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One World with Zain Asher

Navalny Fails To Appear On Video Link For A Court Hearing; Kerem Shalom Crossing Between Israel And Gaza Remains Closed; No Host Yet For The Golden Globes. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired December 11, 2023 - 12:00   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Russia's top opposition leader missing for nearly a week now. "One World" starts right now. Concern for

Alexei Navalny, as his team says they haven't heard from him in almost a week.

Also ahead, brand new polling, what the numbers say about the future of the American presidency. And later, it's about that time. The Golden Globe

nominations have been released. Who's out, who's in, and why no one in Hollywood wants to host.

Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga. Zain is off today. Russia's most prominent Kremlin critic is missing at this hour.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny is supposed to be serving a 19-year sentence in a penal colony east of Moscow.

He should have appeared by video link for a court hearing earlier, but his team say they don't know where he is and haven't heard from him in days.

He's been in custody for nearly three years after Russia brought a laundry list of charges against him.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us for more on this and has been following the story from Berlin. Fred, this news of concern about Navalny's whereabouts

come just days after Vladimir Putin said that he would quote, unquote, "be seeking another term". As U.S. President, Navalny's top aides have been

linking his disappearance and the whereabouts not known to Vladimir Putin's announcement. What more do we know?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we certainly know, first of all, that Vladimir Putin did indeed announce that he was

going to run in that election for a fifth term. That election, of course, had took place on March 17th. And we also know, Bianna, that the

organization of Alexei Navalny, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, they did launch an underground campaign, if you will, against Vladimir Putin with

billboards in places like Moscow, in places like St. Petersburg, as well. A lot of those were taken down pretty quickly.

Nevertheless, at least officially, there is nothing linking the possible disappearance of Alexei Navalny or the disappearance of Alexei Navalny with

anything done by the Russian Federation at this point in time. There's several reasons why this could be happening.

First of all, you're absolutely right. He was supposed to appear at a hearing this morning via video link from the jail that he was supposed to

be held in called IK-6, which is about 150 miles east of Moscow. And he did not appear there. And according to his spokeswoman, they were then told

that there was some sort of power issue in that prison, but the lawyers were then later told that he's actually not even listed as a prisoner

anymore in that prison.

They then asked around several other jails in that sort of in that vicinity, one of them called IK-7, which is much harsher than the one that

he's been in so far called IK-6. And they also said that he's not listed in any of those.

Now, we do have to point out that Alexei Navalny was supposed to be transferred to a tougher jail, to a jail with a harsher regime and it isn't

unheard of for prisoners in that process of being transferred to not be a contact with the lawyers or with anybody else in that time, to not be able

to do that.

That's certainly something that took place when Alexei Navalny was first moved to the IK6 penal colony in 2022. Nevertheless, of course, that

concern is there that he has been unaccounted for essentially for the past six days.

It's something that we actually have been also observing over the past couple of days because his lawyers were supposed to visit him on Friday,

were brushed off there apparently prison staff told they couldn't see him, and then today he didn't appear for that video link.

So, definitely that concern growing. And you do have that situation where that was -- that sort of dissent campaign with those billboards going on

and Vladimir Putin announcing that he was going to run again.

So, definitely right now for Alexei Navalny's supporters, certainly also no doubt for his family, as well. Some definitely troubling times that they're

going through right now where it's unclear where he is, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, troubling because there's also concern about the state of his health, as well. He had had some health issues recently and has lost a

significant amount of weight during his time in the penal colony there. Fred Pleitgen will stay on this story for us. Thank you.

Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is headed to the U.S. this week. It's his third trip to Washington since Russia invaded his country

nearly two years ago.


On Tuesday, he'll meet with U.S. President Biden at the White House. And he is also expected to speak with senators from both parties and House Speaker

Mike Johnson. Mr. Zelenskyy's visit comes at a critical moment for Ukraine. Negotiations in Washington over sending billions more dollars in aid for

the country's war efforts are at an impasse. And the U.S. Congress has just one week left before lawmakers leave town for the holidays.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is covering the story for us from the White House. Arlette, the President is scheduled to meet with President Zelenskyy

tomorrow. And President Biden indicating that he is willing to put more funding, more resources into border security. What do we know about the

odds of anything passing? Before Congress leaves for recess?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianna, President Biden personally invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy here to the

White House to try to make this personal appeal to lawmakers to pass additional aid for Ukraine. Ukrainian President will be here at the White

House, but really starting his day up on Capitol Hill. A meeting, a full briefing with the full Senate and then also a one on one meeting with House

Speaker Mike Johnson.

