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Interview With Obstetrician And Volunteered At Al-Aqsa Hospital In Gaza Dr. Deborah Harrington; Interview With Senior Advisor To Israeli Prime Minister Mark Regev; Interview With Cambridge University Mistress Of Girton College Elisabeth Kendall. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 18, 2024 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know we're standing there while our babies were murdered and bleeding out. It's hard enough that this community doesn't
care. And I hope that this -- I hope this makes you all. I also hope that this lights a fire up under the district attorney's ass, because we know
that she has not done a damn thing. And we refuse to accept that. Do your job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's try to go one at a time and just introduce yourselves so they know who they're talking to. Where do we want to start?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So just --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just let them know who you are, Shamone.
PROKUPECZ: Shimon Prokupecz, CNN. Just do you guys feel that the report went far enough in naming people and holding people in accountability?
Because, as we know, the DPS had the largest number of law enforcement officials outside of the CDP. There's a lot of video and a lot of
information about their actions that day. But it doesn't seem that this report really touches on their actions and things, and it seems to focus
mostly on the local officer, Arredondo, the chief. Are you concerned about that, or do you need some reaction to that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't understand why they are allowed privacy. My child, their children, they are named in this report because they are dead.
Everybody should have been named.
PROKUPECZ: Do you feel -- Kim, if I can follow up -- that somehow maybe DPS is off the hook on this when you look at this report?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you any of you want just --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, it's kind of hard to answer the question because we've only been given an hour and a half to kind of just look
through the report. So, we don't even know if they are mentioned in there or not. We would hope that they are because they were there. So, we hope
that they would be accountable for their actions as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Johnny (ph), following up on that. Monica Madden (ph), (INAUDIBLE) in the Next Star. I know that you said you're still
sifting through the report and everything, but were you hoping that the attorney general would have addressed a lot of more of the aftermath, the
delays in the D.A.'s investigation, DPS's investigation into its office's actions and accountability? Were you hoping that he would address more of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, of course we would have. We're grateful that we got what we have right now, because it's probably the most updated
information that any of us have gotten since May 24th. So -- and we're very appreciative of what he's done right now. But yes, we would have liked to
have more information about it.
JIM RYAN, ABC RADIO: Jim Ryan with ABC Radio. Did anything -- did you learn anything new from what you've seen in this report? Is there anything
that you didn't know before?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We knew as families, you know, just kind of talking amongst each other, we knew the failures that had happened. We just kind of
-- it makes more clarity now because it's written and now, it's set in stone. And what we thought is true. So --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did learn something.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't realize that the scene was compromised.
RYAN: What? I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The scene was compromised. That there was people that shouldn't have been there that were entering the classroom. That's
mentioned in the report.
RYAN: And did -- was that -- how come you didn't learn that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to continue reading more when we're done here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, a couple more and then we'll go over here.
NICK FORD, WAI KPB, SAN ANTONIO (PH): Two quick ones, Nick Ford (ph), WAI, KPB and San Antonio. And all of you guys in mind, is there any question
left that the D.A. should have all that she needs, all that she is required to have for her investigation to be able to pursue criminal charges now at
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, what else does she need? Yes, I mean, this is probably the most extensive piece that we have about all the failures that
happened that day. What else does she possibly need to prosecute or to remove these people from their positions of power when they can't even do
YAMI VIRHING, KBBWAI (PH): Yami Virhing (ph), KBBWAI. How safe are the children of Uvalde right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the point of this is that none of us are safe. That's what, you know, Josh just mentioned. None of us are safe
because these weapons are on the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) San Antonio. I talked to so many of you over the past years. A lot of you recently have expressed concerns about
the two-year mark, meaning that the statute of limitations for misdemeanor will expire. Are you hoping that this will potentially fast track the
upcoming D.A. investigation, the ongoing D.A. investigation?
JOSHUA KOSKOFF, ATTORNEY: Well, the D.A. -- even the D.A. can't get in our way of -- fully in our way of an investigation. But it ought to be -- to
your point, it ought to be said that the D.A., with the help of the A.G. here in Texas, is fighting the disclosure of a lot of this important
They -- so the D.A. is effectively -- you know, the D.A. has a job to do, we understand that. But she's locked up this information that these
families deserve to have access to evaluate their legal rights. So, there's no reason why she can't do her job so that we can do ours, and so that
these families get the information they deserve to make the decisions they have to make.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I assume that you will give me another timeline update with --
KOSKOFF: I mean, I think at this point it's not a good bet to bet on the D.A.'s timelines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quick question. You know, you talk about how you're representing the family, you're trying to conduct an investigation. What's
the purpose of it? Is it potentially to sue the local law enforcement agencies? Like what's the -- what are you hoping?
KOSKOFF: Well, it's similar -- I mean, the -- of course, the DOJ looks at the criminal and the D.A. is looking at criminal allegations. But the other
facet to these incidents is how can we -- what went wrong and how can we hold those people accountable and the traditional means -- other means that
we do so, which is by bringing legal action against them so that there's another incentive to clean up their act, right?
And so, we're -- you know, so we have to look at all the angles here. What contributed to this. And it should be noted that, you know, the -- you
know, when many of us were growing up -- am I the oldest person here? But when many of us were growing up, we didn't have these routine mass
shootings with AR-15s. But guess what? AR-15s were available. So, something's changed.
And so, one of the big things that we've seen in Sandy Hook and Parkland and other cases is that what's changed is the way these weapons are pushed
on youth. And this is a crystal -- a tragic and unnecessary example of the repercussions of that.
When we were growing up, when I was growing up, nobody knew what an AR-15 was. And here, every kid of a certain age, especially boys, know what they
are, because they're being courted. And they're being courted with other actors like social media and et cetera. So, these gun companies are really
pushing these products on kids for these types of missions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we get a reaction --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) from the Texas Tribune. Are you suggesting that you're going to pursue charges against gun manufacturers?
KOSKOFF: Well, I don't bring charges, you know. But fair enough. But we're -- the legal issues that we're under consideration now, I can't really
speak about beyond just the big picture type of things that you have to look at in an incident like this. I mean, there's a lot of factors that go
into something like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the families now, what are the next steps? As we now have one of these investigations out, there's numerous. The DPS is
still doing their investigation. We obviously have the D.A. who is still doing theirs. What is next for all of you as you continue to try and move
forward and one, put the day behind you, but two, create change?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we're going to continue fighting. We're going to continue fighting that some type of change is made in honor of our kids.
