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Israeli Claims Tunnel Shaft Found At Hospital Raided By IDF; Man Films Family's Journey After Being Forced From Gaza City; Final Day Of Indo-Pacific Leaders Summit In San Francisco; Sudan Asks U.N. To End Political Mission Immediately. Growing Pressure on Israel as IDF Searches Gaza Hospital; Analyzing the Tremendous Cost of Rebuilding Gaza; Jordanian FM: Israel "Killed any Embrace of Peace in the Region"; WHO: Pressing Health Threat; NY Appeals Court Lifts Gag Order in Trump Fraud Trial; Santos Responds to Damning Ethics Report. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 17, 2023 - 01:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company. Coming up on CNN Newsroom. Thousands in Gaza told to flee further south as the Israel Defense Forces warned the military activity is going to spread.

And more meetings for President Biden and Xi as the U.S. and China work to strengthen relationships at the APEC conference.

Plus, world health leaders working to combat a new threat to global wellness isolation, what effects they say loneliness can have on your health.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: Strikes and raids worsening shortages and strong warnings about the humanitarian catastrophe spreading through Gaza. The head of the U.N. Agency for Palestinian refugees says the Enclave is enduring a total communication blackout that is adding to the panic and anxiety.

He says civilians are also without power, fuel, functioning hospitals and even water and the head of the World Food Program says people face the immediate risk of starvation as food systems collapse.

But the Israeli government has refused to slow its incursion. The Minister for Economy and ministry and industry telling CNN Hamas must be wiped close off the face of the earth, adding Israel quoting again, didn't start the war, but we'll finish it in a way that in his words minimizes the harm to innocent women and children.

This coming as Israel faces loud and increasing condemnation over its raid on Gaza's largest hospital. The Israel Defense Forces have insisted Hamas was hiding a command and control center, a tunnel network and possibly hostages at the Al-Shifa complex.

And on Thursday, the IDF released this video that it claims shows one of those tunnels as well as some Hamas weapons. But the militant group accused Israel of giving false scenarios and quote, a failed attempt to escape future accountability.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has a closer look at what the Israeli military says it uncovered at the hospital.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Hamas tunnel below Gaza is largest hospital. That's what the Israeli military says this video shows. Nearly 48 hours after Israeli forces raided Al-Shifa Hospital, these are the first images of what the Israeli military says is an operational tunnel shaft on the grounds of the hospital complex.

CNN cannot independently verify those claims, but using this frame, CNN has geo located this video to the Al-Shifa complex, about 30 meters away from one of the hospitals main buildings.

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: It is here in chief hospital with Hamas operate some of its command and control cells.

DIAMOND (voice-over): For weeks Israeli officials have laid the groundwork for an operation targeting Shifa Hospital, claiming Hamas operates a massive underground complex below it. And in recent days, the U.S. has also backed up those allegations.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: One thing has been established is that Hamas does have headquarters weapons material below this hospital.

DIAMOND (voice-over): As Israeli Special Forces continue searching the hospital complex, they are also uncovering weapons and ammunition.

LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: There is a an AK-47 There are cartridges ammo, there are grenades in here.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Which the Israeli military calls concrete evidence that Hamas use Gaza's largest hospital to wage war.

Near the hospital, Israeli officials also say they found the body of 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss, who was among those abducted on October seventh. Israel's decision to send troops into a hospital has drawn fierce criticism with UN's aid chief saying he is appalled by the raid. President Biden standing by Israel's actions.

BIDEN: It's not like you're rushing to the hospital knocking down doors and, you know, pulling people aside and shooting people indiscriminately.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Amid the fighting the families of hostages held by Hamas ramping up the pressure.

ZOHAR AVIGDORI, NIECE, SISTER-IN-LAW HELD HOSTAGE: This whole huge march of families up to Jerusalem It comes to make a very clear stand to our government that they need to take any deal that they have and pay any price for these people, for their citizens pretty much.


DIAMOND (voice-over): As negotiations drag on over a deal that could see Hamas free dozens of women and children in exchange for a multi- day ceasefire.

AVIDGORI: My sister in law, and this is my niece. She's 12 years old.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Their families are wracked with anxiety.

AVIDGORI: It's been nerve wracking to tell her the truth because again, we don't know who to believe. We are trying to kind of scrape the last remnants of faith and trust in our government that when a relevant deal comes to the table, they will take it.

DIAMOND (voice-over): For now they march and wait. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Ashkelon, Israel.


