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Jordan's Queen Rania: West's "Glaring Double Standard" On Hamas-Israel War; Michael Oren, Former Israeli Ambassador To The U.S., Discusses Jordan Queen's Criticism Of West & Intense Talks About Release Of Hostages; Terrorism Ruled Out In Midair Incident Involving Off-Duty Pilot; White House Press Secretary Faces Backlash Over Anti- Semitism Response; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) Discusses Backlash Against White House Press Secretary & Gaza Humanitarian Crisis. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 24, 2023 - 14:30   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: How you're feeling ever since October 7th?

QUEEN RANIA AL ABDULLAH, JORDAN: Well, look, Christiane, I cannot begin to describe to you the depth of the grief, the pain, and the shock that we are feeling here in Jordan. All of us are united in this grief regardless of our origin.

We are just, just can't believe the images we're seeing every single day out of Gaza. We're going to bed seeing those images and waking up to them.

You know, I don't how to -- as a mom, we've seen Palestinian mothers who have had to write the names of their children on their hands because the chances of them being shelled to death, of their bodies turning into corpses are so high.

I just want to remind the world that Palestinian mothers love their children just as much as any other mother in the world. And for them to have to go through this is just unbelievable.

Equally, I think that people all around the Middle East, including in Jordan, we are just shocked and disappointed by the world's reaction to this catastrophe that is unfolding.

In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a glaring double standard in the world. When October 7th happened, the world immediately and unequivocally stood by Israel and against the strike itself and condemned the attack that happened.

But what we're seeing in the last couple of weeks, we're seeing silence in the world. You know, countries have stopped just expressing concern or acknowledging the casualties, but always with the preface of declaration for support for Israel. You know, are we being told that it is wrong to kill a family, an

entire family at gunpoint but it's OK to shell them to death? I mean, there is a glaring double standard here. And it is just shocking to the Arab world.

This is the first time in modern history that there is such human suffering and the world is not even calling for a ceasefire. So the silence is deafening.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jordan is home to 40 percent of the total registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, according to the U.N.

Joining me now from Tel Aviv is the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren.

Ambassador Oren, you just heard her comments about a double standard. Do you believe there's a double standard?


Let me just say something about what Queen Rania said. I remember how her late father-in-law, Hussain, back in 1997, when seven Israeli school children were killed by a crazed soldier, opened fire across the Jordan river, the king crossed the river and sat with each family and expressed his condolences.

I understand that Queen Rania comes from a Palestinian background and that 70 percent of her population is Palestinian. And if I were probably a member of the Israeli government, I'd be much more cautious about what I'm about to say.

But I think it is astounding and disgusting that she had not a word to say about the 1,400 Israel civilians, children, old people, pregnant women who were massacred, butchered, tortured, beheaded, mutilated, raped repeatedly by Hamas in Gaza.

I think this is deeply, deeply disappointing. I think it said a lot about a certain viewpoint in the Arab world. And I understand it's difficult to see these images coming out of Gaza. I really do. I can empathize.

We're in a terrible war. Israel has to strike back. It has no choice. No one would be able to live here.

Want a ceasefire? Ceasefire means Hamas wins. That's all it means. Hamas literally gets away not with murder, but with mass murder. And no one's going to agree to that.

The choice is between going into Gaza, while there -- Gaza City, while there are a million Palestinians there being used as a human shield by Hamas or moving them out. And any Palestinian, any Palestinian that is in that city and killed

by Israeli bombing, because we have to prepare the ground for our ground troops to go in, is being used as a humid shield by Hamas.

And we're trying our best to move that population away. It is difficult. It can be very, very heartbreaking to see these families being left out in the night, in the cold. But the alternative, believe me, is far, far worse.

COOPER: I should point out I have not heard the complete interview that Christian Amanpour did, so I do not know if she did not make comments about what occurred in Israel. So I'll have people check that right now. Just wanted to point that out.

I'd like to talk to you about what's going on with the hostage situation. We saw the release of two more hostages. This is obviously -- this is great for families.

What do you make of this in terms of how this impacts Israel's decision about what to do in Gaza?


OREN: Well, I think it's -- first of all, we're delighted these hostages have been released. We pray for the safety of the rest of the hostages.

We demand that Hamas release all of the hostages immediately, unconditionally. We're talking about upwards of 30 children, aging people.

The husbands of these senior citizens who were released today or yesterday, they're still in captivity. And we have to take that into consideration.

We've listened to some of the comments of these hostages who have been released. They still have loved ones in captivity.

I understand that Natalie and Judith Raanan were informed that one of the members of their family members who was in captivity was killed in captivity. And I mentioned this.

It is that type of horrific, very delicate situation. But we cannot let the state of Israel and we cannot let the world be held hostage by Hamas. Which is what is liable to happen.

And we're going to do our utmost to release these hostages, to use our Special Forces to locate them and rescue them. But we cannot let them use the hostages to hold us hostage, which is precisely what's happened.

