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Connect the World

Humanitarian Crisis Worsens In Gaza As War Intensifies; Fallout After Testimony From University Presidents; CNN Poll: Donald Trump Leads Joe Biden In Hypothetical Rematch; Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Missing From Prison; Jordan Calls On United States To Put More Pressure On Israel; Zelenskyy And Biden To Meet At The White House; CNN Talks To Children Of Jailed Iranian Activist. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 11, 2023 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: This hour we are at the Doha forum in Qatar where we have been speaking to some of the key stakeholders in the

Israel-Hamas war. We'll bring you back up to speed on what their positions are and where they see the conflict going next.

First, your headlines this hour. New CNN poll show U.S. President Joe Biden is struggling against former President Donald Trump in two key swing

states. Democratic incumbent chose a Republican front runner in Michigan and Georgia, two states he barely won in the 2020 election.

U.S. college campuses and presidents dealing with the fallout from last week's congressional hearing on anti-Semitism. Hundreds of Harvard faculty

members have signed a petition urging officials to resist calls for removing the university president that is after the resignation Saturday of

Penn's President Liz Magill.

And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be making his third visit to Washington since his country was invaded by Russia. He'll meet Joe Biden

on Thursday along with several U.S. senators, it comes as U.S. aid to Ukraine is on course to dry up.

Welcome back to what is our second hour of Connect the World here at the Doha Forum in Qatar. I've been speaking to key decision makers over the

weekend here including the Qatari foreign minister, he also was the Prime Minister here, his country having played a key role as far as a mediator.

The Jordanian Foreign Minister has been unequivocal of his criticism of Israel. And the Palestinian Prime Minister who told me that Hamas will

remain an integral part of the Palestinian political mosaic and I quote him there. You'll hear from each of them over the next hour along with our

regular analysis of this ongoing conflicts.

First up, I want to start with my conversation here earlier with the foreign minister of Iran. I asked him about the prospects of a two state

solution in the Middle East, here is what he said.


HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The only one that we have in common between us and the occupying regime of Israel is that

neither of us believe in the two state solution, because there is -- Israel doesn't believe in a two state solution.


ANDERSON: Well, he went further and said the quote, original Palestinians should decide their own fate. Here's how he put it.


AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN: For the Palestinian question, we have come up and we have put forth a very important solution. And the solution lies in holding a

referendum participated by all the Palestinians, the original ones, including the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims. It is our solution.

The self-determination should be done by the original Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims. They should take part in a referendum and after 75

years, they can decide their own future. They can participate in a referendum by the United Nations, they can express their opinion and they

can vote and then based on the results of this referendum, then the conflict will be over.


ANDERSON: Well, as Israel presses its offensive against Hamas, it is striking hundreds of targets in Gaza daily and in the southern city of Khan

Yunis has become one center of hostilities.

Lots of gunfire heard in Khan Yunis on Saturday, Israel told civilians to leave the area. The Hamas run Health Ministry in Gaza says across the

Enclave since October the seventh, more than 18,000 people have lost their lives.

The IDF said today the total number of Israeli soldier deaths has reached 100, all of this as nearly two million displaced civilians face a daily

struggle to survive.

Jeremy Diamond joins me from Sderot in southern Israel. And Jeremy, what we are seeing on the ground has been described as Gaza being in the midst of a

catastrophe. The Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza was supposed to open on Monday according to Israeli authorities despite hopes that more

humanitarian aid could start flowing into Gaza after being processed there. It didn't. Why would it be important for those struggling Gazans to have a

second aid crossing at this point? How would that work?


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, opening that Kerem Shalom crossing to inspections for those eight trucks going into Gaza, was

viewed as some real hopes and real possibility in that because it would actually double the capacity of the Israelis to conduct those security

checks on those eight trucks before they go into Gaza.

And so, there was a lot of hope around that crossing potentially opening today, but it hasn't. There are some conflicting accounts of exactly why

that is with COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for getting that aid into Gaza, effectively blaming the United Nations, but a humanitarian aid

officials saying instead that it was the Egyptians who were not -- who were keeping the Rafah crossing clear in order to allow for a VIP visit that was

happening in Gaza today.

But there are efforts that appears in the coming days to try and get that crossing open, at least for the inspection of those trucks, which should

speed up the flow of aid into Gaza.

But even then, it is clear that the need is enormous in Gaza right now. Whether you hear from the U.N. Secretary General or from other humanitarian

organizations, they are describing absolute desperation inside of Gaza where shelters are overcrowded, under resourced, and also hospitals are

being overburdened at this moment.

