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Isa Soares Tonight
Israel P.M. Meets With Sunak As Protesters Rally Outside; Israel A.G.: Netanyahu Role In Judicial Plans Would Be Illegal; U.N.: 530 Killed In Gang Violence So Far This Year. Aired 3:39-4p ET
Aired March 24, 2023 - 15:39 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. We're going to break away now from our U.S. partner network. And now, get the latest international headlines
We begin this hour with Israel's Prime Minister greeted by protesters as he visits 10 Downing Street today. A familiar sight, really, after weeks of
what we've seen of demonstrations back home over his government's effort to really weaken the courts and give itself more power.
Now Benjamin Netanyahu met briefly with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. In an unusual move, they gave no public statements. Mr. Sunak's office said
he expressed solidarity with Israel and the importance of their partnership, but also stressed the need to protect democratic values.
Journalists shouted questions as Mr. Netanyahu departed. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Netanyahu, is democracy under threat in Israel?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you break the law last night?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz went into the crowds of protesters today to hear their concerns. Have a listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 60,000 home demolition.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're just across from 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's Office, of course, two simultaneous protests
are taking place. On this side over here, you see protesters with Palestinian flag. They're increasingly concerned about the uptick in
violence in the region, about the increasingly deadly raids by the Israeli military. And this is not unusual. You would expect anytime the Israeli
Prime Minister visits London to see a protest like this.
What is unusual is this demonstration right here. To see protesters with Israeli flags demonstrating against the visit of an Israeli Prime Minister,
that is unusual. But they tell us they're echoing the sentiment that they're hearing on the ground in Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people
who've taken to the street in recent months, outraged at a judicial overhaul legislation that's been -- being pushed by Prime Minister
Netanyahu, that these protesters tell us will threaten Israel's democracy.
SOARES: And Salma joins us now live with much more. She's back for us at 10 Downing Street. And Salma, were the concerns that you heard on the streets
of London today raised by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak?
ABDELAZIZ: Well, that was really the question for protesters. They saw this as an opportunity for the British government to really challenge Prime
Minister Netanyahu, to condemn his move, this judicial overhaul, to really make their stance, the British government's stance, on this issue known.
And they were hoping that they would see Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sort of follow the lead of the United States. The U.S. has been extremely vocal. In
recent weeks, you had the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, who was in Tel Aviv who expressed profound concern. This week, the Israeli ambassador
in D.C. was summoned over a piece of legislation that would allow settlements to go ahead.
And, yes, you did read that statement from Downing Street there that expressed concern regarding the violence in the region, concern regarding -
- that -- its impact on the two-state solution, concern around Israel's democracy. But many of those protesters felt that was simply quiet
rhetoric, if you will. It was just a few days ago that the U.K. and Israel signed a trade agreement. And many of those protesters, Isa, felt
essentially that the U.K. was giving Prime Minister Netanyahu an easy break, an easy go, giving him some diplomatic cover.
And they were saying, look, we're not going to let him rest easy this weekend. They quite literally, that small group of protesters, followed
Prime Minister Netanyahu's movements, from just across 10 Downing Street when he was visiting the Prime Minister here to where they believed his
hotel was further down in central London. They said wherever Prime Minister Netanyahu goes, protesters will follow even if it's far away from home.
SOARES: And they're raising -- like I raised it, but perhaps not in the most robust way, not the way that they would have wanted, Salma. But look,
as you've clearly outlined, this visit coming, of course, on the day, just context for our viewers, that Israel's Attorney General issued a pretty
sharp rebuke to Netanyahu, basically warning him that he violated the law.
Given this, do we know, Salma, at this stage, whether she will begin, the attorney here will begin legal proceedings against the P.M.? What is your
understanding on that front?
ABDELAZIZ: I think there's still a lot to be sorted on the ground there. What we do know at this stage is that this absolutely emboldens
demonstrators. They're absolutely pointing to this statement from the Attorney General and saying, see, you have violated laws. You have broken
rules. You need to be held to account. But you have to remember we're talking about an Attorney General. If Prime Minister Netanyahu's critics
are accusing him of disregarding the judiciary, then he's going to continue to disregard the Attorney General and barrel on through next week with this
piece of legislation. So, it really begs the question, what can anyone do to stop Prime Minister Netanyahu pushing this through?
That's exactly why those protesters felt it was so important for the British government to stand up, for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to stand up
and speak out against this judicial overhaul. They say it needs to be pressure, not just from protesters, those hundreds of thousands who have
taken to the streets in Israel, it needs to be the international community rather really ramping up that pressure, ramping up the costs for Prime
Minister Netanyahu to carry on with these reforms.
SOARES: Yes. All must be all very embarrassing from Netanyahu. Salma Abdelaziz, thanks very much, Salma. Great to see you.
Now we are seeing some of the worst street violence in France in years. It's over President Emmanuel Macron's some popular pension reforms that the
government pushed through Parliament without a full vote. If you remember, a short while ago, he said he would not give in to violence, that King
Charles's visit to France, which was supposed to start on Sunday, well, has been postponed.
CNN's Melissa Bell is standing by. And Melissa, these protests, it seemed, that we've been covering all week, and that you've been covering for us,
really shows no sign of abating. So, perhaps not surprising, really, the decision has been taken. But embarrassing perhaps for Macron nevertheless.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a difficult decision to make and yet one that imposes itself on him. He explained at a press conference today,
it was just common sense that this visit could not go ahead. There was a state dinner planned at Versailles to sort of disconnect between the way
the streets of Paris look right now with the piles of garbage on them, Isa. The people in the street and those fresh strikes, and protests planned for
Tuesday really threatened to overshadow the sort of pomp and pageantry of a traditional state visit, Prince -- King Charles III's first visit, which
came to Paris. He will still go to Germany as planned. It is this leg that's been postponed and that certainly seems to make sense.