We have nothing left but to fight for them. We are their voices now. So, we're going to continue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I just get a reaction from someone? The attorney general, having him stand there, a very significant moment when he says
that lives had officers follow protocol procedure, their lives could have potentially been saved. How was that? How was that for you to hear him say
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mean, how do you want us to react to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. No. Because so many people have not wanted to say that. The law enforcement officials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was pretty hard. I mean, (INAUDIBLE). But I mean, it was pretty hard, you know, to hear that while he sits there and says that,
you know, lives could have been saved. I mean, I just --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just get a little closer to the mic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I just couldn't believe it, you know, for these officers to sit there and just not do anything, you know, and still be out
here, you know, on the streets, like nothing happened, you know. And my daughter is gone. It was hard. It was hard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're going to leave it there, folks, and let the families (INAUDIBLE). Thanks, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got something to say. I'm the grandfather of Layla Salazar. And this mass shooting here, why is it that our officers got
rewarded instead of being punished? And got raises instead of getting demotions? That's what I don't understand.
The DPS major there that's sitting behind Abbott, got a $40,000 raise. The Texas Ranger that had been suspended a year ago, fired, he's still getting
paid over $100,000. Why are we paying these officers and then you want us to trust them with our families when they're getting paid to do nothing?
We lost 19 children and two parents, and another husband that died right after. So, really, I don't see where we should be rewarding our officers.
Because I was at the courthouse when they had the commissioner's court and they asked me if they should have a raise, and I told them straight out,
no. They don't deserve a raise if you cannot serve and protect the people.
These were children. All they wanted to do was play. There's no reason this should have happened. They should have did -- they ignored the training
that was supposed to be since (INAUDIBLE). And they ignored it.
There's too many failures in this --
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Angry, emotional, demanding answers, and still demanding action. Family members of the Uvalde
children who were killed by a gunman back in May of 2022. 19 children and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old, as you heard, who'd been
allowed to buy an AR-15.
This press conference by the family, also, the lawyer you heard, saying that there must now be answers and action about allowing people to buy
those guns. This was one of the deadliest school and campus shootings ever. And this press conference came after the Department of Justice press
conference in which the attorney general said that this massacre at Uvalde could have been stopped sooner.
He described critical failures in leadership because it took 77 minutes for the killer to be stopped. And you heard the lawyer saying why, because the
police were afraid of that destructive gun. And therefore, everyone should be and therefore those guns should not be allowed to be bought.
AMANPOUR is up next.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
Another day, another airstrike as a regional war threatens to take hold. Ivan Watson reports on what Pakistan's retaliatory strike on Iran could
Plus, a doctor just back from Gaza tells me that she saw hospitals there overwhelmed by children with horrendous injuries.
Then, I speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu's senior adviser, Mark Regev.
Also, ahead, just how significant are the Houthis, these Iran proxies, amping up regional tensions? Walter Isaacson talks to Middle East expert
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The Pentagon insists that conflict between Israel and Hamas has not technically spread into a wider war yet. But experts warn just one
miscalculation could change that as missiles fly around the region between hostile states at an alarming pace.
The United States has today carried out further airstrikes against Houthi militants in Yemen. Israel, meanwhile, warning that the likelihood of war
on its northern front with Lebanon is "much higher" than in recent times. That's the backdrop for a different escalation of hostilities, this time
between Pakistan and Iran. Tit for tat airstrikes that both nations claim are aimed at terror bases. Take a listen to Iran's foreign minister at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): None of the nationals of the friendly and the brotherly country of Pakistan
were targeted by the missiles and the drones of Iran. It only targeted Iranian terrorists on the soil of Pakistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But tensions are rising between the two neighbors as Ivan Watson now reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Survivors sifting through rubble after a series of deadly cross border
This week's flare up between Iran and Pakistan, adding fuel to a region already on fire.
WATSON: The Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan share a long and porous border. In a 48-hour period, their militaries have carried out tit for tat
drone and missile strikes into each other's territory. An unexpected crisis for two neighbors who just days ago appeared to be getting along.
WATSON (voice-over): On Tuesday, Pakistan's prime minister held face-to- face talks with Iran's top diplomat in Davos. But hours later, Iran carried out what it called precision missile and drone strikes on what it claimed
were Iranian terrorists in Pakistan's Balochistan region.
Pakistan condemned what it called a breach of its sovereignty that killed at least two children. And on Thursday, the Pakistani military struck back.
MUMTAZ ZAHRA BALOCH, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: This morning, Pakistan undertook a series of highly coordinated and specifically
targeted precision military strikes against terrorist hideouts in Sistan and Balochistan province of Iran.
WATSON (voice-over): Using killer drones, rockets and loitering munitions, the Pakistani military says it targeted separatist Baloch ethnic group.
Iranian authorities say at least 10 people died, prompting Tehran to condemn Pakistan.
In fact, this week, Iran also carried out missile strikes against Northern Iraq and Syria, a deadly show of force after ISIS claimed responsibility
for twin blasts in the Iranian City of Kerman on January 3rd, which killed scores of civilians.
ALI VAEZ, IRAN PROJECT DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: This was really primarily a demonstration of force in a place that Iran taught would
have limited repercussions in terms of the risk of escalation.
I think they underestimated how this would put the Pakistani government in a very difficult situation.
WATSON (voice-over): For its part, the Pakistani government seems to be willing to de-escalate.
BALOCH: Iran is a brotherly country, and the people of Pakistan have great respect and affection for the people of Iran.
WATSON (voice-over): The question now, does Tehran want a conflict with its much more populous, nuclear armed neighbor?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Incredibly dangerous times. Ivan Watson reporting there.
Next, medicine for Israeli hostages and Palestinians has entered Gaza, according to Qatar's foreign ministry. Those medicines arrived after it
brokered a deal between Israel and Hamas to allow these vital necessities in.
More than 24,000 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. 10,000 of them are children, according to Palestinian health officials.
A recent CNN investigation found that most hospitals in Northern Gaza have either been damaged or destroyed. Here's an excerpt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside an ambulance at Al- Awda Hospital in Northern Gaza on November 9th.
Nearby, at the Indonesian hospital, the same night. Sheer panic.
The first two months of war decimated Gaza's healthcare system as Israel launched an air, then land offensive on the north of the Strip.
