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Norway, Ireland, Spain to Recognize Palestine; Details Emerge of Crash as Crowd Attends Funeral for Iran's President; Israeli Defense Minister Authorizes Entering West Bank; Gaza and Sudan Battling Hunger; Egypt Quietly Changed Cease-Fire Terms between Israel and Hamas; One Dead, 71 Injured after Turbulence Hits Singapore Airlines Flight; Call to Earth, Preserving California's Mojave Desert; Abu Dhabi to Launch New Cultural District in 2025. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 22, 2024 - 10:00   ET




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

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Welcome to our second hour of the show. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, where the time is 6:00 in the


After nearly eight months of war inside Gaza, three European nations say they will recognize a Palestinian state.

What does this move by Norway, Ireland and Spain really mean?

Well, Iran's supreme leader prays over the coffin of the country's late president, Ebrahim Raisi, as huge crowds fill the streets of Tehran. Iran

will host 60 delegations from different countries for the funeral.

One person has died and more than 100 injured during extreme turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight. We'll take a look at the investigation

underway into what has been a frightening incident.


ANDERSON: Well, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas reacting with praise, Israeli leaders with outrage over the announcements by three European

countries today, that they will formally recognize an independent Palestinian state.

Spain, Norway and Ireland are making the moves to advance what Norway's prime minister calls moderate voices trying to end the war in Gaza. Here is

what Ireland's prime minister had to say.


SIMON HARRIS, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: This is an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine. Taking our place on the world stage and

being recognized by others as having the right to be there was a matter of the highest importance for the founders of our stage (ph).

To the people of Israel, I say today, Ireland is resolute and unequivocally, fully recognizing the state of Israel and Israel's right to

exist securely and in peace with its neighbors.

Let me be clear that Ireland condemns the barbaric massacre carried out by Hamas on the 7th of October last.


ANDERSON: Well, Spain's prime minister pointed to the actions of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.


PEDRO SANCHEZ, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): If one thing is clear to me, it is that prime minister Netanyahu has no peace project

for Palestine.


ANDERSON: Last hour I spoke to Norway's foreign minister, who told me that today's move has been a long time in the making.


ESPEN BARTH EIDE, NORWEGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We have always been supporting a Palestinian state. But for many years, we thought that we

would wait with our bilateral recognition to the very end of such a process.

But given the very deplorable situation on the ground there, not only what has happened after Hamas' terror attack and the response from Israel but

also over the years, the years past, we've seen that the original hope of a purely negotiated settlement with no pressure from the outside simply did

not work.

So we think that this is the right thing to do. We think this is a handshake with the moderate forces and we hope other countries (ph) will


ANDERSON: Do you expect other countries -- very specifically European countries -- to follow suit?

EIDE: Yes, indeed. We are aware of discussions in a number of European countries that are ongoing right now. This is also why Spain, Ireland and

Norway came out now and said that we will do this with effect from next week, from next Tuesday, which is after a series of meetings to be held

between Arab and European foreign ministers.

But I am not the spokesman of any other country. So they should speak for themselves. But I can confirm that this is a conversation that has been

hold for a long time and I think more news will follow (ph).


ANDERSON: Two countries, Belgium and Slovenia, have been named very specifically as those who may follow suit.

I also asked the Norwegian foreign minister to respond to Israel recalling his country's ambassador.


This is what he said.


We're a friend of Israel, we want to remain a good partner with Israel. But we also make our own decisions based on what we think is right. And right

now, we believe that this is the right thing to do, which is why we do it.

And we do it together with others and we do it also in support of the more moderate forces who still believe that that settlement that will create

peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike are good.

And I know there are peaceful people in Israel who also would like such a settlement.


ANDERSON: Well, there's a lot to discuss here. International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in London; Jeremy Diamond is back with us this hour

from Jerusalem.

There is no doubt that these decisions are significant. As the Irish prime minister said, this is an historic move; perhaps mostly symbolic at this

point, because I guess it begs the question, what are the consequences of this?

Certainly you've heard from those leaders saying that they are pursuing a path to peace, trying to put an end to what is going on in this Israel-

Hamas conflict.

But, Nic, let me start with, you.

Will this decision by these three European countries, to take this bilateral move, will it realistically lead to anything substantive at this


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's probably ultimately going to lead to the same place that it would ultimately get to. And I

think they would recognize that. But I think what they're trying to do is speed that process.

