Return to Transcripts main page
Isa Soares Tonight
Israeli Officials Drop Leaflets Asking For More Information On Remaining Hostages After Two More Captives Were Released By Hamas On Monday; Freed Israeli Hostage Speaks Out About Kidnapping And Captivity; IDF Chief Says Fuel Will Be Available For Gaza Civilians But It Won't Be Allowed To Reach Hamas; Civilians Caught In Aftermath Of Gaza Airstrikes; Jordan's Queen States Silence From Western World Is Deafening; Former Trump Campaign Lawyer Pleads Guilty; Deadly Violence And Tension Growing In The West Bank. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 24, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome to our continuing coverage of the war in Israel, I'm Isa Soares in London.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Sara Sidner in Jerusalem. We start with Israel's war against Hamas. Israel continues its airstrikes on
Gaza, but it's also dropping leaflets, asking for information on the more than 200 people it still believes are in cap -- excuse me, are in
captivity. This is after Palestinian militants released two more hostages on Monday.
You can see them here. Yocheved Lifshitz and -- is on the left there, she's 85 years old, and Nurit Cooper on the right is 79. They were both kidnapped
from their Kibbutz in the Hamas attack on October 7th and their husbands are still being held by Hamas. One of the freed hostages has criticized the
Israeli government for missing warning signs ahead of the October 7th attack that killed 1,400 people. She had this description of her time in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOCHEVED LIFSHITZ, HOSTAGE RELEASED BY HAMAS (through translator): I went through hell that I could not have known. I was kidnapped on a motorbike on
my side while they were driving towards Gaza. As we got there, the people told us that they are people who believe in the Quran and that they would
not harm us, and that we would get the same conditions they get in the tunnels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: That was Miss Lifshitz, a grandmother and peace activist for her whole life. Also she helped co-found the Kibbutz where she was taken from.
Israel's military says in Gaza, there were large strikes against 400-plus sites in Gaza over the past 24 hours. They say they're hitting Hamas, but
the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said earlier, at least, 305 children are among the 700 people killed over just the past day.
The situation has become so terrible, parents are writing names on the legs and arms of their children. It's to help identify them if they die in an
airstrike. And bombs aren't the only threat. Premature babies can die from a lack of oxygen and electricity at hospitals is running out. There are
reports of people mixing baby formula with dirty water as food and drinking water is running out as well.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has this look at the dire conditions inside Gaza. And we want to warn you, what you're going to see are very graphic images.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Moments after an overnight strike in Gaza stunned survivors stumble out. People nearby rush to help.
"There's no ambulance, we have to get people out", a man shouts. Men dig with bare hands, it is dark, dusty.
The screams are jarring. "Look at the children, look at the children", he says. It is sheer chaos and carnage. This is the aftermath of just one of
the hundreds of bombings a day that batter the Gaza Strip. The scene captured by a journalist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ABDELAZIZ: Israel says it is targeting Hamas, and aims to wipe out the group. But Palestinians and aid agencies say it is civilians that are dying
by the hundreds. Drone footage shows entire neighborhoods already leveled by the near-constant bombardment, nothing is spared. Schools, Mosques,
shelters, medical centers all struck according to the United Nations.
Gaza is all too familiar with war, but has never seen it on this scale. And for survivors, there is little life left here. Baby Sanadal Hallibi(ph) is
now an orphan. But he is far too young to understand that.
"What did this little boy do? An airstrike hit his house while he was sleeping", his uncle says, "his whole family was killed. He's the only
Stop this. Stop this suffering." There are calls for Israel to pause hostilities, but the IDF is only ramping up its attacks and preparing for
what's expected to be a full-on ground invasion of the enclave. But Gazans say they can endure no more. Amar Battir(ph) says nearly 50 members of his
extended family were killed after they followed Israel's evacuation instructions.
"We were hosting our family from the north, 50 to 70 people because it was supposed to be safe", he says. "But at dawn, our home was bombed. We don't
know what to do. We've lost our minds." Gaza is praying for relief. But the cries of anguish here are so far unheard. The bloodshed won't stop.
SIDNER: Incredibly disturbing situation there in Gaza, a human catastrophe to be sure. That was our Salma Abdelaziz reporting for us there. A doctor
at Gaza's largest hospital says it will become a mass grave if fuel runs out. It won't have power to run its ventilators, lights and anesthesia
machines and patients will die, putting it very plainly.
