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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Israel Formally Declares War Against Hamas; Interview with Palestinian National Initiative Leader Mustafa Barghouti; Interview with Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett; Interview with New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 08, 2023 - 10:00   ET



FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from New York.


ZAKARIA: Today on the program, the Israeli security cabinet has just officially declared a state of war after yesterday morning's stunning surprise attack by Hamas. More than 500 Israelis have died in the assault with thousands wounded. The death toll on the Palestinian side has surpassed 300 as Israel retaliates against Gaza.

The IDF says its goal is to control all of the Gaza Strip and to, quote, "kill all the terrorists in our territory," unquote. I'll talk to former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, former Palestinian minister of information Mustafa Barghouti, and former Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett about what has happened so far and what comes next.

Also, Tom Friedman, one-time "New York Times" Jerusalem bureau chief will help us look at the big picture of today's Middle East.


ZAKARIA: Let's go straight to CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson who is on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza near the northeast corner of the Gaza Strip. He's in the town of Sderot where the police station was liberated by Israeli forces in recent hours after having been taken over by Hamas militants.

Nic, Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed a mighty vengeance. Are you seeing that translate on the ground as Israel begins its retaliation?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think we're beginning to see the precursor of what it will take to begin to put in place the plans for a mighty vengeance. Getting control of the area that Hamas militants took control of yesterday, this town, Sderot, you see the police station, you see how heavily damaged it is. There was an outbreak of gunfire just around the corner from here that we could hear a few minutes ago. There were intercepts of Iron Dome missiles shooting over our heads.

More rockets coming out of Israel. So securing the area around Gaza where there is still a high intensity operation to confront militants that left Gaza yesterday or today and have gotten into Israel territory, that has to be part of an important precursor because you can't fully deploy battlefield troops, lots of tanks, lots of artillery, lots of armored personnel carrier, and bring in reservists, some others, that will be required for the type of response Prime Minister Netanyahu is talking about.

And at the moment, we have seen a limited number of tanks, main battle tanks moved in the area along with a few Howitzers, but that is not going to make a military incursion. The political decisions are being made. The military has taken control again of this territory here which will then open it up for that big deployment that we expect if there is going to be a ground incursion -- Fareed.

ZAKARIA: The difference this time, Nic, is that Hamas has taken many hostages. And presumably they're going to place those hostages strategically in places that Israel might strike at. Hamas headquarters and things like that.

You've been talking to the IDF. Has Israel factored in this problem, which is that there will be -- they will be risking the lives of Israeli citizens potentially if they were to strike any and all Hamas targets? How are they thinking about this problem?

ROBERTSON: Yes, about an hour or so ago, Fareed, I interviewed a major in Israel Defense Forces Communications Department, one of the principal spokesman. And I said to him, what are you going to do, because he was telling us about the situation here. We were standing here and he was saying literally off these streets here people were rounded up by Hamas and taken just a few miles across the border into Gaza.

I said, what are you going to do about this the hostages? And he like the other spokesperson won't say how many there are, but he said what I can tell you is we are not going to leave anyone behind. That is a very strong statement. It's elderly women we've seen, young women, children, men, service personnel taken.


That is a very strong statement, and undoubtedly everyone will calculate that Hamas will use these hostages as pressure points on Prime Minister Netanyahu. They very likely make videos. There'll be the potential for mock executions. There'll be the potential for threatening executions. There'll be the potential for real executions. All of which Hamas will use strategically and carefully to maximize over time its pressure on the decision-making of the Israeli government.

Principally not -- principally to stop the Israeli Defense Forces being able to have a big incursion into Gaza. I think that's what everyone is expecting. How it unfolds precisely isn't clear. Israeli has been caught on the back foot in intelligence terms and at the moment Hamas has a certain amount of initiative. They're going to see that, some of it, in the coming days. That's what we're likely to see.

ZAKARIA: Nic, for last few months ever since Bibi Netanyahu's government formed, we were all spending a lot of time talking about the constitutional reforms, the role of the court and such. What was going on with regard to Israeli-Palestinian relations? What is the backdrop here?

ROBERTSON: They've been deteriorating. They've been deteriorating in part because there is a recognition on the Palestinian side that there is a very strong nationalist, very right of center, very security driven Israeli leadership. The leadership was focused principally on what was happening in the West Bank. We've seen incursions into Jenin, to go after gunmen there. That is bought the Israeli Defense Force a certain amount of success in those operations.

