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Network Says Shireen Abu Akleh was Shot While on Assignment in Jenin; Israeli Defense Forces: Not Yet Possible to Determine who Shot Abu Akleh; Ukraine: Russia Diverting Troops to Kharkiv Region; Curfew Extended as Protesters Burn Politician's Homes; Al Jazeera Journalist Shot and Killed in West Bank; Remembering Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Aired 11a- 12p ET
Aired May 11, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Eleni Giokos in for Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to "Connect the World" and we'll get to the
latest on the ground in Ukraine in just a few minutes.
But we start with the shooting of a journalist on assignment in the West Bank Network is calling it a heinous crime. Al Jazeera Reporter Shireen Abu
Akleh was shot in the head while covering an Israeli counterterrorism operation in Jenin.
Al Jazeera says Israeli security forces killed her. The Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff says it is not possible at this stage to determine
who is responsible. Abu Akleh's death sparked anger and condemnation around the world. And this video is from Ramallah, where her body was taken after
she was killed.
And I want to show you another video now just taken after the fatal shooting and a warning that it is disturbing. Hadas Gold is covering the
story for us from Jerusalem. Hadas you've been watching very closely the messaging that is coming through as the investigation starts to take hold.
I want you to give me a sense of what we heard from the Israelis earlier today versus what we're hearing right now. And whether they've been able to
give you any more indication of what happened this morning.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the Israeli military is saying right now that there are forces we're operating in Janine, as you noted as part of a
counterterrorism operation. For some context, there have been a series of attacks in Israel that have killed at least 18 people and several of those
attackers have come from the Jenin area.
So the IDF said that they were in Jenin to conduct a counterterrorism operation when they say they came under fire and that they returned fire.
Now initially, the first statements that were coming out were from the IDF was specifically raised the possibility that the journalist were shot as
crossfire that they said may have come from Palestinian gunmen, the Israeli military released videos that they said showed Palestinians firing
indiscriminately in the area.
Now in a more recent statement from the Israeli Military Chief of Staff, they are still saying there is the possibility that they could have been
shot by Palestinian gunfire. But they're also saying that at this stage, it is not possible to determine from which shots she was hit.
They're also expressing sorrow over her death and the Chief of Staff said that in order to get to the truth, they have set up a special team that
will clarify the facts and present them in full as soon as possible. I want to get back to what happened to Shireen.
As you noted, in that disturbing video, we can see very clearly that Shireen is wearing a vest, a protective vest and helmet that clearly
identifies her and her team as a member of the press. We also know that her producer Ali al-Samudi was also shot in this incident although he's in
stable condition. He actually also gave a statement about what he said happened today. I want to play that for you right now. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: During the fire exchange Al Jazeera Journalist Ms. Shireen Abu Akleh was sadly hit and killed. The
Palestinian authority was quick to blame Israel and the head of the authority linked Israel with baseless accusations before any investigation.
Based on preliminary data that we have, there is a viable chance that the journalist was hit by the fire of armed Palestinians. But in order to reach
the truth, we must conduct a real investigation. The Palestinians are currently preventing it. Without a real investigation we won't reach the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: Guys, I apologize for the confusion there. That was obviously the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying that from the information
that they have gathered, they think that it may be likely that Palestinian gunmen were responsible for that crossfire that may that killed Shireen,
also saying that the Palestinians have refused to cooperate as foreign Israelis.
But I do want to at least note that Shireen's colleagues say that not only did they identify themselves as members of the press to the Israeli
military, they say that it was the Israeli army that shot at them. They also say that there were no Palestinian gunmen next to them while this
incident took place.
But horrific Eleni unnecessary death, a journalist clearly identified as such killed while doing her job covering such important stories as these
military operations in the West Bank during what's been a very tense and violent few weeks here in this region Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely tragic end for Shireen, thank you so very much for that insight Hadas! Now Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Amnon Shefler
joins me now via Skype. Amnon, thank you very much for joining us! It is important to be having this conversation right now to ascertain what's
happened and I know that the IDF is now saying that it is not possible to determine which direction Shireen was shot and killed from?
GIOKOS: And this is different from the messaging we heard earlier. So, is the IDF now, backtracking the initial claim that it's possible she was
killed by indiscriminate fire from Palestinian militants?