The head of Israel's military says they will make sure there is fuel for civilians in Gaza, but it won't be allowed to reach Hamas. U.N. Palestinian
Refugee Agency says they will have to stop humanitarian aid on Wednesday if no more fuel arrives. A spokesperson says they need 160,000 liters of fuel
for their own facilities and critical services like hospitals and bakeries.
For more on the situation there, I am joined live by a senior member of the U.N. Palestinian Refugee Agency, Thomas White is the UNRWA Director of
Affairs in Gaza. Thank you so much for joining us at this really difficult time.
THOMAS WHITE, UNRWA DIRECTOR OF AFFAIRS IN GAZA: Good evening.
SIDNER: I want to ask you first, and say to you that I am very terribly sorry about the 35 colleagues of yours that have lost their lives. And I
want to ask you how that is very much impacting your ability to deal with the masses of human beings there who need help and shelter.
WHITE: As noted, we're really struggling to come to terms with the loss of now 35 colleagues. And we fear that there are going to be more humanitarian
workers lost. This is amongst the thousands of people who have already died, obviously in Gaza city yesterday, it's a scene of devastation. Every
city block has numerous houses that have fully collapsed. There is rubble on the road.
It's eerily quiet, the few people you see out on the streets trying to find bread, trying to find water. But the main thing is everybody in Gaza in the
north and the south scared about airstrikes that are coming in. That's just another airstrike that is coming near out, not just the space in Rafah.
People are scared about the airstrikes and they are desperately short of food, water and shelter.
SIDNER: Can you give us some sense -- I want to talk about the fuel issue because there are many different things like incubators for babies, you
know, like the desalination plant that need fuel to run and electricity, the one electric plant that needs fuel to run. What is the situation there?
How close are all of these places, hospitals, most importantly, how close are they to being completely out of fuel and therefore everything else?
WHITE: That's our main concern right now, that we are going to run out of fuel. Where we will be making some decisions about what we don't provide
fuel to coming Thursday. That is, do we provide fuel for desalination plants, for drinking water? Can we provide fuel to hospitals? Can we
provide the essential fuel that is currently producing a bread that is feeding people in Gaza?
We really appeal that we need to find a solution to the fuel, otherwise, our aid operation will come to a stop, people will not have access to clean
drinking water. Hospitals are going to be closing, and in fact, our whole aid operation will start winding down. Even if convoys come into Gaza, we
won't have the fuel in our trucks to collect that aid or distribute that aid.
SIDNER: Well, that is just absolutely dire. Can you, lastly, tell me, I know that UNRWA has provided shelter for people.
How many people are you providing shelter for at this time? And what do those facilities look like with the masses of people that are having to
flee from northern Gaza to southern Gaza, where there's just not enough aid for everyone? Certainly not even just a fraction of the population there.
WHITE: We have got close to 600,000 people now sheltering predominantly in schools that should have kids in classrooms. They're now hosting about
4,000 people per school. We plan for capacity of 1,500 people per school if there was a war.
They -- we are struggling to provide basic shelter in these locations, essentially, we have people now sleeping in the open, we are struggling to
keep the sanitation systems going, and now, as aid supplies run out, we can't provide the basics of food and water for people there. So the
conditions are very desperate, but we're also very worried, we've had a number of our shelters that have been impacted by airstrikes. So even
people sheltering in a U.N. facility are not safe.
SIDNER: When you say that people -- some of your facilities which I know that schools are one of the places that you help run there are -- have been
impacted by airstrikes. And one of the things that Israel keeps saying every time they're asked about an airstrike in a place like, you know, a
Mosque or a Church is that there are Hamas militants there or that there's some sort of Hamas firearms there. What is your stance on that?
WHITE: Look, I don't really know what they're targeting. What I know is, yesterday, in a health clinic in Rafah, an airstrike struck about 200
meters from our facility, it sent shockwaves through the building, we were covered in dust. This is people who are seeking medical care in a U.N.
facility, very close to an airstrike.
We have had people injured and killed in airstrikes against our facilities, facilities that are hosting people, sheltering under the U.N. flag.
SIDNER: Well, Tom White, thank you so much for the work that you and your colleagues are doing there in Gaza to try to deal with the humanitarian
catastrophe that is going on there. We will be checking back in with you as much as we can to find out what has happened, and if you ever are able to
get a hold of enough fuel to be able to power the things that are the most important that are helping save lives. Appreciate you.