HOLMES: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his reasons why his forces raided Al-Shifa hospital, here's what he told CBS News.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We had strong indications that they were held in Al-Shifa Hospital, which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital. If they were they were taken out.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, families of the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 were marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They're calling on the Israeli government to meet with them regarding hostage negotiation.


AMIR ALFASSA, NEPHEW OF HOSTAGE HELD BY HAMAS: This is my aunt Maya Goran. She is from Euros (ph). In the in October 7th, the terrorist came to her house and kidnapped her. They murdered her husband, my uncle. She has four -- three sons and one daughter. And we heard nothing from her since then. And me and my family very worried for her and wants her back wants our government and the world to know that.


HOLMES: Now we want to give you a firsthand look at the harsh reality of civilian evacuations from Northern Gaza. Israel says hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have used an evacuation corridor to leave the area where they were ordered to leave. This is where the IDF is focusing at the ground operations. A

Palestinian journalist recorded his family's journey south showing the dangers along the way. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh with the story and a warning some of the images in her report are graphic.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gaza City, two-year-old Walid distracted through his family's most difficult night of the war so far.

With daybreak the Israeli military calls with an order. You have 30 minutes to get out. It was 9:30 a.m. on November the 10th. With makeshift white flags, they say the military told them to hold up, they prepare to move.

RAMI ABU JAMOUS, JOURNALIST: We stay together, we don't rush. If there are strikes or shooting, it's not at us. We walk together slowly. Slowly together. No rush. The Israeli army knows, and I am recording because the army knows.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): With a little they can carry they head out and into the unknown. Some too frail to walk.

JAMOUS: Carry him. Carry him. Put him on your back.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Journalist Rami Abu Jamous is filming the forced evacuation of his family along with more than 30 of their neighbors. His phone in his right hand and then the other his son Walid. He speaks French with his son looking for his wife ahead. Waiting for other elderly neighbors struggling to catch up.

JAMOUS: Carry him, Eyad. Put him on your back. Don't be scared. Stay on the right. Don't be scared. But careful around this spot.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): That constant buzz you hear is Israeli drones overhead. It's been the soundtrack of Gaza for years. As they get to the other side of the street, Rami spots his neighbor Abu Ahmad, something's not right.

JAMOUS: What's going on Abu Ahmad? What's wrong? It's all in God's hands.


JAMOUS: It's all in God's hands. It's all in God's hands.

AHMAD: I told you, let's stay at home, my son. I told home, let's stay at home.

JAMOUS: Let's carry him. Let's carry him.

AHMAD: I told you, let's stay at home, my son. Let's stay at home, my son.

JAMOUS: Let's go. Let's go. [01:10:07]

AHMAD: If only we had stayed at home, God. Ahmad? Ahmad. Are you breathing my son?

JAMOUS: Yes, he is breathing. He is breathing. Breathing? Let's carry him. Yes. Yes. Carry him. Carry him. Pray to God. Pray to God. He is still alive. There's breathing.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Ahmed was shot in the head, he didn't make it. And around the corner two others, a man and a woman also shot, it's ascertain who opened fire on the group.

CNN geo located these videos and trace this deadly journey out of Central Gaza City. We provided the Israeli military with details of this incident and these coordinates but they did not respond to our request for comment.

JAMOUS: Hello.

KARADSHEH: Hello, Rami.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): We reached Rami now in the South.

JAMOUS: There we no ambulances.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Like most here, they were on their own. They got to Shifa Hospital, but so did the war.

JAMOUS: Total panic at Shifa Hospital. Look at the dead bodies. Not even a morgue. Gaza has fallen.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Witness to it all two-year-old Walid.

JAMOUS (through translator): I kept trying to make sure he's not scared and make him feel like what he's seeing around us as a circus or an amusement park. I don't know if I succeeded. Even the journey of humiliation where you take a donkey here and a horse there was trying to make that entertaining for him.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): I ask Rami why he decided to film.

JAMOUS (through translator): I just want this to get to the world so they know the injustice that we're facing. They cast doubt on everything we do. They're stronger in every way. Not just militarily but with the information that comes out, the narrative that comes out, the news that comes out. What they say is the truth and our words are lies.

Please just deliver our message. I don't want anything else. I don't want all those who have been killed to have died in vain.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Rami doesn't know what they'll do now, but says he will only leave his homeland forced at gunpoint or dead. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Israel says they have tried to call people in Gaza to evacuate areas where military operations are underway to minimize civilian casualties. But there has been global criticism on the number of deaths of civilians in Gaza.

