Return to Transcripts main page
House GOP Unveils Plan To Keep Government Open; Israeli Troops Continue To Advance In Northern Gaza; Pro-Palestinian Rally Near Biden's Home In Delaware; Iran's President Travels To Saud Arabia For Wartime Summit; Source: FBI Seizes NYC Mayor Eric Adam's Phone & IPad; Police: About 300,000 Join Pro-Palestinian Rally In London; Col. Elad Goren, Chief Affairs Department Head, Coordinator Of Govt Action In Territories, Israel Defense Ministry, Discusses Israel-Hamas War. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 11, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRAD BLAKEMAN, SENIOR ADVISER, TUNNEL TO TOWERS: Well, it helps greatly through the VA and HUD were provided by vouchers and no more than 30 percent of a veteran's income should they have, an income will be used for housing.
So the fact that the Biden administration is making these funds available for our veterans in order to have vouchers for housing is a great relief.
It's less that charity has to put up when the government stands up. So our wish for the government is keep that funding coming. We'll backstop it with charitable contributions, $11 a month. The T2T.org does our part. And together, public-private partnerships are the best thing that America has to offer our veterans.
JIMENEZ: Sounds good. Brad Blakeman, thank you so much. And thank you all for joining me. I'm Omar Jimenez. Jim Acosta is up next.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington, and we begin this hour with six days and counting until here we go again.
It's been exactly six weeks since the House passed a temporary spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, and in just six days, we could be right back in the same place waiting to see if a deal is in place to keep the government from shutting down. You might recall that last stopgap bill cost Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy his job. Now with days to go, McCarthy's replacement, the new speaker, Mike Johnson, is laying out his plan to keep the government funded.
CNN's Annie Grayer is here with latest. They just had a conference call in all of this a few moments ago.
What did you find out?
ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: So this call just wrapped. We're getting the details in real time. Still combing through the actual bill text. But what Speaker Mike Johnson did in this call is reveal that he wants to fund the government with a two-part approach. The first would fund some of the government to January 19th as you can see here with some government agencies getting that deadline.
And then a second bill that would fund the rest of the government until February 2nd. This bill would not have any additional funding for the wars in Israel or Ukraine. It would keep funding at current levels and not have spending cuts. So this was a plan that Johnson is kind of embracing the right-wing in terms of the approach that he's seeking here. This is what his right-wing colleagues wanted. But he's not doing the deep cuts that his right-wing of his party wanted. So it's kind of a mixed bag here.
ACOSTA: Yes. And it sounds as though there are some conservative members of the Republican conference who are not happy about this already and then there's the question of what's going to happen in the Senate.
GRAYER: Right. So Congressman Chip Roy came out quickly and said that he is against this because he uses his keeping funding at the current levels, which is what he's been working very hard to happen again. And Democrats both in the House and Senate say this kind of laddered or two-step approach is a nonstarter for them. So where does this go from here? I mean, as you said, only six days to go. We'll have to see, but we finally have the plan from Speaker Mike Johnson and we're now going to have to see how he can get the votes to pass this.
ACOSTA: This is the plan until maybe there's another plan. We'll see. But this is the starting plan. No question.
Annie Grayer, thank you very much.
Let's discus that and more with Larry Sabato. He's the director of University of Virginia Center for Politics. He's also the editor of "Sabato's Crystal Ball."
Larry, I will not ask you to look into that crystal ball when it comes to whether or not we're going to see the government shut down because the crystal ball might shatter. But what do you think of this approach that Speaker Johnson is taking here?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Yes. We only project elections, Jim. The easy part as opposed to this.
ACOSTA: That's right.
SABATO: It's a disaster. Everybody knows this is a disaster. Even if it passes the House, which is hardly assured, it will be all kinds of additional plans and objections and all the rest of it, the Senate isn't going to go along with this and the president isn't going to go along with this. And they've got one week to go because they wasted three weeks with their clown show picking a new speaker. So, really, a great start, Speaker Johnson. Really great.
ACOSTA: And now just six days to put the pin back in the grenade, I guess, until a government shutdown kicks in. What do you make of the fact that the speaker just has very little time left to negotiate this? The last go around, I mean, we saw a deal struck at the 11th hour almost, and I suspect that that's what they'll do this time around. Just seems to be the pattern that's in place now to avoid these government shutdowns.
