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Qatar Says, 13 Women and Children to be Released Friday 9:00 A.M. ET; Israel Confirms Receiving List of Hostages Expected to be Released; Israeli Families Await Release of Hostages With Hope, Anxiety. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired November 23, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: At midnight Eastern.
This has been an active war zone. Not to mention there's been the challenge of these hostages being in different places throughout Gaza. They're not necessarily in one place. So, this is something that we had heard from U.S. officials as well, that part of the issue was the logistics surrounding the location of each and every hostage and also just their movement ensuring that that can be done in a safe way.
Something else that I know Oren mentioned as well, the spokesperson was talking about the next potential phase of getting these hostages out. We had reported that the expectation would be we first needed to see if we could get through the first day, the second day of the hostages being released. And if everything goes well, then there would be discussions about additional hostages beyond the women and children getting out.
I have to tell you, I do feel like that feels a little bit like we are getting ahead of ourselves at this point. Obviously, there's this first delay. There were questions asked at this press conference, could we expect further complications? I don't think that they can say with absolute guarantee right now that even if the first day goes well that the handoff of that second batch of hostages is going to happen on time.
So, I think we are very much in a fluid situation. We just need to see if the truce happens on time and then if the release of the first group of hostages happens on time, and then whether that second list of hostages, whether that exchange can happen on time as well, I think all of that just remains to be seen.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Tomorrow is really going to be the template for all of this and starting at midnight Eastern tonight. That is really what we're going to see this even go into effect and see how smoothly the transfer of these 13 hostages does go.
Oren, when you were listening, you know, you heard Becky Anderson asking there multiple questions, multiple really great questions, and we'll speak to her in just a moment, but she talked about what path these hostages are going to take, the 13 women and children who are going to the first to be released as a part of this temporary truce. He said he didn't want to go into details but he did talk about making sure that they are safe and secure, also you know getting that aid into Gaza as quickly as possible, which we know is expected to include fuel, which has been not something Israel has so far allowed to go into Gaza in a large quantity and has been you know very concerned about Hamas getting their hands on. That is expected, though, to be part of this significant aid shipment into Gaza?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. He was asked, would fuel be part of what was going in? And he said all types of aid would go in.
Now, I don't know if he said specifically including fuel, but, clearly, that's the implication that fuel will be part of what's going in. And that's very much needed, for example, to power the hospitals, to power the sewage and water treatment facilities. So, that is a critical part of this agreement, even as we have focused, understandably so, on the hostage release and the Palestinian prisoners released.
He did say, and he was confident when he said this, that the plan is, quote, concrete and ready to create a safe environment. So, you're right, that as even as he wouldn't go into the routes that would be taken out, he did say that the overarching goal here is to make sure that there is a safe environment and surroundings in Gaza for the hostages to be moved and for the Israeli hostages to come out of Gaza. It will be the Red Cross that takes them into custody from Hamas and then transfers them to the IDF.
He was asked how many of the hostages are still alive. He did say we have no verifiable information on the number of hostages who are alive. So, that still remains very much an open question, even as we look at the first 50 here, the first 50 women and children to come out.
COLLINS: Yes, that is key.
And we also have CNN's Becky Anderson, who is in that press conference, asked multiple great questions. Becky, I think one of the key ones that you asked was, what happens if one side breaches this agreement? What is the result of that? What stood out to you about the answer from the Qatari official?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It was an interesting answer, wasn't it? He said this has to be a secession of hostilities completely on both sides, on the ground, and for periods of time in the air. And he made it very clear when asked about drones in the air, surveillance drones in the air, he said specifically during the period of the hostages being released, there would be no surveillance drones flown.
And we know, because we've had two what we might call proof of concept episodes where we've seen two sets of hostages released, of course, the American mother and her 17-year-old daughter some weeks ago, and then two elderly Israeli citizens. We know that there were drones in the air at the time. And what he suggested is that can be very confusing. It can make people feel that there may be some hostile activity in the air.
So, certainly, during the periods of time when the hostages are being released, the air, the skies will be clear, the airspace over those hostages will be clear.
Let's just be very specific, I think, about what we learned today, Kaitlan. This truce starts at 7:00 A.M. local Gaza time, that is 12:00 or midnight Eastern Time, and at some point after 4:00 in the afternoon, so 9:00 A.M. Eastern Time.
We will see the first 13 hostages. The names of those 13 hostages have now been shared with both the Mossad on the Israeli side and the reciprocal arrangement, as it were, the release of Palestinian prisoners into the Palestinians' hands will happen around the same time, although Majed Al-Ansari, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here, couldn't say exactly how many hostages would be exchanged.
And after that, every day, there will be a list shared with both sides on those who will be released every day at around the same time, so let's assume for it to be around 4:00 in the afternoon, Gazan time, for four days. That would take us up to effectively 50 hostages, women and children.
After that, Majed Al-Ansari reminded us that the proposal, the deal includes an opportunity for Hamas to come good on its agreement and for every ten extra hostages released, and the understanding is that they are holding as many as 70 to 80, there will be an extra day of this pause, this secession of hostilities for this brief period of time.