Out of 22 hospitals in Northern Gaza, CNN has identified 20 that have been damaged or destroyed between October 7th and December 7th. Imagery analyzed
by CNN shows over half have been directly attacked. Several, including the two largest in Gaza, Al-Shifa and Al-Quds, were directly attacked by the
Israel Defense Forces, this evidence suggests.
At Al-Ahli hospital, CNN previously found evidence a misfired rocket from Gaza was likely responsible for a deadly blast. But this appears to be the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called the Qatari hospital.
POLGLASE (voice-over): Israel and U.S. intelligence say Hamas used many of these hospitals as command-and-control centers, a claim Hamas denies. While
protected under international humanitarian law, a hospital's protection during war is not absolute.
CRAIG JONES, AUTHOR, "THE WAR LAWYERS": There are instances where those protections can be lost, and that is for such time as they are being used
for military activities to sort of further the activities of an enemy. That does not give carte blanche to militaries to launch an attack however they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Expert Craig Jones speaking to Katie Polglase there.
Israel says it doesn't target civilian structures, but anytime they are targeted, it's approved by the high command.
British obstetrician, Dr. Deborah Harrington, went into Gaza over Christmas with other international NGOs to work the emergency room at the Al-Aqsa
Hospital. She's just back, and she joined me here in the studio to describe what she saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Dr. Deborah Harrington, welcome to the program.
DR. DEBORAH HARRINGTON, OBSTETRICIAN AND VOLUNTEERED AT AL-AQSA HOSPITAL IN GAZA: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: You've just returned from Gaza, you are an OB-GYN, and you went to treat women and children, I guess. What did you see there? Why did you
DR. HARRINGTON: I went because I've been to Gaza many times. I've been going since 2016 as part of a teaching group. I've never been in a
conflict. I've never been in these circumstances.
And what I saw was -- in Al-Aqsa, which is in the middle area, was a hospital that was overwhelmed. It was overwhelmed with numbers of
inpatients, it was overwhelmed with emergencies, trauma cases coming in all the time, at a level that it simply wasn't set up to deal with. And it had
swollen to massive numbers of patients, both inpatients, but also just displaced people.
So, there were thousands of people taking refuge in the areas around the hospital, in the hospital. The -- normally there are about 150 inpatients,
and that had swelled, I think, while we were there to about 600 to 700 inpatients. And then another 200 to 300 presenting through the emergency
department every day.
AMANPOUR: So, what did you notice most? Are they women, children, men, fighting age fighters? Who were they?
DR. HARRINGTON: So, I think -- so, I was expecting, in some ways, that this was a war situation and therefore, I was sort of anticipating that
they were going to be perhaps young men or, you know, all sorts of casualties, you know, across the whole spectrum of society. But actually,
what I overwhelmingly saw was children.
And on one day, I was thinking this is New Year's Day. And there was one moment where I just looked at my watch, and it was about 2:00 in the
afternoon, and we had mass casualties coming in. And in fact, it was from a school shelter where there had been bombardment and blast, and we had mass
casualties coming in.
Then I looked around the resus room, which is where all the sickest patients are taken. And out of the five patients in the resus room, four of
them were children. One with an injury, with a horrendous injury, a shrapnel injury to the brain, weren't going to survive. And then, the other
children with horrendous mix of, you know, open fractures, partial amputations, open chest wounds, horrendous lacerations from shrapnel to the
sort of chest and head and burns. And that was every day.
You know, looking around the emergency department, my overwhelming impression was, why are there so many children here? You know, there were
so many children.
AMANPOUR: And why were there so many children here?
DR. HARRINGTON: I don't know other than the bombardment. We were obviously taking casualties from the area immediately around the hospital and they
were coming in because those areas were being targeted, were being bombarded, sniper fire, shelling. And that's what we were seeing.
And, you know, alongside the horrendous casualties, there were, you know, many people that came in dead. And some of the scenes, you know, I never
expected to see. I mean, I thought I was really well prepared for this. I had, you know, thought about what I might see, but that struck me and will
live with me forever.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you something? You know, you asked your question, why do we see all this? Was there anybody to ask a question to? Were there
Israeli soldiers around? Could you say, don't target around the hospital? Why are you targeting? Was there any dialogue on trying to keep a hospital
and shelter safe?
DR. HARRINGTON: Shelter safe. So, no -- I didn't see any soldiers. The team they worked with to map were in direct contact to de-conflict, you
know, the areas that we were in. So, every day there was a check with the IDF about where was safe for us to travel in, where -- you know, if the
hospital was safe.
And then, we had to be withdrawn on the last two days along with the -- our MSF colleagues. And that was because the area suddenly became designated as
a red zone, and that means that, you know, is now an active area of conflict.
AMANPOUR: How do you know it was designated? Who told you?
DR. HARRINGTON: So, there are areas, blocks literally numbered. And our security were in contact with the IDF, and they said you can no longer --
this is no longer de-conflicted. This is now a red zone in the area around the hospital.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, when we asked the IDF, following a very detailed forensic investigation by CNN of some 20 hospitals over a period of two
months of this war, they told us that they do not intentionally operate around there. They said they don't -- they're not operating around Al-Aqsa.
And that if they do, then it's been approved at the higher echelons. That's what the IDF told us when we aired this piece.
So, the next question is, was there any Hamas around? Could you identify anybody of them that you could say, what are you doing here, endangering
us? Did you have any notion that they might be in the area?
DR. HARRINGTON: We have absolutely no notion. We're humanitarians. We were there to work in a hospital alongside our colleagues, some of whom I knew
already. There was certainly nobody I could identify.
It's not impossible that there may have been people, but I didn't see anyone. There was no one wearing, you know, army fatigues or anything.
AMANPOUR: Can I play for you a soundbite from an American senator who, when I asked about getting aid in, getting medicine in, and the whole
deconfliction, which you've just talked about, this was his response just a couple of days ago to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): If you look at the Israeli inspection proceedings, for example. We visited a warehouse, Christiane, that was full
of items that were rejected. I'm talking about health kits for the delivery of babies. I'm talking about water filtration systems. I'm talking about
water quality testing systems. These were rejected by the Israeli screening authorities. And when they say one item has to be rejected off the truck,
they send the entire truck back. And these trucks sometimes wait up to 20 days to get in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I see you nodding. Does that ring true?