One official I spoke to this morning said that there's no better advocate for Ukraine's needs than Ukrainian President Zelenskyy himself. So, the

White House is hopeful that he somehow will be able to move the needle with lawmakers who so far have still been resistant to passing aid for Ukraine.

Now, this comes as Republicans have been pushing for further changes to border policy to be agreed to before they agree to aid for Ukraine.

President Biden himself last week indicated that he is aware that there need to be some changes. He's willing to make some concessions on border

policy. Sources here at the White House have said that that could possibly include some changes to the asylum process to get into the United States.

But it's really up in the air whether lawmakers will be able to hammer out some type of agreement. Senators have been working over the past few weeks,

trying to see if there is any room for agreement when it comes to border policy. So far, they haven't been able to reach a consensus. The White

House has called what they have proposed, so far, as extreme.

Some have then called for President Biden himself to start to get involved with those border policy talks but the White House in the past few weeks

has been trying to make clear that the time is running out to get more aid to Ukraine. They're hoping that Zelenskyy will be here to make that case,

as well.

GOLODRYGA: We'll be following it all. Our Arlette Saenz at the White House. Thank you. Well, we turn to Gaza now where flares are lighting up in the

night sky as more than two million people are being crammed into smaller and smaller pockets trying to avoid the fighting.

Israel has warned civilians to evacuate Khan Younis, Gaza's second largest city. Still, aid agencies are using words like hellish to describe the

humanitarian situation.


JANTI SOERIPTO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SAVE THE CHILDREN: We're really running out of words to describe how bad it is. We work in crisis all over the

world from Afghanistan to Sudan, to Ethiopia, to the Democratic Republic of Congo. So, we are no strangers to war and conflict. But what is happening

here is that there is two million people, a million children in a very, very small space. There is no way to get out. Nobody can flee.


GOLODRYGA: There had been hopes that the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Gaza would be open today but it remains closed. Only 61 aid

trucks made it into Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Monday. That's the lowest number since December 5th. This was the scene in Khan Younis as

people scrambled for scraps that did get through. There are increasing calls for Israel to do more to protect Gaza's civilians.

Let's bring in CNN's Alex Marquardt in Tel Aviv with the latest. So, Alex, we know that much of the fighting as of late has been in southern Gaza, but

it's clear that Hamas still has strong resistance against the IDF in the north where fighting continues. What more do we know about that situation?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Bianna, just a couple days ago, Israel announced that it was entering a new phase

and it said that it was trying to essentially lock up its gains that it had made in the north before moving south. And so much of the focus has been on

Khan Younis in the past few days from the most intense fighting.

But Bianna, you're absolutely right. The fighting does continue in the north. You showed those flares just moments ago. There is a lot of activity

in the north, fierce fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli forces over the weekend. They have been trying to essentially -- Israel has been

trying to take full control of a couple areas, including the Jabalia refugee camp, which they have called a persistent Hamas stronghold.

We also heard from Palestinian civilians over the weekend that a house was struck in an Israeli airstrike in Jabalia with at least 45 people killed

and others buried beneath the rubble. But Israel really is looking south towards Khan Younis, the biggest city in southern Gaza. They do believe

that many, or at least several of Hamas' top leaders are in or around Khan Younis.

Israel has been trying to break through some of their defensive lines encircle the city. Israel announced over the weekend that they were issuing

an urgent appeal for residents and civilians in the center of Khan Younis to evacuate to a safer area southwest.


They issued that appeal online. It's not clear how many Palestinian civilians would have actually seen that due to connectivity issues. It's

not clear what shelters Israel was referring to in their -- in that urgent appeal. Dozens of people were reported killed as Israel moved south towards

Khan Younis, particularly in the northern and eastern parts of the city.

