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Interview With U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator For The Occupied Palestinian Territory Process And Middle East Peace Process U.N. Deputy Director Lynn Hastings; Interview With Israel Opposition Leader And Former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid; Interview With Palestinian National Initiative General Secretary Mustafa Barghouti; Interview With The New Yorker Staff Writer Susan Glasser. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 16, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up. Israel prepares to decimate Hamas.
Israel prepares to decimate Hamas. Israel's friends and enemies warn not to punish Gaza's civilians.
And mass displacement. Nearly 3,000 dead and basic supplies running out. We'll have a report from inside. And the main U.N. relief coordinator joins
Then, 1,400 people in Israel are dead. My conversation with the opposition leader, Yair Lapid, on Israel's endgame.
Also, ahead, violence in the occupied West Bank. I speak to Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti about the wider fallout.
And later in the program, America's chaotic Congress. Susan Glasser talks to Hari Sreenivasan about the endless race for house speaker.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
And this just in from Israel. The top security chief says, the responsibility is on me for the devastating Hamas terror attack. Shin Bet
chief Ronen Bar wrote, "Despite a series of actions we carried out, we weren't able to create a sufficient warning that would allow the attack to
be thwarted." 1,400 people were massacred that day and 199 were taken hostage according to the IDF.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in Israel today meeting with the defense minister and Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu in urgent shuttle diplomacy across the region to try to prevent a wider war.
President Joe Biden says that while taking out Hamas extremists is necessary, he cautions Israel that a prolonged occupation of Gaza would be
"a big mistake."
About half a million Palestinians have heeded Israel's warning to leave their homes in Northern Gaza and head south, but life's most basic
necessities are dwindling fast.
The Palestinian Authority has warned Gaza's people face a real famine, while also condemning the killing of civilians on both sides. As we said,
1,400 were killed inside Israel by Hamas, and at least 2,800 Palestinians have been killed in nine days of Israeli airstrikes.
Blinken also hopes to secure at least a temporary opening of the Rafah Border Crossing to allow desperately needed humanitarian aid in and foreign
nationals out of Gaza.
Ibrahim Dahman is a CNN journalist inside Gaza, and he had to evacuate his own home in the face of these airstrikes. Here's his firsthand report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IBRAHIM DAHMAN, CNN JOURNALIST (through translator): I'm with my family fleeing airstrikes in Gaza.
My son is terrified. I tell him, don't be afraid, son. But the truth is I'm afraid too.
My name is Ibrahim Dahman and I am a CNN journalist. For years, I have covered the stories of people in Gaza. I never thought that I would become
part of the story.
Last week, I was in Gaza City when I was told to evacuate.
I don't know where to go. Where?
But where do I go? My home, my family and my life are here. Like so many others, I don't have anywhere else to go.
We reach a nearby hotel. There are journalists, families and people on their own.
We're not among the displaced, 1.1 million people told to evacuate Northern Gaza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't strike hotels, right?
DAHMAN: They don't strike hotels, no.
I know deep down no building is safe. We watch airstrikes, and the sound of explosions keeps us awake at night.
On our third day, a nearby building is hit. This man was injured in the explosion. He is my father's cousin. Thankfully, he only suffered minor
I must get away from the hotel. The situation is very difficult.
We load our car and head south to Khan Yunis.
Seconds after we left the hotel, they fired a rocket that heavily damaged the entire area.
Now, we're in Khan Yunis. There are still airstrikes, but it is safer here. It's only a matter of time until we flee again. I hope one day we can
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was CNN's Ibrahim Dahman, who, as you can see himself, is among the displaced inside Gaza.
Now, the Israeli government, under a lot of caution from its international allies, including the United States, says that it is abiding by the laws of
international war. Many officials have told me there will be mistakes. This is war.
Lynn Hastings is the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Deputy Coordinator for the Middle East Peace
Process. And she's calling for "immediate, unconditional access for life saving aid in Gaza. Lynn Hastings, welcome to the program.
I don't know whether you were able to see that report from our colleague, local colleague inside Gaza. But it does seem that it's very, very
difficult even to heed Israel's warnings to leave the most dangerous areas.
LYNN HASTINGS, U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY AND U.N. DEPUTY DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST, PEACE PROCESS: Absolutely.
It is extremely difficult to tell 1 million people to leave their homes to leave hospitals from the north of Gaza and to go south when most people
have no fuel, if they have cars. And of course, a lot of the roads have already been destroyed. So, absolutely impossible to evacuate hospitals and
for people to move that quickly.
AMANPOUR: Lynn, from what you know, I mean, we're reading that, yes, and we're seeing that at least half a million, maybe more now, have heeded that
warning and are leaving Gaza City. But for instance, hospital officials, doctors say they can't. The WHO has said it amounts to a death sentence for
those who are in hospital because who's going to evacuate them? And if the doctors leave, who's going to care for them? What can you tell us about the
hospital situation in Gaza City and in the north?
