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Hospitals in Gaza on the Brink of Collapse; Witnessing Health Crisis in Gaza; IDF Escalates Military Campaign in Multiple Areas of Gaza; E.U. Leaders Meet on Ukraine Funding, Accession Talks; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Hesitation on Sweden's NATO Bid; Biden-Netanyahu Rift Spills into Public View; U.S. President Joe Biden Calls Inquiry "Baseless Political Stunt"; Call to Earth: Saving Lemurs; Oil and Gas Nations Call for Fossil Fuel Investment; Mangrove Ecosystems. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired December 14, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hello, welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi.
Tonight and almost every night in the last two months, we are seeing a humanitarian catastrophe unfold in Gaza. Hospitals struggling to cope and
often in the firing line, according to the WHO.
The Gaza Strip has been transformed from the reasonably functioning health system to a situation out 36 functional hospitals, only 11 are partially
functioning, one in the north and 10 in the south of Gaza. They are just unable to cope.
Israeli actions in and around hospitals have come under fierce criticism from medical workers as well as NGOs. Doctors have reported hospitals being
under siege by the Israeli military, having their staff and patients subject to harsh treatment by soldiers.
Doctors without Borders reported last week that, for the first time, the number of corpses arriving at Al-Aqsa hospital surpassed the number of
wounded. That hospital is now no longer functioning.
The fear is that the remaining 11 will experience a similar fate, leaving the people, the civilians as always, the most impacted. CNN is the first
Western media outlet to get access into Gaza and report independently.
Chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, with us to tell us about the humanitarian crisis unfolding there. Here is her report.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You don't have to search for tragedy in Gaza. It finds you on every street,
strewn with trash and stagnant water, desolate and foreboding.
WARD: So we've just crossed the border into southern Gaza. This is the first time we've actually been able to get into Gaza since October 7th. And
we are now driving to a field hospital that has been set up by the UAE.
WARD (voice-over): Up until now, Israel and Egypt have made access for international journalists next to impossible. And you can see why.
WARD: Since October 7th, the Israeli military says it has hit Gaza with more than 22,000 strikes. That, by far, surpasses anything we've seen in
modern warfare, in terms of intensity and ferocity. And we really, honestly, are just getting a glimpse of it here.
WARD (voice-over): Despite Israel's heavy bombardment, there are people out on the streets, a crowd outside a bakery.
Where else can they go?
Nowhere is safe in Gaza.
DR. ABDULLAH AL-NAKBI, FIELD HOSPITAL PHYSICIAN: It used to be a stadium.
WARD (voice-over): Arriving at the Emirati field hospital, we meet Dr. Abdullah Al-Nakbi. No sooner does our tour begin when --
AL-NAKBI: Our ambulance. (INAUDIBLE) light.
WARD: And this is what you hear all the time now?
AL-NAKBI: Yes. At least 20 times a day.
WARD: At least 20 times a day?
AL-NAKBI: Maybe more, sometimes. I think we get used to it.
WARD (voice-over): One thing none of the doctors here have gotten used to is the number of children they are treating.
The U.N. estimates that some two-thirds of those killed in this round of the conflict have been women and children. Eight-year-old Jinan was lucky
enough to survive a strike on her family home that crushed her femur but spared her immediate family.
WARD: (Speaking foreign language).
She says she's not in pain, so that's good.
WARD (voice-over): Her mother, Hiba, was out when it happened.
"I went to the hospital to look for her," she says. "And I came here and I found her here. The doctors told me what happened with her and I made sure
that she's OK. Thank God."
"They bombed the house in front of us and then our home," Jinan tells us. "I was sitting next to my grandfather and my grandfather held me. And my
uncle was fine. So he's the one who took us out."
WARD: Don't cry.
WARD (voice-over): But Dr. Ahmed Almazrouei says it is hard not to.
DR. AHMED ALMAZROUEI, UAE FIELD HOSPITAL: I work with all people. Day care, (INAUDIBLE) children.
WARD (voice-over): Touches your heart and tests your faith in humanity.
As we leave Jinan, Dr. al-Nakbi comes back with the news of casualties, arriving from the strike just 10 minutes earlier.
AL-NAKBI: (INAUDIBLE) stable (INAUDIBLE) now, two amputated young male from the -- just the bombing.
WARD: From the (INAUDIBLE) bomb we just heard?
AL-NAKBI: That is my understanding.
