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One World with Zain Asher
Gaza Humanitarian Situation Continues To Deteriorate; U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Urges U.S. Lawmakers To Pass A Financial Aid Package For Both Israel And Ukraine; CNN Learns Nevada Gunman Was A College Professor Whose Job Application At The University Was Turned Down; Donald Trump Scheduled To Take The Stand On Monday; Main Republican Presidential Contenders Take Aim At Nikki Haley; Venezuela Pursues A Land Grab. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired December 07, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Israeli forces breach defense lines in southern Gaza. What this means for the battle against Hamas.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: ONE WORLD starts right now. Alarming levels of hunger in Gaza. Those are the words from U.N. agencies as the secretary
general calls for action to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Nikki Haley on the defense. The Republican candidates battled in an intense debate last night. We'll look at what to
expect from the Republicans in the aftermath.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: And soldiers on the front lines worry as a support as a support for Ukraine in the U.S. hangs in the balance. We will take you
to the battlefield.
GOLODRYGA: Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga. And I'm Zain Asher. You are indeed watching ONE WORLD. Thank you so much for
being with us.
We are now entering pretty much the third month since the massacre in Israel that really sparked this war against Hamas. And intense fighting is
reported in the south, in the southern parts of Gaza. This is in and around Gaza's second largest city, Khan Younis.
GOLODRYGA: You're looking at some intense fighting there in IDF-provided video. Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israeli troops have breached
Hamas defense lines there and encircled the home of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who's been pegged as a mastermind of the October 7th attacks.
One of Netanyahu's senior advisors describes it as a symbolic victory because the IDF says Sinwar is likely hiding underground.
ASHER: As clashes and Israeli airstrikes reportedly continue in and around Khan Younis, workers at the city's hospital describe an overwhelming rush
of casualties. I want to warn you, the images you're already about to see on your screen are extremely graphic.
We're talking about women and children among those who have been severely injured in these clashes. Many of them brought to the hospital in personal
cars simply because there are no ambulances at this point in time.
One doctor calling the situation nothing short of catastrophic, saying that there's not enough medicine at this point, there's not enough equipment.
And those who escaped the violence face an increasingly desperate struggle for survival.
VOICE-OVER: They told people to leave Gaza City and to go to Khan Younis. We are in the city of Khan Younis and we were supposed to be in
unthreatened areas, the blocks that were not threatened. Israel should have given a warning that they will strike this building. There were hundreds of
residents in the building behind you and they left just one day before the strike.
GOLODRYGA: Utter destruction there in Gaza now. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live for us in Sderot, Israel. So, Jeremy, the focus now is in southern
Gaza, but Israel reporting that they have captured the largest number of Hamas militants in northern Gaza, said to have surrendered since the start
of the war.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Yeah, that's exactly right. Images released by the IDF showing dozens of men being detained, who Israel
says are suspected Hamas terrorists. We cannot yet verify that.
But very much, despite the fact that Israel is making the main thrust of its push in southern Gaza, there is still very much active and heavy
fighting in northern Gaza. We can hear it behind us. We just heard a very large and sustained barrage of artillery. That was what sounds like a bomb
detonating in southern Gaza, behind me just moments -- just now.
And we have been seeing, as the Israeli military has been engaging in heavy fighting in areas like the Jabalia refugee camp, where videos geolocated by
CNN show heavy, heavy gunfire in that area, reports from a local journalist telling us that there are heavy casualties as well in neighborhoods of Gaza
City, where we know that the Israeli military has been fighting in areas such as the Zeitoun neighborhood, for example, which they say is a Hamas
And also today, we learned that the son of a minister, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet, Gadi Eisenkot, his son, Gal Eisenkot, a master
sergeant, was killed today in fighting in northern Gaza.
So, very much heavy military activity and losses also on both sides in northern Gaza. But the thrust of the Israeli military's operations at the
moment is very much in the south where Israeli troops have been seen in parts of Khan Younis, the second largest city in the Gaza Strip.
There have been heavy airstrikes, as well as ground operations. As you mentioned, the Israeli Prime Minister claiming that Israeli forces had
encircled the house of Yahya Sinwar, although that is more of a symbolic victory than an operational one.
But there's no question that that is one of the main targets for the Israeli military in the south. They want to find Yahya Sinwar, Hamas'
leader in the Gaza Strip, and they want to either kill him or capture him.