Only I believe it's 16 out of 34 of those hospitals -- I'm sorry, 14 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are partially open at this hour and Rafah the city --

the southernmost city in Gaza, where Israeli officials have been telling Palestinians to move to, not only is that city still facing bombardment

from Israeli war planes, but also where civilians are able to find safe shelter. They are finding overcrowded and under resourced situations there

as well.

So, it is a situation where Palestinian civilians are really facing impossible choices as they try to navigate these Israeli evacuation orders,

sometimes getting just you know, very short notice to actually move and then the capacity of actually getting to a safe place where they can have

shelter and food and water is a whole other question in and of itself.

ANDERSON: Antony Blinken has said in the past 24 hours that it is absolutely imperative that Israel does its utmost to protect civilians, but

his words frankly are falling on deaf ears quite literally.

The U.S. blocked the resolution at the U.N. Security Council on Friday, which was demanding a ceasefire and it is expediting more weapons to Israel

at this point. And Israel is determined that until it destroys Hamas, or at least its military leaders and apparatus and has the hostages freed that

this will continue -- its military operation will continue.

And the National Security Adviser just over the weekend suggesting that could be weeks, if not months at this point. What are you hearing on the


DIAMOND: Yes, that's right. Israeli officials are showing no signs that this offensive particularly in the south is going to slow down at any point

and in fact, they are continuing heavy military operations r

Right behind me here in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, you can see smoke billowing from the area near the Jabalia refugee camp. We've been

hearing heavy bombardment in the northern most city of Beit Hanoun as well.

And so, clearly, Israeli military operations are continuing to go with full force, including in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, where Israeli

officials believe that Yahya Sinwar the Hamas's leader in Gaza, is believed to be hiding underground.

As you mentioned, Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israeli National Security Adviser, saying that this military offensive is likely not to be counted in weeks,

and perhaps not even in months. Suggesting a very long term Israeli military operation in Gaza. Despite the fact that in the last week or so,

we've been hearing from U.S. officials in particular that Israel would potentially ramp down this current phase of military operations by the

beginning of next year, which is, of course, just a few weeks away.

And in fact, Tzachi Hanegbi also said that the U.S. hasn't given Israeli firm deadline by which it has to end its operations. We've heard the same

from U.S. officials, saying that even though they are bringing pressure to bear on Israel, encouraging them to take more precautions as it relates to

civilians, they are also certainly not directing another sovereign nation when they can and cannot end their military operations.

So, we will see whether over the coming weeks that pressure comes to a boiling point whether it triggers more action beyond just the rhetoric that

we have seen from the United States, but for now, at least very little has actually changed on the ground.

ANDERSON: Yes, I mean, certainly, in D.C. the language does seem to suggest more frustration on the part of Washington with regard the Israeli



But as I say, at present, they are steadfast in their support of Israel and have vetoed what was the latest opportunity the United Nations Security

Council in its calls for a ceasefire.

Here, I have to say, Jeremy, in Doha, everybody you speak to around this region, particularly those stakeholders here at the Doha Forum, not

interested in talking about the day after, not interested in talking about what happens next in Gaza post conflict when the guns are silent. The

absolute real priority for anybody around this region is to get a ceasefire and to stop this war.

Well, Israel has said all along that the goal of its operation is to eliminate Hamas following the October the seventh attack here in Doha, the

Palestinian Authority president did weigh in on that goal. Take a listen.


MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRIME MINISTER: I think it's very important that we should all realize that Hamas is an integral part of the

Palestinian political mosaic.

And therefore, for Israel to claim that they are going to eradicate, eliminate Hamas, I think this is something that is totally -- first of all,

it's not going to happen and totally is not acceptable to us.


ANDERSON: That was the Palestinian P.M.

In just the last hour of CONNECT THE WORLD, so I've been talking to the Palestinian ambassador to the U.K. He's here in Doha. And I started by

asking what he thinks of the U.S. Secretary of State demanding that civilian lives in Gaza be protected, especially after the U.S. vetoing that

U.N. resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire in war ravaged Gaza. Here's what he told me.


HUSAM ZOMLOT, PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.K.: It says to me that he is 17,000 innocent people killed late, too late. He is a quarter of a million

houses demolished too late. He is really needs to focus on two things now. And I mean, Mr. Blinken, I mean, the U.S. international community to stop

this carnage immediately. Because every minute and I mean every minute counts in shaping the future, we can no longer discuss the day after

because we don't know what next morning will look like.

