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Isa Soares Tonight
Congressman Jim Jordan Continues His Quest Of Becoming Next Speaker Of The House; Egyptian Official: Rafah Border Crossing Readying To Open Friday; W.H.O. Chief Urges Israel To Let Fuel Enter Gaza. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 19, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CO-HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: Hello and welcome to our continuing coverage of the war in Israel, I'm Isa Soares in London.
JIM SCIUTTO, CO-HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: And I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington, we're going to bring you the latest on Gaza and Israel in just
a few moments. But first, Congressman Jim Jordan is not ending his quest to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
But he is backing a plan that would empower the current acting speaker, here's why that matters, U.S. aid to Ukraine, Israel and other countries
still hangs in the balance.
SOARES: But there's now a glimmer of hope that aid will finally get into Gaza. CNN is being told by Egyptian security officials that the Rafah
Border Crossing is getting ready to open on Friday. The U.S. and Egypt have been pushing for a deal with Israel to let some aid in, as you know, Israel
says it will not block the entry of water, food and medicine from the Egyptian side, that is a change from when it said it would impose a total
blockade, if you remember on Gaza over Hamas' attack almost two weeks ago.
SCIUTTO: The World Health Organization is welcoming the news, saying it has trucks carrying medical supplies at the border, ready to go, they say,
as soon as that Rafah Crossing is open. However, the agency's director also had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Fuel is also needed for hospital generators, ambulances and desalination
plants, and we urge Israel to add fuel to the life-saving supplies allowed to enter Gaza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Rafah Border Crossing is the only checkpoint in the Gaza that is not controlled by Israel. Egypt denies the crossing is closed on its side,
saying it is waiting for guarantees that the trucks will not be targeted, will not be struck by Israeli forces. The official Palestinian press agency
says on Thursday at least 30 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Rafah.
SOARES: Well, Gaza officials say Israel also targeted the Khan Yunis area, killing a number of people. Meanwhile, the Israeli defense minister is
telling troops gathered near Gaza they will soon see the enclave from the inside. That is according to a press release. So, get the very latest for
you, our Becky Anderson joins us this evening from Tel Aviv.
Becky, let's talk first of all about this much-needed humanitarian aid, give us a sense of what you're hearing, when that will start flowing into
Gaza, and what will be allowed in by authorities.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: So what we understand is that this crossing will be open on Friday, and that there are -- witnessed by
CNN journalist on the ground, some 25 trucks ready to go through that border. We know there is an enormous amount of aid. I mean, you know, aid
that would fill hundreds, if not thousands of trucks at this -- at this point, full of supplies, aid -- you know, fuel, water, medical supplies,
food, call it what you will.
So, that, as we understand it will be allowed in through that crossing on Friday. The big question is, we continue to hear a chorus of calls for a
pause in the fighting, translated by some and spoken by some as a temporary ceasefire, not something that the Israelis are prepared to sign up to, but
a pause in the fighting at least, is what is being called for to ensure that the safe -- these supplies can be safely transported into southern
You're right to point out this is the only crossing where aid can get in, Israel controls the rest of the border around the besieged enclave, and aid
will not be getting in according to the Israelis any other way. So this aid coming in through the south, we know that hundreds of thousands have fled
into the south, at the behest or demand of the Israelis as they ready for the next phase in this military action.
I want to bring in Jenifer Austin now, she is from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, she's the deputy Director for their operations in
So let's start with these 25 trucks ready to cross through the border. Do you have any indication what is being prioritized in terms of aid on those
JENIFER AUSTIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS RELIEF & WORKS AGENCY AFFAIRS GAZA: Well, I can't comment on the shipment that might be coming
in, but my understanding is that it could be food, it could be medical supplies, it could be, you know, things that are needed in Gaza, you know,
which is basically, we're looking for fuel, but I'm not sure if that's going to be in this first shipment.
ANDERSON: Right --
AUSTIN: And I'm not sure that the shipment --
ANDERSON: Let's talk about those needs --
AUSTIN: Has been confirmed.
ANDERSON: What are the most urgent needs, Jenifer, at this point?
AUSTIN: Well, at this point, the most urgent need is fuel because we are running the biggest humanitarian operation on the ground here, and we've
got two days of fuel left, and that's fuel for the hospitals in the southern part of Gaza, that's fuel to run the United Nations Relief and
Works Agency operations, that's fuel to support the sister agencies who we work with, UNICEF, ORCHA, everyone else.