AMNON SHEFLER, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: Thank you Eleni, for having me. And sorry that this is tragic event for a reporter that was
killed and doing what we appreciate very much doing, covering important stories. And as we always support the freedom of press as a proud
As you mentioned, and as Hadas mentioned before, we are still in the midst of the inquiry, and looking to find and to get to the facts and the truth.
And the bottom of what happened. As you mentioned, we were carrying out counterterrorism activity in the City of a Janine, where many gunmen were
So we're definitely looking into this and looking to find the facts and they get to the bottom of the truth.
GIOKOS: Amnon, you know, absolutely, the investigation is ongoing. And you've definitely been clear in the messaging on that. But you've also been
very clear that this was not the IDF. I want you to give me a sense of the timeline could you provide for us, from your perspective, from the details
you have at the moment? What exactly happened? And do you have any more new details that you could share with us?
SHEFLER: So I'll start Eleni from - we don't know if it is or it isn't. And we don't want to rush to any kind of judgment. We don't know if it was the
IDF professional fire that was aiming to hit a gunman that were shooting at the forces and hurling at them explosives, or if it was really the
indiscriminate fire, that was sadly, all around the camp.
And we saw and heard many of it in this event, and also, sadly, and other events. To your question in the context, I wish also to go back then, as
Hadas mentioned, the last few weeks, we have suffered 19 murders, by terrorists that mainly came from this area--
GIOKOS: --not really.
SHEFLER: And that mainly came from this area in Northern Samaria, and specifically from the City of Jenin, from our very specific Intel, we know
that more than 50 percent of the threats are actually coming from this area. And that is why we are carrying these counterterrorism activities in
order to thwart these terrorist activities from going on.
Last night, we entered in order to apprehend terrorists, and we were able to apprehend him eventually, and now he's being investigated. And that was
the reason that brought us and the events that unfolds there, as told were both that gunman started shooting at the forces that returned in fire to
protect the lives.
GIOKOS: Amnon, you said something really important. And I just want a clarification here. You said you just don't know. Does this mean that
you're not reading out the possibility that it could have been IDF gunfire?
SHEFLER: So we know quite a lot because we know what we carried out. And we can say, very specifically what the soldiers were doing and what their
goals, and in a very professional manner, how they conducted and mainly we can say what our values and our protocols that reflect those values are
that we only aim to hit any kind of gunmen and jihadist that are threatening us.
And I'm saying that to your question that we don't know yet. We're looking at the facts. And it could be either way. And again, as I mentioned before,
we don't want to rush into any kind of decisions that and judgment that still we don't know what to say, who really brought to the death of this
tragic death of a miserable worker.
GIOKOS: And I want to go back to the initial messaging, because the messaging has been that it was not or could not have been the IDF. And this
is, you know, really illuminating that Shireen and her team could have been caught in the crossfire, as you say.
You've released this footage and I want to play it. It is footage that shows and illustrates and you've said this indiscriminate firing, which CNN
has, in fact been reporting on for weeks now, but you've also said that this was not near where Shireen was killed.
Why release this specific video, and not perhaps other evidence and now as you've clarified If we simply don't know yet but you're pointing to that
the IDF is innocent at this point but indiscriminate firing is more of a probability in your mind?
GIOKOS: Have you changed your stance in terms of how you see this footage?
SHEFLER: So Eleni, as you mentioned, we released this photo in order to show really what is happening inside this camp the amount of fire and
indiscriminate and heavy fire that that is happening by these gunmen. And we're not connecting directly, but this is the fire that brought to the
death of Abu Akleh.
And that is still what we are investigating. And we never said that that is the clear connection, but we want to stand and again, explain and sadly,
that these terrorists, these jihadist are shooting and an indiscriminate way, and this could sadly bring to the death of others, Palestinians that
are in the area.
GIOKOS: Amnon, I want to take a listen to what Shireen's Producer who was also shot, had to say listen to his view of events.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI AL-SAMUDI, JOURNALIST: We were going into film the army operation, suddenly, one of them shot at us. They didn't tell us to leave. They didn't
tell us to stop. They shot us. The first bullet hit me. The second bullet hit Shireen. They killed her with cold blood because they are killer
specialized in the killing of Palestinian. They're claiming Palestinians killed her. There were no resistant groups near us. The resistance was
there, we wouldn't go to that area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: You know, he says that it wasn't resistance forces. What do you say to the fact that he they were wearing, you know, presses gear that - they
were very, very clearly marked as press? Is there anything that you could respond to this, this harrowing view, as I witnessed that had to deal with
SHEFLER: So I would say two things. One is that this area, sadly, has proven again and again, that many terrorists have come from it. Sadly, the
attacks in Tel Aviv and neighbor, and also just last week, the terrorists came from this area. So there is no doubt and that, really, this is where a
lot of terrorists and a lot of jihadists are in.