GOLODRYGA: All right, Jeremy Diamond, in Sderot, Israel, for us. Thank you.
ASHER: All right. We've talked about this several times in the show. This idea that the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate with
every single passing day.
The U.N.'s World Food Programme is issuing a very stark assessment saying that the enclave is experiencing, quote," alarming levels of hunger and
that 97 percent of households, pretty much most of the enclave, simply do not have enough to eat."
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, the suffering there is so widespread. The World Health Organization puts it this way. Gaza's health system is on its knees and
nearing total collapse. The U.N. estimates that 85 percent of the population is now homeless, with limited access to food, clean water,
sanitation or health care. And as is frequently the case with war, it's often the most vulnerable who pay the highest price.
ASHER: CNN's Ben Wedeman is joining us live now from Jerusalem. So Ben, we know that Israel has agreed to allow more fuel into Gaza at this point in
time. We also know that is simply not enough. The Americans are also pressuring the Israelis to do much more than they're currently doing to
protect as many civilians as they possibly can.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the Israelis have said that they are willing to allow in a limited amount of fuel. But
what we're seeing, for instance, is that ambulances in some areas are no longer able to function because, A, they don't have fuel and, B, oftentimes
they have no way to communicate to find out, for instance, where they should go in the event there are dead or injured.
So, in some instances, we're seeing that the injured are brought to hospital on donkey carts. Sort of in the big picture, what we're seeing is
that every single U.N. agency, every single non-governmental organization, aid agency in Gaza is ringing the alarm bells, saying that given the level
of displacement, 85 percent of the population, given that so many of them are focused, concentrated in the southern part of Gaza, given that even
though some areas people are told are safe, are not safe, and they get bombed.
For instance, Rafah refugee camp this morning. This was an area people thought was safe. A house was hit there. According to Palestinian medics,
22 people were injured. In that instance, more than a hundred were injured. I mean, 22 were killed. More than a hundred were injured. And sort of it
all amounts to a catastrophe.
I mean, there's no other way to describe it. And there doesn't seem to be anyone who has the leverage to stop this fighting from going on. There's no
hint that another truce is in the offing.
And in fact Oxfam put out a statement that pretty well sums it all up. It says that the Israeli military onslaught in southern Gaza is causing
destruction, danger and civilian terror and suffering at such a scale that makes any humanitarian response impossible across all of Gaza.
It's important to keep in mind that yesterday, 80 trucks entered Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah crossing. But because of the fighting in the Khan
Younis area, because of the fact that the northern part of Gaza is completely cut off from the rest, the little aid that's getting in can only
be distributed in the Rafah area.
And what we're seeing is that the agencies that distribute that aid seem to be incapable of providing the absolute minimum to all of those who
desperately need help. Zain.
ASHER: Ben, every single day when we talk about what's happening in Gaza, we use words like desperate, words like catastrophic, phrases like on the
brink of collapse. This war has been going on for roughly around two months now.
And we know from various sort of senior spokespeople within the IDF that it could last another two months. If this war goes on for that much longer,
what sort of future -- what sort of future do the people of Gaza have ahead of them?
WEDEMAN: Zain, even if the war ended tomorrow, you see the level of destruction. For instance, Gaza City. We have on cnn.com a map of the
damage where it is most extensive. Gaza City seems to have been completely obliterated. That was where at least half of the population lives in that
sort of the greater Gaza City area.
Our colleagues who geolocate pictures say they're having difficulty because the terrain has been so utterly transformed as a result of Israel's
military operations that they can't locate things. But nobody has a place to move back to in northern Gaza. This Gaza Strip, which a few years ago, a
U.N. study said, I think by 2025, would be uninhabitable. It is uninhabitable today.
So, many people have lost their homes, businesses destroyed, entire families wiped out, that it's hard to imagine how life could even begin to
get back to a semblance of normal. And if the war goes on for, God forbid, two, three, two or three weeks, a month, two months, I don't think anybody
can imagine what will be left of Gaza at that point. Zain.
ASHER: Yeah, it's important for people to know what people in Gaza are dealing with right now. Ben, thank you so much for painting that incredibly
important and detailed picture. Ben Wedeman, live for us there from Jerusalem. Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, the U.K.'s foreign secretary is urging U.S. lawmakers to pass a financial aid package for both Israel and Ukraine. David Cameron's
remarks come a day after Senate Republicans blocked the package from advancing on Capitol Hill. The bill would have provided $14 billion to arm
Israel in its war against Hamas.