So -- and fuel will fund -- will make sure that our desalination plants are working as well. And fuel is water, and water is life. So we need fuel.
ANDERSON: You are sheltering tens of thousands, as I understand it. I spoke to one of your colleagues earlier today, there are at least 10,000 in
the shelter where he was. Just describe where you are, how many people you are looking after, and whether you feel safe at this point?
AUSTIN: Well, where I am, I'm actually sitting in the stairwell because the room I was working in, we lost our electricity, but just two minutes
before coming to wherever, we've got 8,000 are displaced, in displaced persons in a camp around us where we're working. This -- we've got 527,000,
about 530,000 refugees taking shelter in UNRWA facilities and installations across the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
We estimate that there is about over 1 million displaced, although half of those are in our shelters. So, there's such a huge demand on our services
and what we can provide, and of course, with the stocks depleted and no stocks coming over the border, no food coming in, no water coming in, when
you think that, you know, with -- they may be talking about 20, 25 trucks, if that's confirmed yet, I'm not --
ANDERSON: Yes --
AUSTIN: Sure, but even if they are, you know, 500 trucks a day were coming in before this war started. So, I mean, Gaza is completely, you know,
almost a 100 percent dependent on imports. It doesn't manufacture much within the economy itself, so it's very important, dependent. And this has
just, you know, squeezed Gaza.
So, we really need the trucks to start coming in, but there needs to be a sustainable solution, it cannot be a one-off. A one-off will just be a drip
in the ocean --
ANDERSON: Yes --
AUSTIN: And really not helpful. It will just raise expectations, and it will -- it just might be helpful.
ANDERSON: So, this is by no means sufficient, at this point. A good start by no means sufficient. Have you -- at the U.N. been given any indication
how long the border will remain open tomorrow, how much more aide will be allowed through, and whether there is a pause in the fighting, the strikes
over the area that you are in, so that this aid can travel in safely. Any indications?
AUSTIN: Well, let me first point out that I don't have confirmation that this is happening tomorrow, that this is going to happen. And this is what
I'm hearing from listening to you, but if it does happen, then we don't have -- we don't have indications, but I'm sure if it does happen, then it
wouldn't have to any good, happen in a safe environment.
So, it would mean that, you know, the green-light has been given if it goes ahead, that -- you know, that will -- had to have been taken by all the
parties to make sure that this does happen.
ANDERSON: Are you safe where you are? I mean, when was the last time that you felt or heard airstrikes that you -- that you were witness to this war?
AUSTIN: Well, I would say 13 days ago when this war started, and I was in our actual U.N. compound in Gaza, and we were bombarded completely around
our compound. We had two or three nights of really heavy shelling, we're in a very strong concrete bunker in our compound, and the bunker held, and we
had cracks in the wall, and we were honestly thinking that it wasn't going to hold.
So this is how this started for us here, 13 days ago. So we feel here, even though we feel airstrikes around us always, at Khan Yunis, at our training
center, which is holding over 20,000 IDPs. I was out there this afternoon, having a look and seeing what's happening out there, and while I was there,
airstrikes happened quite close to where we were, and again people were killed in that strike this afternoon.
So the strikes are still happening, they're happening all over Gaza still, and big huge, heavy airstrikes in Gaza city last night as well. It hasn't
stopped, I don't know how long it's going to go for, I've heard, you know, estimations of months, but I don't know. No one knows when this will end,
but we're just all hoping that this war will end soon.
It has to end soon for the civilians of Gaza who under terror, they're living -- they're living under stress, they're terrified, and they're
absolutely devastated of what's happened.
ANDERSON: I'm really struggling at this point, you've got 14,000 staff as I understand it on the ground. I know that you've lost some colleagues, and
we are so sorry about that. Listen, keep up the good work, I know the situation is nigh, impossible for you. But it sounds as if you are moving
around and continuing to do the job that you were employed to do, and for that, I know that the -- those who are taking shelter with you will be so
grateful. Thank you for joining us today. Jim?
SCIUTTO: Well, President Joe Biden is scheduled to give a speech from the Oval Office on Thursday night. The president has just returned, of course,
from that diplomatic visit to Israel. It is expected the speech will focus not just on Israel, but also Ukraine. It's expected he will request $100
billion in U.S. aid for Israel and for Gaza, continued military support for Ukraine.
