Return to Transcripts main page
Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
Sources: Foreigners, Injured Civilians to be Released from Gaza; IDF : Airstrike on Refugee Camp Killed Hamas Commander; Record- Breaking Cold Temps for Southern Plains to Eastern U.S. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired November 01, 2023 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Right now on EARLY START:
The deal just brokered with Hamas, Israel, and Egypt to let foreign nationals get out of Gaza.
Plus, the IDF defending a deadly strike on a crowded refugee camp in Gaza. What Israel says the intended target was.
And just hours from now in a New York courtroom, the oldest son of former President Trump could take the stand in a fraud trial against the family business.
HUNT: Good morning to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's Wednesday, November 1st, 5:00 a.m. on the East Coast.
We begin with breaking news. Sources telling CNN that a deal has been reached among Israel, Hamas, and Egypt, in coordination with the U.S., to release all foreign nationals who have been stuck in Gaza, along with critically injured civilians. The sources say the deal is separate from any hostage negotiations.
CNN's Rafael Romo is live for us in Tel Aviv.
Rafael, we just learned about this in the last hour or so. What do we know about what happens next?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kasie, good morning. First of all, we have to say that this agreement is as you mentioned before this is crucial, very important, because there are many families waiting not only for the civilians but also from the hostages. And it is separate indeed from any hostage negotiations and yes, it is a deal that was brokered by Israel, Hamas, and Egypt with coordination with the United States. With the purpose of releasing all foreign nationals.
And according to sources familiar with the negotiations, Kasie, critically injured civilians will also be allowed to get out of Gaza. Now, I have to tell you, this is still very preliminary and there is
no timeline or details on the number of people to be released. What we had previously of been reporting was that 81 injured Palestinians were expected to arrive at the Rafah crossing at some point today, after the massive attack yesterday by Israel in Jabalia refugee camp.
But in any case this agreement marks a major breakthrough when it comes to getting civilians out of Gaza. Many of those civilians, Kasie, are American citizens with U.S. passports that have been stuck there since the beginning of the war.
So, very good news for them and their families -- Kasie.
HUNT: Rafael, can you tell us a little bit more about the large numbers of civilians that were killed and injured in the air strike at the refugee camp? You mentioned that's in northern Gaza. I mean, the IDF says they succeeded and killing a top Hamas commander, but obviously, the civilian casualties were just devastating.
ROMO: Yeah, that's right. One doctor on the ground said it was hundreds of people who had died, dozens of others injured. We are working ourselves to get confirmation on these specific numbers.
But let me tell you, Kasie, there has been widespread condemnation across the region to the attack. The governments of Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, as well as the Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs have all denounced the attack.
One of the most forceful condemnations came from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said that Israel, quote, has completely lost its mind and acts like an organization, adding that Israel is backed by the unconditional support of Europe, and America has been committing crimes against humanity for 25 days.
What is Israel saying to all the criticism? This is what spokesman, Jonathan Conricus, had to say just a few hours ago. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESMAN: I am not saying that there are no civilian casualties. What I am saying is that we struck an important, military objective. This Ibrahim Biari, who was a battalion commander, he and many, dozens of enemy combatants where in a tunnel complex underneath the ground. We struck that tunnel complex, and we caused it -- that caused it to collapse, Hamas built that vast tunnel complex underneath the buildings, and it probably collapsed as the result of the strike.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO: And, Kasie, he added that not allowing civilians to evacuate the combat zone is also a crime against humanity, hiding behind civilians, using them as human shields is also a war crime. Even countries as far away from here, as Colombia and Chile has decided to recall its ambassador to Israel for consultation, due to Israel strikes on Gaza. And Bolivia has cut off diplomatic relations with Israel, citing crimes against humanity -- Kasie.
HUNT: OK. Rafael Romo in Israel for us, thank you very much for that report.
The Biden administration under pressure as the number of civilian casualties grows in Gaza.
Plus, Donald Trump Jr. under oath later today, with the family business on trial, in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESMAN: Unlike Russia and Ukraine, and unlike what the Hamas did on the 7th of October, the killing of Israelis is not a war aim of Israel.
I'm not denying that it's happening. Of course, it is, and it's tragic. But it's not the goal of Israeli forces to go out and deliberately take innocent civilian life. And they have tried to take efforts to minimize that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: National Security Council spokesman John Kirby making a critical distinction between the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th, and Israel's attacks in Gaza that Israel says are focused on eliminating Hamas leaders and armed fires.