Republicans voted against it because they want to tie the aid to major changes in U.S. border policy. Here's what Cameron told CNN earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: What happened on October the 7th was a terrible terrorist attack. And I stood in Kibbutz Berry and saw the
rooms where, you know, children were murdered in front of their parents and parents were killed in front of their children.
And we have to give Israel that basic support of saying, you are right to try to get rid of Hamas' leadership and its armed personnel, because
effectively you can't live next to a state that is run by a group of terrorists.
And so, you know, to that extent, we should support Israel. And to people who call, you know, for an immediate ceasefire now, if we leave Hamas in
charge of even a part of Gaza, there will never be a two-state solution, because you can't expect Israel to live next to a group of people that want
to do October the 7th all over again.
But of course as Israel takes the steps that it's taking, we want them to obey international humanitarian law, we want them to minimize civilian
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Former U.K. Prime Minister and current Foreign Secretary speaking there on CNN. I want to talk about what's happening on Israel's border with
Lebanon, certainly an increasingly tense situation there because sporadic violence continues to break out.
In fact, Lebanese media report that an Israeli airstrike wounded several students in one southern Lebanese town, Hezbollah, also saying that it
targeted an Israeli kibbutz in a town in Israel that was also close to the border so we are also keeping an eye on what happens there.
GOLODRYGA: And we'll continue to cover what's happening in the Middle East in Israel's war with Hamas. But now we're going to bring back to the U.S.
where we're learning new details about the gunman who killed three people at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on Wednesday, and what may be a
ASHER: And we still don't have all the details, but in terms of what we are learning right now, sources are telling CNN that the gunman was a 67-
year-old career college professor who actually applied for a job at the university but was turned down. He wasn't hired.
We're also learning that he also worked for schools in both Georgia and North Carolina as well. He died at the scene after a confrontation with
police, worth noting that the university has indeed canceled all classes through Sunday. A lot of the students they're dealing with so much
emotionally right now, as you can imagine.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov joins us live now from Las Vegas. Lucy, what are we actually learning about what specifically took place yesterday at this
university in Las Vegas?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Well, as you point out, you know, law enforcement haven't firmly confirmed this, but law enforcement
sources have revealed the identity to CNN. Sixty-seven-year-old Anthony Polito, who, as you point out, may have been passed over for a job at this
university. That's one of the working theories about the motive.
His last most recent job as a professor, according to his LinkedIn profile, dates back to 2017 at East Carolina University. Now, he died at the scene
after a confrontation with police yesterday. The gunfire ringing out -- or at least reports of gunfire ringing out just before noon local time.
The confrontation unfolding on the fourth floor of the Beam Hall building, which is home to the university business school. That confrontation lasted
through multiple floors until it took place outside and that is when police say they engaged with the suspect and neutralized him. But of course, not
before he had the opportunity to kill three people.
One victim suffered a gunshot wound. Recovering in the hospital, their condition upgraded from critical to stable. Two police officers were also
treated for minor injuries, and several students were taken to the hospital with panic attacks to deal with that.
Of course, this was a terrifying experience. The university at one point tweeting, "Run-Hide-Fight". Students, faculty were forced to lock down in
place for hours, including one student who hid in the bathroom. Take a listen.
BRIANA, HID IN STUDENT UNION BATHROOM: I jumped up on the toilet trying to make sure my feet aren't shown. And I heard the gunman -- the gunman
started like coming closer in the direction of the student union and they ended up going inside of the building. And I have a clip of where I can
hear them shooting and I was just freaking out, crying.
KAFANOW (on-camera): Now, we are just a few miles away from the location of one of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. back in 2017 when a
gunman opened fire on a music festival here and authorities say we could have been looking at a much deadlier act of violence yesterday were it not
for the heroic and swift actions of police -- that's according to the sheriff here who said, you know, more students could have lost their lives
if officers didn't act quickly.
And just to set the scene, this was not an empty campus. We're in the middle of study week. Finals are coming up. A lot of students were on
campus. In fact, there were tables set up outside of that facility -- the business school, where students were playing Lego. They were eating. And so
a lot of people were in this area when the violence unfolded.
And we actually just spoke to one faculty member who didn't want to appear on camera. She hid at that taller building behind me, the humanities
building. She described being terrified. She said she's worked here for 20 years.