SABATO: Probably if they pick the sane option, which is never a good bet with this Congress, Jim, they could have a continuing resolution. Not this latter approach, but one continuing resolution. But they could also just let the government shutdown. Because some of these people and the speaker doesn't have much of a history or any leadership experience, really, with this sort of thing, they probably have forgotten that just about every time we've had a government shutdown, only one party has suffered. Clearly suffered. And guess which party? The Republican Party. So maybe they're going to do it again.
ACOSTA: Well, and that leads me to this because obviously Democrats had a strong showing in this week's election results. Republicans probably don't want to pile a government shutdown on top of that. But what is your sense of where the momentum is in the race for the White House for 2024? There's this recent CNN poll that shows former President Trump slightly ahead of Joe Biden, but what took place on Tuesday may have reshuffled the deck I think to some extent in terms of expectations of where the parties are.
The government shutdown, obviously, if it does hurt the Republicans as it historically has, that would also be good news for the Democrats.
SABATO: Yes. A lot of things are breaking the Democrats' way expect for the polls and really of all the things that we have on the plate here, the least important is polling. Not to diss the CNN poll or the "New York Times" poll or any other poll, but polls are just a measure of what's happening today if they're accurate. And what really counts is what are the structural factors that affect the election vote as it's shaping up. And most of those structural factors are helping Democrats, not Republicans.
ACOSTA: And the abortion issue really brought Democrats out to the polls. In terms of the polling places where they vote. Not the polls that are -- you get a call on. But let me ask you this. I mean, is this sort of an X factor that is just not really factoring into the polls? Or do the polls not reflect the I guess the energy that is generated by this abortion issue on the Democratic side?
SABATO: Well, voters generally don't look that far ahead. And they make choices based on the choices that are defined by the candidates and parties during the election campaign. Now, will abortion, abortion rights, reproductive rights be a part of that? Well, of course. You know, when Roe v. Wade was overturned, Jim, and I know you remember this, people said, well, you know, women and other Democratic leaning voters are angry now.
But this is June. And a lot of it will have faded by November. Well, Democrats did very well. Much better than expected in the midterm elections in 2022, and then the critics said it will never last to 2023. No issue lasts that long. We just had the 2023 elections. What happened? Abortion rights pushed those elections to the Democrats. So I'll make a bold prediction using the crystal ball.
We're going to see abortion rights be a major issue again in the fall of 2024 because people aren't forgetting about it, in part because Republican legislature and governors are passing restrictions right and left on abortion rights.
ACOSTA: And let me ask you about the 2024 match-up between Biden and Trump. If Trump -- and it looks like he's going to get the nomination, if he is in fact the nominee. This afternoon, Trump held another rally. This time in New Hampshire, where he was gushing over Hungary's authoritarian leader Viktor Orban. And he did this again. He made this comment that made it sound as though Trump thinks Barack Obama is the current president. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The head of Hungary, very tough, strong guy, Viktor Orban. They were interviewing him two weeks ago and they said what would you advise President Obama, the whole world seems to be exploding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Larry, Trump has had a lot of these slip-ups, mental lapses. Just getting things wrong. Some of his recent rallies, he did one earlier this week where he was down in Hialeah at the same they're having that debate in Miami. We talked about Kim Jong-un being in charge of a country of 1.4 billion people. Obviously that was a verbal slip-up, a mental slip-up.
What do you think is going on? "The Washington Post" has a story out today on how Trump's 2024 Republican rivals are looking for ways to stop his momentum and they're seizing on opportunities to challenge his acuity. Talking about Trump's acuity here, not Biden's acuity, which is something that Republicans like to talk about. What's your sense of what's going on there?
SABATO: Well, good luck to his opponents in the Republican Party because the base, the Trump base, which is the biggest part of the Republican base, isn't listening to any criticism of Trump. They don't care even if they think it's accurate, but it is important. Maybe the press reports should be more balanced. When President Biden's age and questions about his so-called mental acuity or race may be the very same thing should be mentioned for Donald Trump.
I think that would be fair. And I've got to say, Jim, I just hope President Putin's feelings weren't hurt by the good things that Trump said about Orban. You know, I hope he's not switching dictators here.
ACOSTA: And let me ask you about this, Larry. Joe Manchin and this announcement that the Democratic senator from West Virginia announced earlier this week that he's not running for re-election next year, leaving the -- I mean, he made it clear in this video that he put out that he's leaving the door open to a possible third-party bid for president.
