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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Israel To Hamas: No Electricity, Water, Or Fuel Until Hostages Are Returned; Trump Criticizes Netanyahu, Calls Hezbollah "Smart"; Israel: More Than 1,200 Killed In Hamas Attacks; THE LEAD Remembers Eli Ginsberg. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 12, 2023 - 17:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Thousands of American citizens could soon be on their way out of Israel. The Biden administration now arranging charter flights in the midst of a war zone as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate. The urgency for a safe exit is underscored by a rising American death toll, 27 Americans killed by Hamas according to the White House, more than 1,200 in total have been killed in Israel. And in Gaza, where Hamas embeds with the civilian population Israeli airstrikes rights are constant, and hundreds of innocents are feeling the punishment.

Israeli energy ministry today announcing that Gaza will have no power, no water, no fuel until Hamas agrees to release the hostages it took over the weekend. Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, today call that a violation of international law. The latest war prompted by Hamas terrorism Saturday unspeakable attacks killing hundreds of Israeli most of them civilians, babies, grandparents, children, young people at a music festival. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saw the aftermath of much of the devastation in Israel for himself today. And he summed it up in one word, overwhelming, the amount of families of Americans killed and taken hostage by Hamas.

Next he's going to visit multiple countries in the region. All in an effort to try to secure the release of people still being held by Hamas as hostages. At least 14 Americans remain unaccounted for. Secretary Blinken pledging full U.S. support for Israel after the devastating attack by Hamas, a group that he compares to ISIS. One photograph, which was shown to Blinken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly explains that comparison.

We're going to show it to you in just a moment. I want to warn you that it's incredibly graphic. I'm giving you this warning now so that you can choose to look away. The photograph is a baby. A baby whose body is stained with blood, a baby murdered by Hamas, a baby according to Prime Minister Netanyahu. I know it's difficult to see, but I want you to consider not looking away. Secretary Blinken said this image might be worth a million words. It's some way -- it's an impossible to find any words.

CNN's Erin Burnett is in Tel Aviv. And Erin, as you travel around Israel, what are you hearing from the civilians, the innocent men and women and children stuck in the middle of this war?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR, "OUTFRONT": Jake, in many ways, it does remind me of those horrific and unspeakable days after 9/11 here that there is just this this hole in people's heart, a grief. They greet each other with a sigh. The world has changed. There's not much traffic on the road. Plenty of stores are closed.

Not all of them of course. But it is a palpable shift. It is a change. It is a nation in shock and grief. And there is no question about that.

I mean, today along a checkpoint near the Gaza border, Jake, we were actually stopped because there was a small arms fire, you know, an operation going on between militants and IDF on the other side. So we were waiting, and as we were waiting there listening to the artillery in the distance where that festival was a few miles away we ran into a young woman who had been a bartender at the festival. She'd run -- fled 10 kilometers. She survived. One of her friends were killed.

And I asked her, what is the one thing you want the world to know? As of course she's still crying as everyone is when they begin to tell their story who touch to this in any way. She said I just want them to know that -- the world to know that these are terrorists and it's a horrible thing. And her father was there with her, Jake, because they had been bringing food to give some of the IDF Special Forces who were coming through this checkpoint. And he said and jumped in with his daughter, he said, no, they're devil sons, devil sons.


And I think that sort of captures at, Jake, just that there is a rage and there's an anger. There's a feeling here that what happened was inhuman, and you can't respond to it with humanity. You hear that, of course from Prime Minister Netanyahu, but you also hear it from citizens, just this deep, deep frustration. A general here with the IDF who've been a general for many decades, he told me today that what he saw when he went through settlement after settlement on Saturday, he has his pistol, and a group of men and they were fighting Hamas militants in these settlements. He said he had never seen anything in his entire life.

He's seen bodies dead in war, he's seen bodies desecrated, he has never seen anything like he saw that day. And this person, former general of the IDF, was crying. And I think that that is how it is and that is how they feel. And right now, it's safe to say just like when you were silent, looking at that picture of the baby, there are not really words to describe yet how people are truly going to react to this as these days go by. TAPPER: Horrible things happen in war, and innocent people tragically are killed in war. The willful slaughter of innocents targeted at close range like this is something --


TAPPER: -- that is really -- I don't -- I did not have the words. Erin Burnett in Tel Aviv, thank you so much.

