with Israeli troops poised to move into Gaza where so many other hostages are being held.
Secretary of State Blinken spoke briefly to that concern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: We share in the relief of their families, friends, and loved ones are feeling, but there are still 10 additional Americans who remain unaccounted for in this conflict.
We know that some of them are being held hostage by Hamas, along with an estimated 200 other hostages held in Gaza. They include men, women, young boys, young girls, elderly people, from many nations. Every single one of them should be released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: To that point, the IDF today said the majority of the hostages are still alive and gave details on some of their ages. More than 20 are younger than the age of 18, between 10 and 20 are older than the age of 60. The number missing is between one hundred and two hundred. Again, that's according to the IDF.
At the White House, in addition to speaking with the Raanan's, the president also talked with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the White House saying the two discussed "ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages," as well as humanitarian assistance plans agreed on during the president's visit here, which have yet to fully materialize.
Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid continue to be stalled at the Gaza southern border crossing with Egypt, which Secretary Blinken said again today would open soon.
A lot to get too ahead, CNN's Matthew Chance starts us off tonight with new reporting on why Israeli officials believe Hamas released these two hostages today. He joins us from Northern Israel.
What have you learned -- Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, thanks very much.
Well, Israeli officials that I've spoken to are not giving us the detail behind the actual negotiations or any deal that may have been cut with Hamas to get these two US citizens out of custody, but what they are saying is that it was the sustained military pressure that Israel has been putting on Gaza over the course of the past week or so.
Bombing, you know, various aspects, various parts of Gaza, and really forcing Hamas it says, to think again about what it did. It's that sustained pressure they say that resulted in the release of these two US hostages. And they're also doubling down saying that that military pressure will intensify.
So if there is any sense in which anyone out there thinks that the much anticipated Israeli land incursion, land invasion into Gaza may be put back because of this, Israeli officials are saying that's not the case, they are going to be pressing ahead and intensifying their military campaign.
In terms of how the hostages came out. Well, we know from the Qataris that they've been negotiating with Hamas, talking to a mass and talking to Israel as well. Israel is saying it does not speak directly to Hamas, that's obviously being done through the Qataris and other players in the region as well.
The United States, of course, say they had an important role in the release of these two hostages as well. But you know, in terms of the status of the other hostages on the ground inside Gaza, well, I mean, at least from the Israeli point of view, they're not giving us any further details on what they do or don't know -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, we don't really know much about the kind of nuts and bolts of how they were released. They were offered to up at a border crossing, is that right?
CHANCE: Yes. I mean, how they were released physically, is they were handed over to the Red Cross. The Red Cross then transferred them to Israeli custody, and there is that first image that was given to us by the Israeli government, actually, that the hostage coordination team put out that first image of the two US hostages being escorted by Israeli Forces, you know, to a location we're told in Central Israel, where they're obviously going to be receiving medical checkups, and they're going to be debriefed to see what information they can give, I expect about the other hostages, if any that they can talk about.
And then ultimately, of course, remember these people were visiting Israel from the United States. Ultimately, the family member -- they've spoken to their family already, they have spoken to the US president as well. Ultimately, they're going to be heading back to the United States in the days ahead -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, what a homecoming that will be.
Matthew Chance, thank you.
Hamas issued a statement shortly after they freed the Raanan's. In it, they claimed to be working with mediators in Egypt, Qatar, and other "friendly countries," to release hostages "as and when security circumstances permit."
CNN's Alex Marquardt has more on how that process is unfolding. He joins us from Washington.
So what do national security officials believe Hamas got for itself by releasing these hostages?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hamas believes that they were able to indicate to Israel, to the US, to the world that they are willing to engage, that they are willing to release these hostages. So Hamas believes that they engendered some goodwill.
But in concrete terms, Anderson, there is no indication that Hamas got anything. We haven't seen anything like that. The White House declined to answer the question when they were asked, so it is possible, they could hope that there's some pressure put on Israel to now get those other 200 out, because they have shown that they are willing to engage.
We have heard from a Hamas spokesperson who is now in Israeli custody, in fact, who has said that they would be willing to free the foreign hostages if there were a brief ceasefire in order to get aid into Gaza.
And then Anderson, aside from the foreign hostages, there is always going to be the question of whether Hamas will ask for Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israeli prisoners who are held by Hamas currently -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, obviously, in the past, that is the biggest reason that Hamas has taken hostages. I mean, Gilad Shalit, they held on to him for years to negotiate the release of more than a thousand, I believe, Palestinian prisoners.
I've talked to an IDF spokesperson a couple of hours ago who raised the idea that Hamas has released Americans in particular, to kind of either weaken American support for Israel or kind of fan the flames of those who might look at that and say, oh, you know, now let's negotiate more.