You know, so it's very difficult to convey this, I guess, to many people watching this program. But Israel, as a society, is still stuck on October 5th. We haven't really moved beyond it.

My son went to a funeral at a Sheva call, a morning call for a classmate of his. A woman with her husband and three kids all shot in their home in the kibbutz. I spoke to the mother.

The doctor of my daughter-in-law, whose daughter was repeatedly raped and put on the back of a flatbed truck and dragged through the streets of Gaza where she was spat upon and hit and beaten.

Can you imagine being that mother? Can you imagine talking to that mother? I don't know. I don't know how they bear up. I don't think I could.

This is where we are. And we have to restore our fundamental security. This place will not be inhabitable if we don't do that.

By the way, the message will get out not just about Israel's vulnerability, but the West's entirely. What starts here ends up in other places, I assure you.

COOPER: Yes. Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, thank you. Appreciate your time.

Boris, back to you.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Thanks, Anderson.

Still to come on CNN, the off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot accused of trying to shut down a plane's engines midflight is set to appear in court. Sources tell CNN that terrorism is not suspected. The latest on what we know about why this was carried out when we come back.



SANCHEZ: Terrorism is being ruled out as a motive while we get new details about the off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot facing 83 counts of attempted murder after a terrifying in-flight incident over the weekend.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: This is so scary. Joseph David Emerson was taken into custody in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday. He's accused of trying to cut power to the plane's engines at cruising altitude while he was riding in the cockpit jump seat.

CNN aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean, is with us now.

What more are you learning about the pilot and about what happened during the flight?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: There are so many new details. Now there are federal charges against Emerson.

There were about 160 charges that Emerson was facing in state court, including 83 counts of attempted murder. Now Emerson is facing these federal charges, including interfering with a flight crew. That is the newest charge.

And in these charges are court documents that essentially lay out a pilot who is depressed and in incredible duress.

In this new court complaint, this pilot, Joesph Emerson, 44 years old, he spent 22 years with Alaska Airlines. He says that he was going to go for these engine's cut off handles that would have cut off the flow of fuel to the plane.

They were up at the top of the cockpit. He was sitting in the jump seat. The pilot and the co-pilot in the left and right seat there.

He says, as he was going up for this, according to these court documents, I am not OK. There was a struggle in the cockpit, according to these court documents.

And the court documents lay out that these pilots only had seconds to act before the plane was essentially rendered into a glider.

Then Emerson comes out of the cockpit, according to the court documents. He tells a flight attendant, you need to put handcuffs on me, I'm not OK.

Then they take him to the back. At one point, he tries to grasp for an emergency exit handle.

The plane then diverts to Portland where police are waiting for Emerson. They come to the back of the plane. He tells them he has not slept in 40 hours, he's been depressed for six months. Really, some serious things that he says here.

And that he essentially admits to what he did. He says, "I know what I did and I'm not going to fight any charges you guys bring against me."

So these are really incredible new details here and essentially lays out somebody who was not trying to do something ideological.

We know, from the FAA even earlier -- they sent out an alert to airlines after this immediately happened, this was not initially connected to world events. This is a one off here.

But it does bring into question what this pilot could have done if he was actually flying the plane and not just sitting in the jump seat.

KEILAR: Sure does. So scary as we learn more about this.

Pete, thank you for the very latest here.

Cleaning up her comments. White House press secretary, Karine Jean- Pierre, facing backlash over her answer to a question on Monday about the rise of anti-Semitism. Well, she just responded. We'll have more on that, next.



KEILAR: Yesterday, at the White House briefing, our M.J. Lee asked a simple question about anti-Semitism and the answer from White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, prompted backlash all the way to Israel.

Here is the question and Karine Jean-Pierre's response.


M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What is the level of concern right now about the potential rise of anti-Semitism in light of everything going on in Israel?


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So a couple of things. Look, we have not seen any credible threats. I know there's been always questions about credible threats. And so just want to make sure that is out there.

But look, Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks. And certainly, President Biden understands that that many of our Muslim-Arab and Arab-American and Palestinian American loved ones and neighbors are worried about hate being directed at their communities.


KEILAR: Here at home, we heard criticism of that moment from both sides of the aisle. Democrat Jared Moskowitz called her answer weak. He said, "Must do better."

And moments ago, Jean-Pierre said this.


JEAN-PIERRE: When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, that is anti-Semitism. And that is unacceptable. There is no place for anti-Semitism full stop, period.

This is important to the president. It's important to me, personally, and to everyone in the administration.


KEILAR: Let's talk now with Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz of Florida.

Congresswoman, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today.

The White House press secretary clearly felt compelled to address this, to clean this up right at the top of the briefing before she was even asked questions about it.

What did you think of Jean-Pierre's statement yesterday and what did you think about what you heard today?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): Well, Brianna, I think it's best put in softball terms that I know you and I can understand, and that is that what Karine said at the podium yesterday was clearly a whiff.

But we have to make sure that in this entire context and in this entire crisis that we major in the majors.