Before he returned home to here in the U.S., President Biden explained why the U.S. must support all of those causes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have an opportunity to alleviate the pain, you should do it. Period. And if you don't, you're
going to lose credibility worldwide. And I think everyone understands that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Joe Biden wants to send aid to Ukraine and Israel. He cannot get that done -- and by the way, there is bipartisan support for both those
forms of assistance, he cannot get it until there is a house speaker to manage business in the House of Representatives. That's because without a
speaker, the house cannot vote on any issues.
It's not clear right now when Republicans who control the house might take that step of choosing a speaker, it's been more than two weeks since this
country has had one. That unprecedented in U.S. political history. At the same time, sources say that Congress and Jim Jordan is not ending his quest
for the speaker spot.
He is though, now, backing a plan to give the temporary speaker, the speaker pro tem, as it's known, more power, some of the powers of speaker,
though until January. CNN's Eva McKend is live on Capitol Hill now. So Eva, he's not giving up -- Jordan, but there's some discussion of an interim
plan to get Patrick McHenry, the man who is currently temporarily occupying that position to extend his time there and give him some powers. What
powers exactly, and do they have the votes even for that, step?
EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, we haven't even seen that resolution. So there's significant pushback, Jim,
from conservative members of the conference on this plan, even though Jordan supports it, because he realizes he can't put this up, his
speakership, up for another vote, because the votes are just not there.
So, we're not going to see them go to the house floor today, to again, try to vote for Jordan for speaker, but he still says he's in this race. But
some of the very same members that ousted Kevin McCarthy don't like this plan, and there are a lot of constitutional questions about it. So I was
just down in the basement of the capital, there's a lot of frustration, many members are really heated, and then they're also raising this issue,
is this even constitutional?
Can we -- can we do this? Can we give temporary powers to McHenry until January, it has just never been done, it's unprecedented.
SCIUTTO: I would say we saw Speaker Pelosi in here a short time ago, and she, off camera, gave the position that it is not possible without first
electing a speaker the old-fashioned way. Beyond that, now, we will have a presidential speech tonight, addressed to the nation, making the case not
just for urgent aid to Israel, but also to Ukraine.
And to some degree it seems, connecting those two -- those two battles, and why the U.S. should support them, asking for $100 billion in combined aids.
Any idea how that will be received on the Hill?
MCKEND: You know, it will be a significant ask, Jim, and we have to really see what that looks like. Ultimately though, you have a small number of the
Republican conference, but not an insignificant number, that do not want to see further aid for Ukraine. So, they want to fund the state of Israel, but
And so perhaps, if that funding is broken up in different pieces, you might see some of that move. But all that seems like ten steps ahead right now --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
MCKEND: Because first and foremost, they need to elevate a new speaker in order for --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
MCKEND: Anything to pass.
SCIUTTO: And of course, the irony is, the political irony is that both those forms of aid have large bipartisan support, but it's a small number
of folks, typically in the house that are standing in the way right now, beyond that decision to get to a speaker. Eva McKend on the Hill, thanks so
much, and we will be back after a short break with much more coverage of Israel at war. Please do stay with CNN.
SCIUTTO: We are getting some new information about the blast at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday. U.S. Intelligence officials say that from the U.S.
Intelligence assessment, perhaps 100 to 300 people were likely killed in that explosion, this of course Isa, is a preliminary --
SOARES: Yes --
SCIUTTO: U.S. assessment.
SOARES: Indeed, earlier, the U.S. echoed Israel's claim that the blast was the result of an errant rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
CNN's Sam Kiley has more on the geopolitical fallout -- and a warning for you here, his report contains some disturbing images.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A blast of immediate strategic impact. Jordan canceled a summit with the U.S., Egypt
and Palestinian Authority, as news of mass casualties in Gaza emerged. Now, with the Hamas-controlled Gaza's Health Ministry saying the death toll is
over 470, from an explosion in the courtyard of this church-run hospital, there are protests around the world.
And in this war, the truth is unlikely to emerge quickly. The U.S., based on its own analysis of the evidence, including secret intelligence has
supported Israel's version of events.
BIDEN: Based on the information we have seen today, it appears the result of an Arab rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.
KILEY: Israel blames Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, a rival Islamist militant group. Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other Palestinian groups say
Israel did it. CNN has geolocated videos and stills from the scene, and shown all the available authentic evidence to two weapons experts. They
agree that the explosion is likely not caused by an airdrop bomb or even a guided missile.