The plan, the Israeli plan is very clear, it is to turn Gaza unlivable. And they're doing the same in the West Bank at a slower pace but it's the same

blueprint, if you may design.

And therefore, this is a time for action. I think the international community needs to regain respect for its own rules and order because it

has been undermined, it has been tested to the max. This is a time when accountability needs to be on the table. So, this is never again.

Because if we end this tragedy and wait for the next tragedy, we have failed humanity for generations to come. And we need to not think about the

day after only, we need to think about the day before, because the world has not just failed the Palestinian people after the seventh of October,

the world has failed the Palestinian people before the seventh of October.

And you know very well, Becky, that almost the Palestinian issue was nonexistent in Washington and in London and key international quarters, the

Netanyahu agenda for quarter of a century has been the dominant one, which is primarily killing off any opportunity of a two state solution, he's

public about it today. We need to regain that momentum and need to take action rather than words.

ANDERSON: What you did say when we spoke alongside a number of other key speakers on the panel today was that when we get to that conversation

around this region and beyond about what happens next, you said very specifically, this needs to not just be about what happens in a post

conflict Gaza. But this needs to be a conversation with Palestinians about a Palestinian future. And it needs to include the West Bank as you rightly

pointed out.


ANDERSON: Just explain the conceit of your argument here.

ZOMLOT: The argument is this did not begin on the seventh of October. The argument is this is not a conflict between Hamas and Israel, or Gaza and

Israel. This is is an oppression by Islam that has lasted for 75 years.

This is not a war. Because what happens between two countries, two armies, you can never define actions by an occupier against occupied by using the

term war, that doesn't exist. You use repression, oppression, and you use terms like resistance or terms like struggle for the Palestinian people.

Terms like self-defense.

And you know, all these words that have been used have really missed -- misplace the Palestinian issue and has contributed to where we are today.


The Palestinian people have been struggling for a hundred years, Becky. This is a people struggle. This is not political factions. Fatah, Hamas,

PFLP, name it, have been born out of the womb of the Palestinian people over hundreds of years, Hamas is a newcomer to this whole thing.

It's a people struggle. And that struggle is very clear. I just heard, we need the referendum, referendum for what? We're very clear, this is a

liberation struggle. We are seeking to liberate our land. We want to have a right of self-determination that has international consensus. And we want

to establish our state once that occupation ends in the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital.


ANDERSON: Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom with me here in Doha at the Doha Forum and you can follow more of our in depth coverage from

this region as ever in our newsletter.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, access that all by scanning the Q.R. code at the bottom of your screen, I'm going to give you 10, 15 seconds to do that

while I tell you that that is a jolly good read, it hits your e-mail boxes three times a week, bang up to date and we'll give you a real sense of the

stories in the headlines and the stories that are going on around this region behind the scenes. That is meanwhile, in the Middle East and

newsletter from CNN.

Right, still to come, CNN has new polling showing U.S. President Joe Biden trailing behind Donald Trump in two crucial battleground states. A live

report on that is just ahead.

And some American university campuses and their presidents struggled after an anti-Semitism hearing in Congress.

And while Harvard's president has had critics going after her, others are backing her. Hear what they are saying and why it matters after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.

There are still American universities and their presidents dealing with fallout from last week's congressional hearing on anti-Semitism.

Harvard University's president Claudine Gay is facing intense scrutiny but more than 600 of Harvard faculty members are supporting her in a petition.

Gay is having to deal with those against her after the resignation of University of Pennsylvania's President Liz Magill, Board Chair Scott Bach

on Saturday.

I'm going to bring in who has got more for us on this. He's out of New York today. Matt, just explain what's going on here and why it is that there is

so much tumult around these characters.


MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Becky, this is all about how these university leaders have handled anti-Semitism on campus. And it really came

to a head last week when they appeared before Congress, and they sort of fumbled a response to questions that, you know, a lot of people thought

would be an easy question to answer, which is whether or not calls for genocide of Jews on campus, whether that violates university rules, and

they botched that response and the uproar has been ferocious.

So, we did see the University of Pennsylvania's president stepped down over the weekend. And now there's a lot of pressure on Harvard President

Claudine Gay, who I would note she did apologize on Friday for her handling of this.

And we have heard from lawmakers and more than 70 lawmakers, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have called for Harvard to part ways with Claudine Gay.