DR. HARRINGTON: So, we had to enter in through the Rafah Border. So, we came in through Egypt. We flew into Cairo, and then up through Sinai and
across the Rafah Border. And there must have been about 300 trucks waiting to go in. And we did see trucks that had obviously been turned back.
And one that really sticks with me is that there was a truck, you know, really large lorry full of baby's nappies or diapers. And the pallets were
all uneven, because I presume that they'd been checked or something, and they were going in the other direction. And when we asked --
AMANPOUR: They'd been sent back?
DR. HARRINGTON: They'd been sent back at the border. Yes, that's right.
AMANPOUR: So, these are children's diapers, nappies?
DR. HARRINGTON: Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: What about -- you're an OB-GYN.
DR. HARRINGTON: Yes.
AMANPOUR: There are terrible stories of women who are giving birth in the street.
DR. HARRINGTON: Yes.
AMANPOUR: Who -- I think, there's something like 180 women per day give birth.
DR. HARRINGTON: There are.
AMANPOUR: Apparently, 15 percent of them, I think that's the number, are unlikely to do well.
DR. HARRINGTON: Yes, that's correct.
AMANPOUR: Tell me what is the situation today for women -- pregnant women and the babies they deliver?
DR. HARRINGTON: There is no antenatal care for women. So, women are not getting any care in their pregnancy. Every woman that I did see, I asked
her when she was last seen and it was October.
They're not getting -- Anemia is a real problem in Gaza anyway. It's about 50 percent of people are anemic, even in non-war times. They'd had no
supplements. And the women I saw were really severely anemic.
Now, if you are anemic and you bleed at the time of your birth, you may die. Because you haven't got the reserves. Women -- there's a thing called
vulnerable women. And in humanitarian crises, situations, women become especially vulnerable. And that means that they're more likely to miscarry.
They're more likely to have stillbirths. They're more likely to deliver prematurely.
You know, there are women -- in Al-Aqsa, for example, there was a woman who'd had no antenatal care, and in fact, she'd arrived the day before I
arrived. And the obstetricians, you know, wanted to tell me all about this woman. And she'd arrived fitting. So, she was having --
DR. HARRINGTON: -- seizures as a result of a complication of pregnancy called eclampsia. So, if you have untreated high blood pressure, it can go
on to cause fits. And this woman arrived unconscious in continuous -- having continuous seizures.
She was treated. Her baby was delivered by caesarean section. It was on the neonatal unit. But that woman was then on the intensive care unit with a
cerebral hemorrhage as a result of her seizures. And that's the sort of thing that's happening. And that is just one of thousands of stories.
You know, many women can never even reach a hospital to give birth, and that's because they haven't got transport There is no electricity. It's
dangerous. They might be entering, you know, a hospital that is surrounded by a -- you know, by conflict, by bombardment. It's not safe for them to
move. They can't even call an ambulance because Wi-Fi -- you know, you don't have a mobile signal. So, they can't summon care.
AMANPOUR: You've been to Gaza, as you said, many times.
DR. HARRINGTON: Yes, I have.
AMANPOUR: The health system there has never been fabulous. But there are a lot of hospitals.
DR. HARRINGTON: There are a lot of hospitals.
AMANPOUR: What is the state now? Because we hear the whole health situation is collapsing.
DR. HARRINGTON: So, I think there has been a sort of systematic dismantling really of the healthcare system. It's almost like a kind of a
fall really of, you know, one hospital falls after the other after the other.
And healthcare systems, healthcare facilities should be protected. They're there for everybody.
AMANPOUR: I want to play this soundbite, because when you say should be protected, I talk to, you know, a former, you know, mega U.S. commander who
knows a bit about war and going after terrorists and civilians. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I have felt that the hospital should have been kept open, Al-Shifa in particular, but all of them. And
treat the civilians in these hospitals. Control them, though. Ensure that the tunnels underneath them, headquarters or whatever is being done in them
PETRAEUS: -- is not allowed and is eliminated. But again, they need to provide for the people, without question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: He's saying, whatever the case in war, you need to provide for the people. Do the people have anywhere to go?
DR. HARRINGTON: They've got nowhere, and they're getting less and less.
AMANPOUR: How do you feel as a doctor? I mean, you're a professional. Do no harm.
DR. HARRINGTON: I just feel desperate. I also feel ashamed and shocked that we're doing this to fellow humans. You know, my -- as you say, I'm a
daughter. My whole career, my whole reason for -- you know, for getting up in the morning is to -- corny as it sounds, to go and help people.
And actually, they're not being -- you know, the healthcare professionals, as excellent, as committed, as compassionate as they are, are not able to
do that. They haven't got supplies. They're coping with numbers that their -- you know, that their facilities are not set up to deal with. They're
losing staff all the time.
I mean, the obstetrician that spoke to me this morning said, you know, they have got people everywhere, giving birth in the corridors and in the halls.
They haven't got staff to deliver them. They haven't got capacity in theatre to do cesarean sections. You know, babies are going to be
asphyxiated, are going to die as a result of not being able to deliver mothers in a timely manner.
They also said their neonatal unit is full of infection. It's full of babies dying from infection. They just can't cope, and there isn't the
capacity to deal with it because so many health care facilities have been dismantled.
AMANPOUR: What did you notice about hunger because just now, since you've been back, the U.N. has said officially that they are noticing absolute
famine conditions for a significant portion of people there.
DR. HARRINGTON: The sort of humanitarian aid, the humanitarian response is just inadequate. It is -- because of the situation.
I visited a U.N. camp. As I said, it had 40,000 people in the camp in a 60,000 square meter. So, just over a square meter per person. Around the
outside of that, there was another 10,000 to 20,000 of, you know, temporary shelters that people were living in abject conditions. There was one toilet
for 615 people.
But people are going hungry. Children, particularly communicable diseases such as, you know, diarrheal diseases because of sanitation, because there
isn't adequate water. There's 94 percent less water going in than there was --
AMANPOUR: 90 percent less water.
DR. HARRINGTON: Absolutely.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Deborah Harrington, thank you.
DR. HARRINGTON: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Dr. Harrington told me that she hopes to go back to Gaza to continue her medical work.
Now, Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli War Cabinet, says Hamas is no longer in control in large parts of the Gaza Strip, but Israel believes
that 132 hostages are still being held there.
