Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Former U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues David M. Satterfield; Interview with "What Does Israel Fear from Palestine?" Author Raja Shehadeh; Interview with "The Grab" Investigative Journalist and The Center for Investigative Reporting Senior Reporter Nate Halverson; Interview with "The Grab" Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 25, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.



is a multilateral one, not a unilateral one.


AMANPOUR: American voters face a stark choice in November, and I speak with career diplomat David Satterfield about the high stakes for global


Then with the future of the Middle East also on the ballot, correspondent Jomana Karadsheh follows up her investigation of one teenage victim of the

Gaza war.

And --


RAJA SHEHADEH, AUTHOR, "WHAT DOES ISRAEL FEAR FROM PALESTINE?": Well, I think the Palestinians have been ready to live with the Israelis and to

make peace based on justice and splitting the land between the two people.


AMANPOUR: -- Palestinian author and activist Raja Shehadeh explains why his vision of peaceful coexistence may be fading.

Then with food and water supplies becoming increasingly scarce, filmmakers Nate Halverson and Gabriela Cowperthwaite tell Hari Sreenivasan about what

may be the next major global threat.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

As American voters look ahead to the first Biden-Trump presidential debate on Thursday, along with the rest of the world, coverage is mostly focused

on domestic issues. But an array of global challenges could have the greatest impact on Americans daily lives.

In Ukraine, American hesitation has already helped Vladimir Putin advance his interests. In the Middle East, progress towards regional peace could be

one more casualty of the brutal war in Gaza. And from China, Iran, North Korea, and beyond, the next foreign policy crisis could be just over the

horizon. So, Americans face a stark choice, and so does the rest of the world. Between Joe Biden, with his view of a global battle between

democracy and autocracy, and Donald Trump's populist, America First isolationism.

Until a few weeks ago, David Satterfield was America's special envoy to the Middle East for humanitarian issues. And I had a wide-ranging conversation

with the veteran diplomat about these foreign policy flashpoints facing America's next president, whoever he will be.


AMANPOUR: David Satterfield, Ambassador, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So, one of the huge issues is obviously the raging war in Europe, 80 years after D-Day, after the end of World War II. Robert O'Brien

and President Trump basically criticized the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president, for not confronting Putin enough during the 2014

invasion and annexation of Crimea. And also, if you remember, not giving Ukraine lethal weapons like the Javelins when they needed them.

What is your answer to that before we go on into the future?

SATTERFIELD: Christiane, I think there's no question that the limited response after the annexation of Crimea led Putin to believe that he could

make further advances on the territory of Ukraine or elsewhere without significant challenge from the United States and the International

Community. That was, in retrospect, a significant error.

With respect though to the approach to Ukraine after the Russian invasion, the administration engaged in quite extraordinary and almost unprecedented

campaign prior to the invasion of making very clear to the world, privately and publicly, that we knew exactly what Putin was planning to do. We knew

what the scope of his takeover of Ukraine was intended to be with the object of avoiding the war. Well, that did not succeed because Putin, in

the face of all of this, still went forward. Could more have been done sooner to provide weaponry of a very sophisticated kind? The answer will be

debated for some time.

But I can tell you this, the intent of the administration was to avoid, if at all possible, an escalation with a nuclear power, Russia, that could

involve directly the United States, the wisdom or ill wisdom of that. Again, is a matter for historians. The point is, the U.S. is now robustly

supporting Ukraine, including in a very selective fashion, the targeting of those facilities in Russia that are being used for specific attacks on



AMANPOUR: So clearly, if there is a, I guess, another Biden administration, Ukraine can pretty much count on, maybe with delays like

before, continued aid. And potentially, I don't know, Trump has said a lot of things that put in doubt continued military aid.

But I want to ask because he has been -- rather Putin, has been getting a lot of support from North Korea during the war and now with this new

declaration of military cooperation with their visit in Pyongyang. And Putin, you know, is really counting on that and this anti-American axis

that he's, you know, gathering together, including China, Iran, et cetera.

What do you make of how any president can contain North Korea? Because, again, remember, the Obama administration essentially didn't do hardly any

diplomacy with North Korea. And Trump tried, but then, according to the South Koreans, there was no follow up. What can an American administration

do to make sure North Korea doesn't act against their interests in the way it's doing right now?

SATTERFIELD: Well, the approach that has the greatest chance of success is a multilateral one, not a unilateral one. It is assembling and then

sustaining a coalition of parties who do have influence with Pyongyang to the extent that any country or combination of countries do in that very

unique place to make clear that there will be no support for the economy, no support for -- or legitimization for Korea's bandit behaviors. And

that's the term to use, banditry.

This is a regime which engages in behaviors not just at the level of ballistic missile challenges or nuclear programs that go beyond the realm

of international conduct. It is a very sad judgment on where Russia now finds itself, that it is turning to Iran, turning to Korea, turning to what

are, in a very old phrase, pariah regimes in order to meet its military requirements to conduct this illegitimate war in Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: And yet, that's where it is, and we don't see any end in sight to this war. Let me turn to the Middle East, your area of most recent

specialty. You know, one could say that President Trump, with his visits there, with his, you know, diplomacy, really, really empowered the extreme

right-wing in Israel, the settler movement, obviously Benjamin Netanyahu's, you know, maximalist tendencies.