So, lots of good detail from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here today, an important detail, because although we knew that this deal had been agreed to, there were lots and lots of things that were still unclear until we heard from Majed Al-Ansari at this press conference today. Kaitlan?
COLLINS: Yes, that was key there, Becky, a sense of optimism that, from the Qataris at least, that this could potentially go on for longer than the planned four days. We'll see. Of course, there is a good reason to be skeptical here. We'll see what this looks like once it's actually put into effect. Thank you, Becky Anderson.
And, Kate, obviously, this is the news that so many of these families have been waiting for, that at midnight Eastern tonight, this temporary truce is going to go into place and that, based on what we just heard, if everything goes according to plan, 24 hours from now, we will see 13 women and civilian hostages released by Hamas in Gaza. Kate?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Kaitlan, thank you so much. And to remind everyone of the breaking news, which is this is a big moment that we're looking at right now, as of -- the news is midnight, tonight, Eastern Time, 7:00 A.M. local, the truce sets in, 4:00 P.M. local, 9:00 A.M. Eastern around, the hostages will begin to be released.
And Israel has confirmed that they have a list in hand of the 13 hostages to be first released. 13 women and children are now just hours away, hopefully, from ending a week's long nightmare.
We're going to be speaking to a family member of two of the hostages that are currently being held by Hamas in Gaza. We're connecting with him right now, and we're going to have that conversation to get his reaction to this very big news of hearing that we now have a time and date of when the hostages could begin being released.
We're going to take you there, next.
BOLDUAN: And the breaking news, midnight tonight Eastern Time, 7:00 A.M. local time in Gaza, the truce sets in. Then at 9:00 A.M. Eastern, around about 4:00 P.M. local time roundabout, the first hostages are set to be released from Hamas captivity, 13 women and children to be released in the first day.
This is huge news, especially to the families of the estimated 236 hostages kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on October 7th.
Joining me now is Gil Dickmann, his cousin Carmel, her sister-in-law Yarden, are among the hostages being held by Hamas right now.
Gil, what's your reaction to hearing all of this new information coming out from Qatari officials?
GIL DICKMANN, RELATIVES HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS IN GAZA: Okay. First of all, I consider this good news mainly because we were hoping for a deal. We thought it might happen yesterday or yesterday night and then it started releasing hostages today. But the fact that it happens tomorrow is the beginning of a new thing happening in (INAUDIBLE), and it might mean opening the door to a new better deal later.
BOLDUAN: The prime minister's office has confirmed that they have the list of the hostages of the 13 women and children that are set to be released tomorrow. And also the prime minister's office put out a statement, Gil, saying that they're communicating with all of the families of those kidnapped while they examine the details of this list. Has your family received any notification or word?
DICKMANN: As far as I know, my family hasn't received anything. And we -- I got to tell you, I don't expect -- we don't really expect our hostages specifically to be on the list for the first few days, mainly because Yarden is 36 and Carmel is 39. Yarden is a mother, but her child is not with her.
And I think -- I think -- I'm not sure, I think they're going to go with the children first, but you never know with the terror organization like Hamas, we can expect anything.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Because the way that the prime minister's office, the statement from the prime minister's office, it seems that they are communicating with all families, of all of the hostages, is what it seemed to come across as, and I was just wondering if maybe that communication was. Because when you really think about it, Gil, you're all part of a family now, you're all suffering the same way, and you're all waiting. And --
DICKMANN: Let me just update you. I just received a message that we were contacted, and Yarden and Carmel are not on the list for tomorrow. And I want to agree with you that we are a big family now. We have many new relatives in this family, and I'm actually myself very excited to hear about the kids that are coming home and the hostages that are coming home. But after saying that, I can't really believe anything until I see them free and home. It's a terror organization.
This war has been horrible, and they've done horrendous things to the people that they -- to the people of Be'eri and to the people of all the other kibbutzim. We really want to see the hostages home to be sure that everything is okay.
BOLDUAN: So, I mean, this really is happening in real time. As we're speaking, you're receiving word from your family that your family has now been contacted and given the news that your cousin, her sister-in- law, Carmel and Yarden, they are not part of this first group.
Hearing that news, do you think that they're not part of this first group to be released tomorrow? Do you think -- are you concerned that diminishes their chances of being released?
DICKMANN: I actually don't -- I don't think so. We weren't expecting them to be released tomorrow. And I don't really expect -- I don't know. Really, I want them to be released as quickly as possible, and the day after tomorrow or the days after.
But the fact that we weren't expecting them to be released specifically tomorrow, for us, it means that it doesn't diminish the chances of them to be released at all. And the way I see it, they're all going to be released. All the hostages are going to be released in the end, and the end is near. We're working on it. And we are happy with the fact that we have a deal and we're going to do everything we can so that it happens really fast and that they're all free, and we hope they are even alive and well.