WARD (voice-over): A man and a 13 year old boy are wheeled held in, both missing limbs, both in a perilous state.
AL-NAKBI: (Speaking foreign language).
WARD (voice-over): "What's your name, what's your name?" the doctor asks.
The notes provided by the paramedics are smeared with blood, a tourniquet improvised with a bandage.
Since the field hospital opened less than two weeks ago, it has been inundated with patients; 130 of their 150 beds are already full.
WARD: So let me understand this. You are now, basically, the only hospital around that still has some beds?
AL-NAKBI: I think so, yes. Or maybe I'm very sure of that because they are telling me one of the hospitals with a capacity of 200, they are
accommodating 1,000 right now. And the next door hospital, I'm not very sure. It's 50-100 but maybe 400, 500 patients.
So at one point (ph) he called me and said, I have three patients in each bed. Please take any. Then send as many as you can.
WARD: And we've been here 15 minutes and this is already what we're seeing.
AL-NAKBI: And this is -- you hear it, you see it.
WARD (voice-over): In every bed, another gut punch. Less than 2 years old, Amir still doesn't know that his parents and siblings were killed in the
strike that disfigured him.
"Yesterday, he saw a nurse that looked like his father," his Aunt Nehaia tells us. "He kept screaming, 'Dad, dad, dad.'"
Amir is still too young to comprehend the horror all around him. But 20 year old Lama understands it all too well. Ten weeks ago, she was studying
engineering at university, helping to plan her sister's wedding.
Today, she is recovering from the amputation of her right leg. Her family followed Israeli military orders and fled from the north to the south. But
the house where they were seeking shelter was hit in a strike.
"The world isn't listening to us," she says. "Nobody cares about us. We've been dying for over 60 days, dying from the bombing, and nobody did
Words of condemnation, delivered in a thin rasp.
But does anyone hear them?
Like Grozny, Aleppo and Mariupol, Gaza will go down as one of the great horrors of modern warfare.
It's getting dark. Time for us to leave, a privilege the vast majority of Gazans do not have. Our brief glimpse from a window onto hell is ending, as
a new chapter in this ugly conflict unfolds.
GIOKOS: Clarissa Ward now joins me.
It must have been so confronting being there because we've been covering these stories, we are seeing these images but then you get to go in with
your team and firsthand speak to people that all have these incredibly traumatic stories to share.
WARD: I think nothing prepares you. Even having covered conflict for nearly 20 years, when you are actually on the ground, even for a short
amount of time, you see so many children, suffering on that scale.
You know that relatively speaking they are the lucky ones. They are the ones that survived. They ended up in a hospital that is still functioning.
I think that does really overwhelm you, frankly. And at times, it feels like a huge responsibility as well.
You want to make sure that you get the story right. You want to make sure that people pay attention.
We have been hearing and seeing these stories as told by these extraordinary, brave journalists inside Gaza, who are being killed at
record numbers. More than 60 journalists killed inside Gaza since October 7th.
But for international journalists, this was really the first time that we were able to get in and report independently and see for ourselves as well
what they have been living through every day. And I think it's important what I said at the end of the piece as well, Eleni, "We get to leave" at
the end of it.
GIOKOS: Yes, the only way you can leave Gaza is if you are injured enough to be evacuated into Egypt or if you are a dual national. Those are the two
WARD: And even then, there are so many people with serious injuries who have been waiting and waiting and waiting to be evacuated out of Gaza.
There are so many dual nationals who have been waiting and waiting and waiting.
And so I'm very conscious of the privilege that we had, being able to travel with some margin of security that is not afforded to people there.
GIOKOS: Here's the reality. You heard a strike while you were, there it seemed very close, then a few minutes later, injuries came into the
hospital. You heard the cry, I think it was a 13 year old boy --
GIOKOS: -- who lost his leg.
WARD: He lost his leg; the man who was brought in at the same time as him also lost his leg. The doctors told us that they have an issue that a lot
of the patients, who are coming in, have been given very small amounts of painkillers, simply because there are not enough painkillers.
So you are seeing people facing huge life-threatening injuries, on top of that not even being able to get the medicines they need, the painkillers
They talked as well, these, doctors about ordinary illnesses and less severe injuries that are turning into life-threatening cases because of
sepsis, because of the conditions, because the health care system has effectively completely collapsed.