MARQUARDT: Yes, and when we've heard from Hamas, they have put a particular focus on the foreign hostages, and in fact, when these two Americans were released today, they said that they wanted to send a message to Americans, what they call the fascist Biden administration was lying.
So there is obviously the chance, Anderson that they could be trying to offload if you will, the foreign hostages, in order to, again, engender some goodwill, or perhaps some leniency when it comes to those other countries that could then apply that pressure to Israel.
As Matthew was indicating, the Israelis have shown absolutely no indication that they're going to let up on that pressure, that this is going to change their campaign in any way. They are full steam ahead.
The US says that they are not getting in the way of that military campaign. They've been very wary about trying to dictate or influence Israel because they say that Israel is fully justified in what they're about to do.
But Anderson, you're absolutely right. That 2011 deal, Gilad Shalit, one Israeli prisoner exchanged for more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners. So there is precedent for this and Hamas certainly hasn't forgotten that -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, and just to be clear, if Hamas wanted to release hostages, they can release the hostages. They are the ones who took the hostages, they kidnapped these people -- men, women, and children -- and they are holding them as well as Islamic Jihad and maybe some other actors in Gaza.
Alex, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up next, the White House, for a potentially highly significant new development to your earlier point, President Biden tonight was asked about the timing of any Israeli ground incursion to Gaza and he gave a one word answer. CNN's Kayla Tausche joins us now with that.
So talk more about the question and the answer.
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there had been the suggestion that the US would support delaying Israel's ground invasion into Gaza as the work continue behind the scenes to free more hostages generally, but in particular American hostages.
And tonight, when President Biden was boarding Air Force One, he was asked specifically about that reporting and whether he would support such a delay. And he said in one word, "yes." That is it significant development, because it's something that we had suspected the US was discussing with the Israelis behind-the-scenes that President Biden had discussed with the war cabinet when he was on the ground in Israel earlier this week.
And that one word answer tonight just confirms that that is the US position, and that is something that they have been discussing.
COOPER: What more are you learning about President Biden's conversation with the freed hostages?
TAUSCHE: Well, he said this evening that the call went well, he spoke directly to those freed hostages, Judith and Natalie Raanan, who spoke to their family members earlier in the day and he began the day with a morning call, Eastern Time with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk about hostage relief efforts in a general sense.
But President Biden in a statement, saying he was overjoyed that they were at least offering the full support of the US government as they recover from what he described as a terrible ordeal. The White House releasing some photos of President Biden as you can see, they're speaking to them on the phone. And then you see the other photo from the US Embassy in Jerusalem of the two freed hostages themselves speaking to the president on the other line, holding the phone up to their face, clearly a moment of triumph for both sides. And certainly, their family members are overjoyed, too, to have them back eventually.
COOPER: And is the White House saying anything about the extent of US involvement in getting the hostages released?
TAUSCHE: That is something where they are not providing any details. That was a question that was asked specifically of NSC spokesman, John Kirby earlier this evening. He said that the US is involved at all levels, but declined to elaborate exactly on how the US and the Qatari government were able to secure a deal with Hamas to free even these two hostages, citing the sensitivity around the continued negotiations for the estimated 10 Americans who are still held in Hamas captivity.
COOPER: Kayla Tausche, thanks very much.
Earlier tonight, I spoke with a man from kibbutz Nahal Oz where Judith and Natalie Raanan were captured. They were visiting there. His name is Amir Tibon. He's a correspondent for The newspaper, "Haaretz" and he met Judith and Natalie at the celebration for the kibbutz's anniversary.
On the morning of the seventh, the day the terror attack began, he, his wife, Mary, and two young daughters woke up to the sound of incoming mortar fire, then machine guns and men speaking Arabic around them.
They spent the next 10 hours or so in their safe room in the dark with no electricity, no food, very little water. Ten hours and two little girls, the youngest, just a year-and-a-half old.
I talked to him about that, but we began with the two hostages who are free today.
COOPER: Amir, the two American hostages who were released today, Judith and Natalie Raanan were visiting your kibbutz for a celebration before the attack. I'm wondering when you heard they had been released, what did you think?
AMIR TIBON, CORRESPONDENT, "HAARETZ": I was very happy because they knew they had come to our community for a celebration marking seven years to the foundation of our small community, our kibbutz, Nahal Oz, which is located very close to the border with Gaza. And we were all very, very worried after we didn't know what had happened to them for a few days since the massacre and the tragedy on October 7th.