We do know that over the weekend, the governing bodies at Harvard, they did meet for a regularly scheduled meeting that's according to a source. Now,

this was not an emergency meeting and we don't know whether or not Claudine Gay's employment was a topic of discussion, but you got to imagine that

that was an elephant in the room.

There are some interesting differences though, between the situation in Harvard and the situation at Penn and one of the biggest difference is that

Claudine Gay is got -- she's got a lot of support from faculty and that is very notable and different from what we saw at Penn.

At last check, we have almost 700 faculty members who have signed a petition in support of Claudine Gay. Let me read you a key line from this

petition these faculty members wrote and I quote, "We the undersigned faculty urged you in the strongest possible terms to defend the

independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard's commitment to academic freedom, including calls for

the removal of President Claudine Gay".

Two other key differences here, Becky, unlike Penn's Magill, Gay, she did apologize for how she handled the hearing last week. And another big

important difference is that at Penn, those leaders were under fire for months over issues of anti-Semitism.

At Harvard, this has been a little bit of a more recent issue. Again, mostly related to the hearing.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Good to have you, Matt. Thank you.

Well, new CNN poll showed Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden in two key battleground states in the 2024 race for the White House.

In Georgia, the hypothetical rematch shows the former president leading Biden 49 to 44 percent. And in Michigan, Trump leads 50 to 40 percent

amongst registered voters. President Biden beat Trump in Michigan and Georgia in the 2020 election.

Now, in Iowa, a new poll from the Des Moines Register, shows Republican support for Trump far ahead of his closest competitors. Next month's Iowa

caucuses are of course the first test of the 2024 presidential election.

Well, CNN's senior political data reporter Harry Enten joins me now from New York. And let's just drill down on why it is that we are seeing these

numbers. Is it clear at this point? What is it that Joe Biden is doing which is -- which suggests that people are in swing states at least not

buying his policy?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, Becky, look, it's the center of the electorate, right? You know, oftentimes we talk about Democrats, we

talk about Republicans in this country, but independents are where elections are won.

And you know, you mentioned Georgia and Michigan, Joe Biden won independence in both of those states very clearly back in the 2020

election, right? He got over 50 percent of the vote in both of those states among independents.

And if you look at the particular polling that we see now coming from those states, what we see is that Joe Biden is not anywhere close to 50 percent

of the vote. He's at only 35 percent in the state of Georgia, I believe he said only 30 percent of the vote -- of the vote in the state of Michigan.

And when you're losing the center of the electorate, you're going to lose when you're losing it that badly.

But you know, more than that, more than just the independence as you see on your screen right now. It's also the fact that he's trailing it all, that

he's trailing it all in the state of Michigan.

OK, if you go back to the 2020 campaign, you know how many polls Joe Biden trail Donald Trump in the state of Michigan? He trailed them in zero. He

trailed him in zero polls in the state of Michigan.

This particular year, what we've already seen is not just the CNN poll, we've also seen a New York Times Siena College poll that Joe Biden is

trailing by a significant margin in the state of Michigan among registered voters.


So, we're looking at something very, very different than what we saw four years ago, whereby Donald Trump is leading in places he simply put, did not

lead back in 2020.

But finally, here's the thing I will point out, you know, obviously, there's been all this talk about Israel's war with Hamas. And it seems to

me that Joe Biden is in a no win position, because essentially what you have in both Michigan and in Georgia, you have a left-wing of the

Democratic Party who believe he is doing too much for Israel in its war against Hamas.

Then you have voters in the center of the electorate and those on the right, who believe he's doing too little for them. And then you have this

plurality that says he's doing the right amount, but look there, it's only 39 percent in Georgia, it's only 40 percent in the state of Michigan. That

simply put Becky is not enough to win this election.

So, as you just look throughout this entire poll, what you see are very troubling signs for the incumbent president.

ANDERSON: That's fascinating. Good to have you, Harry. Thank you very much indeed.

And some news just developing here in to CNN. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is imprisoned east of Moscow is missing. That's

according to his team who reported the news on X. His spokesperson says he has been missing for six days.

Let's bring in Fred Pleitgen from Berlin. Fred, what more do we know at this point?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Becky. Well, we know that this concern about the whereabouts of Alexei Navalny and

his team and his lawyers not knowing his whereabouts. It's something that's been building up over the past couple of days, they tried to check in with

him on Friday, there was a team of lawyers that went to the prison that he's supposed to be in called IK-6, which is a couple hundred miles east of

Moscow and they were brushed off, they were told that they could not speak to him.

