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International Court of Justice Imposes Provisional Measures on Israel Over Gaza; Palestinian Leaders in Ramallah Welcome ICJ Ruling; Jurgen Klopp to Leave Liverpool at the End of Season; UNRWA Fires Staffers Allegedly Involved in October 7th Attacks; Closing Arguments in Trump's Defamation Trial; Palestinian Football Team Progresses as Conflict Rages. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 26, 2024 - 10:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos live in Abu Dhabi.

Now the International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to take immediate measures to prevent the commission of genocidal acts in Gaza. That

provisional ruling announced a few hours ago at The Hague is drawing praise from South Africa, which brought the case to the courts alleging Israel's

actions in Gaza could amount to genocide. The court stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war with Hamas. It did,

however, ordered Israel to submit a report within one month on what it's doing to comply with the court's order.


JOAN DONOGHUE, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE: The court further considers that Israel must ensure with immediate effect that its military

forces do not commit any of the aforementioned acts. The court is also of the view that Israel must take measures within its power to prevent and

punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to the members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.


GIOKOS: After the ICJ's provisional ruling Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has an inherent right to defend itself and the

accusation of genocide was, quote, "outrageous."

And just moments ago we heard from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Take a listen to his reaction.


CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: We will not waver in our commitment to the Palestinian people and their quest for self-

determination. Our own painful history obliges us to do no less. We thank the International Court of Justice for upholding its role of achieving

justice, promoting peace, preventing genocide, and holding those responsible for genocide to be accountable. It is our earnest hope and wish

that this court order paves the way for an end to this crisis.


GIOKOS: That's President Cyril Ramaphosa there from South Africa.

Melissa Bell is back with us from The Hague, and we have Jeremy Diamond standing by in Tel Aviv.

Melissa, good to see you. You know, the South Africans really taking this on. And of course it was a big move from South Africa to take this to the

ICJ. Many have been asking the question as to why an Arab country didn't do so. But, you know, South Africa feels that, you know, the ICJ ruled very

much in its favor, even though they did not call for an outright ceasefire at this stage. But how important are these interim measures that Israel

needs to abide by?

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the fact that there was no ruling in favor of an immediate ceasefire, of course, a

disappointment not just to the South African who brought this case, the lawyers who defended it so forcefully on the 10th of January here at the

ICJ, behind me, also disappointment expressed here by the pro-Palestinian supporters who gathered to listen to the ruling on a giant screen just

outside the court.

And yet, when you look at the measures that it did order including, Eleni, that all measures be taken to prevent the further killing or causing of

bodily or physical or mental harm to the people of Gaza. Also routing, I think it's significant that they are a protected people. I think these are

pretty extraordinary measures that go very much in the direction of what South Africa had hoped to achieve here.

We'd spoken to their justice minister before these proceedings began, Eleni, and he'd been very clear, this was about putting before the court

and the world's public opinion the facts of what had been happening in Gaza so far after what was then three months of war inside the Gaza Strip, but

also facing in a more historical contexts and based upon U.N. reporting, what U.N. agencies were saying what was happening inside the Gaza Strip to

its civilian populations.


The immediate Israeli response had been the following day in a very robust three-hour defense that this should be thrown out entirely, that the

genocide convention was being disrupted in terms of its being invoked in this way by South African. And I think today's ruling, while it doesn't go

to the substantive heart, of course, that the claims, the allegations of genocide by South Africa against Israel, it does what the judges have

fairly unanimously on most of the counts decided, including, by the way, the Israeli judge voting in favor of the two of the six measures here

today, has very forcefully called now on Israel to do all it can to prevent the possibility that further genocidal acts will be committed.

And I think also the fact of its recognition that it is plausible the genocidal acts are being committed I think extremely significant and

something that Israel is now going to have to seriously consider as it continues its operations in Gaza.

GIOKOS: Melissa Bell for us at The Hague, thank you. Jeremy Diamond also standing by.

Let's look at the new reality for Israel at this point with these measures that the ICJ has put forward and the fact that they have to report back

within 30 days. The question now arises, Jeremy, whether the IDF can continue fighting their way they have in Gaza and still meet and abide by

what the ICJ has put forward?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, in all of the reactions that we have heard from Israeli officials today, there is no indication of any

kind of major change in the Israeli military's operations. They are making clear that this war is going to continue, that they are going to continue

to also try and minimize harm to civilians, Palestinian civilians, effectively indicating that the majority of the orders from the

International Court of Justice here are things that the Israeli government is already doing.