Sweden is a member of the European Union that has also independently recognized Palestine as a state. And some of the former Eastern Soviet bloc

countries in the east of Europe, now part of the European Union, they automatically, as part of the Soviet Union, had recognized a Palestinian


That stood well with some of them and not so well with others.

But I think if you look to the sort of the powerhouses in European Union politics, like France and Germany, they are both saying that this is not

the right move at this time. Germany is saying, officials saying that this essentially rewards Hamas.

And the French saying, look, we should move collectively. And this is more than opinion of the United States. We should move collectively to take a

decision like this when it will count politically for recognizing a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution, as part of a broader


Which is the United States' point, that the end of the war in Gaza, to bring on board the support of regional partners like Saudi Arabia and

others, necessarily has to recognize a clear pathway to a Palestinian state.

So I think the aspiration here is to speed a process that I think most would understand is potentially in the wind. But potentially in the wind

only will become a reality when the government changes in Israel, which they all recognize.

And perhaps there's an element of that in what the -- in what the Norwegians and the Irish and the Spanish are trying to do, heap pressure on

this particular government of Israel.

ANDERSON: Jeremy, let me bring you in here because the PA -- Palestinian leaders -- and Hamas, perhaps unsurprisingly, welcoming this news and

again, unsurprisingly, Israeli leaders have condemned it.

Just walk through the response that we're getting at this point.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, we've seen these official moves being carried out by the Israeli foreign minister, recalling

Israel's ambassadors to Spain, Ireland as well as Norway.

He is also bringing in those countries' ambassadors to Israel for a formal reprimand, one during which he says he intends to show them videos of the

October 7th massacre, namely the taking of hostages that day.

He believes that this move of recognizing a Palestinian state seven months after October 7th is tantamount to awarding a, quote, "gold medal to the

murderers and rapists of Hamas," according to Israel Katz, and he is vowing serious consequences. We don't yet know the extent of those consequences.

But Israel's finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right member of this current Israeli government, is suggesting several steps, including seeking

the approval of tens of thousands of housing units in Israeli settlements.

Approving new Israeli settlements, canceling crossing permits for Palestinian Authority officials as well as withholding tax revenues from

the Palestinian Authority. As you said, the Palestinians, for their part, are welcoming this move and they certainly hope that other countries will

follow suit.

ANDERSON: Nic, let me just bring you back in.


We have had a response, for example, from the -- Michael Roth, the chair of the German parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.

He has questioned Spain, Ireland and Norway's decision to recognize a Palestinian state. And I'm just going to quote what he says very


"I'm not convinced that the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state is an appropriate measure after the horrific massacres by Hamas on October

the 7th last year. Another victory for brutal and cynical terrorists," Roth said.

Germany's position, of course, has long been to advocate for a two-state solution and that is very specifically the U.S. administration's position

at this point as well. This is, for those who are regretting the decision by these three countries, this is about a question of timing as much as

anything else.


ROBERTSON: It's a question of timing. And the reason for the timing is they think they can get -- break greater leverage, if you will, over Israel

presumably and any sort of Palestinian body that may administer Gaza or take over the West Bank and Gaza, whatever that may be.

They think they can have greater leverage if they all act together. But look, I mean, what you heard from Simon Harris today, the taoiseach, the

prime minister in Ireland, quoting Ireland's own history of its own bid from independence more than 100 years ago from Britain.

And what it took and what it meant to the state. So there's something -- there's a hot, a passionate and hot element that goes into the logic and

thinking. Norway, that has sort of long been a paragon of standing up for human rights on the globe and in fact has played a very significant role in

that part in many conflicts around the world.

So these are countries that have a long tradition of trying to stick up for the people that are suffering. And the Irish feel that they have a deeper

sense of understanding of that. Perhaps each of these countries come at it from their own point of view.

But it's to try to hasten that change, that these other countries, their partners and allies, seem to be prepared to wait longer.

And just one more thing for the Irish taoiseach speaking at a press conference after his statement in the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament, he

said, look, we -- we're looking at all this suffering. We can't just stand here and look at the suffering. And I think that's what it comes down to.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

It's good to have you both. Thank you very much. Indeed.