Hamas controlled Gaza Ministry of Health says more than 11,400 people have been killed. That includes around 4,700 children.

Now safety is a rare commodity of course in Gaza at the moment, even if you take Israeli attacks out of the equation. Just take it from a Palestinian-American who recently got out of the Enclave. She spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper on Wednesday.


HANEEN OKAL, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN WHO ESCAPED GAZA: It's like as he's in the military is forcing people in this forcing as leash, it's like a cage, no medicine, no water, no electricity. They're doing the all bombing while cutting off everything else. People are suffering because of, you know, laxness of everything that a human being needs to survive.

When I was in Gaza, I was thinking how am I going to survive? And now look at all those civilians. They had to do nothing with what's going on.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: It must have been crazy, because you were literally because I remember talking to your brother, texting with your brother and it was literally how am I going to get food from my family today?

OKAL: Yes. It's not only about truth. Do you know that in hospital -- hospitals are shutting down now.


OKAL: Hospitals, doctors are performing operations without medicine.

TAPPER: Without anesthesia.

OKAL: Absolutely. And premature babies as I told you about they're dying slowly. Thousands of people are trapped under the rubble dying slowly. Nobody can reach them. The Red Cross are not able to help. Nobody can reach them.

There is no fuel, you know, for anything to -- the black out of electricity is a big problem now, and this has to -- has an end. We are calling for a ceasefire for an immediate ceasefire, not just only a five-day ceasefire, and I'm sorry to say that but the U.S. government their responsibility of this violence of this genocide.


[01:15:06] HOLMES: Now the U.S. says it is trying to get more desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza. The U.S. State Department says the top U.S. and Egyptian diplomats spoke on Thursday about joint efforts to bring more aid. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also rejected the forced displacement of Palestinians, and he pushed for concrete steps to minimize harm to Palestinians in Gaza.

U.S. President Joe Biden will convene the final day of the APEC summit in San Francisco in the coming hours is Friday agenda includes a meeting with Mexico's president followed by a leaders retreat.

During that retreat, the President will formally handover the APEC chair to the President of Peru. Mr. Biden set the tone for the summit when he met one on one with China's Xi Jinping on Wednesday, both leaders expressing satisfaction at the end of their lengthy talks and agreeing to continue speaking.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is covering all of this for us. He joins me now live from Seoul. Tell us more about what's been happening and what we can expect Friday.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, really, that meeting between the U.S. and China was the defining moment of this APEC summit. Certainly you've got 21 economies involved within this summit. And yet, they are all looking to the two main economies, the two main leaders to see how their relationship could potentially impact on them.

Now, what we saw on Thursday, following that meeting the day before between President Biden and Xi Jinping was that President Biden was able to address the leaders of the summit. And he was able to really pitch the United States as an important factor when it comes to the Indo-Pacific.

The U.S. and China have long been competing when it comes to influence in the Indo-Pacific region, not just economically, politically, potentially even militarily. And so this was really President Biden's charts as host of the summit, to pitch what his country could do for the Indo-Pacific.


BIDEN: Count on the United States. We're delivering on our promises, and we're doubling down on our progress, and will soon be will soon be your strong and steady partner as we continue working together to realize Asian Pacific region that is free and open, prosperous and secure, resilient and connected.


HANCOCKS: Now we have seen from Xi Jinping's point of view that much of what he has been doing and his meetings as a focus on the economy as a focus on encouraging foreign investment into China.

We saw, in fact, a business dinner with some of the biggest CEOs in the United States, the CEO of Apple, of Tesla, for example of other companies, as well. And in his keynote address, really one of the longest addresses we've heard from Xi Jinping during the summit was to point out that the China was open for business.

Xi Jinping is really fighting against a very difficult economic situation. At this point, he has a struggling economy that the housing market is in crisis and unemployment in the country is at record highs.

So that has really been one of the main focuses for Xi Jinping to try and encourage more investment into his country. Although with recent moves towards a more totalitarian crackdown on some foreign businesses within China, it certainly spooked many foreign investors.

There was also from Xi Jinping a meeting with Japan's Prime Minister, Ksihida -- Fumio Kishida on Thursday, the two have had their differences, historical issues between the two countries certainly.