And I wonder, though, whether President Biden can do anything different or better because he is viewed as, although being its strongest ally, not

having a huge amount of influence. And even this latest peace proposal, or rather ceasefire proposal didn't go anywhere. And I heard you trying to,

you know, get the Israelis around it, saying that it was an Israeli position as well, but they never claimed it and it's clear that they didn't

take it up.

SATTERFIELD: Well, Christiane, there is a very frequent, quite long standing over reading of the degree that outside powers, including the

United States have, to influence Israeli or Palestinian behaviors when both sides interpret those behaviors as existential. And that's the situation we

find ourselves in right now. For Hamas, for Israel and Israelis, and I go far beyond this government of Israel, for Israel itself. These are

existential issues.

Now, the U.S. has every ability to put forward as clear a vision as possible of what we believe can lead to a sustainable peace, a reduction of

the security threats posed to Israel and the Israeli people. But at the end of the day, the decisions being made are in the hands of Israel itself and

of Hamas.

With respect to the previous administration and presumed encouragement for right-wing activism, look, I think that's overstated. The politics of

Israel are just that. They're the politics of Israel. And they have far less to do with external factors than they do with various internal

domestic drives, just as is the case with the United States.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me just ask you then, because obviously under the Clinton administration when we had Oslo and there was Yitzhak Rabin there

was the king of Jordan, there was Yasser Arafat, there was a period in which it appeared that all the convening powers and the parties themselves

were on a certain route.

Now, that obviously didn't last and it didn't -- and it failed, but the latest several years have been, I guess, the end of the Obama

administration and then whatever happened in the Trump administration, essentially there was almost no engagement on the Palestinian issue.


Do you think that a second -- any future American president can avoid putting the Palestinian issue at the center of Israel's need for security,

of the desire to have normalization with Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE, et cetera?

SATTERFIELD: Christiane, I think it's critical that any U.S. administration pursue two courses in parallel. One is to continue to

underscore, as this administration is doing, that a two-state resolution, a credible pathway to a two-state outcome through negotiations, has to be the

overarching frame in which ultimate security, wellbeing, the quiet miracle of a normal life, as Bill Clinton spoke to, can be achieved.

But at the same time, there needs to be a strategic vision for the region as a whole. That is why we are pursuing what is referred to as the Saudi

deal, as tirelessly as we are. Because that offers not only strategic benefits for the United States vis-a-vis challenges from Iran, from the PRC

to the region, but it also forms an additional stabilization framework for peace in the region. You've got to pursue both, the Palestinian-Israeli

course and the broader regional course for stability and peace.

AMANPOUR: And a last question on this. Obviously, Americans and much of the democratic world were horrified by what happened in Israel on October

7th, by what Hamas did on October 7th. They are equally horrified now by the tens of thousands of Palestinians who've been killed in Gaza. How

sustainable is this dynamic for a U.S. president, not just seeking re- election, but in the future?

SATTERFIELD: Christiane, the massacre perpetrated by Hamas on October 7th, a massacre which their leadership has declared they would repeat again and

again and again if given the opportunity, is indeed the root cause for the suffering of the Palestinian people that has unfolded over these last nine


That death toll is horrendous, and we've spoken to it in quite human personal terms. It is, as Tony Blinken has said, a kick in the gut to see

these images of shrouds covering young children prepared for burial. It's terrible. But we should be under no illusion as to who and what is

responsible. It is Hamas, it is Yahya Sinwar, it is the consequence of the incredible paroxysm of bestial brutality on October 7th.

Hamas could bring this to a close tonight, this hour, if they were to agree to the terms of the ceasefire hostage release deal that we and our partners

in the region have advanced on behalf of Israel, it is their proposal. Hamas has rejected it, continues to reject it. That's where responsibility

has to lie.

AMANPOUR: But you know, because you've worked for several administrations, that this Israeli government does not sign up to the peace process that the

administration, the U.N., that everybody else has signed up to right now. How do you -- you say there's this responsibility on this side, but the

other side is an actual government. How do you get it into a place where it will actually agree to a two-state peace solution?

Many would say that one of the big problems is that the Israeli government has tried to play off Hamas against the other Palestinians who've actually

recognized Israel and are part of the internationally recognized peace process and the political process.

SATTERFIELD: Christiane, we do believe strongly that that framework of a credible pathway to a two-state resolution is the only way to move forward

to counter the vision that Hamas provides for governance, not just in Gaza, but over the Palestinian people as a whole, if not the entire Middle East.

You have to have a counter vision. And many in Israel are speaking to that as well.

How do you do that? How do you move that forward beyond rhetoric? It is through diplomacy. It is through the continued unilateral bilateral

multilateral approach that points out this is what fulfillment of execution of this vision could achieve. It's hard. It's very hard, particularly under

these circumstances. Israel is traumatized deeply by the events of October 7th, by the continued holding of 120 hostages living and perished, but you

still have to articulate and advance the idea. You cannot fight a concept, an idea without another better, more compelling idea.