HASTINGS: I'm actually in regular touch with some of the hospitals directly, and they are calling and pleading for assistance, but largely in
terms of how do we make sure that they will not be hit, because they have been told to evacuate. I've been told that the entire health system has
collapsed. They have asked the United Nations to take over, which we have no capacity to do at the moment, but we it was dire before in terms of the
amount of medications, the lack of medical equipment. But without electricity, without fuel, they can't operate the hospitals. And now, of
course, they're worried about the hospitals being damaged as well.
AMANPOUR: So, we know and we've reported that the U.S. secretary of state and of course many of the regional allies of Israel have urged them to, A,
respect the civilians, but, B, allow humanitarian aid in. What do you know about the opening or any kind of infiltration of humanitarian aid to Gaza?
CNN has reported seeing five fuel trucks leave the Egyptian side, but do you have any knowledge about whether it's entered Gaza, whether -- what
will five fuel trucks do?
HASTINGS: Yes. OK. So, those fuel trucks were part of what we would have been engaged in in terms of a regular fueling. So, there's a fuel station
there. So, those five trucks are bringing fuel in. It's not nearly enough. It's half the amount that is normally needed for a day. But of course, any
little bit helps. So, those five trucks came in.
Having said that, other agencies, WHO, UNICEF, WFP, and the refugee agency there, they are all ready to bring goods in, medicine, food, water, and
fuel from either side, from either Egypt or Israel, they're ready to go, but we're just not able to get them in.
AMANPOUR: Now, the U.S. national security adviser over the weekend, Jake Sullivan, said that Israel has turned the water taps on, or however it
works, water is now being allowed to get into Gaza. However, local authorities and people there say they -- that's not the case. I'm going to
just play you a little bit of an interview from a Palestinian resident of Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD ABU SAMRA, GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): I've come to get water. We don't have any water. We've reached a disastrous situation, below
zero. The situation is catastrophic by all standards, with a crisis in food, water, and electricity. I mean, people can't do anything in the
current conditions. If you go to the homes and film inside, you will see extremely dire situations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What can you tell us about the basic necessities such as water?
HASTINGS: So, before October 7th, most Palestinians relied on bottled water because the water in Gaza is highly salinated (ph). So, without fuel, that
means that the water cannot be desalinated. And because they have not received bottled water for the past 10 days also means there is no longer
water available in any shop that happens to still be open.
With respect to the water taps being turned on, and I do need a reference fact for your viewers that Israel did turn off electricity and water, and
of course, have prevented food and fuel and (INAUDIBLE) to get into Gaza. So, what we're seeing right now is exactly what we're hearing. And in terms
of that tap that got turned back on, because of the infrastructure damage inside of Gaza, including to the water network, only one pipeline is
working in the South East part of the Gaza Strip right now.
HASTINGS: I'm still trying to figure out how many people will (INAUDIBLE)..
AMANPOUR: OK. Lynn, we have a bad connection, but I need to ask you this because we're soon going to hear from my interview with Yair Lapid,
Israeli, you know, former prime minister. And he said, Hamas is trying to prevent aid from coming in. Said that, you know, it's essentially on them,
What are your people inside, the U.N. workers, saying to Hamas about some of this stuff? And are you seeing any evidence that Hamas is either
stealing any aid, if there is any, or preventing aid from coming in?
HASTINGS: You know, some Palestinians may have taken goods left in shelters that our staff had to evacuate from or relocate from. But Hamas is not
stopping us from bringing aid in because we're not able to bring aid in.
AMANPOUR: Lynn Hastings, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
Now, today, Iran's foreign minister demanded an immediate end to the Israeli violence, and he posted, time is running out for political
solutions. Probable spread of war in other fronts is approaching unavoidable stage.
Now, this is extremely dire, and this is also what the United States is worried about, why it sent its carrier groups to the region and why
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is there, and what the Israelis are extremely worried about as well. Even in the current crisis, Israel lacks
full political unity, although all are on board with the war to destroy Hamas.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, as I said, chose not to join the wartime government, accusing the current coalition of "unpardonable failure." He
joined me from Jerusalem amid air raid sirens and preparing for his meeting with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Yair Lapid, welcome to the program.
YAIR LAPID, ISRAEL OPPOSITION LEADER AND FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Hello, Christiane. Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: We just spoke to the U.N. official Lynn Hastings, based in Israel, who says they have said, i.e., you, they want to destroy Hamas, but
their current trajectory is going to destroy Gaza. Do you agree? I mean, are you planning to destroy at least Northern Gaza and Gaza City, which is
why you've told people to move out?
LAPID: Well, we are going to -- the thing is, Hamas has built these headquarters underground in the southern -- in the northern parts of Gaza
and we -- and they're using their own people as human shields, which is preposterous and monstrous. And this -- and people don't believe it is
possible, but it is.
So, right now, what we're doing is we try to convince people and to push people out of the battle zone in order to avoid killing the innocent while
their people are shooting them and blockading the way -- the roads in order to prevent them from running away from a battleground.
So, what we are doing now something no army in the history of wars has done. We are telling them in advance where are we going to invade, when are
we going to invade. They know why are we going to do to invade. There will be -- we need to beat their boots on the ground because Hamas is there, and
we don't want -- as I said -- and you know what, we want another thing. We want our children back.