CHRIS COBB-SMITH, WEAPONS EXPERT, CHIRON RESOURCES: I would initially rule out a heavy airdrop bomb, the type of crater that I've seen on the imagery
so far isn't large enough to be the type of bomb that we've seen -- that we've seen dropped in the region on many occasions.
KILEY (on camera): Could it have been a hell-fire-type missile, a guided ammunition?
COBB-SMITH: Hell fire, I'm doubtful about.
KILEY (voice-over): Preliminary CNN analysis of the crater suggests that the projectile hit the courtyard outside the hospital from somewhere to the
southwest. The Israel Defense Forces say they believe the disaster was caused by the misfire of a missile fired from the southwest of the
(on camera): Could this have been a rocket fired from Gazan territory that went wrong?
COBB-SMITH: It could very well have been a rocket fired from Gazan territory. But again, we rarely know that when the remnants are
definitively identified, and compared to other types of weapon systems and ammunitions that are being fired in the area.
KILEY (voice-over): A senior U.N. weapons expert who asked to remain anonymous agreed. But in Gaza, many blame Israel and its allies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): People who fled considered the hospital as a safe shelter for them, they didn't find any other place to
go, but they struck people with those Israeli and American rockets. This is a war crime. It's a big crime killing children and women.
KILEY: An independent investigation would need to be done on the ground to determine the cause of the blast, which is impossible under the current
Israeli bombardment and unlikely under Hamas.
(on camera): You worked in Gaza before, Chris, have you investigated rocket misfires in the past?
COBB-SMITH: Yes, I've tried to investigate rocket misfires in the past most certainly. But on the -- on the few occasions this has happened, the
local authorities did not give me free access to the area or they were very unhappy that I was trying to investigate something that had clearly gone
wrong from their point of view.
KILEY (voice-over): Amid the ongoing bloodshed, entrenched supporters of either side are more likely to believe what they want now, regardless. Sam
SOARES: Well, let's get more on what conditions are like inside the Gaza Strip. I want to bring in Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah he's a British-Palestinian
surgeon who is working at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He was at the site of Al-Ahli Hospital blast on Wednesday and operated on some victims.
Dr. Ghassan, great to see you again, and see that you're well.
Just give us a sense of how everyone is coping in the wake of that blast. What kind of injuries you have been seeing?
GHASSAN ABU-SITTAH, BRITISH-PALESTINIAN SURGEON: So, there are two things that happened since that missile attack. First, the number of wounded that
came from the hospital further added the pressure on Shifa Hospital, a lot of these wounded were critically injured. I rode back a young man with a
shrapnel in his neck, and he has -- he's now in intensive care, and there were tens like him.
And the hospital had to be evacuated. And so its patients have been -- have had to be brought in to Shifa Hospital for treatment. And now that leaves
us at Shifa Hospital with almost if not more than twice the number of wounded as there are beds. And there are now patients sleeping on
mattresses on the floors, sleeping on the floors of the emergency department, on the wards, the situation in terms of over -- you know,
SOARES: Yes --
ABU-SITTAH: Systems is crashing the health system in Gaza, particularly in Shifa.
SOARES: The last time you and I spoke, you told me that the health system was starting to disintegrate. I mean, you said you were given gallons of
chemical disinfectant that were used in the '70s, in the '80s, to sterilize equipment. What is the situation like right now? I mean, how do you carry
out surgeries? Do we still have doctor --
ABU-SITTAH: So yesterday, our orthopedic surgery colleagues told us that they've run out of external fixators, which are the things and the rods
that are needed to stabilize fractures in these kinds of injuries.
The water pressure in the hospital can no longer support the sterilization machine, and as I -- we've spoken before, we've run out of almost
everything. Today, I went around the corner, there was an open corner shop, and I bought vinegar to treat some of the wound infections, and you know,
there's a type of bacteria that infects these wounds, goes through the moners(ph) and we've run out of the solutions to treat it. And the old
treatment for it was vinegar.
SOARES: It's getting -- like you said, it's getting incredibly dire. What we're hearing some sort of glimmer of hope in terms of aid going in, we
don't have an idea when that will be, but it's -- we're seeing small steps, doctor. What do you need right now? What is the most urgent need?
ABU-SITTAH: The most urgent need is -- everything that you would require to treat 12,500 critically injured patients with the most horrific trauma
injuries that you can imagine. And so everything that you will need for an intensive care unit, everything that you would need for an operating room,
fracture equipment, dressings, fluids. galpors(ph), the whole system is disintegrating.
