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Interview With Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary General Jan Egeland; Interview With Clinical Psychologist And "The Wolf Hunt" Author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen; Interview With Former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton; Interview With Former U.S. Special Envoy For Middle East Talks And Washington Institute For Near East Policy Distinguished Fellow Dennis Ross. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 13, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
Israel Defense Forces troops have carried out local raids in Gaza in the search for hostages and Hamas infrastructure. That after an evacuation
order for more than a million people in Gaza as Israel continues its retaliatory bombardment. We have a report on the devastation there in Gaza,
and I'll talk to the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, whose staff are on the ground in Gaza right now.
Then, after a week of pain in Israel, how does a nation even begin to process this trauma? Clinical psychologist Ayelet Gundar-Goshen joins me.
Also, ahead, the dangers of dysfunction in American politics, as the U.S. House remains speakerless. Christiane's conversation about that with former
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Plus, Michel Martin speaks to former U.S. Envoy to the Middle East, Dennis Ross, about how to achieve a lasting peace in the region.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Israeli troops have been carrying out local raids inside Gaza involving infantry and armored forces. This news comes after the Israeli military
warned people in Northern Gaza to move south immediately. The United Nations saying just 24 hours' notice was given to evacuate.
Let's now bring in Becky Anderson, who is following these developments from Jerusalem. Becky, specifically, what more are we learning about these --
what appear to be smaller raids, targeting terrorists, and finding out more information about where these hostages may be?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: That's absolutely right. An unspecified number of raids, but certainly, more than one as we understand it at this time.
And we have just received a statement from the IDF.
So, let me read that to you. I think this is the best way to do this. Over the past day, this statement says, the IDF conducted raids in the territory
of the Gaza Strip in an effort to eliminate the threat of terrorists and weapons in the area and locate hostages. IDF soldiers searched and
collected evidence that would assist in the effort to locate hostages. In addition, IDF soldiers thwarted terror cells and infrastructure located in
the area, including a Hamas, anti-rocket cell that fired anti -- so, in addition, a Hamas cell that fired anti-tank missiles towards Israeli
It continued that the IDF continues its strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, both from the air and from anti-tank, and from the southern
side of the border, trying to take out anti-tank missile launches immediately after Hamas attacked Israel. So, that's as things stand at the
And I do just want to bring up some information from the U.S. hostage coordinator who is now on the ground. U.S. Secretary of State Antony
Blinken has been in region. He was here in Israel. He's moved on to Jordan and then, around the Gulf with three sort of priorities. One, the hostages
Two, the humanitarian corridors and three, how does -- how do -- how does the U.S. and others help to try and de-escalate what is going on at the
moment? Because there's a real concern, isn't there, that this thing could really escalate.
And according to Israel's hostage coordinator, so, you know, one of those key priorities for Antony Blinken, he said that the team is investigating
every piece of information to help find those who are feared captive in Gaza.
And do remember, that the IDF hasn't actually released numbers on how many, Israelis, or dual citizens are actually being held by Hamas at present. But
there's a clear effort now and we're seeing this real-time, in these raids, as the IDF describes him going in on the ground from the other side of the
border, from the Israeli side of the border, going in and trying to locate information and evidence about where these hostages may be.
And this is all, of course, Bianna, as you and I have been discussing, because there is a clear ?information and evidence about where these
hostages may be. And this is all, of course, Bianna, as you and I have been discussing, because there is a clear sort of threat now that the Israeli
forces are likely to start some sort of significant assault, both from the ground and from the air. And clearly, they are very concerned about where
those hostages are and how they will be affected by what happens next. Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And that major larger scale assault is reportedly just days, if not hours, away. And that incursion, of course, we will be
following closely. Becky, thank you.
As we mentioned, the news of these raids comes as Israel order civilians into Northern Gaza to move south immediately, while the United Nations is
asking Israel to reconsider that order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROLANDO GOMEZ, UNITED NATIONS SPOKESPERSON: The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating
humanitarian consequences. The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order to be rescinded, avoiding what could transform what is already a
tragic situation into a calamitous situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, this moment is also being complicated by Hamas, which is telling Palestinians to stay where they are. Thousands of airstrikes have
decimated Gaza over the past six days, killing some 1,800 people, according to local health ministry.
Israel's retaliation comes after the brutal surprise attack by Hamas Saturday, which killed more than 1,300 people, most of them civilians. The
U.S. is undertaking an intense schedule of shuttle diplomacy to limit the bloodshed. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today before continuing on a whistle stop tour of the region.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Israel now reaffirming U.S. support at a press conference earlier today alongside his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I am here in person to make something crystal clear. America's support for Israel is ironclad.
YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: When you said that you stand with Israel, you showed up. You stand here with us. Mr. Secretary. You have
shown us what it means to be an ally, to be a friend, to be a brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, we see what's happening on the ground in Gaza in this report from our Correspondent Nada Bashir. A warning now, some of the
images you are about to see are graphic and heartbreaking. The stories and images are gut-wrenching but important to hear and see. And a note, it was
recorded before Israel's warning to civilians in Northern Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voiceover): Gripped by grief and loss of unfathomable scale. Gaza's death toll and the number of civilians wounded
is rising with each and every airstrike. In the Al-Shati refugee camp, men dig with their bare hands, desperate to rescue loved ones from beneath the
rubble of what once were their homes.