They've captured and neutralized the personnel that they wanted to there. But at same time, a certain blind eye, if you will, seemed to be turned on Gaza. The fact that Hamas wasn't jumping to support those militants in the West Bank, in those separate areas, was sort of taken that they don't want to confront Israel at this time. Where what is emerging is that Hamas was very clearly plotting and planning this massive, significant, ground-breaking operation.

And then internally of course Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government have faced huge internal dissent from the changes that he wanted to make to the judiciary, for example. That has brought hundreds at times of thousands of Israelis out on the streets. So he's fought these domestic political distractions. The pressure internationally not to have high Palestinian casualties in the West Bank.

At the same time as the big prize for him which is making a deal involving the United States and Saudi Arabia to normalize relations. That has been for him his golden prize if you will. And it does seem as if it's caused him, doesn't explain his intelligence services, but drops of the ball here, but it does appear to have caused him to divert some of his attention in this hugely pressure situation.

ZAKARIA: Nic, thank you as always.

Next on GPS, Israel foreign minister and justice minister Tzipi Livni when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Yesterday's attacks on Israel came 50 years plus one day after another set of surprise attacks. The ones that began the 1973 Yom Kippur War. We continue our coverage with Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister and justice minister. She joins me from Tel Aviv.

Welcome, Tzipi Livni. Let me ask you to begin with about the magnitude of this intelligence and security failure because we are comparing it often to the Yom Kippur War but in some ways it strikes me as even greater. Yom Kippur War was a failure to see what was happening in foreign capitals. This is Gaza, this is a place that Israel occupied for decades. This is a place that Israel still has a tight blockade on, security controls on. What do you think happened? How was the IDF taken so much by surprise?

TZIPI LIVNI, FORMER ISRAELI VICE PRIME MINISTER: Well, it took us by surprise unfortunately but here there is time, there will be time for inquiries the day after. But I want to make another difference between the situation now and the Yom Kippur War because we are speaking about a war and about Hamas didn't wage war. In war you have some limitations, rules and laws. What Hamas did was massacre in a dreadful manner against civilians, children, women, families.

So when we are speaking about asymmetrical war between the state, the country and terrorist organization, it's not just, you know, something really technical. This is what we are facing, a terrorist organization that are acting against civilians in a very cruel manner, and this is what is happening in Israel for the last two days.

ZAKARIA: Did you think that the taking of the hostages will change the idea of calculation about how it can retaliate?

LIVNI: Well, it's clear that this is an issue that is very sensitive to every Israeli.


We showed it also in the past, and I'm sure that Hamas decided to do so in order to get some initial immunity from Israel retaliation, but this is the decisions that the Israeli cabinet need to make. But I think that something important needs to be explained these days because people tend to take this as part of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and it's not.

I want to say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based on a national conflict between two national movements and it is hopefully solvable. But Hamas in a way represents religious conflict that is not solvable. And I know that there are those saying that using violence even in a dreadful manner is the only way to achieve freedom or achievement to your people, but this is not the situation in Gaza.

Israel left Gaza. We pulled out our forces, we dismantled all the settlements, and in order to get legitimacy and to open Gaza, and now there is no Israeli soldier in Gaza, any settlement, they need to be able to accept the requirement of the Quartet, the entire world including U.S. and Russia. The U.N. and the E.U. said that Hamas could get legitimacy only if they stop, renounce violence and terrorism, accept Oslo agreement, abide to it and accept the right of Israel to exist. And they are not willing to do so.

So it is important that we bear it in mind when people are speaking what about Israel needs to do and for those of us believing in peace, Hamas is an obstacle to peace. It's not just a tactical matter now, it's a strategic matter.

ZAKARIA: You pointed out something important which is this conflict is unlike the '73 one, not between the Arab nations and Israel. And I wanted to know, as a former foreign minister you must be watching this carefully. What is your sense of the reaction of the Arab countries who would, you know, certainly decades ago if something like this would have happened, one assumes the Arab countries would have cheered on, they would have allowed demonstrations on the streets.

I'm struck by the fact that you do not have much of that. I wondered your thoughts on it?

LIVNI: Yes, it's not a first time. We saw the division in our region in the last few years and even more that the vision is not between the Arab world and Israel, but it's between the moderate in the region, the more pragmatics, and the extremists. And the religious Islamist group in (INAUDIBLE) states like Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. So it's different camps in a way in the region.