Christiane, can I share a picture with you? It won't be horrific or graphic, OK?
LAPID: This is, this is Kfir (ph). This is Kfir (ph). He's nine-month-old. He was kidnapped. Where's his mother? Where's his brother, Ariel (ph)? His
father was killed. So, we want him back. This is what we're doing in Gaza.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, Yair Lapid. I want to --
LAPID: We are trying to make sure babies are back home.
AMANPOUR: I understand that. And it's a horrible, horrible thought and a horrible reality. I want to know whether you are putting the hostages
first, or the decimation of Hamas first? Because already Hamas says, and I don't know whether you can confirm this, that 13 hostages have been killed
in airstrikes. Tell me what you're thinking. And you said they know when we're going to invade. When are they going to -- you going to invade?
LAPID: No, we gave the people of Northern Gaza a timeframe in which they need to move out. As I said, this -- we're doing this only for humanitarian
reasons. We're doing this in order to avoid killing the innocents.
I mean, right now, Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza alike are the victims of Hamas. So, every question you might have about humanitarian issues, you
should direct at Hamas. This is not our wrongdoing. Everybody around -- in both sides of the border, in Israel and in Gaza, are the victims of Hamas.
This is why we must go in there and make sure Hamas is eliminated once and for all. We will not have Hamas on our border anymore. It was a mistake to
let them be there in the first place. And we're not -- and we have paid a horrible price and we're not going to let this happen again.
AMANPOUR: Is your first priority the hostages? Because now you say there are 199. What is your first priority when you go in?
LAPID: Well, I wish we could have a first priority. We have to deal with both issues in the same time. Of course, the first thing we want is our
babies back home. And we're going to do everything in our power to bring them back home.
What kind of -- I don't know if I can call them people even, but what kind of people do that? What kind of people are hiding behind a nine-month-old
baby? Using them as a weapon, as a tool? It's beyond cynicism, it's monstrous.
AMANPOUR: You know, you've made your casus belli very, very clear. The question is about the others. Is it right to put a general siege on the
Palestinian territory of Gaza? So far, still no water, no food, no fuel, et cetera. Are you OK with that? Do you support the siege or are you going to,
you know, allow humanitarian aid to come in via Egypt?
LAPID: Well, the answer is we are working with the Egyptians and with the Americans and with the U.N. on humanitarian aid because we are not like
them. Our source of power is the fact that we are not like them.
Now, it is a war zone, but we have no interest in causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The only people who are doing it is Hamas.
AMANPOUR: But --
LAPID: And therefore, you should direct these questions to Hamas.
AMANPOUR: Do you know what? We will do so and we will have the Hamas spokesman on our air and we will direct this very question, as you say,
Can I ask you about, the emergency government? Would you describe your government in Israel now as a unity government? Why are you not in it? And
do you have faith in the very people who Benjamin Netanyahu gave the security file to? Do you have confidence that they will be able to actually
meet your goals in this military war in Gaza?
LAPID: Well, if I had -- I assume if I had confidence in them, I will be part of this government. But if you'll excuse me, Christiane, I feel a bit
uncomfortable discussing Israeli politics in international media while we are at war. So, I'm going to work with the government from the opposition.
I think the opposition has an important role even in wartime.
We are working together on the things that are important for the Israeli public for conducting this war the right way. We have their ear and they
are listening. There are, of course, differences. If there won't be -- I, for example, think that the exit strategy of this war should be the return
of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza.
I have a feeling the extremists in Mr. Netanyahu's government feels differently about this. This is part of the difference of opinions we have,
and this is part of the reason I'm not there now. Anything else, again, I feel a bit uncomfortable discussing in international media.
AMANPOUR: Are you comfortable discussing how such a failure of intelligence happened and where were the troops? Why did it take them more than 17 hours
or more to get to defending their people?
LAPID: Listen, these are tough questions and they're going to be asked. But as we speak, we have funerals, we have people mourning, we have Israeli
soldiers who are organizing everything, you know, then they're going to go into battle. So, we will have time.
Of course, every democratic country and every efficient army should be able to investigate themselves without hesitance in order to make sure they
understand what went wrong, and something went terribly wrong, as we all know. But we will do this in the day after, not while the war is being
AMANPOUR: OK. I want to ask you another question that some of your Arab allies are raising, as you know. They are very concerned of an exodus, an
exodus that is being encouraged from Gaza, not just to the south, but also into Egypt. As we know, the border is closed at the moment. But many, many
people in Gaza fear that if they leave, they will never be able to come back again.
And my question to you is, will the prime minister give these people a written agreement that they will be able to go back to their homes?
LAPID: Well, I don't think we're at that stage yet. Of course, we're discussing things with the Egyptians but -- and I understand the fact that
people who are fleeing their homes are afraid that they won't be able to come back, but this is part of a war, and this is a war, I'm reminding you
again, and I won't be tired of reminding it again and again. This is war that -- a war that was forced upon us. We didn't start it. We didn't want
it to happen. We paid a horrible price. And now, what we're trying to do is just defend our people.