This facility, this university has always felt safe. She no longer feels safe here. A lot of trauma, a lot of emotional
consequences for both the students and the faculty and of course the city - - the residents of the city to be dealing with in the weeks and months ahead.
ASHER: Yeah, that sound bite that you actually played, that girl talking about hiding in the bathroom, I mean it's just so chilling and as you point
out this campus would have been busy Wednesday morning, Wednesday afternoon at a university that is as large as this one, 31,000 students, it would
have been very busy. Lucy Kafanov, live for us there. Thank you so much.
GOLODRYGA: Sadly, a uniquely American experience is on U.S. campuses here. Well, when ONE WORLD continues, we dive into U.S. politics, why the race to
be the Republican alternative to Donald Trump seems to be focusing more and more on one candidate.
ASHER: Plus, Republicans block critical financial aid to Ukraine, causing a lot of concern for Ukrainian soldiers who are on the battlefield. We'll
have more reaction to that later on this hour.
ASHER: All right, Donald Trump is back in court today in New York. His lawyers are very close to wrapping up their defense in his civil fraud
trial. Trump, his sons, and his company are accused of fraudulently inflating the value of his business empire to make it cheaper for them to
get loans and insurance.
GOLODRYGA: Donald Trump himself is scheduled to be the final witness called by the defense, taking the stand on Monday. When he testified
earlier in the trial, Trump repeatedly clashed with a judge in charge of the case.
CNN's Brynn Gringras joins us from the courthouse with more. So, Bryn, what and if anything did we see from the former president today?
BRYNN GRINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Zain and Bianna, that the former president before he walked into the courtroom, he had his sort of talking
notes that we have heard before calling this case really a witch hunt, even blaming the White House in addition to the New York Attorney General who
brought forward this Civil fraud case.
But on the stand and that is why Trump is here is to watch this witness who is on the stand, it's an accounting professor at New York University and
he's already sort of given some testimony that really has backed up the defense's claim that Trump didn't commit any fraud here with the inflation
of value of his property values on financial statements, which is at the center of what the New York attorney general is accusing here in this civil
He basically said that Trump and the other co-defendants didn't violate any accounting principles. He also said on the stand that there was no evidence
of fraud from his overview of the financial statements. And even the judge, who, if you remember, is the one who will be deciding the penalties in this
case, asked this witness, in your expert opinion, the AG's claims have no merit, and this witness said that is absolutely my opinion.
Now, of course, this is a defense witness, and this very much playing into the defense's argument. So, we will likely see a very robust cross-
examination when the New York Attorney General's office gets its turn, but that witness is still on the stand right now being questioned by the
But as you guys just said, this is the last witness for the defense until the final witness, which is President Trump. He is expected to take the
stand on Monday, and that will be the finality of this civil fraud case, which began in early October. And so, we'll all be ears and eyes on that
testimony when that takes place on Monday, guys.
All right, Brynn Gringrass in Lower Manhattan for us. Thank you. Well, over the course of four debates, we have seen a subtle but significant shift in
the Republicans running for president.
ASHER: Yeah, even though the main contenders still seem very reluctant to go after Trump and to attack Trump specifically, they are now taking aim
specifically at Nikki Haley, and her poise during a lot of these debates has certainly allowed her to rise as an alternative to Donald Trump
The sharp knives, though, were out for Haley on Wednesday night, as the four contenders took to the stage. The attacks on Haley from Ron DeSantis
and Vivek Ramaswamy got so bad, it got so bad at one point, that Chris Christie actually jumped in to defend her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has insulted Nikki Haley's basic intelligence, not her positions -- her basic intelligence. If
you want to disagree on issues, that's fine. And Nikki and I disagree on some issues.
But I'll tell you this, I've known her for 12 years, which is longer than he's even started to vote in a Republican primary. And while we disagree
about some issues and we disagree about who should be President of the United States, what we don't disagree on is this is a smart, accomplished
woman. You should stop insulting her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Until there's some tension there not just between Chris Christie and Vivek but against I think all of the others there against
Vivek. As expected, Donald Trump was not there. He's been absent from every debate, so far, and still has an almost insurmountable lead in the polls.
ASHER: All right, let's bring in my friend Alice Stewart.
She's Republican strategist and a CNN political commentator. Alice, my friend, so good to see you.
ASHER: So, Nikki Haley, a rising star CNN political commentator. Alice, my friend, so good to see you. So, Nikki Haley, I mean, clearly a rising star,
clearly a rising star, if you look at all four debates. I mean, every single time there is a debate, she seems to sort of do better and better.