Sa'ad (ph) begins to list the names of the children killed in this latest strike. Among them, his niece. She was just a few months old. Now, she is
one of more than 440 children Gaza's health ministry says has been killed by Israeli airstrikes so far.
Israel says it is striking Hamas targets. But authorities here say medical facilities, schools and residential areas have been impacted.
Our neighbors said that the Israelis had called and told them to evacuate the area around our home. So, we came to stay with relatives here in Al-
Shati, Nabil (ph) says. But the next morning, when we woke up to pray at dawn, the airstrike happened. There was no warning.
The densely populated Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli land, sea and air blockade since 2007 is home to more than 2 million people, around
47 percent of them are children. Many are now forced to take shelter in U.N. run schools like this one. But civilians here are also now facing what
the Israeli government has described as a complete siege on Gaza.
There's no water for us to drink. No water for us to wash ourselves with so that we can pray, Maram (ph) says. They've bombed our schools. Many people
have been killed. It's not fair for children like us. Why is this happening to us?
Life under a blockade is all that the children of Gaza have ever known. For some, like 13-year-old Nadine, it is hard to imagine a future beyond this
NADINE ABDUL LATIF, TEENAGER LIVING IN GAZA: The last couple of nights have been the worst couple of nights I've ever lived in my life. This is
not living. This is existing. We're not planning our futures anymore. We're just trying to survive.
BASHIR (voiceover): But survival in Gaza is becoming more and more difficult by the day. The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating,
and while the U.N. has condemned what it has described as Israel's unlawful blockade on Gaza and the indiscriminate nature of Israel's airstrikes,
there is little hope that the bloodshed will end here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Our thanks to Nada. Well, more than 420,000 people in Gaza have been displaced amid the violence. And in a tragic update, since that report
released, the number of children killed in Gaza has risen, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, to over 580.
For more on the latest, I'm joined by Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which has multiple staff members on the
ground in Gaza. He spent a long time trying to build a path to peace in this region.
Hard to even imagine having that conversation right now, Jan. That was a key facilitator in negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993.
Jan, you have seen it all. It's one thing I keep hearing from all of our guests is that they haven't seen anything quite like this in the scale at
which all of this is happening right now.
First and foremost, let me ask you about how your team is doing on the ground. Are they all accounted for?
JAN EGELAND, SECRETARY GENERAL, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: They were all accounted for this morning. We hope and pray they will also be safe
tomorrow morning, but many of them are fleeing for their life. These are eight workers. They've been now helping fellow Gazans for decades. Now,
they're fleeing for their lives.
The majority of them lived in Gaza City and the surrounding in the north. And what Israel has come with is an impossible and illegal order of
enforced relocation. So, don't talk about it as if it was a humanitarian evacuation. It's what is described during -- of -- in this Geneva
Conventions as forcible transfer. It's a war crime, according to international law. Israel has to reverse this order and the United States,
the United Kingdom, Germany, European Union, all Arab countries that have influence on Israel have to make them reverse this impossible and illegal
GOLODRYGA: We heard from Secretary of State Blinken in Qatar earlier this morning where he stressed once again that he had been speaking with Israeli
counterparts about establishing some sort of safe zones within Gaza. Can you just describe to us within Gaza itself, are there safe zones in this
area right now given that there is this mass evacuation? Are safe zones even possible?
EGELAND: Safe zones are possible. They -- a lot of schools and hospitals, including our own office in Gaza that we are now asked to have a relocation
from, have been de conflicted, as we say. We have given coordinates to the Israelis. These -- the schools, the hospitals and so on.
Civilian housing are sacrosanct on the international law. We all have to fight terror and terrorism that Israel was struck with so horribly this
weekend. But don't smash the -- everything around a million children. This would be terrible also for Israel's long-term security, there will be a
generation of hatred here.
GOLODRYGA: So, Jan, given your history and expertise in this region and in this conflict, when Israel is warning and sending out messages for those in
Gaza to flee south, and Hamas is telling them to remain in place, ultimately, who is responsible in terms of the safety of Palestinians?
Because you would agree, I would imagine, that Israel has a right to defend itself and obviously as it set out on its mission to destroy Hamas
EGELAND: Yes. And international law is very clear, and many countries are under terrorist attack, many countries. You go after the terrorists, you
take them, you take their funding, you take their arms. You -- I -- you described there were teams going in to release hostages and take the
terrorists, that is what other countries do.
To smash entire civilian cities is disproportionate. It's a violation of international law, and it's not in the interest of Israel. We're all
wanting now to have the -- also, the hostages released. I'm appealing on that constantly on Arab speaking media that I know Hamas is listening to.
Let's all work to see a ceasefire now. Too many children have died.