Is there -- what is your sense of this? Because, yes, RFK Jr. is out there, and our Harry Enten is talking about how RFK Jr. actually maybe affecting this race more than people think right now. But could Joe Manchin do something similar in a different kind of lane, in a centrist lane as he likes to describe it? What do you think about all that?
SABATO: Personally, I doubt that Joe Manchin runs for president as an independent or the No Labels candidate or anything of the sort because I think he knows deep down he would lose. Probably lose badly. And it is possible if he attracts enough centrist vote, he could spin that election in the electoral college right to Donald Trump. And I don't think he wants to be known for that in American history. That's just a guess.
But I'll tell you, if there's anything that President Biden does have to worry about, because you can't do anything about your age. The one thing he has to worry about are these third party independent candidates because we're getting a crowd of them. You mentioned Joe Manchin as a possibility or Larry Hogan, the former governor of Maryland for the No Labels people. But you have Jill Stein reappearing.
SABATO: The Green Party candidate who cost Hillary Clinton -- certainly it cost her Michigan. Probably cost her Wisconsin and may -- may have cost her Pennsylvania, and therefore, the election. But RFK Jr., who may be hurting Trump right now at least, more than Biden. Cornell West who is a liberal and one assumes as an independent if he can actually get on the ballot, he would hurt Joe Biden.
So to me, as you look at the election structurally, the greatest threat to President Biden's re-election isn't his age. It's third party and independent candidates.
ACOSTA: Yes, because all it takes is a slice here and a slice there in some key states and that's it.
All right, Larry Sabato, great to talk to you as always. Thanks a lot.
SABATO: Thank you, Jim.
ACOSTA: All right. Good to see you.
Coming up, the United Nations relief agency that works in Gaza says the people are there being, quote, "choked" by continuous bombardment. That dire situation unfolding as there are large pro-Palestinian rallies unfolding across Europe today. We'll have the latest from the Israel-Hamas war and from the demonstrations. That's ahead.
ACOSTA: Now to the critical situation unfolding in Gaza, intense fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants continues around Gaza's biggest hospital. This as the International Committee for the Red Cross says Gaza's healthcare system is past the, quote, "point of no return."
CNN correspondent Oren Liebermann is live for us in Sderot, Israel, with more.
Oren, what are you learning?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, well, let me give you an update from what we're seeing and hearing here over the course of the past hour. We heard much more artillery, although we couldn't see where it landed, suggesting that it's landing farther south in the Gaza Strip, unclear exactly on that point. But now instead of the artillery, we're hearing more fighter jets up ahead and have seen one or two explosions apparently from those fighter jets from our vantage point here.
About an hour and a half ago, we even heard machine gunfight which would have been much closer to us because of our ability to hear it. But in terms of what we're hearing from inside Gaza, much of today has focused on Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip. That according to the information we know has about 400 patients and perhaps more importantly, 20,000 Palestinians taking refuge within the hospital.
The director general for the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health says the hospital itself is surrounded by IDF forces, tanks and other forces. And fighting rages in that area. Meanwhile, the hospital itself faces a critical shortage of food, water and electricity, and that has made a difficult situation even more dire as the hours here tick by, and the fighting surrounding the street on that area itself.
Meanwhile, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health also says that again they are in need of supplies here. The Palestine Red Crescent says only 53 aid trucks entered today. That a tiny fraction of what normally comes in. Officials there have said the main complex of the hospital itself hasn't been targeted by other structures, the maternity ward, for example, external clinics, have been damaged by fighting in that area.
As is so often the case when we're talking about pretty much anything here, there's a different -- a competing narrative, if you will, coming from the Israelis who say, look, there is fighting in that area, but the east side of the hospital is open and they will assist and provide whatever assistance needed for those looking to come into or out of the hospital there. They say they're in touch with hospital officials there and will assist in the evacuation of people in the pediatrics unit tomorrow. That coming out from the IDF just a short time ago. Meanwhile, the IDF also says they've taken over 11 Hamas military
posts, have assisted in the evacuation of two other hospitals, the Al- Nasr Hospital and the Rantisi Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, and that is where the IDF has focused much of its operation and its fighting. Now we can hear some of that from here, Jim. We will certainly continue to see how it develops not only from the reports we're getting from inside Gaza, but from what we can see in here from our vantage point on the northeastern corner of Gaza.