My question, though, is it all for nothing? I mean, how many miracles would have to occur at this point, Alice, for Donald Trump not to be the nominee?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, many miracles would have to happen, Zain, but I believe in miracles. It's the holiday season, so I'm
going to be optimistic on this. And look, I just --
ASHER: The song playing in my head.
STEWART: I believe in miracles.
ASHER: Yes, exactly.
STEWART: The reality is these candidates know -- I've been 40 days out from the Iowa caucus several times in presidential campaigns, and a lot can
happen. This is a little different. But these candidates on the stage last night realized a couple things.
One, they want to take on Joe Biden, they have to take out Donald Trump. And if they want to take on Donald Trump, they have to take out Nikki
Haley. And they see her as the threat right now. And so that is why she has the target on her back.
The good thing that she did last night was she didn't let it ruffle her feathers. She didn't let anyone see her sweat. She really rebuffed a lot of
the attacks with facts and some of it -- she actually took humor in when the other candidates continued to pile on her. She said, thanks for all the
And one of the attacks that came from Vivek Ramaswamy, she just said, it's not even worth my time to respond to it. But I think what she did yet again
is demonstrate that she has a strong command of foreign policy with her experience. And she also has a good grasp on the economy.
And she actually did, although she had to be pushed on it, she pushed back on Donald Trump and his handling of the economy and the amount that he
contributed to the debt. So, a good, steady debate performance like this will go a long way for her to make her closing argument in the six weeks to
come to the Iowa caucus.
At the same time, Ron DeSantis did a good job showing that he is a proven winner in the state of Florida, and he has led and he has accomplished. The
two of them both demonstrated they are young, fresh, optimistic, faced for the future.
Chris Christie, I'm so glad he's in the race, holding Donald Trump's feet to the fire repeatedly, talking about what a disaster he would be for the
And one last thing on Vivek Ramaswamy, he wants to be Donald Trump, but nobody can be Donald Trump except him. But I think he demonstrated more
than ever last night that he is like Donald Trump with his repeated attacks on Nikki Haley. As Chris Christie said, he is an obnoxious blowhard. And
then again, he is more like Trump than people thought.
GOLODRYGA: Well, Alice, you're right that Chris Christie really held Trump's feet to the fire. But you also noted that it took some prompting
for Nikki Haley to even criticize the former president, and that was just on his handling of the economy. Why do you think none of these other
candidates other than Chris Christie, who has been consistent in going after Donald Trump, would do the same?
They see his poll numbers only increasing. All of us would like to believe in miracles, but I would imagine that there's some formulaic decision-
making, too, on their part and not going after him. Is it because they're afraid of his base? Is it because they're potentially hoping to be on his
STEWART: It's not as much as, Bianna, being afraid of his base, but they want his base. And if something were to happen to Donald Trump, they want
his base to come to their camp. And they recognize the fact, in order to win the GOP nomination, you have to get not just the base, but broaden that
So, there's a difficult dance to make the case where I am strong on policies that Donald Trump has, but I can also win in a general election.
You know, all the great policies that Donald Trump has that many Republicans support will mean nothing if he cannot win in a general
So, the candidates have been very careful to thread the needle from the very beginning of this GOP nomination process to make sure that they're not
too critical of Donald Trump because they want his base to come his way -- if they --something were to happen to him.
But then there's also a lot of people that supported Donald Trump in the past and they're just fed up with the drama and are looking to turn the
page and looking for a new leader and that's what these candidates want to show is that you can have the policies of Trump without all of the dumpster
fire that comes with him.
ASHER: Okay, and just quickly just in terms of Vivek because you touched on him a little bit, you know he did sort of seem to I guess sparkle in a
sense after the first debate, but we haven't really seen him shine in the subsequent debates since.
And also, he sort of seems to get sucked in by a lot of these conspiracy theories, this idea that January 6th may have been an inside job, this idea
that September the 11th may have been an inside job. Obviously, he is fiercely loyal to Donald Trump. I mean, what does his future look like?
I don't think he's going to get the nomination, but in terms of perhaps a cabinet position, do you see that in his future?
Look into your crystal ball for us.
STEWART: Look, I can look into my own history in campaigns. No one on that stage is running for Vice President. No one on that stage is running for a
cabinet position. They all want to be president. And I think it's really important to think they're all going to run through the tape as hard as
they can until they're just no more gas in the tank.