GOLODRYGA: And Christiane spoke with an IDF spokesperson earlier this week who has reiterated along with others that Hamas and these terrorists are
using civilians and innocent civilians as human shields. What should the response be on that matter?
EGELAND: No, I mean, it's also a violation of international law to blend into the civilian population. And if they're being used as human shields
and if they use hostages, human shields, it's war crimes. But one crime does not justify the other. And Israel is a state, it's -- it has
governance. It's supposed to be working now with moral clarity as Blinken and Netanyahu said the other day.
So, what -- clarity is not one aid (ph).
EGELAND: We ask you to adhere to the law and we're not going to do it ourselves. So, I hope that there will be some sanity and hope that the
International Community will impress on the parties to work according to international standards and international law.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And we know they're working on parties within the region, not just between Palestinians and Israelis. I know there are talks with
Egypt to open a humanitarian corridor right now. So far, Egypt has requested that call. But this is a fast-moving situation.
Jan, I really appreciate you joining us and giving us the latest. And again, we hope that your team remains safe there on the ground. Thank you.
EGELAND: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we turn now to the scale of the Hamas assault Saturday, which just about everyone in Israel is impacted from. Trauma on a national
level, as Israelis have their sense of security really shaken and their trust in their own government fractured. Someone seeing the first-hand
impact of this is Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, a clinical psychologist and writer. She was supposed to be here in the U.S. on a book tour for her new novel,
"The Wolf Hunt," but it was canceled because of the war.
Ayelet, thank you so much for joining us. Like all other Israelis that we've talked to, history will now define the days before October 7th and
after. The country changed. The region changed. You're a professional who deals with trauma and helps your patients cope with theirs. My first
question to you, though, as an Israeli, as a human being, how are you doing right now?
AYELET GUNDAR-GOSHEN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND AUTHOR, "THE WOLF HUNT": You know, we stopped asking each other, how are you doing in the mornings
when we meet at work because there are no words. There's no answer that you can give except we're starting to cry. So, now, we're just saying hi.
Nobody's asking, how are you doing right now?
GOLODRYGA: How do you process the trauma of the last few days? What are you telling your patients? There's a war going on now. So, it's hard to
come to terms with all of the death and tragedy of what was not even a week ago at the same time, the country has mobilized and got off to war. How do
you balance both?
GUNDAR-GOSHEN: You know, we just got an e-mail from our supervisor at the mental health hospital, Shalvata, where I work. It's part of Clalit. We got
an e-mail saying, forget everything you thought you knew or you learned about dealing with trauma, because this is different. This is an ongoing
event. You can't tell a trauma patient, you're safe now.
Usually, this is what we do. The first thing you say is that, you're safe now. I'm here with you. It's over. This is not over. We have parents here
that lost their kids. We have parents that don't know where their kids are. We have babies and toddlers, and three-years-old taken to Gaza as hostages.
And their family members who survived the massacre are going crazy. They're falling apart because they don't know if they're alive or not. They don't
know if they're in some tunnel in Gaza. We can't say to people that they're in a safe place because the country is not safe right now. We can't say
that it's over because this is just the beginning.
And I feel what we do as psychologists right now is we just try to help people get until the end of the day so they can keep on hoping and fighting
to get their kids and their relatives back. We have 200 people taken to Gaza. We have kids taken out of their beds, dragged to Gaza, and we're just
trying to help the patient survive until they meet them again, and I hope they will.
GOLODRYGA: I hope so too. You wrote a piece to be published this weekend in "The Sunday Times," and it starts with one woman, Celine Ben-David Nagar
(ph). And I'm going to quote from your piece. "She left her six-month-old baby Ellie at home and gave herself permission to spend one night of
freedom and dancing. Celine never came home. If Celine is alive, her body is still producing milk for her baby, somewhere out there in the Gaza
Strip, if she is still alive, is a mother whose body keeps making milk for a baby in Israel.
Talk to us about --
GUNDAR-GOSHEN: I think when you think about Celine, I mean, this is the most terrible thing that you can imagine, right? Having a baby here in
Israel and having her mother in Gaza and the body doesn't know that the mother is away from the baby. The body continues to produce the milk. And
then, we have the father of the baby asking how can he feed his daughter.
And I think this is also the moment when you see the beauty of Israeli civil society. Because the government, the Israeli government, is weak, but
the people are so powerful. So, you see women coming to the house, bringing their own milk to feed Celine's baby. And you see people opening their
houses and hosting inside their houses, people that they don't meet, survivors of the massacre, are coming now to our houses in Tel Aviv. You
see how everyone is trying to help somehow.
You have a family here and -- that lost the parents. You have two newborn babies, twins. So, you get text messages of, I have the baby twins, but I
don't have clothes for them because I don't have newborn clothes. So, other mothers from the neighborhood come and bring clothes over their own babies.
I think everyone is trying to help. But as mental health professionals, we keep asking ourselves, how many patients are we going to meet? Because it's
not just the survivors, you know, the entire civil society, the entire Israeli society is traumatic at the moment.
GOLODRYGA: Is there a right or wrong way to cope with trauma like this, in terms of how you talk to your children, how you digest all the information?
