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Don Lemon Tonight
Crisis in the Middle East; Interview with Amb. Ron Prosor; Ebola Scare in New York City; Will Both Sides Hold Their Fire?; 40 Years after Watergate
Aired August 04, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Alisyn Camerota in New York. And Don Lemon is off.
We have breaking news on two big stories, one here in New York City and the other, of course, the Middle East.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Jake Tapper in Jerusalem.
It is just before sunrise in Jerusalem and Gaza. We're three hours away from the expected start of a proposed 72-hour cease-fire. What are the chances that this one will last? Are both sides finally ready to make peace?
Also, Israel says it is winding up its operation to destroy Hamas tunnels. So, has Israel won the military war, but lost the public relations and political battle around the world? You may be surprised at who is siding with the Palestinians and why.
CAMEROTA: And, Jake, our other big story is the Ebola scare in New York City. You are looking live at Mount Sinai Hospital, where a patient is being tested tonight for Ebola. The virus has killed hundreds of people and there is no cure. Why one doctor says this is not a question of if the outbreak will come to America, but when.
Let's begin with the countdown to cease-fire and to my colleague Jake Tapper in Jerusalem.
TAPPER: Hi, Alisyn.
Thanks so much. Both sides have agreed to Egypt's proposal for this latest cease-fire, which is set to take effect in less than three hours. But we all know how the last one worked out.
Joining me now, CNN's Martin Savidge in Gaza. And here with me in Jerusalem, Michal Divon. She's a journalist and anchor for I-24 News.
But let me start with you, Marty. In a few hours, people here will wake to another cease-fire. Is there any practical reason to think that this one will hold?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The holding part, that will be the real trick here. One thing we can tell you is the last couple of hours we have noted
how very, very quiet it has been, which is something we wouldn't be able to tell you over the previous nights. We haven't heard the drones in a while. We haven't heard jet aircraft, we haven't heard rockets going out, the last few hours, remarkably quiet. It's always the most nervous time, because this is when you fear that any group or both groups may want to get in those last hits before the cease-fire takes effect.
We did have a lot of activity late last night. There were even rockets fired around 12:45 local time. But since then it has remained quiet. People are going to be optimistic, people will hope, especially in Gaza, because of the punishment they have undergone. The civilian casualty rate is remarkably high and the devastation is likewise.
So they would very much like to hope the cease-fire will stick. All parties have agreed to it. That is a very good point. And we understand that all parties say that there are no conditions attached to this. That is all very good. But you're right to be skeptical. This is cease-fire number nine. We will hope it holds -- Jake.
TAPPER: Martin Savidge in Gaza, thank you so much.
Michal, I spoke earlier tonight with Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman, and also the spokesman for Hamas as the cease-fire news was breaking. Take a quick listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON: We will cease all our activities, military activities, all our offensive operations against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
TAPPER: Including tunnels?
REGEV: Including everything.
TAPPER: Including tunnels?
REGEV: The tunnel issue is being solved by itself because that is winding up any way.
TAPPER: That's done. OK.
REGEV: It is winding up any way.
So, basically, if Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza honor this Egyptian proposal, of course we will.
TAPPER: Do you commit that none of the individuals who are associated with Hamas will fire rockets or mortars into Israel?
OSAMA HAMDAN, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: Well, as I told you, this cease-fire was created mainly by the efforts of the Palestinian delegation, including Hamas. So we are the creator of this cease-fire. And we will be all, as
Palestinians, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, committed to that, unless the Israelis did not violate that. We hope that they will not violate the cease-fire this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Michal Divon, with I-24 news, you have seen a lot of peace and war in this region. More war than peace, regrettably. How do you feel with the prospects for just the 72-hour cease-fire holding?
MICHAL DIVON, JOURNALIST: As you said, this is the ninth attempt for a cease-fire.
I have been on the Gaza border almost every day these past few weeks. It is hard on the one hand to be hopeful because we have seen otherwise. But, on the other hand, this is coming from an Egyptian- brokered deal which is giving it a better chance for both sides, as both sides see the Egyptians as more of a reliable source. Egypt, of course, is very close.