And then we heard Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Bianna, telling our colleague Jake Tapper that there remains what he calls a gap between

Israel's intent to keep civilians safe that expressed intent by Israel in what Israel's actually doing on the ground in Gaza. Take a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the intent is there, but the results are not always manifesting themselves. And we see that both in

terms of civilian protection and humanitarian assistance. Even as Israel has taken additional steps, for example, to designate safe areas in the

South, to focus on neighborhoods, not entire cities in terms of evacuating them, what we're not seeing sufficiently is a couple of things.


MARQUARDT: Bianna, among those couple things that he went on to mention was better coordination and communication that Israel needs to undertake both

with humanitarian groups and with civilians about when and where they can move and operate in order to stay safe and in the case of civilians, when

they will be allowed to go home. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, it was interesting to hear Netanyahu's top advisor, Mark Regev, this morning on our air responding to those comments from Secretary

of State Blinken in a conciliatory manner, really just agreeing with him that yes, the intent is there, but acknowledging that far too many

civilians have been killed.

What is the reaction, Alex, in Israel now, not only to the pressure from the United States, but also that vote at the U.N. Security Council for a

ceasefire, which the United States notably vetoed?

MARQUARDT: Well, I think, Bianna, that there are two things. You know, there wasn't a lot of surprise that the U.S. vetoed it because the U.S. has

been rejecting calls for a ceasefire as has been as Israel. But when you see the level of death and destruction that is taking place in Gaza, that

still has led to global outrage that the U.S. would veto that resolution for an immediate ceasefire.

Here in Israel, of course, that was a welcome veto. Israel's top leadership, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, responding very favorably,

thanking the U.S. for vetoing that resolution. But when you look at the vote, it really shows how isolated the U.S. and Israel actually are.

The U.N. Security Council has 15 members. Thirteen of them voted in favor of a ceasefire. There was one abstention in the U.K. And then the U.S.

voted to -- against it and vetoed it. So, there was widespread accusations of hypocrisy by the Palestinians.

And then we heard from the head of the U.N. relief agency that works with Palestinians in Gaza. And they've lost more than 100 of their staff so far

in Gaza. And they told our -- the head of that agency told our Clarissa Ward earlier today that its staff is beyond disappointed, that they feel

abandoned by the international community as a result of that vote. Bianna?

GOLODRYGA: All right, Alex Marquardt for us in Tel Aviv, thank you. Well, let's dig deeper now with Mark Esper. He served as U.S. Defense Secretary

under President Trump. Secretary Esper, great to have you on. 111

So, yes, we saw that expected veto from the U.S. But it is clear from reporting and even from the tone and language from U.S. officials publicly

that Israel doesn't have an unlimited amount of time to continue its war efforts in Gaza, perhaps just a number of weeks. Given its initial goals,

is that enough time, do you think, three weeks, four weeks, a month, maybe tops, for Israel to achieve that goal?

MARK ESPER, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, first of all, good to be with you, Bianna. The answer is, I don't know. My gut tells me, no, it's

not enough time to consolidate their objectives to defeat Hamas in the terms of eradicating leadership and getting rid of their offensive

capability. Keep in mind, there are hundreds of miles of tunnels underneath Gaza that the IDF still has to go through and clear out and make sure that

they're empty and then collapse them.

So, I think we're talking more about months. So, that's why I do think it's important that Israel continue to take steps, prudent steps to reduce

civilian casualties. There will always be some type of difference, if you will, as Secretary Blinken noted, between the outcome that you want and the

planning and process you go through. It happens with the United States military, as well.

But look, I think at the end of the day, they need to defeat Hamas, or else this will continue over and over and over again. But in that process of

defeating, continue to take as much care as possible when it comes to civilian casualties and getting humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Well, I know you're no longer in office, so you don't have a direct briefing, I would imagine, or maybe a direct line, or you do, to the

tactics that the IDF is taking.


But from what you do know and from what you have observed and from the numbers that we have seen in terms of the casualties, though we should note

that the source of those numbers, still we know that they are in the thousands. Do you believe that the IDF is doing enough to limit the number

of casualties thus far?