I mean, is there one universal right or wrong that you can advise for patients, for people watching this, not just in Israel, maybe, but around
the world, including Palestinian children?
GOLODRYGA: I think this event -- I -- definitely. I think this event shows you the costs, the price of this live streaming events, because everyone
were part of the of the event. Everyone were part of the attack. People in Tel Aviv got text messages from their friends at the kibbutz. So, it was on
live. You know, people got text messages saying, help us, they're burning us, or help us, they're shooting at us, or help us, they're taking the
So, the entire country was exposed. But later you had another wave of explosion because the kids, Israeli kids, saw the videos and they got it
through WhatsApp, they got it through Instagram, they got it through TikTok. Hamas was cruel enough to publish and to put it on social media so
that people can see their loved ones being tortured on live streaming.
And I think, if I can tell you one thing that you never do with kids, you don't expose them to this if you have a choice. The thing is that for so
many kids, you don't have a choice because they were part of that. And I'm afraid to say for so many kids, this is not something that you can choose
to expose or not to expose them to. This is their reality.
GOLODRYGA: Social media, just another component in this tragedy in the cesspool that some of these sites have turned into. Ayelet Gundar-Goshen,
thank you so much. Thank you for what you're doing and thank you for your words.
GUNDAR-GOSHEN: Thank you for having me.
GOLODRYGA: Well, war in the Middle East is ramping up the urgency for the U.S. to elect a new speaker. Its leadership in the House is still in a
state of paralysis. After House Majority Leader Steve Scalise dropped out of the race, attention is now turning towards Ohio Republican Jim Jordan,
who lost the nomination vote to Scalise earlier in the week. But he's also lacking unified Republican backing so far. So, how does this end and when?
Well, last week, Christiane spoke to Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shortly after Kevin McCarthy's historic ouster, and they discussed
what this dysfunction could mean for American democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Madam Secretary, welcome back to our program.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Here we are in Washington, D.C. amidst another malfunction. The whole world is looking at what's happening in the House and the historic
ouster of a speaker. Is American democracy in trouble?
CLINTON: Yes, absolutely, it's in trouble. It was in trouble before this latest incident. This just makes it abundantly clear to anybody paying
attention that we have one political party that unfortunately is in absolute hostage situation with its most extreme members.
And Kevin McCarthy, who, you know, I have no, you know, relationship with of any kind. But when he actually did the right thing for the country and
kept us from going into a government shutdown, he was punished. And he was punished because he worked with Democrats. He worked for the good of the
country. He was not continuing to be captive to the far-right extremists. So, they toppled him. It was a very small number, as you look at the vote,
but now we're, you know, reaping the consequences of their misbehavior.
AMANPOUR: It said that the main contenders for his position are Jim Jordan, who you know very well from Benghazi --
CLINTON: Well, I don't know him well. I watched him and, you know, stared at him for 11 hours while he made stuff up about me. So, I don't know him.
But I've seen him in action.
AMANPOUR: So, what will it mean if he gets the speakership?
CLINTON: Well, I mean, he is one of the principal ringleaders of the circus that's been created in the Republican Party for the last several
years. I have no inside knowledge about what the Republicans will do, who they will end up voting for. But when do they put the contrary first, they
do not represent a majority of even the Republican Party. When you look at the extremists in the House, they certainly don't represent a majority of
And, you know, somebody has to stand up and say, enough. You know, we could have disagreements. I'm all for that. I was in the Senate for eight years.
I worked with a lot of Republicans and, you know, oppose them when I didn't agree. But at some point, there needs to be a backlash against the control
that this small group of extremists have. And I don't know who will lead that. But let's hope whoever becomes the new speaker will.
AMANPOUR: So, for those outside this country who may not know, it is not so much a fight between two different parties. It's an internecine warfare
within one party, the GOP.
AMANPOUR: So, when you look at how to go forward for the country, as you say, is there any area of coalition building that could happen? There are
pragmatic Republicans, as you say. Could there be a new -- a whole new way of trying to, you know, get legislation going and cross-party governance
going by Democrats and certain Republicans forming a coalition?
CLINTON: Well, you saw, the number of Republicans who voted along with Democrats to keep the government open. So, there's clearly a common sense,
you know, sane, part of the Republican caucus in the House. But I think they are intimidated, they oftentimes, you know, say and do things, which
they know better than to say or do, and it will require us defeating those most extreme measures, and the people who promote them in order to try to
get to some common ground where people can, again, work together.
That's the way it used to be. I mean, we had very strong partisans in both parties in the past. And we had very bitter battles over all kinds of
things, gun control and climate change and the economy and taxes, but there wasn't this little tale of extremism waving -- you know, wagging the dog of
the Republican Party as it is today.
And sadly, so many of those extremists, those MAGA extremists, take their marching orders from Donald Trump who has no credibility left by any
measure. He's only in it for himself. He's now defending himself in civil actions and criminal actions. And when do they break with him? You know,
because at some point, you know, maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members, but something needs to happen.
