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Interview With Mother Released By Hamas, Father Still Hostage In Gaza Sharone Lifschitz; Interview With Israeli Peace Activist And The Parents Circle Families Forum Spokesperson Robi Damelin; Interview With The Parents Circle Families Forum Spokesperson Bassam Aramin; Interview With Givat Haviva Educational Center Director Of Strategy Mohammad Darawshe. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 09, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
The United Nations now says that both Hamas and Israel have committed war crimes, as Gazans flee and hostages are still trapped. My conversation with
Sharone Lifschitz, whose mother was released by Hamas, but whose father remains captive.
Then, united in grief, a Palestinian and an Israeli who lost children to the conflict years ago, share their message of peace and hope.
Also, ahead, being an Arab Israeli, Mohammad Darawshe talks to Michel Martin about straddling two worlds.
Plus, 34 years ago today, the Berlin Wall came down, and we go into our archive to bring you the man who made it happen, the last Soviet leader,
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
A sea of humanity escaping Northern Gaza. Thousands of Palestinians continue to walk miles on foot in a desperate bid for safety from Israel's
offensive. The IDF has allowed another evacuation pause, the fifth so far, and the number of people fleeing south is increasing every day. This says
the U.N. says bluntly that both Hamas and Israel have committed war crimes in this war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLKER TURK, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian armed groups on the 7th of October
were heinous. They were war crimes, as is the continued holding off hostages. The collective punishment by Israel off Palestinian civilians is
also a war crime as is unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, Israeli, American, and Qatari intelligence chiefs met in Doha today for hostage negotiations. Over 200, taken by Hamas and other
groups are still not freed. What little we do know about their conditions comes mostly from one woman, Yocheved Lifschitz. At 85, on October 7th, she
was grabbed, still in her nightgown, taken by Hamas into Gaza. She is one of only four people to be released so far.
Her daughter, Sharone, was by her side at a Tel Aviv hospital as Yocheved explained the spider's web of tunnels that she was held in. But the family
nightmare continues. Sharone's elderly father, Oded, is still being held. And when we spoke this week, one month since the Hamas atrocities, Sharone
called on her government to put the fate of the hostages first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Sharone Lifschitz, welcome back to the program.
SHARONE LIFSCHITZ, MOTHER RELEASED BY HAMAS, FATHER STILL HOSTAGE IN GAZA: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: The last time was just before you heard that your mother had been released. You've been back, and you've seen your mom. Tell me how
you're feeling right now.
LIFSCHITZ: I feel desperate. I feel -- my mom is a ray of light. It was -- I think that so many people have had it as a moment of hope. And having her
back is wonderful. It's really is a ray of light, but there's huge darkness.
We still missing 75 people for my community. My father is still missing. Today, the number dropped by two because two, a father and a son, were
identified as murdered. The number of the murdered has gone down from 27 to 29.
AMANPOUR: You mean inside Israel, not in the tunnels?
LIFSCHITZ: In my kibbutz.
AMANPOUR: In your kibbutz?
LIFSCHITZ: In my kibbutz. And we can't really begin to even properly mourn the dead until we have our people back.
AMANPOUR: You have been very clear, along with a lot of hostage families, that you believe the government's first and foremost duty is to the
hostages. Do you believe that that is what's happening in this current war on Gaza since the atrocities in your country?
LIFSCHITZ: I would like to believe, but do I believe? I will believe it when I see everybody has come home safe. I think that there is a lot of
conflicting interests. Some of them are medium and long-term. The short- term must be the return of the hostages. I don't feel that it's really ease at the foremost of everybody's mind within the government.
AMANPOUR: So, do you believe, and I hate to ask you this, what do you think about your 83-year-old father? Do you believe that he survived this?
Not just he was wounded, as you told us before when he was kidnapped. And there's been incredible bombing Israel says of the tunnel systems. Do you
believe that he -- there's still hope that you will see him again?
LIFSCHITZ: When I sat with you here last time, I wasn't sure at all that I will see my mom again. So, I believe that there is a chance. I think it is
slimmer than with my mom and I think it's very hard to be in this state of not knowing for so long.
I know for my mom that they did give them medical -- basic medical care and try to give them some of the medicines. This is great. This is a reason for
hope. But it's so hard to say.
AMANPOUR: Sharone, your mother, and maybe your whole family, came under attack from certain quarters of the Israeli public when she came out, and
with great humane gestures didn't rage and rant and rave. She said what you said, that they treated us humanely. Were you surprised at the reaction
that your mother got?
LIFSCHITZ: No. In the sense that within Israel, there's a huge fight. My parents went on demonstration every week for the last 30-week before the
war against the government and the democratic reforms -- non-democratic reforms, I should say, they were doing.