And from the Japanese side, we heard that that the Prime Minister had expressed serious concerns about increasing military activities near Japan, and also pointing out that they wanted to ensure a free and fair Taiwan Strait and to make sure that the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is kept viable, saying that many in the region, follow that idea and share those ideals.

And certainly, that was one of the main things talked about, between the U.S. and China leaders on Wednesday. And one of the things that Xi Jinping had pointed out is one of the main bones of contention when it comes to the ideas around Taiwan of the US and China, Michael.

HOLMES: All right, great wrap up there. Paula, thank you, Paula Hancocks in Seoul for us.

Still to come here on the program, new details emerging about atrocities in Sudan.


Refugees from the country's ongoing civil war speak to CNN about the violence committed against ethnic groups in Darfur.

Also, the IDF releases video it claims shows that Hamas tunnel shaft on the grounds of Gaza has largest hospital, details and a look at the growing pressure on Israel to ease the suffering in the Palestinian enclave. That's when we come back.


HOLMES: Welcome back. Sudan asked the U.N. on Thursday to quote immediately terminate the body's political mission to the country calling its performance disappointing. Sudan's acting Foreign Minister made that request in a letter to the Security Council, Khartoum, as should the U.N. that it is still committed to and engaging constructively with the organization though.

The mission was established to assist Sudan's transitional government from military rule to civilian democracy. But of course months of fighting between Sudan's military and the paramilitary rapid support forces has led to thousands being killed and more than 6 million people being displaced.

The UN's refugee agency says it is gravely concerned about the escalating violence in Sudan's Darfur region. In recent weeks armed groups aligned with the RSF have reportedly killed more than 700 people in Western Sudan.

The U.N. says reports of sexual violence, torture and targeting of ethnic groups are deeply alarming. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to neighboring Chad since the beginning of the war.

CNN's Nima Elbagir and her team traveled to chat and spoke with refugees who detailed horrific cruelty, some describing systemic rape and being sold like cattle and warning the images and subject matter of this report are graphic and they are disturbing.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A scene all too familiar in West Darfur. Social media for widely circulated last week showing RSF soldiers and supporting militia rounding (INAUDIBLE).

Harassing or threatening them. CNN has been able to geo locate these videos placing them in Ardamata, an outlying District of Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, where some of the worst atrocities during the recent war have taken place.

Over the last year during the war in Sudan, the RSF have targeted members of African tribal groups, including the Masalit who claim Darfur as their ancestral land. Many of the RSF belong to tribes which unlike the Masalit claim Arab ancestry.

What we're about to show you is very disturbing. These are the most recent images emerging from Darfur.


What you are looking at is a mass grave filled with over a dozen bodies, some are alive, others clearly dead.

One man can be seen throwing Earth on top of another. Even though he's still alive. A man off camera can be heard shouting as someone appears from beneath a pile of dirt.

He quickly buries his head back into the earth. We don't know the fate of these men. It's also unclear whether the men seen in the ditch are the same man as those in the video running from RSF soldiers and militia loyal to the RSF. But it does illustrate the newest, most horrific pattern of violence in the region.

Communication in Darfur has been deliberately choked by the RSF, it's been excruciatingly hard to understand exactly what's happening now. A few months ago, we traveled to a refugee camp in Adre, Chad, where survivors and eyewitnesses of these brutal attacks were able to cross the border.

One by one brave survivors came forward wanting to share to document what has happened to them, describing the horrors from the city of El Geneina, stories of rape and enslavement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Within our family, we lost more than 40 men.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They said to my father, we're going to rape your daughter in front of you.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The RSF said leave these ones. We will find better ones to sell. These ones, let's rape them.

Textbook ethnic cleansing. These are the hallmarks of genocide. CNN interviewed over a dozen survivors and eyewitnesses in El Geneina, where civilians were targeted and where women were being sold from slave houses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There were RSF soldiers outside and they beat me until they forced me into the building. Inside, I saw nine or 10 girls, some without clothes. They told us they will sell us very cheaply. They said we kill all the men. We will not leave any black skin here. You have to leave, get out. They said they will be the only ones to sleep with us. Because if we have our own children, our sons will one day take revenge.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): She managed to escape but was recaptured and brought to a different location where she was repeatedly raped. But it's not just women being affected. Mahadi (ph) who's only 16 was kidnapped by the RSF with his brother and forced to work at a farm.

MAHADI (ph), SUDANESE REFUGEE: We were eight people. We were all tied up. They would come and say I want the strong boys. Someone came over and started to feel my arms. I was tied up and blindfolded.