AMANPOUR: I just wonder whether you think President Biden's mission to bolster democracy against the autocratic world is sustainable now and how

you would rate it given what we're seeing, for instance, in Europe, right? We're seeing these latest elections favoring quite a lot of the far-right

and the extremists.

SATTERFIELD: Christiane, the message that democracy, not demagoguery, that the advance of human interests and human values, not a resort to fear and

fear mongering, is the best way forward for the world, not just for the United States, is a message that has to be repeated.

And 80 years after D-Day, this is an even more profound message that freedom, democracy, is indeed the best course for the world, because the

alternative has led the world into tragedy, into horror too many times in the past.

AMANPOUR: The Benjamin Netanyahu government has said from the beginning we are going to destroy Hamas. As you've seen lately, certain members of his

war cabinet have resigned. They don't like his non-post-war plan. They've said certain things about the military strategy. And the latest is the IDF

spokesman, a military guy, Daniel Hagari, who has said, the war aim of eradicating the Hamas terror group is unattainable.

So, there seems to be, in some Israeli quarters, a realization that they've got to do certain things differently to get rid of Hamas is governing power

and its terrorizing power. Would you agree with that, that the aim of eradicating it is unattainable?

SATTERFIELD: We believe the goal of ensuring that Hamas is diminished to the point that -- or disrupted, degraded, choose your term, to the point

that it can no longer threaten Israel and Israelis, as it did on October 7th, that it is no longer able to dictate the terms of governance of life

to the Palestinians of Gaza has to be the goal of this campaign.

Now, it's a goal that has to be advanced in two different ways. There's a kinetic military aspect to it, which is absolutely essential. There is a

humanitarian aspect that preserves the time, the space, the ability to get to a day before to do the third key element, a plan for the day after. And

that plan for the day after has to encompass a political vision as well as a security vision, that's very, very hard to do because Hamas has proven an

extraordinarily resilient military force.

It is not just a terrorist gang, it has a terrorist army of many tens of thousands. And it is quite able, given its commitment of resources for 16

years to the construction of this tunnel network, over 300 miles of deep bunkered tunnels, it has an ability to continue to exert influence. That's

what needs to be challenged and diminished, but it takes more than military action to do so.

AMANPOUR: Ambassador David Satterfield, thank you so much indeed.



AMANPOUR: Now, we take a closer look at one of the most disastrous issues that we just discussed, and that is Israel's war on Gaza. Ever since the

slaughter of more than a thousand, mostly civilian Israelis on October 7th, and the capture of hundreds of hostages. Since then, the war has killed

more than 37,000 Palestinians across Gaza. And more than 85,000 have been injured.

For the wounded, life becomes a world of pain with limited access to treatment or relief. And even those lucky enough to get help abroad still

carry the trauma of their experience with them. Correspondent Jomana Karadsheh has been following the story of Roba. And she brings us this

update on her condition. And as you can expect, this report contains some painful images.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): War is forever imprinted on Roba's face. Even here in the safety of Qatar, far from the conflict,

she avoids people and going out, still haunted by what she survived.

This scene of carnage. It was a horror we uncovered earlier this year. The Israeli military attacked this warehouse in Central Gaza, where Roba and

her family were sheltering.

When our cameraman met her in the hospital in January, she was seriously injured and in shock, struggling to tell her story.

ROBA ABU JIBBA, SURVIVOR OF ISRAELI ATTACK IN GAZA (through translator): They are all gone. I have no one left.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): She would become the heart of a CNN investigation, an example documenting how Israel's conducting the war in Gaza, revealing

how indiscriminate Israeli fire killed displaced civilians, including half of Roba's family.

But with access to Gaza restricted, we never met Roba in person until this spring.

Following our report, the Qatari government flew her on this military transport plane to Doha for treatment.

JIBBA (through translator): For my mother and my remaining siblings, I tell them, I'm fine, thank God. There's nothing wrong with me. And I'm


KARADSHEH (voice-over): She and her family went through the unimaginable in that Gaza warehouse. They'd taken refuge there in November, following

Israel's directive to evacuate south. Residents said that in the early hours of January 4th, they heard what they called resistance fire in the

area, though denied there were militants where civilians were sheltering.

The Israeli military told us that after coming under fire from the warehouse, they carried out a "precise strike." Experts told us that strike

was likely a massive 2,000-pound bomb dropped with no prior warning to Roba's family and other civilians. Roba was trapped for days bleeding

surrounded by the lifeless bodies of her five siblings. The youngest was 10-year-old Al-Zain.

JIBBA (through translator): I blame the people and Hamas and this situation, because we were living normally in the warehouse for a month. If

it weren't for those who fired the mortar, the incident wouldn't have happened. We didn't even want to stay in the warehouse, but the bastards

made us star there. I blame them for killing the children. They spared no one.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): The once outgoing 19-year-old has been left shattered, inside and out, still grappling with seemingly endless pain and

loss. Not just her family, even the new love she found.