Let's bring in retired Australian Army Major General Mick Ryan. He joins us live from Brisbane, Australia.
General, thanks for being with us.
Let's talk about the distinction that is being made here because there are, of course, civilians who have been terribly impacted by the strikes that Israel is making. Obviously, there are accusations of war crimes from the Palestinian side, Israel says this is aimed at legitimate targets and that the reality is, the people that they are targeting, Hamas, are building these tunnels and putting military infrastructure underneath human beings and that's what makes it so hard.
How do you view each side's argument here?
MAJ. GEN. MICK RYAN, AUSTRALIAN ARMY (RET.): Well, it certainly is a very difficult balancing act for the Israelis to achieve here. Yes, there are legitimate targets that are going after in Gaza, but military necessity and proportionality that are also very important principles that thrive here. And beyond the laws of war, they need to engage in ethical conduct. At the end of the day, to kill a couple of enemy combatants strike, then accidentally killed a bunch of civilians, we need to question the proportionality of that.
HUNT: Yeah. I mean, when Israel talks about eliminating Hamas, it does seem as though as the military objective, you know, I've spoken to many of our American counterparts over the last few weeks about -- about this, and a number of them have made the argument that it may actually be an impossible strategic objective, because of the nature of the enemy.
What is your sense? And how should that factor into what you importantly raise? This question of proportionality?
RYAN: Well, destroying Hamas clearly is the goal of the Israeli government. The way that that can be achieved is a very good question to ask. You're not just killing people and destroying their tunnels, or their infrastructure. They have to destroy an idea. You have to destroy the things that make it attractive to become part of Hamas.
And if those things, which are not military tasks, if those things aren't taken care of, all the military action in the world will not remove Hamas in the long term.
HUNT: Can we talk a little bit about this breaking news that we had earlier this morning, which is a deal has been announced that Qatar has apparently brokered to get all foreign nationals out of Gaza. Hamas is been refusing to let a lot of people believe. And also to bring out critically injured Palestinians, they would be the first Palestinians allowed out since this conflict began. That, of course, has more to do with Egypt.
How important is this agreement at this stage?
RYAN: It's extremely important. A lot of people in Gaza with nationalities with passports, might want to get out. Hamas says getting out across the board has been open.
So, this is very to be able to get those people out. As well as to extract those who need critical treatment in Egypt.
HUNT: And on the humanitarian aid front, I mean, one of the things that we saw earlier this week, too, was reports from the U.N. of looting, they called it a breakdown in civil disorder. The other narrative around that was, well, perhaps Hamas is stealing supplies.
How -- how is that kind of balance playing out right now?
RYAN: Well, certainly, Hamas isn't help. We saw an interview in the last 24 hours talking about the tunnels. Well, they admitted the tunnels aren't to protect the people of Gaza, they're for Hamas. And I think the same could be said of the critical supplies, Hamas is holding them for themselves.
That said, there is an obligation to provide humanitarian assistance. And helping Israel to defend itself, and provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza do not need to be on one or another discussion. Both can be done.
HUNT: There is some reporting this morning, not confirmed by CNN, so I don't want to get into the details. But suffice to say, there are conversations about what should happen in Gaza from the governance perspective in the wake of what we have seen. Obviously, Israel is not willing to accept what the status quo had been, which was Hamas acting. Obviously, there's the military wing and terrorists who committed these atrocities. There's also a government wing of Hamas that is responsible for a wider range of services and other things.
You know, if we say, okay, that's not acceptable, there has to be something else. And there are potential options on the table. Peacekeeping force made up of different Western countries, a U.N. force, et cetera.
What kind of conversations are going on in your corner of the world? Obviously, Australia, a part of a kind of Western alliance despite being located in a different part of the world.
RYAN: Well, I think Australia certainly supports a right of Israel to defend itself, but also, strongly believes in providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza. At the end of the day, this isn't just about destroying Hamas. More importantly, it's about making it irrelevant to the people of Gaza and giving them an option for better government.
I mean, Hamas even admitted in the wake of the 7th of October atrocities that had been pretending to govern Gaza to trick the Israelis before those attacks. So the people of Gaza need a better choice and at the end the day, strategic outcomes has to be to make Hamas irrelevant, not just to destroy them.
HUNT: All right. Retired Australian Major General Mick Ryan, thank you very much for being with us this morning, sir. I really appreciate your time.
RYAN: Thank you.
HUNT: The White House and Senate Republicans pushing back on the new House speaker's first big move. We are going to have more on the battle to unbundled aid for Israel and Ukraine.