They talked about one man who was brought in with an injury to his head. They went to clean the wound and found that there were worms in it. And
this doctor, Abdullah Al-Nakbi, said, I've never seen anything like that in my career as a medical doctor.
GIOKOS: I, mean there is just a continuation of these horrific stories, even just the stories we've been covering consistently about amputations
without anesthesia and they continue as we hear humanitarian agencies continuing to beg for a cease-fire.
So we are very grateful to you and your team, Clarissa. I know it was tough. We're grateful for you being there.
WARD: Thank you.
GIOKOS: Thank you.
Clarissa Ward for us. Please head to cnn.com. I want you to read Clarissa and her team's story, "Looking into the eyes of an orphan in Gaza." it's a
rare glimpse inside the besieged enclave. It is tough to watch and read but incredibly important to see.
Again, our thanks to Clarissa and her team for bringing us an incredibly important story. Please head to the website to find out more of their
Despite the catastrophic toll of the war, Israel's military is pressing on with its offensive against Hamas. The IDF says its forces are backing Hamas
fighters in close quarters across Gaza. And Israeli officials are telling civilians in Khan Yunis, yet again, to move away from certain parts of the
city for their safety.
This, as a U.S. intelligence assessment says nearly half of the Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza so far have been unguided, so-called dumb bombs.
We're covering the story from all angles for you.
We've got Alex Marquardt in Tel Aviv as well as Natasha Bertrand joining us from the Pentagon in the U.S. as well.
Alex, great to see you.
Natasha, good to have you with us.
Alex, I'd like to start with you. Jake Sullivan is currently meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu as well as other government officials. This is
This is in the greater context of what we've heard from President Joe Biden earlier this week, talking about indiscriminate bombing, saying that the
Israelis need to be more careful with what they do in Gaza.
What do we expect from this meeting?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Eleni, this is President Biden's top advisor when it comes to this war. He's coming to Tel
Aviv at a pivotal moment when there are growing calls around the world from some of America's closest allies for an immediate cease-fire.
That is something the U.S. has not called for. But you can see clearly in the public statements, that the administration is growing increasingly
uncomfortable with how intense this war is, the impact it has on civilians, so many thousands of civilians killed. The inability to get humanitarian
So the White House has had that Sullivan would come here to meet with top Israeli officials for a frank conversation. We've heard him meet today with
prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the defense minister, Yoav Gallant.
One of the things Sullivan said that he wanted to better understand in his trip here was a timetable for this war.
Now, Eleni, we have previously reported, Natasha and I, that there was an expectation that this heavier, more intensive, higher paced period phase of
this war would last for several more weeks, perhaps until late December, before transitioning to a lower intensity phase.
We've had some strong comments right now following the defense ministers meeting with Jake Sullivan, saying that this war will require a long period
of time, more, Gallant says, than several months.
It is not clear whether that syncs up with the expectation of the U.S. for this heavier phase for the next few weeks. But he's clearly saying that
this war will go on for more than just several months.
We are also expecting Sullivan to put pressure on the Netanyahu government, to be more precise in they're targeting. This is something they have called
for time and time again. Yet it does not seem to be happening.
They will also be pressing Israel to allow aid to go directly into Gaza, not just inspecting it so it can go into the Rafah crossing but open up the
Kerem Shalom crossing, so aid can go directly from Israel into Gaza.
Natasha, let's talk about the intelligence assessment, saying that nearly half of the Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza have been, in fact, dumb
bombs. They have been imprecise. Here's the reality: everytime we speak to the IDF, talk about being as precise as possible. This intelligence report
is saying something very different.
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Eleni. The experts that we spoke to say that the U.S. assessment, that 40 percent to
45 percent of the munitions that Israel is dropping on Gaza, have been dumb bombs.
That undercuts significantly the argument that Israel has been making, that it's doing everything it can to protect civilians on the ground.
Just to take a step back here, according to this intelligence assessment, the Israelis have dropped 29,000 air to ground munitions on Gaza over the
last two months, just a really staggering figure in and of itself.
But of those 29,000, nearly half have been these imprecise and guided dumb bombs that the U.S. has criticized. Other countries were using in war
zones, including Russia's use of these dumb bombs in Ukraine.
However, it remains unclear why the Israelis are using these dumb bombs in Israel. They have been given by the United States bomb kits that can
transform many of their bombs into smart bombs. That could make their targeting a little more precise.
To be clear, precision munitions are not a be all, end all of precise targeting. They can still miss their targets. But it's such a densely
populated area, as Gaza, literally a few feet can determine whether or not someone lives or dies.
