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President Biden Delivers Fiery, Forceful, Political Speech; UAE Mobilizing to Deliver Large Aid Shipments to Gaza by Sea; Republican Rebuttal Claims Biden Out of Touch; Groups Seek to Combat Violence Against Women in Italy. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 08, 2024 - 10:00   ET



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

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: This is the second hour of the show. You are more than welcome wherever you are watching in the world. I'm

Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi.

President Biden's plan to bring desperately needed relief to Gaza moves closer to reality. The U.S. joining forces with overseas partners,

championing a maritime corridor to deliver aid as soon as possible.

On International Women's Day in Rome, no celebrations, but protests denouncing violence against women. We will also take you to Ireland where a

referendum is happening today to remove discriminatory language from the constitution.

And show us the money. Donald Trump bills for fighting and losing a string of legal battles are due for payment, but does he have the cash?

Well, a vision of strength and control. A defense of his policies and pointed warnings about his predecessor. All key parts of U.S. president Joe

Biden's State of the Union address. On Thursday, a critical opportunity for him to make his case to the American people eight months out from his

looming election rematch with Donald Trump.

Well, before the speech, Democrats chanting four more years. Once it started, Mr. Biden dove into a host of contentious issues from the wars in

Gaza and Ukraine, to the U.S. border crisis to women's reproductive rights. And he repeatedly challenged Donald Trump's stances on those issues without

ever uttering his name.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now my predecessor, a former Republican president, tells Putin, quote, "Do whatever the hell you want."

My predecessor and some of you here seek to bury the truth about January 6th.

Many of you in this chamber, and my predecessor, are promising to pass a national ban on reproductive freedom.

My predecessor and many in this chamber want to take those prescription drug away by repealing Affordable Care Act.

If my predecessor is watching, instead of playing politics and pressuring members of Congress to block the bill, join me in telling the Congress to

pass it.

Unlike my predecessor, I know who we are as American.


ANDERSON: Well, one of the biggest challenges that the president faces in his reelection campaign is making the case that he is fit for a second

term. He tried using humor to dispel any doubts about that.


BIDEN: I know it may not look like it but I've been around a while.


BIDEN: When you get to be my age, certain things become clearer than ever.


ANDERSON: Well, a pillar of Mr. Biden's foreign policy last night focused on Gaza, and he made strong remarks about the, quote, "gut-wrenching

crisis" in the enclave. And he repeated calls for a two-state solution as well as a plea for Hamas to release hostages in Gaza, whose captivity is

now entering sixth month. Have a listen.


BIDEN: You know, as we manage challenges at home, we're also managing crisis abroad, including in the Middle East. This crisis began on October

7th, the massacre by a terrorist group called Hamas, as you all know. Israel has the right to go after Hamas. Israel also has a fundamental

responsibility, though, to protect innocent civilians in Gaza.


ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Biden also announced that he has directed the U.S. Military to establish a temporary port in Gaza for aid deliveries, although

he stressed there will be no American troops in the enclave as part of that move.

This comes as countries including the UAE, where I am, and the U.K. mobilize with Cyprus and the E.U. Now they are looking to launch a maritime

aid route to Gaza as soon as this weekend.


CNN's Jeremy Diamond joins us from Tel Aviv. Nada Bashir is in Larnaca in Cyprus, where that maritime aid route was formally announced a short time


And let's start with you, Nada. What are the details as we understand it?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is certainly very much a work in progress. There are a lot of unknowns at this stage, it has to be said. But

as you mentioned, Becky, this is the first day, this is the beginning of this maritime corridor, a system of process which has been in discussion,

as we said, for weeks now. But clearly that green light and go ahead has been given for aid organizations in conjunction with the European Union,

the UAE, and other international partners, including of course the United States, to move forward with this crucial maritime corridor that will see

the transportation of vital humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza.

Now, up until this point, this has proven impossible because of the security situation. Of course, the blockade on Gaza's port as we have seen

since 2007, that has been impossible, and that has forced many in Gaza to rely on the trickle of aid coming in via that Rafah Border Crossing and

other border crossings by trucks. And of course that has proven extremely difficult particularly in northern Gaza due to ongoing obstacles.

We heard from the U.N. earlier in the week saying that some 40 percent of their aid missions were either obstructed or denied by Israel last month.

So as you can imagine there is limited aid getting in at this point. Now we were down by the ports where earlier we spoke with volunteers from the

World Central Kitchen and Open Arms who are preparing to transport aid to Gaza via sea.