And any agreement would probably have some implications on them and the border with Egypt for Gaza civilians and maybe a possible opening in the future. So again, we're being hopeful. The last time a 72- hour cease-fire was declared, it didn't last very long. And what we have seen, and what I have seen on the border were actually an intensification of fire from both sides leading up to the cease-fire.
And again once the cease-fire broke or ended in the previous times, on the Israeli side, I could definitely experience a very -- a large intensification of mortar shell firing as well as rockets fired into Israel. And the Israeli stance is fire for fire. Even when cease- fires weren't officially broken, there was activity in the air and as your correspondent in Gaza said, drones are often if not always heard overhead whether inactivity or not.
TAPPER: No, I was down in by the border earlier today, or I guess I should say yesterday here in Jerusalem. And the drones are constant.
The polls suggest that Jewish Israelis support Benjamin Netanyahu and have opposed cease-fire attempts in the past. I guess we will see what happens. Michal, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
Coming up -- well, let me throw it right now back to Alisyn in New York -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Jake, thanks so much.
As the world waits for this latest cease-fire, President Obama sign a bill that will send another $225 million to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense system. That's on top of the hundreds of millions that Washington has already provided to help Israel defend itself.
Still, some Israel supporters say the U.S. is not being supportive enough. Joining me now is Israel's Ambassador to U.N. Ron Prosor.
Mr. Ambassador, thanks so much for being here.
Before we get to U.S. policy, let's talk about this latest cease-fire. As you know, the last one lasted about 90 minutes. Are you hopeful that this current one will last all 72 hours and maybe even longer?
RON PROSOR, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The answer is yes. Israel is invested in peace and we have said yes to every cease- fire.
Hamas has this tendency to United States a cease-fire where we cease and they fire. But I hope this time around, because if you really look at it, at the end of the day, we have shown in the past, and this is important for -- when we had leaders on the other side, Anwar Sadat in Egypt or the late King Hussein in Jordan, Israeli people made peace. That's a fact.
We're willing to make peace and that's what we invested in. from my point of view, for us, it is a clear, clear equation here.
CAMEROTA: What if something happens, some other act of violence, and it is not necessarily directed by Hamas, but it is by some lone cell or some bad actor? Must Israel retaliate?
PROSOR: Well, you know, this is the issue. It is always some sector.
Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, as you see, very, very good. Hamas, in contrast to Israel, which wants peace, Hamas is really completely into the destruction of the state of Israel.
It is in their charter. They stand up -- not just Israel, but Jews. So in the sense from my point of view, if it is going to be quiet in Israel, it is going to be quiet in Gaza, as simple as it gets. We really want to use this time to try and do something we haven't done in the past.
And that is to demilitarize Gaza on the one hand, but be connected to the development and reconstruction of Gaza, this time around without terror tunnels, without thousands of missiles and without the money that was given by good people and basically didn't go to the people Gaza, but went to Hamas. We have nothing against the people of Gaza, but we definitely have something against the terrorist organization.
CAMEROTA: What would demilitarize look like to you, since Hamas doesn't seem that interested in laying down arms?
PROSOR: Well, it is very simple.
Instead of investing this in missiles and terror tunnels, we will invest them in kindergartens and schools and hospitals and create a situation where a Gaza from an economic point of view would blossom. It can become a new Singapore, instead of a launching pad,of missiles against Israel a proxy of Iran funded by those with the amazing donation of the emir of Qatar. That money could go into good causes for the people of Gaza and the Palestinian people. We want peace with Palestinian people. We do not want anything else. And is so -- in this area, it's so important to repeat that, because this, I would like to reach a time where, it is exaggerated that our children will love each other, but at least we know how to live side by side with each other. And this is our purpose and this is our mission.
CAMEROTA: That is quite a vision.
I want to talk to you about how the State Department has reacted to Israel's efforts to defend itself. On Sunday, Israel launched an attack and it was against a terror target. In the process, they killed 10 civilians and this was at a U.N. school. The State Department's Jennifer Psaki said the U.S. was -- quote -- "appalled" at that attack and called it disgraceful.
Today, she backed away from some of the stronger language. Let's listen to what she said today about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The issue here is Israel, we believe they have the right to defend themselves. And we understand they can't, the people of Israel can't be waking up every day with terrorists coming in through tunnels, threatening their lives and threatening the health of their people.
