Return to Transcripts main page

Isa Soares Tonight

Body Of Israeli Hostage Found Near Al-Shifa Hospital; Netanyahu's Rivals At Home Call For His Removal; Spain's Pedro Sanchez Wins New Term; Israeli Opposition Leader Calls On Netanyahu To Resign; Pedro Sanchez Wins New Term As PM; Interview With Catalan President On Push For Independence; "Next Big Trip". Aired 2-3p ET

Aired November 16, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Israel says it has found the body of a

hostage near the Al-Shifa Hospital. We'll have more on this breaking news in just a moment. Also ahead this evening, it's the tone shifting on

Israel? As allies start to change their language on the war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rivals at home are calling to replace him. And then Spain's Pedro Sanchez finally wins a new term as prime

minister, will his deal with Catalan separates come back to bite him, though? I'll be speaking with Catalonia's regional head of government this

very hour.

But this just into CNN. Israeli forces say the body of an Israeli hostage taking captive on October the 7th has been found near Al-Shifa Hospital and

brought back to Israel. We'll have more details of course, as they become available, in terms of context for a second day. The IDF are carrying out

an operation inside Gaza's largest hospital as they come under growing international pressure to prove their claim that Hamas was using Al-Shifa

as a command center.

Israel's military released this video of what it says it's combat equipment used by Hamas at the hospital. CNN cannot verify those claims. So far,

there is no significant evidence of a major tunnel structure leading to the hospital, a charge made by Israel. An Israeli army spokesperson says it

could take a few weeks to finish the IDF's search of Al-Shifa.

He told "BBC", he's confident soldiers will find what he calls the underground infrastructure. And in a sign that Israeli forces could soon

begin a ground offensive in southern Gaza, leaflets were dropped near Khan Younis, warning people to move and head towards known shelters. CNN is

trying to reach out to contacts in the area who may have seen those leaflets.

Let's break it all down, our Oren Liebermann joins me now. And Oren, let's start first on this breaking news about the body of a hostage that the

Israeli said -- army said it's found near Al-Shifa, the hospital. What do we know?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Isa, at this point, we don't have too many details, but we did just get a statement from the IDF a short

time ago, saying that the body of Yehudit Weiss had been found in a building next to Al-Shifa Hospital where they've been operating. We know

for the past several days, even before they moved in on the hospital itself, looking for evidence that Hamas was using it.

The IDF says the body was found again in a building near Al-Shifa Hospital of Yehudit Weiss and recovered, identified, brought back to Israel and her

family was notified. They also say along with the body of Yehudit Weiss, they found what they say was essentially a Hamas outpost, with rocket-

propelled grenades as well as AK 47s.

Weiss, according to the IDF was from Kibbutz the area right outside of Gaza, that was one of the Kibbutz team that was hardest hit in the terror

attack on October 7th. She was taken hostage, and they were looking for her as they were for other Israeli hostages until the IDF discovered her body

and brought her body back to Israel.

She is now the second Israeli hostage whose death has been notified to the family, the first was Noa Marciano just several days ago. It is worth

noting we don't know how Yehudit Weiss died, we also don't know if her body was discovered in a destroyed building, suggesting she might have died in

Israeli airstrikes or if she died in the hands of Hamas.

Also worth noting, the two hostages we know of now who died in Gaza, at least, as far as we can tell, were both found alone, suggesting that Hamas

is holding them and other factions are holding them in very small groups, and that makes the effort to locate them, find them and perhaps try to

rescue them, even far more difficult. Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and important to point out that we've heard from the IDF that her husband Shmulik was killed in the Hamas slaughter on October 7th. Let's

stay in Gaza, though, Oren, because as our viewers would have heard, we have been hearing that Israel is dropping leaflets across parts of southern

Gaza, calling for civilians to evacuate.

I suppose the question is, from -- to ask the IDF, and maybe you've got this question from where they're going to evacuate to? Where do they want

them to evacuate to? And what is the objective here, by the IDF with these leaflets?

LIEBERMANN: There isn't an indication as far as we know in the leaflet on where to go to. We know these leaflets were dropped in certain areas east

of Khan Younis, that's the major city in southern Gaza.