Using the most precise munitions that you have in your arsenal is extremely important. So when Jake Sullivan is there today, you know, he's going to be
urging the Israelis to be more precise and targeted in their operations.
The reality is that the U.S. understands, according to this intelligence assessment, they have been using these dumb bombs for months. And the White
House has continued to say that they believe Israel is trying to protect civilians.
GIOKOS: Natasha, thank you so much for that analysis as well as thanks to Alex Marquardt for us.
Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, the latest on Russia's assault on Ukraine's Kherson region as European leaders consider whether to give Kyiv
more money to keep up the fight.
Plus Turkiye may be moving from goalposts for Sweden's NATO bid. We'll talk to one of the Turkish president's top advisers.
GIOKOS: Russian president, Vladimir Putin, defended his country's war with Ukraine in his year-end news conference. Putin says Moscow is making gains
on the battlefield and he says Russia's objectives have not changed since its invasion in February 2022. What has changed, he says, is support for
Kyiv. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Neither we will agree on demilitarization, agree on certain parameters and, by the, way
during the negotiations Istanbul, we agreed on them. But then they threw the agreements into the oven.
But we had agreed on them or there were other possibilities, either to reach an agreement or to resolve it by using force. This is what we will
Today, Ukraine produces almost nothing. They're trying to preserve some things but they produced almost nothing. They get everything, excuse the
bad manners, for free. But this freebie may end someday and apparently it is ending.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Indeed, as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeals to the West for more money for weapons, we are seeing no letup on the ground.
Russia is keeping up its assault on the Kherson region, shelling it more than 100 times and killing one person, local officials say.
Moscow also launched dozens of drones. The Ukrainian air force says most of them were shot down over the Odessa region. Several people were wounded by
Ukraine wants more money to fight Russia and membership in the E.U. CNN's Bianca Nobilo is in Brussels, where the stakes at the meeting are very
Bianca, I mean, just hearing Vladimir Putin talking about how, you know, he is probably watching whether Ukraine is able to get more funding and aid
for the war, he's probably smiling on, thinking, Zelenskyy has a bit of pushing to do.
But Zelenskyy has been doing a good job of reminding the E.U. and the West this is not only a fight for Ukraine but for the entire West.
Will he be able to convince leaders today to give more money?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Eleni, no doubt Vladimir Putin knew what the resonance would be of his words when he was talking
about essentially the freebies to Ukraine potentially drying up.
This is a critical juncture for the future of Ukraine being discussed in the building behind me right now. That is on two fronts. The first and
foremost, the issue of funding. There is disagreement right now over a 50 billion euro package to Ukraine to help sustain this economy and further
discussions about lethal aid.
This is essential if Ukraine has hope over the next year of being able to stabilize and fight off the Russian invasion. Even more so than that,
symbolically, the question of whether or not the E.U. will greenlight Ukraine beginning its accession discussions into the European Union,
starting officially the path to it becoming a member.
This has always been a goal of Zelenskyy's. Right now they see it as a very important symbolic achievement that would raise morale if this were to be
started. But the critics, particularly chief among them, Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, say that Ukraine is fast-tracked unfairly.
Orban is a close ally of Putin's in Europe. Many have accused him of trying to deliberately disrupt this, being a Trojan horse for Putin to try to make
sure that Ukraine does not get the support that it needs.
But Zelenskyy delivered an impassioned plea to the leaders today via video link. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: People in Europe will not see any benefits if Moscow receives a pass from Brussels in the form of
negativity toward Ukraine.
Putin will surely use this of course against you, personally. And against all of Europe. Don't give him the floors and only victory of the year.
Europe must, win agreements must be honored and words must matter.
NOBILO: Eleni, we know how important this summit happening right now was and is to President Zelenskyy. It is notable that he did not show up in
person. He appeared via video link.
The discussions in Brussels and the consensus is, that was because he thought his presence here would antagonize Viktor Orban and make the
discussions less conducive to Ukraine support.
It would make things even more fractured. It does show how he has been given less rope and is backed into a corner. He is coming off the back of
those disappointing discussions in the United States. Putin looking like he has a sense of renewed confidence.
Now showing up via video link, not actually being, there being able to suppress the flush of leaders and look them in the eye and ask for what he
needs and make his case. He does appears to be in a weaker political position at this juncture.