WHITE: Thank you very much, thank you.
SOARES: A very desperate and dire situation there, as you heard from -- well, one aid group says at least 2,000 children have been killed in Gaza,
and the Palestinian Health Ministry say the death toll has surpassed 5,700 people. Later, we'll have an inside look at a father trying to protect his
family, desperately searching for safety in Gaza. That's in about 20 minutes or so.
We are learning more about the hostages released by Hamas as Bianca Nobilo now explains one of the women is angry, saying her country's government was
not ready for the attacks.
LIFSHITZ (through translator): It was a hell I could not have known.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An 85-year-old grandmother, one of the two Israeli hostages released by Hamas Monday night, expressed
anger towards her government for not taking the Hamas threat seriously in the weeks leading up to the horror of October the 7th.
LIFSHITZ: The lack of awareness by Shin Bet and the IDF hurt us a lot. They were warned three weeks beforehand. They burnt fields, they sent fire
balloons and the IDF did not treat it seriously.
NOBILO: Safely reunited with her daughter, Yocheved Lifshitz detailed the horror that unfolded in her home in southern Israel.
LIFSHITZ: All of a sudden on a Saturday morning, everything was very quiet. There was a hard pounding on the settlement. I was kidnapped on a motorbike
on my side while they were driving towards Gaza in the field.
NOBILO: The ensuing two weeks, she was held hostage in Hamas' secretive network of underground tunnels. Upon her release, her testimony of the
traumatic ordeal, extraordinary, from horror to displace of humanity from her captors.
LIFSHITZ: When we got there, they told us they believed in the Quran and would not harm us, and that they would give us the same conditions that
they had inside the tunnels. For each of us, there was a guard, they took care of every detail.
There were a lot of women and they knew about feminine hygiene, and they took care of everything there.
NOBILO: She was released alongside her female neighbor, but her husband remains held in Gaza. Her freedom, a relief for Yocheved's daughter and a
glimmer of hope for the families whose loved ones remain as hostages under Hamas.
Her experience now, a potentially critical insight into Hamas' spider web of tunnels and the behavior's planning and objectives of a group which
shocked the world with their capabilities, preparedness and brutality on October the 7th. Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.
SOARES: Well, joining us now, CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. And Nic, with two more hostages being released there by Hamas
out of the 222, according to the IDF, I would assume -- and correct me if I'm wrong that this puts extra pressure here on Prime Minister Netanyahu to
delay an incursion into Gaza, to give more time to negotiations. What is your sense on the ground of how realistic that is or whether he's willing
to do this?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It does seem that, yes, succumbing to the pressure, albeit, he doesn't want to. And he like others
in the Israeli leadership recognizes that Hamas was always going to use the hostages as a pressure point because historically, that's what they've
And this is -- they're sort of following through on that expectation. But in a way, the Israeli leadership and Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn't have
the initiative at the moment on the situation. And I -- and clearly, that is in part why it's been forced pressure from the international community,
but pressure also from Hamas about negotiations with the hostages not to launch a ground incursion at this time.
The pressure point really seems to be coming down to a point right now because one of the key things has been fuel along with humanitarian aid to
get into Gaza. And as recently as last night, the spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mark Ruggerfeld(ph) said, look, no fuel going in
because we believe Hamas is going to use it for military means.
Today, we heard from the head of the IDF, General Halevi saying, look, we can consider fuel, but only if it's used specifically to help the health of
civilians, not at all for it to go to -- to go to Hamas. So that does seem to be a softening of that point. So as much as there's a military readiness
and a military desire and a political desire --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: To do what they said they were going to do, which is have an incursion and take out the leadership and the roots and structure of Hamas,
at the moment, it does seem to be held up on this issue of a balance between fuel, possibly, and hostages possibly being released. But how many
hostages and who are they?
You know, all the international hostages, how does that change the equation if it's only some of them if it's a continual drip? Then it's quite easy
to see how that's going to hamper the decision. But in terms of the troops being ready and positioned, nothing actually is changing on the ground in
that context. And the airstrikes have continued today.
The health -- although health officials in Gaza say 700 people killed, the more than 500 targeted strikes by the IDF in the past 24 hours or so, they
say, against Hamas leadership. So, the incursion is only part of the picture, but it does only seem temporarily on hold.