ACOSTA: All right, Oren. And tonight, we heard from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What did he say?
LIEBERMANN: In terms of the overall message, a lot of what we heard here is what he said. They're going to continue to go after Hamas, they're going to continue to hit Hamas, and that that's the ultimate goal here as they keep in mind trying to get some of the hostages back. More of the more interesting points he made in a speech today after the Sabath was he didn't specifically say the Palestinian authority wouldn't be returning to Gaza, but he said a civil authority here that hasn't yet condemned the October 7th attack would not be in charge of Gaza and that Israel would have security control and would be able to go in at any point.
That leaves open the question of what is Israel's post-Hamas plan for if and when it defeats Hamas. That is very much an open question because that sounds a lot like Israel's plan is to reoccupy Gaza on the ground.
ACOSTA: All right, Oren Liebermann for us, thank you very much.
Now I want to go to CNN senior White House reporter Kevin Liptak.
Kevin, the president is in Delaware and apparently we are seeing some protests outside his Wilmington home? Is that right? What can you tell us about that?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It was a sizable protest, Jim. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters. And you know, I've been in Wilmington a fair amount over the last couple of years. You don't really see a lot of protests when the president is in town for the weekend so it does reflect this growing anger among a certain portion of the American population at how President Biden has been handling this conflict.
And it does mirror some other protests that the president has seen over the last week. He saw them in Illinois when he was there for a speech. He's been interrupted two times by people calling for a cease- fire. Now, today, the president drove into his house so he didn't necessarily see these protesters firsthand, but certainly he is aware of this divide among the American public about how this is being handled.
And it's a divide among Democrats as well. Just this week, a majority of the Democratic caucus in the Senate wrote President Biden, asking more questions about that $14 billion request for emergency military assistance to Israel. Asking for guarantees that Israel -- that the funding come with it some guarantees that Israel mitigates civilian deaths. We also heard today from the French President Emmanuel Macron saying that a cease-fire would benefit Israel, that there is no justification for its bombing of civilians and calling on other leaders including in the United States to join him in making that call.
And so certainly President Biden has been standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel throughout this conflict saying that it has a right to defend itself. A responsibility to go after Hamas. But you have seen President Biden and other administration officials injecting much more caution into their public remarks and in fact we heard just this week from the Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that too many Palestinians had died in this conflict, saying that much more needed to be done to protect civilian lives.
President Biden has of course been calling for these humanitarian pauses in his phone calls with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And the White House did announce this week that Israel would be implementing these four-hour pauses each day to allow more aid to flow in and allow civilians who want to flee to get out, but President Biden, when he was asked about this this week, did acknowledge that he hoped that Netanyahu might have agreed to that a little sooner -- Jim.
ACOSTA: All right. Kevin Liptak, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Back in the Middle East, a major wartime summit just wrapped up in Saudi Arabia. The president of Iran met with the Saudi crown prince, the first such visit in more than a decade. And a final resolution agreed to by more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders that condemns what they call Israel's war crimes against Gaza describing it as, quote, "barbaric, brutal and inhumane massacres," end quote.
Joining us now, the former State Department Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller.
You know, Aaron, you know, what do you think of the Iranian president going to Saudi Arabia? We typically think of the Iranians and the Saudis as being just, you know, not really on the same page on very much in the world, and yet here we are seeing them together meeting with these other leaders and issuing some strong condemnations today.
AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR: Yes. As you know, Jim, the Chinese brokered I guess I would call it an Iranian-Saudi detente at the end of last year. And I think that detente, that relaxation of tensions, has created an opening for improved relations. The Saudis clearly want to keep Iran as quiet as possible given the fact that the export of oil is critically important and regional stability for the Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince's economic plans, and the Iranians are looking for a way to come into the cold. Clearly with the Arab Sunni world.
And I think the OIC meeting, this Organization of the Islamic Conference, gave the Iranians -- frankly if you stop the conflict today, Iran would have been a winner. They've clearly backed Hezbollah. Keeping the Israelis occupied on the Lebanese border. They believe that their support of Hamas, $100 million a year, has paid off. You've got regional tensions. Anger at the United States red hot. White hot heat, anger at the Israelis. Thousands of Palestinians killed. Destruction in Gaza of unprecedented proportion.