And we have heard from Palestinians there, we have seen essentially "Reuters" talking to people there, who say look, we have nowhere to

evacuate. We were told to evacuate from northern Gaza to southern Gaza, the IDF has been operating in northern Gaza and has created evacuation

corridors for Palestinians to go south. And now, the IDF is telling them to evacuate to southern Gaza.

So they say there is no safe place, there is no safe haven from Israeli bombardment. We also heard from Israel's Defense Ministry, Yoav Gallant

yesterday, who said the operation would take time and would be in both northern Gaza and southern Gaza.

But it's difficult to get more details at this point, and we have had trouble communicating with some who may have received this leaflet, because

there is a total communications blackout according to a U.N. agency as the generators and the equipment that powers communications equipment runs out

of fuel.

SOARES: Oren Liebermann for us there in Tel Aviv, thanks very much, Oren. Well, the White House says it remains convinced of the soundness of

intelligence it claims shows Hamas using Al-Shifa Hospital as a command center. But U.S. officials again have refused to provide any further

evidence to back up that assessment. Have a listen to this.



intelligence analysis that the basement and areas of that hospital, underneath that hospital, and the hospital itself, has been used, is being

used by Hamas as a command and control mode.


SOARES: Well, CNN's Natasha Bertrand joins me now from the Pentagon. And Natasha, on the intelligence in the last 30 minutes or so, we've heard now

the U.S. saying it has intercepts showing Hamas was using Al-Shifa Hospital. What more can you tell us about this?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: That's right, so we're told that among the intelligence the U.S. has collected, giving them

confidence that Hamas has been using the hospital as this kind of command center and storage area for their weapons, is signals intelligence, which

involves intercepted communications that the U.S. obtained of Hamas militants discussing this kind of infrastructure.

However, as you noted, there has not been any definitive proof in terms of imagery or video that the U.S. has provided to back up those assessments,

and of course, it is difficult to go into more detail about the sources of the intelligence because they are apparently still using those sources to

try to find the hostages. Because if you recall, the U.S. is helping the Israelis with intelligence collection when it comes to hostage recovery,

including with overhead assets like drones.

So, this is very sensitive stuff, and the U.S. is saying that this is part of the collection that they did themselves. In other words, they are not

just relying on Israeli collection, for example, signals intelligence or intercepted communications that the Israelis obtained, but also independent

collection that the U.S. has done itself. And this has been a key question of course, because many reporters, many critics here in the U.S. have been

asking the U.S. whether they can fully rely, of course, on the intelligence that the Israelis have picked up about Hamas, given the fact that they of

course, missed the massive attack on October 7th.

Well, now the U.S. says no, this is our own intelligence, we are very confident in it. The U.S. though, of course, doesn't have its own sources

on the ground in Gaza. They're relying on these intercepted communications. And so it remains to be seen, of course, what the Israelis produce based on

what they're finding in the hospital, and that will, you know, remain to be seen in terms of the U.S.' assessment.

SOARES: And as you well know Natasha, I mean, Israel is under harsh international criticism for attacks on and around hospitals, Al-Shifa being

one of them. I spoke to the Norwegian Foreign Minister in fact early this week, I think maybe on Tuesday, and this is what he said. Have a listen to



ESPEN BARTH EIDE, FOREIGN MINISTER, NORWAY: Frankly quite worried about the fact that if we care about these standards when they are broken by

Russia and Ukraine, we also need to speak up when we see violations of international humanitarian law in the Middle East because otherwise, we

will be seen as holding different standards.

And I think the rest of the world, the Arab world, the global south will wonder how committed we actually are to the principles that we as western

countries hold high.


SOARES: How much pressure, then, Natasha, is the U.S. under, given the scenes we are seeing in and round hospitals? And talk to what we've heard

just there from one foreign minister who's worried as a European about double standards?

BERTRAND: Enormous pressure, Isa. I mean, this is exactly why the U.S. has been urging the Israelis to take more care with civilians, because of

course, they have to account for the Arab partners that the Secretary of State has been meeting with, that the president has been speaking to over

the last several weeks throughout this entire operation.

They need to reassure Jordan, Egypt, all of these allies, that the Palestinians are being protected, and that the U.S. is not simply funding

and equipping an indiscriminate bombing campaign by the Israelis.

Now, raising more questions about the U.S. posture here, of course, where President Biden's comments last night where he said that the Israelis were

in fact undertaking an indiscriminate bombing campaign inside Gaza, and that he is now began to see somewhat of a shift in the Israeli tactics when

it comes to the hospital, for example, entering using ground forces.