SOARES: Indeed, Nic Robertson for us in Sderot in Israel, thank you very much, Nic. We're going to take a short break, and Sara and I will be back
SIDNER: Every one of us has a stake, every one of us, a responsibility in defeating terrorism. Those words came from the U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken during a U.N. Security Council meeting today on the situation in the Middle East. Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. support of
Israel's right to defend itself, while also calling on members to use their leverage to stop the war from expanding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: To all of the members of this council, if you, like the United States want to prevent this conflict
from spreading, tell Iran, tell its proxies in public, in private, through every means, do not open another front against Israel in this conflict. Do
not attack Israel's partners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced Hamas, but also noted what is happening to the Palestinian people in Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: I have condemned equivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7th October acts of terror by
Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians or the launching of rockets against civilian
Excellencies, it is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56
years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence, their economy stifled,
their people displaced and their homes demolished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: In response to Guterres' comments, the Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan tweeted a call for the U.N. Secretary-General to resign, saying
he would not fit -- he is not fit to lead the U.N. In Israel --
SOARES: Well, in Israel, French President Emmanuel Macron met with the families of French victims of the October 7th Hamas attacks, at least, 30
French citizens were killed, nine are still missing. He also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, voicing support,
but also warning Israel that it needs to let allies know what it's planning. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE: About the fact that this fight against terrorism is obviously a matter of existence for Israel, but it's a matter
of existence for all of us. I consider that, this is an international coalition in order to fight against this terrorist group that we have to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, a source from the French presidential palace echoed Mr. Macron's comments, saying Israel needs, quote, "an endgame in Gaza and to
share more details of its plans with partners in order to secure broader cooperation." Let's get more on all of this, joining us now, Slovenian
Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon.
Minister, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. Let me pick up first with those comments from the Elysee source, do you believe
that ally should be asking Israel here for more details about Israel's endgame in Gaza?
TANJA FAJON, FOREIGN MINISTER, SLOVENIA: Yes, good evening from Ljubljana. As you know, Slovenia is now also an observer in the Security Council, and
we are deeply concerned about the developments in the Middle East. What I can say is, of course, we strongly condemn the Hamas brutal attack on
Israel and civilians killing.
But we're deeply concerned in Slovenia about the developments in Gaza Strip, seeing that there is no water, there's no electricity, there's no
fuel, no humanitarian assistance. And a lot of innocent civilians, women, children being dead. We see a lot of hostages also -- no civilian should
be, you know, should be held as a hostage or a shield.
And this is why yesterday when we had a Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, I also urged for -- have a humanitarian ceasefire or pauses, whatever we
are discussing, but this humanitarian assistance is urgent now. And there is a moral responsibility we all hold, and when I say, of course, I fully
understand Israel has its right for self-defense, it has to be also according to international law, international humanitarian and refugee law
and proportionate. We want to see that people --
SOARES: Yes --
FAJON: In need are there in safe places.
SOARES: Can I just clarify, minister, because this is important. Is Slovenia saying here that there needs to be a ceasefire?
FAJON: Yesterday, I called to ceasefire, humanitarian ceasefire. It's perfectly fine if we discuss about pauses that can lead to a ceasefire, but
what is urgent now is to act. We, today, saw no fuel for hospitals or water supply means, that hospitals closed down. That is where we have to see what
is international humanitarian law.
We have to provide, everyone has to provide aid to civilians. If it's a pause we are speaking, but this pauses of course, we wish to see that they
lead to a humanitarian ceasefire. But anything we can do is needed urgently now.
SOARES: Yes, and we know from the Israelis that the aim, and they've said it all along, is to break the back, let's say of Hamas. What we don't know
is how they're going to achieve that goal. Sources basically telling CNN, that partners need a sense, and I'm quoting here, "of the time,
practicability and realism of a military operation in Gaza. Do you agree?
FAJON: I agree with everyone who believes in a dialogue and finding solutions, how to stop killing innocent civilians. I deeply regret every
innocent civilian victim and dead person no matter where. And this is what we stand for. I also would like to see that the conflict, of course,
doesn't spill over to the region. This is the fear of all of us.
That is why we have to engage with our Arab partners, with Iran, with countries in the region to find a solution. First, how to help civilians,
how to provide humanitarian assistance, and how to prevent from escalation of conflict in the region.
SOARES: Foreign Minister, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us this evening, thank you very much.
FAJON: Thank you very much --
SOARES: We are -- we are going to take a short break, we'll be back after this.