AMANPOUR: And how do you do that? Because you said you have to defeat them by defeating their leader. Their leader is Donald Trump. Even you have said
that you expect him to be the Republican nominee. How does this change at all?
CLINTON: At this point, I think, sadly, he will still likely be the nominee, and we have to defeat him, and we have to defeat those who are the
election deniers, as we did in 2020 and 2022. And we have to, you know, just be smarter about how we are trying to empower the right people inside
the Republican Party.
You know, Nancy Pelosi had a majority of five votes when she was speaker. Kevin McCarthy had a majority of five votes. Nancy Pelosi passed
consequential legislation. And she clearly had members within her caucus who, you know, ranged across a spectrum of political beliefs and ideology,
and she kept everybody together. And she kept everybody focused on the future. He couldn't do that. ?And so, he paid a price, but more
importantly, the country paid a price.
AMANPOUR: And so, when you see another matchup between potentially Trump and President Biden, what goes through your mind? And particularly, how do
you process that this person who defeated you back in 2016 is still at it, given all that you've said, you know, civil fraud, sexual transgressions
according to the courts? How is this still happening?
CLINTON: It's the classic tale of an authoritarian populist who really has a grip on the emotional, psychological needs and desires of a portion of
the population. And the base of the Republican Party, for whatever combination of reasons, and it is emotional and psychological, sees in him
someone who speaks for them, and they are determined that they will continue to vote for him, attend his rallies, wear his merchandise, because
for whatever reason, he and his, you know, very negative, nasty form of politics resonates with them. And that was really attractive to a
significant portion of the Republican base.
So, it is like a cult. And somebody has to break the -- you know, break that momentum. And that's why I believe Joe Biden will defeat him. And
hopefully, then that will be the end. And the fever will break. And then, Republicans can try to get back to, you know, fighting about issues among
themselves and electing people who are at least, you know, responsible and accountable.
AMANPOUR: Are you concerned that a third-party candidate on the Democratic side could thwart Joe Biden's chances?
CLINTON: I am always concerned about a third-party. That's what happened to me, as we all can recall, and helped by a lot of other forces, and that
could happen again this time. So, of course, I worry about anyone who might take votes away from President Biden.
Because, you know, I'm in the camp, Christiane, that says, why do you actually hire a politician? You know, what is it you want? And what I want
is somebody who can get the job done. And Biden has done an amazing job by any measure.
You know, people have talked about infrastructure forever. He passed the bill. People have talked about losing advanced manufacturing to China, he
passed the bill. People have talked about getting clean energy, actually to produce even more and more jobs, he passed the bill. Negotiating for drug
prices, all of these things, which many of us have tried to get done in, you know, the Senate and beyond he's gotten done.
And it's going to change Americans lives for the better, and it's going to enhance and grow our economy. And when people say, well, I don't know. Pay
attention, please. Pay attention to what he's gotten accomplished. But if you don't want be for him on the merits the way I am, be for him because
the alternative could end our democracy, and I don't say that lightly.
AMANPOUR: So, the firebrands, as you've said, the eight or however many they are, the minority of the Republicans who've ousted their speaker, have
done so also loudly decrying America's support for Ukraine. And saying that, no, no, no, we care about America first, not about Ukraine, it's not
in our best interest. Do you think that's going to continue?
President Biden is planning a major speech in order to shore up what his administration is doing for the defense of democracy in Ukraine. What is
your feeling about this and your advice?
CLINTON: Well, I believe that the majority of the Congress on both sides of the aisle still support giving aid to Ukraine, helping Ukraine defend
itself, understand that Ukraine's fight is our fight, understand that a democracy struggling against an autocracy that is conducting a barbaric
invasion and committing crimes against humanity and genocide has to be defeated. So, I think a majority of the Congress, just like still a
majority of the public, is in favor of helping Ukraine.
The challenge will be if whoever is elected speaker somehow controls the floor so you can't get a vote. So, we have a majority, just like we had a
majority to keep the government open until, you know, finally, McCarthy allowed there to be a vote with Democrats and a big number of Republicans.
So, there'll have to be an enormous amount of pressure and maneuvering to get that vote, because the Senate will vote to continue to fund Ukraine.
The Pentagon will be asking to continue to fund Ukraine. They understand the stakes.
So, the -- you know, the struggle will be in the House and we'll all have to do everything we can to force asking to continue to fund Ukraine, they
understand the stakes. So the, you know, the struggle will be in the House and we'll all have to do everything we can to force a vote. So, if we can
get a vote on the floor, Ukraine will get the aid.
AMANPOUR: And what does the President have to say? What would you say if you were in this position trying to convince the American people that the
defense of Ukraine is the defense of the United States?
CLINTON: That just like in years past, when someone is under attack by an authoritarian regime, a dictator, you have to pay attention to what that
dictator's true intentions are. Putin invaded Georgia. He invaded Ukraine the first time, in 2014. He was not stopped. And why is it that all of our
allies in Europe who border Russia, who have first-hand experience with Putin are begging that we support Ukraine? Because they know that if Putin
gets his way in Ukraine, he will not stop there.