Joining me from Tel Aviv now is Mark Regev, senior advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister. Mark Regev, welcome back to the program.
MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISOR TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you first about what Dr. Harrington told me? This dovetails with what so many in the International Community have been
saying. And I just want to ask you, you know, all your friends here in the U.S., everywhere, say, of course, Israel had to go on the offensive against
the terror that was committed on October 7th. But that it turns out the longer it goes on, it's not being done right.
So, I guess I want to know from you, how long can a democracy -- you know, you call yourself a moral democracy -- continue to watch this that's
unfolding in Gaza right now, the children, the women.
REGEV: I mean, we've just had a discussion about the crisis in the Gaza health system. And the obvious question has to be asked, why is there a
crisis in the Gaza health system? Israel didn't want it. But as has been reported and documented, Hamas has a deliberate strategy of building its
military structure inside hospitals.
We would have much preferred that as humanitarian sites that the hospitals would have been outside the conflict. But unfortunately, Hamas took a
decision, a strategic decision, not in one hospital, not in two hospitals, but all across the Gaza Strip, Hamas built military infrastructure inside
and underneath hospitals.
We saw tunnels. We saw weapons, hostages, the ones you mentioned a moment ago, who were kidnapped, abducted on October 7th. They reported being taken
to and held in basements inside hospitals, not for medical treatment, they were held prisoner there. They were abused there.
There is video from -- hospital videos showing the abducted people being rushed through the hospital. We know of command control centers underneath
hospitals. We were forced to fight around hospitals. And when we went into hospitals, we did so as surgically as is humanly possible to avoid harming
the staff, the patients, and so on.
But if there is a crisis income in the health system in Gaza, it's clearly because of Hamas' deliberate behavior of using those hospitals as a shield
against international law as a shield for its military machine.
AMANPOUR: Mark Regev, I know that's your position and I know that you found some tunnels.
REGEV: It's the truth.
AMANPOUR: I also know -- I know. I've seen them. I've seen your pictures of them. We have seen also many investigations by western media
organizations that haven't actually yet connected a hospital room to a command center or to a connection with the tunnel. However, that is your
My question to you is, General Petraeus, Senator Van Hollen, leaders all over the world, the secretary of state, the National Security Council, the
president of the United States, of France, of the U.K., everywhere, says, yes, you have a right to self-defense, but these civilian casualties are
just too much.
So, my question to you is, is there not a military way to separate civilians and take care of civilians? As Petraeus said, he's been through
many wars against terrorists in civilian areas. Was there not a better way?
REGEV: First of all, we don't want to see any civilians killed. And I repeat that. We don't want to see any civilians caught up in the crossfire
between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces.
But having said that, we're up against a brutal and horrific enemy who deliberately embeds itself not just in hospitals, but in residential
neighborhoods, in schools, in U.N. facilities, in mosques, and underneath Gaza, underneath the cities of Gaza --
REGEV: -- where cameras often cannot go, there is a subterranean terror network of tunnels, of bunkers, of missile launching sites, of armories of
command control. Hamas has had more than 16 years to embed itself, and that's why this operation will take time.
And though we're doing our best to avoid civilians getting caught up in the crossfire, Hamas has a deliberate strategy of using civilians as a human
shield, making our job just so much more difficult.
AMANPOUR: You have said that. But I want to ask you this. In that case, why then does a doctor, a British doctor, who went in with the approval of
Israel and Egyptian and all the other permissions they need to get with NGOs, why does she witness a truck that has been turned back full of baby's
diapers? Why does Senator Van Hollen tell me and other international organizations, remember, friends of Israel, that the onus on helping some
of these civilians get aid in, humanitarian aid in, is on you now? Because it's so complicated to get these trucks in. And we're seeing them being
Is there any way that you should and can speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid and medicine?
REGEV: So, I want to be clear, that truck specifically -- and it's a good example because that truck specifically was both authorized by Israel and
inspected by Israel. And it could have gone into the Gaza Strip, from our perspective. But obviously, there were problems at the border where Israel
is not on the Egyptian-Gaza border for it to be stopped and there wasn't room or something for it to go in that day.
But Israel has opened up the additional crossing of Kerem Shalom because we want to make sure that humanitarian aid does reach the Gaza Strip, that the
civilian population of Gaza is not the target of our military operation.
There are other issues involved here, but that Israel did not prevent that truck from going in. I want to be 100 percent clear about that.
AMANPOUR: And yet, the senator says that he -- I'm talking about the borders, on the Israel-Gaza border, that it's way too slow, slow, slow. And
that it's on you, because you control that to actually speed it up.
Also, we know, from the U.N., that there are famine and pre-famine conditions stalking Gaza. And I guess the question is -- well, the related
question is, can you confirm that there has been, what Qatar says, some kind of deal to send in some kind of humanitarian aid? Can you tell us what
that is, for the Israeli hostages and for the people of Gaza?
REGEV: So, first of all, I want to be clear. In the first week of this war, the Security Cabinet of Israel took a decision that as we pursue Hamas
to destroy its military machine, and we must, at the same time in parallel, there will be no restrictions whatsoever on food, water, medicine going
into the Gaza Strip, and that is our policy. We placed no restrictions on those --
AMANPOUR: So, why then did your defense minister say there was a siege? He said it himself. No food, no water, no fuel, no medicine. That's what Yoav
REGEV: I don't know what -- I don't -- no, it's not true.
AMANPOUR: On October the 9th.
REGEV: You're talking about coming in.
AMANPOUR: Yes, going into Gaza.
REGEV: You're talking about the crossings from Israel. So, at the beginning we allowed that to go through the Egyptian crossing, at Rafah.
And then we opened up -- a few weeks later, we opened up. When we saw there was a greater need, we opened up the crossing, Kerem Shalom, which is our
But you have to understand, following the October 7th massacre, the feeling in Israel was -- you know, the crossings were attacked by the Hamas
terrorists. They were blown up. The whole idea that they just attacked us and we have to have business as usual with Gaza, that, of course, was
In the end, we took a decision to open up the Israeli crossing because we wanted to. Now, we understand, to be frank, that what we have willing to
inspect and send in, we could receive much more today from the International Community to send it to Gaza than we are capable of dealing
with. If there's a holdup, it's not because of Israel.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, again, that's not what the U.S. senator says who saw it. Let me ask you a different question. Partly because of what the world
is witnessing and what leaders around the democratic world are witnessing to their increasing unease, and that is the civilian toll.