And he sorely needs that extra boost of support from European leaders, saying, yes, we will start that process toward enlargement. Those
discussions are happening right now. There's not a lot of optimism that Orban will budge on this.
GIOKOS: Yes. Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much.
One NATO ally who stood up for its stance on the war in Turkiye, Ankara, was blocking Sweden's and Finland bid to the alliance. President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan accused the countries of being too lenient on Kurdish militant groups.
Finland's request was eventually granted; Sweden is still waiting. Turkiye is now linking its approval to the sale of F-16 fighter jets by the U.S.
CNN's Scott McLean spoke with a top advisor to President Erdogan about Sweden's bid. He is now with us from Istanbul.
This was a very big and tough negotiation in terms of growing NATO. Turkiye stood in the way.
In terms of getting Sweden into the alliance, how close are we to that?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is frankly no timeline at the moment. If you can believe it, Eleni, it has now been just about 19 months
since Sweden officially decided that it was going to try to join NATO.
There are still the two countries standing in its way, Hungary and Turkiye. Turkiye has already made a deal with Sweden. And yet, the saga continues.
The issue is now in Ankara, waiting for the approval of lawmakers there.
Turkiye, as you mentioned, wants one more thing. And that seems to be the approval from the U.S. Congress to -- for the U.S. to sell it F-16 fighter
jets. Right now there is no timeline for that. So I tried to get clarification from President Erdogan's chief advisor on foreign policy and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: I know President Erdogan has suggested that it would be ideal if the U.S. Congress could pass the sale of F-16s to Turkiye at the same time
as Sweden's NATO bid is approved.
Is Turkiye willing to go ahead and approve Sweden's NATO bid before that happens?
Or is that a hard condition?
AKIF CAGATAY KILIC, CHIEF ADVISER ON FOREIGN POLICY AND SECURITY TO THE TURKISH PRES: There are some issues that have to be ironed out. The ideal
would be, as you said, and it would help immensely of course with the -- with the work in parliament because, as you, know they have to approve it.
It is in the works. It is in debates. And we are seeing now that in parliament there is a certain amount of resistance. So it is more than just
saying it is a hard condition. There's a lot of things involved in it.
MCLEAN: A foreign minister suggested that this could all be wrapped up before the end of the year.
Is that still the timeline?
KILIC: I have not talked to the foreign minister about any timeline. I am not at liberty to answer that question on the merits that I'm not able to
have the information on it.
MCLEAN: But it doesn't seem likely that it will get done before that.
Is that a safe assumption?
KILIC: It depends on how the working together and how certain, I think, requirements and demands regarding a NATO ally are met or not.
MCLEAN: If the Americans sell you F-16s, we can get it done quickly.
KILIC: It's not if the Americans sell us F-16s --
MCLEAN: If they approve the sale?
KILIC: I think the question there is not if. Because, as a NATO ally, we actually should not actually be in a position to ask if or if not. So we
want to see it, rather than if, we want to see it how quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: I also asked him about the war in Ukraine and whether, from his vantage point, there was a prospect for peace. Remember, Turkiye was a
major player, a major mediator in early efforts to broker peace.
It was also a major player in getting the grain deal done, which has now since expired, between Russia and Ukraine. He agreed that there were signs
from the West of fatigue and frustration as this war grinds on, nearing two years at a relative stalemate.
But he said that no one has approached Turkiye so far to try to restart any kind of a formal peace process.
He said, in his words, "There is a sense of the timing that this war is going on for too long."
Ultimately, he stressed that it is Russia and Ukraine who will have to decide at some point when and if they want peace.
GIOKOS: Scott McLean, great to have you on. Thank you.
Still to come, a growing rift between U.S. President Biden and Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has spilled into public view. A live
report just ahead.
GIOKOS: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Eleni Giokos. A dire humanitarian crisis is deepening and Gaza as Israel's war against Hamas
intensifies. Israeli officials vow to fight until the end.
At the same time, concerns for civilians in the crossfire are being pushed even higher by new U.S. intelligence assessment. It found that nearly half
of the Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza are imprecise and unguided.
Unguided munitions also known as dumb bombs can pose a greater threat to civilians than precision guided munitions. The U.S. intelligence assessment
comes as President Biden's national security adviser is in Israel over the next two days.
He's there to have serious conversations with top Israeli officials about reducing harm to civilians in Gaza. Jake Sullivan's talks may be
complicated as a public rift has opened between Mr. Biden as well as Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, over the mounting civilian
casualties in Gaza.