They were sitting every week. They will take their chairs. So, there is a huge conflict within Israel society and my parents are very firmly on one
side. And so, it is unsurprising that my mom, living by her belief, will draw fire from other quarters.
AMANPOUR: How is she now?
LIFSCHITZ: My mom is very well in the sense she's getting stronger every day. She has come back as herself and it's a huge, huge gift. She cracks
jokes. She's full of life. She wants to know what happened.
AMANPOUR: They didn't crack her spirit.
LIFSCHITZ: No, no. I think not. And I think that the people that looked after them were very different to the people who committed the atrocities.
And we -- I think my mom's story is -- does what it should do, it complicates the situation. It breaks the ability of people to go black and
white. It breaks our ability to choose which flag we support. It shows us that there are human beings on both sides, and that those human beings,
those who believe in the specialness and the graciousness of life, all life, those people should come center stage and make sense of this world.
AMANPOUR: It's remarkable what you say given your situation and what you're suffering along with so many of your community. Your mother, again,
received horrendous trolling, backlash, hate after -- when she turned around, shook hands and said shalom to the masked Hamas fighter, I guess,
who was the last point of contact before she was released. What did you make of that, and what did she say about that person, and the nature of the
tunnels and things in which they were kept?
LIFSCHITZ: My mom sees people as people, and when some -- and she understands, having lived next to that border for 65 years, that there's a
terrorist organization that took over called Hamas, a horrific one. But she also know the people that she knew, maybe he is the son of somebody that
worked, you know, in our kibbutz 40 years ago.
These are our neighbors, we have relationship with them, we have had relationship with them. There's people that I remember from my childhood, I
learned so much about life and how --
LIFSCHITZ: Yes, absolutely, from Gaza. Many of them. There was two guys that worked in my kibbutz all of my childhood, you know, one was tall and
one was short, and they listened to Umm Kulthum and that's how I fell in love --
AMANPOUR: The famous Egyptian singer.
LIFSCHITZ: Yes. And we -- you know, it's part of the music of our life. These are our neighbors. People forget it, you know. They still has many
people that work in Israel in the better time.
AMANPOUR: The video that we're talking about was shot by Hamas and we are obliged to say that. Did she feel forced to make that handshake? Did she
tell you about why she did it?
LIFSCHITZ: I think -- first of all, I want to say that I don't think it's wise to speak widely about what was said there because, as I said, my mom
came back to a place with trolling, but Hamas occupies that land. So, I think it's not wise to expand on it from --
AMANPOUR: Because your father is still there and all the others.
LIFSCHITZ: My father, but also that conversation was a private conversation between them and it was a gesture of peace. And I think that
my mom saw this person and had a conversation with him that -- in which they agreed. And I think that between humans, across the divide, there's
much that can be agreed.
AMANPOUR: She also said during her press conference, I went through hell. What does she mean by that? Describe the hell that she talked to you about.
LIFSCHITZ: Well, she told the story in the press conference. They were kidnapped from the house. Six military persons came into the room after
shooting the door. My father was injured in his hand. It was very early in the morning. They came home late the night before. My father wasn't feeling
so well. She was then taken by a Hamas militant and wrapped with a blanket around her because she was wearing her nightie, no shoes. And she was taken
across the fields. That was hell. And the hell of it was, those people didn't -- in her case, the first militant, needed to bring people back.
They were efficient, they were quick, they took her through. As she drove, she saw hundreds of Shabab mob with sticks and with knives running towards
her. And then, she arrived and she was taken in a car and then they walked for miles under the ground.
AMANPOUR: Miles under the ground?
LIFSCHITZ: That's what she says, yes.
AMANPOUR: You know, difficult to even comprehend that there are miles and miles of these things under the ground, which the IDF says that they're
bombing now. You speak the language of bridge building. You talk about peace, you talk about, you know, neighbors.
You know that there are other hostage families who have spoken out and say that actually Israel shouldn't take any humanitarian steps in Gaza, nobody
should, not the Egyptians, not the U.N., whilst their family members are still being held. They're opposed to ceasefire and pauses until hostages
are released. You must understand that perspective.
LIFSCHITZ: We don't know if my father is dead or alive. I do think that somehow, along the line, there was a mistake made. I think that the two
could be connected. If we are offering a corridor for humanitarian aid to Gaza, why are we not also conditioning it with the humanitarian aid for the
hostages? This is only fair.
AMANPOUR: Humanitarian aid or exit for the hostages?
LIFSCHITZ: Obviously, I would like them to exit as soon as possible, but I would like to know that he's alive, that he's being treated, that he's got
the medicine he wants, you know. Obviously, I would like him back with us. Obviously, I would like this nine-month-old baby here. Obviously, this is
like, we are desperate. We are so desperate. We are beyond desperate.