You see what's happening. There is a growing -- I'm going to use the word coalition of Israeli allies saying that there must be, in return for
normalization, as you want with Saudi Arabia and others in the region, there must be an absolute Palestinian process to statehood and an end of
The -- your own prime minister has apparently completely said no to that. I'm going to just play a little piece of what he said in a speech to the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Any agreement, with or without agreement, the State of Israel must control
security between the Jordan River to the sea. And the clashes for the sovereignty idea, I'm telling our American friends, I stopped at a reality
which would have hurt the security of Israel.
The prime minister of Israel should have the ability to say no, even to our greatest friends, when he has to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's it then. No political solution. You're basically telling your biggest friends and your biggest military suppliers, the
United States, that no, you won't consider that kind of political solution.
REGEV: I think it's very important to hear what the prime minister says in its entirety. He has repeatedly said that the Palestinians should have all
the powers to rule themselves, but none of the powers to threaten Israel.
And the second half of that formula, none of the powers to hurt Israel is especially, I think, relevant following what happened on October 7th.
REGEV: We don't want to see ever again a repeat of that horrific attack on Israel by the Hamas terrorists or by any terrorists for that matter. And
so, the idea is to find a formula where the Palestinians can rule themselves, but not be in a position to threaten Israel.
That's -- I think that's the formula that can help us move forward and find solutions that will be good for Israelis and good for Palestinians, too.
AMANPOUR: If I'm not mistaken, I heard the prime minister say, granted it was in translation, but that it had to be -- essentially, I'm coining a
phrase from the river to the sea, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, that there must be Israeli security. I think that's what he
said, and that's what you're saying.
AMANPOUR: Which flies in the face of what your partners are talking about in terms of an end to occupation and a Palestinian State. So, I want to ask
you particularly about the Saudis. Because that was on the table. You're a diplomat. You know this better than I do. It was on the table before
October 7th and it's cropped up again.
We heard the Saudi foreign minister in Davos talking about it. I just spoke to somebody very well known to you all, Prince Turki bin Faisal, former
ambassador, former intelligence chief. This is what he said about what they believe needs to be the solution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE TURKI BIN FAISAL, FORMER SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO U.S. AND U.K.: There is a lot of talk being put out by Americans, by Europeans about a two-state
solution. But they've been talking the talk without walking the walk.
I think what is needed is for them to put their feet down and simply go ahead and work with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area to
establish a Palestinian State. And to end the fighting. The first important thing that must be done is to stop the killing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And, Mark Regev, just today your president, Yitzhak Herzog, called on dialogue between Israel, the Palestinians over -- you know, over
trying to figure out a way to end the endless cycle of violence and to prevent ever an October 7th happening again.
So, again, are you surprised that this is all coming to a head right now? I mean, it seems like the prime minister is trying to ward it off. And I have
to say, frankly, many observers think that it's more about him and his own politics and staying in power than it is about a proper, just and fair and
REGEV: You know, Christiane, you and me have been following this process for more years than we'd like to remember. And I'd like to remind you of
the last speech that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin gave in the Knesset just before he was assassinated by a brutal enemy of peace and reconciliation, a
fanatic that I hope will remain in jail forever and ever.
But Rabin said that in -- and he believed in peace. He was the father of the Oslo process. He said in final status piece, the Palestinians will have
less than a state because like the (INAUDIBLE) today, Rabin understood that Israel would have to have security control in ways that would limit the
full exercise of Palestinian sovereignty.
Now, in the peace process since then, and as you know, there's always been talk about demilitarized and security controls and things like this. This
is what Israel is talking about. And especially after October 7th, to ask the Israeli public, the Israeli people to say will light pedal security,
that security isn't the highest priority to keep our people safe, that is to ignore reality.
AMANPOUR: Meanwhile --
REGEV: And if the Palestinians really want to move forward with Israel, I think they have to be willing to understand those concerns. They are
legitimate concerns. And that the idea that any areas next to Israel will have to be -- there will have to be security arrangements that allow Israel
to defend itself. By itself, if need be. That has to be the basis of any political settlements as we move forward.
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, that is your very clear position. And yes, I have, as you say, witnessed this prime minister hold that position. And here we
Now, I want to ask you about what is the result after 100 days in your war against Hamas? The French president said the total destruction of Hamas,
does anyone think that's possible? If that's that, the war will last 10 years. Journalist Ronan Bergman has written, in addition, the military
pressure is not leading to the release of hostages.
Talk to me about the hostages. The families still don't believe it's number one priority.
REGEV: It's definitely there at the top. And let me let me be clear. We achieved an amazing success in November where we got almost half the
hostages out. 110 people released precisely because of the military pressure Israel was applying. That was the only reason that -- Hamas didn't
release the hostages because they suddenly became nice people. No, they were responding -- as President Joe Biden said, they respond to pressure.
And Israel was applying the pressure through our military might.
Now, if we would have accepted the advice of people in the International Community at the beginning of November to go for some sort of humanitarian
pause that was talked about, you'll recall, we would never have got a single one of those people out. And they were women and children, as you
will recall. Some very young children, all held by Hamas. They were released. So, that's one of the major successes so far of our operation.
But as we go forward, we've managed to destroy in Northern Gaza Hamas' ability to work in an organized military framework. Their battalion and
brigades, we've managed to destroy them. They still have, of course, the ability to cause us harm, but to operate as an organized fighting force,
they cannot longer. And we'll get there in the south too, in the center of the country and in the south of the Gaza Strip as well.
We have to win this war and we will destroy the Hamas military machine. We'll do it, Christiane, because we have no choice. We refuse to live any
longer next to this terror enclave. And the Israeli parents have to (INAUDIBLE) in the middle of the night terrorists will cross the border and
murder their children. No, we refuse to live that way any longer.
AMANPOUR: Mark Regev, thank you so much.
And as we mentioned earlier, the U.S. launched its fifth round of missile strikes against the Houthis in Yemen today. Walter Isaacson now digs into
the roots of this crisis with Middle East expert Elisabeth Kendall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Thank you, Christiane. And Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, welcome to the show.
ELISABETH KENDALL, Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge University: Thank you. It's great to be here, Walter.