This could be one of the first, if not the first ships to use the maritime corridor that has been established, though it's unclear when exactly they

will be formally able to call it at this port. But we saw several pallets, dozens of pallets, filled with rice and flour, crucial food that is needed

in Gaza. And of course we did hear from Ursula von der Leyen earlier today as well recommitting the E.U.'s commitment to support in this humanitarian

effort in Gaza. Take listen.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, E.U. COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Today we are facing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and we stand by the innocent civilians in

Palestine, and this is why Europe is financing a major humanitarian aid effort for Palestinians in Gaza and in the region.


BASHIR: Of course the situation inside Gaza is dire. We have heard the warnings the Gaza Strip teetering on the brink of famine. The U.N.'s World

Food Programme has said that half a million people are now at risk of starvation in Gaza. So this is a crucial development.

And of course, as you mentioned, Becky, the U.S. is now being directed its military to establish a temporary port on Gaza's coasts. Unclear when that

will formally be established. That could take weeks according to U.S. officials, but clearly, a positive development in what has been weeks of

desperation in Gaza.

ANDERSON: Jeremy, what's been the Israeli response to this Cypriot initiative?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are welcoming this. I mean, the Israeli minister of foreign affairs has been discussing some kind of

maritime corridor for months now. We know that one of the issues that was holding up the possibility of this actually going into action was the lack

of a deep-sea port in Gaza and the U.S. is -- appears to be stepping into the breach here to deal with that.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Cypriot initiative will, quote, "allow the increase of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip

after security checks are carried out in accordance with Israeli standards."

But the Israelis, you know, have a very different interpretation of what's going on in Gaza. They have basically been denying the reality of the

humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding there for weeks now, insisting that they are allowing enough aid in, even as we see scenes of desperation,

even as the United Nations releases statistics showing that only one in four missions, aid missions to northern Gaza were approved by Israeli


And we're now also, of course, seeing the desperation of people as these airdrops are beginning to fall in Gaza. And the latest is today, as we saw,

the hope that those airdrops represented quickly turn into horror with at least five people killed when those airdrops -- some of those airdrops seem

to have come crashing down far too fast, perhaps an issue with the parachutes of those airdrops not deploying properly.

Five people were killed, 10 others were injured, including some who are currently in serious condition at Al Shifa Hospital. According to that

hospital, Khader Al Za'anoun, a local journalist who's worked with us, told us that he saw those airdrops falling from the sky near the Shati Refugee

Camp in Gaza.


And again, this just underscores, of course, the desperation of the situation, the need for more aid to urgently get in and also the fact that

those airdrops, even when they do land safely, simply represents a drop in the enormous ocean of need for the people of Gaza, particularly in northern

Gaza at the moment.

ANDERSON: Jeremy Diamond, on the story. Jeremy, thank you.

Donald Trump responding to President Biden's State of the Union address by painting a bleak landscape of an America lacking leadership and out of

control. Similar sentiments were echoed in the official Republican rebuttal to the speech given by Alabama Senator Katie Britt in remarks delivered

from her kitchen. Have a listen.


SEN. KATIE BRITT (R-AL): Right now, the American dream has turned into a nightmare for so many families. The true unvarnished state of our union

begins and ends with this. Our families are hurting. Our country can do better. And you don't have to look any further than the crisis at our

southern border to see it.

President Biden inherited the most secure border of all time. But minutes after taking office he suspended all deportations, he halted construction

of the border wall and he announced a plan to give amnesty to millions.


ANDERSON: Katie Britt responding on behalf of the Republicans to the State of the Union address last night by Joe Biden. Larry Sabato joins me to talk

about what we heard and what we saw.

Larry, in your opinion, did Joe Biden emerge from this speech stronger?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Absolutely, Becky, he really did. I wasn't sure what to expect because we

all know about the president's age because people talk about it endlessly. But for someone of his age, I thought he turned in a terrific performance,

very energetic. And most important he touched on the right issues and drove them home in a way that put Republicans back on their heels and

particularly his predecessor. He never mentioned Donald Trump's name. But I think almost 10 times he referred to Donald Trump as his predecessor. It

was tough stuff.

ANDERSON: You just heard, as did our viewers, the Republican rebuttal. What's your view of that and their overall demeanor during the speech?