Well, I am here in the UAE in the region of the Gulf of course and it is from here that many are closely watching what is happening in Iran as

officials will be in Israel as well. That country, Iran, says it is hosting 60 foreign delegations who are now paying their final respects to president

Ebrahim Raisi.

Hamas and Taliban officials are joining the huge crowds which are packing the capital to honor his memory. Iran's supreme leader led prayers earlier

for the late president and the others killed in the helicopter crash on Sunday.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in the middle of what are today's crowds in Tehran and sent us this report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ever since that helicopter crash that killed Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi (INAUDIBLE)

the foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several others, we've seen (INAUDIBLE) displays of public mourning here around the country in


Now especially here in Tehran, with this massive procession that is one -- that is part of the funeral procession to lay to rest the people who were

killed in that helicopter crash. This public warning enforces (ph) extremely important to the people here in Tehran but also very important to

the government here in Iran.

They have been plastering the city with posters depicting the president, the foreign minister and the others who were killed in that crash and they

have encouraged people to come here to participate in this warning (ph).

As far as the people themselves are concerned, many of them of course (INAUDIBLE) very sad. They're shocked at what's happened.

But many of them also say, we need to know what happens next. (INAUDIBLE) this is the country's supreme leader (INAUDIBLE). Even while the helicopter

was still missing, he came out and he said there would not be any disruption to the government.

Iran's government has already called for new elections that are going to take place on June 28 (ph), as they try to portray stability but also

(INAUDIBLE) foresight (ph) for a new government to lead the country forward.


ANDERSON: That's Fred Pleitgen, reporting for you from Tehran.

We are learning new details about how a deadly crash unfolded. Some of them -- that deadly crash, of course, some of them coming from the late

president's chief of staff who was accompanying Mr. Raisi in another helicopter. CNN's Paula Hancocks has more.



PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As mourners gathered to pay final respects to Iran's president, foreign minister and seven others,

an investigation is determining why the helicopter they were traveling in crashed into the side of a mountain on Sunday.

President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation were at an inauguration event for a dam on the border with Azerbaijan, alongside that country's

president. Formalities over, a convoy of three helicopters left the area.

The president's chief of staff on board one of the helicopters that landed safely told Iranian state media what happened next.

Gholam Hossein Esmaili said weather conditions in the mountainous region of Varzeqan were fine when they took off at 1:00 pm.

GHOLAM HOSSEIN ESMAILI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT'S CHIEF OF STAFF (through translator): Around 30-35 minutes into the flight, Captain Seyed Taher

Mostafavi, who was the pilot of the helicopter, carrying the president and the commander of the helicopter convoy, ordered the other helicopters to

gain altitude and go above the clouds.

After 30 seconds, our pilot noticed that the president's helicopter suddenly disappeared.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Esmaili says they circled back and looked for the aircraft; unable to decrease altitude because of the cloud, repeated calls

through radio devices went unanswered.

Rescue teams were also unable to fly a helicopter to help with the search due to the weather. It took them 16 hours to reach the mountainous location

of the crash on foot.

Cool to the pilots (ph) mobile was answered, however, by the Friday prayer imam on board with the president, according to Esmaili. He said they had

crashed and he was in critical condition.

He survived for at least three hours after the crash, speaking to officials multiple times before he died. The others are believed to have died


For investigators, this will be key evidence. They will look at the weather, the possibility of technical issues; the aging helicopter is from

the 70s; possible human error and one that the official Iranian line has steered clear off so far: foul play -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: Well, millions of people in Sudan and in Gaza plagued by a hunger crisis and in desperate need of aid. I want to speak to the U.N.'s

emergency relief coordinator about the latest on the ground in both areas - - up next.

Plus sources tell CNN Egypt scuttled a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas by duping negotiators. Details in what is a live report are ahead.




ANDERSON: Well, this just in to CNN. Israel's defense minister has now authorized Israelis to enter the northern West Bank.


Yoav Gallant is rescinding orders, barring Israelis from parts of the West Bank.

This paves the way to reestablish Israeli settlements that were evacuated and demolished nearly 20 years ago. And it comes just hours after three

European nations said they would recognize a Palestinian state.

Next week, meantime, the Pentagon in the U.S. says 569 metric tons of humanitarian assistance is sitting at a temporary U.S. pier off the coast

of Gaza and none of it has been delivered to the broader Palestinian population.