ISAACSON: The U.S. just conducted this week its third military operation against the Houthis who controlled much of Yemen including the capitol
after a nine-year civil war. The U.S. put the Houthis back on the designated terrorist organization list.
Who are the Houthis and how did it come to this?
KENDALL: The Houthis are a group that emerged in the northwest of Yemen. So, in that bottom corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
Now, they take their name from their former leader, Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004. And they're now controlled by his brother, Abdul-Malik
al-Houthi. So, they're a family group that rules the Houthis, but they're much more than just a tribe. They're a religious, political, and military
grouping that now involves its religion in its politics.
For example, their political arm is called Ansar Allah, which means partisan (ph) supporters of God. And They have a brand of religion called
Zaydism, which is a branch of Shia Islam. And that's important because Shiasm is of course the kind of Islam that's practiced in Iran.
Now, we shouldn't think of them as just a small rebel group. They actually control territory in which about two-thirds of Yemen's population lives,
and that's about 20 million people.
So -- and they've been at war for the last nine years in a civil war, and several years before that, since 2004. So, they're quite a considerable
adversary. They should not be underestimated.
ISAACSON: Well, you say at the core it's because they're a Shia Islam group. And the civil war in Yemen has been fought between Sunni forces and
the Houthi Shia forces.
Are we -- is that an oversimplistic divide that we in the West make between Sunni and Shia? Or is that really at the core of what's happening both in
the region and in Yemen?
KENDALL: It's certainly true to some extent to describe this as a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shias. But it is a lot more complex than
So, on the one hand, we have the Houthis who are backed by Shia Iran. And on the other hand, we have the so-called internationally recognized
government backed by Saudi Arabia, which is Sunni and the United Arab Emirates.
But ultimately, this conflict inside Yemen was domestically generated before sectarian concerns came to the fore. It's about control of power,
territory and resources. And it's simply that those sectarian narratives have been glued onto these much more fundamental struggles. So, it's going
to have to be solved at that domestic level in very practical terms if that conflict is to go away.
ISAACSON: Well, they're in the news right now because Yemen borders the Red Sea and the Houthis have been using their arsenals of drones and
military to attack shipping in the Red Sea. And I think there are, what, 17,000 ships that go through the Red Sea every year. I mean, one-fifth of
the cargo coming to the East Coast. The United States is there. A lot of the oil goes through there.
Tell us what's happening with these attacks, and is that why the U.S. has been retaliating?
KENDALL: I think that the threat to global shipping and the knock-on effects that that has on our economies has certainly focused the interests
of the U.S., the U.K. and others in putting a stop to this in a way that nine years of civil war and the Houthis trying to take over inside Yemen
itself never would have gained our attention in this way.
But let's just zoom out slightly. The location of the Houthis down there in the Red Sea is really important because it completes a jigsaw puzzle of
Iranian Proxies and partners in the region that, if you look at a map surround Israel.
So, we've got the Houthis there to the south of Israel. And of course, we have Hamas in the west of Israel, in the Gaza Strip. And then to the north,
we have Hezbollah, another Iranian proxy. And then in the north and the northeast, we have Iran backed Shia militias. So, the Houthis are a really
important part of completing that circle of pressure on Israel.
ISAACSON: And are the Houthis officially aligned? Do they work hand in glove with Hezbollah and Hamas?
KENDALL: The Houthis are part of the so-called axis of resistance, which is controlled by Iran, or at least partnered to Iran. And I wouldn't say
that they're very close to Hezbollah and Hamas. It's simply that they have many of the same aims. And that goes for Iran too.
The Houthi slogan is death to America. Death to Israel, a curse on the Jews, and victory to Islam. That chimes very strongly with Iran's own
But it would be too much to say that Iran has direct command control of the Houthis. Iran's arms, its supply of weapons, its training and its
intelligence have been incredibly important in facilitating what the Houthis are doing. But it wouldn't be the case that if Iran suddenly
stepped away or tried to stand the Houthis down, that this would end, because the Houthis have very good reasons of their own for continuing
these attacks in the Red Sea.
ISAACSON: What are their good reasons or reasons of their own?
KENDALL: Well, they have domestic reasons, regional reasons, international reasons. At a domestic level, this is very opportune for the Houthis. It
enables them to position themselves as the defenders of Palestine, as the heroes of the Palestinian people at a time when there aren't very many
political power bases, regimes or governments speaking up for the Palestinians.
So, that's made them quite popular, not just with their base, which is, by the way, very tired after almost a decade of war, but also more broadly in
Yemen and the Arab world.
And then regionally, it works for the Houthis because they managed to gain more leverage over Saudi Arabia. Saudi doesn't want to antagonize the
Houthis at a time when it's trying to extract itself from a very awkward and expensive war that it's been pursuing against the Houthis in Yemen. And
it is on the cusp of being able to do that.
And then finally, internationally, well, the Houthis have gained massive publicity for themselves and for the Palestinians. And they've ensured that
what might have seemed to us like a faraway problem in Israel is really brought into our attention zones by this attack on our global shipping and
its knock-on effects ultimately on our wallets.
ISAACSON: Well, I just read a really good article you wrote on all of this. And I think you mentioned that the Houthis were planning attacks on
the Red Sea even before the October attack by Hamas on Israel.
So, would this have happened without that? Or is this really a reaction to what's happening in Gaza?
KENDALL: It's hard to say whether this was part of a well-planned strategy that Iran had in mind with its partners that was going to ramp up gradually
beginning with the 7th of October attacks by Hamas on Israel.
There are some signs that that might have been the case. As you say, the Houthis were militarizing the Red Sea, a couple of islands, and bringing in
the kinds of weaponry that was required for these Red Sea attacks just before Hamas acted in October.
And what is very striking is that the different partners in Iran's so- called axis of resistance have gradually ramped up their activity in the way that makes them look like they're being reactive and proportionate
because they're responding to what Israel's been doing and what America is now doing, it makes -- it frames them as not as the aggressors, but as the
defenders. So, it could be parts of rather a smart strategy, or it could simply be opportunistic.
ISAACSON: As we said, the news right now is that in the past day or so, it's been decided to put the Houthis back on what is called, I think, the
specially designated terrorist organization list. That's what the Biden administration is doing, I think, in alliance with the United Kingdom.
What does that mean to put them on that list? And why did the Biden administration take them off the list when Trump had them on a similar
KENDALL: So, Trump did have them on that terrorist list. But we must remember that Trump only put them on that list a couple of days before he
left office. So, it was almost like it was a gift to the Saudis as he parted from office.