But at the same time, as they're defending themselves, there is more that can be done to prevent attacks that are impacting civilians in Gaza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Is there more that Israel could have done to prevent attacks on civilians?
PROSOR: Israel is a democracy. We are on the front line, confronting phenomena that Western democracies have yet to encounter. Hence, terrorist groups like Hamas acting from civilian-populated areas, from schools, from mosques, from hospitals -- there is always more that someone can do, because in the sense, always in that combat zone, it is meters away. Of course you can do more.
But it is important. Israel would never, never target deliberately any civilians. We have never done that. From my point of view, I have huge respect for the United States of America and what the United States of America and Israel stand for. It's the common values that we all cherish. This is the sanctity of life, in contrast to the death and destruction on the other side.
CAMEROTA: But very quickly, for instance, Egypt was able to destroy 1,600 tunnels coming from Gaza without this level of civilian casualties. Some say no civilians were killed. They flooded some of the tunnels. Why didn't Israel try that tactic, instead of bombing the tunnels? PROSOR: Well, as you saw, before Israel, we went with boots on the
ground, we did not know to that extent. People should understand what those tunnels -- people think -- sometimes, the world has a tunnel vision concerning the terror tunnels, because this is six stories deep.
It is long. It goes through our communities, through our kibbutzim, with the main objective to kill, maim and hurt Israelis. We want peace. We can do it. We just have to be strong enough and the world should understand that Israel has a right to defend itself.
CAMEROTA: Mr. Ambassador, we like your optimism and we will see what happens over the next 72 hours. Thanks for being here.
PROSOR: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, more on our breaking news at this hour, the countdown to cease-fire in Gaza. And we will have a lot more from Jake Tapper in Jerusalem.
And the Ebola scare in New York City. A man who recently traveled to West Africa is being tested at a hospital here tonight for the deadly disease.
And a scandal that nearly tore America apart. Have we learned anything in the 40 years since Watergate and Richard Nixon's resignation? Two men who saw it all from front row seats are here, Carl Bernstein and Dan Rather.
CAMEROTA: An unidentified man is in New York's Mount Sinai Hospital at this hour being tested for Ebola. The doctors say they won't have the results for at least a day.
CNN's Jason Carroll is live at the hospital with the latest.
What do we know, Jason?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, Alisyn, they are still waiting for those test results to come back. In the interim, what they are doing is they're treating this patient with an abundance of caution. This patient is still being treated, still in strict isolation.
We should point out this evening, the New York City Health Department official did speak to CNN. That official telling CNN that it appears that from what he knows, after speaking to a representative at the CDC, after speaking to doctors here at the hospital, that what they're looking at is an unlikely case of Ebola.
But once again, they have to proceed with an abundance of caution to make sure these test results come back and confirm what they're thinking, which is once again that it is not Ebola, but you can imagine what happened when this patient came here this morning telling doctors that he had just come back from the region. He had flu-like symptoms. And then all of a sudden everything kicked into gear. Within minutes this patient was in isolation.
So once again at this point, Alisyn, doctors at the hospital doing everything that they can to treat this man, but still awaiting those test results.
CAMEROTA: OK. Jason Carroll, thank you. Bring us back any information as soon as you get it from the hospital.
We want to bring in Dr. Jorge Rodriguez. He's a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist.
Doctor, thanks so much for being here. How troubled are you that this patient who recently travel to West Africa was walking the streets of New York and then showed up with these bad symptoms?
DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNIST: Well, I'm troubled, as most of America is, the fact, if it isn't this case, I think eventually it is bound to happen.
I'm glad that they're taking these precautions. I just wish that physicians like myself and E.R. doctors had a quicker way of assessing whether this really is something like Ebola or not, because as cold and flu season arrives, I think we will be seeing a lot more of these cases.
CAMEROTA: Right, great point, because we have to wait a whole day to find out if this man was in fact exposed to Ebola.
RODRIGUEZ: At least.
CAMEROTA: How likely is it, Doctor, that Ebola could actually spread here in the U.S.? Obviously that is the big fear of everyone listening tonight.
RODRIGUEZ: Listen, nobody really knows that.
I just think statistically it is something that is bound to happen. Once Ebola got out of small villages in Africa and into urban centers, in today's world, I think most of us believe it really is just a matter of time. It isn't a question of if anymore. It is only a matter of when.