SABATO: Well, there's an old word that fits that particular response quite well. Cringe-worthy. You know, I've been watching these things literally

since 1961. That was the worst response ever, and that's saying something because we've had some disasters in both parties because you can't respond

to an incumbent president with all the symbols of power and the majesty of the House of Representatives chamber and expect to be viewed as an equal.

Well, she made it much worse for herself by putting on almost an audition for a TV show. We have a comedy show, of course, "Saturday Night Live," and

there's an opening skit usually about politics. I think that's a good candidate for that opening skit. It was just all awful.

ANDERSON: But -- yes. But, Larry, Republicans must assume that they are speaking to an audience that will appreciate that.

SABATO: Well, yes, I think that is -- that was certainly their intention. And of course, they picked a woman for good reason. Republicans tend to

have problems attracting as large a percentage of the women's vote as they do the male vote. And she certainly presents a good image. She is one of

the youngest members of the Senate. She's 42 years old. That was expected to be a contrast, and it was with President Biden.

But I thought it was odd that they chose one of the key office holders from the state of Alabama. What's the most recent controversy that has sent the

Republican Party into a tailspin. The Alabama Supreme Court, Republican Supreme Court's banning of invitro fertilization.


So to me it was, you know, a good try, but not only no cigar, I don't think even a ribbon.

ANDERSON: With that, we'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. Always a pleasure, sir.

Larry Sabato in the house.

Just ahead, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. The battle to end violence against women. Why that fight is taking on extra resonance today.

Ireland holding a vote about what the prime minister calls old-fashioned and sexist language in the constitution. More after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. Marches happening around the world today to mark International Women's Day. In Rome and other cities across Italy,

demonstrations putting the focus on what they call patriarchal violence. That's because there are troubling signs of violence against women is

growing in Italy, especially at the hands of their loved ones.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau reports from Rome on what is being done to fight it.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The weight of violence against women hangs heavy over Italy. Last year alone,

more than 100 women were victims of femicide, when a murder is committed by a family member, a former or current lover, or husband. That's roughly one

woman killed every three days.

Italy does not have the highest rate of violence against women in Europe but scores very low in terms of gender equality, ranking 79 of 146

countries in the World Economic Forum's 2023 gender parity ranking, falling 16 places from the previous year because of the rise in victims of deadly


One of those victims was Giulia Cecchettin, a college student allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend who, according to what her friends told

investigators, was stalking her. Giulia's story sparked protests, pushing Italians to confront violence against women. But more than a dozen women

have been murdered since her body was found.

Maria Grazia is a survivor. She was able to leave a situation of violence before it was too late. But she says it wasn't easy for her.

MARIA GRAZIA, ABUSE SURVIVOR (through translator): In a situation of violence, you close yourself off and in the darkest solitude because in the

end, there is a prejudice that if a woman is the victim of a situation of violence, it is partly her fault.

NADEAU: After her own personal struggles, Maria Grazia co-founded Messone Antigone (PH), an organization that has helped support hundreds of women in

need of support.

GRAZIA (through translator): After having experienced a situation of personal violence, a very strong experience of violence, and having gone

through courts and so on, I personally realize that there is no help, no real help for a woman experiencing these things.


NADEAU: Hundreds of women in Italy navigate a complicated bureaucratic system when it comes to reporting threats like stalking and abuse.

Another organization tackling violence against women is CADMI, a shelter for abused women in Milan. It is helping women change their narrative from

victim to survivor. The group says it rescued over 600 women from their abusers last year and that it's helped more than 36,000 since its founding

in 1986.

The organization not only removes women from dangerous situations and houses them in shelters, they rehabilitate women and prepare them to enter

back into society in the workforce, providing legal and psychological support.

CADMI head coordinator Cristina Carelli tells us it's very important for women to be autonomous and economically independent in order to have true

freedom. She says their success has not only been through helping women directly, but also through prevention, education, and media campaigns.

She says they're observing the influx of many young women to the anti- violence center. When she met women 25 years ago, they were generally women around 40 years old who had told very long stories of violence, she says.

Italian women are calling for change.

LORELLA ZANARDO, AUTHOR, FILMMAKER, ARTIST: We have another history. So I think that we have to work a lot. I believe but that we have to start in

schools, in how the elementary books are written, how the role of women is represented. But in the last years, we have moved forward. There are signs

of changes. Of course, we don't -- we cannot relax.