Now to the second part, the Israeli army and Israel as a democracy, respect deeply the freedom of press, and we work with reporters as close as
possible and truthful and transparent way. And when we see reporters, of course, we will never aim to hit on the contrary, we wish to protect them
in order for them to really share the story in a truthful manner.
GIOKOS: Many soldiers we know usually wear body cams and drones are used on operations like these, have you reviewed your footage? And will you be
releasing this footage?
SHEFLER: So we're reviewing everything that we have from different sources. And as you mentioned, this includes a body camera, we just released one of
those footage just a few minutes ago. And you can see in in that one as well, how the soldiers are acting in a professional manner, using the tools
in order to really aim only at where threat is coming from these militants.
And at the same time, you can hear a lot of gunfire that is happening around them. And that is what we were saying that this area of exchange of
fire, of course, is a very dangerous one. And every possibility is open. And we're waiting really to get to the bottom of the truth of this.
GIOKOS: But if you knew that they were press on the ground, and they could have been caught in the crossfire, you know why then still engage in a
gunfight knowing that there could be casualties and once it catches casualties?
SHEFLER: We tried to conduct our counterterrorism actions in the most specific and accurate way. That is why many times we choose to act at night
in order to refrain from any kind of danger or hurting of course, anyone else?
And that's what also this morning we tried to do. If we are aware of reporters then and we're able to tell them and see them in a proper way,
we've definitely will never put them in harm's way. So I can't say that now the soldiers knew or were aware that there are reporters there.
I can say that clearly, our values and our protocols that reflect our values will never allow any kind of attacking a reporter in a direct or any
way. So if we were aware of them there, then we wouldn't have put them in harm's way.
GIOKOS: Amnon Al Jazeera says that the IDF have been targeting reporters very quickly what is your response to that?
SHEFLER: I would say that it's the opposite. We are looking to work with reporters, as I mentioned, transparent and truthful way. That is my job.
And I speak to your colleagues here on a daily basis. And I'm proud to do that. And that is why we feel the sorrow and the grief with misery of
workers, family and colleagues of this very tragic event.
GIOKOS: Amnon thank you very much for your time, and I welcome you back on the show as you get more information, specifically, if the body cams the
drones. And as you say, right now, we just don't know you cannot rule out what happened. We appreciate you joining us today. Thank you.
SHEFLER: Thank you Eleni.
GIOKOS: This is a hard day for many fellow journalists. And ahead, I'll talk with a friend and colleague of Akleh, and she'll discuss what her
killing means for reporters in the region moving forward. It is of course, a harrowing moment for me.
GIOKOS: More settlements north of Kharkiv have been retaken by Ukrainian troops and that's the word from a top Kharkiv military official. On day 77
of Russia's war on Ukraine video that's been geo located by CNN shows signs of a chaotic Russian retreat. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
praised the counteroffensive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: The Armed Forces of our state provided us all with good news for the Kharkiv region. The occupiers are
gradually being pushed away from Kharkiv. I am grateful to all our defenders who are holding the line and demonstrating truly superhuman
strength to drive out the army of invaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: The Kremlin is speaking out about Kherson in Ukraine's Southern Region saying the people they should decide whether it becomes part of
Russia? The new Kremlin installed leadership of Kherson planned to make a formal request to become part of the Russian Federation.
And a grim picture of the war coming from America's top Spymaster Avril Haines says she believes a more dangerous period is ahead. And for weeks
Ukrainian fighters have fought the Russian military to a standstill, defended their capital and forced a retreat in the north.
But what makes this David and Goliath battle even more remarkable of the Ukrainian conscripts and volunteers? Just a couple of months ago, they were
regular people on regular jobs. CNN's Sam Kiley spoke to volunteers on the front lines in Eastern Ukraine.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That was Bunny.
ALEX, UKRAINIAN TANK COMMANDER: Yes.
KILEY (voice over): Bunny's tank.
ALEX: Yes, so it's Bunny, I think.
KILEY (voice over): He's got quite a carrot.