But as a minimum, can we not just know what -- how are they faring? This is not too much to ask, is it? And I do feel that the two should have been
conditioned one upon the other. I wish no ill on any civilian. I feel really horrified by the amount of trauma and loss and destruction that we
are experiencing. There's no joy in it whatsoever.
On Thursday, I visited my parents' burnt-out house, it's all gone. There's nothing there. Sixty-five years of life work of my mom, photography, my
father, everything. And while I was there, I stood by the door where my father was shot, and there's five bullet holes, and you can see them, and I
was filming them, and the soundtrack was bombs falling on Gaza.
It's not what humanity is for. It's our failing, you know. And I think it's a failing of the political system. It's a failing of everything. But for
me, I don't feel that the solution will be to kill everyone on the other side. I think that we are here. We have to distinguish between two camps,
those who believe that there are two nations that needs to find a fair way to live between the river and the sea, and those on both sides who believe
otherwise, I'm not comparing who is worse. I think comparisons is a race to the bottom.
But I'm so totally convinced that all of us in west, in the east, everywhere must support those who believe that the two nations should live
alongside. They would not immediately be able to live together after this. But alongside each other in a way that supports life.
AMANPOUR: It's always amazing to hear from you. Thank you, Sharone Lifschitz.
LIFSCHITZ: You're welcome.
AMANPOUR: And we are so glad about your mother and everybody's prayers are with your father and all the others who are there.
LIFSCHITZ: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And as we said, there are apparently negotiations to try to get more hostages out.
Now, to a war story you may not have heard. Hundreds of Palestinian workers held by the IDF in Israel have been returned to Gaza by the Israeli
military. These workers permits were revoked after October 7th. Many tried to get to the occupied West Bank, where some told Correspondent Nada Bashir
they were abused and tortured. Here's that report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voiceover): Bound, blindfolded, some even stripped. In this video, the jeers of Israeli soldiers, abusing and mocking
Palestinian workers from Gaza, detained in Israel just days after the beginning of the war.
At the Kerem Shalom Crossing, men wait anxiously, hoping that their brothers, fathers, sons are among the Palestinian workers who have finally
been returned to Gaza by the Israeli military.
Thousands of Gazan workers, like these men, had their permits to work in Israel revoked after the October 7th Hamas attack. But with no option to
return home, many attempted to flee to the occupied West Bank, only to then be detained.
They tied our hands behind our backs, blindfolded us and led us onto a bus. I don't know where they took us. There were about 200 to 300 Gazan workers
Some of the men here are visibly weak and with each crossing, more stories of abuse and even torture. One man telling CNN, he witnessed the use of
electric shocks on detainees.
They put us in cages like dogs. They beat us and assaulted us. They didn't care if you were sick or injured. Some men even died on the way here
because they were beaten and subjected to electric shocks.
Every day felt like death. They would give us a cucumber to share between six people and a small piece of bread.
An Israeli security official could not say whether electric shock tactics were used. But told CNN that the IDF is aware of several incidents of abuse
against their Gazan workers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Adding that these cases are being treated seriously with disciplinary
actions said to have been taken against several soldiers identified in social media video.
But NGO workers at the Palestinian Prisoners Society say this is a systemic issue with few legal safeguards in place for Palestinians.
We've received horrific firsthand testimonies, Amani Sarahneh tells me. They didn't do anything wrong. They weren't charged with anything. Yet many
of them were interrogated and systematically tortured. They were abused and brutally beaten. They faced all kinds of dehumanization and insults.
In the occupied West Bank, there are thousands of Gazan workers still stranded, desperate to be reunited with loved ones, praying every day for
Maher Al-Skeik was working in Israel with his son, Mafiq. But he hasn't seen or heard from him in almost a month.
I don't know where he is, whether he is in prison or dead. He is my son. My whole life. He came here to work, to be able to feed his children. He
wasn't here to join in any fight. He wasn't here to cause trouble.
But just as there are fears for those still missing, at this center sheltering stranded Gazan workers, there was also indescribable anguish of
the safety of family members back home in Gaza.
My family is now spread out all across Gaza. They've all had to leave the Jabalia Refugee Camp because of the airstrikes. When I am able to reach
them, all I hear is misery. Every day is another catastrophe.
For weeks, many of these men have had no contact with their families. The Gaza they left behind now changed forever. But for those now across the
border, the relief of being freed from detention and reuniting with loved ones is clear. But many have not returned. With thousands still stuck in
the occupied West Bank and others still missing.
AMANPOUR: Nada Bashir was reporting from Ramallah. And just to say, the death toll in the occupied West Bank since October 7th has now risen to 176
according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. That's added to nearly 11,000 deaths in Gaza, again, according to the same ministry. And 1,400
dead in Israel on October 7th, according to the government.