And the Ukrainian people have demonstrated they are willing going to defend themselves. They just need the help. It was similar if you go way back to,
you know, what FDR faced when, you know, America Firsters, the same claim that we're hearing from the MAGA extremists, were saying, we don't need to
help the British. You know, the Germans are bombing them. There's the Blitz. They're invading Poland. But that's not our fight. Well, yes, it was
our fight. And the fact that FDR maneuvered through the America Firsters and figured out how to keep providing aid to Great Britain is exactly what
we need to do now.
So, almost regardless of who ends up being the speaker and what rhetoric they use about Ukraine, I would urge President Biden to use every tool at
his disposal to keep funding Ukraine. I hope that there's a vote in the House. I know that it will turn out the right way. But even if they drag
their feet and play to the worst impulses and find common cause with those American Firsters who frankly supported Hitler, you know, shame on them, we
still need to figure out how to fund Ukraine.
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GOLODRYGA: And part two of Christiane's interview will be airing soon.
Well, now, it has been 30 years since President Clinton presided over one of the most historic handshakes in history. The Oslo Accords raised hopes
for peace in the Middle East, but war, sadly, is once again ripping the region apart. Ambassador Dennis Ross played a key role in negotiating the
Oslo Agreements. And he joins Michel Martin to reflect on why the promise of Israeli Palestinian peace remains unfulfilled, and what must be done to
reimagine a better future for the region.
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MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Ambassador Dennis Ross, thank you so much for speaking with us.
DENNIS ROSS, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR MIDDLE EAST TALKS AND DISTINGUISHED FELLOW; WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: My
pleasure. Good to be with you.
MARTIN: Especially at this very difficult moment. Thank you for sharing these insights with us. I wanted to start by saying that you've devoted
your career to shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process. You served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton
and Barack Obama. And I hope the question isn't too banal, but I just wanted to ask what your sort of first reaction was to the events of last
ROSS: Sure. I've worked on this issue for so long. I've seen terrible things before. I was very close to the sites of suicide bombings. I've seen
everything and I've seen nothing like this. Because this was just a deliberate decision to kill as many people as you could, to draw no
distinction in terms of age, to take grandmothers back to Gaza.
You know, it's interesting. The area next to Gaza is made up of communities, some of which are people by those Israelis who are very much
on the right side of the political spectrum, and some of the people have seen are very much on the left side of the political spectrum. These are
people who actually deeply believe the in making peace with the Palestinians, even being prepared to make real concessions with the
Hamas came in there, they do no distinction. If you were pro-peace, they killed you. If you were against peace, they killed you. They asked no
questions. They just wanted to kill Israelis. And I have to say, loudly speaking, I think they just wanted to kill Jews.
MARTIN: So, one of the reasons we called you is that you are one of the key negotiators of the 1993 Oslo Accords, and I just wanted to ask for
people who don't remember, perhaps were too young to remember, if you could just remind us of what was so significant about that agreement.
ROSS: I'm glad you asked that because this has always been an existential conflict. What I mean by that is you have two national movements, two
national identities, and they're competing for the same space. The significance of Oslo was that after an era of mutual rejection and mutual
denial. You had the PLO, the National Liberation Movement of the Palestinian people, as they define themselves, and you had the Israelis,
and Zionism is the National Liberation Movement of the Jewish people.
You had the Israelis and the Palestinians after an era of mutual denial crossing that psychological threshold and recognizing each other. It meant
they were taking an existential conflict and turning it into a political one. Existential conflicts you can't resolve. Religious conflicts you can't
resolve. National conflicts you can resolve. Political conflicts you can resolve.
And so, the hope of Oslo was that you were transforming a conflict that could never be resolved into one that now could be resolved into that now
was one we could solve.
MARTIN: And of course, you know, part of the reason this is important is I'm not sure people remember that, as you just said, this is both national
movements, two different national movements with a claim on the same land, recognizing each other's existence and then committing to a political
process to sort it out.
So, Hamas, you know --
MARTIN: -- they've never accepted the existence of the State of Israel. Do you have any thoughts about why that is?
ROSS: They have an ideology. They view -- Hamas is -- literally, it's an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, and their ideology is that all
of Palestine was part of an Islamic trust. And as part of an Islamic trust, not one inch could be surrendered. And that is an ideology, a credo that
they have lived with.
You know, people tend to forget every time we were making progress in the 1990s, every time we were making progress, we would get suicide bombings
from Hamas. When I hear people say today, well, Hamas wouldn't have done this if there was a peace process. On the contrary, when there was, they
were the ones who did everything they could, literally, to kill it.
And even now, clearly, one of the motivations was the prospect of Saudi Arabia. The king is -- the custodian of the two holy moss (ph), most
important Sunni Arab leader, most important Sunni Muslim leader in the world was prepared -- it appeared was in the process of being prepared to
make peace with the nation state of the Jewish people.
So, you would be removing or at least diminishing the religious element of this conflict. And for Hamas, that was a fundamental threat.