KILEY (voice over): Bunny's got a very big stick. This T-80 tank was built two years ago and was until March in the vanguard of Russia's invasion of
ALEX: So down below you see an autoloader. It's also slightly modernized to shoot more like advanced and like better rounds. It can shoot guided
KILEY (voice over): Alex was on a sniper team when he discovered Bunny stuck and abandoned in a field in March, eight days into Russia's assault.
Within days, the tank was back in action against Russians.
ALEX: This is like my personal tank I'm tank commander and tank owner.
KILEY (voice over): In March he says the tank destroyed 24 Russian vehicles and two tanks.
ALEX: We're fighting like new resume. So here we already destroyed three or four enemy tanks like we have three confirmed and four it's like not fully
confirmed that it was our cue.
KILEY (voice over): That was in the previous couple of days when Russian forces tried to break through Ukraine's lines in the better battle for the
ALEX: Showing like the thermal side.
KILEY (voice over): Alex isn't a professional soldier. He's a software engineer who lived in the now smashed IT hub of Kharkiv. His home has been
destroyed. Bunny's being serviced as the battle rages a few miles away. Burning fields encroach on the tanks hideout. The frontline in Ukraine is
hundreds of miles long.
KILEY (on camera): For many Ukrainian soldiers on this front line, there's a sense that perhaps the Russians haven't yet bought their full,
destructive power to bear. But they expect to find out this week.
KILEY (voice over): Russia's artillery is relentless. And Putin's tank amassing this army of volunteers is expecting a hard Russian push. Anna is
22, she has been a soldier for a month and now she's a driver in a reconnaissance unit.
ANNA, DRIVER IN THE UKRAINIAN MILITARY: There are a lot of opportunities to be killed.
KILEY (voice over): She just graduated from university.
ANNA: That seems that makes me that angry as to is raped children and women.
KILEY (on camera): Is that something that you're afraid of happening to you?
ANNA: I can't say that I'm afraid of something like that. I'm afraid to be not useful for my country, for my people.
KILEY (voice over): This is what being useful here means killing Russians, Russians Anna's age. But this is a war thrust upon Ukrainians. Anna works
with Vlad, a poet, author, publisher, and war vet.
KILEY (on camera): And reconnaissance is a highly dangerous work. He lost many comrades, friends.
KILEY (voice over): Vlad said since 2014, so many of my friends, people I knew comrades have died. So far the people I came with since the beginning
of the latest invasion have not died. And I'm very happy. It's cool. These people are still fighting.
They're already in charge of units. It's awesome. The best of the best are here. His books are dark fantasies set in this war with Russia an all too
rich source of material. Sam Kiley, CNN, eastern Ukraine.
GIOKOS: We've got Scott McLean joining us live from Lviv right now with an update. Look, Kharkiv seems to be where movement is today in Ukraine and of
course, in those settlements around Kharkiv where we're hearing that Ukrainian troops have once again gained ground. How significant is this?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's one of the bright spots for sure for the Ukrainians. Keep in mind, Eleni that in some parts of this
front line that's few 100 miles long as Sam pointed out in his piece there.
You in some part of this front line you have the Ukrainian saying that they're outnumbered by 10 to one obviously a very different story in the
Kharkiv region where the city itself has been quite quiet in recent days, the Ukrainian says.
But it's the towns and villages around it where they've been able to make some progress. In fact, in some areas, they say that soldiers from the Azov
regiment, one of the fiercest fighting forces within the Ukrainian military, they're just a few kilometers from the border.
And that's where the Ukrainian say those Russian troops have actually started to build up troops on the other side on the Russian side of the
border in anticipation that the Ukrainians might actually at some point, reach that border.
You showed that video earlier of that those vehicles partially submerged the result of a pretty quick escape attempt from the Russians retreat
attempt when the Ukrainians were able to take out a bridge there.
The local officials say look, it is still far too early to be thinking about civilians coming back to some of these recaptured towns and villages
though because of course they are still very much within artillery range.
MCLEAN: And then we saw just the other day, the discovery of a failed evacuation convoy that Ukrainian says that there were 15 vehicles involved.
Many of them were found riddled with bullet holes, some burned out.
And of course, four people were killed, including a 13 year old girl. And so that is why they say civilians ought to stay away for the time being, at
GIOKOS: Right, Scott McLean, thank you so very much for that update. Now Germany is telling the world its gas supply is secure. And that's after
Ukraine suspended some of its Russian gas exports to Europe.