So, how does has anyone overcome that much tragedy, that much grief? Perhaps some of those who've lost the most can guide the way. People like
Robi Damelin, whose son David was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002. Five years later, Bassam Aramin's daughter, Abir, was killed by an Israeli
soldier's rubber bullet.
I spoke with both of them recently about their work together and with other families, finding hope and humanity amidst such sorrow.
Robi and Bassam, welcome. We spoke to you several years ago about the terrible pain of losing children. You've both lost children, but you were
able to somehow shape that into a path towards hope and peace. Robi, after what happened on October 7th, do you still believe that?
ROBI DAMELIN, ISRAELI PEACE ACTIVIST AND SPOKESPERSON, THE PARENTS CIRCLE FAMILIES FORUM: Oh, absolutely. Otherwise, there's no reason for me to do
this work. I -- even more so, it is one of the saddest times that I've ever experienced. And I have a very dear friend called Vivian Silver (ph), who's
one of the hostages. But there are points of light here.
Do you know that the Bedouin from an unknown village came to the rescue of those kids at the music concert? There are things that people are not
reporting that are so human. And I know that there are many, many mothers in the south who thought like we did before this happened. And we need to
visit them and give them some solace because only mothers, I think, from my own experience, mothers who had lost children were the only ones that
really understood this feeling.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask Bassam. You're not a mother, you're a father. You lost your daughter to Israeli rubber bullets outside a school. Do you feel
the same way now, seeing not only what happened on October 7th to Israelis, but what is happening in the occupied West Bank where you are, and
especially in Gaza to civilians right now?
BASSAM ARAMIN, SPOKESPERSON, THE PARENTS CIRCLE FAMILIES FORUM: Unfortunately, the conflict didn't start three weeks ago, the 7th of
October, it's decades before. And we always said one day it'll blow up. Let us make peace now, otherwise it will be a disaster. And who paid the price,
always, all the time? It's the civilians. So, it's really a disaster.
But as Robi said, it's our mission. It's the time, even the darkest times to continue raising our voice for peace and reconciliation, to save the
children of Gaza, to save the children of Sderot, the civilians, they are both civilians. They are both have nothing to do with the fighting and they
need to be in a safe place to live together.
AMANPOUR: Your voices are very rare, although I know, Robi, you said there are plenty of people who feel like both you and Bassam, but this moment
feels like one of grief, obviously, shock, anger, revenge. Do you think, Robi, that there is space to try to find the humanity again? And I'm just
going to ask you, because you told "The Times" newspaper in July, I've received death threats, mainly from Israeli settlers, telling me that I
should burn in Auschwitz and that a Palestinian should come and rape me. This is, you know, because of your activities, your cross-community
activities. Obviously, this was before October 7th.
DAMELIN: Well, you know, I just got up because there's a siren and there are rockets outside my house. And this is the way we are living now. And it
is, of course, very frightening. And I think fear, in many ways, is what's creating this hatred. But I don't see a time now to give up.
This is a time where we have to stand up and do whatever we can to make the government have a ceasefire, to bring back all the hostages, to allow the
mothers and children in Gaza. Can you imagine if you grew up in Gaza and every two years there would be a war and there would be bombs and you
wouldn't have freedom of movement or you lived in the West Bank and you also didn't have freedom of movement? But it is very tragic as well.
If you grew up in that environment, and if you grew up in Ashdod or Ashkelon, or one of the kibbutzim, and your life was constantly bombarded
with rockets. So, we can't go on living like this. We have to find another way. And perhaps this terrible, terrible war will end. And people will
realize that unless we talk to each other, unless we find a way to exist side by side, we don't have to fall in love. We don't have to do anything.
We have to also end the occupation that is killing the moral fiber of my country.
I cannot watch the settles doing -- burning villages like (INAUDIBLE) and there is no accountability. I love this country. It doesn't mean because I
am able to criticize that I don't love Israel. I do. I'm terrified of the antisemitism that is happening all over the world, on American campuses.
AMANPOUR: Bassam, I want to ask you a question, because obviously Islamophobia is also rampant and increasing. You just heard an Israeli Jew
talk about, with deep empathy, your people's crisis, the occupation, and all the things that she outlined. Do you feel that same empathy for Israeli
people who are the civilians who are just living their lives and then got caught up in this slaughter? And I ask you that because you yourself
abandoned the role of so-called freedom fighter. You were a FATA militant freedom fighter, whatever you like to say, and you abandoned that path.
ARAMIN: No, in fact, I didn't abandon. I'm still a fighter but it's fighter for peace. I was in jail for seven years when I was 17 years old.