I met, yesterday, the people who were evacuated from the Be'er kibbutz, which I think you visited once. And I met a 13-year-old girl, and she
described to me how her best friend was killed in front of her eyes. I need to promise her this will never happen again, and this is what we're doing
right now. So, yes, there will be a misery as a result of this. And again, this -- the questions about this misery should be targeted at Hamas, not at
AMANPOUR: What about fears of a wider war? Iran has said that, you know, it won't stand idly by. The president of Iran has said, speaking to the French
president, if Israel seeks to compensate for its failure by continuing these crimes, the dimensions of the developments will expand.
I don't know how you read that and whether you believe, and does your government and intelligence believe that there is a smoking gun that Iran
actually planned this, helped plan it?
LAPID: Well, first of all, if I may quote President Biden, if they're thinking about it, don't. I mean, yes, we were caught by surprise in the
Israeli South, near Gaza. But we will not be surprised again when we are not surprised now, we are angry, if anything else. And we are at the peak
of our alertness and readiness. And this is a very bad idea for anybody, especially Hezbollah up north, to mess with us now. We are not at a weak
point in our lives, we are at an angry point in our lives.
So, we are talking through American and European channels. We are telling Hezbollah, this is a terrible idea to mess with us now. And we are talking
to Iran and we are telling them, again, through friends, we are going to hold you accountable if anything happens up north. So, hopefully, we will
be able to avoid another conflict with Hezbollah, with Lebanon.
So, for the people of Lebanon, and especially for Hezbollah, this will be a horrible idea to mess with us now, and we're trying to make sure they
AMANPOUR: And finally, many people have suggested that a ground invasion will be incredibly complicated, the tunnel network. You mentioned
Hezbollah. My colleague, Sam Kiley, who you probably know well, has seen the tunnels that they now show tourists that they used and they employed
and they built to such to such high standards, especially during the 2006 war in -- between Hezbollah and Israel, which I also covered.
There are tunnels in Gaza. There were tunnels in Vietnam. These guerrilla war tactics can pay -- can take a heavy price on a conventional military.
Are you afraid of being sucked in? Is that part of the IDF discussions that a trap might be being laid?
LAPID: Yes, but this, we should deal with operatively. But, you know, you've mentioned Vietnam. There is a big difference. Vietnam is far, far
away from the United States. Gaza is our border. So, what is the alternative? What should I tell this girl I met yesterday? Should I tell
her, listen, you go back home and it's going to happen again in two years' time or in three years' time? By the time you'll be 16, you'll be killed.
By the time you'll be 17, you'll be killed. What should I tell her?
I'm telling her that we're going to make sure this will never happen again. That's the idea. This is why we're there. There's no other reason. And we
have -- Christiane, because I have -- we have -- I don't have a flair for the drama, as you know, but we have a siren here because there's -- there
are rockets while being launched towards us. So, we'll have to terminate this interview. I apologize.
AMANPOUR: Yair Lapid, thank you very much, indeed.
LAPID: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, the war Hamas has launched could also be seen in the context of domestic Palestinian politics, say some experts trying to prove itself
to be the people's strongest defender compared with the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority that governs the occupied West Bank.
Mustafa Barghouti is a Palestinian legislator, and he's leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, and he is joining me now from Ramallah.
Mustafa Barghouti, welcome back to our program.
MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, GENERAL SECRETARY, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You are also a doctor. So, I first want to ask you what you're feeling and what you would do and what you know about what's going on in
terms of the medical situation and the health situation inside Gaza right now.
BARGHOUTI: I'm in touch with our colleagues. We have a big operation there with the health organizations, and I'm sorry to say that what Gaza is
exposed to now is nothing but three war crimes committed by Israel. The first one is siege and collective punishment, which is a war crime by
international law. The second one is genocide through this terrible air bombardment, nonstop of civilian population. And the third one is ethnic
cleansing, which already started in the north and they're planning to continue it towards Egypt.
Regarding the health situation, the situation is drastic. Hospitals and health services do not have water, do not have medications. The necessary
medicines. They don't have electricity. There is a scarcity of all resources. We have children in incubators who could die at any moment
because of lack of electricity and lack off oxygen, by the way. We have women, 50,000 women in Gaza at the moment are pregnant, and 5,500 of them
would be giving birth this month.
We already have cases of women who had to give birth in streets because they have no home to be in after Israel destroyed 70,000 homes already in
Gaza. There is a very big problem with the patients who need kidney dialysis, and many of them will die, including 130 children, because they
cannot have access to kidney dialysis.
We have we have a very serious possibility of epidemics in Gaza for two reasons. First of all, the destruction of water pipes, as well as sewage
systems. And the second one is the absence of any vaccination program during all the last two weeks.
AMANPOUR: Mustafa, can I ask you a question?
BARGHOUTI: So, it's very drastic situation.