But still, this is something that the administration has had to enter for, has had to account for, especially when it comes of course, to the weapons

they are providing the Israelis --

SOARES: Yes --

BERTRAND: Because the question now moving forward is, how are you going to keep these allies on board when it comes to Ukraine? Which of course,

requires global consensus when many of these partners see a double standard in how you're treating the Israel-Gaza war.

SOARES: Very important context, Natasha Bertrand, thanks for laying it all out for us, appreciate it. Well, China's Foreign Ministry has slammed Joe

Biden's comments as extremely erroneous after the U.S. President called his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping a dictator. Again, Biden's remarks came

shortly after the two leaders held high stakes talks in California. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, after today, would you still refer to President Xi as a dictator? This is a term that you used earlier this year.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, look, he is. I mean, he's a dictator in the sense that he's a guy who runs the country that is a

communist country that is based on a form of government totally different than ours.


SOARES: Stephen Collinson joins me now. And Stephen, you summed up this meeting very eloquently in your article on You wrote, it happened,

therefore it was a success. I mean, expectations were already pretty low. The White House as we heard yesterday set the bar low for success, but

after that meeting, President Biden, Stephen, declared progress was made on what front, exactly?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: I think there are several areas which the present can point to, and say that this meeting was

justified. The re-establishment proposal for the militaries of the U.S. and China to start speaking again after those contacts were suspended for over

a year, following then Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

I think that's a very positive step, it's something the U.S. has wanted for months. We've had this very dangerous situation where Chinese jets and

ships have come within very close range to U.S. forces in the east and South China Seas. That is a massive national security crisis waiting to

happen, so anything that defuses that, I think is very important for Biden, especially as he looks at his re-election year next year.

And there was this agreement for China to cut down on the export of precursor chemicals for fentanyl, which are feeding into this terrible

opioid epidemic in the --

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: United States that are killing thousands of Americans. That is important on its own terms, and politically for Biden as he runs for re-

election. The question is, of course, with all these things, is how much will China actually do to enforce the agreements that it has made.

SOARES: Yes, and after, you know, after -- because we heard them, we saw the meeting roughly around this time yesterday. We saw the warm handshakes,

the smiles, the cordial words between both leaders, and then we heard what President Biden said, we played a little clip there of Xi Jinping calling

him and saying that he's still a dictator.

How much was this, President Biden trying to show he was tough on Xi. How much was his comment for domestic consumption here?

COLLINSON: I think a lot, because even before he spoke, and since, Republicans have been hammering him for just meeting Xi, saying that is a

sign of U.S. weakness, that the U.S. shouldn't be talking to China, notwithstanding how dangerous not talking to China has been on the military


SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: Context, at least. So, that was important for Biden. You know, in terms of whether this will hurt the relationship between Xi and Biden,

it seems quite unlikely, although the Chinese state media is of course taking the chance to come and take a few shots. I think, in America, it's

often overestimated how much the personal connection between a president and another president can actually do.

It's pretty clear that the factors driving U.S.-China relations and the building confrontation across the Pacific, you know, these are fundamental


SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: And they're not personal differences, and they're driven by the interest of each country which are coming into a collision course. So, that

is, I think, far more important than personal remarks by Biden, offhand remarks. You know, this is a geopolitical clash, and I don't think this

summit did anything to change those --

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: Fundamentals.

SOARES: Stephen Collinson, appreciate it as always. Thanks Stephen.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, a dire situation for newborn babies in Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital. How Egyptian officials are working to transfer

them over the border. We are live there, next.



SOARES: A major concern in the war between Israel and Hamas, surrounds Gaza residents caught in the crossfire. The IDF say they're giving people

adequate time to evacuate, but what does that look like? CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has one family story, and we need to warn you, some of her report

is graphic. Have a look at this.



JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gaza city. Two-year-old Walid(ph) distracted through his family's most difficult night

of the war so far.



KARADSHEH: With daybreak, the Israeli military calls with an order. You have 30 minutes to get out. It was 9:30 a.m. on November the 10th, with

makeshift white flags, they say the military told them to hold up, they prepared to move.


KARADSHEH: With a little they can carry, they head out and into the unknown. But some too fail to walk.