CAMEROTA: But when you say it is bound to happen, what does that mean? An epidemic on our hands?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know what? It all depends on how quickly we react. It depends on how far along we are with treatments for Ebola. It depends on how far along we are with being able to diagnose Ebola.
For example, if this gentleman is out in the community for two days when he is very contagious or he comes into a hospital and we can't diagnose it for two or three days, that is more likely then to spread than if we just find out whether he has it or not in one day or six hours or one hour if we have a quick enough test.
CAMEROTA: So we understand there is this experimental serum that can have a positive effect on people who have come into contact with the virus. Tell us more about this.
RODRIGUEZ: Well, this serum, you know what? Why these two patients, and here we always have to walk a very thin line between sort of clarity and caution and compassion, why these two patients were brought over. Now it is clear that they were given a serum.
This serum is made from sort of antibodies from monkeys that were given the Ebola virus. There are many companies throughout the world that are working, not just on serum but on medications. And I'm glad to see the government has given this company in San Diego a lot more money to go along and enhance the research that is needed to really expedite this.
CAMEROTA: We were just looking at the two Americans that were exposed to Ebola and who are fighting it. But there is not enough serum to go around.
RODRIGUEZ: No. And let's be cautious. We don't even know really if this serum is working. I'm glad now that these patients were brought to a hospital where so many tests can be done, where they can see the response of their body to this serum.
We don't know if these patients are naturally getting better or whether the serum is really doing something. So before we give the banner of cure to the serum, a lot more students and a lot more information needs to be gathered.
CAMEROTA: OK. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, we will check back with you tomorrow when we have the status of this patient here in New York City. Thank you.
RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Well, the clock is ticking in the Middle East. But just how good are the chances of a lasting cease-fire in Gaza? And has Israel accomplished what it wanted? We will go back to Jake Tapper live in Jerusalem.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN TONIGHT. I'm Jake Tapper in Jerusalem.
A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is scheduled to begin in just about two-and-a-half-hours. If it holds -- and, of course, that's a very big if -- what is the next step?
Joining me now, Reza Aslan, professor at U.C. Riverside and author of the book "Zealot," and Peter Beinart, CNN political commentator and columnist for "Haaretz" newspaper.
Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.
Reza, let me start with you.
One of the things I have heard members of Hamas say for after the cease-fire, presuming that it holds for 72 hours, is that the occupation has to end. I think what many of them mean, if not all of them, is, Israel has to end. Am I wrong?
REZA ASLAN, AUTHOR, "HOW TO WIN A COSMIC WAR: GOD, GLOBALIZATION, AND THE END OF THE WAR ON TERROR": I think actually what they mean is that the siege over Gaza has to end.
Now, obviously, the larger issue of the occupation and the settlements and the two-state solution, these are tricky issues that have to be dealt with at a diplomatic level. But for Hamas, I think their immediate concern is that the cease-fire leads not just to business as usual, but an ending of the embargo, the blockade that has made life miserable for so many in the Gaza Strip for so long.
TAPPER: Peter, let's listen to what exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal told my colleague Nic Robertson earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KHALED MESHAAL, HAMAS LEADER: We are ready for a cease-fire. We don't want war. We want the war to end today. We did not attack anyone. It was Netanyahu who transferred the crisis that took place in the West Bank on June 12 to Gaza. He is responsible for this. We are ready to stop this war and we want a cease-fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I think the big question here, Peter, is how much control does Hamas actually have? This war began after the three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed by a Hamas offshoot in Hebron in the West Bank, one that many experts think Hamas and Gaza doesn't even have control over. There was violence in Jerusalem today, likely not related to Hamas, per se, just random acts of terrorism, as the Israelis call it.
Does Hamas have the ability to control the situation so that the cease-fire holds?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Hamas has shown in the past that it has been able to enforce a cease-fire on other militant factions, like Islamic Jihad in Gaza, when it has wanted to.
But I do think that the underlying issues have to be addressed. I understand why Israelis are concerned about this military infrastructure in Gaza. But Israelis also need to understand why ordinary Palestinians, including Palestinians who have no love for Hamas whatsoever, feel that the blockade is making their lives miserable. It has destroyed the economy in Gaza. It has prevented the freedom of movement that in fact people need to be exposed to the world and get ideas that are contrary to Hamas' very narrow, parochial, Islamist agenda.