The sheer tsunami of wounded has completely overrun the system. Before the war, Gaza had a total of 2,500 beds, we now have 12,500 wounded. You can --
you can imagine the discrepancy between the capacity and the demand at the moment.
SOARES: Dr. Ghassan, thank you for taking the time to speak to us, I know how incredibly busy you are, and thank you for your work, Dr. Ghassan
speaking to us from inside Gaza city, thank you doctor. Well, Israel says it's detained dozens of Hamas terror operatives across the West Bank.
According to the IDF, they detained wanted suspects in overnight raids.
Of those, 63, according to the IDF are alleged Hamas terrorists operatives. A Palestinian NGO says among those detained was a prominent politician and
Hamas spokesperson Hassan Yousef, he had just taken part in all of the protests in the West Bank just a day earlier. And still to come right here
on the show, anti-Israel protests are flaring right across the Arab world. We'll have more on the fury being felt in many countries. That is next. You
are watching CNN.
SOARES: Welcome back everyone, to our continuing coverage of Israel at war.
SCIUTTO: And an indication from Israel that a ground invasion of Gaza could be approaching, and soon. The Israeli Defense Minister told troops
gathered near the Gaza border, they will, quote, "soon see the enclave, quote again, 'from the inside.'" This, according to a press release, our
Nic Robertson joins now from Sderot, close to the border with Gaza.
We've been waiting for this for some time, we have seen the build-up of forces for some time, this is quite a public statement from Israeli forces.
How do you read it?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I was also interviewing a couple of government ministers as well today, Jim, Minister
of Economy, Nir Barkat, former mayor of Jerusalem, and I said to him, look, when or almost why hasn't an incursion gone in already? Because this is
what you're setting the stage for. And I pushed him on it, and I said, is it a political decision or a military decision?
And he said no, the green light, he said, has already been given to the military. It is up to the military now when they go in. The political
decision is taken. So we are many steps closer to an incursion, so I think what we've heard from the defense minister there, really only echoes that
from Nir Barkat; the Minister of Economy.
We also today spoke with the Minister of Agriculture, who coincidentally, was a former head of one of the security services here in Israel, both of
these ministers have served in Israel's military before. And I was asking them, you know, what does a post-incursion Gaza look like, because we have
not been given a clear picture from Israeli officials about what the endgame is going to be.
And there were a couple of takeaways there. One, obviously, the security on October the 7th along the border was woefully inadequate, that is going to
be massively changed, instead of just an electronic fence that can -- that will have cameras, that can -- that can eavesdrop electronically, followed
by a wall that digs deep in the ground to prevent tunnels, followed by a small piece of their ground.
There's going to be a much bigger barrier, a physical space opened up along that whole 67 kilometer border fence, all the way around Gaza, he said. And
that will be a no go zone, effectively a free fire zone for Israeli forces. No one, Isa, will be allowed in this -- in this broad spread of land, all
the way along the border.
So that's one difference we're going to see. But another significant difference really implies the depth with which the IDF plans to go into
Gaza, the level of control it appears they want to take, as they take out all that Hamas leadership, they want to arrive, this minister said, they
want to arrive at a situation whereby anytime they want to go in and arrest somebody in Gaza, they can go and do it exactly the same way that they can
do in the West Bank right now.
Where overnight, they went in there, the IDF went in and arrested over 60 Hamas operatives and officials, because it's relatively easy to do. Yes, a
big security presence, but they went in and did it. That's the kind of scenario they're painting for Gaza, which is massively different to where
we stand today. They also say that they would have to rebuild an authority, a political leadership inside of -- inside of Gaza.
So this is a massive crackdown, this plan, and a massive rethink of what Gaza looks like in the future. Can they do it? That's a wholly different
question, but this picture of what a post-incursion looks like is beginning to emerge, Jim.
SCIUTTO: No question, and just to measure the danger there, I believe as you were speaking, Nic, we heard an explosion in the background. Our Nic
Robertson in Sderot in southern Israel. Thanks so much.
SOARES: Well, as Israel targets Hamas in Gaza, there are growing fears that the clashes involving Hezbollah at Israel's northern border could
escalate into a war involving Lebanon. The IDF telling CNN there's been a significant escalation in those exchanges, just in recent days.