CNN reported over the weekend a group of men intercepted the aid trucks as trucks began moving it from the pier, saying they did not trust what its

purpose was.

Well, that led the United Nations to suspend delivery operations until the logistical challenges are resolved. The U.S. has said it's been working

with the U.N. and Israel to identify safe delivery routes inside Gaza.

And it's not just the people of Gaza facing a hunger crisis; 13 months of violence in Sudan having a catastrophic impact on civilians. There 25

million people across that country, including 14 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. That is half the population.

Well, the U.N.'s top human rights official is calling on the leaders of both warring factions there to deescalate the situation amid warnings from

aid teams that the nation is staring famine in the face.

Who would have thought in 2024 that we would be discussing famine as often as we are on this show, in media every day.

This is a daily occurrence. Now joining us now to discuss all of this is United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths. He's also

the U.N.'s undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs.

And it's really good to have you. And I want to start if we can not with Sudan but with Gaza. We will get to Sudan.

I want to start with playing some sound from a CNN interview conducted by my colleague, Jake Tapper, with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin

Netanyahu, talking about the ICC seeking an arrest warrant for him and the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, for starving civilians in Gaza as a method

or weapon of war.

This is news that we've had just in the past 24 hours.

This is the response from the Israeli prime minister.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: The charges are completely false. Let's take this charge of starvation.

We have put in 500,000 tons of trucks, of food and medicine for this population. We have taken 20,000 trucks. We have paved roads to put those

trucks in. We have opened border crossings that Hamas closed down. I have had airdrops that have facilitated, sea route supplies.

I mean, the whole thing is absurd.


ANDERSON: "The whole thing is absurd."

Is he telling the truth?


The truth, however, today is that aid is not going to the people, particularly in the south. We've had 800,000 people displaced in Rafah in

the last 10 days. It's an extraordinary figure. There's nowhere safe to go to. The two crossing points for the south, Rafah and Kerem Shalom, are

essentially blocked, one completely and the other.


GRIFFITHS: Well, there is a dispute on Rafah. It's between Egypt and Israel and Kerem Shalom. Trucks are getting in but limited and the priority

is given to the private sector coming in, which is good. But most people can't afford those goods.

So they're -- and we can't get to our warehouses in Rafah because of the operation. And fuel is inadequate to move supplies. The result of all this

right now, Becky, is that the aid agency is grinding to a halt. The aid program is grinding to a halt there.

And UNRWA has said it publicly, this; the World Food Programme, the same. So whether that's true or not, what the prime minister says, it's not

relevant to the people today in Gaza.

Hospital came under attack in northern Gaza the other day. Aid is coming through the north but 50 trucks a day, something like that.

ANDERSON: This is the problem, isn't it?

I mean, Benjamin Netanyahu went on to say, Israel has allowed some 20,000 trucks of aid into Gaza since October 7th, which of course is a fraction of

what would have entered in the same period under normal circumstances.

Do you believe there is -- there is reasonable grounds to charge Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant with using starvation as a weapon of war at this



This is the ICC. And these, this is a request for arrest warrants. And these warrants are being requested for Hamas as well, for committing crimes

against humanity and war crimes. But I very specifically want to get from you, starvation is defined in the Rome statute as a weapon of war.

Is that what we are seeing at present?

GRIFFITHS: Becky, I don't know. And it's not my job to know about motivation. And that's the question that you're asking.

What I do know and what we're dealing with is consequences. And we know that the consequences of the absence of sufficient aid in Gaza has produced

-- and you are referring just now to the threat of famine -- 1.1 million people up in the north.

Famine almost inevitable, in my view. And we'll be seeing more evidence of that by the end of the month. In the south, as I was saying, no aid moves.

It's true.

It's absolutely right that, as a result of the fact that so much of the aid coming off the pier the other day never reached the warehouses, because

people, of course, if they had a chance to get some food, they'd grab it from the trucks that are passing.

It's not surprising. As a result of that we are working with both the Israelis -- we deal with them every day -- and the U.S. to find these

alternative routes. That's true.

But there's enough blame to go around here without, in fact, realizing that the people, who are silent and are the victims are the people of Gaza. And

our obligation is to them.

And that's why, for us, accountability is important. Of course it is. We have had almost 200 U.N. aid workers killed. We've had healthcare

facilities bombed. Of course, it's important.