KARADSHEH: Journalist Quamin Abu-Jamus(ph) is filming the forced evacuation of his family, along with more than 30 of their neighbors. His

phone in his right-hand, and in the other, his son, Walid(ph).


KARADSHEH: He speaks French with his son, looking for his wife ahead.



KARADSHEH: While waiting for other elderly neighbors struggling to catch up.


KARADSHEH: That constant burst you hear is Israeli drones overhead. It's been the soundtrack of Gaza for years. As they get to the other side of the

street, Rami(ph) spots his neighbor Abu Ahmad(ph), something is not right.






KARADSHEH: Ahmad(ph) was shot in the head, he didn't make it.


KARADSHEH: And around the corner, two others, a man and a woman also shot. It's uncertain who opened fire on the group. CNN geolocated these videos

and traced this deadly journey out of central Gaza city, we provided the Israeli military with details of this incident and these coordinates, but

they did not respond to our request for comment.


KARADSHEH (on camera): Hello, Rami(ph).

(voice-over): We reached Rami(ph) now in the south.


KARADSHEH: Like most here, they were on their own. They got to Shifa Hospital, but so did the war.


KARADSHEH: Witness to it all, two-year-old Walid(ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I kept trying to make sure he's not scared, and make him feel like what he's seeing around us is a circus

or an amusement park. I don't know if I succeeded. Even the journey of humiliation where you take a donkey here and a horse there, I was trying to

make that entertaining for him.


I asked Rami(ph) why he decided to film.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I just want this to get to the world so they know the injustice that we're facing. They cast doubt on

everything we do. They're stronger in every way, not just militarily, but with the information that comes out, the narrative that comes out, the news

that comes out. What they say is the truth, and our words are lies.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Please, just deliver our message. I don't want anything else. I don't want all those who have been killed to

have died in vain.

KARADSHEH: Rami(ph) doesn't know what they'll do now, but says he will only leave his homeland forced at gunpoint or dead.



KARADSHEH: Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


SOARES: Such important reporting there from Jomana Karadsheh and team. Well, Israel says it's trying to call people in Gaza to evacuate areas

where military operations are underway to minimize civilian casualties. But there has been worldwide criticism on the number of deaths in Gaza. The

Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health says more than 11,000 people -- 11,000 people -- 400 people have been killed, that includes about 4,700


Well, newborn babies at Al-Shifa Hospital are in quote, "severe danger", as conditions worsen in Gaza. We have been looking -- been showing you here on

the show very bleak images like these this week, infants taken off incubators and placed in a single bed together because of power shortages.

Egyptian officials say they're working to transfer 36 of these children out of Gaza. CNN's Eleni Giokos sat down with the Egyptian Health Minister

yesterday. He says ensuring the transfer can be done safely is a priority. Have a listen to this.


KHALED ABDEL GHAFFAR, HEALTH MINISTER, EGYPT: Hopefully, if they are still alive.


GHAFFAR: Absolutely. Transportation itself is quite challenging because you need to have prepared ambulance with, you know, movable incubators, try

to bring them to the border, and we have to be ready to take them immediately. Because you know that neonatal in situations with the --

despite the stress, they can lose their lives in five minutes.


SOARES: And Eleni joins us now from Cairo. Eleni, well, talk about those people you've been speaking to, Palestinians you've been speaking to in

hospitals who are seeking medical care in just a moment. Let me ask you first about these 36 premature babies, our viewers would have seen those

incredibly hard-to-watch images. What are you hearing from the Egyptians, because the logistics of just getting them out from my discussion to

doctors in Gaza city is incredibly difficult?

GIOKOS: And that is exactly what the Health Minister in Egypt is telling me. It's difficult, it's very risky, and the big fear is that the 36 number

that he gave me on Monday, they fear it might change because every minute counts. That is the update I received from the Ministry today. That every

minute that they don't have oxygen -- and they're not in proper incubators, they don't have electricity, they don't have resources, they could lose

their lives.


And this is the reality we're facing right now. We've heard the story from Al-Shifa, we've seen the images coming through from there, and then the big

issue, the logistical challenges. That road to Rafah is riddled with risks? That is the reality. It's just how to get them there and do they have

enough fuel? On the Egyptian side, that is their lifeline.

The Egyptians are waiting with incubators and ventilators and ambulances, and ready to get these babies, these, you know, tiny little souls that were

born into all of this, unknowingly facing these realities, and they are trying their best and the Egyptians are doing what they can, but they have

to get to the border first.