While the back and forth Hamas rocket fire and Israeli air and artillery strikes continue, Israel's build up for unexpected ground incursion into Gaza continues. CNN, Nic Robertson is live for us and Sderot, Israel.

Nic, what are you seeing happening right now around what will be, no doubt, frontlines?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLAMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think you know, what Aaron is talking about that that sense of anger, that whole that sense of loss, that sense of bitterness, the dumbfounded shot that such barbarity could happen to people, I think it's beginning -- the response to that is beginning to take shape in the form of the IDF and in the form of their increased readiness here along the border. We've been hearing a lot more outgoing artillery shells today, and we went to one of the locations where the IDF had literally just dug in in the past 24 hours a whole array of these very heavy howitzer guns and were beginning to send shells into Gaza.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israel's newly emerging front line in the war with Hamas, heavy howitzers just again, firing on the terror group a few miles away in Gaza, part of Israel's massive military buildup since Hamas is attacks Saturday. Many of the 300,000 reservists called up already deployed ahead of a highly anticipated ground offensive into Gaza.

(on camera): These are exactly the same gun positions Israeli Defense Forces used in that last major confrontation with the Hamas back in 2021. The question now, will this confrontation be different? Will Israel actually be able to crush Hamas, as the Prime Minister says he wants to do?

(voice-over): Military and fences have beaten them before and won't be easy now. The Palestinian death toll an unintended consequence of Israeli shelling and missile strikes is climbing. Thursday, staunch ally, the U.S., cautioning care.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: The Prime Minister and I discussed how Israel does this matters. We democracies distinguish ourselves from terrorists by striving for a different standard, even when it's difficult.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): And it will be difficult. Israel is still reeling from the deadliest most barbaric attack on its citizens since the state was founded. Anger at Hamas is high so too pressure on the Prime Minister to act decisively. His calling for more international support as he plans his offensive.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL, PRIME MINISTER: Hamas should be treated exactly the way ISIS was treated. They should be spit out from the community of nations. No leaders should meet them. No country should harbor them. And those that do should be sanctioned.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): In the meantime, Hamas is still getting into Israel. This gun battle with them late Wednesday.

MAJ. DORON SPIELMAN, IDF SPOKESMAN: There were multiple incursions by Hamas terrorists yesterday. I drove right through Sderot road during the time and three terrorists were out, again looking for civilians to kill.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The tempo of fire here far higher than in 2021, a drumbeat that seems to signal a ground offensive, all but inevitable. Even so its outcome, far from certain.


ROBERTSON: And this is what essentially faces those troops right now. Firing the howitzer as we're hearing them landing in Gaza at the moment, the thumps are huge and heavy. No doubt there's good battle damage assessment of the impact that they're having. How they're shaping the ground, for the offensive, how successful that will be, what the offensive will be, what the objectives of that offensive will be, these are the sorts of questions that the troops that are arriving at the border right now have in their minds. They want to know what the mission is going to be.

They want to know how their commanders are going to be asking them to execute it. But everyone has that passion that Erin was talking about inside them. This was something that was done to them and there needs to be a response and it needs to be within that humane framework as Secretary Blinken said.

TAPPER: Nic Robertson, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Drone video taken today shows parts of Gaza City as it smolders in ruins after being hammered by Israeli airstrikes. The Palestinian Ministry of Health says it more than 1,500 people have been killed in Gaza since the airstrikes began. Five hundred of those killed are believed to be children. A warning now that some of the images you're about to see in our next report are graphic and heartbreaking including one have a baby girl who was rushed through the streets to awaiting ambulance by her uncle but ultimately did not make it. The stories and images are gut wrenching, but important to hear and important to see. Your CNN's Nada Bashir.


NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER (voice-over): Gripped by grief and loss of unfathomable scale, Gaza's death toll and the number of civilians wounded is rising with each and every airstrike. In the shorter refugee camp, men dig with their bare hands, desperate to rescue loved ones from beneath the rubble of what once were their homes.

Saad begins to list the names of the children killed in this latest strike. Among them his niece, she was just a few months old. Now she is one of more than 440 children Gaza's health ministry says has been killed by Israeli airstrikes so far. Israel says it is striking Hamas targets what authorities here say medical facilities, schools and residential areas have been impacted.