ANDERSON: I think you've been leasing here with leadership in the UAE and in Qatar as well and the UAE, one of the countries leading the efforts to

deliver aid to Gaza -- and the Qatar effort is huge as well. And this includes, on the UAE's part, the newly built American pier.

We spoke at the start of this segment about how over 500-600 metric tons of aid have been delivered through that pier. But they haven't been delivered.

And you're saying that is because there are people who, frankly, are starving and need it. And it is about the distribution issues at the

moment. This is about logistics at the moment.


And, by the way, this is what we have said throughout the many months of the past. Yes, it's important to get crossing points open, to get the pier

there. But if you don't sort out the internal distribution, the security of distribution, it becomes a waste.


GRIFFITHS: You remember the World Central Kitchen brought in that first load. None of it got to the people.

ANDERSON: Whose responsibility is it to --



ANDERSON: -- sort this out?

GRIFFITHS: -- well, we have been talking to the Israeli Defense Forces about it. And we have made progress. I should say very clearly, in the last

couple of days, with the help of the U.S., talking to the right people about how they can ensure the security of our operations.

We notify the Defense Forces of any movements and convoys. And that's why that's common to all such that --

ANDERSON: But I have to ask you then, you're saying, it is Israel's responsibility.

GRIFFITHS: It is in part their responsibility. They are not a partner with us in our operations. But in all --


ANDERSON: -- allow operations to --

GRIFFITHS: -- we -- no, we don't need to seek permissions but we need to make sure that they know what we're planning because humanitarian law

allows us to deliver to people where they are, where they choose to be. That's part of international law. And our obligation is to reach them.

And so what we do, whether it's in Ukraine or Syria or Gaza (ph) or Sudan, is notify the warring parties or people who can help or impede, this is

where we're going tomorrow.

And it's a humanitarian convoy and it'll be 30 trucks. So this is not a new phenomenon. But in Gaza, it's incredibly difficult.


ANDERSON: -- it's not a new phenomenon and you've been at this for years. And I want to talk about, get your reflections on nearly 50 years in

humanitarian work. But this has been going on for eight months in Gaza now and 13 or 14 months in Sudan.

I do want to get to what is another dire humanitarian zone. I spoke to the deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the World Food

Programme last week. He was in Sudan just before we spoke. Have a listen to what he told me.


CARL SKAU, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: We are doing a lot, we are reaching about 2.5 million people a month. But we need to do

much more and we can do much more. Access, access, access is the issue.

Also resources, of course, but we really need access. We have tracks on the border. I pushed with the government the Adre crossing from Chad but there

are other crossings as well from Chad and from South Sudan. But not least, you also need to be able to move across warring lines inside Sudan.


And that's something that I really pushed during my visit, that we're hoping to explore now in the next few years.


ANDERSON: And without access, can famine in Sudan be prevented?

GRIFFITHS: It -- with access is the basic, isn't it?

It's the bedrock; 5 million in addition, another awful statistic for Sudan, 5 million people are at risk of famine. I cannot remember a place or an

occasion or a history where there have been so many people at risk of famine. And famine is not a casual event. It's a viral killer.

Now, we're into the last two or three weeks of the planting season. We've got to get seeds to the farmers across Sudan. That, we can't do that

without access. We need to bring aid in, as he said, from Chad and from South Sudan. We need to get it across lines.

All of this requires an agreement between the warring parties. Again, so that's no different from anywhere else.

It's a war.

They have obligations, just as we've been talking in the case of Gaza, to allow us to do our job.

There is one other thing that I want to mention about Sudan, which I think is very, very immediate. We're very worried about the battle that is

already starting in Al Fashir in northern Darfur.

We believe there are hundreds of thousands of civilians in that area that will be under threat, under risk of their lives, in the event of a full-

blown battle. So what we're doing -- and a lot of help from people here, a lot of help from the United States -- is saying not just access but also

protecting civilians, to say to the warring parties, civilians exist in that camp.

Leave them alone. Civilians need to move over there. Leave them alone to do that. Don't attack them or --

ANDERSON: Is that realistic?

GRIFFITHS: Well, I think it can be. Last year in Al Fashir, local elders and local groups managed to save Al Fashir from a similar battle. They

stopped the warring parties coming in using their territory to fight over.