Kyiv had been able to keep transporting the fuel through the country, even with ongoing shelling from Russian forces but now Ukrainian gas officials
say it, "impossible to fulfill obligations to European partners".
And they point to interruptions at key transit points. CNN's Anna Stewart is covering this for us. Anna, really good to see you here's the thing, we
are seeing key infrastructure being targeted and this interruption isn't exactly a surprise but the question is just what it will mean for supply
into Europe. Do we know what it will mean?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It's almost a surprise, isn't it that there hasn't been more disruption actually, through the gas that transit through
Ukraine to Europe already given the situation. Now, this current dispute regards a particular transit point in Ukraine, and we can bring up a map to
show you where it is.
It's Sokhranovka and it's in the Luhansk region, which, of course, is Russian controlled.
And the allegation from Ukraine is that there has been Russian interference with this gas transit point, they say some gas has been diverted.
And this poses security and stability issues for the whole country's gas grid network. So they are suspending that particular transit point. It
accounts for around 8 percent of Europe's gas from Russia.
So it is quite significant, around a third of all the gas that Russia puts through Ukraine to get to Europe. And there is, well, Gazprom firstly say
there has been no interference they do you not agree with that assessment at all.
Ukraine is trying to get them to bring that gas to a different transit point, which is slightly further west to that one. Russia's Gazprom say
that is not possible, in fact, technically impossible, they say there's a lot being disputed here.
At the end of the day, it does mean right now less gas is reaching Europe, from Russia. We're not seeing necessarily any countries being badly
impacted yet. But it could mean it's harder to fill up those gas storage facilities that the EU is very keen to fill.
So they can wean themselves off Russian gas and insulate them from any further disruption down the line, Eleni.
GIOKOS: And of course, that is going to take some time, right to wean them off Russian gas. Hungary has been particularly vocal about the economic
impact on that country.
And also when it came up, as you know, in the sixth round of sanctions, you know, what to do with oil embargoes, what to do with gas down the line? How
long that will take? Hungary saying, well, look, we're not ready.
STEWART: Yes, so last week, the EU commission made this big proposal it sets out a plan to ban Russian oil from Europe is not as reliant on Russian
oil as it is on gas. But it's still a big deal, particularly for some of the landlocked countries like Hungary, who would find it very hard to get
oil from elsewhere.
Now you spoke to the spokesperson of the Hungarian government last week, they made it very clear what their position was then, there has been plenty
of horse trading.
But take a look at the comment we've had today from a Facebook video from the foreign minister saying we have made it clear to the European
Commission that we can only vote for this proposal.
If Brussels offers a solution for the problems Brussels would create, note Russia is not in there actually at all. He also described it as an atomic
bomb to the economy. Now as far as we're aware, negotiations have included money for infrastructure in countries like Hungary to try and make it
easier to get oil from other sources into the country.
We believe lengthy delays have been discussed as well. So they have a much longer deadline to rid themselves of Russian oil, but clearly that is not
pleasing. Some of the countries like Hungary and this proposal do not look like it's going to get approved anytime soon Eleni?
GIOKOS: Anna Stewart, good to see you. Thank you so much. Right coming up, China defends what it's doing to keep COVID from spreading after the W.H.O
Director General says China's COVID response is unsustainable and shot and killed while doing her job.
We will talk with a colleague of Slain Al Jazeera Correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh about her contributions and what her death might mean to reporting in
the Middle East.
GIOKOS: Welcome back and we want to get you up to speed on some other stories from around the world. In the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr., is
claiming victory in the country's presidential elections.
The unofficial poll results show he won with a historic majority. But as Ivan Watson reports, Marcos Jr., the son of a former ousted dictator is
calling on the world to disregard his family's controversial past.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions. Those are the final words of a short statement declaring victory
coming from the presumptive winner of the presidential elections that were held in the Philippines on Monday.
And that assumed winner is Ferdinand Marcos Jr., known by his nickname Bongbong, a statement released by his spokesperson declaring victory in
The preliminary results show a massive lead more than twice the votes of the presumptive second place candidate in the election. And Bongbong is of
course, the son of the ousted former dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who was forced to flee the country in 1986, in the face of a
people power movement had ruled under martial law for nearly a decade.