They are going to argue that they are already not committing acts of genocide, that they are already ensuring that their forces do not commit

acts of genocide. Those are the first two rulings from the court. And then of course there is this notion of providing humanitarian aid. And on that

front, Israeli officials, including the Israeli prime minister, today once again emphasizing that they will continue to work to allow and to

facilitate humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

There is very much a sigh of relief that this court did not go as far as South Africa had asked it to in terms of ordering a cessation, an immediate

cessation of hostilities as part of this provisional ruling. And we've heard the Israeli prime minister view that rejection as something that was

just and something that rejected an attempt at discrimination against the Jewish state in the Israeli prime minister's words. Here's some more of his

reaction to this ruling.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israel has an inherent right to defend itself. The vile attempt to deny Israel this fundamental right is

blatant discrimination against the Jewish state and it was justly rejected. The charge of genocide leveled against Israel is not only false, it's

outrageous. And decent people everywhere should reject it.


DIAMOND: And there were even more harsh words from Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who said that -- who slams The Hague for not

rejecting this petition outright, for agreeing to hear this case going forward, a case that will likely run through this court for years to come.

And he also argued that those who seek justice will not find it he said in the leather chairs of the court chambers in The Hague. Very much critical

of this institution.

But the overwhelming message from Israeli officials is, again, that sigh of relief that I was talking about, that the ceasefire is not something that

is part of this ruling, but now the question is, what will Israel implement as far as this ruling going forward? Will they implement these steps? Will

they write that report that they are due to submit to the court within a month. And will they also take steps to reject and to punish the incitement

to genocide that we have heard from some members of the Israeli government as The Hague sees it.

That was another part of the ruling. And we'll be watching very closely to see if the Israeli government acts on that aspect of it.

GIOKOS: All right. Great stuff. Thank you so much. Jeremy Diamond for us in Tel Aviv.

Now the Palestinian Foreign Ministry welcomed the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ saying the court had ruled, quote, "in favor of humanity

and international law."


I'm now joined by the head of the Palestinian delegation at the ICJ, Ammar Hijazi, who is in The Hague for us.

So great to see you. Thank you for taking the time. First, I want to get your reaction to the court's ruling.

AMMAR HIJAZI, HEAD OF PALESTINIAN DELEGATION AT ICJ: Well, it is significant milestone and historic step towards the Palestinian people and

towards the just calls for justice and towards ending this atrocity and genocide that's happening now against our people in Gaza. We believe that

today, not only Israel, but also other signatories to the convention have also responsibilities to ensure that the order of the court is fully and

immediately implemented.

GIOKOS: While many agree that this is a win for Palestinians, others will be and are disappointed that a ceasefire wasn't added to this interim

verdict. Are you disappointed?

HIJAZI: Not at all on disappointment. We cannot be further away from disappointment on this issue. We believe that each and every aspect of the

decision itself and the order by the court and collectively -- taken collectively, the order basically underlines the importance of a ceasefire.

All of the aspects of the order cannot be implemented without a whole to the Israelis hostilities and ending to its widespread destruction and the

bombardment of the civilian population in Gaza.

Therefore, there is -- between the lines and that at each and every aspect of this order our request for ceasefire and ending hostilities. After all,

we came here to the court to stop the widespread and systematic targeting of civilians. And this is why it is important that the court has made that

determination and requested that these kinds of actions to stop and that Israel should implement them immediately, and that all states have an

obligation to ensure that.

GIOKOS: Look, the reality is that this ruling is legally binding, but the reality is, there's no way of enforcing those. Do you think anything will

change on the ground given the Israeli reaction to this point?

HIJAZI: Well, you know, historically we know exactly what Israel conduct will be just like the statements we heard from the Israeli prime minister,

defiant and ignoring the reality of what they are doing to our people in Gaza. Again, what we seek is justice and not vengeance. And today, what the

court has determined will place the whole international legal order and the whole international law-based system, and to question if Israel does not

oblige and does not abide by this decision, third state parties have an obligation and we've yet to see and we'll follow and ensure that this

states will not avoid these responsibilities.