ELBAGIR: You can't see them but you can feel them?

MAHADI (ph): I couldn't see a thing. I could just feel him hitting me here. Then I heard them say I'll buy him off you, I'll give you money.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The word slave in Arabic is a racial slur equivalent to the N word. So we're bleeping it out in his testimony.

MAHADI (ph): They said this is a Nigger. They hit me and said Nigger.

ELBAGIR: They called you Nigger?

MAHADI (ph): Yes. They beat me and said where did you get this Nigger? They kept hitting me.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Mahadi (ph) doesn't know how much they bought him for. But he was eventually taken to another location where he was forced to work. He says his brother taken at the same time was killed by the RSF. Survivor after survivor told CNN how the RSF spoke of wiping out the

African descendant Masalit. Its Masalit ancestral land in Darfur that the RSF are currently occupy, part of a fertile landmass that the commander of the RSF has been strategically looking to secure for the last 20 years changing the demographics from Africa to Arab. Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


HOLMES: And you can watch Nima's full report on the whole story "Going Home: The War in Sudan" that is Sunday, 9:00 Eastern Time in the United States.

Quick break here on the program, when we come back, pressure growing on Israel as the humanitarian situation in Gaza grows increasingly die. We'll have the latest when we come back.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

Israel says that it's now found evidence of the Hamas tunnel beneath the largest hospital in Gaza or just outside. The claim coming about two days after Israeli forces first entered the compound at al-Shifa. This as Israel faces growing pressure from western allies to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.

CNN's Oren Liebermann with the latest.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, the Israeli military publishing video of what it says is an operational tunnel inside the al-Shifa Hospital complex. The IDF has been operating around the complex for days, closing in on what they long-asserted was a hub of Hamas activity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ak-47s, we see handcuffs.

LIEBERMANN: Doctors and health officials in the Hamas-run enclave have denied those accusations. But this, the Israeli military says --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is where they choose to hide everything.

LIEBERMANN: Part of the evidence they have promised as the IDF continues its operation in the hospital complex that began early Wednesday morning.

It's not just the credibility of the IDF and Israel that's at stake. President Joe Biden said he feels absolutely confident that Hamas is there as the U.S. throws its weight behind Israel.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first war crimes being committed by Hamas by having their headquarters, their military, hidden under a hospital.

LIEBERMANN: On Thursday, Gaza again found itself under total communications blackout according to a U.N. agency. This time, due to fuel shortages. Many hospitals in Gaza have already shut down as the medical system collapses. Getting updates from inside has become more difficult by the day.

Israel may now be preparing to expand its ground operations. After previously telling Gazans to evacuate from the north, leaflets dropped in south Gaza Wednesday warned people to move and head toward known shelters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today in their leaflets, they are telling us to evacuate to the south, which means that there is no safe place today.

LIEBERMANN: International calls for a break in the fighting have grown. The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution pushing for humanitarian pauses and the European Union urged Israel to temper its military actions.

JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. FOREIGN POLICH CHIEF: I understand your rage. But let me ask you not to be consumed with rage. I think that that's what the best friend of Israel can tell you.

LIEBERMANN: In Israel, demands for the Israeli government to facilitate the release of hostages held by Hamas and Gaza are growing. The families of the hostages continue their march toward Jerusalem, stopping at the home of Noa Marciano (ph) who died in Gaza. Her mother demanded to hear from the government where the negotiations stand.

ADI MARCIANO, MOTHER OF HOSTAGE WHO DIED IN GAZA: Bring Noa and everyone else home now. We will not stop fighting until Noa and all of the hostages and everyone will return home now, now, now.


LIEBERMANN: And shortly before releasing the video you saw at the beginning of the piece there, the IDF put out a statement that the body of 65-year-old grandmother Yihudi Vice (ph) had been found in Gaza. She was found, according to the IDF, near the al-Shifa Hospital complex in a compound that also had AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades, although they didn't give any specific information on her cause of death.

The IDF spokesperson says she had been murdered by Hamas. She had been kidnapped from Kibbutz Be'eri, one of those kibbutzim hit hardest in the terror attack on October 7th. Her husband was killed in that attack. She is the second known Israeli hostage held in Gaza who was killed there.

Oren Liebermann, CNN -- in Tel Aviv.


HOLMES: Now, all of the fighting has, of course, as we have seen, caused tremendous damage to Gaza. And with no end in sight to the devastation, it's hard to grasp what it will take to rebuild.