NADEAU: For these young women, change needs to happen faster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): In the end, after those years, there have been important changes that can be seen. But I think today, the

playing field is still not totally complete between the two genders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my generation, in educating the generations to come, because we are failing.

NADEAU: Women may be on the front lines, but all Italians need to wage the battle against inequality for lasting change.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.


ANDERSON: Well, today, island holding a referendum to change gender-based language in two of its articles of its constitution, symbolically held on

this International Women's Day. The first is to amend Article 41, to expand the reference to family by adding whether founded on marriage or on other

durable relationships.

The second vote will be on whether to remove Article 41.2, which reads, quote, "The state recognizes that by her life within the home, woman gives

to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved." Quote, "The state shall endeavor to ensure that mothers shall not be

obliged by economic necessity to engage in labor to the neglect of their duties in the home."

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says that vote is a chance to remove some, quote, "very old-fashioned, very sexist language."

Mary McAuliffe is the director of Gender Studies at University College Dublin, joins us now, live.

Mary, it's good to have you. A graduate of CNN's master's program at University College of Dublin on the streets for us this week, asking how

people felt about this. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone else same thing are being confused. Like I think it is like thinking you were seeing on TikTok people making these

videos that this is why you should vote no and then the next swipe is like this is why should vote yes. And I think it's because on social media there

is just as such varying opinions. It's like, but then you have varying opinions, but I think because this one has such a cloud of confusion over

it, that's why people are just like, I don't know what to do.

I've seen a few people that are just deciding not to vote because they'd rather just not be a part of it than to maybe vote the wrong way because

they don't know. So I think that's still maybe an option for me. I'm just - - I just don't know. That's the whole thing. I just don't know.


ANDERSON: I just don't know. Maria McAuliffe, can you give us a bit more context on these referendums and why this attempt to change the language of

the constitution, why that has become so contentious?

MARY MCAULIFFE, DIRECTOR OF GENDER STUDIES, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN: Well, I think it's really the Article 41.2 parts, the care referendum, as

it's called. That has become the most contentious in the family referendum to expand the definition of family.


That would probably pass with a yes vote because it is -- marriage will still be privileged within the constitution, the marital family, but it's

just expanding the types of families that will also have constitutional recognition on married families, single-parent headed families, et cetera.

But in removing the women in the home articles as they are called from the constitution should have been an easy thing to do.

Most feminists, most activists supported that, but the Article 42-B that they want to replace it with has not been accepted by those who are

campaigning for the rights of carers and the rights of people with disabilities because it's situating care within the home and not within the

home and in the community, which was the recommended phrases that were to be put into the constitution.

And it says that the government would strive rather than endeavor to provide supports and people strive is just not, you know, very

comprehensive enough statement to say and that there is a fear then that care will be thrown back into the family where most carers carried out by

women anyway.

ANDERSON: That's interesting and important that we get the nuance here and the layer as opposed to just this sort of headline.

I want our viewers to hear from Education Minister Simon Harris. Have a listen.


SIMON HARRIS, IRISH EDUCATION MINISTER: It is still a statement of facts that today the constitution, the values book of Ireland still says that the

only family recognized is a family founded on marriage. And yet we live in a country where 43 percent of children last year were born outside of

marriage, we live in a country where grandparents might raise their grandchildren. So tomorrow is an important day to actually recognize that

families are more diverse and in many ways allow our constitution catch up what a lot of the progress that we've made in other areas.


ANDERSON: That he's speaking there to the family, that the role of marriage in Ireland, and I think you've pointed out that you think to your mind

that's likely to get through.

Let's talk about challenges to -- yes. Yes. Challenges to women and LGBTQ Plus rights seem to be spreading around the world driven in part by

sentiment from religious groups like the Catholic Church, that sexual and reproductive rights and LGBT Rights will destroy, quote, "the family." How

is the empty gender movement playing out where you are in Ireland?

MCAULIFFE: Well, it's socially making its voice heard. There is strong votes, no, no, to both of these referenda. No to protect the sanctity of

marriage as defined by the church and the more conservative elements in society. And no to what they say is erase women and mothers from the

constitution, which of course is not what's happening at all. But this language of the erasure of women in society, which is very much part of the

anti-ideology, gender ideology language is being used and we've seen it on posters appearing on the streets in recent days.