SOARES: Yes, and I know you have been speaking as well to the Palestinians who have actually made --

GIOKOS: Yes --

SOARES: It out, right? Made it out of Gaza to receive medical care.

GIOKOS: Yes --

SOARES: How are they doing? And what have they been telling you?

GIOKOS: You know, for the first time, CNN has been able to speak to Palestinians that evacuated out of Gaza seeking medical treatment here in

Egypt. We've been covering this story, Isa, for the last few weeks. And we had access to one of the hospitals, we were able to speak to them and visit


It was very confronting because we spoke to people, and I didn't know who I would meet when I arrived, but there were families that they -- you know, I

could literally pinpoint, and these are big events, big strikes that you'll remember that most people have been watching us -- Nurabad(ph), it's a

Jabalia Refugee Camp, it was struck on the 31st of October. I want you to take a listen to this.


GIOKOS (voice-over): Two p.m., 31st of October, Jabalia Camp. Al Maghet(ph) was praying when her husband Rami Mahmoud(ph) went out to get

food. And when he returned, his house, gone. He found Al Ham(ph) by seeing one finger sticking out from the rubble, she survived, but two of her

children did not. Her 15-year-old daughter called a friend before she died, predicting something would happen to her.

Rami(ph) shows me a video of his son, he got a haircut three days before the strike, they tell me, he wanted to look good if he died.


GIOKOS: No warning, no indication of a strike before it happened. We spoke to another family that describes how they move south, they listened to the

IDF's warning, and they moved from the north, they took 50 families, extended families with them, and then a few days later after going to Khan

Younis, they were part of a strike on the 16th of October, and they lost so many family members, Isa.

The stories that they tell me was so confronting, because you know, you can see the trauma, the physical injuries are incredible. We're talking about

shrapnel and wounds and burns and broken bones. Multiple doctors having to intervene, and of course, continued care. But is that emotional trauma that

stays with them.

They described how this is just nightmare they want to wake up from this. And referring to some of the images that they recall waking up under the

rubble and being pulled from the rubble. But one things binds them all. Everyone we spoke to wants to return to Gaza. They don't know what they'll

be returning to, what it will look like, and what is left of their family, but that is their dream and hope.

SOARES: Incredible strength from them, Eleni Giokos, appreciate it, thanks very much, Eleni. And still to come tonight, pressure is mounting on

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as the war rages in Gaza. I'll discuss the -- cuts of the "Jerusalem Post" when we come back.

Plus Pedro Sanchez has secured a new term as prime minister of Spain. I'll have more on his controversial path to power. Both their stories after this

short break. You are watching CNN.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

Five weeks into the Israel-Hamas war, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing growing pressure, both domestically and

internationally. For the first time since the war began, Israel's opposition leader Yair Lapid, has called on Netanyahu to resign, saying

that Israeli leader has lost public trust.

The prime minister has been blamed by critics at home for the security lapse that led to the October 7th attacks, while many foreign leaders have

criticized him for not doing enough to keep civilians in Gaza safe, as Israel hunts down Hamas.


SOARES (voice-over): This comes as hundreds of family members of hostages and, their supporters, take part in a five-day protest march from Tel Aviv

to Jerusalem. Desperate, as well as frustrated, we have heard from several on the show, they are demanding the Israeli government do more to secure

the hostages' release.


SOARES: For more on what may lie ahead, for the prime minister, I want to bring in Yaakov Katz. He's a senior columnist and editor for the "Jerusalem

Post" and previously served as the publications director in chief.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us here on the show. I'm keen to get your thoughts on that comment, first of all, from Yair Lapid, calling

for Netanyahu to resign, five weeks into this war.

How is it being received?

And seen?

And did that comment surprise you, to start off with?

YAAKOV KATZ, "JERUSALEM POST": Yair Lapid is the head of the opposition. It's his job essentially to try to replace the prime minister, to form a

different coalition and to remove prime minister Netanyahu from office. That is his role as the head of the opposition in Israel's parliament,

known as the Knesset.