But what I want to say that is that it's exactly the duty of the Israelis themselves to end this occupation because this is our common enemy. Why we
are fighting? Why we are killing each other? Why we hate each other? We are a normal people because we live in abnormal situation.
Christiane, since three weeks, for example, the last three weeks, Jericho, which is the quieter place on earth under a very heavy siege, the very
brutal behavior, the soldiers around the checkpoints, you cannot move in or out.
The occupation, as Robi said, it's not only killing the moral fiber of Israel, it's killing the Israelis physically, themselves. So, I care about
them, of course. Why I called to end the occupation and not to kill the Israeli people because this is our common enemy. Because I recognize the
humanity of the Israelis there.
You know, your enemy is exactly like you, but without occupation, without oppression. Even Jabotinsky says that oppression creates resistance. We
want to live in a normal place, normal space, Israelis and Palestinians, and stop being victims, both sides, to the policy of the others. Stop the
war. Gaza and -- it's like become as a ghetto. There is nowhere to escape. There is no safer place for those kids.
Israel should be different than Hamas. Israel is a state. You cannot say I'm going to take revenge. You are not a gang leader. At the same time, you
can see the West Bank with those very radical fascist settlers. They cannot see us on the streets. So, this is -- have consequences.
I believe what happened is terrible. And always I said, because I have a master's degree about the Holocaust, so I have the right to talk about
that. This is my hope, my faith, that the Palestinians, they didn't kill 6 million Israelis. And the Israelis didn't kill 6 million Palestinians, yet.
And there is a German ambassador in Tel Aviv, but there is an Israeli ambassador in Berlin. It means we can do it. We just need a brave leader,
or leaders, to take us towards the future --
ARAMIN: -- and release us from the atrocities and the very painful past.
AMANPOUR: Amazing. Thank you both so much and that you both remain friends and allies in this cause is incredibly inspiring to all of us. Bassam,
Robi, thank you very much.
Such partnership in such division and such divisive times. Also, a message shared by our next guest. Mohammad Darawshe is an Arab citizen of Israel.
And in a recent article, he says he feels as though his state is fighting his own people. Mohammad's cousin, Awad, was killed in the Hamas attacks on
October 7th whilst working as a paramedic at the Nova Music Festival.
He shared his story with President Biden, recently during his visit to Israel. And now, he's sharing with Michel Martin and with all of us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Christiane. Mr. Darawshe, thank you so much for speaking with us.
MOHAMMAD DARAWSHE, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY, GIVAT HAVIVA EDUCATIONAL CENTER: Great pleasure to be with you, Michel.
MARTIN: And I'm so sorry about what brings us together. I wanted to offer my condolences on the loss of your cousin.
DARAWSHE: Indeed. Awad.
MARTIN: I will tell me about him.
DARAWSHE: Well, Awad was your average 23-year-old handsome young man, full of life, full of energy. At age 16, Awad decided that he wants to be
paramedic already and he started his life in the medical field very, very early.
He was the first person to volunteer to any activity in the community, always smiling, lots of friends. And, he went to study medicine. He went to
medical school in the country of Georgia, but then COVID hit. So, you have to come back and he didn't want to waste his time. He went straight to
improve his skills as a paramedic and became also an ambulance driver, and enjoyed it.
And then, he started thinking how to make his own company of ambulance services. So, he was a very aspirational kid.
MARTIN: He was at the music festival that we have now learned so much about because this is one of the, the big sites of the killings when Hamas
attacked on October 7th.
DARAWSHE: Indeed, he was stationed there already from Thursday and doing basic medical services. You know, someone that scratches their legs,
someone that drinks all too much. Those are the things that he was expecting and actually was treating.
He didn't expect this thing to happen. He didn't expect the attack and it caught everyone by surprise, definitely him. And he started treating the
first casualties, the first people that got wounded. The head of the team, asked to evacuate immediately. He refused. He said, no, I think I can
manage because I speak Arabic. And they started running away, begging him to leave. And he insisted to run from yet to another injured person and
they're trying to close their bleeding wounds.
That scene lasted for very short, for maybe 30, 40 seconds, no longer than that, because when they looked back at him, and they were still screaming
at him to leave, and they saw him getting shot. His teammates came later and shared the story of his bravery and how he was a selfless person that
just wanted to be there, to fulfill his human and medical duty to the end.
I know that he would have treated any person on the scene. I mean, that was the kind of human he was. That was the kind of a professional he was. He
didn't ask the people treating what's their cultural identity, ethnic identity, religious identity, what are their political perspectives, he
just was kept running from one wounded person to another until he met his destiny.
MARTIN: How is your family doing?
DARAWSHE: Not easy. You know, it's -- it was still a deep tragedy for us. But because the war and the violence is continuing, it's hard to overcome
it. It's hard to move on because we continue to see scenes of killing and it's part of the same story. So, the story of his death keeps repeating
itself for us. And we're not having really the space and time to say, OK, we move on to the next event in our life. The event is still rolling.