JIBBA (through translator): After losing my family, my five dead siblings, I found someone to fill that void. Then I lost him too. We were going to

get married. He was killed. He supported me and stood by me. He was killed seven days before I came here.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): That young man Muhammad (ph), she says, was out looking for firewood when he was killed in an Israeli strike.

JIBBA (through translator): People would say, how could you marry her, she was injured in her eye and body? He would say, I don't care about her body.

I care about what's in her heart.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): But it is her body, the physical scars that are constant reminder of that horrific night. Roba came to Qatar hoping for a

prosthetic eye, a shroud for her anguish.

JIBBA (through translator): I want my face to look like it did before, when I was normal. I know it would be a big difference. I won't see again

with that eye, but at least it would look the same.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): We joined her for this doctor's appointment. She was expecting to get a date for the surgery, but instead it was crushing

news. The doctor tells Roba and her aunt the reconstructive surgery is not available in Qatar.

Slowly, the bad news begins to sink in.

JIBBA (through translator): I've had enough. I've had enough.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): She can barely stand. No words can comfort her. She tries to shield herself as she likely did that night, reliving the

trauma, reliving a nightmare that just won't end.


AMANPOUR: That was Jomana Karadsheh here reporting. Raja Shehadeh is an author, a lawyer, and founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Organization,

Al Haq. His new book is called "What Does Israel Fear from Palestine?"

During his recent visit to London, he came here to the studio, to talk not only about the humanitarian devastation in Gaza and in his home in

Ramallah, but also the destruction of Palestinian culture, literature, and identity. Still, he does hold on to an undying hope for peaceful

coexistence one day.


AMANPOUR: Raja Shehadeh, welcome to the program. So, this is the first time you have left the West Bank, where you live, since October 7th.


AMANPOUR: And I wonder whether everybody's eyes are on the horrors that are going on, first in Israel, then in Gaza. And I wonder what you can tell

me about what's been going on in Ramallah, around the West Bank?

SHEHADEH: Under the cover of the war in Gaza, there has been so much more settler violence and unrestrained settler violence, never as before. And

the army has been supporting the settlers and they have made programs and checkpoints and attacked cars and attacked homes and attacked communities

and led them out of their communities, and it's been terrible.


AMANPOUR: And what do you think the aim is?

SHEHADEH: Oh, the aim is very clear, they want to push the Palestinians out of the West Bank. And also, the aim of the Zionist group in Israel, the

extreme Zionist, is to not only weaken the Palestinian Authority, but to eliminate it in order to be able to take over the parts of the West Bank,

17 percent which were the under territorial jurisdiction of the P.A., to take that part away from the P.A. and the next entire West Bank. This is

their aim, the next entire West Bank.

AMANPOUR: Certainly, a lot of those who prop up Netanyahu's coalition are exactly of that mind. They are believers that they should have that

territory. And apparently, also resettled Gaza. So, let me ask you about the book that you have written. The latest one is called is called "What

Does Israel Fear from Palestine?" Given that Israel essentially has the balance of power, why do you think Israel fears Palestine? Do you think it


SHEHADEH: I think they fear the very existence of Palestine, because if the Palestine exists, then the Israeli myth, the foundation myth would have

to be amended. Because the foundation myth of Israel was that they came to a land that was empty, that didn't have any Palestinians or anybody, and

they established Israel from year zero. And so, to recognize Palestine would be required reconfiguration of the Israeli myth. And that's the main

fear, I think.

AMANPOUR: You come from a family that has been involved in the attempt to broker peace for decades, since 48, frankly. Your father, when you were a

teenager in 1967, submitted a peace proposal to the Israeli government on behalf of the Palestinians. And of course, all these decades later, there

is no peace.

So, Israel always blames the Palestinians for not grabbing a chance when it's there, or walking away from all the best opportunities it's given,

backed by the United States, et cetera. Palestinians always blame Israel for "not being serious," for continuing to build settlements while talking

the peace talk. What -- given that, what is your actual hope for this dynamic to be broken? And do you think it ever will be?

SHEHADEH: Well, not as long as the Israeli government has the settlers lobby in the government. And --

AMANPOUR: But it didn't, for instance, under Ehud Barak's term.

SHEHADEH: Yes. But they still -- the labor established more settlements than they could. They have been establishing settlements continuously since

1967, continuously. Of course, more so at certain times than at other times, but continuously since '67. And they have not wanted to return the

territories they occupied in '67, even then. And they kept making one excuse after the other and blaming the Palestinians.

And that is the dynamic that has continued. And it is a terrible dynamic that my father realized that the only way in '67 was to establish peace

with Israel so that they don't continue with the settlements and don't become more extreme as they have become. And he has been proven right.

AMANPOUR: What did you learn from your father? Again, you were a teenager when that took place. And you went on to be a lawyer. You founded Al-Haq,

the human rights group. You're an activist. What did you learn from everything you saw as you were growing up? And has that been changed

irrevocably, irrevocably since October 7th or not?