All of this plays into Tehran's objectives. They'd love to see the Israelis stay in the West Bank and occupy Gaza forever.
ACOSTA: And do you think that's a little bit of why we're seeing the Biden administration recalibrating its message a little bit? Yesterday, the Secretary of State Tony Blinken, you know, said, that he would like to see fewer Palestinians killed quite candidly. He did say there are too many Palestinians being killed. What do you think of all that?
MILLER: We talk about this the other day, Jim. There are two clocks ticking. One, the Israeli military clock which is moving very slowly as the Israelis seek to eradicate Hamas' military capacity. The other is the president's political clock, which is ticking down much more quickly under pressure from Democrats, Arab partners in the region. You now have the French President Macron calling for a cease-fire.
So the administration is really in my judgment caught here. They still are very supportive of Israel but the longer this goes on, the more exponential deaths there are among Palestinians, the more destruction, the greater chance that at some point these clocks are not going to be synchronized. And what it would take to produce that, I don't know, but the Israelis are thinking months here, not weeks of military activity and that frankly is going to set matters up for the possibility of increasing tensions between Washington and Jerusalem.
ACOSTA: And what are the stakes for Prime Minister Netanyahu? I mean, a U.S. senior official tells CNN hostage negotiations are working toward a deal that would include a day's long pause in the fighting to get a large number of hostages out of Gaza. Whether or not that deal comes to fruition I suppose is really up in the air, but Bibi Netanyahu has been just really dead against any kind of a pause that is longer than a day or so.
And I'm just curious what your thoughts are on all of this and whether these pressures that are mounting from the Biden administration, in the Muslim world, will any of that have an impact on Netanyahu's thinking do you think?
MILLER: You know, I think he's tethered his political -- what remains of his political future because I think that's quite dire, presiding over the largest terror attack in the history of the state of Israel. The greatest intelligence failure since the 1973 war. On trial three years in running for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in a Jerusalem district court before three judges.
His political future is fried. He's hanging it seems to me on the assumption that Israel can somehow succeed in eradicating Gaza and that I suspect he understands is a lifeline in order to somehow resurrect himself. But the average length of Israeli government's independence is 1.8 years. And the Netanyahu government is reaching its one-year mark. If you and I were having this conversation next year at this time, I doubt if this Israeli government will be the one that the United States is dealing with.
ACOSTA: Interesting. Speaking of clocks that are ticking, there's one for Netanyahu as well it sounds.
All right, Aaron David Miller, thank you very much as always. We appreciate it.
Still ahead, why the FBI seized New York Mayor Eric Adams' phones. That story just ahead.
ACOSTA: Mayor Adams said he had nothing to hide after FBI agents seized his cell phones and iPad this week as part of a federal investigation into campaign fundraising.
The seizer comes just days after agents raided the home of Adams' chief fundraiser.
CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now with the latest.
Polo, what else is the mayor saying?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is an absolutely extraordinary scene that played out on Monday, Jim, according to what CNN is hearing from multiple sources.
The way it all happened is that Adams has just wrapped up a speaking engagement here in Manhattan, specifically at NYU, and as he was making his way to his SUV, that is when federal agents armed with a federal search warrant approach him, asked his security detail to step out of the way.
Then basically asked the mayor, while inside his SUV, to hand over his electronic devices. What does that include? At least two phones and his iPad as well.
A spokesperson for the mayor saying Adams immediately complied with that request by handing over those devices.
It also maintains that the mayor has not been suspect -- has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
But also certainly important to point out that this happened on the heels of his fundraising chief for his campaign, her house being raided by federal authorities last week as they continue to look into the possibility that the Adams campaign back in 2021 may have potentially received foreign funds, which would have been illegal. As more of what we've been hearing from the mayor, a former police
officer himself here in New York, writing, "As a former member of law enforcement, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any sort of investigation and I will continue to do exactly that, to do," quote, "exactly that."
We should mention, immediately after he was served with that warrant, the mayor, according to several sources close to the mayor, he then returned to his home and even offered to hand over additional devices as well.
So what you're hearing really from Adams and his representatives is that they have been assisting federal authorities and, as he puts it, "has nothing to hide."
Jim, but just the scene itself from Monday, it is just absolutely extraordinary. We have the mayor of America's largest city in a vehicle with federal authorities who are asking him to turn over some of those devices.