MARTIN: One of the reasons we found you is that you published an opinion piece in "Haaretz," where you talked about what it has been like for Arab
Israeli citizens or Israeli citizens of Arab descent in the weeks since the attack. I just want to say there are, what, 2.1 million Israeli citizens of
Arab descent and they are of different religions, right? I mean, some people are Muslim, some people are Christian, some people are Druze.
MARTIN: People speak Arabic. They speak Hebrew. They speak English. And here's one of the things that you said. You say, Arab citizens of Israel,
like myself, find ourselves in an extremely awkward position in times of war. But this war in particular has put us under unprecedented stress.
Could you say a bit more about that?
DARAWSHE: Well, I added one more interesting sentence that then I said that it's difficult to be when your country is at war with your people. And
from one end, you want to be close to your countrymen and your fellow countrymen. The Israeli casualties -- as I mentioned, the Israeli
casualties, some of them are children and nephews of my friends, people that I associate with, and I have them for dinner in my house. And now, I
feel their pain.
And on the Palestinian side, you know, we are not just Israelis from our descent, we're also Palestinians. You know, we're Palestinians in our
ethnic identity. We did not immigrate to Israel. I always say Israel immigrated to us. We're the indigenous Palestinian population, but we
accepted the fate from 1948 that we live as a national minority in the State of Israel, as a separate different ethnic group in the State of
So -- and we know how to live in peace with Israeli Jews. We then know how to live in war with them. Because in wartime, they relate to us as an
extension of the enemy. They treat us as an extension of the enemy. We feel a great deal of witch hunting during this period where we are silenced in a
way that they prevent us from -- and they try not to disallow us from expressing our compassionate feelings towards our Palestinian brethren.
It doesn't mean that we support Hamas and we support terror and we support the attacks on Israelis, but we feel compassion to the Palestinian
civilians that are paying such a heavy price. And that seems to be an illegitimate feeling in the Israeli public scene today.
MARTIN: One of the things you also said is that, we have every right to feel safe in our own country and not live with fear in our workplaces and
on university campuses. How is what you're talking about manifesting itself, this fear that you're experiencing?
DARAWSHE: It's already beyond fear. It is manifesting itself in practical matters. The Arab citizens have been arrested since the beginning of the
war for placing some kind of a post on social media. What's happening is that the police is trying to create a culture of intimidation towards the
Arab citizens. And then, that's what we feel intimidated by this. We're not able to allow ourself to express even a prayer. It's -- you know, it's
impossible to even express it -- to put the prayer to say, we pray for the souls of our Palestinian, same for Palestinian civilians, women and
children. That would be seen as an illegitimate act that could get you for one or two nights in jail.
There were chance against Arab students in the City of Natanya to kick Arab students from the college there. And the chance were, death to the Arabs,
and the kids had to be evacuated and they can go back to their university today. There are some universities that expelled Arab students. And without
even asking them to take -- you know, for their opinion, just the fact that they posted something on social media.
The worst part is that the minister of internal security, who's a very well-known racist, he's the minister of internal security, he started
arming Israeli Jews. And we ask ourselves, who's that weapon going to be facing? In a personal weapon in the hands of Israeli Jews, I see myself and
potentially, God forbid, my Children that would be on the other end of that weapon.
It is scary to be around Israeli Jews in Jewish sphere. That's why my brothers do not go to work because they work in Jewish areas, and they've
been sitting at home and not working, afraid. Arab men and women that work in households, whether it is cleaning or anything of that nature, they're
afraid of going to work.
A third of the medical industry in Israel are Arab citizens. Seven Arab doctors have been kicked out of the hospitals, despite the fact that they
show up to their shifts, treating Israeli Jews as well as Arab citizens without any distinction, exactly what Awad, my cousin did. They go and
fulfill their civic professional duty and still they're supposed to be silent, not having any compassion to their -- other component of their
Our civic identity is Israeli, but our ethnic identity is Palestinian, and we want to be able to at least feel that without having to be afraid of
MARTIN: What about where you live? I'm making -- I'm pronouncing it correctly, Ixal (ph)?
MARTIN: And so, you -- talk a little bit, if you would, about your family's connection to Ixal (ph) and how it plays into this story. And
then, of course, I want to talk about your work. I mean, part of your work -- the work of your life has been to forge partnership among Arabs and
Israelis and Jewish people and people of other religions and so forth.
DARAWSHE: Well, we live just outside the City of Nazareth. My family has lived in this town for almost 800 years. And I'm here with my wife, who's
from East Jerusalem, and our four children. It's a community of about 15,000 people, all Muslim. We feel we are in our homeland, and the question
is, are we in our state? Is this country our country? And we don't feel we lack a sense of belonging to the homeland. We feel that the state is
lacking sense of belonging to its citizens.