Today, the Israeli military said it was striking back after a barrage of rocket fired from Lebanon. Hezbollah says it attacked several Israeli
military posts. Well, protests in Arab countries have been ramping up in the days following that deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza. From
Lebanon to Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, as well as Tunisia, thousands of protesters have gathered shouting anti-Israel slogans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And this was a scene in Jordan as protesters gathered near the Israeli embassy in Amman. Jordanian security forces used tear gas to
disperse those crowds. Well, I want to bring in CNN's Nada Bashir who is on the ground for us in Amman, Jordan. And Nada, what we have seen is plenty
of rage, plenty of anger on the streets, just let us know, give us a sense of what is happening behind you where you are.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Look, Isa, from the outset of this war, we have seen protesters taking to the streets here in Jordan on an almost daily
basis, but they are really intensifying and growing in size, and the message here is a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people, a show of
solidarity with those in Gaza, who are still coming under Israel's aerial bombardment.
And many here are calling for an end to the violence, for aid to be brought into the Gaza Strip. And of course, this is a control(ph) issue, not only
here in Jordan, but across the Middle East. I cannot overstate how significant, how prevalent the Palestinian calls is across the Middle East.
And we were able to speak to people here in Jordan about just how important this is to them. Take a look.
BASHIR (voice-over): The people demand freedom for Palestine. It's a decades old rallying cry, but one that still resonates across the Arab
world. Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have ramped up across the Middle East, a growing movement denouncing Israel's continued
aerial bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, which began in response to the Hamas attacks of October 7th.
But here in Jordan, the plight of the Palestinian people is an issue which lies at the very heart of the country's identity. More than 50 percent of
the country's population is Palestinian or of Palestinian descent. The neighborhood of Baqaa just outside of Amman is one of several historic
refugee camps established to house Palestinians displaced by the 1967 Arab- Israeli war.
Ali Rafth(ph) has lived here for most of his life, and has spent years painting murals depicting the Palestinian experience. Each wall tells a
story of the injustice Palestinians here say they have faced for more than 75 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
BASHIR (on camera): This is the symbol of the right to return --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This is symbol, this is symbol. But I keep it in my home.
BASHIR (voice-over): Outrage over Israel's relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which is home to more than 2 million people is felt by so many
here in Jordan. Mohamed Qasem has been attending protests in Amman from the outset of this war. It is a movement that has drawn people from across the
country, old and young.
MOHAMED QASEM, AMMAN RESIDENT: We know the narrative because we survived it, we lived it, and you know, our grandparents lived it. Our parents lived
it. We lived it. We felt we were going to tell stories(ph) to our kids, but now they are witnessing it as well. It's been 75 years, and right now, it's
happening all over again.
BASHIR: Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have gripped countries across the region including Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and
Libya. Arab leaders too have been vocal in their condemnation of Israel's airstrikes on Gaza, and the rapidly rising civilian death toll. But there
is also a mounting concern that this war could create a deeper rift between the Arab world and the West.
AYMAN SAFADI, FOREIGN MINISTER, JORDAN: The growing perception on the street as they see this, unequivocal iron-clad support for Israel for this
war. It is a growing perception that this is a western-Arab Muslim war. That's a place we don't want to get to.
BASHIR: But it's not just the Arab world, the outrage and frustration felt in the Middle East is also mirrored in protests taking place further
afield. From London to Washington D.C., as millions across the globe just like Mohamed and his family demand an end to Israel's airstrikes and end
the siege of Gaza and an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people.
BASHIR: And look, Isa, these crowds are enormous, but it's not just this happening on the popular front, but it's also translated into diplomacy.
King Abdullah of Jordan was in Cairo today, he met with President El-Sisi of Egypt, they denounced the collective punishment of Palestinians and
their call for an immediate end to the violence. Isa?
SOARES: Nada Bashir for us there in Amman. A large crowd behind her in Jordan, thanks very much, Nada. I want to go back to Jim, because we have
some news just coming in. And Jim, I believe this is some of your own reporting, what can you tell us?
SCIUTTO: That's right, Isa. This just in to CNN, myself and Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon reporting that two U.S. officials tell CNN that
a U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Middle East intercepted multiple projectiles, this near the coast of Yemen. One official said the missiles
were fired, the U.S. believes by Iranian-backed Houthi militants, who of course are engaged in an ongoing conflict in Yemen.
The officials say it is unclear at this point exactly who or what the missiles were targeting, this is an initial assessment, Isa, they, of
course, will continue to follow and will share details as we have more on this developing story, and we'll of course be back after a short break.
SCIUTTO: Multiple developments today on the U.S. political landscape. The U.S. house still has no speaker, more than two weeks now. Congressman Jim
Jordan scrapped plans to hold a third speaker vote today for now, although he may be changing that. He now says he's leaning towards backing a plan to
expand the power of the interim speaker until the end of the year.