And therefore for them, Hamas, they represent this kind of religious Islamist ideology of Muslim Brotherhood and others, for them it's not winning something. It's something that can have an impact within their own countries. And therefore it's clear that Hamas doesn't represent any Arab cause and any Palestinian cause.

And speaking if I may also about the international community, I think that it's time to understand that when this kind of terrorist organization has a political branch and a military branch, it's the same and we see it with Hamas, with Hezbollah in Lebanon. They are abusing their political power. They are abusing their democratic rules to get more and more power, and to abuse it sometimes against others, against the Israel, to either the region or even against their own citizens.

And this is what we see in Gaza and in Lebanon, and therefore when my expectation from the international community and really the support coming from the international community, and the United States and President Biden is touching and important. But let's also speak about the future. I think that it's time to recognize what we are facing, what is the meaning of Hamas and Hezbollah, these terrorist organizations that represent unsolvable religious conflict and not to legitimatize their political branch in the future as well.

ZAKARIA: Tzipi Livni, thank you as always for your perspective on a day of real tragedy for Israel.

LIVNI: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Thank you.

When we come back, we will hear from a Palestinian point of view, from the former minister of information of the Palestinian Authority, Mustafa Barghouti.



ZAKARIA: According to reporting by Al Jazeera, the leader of Hamas has said the group is on the verge of a great victory after its incursion into Israeli territory. Political leader Ismail Haniyeh has blamed the violence squarely on Israel's he occupation of Palestinian land.

For another Palestinian viewpoint, I wanted to bring in Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. He's a former information minister for the Palestinian government which is in control of parts of the West Bank but does not control Gaza.

Welcome, Minister. I again want to just make sure that viewers understand that the Palestinian Authority has been an opponent of Hamas so you are not in any way affiliated with Hamas. You represent the Palestinian Authority which has control over parts of the West Bank.


All that said, what is your reaction to what you have seen so far?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, LEADER, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: Well, first of all, I am not part of the Palestinian Authority. As a matter of fact I represent a democratic Palestinian movement called Palestinian National Initiative which is non-Fatah and non-Hamas. And we have -- of course I'm not affiliated with Hamas. But I think this situation that has evolved is a direct result of the continuation of the longest occupation in modern history.

Israeli occupation of Palestinian land since 1967, this is 56 years of occupation, that has transformed into a system of apartheid. A much worse apartheid that what prevailed in South Africa. Yes, maybe Hamas did not recognize Israel, but the PLO did. And the Palestinian Authority did. What did they get? Nothing. Since 2013, the Israeli government would not even meet with Palestinians.

And what you see today is a reaction to several things. First of all, settlers' terrorist attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank that has evicted already 20 communities in an act of ethnic cleansing. 248 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army and settlers in the West Bank including 40 children. Attacks on the holy sites, the Muslim and Christian holy sites, by Israeli extremists, as well as declaration of Netanyahu that he will liquidate the Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause by normalization with Arab countries.

And he dared even to go to the United Nations and carried in the United Nations a map of Israel which included the whole of the West Bank, all of Gaza, all of Jerusalem, as well as the Golan Heights. He declared the annexation of the occupied territories. So of course Palestinians turned to resistance because they see that this is the only way for them to get their rights.

The question here is not about dehumanizing Palestinians as is happening and calling them terrorists, it's about asking the question. Why the United States supports Ukraine in fighting what they call occupation, while here they are supporting the occupier who continues to occupy us?

ZAKARIA: But let me ask you if that is the analogy you wish to draw, what Hamas is doing is they are targeting Israeli civilians, women, children, grandmothers.

BARGHOUTI: No, they are not.

ZAKARIA: Is that -- is that not a classic -- isn't that classic terrorism? They're not fighting the Israel government. They're fighting ordinary people.

BARGHOUTI: That's one way of putting it. But it's not true. I think Hamas mainly attacked military establishments, military installations, and most of the people there, they have arrested and taken as war prisoners are military people. I do not accept attacking any civilian. I do not accept that Israelis attack our civilians. But look at what Israeli planes are doing now in Gaza. They are bombarding houses. They are bringing down to earth and you've shown that on your screen, whole apartments, whole buildings, high-rise buildings are brought down to the ground.

And we already are reporting -- receiving reports about families who are killed. Nine people in one family, 10 people in another family including children. I do not want any civilian to be hurt. Neither by Palestinians or by Israelis. But the question is how to end that. Will it end by attacking Gaza Strip another time? Israel has already conducted five wars on Gaza. One of them lasted 51 days. They destroyed everything.