A report from the U.N. Development Program says nearly half of the homes in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged, and an estimated 1.5 million people are now displaced from their homes.

The majority of Gaza's hospitals and clinics have been forced to shut down, and it is believed nearly 400,000 people have lost their jobs since the war began in an area where unemployment was around 46 percent before this conflict.

All right, I want to bring in Richard Kozul-Wright from Geneva. He's the director of Globalization and Development Strategies at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

It's good to see you, sir.

The human cost in Gaza is astounding, but when it comes to the non- human damage, the massive amount of damage, how big of a job is rebuilding Gaza going to be?

RICHARD KOZUL-WRIGHT, DIRECTOR, GLOBALIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES, U.N. CONFERENCE ON TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT: Thanks Michael. Yes, a very big job. You can't put a price on the lives lost. But you can try and at least estimate the damage to commercial and residential real estate to infrastructure, to capital equipment. You can look at the lost output that you talked about from people losing their jobs. You can put a price on the cost of the recovery.

When we look at the cost after the 2014 invasion, which was far less intense than the ones today, we estimated that the cost then was around $4 billion. Others put the figure higher, but we put a $4 million estimate on that, on that earlier invasion.

HOLMES: What are the priorities when you tackle this. Frankly, I don't know where you would start. But you know, 1.6 million people displaced, as we said, half of all housing units damaged or destroyed completely.

I mean for starters, where are those people going to live? I mean is temporary housing for some of these people even feasible, let alone rebuilding their homes?

KOZUL-WRIGHT: I mean, you have immediate humanitarian cost of just dealing with that situation. The recovery cost, of course, there is an order of magnitude much greater -- I mean the recovery. And the Gazan economy never really recovered from the 2014 invasion.


KOZUL-WRIGHT: So you're talking at several years before you really can get a sense of the overall scale of the challenge.

But you know, if it was $4 billion back in 2014, given the scale of their invasion, you're talking a multiple of that, you know --

HOLMES: Yes. KOZUL-WRIGHT: -- five or six times that figure.

HOLMES: And of course, housing is a priority, and we touched on this, and we're seeing some video there. The infrastructure, roads, civil administration, power, water, and so on. How difficult is it to plan rebuilding a place like Gaza? Has that begun already?

KOZUL-WRIGHT: I don't think so. I mean we're still in the fighting and it's unclear what the political outcome from this will be. And it involves multiple actors. The international community will have to play a critical role.

The Gazan economy can't generate the resources to deal with the problem, nor can the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. So the international community has to play a critical role. The occupying power has to contribute. It's a huge -- I mean it's a huge task. It really is.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes. And of course, a lot of the places that used to make things, concrete and so on -- they're destroyed as well. So the infrastructure for the materials, the raw materials to rebuild, is destroyed as well.

The Palestinian Authority said if all borders were magically opened and everything -- all materials were able to flow in, rebuilding could take three years. Open borders are not likely. Gaza was and is under siege by Israel.

So I mean what could it take from what you've seen, you've been able to observe? We're talking five, ten years?


KOZUL-WRIGHT: For sure. I think three years seems very optimistic, at least to me. You know, the critical issue, Michael, I think is where, you know, the mobilizing of resources to do this kind of reconstruction effort. I mean we're talking, you know, billions of dollars.

And I think that's the real challenge. But I think we have to recognize if, as the U.N. has insisted, the two-state solution is the way forward, then I guess Gaza will be a test of whether that two- state solution is going to be viable as the basis for building peace and security across the region.


HOLMES: Yes. It's pretty much become a slogan in recent years. I've been going there since 1988, and the reality of it is looking a little forlorn.

I mean before this conflict, as you know, life was dire for Gazans. And you touched on that. 80 percent relied on aid of some sort. 65 percent of households, food insecure. 46 percent unemployment, one of the highest rates in the world.

Given how bad life was before, how much worse is it going to be as this -- once the war is over, once the process begins to rebuild?

KOZUL-WRIGHT: I think, you know, as we said, the previous military incursions into Gaza were not on the same scale, as we've seen this time around. So the damage and the difficulties in terms of lost employment, lost opportunities for unemployment, et cetera, are far greater.

So it's on a different scale, I think. It's the real challenge that the international community will have to face, once the fighting stops and there's some kind of agreement on the political way forward.