So that certainly makes him a key stakeholder, at least in this investigation, if not a potential witness.
ACOSTA: Yes. Huge political implication, too, for the mayor in the Big Apple.
Polo Sandoval, thank you very much, live outside city hall for us. We appreciate it.
Coming up, across Europe, thousands joined pro-Palestinian rallies, including -- get this -- an estimated 300,000 in London. We'll take you there, next.
ACOSTA: Hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets across the world today calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. London, Brussels and Paris all saw huge crowds.
And CNN's Clare Sebastian has more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In our millions, in our billions!
CROWD: We are all Palestinians!
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Organized and in one voice, tens of thousands of people took to London streets demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
SEBASTIAN (on camera): This march is beginning now in central London, but the final destination is the United States embassy in south London.
And that is the key here. The anger that we're hearing is mostly directed towards Western governments, and in particular, the United States for its support of Israel.
SEBASTIAN (voice-over): The conflict now in its second month has seen Gaza under unrelenting Israeli bombardment in the weeks since Hamas launched its October 7th attack on Israel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In one month, it's over 4,000 children die. This is not normal.
SEBASTIAN: And as people got ready to march in solidarity with Palestinians, others were marking a second historic war.
SEBASTIAN: Armistice Day, the date commemorating the de facto end of World War I.
As crossover, some branded as insensitive. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak initially attempted to stop the pro-Palestinian rally from going ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Armistice Day is supposed to be about the end of the war, and this is exactly what people are here for. We want to see an end to the war in Gaza, and this is what we're supporting.
SEBASTIAN: A heavy police presence had been promised in London Saturday, and they did face challenges.
Far-right counter-protesters disrupted a two-minute silence observed for Armistice Day before clashing with police in central London. Police say they detained dozens of those counter-protesters following scuffles.
For the pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathering outside the U.S. embassy at the end of their march, emotions were starting to show.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to say I'm Jewish, and I fully support this march and everything that's going on today. Why can't we all stand up for Palestinians?
SEBASTIAN: So despite the controversy in the lead up to this event, it has remained very organized, pretty peaceful.
But the scale of it reflects what we're increasingly seeing, this growing public mood that, despite the horrific attacks of October 7th, the response may have gone too far.
Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.
ACOSTA: The United Nations Relief Agency says that workers in Gaza says the people there are being choked by continuous bombardment, and there's increasing concern over the medical system there.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says the health care system has passed the, quote, "point of no return."
Colonel Elad Goren joins us now to talk about this. He works for the Israel Defense Ministry in the unit that is responsible for humanitarian efforts in Gaza.
Colonel, thank you very much for joining us.
What is the situation tonight at that hospital, I believe it's the Shifa Hospital in Gaza? That has been the area of concern for a lot of people, not only in Gaza but around the world. What can you tell us?
COL. ELAD GOREN, CHIEF AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT HEAD: Jim, thank you for having me.
I want to remind your viewers that we are in the 36th day of the war that have been forced on us by the terror organization of Hamas that invade the villages in Gaza.
Murdered, slaughtered, raped 1,400 people and kidnapped 259 citizens, part of them are foreign nationals, and this is the case that we are now in in Gaza.
And regarding hospitals, we are trying to evacuate the people from the hospital, from the north to the south. Mostly because we understand that hospitals are a part of a humanitarian -- of a headquarters that have been held by Hamas.
ACOSTA: And so what is the plan for getting some of these innocent civilians out, the babies, for example? Is there a plan?
GOREN: Hamas terror organization has a strategy in two forms. From one hand, they're an operational strategy. From the other hand, they are civilian humanitarian strategy.
In this strategy, they are using every civil infrastructure, humanitarian infrastructure, even the U.N. infrastructure and also hospitals.
So what we are trying to do, we are trying to encourage the people that are inside the hospital to evacuate from the north to the south, and all the people that are independently can move through the humanitarian corridors that we established, they can move and we will facilitate their move.
Regarding the people that cannot, we will engage and we will coordinate it with international communities in order to allow them to evacuate themselves from Shifa Hospital to other hospitals in the south. ACOSTA: And, Colonel, as you know, there have been bombings and blasts
at these hospitals. And I know you and others with the Israeli Defense Forces have said that this is because Hamas is operating in some of these hospitals.
But despite that, this was the message that we heard from one Norwegian doctor who has volunteered at the hospital.