SOARES: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the Israel-Hamas war. The death toll has now surpassed 5,700 people in Gaza. At least a third of
them children. That's according to the Palestinian health ministry, which says more than 15,000 other people have been injured.
As Israel steps up airstrikes in Gaza, the humanitarian crisis there grows more dire. Food, water, electricity are scarce right now.
SIDNER: CNN producer Ibrahim Dahman and his family fled Gaza City in a desperate attempt to find safety. Here is his story, in his own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IBRAHIM DAHMAN, CNN PRODUCER (from captions): "Are we going to die today?"
That's what my son asks since we fled Gaza City. Life in Khan Younis is difficult. We're eating the bare minimum to survive. Because there's no
electricity, my children can't see the horror online.
Over the weekend, we were told to go to the Rafah crossing. We were told it's now closed. We made our way back, hoping that tomorrow will be better
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Our producer there on the ground in Gaza.
The Palestinian health ministry says more than 2,000 children have been killed in Gaza. Now some parents are taking the heartbreaking step of
writing names on their children's legs, so they can be identified in the event they are killed.
As we saw there in Ibrahim's piece, families are dealing with a shortage of food and water that is safe to drink.
Joining me now is Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF representative in Egypt.
Good to see you. The situation on the ground is just getting more desperate, more dire by the minute. Give us a sense of what your teams on
the ground are telling you, Jeremy.
JEREMY HOPKINS, UNICEF REPRESENTATIVE IN EGYPT: So indeed, things are getting worse by the minute and we are extremely concerned. We do have a
team of 35 amazing colleagues in Gaza, working day and night, despite the terribly, terribly difficult conditions which they're experiencing
HOPKINS: As you pointed, out, the principal priorities right now are, food water and medicine, related to health and water supplies. Our concern is
that we are not currently able to safely deliver these supplies.
We are getting them over the, border, we're getting them into some parts of Gaza but there are some parts of Gaza where we do not have safe access. So
we're insisting that we must have a humanitarian cease-fire so that we can deliver the aid to those who need it right now.
There's 1.4 million people displaced at least, of which 600,000 are children. You heard the terrible statistics about children killed, over
2,000 of the total number of civilians killed.
Our concern is that is a percentage of the children among the population, meaning the scale of the killing is unprecedented. We do call on all
parties to an immediate cease-fire. It is the only way we can stop the death and destruction.
SOARES: If there is no humanitarian corridor pause here, Jeremy, what would that mean if you cannot distribute this much needed water, medicine, food
to those in desperate need?
HOPKINS: Well, we can get limited supplies over the border. It's averaging around 20 trucks, three days of 20 trucks over the border with precious
food, water systems, equipment and medicine and health supplies. But that is a drop in the ocean.
We need to be getting at least 100 trucks over every day. Prior to the conflict, just to put it in context, there were 400 trucks of supplies
going in and out of Gaza.
How do we do this?
I mean, some parts of Gaza, we are distributing supplies. The supplies gone in are being distributed, rest assured. But we had prepositioned stocks in
parts of Gaza prior to the conflict. Some of those are inaccessible because it is too dangerous to get there.
What will we do?
What we're doing, now, operating under a humanitarian imperative, where every child must not be a target. Every child must be safe. We are doing
our best to get access to those children and to bring them the supplies they so desperately need.
But without a humanitarian cease-fire, we cannot hope to even reach all those children who need us now.
SOARES: We've seen trucks going in over the weekend, some on Monday.
Any indication when a next set of cargo, the next convoy of aid will be going in?
And why it's taking so long?
HOPKINS: Because the parties are in these very complex and technical discussions on how to set up a system to ensure that the humanitarian
supplies can go in. That is not good enough.
We need those parties to step up and recognize the humanitarian nature of the crisis, which is catastrophic, and to scale up rapidly those supplies.
When is the next set of trucks going in?
I'm not quite sure. We have considerable supplies at the, border 25 tons of health supplies, 35 tons of water system supplies, including water. It
could be across the border in a matter of hours if we had a humanitarian corridor up and running in a sustained manner.
But we don't. Instead, we're wasting precious time while children are dying.
SOARES: Look, I feel your frustration, Jeremy. Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to, us and thanks for your team on the ground for
the work they are doing. Thank you very much.