That's what we want to repeat today. And that just shows, doesn't it, the fundamentals, which is ordinary people are extraordinary. And they are so


ANDERSON: I did promise you that I would just ask you to reflect on your 50 years. I know that's an awfully long time. You will finish up your

career as it stands at present in at the end of June.

You've already quoted some horrific statistics. This year, I think, or 2023, 73 percent more civilian deaths in conflict.

When you reflect on that period of time for you, this long period of time, working for peace and security, where does this past 18 months, two years,

stack up?

GRIFFITHS: Worst. As I have said, indeed before, this is the worst. Let me give you a couple of insights on that.

Very, very experienced humanitarian aid workers, much more experienced than me, who've been in the worst of places for two or three decades in their

lives, when they visit Gaza for two or three weeks, they come back traumatized. They get traumatized. God knows how it must be to live there.

In a way that is not true elsewhere, there's something different about that place.

Sudan, the numbers are worse than ever, so what's going on here is very clear. It's easier now to pick up a gun and resolve your differences

through war and violence.

So we see this in Ukraine. We see it in Sudan, we see it in Gaza on both sides, October the 7th, a good illustration of that. And there is impunity.

The norms that we all developed and struggled for and put into place are thrown away.

So this is a world that's lost its way. And it operates on impunity.

ANDERSON: It's always been a pleasure. Over the years, it's been an absolute pleasure. It's wonderful having you here today.

GRIFFITHS: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Thank you for all the work that you have done. And we will, I know, speak in the future in whatever capacity that is. Thank you.

GRIFFITHS: Thanks a lot. Becky. Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Taking a very short break, back after this.





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

Well, we are all duped, we were all duped. That's what sources close to ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas are saying. They claim Egyptian

intelligence quietly changed the terms of a proposed sign-off by -- or a proposal signed off by Israel, meaning the one Hamas agreed to two weeks

ago was a different deal.

CNN's Alex Marquardt has been across this story and he joins us now live.

Just explain, Alex, if you will.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Becky, we just -- we've gathered a lot more details about what happened in the past

few weeks in these ceasefire talks and how they came to fall apart.

Essentially, there was a framework that Israel had all but agreed to. They were on board with the terms. It was just missing the final sign-off. And

this was at the end of April. An Egyptian delegation went to Israel to finalize that framework and then they went back to Cairo, where they

started discussions with Hamas.

Now it became clear to the Egyptians that Hamas would not be on board with these Israeli terms. And Egyptian intelligence, in particular, one senior

Egyptian intelligence officer, whose name is Ahmed Abdel Khalek, started to tinker, to tweak with that framework in a way that would get Hamas on


So after it was amended, it was submitted to Hamas and Hamas accepted it. You'll remember, Becky, back on May 6, just over three weeks ago, Hamas

came out, saying, we accept the ceasefire deal.

And there was this brief period of excitement, where it appeared that Hamas was accepting something that Israel had essentially tacitly already agreed

to. And we could have been on the cusp of a cease-fire.

But that was quite short-lived. It became clear that what Hamas had agreed to was quite different from what Israel had agreed to. And sources tell

Jeremy Diamond and myself that, in fact, what Egypt had submitted to Hamas was something that the other parties, Israel and the other mediators, Qatar

and the U.S., were not aware of.

So one source told me we were all duped. That same source saying that the CIA director, who was in the region at the time, who has been the U.S.

point person in all of this, almost blew a gasket. So there was a lot of anger; the talks soon fell apart. They are currently on a pause, we're

told, with no sign of picking up anytime soon, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. Meantime, these hostages remain held in Gaza. Thank you.

An investigation underway after extreme turbulence hit a Singapore Airlines flight, leaving one passenger dead and more than 100 others injured. The

flight from London to Singapore was diverted to Bangkok due to the medical emergency on board.

A hospital there says 20 patients are in intensive care. Richard Quest reporting -- has been reporting on this. But let's bring in CNN aviation

correspondent Pete Muntean.


Pete, what do you make of what we understand to have happened at this point?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the investigation so much will focus on the weather because the weather at the time of this incident,

where this diversion initially occurred, 10 hours into this trip over Myanmar, was not all that good.

The latest from the CNN weather team, that these thunderstorms were building at an incredibly rapid pace. One of the big causes of turbulence,

though it can be not visible to pilots and they say that these thunderstorms are building so fast over the course of an hour.