Our neighbor said that the Israelis had called and told them to evacuate the area around our home. So we came to stay with relatives here in a shelter, Nabeel says. But the next morning when we woke up to pray at dawn, the airstrike happened, there was no warning. The densely populated Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli land, sea and air blockade since 2007, is home to more than 2 million people. Around 47 percent of them are children.

So far, at least 340,000 people have been displaced within Gaza. Many are now forced to take shelter in U.N. run schools like this one. But civilians here are also now facing what the Israeli government has described as a complete siege on Gaza.

There's no water for us to drink, no water for us to wash ourselves with so that we can pray, Maram says. They've bombed our schools, many people have been killed. It's not fair for children like us. Why is this happening to us?

Live under a blockade is all that the children of Gaza have ever known. For some, like 13 year old Nadine, it is hard to imagine a future beyond this relentless conflict.

NADINE ABDUL LATIF, TEENAGER LIVING IN GAZA: The last couple of nights have been the worst couple of nights I've ever lived in my life. And this is not living, this is existing. We're not planning our futures anymore. We're just trying to survive.

BASHIR (voice-over): But survival in Gaza is becoming more and more difficult by the day. The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating. And while the U.N. has condemned what it has described as Israel's unlawful blockade on Gaza and the indiscriminate nature of Israel's airstrikes, there is little hope that the bloodshed will end here.


Nada Bashir, CNN.


TAPPER: Nada Bashir, thank you so much. As you've just seen, Israel has ordered a, quote, "complete siege of Gaza." But what's the plan if Israel succeeds in that dismantling plan? We'll talk about that next?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Palestinian officials in Gaza say more than 1,500 people have been killed in Gaza since Saturday in retaliation for the terrorist attack by Hamas. Many of those 1,500 are Hamas terrorists, but hundreds of others were innocent civilians, as Hamas continues to embed among them. And now Israel has ordered a, quote, "complete siege of the area" in response to Hamas is barbaric terrorism. As a result, the 2.3 million residents of Gaza are right now cut off by Israel from food, from fuel, from electricity. Half of the 2.3 million are children according to the United Nations.


Resources in the densely populated 25 mile strip of land along the Mediterranean have been largely controlled by Israel and Egypt to a degree for the last 16 years. Israel occupied Gaza for decades since 1967, then withdrew in 2005. The Israeli blockade came after Hamas, which both the U.S. and E.U. consider a terrorist group was elected to control Gaza in 2007. Since Hamas took over, there have been no elections in Gaza, rival factions have been eliminated. Today, nearly 80 percent of Gazans live in abject poverty, according to the UN and aid groups warn, it's about to get a lot worse.

So how can Israel control Gaza's infrastructure? Well, look at this map. First, there's the fence, a 37 mile long concrete barrier covered in barbed wire and protected by watchtower. Just inside, there's another 1000 feet of land only accessible by farmers. There are only two crossings for people to get in and out, one on the northern side, one in the Egyptian side, and a third crossing just for goods, then there is only one power plant that can only generate 16 percent of Gaza's electricity, the rest comes from Israel until now, until after the terrorist attack on Saturday.

Joining us now, CNN National Security Analyst and former Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Beth Sanner.

So, first of all, Israel, I mean, I think the western world would agree that Israel has a right, if not an obligation to get rid of Hamas after what they did Saturday. But is that what they're doing? I mean, do they have a plan to get rid of Hamas? I don't know. I mean, maybe they are.

Maybe they know where they all are. I don't know.

BETH SANNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think that the problem is, is that it is incredibly hard to separate out, you know, what you're bombing. Gaza is a place that's just filled with tunnels. Right? So -- and they and Hamas puts their operation centers, their command centers, places where they hide munitions, under public buildings, under, you know, mosques. And so, you know, as we're seeing this destruction, because the only instrument that the Israelis have right now is this very blunt instrument of just bombing, they are taking out buildings where, you know, civilians live or they're taking our buildings next to them.

And right now, I mean, I think I read a little while ago that 450 children have been killed in Gaza. Those are innocent people. And you know, most of people who live in Gaza do not support Hamas and their tactics.

TAPPER: They don't. There's polling on this.

SANNER: There's polling on that. You know, about half of them polled in August said that Hamas should stop supporting this idea of the destruction of Israel.

TAPPER: That's in their charter. I mean, that's what they stand for, Hamas.