It is very clear that President Biden could not possibly be standing more strongly with Israel. Our Homeland Security Department issued a warning just this week about the precipitous rise and risk for anti- Semitic attacks.

We have seen in the last number of years massive increases in anti- Semitic incidents, including in my own hometown.

In short, anti-Semitism is real. It's alive. And the Biden administration, President Biden himself recognized this by releasing the first-ever national strategy to combat anti-Semitism.

No other president has ever done that. It's comprehensive. It's all of government.

It is very clear where President Biden and his administration stand in the fight against anti-Semitism and what it is and its impact. And that's what's important here.

KEILAR: You were on the ground in Israel in the direct aftermath of the attacks on October 7th and now there are talks about perhaps a release of a large number of hostages.

How hopeful are you that that could actually happen?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Oh, I mean hopeful. And it is imperative that we make sure that a white-hot spotlight is shown on the plight of these hostages. It is absolutely critical that we get them released and brought home to their families.

When I was in Israel, I had an opportunity to meet with a person I was able to meet with again today. "Torn up" is an understatement. This is a woman who we both wish we never had an opportunity to meet under these circumstances.

Her father is still captive. She got proof of life, thank god, with the release of the woman yesterday, the elderly woman yesterday. They were being held captive with people from that kibbutz.

So there are signs that -- of hope. But we have to make sure, we both make sure that Hamas can be eradicated. And we support Israel in that endeavor.

And at the same time, that we press comprehensively for the release of these hostages. Both things can be done simultaneously, Brianna.

KEILAR: We are watching this humanitarian crisis in Gaza unfold. Israel initially said it didn't want to let fuel in because Hamas would seize it. Then clarified that they will make sure fuel is in place in areas where it's needed to treat civilians.

Hospitals -- we're hearing this -- are on the verge of disaster, losing power for ventilators, incubators for vulnerable newborns.

What can the U.S. do on this that it is not doing?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Let's be very clear, that Hamas, the Hamas terrorists are embedding themselves and always embed themselves in and among the civilians in Gaza.

Further, what they've done is prevented evacuation to safety of their fellow Palestinian citizens. So they are keeping them in harm's way and not allowing them to heed Israel's warnings about their efforts to eradicate the terrorists.


We do have to make sure that, obviously, Israel, in its effort, abides by the laws of war and the rules around warm, making sure we protect Palestinian and Israeli civilian lives. It is important, imperative.

But let's be clear. This was a massive terrorist attack that took more lives, as many -- the most lives on any single day since the Holocaust.

Hamas doesn't abide by the rules of law or the laws of war. They murder and maim and rape innocent Israelis. And the reason for their existence is to kill Jews and eradicate the state of Israel.

So we are not playing a fair fight here.

KEILAR: I'm not disputing that.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I know you're not.

KEILAR: We are hearing from people in Gaza, including Americans who are stuck, and the situation is terrible. You're hearing that. You know that.


KEILAR: So what can the U.S. do? Because they will, some of these folks, survive if they get the help they need, but some of them will not if they do not get the help they need soon.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Humanitarian assistance needs to be allowed in. It also needs to be -- we also need to be ensured that that humanitarian assistance doesn't get diverted to Hamas.

Gaza needs to be freed from Hamas. That is the freedom that is essential right now. And eradicating the Hamas terrorists.

Ensuring what the United States can do its work with not only our allies but alongside Israel as an ally and with countries like Qatar and others to negotiate for the release of those hostages.

Ensure that that happens immediately, make sure we can get as much aid safely and to the right people to protect Palestinians. And look, at the end of the day, though, this is a war started by Hamas terrorists who are continuing to be hell bent on eradicating Israel and killing Jews. That cannot be allowed to happen for one more minute.

KEILAR: Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz, thank you so much for being with us.


KEILAR: Anderson, I want to go to you in Tel Aviv.

COOPER: Yes, Brianna, thanks very much.

I want to follow up on Ambassador Michael Oren's questions about an interview that we played.

A sound bite from in which Queen Rania was talking about she believes there's a double standard in the coverage and the perception of what's happening here and what's happening in Israel and what's happened to Palestinians.

He's raised questions about whether she -- about what she said about October 7th, which wasn't part of the sound bite. We went through the interview.

This is Christiane Amanpour asking her specifically about her perception about what happened on October 7th.



AMANPOUR: I just want to get from you what you felt on October 7th.

ABDULLAH: Well, of course, I was shocked. And you know, Jordan has made its position very clear. We condemn the killing of any civilian, whether Palestinian or Israeli.

That is Jordan's ethical and moral position. And it's also the position of Islam. Islam condemns the killing of civilians.

As my husband mentioned recently, the Pact of Omar, which was issued on the gates of Jerusalem 15 centuries ago, 1,000 years before the Geneva Conventions, orders Muslims not to hurt or kill a woman, child, or elderly person. And not to destroy a tree or hurt a priest.

And so this is what we believe are the rules of engagement at time of war. But they need to apply to everybody.

So, yes, there was the shock and there is the condemnation. But why isn't there equal condemnation to what is happening now?