AMANPOUR: Yes. It is drastic, so does the U.N. say the same. Both sides are accusing each other of war crimes. I want to know your reaction to people
like Yair Lapid and others who say it is on Hamas' head. This round is on Hamas' head. They massacred 1,400 people, took 199, including babies
hostage. And they are bringing this hell down on their people as well. What -- and it does seem to be there's a perpetual fight between Hamas and the
Palestinian Authority and I guess people like your party as well about who should properly run Palestinian affairs. Do you not ascribe any blame to
them as well?
BARGHOUTI: Look, it's not unusual for Israelis to claim that Palestinians are responsible for killing Palestinians when they are bombarding them. And
I am so surprised about what Lapid said, because he's supposed to be an opposition leader, but I don't see any difference between him and
I think, I'm sorry to say, that he's competing with Netanyahu and telling lies, like saying that they warned Palestinians before bombarding them.
This is not happening anymore. They are bombarding people without them knowing. And even -- I mean, what gives you the right to destroy 70,000
houses over people's heads and claim that this is against Hamas? This is an attack not on Hamas. It's an attack against 2.3 million people in Gaza who
He said something important. He said, not again. And I'm going to give him a prescription of how not to have anything again so that no Palestinian on
Israel will be killed. End occupation. End the system of apartheid. Stop this occupation that has been there for 56 years. You have done 10 wars
already on Palestinians during this period of time. How many more wars you want? Is the solution of occupation to reoccupy Gaza again? I am sure the
Israeli plan is not only to evict and ethnically cleanse Gaza completely, but -- and reoccupy it. But also, to annex it to Israel.
This is the map that Netanyahu showed in the United Nations, a map of Israel that includes the annexation of West Bank, annexation of Gaza Strip
and annexation of Jerusalem. These people are conducting war crimes now, and this is not good for Palestinians and Israelis. And let me say, Hamas
did not exist 40 years ago, but stop them from having from ending occupation.
Why they did not -- they speak about Abbas coming back to Gaza now? Why they -- Mr. Lapid and his government refused even to meet with Mr. Abbas?
Why did they block all kinds of negotiations with Palestinians? Why did they block all the peace processes? Nobody can hide the truth. And the
truth today is three war crimes are happening in Gaza and this we should be stopped.
And I am so surprised, so surprised that the United States is sending 2,000 troops to participate, not only in being complicit with these war crimes,
but to participate in them.\
AMANPOUR: The United States has said -- Mustafa, the United States has not said that it's getting involved. But I want to ask you something about
Hamas. You said that it didn't exist, you know, 40 years ago. Thomas Friedman, as you know very well, who knows the Middle East very well, wrote
in "The New York Times," "One must never forget that Netanyahu," meaning the Prime Minister, "always seemed to prefer to deal with a Hamas that was
unremittingly hostile to Israel than with its rival, the more moderate Palestinian Authority, which Netanyahu did everything he could to
discredit, even though the Palestinian Authority has long worked closely with Israeli security services to keep the West Bank quiet and Netanyahu
Do you agree? You know, of course, Israel's ambassador to the U.N. last month said Abbas "is no partner for peace." And they've said that -- why
would an Israeli government or prime minister "prefer to deal with Hamas than the PA," which is internationally recognized?
BARGHOUTI: Because they think that this is the easiest way to dehumanize Palestinians and to undermine the Palestinian cause. The solution to the
internal Palestinian problem was very simple, to have new democratic elections. Had we had elections in 2021, all the polls have shown neither
Hamas nor Fatah would have gotten a majority. We would have had a pluralistic system. And no one party rule would be there, neither in Gaza
nor the West Bank. It would be a democratic system.
But who blocked the elections? Israel. Who was against having the elections? The United States? Why, for, for God's sake, these countries
that claim to be democracies want to prevent us from -- or allow us from having democratic free elections?
I do not think -- I do agree that Netanyahu does not want Palestinians to be unified. For him, it's easier to say it, if Palestinian Authority goes
to unity with Hamas and have democratic elections, he says that Palestinian unit -- Palestinian government is dealing with terrorists. If we are
divided, he says, I cannot talk to Abbas because he does not represent all Palestinians.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me --
BARGHOUTI: It's a game.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you this.
BARGHOUTI: And the game is to undermine the Palestinian people.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you this, as you know very well, your president, or the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is
exceptionally unpopular, 87 years old, no elections in many, many years, hasn't groomed a successor, and has been completely undermined in -- and is
undermining the Palestinian cause wherever it might be.
So, what I want to know from you is, Hamas appears to be trying to out muscle you all. What do you think the end of this is for the Palestinians,
and what is happening right now inside the West Bank? Is there a possibility that this could flare up inside the West Bank??
BARGHOUTI: We already 56 Palestinians killed in the West Bank by the Israeli army. And something more dangerous is happening. This is now not
about Hamas, it's about Israeli settler terrorist. The Israeli settlers are illegally in the West Bank. And they are attacking Palestinians.
Up until now, they have evicted 20 Palestinian communities, conducting an act of ethnic cleansing in Ramallah, in Jordan Valley, and in Hebron, and
they are attacking Palestinians, civilian Palestinians. Already, as I said, 56 Palestinians are killed in the West Bank. And of course, people in the
West Bank are totally angry. And they are demonstrating against the Israeli invasion. And although these demonstrations are peaceful, nonviolent, they
are attacked with guns by the Israeli soldiers who are killing them.