And thus ensure that they adhere to them, and it's up to the international community whether they want the system and this international order to

continue on or to be destroyed because Israel wants to continue on with its genocide.

GIOKOS: And to that point in terms of international pressure, the courts said, and this is important, that some of Israel's actions in Gaza could

fall within the provisions of the Genocide Convention, which means that a member states under international law should work to ensure genocide is not

being committed. From your conversations with other member states, do you think that something is shifting in terms of their approach to Israel and

worldwide support specifically for Israel in general?

HIJAZI: I mean, those who are following the beginning of this atrocity have seen a lot of shifts. Few remained intransigent and disregard in relation

to Israel's war against our people in Gaza but today, I think we'll have a different influence and effect on these states. And the discussion that

will be held, especially the part in which they hold the conviction that Israel is within its legal rights to do what it's doing will be shifting

down the road. And they have to justify to the international community why they would continue to hold such positions as they did. This includes also

aiding and abetting and being complacent in this war.

GIOKOS: Ammar Hijazi, thank you very much for your time. Good to see you. Thank you.


I also now want to bring in the former Israeli ambassador to the U.K. We have Mark Regev standing by for us.

So thank you so much for taking the time today. Good to see you. Take us through your reaction to the ICJ's interim ruling. We've heard from Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But what is your response?

MARK REGEV, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.K.: Well, the most important thing is the South African government that was offering legal defense for

Hamas. They're number one action item was to prevent Israel from defending itself, calling for an immediate cessation of Israel's campaign against the

Hamas terrorists, while they continue to shoot rockets into Israel and hold over 130 hostages.

And that was rejected and it was rejected because the court understands that under international law, every country has the right to defend itself.

That's enshrined in the U.N. charter and to deny that right to Israel would be an active discrimination against Israel. So this is --


REGEV: This is --

GIOKOS: So a ceasefire was not included, absolutely, which of course Benjamin Netanyahu also referred to as well. But in terms of the immediate

measures that the ICJ says that you need to abide by, what is your reaction to that? You have to report back in 30 days. And then the question comes up

in terms of, can you continue fighting the way you have to this point and still abide by what the ICJ has ruled?

REGEV: Israel always has been and will continue to be committed to international law. The international rules of armed conflict, international

humanitarian law. That's part of our DNA, irrespective of any ICJ judgment. That's what we're doing but we are also committed as the prime minister

said, fighting this ruthless, brutal terrorist enemy that is committing a double war crime.

Not only does it butcher Israeli civilians, not only does it hold over 100 hostage, not only is it sending thousands of rockets into Israeli cities

indiscriminately targeting our people. All of that is a war crime. But they also abuse the people of Gaza, using them as human shields. And that is

also war crimes. So Hamas is committing a double war crime. And this is the perversion of the South African case.

This is the obscenity of it, that a court was set up to defend the humanity against genocide is actually the South Africans are trying to defend a

genocidal terrorist organization.

GIOKOS: So -- but let's focus on the ICJ ruling because that is going to be really important. It is legally binding. There is no way of enforcing it,

but to be clear, you're not planning to change anything in terms of your military strategy right now in Gaza because that is an important point.

Because the ICJ, the president of the ICJ, Joan Donoghue, specifically referred to incidences in Gaza, also spoke about what the U.N. has been

referring to as well. Evidence was put forward by the ICJ.

REGEV: So first of all Israel will continue campaigning against Hamas and in parallel we will continue in accordance with international law to

distinguish between combatants and civilians. We will continue to work to facilitate the entrance of humanitarian aid into Gaza. And to be fair, I

mean, they quoted the U.N. Human Rights Council in the deliberations today. The U.N. Human Rights Council has been accused of anti-Israel bias, not by

Israel, but a host of Western governments, too, who reported to its built- in anti-Israel agenda.

And UNRWA, they were also quoting the UNRWA organization. And here we've just had a report out of Gaza.


REGEV: The head of UNRWA has to investigate his own organization for U.N. employees in his organization that participated in the massacre on October

7th, and that's on top of other information. One of our hostages who came out of Gaza reported that she was held by own UNRWA employee. And there was

the reports that UNRWA's teachers were celebrating the October 7th massacre of Israeli civilians. So anyone who sees UNRWA as an objective source of

information is obviously incorrect.