SANNER: Exactly. And so, half the people say no. And 70 percent of the people there polled, and I think this would tend to go the other way, I think people would lie the other direction, so 70 percent said, you know, we like this proposal of the idea of the Palestinian Authority coming in with officials and security people to take over and Hamas should stop having these separate armed groups. So I find that very interesting, because you know, the PA is not popular. It's not about them wanting the PA.

TAPPER: Right.

SANNER: It's that they have no other option. And the kind of life under Hamas is just horrible.

TAPPER: So what's -- so let's assume that Israel, and I don't even know how you figure this out, but let's assume that they have -- they bomb, and then there's some sort of --

SANNER: Ground incursion, yes.

TAPPER: -- ground incursion, and they think that OK, we have gotten the leadership of Hamas. Let's say that there's --

SANNER: Yes, yes.

TAPPER: -- 100 top leaders, and they've killed them all or they've escaped or whatever. Then what? I mean, they got out --


TAPPER: -- of occupying Gaza, because it was so awful to occupy it in 2005.

SANNER: Right.

TAPPER: And it was two years where they were not blockading it.


TAPPER: What then?

SANNER: I think that this is exactly why we haven't seen the ground incursion yet because it's just incredibly complicated. I don't think that Israel has the capacity to go in and kill all the fighters, just killing the leadership is not going to solve the problem. I think we just saw -- you have an interview with someone that said that, you know, they're still terrorists going over the line and conducting operations --


SANNER: -- inside Israel, so you've got to kill much more than the leadership. And right now Israel saying, we're not just killing the militant wing, we're going to kill the whole governing and political apparatus too. So, that is a lot of people and there is no way you can go into this densely populated area and occupy it being the hostile force that Israel is. I mean, think what they're doing right now. Think about the picture of the father coming down the street with his baby in his hands --


SANNER: -- they're not going to be welcoming Israel even it's so awful what happened to the Israelis.


TAPPER: Obviously. I mean -- so, I've been asking since Saturday, literally since Saturday what about the innocent Palestinians? Can they get out? Right?


TAPPER: The women, the children --

SANNER: Right.

TAPPER: -- the elderly, how can they get out? That still has not been figured out.


TAPPER: Egypt does not want to open the Rafah crossing.

SANNER: They're refusing to.

TAPPER: They don't -- right. Egypt, Jordan, I mean, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, all these countries that prepare -- they talk about how much they care about the Palestinians, they could help right now. They could help the Palestinians escape. They could help -- they could say, OK, stop bombing, and we will go in there and we will --


TAPPER: -- help Gaza, like become a thriving society. They could do all sorts of things. They have money, by the way.

SANNER: I've heard that.


SANNER: Yes. But I --

TAPPER: Where are they? SANNER: Where are they is where they usually are, which is, you know, generally on the sidelines and pretty myopically thinking about themselves. Plus, you know, they would all like Hamas to go away.

TAPPER: Yes, they don't like Hamas.

SANNER: They do not like Hamas.

TAPPER: But I -- the Palestinians are --

SANNER: Except for gutter (ph).

TAPPER: The Palestinians -- they don't really care about the Palestinians, do they?

SANNER: They really don't. And I think that, you know, the polling also shows that the popularity of Hamas in these countries and Saudi and in UAE is not high. So there's not a lot of pressure on Saudi to come to the rescue of the Palestinians like there was a decade ago. So things are definitely changing. But we're not seeing a lot of people step up to the occasion, other than the United States.

TAPPER: I didn't think I could be any more depressed.

SANNER: I'm sorry.

TAPPER: And then I talked -- and then I talked to Beth Sanner. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

Former President Trump weighed in on the war in Israel. Spoiler alert, what he said stirred up a bit of controversy and we'll tell you why next.



TAPPER: Never forget, Donald Trump said Wednesday night, never forget. But Mr. Trump was not invoking the Holocaust, a few days after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since that horror, no. Donald Trump was saying quote, I will never forget in a riff where he was trashing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that Netanyahu, quote, let us down, unquote. Reportedly for not participating in the strike against an Iranian general but of course you really should recall how upset Trump was that Netanyahu was the first world leader to congratulate President Biden, after Biden won the presidency.