So I think that that has to be on the agenda. And I think, sadly, Israel's blockade, although I understand the motives behind it, in many ways I think has only served to strengthen and prop up Hamas.
TAPPER: Reza, you have called for the United States to stop supplying arms to the Israelis. It does bear noting that the Iron Dome anti- missile defense system that worked so well for Israel in many ways, Israelis have argued to me that, if it weren't for the Iron Dome, this war would have been much, much worse. Would you grant that point?
ASLAN: Oh, most definitely.
And I'm not referring specifically to Israel's Iron Dome defense system. I'm referring to the massive artillery and weaponry that we are providing Israel. I'm not calling just for the United States to stop sending those arms. I'm calling for an international arms embargo on Israel.
And I'm glad to see that at least Spain has decided to temporarily stop shipping arms to Israel. Look, this is not a war. I mean, 96 percent of the casualties in this conflict are all on one side. That's a slaughter. If this were any other conflict between any other two adversaries, nobody would put up with those kinds of numbers. Those kinds of figures. Let alone continue to supply one side, the winning side with arms and weapons.
But unfortunately, this is something that really has no traction in the United States. Because of the overwhelming support for Israel in the United States, Congress, though I should say that that support has begun to drop pretty dramatically among the American population itself. Perhaps not white evangelical conservatives but among Democrats, independents, especially among young people, and even among American Jews, as Peter has written about so brilliantly in the past. Support for Israel seems to be diminishing, not increasing.
TAPPER: We should point out, of course, Reza, that the casualties are almost entirely, I mean, 90, 96 percent, as you say, Palestinian, but that's not for lack of trying by Hamas and other militant groups that continue to send rockets and mortars into Israel. But absolutely, there is a lopsided body count in this.
Peter, what needs to happen next for this cease-fire to hold? Just the next three days?
BEINART: Yes. I just think there is a lot I agree with Reza about, but I don't think I could support an arms embargo to Israel. I -- to me, it seems to me America should support Israeli security but oppose Israeli settlement building, which I think undermines Israeli security.
For this cease-fire, I think you're going to have to -- I think the ultimate way of dealing with this problem is to have a legitimate Palestinian leadership in both the West Bank and Gaza that's elected. Palestinian leaders who have the democratic legitimacy that comes from their people.
And I think from all the polling we have, in fact, it's quite unlikely that Hamas would win that election. But we have to be willing, I think, to let the Palestinians go to elections, knowing that they may make choices that we don't think are good ones. Now, that's different from Hamas launching rockets. If Hamas launches rockets, I think Israel has the right to respond. But if Israel wants strong interlocutors on the Palestinian side, I
think Palestinians have the right to elect their leaders, and Hamas is going to run in those elections.
And I think the most likely result of that, especially if you let Marwan Barghouti (ph), who's by far the most popular Palestinian leader, out of jail, who's a Fatah member who supports two states, is that you would have -- you would have a pro-two-state Palestinian leadership...
BEINART: ... with the strength to make a deal.
TAPPER: All right. Peter Beinart is...
ASLAN: Very quickly...
TAPPER: I'm sorry, Reza. I'd love to -- I'd love to, but we're out of time. Thank you so much. Two provocative thinkers: Reza Aslan, Peter Beinart. Much appreciated. Good to see both of you.
When we come back, the Israeli military may have destroyed the tunnels, but is its reputation also in the rubble?
CAMEROTA: Welcome back, everyone. I want to you take a look at your screen right now. This is sunrise over Gaza City.
Just two and a half hours from now, the official cease-fire that's been agreed to by Israel and Hamas will begin. But at the moment there, it looks tranquil and peaceful. And we will see if that can continue for the next two and a half hours and beyond. We will keep you posted as to what's happening on the ground.
But after 27 days of defending itself, has Israel somehow lost more in the eyes of the world than Hamas has? Here to debate that is Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of TruthRevolt.org. And Rula Jebreal, a foreign policy analyst and author of the novel "Miral." Thanks to both of you for being here.
Ben, I want to start with you. Is it your impression that, in the court of public opinion, that Israel has somehow taken more of a hit during these 27 days than Hamas has?
BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, TRUTHREVOLT.ORG: There's no question. I mean, Hamas is a terrorist group, and people going in understood Hamas to be a terrorist group. Israel, thanks to outlets like CNN, has been turned into the villain in this particular scenario and a moral equivalency has been drawn between the two groups. If Hamas could have come up with any sort of outlet that could have created a will to kill more Jewish babies than Palestinian babies, CNN would be it. I mean, CNN is a key factor in drawing the same sort of equivalency that Hamas hopes to...
CAMEROTA: Hold on a second. I just want to stop you right there...
CAMEROTA: ... because you're saying that, because CNN has interviewed Palestinian families and shown Palestinian children who have been wounded or killed, that somehow CNN is saying that Hamas is OK? I don't think that those two are equivalent. We're not allowed to show the civilians caught in the crossfire?
SHAPIRO: Of course you're allowed to show civilians caught in the crossfire. You should also mention all the restrictions that Hamas puts on your reporting inside the Gaza Strip. You should also mention all the contexts with regard to Hamas putting children in harm's way. You should also routinely mention the fact that Hamas's charter calls for the destruction not only of the state of Israel but for the murder of Jews across the world, which of course, CNN does not.
CAMEROTA: That's silly, then. We talk about that all the time. We talk about the charter, the Hamas charter that says that they want to obliterate Israel and wipe Israel off the face of the map. That's -- you're just not being fair. That's not true.
SHAPIRO: You mention it occasionally. You mention it occasionally in the midst of vast swaths of imagery about Israel using what you would term excessive force.
CAMEROTA: Rula, what's your impression of what's going on in the past 27 days?
RULA JEBREAL, FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST/AUTHOR: Well, I think Ben is not in a position to really lecture us about extremists, especially after what he said about President Obama when he called him Jew hater, when he called him anti-Semitic and he called for the expulsion of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, and Arab Israelis like myself as a solution.
You know, it's so hard to listen to somebody that even Jeffrey Goldberg called a fascist.
Saying that, I think the issue about the public opinion will be connected to the -- what happened, especially after the schools. The U.N. schools that were hit by the Israelis seven times after U.N. officials told Israelis more than once -- actually, 35 times they told Israelis, the IDF, that they have civilians inside of that school.
JEBREAL: This is what turned the public opinion against the action of Israel.
Of course Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. But when every time that they kill one Hamas leader, one Hamas militant, with him they are killing at least ten civilians. So the public opinion is asking, what is the end game here? And after killing 2,000 civilians, or 2,000 people in Gaza, is Israel really more secure and safe? CAMEROTA: Let's try to avoid the inflammatory comments about each
other and the ad hominem attacks. Because what we're trying to get at is whether or not the U.S. impression, the general opinion in the U.S. has been fair towards Israel.
And Ben, I hear what you're saying. You think that it has not been. Particularly when celebrities like Javier and his wife, Penelope Cruz, issue open letters condemning Israel and saying that they have engaged in genocide, but they don't mention Hamas.
I think you're wrong about the media. I believe, certainly, that CNN has shown both sides. But there is an impression, Ben -- and I understand why you feel this way -- that certainly when it comes to celebrities, that they're giving Hamas a pass.
SHAPIRO: I think this is sort of the point with regard to showing both sides. Showing two sides is equivalent. And your idea of balance is to show Israel's side and then Hamas' side and then claim that balance has been achieved. Well, that's the sort of media coverage that would have led to us losing World War II. So I'm not a big fan of that sort of balance.
CAMEROTA: But Ben, you're the one who's actually equating Hamas and Palestinian civilians. Those are not equal.
SHAPIRO: The hell them (ph).
CAMEROTA: Why would you do that?
SHAPIRO: In what way?
CAMEROTA: Because you're saying that, when the media shows civilians being killed, they're somehow propping up Hamas. That's not true.
SHAPIRO: That's not what I said.
CAMEROTA: You're saying...
SHAPIRO: I did not say that at all. I said feel free to show civilians being killed. What I suggested is that you should provide all the context for those civilians being killed.
And as far as the other woman who's on with me, I'm not familiar with her name. You know, as far as her personal insults, I mean, I'm not going to get into the quality of the movies that are made based on her books. I think that we can all stay away from that.