What we heard yesterday at the end of a remarkably violent day of protests, there was more than a million people in the streets. And what we saw on the
edges of that often peaceful protest, we also saw those elements of disorder. There were nearly 500 people detained as a result of those
protests. We've now learned from the Interior Minister, there were nearly a thousand fires lit across the French Capitol. Many of those have the sort
of garbage that litters the streets that I mentioned a moment ago.
So, pretty difficult scenes in many parts of France yesterday. What we're seeing tonight, Isa, is some of those spontaneous small-scale protests
taking off in some French cities. They walk around, they look for places where they can make their displeasure known, and this has been going on
ever since that announcement was made, that the reform would be pushed through without a vote and we expect that to continue, but certainly the
next big day of striking protest Tuesday, Isa.
SOARES: Melissa Bell for us Paris. Thanks very much, Melissa.
Well, earlier this hour, we brought you Joe Biden's speech to the Canadian Parliament. It was broad as well as positive. But there's one issue that's
a bit of a sticking point and that's Haiti, the two nations are struggling to find a way for the international community to resolve the island's
crises. Hundreds of people have been killed in gang violence so far this year.
To further discuss the possibility of sending a special international force to Haiti, I want to bring in the Former Canadian Ambassador to the country,
Gilles Rivard. Ambassador, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us here. We have been focusing on the show for several weeks now on the
situation on the ground in Haiti. You know, I'd really love to get your thoughts, paint us a picture really of what is happening on the ground from
what you understand.
GILLES RIVARD, FORMER CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TO HAITI: Well, what is happening? I think, as you said, you mentioned that several times in the
last couple of weeks, there's a lot of street gang, controlling some parts of Port-au-Prince and what's critical is that those street gangs control
the two roads that take one on the north and one on the sides -- one on the south. So, that paralyzed a big chunk of the big part of the country. That
being said, what's been discussed today is related to eventually a massive investment in Haitian National Police. And in my view, I think this is
probably the best long-term approach that can really produce positive results.
I don't think at this moment, an international peacekeeping mission can produce better results than what has been done in the last 20 years in
Haiti with United Nations assistance.
SOARES: And why not? Why do you think that boots on the ground wouldn't work?
RIVARD: Well, Madame, there's been seven of those missions in the past. The last one where I was ambassador called the United Nations Stabilization
Mission in Haiti, arrive in 2004 and left 13 years later, and you see what happened six years later. So, what we need is to help to strengthen the
local institution instead of coming with boots on the ground coming from Canada, U.S. and so on because the results have been proved very, very
disappointing. And this is very costly. And also, half of the population who don't want to see and international intervention in this country.
And the result, we have to admit, have been very poor.
SOARES: Yes, intervention, there's a not great track record when it comes to intervention spot on, Ambassador. But look, let's talk about then what
can be done, because from what I saw, in terms of the U.N. numbers, I've seen gangs operate. They control about 60 percent of the capital operating
without impunity. But you're talking about police force, strengthening police forces. But you know, there are about 9,000 members right now in
terms of police forces 15,000, from three years ago, how do you go about then creating, reestablishing law and order at this point?
RIVARD: Well, we have -- there are installation in Haiti. We built, Canada built, the Police Academy. We can train much more police officer than
what's the case at this moment.
Second police officer that deserted the HNP are deserted because they're not paid. So, in other words, that's not a long-term solution. And I would
be in a normal time against that. But if we have to pay a part of the salary, I'm pretty sure that many officer will come back. We have to equip
them. Canada is sending some armored car in Haiti. We have to send more of them. We have to send trainers. But my experience in Haiti is that along --
SOARES: But you think that -- Ambassador, apologies, you think that armored cars and training police officers will stop what looks like a wall? It's
not a wall. But I mean, it looks like a wall, what I've been hearing this - - for weeks now in my show is, this sounds like it's a war.
RIVARD: Well, it's certainly not stuck tomorrow. But as I said, a -- an international mission. You know, Port-au-Prince is built on hills. There is
a hundred thousands of street where these street gang can hide, and having 4,000 officers won't change the situation. I can tell you, the only people
that can pursue these street gangs are police officers that know the country, know the city. That's how we have to proceed. It won't happen
tomorrow. But at least if we strengthen that HNP, very quickly, I'm sure that we're going to see some positive results. That's the way I see it at
SOARES: Yes, but like you said, they're not being paid. Many of them have been targeted as well. And then there's a whole question, of course, of the
situation on the ground in terms of hunger levels, inflation, and food security. Unfortunately, we don't have time to continue discussing this.
But, Ambassador, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. A very important topic
RIVARD: It was my pleasure. It was my pleasure.
SOARES: Thank you very much, sir. And we'll be back after this short break.
SOARES: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tried to ease concerns over Deutsche Bank. It comes after shares in the country's biggest lender fell
sharply today, down more than 14 percent at one stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Deutsche Bank has thoroughly reorganized and modernized its business model. And it is a very
profitable bank. There's no reason for concern whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, this is how Europe markets reacted to all of this today. They seem to be concerned that he wasn't concerned.
And here is a live look really at the U.S. markets trading right now. So Europe, you saw right now was right across the board. You're seeing the Dow
Jones out and almost two-tenths of a percent, NASDAQ pretty flat, and the S&P ending the week up three-tenths a percent. Green areas after what has
been a tremendously volatile week, of course, for the stock markets.
And that does it for us for this week. Thanks very much for your company. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is next. We'll have much more on that story. Have a
wonderful weekend. I shall see you on Monday. Bye-bye.