SHEHADEH: Well, I have learned that the only way is to make peace with Israel. It's a small land with two nations, Israeli nation and the

Palestinian nation, and they have to live together. And my father was adamant that they will have to live together and we have to find a way to

live together. And I have continued with that vision.

But since October 7th, it has become much more difficult. Because they dehumanized the Palestinians to such an extent that it's difficult now to

imagine how we can make peace with them.

AMANPOUR: I'm going to get to that in a moment. But I first want to put to you what you just said, because I want to read -- you know, I've

interviewed some Israeli writers as well. And they all -- it seems like the artists, the cultural leaders, the public thinkers believe like you do,

that there must be a fair, just solution for both people.

So, of course, you know Yuval Noah Harari. He said the following, and we're just going to play this.


YUVAL NOAH HARARI, ISRAELI AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN: There is a Palestinian people, they have a right to self-determination, and they have a deep

historical connection to the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. And at the same time, there is a Jewish people, it has a right to

self-determination, and it too, has a very deep connection to the land. This is just a reality.



AMANPOUR: So, do you agree with his framing?

SHEHADEH: I agree that both people have the right to self-determination, the Israeli people and the Palestinian people. And the Palestinian people

have been denied the right to self-determination for a very long time, and it will not end until they have obtained that right.

AMANPOUR: Do you agree with what Yuval also told me, that both Palestinians and Israelis, in their hearts, believe that the other wants to

eradicate them?

SHEHADEH: I think generally yes, but I think the Palestinians have been willing to live with the Israelis and have shown that willingness in --

after the Oslo Accords were signed, even though the Oslo Accords were terrible accords. I remember after the Oslo Accords in '93, those who were

most militant said, but we have a future, we have to live together, and we have to have a future.

So, I think the Palestinians have been ready to live with the Israelis and to make peace based on justice and splitting the land between the two


AMANPOUR: And you talk about the militants, maybe then they were ready, but certainly not the Hamas people who have shown themselves unready and

empowered. And, you know, this is what's going on in Gaza now. And more and more Palestinians in Gaza are daring to speak out against Hamas and they're

basically saying these guys are useless at governance. They've reigned -- they've contributed to reigning this hell on us.

And we hear more and more about Sinwar himself and other Hamas leaders who essentially believe, and they've told journalists, that unless it bleeds,

it doesn't lead. In other words, you know, the more blood, the more spotlight on our situation. And we spoke to a doctor who saved Sinwar's

life in an Israeli prison. And he said, Sinwar told him, you know, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 Palestinian deaths would be worth, like other liberation

movements, he said, Algeria, Vietnam, and et cetera, would be worth it if we got our rights. What do you think of that?

SHEHADEH: Well, I think this is too harsh, but I think at the same time that Israel could not have continued to oppress the Palestinians and put

them in an open-air prison and expect them to be calm and silent and not resist. And Hamas resisted, and they had the right to resist, because the

blockade was an act of war on the part of Israel which continued for 16 years. And an act of war can be resisted under international law. And they

resisted by breaking the barrier. So, they had the right to do that.

What they didn't have the right was to kill the Israelis -- 1,000 Israelis along the -- and that was, I think, a crime, of course.

AMANPOUR: You call what they did a crime?

SHEHADEH: Crime, yes. But the breaking the barrier --

AMANPOUR: You're making a difference between breaking the barrier and going after military targets.

SHEHADEH: Yes, exactly.

AMANPOUR: And you say it's a crime to have killed all those civilians and taken them hostage.

SHEHADEH: Yes, that's right.

AMANPOUR: So, tell me about Palestinian culture. Because, you know, there are many people in Israel and even outside who talk about Palestinian

people, but not a Palestinian people. You know, I wonder whether people you run across, you know, know about Palestinian literature, poetry, cuisine,

farming, culture.

SHEHADEH: Well, the paradoxical thing is that now with the tragedy of Gaza, there's more openness to listen and to appreciate Palestine and

Palestinian culture. And they are much more open to that. And there's openings to understand, to learn about the history, to learn about the

culture. And I think Palestinian culture is flourishing even now in the West Bank. And there are exhibits and literature and writing and so on.

And that's -- you know, the Palestinians are very resilient. Anybody who -- any nation who has been through what the Palestinians have been through

would have given up. But the Palestinians don't give up. They're very resilient and they're very, very creative.

AMANPOUR: One would say Jews have that in common with Palestinians as well.

SHEHADEH: That's right. That's right.

AMANPOUR: That's right.


AMANPOUR: You know, I talked to another Israeli writer, Fania Oz, and her father was Amos Oz. And she said that her father believed and that she

believed that you absolutely have to listen to the story of the other. There is no route to peace unless you can, for want of a better word, sit

down and share a cup of tea or have a meal. Do -- I assume you agree with that.

SHEHADEH: I absolutely agree with that.

AMANPOUR: But do you think it's even conceivable in the current conditions?

SHEHADEH: Well, now that they have dehumanized the Palestinians such an extent in Gaza, it's not conceivable because it's -- I mean, they don't

think of the Palestinians as human beings. They've done such massacres and such destruction to making Gaza uninhabitable that it's difficult to

imagine how they can move beyond that. But eventually we have to. We have to.