JEBREAL: Well, let's talk about reality and realpolitik and what's -- and stay away from, really, ideology and hate, I would say.
Look, Israel negotiated with Hamas more than once. The last time, the most striking one was in 2011, when they released 1,000 Hamas prisoners for one Israeli soldier. Lifting the public opinion, especially the Palestinian public opinion,
believe if you use violence when we negotiate with you, while the P.A., the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank recognizes Israel, renounce violence and got nothing in exchange.
And today the world is asking, what can we do about this issue and move it in a context where we talk about occupation and blockades as...
CAMEROTA: But Rula, I mean -- but to your point, I mean, wouldn't it just help if Hamas decided to stop trying to wipe Israel off the face of the earth? I mean, that's the nonstarter. Shouldn't -- isn't that...
CAMEROTA: ... negotiate with them, given that?
JEBREAL: Look, Israel negotiated with Hamas. But let's look at history. Americans and the British negotiated with IRA when they were considered an extremist terrorist group that would blow up schools, if we remember. And actually, they signed a peace deal with them, and they agreed on a peace deal, and they brought peace in Northern Ireland.
So this is the way you negotiate with your enemies. Not with your friends.
CAMEROTA: All right.
JEBREAL: And finally, you can't put that in context. Why do we have cyclical violence? It's because of the occupation and because of the blockades.
CAMEROTA: All right. Obviously, you both have very interesting and differing perspectives. Ben Shapiro, Rula Jebreal, thank you for being here. We'll talk to you again.
JEBREAL: Thank you for having us.
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
All right. Let's to go Jake Tapper, who is live for us in Jerusalem -- Jake.
TAPPER: We are all watching the clock right now as the sun rises here in the Middle East. The cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, is set to begin at 8 a.m. our time here. A little more than two hours from now.
The stakes, of course, could not be higher. More than 1,800 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The U.N. says civilians account for 70 to 80 percent of that number. Israeli officials say 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have been killed.
From Jerusalem, I'm Jake Tapper. We hope those numbers stop where they are. Back to you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right, Jake. Coming up work the icons of journalism who have seen it all: Dan Rather and Carl Bernstein on the battle in Gaza and the scandal that rocked America 40 years ago. The original "gate." Watergate.
CAMEROTA: Forty years ago the Watergate scandal threatened to tear America apart and force President Richard Nixon to resign in disgrace. So has Washington learned anything since then?
Joining me now, two men who have seen it all, every big story from Watergate then to Gaza now. Carl Bernstein, he's a CNN political commentator and the man who helped expose Watergate while at the "Washington Post," of course. And Dan Rather is the anchor and managing editor for Access TV's "Dan Rather Reports." He covered the Watergate investigation and the fall of Richard Nixon. Gentlemen, what a pleasure to have you both in studio.
DAN RATHER, ANCHOR/MANAGING EDITOR, ACCESS TV'S "DAN RATHER REPORTS": Thank you for having us.
CAMEROTA: Great to meet you. Before we get to Watergate, let's start with what's going on in the Middle East. Dan, of course you're no stranger to covering the Middle East for decades. What do you make of this latest round of bloodshed there?
RATHER: Well, it's -- it's good news, talk of the cease-fire, if it holds. And I italicize "if." I'm an optimist but by any realistic analysis, it's a big "if." But if it holds, it has some promise. Let's pray that it does.
CAMEROTA: And many U.S. presidents have tried that sort of tilting at windmills exercise to conquer Middle East peace. Has anybody gotten it right?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Harry Truman did the most courageous thing, which is he fought to recognize the state of Israel, having the United States recognize this new state in 1948, and it's made all the difference in Israel's existence.
Every American president has struggled mightily. Clinton did particularly well. Almost got a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Arafat backed out at the last moment. But every president has tried, and Obama has been very unfairly tagged as anti-Israel or somehow anti-Semitic, which is outrageous.
There's a question of trying to balance to push the Israelis toward recognizing now and moving toward a two-state solution on the West Bank which is, we need in the world, a Palestinian state on the West Bank. But we need Israel's security guaranteed. And it's eluded everybody.
CAMEROTA: All right. Let's cast our memories back 40 years to Watergate and that scandal. Carl, can you believe it's been 40 years? And what do you think now in the rearview mirror?