Neighboring countries like Jordan are watching the situation in Gaza with growing concern. In the last, hour our chief international anchor,
Christiane Amanpour, spoke to Queen Rania of Jordan in a world exclusive. She had some strong words about how the world has been reacting. Take a
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANIA AL ABDULLAH, QUEEN OF JORDAN: I think the people all around the Middle East, including Jordan, are shocked and disappointed by the world's
reaction to this catastrophe that is unfolding. In the last couple of weeks we have seen a glaring double standard in the world.
When October 7th happened, the world immediately and unequivocally stood by Israel and tried to defend itself and condemned the attack that happened.
But what we're seeing the last couple of weeks, we're seeing silence in the world. Countries have stopped just expressing concern or acknowledging the
QUEEN RANIA: But always with a preface of a declaration of support for Israel.
Are we being told that it is wrong to kill a family, an entire family at gunpoint, but it's OK to shell them to death?
I mean, there is a glaring double standard here. And it is just shocking to the Arab world. This is the first time in modern history that there is such
human suffering and the world is not even calling for a cease-fire. So the silence is deafening.
And to many in our region, it makes the Western world complicit through their support and through the cover that they give Israel, that it's just -
- it's right to defend itself. Many in the Arab world are looking at the Western world not just tolerating this but aiding and abetting it.
And this is just horrendous and deeply, deeply disappointing to all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Strong words there from Queen Rania of Jordan.
We'll take a short break and be back after this.
SOARES: It has been three weeks, if you're counting, since the U.S. House of Representatives has had a speaker, preventing the chamber from funding
Ukraine, Israel or even the U.S. government itself.
But today, House Republicans picked a new nominee for the role, representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota. It followed a series of secret
ballots to narrow down the choice from eight candidates earlier in the day.
It's unclear whether he can get the 217 votes to ultimately win the gavel. He's been facing criticism from some allies of former president Donald
Trump for voting to certify the 2020 election. Some Republicans who oppose him say they aren't going to drop that opposition.
A former campaign lawyer for Donald Trump, Jenna Ellis, has pleaded guilty in Georgia's 2020 presidential election subversion case. Ellis gave an
emotional apology in court after pleading guilty to the felony charge of aiding and abetting false statements. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined
to represent Donald Trump in these post election challenges. I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.
For those failures of mine, Your Honor, I have taken responsibility already before the Colorado bar, who censured me. And I now take responsibility
before this court and apologize to the people of Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And this follows guilty pleas from two other Trump lawyers charged in the election interference case in just the past week.
We take you to Ukraine where the military says its troops are holding the front line around the Donetsk city of Avdiivka. This despite minor gains
made by Russia and a significant push two weeks ago.
Ukraine says it has repelled 10 Russian attacks around the city in the last 24 hours. Meantime, Ukrainian authorities have ordered evacuation of
children from dozens of settlements in the Donetsk and Kherson regions, citing increased Russian military activity in eastern as well as southern
Still to come tonight, much more on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, including a report from the West Bank about the escalating violence there. Our Sara
Sidner has that story after this.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
Well, violence in the occupied West Bank has been escalating since the October 7th Hamas attacks. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed and
hundreds more injured. That is according to the Palestinian Authority.
Sara Sidner is with me from Jerusalem.
Sara, I know you've been to the West Bank. Talk to the rising tensions and the climate of fear that you have seen.
What did you hear, what did you see?
SIDNER: I think the climate of fear has exploded basically. There have been Israeli security forces, who say that they are doing raids on terrorist
enclaves, as they put it, or you are hearing from settlers, who say that they are extremely afraid that the Palestinians themselves, who are going
through this -- if you look at the numbers, they are taking the brunt of the number of deaths.
And a lot of these attacks have been caught on camera. Take a look.
SIDNER (voice-over): Armed and on high alert, Yossi Dagan oversees 40 Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Since Hamas' terror attack on Israel,
he considers them Nazis
YOSSI DAGAN, GOVERNOR, SHOMRON REGION (through translator): We are standing against a Nazi enemy, as cruel as the cave men from 3,000 years ago who
carried a massacre on our brothers in the south.
SIDNER (voice-over): Jewish settler presence here has always been fraught, deemed illegal by international law. The events of October 7th have put
these settlements on a war footing.
SIDNER (voice-over): CNN gained rare access to one of the hundreds of settlements dotted throughout the Palestinian Territories. Armed patrols
are now everyday occurrences in Kiryat Netafim.
Fortified perimeters segregate Jewish communities from Palestinian. Local husbands, fathers and some volunteers keep the unwanted out at all times.