AMANPOUR: When you look at what's happening in Gaza, you can see that universities have been destroyed. You can see that cultural centers have

been destroyed. You can see a whole lot of stuff that we can't see because we're actually not in there, but the local people see it, and the local

journalists there are telling us.

Do you see an intent in terms of wiping out Palestinian culture or do you see it as part of the general destruction of Gaza in this pursuit of Hamas?

SHEHADEH: I think there is an intent. I think there's an intent to destroy Gaza and the culture in Gaza. And I think that there's a denial by the

Israelis about -- just as there was a denial about '48, there's a denial about the destruction of culture in Gaza and the people of Gaza entirely.

AMANPOUR: Tell me a little bit what it's like to be a writer in the circumstances that you find yourself in.

SHEHADEH: Well, it was very difficult to write this book, the "What Does Israel Fears from Palestine?" because I was writing in the course of

continuous action and updates and so on. So, that was very difficult. At the same time, it was -- it saved me because it gave me something to do

rather than sit and be idle and watch television and be like a voyeur looking at the suffering of Gaza.

So, it was a lifesaver for me. And I think that is -- and also, the fact that they've been so well received is very uplifting. And it's my

contribution, and I feel I've made a contribution in that way as a writer.

AMANPOUR: And what will your next chapter, i.e., your next book be, do you think? When you -- you must go to sleep at night or sit in your garden and

wonder, what is going to be the substance of my next book?

SHEHADEH: I've started the next book, but I don't describe books when I'm reading -- writing them.

AMANPOUR: Is it optimistic or pessimistic?

SHEHADEH: Optimistic, of course.

AMANPOUR: We need optimists. Raja Shehadeh, thank you so much indeed.

SHEHADEH: Thank you. Pleasure.


AMANPOUR: In a world full of unrest, fears are mounting around access to our most vital resources, food and water. "The Grab" is a documentary that

chronicles the way some countries are attempting to control these global resources. Here's a clip from the trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Food has become much more powerful than oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you think that's going to end?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's not just China, not just Russia. This is Wall Street, big money, it's leasing land to foreign countries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought maybe there might be more to it than that. It turns out, there was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, it's like a who's who. It's like the MVPs of the mercenary world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if there's an uprising?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's where we come in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Private military corporations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the most notorious mercenaries on the planet. You have thousands of his e-mails?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That there was a piece of paper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right there was all of our names and passport numbers. They were definitely waiting for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the part of the story that makes us think that all of our communications are hacked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just take and take and take, and pretty soon they're anything to take.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you don't have enough food, money is useless.


AMANPOUR: The journalist and director behind the film, Nate Halvorsen and Gabriela Cowperthwaite, joined Hari Sreenivasan to discuss whether the

fight over our most precious commodities could lead to the next major geopolitical conflict.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Nate Halverson and Gabriela Cowperthwaite, thank you both for joining us.

You have a new film out called "The Grab," and it is about how food and water are going to affect the geopolitics of everything going forward.

Before we get into our conversation, I want to set up this clip here for the -- let's take a look at the trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every century is characterized by a key commodity.

MOLLY JAHN, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: And food is a very obvious and central way to wield power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came across this classified cable telling companies to go overseas and buy up food and water resources. And a lot of this, it's

happening in the shadows. Quietly.


SREENIVASAN: Nate, give us this kind of 30,000-foot view, if you can. I mean, you've been following different -- kind of pulling a different thread

of this story for a decade now. What -- how did you put it together in this longer arc?


started looking at this, I didn't have a strong understanding of what was going on that we had moved almost into this new epoch in the 21st century

where food and water are almost becoming what oil was in the 20th century, where intelligence communities, defense departments were all looking at

food and water security as a top line national security issue.

And they had elevated these issues to begin to wonder, how are they going to be able to feed their populations going forward? But also, how does food

and water now become a geopolitical tool going into the 21st century as these resources grow, you know, increasingly scarce.


SREENIVASAN: So, Gabriela, you know, from the outset, if somebody says, yes, you know, there's going to be a big geopolitical impact of food and

water, how is there a good narrative arc? I mean, the filmmaking is a very different process sometimes than just the reporting that Nate and his

colleagues were doing.

GABRIELA COWPERTHWAITE, DIRECTOR, "THE GRAB": Yes, it's pretty labyrinthian. I think that learning about Nate's initial reporting and kind

of, you know, he had started reporting out a few of these stories and really like the China Smithfield story, Arizona water story.

And those I kind of saw as portals of entry to this much bigger issue which was really essentially that powerful entities are grabbing up the final

resources that are left out from underneath us and largely without us knowing it. And that felt jaw dropping to me, when reported out all the

different iterations felt kind of connected, but felt very important.

SREENIVASAN: Nate, for our audience that's not familiar with the reports that you did on Smithfield Foods and how basically the Chinese government

was -- and the Chinese National Bank was backing a purchase of Smithfield Foods, which is responsible for, what, one in every four pigs in the United

States, right, or the Arizona water story, but what are these different ideas have in common?