BERNSTEIN: Yes, I believe it's been 40 years. I think what we know now definitively is that the Nixon presidency was far worse than what Bob Woodward and I were reporting at the time. It was a criminal presidency from the beginning, from the first days.
CAMEROTA: What do you mean?
BERNSTEIN: If you listen to these tapes, which really are the story of the Nixon presidency and of Richard Nixon, you hear in the first year, Nixon set up the illegal mechanism by the same people for break- ins, illegal wiretapping, fire bombings. You hear Nixon on tape saying, "Fire bomb the damn place," referring to the -- to the Brookings Institution to get some papers out of there that would reflect badly on his predecessor, Lyndon Johnson.
This was a criminal presidency. And that's what we see and hear on the tapes. Never, ever do we hear the president of the United States say, "The dog that never barks. What would be right for the United States of America?" It is all about vengeance, revenge, getting back at enemies. And the cover-up is worse than the crime? No, the crime was enormous from beginning to end.
CAMEROTA: Dan, you had a famous exchange. Probably many. But one in particular with President Nixon. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RATHER: Dan Rather, CBS news. Mr. President...
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you running for something?
RATHER: No, sir, Mr. President, are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNSTEIN: Can I ask Dan a question?
BERNSTEIN: How did you come up with that? Do you have any idea?
RATHER: I have no idea. I didn't have it in my mind.
BERNSTEIN: It's so -- it was so brilliant, such a great comment.
RATHER: You're kind to say that, but I simply want to get on with the question. And I have no -- plenty of regrets, but not about that.
But one slight thing I have in my head is, nobody remembers the question. The question was, "Mr. President, how do you reconcile the facts as being turned up by the special prosecutor with what you've been telling the American people," which I thought was an appropriate question. Nobody remembers the question. But it just -- be had tried for -- this was a technique President
Nixon, if he thought you were going to ask a tough question, he tried to throw you a little off balance by saying something.
But I do -- while it's very kind of you to remember that, I want to underscore, italicize what Carl said before. So many people, they hear Watergate as a word. Watergate is shorthand for a widespread criminal conspiracy led by the president of the United States himself from the Oval Office. More than -- at least 43 members of his administration were indicted, faced trial and/or served hard time. So this is not an opinion. Just go to the tapes. It's all on the tapes.
CAMEROTA: And there have been so many scandals since then. There's even been impeachment since then, but the fact that President Nixon resigned, is that the biggest surprise?
BERNSTEIN: No. He had to resign. Leaders of the Republican Party, led by Barry Goldwater, the great conservative from Arizona, nominated by his part for president in 1964, went to the White House and said, "Mr. President, you must leave."
One of the interesting things, though, is not...
CAMEROTA: Very quickly.
BERNSTEIN: ... is the state of press relations at the White House, and each successive presidency has been worse than the Nixon presidency in transparency.
CAMEROTA: That's another segment, and we'll have you all back to talk about that, because we could talk all night about it. Dan Rather, Carl Bernstein, what a pleasure to meet you both and to talk about all this. Thanks for being here.
RATHER: Thank you. My pleasure to be here.
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
BERNSTEIN : Thanks.
CAMEROTA: We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAPHIC: CNN Heroes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My country's violent history has created a very violent presence. Gangs are everywhere. Kids are exposed to drugs, to violence, and to the lack of opportunities for them to improve their lives.
I was a teacher in the same community that I grew up. My students were dealing with the same problems that I was dealing 20 years ago. I wanted to change that. The best thing for me to do was open my house doors and bring them
here. Eight years later, I'm still running the program in my family house.
We provide classes so they can find their own passions. We give them a decent plate of food.
Children are powerful. They don't know that yet. So I created a safe place for them to realize that they actually can change that aspect in their lives and their community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: Life was getting dangerous for me and my family, because I was involved in illegal activities. I was transformed at Los Datojos (ph). Now, I'm a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- classes to the kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a violent country, the only weapon we can have is love. I still believe that we can change this country. I see potential in kids' dreams and ideas. They are the ones in charge of writing the new history in Guatemala.
CAMEROTA: And that's going to do it for us tonight. Thanks so much for watching. "AC 360" starts right now.