Had an atrocious human rights record, and is still being investigated for the alleged embezzlement of up to $10 billion worth of government and
Philippine's assets. Now Bongbong ran under somewhat of a nostalgia ticket with the slogan rise again, he was very short on details about his
But his campaign message appeared to have worked; he does seem to be on the verge of winning a much bigger electoral mandate than any other
presidential candidate has really seen in generations.
Now the presumptive second place candidate still has not conceded defeat is going to hold a rally on Friday, thanking her supporters. There are
concerns and protests about voting machines that did not function properly during the election.
However, the U.S. State Department spokesperson has gone on record saying that there does not seem to have been serious problems with this election
that it was conducted in line with international standards. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
GIOKOS: Sri Lanka also in a political transition, one consumed by violence, the country has extended its curfew until Thursday morning, local time. And
here you see troops moving into the Capitol.
The government has ordered them to shoot on site anyone found damaging state property or assaulting officials. Protesters have burned down the
homes of 38 politicians.
GIOKOS: It is the latest in a month of civil unrest leading up to the resignation of the prime minister this week. Least nine people have died in
clashes since Monday. Over in China, authorities are reporting a one day drop in the number of COVID cases, the country saw more than 1800 COVID
cases on Tuesday, about half of the previous day.
But a new study shows China would see more than 1.5 million Omicron deaths if it eases its zero COVID policy. The same restrictions, the W.H.O chief
says are not feasible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR-GENERAL: When we talk about the zero COVID strategy, we don't think that it's
sustainable considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: There is a new warning today from U.S. intelligence officials and they believe China is actively attempting to build a military capable of
taking over Taiwan within the next eight years.
Those U.S. intelligence officials say the West response to the war in Ukraine could impact China's timeline and approach to Taiwan. Will Ripley
is monitoring the situation live from the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.
Look, really fascinating story here. And that was the big risk that it would embolden other countries to want to take over sort of their prized
possessions. That is the impact they say, of the Russian war in Ukraine but what more do we know about this military buildup?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it's no secret that China has been has been massively growing its military. And
they remind the island of Taiwan of that on a regular basis when they fly planes and sail ships right in near this island, which has its own
government and its own military, albeit with a 17 times smaller defense budget than the Mainland.
But China doesn't acknowledge the government here. They say that this is, you know, their territory. They've been saying that for more than seven
years since the end of the Civil War.
But the Communist leaders in Beijing actually never ruled this island, but they have all wanted to take it back. It's been a stated goal every single
communist leader in China.
And President Xi Jinping is the first who may have an army big enough to do it is what the United States says possibly within the decade. So what is
Taiwan's biggest defense? Experts say, it's not the military its soft power technology. Take a look.
RIPLEY (voice over): Taiwan's first line of defense from a Chinese invasion, billions spent on missile. New warships and submarines and
upgraded fleet of fighter jets expanded training for reserve soldiers, all of it dwarfed by the Mainland's massive military.
China's defense budget 17 times bigger than Taiwan experts say the island's best defense its biggest weapon against China is technology so small, you
need a microscope super tiny, super powerful semiconductors.
This tiny tech powers products you probably use every day. Taiwan produces about 70 percent of the world's semiconductor chips, most of them made by
TSMC Asia's most valuable company making chips for companies around the world like Apple and Intel.
Experts warn any disruption to Taiwan's chip supply could paralyze global production impacting almost everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People like to say, well, Taiwan should be defended by virtue of it being a democracy. This is oftentimes too abstract if there is
war invasion in the Taiwan Strait.
And immediately the price of computers would increase your cell phones would become more expensive. It helps people make that self-serving but
emotional connection with a society that otherwise would be abstract to them.
RIPLEY (voice over): Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is raising questions about the future of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy claimed
but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.
RIPLEY (on camera): Well, what makes Taiwan different from Ukraine right is the economic leverage?
ROY LEE, CHUNG-HUA INSTITUTION FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH: Always much more relevant to the global economy in Ukraine, that is true.
RIPLEY (voice over): Even China relies on chips from Taiwan, more than 50 percent of the islands exports to the Mainland semiconductors. China is
Taiwan's top trading partner.
RIPLEY (on camera): So what does it mean economically for Taiwan and China if there was some sort of conflict to breakout?
LEE: It will be disastrous, not only for Taiwan, not only for China, but also for the U.S. and EU and everybody.
RIPLEY (voice over): Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to reunify with Taiwan at any cost. Taiwan's chip industry could make the cost of any
invasion far too steep.