It's being received in kind of a split way within Israeli society. There are those Israelis who believe that, like Netanyahu said, now is not the

time for Israel to have this reckoning and to begin to think about what will happen and who's to blame and why did this all happen and the


That can wait until after the war. But there are others who believe it is important for this conversation to be had now and that accountability is

required, even as Israeli soldiers are fighting on the ground in the Gaza Strip against Hamas.

SOARES: And Lapid also said there would be broad support, it seems, to form a unity government led by Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party but under

a new leader.

If this is the case and there is enough support, what does this say, potentially, about Netanyahu's future here?


KATZ: Look, Netanyahu's weak, Isa. He's not what he used to be. We've seen Netanyahu now prime minister for pretty much the last 15 years. And if you

add the three years that he was prime minister in the 1990s, he's Israel's longest serving prime minister.

They called him Mr. Teflon, like nothing could touch him. But he is weak. And he's a bit bloody, because of what happened on October 7th. He was the

mastermind, essentially, of the policy that believed in the containment of Hamas.

And that was shattered when thousands of Hamas fighters crossed into Israel and carried out that massacre on October 7th, that has now led to this war

that's protracted already for six weeks long. And we don't see an end in sight; 240 Israelis still being held hostage in the Gaza Strip.

This is a severe escalation and it has his fingerprints all over it. So to the extent of what could happen the day after, well, if he stays in office

-- and it looks like that's what he plans to do -- I would expect to see a number of things happen.

Number one, his Likud Party, which has been loyal to him through all the elections we've been through, five as a matter of fact over the last few

years, there could be a split within that party.

And they could decide to get rid of him internally and elect a new leader, who could then potentially form a coalition, which would not require a new


What could also happen is, I would expect a massive protest by the public, joined by the hundreds of thousands of reservists, 360,000 Israelis have

been called up to serve in this conflict, in the north along the border of Lebanon, as well as in the south inside Gaza and along that border.

These are people who are frustrated by what's happening. They're now six weeks almost in uniform, taken away from their homes, their families, the

places of employment. They're also frustrated with what's happening.

So there's going to be a lot of public outrage and uproar, I would think, much bigger than any of the protests we've seen, during those 8-9 months of

the rift and division in Israeli society, over Netanyahu's judicial overhaul, that brought about that unprecedented rift. So expect a lot more


SOARES: Let me tap into what you said, about the reservists. You wrote a piece recently titled "The IDF Reservists Fighting Gaza Will Fight

Netanyahu after the War."

Just flesh this out for us. They're fighting the war; there seems to be unity, at least there was unity post this horrendous attack on October the


Why will then the reservists go against Netanyahu?

Just explain to us, what've they been telling you, what've you been hearing from the families on this?

KATZ: The reservists, I'll take you back in time for a moment to 2006. In 2006, after the aftermath of the second Lebanon war, that was a 34-day

conflict with Hezbollah. The prime minister at the time was Ehud Olmert and Netanyahu was actually the head of the opposition.

He helped put together a massive protest of the reservists. When they came back from Lebanon, they went straight to a park opposite the Knesset and

the prime minister's office and began to protest, calling on Olmert to step down.

What Olmert ended up doing was appointing and establishing a state commission of inquiry, to look into the failures of that war, which

actually, in the end, pointed at him, said he was the one who was responsible.

I would expect a very similar scenario now. Those reservists who are fighting against Israel's enemies, Hamas and Hezbollah, they are in

uniform. And being in uniform in Israel gives you some credibility, gives you legitimacy.

The IDF, in society, is viewed with this elevated status, because of the nature of just Israel and the threats that it faces, all these 75 years

that we've been a country. And therefore, when they come back and they give back their weapons and then give back their equipment, they're still going

to be in uniform.

I would expect thousands if not tens of thousands of them to come to that same park and to again make similar demands, like were made in 2006. But I

don't know that the state commission of inquiry this time is going to suffice. They might -- they might sit in there and demand that he step


SOARES: Wow. That's very interesting. I'm keen to get your thoughts also on the families, the hostages we've seen. And we played video there of, I

think, five days of protests from these families. We've spoken to families of hostages here, who want Netanyahu out.

One family said to me they blame him for allowing Hamas to become strong.

Give us a sense of, putting politics aside, of the public mood?

KATZ: The public is torn. On the one hand, you're right; you mentioned before there is a great sense of unity today within Israeli society. We all

feel that this is a threat against all of us. It doesn't make a difference if you're a religious Jew, a secular Jew, if you are left-wing, right-wing,

you are in favor of the judicial overhaul, you're against it, you like Netanyahu, you don't, Hamas wasn't asking those questions.