And when I first heard that two American citizens, a mother and her daughter had been released, I began to hope that it would be them. I know their grandmother and this family very well. She's a neighbor and a friend and an admired woman in our community.
And I was just very, very happy to learn that indeed, they are now safe and out of harm's way. But it's important to remember, we still have about 200 other people who are still in the hands of Hamas, and it's a very dire situation.
COOPER: I just spoke to a spokesperson for the IDF and he raised the possibility that they released two Americans specifically, perhaps for some propaganda value thinking that that might weaken support for Israel in the United States. Do you think it's just a coincidence that it happened to be two Americans?
TIBON: I don't think it's a coincidence. I think it's because the United States administration led by President Biden and Secretary Blinken has done a great effort to release and secure American citizens and to make sure that we will see some kind of a diplomatic breakthrough, to open the door for a possibility of perhaps more hostage deals of this kind that will lead to others being released.
There is a lot of criticism here in Israel about the fact that we're not getting clear messaging from our own government about this very painful issue of the hostages, and I do want to thank President Biden and Secretary Blinken for at least putting the hard work to see these two women released, and I hope this is not the last step.
I hope this is just the beginning of a larger effort, because we have women and children that are held by a terror organization, and it is also the cruelty, the barbarity, the -- just, you know, unbelievable violence of Hamas, we have to get these citizens, first and foremost women and children, but all of the Israeli citizens out of their hands.
COOPER: I was just in Nir Oz yesterday, some 400 people used to live there. They believe now about a quarter of them are either dead or are missing. It's stunning.
TIBON: Yes, that's a kibbutz about 20 minutes from our community and under the names are similar, so everybody asks me, you know, but in Nahal Oz, we had a smaller tragedy. But still, you know, my own neighbor, who was a very brave man who went out to fight the terrorists was killed, and other members of the community are kidnapped, and this community you mentioned, Nir Oz, you know, what they went through, is unspeakable. And there are many, many people still there in Gaza in the hands of Hamas.
We are all so, so relieved and happy to have two of the hostages returned back home, but we need to open the door for more of this because it is the only way they can get out, and I know the administration is working on it and speaking with Qatar and other potential mediators, it is very important. We have our own commitment to these Israeli citizens to bring them back home.
COOPER: What was your neighbor's name who was killed? TIBON: Ilan Fiorentino, my next door neighbor was the security coordinator for our community, a civilian, but the man responsible for all the ties with the military and actions to protect our community. And that morning, when most of us went into our homes and locked ourselves in the safe rooms with our young children, he went out to try to stop them. One man against a hundred terrorists. He didn't have a chance.
But still, he went out to fight and he bought us some time. He left behind three young daughters, wonderful girls. It's very sad. And you know, we are trying now to put the pieces together and return somehow to being the community we used to, but we're never going to forget what we lost on that day.
COOPER: You, your wife, your two small kids, as you said, you hid in your safe room, eight or nine hours, I understand. Your mother and father raced down from Tel Aviv in their jeep to rescue you. Your father is a retired Major General, was senior commander of the Israeli paratroopers. Did you know he was on his way? Did you know he was determined to get there?
TIBON: Yes, he told us in the morning after we had called them to tell him there were terrorists outside our window, that he's coming to try to rescue us.
And I have to say, Anderson, our story became famous all over the world. You know, President Biden heard about it, because he met my father and I when he was in Tel Aviv this week on a very important and impressive visit to support Israel.
But there were hundreds of stories of courage by ordinary Israelis on that day. People went out to try to fight with whatever they had to save their families, to save others. It was the biggest failure in the history of any Israeli government, and we are going to make sure that anybody involved in this starting from the highest ranks will no longer have any impact on our lives when the moment comes to deal with it, but it was also one of the most beautiful moments of the Israeli people, of those who went out to fight and went out to help others, and I'm very proud of what my parents did and of many, many other people who contributed on that day to try to save lives.
COOPER: I've read about it, but I just -- I do want to ask you about it. When your father actually got to you, got to your safe room, what was that moment like and what was it that he said to you?
TIBON: He knocked on our window of the safe room -- he knocked on the window of the safe room which you cannot see through, it's completely dark. There's like an iron disk there that makes it completely dark inside. He said, "I'm here." My young daughter, three and a half years old said "Grandpa is here."
And it was a very exciting moment, we started crying. We opened the door to the house after more than 10 hours, completely locked in the dark. He came in, soldiers came in and soon neighbors began to come in because our house we can -- like the front command of this group of Special Forces that released our community.
And when the neighbors came in, on the one hand, it was a moment of joy, because we were so happy to see and hug everyone. But it was also a moment of great sadness, because we began to understand the magnitude of the disaster that, you know, one neighbor was killed, and another was injured, and a third one was missing.