ESPER: Well, it's hard to tell unless you're in their planning cell, right? Working with them and looking at how they're going about the operation,

making the calls about what the targets are, the proportionality, so forth and so on.

But what I would aim to see here in this phase, particularly as we head into southern Gaza, where it's more densely populated, where we know Hamas

is cornered amongst the civilian population, is less use of airstrikes with 2000-pound bombs and more use of infantry on the ground. The infantry can

be more discriminating, exercise more discretion. So, I would be looking to see more use of those tactics.

Again, unfortunately, you're never going to get rid of civilian casualties, but you want to limit the numbers as much as possible for a variety of

reasons. So, that's what I look toward as I look at the weeks, days and weeks ahead.

GOLODRYGA: Speaking of the days ahead, we have the President of the United States meeting with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy tomorrow. And it comes at

a really precarious moment in the state of the war in Ukraine, given that we are seeing increased opposition from Republicans.

And I would even say, according to some polling, an increased number, not a majority, but an increased number of concern among Democrats, as well,

about the amount of money and resources going to Ukraine.

If you were to advise Congress right now as to the one or two top reasons why that funding needs to continue, which I know you believe, what would

those reasons be, and to make them as compelling as possible?

ESPER: Yeah, look, clearly number one is we need to continue to supply Ukraine because providing them with arms, equipment, material is ensure

that they can survive and beat Russia back. And so, it's critical, I think, in terms of defending the international global order, in terms of our own

national security interests, making sure that Russia doesn't butt up against and then try to pursue a NATO ally that we push back and provide

Ukraine what it needs.

And then, of course, China is watching everything we say and do. And the question will be, for Xi Jingpin is, does the West have the stomach, the

will to stay in this fight, as Xi Jinping considers what he does with regard to Taiwan?

Now, look, you said very accurately, you see falling numbers. Across the board, a majority of Republicans now out there don't support continued aid.

A near majority of independents, they're approaching that 50 percent threshold or questioning it. And more and more Democrats are, as well. So,

I think it's important that we continue to support the aid.

But look, on the other hand, I think President Biden put forward a package, a supplemental package that address Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel and our border

security. And I think the Republicans in the Senate asking for more on border security is not unreasonable, particularly since we know many

Democrats are distressed by what's happening on the southwest border, as well.

Let me ask about some of the comments from your former boss and the front runner now for the Republican nomination, former President Trump. I mean,

we don't have enough time to get through all of the comments that the dictator for just a day would have you.

But specifically on the issue of foreign policy, we know where he stands. He has little faith and trust in NATO. There's concern that if he does win

a second term that we could see the U.S. ultimately leave the alliance. In addition to that, he said that the war in Ukraine could end in one day.

We know what that means. That would probably mean that the Ukrainians would have to concede to Russia. How concerned are you, just from a foreign

policy standpoint, for this question, about another Donald Trump term?

ESPER: Look, I'm very concerned from a national security foreign policy perspective, because I think America needs to lead in this world. And if we

don't lead, then that means autocracies like Communist China and Russia will fill that vacuum. And that eventually will come back to our shores in

one way, shape, or form.

So, he clearly has and is feeding this isolationist bent within the Republican Party. And we need to push back against that. And look, the only

person that can end the war in Ukraine right now is Vladimir Putin, if he would just stop it and retreat and go back to Moscow, but that's not going

to happen.

And, you know, Donald Trump is right that the Europeans, our NATO allies are not doing enough when it comes to spending for NATO. We're still only

10 or 11 countries out of 31 are contributing their fair share. So, in some ways, our allies in European capitals are making it easy for Donald Trump

to make these arguments. And I wish they would reverse course on this and spend far more on defense.

But look, again, stepping back, it's in our interest to have to be part of NATO, to continue to lead in the world and push back on these autocracies

wherever they are.

GOLODRYGA: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, always great to see you. Thanks so much for joining us today.

ESPER: Thank you. Well, their appearance in Congress was disastrous. Now, everyone's talking about the fallout from the anti-Semitism hearing and

whose job may be on the line next.


AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I was shocked by the tone deafness of those comments, and I think they got bad legal advice.