Natan Douek has stopped going to work and called his local draft office in the days after the attack.
NATAN DOUEK, RESIDENT, KIRYAT NETAFIM: We need to protect ourselves because we are surrounded by people who don't necessarily like us. I didn't feel
like I have to go fight but definitely defend my home.
He has had enough.
SIDNER (voice-over): And the situation is no child's play, he says. Their world was turned upside down on October 7th.
DOUEK: That day, October the 7th, was Shabbat. At the end of Shabbat we say a prayer and-- sorry --
SIDNER: That's OK.
DOUEK: -- some of it is --
SIDNER: That's the prayer?
DOUEK: -- you know, asking God to help us and to keep our children safe and to keep our soldiers safe. And some of these words, I just couldn't say
them because, you know -- we weren't safe on October 7th.
SIDNER (voice-over): Palestinians say they weren't safe from some settlers long before October 7th and it has only gotten more violent since.
Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian activist and a former Palestinian Liberation Organization official in the West Bank.
HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST, FORMER PLO OFFICIAL: They tell you they're afraid.
Why are you committing a war crime?
What are you living on Palestinian land illegally?
Just because Israel tells you you can?
This is occupied territory.
SIDNER (voice-over): She says the Palestinian Territories are shrinking beyond recognition because of all of the illegal settlements. And then,
there is the growing settler Palestinian violence.
Much of the violence has been caught on camera. Here, Jewish settlers throw rocks and fire guns at Palestinian homes. In another incident after a
confrontation, a Jewish settler shoots an apparently unarmed Palestinian in the stomach.
We asked Yossi Dagan about this incident.
SIDNER: How do you defend the Palestinians who have been killed by settlers?
DAGAN (through translator): Am I supposed to explain to CNN why terrorists that tried to kill civilians or soldiers who were shot by security forces,
the police or the army?
With all due respect, I don't really understand the question.
SIDNER (voice-over): But we clarified in English and Hebrew, showing him a video.
DAGAN (through translator): What you are showing me now is an edited tendentious video of attempted terrorists to hurt and kill Jews that are
protecting themselves. This happens a lot and, unfortunately, there aren't two equal sides.
SIDNER: The video that you are seeing is not edited but Palestinians agree with one thing he says, the sides are not equal. They are the overwhelming
victims in this, they say.
ASHRAWI: They are on a rampage. They gave them weapons and they encourage them and they gave them support and protection by the Israeli occupation
SIDNER (voice-over): Ashrawi is referring to Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's hardline national security minister. Days after Hamas' attack, he announced
the purchase of 10,000 guns to arm civilian security teams. He himself began passing them out.
Gun ownership used to be heavily restricted in Israel. But those laws have changed and now settlers are getting a huge amount of weapons.
Back in settlement Kiryat Netafim, Liat Har-Tov takes us to the home where she raised her five children. She says here they have had a peaceful
coexistence with their Palestinian neighbors.
LIAT HAR-TOV, RESIDENT, KIRYAT NETAFIM: I lived here for 24 years. I never feared.
SIDNER: And now?
HAR-TOV: Something has quit (ph). I think every mother in Israel these days feels the same, that something is not the same anymore.
SIDNER (voice-over): Har-Tov says she moved here in part because land was cheap. But most settlers also come because of religious reasons.
Jews consider the settlement part of their Biblical homeland and refer to them by their Biblical names, Judea and Samaria. But international law says
that settlers are illegally occupying Palestinian land meant for a Palestinian state one day.
ASHRAWI: We say, we are the people of the land. We will stay here. We are the Indigenous people and we are going to stay here, no matter what Israel
tries to do.
SIDNER (voice-over): In this moment, in the decades-long conflict, no one here can see how anyone will be able to live in peace anytime soon.
SIDNER: And obviously, that is one of the long-standing issues in this conflict. What happened in the Hamas attack is something different. But the
underlying conflict is still very much here.
And it really is exploding once again over Palestinian land that is being settled and the fight between those who want to settle the land, the
permission by the Israeli government, and the Palestinians, who see this land very much as their state that they would like to create and have
It is a problem that I think and a conflict that I think will go on and on forever until someone from both sides is able to come to an agreement. We
have not seen that happen yet in all these years.
SOARES: Important context and reporting from our Sara Sidner.
Thank you, Sara.
And that does it from both of us. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. We will have much more continuing coverage of the Israel-