Israel defines itself as the state of the Jewish people, not the state of its citizens. They even passed a law called the Nation State Law that
defines Israel as the state of the Jewish people, not the state of the Israelis. So, in a way, you know, I am in my homeland, I am in my town. I
still see the same sunrise and sunset that my ancestors saw 500, 600, 800 years ago. But the change is the political scene that is not seeing us as
legitimate citizens, as legitimate members of the State of Israel.
Regarding my work, and I've dedicated my life, Michel, to working with an organization called the Givat Haviva for the last 23 years. And Givat
Haviva is the first and by now still the biggest peace education center in the Middle East.
And almost 20 years ago, we won the UNESCO prize for peace education because we know how to educate for peace. And just simply, we bring Jewish
and Arab youth together, youth that have never met with each other. Give us two, three days, we know how to bring down the rate of racism from an
average of 65, 68 percent to 10 to 12 percent.
What we do is we get them on a path of humanization of each other. We allow them to engage in dialogue also about differences so that it's an honest
dialogue, but we focus on interdependency. The fact that we share the same buses, the fact that we share the same universities, the fact that we go to
the same hospitals, we have the same economy. We have the same environment to try to connect people together.
We work on cross sector teachers' programs. We send Arab teachers to teach in Jewish schools, Jewish teachers to teach in Arab schools. In America,
you tried the busing in the '60s. In Israel, if we talk busing today, they'll send me to a mental hospital.
So, what we do is we bus teachers because we can't bus children. It's very hard to bus children. So, we bus teachers. And we almost covered 20 percent
of the Arab educational system and 20 percent of the Jewish educational system. 93 percent of the cases, this is the first ever encounter with the
MARTIN: It sounds like you're saying that there is an appetite for this kind of teaching and learning. It sounds like there's an appetite among
just the citizenry to to do this kind of work. Are you able to do that now?
DARAWSHE: You know, during tense times, there's a rise in hatred. There's a rise in polarization. There's a rise in shying away from such activities.
But also, as an institution, we learned that during time of war, you don't stay silent. You go and still engage. We are engaged. As we talk right now,
our teams are trying to minimize damage, trying to talk to mayors, to tune down the damage to try to prevent a friction between their communities,
talk to the teachers that we have.
And out of the 2,500 teachers that I talked about, almost 2,300 of them are actually still teaching as we speak right now. I think what is happening in
the war is proving to us that our way is the way. The fact that we're almost able to hold 90 percent of the work, even at this time, tells you
that there is still goodwill, despite the anger, despite the frustration, despite the easiness of going back to the stereotypical thinking of the
other as the enemy and I don't want to engage with them.
But at the end of the day, we ask the question, well, what's the solution? The problem is not the bottom up. I think the problem is the top down. The
problem is the political leadership. We have a failing leadership in both the Palestinian and the Israeli side that cannot deliver peace. I think
that the public, at the end of the day, will be willing to engage in peace.
MARTIN: You know, a lot of people are trying to figure out where to be in this moment, you know, where to plant their feet. You are an educator. What
would be constructive in this moment? What would you want us to do?
DARAWSHE: You know what I would say to the youth that come to the Givat Habib Center today is be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We
-- you know, everyone is now asked to take a side, and I would say don't take sides, take the side of the solution. And I think that the Israeli
Palestinian conflict is an over negotiated conflict.
We need to go back to negotiations. We need to go back to implementing the solution, which basically means that -- in my view, the Palestinian Israel
leadership cannot deliver a solution. We need global intervention. We need the U.S. government, the U.N., god knows who else, to come in and impose a
political solution. That's the two-state solution. That's more or less around the 1967 borders. We cannot bring this from here. We cannot deliver
that result by our own capacity. Someone with greater might and power needs to come and do that.
So, if anyone can have any impact on that intervention, that's where we need it. I see people demonstrating on the side of the Israelis and people
demonstrating on the side of the Palestinians, and I do connect with the pain on both sides, but I think that's not -- should -- that's not where it
should end. We need to talk about the day after the war.
Hopefully, the day after the war is tomorrow, but it doesn't seem to be that close. But the day after the war should be the beginning of
implementation of a solution and not just dragging us for yet another 10 years of failure that promises the next October 7th clash. If we continue
in the path of clash, we're promising more and more casualties on from -- for both sides.
And I think -- I don't think it's in the interest of Palestinians and Israelis just to have people siding behind them. We need to side behind --
stand behind the solution and not stand behind one party over -- behind the other or the other today because taking sides is not the solution, but
taking the side of the solution is the solution.