And we went through this emotional roller coaster of, you know, being happy to be alive and to see people that we were so worried for, but also to learn of what our community had just lost and we are still coping with that part.
COOPER: Amir, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. I'm so sorry for what happened to your community and to your friends in that community who died. I appreciate you speaking with us.
TIBON: Thank you for having me, and I appreciate again the support of the United States at this very important moment for our country.
COOPER: Joining me once again tonight, Rami Igra, a former head of the Mossad's Hostages and MIA Unit.
Rami, what do you think Hamas' motivation was for releasing these to American hostages because our Matthew Chance reported an official in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said the release was the result of sustained Israeli military pressure. Is part of this also propaganda?
RAMI IGRA, FORMER HEAD OF THE MOSSAD'S HOSTAGES AND MIA UNIT: Yes, the Hamas declared the minute that they released these two hostages that they wanted to prove to the fascist president of the United States, this is their words, that they're not as cruel, and the propaganda about them is not true.
This, they are saying after killing two other members of this family and abducting another eight of this family. So they try to prove as they say that they are humane, and we spoke about this in the last couple of days.
They are pointing their propaganda, first of all that these people that are watching us tonight, and believing them. They want to strengthen the many, many people in the West Western world that don't understand that Hamas is a barbaric and murderous organization. This is one thing.
The other thing is that Hamas is really under great pressure and it is trying every trick in the book, and they will try many more as we go along to stop the Israeli maneuver into the Gaza Strip. They are trying to postpone this. They are trying to ease the pressure on them and they will use anything they can in order to get a ceasefire.
They don't understand the Israeli resolve this time, is different, completely different than the paradigm that ruled us in the past where we, every time that we could, we went into a ceasefire, and we fed the devil believing that this devil will change its nature, and at the end of the day, we'll stop thinking about the annihilation of Israel.
COOPER: You know, they also said in their statement, I don't have it in front of me, so I don't have the exact quote, but words to the effect of, you know, that other releases could be possible once you know the security situation or essentially, you know, it becomes possible.
I mean, Hamas could release all the hostages right now. I mean, there were hostages who had been wounded who have really severe wounds. We saw a video of one who, according to the that video they released, had to have surgery and was on medication and has an arm wound.
I mean, there are there are severely ill and wounded people who were taken hostage. They could release them all. They could release them into the streets of Gaza and tell Gaza residents don't touch these people, let them get to the border.
I mean, it seems incredibly manipulative of them to sort of be acting as if somehow there are some other actor in this stopping them from releasing hostages.
IGRA: They're trying, as I just said, they are trying to get a ceasefire. They said this, I think on the second day or the third day of this event. They came out and said we will release everyone.
We want all our prisoners -- in this case, we will release all our prisoners and release all your hostages. This has been one of the brilliant targets of this whole event, releasing Sinwar who has dedicated his life for releasing his friends from prison, whilst he was dedicating himself and his organization to murder as many or destroy as much as he can of Israel as Tibon just described in this very emotional description that he just gave you.
This is the enemy. This enemy is a murderous enemy and it is our -- it's not that we wanted to. We have no other alternative. The only alternative that we have in order to continue living in Israel, is at the end of the day, get rid of this organization, and they will try every trick in the book, including using all the cards they have and the cards they have on the hostages in order to stop us, to slow us understanding that the as days go by, we have less and less time for this land maneuver in the Gaza Strip, which I predict will happen in the next couple of days. It's not going to be postponed forever.
COOPER: Rami Igra, Thank you for your time tonight.
Just a moment ago, we learned that the father of released hostage Natalie Raanan will be speaking to reporters shortly in suburban Chicago. CNN will bring that to you when he does.
Coming up next, what CNN's Clarissa Ward saw when she visited the Rafah border crossing linking Southern Gaza and Egypt, the latest on when humanitarian aid could be moving into the south of Gaza and growing anger in the Arab world that it has not yet.
Also more from my visit to kibbutz Nir Oz, which sustained such brutal losses on the 7th.
COOPER: We saw more demonstrations today across the Middle East, protesting the worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza, some of them directly confronting CNN about Israel's actions and the way they believe the story is being portrayed by Western media.
Our Clarissa Ward was near the Rafah border crossing in Egypt today and heard from some of those protesters. She joins us now.
So, what's the scene like at the border crossing?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there was a lot of frustration today because I think hopes had been recently high that maybe we would see some of that aid start to trickle through.
Before this war, there were about 455 trucks of aid that went into Gaza every single day. For the last two weeks now, there have been no trucks.