But for Vivek to take those positions, the more conspiratorial positions, it does go to show he is in line with Trump and is ready to toe the line
for Trump. And in addition to the conspiracy theories you mentioned, Zain, he also said last night that he thought that the 2020 election was
fraudulent, as well as 2016, even though Donald Trump won.
So he is going into this election-denying conspiracy theory with -- full- throated. And a large part of that is to ingratiate himself with Trump, whether that means Vice President or a Cabinet position, he's certainly
setting himself up for that.
ASHER: All right. Alice, you made your thoughts very clear, and we appreciate it. Thank you so much, Alex. Always good to see you. Alice,
rather, always good to see you. Thank you so much.
GOLODRYGA: Thanks, Alice. Well, coming up for us, a leading expert on Hamas shares his take on the man believed to be running the militant group.
ASHER: All right, welcome back to ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher.
GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga.
Let's get back to the top story this hour. Now two months into the war between Israel and Hamas, and CNN has learned that the son of an Israeli
government minister has died in battle. The IDF announcing Thursday that Gal Eizenkot, a combat soldier, was killed in northern Gaza. His father,
Gadi Eizenkot is a former chief of the general staff of the IDF, who served in the military for four decades.
ASHER: In the meantime, in southern Gaza, in the territory's second largest city, Khan Younis, the Israeli military says it has breached Hamas'
defense lines and that it has surrounded the home of Hamas' leader, Yahya Sinwar.
Also today, the IDF released a photo of a group of senior Hamas officials circling the ones it claims to have killed during its military operations
GOLODRYGA: Let's take a closer look at Hamas and what it stands for. The Palestinian Islamist Organization was founded in 1987 and has a military
wing controlling Gaza. The U.S. has labeled it a terrorist organization, and its original manifesto calls for the destruction of the state of
ASHER: Hamas was voted into power in Gaza back in 2007 after brutally overthrowing rival political party, Fatah. One of the Hamas leaders behind
the horrific October 7th attacks, it is believed to be this man, Yahyah Sinwar.
The IDF's goal is to quote, reach him and kill him. Sinwar has been behind numerous terrorist attacks against Israel, which actually landed him in
Israeli prison for more than 20 years. And he was released in 2011 as part of a major prisoner swap.
GOLODRYGA: Time now for The Exchange. Our next guest, head of the Department for Palestinian Affairs for the Israeli Defense Intelligence and
is widely described as Israel's leading Hamas expert, Dr. Michael Milshtein.
Michael, thank you so much for joining us. The last three years, you have been extremely critical of Israel's policy as it relates to Gaza,
specifically by not recognizing Hamas' ideological convictions. And yet even you were surprised by the scale of the attack on October 7th.
Now, we've seen an equally large-scaled attack and response in Gaza by Israel virtually destroying the enclave. And yet you, someone who studied
Yahya Sinwar for so many years, believe that he views this all, despite all the casualties, all the number of innocent civilian deaths, as a victory
for the Palestinian cause and thinks that their status has been elevated among Palestinians and other Arabs in the region. Can you expand further on
MICHAEL MILSHTEIN, SENIOR ANALYST, DAYAN CENTER TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: Yeah, you know, the question itself is very sharp and very correct, because we
need to understand that Yayah Sinwar -- he's a leader, a very hardline ideological leader that actually lives in another dimension of time.
This kind of leader really thinks that the most important thing to do, to promote, is the Jihad. Not any kind of, you know, real politic targets or
improving the life of people but to promote the eradicating of Israel from the map.
And from his point of view, the offensive of October the 7th -- and you know, this was the mission of his life. He planned this offensive for about
a decade. And this was really a very important part from his personality.
He really thinks that although the Palestinians -- the Palestinians suffered from more than 20,000 casualties and Gaza city and the Gaza strip
was almost destroyed. It is still a very, very respected even prize for this victorious move against Israel.
And right now, ISIS -- that two months -- exactly two months after the offensive took place, he doesn't really regret about the offensive. And he
is insisting to promote the Jihad. And I'm quite sure that this will be the sources of disagreements inside Hamas between him and other groups in the
leadership, for example, the group of the outside that sits in Qatar.
ASHER: I mean, it's remarkable that killing Israelis essentially matters more to him. It matters more to him than saving Palestinian lives. Despite
the fact that 16,000 innocent Palestinians have been killed, that Yahya Sinwar still views this entire war as a success because of October 7th.