The tops of the thunderstorms, the anvil head that really signals the strength of a thunderstorm, went from 20,000 feet to 50,000 feet, a 30,000-

foot growth in the course of an hour.

The causes of thunderstorms, wind shear, things like different currents of air moving at different rates, terrain like mountains that can cause

interference with airplanes that are flying along, especially in mountainous terrain.

But this was in an area where the monsoon season is just about to start. The afternoon thunderstorms build fast and furious. The flight crew said,

according to Singapore Airlines, that this came on rapidly and without much warning.

Even the passengers are understanding in the hospital, as they're exiting the hospital, they have told the media, we understand that the pilots could

have potentially not seen this.

So many of them were injured. We have heard at least 100 were injured. That's up from the initial reports of about 70. Very infrequently do

turbulence incidents like this cause much damage to the airplane structure itself.

Although you have seen the video from inside of the plane, where the sort of non-structural pieces of the airplane, the interior, the ceiling, the

headliner, the parts that hold the oxygen mask in place, those have all come down.

Thankfully, these airplanes are stressed to an incredible degree. Really rare that those end in a fatality. The last time there was a fatality as a

result of a turbulence incident on a major commercial flight was back in 2021. Before that, in 2016.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Pete. Thank you.

I'll be back with more in just a moment.




ANDERSON: The race is on to save precious ecosystems around the world. Today on "Call to Earth," we explore one way to preserve California's

Mojave Desert with an idea that starts from the ground up.



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: In the middle of the Mojave Desert, nothing is as it seems.

MADENA ASBELL, DIRECTOR OF PLANT CONSERVATION, MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST (voice-over): Looks can be so deceiving in the desert.

WEIR (voice-over): Here in Southern California, a team led by Madena Asbell is on the hunt.

ASBELL (voice-over): This is what we're looking for.


WEIR (voice-over): Madena is the director of plant conservation for a non- profit called the Mojave Desert Land Trust. And, in 2016, she had an idea.

ASBELL (voice-over): So we started out collecting seeds to grow plants for plant sales and for restoration purposes. And what evolved was this

realization that we really needed to be collecting seeds to conserve the biodiversity that we were finding on our properties.

And the more we looked, the more we found.

WEIR (voice-over): And so the Seed Bank Project was born.

ASBELL (voice-over): All right, ready, guys?

WEIR (voice-over): Land Trust staff and a fleet of volunteers meticulously comb the land, scouting, cataloging and ultimately collecting.

ASBELL (voice-over): Plants are the foundation of most ecosystems.

And so when we protect these plants, we're protecting everything that depends on them, like desert tortoise and burrowing owls and pollinators.

KELLY HERBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST (voice- over): So the California desert region is a quarter of the state of California. So there's about 2,400 species of native plants here in the

Mojave Desert, which is about 30 percent of what you'll find in the state.


WEIR (voice-over): The Seed Bank currently operates out of the Land Trust headquarters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): So this is the seed vault.

WEIR (voice-over): At first, it might not look like much but remember what we said about the desert. Three full refrigerators hold over 5 million

seeds. And according to the Land Trust, they represent nearly 250 different species and counting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): So our Joshua tree collections are in these jars here. And so this is an example of a collection of Western

Joshua tree seeds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I'm really excited about the possibilities with our seed banking Joshua tree seeds and have that species

survive the changing climate well into the future in a way that it wouldn't if we weren't doing that work.

WEIR (voice-over): A close examination to make sure the seeds aren't too damaged and that the pods are filled. Everything is diligently recorded for

a reason.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): You can't just throw any seeds on the ground.

You need to know where that seed has come from, what population, what elevation and make sure that it's the right seed for the right place.

WEIR (voice-over): Last year, the Land Trust received a nearly $3.2 million grant from the state of California to expand the Seed Bank.

There's an urgency to this work as California faces increased drought, wildfires and invasive species. They all threatened to wipe out a precious

ecosystem that has stood for centuries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This is an ancient landscape that we are standing in right now and that we're occupying. This is a resource that is

part of this ecosystem. And so we're very thoughtful and very careful about how much we remove because we want to make sure that there is enough to go


WEIR (voice-over): Enough to go around for the wealth of biodiversity hiding here in plain sight, the flora and fauna that call the desert home.


ANDERSON: Let us know what you're doing to answer the call with the #CalltoEarth. Back after this.