They were coming to kill every single Jew that they could get their hands on. And that's what they essentially did.


KATZ: So therefore this unity is really remarkable. But I have to say, with pain, that when the war is over, we will quickly fall back into those

same positions we were in in the past, when it's, do we want Netanyahu?

Do we not want Netanyahu?

Back to the left-right questions of the past. And therefore, Israelis would want to keep that unity but they know it won't be simple. And then you have

the hostages. I think we have to recognize that, while there might be some success on the battlefields of Gaza from the Israeli military perspective,

they're not getting back the hostages yet.

And If there is a deal, if there is not a deal, this is something that can accompany us for a long time, if not months, years ahead, if you look at

past presidents when they took captives. And this is going to be heart- wrenching and they're going to go after Netanyahu and blame him for what happened.

SOARES: Really important insight, really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. Thank you.

KATZ: Thank you.

SOARES: And this just in to CNN, a jury has now reached a verdict in the federal case involving the man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi a little

more than a year ago in San Francisco.

CNN is learning that David DePape was found of guilty on both counts he was facing. DePape said earlier this week that he was focused on Congresswoman

Nancy Pelosi for political reasons and that her husband, Paul, was not on his list of targets.

He was, quote, "surprising and confused" he said when he found out she was not home. He could face a maximum of 30 years or 20 years in prison for

each count.

Still to come tonight, a risky bet in Spain for Pedro Sanchez as he starts a new term as prime minister, with help from Catalan separatists. I will

speak with their president, next.




SOARES: Acting prime minister, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez will form a new government after clinching a new term as PM. Sanchez secured

this majority of votes needed after months of haggling and sealing an amnesty deal with Catalan separatists.

The vote comes amid divisions in Spain with critics arguing the amnesty is a self serving measure. Thousands, as you have seen, have taken to the

streets, almost two weeks in a row, to protest against the move. I took a closer look at Sanchez's long and controversial path to power.


SOARES (voice-over): After months of negotiations and political upheaval, Pedro Sanchez has secured another term as prime minister. Sanchez won the

backing of the 179 lawmakers --


SOARES (voice-over): -- giving his coalition a majority in the 350 seat parliament. Getting here, though, hasn't been easy. Back in July Alberto

Nunez Feijoo's conservative popular party won the most seats but ultimately lacked the support to form a coalition government.

That opened the door for Pedro Sanchez's socialist party, who were runners- up to form a coalition if he could win enough support. But even with former coalition partner party Sumar in tow, the numbers just weren't there and

support from smaller nationalist parties would be needed to form a workable government.

That meant making a controversial pact with the two Catalan separatist parties, Junts and the Catalan Republican left but that meant making

concessions. The biggest, agreeing to introduce a bill that would grant amnesty to those prosecuted or facing prosecution for their roles in the

2017 independence referendum, which was later ruled illegal.

The controversial move sparked weeks of protests across the country. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets, with some calling Sanchez a


In parliament, political opponents have called the move unconstitutional with the popular party Feijoo saying that, quote, "Making decisions against

a general interest in exchange for personal benefits is political corruption."

In the meantime, Sanchez says the amnesty plan is a move toward dialogue and forgiveness.

PEDRO SANCHEZ, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We have put negotiation before imposition, we have put reunion before revenge, in short

unity before fracture.


SOARES: Just a few hours ago, I spoke with the president of the Catalan government, Pere Aragones. We discussed his party's relationship with Pedro

Sanchez and what this means for Catalonians' independence bid. Here is our conversation.


SOARES: I want to start with the agreement that we have seen now in Spanish parliament. I suspect this bill or this amnesty will benefit as we

have heard the more than 300 people facing prosecution for the roles in the Catalan independence bid.

And that, of course, includes the political leaders and includes Puigdemont, the former president of the Catalan regional government.

How soon will they be released?

And what does it mean for Puigdemont?

PERE ARAGONES, CATALONIA PRESIDENT: As soon as we can and now the law is under procedures in the Spanish parliament, has been registered this week.

So over the next month, it will be approved.

And then after that, we hope that it will be implemented very quickly. So we hope that not only the former president could come to Catalonia next

year, also.