The two leaders also have differences and opinions about what a future for Palestinians should look like after the combat operations end. For more on,
this let's bring in CNN White House reporter, Priscilla Alvarez, who's in Washington for us.
Priscilla, great to have you on. Conversations with Jake Sullivan right now and Israeli government officials are happening. Of course, the backdrop of
all of this, we have heard what President Biden had said about, you know, imprecise bombing in Gaza.
To what extent and degree does it become untenable from a United States standpoint?
Perhaps in words, the pointed criticism, more than what we've seen before.
But in action the U.S. firmly supporting Israel.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And that is what they continue to say. They continue to say that Israel has the right to defend
But that rift between the president and prime minister of Israel spilling into public view this week when President Biden, speaking to Democratic
donors, made the point that Israel could lose international support as we continue to see images of destruction and devastation in Gaza.
White House officials have been saying for weeks that there have been tough conversations happening behind the scenes. But oftentimes, publicly what
they often say is that they are supportive of Israel if warning them to contain the casualties of innocent civilians.
That is where the president and the prime minister appear to diverge. In addition to the president continuing to press for a two-state solution. Not
only the president but vice president, Kamala Harris, was recently in Dubai as well, where she met with Arab leaders.
She had her own conversations, where she too pressed for the reconstruction of Gaza and for a postconflict plan for Gaza, including, again, the two
state solution. What has been clear since October 7th is the U.S. remains shoulder to shoulder with Israel.
The question is, what does that continue to look like moving forward as some of these warnings have become more public than they were in the
Jake Sullivan will be meeting with Israeli officials today. He's already on the ground. That will be an extension of this conversation.
What the White House already described, as quote, "extremely serious conversations," so the White House not taking this lightly, really
acknowledging that there is domestic and foreign pressure here.
The question is, how does that affect the relationship with Israel moving forward?
GIOKOS: And how it's affecting the relationship, the words come and the criticism comes. But one way the U.S. could really put pressure on Israel's
is voting toward a cease-fire.
We've seen these resolutions coming through not only on the Security Council but also at the General Assembly. The U.S. is always voting against
So at what point does the U.S. actually put more pressure on Israel?
With all this news coming, out specifically this intelligence assessment on these dumb bombs.
ALVAREZ: White House officials won't elaborate or really touch the idea of a cease-fire. Instead, they have talked about humanitarian pauses to get
aid in and see the release of additional hostages.
President Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu have a decades-old relationship. While they were recently in a bit of a tense relationship over the
government in Israel, the two have a long-standing relationship that they have been leaning on in their conversations.
In fact, on Friday, the two of them spoke for over an hour. When it comes to a cease-fire, there is certainly domestic pressure on the United States
for the White House to push for that.
And increasingly it's been the case on the world stage as well. The White House does not appear to be at that point yet. Instead, continuing to have
these difficult and serious conversations behind the scenes in hopes of seeing some change on the battlefield.
In some respects, they say that has happened. But how that looks moving forward is still something that officials are monitoring very closely.
GIOKOS: Priscilla Alvarez, thank you.
U.S. President, Joe, Biden is dealing with other issues on the home front. House Republicans have launched a formal impeachment inquiry. They're
looking into whether U.S. president benefited from his son, Hunter's, business dealings.
Biden calls it a baseless political stunt. Here to talk about the impeachment inquiry is CNN's Annie Grayer. She joins us live from Capitol
All right, this is official in terms of the inquiry underway.
So what is the latest?
What can we expect?
ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Now that Republicans voted unanimously to continue their inquiry efforts, the real work begins. And
there is a lot of work to do.
Republicans want to interview around 25 people to get their testimony, to help make the decision about whether or not they have enough evidence to
actually impeach the president. That takes a lot of time to carry out.
There is one interview, I'm told from sources, that is underway. But as we saw yesterday, with the president's son, Hunter Biden, it can be a lot of
back and forth to get these interviews and testimonies secured.
Hunter came to Capitol Hill but only made a public statement to the press, refused to testify behind closed doors. The committee chairman announced
that they are going to try to hold him in contempt of Congress for evading his subpoena and not coming for a closed-door deposition.
There are a number of interviews that Republicans want to do. There's also a number of documents that they want to get. It is all going to come to a
head about whether or not Republicans think they have the evidence and have the support within their conference to actually bring articles of
impeachment against the president.