GOLODRYGA: Well, the race for the White House signs that Donald Trump's chances of returning as president are getting better. We have brand new CNN

polling that shows the former president has the upper hand over Joe Biden in two crucial battleground states that President Biden won in the last

election. Voters in both states have negative views of the sitting President's job performance, his agenda, and his sharpness for the job.

In Georgia, which President Biden carried by a very narrow margin in 2020, a hypothetical rematch shows to Trump leading Biden 49 to 44 percent. And

in Michigan, which President Biden won by a larger margin, Trump leads 50 to 40 percent among registered voters.

Well, the President of Harvard University is facing mounting pressure to resign today. Her testimony last week at a congressional hearing on campus

anti-Semitism drew a firestorm of criticism. However, more than 600 Harvard faculty members signed a petition in support of Claudine Gay. And the

president of MIT got a vote of confidence from her school's board.

But the University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, the third of three university presidents questioned on Capitol Hill, resigned over the

weekend. One of the lawmakers who grilled them tweeted, one down, two to go.

Former U.S. President and Harvard alum Al Gore tells CNN -- former U.S. Vice President Al Gore tells CNN that he was shocked by their responses.


GORE: Well, I was shocked by the tone deafness of those comments. And I think they got bad legal advice in putting together what they were going to

say. When statements of the kind that they were asked about come out, we need to stand against them and stand firm as Americans for respect for all

of the communities that make up America. E pluribus unum, we need to be one country.


GOLODRYGA: Jason Carroll is in Cambridge, Massachusetts with the story.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Now, that the University of Pennsylvania's president has resigned, the question for some

here at Harvard University is will their president, Claudine Gay, be next?

JANE, HARVARD STUDENT: I don't think that she should leave because she's like a few months into her presidency and I think it's like a little wild

that like the entire outside world gets to decide what happens on a college campus.


POLINA KEMPINSKY, HARVARD STUDENT: I think it's not a black and white issue, there's a lot of moving factors and it's hard to address all of

those in one conversation.

CARROLL (voice-over): Student Polina Kempinsky is Israeli and says she hasn't and felt safe being Jewish on campus for some time. She says that

widely criticized congressional testimony last week just made things worse.

KEMPINSKY: It felt like it's failed leadership. I was really expecting a clear statement of we're against anti-Semitism and either here's our plan

or we need your help implementing this and that. Instead of this, when hearing the lack of response they attempt to evade. It just made us feel

like we're alone in this. And I'm sure a lot of Muslim students have been feeling the same way.

CARROLL (voice-over): The presidents from Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania all came under intense scrutiny after their disastrous

congressional testimony where they failed to condemn calls from the genocide of Jews as it related to university policies against bullying and


ELISE STEFANIK, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: So, the answer is yes, that calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard Code of Conduct. Correct?

CLAUDINE GAY, PRESIDENT OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Again, it depends on the context.

CARROLL (voice-over): Gay later apologized, telling the Harvard Crimson in an interview, quote, words matter. But the damage was done. One of her

staunchest critics, Bill Ackman, a billionaire hedge fund CEO and Harvard alum, sent a letter Sunday to the university's governing boards of

directors. It reads in part, "In her short tenure as President Claudine Gay has done more damage to the reputation of Harvard University than any

individual in our nearly 500 year history."

DAVID WOLPE, RABBI, VISITING SCHOLAR AT HARVARD'S DIVINITY SCHOOL: I hope that she will be able to do what is best for the university and best for

her, but I don't know what that is.

CARROLL (voice-over): Until recently, Rabbi David Wolpe, a visiting scholar at Harvard's Divinity School, was part of the university's anti-Semitism

advisory group created in the wake of October 7th. He was chosen by Gay, but Wolpe said while he had accountability, he had no real authority to do

anything. Gay's testimony was the final straw. He resigned from the group last week.

WOLPE: And I had wanted from any of the presidents a certain urgency and anger and indignation. Had they once, it wasn't even the content of the

answers, had they once pounded their fist on the table and said, this is unacceptable, I will not have this at my university, I think people would

have felt reassured. I would have felt reassured.

CARROLL: But instead you got what?

WOLPE: Instead we got legalisms and equivocations.

CARROLL: Should Gay resign?