I don't think it will have a huge impact. I don't think it'll be a no-no vote. It'll either be yes-yes, or yes-no, and hopefully those calling or

those using what is essentially anti-LGBT and anti-woman language won't be hurt.

ANDERSON: Mary, reporting by CNN shows that gender fear is being used by right-wing populists to grow political power. What is your sense of why in

hell this is happening?

MCAULIFFE: Well, I think it's part of a backlash against progressive values being embedded in legislation and social policy. Of course, in Ireland,

we've he had two referenda within the last decade. The marriage equality referendum in 2015, which allowed same-sex marriage, and the repeal

referendum in 2018, which took the anti-abortion eighth amendment out of the constitution and allow the government to legislate for access to full

reproductive rights.

So this is a backlash against those gains in society and this is quite normal. As feminists we would talk about the fact that the backlash happens

every time progressives win any new rights in society, and there is fear and anxiety that society is changing too much. And also there is a backlash

of course, the language that is being used is very similar throughout the world so Ireland is being influenced by the type of anti-gender ideology

language you here in America, in the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe.


We're not that different from other places.

ANDERSON: Mary, our best wishes on International Women's Day. It's good to have you, Marie McAuliffe, highlighted in our As Equals Defenders Project

showcasing people around the world who are working to protect or expand rights or raise awareness of growing attacks on gender equality.

And you can keep up with our CNN As Equals team on our Web site, you can download the CNN app on your smartphone for all the very latest.

And believe me, we report on the work that so many (INAUDIBLE) around the world in support of women's rights. Of course, as well.

Up next, get ready to pay up. That's the message to Donald Trump from the judge in the E. Jean Carroll case. But can Trump buy more time before he

forks out over $83 million? We're live in New York for you. Plus, we are following a trial in Michigan set to test the limits of who is responsible

for a deadly mass shooting? Should a parent be held liable for a child's crime?


ANDERSON: It is just after half past 7:00 here in the UAE. Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, from our Middle

East programming hub in Abu Dhabi. It is just after half past 10:00 of course on the East Coast.

And this just into CNN, we have learned that Donald Trump is appealing an $83 million judgment against him in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case.

Now, this comes as a key deadline, looms. He has until Monday to hand over that money after the judge turned down his request for more time. The judge

says Trumps sad more than a month to get his finances in order.


He was ordered to pay Carroll damages as a result of a defamatory statements he made while denying that he raped her. Well, this case playing

out in New York. That is where we find our Kara Scannell.

We've just got some news in on this, so just brings us bang-up-to-date on where we stand at this point.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, that's right. I mean, this news is still developing and right now, I'm seeing that Donald Trump has

filed another court filing in which he's asking the judge to approve a bond in the amount of $91.6 million. This judgment was at $83.3 million.

The courts usually require some extra money to be put up because the appeals process takes a long time and just to, you know, assure it will be

there. So it looks like Donald Trump has come up with the bond for this case. The deadline was right around the corner. Technically, it is

tomorrow, but because deadlines fall on weekends and court cases are given until Monday so Donald Trump is posting the bond in this case now.

So he's also filed, as you said, a notice of appeal, so he's asking the appeals court to weigh in on this. He has also asked the trial court judge

to lower the amount of the damages that the jury awarded E. Jean Carroll in that case saying that they were excessive. So all of this will be something

that will be argued, but it looks like he has made this deadline filing a bond with the judge and asking the judge to approve it.

You know, that is just one of these two massive judgments that Donald Trump is facing. He's also facing a deadline at the end of this month to post a

bond of $454 million. That's in the New York attorney general's civil fraud case. A judge found that Trump was liable and it imposed this massive fine

attack, you know, essentially against Trump. Now he had asked an appeals court in New York to give him time to come up with that money.

One appellate court judge said he wouldn't extend the deadline. That deadline is March 25th, so that clock is ticking. Now Trump has asked the

full panel of appeals court judges to consider giving him more time to post this bond or to post a lower amount. They are filing legal briefs in that

case and we're told a decision is expected at the end of the month, but this again, another one that seems like it will come down to the wire

because both the end of the month and March 25th, right around the same time, which is also when Donald Trump will be listening to jury selection

in his first criminal trial in New York related to the cover-up of hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Kara, thank you.

Folks, we're also closely following a trial today in which a father facing charges for a deadly crime carried out by his son. These are live pictures

just coming into CNN. Prosecutors say James Crumbley was grossly negligent and should not have allowed his son Ethan to have access to the weapon that

he used in a shooting at his Michigan high school in 2021. Crumbley faces four involuntary manslaughter charges, one for each student that his son

killed last month. James' his wife, Jennifer, was found guilty in a separate trial on the same charges.