So even those 20 trucks, it really would just be a drop in the ocean. And all of this happening as the violence continues, the bombardment continues, and the anger continues to rise. Take a look.
WARD (voice-over): For days, they have been waiting. More than 200 trucks full of aid desperately needed in Gaza, but stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres hoped to be here for a much needed diplomatic win.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: As quickly as possible.
WARD (voice-over): Instead, he found himself in the midst of a protest, his remarks drowned out by the crowd.
(on-camera): People are chanting over and over again, with our blood, with our souls, we will defend Palestine. There's a huge amount of anger, a huge amount of emotion, much of it directed at the West.
ALL: We need justice! We need justice!
WARD (voice-over): And much also at Western media, who people here feel have favored Israeli voices over Palestinians.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is your humanity?
WARD (voice-over): A protester starts shouting at me. We invite her to do an interview with us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When a 1,000 plus Palestinian babies die, you don't feel the same. You don't feel the same as when I tell you one of your own has died. But these are our own. And it is unfair and Egypt will stand with Palestine. All Western channels are talking for Israel.
If the United Nations is standing for Israel, all these international institutions are signing for Israel. Who is there for the Palestinians. And don't call it a war. Their Jargon is even more infuriating. It's not a war. They're not equal footing. It is not a war.
WARD (voice-over): For many, it is deeply personal. Palestinian man holds up his ID.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't contact with my family there.
WARD (on-camera): Your family is on the other side?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I have seven sisters and my father, my mother, grandmother, uncles, all my family is there. I can't contact with them. I don't know if --
WARD (on-camera): OK. Are they OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if they are OK or not.
WARD (voice-over): As Egyptian soldiers stand by, the demonstrators get more animated. Protests are normally illegal here. But today, the Egyptian president called on people to take to the streets.
(on-camera): This is rapidly becoming a very chaotic scene now. They're trying to get the Secretary General out of here.
(voice-over): We were ordered back onto the buses and escorted out through the crowd back to -- in the share port, where piles of aid sit by the runway, so close to where they need to be, but held back, the U.N. says, by complications over how to monitor the trucks that enter Gaza, and how to establish a continuous humanitarian corridor.
(on-camera): When you saw the anger of those protesters, most of it leveled at Israel and the U.S., but also at the international community for failing to stop the situation, what's your response?
GUTERRES: I think what's important to say is that we are doing everything we can. Engaging with all the parties to make sure that sooner rather than later, we are able to have not only a first convoy, but continued aid to the population in Gaza.
WARD (on-camera): But no timeline.
GUTERRES: I think it should be as quickly as possible. And with as many as possible trucks to cross in the first few days.
WARD (voice-over): But that is little comfort to the people of Gaza, for whom every day, every hour is vital.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: First, you talked in the report about complications keeping aid from entering Gaza. What -- I mean, where is the complication? What is the holdup?
WARD: Well, it depends a little bit on who you talk to. But according to the U.N., there's two major holdups. Number one is this issue of verification. The Israelis have insisted that they need to be able to somehow verify. That none of these trucks of aid going in will have any kind of weaponry.
But setting up a system to do that, who would be the one to verify? Where would they do it? How can it be done in an expedited manner? All of that is clearly complex.
The second thing is also important. The U.N. says this can't just be a one-off thing with 20 trucks that doesn't work. It's a drop in the ocean. It needs to be a continuous sustained humanitarian harder.
And their worry or concern is that if that is not articulated from the get go and they just send 20 trucks in, it could potentially be dangerous for the truck drivers for their workers, because you could literally have a kind of situation where people will be mopping the trucks.
The desperation is so intense, Anderson, as you can imagine. That they need to make it clear from the get go, this is not a one-off thing, this is going to be a continuous thing. There's also issues apparently about the roads on the other side, on the Gazan side, because some of them have been hit by strikes.
The Egyptians saying today that they have largely fixed those roads. But still, President Biden says 24 to 48 hours, the Secretary General says we have to end this impasse. Everybody watching and waiting very keenly. No, one more so than, of course, the people of Gaza, Anderson.
COOPER: Has there been any change to this situation for Americans trapped in Gaza? I mean, are they still waiting in that border crossing?
WARD: No, there's -- they are and it's been, well, nearly two weeks now exactly.
COOPER: How is that possible?
WARD: More than 250 Americans -- because there can't come to some kind of consensus about letting people out. I mean, what you're seeing here is honestly a real failure of diplomacy so far. Despite the efforts of all sides, despite everyone coming together and sitting down and trying to hammer this out, there's a lot of finger pointing. The Egyptians blame the Israelis, the Israelis blame Hamas. Hamas blame Israel. The Americans blame, you know, whoever they blame.