And then today, he was supposed to appear via video link at a hearing. So, from that prison, he was supposed to appear via video link to a court. And

he didn't show up for that either.

Apparently, for a while they were saying there might have been a power failure at that prison. But now his lawyers have found out that he's

actually no longer listed as even being in that prison. And that, of course, seriously raised the alarms for the folks that support him. And of

course, for his legal team as well.

They then went and asked around other jails in that direct area, whether or not he might be there and have not found him.

Yet, one of the things that we do know is that he was supposed to be transferred to a different penal colony, which has an even harsher regime

than the one that he's already been facing. Of course, we know he's had a very tough time in jail with a lot of days, weeks, even in solitary

confinement there, he's supposed to be transferred to an even tougher jail than he has already been in.

But again, right now, they don't know where he is. They have no idea whether or not that this is something where he could be in the middle of a

transfer. They don't know whether or not this could be some sort of health issue. He of course has had some health issues in the past and in fact,

right now as we speak, I'm hearing that Kira Yarmysh, his spokeswoman said that he reportedly became dizzy at a hearing two weeks ago and had to lie

down on the floor where prison staff gave him an I.V. So, those health issues have been there.

But again, right now, his supporters have absolutely no idea where he is, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen on the story for you. Thank you.

All right, coming up, and Ukraine's President heading to the United States for another wartime visit. Can Volodymyr Zelenskyy convince lawmakers to

free up what is crucial aid now stalled in Congress. That, after this.



ANDERSON: That's exactly.

Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from Doha in Qatar this evening,

The war, top of the agenda here at the Doha forum -- the war between Israel and Hamas, of course. And as we've been reporting, regional players are

increasingly frustrated as the death toll in Gaza mounts in just over two months. More than 18,000 people have been killed, according to the Gaza

Ministry of Health.

Many feel that the United States, the main weapons supplier to Israel is not doing enough to stop the bloodshed.

Well, yesterday, at the forum here, I spoke with Jordans' foreign minister, Ayman Al Safadi. His country has been loud and unwavering in its calls for

a ceasefire since the early days of this conflict.

He was in Washington with other Arab ministers on Friday, talking to the U.S. secretary of state. Have a listen to what he told me.


AYMAN AL SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Israel has created an amount of hatred that will haunt this region. That will define generations to

come. And therefore, it's hurting its own people as much as it is hurting everybody else in the region. This is a war that cannot be won. Israel has

already suffered a strategic defeat.

ANDERSON: The question here today is what happens now and what happens next? Did you get a sense of a change in tone, both in, perhaps, in private

as much as in public from the American administration?

I mean, what pressure did you and other Arab ministers want to bring to bear on Washington, as far as pressure on the Israelis is concerned?

AL SAFADI: Just stop this war. Stop this madness. Stop this aggression that is just dragging the region into the abyss of a conflict that will haunt

everybody. A conflict that is facing a very serious risk of expanding.


ANDERSON: Well, another war will grab the attention of U.S. lawmakers this week. When Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Washington, he'll

meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday and also talk with U.S. senators.

President Zelenskyy heads to America with aid deemed crucial to Ukraine's war effort, currently stalled in the U.S. Congress. And the visit comes as

Russia launches more attacks on Ukraine.

The military reporting missiles fired at the Kyiv region today and shelling in the Kherson region that killed one person.

I want to bring in Melissa Bell, who was here with me in Doha. You have been in and out of Ukraine, reporting on the on Russia's war there for what

the past two years now. And you've been speaking to people here who are involved.

I want to get the perspective from you, your perspective on what is going on in Washington and why this trip for Volodymyr Zelenskyy is so important

at this point?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's crucial, Becky, because, of course, what's happening on the ground. As you said, right now, the stalemate that

seems to have been reached along the frontlines, even as Russia seems to be increasing its missile drone attacks targeting Kyiv, Kherson, again,

without shelling, that feeling within Ukrainian leadership circles, that they are very quickly running out of ammunition, very quickly running out

of money at a time, when their partners are looking a little more flaky than they had in the past.


And, of course, that is what was behind President Zelenskyy's desire to head to Washington at all. We've just learned that there was some wrangling

about whether this could happen, we knew that he was going to Argentina, and whether he would be invited to Washington was really up until the --

until the last Friday.