GIOKOS: But, Mark, here's the reality. UNRWA is an entire organization with many people and, yes, that news just breaking as well. Investigation is

underway. But I really want to focus on what the ICJ is saying. You've got to report back in 30 days. You have to punish the people that are -- you

know, incitement of genocide, which is important --

REGEV: I just -- I think your assumption is --

GIOKOS: Let me just finish this question. It's not my assumption. I'm just -- I need to know what's going on with the ICJ because you have 30 days to

put a report together and it's important to know what you're going to do, if you're going to be abiding by it, and you're changing the way that

you're going to be conducting this war.


This is going to be vital for you as well. I'm assuming.

REGEV: So you can assume correctly that we will continue to abide by international law irrespective of the ICJ decision. I said that already. We

will continue to do so, but when I talked about UNRWA, you sort of expressed maybe this is an aberration. It's not aberration. This is an

organization where Hamas controls the union of workers. You have a few foreigners who run the organization. They come and go on three-year terms.

And yet there are tens of thousands of workers who are, unfortunately, many of them Hamas operatives. Why else the teachers in (INAUDIBLE) celebrate

the October 7th massacre? And your previous speaker, the representative of the Palestinians who spoke before, I would remind you that even the

Palestinian Authority on the West Bank has refused to condemn the October 7th massacre.

GIOKOS: Mark, in terms of aid and getting more aid into Gaza, what are you going to do on that point? We have heard from, again, international

organizations that Gaza is on the brink of famine.

REGEV: So we are committed, of course, to having aid reach the civilian population of Gaza. That's why we opened up a second crossing in Kerem

Shalom, that's why we've made no limitations whatsoever on food stuffs, on water, on medicine, going into the Gaza Strip. I want to reiterate. We

don't see the civilian population of Gaza as the target of our operation, On the contrary, we focus armed operation on the Hamas military machine.

But you have to understand that Hamas through its strategy of using Gazan civilians as human shields they are primarily responsible for casualties

that have occurred. We don't want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire. Every time an innocent civilian is hurt from our point of view,

that's a tragedy. That's an operational failure. While for Hamas, civilian deaths, that's part of their strategy. For us, it's a tragedy. For them

it's a strategy.

GIOKOS: So thank you so much for your time. Mark Regev there for us. We appreciate you coming on to the show. Thank you.

REGEV: Thank you for having me.

GIOKOS: Well, just hours from now, we are going to be, of course, taking -- we're going to a very short break is what we're doing. We'll see you right

after this. Stay with us.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. And just hours ago, a shock announcement at the top of the Premier League. Liverpool manager Jurgen Flopp stepping down at the

end of the season in nearly nine years with the club. He's led Liverpool to glory in the Champions League Premier League, the FA Cup, and more. And his

decision comes with Liverpool atop the English League table.


Joining us to discuss why this is happening, we've got Amanda Davies standing by. You've got the details for us, the shock announcement.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN'S WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Yes, very much so, Eleni, and I mean, Liverpool, the Premier League and the football world international

are coming to terms with the news which it really has sent shockwaves. It's come from left field. Klopp, of course, one of the most popular,

charismatic managers out there, leading Liverpool's charge for four trophies still this season.

And he announced a few hours ago, as you mentioned, that he told the club back in November he's set to leave at the end of this season after what

will be nine years because he feels he's running out of energy. The news emerged with a very, very emotional video earlier today, but he's currently

holding a news conference with more details. He said he's happy to answer 5,000 questions today, but that is it, before the end of this season.

He said he didn't think about the decision on purpose. It just happened, but that that was the moment he knew because Liverpool as a club needs a

manager at the top of their game. And so he feels this is the right thing to do. In terms of the impact it's going to have and what happens next,

well, here's a clip of what he's had to say.


JURGEN KLOPP, LIVERPOOL MANAGER: So many people work here and with only one idea to find a perfect solution for Liverpool FC. I'm pretty sure that will

happen. And the last thing they need is an advice from the old man walking out and tell them, by the way, make sure you take him, bring him, or

whatever and I will definitely not do that, like, you know? Most of the things I have an opinion and you will not believe to most of the things I

still didn't say anything. So I have no problem with that. I wish for the future. This club just a very, very, very, very, very best, and for now I'm

still here and can help them to achieve the best possible.