And I think that it's really important, it's also that hundreds of citizens that now are under investigation, will be free and with any charges for the

commitment with a referendum of independence of six years ago.

SOARES: But you're hopeful that Mr. Puigdemont, who's been in exile, can come back as early as next year, early next year?

ARAGONES: I hope so but it's very difficult to say one date exactly.

But the idea and the objective of the amnesty is that all the people who are now being prosecuted for their commitment with the referendum, with the

pro independence movement of Catalonia, for their acts as free citizens, demonstrations, on peaceful and democratic positions, all these people

could return to Catalonia without any charges.

And the people who are now leaving Catalonia won't face any criminal consequence for their political activity.

SOARES: Mr. Sanchez, the prime minister, now has, of course, two Catalan pro independence parties as part of his majority.

What does that mean for Catalonia's independence bid, because you have an important seat at the table?

ARAGONES: Now that we have the opportunity, the opportunity to continue the negotiation process that we started four years ago, during the last

four years, the political prisoners have been released.

There was also the change of the criminal law to finish with that crime exhibition that was very political, a very important political ideas. So

now there is the possibility, the opportunity to continue this process and to go at the core of the political problem.


ARAGONES: Is that the problem, political problem, the political conflict between Spain and Catalonia, is that in Catalonia, there is an overwhelming

majority that wants a referendum to decide our future as a nation, as a people.

And since now Spain has rejected this possibility, so now there is an opportunity to have a dialogue, a negotiation about this issue.

SOARES: Let me ask you this again, so that you're hoping that the process for independence will continue, there will be a push, a continued push for

this, right?

Is that what you're saying?

ARAGONES: This is our goal. And we won a great referendum, not a unilateral referendum, so we want an agreement about the conditions, about

the time for -- to have this referendum and this is our goal.

Now we have the opportunity to discuss about the idea. and I think that's very different from six years ago, when, at the time the Spanish government

of the popular party rejected any dialogue. So now there's a possibility of dialogue. And I think that's what won the Catalan people and also the

majority of the Spanish people.


SOARES: Our thanks to the Catalan president. We'll take a short break, we're back after this.




SOARES: All this week we are exploring Japan off the beaten path, as part of our new travel series, "Next Big Trip." Today we'll show you a stream so

hot, you can boil an egg in it. CNN's Will Ripley takes a dip, to find out why anyone would actually go swimming there.



WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cutting through the picturesque town of Tomaka Kori (ph), a stream with some very

ancient historical and spiritual significance.

Do you hear that?

This is nice?

Relaxing sound of a stream trickling through town, a beautiful blue sky day, almost feels like a great day to jump in and go for a swim. Except

look at that sign right there, warning us. The water is hotter than your bathtub, 64 degrees Celsius, when it comes out.

But this water is so special here in Japan, people have been coming to bathe in these hot springs for more than 1,000 years. I am very tempted to

jump in but this is not the right attire and we're not in the right place. But I do know where we can go.



RIPLEY (voice-over): Japan is a land of plenty of hot springs or onsen, as they call them. Wherever there is an onsen, chances are you find a ryokan,

a traditional Japanese inn. And I'm off to soak in one of the most upscale ryokans in this region.

Naomasa Ukai is the manager here at the Hoshino (ph) resort. He and his enviably chiseled torso have offered to join me for a soak.

We should say normally, you're not going to wear a towel when you get in here. But for your sake, for the sake of our viewers, we will spare you the

Full Monty.

Shall we sit?

You seem very relaxed, though, because that's what onsen is about, is community and friendship.

NAOMASA UKAI, MANAGER: (Speaking foreign language).

RIPLEY (voice-over): It's incredible to think the water we're sitting in was heated naturally. The name, Tamatsukuri Onsen, literally means egg-

making hot springs, because that water is hot enough to soft boil an egg.

The alkaline in the water is believed to remove dirt and cleanse your skin, while the sulfate moisturizes. The waters are even believed to improve

conditions like rheumatism.

Some visitors buy the water to bring home with them, to use in their daily skincare routine, which means, I'll be taking a pit stop at the gift shop.

But first, it's time for a very deep and contented sleep -- Will Ripley, CNN, Shimane Prefecture, Japan.


SOARES: That looks pretty good, I'm not going to lie.

That does it for us, I'm Isa Soares. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next, we'll see you tomorrow, goodbye.