We now know he is going. He is going to be meeting with congressional leaders, and that will probably be some of his most important meetings

beyond the symbolic meeting with the American president himself, Becky, because of that stalemate on Capitol Hill.

Now, one of his most important meetings is going to be with a newly minted House. Speaker, he, Mike Johnson, fresh base for President Zelenskyy to

speak to. The problem he has is that even if there is a new Speaker in charge of the Republicans in the House, the fundamental dynamics, the GOP

are the same, and the wrangling right now over whether or not to increase the spending actors to Ukraine is linked very much to progress that they're

seeking to make in his decades long fight over immigration on the southern American border with Mexico.

For now, what we understand is happening is that the wrangling the Senate negotiations, and the senator is such that the positions that are being

taken by the -- by the Republicans are so conservative, from the point of view of the Democrats.

It is very unlikely to imagine, we understand that a breakthrough might come before the end of the week. That means that the idea of extra funding

approved by Congress, we understand is about $2 billion that could be unlocked over the coming months here, so, if it does happen, could be

stalled with huge implications about how then President Zelenskyy can continue to wage his war and defend his country.

ANDERSON: The money from the Americans has been absolutely crucial, of course. And I'm just thinking about the change in atmosphere that he will

likely face in Washington, as opposed to that which he -- which welcomed him in, you know, at the beginning of this war.

When he did that huge tour of capitals, including the European capitals. What's the story as far as Europe is concerned?

BELL: That's right. We're going to see that big week in Washington for President Zelenskyy with United States. But we're also have a big week here

in Europe in terms of whether or not agreement can be found, unity can be maintained amongst the Europeans to continue that crucial political support

for Kyiv.

Because, of course, the longer this has dragged on, the greater the divisions have become. in fact, looking ahead to the summit the end of the

week in Brussels, where they're looking to approve two things, $50 billion euros worth of extra economic funding for Kyiv, but also, the official

start of formal accession talks for Ukraine to Europe.

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian president is threatening to veto both. So, it is a very different atmosphere and geopolitical situation that President

Zelenskyy is looking at. Will just come out of a panel here on those very issues, Becky, and we had a couple of an American and a European voice on

the panel, talking to us about the importance of that allied support, and what it would mean, if it faltered. Have a listen.


DR. FABIAN ZULEEG, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN POLICY CENTER: What has to be clear is that Ukraine has to be in the driving seat. And I would fully expect

that if that is not the case, then, Ukraine will also continue to fight regardless of what the support is like, what the international situation is

like. Because for Ukraine, this is a matter of survival.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And acceptance of the aggression, and a partition or any other kind of proposal like that is, is really -- it would send one of

the most egregious signals, I think, not just only to Ukraine, but to the global community.


ANDERSON: Interesting.

BELL: Now, what that means, of course, is that you could -- you can talk what you like about what it would represent for Zelenskyy, in a very real

sense. The fact that the months, the years have passed, this stalemate is set in as you mentioned a moment ago with a world so focused right now on a

different war entirely -- Its resources, its attention.

The danger for President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians is that the divisions in Washington, the divisions in Brussels have real impact over the coming

months on his ability to continue defending his country.

And what the Ukrainians are saying is that their ability to fight this war, and what we last saw in September, they were already just saying it's

ammunition, ammunition, ammunition, we're running out. It's desperately bad for us right now. The danger is they say that they will run out of the

money that they need to fight this war to defend their country before the end of the year, if these issues are not unblocks.

The desperate times there in Kyiv and a desperate attempt on the part of President Zelenskyy to remind allies of exactly what it is their fighting


ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. It's good to have you.

BELL: Happy to see you, Becky. Thank you.

ANDERSON: Important stuff ahead on CONNECTED WORLD. The children of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner talk about what it's been like to grow up

with that mom imprisoned in Iran.

It is a CNN exclusive and it is up next.



ANDERSON: Well, the children of the Iranian activist, Narges Mohammadi, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf on Sunday. She was awarded the

prize back in October for her decades of human rights activism, for which she has been sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison in Tehran.

But Sunday's award ceremony her children delivered a lecture written by Muhammad eat from her prison cell.


ALI RAHMANI, SON OF NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE NARGES MOHAMMADI: I'm confident that the light to freedom and justice will shine brightly on the

land of Iran. At that moment, we will celebrate the victory of democracy and human rights over tyranny and authoritarianism. And the outcome of the

people's triumph on the streets of Iran will resonate worldwide.