BOLDUAN: You know, Gil, watching the press conference out of Qatar, there is somewhat of a surreal nature to it, this official-looking, very official press conference happening. But what you're really talking about at its core is that Israel, having to put their trust in and having to make a deal with a terrorist organization, the same people who just nearly, seven weeks ago, stormed into Israel and brutally murdered 1,200 people, now having this official-looking press conference to work out the contours of trusting those same people to let your cousin and her sister-in-law get to safety. How do you wrestle with that?
DICKMANN: Yes. I got to tell you, watching this on CNN right now, that's one of the most surreal feelings I can remember. And the last 48 days were all surreal. It was so -- he was talking about it. He was so calm, so -- like he's talking about some business exchange between two parties, two organizations. What we're talking about is human lives and it's horrible that we're even discussing this, this way.
And you're right about the trust. This is -- as I said before, I can't really trust a terror organization that killed my aunt seven weeks ago. How can I trust what they promise? So, this is why what we trust is what we see. And when we see hostages free and alive, as we expect them to be, then we can talk about trust and maybe even trust them on next deals.
And I'm really, really -- I really hope that we can do this. I really hope that a deal could be made and that would be a really amazing picture for Israelis to see finally after seven weeks of horrible news, finally some good news.
Finally, kids coming back to their parents and to their home. It's going to feel to people. I think, to me, it's going to feel like my kids are back. I think many people are going to feel as if it's their own kids, since we've all become a really big family here in the Hostages Families Forum and also in all of Israel.
BOLDUAN: Yes. It's also -- even hearing the question, and it was an important question to ask, but kind of a true statement of what we're dealing with here, the question of asking the Qatari official to confirm that all of the hostages that are to be released on the list are alive, that just like hit me straight in the gut.
DICKMANN: Yes. And I have to tell you, I can't even trust this (INAUDIBLE). I think they're going to play with us all the way with psychological terror, and that they're going to say things like the IDF hit some of the hostages on the way, and they're going to make all the tricks in their horrific, horrible book in order to make us suffer as much as possible.
This is -- they have no limits as they showed on October 7th, but I really, really hope that we can make this happen anyway.
BOLDUAN: You talked about how you're going to be celebrating -- all of you will be celebrating when, hopefully, God willing, the women and children do come out and this continues. But there is also a lot of talk of -- that's just the beginning of a very long road for all of these hostages.
I mean, first and foremost, you have to assume that Carmel and Yarden have no idea the scope of the disaster and the massacre that occurred and the devastation that happened on October 7th. And have you and your family started talking about kind of what you need to do to prepare to help them in what is going to be a really long road?
DICKMANN: Well, this is a very good question. First of all, the word celebration might not describe exactly what this is going to look like, because we're not going to be celebrating, and for two reasons. One is that Carmel's mother, Kinelet (ph), was murdered that day, and we're going to have to tell her about it.
It's going to be one of the first things we're going to say to her, I guess. And we didn't really plan how, and I think we're going to have -- I hope we're going to have help from health services or any other services in Israel of how to tell her that news.
And the fact that many other hostages are going to stay there for longer than Carmel, hopefully not a lot longer, but longer, I really -- I hope it doesn't get that long, and I hope that this happy picture of people coming home is going to make the next deal come faster in a way so that finally, finally, all of the hostages are coming home.
And I know I'm saying that a lot, but it's just -- it's so important for us. We are a really -- 240 hostages were taken or kidnapped October 7th. We're not letting go and we're not going anywhere. Any of us aren't going anywhere until 240 are back home.
BOLDUAN: Gil, thank you for jumping on to speak with me. And these empty words, it feels like, but I'm sorry that Carmel and Yarden aren't part of the first group. But we continue to hold that hope, as you said, you have to. Thank you.
DICKMAN: Thank you. (INAUDIBLE) for good news.
BOLDUAN: Exactly, Thank you. Danny.
DANNY FREEMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Kate, thank you for that interview, really, really powerful.
Still to come, we're continuing our coverage overseas, 13 women and children are just hours away from ending a weeks-long nightmare.
Stay with us.
BOLDUAN: This time tomorrow morning, 13 women and children being held captive by Hamas right now in Gaza, they should be in the process of being freed. Qatari officials say a truce between Israel and Hamas, that starts at midnight tonight Eastern Time, and that the hostages will be released starting around 9:00 A.M. Eastern Time tomorrow.
Joining us now on this news, finally some more detail that we have gotten about what this exchange will look like is former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Beth Sanner, CNN Global Affairs Analyst Kim Dozier and retired Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt. Thank you guys for being here.
Beth, what's your reaction to all of what we just heard laid out by Qatari officials of what this process is going to look like now?
BETH SANNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I guess I'll skip ahead a little bit because I think that, you know, tomorrow looks very good. But as each day progresses, it gets harder and more challenging. And it's clear from the way the Qataris laid out this plan that their goal is very, very divergent from where the Israeli goal is in the end.
The Qataris want to extend this indefinitely and lead this lead to a peace agreement, or a full ceasefire, and Israel is absolutely in a different place.
And so I think that, you know.