I mean one thing that we've emphasized, Michael, that I think is worth thinking about, of course, is the financial opportunity that comes from the discovery of oil and gas off the Israeli coast, including off Gaza. That is a potential source of revenue that I think we will have to explore as at least a possibility of beginning to fund the kind of massive recovery and rebuilding exercise that we're talking about.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes. It's going to be a long haul that's for sure.

Richard Kozul-Wright, thank you so much. I really appreciate you making the time.

KOZUL-WRIGHT: Ok. Thank you, Michael. Thank you.

HOLMES: Cheers.

Well, Jordan's foreign minister had harsh words for Israel on Wednesday, alleging its war against Hamas in Gaza is only worsening hostilities all across the region.

The foreign minister Ayman Safadi tells CNN the humanitarian crisis gripping Gaza has set the entire region back 30 years.

He rejected Israel's claims of self-defense, describing the IDF's operations as raw, ugly vengeance that Jordan views as war crimes.


AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Patients denied access to medical care. Children off incubators, mothers crying because they cannot provide painkillers to their children.

This is a war crime and this is one of many other war crimes that Israel continues to commit in Gaza, unfortunately, to the silence of any effective action by the world.


HOLMES: The Israeli military has pushed back against accusations of war crimes, saying its strikes on Hamas targets followed international law and sought, they say, to minimize civilian casualties.

Syria says it intercepted Israeli missiles outside Damascus in the early hours of Friday. That's according to a Reuters report. It also says the Syrian army claims the missiles were launched from the Golan Heights towards the areas around the capital. The army says most were shot down, but some caused material damage.

The Israeli military declined to comment. It is the latest incident in a spate of attacks in the region. Last week, Israel hit an organization in Syria that it said launched a drone attack on a school.

Now, CNN has obtained intelligence that suggests U.S. officials were warned of a potential uptick in violence ahead of Wednesday's protests in Washington over the Israel-Hamas war.

Demonstrators clashed with police outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters as like all called for a ceasefire in Gaza and limits to U.S. funding to Israel.

Meanwhile, officials say 79 protesters have been cited and released following a similar protest in San Francisco. On Thursday, dozens of demonstrators blocked traffic on the city's iconic Bay Bridge.


HOLMES: Well, there is a pressing health threat that you might not be aware of that world health officials say is linked to poor mental and physical health and can lead to bad habits such as smoking and heavy drinking.

We'll explore this global health threat after the break.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

Loneliness is a global health priority. That declaration coming from the World Health Organization this week. It launched a new commission on social connection to review the latest signs and design strategies to help people make deeper social connections to combat loneliness.

It's a big deal. Research shows that loneliness is linked to poor mental and physical health.

Joining me now is Dr. Karen DeSalvo. Dr. DeSalvo is a commissioner for the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Connections. She's also the chief health officer at Google, the day job, if you like.

Dr. DeSalvo, thanks so much. Why is loneliness as the WHO says, a quote, "pressing health threat"? One study compared it to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day in a health sense. What are the biggest impacts?

DR. KAREN DESALVO, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Michael, I'm glad that you're raising up this issue because some people think that loneliness is just a feeling. But actually, it has health risks. And it's kind of smoking about half a pack of cigarettes a day, and it's a risk factor for things like heart disease or memory loss, and in fact, people who are lonely have an increased risk of death. So it's important to understand that there's also physical health

risks and it's one of the reasons this commission is going to help bring it into the light so that we can talk about what are the causes and what are the things that we can do to help people around the world.

HOLMES: And to that very point, what does the WHO hope to achieve with the commission -- the commission on social connection (INAUDIBLE)?

DESALVO: Look, this is one of these areas that is not going to be solved by one sector, not just by medicine, not just by government, not just by the private sector, or even individuals. So what the commission is going to be able to do is bring together the public and private sectors, people from different backgrounds, walks of life, to understand the problem, look at the science, make certain that people learn about it and also understand where actions that we can take in order to make a difference.

And there are some interventions that are known, and there's more that has to be understood about which ones actually can make a difference for people everywhere in the world.

So the commission's going to bring people together to talk about not only the evidence, but what are the actions that can be taken and work to implement those actions in places where the government or employers or communities want to see that they can make some change.

HOLMES: Right. You worked as a doctor, I think, for 20 years in public health. What did you see in your patients when it comes to the effects of loneliness? And should others in the health care industry be on the lookout for signs of it rather than just treating symptoms?


DESALVO: Most definitely. I took care of patients for 20 years, and most of my patients for two years. I'm an internal medicine physician.