ANDERSON: Well, in her lecture, Mohammadi highlighted how young people in Iran have been a catalyst for civil resistance, adding, the Iranian people

will dismantle obstruction and despotism through their persistence. Have no doubt, she said this is certain.

But before the ceremony, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh caught up with Muhammadi's children. In a CNN exclusive, they talk about the pain of her imprisonment

and their fading hopes of ever seeing her again.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ali and Kianna are preparing for the proudest moment of their lives.



K. RAHMANI: Oh, the king.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The king and queen.

K. RAHMANI: And his child --

KARADSHEH (voice over): The day they'll stand on the world stage here in the historic Oslo City Hall to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of

their mother, Narges Mohammadi.

K. RAHMANI: This is very symbolic for us. Narges is a flower in (INAUDIBLE). Yes.


KARADSHEH (voice over): We joined them as they got a first look at the room where they'll also present her Nobel lecture smuggled out of Iran's Evin


K. RAHMANI: Tonight, they said Israeli is here.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Standing here, I'm trying to visualize the crowd, Kiana tells us. We will have to live up to this. A lot of important people

will be here.

The 17-year-old twins' first language is French. They were not yet 9 when they left Iran with their father for self-exile in Paris, after their

mother was ripped away from them by a regime that has tried and failed to silence her.

A. RAHMANI, (through translator): We are extremely proud of all that she's done, but what really saddens us today is that she ss not here, because we

should not be the ones being interviewed. That's my mother's right. But we'll do our best to be her voice and represent what is happening at Iran.


KARADSHEH (voice over): Their mother has been punished time and time again, sentenced to a total of 31 years and 154 lashes for standing up for

political prisoners against the death penalty and the compulsory hijab and for exposing sexual assaults in prisons.


She is been accused of anti-regime propaganda and threatening national security.

Her decades-long struggle for a free Iran honored in this exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, we have been able to tell the story about Narges in -- from 1979, 1990 --

KARADSHEH (voice over): Part of the exhibit is this recreation of the tiny cell where prisoners like Mohammadi and her husband, who is also a

political activist, were locked up during solitary confinement. The exhibition and Mohammadi's Nobel win also paying tribute to the people of

Iran and their 2022 Woman, Life, Freedom uprising.

K. RAHMANI (through translator): We're not just here for our family, but for freedom and democracy. We feel mostly proud, brave, and determined. A

determination we got mostly from our mother.

KARADSHEH: I can't imagine what it's been like for you growing up without your mother being there.

A. RAHMANI (through translator): From the time I was 4, when my father was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards, I realized that my family would never

have an ordinary life. My mother has been more than just any mother. She chose to fight the government for me and my sister so that my sister could

have the same rights as me.

K. RAHMANI (through translator): Of course, at times in my life, I wanted her by my side. At puberty, your body changes, it's the kind of question

you would ask your mom. I had no one to ask, so I learned by myself. I would have loved if she could have taken me shopping, taught me how to wear

makeup and how to handle my body. Frankly, I'm just glad she's alive, because others have lost their loved ones and I can't even imagine what

that feels like.

KARADSHEH (voiceover): The family says Mohammadi hasn't been allowed to call them in nearly two years, and they're worried about her deteriorating


K. RAHMANI (through translator): I'm not very optimistic about ever seeing her again. My mom has a 10-year sentence left, and every time she does

something, like send out the speech we'll read out at the ceremony, that adds to her sentence. Whatever happens, she'll always be in my heart. And I

accept that because the struggle, the movement, Woman, Life, Freedom is worth it.

KARADSHEH: The pain of separation from her children is one Mohammadi lives with every single day. I asked her about this in August with the help of

intermediaries in Iran, she responded in writing.

KARADSHEH (voiceover): Mohammadi said, "If I look at the prison through the window of my heart, I was more of a stranger to my daughter and son than

any stranger. But I'm sure that the world without freedom, equality, and peace is not worth living. I have chosen not to see my children or even

hear their voices and be the voice of the oppressed people, women, and children of my land."

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Oslo.


ANDERSON: Well, during the Doha forum, I spoke to the Iranian foreign minister via video link. The interview was about Iran -- Israel, Israel's

war with Hamas, but we specifically talked about Mohammadi. And pressed -- I pressed him multiple times about when or if Narges Mohammadi will ever be

released from prison. Take a listen to what he said.


HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I can tell you that they will be to tried in a fair way. Let me get back to Palestine.


ANDERSON: I'm going to push you one more time on this. This is a very basic question, yes or no. Will the Islamic Republic release her?

AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN: Anything that our judiciary decides, you know, according to an offense that she has made.


ANDERSON: I'll be back with more news from Doha after this quick break.



ANDERSON: The continuing -- continuous crisis in Gaza has completely dominated our minds and captured our attention. It's -- I've covered the

story from Israel, from Jerusalem, and Qatar over the last two months. And in my time spent here in Doha, this time around, I've heard from many

global leaders about the need to change our approach as an international community to acknowledge how the guardrails of international law have

failed to put an end to human suffering.

Let's take a step back for a moment and put things in perspective. In a small piece of land where 2.1 million people have been besieged for 16

years, life can settle into a grim routine.

Over the last 65 days in Gaza. That routine has looked and felt like hell on earth. We've seen destruction, fear, misery, anger, and death. So much

senseless death.

One description of the enclave has become akin to an old adage, nowhere is safe in Gaza. Well, 18,000 people have been killed since the beginning of

Israel's assault on the Strip. It came in response to the horrific October the 7th Hamas attack where 1,200 people in Israel were killed and over 240

taken hostage.

Well, since October the 13th, the Israel has opened up what it calls safe corridors from Northern Gaza to the south, ordering Palestinians to

evacuate or risk death.

Proof it says of its commitment to protect civilians while targeting Hamas. But for those who make the journey every day, they say it feels more like

forcible displacement. What safety they ask? There were shelters or bunkers for ordinary people in Gaza to seek refuge from Israeli air strikes.

They traverse narrow roads so badly ruined and scattered with the debris of destroyed buildings. Whether you're heating the so-called safety calls or

sleeping inside your home, you are at risk of being struck from the sky all the time, everywhere. Nowhere is safe. No one is safe.

Well, on December the 3rd, Israel ordered gardens in the south to evacuate even further south. But where are they supposed to go? They are moving to

areas that cannot accommodate them. Areas that don't have food, water, sanitation, basic services, areas where at night there is only darkness and

so very little to see, but plenty to hear with the relentless sound of airstrikes.

What the Secretary General of the U.N. put it recently? "The people of Gaza are being told to move like human pinballs -- ricocheting between ever-

smaller slivers of the south without any of the basics for survival. And here is how he drove home that point earlier in Doha.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: This month marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But we are

not living up to the promise of these landmark documents.


ANDERSON: Well, under international humanitarian law, the place where people are told to evacuate to must have sufficient resources for their

survival. But that is simply not the case in Gaza. The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court lists the forcible transfer of a population as

a crime against humanity when, "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilian population, with knowledge of

the attack."

Israel denies targeting civilians, saying, it wants them to move out of the path of their attacks. But take a listen to what Jordan's foreign minister

told me about Israel's actions.


AL SAFADI: It simply feels unaccountable. It simply feels it can get away with murder. And this is what's happening. And I think this what needs to

do on everybody is that we are, at this day and age, 2023, one country defying the whole world, violating every tenant of international law,

committing war crimes, and the world is unable to do anything about it.



ANDERSON: Like many Palestinian tragedies, they represent part of a long- standing pattern. During the state of Israel's creation in 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes. Thousands

who lived in the southern part of present-day Israel became refugees inside Gaza. They lived in squalid camps waiting in vain, believing they would

eventually return to their homes.

Well, for most people in Gaza today, the last 65 days are just another chapter in their decades long static struggle for freedom, peace, and

dignity. Off times, as a story becomes part of our daily reality, we become numb to it in the language we use to describe it. Can you imagine what that

feels like for the people living that reality?

We'll take a listen to what one 22-year-old Palestinian journalist from Gaza had to say about what life does feel like today?


PLESTIA ALAQAD, JOURNALIST FROM GAZA: I'm not doing anything, and it feels ridiculous to do anything. Like after everything that happened after the

7th of October, it made me realize like, what does even life mean in any way? Or what does death means, you know?


ANDERSON: Well, Plestia was one of the lucky ones, you could say, who managed to leave Gaza, who at pains, chose to leave her home to protect her

family and herself. Others didn't get the chance to make that choice.

Well, imagine going to sleep every night and waking up every morning, asking yourself, will today be my turn? Palestinians in Gaza live in

perpetual anticipation of that Mukaab (PH) ending. While each chapter of horror begins differently, they all end in the same way, a grim routine of

hell on earth.

Well, that's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Stay with CNN.

"STATE OF THE RACE" with Kasie Hunt is up next.