And also --
ISAACSON: Let me stop you there to explain why that would be a gift to the Saudis.
KENDALL: So, of course, the Saudis had been fighting the Houthis in a war since they entered the Yemen civil war in March 2015 and had been
advocating for America to put them on that terrorist list. And America had resisted that right up until Trump's last days in office.
And one of the reasons why the U.S. had resisted is probably the advice of different humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations, that
this would be absolutely catastrophic for the population of Yemen, which had already suffered greatly.
There was a situation, which is not much better now, where about 80 percent of the Yemeni population needs humanitarian assistance. Now, if you
designate the Houthis, then that makes it really hard for humanitarian organizations to get that vital aid and medicine in, because most of the
population affected lives in the Houthi areas. And --
ISAACSON: So, is it a good idea for them to be -- for the U.S. and the U.K. to put them back on a terrorist list?
KENDALL: So, it isn't a good idea. It's not because the Houthis don't deserve to be on a terrorist list. It's because of the knock-on effects of
that. It doesn't hurt the Houthis. For them, it's a badge of honor. It hurts the general population who's already suffering. And it also might
have knock-on effects in scuppering the domestic peace process inside Yemen.
There has been an uneasy truce. in Yemen since 2022. It's not officially a truce, but it has more or less held. And now, the United Nations is just
about brokering a political process for Yemenis to make peace with one another, and the Houthis are a key part of that.
Now, if the U.S. places the Houthis on a terrorist organization, it's difficult to see how the United Nations can include them as a legitimate
political authority in the domestic peace talks. If those peace talks don't go ahead, then Yemen circles back into a civil war. So, there's a lot at
ISAACSON: Well, it does seem that if they're part of the U.N. designated peace process, that it's the Houthis who've disrupted this by suddenly
starting to attack international shipping in the Red Sea.
KENDALL: That is true. But the Houthis are trying, and to some degree they're actually succeeding in separating entirely what they're doing in
the Red Sea from what's happening inside Yemen.
They're pitching their Red Sea attacks as something that is 100 percent geared towards bringing world attention to the plight of the Palestinians.
And they say that if Israel and America stop their aggression in Gaza and against Palestine, then they will stop their attacks. That's what they say.
ISAACSON: Do you believe that at all?
KENDALL: Well, I think we can't completely dismiss it. There's a genuine empathy and sympathy with the Palestinian courts. But we ought to also be
skeptical. It works very well for the Houthis politically for all the reasons I outlined.
And I also think it's important to mention here that there's not that much evidence that the Houthis are willing to settle for a power sharing
agreement inside Yemen. They're always flexing their muscles whenever they've signed an agreement before they've had deal remorse, and they've
always gone back to try to get more.
And so, this could be just another example of that, where they have no intention of sharing power, they simply want to keep finding excuses to
Well, what I should say is that I don't think they want all-out war with the U.S. That could be existential for them. And I don't think they expect
it, because like many people, like many commentators, nobody thinks the U.S. is going to put boots on the ground in Yemen. And nor do the Houthis
think that. But some kind of low-level conflict, tit for tat strikes, that works well for them. That feeds into their narratives.
ISAACSON: Well, you just said that tit for tat strikes work well for the Houthis. But the U.S. recently has gone through its third attack on the
Houthis. Is that helping or hurting the Houthis these last few weeks of U.S. and allied military strikes on the Houthi forces?
KENDALL: Yes, an excellent question, because the rationale, of course, is that these strikes are supposed to hurt the Houthis. But there are several
reasons why that's not really the case.
The first is that the Houthis are very adept at hiding their weapons. They've also suffered many, many airstrikes, over 25,000 airstrikes during
the course of the civil war by the Saudi-led coalition, and they still kept going. So, it's very likely that they can weather these airstrikes.
And at the same time, they have been framing the United States as an aggressor, as an imperialist power that wants to be at war with Islam. So,
these strikes now play to that narrative.
And whilst the Houthis can be relatively assured that the Americans won't want to go in with ground forces, they can just keep going, because they
have a different war logic from ours. They're very tolerant of high casualties. They are not that concerned about recycles of misery that their
actions inflict upon their populations. And they have war almost as a way of life because they've now been at war for almost a better part of 20
years with a couple of years off in between. So, they can just keep going.
ISAACSON: I don't quite understand what could -- how this could possibly work out for the West or the U.S. in the sense that the Saudis, for what,
nine years have been trying very hard to push back the Houthis, to beat them. And the Saudis have used enormous numbers of missiles. They're in the
region, and it hasn't worked at all.
Can the Houthis be defeated by a few random attacks by U.S. drones when the Saudis couldn't do it?
KENDALL: No, I don't think they can. You paint a very realistic picture. We have tried all sorts of other measures. Sanctions haven't worked.
Curbing the flow of funds to the Houthis hasn't worked. Just putting the multinational maritime force in the Red Sea as a warning and a threat, and
a way of batting away missiles, that hasn't worked, which is why the U.S. has now had to ramp up to this kind of direct military action.
Are there any other things that we could do? Maybe. Maybe we could try harder with mediation. Oman would be a good route because Oman has not
joined the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis and has open channels to both the Houthis and Iran.
And perhaps we could ramp up our indirect military action. Things that the Houthis couldn't point to the United States and say that was them. And
maybe also spend more time building up local forces in Yemen who have spent the last nine years trying to push back against the Houthis.
Ultimately, though, I think it's quite hard to see any of this working without taking away this moral high ground that the Houthis have claimed
rightly or wrongly, which is that they are defending Palestine.
So, unless something is done to solve that overall conflict between Israel and Palestine, I think the Houthis can just keep going.
ISAACSON: Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, thank you so much for joining us.
KENDALL: You're welcome. Thank you for the opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And, finally, his face is recognizable around the world. A red- haired baby boy. Today marks the first birthday of Kfir Bibas, the youngest hostage taken from Israel on October 7th.
Relatives and family members held a rally in Tel Aviv wearing t-shirts in a nod to his hair color. They pleaded for Kfir's release and the release of
his four-year-old brother, Ariel, and their parents, who were also abducted on October 7th.
It's not clear whether any are still alive. A cousin of the family told CNN that baby Kfir is not the enemy of Hamas.
That's it for now. Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.