MARTIN: Mr. Mohammad Darawshe, thank you so much for speaking with us.
DARAWSHE: Thank you for having me, Michel. And hopefully, we'll speak in better days.
MARTIN: I hope so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We hope for better days too. And finally, though, tonight, it was hailed as a triumph for democracy, brought about by an unlikely pairing
of leaders. Today, marks 34 years since world communism started to crumble, after this plea from President Ronald Reagan in front of the Brandenburg
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Mr. Gorbachev teared down this wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, let's look back at my conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev, 10 years after he helped usher in this tectonic and historical shift.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Mr. President 10 years ago, for us westerners, it was a triumph to see that wall come down, the end of tyranny, the end of communism. But
you were a committed communist. How did you feel personally when you saw them tear down that wall?
MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE SOVIET UNION (through translator): By that time, I had changed my mind about many things. And in
1988, I came to a conclusion that the system could not be improved. We needed political reform and more freedom, freedom of choice, political
parties, give people some oxygen.
AMANPOUR: How did you feel yourself watching that wall come down?
GORBACHEV (through translator): You know, there's a lot of talk about the wall, but for me as a politician, it's just a moment. It's a sign, a
symbolic event. The wall had been built when confrontation reached a very acute stage, and we began abandoning the confrontation. By that time, we
were meeting with President Reagan. He said he was not claiming the Soviet Union was the evil empire anymore.
Since we gave freedom of choice to the Soviet Union, to countries of Eastern Europe, how could we deny the same right to the Germans? They
proved they learned hard from the terrible war. They became a truly democratic nation.
AMANPOUR: Did you realize that it would so hugely, so massively capture the western imagination?
GORBACHEV (through translator): In the east and around the world, the impressions were also profound. After that, I met with President Bush in
Malta and we told each other that we do not consider ourselves adversaries anymore. That also was a significant event. It showed that the Cold War was
AMANPOUR: Did you know that it would lead so quickly to the fall of communism all over Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union?
GORBACHEV (through translator): You know, the model that had been implemented in the Soviet Union and forced on East and Middle European
countries after the Second World War lost. But I'm still devoted to socialism. If you think of socialism as freedom, social justice, democracy,
where individuals play a significant role.
Look at Western Europe, most of them are run by social democrats, and there's nothing bad about it.
AMANPOUR: Was there any risk of using force to stop East Germans doing what they were doing? Was there any risk that the Soviet Union would
intervene to keep East Germany whole?
GORBACHEV (through translator): No, that was totally out of the question.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, you are regarded by many people in this world as a hero for causing the end of tyranny and the collapse of communism. But
you are also criticized heavily by those who say you opened a Pandora's box, and they say, look at the strife now, look at the economic chaos, look
at the mafia structure, look at the corruption. They say that you opened and started a plan that you did not know how to finish.
GORBACHEV (through translator): That's an accusation of pygmies. I do not accept it. I can give you the following answer. First, there are no lucky
reformers. We had a concept. Give up totalitarianism. Lead society to freedom, political, ideological, and religious pluralism. Economic freedom
too. So, we did know where we were heading. But when such developments get underway, no one can predict specifically what it will lead to.
Imagine Russian history. 250 years of Tatar control. More than 150 years of surf down (ph), almost 80 years of communist totalitarian regime and
abandoning it does not mean you become free right away. One has to learn how to have it. Who can predict that? No one. No science can do that.
History will decide.
Look at how the West was teaching Russia market reforms, just that one thing and see how they got mixed up. And look what we have in Russia as a
AMANPOUR: You blame the West?
GORBACHEV (through translator): Absolutely. The West was pressuring us, forcing its will through the IMF and other experts. Of course, it was able
to find counterparts in Russia. Boris Yeltsin wanted to solve everything within two years and make Russia the most prosperous country in the world.
That's utopian thinking, and it is more dangerous than communism.
We're lucky if they were just wrong. It happens. But what if the plan was to force the reforms that would make Russia helpless and keep her half
strangled? Sometimes I do think that way. Though I think they don't realize that Russia is very dangerous in such a state. For itself, for Europe, for
the whole world.
AMANPOUR: You have recently suffered a personal tragedy, the death of your wife. She was your partner in every way. She supported your policies. How
does it feel to not have her here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this triumph?
GORBACHEV (through translator): These are very hard times for me. I feel like my soul has been ripped out of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Of course, Mikhail Gorbachev is dead also. He really, you know, joins his wife as he missed her so much. But many years later after that,
Vladimir Putin would call the collapse of communism the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. And with his war on Ukraine, he's still
challenging the new world order that Gorbachev helped to build. Last year, when Gorbachev died at age 91, Putin denied him a state funeral.
That's it for now. Thanks for watching. Goodbye from London.