WOLPE: Not for me to say. Really. I don't think --

CARROLL: Why not?

WOLPE: Because I'm a Rabbi who's been at Harvard for two months.

CARROLL (voice-over): Yet several hundred members of the school's faculty signed a petition calling on university leaders to resist political

pressures and outside forces trying to remove Gay.

ELIAS SCHISGALL, SENIOR REPORTER, HARVARD CRIMSON: They united to say that we don't think it's appropriate for national politicians and, you know,

major alumni to be dictating, you know, who should or shouldn't be in the leadership of the university.


CARROLL (on-camera): And, Bianna, it should be noted that MIT's governing board released a statement in support of its president. Harvard's governing

board has a regularly scheduled meeting today, waiting to see if it will release some sort of statement, as well. Bianna?

GOLODRYGA: One thing is clear. This story is not going away. Our thanks to Jason Carroll. Well, coming up, a major miscalculation. A new report claims

the Israeli Prime Minister knew about and encouraged Qatar's payments to Hamas for his own political benefit. We'll explain, up next.



GOLODRYGA: Welcome back to "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga. The humanitarian disaster in Gaza is getting worse with each passing hour. It's

particularly bad in the South, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have crammed into the tiny Rafah area to escape Israeli bombardments. Here's

Clarissa Ward.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here at the Rafah border crossing with a delegation of member states of the United

Nations Security Council. There are 15 representatives from 12 of the current members and three incumbent members.

This is an event, a day of events that has been hosted by the United Arab Emirates, really trying after that veto of the humanitarian ceasefire

resolution that was put forward on Friday to ignite some urgency into the international community's dealings with the humanitarian emergency going on

inside Gaza.

And if you turn, that's obviously the border crossing right behind me, but if we swing around this way a little bit, you can probably see a lot of

media and a lot of security and a lot of diplomats who have all made the trip.

Many of them have come from New York City to meet here, to be here, they have been listening to testimony from aid workers. They heard from the head

of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that operates inside Gaza.

Philippe Lazzarini was actually on his way back into Gaza, essentially sketching out why this is such a desperate situation, saying that really,

essentially, the entire humanitarian apparatus, the work that humanitarian workers are doing in there, is on the brink of collapse now. He talked

about more than 100,000 Gazans massing at this border.

And we've heard from the UAE ambassador to the U.N. Ambassador, Lana Nussevi, about the importance of getting another resolution going that will

try to improve the amount of aid getting in, that will also potentially turn over the Rafah border crossing from the Egyptian Red Crescent to the

U.N., to try to help facilitate more density and intensity of movement getting that aid inside.


One very notable exception who is not here today, the U.S., they have said that they are already actively engaged in diplomacy in the region, in aid

efforts in the region.

And you have this sense that for many of these ambassadors that -- who spend most of their time on the ground in New York, acting, you know, at

meetings and intensive diplomacy, that to actually be here on the ground to hear the firsthand account of aid workers, to visit a hospital and see some

of the injured, that it has maybe injected some sense of urgency and emotion into this whole situation.


GOLODRYGA: Just a really dire picture there. Thanks to Clarissa Ward. Well, a top official tells CNN that Qatar will continue to make payments to Gaza.

His comments come after a "New York Times" report said that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu not only tolerated those payments, but he encouraged

them for a variety of reasons.

According to the report, Benjamin Netanyahu gambled that the steady flow of Qatari money to Gaza would keep Hamas focused on governance and not

fighting. And according to "The Times", at least one prominent Israeli journalist says Mr. Netanyahu told him a stronger Hamas would serve as a

counterweight to the Palestinian Authority, reducing the pressure to negotiate a two state solution.

A senior advisor to Netanyahu says that the blame for the war lies strictly with Hamas.


MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PM NETANYAHU: It was a failed strategy over years by a number of Israeli governments and maybe while it

was working people thought it would work forever but this is the crucial point. Hamas had all sorts of economic incentives to keep the peace. Not

just that but other things.