And so, you have a lot of people pointing fingers and a lot of people saying that they want to do the right thing. And everyone's saying that they want to make this happen. But there's all these conditionalities attached and everyone has their different conditionality.
And the end result is the border doesn't open. The people suffer. The Americans are stuck. And there's no consensus about how to move forward. Although there is more optimism. Let's see that hopefully in the next day or two, this could be resolved.
And we are talking about a matter of days now, Anderson. That fuel, which is another point of contention, that fuel is running out in a few days. That fuel is powering generators. The Israelis really want to allow medicine, water, food. Fuel is slightly more controversial, but it's desperately needed, Anderson.
COOPER: Clarissa Ward, thank you, in from Cairo.
CNN also encountered protesters in the West Bank today where clashes have occurred between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Sara Sidner has that.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Friday after prayers in Ramallah, the West Bank, Palestinians take to the streets enraged and heartbroken over the hundreds of deadly airstrikes Israel has dropped over Gaza. Some are carrying Hamas flags.
Their rage targeted at the Israeli military responsible for the airstrikes. One of their bases just yards away.
A shot is fired from the distance. But the sensitivities of this war fester close to the surface. Protester rage turns on us, the media, for coverage. Some of the protesters see as biased towards Israel, their occupier.
(on-camera): This is kind of where the clashes key happens. So, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are genocide supporter. You are not welcome here.
SIDNER (voice-over): The rage and sorrow is palpable here. They lash out feeling left with no support. They're not just fighting over Gaza, they're also enraged over what Israel is calling wide scale counterterrorism operations in the West Bank over the past 13 days.
So far, the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah says 81 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military or Jewish settlers. 850 Palestinian have been arrested in the West Bank since October 7. That's according to the Palestinian prisoners club.
That was the day that Israel says started their all-out war, when Hamas took Israeli intelligence by surprise by murdering hundreds of civilians and soldiers in Israel and kidnapping dozens. But the anger in these streets is clearly aimed at Israel in support of Hamas.
Hanan Ashrawi, a former Palestinian Liberation Organization official, activist and professor explains why some Palestinians support Hamas.
HANAN ASHRAWI, FORMER PALESTINIAN LIBERATION ORGANIZATION OFFICIAL: Hamas is one military group that resorted to our struggle. Most Palestinians want to get rid of the occupation and want to resist in every possible way and as international law allows us to do. But if you go to international organizations, you're blocked and punished.
If you go to courts, you cannot get redress, you cannot have due process, you cannot have accountability for Israel. If you protest nonviolently and so on, you are shot at, you are imprisoned. So they left only one venue, one avenue, actually, which is armed resistance.
SIDNER (voice-over): Protests in support of the Palestinian cause have spread to Israel's closest neighbors. The largest ones erupted after a devastating blast at a hospital in Gaza on Wednesday. Hamas blamed Israel, but Israel denied responsibility, showing what they say is evidence. It was actually a misfired rocket from Islamic Jihad.
CNN can't independently verify what caused that explosion. Then Hamas' political leadership called for more protests in solidarity with the Palestinians after Friday prayers. In Beirut, Lebanon, there have been enormous protests against Israel that have ended in fiery confrontations.
In Jordan, where about 3 million Palestinians live, large scale protests erupted there as well. And Friday in Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, thousands flocked to Tahrir Square to stand with Gaza. A site known worldwide for the protests in 2011 that ousted their decades long president, Hosni Mubarak, during what became known as the Arab Spring.
COOPER: And Sara Sidner joins us now. Are there specific asks that the protesters in Lebanon and Jordan and Egypt want to see happen?
SIDNER: Basically, they want to see the occupation end. They want to see first and foremost the blockade against Gaza and to let in all the humanitarian aid that can be let in. But ultimately, this is about this long and existential conundrum that Palestinians and Israelis find themselves in with Palestinians feeling that Israel has basically made it impossible for them to have an official state. And for Israelis who feel that they have an existential threat all around them, not just from their Palestinian neighbors, but from neighboring countries as well.
The one thing that really sticks out to me, Anderson and speaking to the Palestinians and Ramallah and the West Bank as well as settlers in the West Bank as well, is when asked whether or not they think there was any possibility of a peace accord going forward, of a two-state solution going forward.
Those I have spoken to feel like that ship has sailed, that peace in that way, is no longer possible. And I haven't heard that starkly said like that by many different people in a long, long time. Anderson?
COOPER: Sara Sidner, thanks.