We're going to play that sound then get you to respond if possible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MADS GILBERT NORWEGIAN PHYSICIAN & EX-VOLUNTEER AT AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL: President Biden, Mr. Blinken, Mr. Blinken, can you hear me? Prime ministers and presidents of the European countries, can you hear me?
Can you hear the screams from Shifa Hospital? From other hospitals? Can you hear the screams from innocent people? Refugees sheltering, trying to safe place, being bombed by Israeli attack forces, hospitals that are the temples of humanity and protection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Colonel, what's your response to that?
GOREN: Israel is not firing and not targeting hospitals. Yesterday, there was a misfire by Hamas to try to launch a rocket against the state of Israel and it fell inside Shifa. We are not targeting hospitals and not firing on them.
ACOSTA: That doctor seems to be saying that he would like to see these hospitals, these areas around the hospitals, not be the targets by Israeli Defense Forces.
Haven't there been some hits, some strikes that have occurred by these facilities?
GOREN: As I said, we are not targeting hospitals. But let us remember that hospitals above the ground and headquarters under the ground trying to save lives. Above the ground and trying to take lives under the ground.
So this is why we ask and we're still asking that people that are inside the hospital to evacuate themselves from the north to the south. We will facilitate their movement.
And we established humanitarian corridors and there's a way to get out from the hospitals and move to the south.
ACOSTA: And as you know, Colonel, the United States, President Biden, the Biden administration, they've been standing shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli government throughout this entire conflict, this war, as you said, that was started on October 7th by Hamas. Tony Blinken, the secretary of state, says, right now, that the
Israeli military is simply killing too many Palestinians. He made that comment just in the last day or so. I'm sure you saw that. What's your response to that?
GOREN: I want to be clear. We are not in war against the residents of Gaza. We are in war against the terror organization of Hamas.
In the minute that we are trying, while we are trying to reduce and to distinguish between Hamas terror organization and the residents of Gaza, the terror organization of Hamas is trying to think, how to put these civilians as a human shield between us and them.
So we are trying to do everything in our power in order to reduce the number of casualties. And they're trying to do everything in their power in order to increase it.
ACOSTA: But when you have the secretary of state of the United States saying far too many Palestinians have been killed, does that give you pause?
GOREN: We are fully coordinated with the U.S. administration. This is why we established yesterday and today humanitarian pauses and we established two humanitarian corridors and we asked the population to evacuate from the north to the south where the humanitarian assistance will be delivered.
We are trying to do anything in our power to do reduce the number of casualties of civilians.
ACOSTA: CNN is reporting there have been discussions going on among multiple parties that might facilitate a longer pause that could lead to the release of hostages.
Is Israel open to that? Is the Israeli -- are the Israeli defense forces open to that?
GOREN: We cannot address this question because this is a question for my leadership. The idea we continue to engage and we are in war in order to eliminate the threat and eliminate Hamas.
ACOSTA: All right. Colonel Goren, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.
And we'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: President Biden honoring the nation's veterans during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery today. The commander-in-chief praised current and former servicemembers as the steel spine of America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We come together today to once again honor the generations of Americans who stood on the front lines of freedom. To once again bear witness to great deeds of a noble few who risked everything, everything, to give us a better future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The president also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and gave thanks to the families of fallen servicemembers.
Governors Island, in New York City, is setting an example of sustainability with its zero-waste island plan.
Here's today's "IMPACT YOUR WORLD."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governors Island is a 172-acre island that's off of the tip of Manhattan. The concept of zero waste island is to create a system reducing the waste that we produce.
Earth Matters is a non-profit and we are dedicated to recycling people's food scraps and other yard waste materials and teaching leadership.
When people are picnicking on the island, anything that people are distributing into what we call resource recovery stations, is something that we will then take out the organic matter and we will compost it.
Composting is actually taking those organic materials, your food scraps, your yard waste, and it's transforming them into something we apply to the existing soils.
We are trying to reverse the trend of spending all of our resources and having them end up in the landfill. If things are in a landfill, they will be buried and they won't break down and they will admit methane gas, which contributes to ozone.
All of the vendors on the island have to make sure that the food that they are providing is served in compostable ware that goes into our piles to break down.
Last year, we produced 720 tons of finished compost over 500 community gardens that are receiving that to grow food.
And we want to feel that we are leaving this planet for the next generation in a better spot. If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)