Plus, is Donald Trump getting a taste of his own medicine? Could some of his attacks on Biden be coming back to bite him?
HUNT: Quick hits across America now. Federal officials say a 21-year- old Cornell student is now facing charges for allegedly making violent online threats against the university's Jewish community. The student could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
The Supreme Court spent several hours hearing arguments over when and if a public official has the right to block a follower on social media. An issue does the right to free speech apply when an official post details about their government job online? It is a question they will face in several upcoming cases.
And the Senate confirmed former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel. The 53 to 43 vote was primarily along party lines. Republicans objected to lose involvement with the Iran nuclear deal during the Obama administration.
And it is the first morning of November, if you can believe that. Record breaking cold temperatures are in store today from the Southern Plains to the Northeast.
Let's get straight to meteorologist Derek Van Dam.
Derek, good morning to you.
I will say I personally felt this on the East Coast last night when we were out for Halloween. I fell like it was getting steadily colder from about 3:00 p.m. on. And based on that snow behind you, there is rough winter weather out there today?
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS CERTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, can I give a bit of props out there for the parents who are awake at this time of the morning, especially if you've got children that you looked around in the snow? I mean, this is a real story. Out of the Great Lakes on Halloween, there was a few inches of snow from Chicago into my home state of Michigan. It got so windy, so snowy, that the electricity went out in parts of west Michigan near the Lakeshore, and they cancel trick-or-treating for some of the kids. Drastic.
But this is the scene that unfolded. This is lake effect snow band. And in fact, the latest radar shows some of those snow bands moving off the greater Chicago region, but right back into southwestern Michigan, and right off of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as well. You can see some of the snow bands, wow.
That is a spooky Halloween forecast. We warn you yesterday that there would be a drastic cooldown, and it is not just across the great lakes in the Midwest. It is all the way to the mid-Atlantic in the East Coast.
Check out D.C., our nation's capital. On the 30th of October, it was 82. I think today will only reach 51 degrees for the afternoon. So you are waking up to a cold start to November, and we have roughly about 60 potential record lows from today and through tomorrow morning. That's why the National Weather Service has this hard freeze warning for places like Atlanta, Charlotte, all the way to D.C.
And you can see that below freezing temperatures for much of the nation's midsection, still the lower 40s along the east coast, but it is really nasty when you factor in the wind. Wind chill value is well below freezing for many locations over the eastern two thirds.
The only silver lining in this forecast, Kasie, is that we will get a bit of sunshine, because the cold front that brought the chill, the autumn weather, is well off the East Coast, so that will help rebound at least the feeling on our skin, because of the yellow sun.
I'm telling you -- if I've got red eyes this morning, it's because my kids brought me around until at least 9:00 p.m., and my alarm goes off at 3:00 in the morning. Whoo. I am tired.
HUNT: Yeah, you know, we -- yes, I still of younger kids, some pretty good to go to bed with them around 7:30 at night, so I feel you. I do think we have a lot of parents of young kids up with us at this hour of the day.
We see you. Thank you for being here.
Weatherman Derek Van Dam, thank you very much, sir. It's great to have you. See you tomorrow.
All right. Up next here, a fleet of ambulances arriving to take the first Palestinian patients allowed out of Gaza. When they're expected to cross into Egypt next.
And former President Trump's son, Don Jr., expected to take the stand today. What to expect as his children begin testimony in the New York civil fraud trial against his companies, ahead.
HUNT: Good morning. Thank you for being up early with us. I'm Kasie Hunt. Two minutes or so before 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast.
We have more now on our breaking news. There is deal this morning to get all four internationals and critically injured civilians out of Gaza via the Rafah crossings.
Sources tell CNN the deal was brokered by Qatar, and it includes Israel, Hamas and Egypt.
CNN's Scott McLean is live for us in London.
Scott, good morning. We are getting new details just as we are coming onto the air. So forgive me. This new urgent line has about 400 foreign nationals, according to our latest reporting, could be released from Gaza under this Qatar mediated deal. What more do we know?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. If that were the case, that 400 foreign nationals were let out of Gaza under this deal, which by the way, is according to sources who spoke with our colleague, Becky Anderson, who is in Doha right now, if that were to be the case, that would not account for all of the foreigners inside of Gaza.
Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said there were 400 Americans alone looking to get out of Gaza and many of them are looking to bring their families who may or may not have any status in the United States with them. Obviously, people are desperate to get to safety.
You may recall, American officials telling Americans on the ground in Gaza.