CNN's Jaime Gangel joins us. Jamie, let me play some of Mr. Trump's remarks Wednesday night.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll never forget that Bibi Netanyahu let us down. That was a very terrible thing. I will say that. When I see sometimes the intelligence, you talk about the intelligence or you talk about some of the things that went wrong over the last week, they've got to straighten it out because they're fighting potentially a very big force. And they said, gee, I hope Hezbollah doesn't attack from the north because that's the most vulnerable spot. I said, wait a minute. You know, Hezbollah is very smart. They're all very smart. The press doesn't like when they say it.


TAPPER: So Hezbollah is very smart, attacking Netanyahu. He called the defense minister of Israel a jerk. I mean --

JAIME GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: This is classic Donald Trump, and it's really about petty grievances. What do we know about Donald Trump loyalty is a one way street. And I would say that this was not about Soleimani. This is about one thing which you mentioned, which is, oh, my goodness, Benjamin Netanyahu picked up the phone and congratulated Joe Biden, when he won the election, which to Donald Trump's mind, is the worst possible thing you could do.

TAPPER: Trump's comments are drawing some criticism. Liz Cheney tweeted, after Hamas slaughters hundreds of Jewish families and Israel confronts and unprecedented security crisis, Donald Trump attacks the Israeli government and praises Hezbollah terrorists. Are Republicans really going to nominate this dangerous man to be President of the United States? And here is what Governor Ron DeSantis told reporters.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now is not the time to be doing like what Donald Trump did by attacking Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, attacking Israel's defense minister, saying somehow that Hezbollah were very smart. We need to all be on the same page. Now is not the time to air personal grievances about an Israeli prime minister.


TAPPER: I mean, Donald Trump disagrees. He thinks it is the time for personal grievances. Do you think Republican, I am, you know, I'm not even going to ask or should I ask you?

GANGEL: Go ahead. Yes.

TAPPER: Will this make a difference with Republican voters? I should -- like honestly every time I asked that question, somebody should find me $100.

GANGEL: I'm going to answer it slightly differently from the way we used to. First of all, we don't know yet. Secondly, Trump's base seems to be willing to stick with him through thick, through thin, through 91 indictments. So why should this change anything except, there are Trump supporters, Christian evangelicals, Jews, supporters of Israel who may not like this. Mike Pence who was picked because of his, you know, background with Christian evangelicals.


TAPPER: Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence thing?

GANGEL: Yes. Said today, Hezbollah aren't smart they are evil. So he even pushed back on this. I think it's unlikely to change many Trump voters, but maybe some.

TAPPER: Let's switch now, if we could to the embarrassing dysfunction on Capitol Hill. It is really truly embarrassing. House Republicans there needs to be a speaker of the House for us to have a functioning legislative branch of government. And yet they cannot get together and pick a speaker. Here's what one Republican said coming out of today's closed door meeting. We're still House Republicans cannot pick a speaker.


REP. TROY NEHLS (R-TX): When you only have a four seat majority and have some of the personalities and some of the -- it's hard to govern this, it's an impossible job, impossible. One of the members said in there, you know, I don't think the Lord Jesus itself could get to seven people.


TAPPER: You know, it's not impossible, Nancy Pelosi with the same majority got to 217.

GANGEL: Right. And Republican sources that I'm talking to who want to get a speaker, keep saying that this is just embarrassing, when the world is on fire, that the people's House is not getting -- able to do their --

TAPPER: I think empirically it's embarrassing. I mean, like, I don't even think it's an opinion at this point. There needs to be -- it's never happened before.

GANGEL: Correct, incorrect. No, look, our hill team is doing an extraordinary job interviewing Republicans as they come out of these meetings. My sources say and our numbers bear it out. The numbers against Steve Scalise are going up. By the hour, it looks less likely he's going to get to 217. And I spoke to two Republicans. One said, I do not think we are close to a floor vote unless Scalise wants a losing vote.

And another one blamed Kevin McCarthy. They think that Kevin McCarthy, a number of Republicans is working behind the scenes. If he can't be speaker, he sort of doesn't want Steve Scalise.

TAPPER: Kevin McCarthy who said bring it on.


TAPPER: That Kevin McCarthy?

GANGEL: The quote was McCarthy is in misery loves company mode. TAPPER: That's nice of him. That's nice of him to be in that mode. Well, he's got a lot of company. Jamie Gangel, always great to have you.