Weve also learned last hour that James Crumbley's access to a jailhouse phone is now limited to communicating with his attorney after officials

said he was caught making threats over the phone while in custody.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up images of devastation in Gaza have shocked so many people around the world to their

core. But for some who have actually witnessed what is going on on the ground firsthand, they say the reality is infinitely worse. How is that

even possible? Well, I will speak to one of those people to help that make sense. More on that after this.



ANDERSON: Before his State of the Union speech Thursday night, President Joe Biden told members of Congress gathered on the House floor that he has

been working, quote, "nonstop" to establish a ceasefire in Gaza, the release of hostages and the delivery of humanitarian aid. But in that same

building, some Democratic allies very close to the U.S. president have been demanding for some time now that the president do more to pressure Israel,

some even saying the U.S. should cut military aid if Israel refuses to change course.


SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): In last and until the Netanyahu government allows more relief into Gaza, President Biden needs to invoke Section 620-I

of the Foreign Assistance Act, quote, "No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter of the arms export control act to any country when it is

made note made known to the president that the government of such country prohibits or otherwise restricts directly or indirectly the transport or

delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): I also want to be clear about the fact that the taxpayer funded military aid we provided to Israel for their self-defense

is subject to the Leahy Law. I have insisted throughout many conversations that this law is implemented as intended, and that civilians are protected,

and that international law is followed.


ANDERSON: Well, U.S. Military support for Israel has historically been nearly unconditional. But given Israel's conduct and the resulting

humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, that may no longer be tenable. Some lawmakers have been pressing the Biden administration to reconsider their

approach. In his address to the nation he announced the establishment of a maritime corridor to get aid into Gaza since he Israeli government, as thus

far, refused to open alternative land routes.

But for those increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress, Joe Biden's efforts are still not enough.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We are looking at one of the great humanitarian crises in modern history. Hundreds of thousands of children are facing

starvation. The United States sadly, because we are arming the Israelis, is complicit in what's happening. It's got to stop.

It is a mistake to my mind to be thinking about giving Netanyahu and his right-wing government another $10 billion. That's wrong. I oppose it. I

hope the president will eventually oppose it.


ANDERSON: Well, my next guest witnessed firsthand the devastation in Gaza made all the more devastating with the absence of sufficient humanitarian

aid. And when I talk about humanitarian aid, let's be quite clear about this. We are talking about food, shelter, medical supplies, stuff that

keeps people alive, stuff that would prevent people from dying an unnecessary death.

My next guest wrote from her time inside the enclave, quote, "I thought I understood the situation on the ground, but I didn't. Truly nothing can

prepare you for this dystopia. What reaches the rest of the world is a fraction of what I've seen so far, which is only a fraction of this

horror's totality."

Well, those are the words of Palestinian novelist, poet, and activist Susan Abulhawa, who joins me now live from Cairo.

Thank you for the time, Susan, today. Can you just describe what you saw in Gaza?


SUSAN ABULHAWA, PALESTINIAN NOVELIST, POET AND ACTIVIST: So first of all, I don't think we should be referring to this as a humanitarian disaster

because that sounds like I an earthquake or something, rather than the purposeful genocide that's being perpetrated against Palestinians. A

principally defenseless civilian population.

I think, you know, people in the West have seen the dramatic footage of people being buried alive in their homes on mass terrorized beyond

imagination. My time there, there was -- I was mostly in Rafah. There was not a single night when Israel did not bomb, which is an area which is

supposed to be a safe place but beyond that, beyond the dramatic footage that reaches the West there is this massive terrible denigration of life.

People are demeaned, humiliated, tortured, robbed, forced from their homes to live in abject filth and fear. Their whole lives and their hopes for a

future blown up against the backdrop of a laughing and cheering Israeli soldiers and civilians alike. It's there for the whole world to see. The

first and only live stream genocide in the history. There in the full glory of Israeli fascism and, you know, this --

ANDERSON: You said that you tried to venture into the north. Sorry. It's never easy doing this remotely. You said you tried to venture into the

north, you said that's, quote, "a suicide mission."

Did you actually get there? And what can you tell us about what is happening on the ground in the north of Gaza?