This did not stop Hamas, did not stop resistance. There is one way to stop any violence, and that is to end the Israeli occupation. And that is for the United States to be fair. They cannot say that Israel has the right to defend itself but we the Palestinians don't have the right to defend ourselves.

Let me remind you of the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, who was not only Palestinian but also an American, a very peaceful journalist. She was shot to death by an Israeli sniper. Was anybody indicted? Was anybody taken to court? No, no. 52 other journalists were also killed. Our first aid providers are shot at. Our doctors are shot at. This should stop. And the only way to stop it is to tell Israel, you have to respect international law.


You have to end this illegal occupation and accept Palestinians as equal human beings.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the practical reality of what's going to happen here, which you know because you have lived through this which is this is going to strengthen right-wing forces in Israel. It is going to strengthen the forces that say have no mercy, have a -- you know, huge military response. Presumably the life of Palestinians in the West Bank will get harder. More check points, more searches. Isn't the practical effect here of all of this going to be much worse for the average Palestinian?

BARGHOUTI: Unfortunately, Fareed, what have you described is exactly what we already have. Today the whole West Bank is paralyzed by 560 military Israeli checkpoints. And these checkpoints were there during the last 30 years.

We are suffering from a wall that is built on our land. The whole West Bank has been divided in 224 small ghettos, separated from each other. And the settlers are everywhere attacking Palestinians. You speak about right-wing government in Israel, already Israel is a right-wing government. Israel is already having fascists in its government.

Smotrich described himself as a fascist homophobe. And that man Smotrich who is also a settler said that Palestinians have one of three options only, either to immigrate, or accept a life of subjugation to Israelis or die. This is the Israeli minister of finance. Netanyahu never negated these statements. And both Smotrich and Bibi (ph) said that their plan is to annex the West Bank.

Can we stop what's going on now? Yes, of course. All these Israelis who are now in Gaza can be released tomorrow, including everybody if there are civilians, also the civilians, even the generals of the Israeli army can be released if Israel also accepted to release our 5,300 Palestinian prisoners who are in Israeli jails. Including 1,260 Palestinians who are in jail without knowing why under the so-called administrative detention.

They don't know why they are arrested. They are not charged. Their lawyers don't know why they are arrested and that is the life we have.

Look, Fareed, we have lived all our lives under occupation. My father lived under occupation. My daughter is living under occupation. We want a time when we, the Palestinians, will be free.

Hamas was not there 30 years ago or 40 years ago. But before that, we are all described as terrorists. Any Palestinian who struggles for his rights or for freedom is described as terrorist.

And the question here, do we have the right to struggle for freedom? Do we have the right to struggle for real democracy? Do we have the right to have normal democratic elections which unfortunately Israel and the United States don't support? I think we are entitled to that.

But the unfortunate thing if we struggle in a military force (ph) we are terrorists. If we struggle in an unviolent way we are described as violent. If we even resist with words we are described as provocateurs.

If you support Palestinian and you are a foreigner, they describe you as anti-Semite. And if you are a Jewish person, and there are many of those, who support Palestinian cause, they call him self-hating Jew.

This should end. It doesn't make sense. We should all have equal life. We should all have peace. We should all have justice and we should all live in dignity.

The main way to achieve that is to end occupation, end the system's apartheid that I am sure no Jewish person can be proud of. Time has come for that and time has come for justice and freedom. If we achieve that, there will be no violence and nobody will be hurt.

ZAKARIA: Mustafa Barghouti, thank you for giving us your time and your perspective.

BARGHOUTI: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: When we come back, we'll be joined by Naftali Bennett, the former prime minister of Israel.



ZAKARIA: Joining me now is Israel's former prime minister Naftali Bennett. He enlisted in the IDF reserves yesterday after the attacks. Prime Minister, tell us what all this looks like to you on the ground? You must have -- I know you've been traveling around the country.

NAFTALI BENNETT, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: This is very hard to contain, very hard to absorb. Such scale and such cruelty. What has been going on is about 30 hours until just a few hours ago, was a massacre in slow motion going on in dozens of communities in southern Israel where Hamas terrorists went from one home to another, entered the home with their rifles, killed babies point-blank, held their rifles, killed the baby, killed the mother, killed the father.