MARTIN: OK. So, let's wheel around to the other reason we called you, is that you had just published a new essay in "Foreign Affairs." I would say I
think it's a fairly tough-minded statement for someone like yourself -- especially for someone like yourself who's been so invested and involved in
the peace process. And in this, you say, the only way to achieve a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians is a complete dismantling of Hamas.
You say, decapitating Hamas' leadership, destroying its military infrastructure, killing a large number of its fighters, and even occupying
Gaza again are very real objectives.
Why are you so convinced of that at this point?
ROSS: Well, there I was sort of laying out what were Israeli objectives now. I wasn't saying this is exactly what I think the objective should be.
MARTIN: You would do?
ROSS: I'm saying, this is where Israel is coming from, because their paradigm of, in a sense, living and coexisting with Hamas since 2009, they
came to realize that that was not a manageable cost.
Now, having said that, the essence of what I was saying is that it is clear that Hamas cannot continue to be a threat towards Israel, number one. It's
also clear there is no possibility of creating reconstruction in Gaza so long as Hamas is in a position where at a time of his choosing it can blow
everything up again.
So, I do take the view that Hamas has completely delegitimize itself by what it has done. It is not a partner in any way, shape or form, and I do
think there has to be an outcome. I would like to see this kind of formula that I was saying. I'd like to see demilitarization of Gaza in return for
massive reconstruction of Gaza. And I don't see Hamas being in a position where it will ever go along with anything like that.
So, I think at a minimum, Hamas has to be put in a position where its fundamental power has been dramatically eroded. You know, the idea that you
can eradicate something like Hamas is something I think is beyond anybody's capability, but you could dramatically weaken it to the point that it
doesn't have the kind of capability to disrupt everything else. And I think at a minimum, that has to be the outcome.
MARTIN: And so, this is a situation where the cost to Israel and the cost to the people of Gaza is going to be very high. You said that, you know,
Hamas is completely delegitimized. We have no way of knowing how much legitimacy Hamas actually has among the people of Gaza because they haven't
had elections in 16 years. We also know that the population in Gaza is very young. I mean, the average Gazan is like 18 years old. 50 percent of the
population are children. They have no voice in this.
And we also know that Hamas has a history of, I don't know how else to put this, embedding itself in the civilian population, right? I mean, that
would be accurate to say.
ROSS: Hundred percent. Hundred percent.
MARTIN: So, given that, how could this be accomplished without a massive loss of life among people who are perhaps, fair to say, themselves hostages
in this land?
ROSS: Look, you are so right. And I -- and it won't surprise you, I have friends in Gaza right now. I have spoken to some of them in the last couple
of days. My heart is literally breaking over what I see happening. And yet, I also know they're being held hostage by Hamas.
You know, one of the person that I was able to speak to was describing how -- you know, she's already lost members of her family. She said, we're the
ones who are vulnerable. Yes, the Israelis have basically directed us to seven areas in Gaza, but I have 90-year-old parents who are not movable.
You know, we're exposed. All the Hamas leaders are deep underground.
So, look, this is a way a terrible dire situation, you know. And yet, we face a reality where whatever we say, the Israelis are no longer going to
live with this threat. And this is left to right, completely. It's a complete consensus.
So, you know, this is a terrible reality. But in a sense, Israel is now facing its ISIS. When we thought ISIS when -- you know, in Mosul and in
Raqqa, you know, there are a lot of innocent people who were killed. You're dealing with a threat that actually wants to invite the killing of
innocence. And it forces you into these terrible excruciating dilemmas, where if you don't take these steps, you have to continue to live with this
group, which will continue to carry out outrages. And at some point, you have to try to find a way to deal with it.
When I was a trust and what I was laying out in terms of the objectives, I said, the International Community should emphasize the unconditional
release of all the hostages, and it should emphasize the demilitarization and offer reconstruction. I mean, I'm hoping that under some circumstances
you might be able to bring this to an end so that the supreme price that we could be seeing pay, in fact, doesn't materialize.
You are quite right. Look, the price Palestinians will pay is terrible. The price the IDF will pay is also awful. So, it's a -- you know, it's an awful
situation, but we also know who's responsible for it. Hamas is responsible for it.
MARTIN: Well, but do you -- are you convinced that the world will see it that way? I mean, the fact is that there are a lot of people around the
world who look at this, look at the -- you could just see the destruction kind of whole neighborhoods wiped out. And you talked about the safe
quarters that the Israelis are directing people to, but a lot of them saying, how can I get there? How does Israel maintain its moral authority
and continue to use this level of overwhelming force?
ROSS: I think it's hard. Look, it's -- I said they're excruciating dilemma, but I think here are the things I would like to see happen. I
would like to see the Israelis emphasize that, again, that there are these safe areas there. And I'd like to see the Israelis facilitate humanitarian
assistance going into those areas. I want Israel to be able to put itself in a position where it says, we are fighting Hamas. We are not punishing
Palestinians. I think this is the way they have to present. It's the way I think that we should be talking about it.