Just a few minutes ago, President Biden made what seemed to be an important statement on the timing of any Israeli ground invasion into Gaza. On their tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, a reporter asked the president, quote, "Should Israel delay the ground invasion until he can get more hostages out?" The President's reply was yes.
The White House is now attempting to clarify those comments. I want to go back to CNN's Kayla Tausche who joins us now by phone. What are you hearing, Kayla?
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the White House communications director has put out a new statement saying that President was far away. He didn't hear the full question. The question sounded like, would you like to see more hostages released? He wasn't commenting on anything else.
Certainly, the White House is sensitive to the idea that the President would be weighing in on Israeli military strategy. I spoke just a few moments ago to a senior administration official about the President's comment because of how significant it was and said that the President and the U.S. do not want to be directing the Israelis.
The timeline is theirs. It's their planning and their thinking. Although President Biden, in this official's words, asked some very hard questions of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his war Cabinet when they were together in Israel earlier this week.
That being said, there are conversations and very sensitive conversations happening behind the scenes to try to free the remainder of the American and hostages of other nationalities as well. And there had been some reporting that Western governments will put in pressure on the Israelis to delay the ground invasion so that some of those hostage conversations, those recovery conversations could continue.
That was what sparked the genesis of the question to the President this evening to which he answered yes, but clearly the White House does not want to go so far as to say that publicly, which is why the White House communications director says the President did not hear the question.
COOPER: All right, Kayla Tausche, appreciate that.
Joining me now is Fareed Zakaria. Fareed, first of all, what do you make of this latest development from the White House clarifying the President's comments?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Well, it may be an unintentional slip. You know, some people sometimes say that in Washington a gaffe is when somebody accidentally tells the truth. I think the President and the administration have been counseling the Israelis to be more thoughtful, more deliberate, more careful of -- think through what they want to do before the ground invasion.
I'm sure it wasn't tied into President's mind, specifically to the issue of hostages. But the administration has been counseling the Israeli government to think hard about the ground invasion. In fact, Kayla pointed out, the White House said, the President has been asking hard questions.
I think there's a lot of concern and apprehension, that if Israel goes in in a big way into Gaza, they will -- first of all they might find themselves in for a long, painful, complicated occupation. But also that it will inflame even more sentiment in the Arab world, outside.
You already see now Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince has just come out in favor of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines. This is to my -- the best of my knowledge, he's never said this before. So you see the pressure that is being felt in Arab countries.
This is a leader who had, you know, two weeks ago been trying busily to normalize relations with Israel. So you're seeing that the diplomatic and political price that is being paid, and I think the White House has been counseling Israel, really think this through.
COOPER: Just in terms of the war itself, the ground invasion, if that is what is to come, and it certainly seems, I mean, that is what many people here are expecting, given the amount of troops amassed on the border and given the pounding that we are even hearing now from Tel Aviv, the going on in Gaza over the last hour, some very significant -- literally, you can feel it in the ground here in Tel Aviv, that's how significant sum of these blasts had been and just another one right now.
Is there a plan for success? I mean, if success, however, Israel defines it, the defeat of Hamas, the elimination of Hamas' capabilities of launching terror attacks into Israel. However, they define success, what happens then? I mean, who steps into the vacuum?
I mean, the U.S., you know, had a De-Ba'athification campaign in Iraq to, you know, eliminate the power of the bath party of Saddam Hussein's party. And a lot of those folks ended up in the insurgency.
ZAKARIA: You've said it exactly right. The issue is, what if you destroy Hamas? Hamas is the authority in Gaza. What replaces it? Does Israel want to govern Gaza again? If not, is there some plan for an international mission? I doubt very much that you could get countries like Saudi Arabia or Egypt to agree to rule over Palestinians against their will.
And remember, Hamas or Islamic Jihad, these various Palestinian groups will launch an insurgency against anyone trying to occupy Gaza. So it feels like military victory, you can imagine. The Israeli army is extraordinarily competent and extraordinarily lethal, and it has overwhelming force.
But what happens then, you know, the -- Israel invaded Lebanon and militarily you could argue that they -- that it all went well. You remember this, Anderson, in the '80s. But it created a political nightmare, which then led to horrific human rights abuses and Sabra and Shatila camp.
So it's just worth remembering that in these kinds of situations, unless you have a kind of political idea of where this is going to go, just going in and beating up bad guys, satisfying as that will seem, is not enough. I also wonder whether this is really government which was essentially caught napping on what, you know, one of your guests just said was the greatest strategic failure of an Israeli government in its history.
If this government feels it has to do something big and bold and dramatic to show that it is taking you know, taking vengeance, in some ways that is it overcompensating for its own mistakes.