In many cases the family closed the shelter -- steel door so the terrorists could not enter. The terrorists were walking just right outside of the door telling them it is IDF soldiers, open up. And another side of the door the family just praying that they go away. When the family doesn't open the door, to be murdered, then the Hamas terrorists burns the house.


And then it becomes -- smoke enters the room and then the families have to open the door and then they are slaughtered point-blank. Imagine that. Imagine we've had situations where a 9-year-old girl is pulled by her hair, by the terrorists and kidnapped into Hamastan, the Hamas state that's just a few kilometers from here, from where I'm standing.

Imagine mothers trying to -- while the dad is out there, Ofir Libstein (ph), the mayor of this area, a good friend of mine, he put his family in the shelter and he went out with his pistol to fight the terrorists. He was killed but his family is saved. We're still waiting to hear what is going on with his son Nitzan (ph).

So many personal stories and friends that have been murdered. This is very personal. And this is not how human beings act. This is an act of monsters.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the intelligence and security failure because you're a former prime minister. You have had security briefings. How -- what is your sense of how this happened? Because this is -- to my mind, as I've said, this seems more dramatic than '73 because this is Gaza. This is not trying to figure out what is happening in foreign capitals. And secondly, how did the Iron Dome not work as well as it was expected to against these thousands of missiles?

BENNETT: Well, I have to admit that we were surprised. And we're going to have to learn how that happened. But generally, in military history, there are always big surprises, Pearl Harbor, Barbarossa, Yom Kippur War. At the end of the day intelligence can go only so far.

What I'm very proud to say is that in seeing and meeting just amazing heroes, Israeli heroes that are not in the army. They are 40-year-old men who get on uniform join -- enlisted in the reserve and defend other families across Israel. We have 150 percent enlisting rate. I'm getting so many calls from people who say I want to -- I want to go defend other Israelis.

This is a beautiful nation that we have a courageous nation that is out fighting. And unfortunately, people are dying while defending other people. Just tremendous amounts of acts of heroism.

And I just met a guy called Ayal. He was -- he took two bullets into his body but he saved his family in a kibbutz not far from here. He saved his family from terrorists who were -- about 15 terrorists. And they were just four Israeli civilians but they had their guns and they fended off the terrorists until -- about five or six hours later, the army finally came.

ZAKARIA: President Netanyahu says this is going to be a long and difficult war. Do you agree? I mean, again, from the outside we think the Israeli Defense Forces are so strong, that you -- that you will be able to do a kind of massive retaliation. Do you think this is going to be long and difficult?

BENNETT: I think it will be long and difficult. I think not unlike Pearl Harbor it did not take two days for America to get organized because this war is not against Hamas only. The way I view it is Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, Islamic jihad, our enemies are one front. They even say that.

And the way that we need to operate is by surprise. We don't have to play by their rule book. And, you know, the fact that Hamas attacked us here doesn't mean we have to go straight into there. It means that we can act however we find right.

And I will say that our enemies from Tehran to Gaza, to anywhere that they're trying to hurt us, we're going to get them. It is going to hurt. And we're going to hit them back because we have a strong nation. And, yes, we took a huge blow, a huge blow, unimaginable but we're strong and we will prevail.

ZAKARIA: Naftali Bennett, thank you very much.


My apologies for calling Prime Minister Netanyahu President Netanyahu. When we come back, we will be with "New York Times'" columnist Tom Friedman to discuss more about the conflict and its wider implications when we come back.


ZAKARIA: And now joining me to discuss the broader context of the conflict is the "New York Times'" columnist Tom Friedman who was the "Times" bureau chief in both Beirut and Jerusalem, and is author of the aptly named book "From Beirut to Jerusalem." He won his first two Pulitzer Prizes reporting from the region. It's good to have you with us, Tom.

Let me first ask you, you think about this a lot, you're always interested in technology and such. What strikes you about the asymmetry of this attack? Hamas after all very weak compared to the IDF.


Terrorism is always the weapon of the weak. Yet they were able to pull off something quite extraordinary partly because of the surprise and the brutality, right?

TOM FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: You know, Fareed, I think this war will be studied by intelligence services all over the word. Let me start by saying, a lot of people are saying this is Israel's 9/11. That is just silly. 9/11 was a complete unimagined event that people would turn airliners into suicide bombs.

This was completely anticipated. This was completely expected. Israel had built a billion-dollar wall to prevent this. So, the fact that the wall was breached by a bulldozer, by Palestinian -- Hamas people in, you know, little cars driving their own cars, how did that happen, number one? How did they maintain surprise?