ABULHAWA: No. I did not venture into the north. It's literally impossible. You cannot. There are -- it's a suicide mission. There are Israeli tanks

and snipers positioned everywhere. Pretty much anyone who has tried to get back to their homes to reach their families who are literally starving in

the northern regions have been shocked and there have been I believe plenty of images and footage of those individuals whose bodies continue to litter

the ground because people who tried to retrieve them are themselves shot.

However, I do have friends in the north and a few of them have managed to, you know, to create a setup for internet. Both of them are IT

professionals. But most people are cut off from the rest of the world. And what they have described to me are very much, you know, like the news

reports that people are getting here about what's happening in the north. There is massive starvation.

The Ministry of Health has reported thus far at least 20 individuals who have died of starvation and dehydration, and the belief is that there are

many more who are, who are just dying quietly and being buried by their families.

This is an intentional starvation of people. There are scenes that have been reported as well as stories that have been reported to me of people

being forced to eat stray cats and dogs for a long time. They were subsisting on donkey feed and horse feed. And it seems that that has also

run out and people have resorted to just eating whatever they can, grass and a lot of cases.

ANDERSON: Susan, it's good to have you on. It's International Women's Day today. I do send you my best wishes. I know that given what we are

discussing here, it's not -- neither you nor I who need those wishes. It is the women and kids caught up in this. It is everybody caught up in this.

And so I will just leave it at that and I hope that you and I talk again very soon. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

More news after this.



ANDERSON: Well, this International Women's Day, we would be remiss not to mention the suffering of the women in Gaza. In fact, we will be downright

wrong. The head of the U.N. Agency for Palestinian Refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, says he is profoundly saddened that the women in Gaza continue

to endure the consequences of this war, which include giving birth without basic medical assistance, the lack of period products and exceptionally

unsanitary living conditions.

Well, those caught in the crossfire now also face the risk of starvation. Conflict zones, be it Gaza, Sudan, Ukraine, or elsewhere often take a

disproportionate toll on the health of women and kids. Today, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the women's tennis association are launching

the global women's health fund to raise money for a resource so often out of reach for these women, prenatal vitamins. Have a look at this.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Gaza's most vulnerable, bearing the brunt of this brutal conflict. According to UNICEF over 90 percent of pregnant or

breastfeeding women and children under the age of 2 face severe food poverty.

Across the world, the gender nutrition gap is getting worse. Globally, women and girls account for 60 percent of severely hungry people. This

International Women's Day, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the Women's Tennis Association and Hologic, the official

sponsor of the WA Tour to launch "Women Change the Game."

ANITA ZAIDI, PRESIDENT, GENDER EQUALITY DIVISION, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: If we look at women around the world, they are changing the

game every day, in their communities and schools at home to their work but if women are not healthy, they cannot be working to their full potential.

ANDERSON: The campaign will raise money for the WTA Foundation's Global Women's Health Fund. In its first year, it aims to provide one million

women in low and middle-income countries with enough prenatal vitamins for the full course of their pregnancies.

ZAIDI: The result of this lack of essential prenatal vitamins is that millions of babies are born low birth weight, small, and sick. There's high

rates of stillbirths. There's high rates of infant deaths. And by using prenatal vitamins, the complete set that we could really help millions of

babies and women healthy around the world.

ANDERSON: Hologic, a medical tech company, focused on women's health, has made an initial donation of $1.5 million dollars. And the stars of the WTA

will be using their platforms to raise awareness.

ANN AUSTIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WTA FOUNDATION: We have representation of over 80 different nations competing in more than 30 countries with an

incredible audience of over one billion fans. So there is significant reach and depth that our players have spotlighting issues on social media, acting

as spokespeople in key moments and participating in events and activations around the WTA tour calendar.


ANDERSON: In the face of immense global challenges, women answering the call for women.


ANDERSON: Just a programming note for you. If you are watching CNN International around the world we have got some time changes for you and a

new feature line up for the evening hours. Certainly those hours in Abu Dhabi for next week. So CONNECT THE WORLD will remain at 9:00 a.m. Eastern

Time if you're watching in the States, but we will be starting an hour earlier here in the UAE and in other places around the world.

Then at 3:00 p.m. Eastern or for example 11:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto will debut, followed by "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS"

at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. That is midnight in Abu Dhabi.

Well, that is it for this CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN NEWSROOM with that Rahel Solomon is up next.