I competed with Mr. Abbas in 2005 for president, you know that. I was second in these elections. I do not agree with many of his policies, and
especially, I do not agree with the fact that he did not allow elections to continue and take place. But at this very moment, everybody, all
Palestinians are subjected to attack by the Israeli extremism, by the Israeli apartheid system and by the Israeli occupation.
AMANPOUR: Mustafa --
BARGHOUTI: And that cannot continue.
AMANPOUR: Mustafa Barghouti, thank you very much for being with us.
And I also just want to explain, when he talks about ethnic cleansing, that means many Arab leaders are incredibly concerned about the forcible
transfer of population. And the King of Jordan is talking to as many people as he can. They're very worried, as I put it to Yair Lapid, that
Palestinians will be shunted out of Gaza and may not have the right to return. So, that is what we've been discussing throughout the day as well
on this program, on this network.
Now, amid the heightening conflict in the Middle East, the U.S. legislative branch remains practically paralyzed. There is still no house speaker.
Representative Jim Jordan is trying to rally support to replace Kevin McCarthy who was ousted by a handful of far-right members of his own party
two weeks ago.
But getting the votes appears to be a challenge. Susan Glasser, a writer for "The New Yorker," joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss what this chaos
means for the Republican Party itself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Susan Glasser, thanks so much for joining us.
Last week you wrote in "The New Yorker," the chaos party on the Hill keeps on chaosing. That's describing the Republican Party. Why the word chaos and
explain to our audience.
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, we're about to hit the two-week mark since Republicans have had a functioning speaker of the house
in place, and it's essentially become a sort of a revolution eats its own situation up on Capitol Hill, where basically they don't have a majority
that's large enough to actually govern the House in a meaningful way.
They're too divided as a party. They can only afford to lose four Republicans at any given moment. And so, basically, what they did is they
took one of the weakest speakers that I can ever remember, Kevin McCarthy. Remember, it took him 15 rounds of voting back in January to get the job.
And they finally said, forget it. We don't want him. Eight members of the Republican conference only were enough to throw him out. And ever since
then, they've been unable to find a new speaker that they can agree upon.
SREENIVASAN: Last week, Steve Scalise bowed out because he couldn't secure the votes. And then, Jim Jordan could be the sort of front runner now. But,
you know, Liz Cheney, for example, was saying on the social media platform X that if Jim Jordan was to be elected the representative by the
Republicans, it would cost them the house majority.
GLASSER: Well, you know, Jim Jordan is a very polarizing figure, even within the Republican Party. The former House Speaker, John Boehner, once
called him and his allies legislative terrorists. They have been sort of key members of the Burn It Down caucus for quite some time, fostering
things like government shutdowns, attacks on their own leadership.
Now, in the last couple of years, Jordan has sort of sought to become a key envoy to leadership, but his makeover hasn't been enough for many of what
we might consider the remaining establishment Republicans in the House of Representatives. They're still not on board with Jordan.
And to the point about, you know, is he now going to be the favored candidate? I'm just struck by how much the Republicans have become the
party of sore losers. Remember, in effect, right, this is a party that's -- especially the Republicans in the House of Representatives, they are the
Trumpest wing, the most Trumpest wing of the elected Republicans. Jim Jordan being one of their main leaders and sort of envoys to Donald Trump.
What is their protest about 2020 all about? It's all about. Sore loser to him, right? Being -- in uniting behind a presidential candidate who refused
to accept the overwhelming evidence as his own advisers gave it to him of his own defeat.
Well, now Jim Jordan was defeated. He was defeated in the House speaker race by Steve Scalise, the number two House Republican, the other day in
the Republican conference. But Scalise found that although he beat Jordan quite easily, that he wasn't able to secure essentially the unanimity of
the conference. So, he bowed out.
So, now, we have a situation where the loser, Jim Jordan, is trying to muscle his way to victory by telling other Republicans they need to get in
line with him. I'm just -- it's a remarkable kind of psychology that's now prevailing among House Republicans.
SREENIVASAN: Speaking of psychology, I wonder -- this morning, I'm waking up to headlines about how maybe is there some potential for some sort of a
bipartisan speaker deal? And I wonder how fantastical that is, and I wonder how much of that is just sort of posturing to say to the more conservative
wing of the Republican Party, hey, listen, you know, if you don't get in line and vote for somebody that we can agree on, we might have to go across
the aisle and get somebody you really don't like.
GLASSER: Yes. No, I think that's right. It's always useful to sort of rally Republicans together to offer the threat that, you know, watch out or the
Democrats will somehow take advantage of the situation.
Now, I have been observing Capitol Hill in Congress for a long time. My first job out of college for eight years was working at "Roll Call
Newspaper." And one thing I will tell you is that every time there is a crisis on Capitol Hill, whether it's a threatened government shutdown or a
leadership fight, there's always the specter of these mythical sort of centrist, the -- you know, the bipartisan coalition that's going to come
and rise to the rescue and save the day. And in my experience, that almost never -- basically, never happens.