And I would see them in the clinic or in the hospital and they come in with their medical conditions. I would provide the right care for them and then discharge them home. It wasn't until I was a little further in my career and started doing things like home visits or experienced a situation in something like Hurricane Katrina when we didn't have hospitals and clinics. And we had to go visit people in communities. It became really clear to me that my understanding of the kind of social connection, the kind of relationships, the kind of support that they had at home may be quite different than what my impression might have been when they're in the clinic.

So for me as a doctor, I pretty early on, began to understand that great medical care matters, but it's only a portion of the great health outcomes that you want for your patients.

You have to care for people in context. You have to understand what the social determinants of health are that are affecting their health, including things like social connectedness and the relationships that they may have and the onset of things like loneliness. So I saw it all the time in my patients, and it was important for me

to know that, so I can think of that as part of their care plan.

So in addition to the medications, right, one of the ways that I also need to make sure they're connected to the community or have some social connection to help them in their every day.

HOLMES: Because it is a big problem. There was a survey across 142 countries published last month that said nearly one in four adults reported feeling very or fairly lonely.

So, I guess the question is, what can we do about it? What can, not just doctors, but you know, what can all of us do about it in terms of spotting it and helping?

DESALVO: Look, first of all, I think bringing it into the light from the shadows is important, so the awareness. The second is for people to be clear that there are physical health effects from loneliness, and that evidence has shown that over the years. That there are actions that can be taken.

Sometimes Michael, it can be an individual. It's the thing that we can do for our neighbors, for our family, for ourselves to maintain or develop relationships.

Sometimes, it's interventions that the health care system can take to build extensions of the care plan to have individuals going into the home and supporting people outside of that clinical environment.

And sometimes, it's a community action. There are places like Singapore that have developed community-oriented services that are part of the neighborhood watch to see that no one's left behind.

So it's going to take a series of actions at different levels of society. But at the end of the day, it's what we're all going to do together to not only address loneliness, but to create the conditions in which everybody can be healthy. And I'm thrilled to be able to work on this. This is such an important epidemic all around the world.

HOLMES: And good for you for doing it too. I'm sure the pandemic brought out a lot of loneliness as well. We don't have time to go into that right now.

We've got to leave it there. But what a great idea this commission is. And thanks for being part of it. Really appreciate it.

DESALVO: Thank you for (INAUDIBLE). We look forward to the work.

HOLMES: U.S. Congressman George Santos says he won't try to keep his seat following a damning report by the House Ethics Committee on his many alleged misdeeds as a member of Congress.

We'll have details when we come back.



HOLMES: Former U.S. President Donald Trump is once again free to talk about his civil fraud trial going on in New York. And he has been. A state appeals court made the temporary ruling citing free speech concerns.

Our Kara Scannell with more.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A New York appeals court judge temporarily lifted a gag order on former president Donald Trump and his attorneys in the New York civil fraud case.

This after Trump's team filed an emergency petition saying that the gag order was unconstitutional. There was an emergency hearing on Thursday and after that that is when the judge has lifted it for now.

Now the gag order was imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron who's overseeing this case. He imposed it on Trump after Trump had posted on social media some baseless claims against his law clerk.

He then extended it to include Trump's attorneys when they raised questions about communications the judge was having with the law clerk who sits just at the side of him on the bench. It was that that they were appealing. And that is now on hold for now that Trump is able to speak freely in this case.

After the hearing Trump's attorney Chris Kise issued a statement saying, "Fortunately the Constitution and the First Amendment protects everyone, including President Trump."

Now, the judge has ordered briefing in this case to wrap by the end of the month. Then any time after that there could be a final decision on this. But the trial is expected to be completed next month.

Kara Scannell, CNN -- New York.


HOLMES: The embattled New York Congressman George Santos announced on Thursday that he will not seek reelection after the house ethics committee released a scathing report on his behavior as a lawmaker.

The 56-page investigation says it found numerous instances of Santos spending large sums of money on hotels, meals and luxury items. The report also found evidence that Santos broke federal laws, stole from his campaign and engaged in constant lies to voters and donors.

The findings are being referred to the U.S. Justice Department which has its own investigation.

House Speaker Mike Johnson's office released a statement calling the ethics report quote "very troubling". But stopped short of calling for Santos to resign as other Republicans have.

Campaign funds for Botox and OnlyFans.

I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for spending part of your day with me.

Kim Brunhuber is in the seat. He'll pick up our coverage after a quick break.