ANDERSON: When you think of global art and culture and the centers where this goes on, New York, Paris or London immediately spring to mind, don't


Well, now, Abu Dhabi is hoping to join that list. The Saadiyat Cultural District is on track for completion next year and will be home to the

Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, National Museum of Natural History museum, a lot more.

Last week I got a sneak peek of the progress being made. Have a look at this.



ANDERSON (voice-over): To truly appreciate the scale of the Saadiyat Cultural District, you need to get a bird's-eye view.

From above, John Nouvelle (ph) designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, rubbed shoulders with the Natural History Museum and the futuristic teamLab Phenomena. The

Sheikh Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, crafted by architectural titans Norman Foster and Frank Gehry respectively, stand

proudly, awaiting finishing touches.

Together these museums will form one of the most densely packed cultural districts anywhere in the world.

MOHAMED AL-MUBARAK (voice-over): We are creating a place that is sort of in a 10-minute radius. You have all these amazing institute talking to each


Mohamed al-Mubarak is the force behind the vision and evolution of the Emirates' cultural landscape.

AI-MUBARAK (voice-over): I dream, in less than two years, a visitor would come here to Abu Dhabi, this idea of cultural district. And they will start

their voyage at the Natural History Museum.

They will understand our globe, they will understand our universe, they'll understand how we came to be and understand how it's -- how we're to

safeguard what we have.

Once you're done there. I would want you to go to the National Museum.

What is the history of this land?

What are the history of its people?

Let me understand their heritage, their culture. This is not a place that's just come to light in the last 50-plus years. Over 300,000 years ago,

people migrated from Africa to this land. And they formulated communities and societies and they flourished.

And their DNA is our DNA. This DNA of ingenuity started from them. Once you leave the National Museum, you would then go to the universal museum, the

Louvre Abu Dhabi. In this amazing dome that's supposed to represent the beautiful oasis of the land, you're in these spaces that are taking you on

a voyage of the history of art.

And it's a voyage that, regardless where you're from, regardless what your background, you will see yourself in that voice, in that story. Once you're

done there, you'd go to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, this world of contemporary art. You're looking at it from a global perspective.

Once you're done there, you got to Phenomena.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Mubarak tells me construction of the district's museums is three-quarters complete and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is slated

as the last to open.

Now scheduled for early 2026 and with 28 galleries and 23,000 meters of exhibition space, it'll be the largest in a portfolio that hosts museums in

New York, Venice and Bilbao. And arguably the most progressive.

Melissa Greenland is from "The Art Newspaper" in London.

MELISSA GRONLUND, "THE ART NEWSPAPER" (voice-over): Right now, the art world is gripped by this desire to understand beyond its traditional power

centers. This is exactly the moment when the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is going to open, with acquisitions and a collection of all those stories and

others' histories.

It's really never been on public view to the extent that it will be at the Saadiyat Cultural District.

I don't think that Abu Dhabi wants to be the New York, the Paris or the London of the world.

I think what they really want to be is the new Abu Dhabi. I think that's what makes it such an exceptional project.

Their internationalism is not like something we've ever seen before, not just in the demographics of the city and not just in terms of its

geographical placement but also in the kind of art that is coming, a leader for (ph).

AL-MUBARAK (voice-over): Like all these museums, we look at them as opportunities.

How can we represent the art form as the best way possible?

Very important to us is that we wanted to create a space that represents artists, all artists, whether you're male, whether you're female and to

present you equally. It represents artists that are renowned, like Andy Warhol and other artists that maybe do not have the spotlight like Andy


Artists from the region, artists from Africa, from Asia, I mean this is an example of one of -- one of our most amazing artists, Hasan Sharif (ph).

And you will see this within the museum.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The cultural district has been more than 10 years in the making. And its construction and development costing close to $6



For Mubarak, it is money well-spent, an investment not only in his country and its people but in our collective future.

AL-MUBARAK (voice-over): The opportunity we have right now is an opportunity that emphasizes the importance of culture. And when you see

what's happening around the globe, you want to do it as fast as possible to showcase to the world.

Do not forget investment (INAUDIBLE) because the creative mind is such a powerful mind and the world is shifting to the creative industries because

they can create and continuously create.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And at a time of heightened global tensions, it couldn't be more critical, he says.


ANDERSON: That's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.