This was a very complex, sophisticated attack involving sea, land and air, drones. It had been planned over a long period of time. Did they not use cellphones? Were those cellphones masked some way maybe with the help of Iran? I have no idea.

So, we need to understand how this basically, you know, very small force armed with just enough technology managed to surprise and overwhelm what is considered one of the most technologically savvy militaries in the world.

ZAKARIA: You have been writing for a while about this new right-wing Israeli government and its actions in the West Bank. It has members of it who talk about annexing all of the West Bank and Gaza. Do you think this played a role in the sort of backdrop of this attack?

FRIEDMAN: Fareed, there will be one day I'm sure some kind of inquiry commission on this war. And if I got to write indictment number one, it would go to Israel's justice minister Yariv Levin. Remember that name, Y-a-r-i-v, L-e-v-i-n-e (ph). He is the man who drove this insane, corrupt, dishonest effort to basically take over the power of the Supreme Court under the name of judicial review. And when he did, with Netanyahu's help, he fractured Israel.

He fractured Israeli society. He fractured the Israeli ministry, the military. He fractured the Israeli air force. He triggered almost 40 weeks of 100,000 Israelis coming out every Saturday night to protest this.

Last week, I quoted an Israeli former defense department official as saying, our preparation has been harmed by this whole fracture of our society. That is where this started. And if I get to write the indictment, he will be the indicted person number one but Netanyahu enabled him.

ZAKARIA: And tell me, I got to get you on the broader issues. What does this mean for the Saudi deal, for normalization? It would seem that it becomes much more complicated because now you have inflamed passions on the Arab street, as they say. Or do you think the Saudis don't care about that and they are looking at it practically and it is to their advantage?

FRIEDMAN: I think, Fareed, in the long run their interests are in normalization with Israel and those interests will prevail in the long run. But in the short run, this war between Hamas and Israel makes that impossible.

I believe if Iran didn't stimulate or encouraged it, it sure understands it is a huge beneficiary of that. The last thing Iran wants was a U.S.-Saudi-Israel strategic alliance to counterbalance Iran. So right now, that's no longer -- that's no longer possible.

ZAKARIA: The IDF has said that they want to take control of Gaza. I assume they mean this temporarily. But your colleague Bret Stephens has written in the "Times" today, the idea of -- expel Hamas from Gaza. I'm not sure where they would go but he then proposes a kind of Egyptian-Saudi-UAE peacekeeping force that would essentially rule Gaza, I would guess.

What happens to Gaza? Is that a possibility? Because it is difficult to imagine Israel just beating up a bunch of Palestinians in Gaza and then withdrawing back into Israel again.

FRIEDMAN: Fareed, always remember, who got Israel out of Gaza? It is arch-hawk -- one of its, you know, most celebrated military commanders Ariel Sharon. He understood that it is just an incredible quagmire and that is why Netanyahu all of these years, 15 years as prime minister has never wanted to go in. So, they would have to be very, very careful. And asking other people -- I mean, I love Bret but to ask other people to be peacekeeping forces in Gaza, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, they can barely manage their own border with the Houthis.


The idea that Israel would turn its security over to third party -- Arab armies, I just don't see that. So, this is going to be very difficult. Because what the Israelis are going to try to do, Fareed, is they're going to try to restore their deterrence, which they understand has been broken here.

They're going to do some very, very, very harsh things in Gaza. I have no doubt about that. Whether that involves a, you know, reoccupation, I don't know. But they're going to do some very harsh things. The United States is going to be in a -- be asked to support that. The world is going to be asked to support that. And all I know is this, Fareed, if Israel is going to ask the world to do that, it is going to -- first of all, Netanyahu is going to have to break up this crazy insane cabinet he has assembled. He has got to boot out his national security minister -- the national security minister of Israel, is today a guy who is so, you know, unfit. The Israeli army wouldn't take him when he was a young man.

Netanyahu has got to stop playing politics and start understanding he's a war survivor. If he wants the world to support him, he has got to clean up his act big time, build a national -- cabinet of serious people, moderate people, because Israel is going to do some very tough stuff, Fareed, and that's not going to be easy for the world to take and they're certainly not going to do if he has got in his cabinet people who are absolute arsonists.

ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, pleasure. Thanks to everyone for being part of my program this week. And I will see you next week.