Now in the leadup to this inquiry vote, the Republican leaders were very cautious in saying that, just because we are launching an inquiry does not
mean that we are going to bring impeachment articles against the president. That impeachment is not inevitable.
But there are other Republicans in the conference and certainly Republicans among the base that do see it as inevitable.
So this question of, now that the toothpaste is out of the tube, that the inquiry has been formalized and the committee has strengthened subpoena
power and strength and legal standing in court, are they going to conduct all of these interviews which they are hoping to wrap up sometime early
And come to the conclusion that they do not have the evidence or they do?
So that is the big decisions that they are going to be weighing.
GIOKOS: Annie Grayer, great to have you on. Thank you.
Coming up, COP28's groundbreaking agreement calls for countries to move away from the use of fossil fuels. Details ahead of the support as well as
the criticism and response to that decision.
Hear from a conservationist who has dedicated his life to protecting an endangered primate that can only be found on the African island of
Madagascar. We will bring that story to you in just a moment. Stay with us.
GIOKOS: Lemurs are unique to the African island of Madagascar. But they are under threat. Experts say these iconic animals may be extinct by 2035
due to deforestation as well as hunting.
Today, on Call to Earth, we follow a renowned conservationists into the forest, where his organization has been working with local committees to
protect the endangered animals.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: In the forests of Madagascar, you will find a uniquely biodiverse ecosystem. Thousands of plant and
animal species are endemic to this small island off the southeastern coast of Africa.
And most famous among them is a peculiar looking creature with large eyes, long tail and a hearty set of vocal cords.
JONAH RATSIMBAZAFY, LEMUR CONSERVATIONIST: We are here inside the forest and that is the sound of the largest lemurs, the Indris, they give a call.
Listen. Wow. Yes, we will find them. We will find them.
Lemurs are unique for Madagascar.
We don't have the Statue of Liberty, we don't have diesel power, we don't have pyramid of Egypt but we have lemurs.
WEIR: Jonah Ratsimbazafy has dedicated over 20 years of his life to saving the small primates which are facing an uphill battle for survival.
RATSIMBAZAFY: And they can give a very loud call -- oh, oh.
WEIR: According to the International Union for Conservation and Nature, 98 percent of lemur species are threatened with extinction while nearly a
third are critically endangered.
RATSIMBAZAFY: It is very, very difficult to find them in the forest and that is when you have working hours to find them.
WEIR: Most of the lemurs' time is spent in trees where they live in small groups.
RATSIMBAZAFY: Lemurs are like fish. Fish cannot survive outside of the water and the lemurs cannot survive outside of the forest. But we only have
less than 10 percent of the lemurs left now in Madagascar. Deforestation, slash and burn, mining, these are the problems that the lemurs are facing.
WEIR: An award-winning primatologist, Jonah is a founding member of GERP, a conservation program that works with local communities to help protect
RATSIMBAZAFY: GERP started in 2015. It was really difficult because the community was not very welcome to us when we started, so they need proof
that we are there as their friends to support them.
And the goal is, how can we save the unique biodiversity while helping people in the spirit of collaboration.
WEIR: Trust isn't the only challenge he and his team encountered. Hunting and the pet trade are also issues of concern.
RATSIMBAZAFY: Conservation is always difficult when people get less access to food, lack access health care and lack access to education. And when
people are poor, it is hard for them to save the lemurs.
WEIR: But he says their education and advocacy driven approach is working.
RATSIMBAZAFY: So the result is in the last seven years, zero fire, zero pressure and that is because of good relationship between GERP and the
local community. And this is a good example all over the country right now. And we want to use that model to the rest of Madagascar and why not to the
rest of the world.
WEIR: While he recognizes that the species is up against some challenging odds, Jonah continues to try and hope from the next generation.
RATSIMBAZAFY: I am not alone in this fight. I have the team, I have the students. Of course sometimes I want to be discouraged but when I see the
(INAUDIBLE) of the young people working, encouraging, don't give up. Let's do it. You can make it. And that makes me believe we can save our lemurs.
GIOKOS: Let us know what you're doing to answer the call with the #CalltoEarth.
We're going to a very short break, we will be back right after this.
GIOKOS: OPEC and other groups representing fossil fuel producers are calling for continued investment in oil and gas projects. It comes after
the end of COP28.