DAVIES: So that was Jurgen Klopp just a few moments ago. That news conference does continue. We'll of course continue to bring you the lines

as and when we get them, but for more I'm delighted to say we're joined by veteran of nine years as a Liverpool player with whom they won the FA Cup

and Lee Cup. Now pundit with our partners TNT Sports, Steve McManaman.

I mean, Steve, he's speaking there as if he's an elderly statesman. Jurgen Klopp is 56 years of age. Many people think in his prime. I mean, he says

he feels it's the right thing, but is it the right thing for Liverpool, do you think?

STEVE MCMANAMAN, FORMER LIVERPOOL PLAYER, 1990-1999: Well, it has to be the right thing for (INAUDIBLE) because, I mean, as everybody knows, he's well-

loved, absolutely adored Liverpool. But you can see he's exhausted. It's very hard for him even away from football because Liverpool is such a small

city. I know he doesn't live in the city since he lives out of there. But he's an incredibly famous man.

The fact that he's had nine or nearly nine very, very intensive years, and he's been successful and he gives 100 percent you see every, every single

game, you know, if anything sometimes more than the players. If he says it's time, it's time. He's told Liverpool in November, so there's been

plenty of time to make succession plans and the club will go on. We've had people leave all the time.

I was at Liverpool when Kenny Dalglish resigned, and that was a shock. But you have to move on. And, you know, I think we all knew that Jurgen Klopp

wasn't going to be in Liverpool for another five years, but whenever the announcement come it was always going to be a shock to Liverpool fans

because of the adoration that they hold him in.

DAVIES: Yes. And, you know, he is somebody who has always worn his heart on his sleeve, hasn't he? He's talked about the importance of the emotion in

what he does and what he wants from his players. And that in large part is why he's so loved, isn't it?

I mean, can you put into context -- you mentioned Kenny Dalglish, but Liverpool is a club who have had some of the great managers over the years.

Can you put into context for us where he stands, what he's done for Liverpool?

MCMANAMAN: Well, he sits amongst the very best, to be very honest, because these very charismatic. I think if you've gone through the real very famous

Liverpool managers who were held in the highest esteem, you know, you've got Bill Shankly, who is a great vocalist. He spoke very well. He always

had messages. And I think he is there with Jurgen. Jurgen was very charismatic, spoke to the fans whereas if you have Bob Paisley, who's

probably the most successful Liverpool manager. He was quite quiet, didn't give any secrets away.

You know, we've called -- you know, if anything, he was quite dour. Kenny came in and as ex-player, he was the same, took over sorts of the Bob

Paisley, Joe Fagan way, don't tell anything, anybody anything about Liverpool, keep it really quiet, keep everything inhouse. So you couldn't

get anything from Kenny. Where Jurgen, you know, every press conference, every interview, he seems to make people smile. He seems to make people

love him even more.


And the fact that the team is doing well, and reacts like (INAUDIBLE), I think that's why I said I think that's why they love him so much, the fans,

so in different ways he's connected to the highest and, you know, the best football managers Liverpool have ever had. And the fact that he's been

successful, you know, he delivered the Champions League like Rafa Benitez is, but he's held in a higher esteem than Rafa Benitez is, because he's

also delivered the Premiere League.

And as I said, the way he got the people and the city of Liverpool and the culture, and the way people live and the way people love their football,

and how Saturdays and how whenever the first team play, it means so much more to them. Jurgen seem to get it. That's why, you know, there was a lot

or shock within Liverpool fans today. My phone has been lit up all day with people from all over the world.

Liverpool fans saying to me, is this true? What's happened? Who's going to take over? Do you know anything more? And I said, no, it will just, you

know, hopefully they'll have a successful year. But the club have known, the club will make strides in trying to appoint the perfect manager after

Jurgen, but there'll be a lot of pressure for the next man who comes in.

DAVIES: There will be. And so many of those questions I would love to ask you and carry on this conversation, but I'm afraid we're out of time. Of

course, that trophy tells on the four different fronts very much still on. And Club Liverpool and the fans hoping to go on a high.

Steve McManaman, for now, thanks very much indeed.

That news conference does go on. We'll continue to bring our viewers lines from that as and when we get them but for now, Eleni, back to you.

GIOKOS: Thank you so much, Amanda, for that interview and for the update.

All right. Reaction pouring into the International Court of Justice ruling on the conflict in Gaza. One protester calls it a step in the right

direction. More on that ruling just ahead. Stay with CNN.


GIOKOS: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos and we're live in Abu Dhabi, and more on our top story.

The provisional ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to take all measures to prevent the commission of genocidal acts in

Gaza and to punish any public incitement of genocide.


The court stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war with Hamas. The ruling is drawing praise in South Africa, which brought

the case to the court. The South African government calling it a decisive victory for the international rule of law.

Now is Israel's prime minister says his country has an inherent right to defend itself and the accusation of genocide is, quote, "outrageous."

And this just into CNN, the U.S. State Department has temporarily paused additional funding to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency. That

action coming amid allegations that 12 of the agency's employees were involved in the Hamas attack on Israel. A State Department spokesperson

says the U.N. secretary-general has pledged a thorough and swift investigation. UNRWA has now fired several staff members who were allegedly

involved in the Hamas attack.

I want to bring in CNN's Nic Robertson, who's standing by in Tel Aviv.

Nic, you know, this news just coming through which is very serious for UNRWA that has been doing a lot of work on the ground on humanitarian

front. But what kind of ramifications are we going to see here? And what more do we know about these allegations and investigation importantly?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, they're very serious allegations. Israel passed this information to UNRWA. It is a very

fast developing story at the moment. Israel passed these accusations, its findings about UNRWA staff partaking in Hamas' horrendous October 7th

attacks of killing Israelis and storming their properties. UNRWA moved very swiftly they say to instantly review the situation and terminate those

staff involved.

The head of UNRWA who's spoken directly to the U.N. secretary-general. The secretary-general has expressed in a statement that he is horrified about

this situation, and he points out also that those people involved have been terminated. But already you see this response coming from State Department

that they are withholding funding.

We know that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Antonio Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, on Thursday to discuss this and

Blinken saying that he was -- he appreciated that the U.N. was going to have a thorough investigation, one that they said would be complete,

comprehensive and independent this review of UNRWA.

But just to give a little more detail on UNRWA, which is something that the State Department also mentioned in their statement, this is a massive

organization in total. In all the places, it works about 30,000 employees, mostly Palestinians in Gaza, 13,000 employees is the number UNRWA says they

have working for them. And it has long been a concern of Israel that some of those members have been sympathetic to Hamas.

Israel has pointed to this in the past. UNRWA provides a massive amount of humanitarian aid and help to the people in Gaza. So any reduction at this

moment of funds coming to them, it has the potential for an immediate effect. We don't know quite how much money from the State Department is in

the pipeline, quite how quickly they're withholding funding would impact. But for example, it was an UNRWA shelter for displaced people yesterday,

housing about 43,000 people, 800 of them in a particular building hit by Israeli tank fire just in the past 48 hours.

So UNRWA's role in Gaza is a very important humanitarian role, but this is going to call into question that role and the impartiality with which they

their staff conduct their jobs. UNRWA itself has lost more than a hundred, I believe, of its own staff already in the conflict in Gaza. This comes at

a time and I think it has to be stated comes at a time when the international community is discussing the ICJ ruling.

This now puts the attention on UNRWA and their staff and the complicity apparently of some of their staff with Hamas.

GIOKOS: Nic Robertson, thank you so much for that update and the context as well.

Well, during closing arguments in the E. Jean Carroll's civil defamation trial against Donald Trump, the former president walked out of the New York

courtroom. The jury could begin deliberating later today after those closing arguments are completed. Here is the Trump motorcade arriving to

the New York courthouse earlier this morning.


Now the former president briefly testified on Thursday saying he only wanted to defend himself, his family, and the presidency. E. Jean Carroll

is seeking $10 million in defamation damages after Trump called her a liar. It will be up to jurors to decide what amount, if any, she should receive.

Alayna Treene joins us now from Washington with an update. We heard Trump testified today in court. How significant was what you saw?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. So that testimony yesterday was very significant, although it only took place for about a mere minutes. He

was on the stand, but I do think, you know, to bring into perspective what's going on today kind of encapsulates the environment we've seen with

a court over the past week or so, particularly when it comes to Donald Trump's presence.

And I just want to state here from the top that Donald Trump does not need to be in court. He did not need to testify. He does not need to attend

closing arguments today. He is choosing to take himself off the campaign trail and be there, and part of that is because this is a trial about

defamation and money. Both things that Donald Trump cares very much about, but he also really wants to defend himself in this case.

And it's something actually that the judge has admonished him for because he has been speaking out of turn saying he doesn't know E. Jean Carroll,

saying that the accusations are false and of course, I think also very much worth making clear here is that it has already been decided. A jury has

already decided that E. Jean Carroll was defamed. This trial is about damages and how much money Donald Trump will owe. And that's really what

has been one of the most major controversial topics of this.

And we heard that from E. Jean Carroll's attorney today. She said, and I'm sorry, I'm going to read some of this since this is all breaking news, it's

happening in the court right now, but she said that Donald Trump did not respect the prior jury verdict. She said not even for 24 hours. And she

wants the record to reflect that Trump rose and walked out of the courtroom.

Now, that was another big moment this morning. A lot of drama Donald Trump in the middle of E. Jean Carroll's attorney going through her closing

arguments, got up and walked out. And it's still unclear to us at this moment why he did so. But we're following those breaking developments as

they come in. And I also just want to point out that again, Carroll's lawyer is very much focusing her closing arguments on what this case is


She said, quote, "This case is about punishing Donald Trump for what he has done and what he continues to do, punishing him for the malicious nature of

his attacks and his continuing attacks right up and during this very trial." And so definitely getting heated during these closing arguments.

The offense or the prosecution, I should say, argues that they will take about an hour to deliver their closing remarks, then Donald Trump's defense

team will begin.

They also expect to take about another hour. It's unclear when all of this will wrap it. But it could be by this afternoon.

GIOKOS: Great to see you, Alayna. Thank you so much for that updates.

All right, we're going to a very short break. I'll be back right after this. Stay with CNN.



GIOKOS: Welcome back and we're going to talk more about the provisional ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to take all

measures to prevent the commission of genocidal acts in Gaza. The ruling is drawing praise in South Africa, which brought the case to the ports. South

Africa's government calls it a momentous decision for implementing the international rule of law.

I want to bring in David McKenzie. He's standing by for us in Johannesburg.

David, I think all South Africans watching very closely this case today and this ruling by the ICJ. And then importantly, you had Foreign Affairs

Minister Naledi Pandor there talking about the fact that they are happy with what they saw on the table, even though the ICJ didn't rule in South

Africa's favor on all the points put forward.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she said she can't be disappointed even though, as you say, they wanted there to be a

ceasefire called from that court. That was probably unlikely given the circumstances, but they are certainly calling this, in the words of that

ministry, a decisive victory for international law. They also calling in the last few hours for Israel to make sure that it does comply with the

order of the court and that they will continue pursuing justice in their mind in this matter.

You know, one reporter asked Naledi Pandor, the international relations minister, about South Africa and Israel and their relationship. She brought

it back to what at least the government says is the most important part of these proceedings.


NALEDI PANDOR, SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: I believe that in exercising the order, there would have to be a ceasefire. Without

it the order doesn't actually work. I would have wanted a ceasefire.


MCKENZIE: So they wanted a ceasefire. What they got, well, these provisional orders that the government here at least will help stop Israel

from committing what they say amounts to genocide. Now that is certainly not what was up for discussion at the court today. Those proceedings will

be ongoing in the next few months. It's clear that the South African team led by some very senior advocates will continue pushing the evidence of


Remains to be seen whether Israel has any response to that ruling in the court today. The minister did stress that this is about the Palestinian

people, and she said that that is where the focus should be -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. David, you know, really fascinating just to see how this entire thing has played out. And just the importance of South Africa

bringing this case to the ICJ. I mean, Israels response has also been very fascinating, remains to be seen, whether they will adhere and abide by the

immediate measures stipulated by the ICJ. But in terms of what Naledi Pandor says, the importance of this in terms of the adherence of

international law.

MCKENZIE: Well, you've had the government of South Africa repeatedly saying, and this is something that you hear from a lot of developing

nations, or should I say the global south, that they have lost faith in the United Nations system, particularly when it comes to the U.N. Security

Council, because matters that are up for discussion are routinely vetoed by powerful nations like Russia, China, and in particularly in this case the

US, they're even touched on that fact when they celebrated the, quote, "victory" in the court.

I think South Africa's legal strategy here is a first step. They are hoping to punch above their weight in the world stage and be a moral voice on

issues like the Palestinian situation in the Gaza Strip. It must be said that some critics say that this is also about politics. You saw Africa

refusing to condemn the invasion of Russia, of Ukraine when that happened. But certainly they are in their mind moral authority on the Palestinian

issue, something that they have, to be fair, champion for very long time.


GIOKOS: David McKenzie for us in Johannesburg. Thank you. Great to see you.

We're going to a short break. Stay with us.


GIOKOS: Tennis great Novak Djokovic will simply have to wait a while longer to nail down his 21st grand slam title. Fourth seed Jannick Sinner will be

moving on to the Australian Open final after he easily defeated the Serbian superstar in four sets a short time ago. A 10-time Aussie champ Djokovic

had not lost in Melbourne Park since 2018, but he had no answer for the 22- year-old Italian who's on the first grand slam final of his career center will be facing either Daniil Medvedev or Alexander Zverev who are now

playing in the semifinal.

Their fellow Palestinians are surrounded by a relentless war. But on the pitch in Qatar they are surrounded by rules of sympathetic crowd. On

Tuesday, the Palestinian National Football team reached the knockout stages of the AFC Asia Cup for the very first time before they face Qatar in the

last 16. On Monday, I spoke to one of the players about the team's incredible journey. Take a look.


GIOKOS (voice-over): A prayer of gratitude, unbridled joy, and passionate celebrations. These images capture the Palestinian national team winning an

emotional first Asian Cup Game, even while the war in Gaza rages on, as Israel responds to the horrific Hamas terror attack in October.

MOHAMMED RASHID, PALESTINIAN FOOTBALLER: Honestly, it's very honorable accomplishment for all of us. Not only all of us as players, all of us as a

country, as Palestinian people I think we needed this joy, we needed this happiness for everyone.

GIOKOS: Mohammed Rashid is a member of the Palestinian team, which has players from the West Bank and Gaza. He was born and raised in Ramallah in

the West Bank, where there's been an uptick in violence from Israeli settlers in recent years while Israel increases constraints on the

movements of Palestinians.

What is your reality in terms of being able to return to Ramallah?

RASHID: That's actually pretty rough. I tried to go back after my last game. I was thinking about it actually. My wife and my family told me it's

better not to because they're putting a lot of restrictions on the people to go out. They've been going into my neighborhood in the middle of the

night, shooting around, taking them prisoners.

In southern Gaza, the Israeli military campaign is intensifying with more than 26,000 Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks according to the Hamas-

run Palestinian Ministry of Health. According to the Palestinian Football Association as of December 6th 55 football players, including amateur and

youth members, are amongst the dead.

Mohammed Saleh is one of two on the Palestinian squad born in the enclave. He like other players has lost family members and still has relatives

trapped in Gaza.

RASHID: It's hard for them to know the situation of their families in Gaza, it's hard to contact them.


This is why right after the game burst it out in tears after the last game because he goes out on the pitch to play for his family's names


GIOKOS: Palestine will take on the host nation Qatar next. The reception in Doha has been warm. Many in the stands have been waving Palestinian flags

or holding up kefir scarves to show their support. And the opening round game against Iran a moment of silence was observed while a chorus of "Free

Palestine" was heard during the game.

It a reminder for Rashid, Saleh, and the rest of the Palestinian team that football is more than a game.

What are the kind of conversations that you are having in terms of the importance of what you do when you go out in the field?

RASHID: We're not only playing for Palestinians and Palestine we play for Palestinians all over the world, and we play for everyone who supports us

as Palestinians, and all from different nations.


GIOKOS: Well, that is all for CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. Stay with CNN, "STATES OF THE RACE WITH KASIE HUNT " is up next.