RIPLEY: Semiconductors made here in Taiwan or even providing crucial components for what bid so it is literally a matter of national security
for many countries around the world, any disruption in the supply chain could lead to delays. For example, more than a year to wait for a new cell
phone or even longer for a lap top.
RIPLEY: But that is in the short term. In the medium and long term, other countries are trying to develop their own semiconductor factories, which
are hugely expensive and difficult to maintain, because they just don't want to have to rely so heavily on Taiwan, but it's going to take them
quite a long time to catch up.
And in the meantime, Taiwan says they want to continue to stay competitive in this in the tech sector, but also Eleni, grow their military and evolve
their military model to try to defend against potential invasion if it were to happen down the road.
GIOKOS: Brilliant report. Thank you so much. Will, great to see you. We're going to a very short break and we'll be back right after that stay with
GIOKOS: More now on the tragic death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot while covering an Israeli raid in the West Bank. The
Israeli military says it is not possible yet to determine who killed her.
They say they can't discern which shot hit her. Earlier they had said Palestinian militants were possibly responsible for her death. A short time
ago I talked with an IDF spokesperson. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEFLER: We don't wish one to rush for any kind of judgment. We don't know if it was the IDF professional fire that was aiming to hit gunmen that were
shooting at the forces and hurling at them explosives, or if it was really the indiscriminate fire that was sadly all around the camp. And we saw and
heard many of it in this event and also sadly and other events.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: A network however, says Abu Akleh was killed "by Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank". And they point out she had worked for Al
Jazeera since 1997. That newsroom today filled with shock and grief. Take a listen to one of her co-workers, Correspondent Nida Ibrahim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIDA IBRAHIM, AL JAZEERA ENGLISH CORRESPONDENT: We're here in Al Jazeera's offices in Ramallah where if you can see the colleagues of Shireen are
gathering that our journalists also here coming. Everyone is looking at this video that shows the moments of her life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forgive me for interrupting you. One can understand because we've heard from Stephanie, how tightly knit these teams can be,
how much like a family these teams on the ground can be. Try if you can just talk to us what kind of impact this is having on the team.
IBRAHIM: I think the pictures are speaking for themselves, right Rob?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Nida now joins us from Ramallah in the West Bank. Nida, I have to say watching that video of your of you and your coworkers and the pain in
your faces, it's really hard to watch and condolences to you and your team.
I want you to describe Shireen to us. I mean, we've just said that she's worked for Al Jazeera since 1997.
IBRAHIM: She really is a kind soul, someone who's smiling, someone who's fun to work with. We've been covering the events unfolding in Jenin, where
she tragically died this morning, or I should say killed.
And when we were going out together, covering we used to stay in one team, I'm covering for the English Channel. She's covering for the Arabic
channel, but always together, make sure the teams are safe.
She's someone who's very, very known here in Palestine. People know her by name. And whenever we go report to any place, they would say, oh, you know,
Shireen, we know her she covered this story. She covered that story.
She was focused on the human element and bringing the features and the human stories beyond the numbers of how many people were killed or how many
houses demolished. We want to know the story behind those attacks those violations.
So she would bring us that story. And I want to say that no matter how known she was, how she became some sort of a celebrity here from lack of
other celebrities here in Palestine.
But also at the same time she's humble, she's kind, she's eager to learn. She was showing us in the past few weeks that she's advancing and learning
the Hebrew language.
She was trying to read to us this really newspapers, what they have published about the events that have been happening in Jenin, and in also
refugee camp where the Israeli forces have intensified their raids.
She's someone who has also been proud to have graduated recently with a diploma from Bir Zeit University here near Ramallah. And she studied new
media; she was very excited to show us that she had videos compiled on a mobile phone.
And she wanted to produce a whole video on the mobile phone, she was showing us, she was saying this is a new world to me. She has been a
journalist for more than 25 years, covering the events with a traditional media traditional journalism.
But now she was gearing up to join the changes in journalism. She wants to be a part of social media, and part of the changing dynamics of telling the
story. This is not someone who's done with life. She was a kind soul, eager to learn--
GIOKOS: Your description on her, it is, I mean, you're describing a dynamic, a very brave person who was so committed to the story. And you
mentioned something that really struck me that she was almost like a celebrity, right.
And the stories that she told, the harsh stories that she told she was sort of a mainstay in homes across the Arab world who was so accustomed to
watching her reports, they relied on her for important reports in some of the most dangerous of areas. How do you think it's going to be impacting
people that have been watching her for such a long time?