A major move today in Tel Aviv might be a sign that the humanitarian crisis in Israel is about to get worse.



TAPPER: And we're back with our World Lead. Today, a hospital in Tel Aviv moved four floors worth of patients and more than 300 beds to an underground parking garage in case of a missile strike. Erin Burnett is back with us from Tel Aviv. She was at a hospital in Ashkelon earlier which was hit by rocket fire yesterday. Erin, what is the situation on the ground, like right now in Tel Aviv?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR, "OUTFRONT": Yes, so when -- you know, there was a warning today about long range missiles, which obviously would be something that would be seen here, Jake, as you know, as a threat to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. We actually were south along the Gaza border when that came in. But you've got these, you know, constant rocket attacks coming in on various southern towns and cities.

And, you know, you talk about the impact on the hospitals. I mean, even here on the Israeli side, what they did in Tel Aviv, in Ashkelon, where we were, you know, yesterday, we were sort of caught in the midst of a massive rocket strike. I mean, there were dozens of them, dozens upon dozens coming in, some of them got through, and some of them got through to the city of Ashkelon near that Gaza border where we were. We went and found where one of the strikes was an apartment building and another was at this hospital, and the hospital had been hit.

Now the hospital is still functioning, obviously, it is still a crucial place for people to go to, 70 people went to the hospital where I was today, just yesterday, from those strikes near Ashkelon along the Gaza border. So the Iron Dome, as successful as it is, you still had 70 injuries just yesterday. They had 650 people come to that hospital in Ashkelon, Jake, from the attacks on Saturday. And more than two dozen of them are still there.

But this is what it is when you're standing in front of a door, emergency room and trauma. That is exactly what is happening. And that's just on the Israeli side. Because we're standing by that hospital today, Jake, and it's just a few miles from Gaza. And you hear the thud, thud, thud of the Israeli strikes on Gaza. And you can't help but just for a moment, pause and say as you hear it in the background. There are people being injured there. There are people being killed there. And the hospital situation there obviously, is incredibly dire.

TAPPER: Yes. We were just talking to the former deputy director of national intelligence who was talking about how Hamas embeds itself within the civilian population in Gaza. So when the Israelis go after with whatever precision you believe they're using, and I'm sure there are skeptics out there, go after Hamas, regardless of their precision, they're getting a lot of civilians, innocent civilians. Palestinians are getting caught in the middle of it.

More than 2 million people live in Gaza. They're running out of fuel. They're running out of water. The fuel powers of the hospitals, the Red Cross is warning that the hospitals in Gaza could turn into morgues without electricity.

BURNETT: Yes. And they're making those warnings, Jake, and they've run out of beds. And, you know, someone we were talking to in Gaza was saying even with a generator, even places that actually have generators, right generators also need fuel. So if you're saying as Israel has no food, no fuel, no electricity until the hostages are released, then that means you're days away from anything that's even powered by a generator, such as hospitals, essential health facilities, actually even having the ability to power themselves.

I mean, it's an incredibly dire situation. I was talking to an American pediatrician who's actually in Gaza. And Jake she went in before the strikes, stuck there now like many others. We haven't talked to her now in a few hours so it's possible something's changed, but she had been stuck and absolutely unable to get out, talking about the dire situation. And she's someone who goes in, in ordinary circumstances in Gaza, to help children as a pediatrician, because of the chronic and horrible diseases that they face there. The lack of vaccines, chronic diabetes, and none of those things are happening. Nevermind the very dire and serious needs of people who've been very seriously injured.


TAPPER: And today is it will be a week since the attacks. What is life like now five days after the attacks for Israelis?

BURNETT: Well, it's still a pause. It's still a sense of that deep shock where things have not restarted. There is of course, that waiting, that palpable waiting for what's going to happen along the Gaza border, what Israel will do in response, but also Jake, talking to people who -- it's funerals. It's funerals. They're going to funerals. So on the festival, she -- her friend died, she went to her friend's funeral. She went to two funerals yesterday, going to funeral after funeral.

And that is what you're hearing people say. Sitting Shiva (ph), I walked in someone's apartment last night, whose daughter, he just found out his daughter died, his daughter was American, a few hours after he finds out she's dead. And there he is starting to sit Shiva (ph), his family arriving. It is just a sense of a mass sense of loss.