We have to frame this issue for what it is. You have to take on this group that has (INAUDIBLE) these unspeakable atrocities on the one hand, and will
continue to do it if given an opportunity. And on the other hand, you also have to try to do this in a way that tries to do as much as you can to
safeguard the lives of Palestinians who aren't responsible for what Hamas does.
MARTIN: Do you think that the Israeli government is actually making that, or the Israeli leadership is actually making that distinction at the
ROSS: I think that they're in a situation where it's really hard to make these kinds of distinctions. But I think there is some effort being made.
And I think the more we talk about it, there'll probably be some greater effort.
Ultimately, it is in Israel's interest to show fighting Hamas is one thing, dealing with the Palestinians as a people is something very different.
MARTIN: And what about the Biden administration? Do you think that the Biden administration is doing enough to make that -- to convey the message
that you have just delivered?
ROSS: Well, I think that the president, when he spilled everything out, if he said -- he said, do it within the confines of international law. Now, it
is true that international humanitarian law, as it relates to the use of force, forced, it is designed to achieve a very clear military objective
will, in the end, unfortunately, also end up producing what will be civilian casualties, because that's the nature of war.
But I think the administration is trying to strike the balance, and it's a hard balance to strike. That anyone who thinks there's a simple answer here
is ignoring it. For those who say, Israel has to stop. Well, then you're just guaranteeing we're going to see more of what Hamas does. Hamas
deliberately targets civilians. The Israelis don't deliberately target civilians. There's an important distinction here. We need to have an
outcome where Hamas' ability to do that basically doesn't exist any longer.
MARTIN: So, let's wheel it around and say, for the sake of discussion, that through whatever means that fighting is contained, that Hamas is
dismantled, even at the grievous cost. And I realize that, you know, we're using this very antiseptic language, but, you know, I am mindful as I hope,
as I see that you are -- that you tell me you are that for every person that we're sort of talking about here, there is a mother who's seen their
child lying that -- you know what I mean? There is some innocent person who had no opportunity to intervene in this, who will pay a very dear price.
OK. So, let's just establish that we know this.
But let's just say for the sake of our conversation that his -- that Hamas is dismantled. What happens? What should happen after that? Like, how does
the region go forward after that?
ROSS: I think one of the things I wrote in that piece was, we need to be thinking about the day after right now. We can't wait until the day after
to be thinking about it. There needs to be an alternative administration in Gaza, maybe under some kind of international trusteeship. There needs to be
a plan for reconstruction as part of that. There need to be elections held six to nine months later. There needs to be -- in other words, it needs to
be a strategic plan for what is going to happen in Gaza afterwards, and that plan needs to ensure it can't be rearmed, but it also needs to create
kind of the equivalent of a marshal plan for Gaza.
One of the good things about Gaza from that standpoint is it is small. We're talking about an area that is, you know, not much bigger than the
greater New York area. So, the potential -- and it's -- and you're going to have so much destruction there that rebuilding the infrastructure and, in a
sense, almost starting from a low ebb, you can make a big difference pretty quickly. And give Palestinians there a chance to breathe. So, that would be
The second thing is, I don't write off the possibility that we will still see maybe several months down the road a Saudi Israeli breakthrough, in
which case, part of that will also involve what is done for Palestinians in the West Bank as well, not only in terms of changing how they live, but
also tangible steps that would ensure that two states remains an option for the future. You know, then you can change the trajectory. Then you can move
in a way that becomes dramatically more hopeful.
I mean, what we can't do is become so lost in what's happening right now that we lose sight of anything that might happen over time. And look, I
completely -- you use the word grievous, and that there's a poverty of language to capture what it means to see these losses. I mean, that's what
makes it so hurtful because these are not just numbers, these are all individual human beings with families.
MARTIN: Do you think there is the political will in the United States to support, to show leadership even, in the kind of project that you've spoken
ROSS: Well, I hope so. Look, obviously we have our own political realities here. I do think that President Biden would want to come out of this with a
potential to change the realities in the Middle East. We've gotten a reminder that every time we think we can ignore the Middle East, it
reimposes itself on us.
And to think that the Middle East is disconnected from a larger global competition, we're constantly reminded that it is not. So, you have an area
that in -- for another 30 years fossil fuels will still be important, you still have to manage a transition away from fossil fuels, the Middle East
will be important from that standpoint. It's important from a strategic geographic standpoint. It's important from the standpoint that it generates
these ideologies that are a threat to everyone.
So, the more you remove yourself from the Middle East, the more you end up being sucked back in, but only under worse circumstances. Nothing would be
worse than to have this event and then you do nothing in the aftermath of it.
MARTIN: Ambassador Dennis Ross, thank you so much for speaking with us.
ROSS: Thanks for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: A really important conversation. And finally, our colleague, Sara Sidner, just arrived in Tel Aviv to report on the latest strategy on
the ground. But boarding her flight, she captured some moments of life, of optimism. This tearful moment as the crew welcomed passengers with their
rendition of the 1979 winning Israeli Eurovision song, "Hallelujah."
We'll leave with this moment. Take care of yourselves. And thank for watching.
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