COOPER: Yes. Fareed Zakaria, thank you. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, what happened at kibbutz Nir Oz and why as difficult it is to see or even think about it is important. There are so many families looking for loved ones. Not wanting them to be forgotten.
COOPER: It's been just about two weeks since the terror attacks of October 7, and we are still learning new information and getting a fuller picture of exactly what happened on that horrible, horrible morning. In the community of Nir Oz, very close to the Gaza border, it's a kibbutz with about 400 people.
Journalists weren't allowed to go until just yesterday. I went. I spent much of the day there, and I want you to see what we -- me and my team saw there on the ground, because so many families there have dead or loved ones still missing.
COOPER (voice-over): Nir Oz was one of the first kibbutzim attacked on October 7 by Hamas gunmen. Security cameras recorded some of them entering, armed with automatic weapons and RPGs. When we visited Nir Oz this week, the carnage was clear. No family, no home here was untouched by terror.
People's possessions are strewn all around, left behind by men who looted and killed for more than seven hours. The silence now sounds sickening. A breeze blows through broken windows. Flies buzz in the debris.
The residents who survived are gone. Only some cats have returned. Every home, it seems, has been defiled. Family photos remain on the fridge. The people who lived here hid in their safe room. Lucky for them, the door held strong.
(on-camera): You can tell gunmen tried to pry this door open. This handle has nearly been pulled off from tugging it. They weren't able. The lock held. It looks like they tried to pry open the door as well. You can fit your hand through here. They could just maybe look in, but they couldn't actually break through this door.
(voice-over): Around back, we check the window of the safe room. Inside, the bed and sheets are soaked with blood. One member of the family who hid here was wounded, but he and they survived. But according to the IDF, about a quarter of the 400 people who lived in Nir Oz are dead or missing.
(on-camera): In another house in this kibbutz, gunmen broke in and murdered a woman named Bracha Levinson. They not only killed her, they got access to her Facebook account, and they live streamed an image of her lying in a pool of blood on the ground so that her friends and family could see.
This is Bracha Levinson. She was 74 years old. Her neighbors, Adina and David Moshe, were also in their 70s. They'd lived in Nir Oz for more than 50 years.
We found their home completely torched. Dishes were still in the dishwasher. They hid in their safe room when the gunman came. Her granddaughter Anat says Adina messaged her family they were OK.
ANAT MOSHE, SHOSHANY GRANDMOTHER KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: My grandmother was a very, very strong. She didn't want us to be panicked. Everyone --
COOPER: They're very much worried about you in that attack (ph).
A. MOSHE: Yes. She's -- this kind of woman she always take care of us.
COOPER (voice-over): But inside the safe room, there was reason to panic. The pool of dried blood evidence of what happened. David Moshe was shot and killed holding onto this door handle to prevent the gunman from getting in.
A. MOSHE: He was a hero. He was shot. So there are three gunshots on the door that succeeded to break through the door.
COOPER (voice-over): Their attackers dragged Adina Moshe out through the safe room window. She later appeared in this video posted online, sandwiched between gunmen on a motorbike in Gaza. Some of the missing have been found. The bodies of 80-year-old Carmela Dan and her 13- year-old granddaughter Noya were identified this week.
Her former son in law, Ofer Calderon, is still missing, as are two of his children, Sahar and Erez. This video shows Erez being dragged away by gunmen, one of whom appears to have blood on his hand. We geolocated where the video was shot.
(on-camera): This is the last known location of Erez Calderon. He was 12 years old. He was kidnapped by Hamas gunmen and he was videotaped as they were dragging him away in this direction. This is the fence to the kibbutz, and Gaza is only about 1.5-mile away.
You can see an explosion that's just taking place in Gaza off in the distance. So the gunman didn't have far to take him in order to get him back into Gaza.
(voice-over): There's video of Shirib Babas (ph) being kidnapped as well, clutching her two children, Ariel (ph) and Kafar (ph). Her husband is missing too. We talked to her cousin last week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my family back. I want my family back. I'm trying to be strong and stoic and speak clearly, but I'm devastated.
COOPER (voice-over): All of the families of Nir Oz are devastated. David Moshe was buried there this week. His granddaughter Anat wanted us to see a video that was played at his funeral and from a celebration at the kibbutz earlier this year.
That's David singing. He's then joined by other members of the kibbutz.
A. MOSHE: He's singing the first sentence. This is what the song means. The time will fix all that breaks. That's the message. And you're allowed to be afraid and you're allowed to be sad. But tomorrow, we can rebuild and recover.
COOPER: We'll be right back.
COOPER: CNN's coverage continues from Israel. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.