TAPPER: Erin Burnett in Tel Aviv, thank you so much. So many of you watching, I'm sure feel compelled to want to help with humanitarian relief efforts, whether for the Israelis or for the Palestinians, or maybe some of you want to help both. CNN is compiling resources, head to, you'll find a list of vetted organizations on the ground responding. That's We're back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


TAPPER: Roey Weiser was an Israeli-American soldier. He was just 21 years old. His life was cut short on Saturday when his base was attacked by Hamas. He was killed trying to protect his fellow soldiers. His mother Naomi wiser and his sister, Shani Weiser join me now. Thank you, both of you for being here under these awful circumstances. Naomi, your son, or Roey was a hero and you say he died the way he lived. Tell us about him. Tell us about the way he lived.

NAOMI FEIFER-WEISER, MOTHER, ISRAELI-AMERICAN SOLDIER KILLED: Absolutely. Roey was a great kid. You know, one of the things we always said about him is he always walked around with a smile on his face. He loved to play sport. He was a big football, American football and basketball and soccer fan. He had amazing group of friends. All about great kid. He was always an out of the box thinker. Always showed signs of leadership. We always knew he would do something great, not what we expected. But we always knew he would do something great.

He always took care. He had a way of always taking care of the weaker kids in his class. These are stories the mothers have been sending me these, we remember your son from the third grade, when our son was having a hard time your son took care of him. So he always had that putting the other kids first kind of skill and taking care of the weak. Again, these are skills he showed us again this week. Unfortunately, not the way we wanted to see them.

TAPPER: And Shani, you can jump in anytime you want. What have you learned about Roey's bravery? I understand he saved at least a dozen lives.

SHANI WEISER, SISTER, ISRAELI-AMERICAN SOLDIER KILLED: I mean, we knew he was brave. We just didn't know how brave. He used to like be a fireman and jump and help people like when they had a fire in the house or other stuff like that. So we knew he was brave. We just didn't know how brave and I didn't want this to be the way we find out but, yes.

FEIFER-WEISER: It's good to know at least that, you know, at least our son died doing --

WEISER: Something memorable, yes.

FEIFER-WEISER: Right. Something memorable, saving other lives. He lived the way he died. Going all out, being a true hero.

WEISER: And protecting others.


TAPPER: And Naomi, you spoke with your son shortly before he was killed. Tell us about that phone call if you can. FEIFER-WEISER: It was actually my husband who had the last phone call with him. But he called us every weekend before the Sabbath because there's no phone communication due to our religion. And every weekend, he would call us just to say I'm good. Everything is OK. And he did it this weekend. In fact, he sends us also to our family WhatsApp group, a beautiful picture of the sunset over Gaza, that's how pretty. This is what I'm defending. And it was -- that was his last picture the same exact spot where he was killed at.

TAPPER: He was so young. How did he see his future? What dreams did he share with you, either of you?

FEIFER-WEISER: When he was in high school, he took, you know, you're supposed to pick one major. He picked three because he wanted to have all his options open. He learned -- he was -- he learned law in high school. And he learned citizenship. And he learned Arabic. And he had plans, he was debating if he wanted to go into high tech into finance. We always knew he would do something great. He was a really smart kid.

He could have taken three more subjects if you wanted to. But yes, he talked about all the different things. He wanted to get married. He wanted to have children. He wanted to save a lot -- save up a lot of money for his future something he talked about a lot, work hard, save money. He was a hard working kid also.


TAPPER: Naomi and Shani Weiser, thank you so much. May his memory be a blessing.

WEISER: Thank you very much.


TAPPER: And we'll be right back.


TAPPER: The massacre in the Middle East. The Hamas terrorist attack has touched our family here at THE LEAD. The cousin of a former lead producer was killed. That cousin was named Eli Ginsberg. He was 42 years old. Eli led an elite Special Forces unit according to his family. He had just retired last month after serving 22 years. He was removed realized after Saturday's attack. His family said, Eli's unit went into the Kibbutz, Raim, that's the same Kibbutz where Hamas killed scores of people, innocent people at that music festival.


Eli went there to rescue hostages, and he too was killed by Hamas. Eli leaves behind four young children. Eli's cousin Alexis Weiss helped launch THE LEAD with me and some of us still here back in 2013. Alexis, we're so sorry. We love you and we're thinking of you and your family.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".