HALVERSON: Yes, I mean, that Smithfield food story was when China's largest meat company, Shuanghui, effectively purchased one in four American

pigs with the financial backing and also at the directorate of the Chinese government. It was part of their five-year plan to go overseas and to buy

up food and water supplies because China no longer has enough water to grow enough food to meet their growing demand, which is really a demand driven

by their growing middle class. You know, people become wealthier. They want to eat more meat, and meat just requires more water to grow more food to


And so, we saw this reach by China across the world, including in the United States. And so, after I did that story, I began wondering like, OK,

is this just a one office? Is China the sole example of this trend? And it turns out, definitely not.

One of the other stories that I found was that the Saudi -- the largest dairy company in the Middle East, which is in Riyadh, had gone into the

Arizona desert and bought essentially 15 square miles of, you know, wily coyote kind of saguaro cactus like desert and was pumping the water up to

grow hay to send that back to Riyadh to feed the dairy cows there.

And it's an unregulated part of Arizona, which meant -- that means that if you buy the land, you effectively can pump up as much of that water as you

want. And that's what we were seeing where, you know, people in Arizona, in these local communities, didn't realize that there was this global now grab

for their water. What they did see was that their own domestic wells in their homes were beginning to go dry. And that's sort of the trend we're

not just seeing in Arizona or in the U.S., but we're beginning to see all around the world.

SREENIVASAN: Nate, why is Zambia kind of an example of what's happening in Africa? Why go there? I mean, we've had conversations on this program

before about land rights and -- but what's happening there is a microcosm of what might be happening in other parts of Africa or other parts of the


HALVERSON: It has water, it's arable, and it's inexpensive. And so, it is a prime place to be able to go in and create value for people that are

investing in farmland and to be able to export crops to other wealthier countries. And it's not that Zambia isn't a country of laws, it is. It's

actually the judicial system there is highly regarded.

Nonetheless, when you are living in a remote area, you don't speak, you know, the predominant government language of the government, you don't have

access to justice. If you don't have money to hire an attorney, to get to Lusaka, to go to court, you effectively then have no justice. And that's

what we saw and, you know, was that folks that they didn't know their rights, they didn't know how to access their rights, and they didn't,

frankly, have the money to access their rights. So, it becomes an opportunity for others.

SREENIVASAN: There's a scene when you mention Zambia, you all try to go there, and you're detained at the airport. I'm not giving too much away,

but your names are on a list. You're not welcome.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right there. Smack dab on it was all of our names and passport numbers. They were definitely waiting for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on now, Nate?


HALVERSON: We're getting kicked out. Apparently, intelligence says our reporting is a national security threat. This is what we've been told.


SREENIVASAN: I guess what happened to how you were thinking about the reporting, Nate?

HALVERSON: Yes. I mean, I think the big takeaway is when you go to a country and you land there to report on essentially farming on food and

water and you're immediately detained and put into a detention cell and you see your names and passport numbers up on like the police blotter, you

realize that food and water have really risen to that level that when you show up to report on them, you get detained. And I think that is a key take

away of how we're shifting into the 21st century with regards to the importance of food and water.

SREENIVASAN: Nate, when you were looking into how, you know, Africa is kind of this, well, fertile ground for both food and water for these

multinational corporations as well as, you know, groups that you don't expect. I mean, an interesting name comes up, and that's Erik Prince. And

most people are familiar with Eric Prince is the head of Blackwater Securities that had, you know, basically were doing contracts for the U.S.

government in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is he -- what's the role that he is playing in this or was playing in this?

HALVERSON: Yes, that's right. I mean, it kind of started for me personally as I was reading World Bank reports, U.N. reports, and they were based --

they say that 50 to 60 percent of the arable land left in the world that could feed the growing global population is in Africa. And so, I began

thinking, OK, I'm seeing what's happening in Arizona and the U.S. and elsewhere. What does that look like in Africa and who's doing it?

And I'd actually seen Erik Prince go on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and say that he had started a private equity company that was going to be

investing in land in Africa for farmland. And one thing led to another, and we got a lot of information on what Erik Prince was doing there and who he

was sort of financially supporting, what government and powerful entities were backing him to go into Africa to buy up land to be able to export food

to wealthier countries.

SREENIVASAN: Did you try to reach out to him? What did he have to say?

HALVERSON: I did. I tried to reach out to him multiple times. It was always no comment. I went to their offices, one of his offices in Hong

Kong, e-mailed the spokespeople, always, unfortunately, no comment.

SREENIVASAN: There's a section in the film where you start talking about, really, how climate change is going to affect the planet and what are some

of the unintended sort of opportunities, I guess, that climate change presents and you have this map of basically sections of glaciers thawing in

Russia and that -- how it could essentially become a new Iowa. And there was a very interesting scene where I had no idea that Russia was importing

American cowboys.