In fact, there's a reason that the middle of the road members are in the middle of the road. Generally speaking, we've become in a situation where
that is even more true in our politics, that the highly mobilized extremes in either party have tended to dominate outcomes in recent years. They have
the television advantage, right? You know, they're promoted in say right- wing media. They have a fundraising advantage by playing to and arousing the sympathies of the party's base.
And generally speaking, it's not a situation where you can have the kind of middle of the rotors and the moderates, if you will, come and ride to the
rescue. But they do have the numbers. This is a very close call and it's unprecedented. I think people may not realize it's not just another example
of kind of dysfunction on Capitol Hill, this is actually never happened before in the entire history of the United States. That the House of
Representatives has gone without a speaker after deposing a speaker. That's just never happened.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I wonder how the events of the last week between Israel and Hamas complicate matters on the Hill. I mean, the president has
agreed to send -- and he has sent some armaments and he wants a wider bill, wants more appropriations for that. When the House can't pass anything,
what are we talking about here?
GLASSER: Yes. No, I mean, it's going to very quickly become not just a sort of example of internal dysfunction, but a sort of national security crisis,
the fact that the United States of America does not have a functioning House of Representatives, their basic duty is to appropriate funds. That's
their constitutional responsibility.
And so, if the United States wants to send urgently needed national security aid to Israel, to Ukraine, to other places, it can't do so while
the House is in this internal disarray. And so, I think you're going to hear more and more about that.
I was very struck to hear a senior Republican, Michael McCaul, who's the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he was making that point
very openly last week to reporters on Capitol Hill saying, like, essentially, we can't get our act together and this is a huge problem for
us. And I think that, you know, he understands the message that goes out to not only America's allies, but it's adversaries as well when we are so
internally divided that we can't perform basic functions.
One emerging fight you'll see on this question of a funding bill whenever the House is able to act on things is whether they're going to bundle that
very popular, I would say, bipartisan aid for Israel into a measure that also includes more emergency funding for Ukraine, that money has run out,
and the Biden administration had asked over the summer for $24 billion in additional monies to be sent for assistance to Ukraine. Congress has so far
failed to act on that. There's a movement afoot to put those things together along with possibly some other priorities.
I do think that chairman McCall had an important point. And certainly, I think the message has gotten through even to many allies of the United
States around the world who are increasingly concerned about U.S. leadership in the world and whether we really have the staying power at a
time when we're so internally divided.
I have thought for a number of years, really going back to the beginning of the Trump presidency, that, you know, the greatest geopolitical crisis in
the world arguably is not in the Middle East, it's not in Europe, but it's right here in Washington in a country that is a leader in the world and yet
so internally divided that it can't really do -- perform that function. And I think this turmoil in the House of Representatives is another powerful
example of that.
And for right now, honestly, there's no real evidence to suggest that Republicans care that much about how -- what a bad look this is for the
United States around the world. They're consumed with their internal fight. It's a real civil war among the Republicans.
SREENIVASAN: You know, in the Senate, Senator Tuberville has made it a point of blocking military leadership appointments. And, I guess, first for
our audience, what's his concern and what's the status of whether that complicates matters when President Biden says we're essentially sending
another aircraft carrier into the Middle East region to support Israel?
GLASSER: Yes. This -- I'm glad you brought up this this sort of one-man blockade of senior military appointments by Alabama Senator Tommy
Tuberville, especially because he was asked about this in the wake of the Hamas attack in Israel, and he said, basically, even that isn't going to
change my mind.
And, you know, it's kind of the Senate analog to eight members in the House being able to get rid of a speaker, even though the vast majority of
Republicans wanted Kevin McCarthy to remain a speaker now in this in the Senate, talk about minority rule, one senator has been able to stop senior
appointments from getting through.
I mean, so senior, the leaders of the Armed Services, the different branches. The Armed Services have been caught up in this blockade. Many
generals have been caught up in this blockade. Commanders in key regions have been caught up. And essentially, it's a one-man protest that is
somewhat obscure. He says that he is against the Pentagon and the Defense Department reimbursing service members who need to travel to a different
state to obtain an abortion.
Now, the Pentagon does not pay for the abortions of service members. So, it's not even that they would be paying for abortions. This is a policy
that would apply really to very few people that would involve simply reimbursing the travel for service members, and that's what this blockade
is about. There's a big finger pointing in the Senate between the different leaders. Basically, Democrats run the Senate. They have the majority, but
they say it's up to the Republican minority, it's up to Mitch McConnell to get his own members in line.
There's a reluctance in both parties to change the rules. Of course, they could do that, and simply ram through these nominations anyways. They don't
want to do that because the individual senators, of course, want to maintain their own ability in the future to have this kind of protest. So,
the results, again, is a kind of government dysfunction that I think is shocking to many international observers of the United States.