The climate summit where they made the unprecedented call for countries to move away from the use of coal, oil and gas. CNN's Bill Weir breaks down
the reactions to the final deal.
WEIR (voice-over): Of the 198 nations that gathered in Dubai, any one of them could have derailed this global conference on climate change.
SULTAN AL JABER, PRESIDENT, COP28: I must say that you did it.
WEIR (voice-over): So for some, there was a sense of relief when Sultan Ahmed Al- Jaber gaveled in a groundbreaking agreement to transition away
from fossil fuels.
AL-JABER: I see a request from Samoa.
Samoa, you have the floor.
WEIR (voice-over): But the small island nations most vulnerable to climate change saw no reason to cheer.
ANNE RASMUSSEN, AOSIS LEAD NEGOTIATOR FOR SAMOA: We didn't want to interrupt the standing ovation when we came into the room but we are a
little confused about what happened.
It seems that you just gaveled the decisions and the small island developing states were not in the room. We have come to the conclusion that
the course correction that is needed has not been secured.
We have made an incremental advancement over business as usual when what we really needed is an exponential step change in our actions and support.
WEIR (voice-over): The influence of petrol states is still evident in the half measures and loopholes included in the final agreement. Al Gore
tweeted about the watered-down language. And as OPEC congratulated the sultan and called for oil field expansion, climate envoy John Kerry tried a
more hopeful tone.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: The message coming out of this COP is we are moving away from fossil fuels. We're not
That is the future. And the United States is going to continue to lead the charge on this on the home front, through investments in the Inflation
Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure laws.
WEIR (voice-over): Those laws have uncorked billions in clean energy investment. And the price of renewables has dropped so dramatically, Texas
leads the nation in wind power. But the U.S. is still producing and exporting oil and gas at record rates.
WEIR: John Kerry was trying to frame this as somewhat of a win. It's historic. They're finally using the F-word at a COP in a meaningful way.
But he has to come back to a White House that has approved massive liquefied natural gas infrastructure and drilling in Alaska and other
How will those words work going forward into holding countries to account?
MICHAEL E. MANN, AUTHOR: Unfortunately, the reality is that it was a disappointing agreement because there was no agreement reached to phase out
fossil fuels. There's much weaker T language of transitioning away from fossil fuels.
The analogy I use is it's like, you know, your doctor telling you have diabetes and you promising him or her that you will transition away from
WEIR: Professor Mann is among the many climate scientists eager to remind us that, to meet the goals of the Paris Accord, that carbon pollution needs
to decrease by over 40 percent by 2030. Right now, the current trajectory is only 10 percent -- Bill Weir, CNN New York.
GIOKOS: For our parting shots, we stay with our changing environment to take a look at mangroves. The ecosystems that they are part of play a
crucial role in carbon sequestration, which means they suck carbon from the atmosphere.
Carbon seeps into the roots and the branches and, the older the tree, the more it absorbs. Compared to land rooted trees, they are extremely
efficient. Mangroves absorb five times more carbon than forests on land.
Abdulrahman al-Mouzouki (ph), who is with the CNN Academy, takes a look at the mangrove ecosystems on the UAE. And the good news is, we can all have a
positive impact. Take a look.
ABDULRAHMAN AL-MOUZOUKI (PH), CNN ACADEMY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the surface of (INAUDIBLE) coast?
A hidden world of beauty and diversity that is essential for our planet. I am going to take you today on an amazing adventure into the Mangrove
Mangroves are trees that grow in salt water. And they act as a green lung for big cities like (INAUDIBLE). They filter the air, protect the coast
from erosion and storms and to provide an environment for hundreds of species of plants and animals.
Some of these species are threatened or endangered. And they depend on the mangroves for their survival. One of their biggest threats is a plastic
waste, which can suffocate the mangroves, harm the animals and leach harmful chemicals into the water.
That is why I kayak here every once in a while and collect as much plastic trash as I can. It is a small but a meaningful way to help and to preserve
this precious ecosystem. And you can help, too.
AL-MOUZOUKI (PH) (voice-over): By reducing your plastic consumption, recycling your waste and joining local initiatives to clean up the
mangroves, together we can make a difference and protect the mangroves for ourselves and future generations -- this is Abdulrahman al-Mouzouki (ph)
from the CNN Academy Abu Dhabi, signing off from the heart of nature.
GIOKOS: What a great story.
That is it for CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN, "STATE OF THE RACE WITH KASIE HUNT" is up next. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi.