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Israeli Negotiators Join Hostage-Ceasefire Talks in Paris; Netanyahu Lays Out Plan for Post-War Gaza; Russia Launches Drone Attacks on Ukrainian Cities; White House Announces Fresh Sanctions Against Russia; Haley Not Dropping Out After South Carolina Primary; Israel Rejects Claims Rape, Atrocities Against Palestinian Women and Girls; Biden Administration Faces a Host of Crises on World State; How Ukrainian Mothers Have Been Changed by War. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 23, 2024 - 10:00   ET



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

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to the second hour of the show. We are monitoring the United Nations General Assembly this hour as it

meets to mark the second anniversary Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The anniversary is tomorrow. The Ukraine war and indeed the war in

Gaza have sowed deep divisions on the global stage, most acutely between the West and the rest.

Well, Israel joining talks in Paris aimed at negotiating a ceasefire and its war with Hamas and a potential release of hostages. So, should the war

wind its way to some sort of conclusion, we are getting an idea of Israel's plan for post-conflict Gaza. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is

offering up a plan that calls for the complete demilitarization of the territory and the freedom of Israeli forces to operate freely to prevent

new threats. Well, the Palestinian Authority says it's really a plan to reoccupy Gaza.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has been following these dual developments for us from Tel Aviv, and Natasha Bertrand is in Washington where the Biden

administration has been pushing for progress in these ceasefire talks.

So let's start with those talks. We know that there are parties meeting in Paris, Natasha. What more do we know at this point?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that CIA director Bill Burns, who was expected to be present at these talks

today. However, we have not yet gotten confirmation that he is actually there, but also the president's senior envoy for the Middle East, Brett

McGurk, he also was meeting with senior Israeli officials last night to discuss this potential plan, these hostage negotiations, so it remains to

be seen just how much progress was made there.

But U.S. officials are generally optimistic. They say it's a good sign, of course, that these talks appear to be moving forward, that they have been

restarted now. And of course that this Israeli delegation is going to be going to Paris to discuss a potential hostage release. Now the sticking

point here, of course, is really the details, how is this going to be, you know, panning out, because the U.S. has insisted that if there is any kind

of Israeli incursion into Rafah in southern Gaza, then that is going to really upset the very delicate negotiations that are underway right now.

And it remains unclear at this point whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to discuss a more long-term ceasefire that

would see the release in several phases of the remaining hostages in Gaza. So a number of sticking points here, including Hamas' demand of course that

over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners be released from Israel. But the U.S. is scrambling right now to get this hostage deal done before Ramadan. They say

that any Israeli incursion into southern Gaza at that point could further inflamed tensions in the region.

ANDERSON: Jeremy -- thank you, Natasha.

Jeremy, this of course, is a push to ultimately try and get, you know, a permanent ceasefire in the can. To that end, CNN is seeing the first plan

offered for a post-conflict Gaza by Benjamin Netanyahu. What does it say?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, it says a lot of what we've heard the Israeli prime minister say in public before in terms of the

principles that he's laid out for post-war Gaza. But it is notable that it's the first time that he's actually putting it down in writing and

submitting it formally to his cabinet for further discussion.

This plan would basically call for Israel maintaining full security control over the Gaza Strip, including Israel's border -- Gaza's borders with both

Israel as well as with Egypt. Local Palestinian officials would run the civil administration side under this plan but Israeli military forces would

have the capability to basically go in and out of Gaza as they see fit.

They would also call for shutting down UNRWA, that U.N. refugee agency, which Israel has accused of involvement with Hamas. And the rebuilding of

the Gaza Strip would also take place under this plan, but only after the full demilitarization of the strip. That rebuilding effort would be funded

by countries in the region that Israel would have approved.

We know of course that Saudi Arabia, the UAE are potential contenders to help with the rebuilding of Gaza. But they have made very clear that they

will only do so under the context of a framework to establish a two-state solution, an independent sovereign Palestinian state.


And that is where the rubber will meet the road here because much of this plan is effectively at odds with those plans for a two-state solution, for

establishing a sovereign Palestinian state, at least in the short-term here. And look, many of the key details are still missing here. This is a

starting point for discussion within the Israeli cabinet, but it is certainly at odds with what the United States is trying to accomplish here

in terms of seeing a sovereign Palestinian state as the outcome of this war, at least beginning to establish one and to integrate Israel into the


All of those things very much intertwined. But there are certainly going to also be a debate within the Israeli government. We know that many in the

Israeli government would like to see -- at least the far-right elements of this Israeli government would like to see the Israeli prime minister go

even further. Nothing in this document talks about establishing Israeli civilian control over Gaza. It doesn't talk about establishing Israeli

settlements in Gaza.

That will be a relief to some in the international community, but it will certainly be a point of contention for members of the far-right within the

Israeli government who have been calling for Israel to do just that after the war.

ANDERSON: Have we got a response, Natasha, briefly from the White House, from the Biden administration to this plan offered by Benjamin Netanyahu? A

number of the details fly in the face of what the U.S. has been pushing, not least a reformed Palestinian Authority and of course a two-state


BERTRAND: Well, Becky, we have not seen a response just yet from the White House to this proposal by Netanyahu. But, as you say, the State Department

said quite clearly a few months ago that this is exactly the kind of plan they would oppose. They don't want to see Gaza be shrunk. They don't want

to see an Israeli occupation of any part of Gaza. And so this would seem to be a real non-starter for the Biden administration

ANDERSON: To both of you, thank you.

Paula Hancocks is here with me in the studio in Abu Dhabi, here in the UAE, with regional reaction to the prime minister's plan.

What have we got?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've had an expected reaction from both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Palestinian Authority, for

example, saying that this is effectively Israel saying it's going to re- occupy Gaza. And we've heard from Hamas saying that this shows Israel saying that under no circumstances would there be a Palestinian state, and

that this is the end of the Palestinian cause.

And I think this would -- even though we haven't had further response at this point, this would be the feeling in the region. This plan, and of

course it is the very initial plan by Benjamin Netanyahu does not allow in any shape or form a Palestinian state. And that is the crux of the issue

here by saying that the Gaza Strip has to be demilitarized, a state is by its very nature able to defend itself. It needs to be militarized in some


So what we're seeing from this plan is counter to what we've been hearing in the past from the likes of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, for example,

saying that it could normalize relations with Israel in the future if there are concrete plans for a Palestinian state, this plan does not allow for a

Palestinian state at this point in the short term, and so from the regional point of view, that would be their feeling, that this would not be


ANDERSON: Yes. A pathway to a Palestinian state is what the Saudis have said is absolutely, you know, the crux of this issue, and indeed that is

the reason why they would offer funds for reconstruction of Gaza. But they have to see that. And this plan won't just worry the Arab states who as we

understand it have the detail of their own plan for the day after as it's known. We haven't seen that detail. But certainly the U.S. are working with

the Arab states to build something at this point. That we do know.

HANCOCKS: That we do know, and it is likely to be countered to what we've seen from Israel at this point. I mean, the reconstruction is key when it

comes to the Arab states. They want the ceasefire first and foremost, and they want it to be immediate. But once that happens, they want to see the

lessening of the suffering, for example, of the people of Gaza. They want to see humanitarian aid coming in. They want to see a plan for

reconstruction. They want to see a plan for who will govern the Gaza Strip.

Now, Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would like to see local Palestinians govern the Gaza Strip eventually. Some of those he hopes would have some

experience. Of that he's not talking about the Palestinian Authority. Many Arab states and the United States would like to see the Palestinian

Authority with a role, although we have heard from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for example, that it does have to be a reformed Palestinian



But there does need to be a serious question about who will be governing Gaza at the end of it. When you look at the Israeli plan at this point, it

is effectively that Israel will have control over the Gaza Strip and they will be local officials in some kind of role, administrative role, but no

role with anybody that has any links to terrorism, as they say. It could be a very, very different plan to what we see from the Arabs.

ANDERSON: Yes. Benjamin Netanyahu then offering for discussion he says his first official plan for the day after, not looking like a plan that either

the Arab states or the U.S. are going to find a convenient one.

Thank you. Good to have you.

Ukraine vowing to prepare a new counteroffensive against Russia and admitting its current one was not as successful as it hoped. President

Volodymyr Zelenskyy told FOX News that the balance of forces on the battlefield is unfair to Ukraine and that he needs the support of the U.S.

and others to fight off the Russians. And Russia's attacks keep coming. Three people were killed in Odessa overnight when debris from a drone fell

into a building and set it on fire.

These are the images. At least eight people were injured in drone attacks in central Ukraine.

Let's bring in chief international security correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, who is in Zaporizhzhia -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, Becky, that interview to FOX News a key sign that Volodymyr Zelenskyy sees he needs to

appeal to that rump of the GOP essentially holding up aid to Ukraine, which is causing setbacks on the battlefield here, make no doubt about that at

all. And while we are going to hear soon for more sanctions from the Biden ministration against Russia, Russia appears to be on its front foot,


And as the third year of this war gets closer, we were in Kherson where we saw the war begin and where Russia invaded in the first 72 hours, taking

over that major regional capital to see exactly frankly how grim, how restrained, how repressed ordinary life is for people living in Kherson, at

times just hundreds of meters away from Russian forces.


WALSH (voice-over): It's night when it's loudest. Kherson has seen every stage of the wars two years. Invasion, occupation and liberation, yet day

is when the damage is clearest.

Well, the Russians may be now on the other side of the river. But you can see the force of the explosions that hit here just by these tree branches

thrown up here on top of a roof. And it feels kind of like a remote occupation through Russian drone strikes, artillery attacks as well. So

many of the buildings around here devastated.

(Voice-over): But Russian positions are visible across the water. And on this side, freshly dug trenches show how worried Ukraine is still. Across

the river, Ukraine sent troops months ago. Their hopes of a lightning dash to Crimea stuck in this rubble. And this week, Russia raised their flag

over the tiny Ukrainian foothold of Krynky. Kyiv denied they've taken it and said drone footage showed the Russians fleeing.

Yet just meters from the row, thousands of daily silent stories of survival in a city Russia cannot own, only crush with seemingly inexhaustible

shelling. At 4:00 a.m., we've woken by three shells. They landed 100 meters away.

They're saying that they are first hit in November, and that blew out the glass in this slide here. They moved to their mother's apartment over

there, and that basically saved their lives last night because the shrapnel from the mortar that landed here when all the way up into the flat where

they used to live.

(Voice-over): In basement churches, the prayers are for basics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): To stay warm, to find bread, to have food. It's a hard path. But we keep walking it.

WALSH: Spilling out into the light part of 1,000 people still in this district of the city when before the war there were 30 times that.


Sophia has outlasted her six siblings and gets food for her adult daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): I want to get on time to another food distribution. Yesterday, they gave chocolates and a hot meal.

Today who knows? There were roses here, everywhere. So many roses.

WALSH: As Putin's war enters its third year, there seems no end to a million tiny unseen agonies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Welcome. My eyes hurt, but my deepest desire, I don't want anything, anything, but the bright sun.

WALSH: That old radio brings bad news of Russia assaulting Krynky.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Those bastards, they jumped on us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): They already took Krynky.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): No, they didn't it. I just heard that they didn't. It's hard, there was a fight there today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): We will not push them back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Why? They will push back, why not?

WALSH: The war in every home, the normal, the boring, still targets today and tomorrow.


ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh reporting.

And still to come, holding Russia accountable. A week after the mysterious death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the U.S. imposes its largest

single-day round of sanctions on Russia since the brutal invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

Plus Nikki Haley says even if she loses Saturday's Republican primary in the U.S. state of South Carolina, she will not throw in the towel. Coming

up how Donald Trump's legal dramas are keeping her presidential hopes alive.


ANDERSON: A week after her son's death, Alexei Navalny's mother says that Russian investigators are threatening to withhold her son's body if she

doesn't agree to their conditions. She says one investigator even taunted her, claiming his body is decomposing.


LYUDMILA NAVALNAYA, ALEXEI NAVALNY'S MOTHER (through translator): They blackmailed me and set conditions for where, when, and how Alexei should be

buried. They want it done secretly without saying goodbye.


ANDERSON: Well, according to Navalny's team, authorities set strict demands including a small family funeral, the body being transported secretly to

Moscow and investigators escorting the family at all times.

Well, a day after meeting with Navalny's widow and daughter in California, U.S. president Joe Biden is making good on a pledge.


Today announcing a slew of sanctions against more than 500 targets and holding Vladimir Putin directly responsible for the death of his longtime


CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is live at the White House, and we are literally a day away from the marking the two-year mark of this illegal invasion of

Ukraine. Just walk us through what these sanctions do. What are the details here?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky, and the president is forcefully responding to both Navalny's death and also

this two-year mark of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Today, the announcement that the administration has pushed down on these sanctions marks the single

largest sanctions package to date since Russia's further invasion into Ukraine.

Now these over 500 targets include, for example, hundreds of entities involved in Russia's military industrial base. 26 third country entities

facilitating Russian sanction evasion. And those companies go from China, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates. They're also announcing trade

restrictions against more than 90 entities. And that's through the Commerce Department.

The idea here, according to U.S. officials, is to choke off Russia, essentially slow down their ability to obtain certain goods and any goods

that would also help them build weapons. Now, in a statement this morning, the president saying, quote, the following, "These sanctions will target

individuals connected to Navalny's imprisonment, as well as Russia's financial sector, defense industrial base, procurement networks and

sanctions evaders across multiple continents." Going on to say they will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and

repression at home.

Now, Becky, as you know the United States, along with other Western governments, has been imposing sanctions on Russia since the start of this

invasion of Ukraine. Russia has remained undeterred. It has gloated in some instances about being able to push through these sanctions. But what the

U.S. officials that I've talked to have said is that this is long term, this is hampering their economy, and will do so in the long term as well.

But the other focus here at the White House is the aid to Ukraine that they're trying to get passed through Congress. That $60 billion in

additional aid to Ukraine. Now the Senate passed a package that included those funds. The House is on a recess currently and has not budged on them,

and it's unclear whether they will when they return. So the president here today is both pushing these sanctions, noting there's a consequence to

Russian president Vladimir Putin for his actions, but also continuing the pressure on Congress to make sure that those funds for Ukraine do get

passed is another necessary component to push off Putin's aggression -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you. Thank you.

A critical day coming up on the U.S. election calendar. On Saturday South Carolina voters will cast their votes in the state's Republican primary.

Now pundits say it is likely to be the end of the line for Nikki Haley's campaign. The former South Carolina governor trails far behind frontrunner

Donald Trump in the polls, but she insists that no matter what happens tomorrow, she will not drop out of the race and suggests that as the former

president's legal dramas intensifies, she sees an opening.

Well, Alayna Treene has the very latest for you.

She says she sees an opening, but when you look at this in the cold light of day, does she have any chance at this point?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, you can't say there's no chance, but she has a very slim chance of this. And I think it's really

caused a lot of concern and frustration. I know from the Trump camp and my conversations with the former president's team, they are increasingly

frustrated with her refusal to drop out. They are eager to start the general election as early as possible and use the infrastructure of the

entire Republican Party to help fuel that campaign. But Nikki Haley is standing in the way.

But, look, I think if you look at it from Nikki Haley standpoint, the math isn't there. The delegates have really been lining up behind Donald Trump.

He's overwhelmingly won in the first four primary states. He's expected to win by big margins tomorrow in South Carolina. What I think the only

opening she really has is if Donald Trump somehow falters between now and the GOP convention in July, and people do point out that he does have a lot

of his legal troubles.

These trials may begin. There could potentially be a conviction. Of course, we don't know any of this, but that could potentially lend an opening to

Nikki Haley's campaign, but it's going to be very hard for her to do that. Now from Donald Trump's perspective, they are going into tomorrow very

confident even though they still have to deal with this primary, they're leading by such big margins.


He's shown to have around 30-point lead over Nikki Haley in South Carolina, her home state. And so they are very confident about his chances. And we've

seen from Donald Trump's remarks on the campaign trail this week, he's really been attacking Nikki Haley very little. He's still going after her,

arguing he argued last night in Tennessee that he thinks she has a big ego and that's why she is not dropping out of the race.

But the majority of his attacks have really been trained on the rival that both he and his campaign see as the biggest threat in November. And that is

Joe Biden. He spent a lot of time going after Joe Biden arguing that he is a threat to democracy, something that we've heard the president Joe Biden

also claimed that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. And that's really where I think you're seeing Donald Trump turn his attention to the general,

even though he is still in the midst of this primary -- Becky.

ANDERSON: It's fascinating. There's a long way to go. Thank you.

Let's get you up to speed, folks, on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. And in Valencia in Spain, authorities say at least

four people were killed in a massive fire that broke out Thursday at a high-rise apartment building. You can see the images here. At least nine

people are now reported missing. Firefighters using drones to search for victims.

A British appeals court has denied a woman's challenge to get back her U.K. citizenship after she joined ISIS at age 15. Shamima Begum spent several

years in Syria and married an ISIS fighter. Later at a Syrian refugee camp, she made headlines and was dubbed the ISIS bride. She was stripped of her

citizenship in 2019, and she remains in Syria.

And students and staff at the University of Georgia are being urged to travel in groups and be aware of their surroundings after a woman was found

dead on campus. Police suspect foul play. The victim has been identified as a 22-year-old nursing student who was attending another university nearby.

Well, up next, Israel is angrily denying allegations its troops committed sexual abuse of Palestinian women and girls. What the U.N. report says is

up next.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.

Well, Israel has forcefully rejected disturbing allegations of its forces killing, imprisoning, and raping Palestinian women and girls, saying the

allegations are motivated by hatred for Israel. Well, earlier this week, U.N. experts said they were distressed by reports of, quote, "multiple

forms of sexual assault" against Palestinian women and girls in detention, including being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers.

Those U.N. experts are calling for an independent investigation.

And the unique toll on women in this conflict cannot be ignored. Statistics from the United Nations show that around 70 percent of those killed in Gaza

are estimated to be women and children, and that two mothers are killed every hour. Two mothers are killed every hour.

Well, the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, said, and I quote, "We might not know for a long time what the

actual number of victims are. I would say that on the whole, violence and dehumanization of Palestinian women and children and civilians has been

normalized throughout this war."

Reem Alsalem joins me now live from Amman in Jordan.

It's good to have you. Firstly, I want to get some detail on your findings on these allegations against Israeli forces. How did you come to your


REEM ALSALEM, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS: So as independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council, we rely in

our information gathering, on information provided by victims directly or witnesses, or organizations working with victims. So they supply us with

that information. We corroborated and then if we believe that there are reasonable grounds and that these are sufficiently, let's say, credible

allegations, we then also address them to the state concerns. So we have shared them with the state of Israel prior to issuing the press release.

ANDERSON: Well, you've heard Israel's reaction there at the beginning of this segment. And I quote again, it forcefully rejects what it calls

despicable and unfounded claims. You say you've presented your findings to Israeli officials. What has been their response?

ALSALEM: What we usually send our allegations as we call them to the concerned states, requesting that they explain from their side what has

happened. And we have also asked for an independent investigation to be carried out for information on the fate of the disappeared women and

children, those that are in detention, to improve the situation of women in detention, and it's unfortunate that we have so far not received a


And as you said, Becky, it's been categorically rejected, but this is not surprising. The state of Israel has an adversarial relationship with many

human rights mechanisms and with us as well, and does not respond normally to any requests for information.

ANDERSON: Well, yes, Israel has accused the United Nations of being biased numerous times, specifically on what it says what allegations of sexual

assault by Hamas during the October 7th, massacres, the attacks. How do you respond to that?

ALSALEM: Well, we have, in addition to other investigative and human rights mechanisms, condemned the acts of Hamas on October 7th and since then where

they have violated humanitarian human rights law. We have also expressed grave concerns regarding any allegations of gender-based violence,

including sexual violence committed by Hamas, and like this situation, we have also called for an independent investigation.

There's numerous investigative mechanism that are specifically looking at gender-based violence, including the commission of inquiry, the

International Criminal Court, myself, the special representative of violence -- in sexual violence and conflict. And therefore, we would

encourage anyone, whether it's the state of Israel or victims, or witnesses, or organizations to come forward and cooperate with these



ANDERSON: Right. Well, Israel has reportedly submitted a report, as I understand it, that was Wednesday this week. Yesterday -- sorry, on

Wednesday this week, two days ago, showing its findings to the U.N. special representative on sexual violence and conflict, Pramila Patten, who visited

Israel last month. And as I understand it, she is working on an investigation.

What can you tell us and has the U.N. seen evidence suggesting that Hamas committed sexual violence on Israeli women?

ALSALEM: Well, I have not seen the information that Miss Patten has received. We are independent mechanisms. She reports to the Security

Council. I have reached out and I hope to be able to liaise with her once she has finalized her investigation and share the results. I'm hoping that

she has looked at all kinds of sexual violence against all, so Palestinians and Israelis, men and women, children, as well, so I think it will be

important to see her findings. Yes.

ANDERSON: I started this interview by suggesting that the unique toll on women in this conflict cannot be ignored. Both the allegations that Israel

has put against Hamas and the allegations that you now want to see investigated independently of sexual assault on Palestinian women and

girls. The unique toll on women is remarkable. The statistics that you have at the U.N. showed that some 70 percent of those killed in Gaza were women

and children.

And we started by suggesting an almost unbelievable statistic that two mothers are killed every hour, and I don't want to call it statistic. I

take that word back because these are human beings and there's a sense that we have normalized these sorts of stats at this point. You've said that we

might not know for a long time what the actual number of victims are. Do you believe we are looking at a significantly higher number than that which

is being reported at present?

ALSALEM: Well, first of all, Becky, we must remember that these reports of sexual violence, especially I would say committed against Palestinian women

is one of many egregious human rights and humanitarian law violations that Palestinian women are being subjected to, including an unfolding genocide

occupation for decades, arbitrary killing, forced starvation, the use of reproductive violence in particular as a tool of war against them.

And I would say that these allegations that we've heard also are not new. They've been pointed out by human rights organizations on the ground. My

colleague the special rapporteur on the occupied territories in her last report also pointed out that there have been longstanding reports of the

ill treatment and torture that Palestinian women, and sexual assault that they have faced in Israeli detention. So we are not talking about something

that has just emerged after October 7th.

And I also want to say that of course like in any conflict and in times of peace victims of sexual violence, A, will not come forward, maybe not

immediately, maybe never because of fear, because of fear of stigma, because of insecurity. And even if they come forward, they may want their

identity to remain private. Certainly this is something we have seen here in both Israel and Palestine, that a lot of them don't want to reveal their

identity, and it's perfectly understandable.

ANDERSON: Do you expect to get an independent investigation on this issue?

ALSALEM: Well, I surely hope so. Many of us are trying. I've also requested an official visit to Israel and Palestine, and also to do that work myself

and I'm still waiting for a response from the Israeli government on that.

ANDERSON: With that, we'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight out of Amman in Jordan.

Well, human rights experts have a powerful message. Stop arming Israel. It came in a statement from the high commissioner for human rights urging

countries to immediately stop shipping weapons and ammunition to Israel. It said such shipments are banned if they could be used to break international

law, which Israel has denied doing. Well, several countries have already suspended sales. The group calls for an arms embargo.


Well, an update now on our top story this hour pertinent to what we have been discussing. Hamas tells CNN its position has not changed ahead of

those ceasefire talks that we understand now to be underway in Paris. A top Hamas official was responding to a question about demands that Mr.

Netanyahu had initially called delusional. Hamas made its own proposal which Israel rejected. More, of course, on that as we get it.

And some other news also just in on Alexei Navalny's family and their efforts to arrange a proper burial. A spokesperson says the late opposition

leader's mother has been given an ultimatum by Russian authorities. Either agree within three hours to a secret funeral without a public farewell, or

else Alexei Navalny will be buried in the penal colony where he died. The spokesperson says his mother refused, again demanding compliance with the


Well, that law requires investigators to hand over the body within two days from the moment the cause of death is established.

Well, you are bang up to date on what are the breaking stories here on CNN. And still to come this hour, under pressure on multiple fronts. The White

House is called on to respond to crises emerging around the world. Is the Biden administration up to the test?

CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, weighs in that, is up next.


ANDERSON: The Biden administration is under pressure as it scrambles to balance a multitude of crises on the world stage right now.

The ongoing war in Ukraine, which marks its two-year anniversary on Saturday, shows little sign of ending, with Republicans souring on

President Biden's requests for further military funding for Kyiv.

This week's G20 gathering in Brazil has revealed just how isolated the U.S. is becoming in its support of Israel during the country's war on Gaza, and

the rising number of migrants at the U.S. southern border has left the Biden administration politically vulnerable in what is this election year.

Well, let's dig deeper into these issues and more with Ron Brownstein. He's a CNN senior political analyst and a senior editor with "The Atlantic." And

I'm delighted to say he joins us from Charleston in South Carolina.

It's good to have you, sir. It's a big weekend for the state of South Carolina, and of course, with the Republican primaries this week.


Can Joe Biden clearly, increasingly under pressure, both domestically and internationally, over let's start with his support for Israel. How do you

see his leadership looking on the world stage?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, thinking about Israel's specifically, it is an extraordinarily difficult position for him because

he has found himself in partnership where the partner in Prime Minister Netanyahu, who really may not have his best interests at heart. You know,

Democrats have been enormously suspicious of Netanyahu for years. And every Democratic president, you know, in his -- in Netanyahu's political lifetime

at the center of politics has conflicted with him intensely.

But not only that history, Becky, I mean, their immediate incentives are fundamentally inimical. I mean, Netanyahu's political incentive is to keep

the military action going as long as possible so that the events of October 7th are as far in the rearview mirror as possible before he has to face his

voters. And Biden, of course, is exactly the opposite. I mean, this war is causing enormous strain in the Democratic coalition.

He needs the military period to stop and something that looks like a negotiation to begin, and Netanyahu is giving him very little on that


ANDERSON: Yes, and from the lens where I sit he does look increasingly weakened by this. Weakened by the fact that the pressure the Biden

administration has tried to exert on Benjamin Netanyahu hasn't to date worked, and we've just seen the release of the first official plan for a

post-conflict Gaza. And it's not a plan, the plan released by Netanyahu. And it's not a plan that the U.S. is going to be happy with.

Another war that's isolating U.S. from the rest of the world, of course, is Ukraine. The GOP failing to aid Ukraine has been heavily criticized. You

wrote in a recent article, and I quote you here, sir, "To many observers, the retreat on Ukraine from Rubio and Graham suggests that even many GOP

officials who don't share Trump's new isolationist views have concluded that they must accommodate his perspective to survive in a party firmly

under his thumb."

Just explain briefly if you will a little more of the conceit of your argument there.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, you know, it's almost legendary -- excuse me -- in American politics that in 1952 after World War II, the internationalist

forces in the Republican Party defeated the isolationist forces when Dwight Eisenhower beat the Senate minority leader Robert Taft for the presidential

nomination. And really over the next seven decades, every Republican president the international is forces dominated. Someone are more

unilateralist like George W. Bush.

But all of them essentially accepted a Reaganite vision of the U.S. as the leader of the free world. Then mostly standing against communism or against

authoritarianism. Under Trump, that obviously wavered enormously. Trump rejected that vision and had a much more transactional vision of America's

role in the world. But even during his presidency, there was a substantial remnant of traditional GOP internationalists who held the line and

prevented him from both any administration and in Congress, and prevented him from doing some of the more extreme things that he talked about, such

possibly leaving NATO.

What we are seeing now is that resistance crumbling to his, you know, kind of nationalist isolationist vision. Not only a majority of (INAUDIBLE), but

now a majority of Senate Republicans have voted against Ukraine aid. And that include, as you noted, such previous pillars of the internationalist

camp as Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham is an ominous development and I think one that points toward if Trump is re-elected.

People who say that it will not be much different than the first term I think could not be more wrong. There would be much less internal resistance

and the potential for shockwave tumult in our traditional (INAUDIBLE) could be much greater.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you. I was hoping we might get a bit of time to talk South Carolina, but I've run out of time. I'll have you back, though,

because you're terrific and I know what is going on in the state of South Carolina this weekend is incredibly important, if not a sort of forgone

conclusion many people say in favor of Donald Trump. Nikki Haley says she's still in it and she's in it to win it, even if she isn't successful this


Good to have you, sir.

Coming up, how mothers in Ukraine are coping two years into a war that they never asked for.



ANDERSON: This weekend marks two years since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. And we are taking a look at how the war has changed ordinary

Ukrainians, and their lives.

Two years ago, Daria Tarasova-Markina was a journalist. When Russia invaded she began working with CNN teams in Ukraine. A few months later, she

received a scholarship to study journalism and international relations with the CNN Academy Program at University College of Dublin. Well, now that she

has graduated, she is back in Ukraine putting her skills to work, and she has produced this short film on how the war has changed mothers in Ukraine.


DARIA TARASOVA-MARKINA, UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST: More than six million Ukrainians have fled the country because of the war. Those who stayed tried

to live their lives. But they will never be the same. The war has changed them forever.

MARIA, MOTHER (through text translation): No one even thought that it would be so difficult. Really difficult.

My name is Maria. I am 33. I am Ukrainian and the mother of two sons.

TARASOVA-MARKINA: When the war started in Ukraine, Maria was nine months pregnant. Through empty streets and under the sounds of sirens, she went to

the maternity hospital.

Who am I going to have? A boy. The future defender.

TARASOVA-MARKINA: Russian soldiers were about 20 kilometers from the maternity hospital. Despite the constant heavy battle, (INAUDIBLE) was


MARIA (through text translation): I will certainly stay in Kyiv. I am not going to leave Ukraine. We will be at home, waiting for better times.

Waiting for everything will be fine.

I thought that they came in, we would defeat them, and that's it. This would be the end. No one even thought that it would be so difficult. Really

difficult. Both mentally and physically.

TARASOVA-MARKINA: After almost two years of brutal war, she still raises her children in Ukraine.

MARIA (through text translation): I didn't understand how to live somewhere in another country with different rules, habits, and traditions. But the

most important is that my family is here. My parents are here. My brother is now serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

TARASOVA-MARKINA: She stayed but the war has changed her.

MARIA (through text translation): You know, before I was such a cheerful energetic, positive person, but now it is very difficult for me mentally. I

have changed a lot. I became angrier. I became more aggressive towards people of a different nationality towards our enemy. I feel such, you know,

rage, hatred towards them. Probably all this is wrong to say, but I wish them to feel the same thing that we feel. To feel these explosions and the

loss of people. I became very tough. My emotional state was shaken. I'm a bit unbalanced, you know.


Sometimes I don't even control myself emotionally. I can get angry with the elder child. Take it out on him. I understand that he sis not to blame for

this. It's all because of my psychological state. Sometimes I think that I need a psychologist.

TARASOVA-MARKINA: Despite all the difficulties and war threats, the young lady with two kids still has hope and plans for the future.

MARIA (through text translation): Yes. I love children very much. I really wanted a second child. I also want a third one. Actually I want five


Look, there are so many birds. But you don't know who to count yet. What beautiful birds, are they not? We also have a squirrel somewhere. Look at

that little bird. Do you see? Are you interested in something else? Look how many birds there are. Do you see?

Children must be born, even despite the war. They are also future defenders. This is our future. Therefore children must be born.


ANDERSON: And that important anniversary set for tomorrow. Saturday marks two years since the beginning of this war.

I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.