SREENIVASAN: There are also diplomatic positions that are unfilled. Right now, we don't have an ambassador to Israel, Kuwait, Egypt, Oman, several
countries in the region that might become important or more important if this war between Israel and Hamas drives on.
GLASSER: Yes. Well, one thing that has certainly happened is faster tracking of the nomination of Jack Lew, the former OMB director and White
House chief of staff for President Obama. He's now the nominee of President Biden to become the ambassador to Israel, they're going to have a hearing
this week, and I assume that his confirmation will be fast tracked very quickly. He'll be in the region.
But again, it puts a spotlight, as all crises do on, you know, just the weaknesses in our system that we were sort of ignoring or looking past
before the crisis hit.
SREENIVASAN: You know, besides the impending shutdown again, what are the consequences to the American public when Congress is at such a stalemate
and cannot perform its tasks?
GLASSER: Look, you know, for many, many years, the American people have consistently shown preferences for divided government. That is, they want
to have a president of one party and constraints by having majorities of another party in at least one branch of Congress. So, we have a lot of
experience with divided rule. Combine that, however, with the increasing polarization and dysfunction inside our political system, and the
incentives for deal making have not been what they used to be.
And so, I think part of the crisis that people are now seeing evident when we have something like this brewing in the Middle East is that the
incentives for the two parties, even with divided government to work together are less and less than they used to be, because we have a politics
of outrage, we have a politics of hyper empowered extremes. And in effect, that's what you're seeing in the House.
Of course, that's really going to be very evident in the 2024 presidential election that is already well underway, the politics of extremes where
parties are essentially unwilling and unable to elect people who can work together.
SREENIVASAN: What's the role of former President Trump in this? Is he backing anybody in particular?
GLASSER: Oh, I'm glad you brought up this question about Donald Trump, because normally, of course, you wouldn't see outsiders playing a big role
in an internal House leadership election. In fact, it used to be, back in my day, when I was covering Capitol Hill, they didn't want outside
interference, even from leaders of their own party.
But actually, what you're seeing is the increasing nationalization of our politics. Donald Trump made a very controversial decision to jump in and to
endorse the candidacy of Jim Jordan for speaker. Jordan, as I mentioned before, has become -- Jordan has been one of Donald Trump's staunchest
allies internally on Capitol Hill for years, going back to when Trump was president. There was always Jordan there. When it came to Donald Trump's
lies about the 2020 election and his effort to overturn that election on January 6, 2021, Jim Jordan was one of his closest lieutenants on Capitol
Hill, intimately involved in strategy with then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Donald Trump talking about how to raise the objections to
Joe Biden's victory on January 6, 2021.
So, Jordan this -- in a way, was payback for his loyalty to Donald Trump over the years, but it's very controversial. And what did it say about
Trump's power and popularity as a would-be presidential nominee that the majority of House Republicans did not vote for Donald Trump's candidate
when they had the election last week, they voted for Steve Scalise over Jim Jordan.
And yes, once again, you find this party sort of taken hostage by hyper empowered Trumpist minorities. The Trump faction in the House of
Representatives is not the majority of the House of Representatives in the sense that they were willing to vote against Trump's choice for speaker.
And yet, somehow, Jordan has sort of taken a page from Donald Trump's playbook and is sort of doing the sore loser thing and turning that into
you ought to vote for me because I'm willing to keep going when the others are not.
SREENIVASAN: Where to the Democrats stand in all this? I mean, they are a slim minority, but I don't know what their strategy is or tactics are in
watching this unfold, letting it unfold, offering to do something.
GLASSER: Yes. You know, I mean, one of the things that's striking is that Democrats, certainly, they must see some electoral advantage in this. It's
bad for the country. It's arguably bad for the world. But at the same time, it certainly is a vivid display of what Democrats have been saying for a
number of years, which is Republicans are not a governing party. They're not serious about doing the business of government. They are essentially
engaged in a kind of performative race to the extremes.
And it would -- it seems to me that this ongoing fight over the speakership, their willingness literally to leave the speakership open is
an example of the kind of dysfunction and Republican disarray that Democrats have been talking about for a number of years, and combine that
with their critique of Donald Trump who is running away, it appears, with the 2024 Republican presidential nomination despite, you know, the chaos of
the time when he was president, despite the four different pending criminal indictments against him.
And so, I think this becomes just yet another example for Democrats of their election season argument about why Republicans are not a serious
SREENIVASAN: Susan Glasser of "The New Yorker," thanks so much for joining us.
GOLODRYGA: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, if you look really hard, you can find a crack of light amid this worldwide wall of darkness. For instance, in
Afghanistan, where a third earthquake has struck, and more than a thousand people have been killed in all these tremors, and yet, a shining moment for
everyone to celebrate in that cricket mad country. A real David and Goliath story where the underdog wins.
The Afghan cricket team, the second lowest ranking team, in fact, made up of many refugees, has achieved a stunning win in the World Cup in Delhi
this weekend, beating defending champions England by 69 runs. And their captain, Rashid Khan, says that he hoped the victory would put a smile on
the faces of people back home. And their story is incredible, and we all need a smile.
That's it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always
catch us online, on our website and all across social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.