IBRAHIM: There's so much pain, so much pain. People who didn't know her personally, like, for example, my mother who never met her personally, she
was telling me that she's been crying since the morning since she heard the news.
So you can imagine in every Palestinian home, there is someone who knows her. Let's not forget that when Al Jazeera and mainly Jazeera Arabic
started, they've covered the Palestinian story in a way that no other international media has covered before.
So they were having rolling coverage from different cities from the occupied West Bank when the Israelis invaded the towns and the cities of
Palestinians during the second Palestinian intifada.
She was there. She and her other colleagues, to the extent that when I went to study journalism, the professor has asked us why are you choosing this
profession? And many of the answers were, oh, we've seen - those are Al Jazeera's celebrities.
The people knew them because we carried the story out to the world in a way that hasn't been done before. We don't have a film industry. We don't have
movies so we don't have superstars.
And for Palestinians, the fact that these journalists were telling their story, it made them raise to a level that they become the celebrities.
GIOKOS: It's so painful to hear, you know, and really and really difficult for, for journalists to listen to what you're saying, because she played
such a vital role like, right? She was such a pioneer.
I know that it's still raw; I know that it's so painful. But how's it going to impact you and your team's ability to cover stories specifically in the
West Bank? And how do you think it's going to impact Al Jazeera as a whole?
IBRAHIM: The short answer is, I don't know. I don't know if we are going to be able to cover the stories. I'm talking about myself. I'm not sure if I'm
going to enter the Jenin refugee camp with the same mentality that I'm relatively safe.
I've heard someone tell me today that they've been covering next to Shireen Abu Akleh in East Jerusalem last year. And they were telling me that I felt
that his name was Jalal.
He was saying I felt that I was safe because I was next to Shireen. So it's hard for us to still absorb all of these emotions. Of course, we're going
to be more scared, of course, we're going to be more afraid.
And I've been hearing journalists telling me today that Nida, don't you think that's the reason why she has been targeted, the reason why she has
been shot, so all of us could start fearing for our lives when covering the story.
Now, this is not to say that these violations are new, 55 Palestinians have lost their lives by Israeli forces fire in the past years. So it's not
something that just happened today.
It's just a reminder that Palestinian journalists are not safe just because they're marked press. They're part and parcel of their people's struggle
and pain under the military occupation.
So you have people who are saying, you know what, we're not safe as human beings to begin with, - makes you under the risk more of course, we go
uncovered, we are on the front lines.
But still, some people view this not just as a job but as a mission to tell the stories that are usually untold people fear from Israel's criticism. So
you see that there is some kind of cover story with the balances.
But no, we have a case where a journalist has been shot by Israeli versus fire. And we've been seeing videos circulating suggesting that she have
been shot at this location by Palestinian fighter's fire.
No, this didn't happen because what we know for sure, is that she was standing in a different location than those videos and we've seen that
documented by these really - organization of --.
GIOKOS: And it's an investigation Nida that is absolutely ongoing. And in fact, we had an in depth interview about this. And we are going to continue
asking those tough questions in terms of exactly what happened.
And I know you will and you and your team are going to be thinking very closely about her legacy and continuing those condolences to you and your
team of course and may she be remembered. Thank you so much. We're going to a very short break. And we'll see you after this stay with CNN.
GIOKOS: Tonight for our parting shots, we want to pay a special tribute to journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed on the job today in the West Bank.
While the details of her death are still murky, the legacy she leaves behind is resoundingly clear.
Many grew up watching Shireen's reporting on the Second Intifada, and she was the voice of so many. And they turned to her for clarity and that was
her mission as a journalist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIREEN ABU AKLEH, AL JAZEERA JOURNALIST: It may not be easy to change reality, but at least I've been able to share that Palestinian voice to the
world. I am Shireen Abu Akleh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Now, over the last few decades, many in the region of the Middle East say there were few who narrated the Palestinian experience in real
time more powerfully than she did.
Her dispatches resonated empathy and courage across the Arab streets and she was a trailblazer, who built a reputation as a household name. In an
era when Arab women were rarely heard reporting from conflict zones, Shireen was a beloved icon with her death.
It's a terrible loss to journalism. Across the board our deepest condolences go to her family and her friends. And thank you so much for
joining us. That was "Connect the World".