There might be another voter for speaker before that. In just a few hours, U.S. President Joe Biden will make his case to the American people that
Congress needs to get back to business in order to give the OK to a $100 billion aid package with funding for both Israel and Ukraine. Without a
house speaker though, all of that is on hold.
I want to welcome in from Washington, Steve Inskeep; he is the co-host of "NPR's" morning edition, the most widely heard radio program in the U.S.,
hosts "NPR's" "Up First" podcast. He's also the author of a new book, which I have here, "Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America".
Steve, it's great to have you on.
STEVE INSKEEP, AUTHOR & CO-HOST, NPR'S MORNING EDITION & UP FIRST: Thanks for the invitation, Jim.
SCIUTTO: You are watching events in Washington as closely as I am today, and given the book you've just written here about a time of division, and a
leader who worked through those divisions in part, by working with those he disagreed with as much as those he agreed with. I just wondered, as you
watch what's happening today, and as you come off writing a book like this, from a time of division in this country, no question, of course, did you
come away with hope and lessons for today? Or despair, perhaps that there is no Lincoln today?
INSKEEP: Oh, I try -- I try not to despair. And the idea of there being no Lincoln today, I mean, there is no Lincoln today. But he was a human being,
he was a politician who responded to circumstances and responded really well. Lincoln understood a few basic things about democracy, one of them
being that you need to build a majority to do things that are important.
And in order to do that, you have to make choices, and sometimes you have to ally with people that you don't agree with. I don't want to say that
members of the House of Representatives have forgotten this lesson, they're trying to get a majority right now, but lawmakers keep saying, I don't have
to make choices, I don't have to choose, I insist on 100 percent of me, and so far that's not working for them. There is a lesson there.
SCIUTTO: Do you see anyone in today's drama on the Hill right now that we're following today, but also today's Washington, who is following those
lessons, right? That shows --
INSKEEP: Well --
SCIUTTO: You that kind of way of dealing with this?
INSKEEP: Well, let's think this through. I mean, I see a lot of people who quote Abraham Lincoln in various ways. Volodymyr Zelenskyy even quotes
Abraham Lincoln, it's very popular to do that. But there are not many people who seem to be interested in this moment in building coalitions.
Republicans in the house right now are struggling to build a coalition just within their party.
I will say that on the democratic side, and I am not saying that he is a Lincoln, but President Biden has made it his brand to deal with people he
disagrees with. He even got in trouble in his first campaign as you probably recall well, for saying, once upon a time in the Senate, I worked
with southern segregationists who held these terrible views, but I got something done.
And he was criticized for that. Biden, I think has made the effort, has modeled himself as pursuing that kind of politics, but a lot of the --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
INSKEEP: Incentives in our politics run the other way right now.
SCIUTTO: No question. You know, essentially, you do take pains in the book, and it's a series of 16 relationships that Lincoln had with some
people he was close with, including his wife, but others who he had severe disagreements with. But you also take pains to note that he didn't always
INSKEEP: Yes --
SCIUTTO: One of the stories is about his meeting with a delegation of native American leaders, including Lean Bear in 1863, followed soon after
by Lean Bear's murder, and what came --
INSKEEP: Yes --
SCIUTTO: To be known as the Sand Creek --
INSKEEP: Yes --
SCIUTTO: Massacre. He in effect, he didn't solve all the country's problems.
INSKEEP: No, that was a failure. That's one of the most poignant chapters here, he did invite a bunch of native leaders to the White House, to
encourage them to be at peace with white settlers, but they already were at peace with white settlers. The problem was the white settlers who were not
invited, and who continued taking land and what is now Colorado.
Lincoln did not always succeed. There are a number of failures in this book or disappointments or unexpected results. But I don't think that that's too
discouraging for us because we need to remember what is important in a democracy. It is not that --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
INSKEEP: We all get along. It is not that we all agree, we should disagree, it's a free society. But you need a majority that is willing to
come together just enough to keep the system moving --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
INSKEEP: To support the institutions through which we work through our disagreements.
SCIUTTO: Before we go, some of these relationships are familiar, of course, the famous relationship with Stephen Douglas, the Lincoln-Douglas
debates. Some surprising, but you end with his relationship with his wife, Mary Todd. And you write --
INSKEEP: Yes --
SCIUTTO: It's hard to say if difficult men trained him to handle his marriage or if his marriage trained him to handle difficult men. And I
wonder which one it was or do we not know?