TODD LEWIS, THEN RANCH MANAGER: You know, my wife seen an ad on the internet. And as a joke, she thought it'd be funny as hell, so she put my

resume in. And I was getting ready to watch Sunday football in Valentine, Nebraska, and the Skype thing come over the computer and I hollered at her,

honey, she kind of got panicky and said, you need to talk to him. It's about a job. And so, I answered it. And 30 minutes later, I was hired.

Pretty much. My wife don't -- didn't think that was very funny after all that, you know, because now we're packing up and going to Russia.

Oh, here we go. Here we go. You guys better give him some air. Oh, he's tapped out boys.


SREENIVASAN: Why were they doing that?

HALVERSON: Yes, that's right. You know, I think here in the U.S., the idea of climate change can be contentious. You know, some people are skeptic,

but what I can tell you is that President Putin isn't. You know, he's basically said that climate change is happening and it means that they're

going to have to buy less furs and are going to be able to grow more food.

And the reason it happens is as things warm up, they get more growing season days, which just means that they can grow more crops, more variety,

farther up north on more land they have a tremendous amount of water. And Putin has said that he sees that as a geopolitical asset that basically

they're going to be able to feed the world. And by feeding the world, they're going to be able to use that as a tool to help -- have other

countries see things the way they see them.

And so, one of the ways to do that was to import American cowboys to begin helping Russia to build up the world's largest cattle herd to be able to

feed beef to other countries. And so, we found this spur wearing, leather chap wearing cowboys from New Mexico, Montana, Nebraska, in the middle of

nowhere, Russia, training up Russians to become cowboys.


SREENIVASAN: Gabriela, one of the things that was interesting watching the film is, you know, we are all now very familiar with the invasion of

Ukraine by Russia, but in some of the footage that you have -- had found, you know, that there was essentially a canal in Crimea that I bet the bulk

of the people watching this documentary had never even heard about, much less thought about.

And really, even the footage of drone strikes or missile strikes on grain silos in Ukraine, how essentially food is one of the targets of this war

and can -- could be one of the big reasons why this invasion even happened.

COWPERTHWAITE: Yes, they do say the world sort of has deemed Ukraine as one of the final breadbaskets, a country that's going to be feeding the

world and feeding a lot of poverty-stricken nations as well. So, really being able to rely on that country as a -- you know, a planet is something

that we've all kind of assumed would be something that, you know, this place is going to be intact. No one's ever going to touch that.

The idea that this -- and this stems just directly from, you know, the Russian cowboys and the beef. But, you know, if Russia is able to control

beef and can also control grain, you can see that this -- there's no better example of a grab, you know, when you think about it that way. But, you

know, everything that data saying about the geopolitics of what Russia is doing bore out in this one story.

SREENIVASAN: So, it's not just foreign countries or companies that are coming in and buying property and farmland in the U.S., there are U.S.

companies or ones based in the U.S. that are also using this land or leasing it out to other countries or companies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to just not have enough water to feed its population. The reason that they are such large food importers is that they

are importing food is a proxy for water. So, our way is basically buying farmland and we want to make sure that we're focusing on areas that are

water rich and sell -- you know, that can sell crops to areas that are water poor.

So, in 2018, we purchased a farm in Southwest Arkansas that is 25,000 acres in size, and to put that in perspective, that is close to two times the

size of Manhattan.


SREENIVASAN: What's the state of play or the landscape, if you will, across the country in how this ownership works and whether these resources

of water or food can be exported?

HALVERSON: Yes, that's right. And there is a federal law that requires foreign ownerships to register when purchasing farmland. But my

understanding is the compliance isn't that great. And there are states that have some restrictions on how foreign ownership can own land. And for

instance, Iowa has some restrictions on it.

But also, there is just -- there is a lot of questions around who ultimately owns a company that can make it very difficult to understand, at

the end of the day, whose money is it that's buying that farmland? And so, I think there's an increasing interest on the national level on state

levels, you know, to understand who is purchasing the land. And we're seeing some push from lawmakers in that regard.

SREENIVASAN: Gabriela, what surprised you when you made this film?

COWPERTHWAITE: I was blown away that there is no national water policy. Nate reported this out, that there's not only not a national water policy,

there's no national water strategy. What does it mean to protect us and think about water in much more of a similar way that China and Russia do,

which is, I mean, that you're playing the long game, right? They're in the 21st century, thinking about burgeoning populations and what to do there to

feed them. While we and our water laws are 19th century. Some of them are from the 19th century, literally.

So, trying to build consensus over what we do with what we have left seems a no brainer, but we are not -- we're not there yet.

SREENIVASAN: Nate Halverson and Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film is called "The Grab," and you can find it on most online streaming platforms. Thank

you both for joining us.

COWPERTHWAITE: Thank you so much for having us.

HALVERSON: Thanks so much.


AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, heavy metal and hijabs.





AMANPOUR: This all-female Muslim rock group will make history this Friday, becoming the first Indonesian band to play at Britain's famous Glastonbury

Festival. The trio, called Voice of Baceprot, or VOP, sing of female empowerment, lamenting the fixation on their appearance instead of their

music. They've performed abroad before, but this will be their biggest gig yet, sharing spaces with Coldplay and Shania Twain, amongst others.

That's it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always

catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.