I want to talk about the idea of strategy. I want to know about the idea of strategy specifically in Gaza. Obviously, they've talked about, you know,
destroying and completely eliminating Hamas. I just want to understand from you, given that you are an expert on Yahya Sinwar and of course there were
five other Hamas leaders that were killed, there would be to take out the leadership.
But taking out the leadership only gets you so far. It only gets you so far because even if you take out Yahya Sinwar and of course there were five
other Hamas leaders that were killed, there are various underlings waiting in the wings to take their place. So, what is the next step after that?
MILSHTEIN: Well, you know, when we're taking this term of erasing Hamas, this general, even slogan, I think that Israel -- the Israeli government
must be much more accurate explaining to the public in Israel about the accurate, the exact goals.
I think that it is quite realistic to maybe to erase the military or the political capabilities of Hamas, of course, to remove Hamas from its
current position as a ruling party in Gaza, but I think that even if Israel will kill 10 -- 20,000 Hamas members, there are still about 100,000 Hamas
members in Gaza, and of course, there is the idea of Hamas.
I do think that Israel can limit the impact of Hamas, but we should be aware to the fact that even in the day after, I mean, after Israel will
complete the occupation of Gaza and start thinking or establishing the day after, Hamas will exist.
Hamas maybe will be an underground, maybe in a position, but it will exist and it will always try to undermine the future political structure in Gaza.
And we also must remember that Hamas is not only a group that exists in Gaza. Hamas also exists in the West Bank.
And you know, I do assess, this is a very general assessment, that in the West Bank, Hamas is maybe even more powerful and maybe its public support
is broader than the Fatah.
So, we must remember that the aim is much broader and that the long-term mission is actually to limit its impact of Hamas and it will not be
GOLODRYGA: Yeah and it's important to note that to note that we've seen their popularity in the West Bank only increase over the last couple of
weeks as more prisoners have been coming home.
I think another point that is really important not to lose sight of is not just the immense tragedy and enormous death toll inflicted upon Israelis on
October 7th, but the torture was actually part of the plan.
And you talk about this specifically as a new generation of Hamas mentality in fighters, in leadership Generation Z that does not view the other as
human beings. And it took a long time for the rest of the world to finally acknowledge the horrific rape of women. I mean, all of this we know now was
in the war plans.
When you talk about the impact of what the next generation of Hamas, even if they're on the underground, has on the region, if this is actually their
mentality, how dangerous is that?
MILSHTEIN: Well, actually, you know, it's a very sad description, but unfortunately, it's a very realistic one because, yeah, Hamas actually
affected in a very deep manner on the consciousness, on the minds of the young generation, the Gen Z of the Palestinian arena.
And, you know, for example, today in Gaza, about 60% of the population was born after the year of 2000. It means that most of the young generation in
Gaza were educated by Hamas, Hamas education systems and Hamas masks and the preachers and the political discourse of Hamas.
And I do think, and here I want to be much more realistic and optimistic that even if the military aim of erasing the political and the military
capabilities of Hamas will be promoted, we still have a very deep, very hard mission of changing the basic atmosphere, the basic minds of actually
both people, but especially the Palestinians.
And I do think that Israel cannot do it by itself. We need that the Palestinians themselves will promote the internal moves in order to change
the basic ideologies, the basic opinions, maybe to really recognize that the other, I mean the Israelis, are human beings. They are not germs. And
it will take time. It will not happen immediately.
GOLODRYGA: Really, a sobering assessment there, especially as we are trying to look forward to the day after on what a two-state solution may
look like in the future. Michael Milshtein, thank you so much for joining us.
Please come back.
ASHER: Thank you.
MILSHTEIN: Thank you for having me. Thank you.
ASHER: Of course. I mean, it's so important to note that this idea of destroying Hamas, I mean, it sounds good as a slogan, right? It sounds good
as an idea, but the practicalities involved in it are much more complicated, as Michael pointed out. All right, still to come, territorial
tensions -- Guyana's President responds to Venezuela's plans to take over a part of his country. That story, next.
ASHER: All right, as Washington wages its own political battle about aid for Ukraine, the soldiers risking their lives on the front lines are
watching with so much concern right now.
GOLODRYGA: Russia is intensifying its attacks particularly around the strategic town of Avdiivka, where Ukrainian forces contend with aging
weapons and eroding support. CNN's Anna Coren is with them.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Down a muddy road hedged by a bank of spindly trees and branches sits an old farmhouse.