INSKEEP: Wow, I think it's a little bit of both, and I should stress, it was a hard marriage as many people know. Lincoln surely bear some
responsibility for that, he was traveling a lot, he was busy a lot, he was depressed a lot. But he had to exercise a lot of patience and prioritizing
with Mary Todd Lincoln. And those are some of the same skills that he had to exercise when dealing with difficult Generals who wouldn't follow his
SCIUTTO: Well, Steve Inskeep, thanks so much, the book is here, "Differ We Must", I would recommend you read it because, listen, these are times we
live in -- those were difficult times, these are difficult times, and there's hope. Steve Inskeep, thanks so much.
INSKEEP: Jim, thanks so much, I really enjoyed it.
SOARES: Well, while Ukraine waits to hear whether more U.S. aid will be approved, it's turning to bolder battlefield strategies. CNN's Fred
Pleitgen met the Ukrainian special forces who are taking the fight inside Russian-occupied Crimea.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A brazen attack from the sea, Ukrainian forces using jet skis to land in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
PLEITGEN: The fighter speaking goes by the call sign, Musician. He tells me the operation was successful, but tough. "When we were landing, the sea
was stormy", he says, "the waves were up to 2 meters high, plus Russian warships were patrolling the raptors."
The Ukrainians say they also managed to destroy a Russian military gear before racing off across the Black Sea, using larger boats to carry fuel
for the jets skis on the long journey back to Ukrainian-held territory. Musician says these missions are militarily essential.
"It helps our forces in the trenches", he says. "We distract the enemies attention towards us, and the enemy is forced to relocate their personnel
and vehicles to the Crimean sea side." Ukraine has started a major campaign against Russian military targets in and around Crimea, hitting the HQ of
Moscow's Black Sea fleet, damaging a submarine and a Russian landing ship as well as hitting an airbase.
The Ukrainians used drones and cruise missiles for some of the attacks, but rely on a network of undercover partisan groups inside Crimea for
information and targeting. One of the groups agreed to answer our questions, but only in writing for security reasons. "We constantly monitor
all military facilities on the territory of the Crimean autonomous region, with the help of our agents and residents of Crimea, who constantly inform
us the ATESH Group rights.
A wide and developed system of agents allows you to make a choice. One of the key targets Ukraine has hit several times, the Kerch Bridge, linking
occupied Crimea to the Russian mainland. The attacks have led to severe disruptions, Russian leader Vladimir Putin vowing revenge.
"There will definitely be a response from Russia", he said. "The Ministry of Defense is preparing proposals." For the Ukrainians, missions like these
are also psychologically important, one of the planners of the jets ski raids tells me.
"We are fighting a trenched war on the frontlines, and the armed forces success is not so obvious", he says, "and special operations of this kind
in the rear or in the sea, they inspire and give energy to keep fighting." And the fighters in the Bradspa(ph) Unit say their next infiltrations are
already in the works, but they won't say when, where, or how. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.
SOARES: On the wars in Israel and Ukraine. It's just now what? Five hours or so away, he left Tel Aviv as you know on Wednesday, and he's expected to
defend his strategy for both wars to the American people.
I want to really tap into --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SOARES: The expertise of my colleague, Jim Sciutto. Jim, with the house as we've laid out and we've discussed today in paralysis, and U.S. trying to
navigate all these crises that we've been talking about today. What are we likely to hear from the president? What does he need to say tonight?
SCIUTTO: You know, it's interesting, his allies have been calling for him for some time to go to the American people, and make a case for U.S.
support for Ukraine, especially with that aid hanging in the balance. That was before this latest war in Israel. Now, he's going to attempt to connect
the two, say that these wars are both ones that are in U.S. interest, to act for its own security, but also to help its friends, Ukraine and Israel
That's the essential argument here, and that's why he's going to make this case to dedicate some $100 billion in support for both of these countries
at this time, hoping that, that can get over what remains some political opposition from a minority in the Republican Party --
SOARES: Yes --
SCIUTTO: But a minority big enough to block that aid. His hope is this message to the American people can break through that wall.
SOARES: Of course, we will bring that -- the president's full speech when he gets underway. Jim, as always, great to be with you on air. Thank you
for your company. Do stay right here --
SCIUTTO: Thank you --
SOARES: For our continuing coverage of "ISRAEL AT WAR". You are watching CNN.