Its owners left some time ago, but it has new residents. These are soldiers from the 47th Mechanized Brigade.
UNKNOWN: That's where we keep our missiles.
COREN (voice-over): And they're part of the fight for Avdiivka, one of the most fiercely contested battles on Ukraine's eastern front. Camouflaged
under the thicket is a Grad, a multiple-launch rocket system from the Soviet era.
As outgoing artillery fires from nearby fields, 32-year-old Sasha wishes they had better and more modern weapons.
SASHA, GRAD UNIT COMMANDER, 47TH MECHANIZED BRIGADE: When you hit with the modern weapons and with the Western weapons, of course, they're more
accurate and they bring, let's say, more damage to the enemy.
COREN (voice-over): In the past two months, Russia has been sending waves and waves of troops to Avdiivka as they try to encircle the town. But Sasha
and his fellow soldiers know this war could become even more difficult if U.S. aid, now under threat, suddenly dries up.
All the delay is just the cost. It's the lives of the best Ukrainian people. We have the spirit, we will continue definitely, but we need some
kind of support.
COREN: If U.S. Congress does not pass the military aid package, then Ukraine will not receive the advanced weaponry it desperately needs to
fight this war.
And that means it will have to rely more heavily on decades-old Soviet equipment like this Grad to combat Russian forces who are gaining supremacy
on the front line.
COREN (voice-over): A sobering reality for these soldiers almost two years into this war.
SASHA: I'm afraid Ukraine will not be able to stand without our partners and allies so this is there. As simple as that.
COREN (voice-over): Weighing even heavier on their minds is last week's alleged execution of two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers who were surrendering
to Russian forces not far from Sasha's position. Drone footage shows the POWs climbing out of their dugout, arms above their head, before being shot
at close range. Ukraine is now investigating what the Prosecutor General calls a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions.
SASHA: Every similar event brings a lot of pain and suffering to us and that's for sure. It will not make us weak, it will not scare us. We will
continue doing what we have to do.
COREN (voice-over): Which is fighting a seemingly endless war as they build more trenches, uncertain if the West will truly be there for the long
SASHA: If we let Ukraine go, if we let Putin win, then who will feel themselves safe here? I think no one.
COREN (voice-over): Anna Coren, CNN, on the outskirts of Avdiivka, Ukraine.
GOLODRYGA: While Russia annexes regions of Ukraine on the other side of the world, Venezuela is pursuing a land grab of its own. President Nicolas
Maduro is claiming that at least two-thirds of neighboring Guyana should be under Venezuela's control.
ASHER: Take a look at this map. The area he is attempting to seize can be seen in stripes on this map. It's about two-thirds of Guyana. It's called
the Essequibo region, and it is extremely rich in oil. It is no secret that Maduro has been searching for new sources of revenue as his country spirals
towards economic collapse.
This week, the President presented a map on television -- on Venezuelan television, showing Essequibo as part of his own country, and even promised
Venezuelan citizenship to Guyanese residents there.
GOLODRYGA: And the President of Guyana says his country has received strong support from the international community. Listen to what he told our
Isa Soares about the precautionary measures they're taking.
MOHAMED IRFAAN ALI, GUYANESE PRESIDENT: First, we're working at a diplomatic level. We have engaged a number of our allies and friends within
the region in relation to defense cooperation. The Department of Defense of the United States and the Guyana Defense Force, they have a very elaborate
cooperation pact. They're fully engaged on this matter.
We are engaging State Department. We're engaging the White House. President Lula and myself had conversations. So, CELAC, CARICOM, Commonwealth and the
OS, they're all engaged on this matter.
ISA SOARES, ANCHOR AND INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah.
IRFAAN ALI: So, that they can win in ensuring that Venezuela does not act in a reckless or adventurous manner. We have solar investors, they have no
fear. We are on the right side of history, the right side of the law and there is absolutely no fear in investing in SEC, which belongs to Guyana.
GOLODRYGA: Well, hundreds of staffers at "The Washington Post" newspaper are on strike today to protest layoffs and the lack of progress on a new
ASHER: All right. The union represents some 1000 employees. The strike at the paper, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is expected to last
just 24 hours.
And that does it for this hour of ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher.
GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. Thanks so much for watching. "AMANPOUR" is up next.