Workers were coming in to Israel to earn salaries. There was reconstruction. There were many good things happening and Hamas chose to

attack and destroy and to murder and to rape and to burn people alive, to butcher our people and that choice by Hamas exposed Hamas for who it really



GOLODRYGA: Well, time now for The Exchange and a conversation with Anshel Pfeffer. He is a senior correspondent and columnist for "Haaretz" and he

joins me now live from Jerusalem. Anshel, it's great to see you.

There are few people who have chronicled Benjamin Netanyahu for as long as you have, into such great depth. It was notable to hear Mark Regev say at

the beginning that this was a failed strategy for a number of years, and then sort of lump other governments into the decisions that have been made

by Prime Minister Netanyahu himself.

I think there may be more sympathy to this strategy and not really getting into Hamas' ideology, thinking that they would focus more on governing in

the economy there.

If it had not been warnings from any prominent people within the country saying that this strategy would blow up in their face and sadly that's

exactly what happened. What is the reaction inside the country to this reporting by "The New York Times"?

ANSHEL PFEFFER, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT AND COLUMNIST, "HAARETZ": Well, "The New York Times" did report that story, but that story has been -- that

story, various versions of it has been reported in Israel now for the last eight or nine weeks.

Israelis knew this, and they knew this before the war. The fact that this was one of Netanyahu's signature strategies to kind of keep the divide, the

Palestinian divide by having Hamas remaining in charge in Gaza while the Palestinian Authority, Fatah dominated, the Palestinian Authority was in

charge in parts of the West Bank.

This wasn't Netanyahu's strategy all along. It's no great surprise about it. Nobody -- Netanyahu himself never denied it before the war. And we know

that in numerous cases, he spoke about it and said this is the way to deal with the Palestinian issue by having this divide between Hamas in Gaza and

Fatah, in the West Bank.

So, there's no major reaction is in Israel because we we've known this all along and we've -- you know, the Israeli media has been reporting about

this for basically since the beginning of the war. I think Israelis recognize, as Mark Regev said to you earlier, that this is a failed


Netanyahu is trying to make various excuses and say it wasn't just him. But the facts are that in the 16 years since Hamas took over Gaza, Netanyahu's

Prime Minister of over 13 of those years. So, it's quite clear that he bears responsibility for that strategy.

GOLODRYGA: And his polls meantime in the country continue to fall. And this as he continues to also say that any investigation, all questions will be

answered after the war. I'm wondering how long that response can hold in the country, because there are questions, at least externally, about

whether he can be trusted to oversee this war and whether he puts Israel's interests at the forefront in terms of ending it as soon as possible,

knowing that he'll have to answer some very difficult questions himself after this war.


PFEFFER: Well, we just saw last weekend, the polls saying that 72 percent of Israelis think Netanyahu should resign either immediately now or

immediately when the war ends.

Now, when the war ends, obviously, there'll be a commission of inquiry and Netanyahu and many other people, many other politicians and security

officials will have to answer tough questions. But most Israelis don't think that they should wait until Netanyahu answers those questions. He

should answer those questions as a former prime minister, not as a serving one. That seems to be almost a consensus now in Israel.

And we're seeing, I think, a fascinating phenomena because in most wars there's a rallying around the flag and a rallying around the leaders, at

least in the first stages of the war. Netanyahu is not seen by Israelis as the one leading the country now.

And more Israelis are seeing other figures in the war cabinet and matters of the IDF as the ones who are leading them to war. Netanyahu is not seen

by Israelis as the one who is leading them or as a figure that they trust in any way.

GOLODRYGA: So, what's the likelihood, if at all, that we could see a leadership change in the imminent future, in the immediate future?

PFEFFER: Well, it's not going to be imminent or immediate because Netanyahu -- it's not in his DNA to resign. It's very unlikely that he'll do that

voluntarily. We've seen this man so many years on the political scene, that's just not in his nature. He'll try and hold on for as long as he can.

I'm already seeing the way that he's trying out various survival strategies, how he's blaming, or using proxies to blame the generals and to

blame people, but himself, and to try and take credit for stuff that he hasn't done.

For example, he tried to take credit for the hostage release agreement, even though we know that in the war cabinet, he wasn't very much in favor.

It was other members of the War Cabinet, Benny Gantz and Gabby Eisenkot, who pushed for the hostage release and truce agreement three weeks ago.

And Netanyahu, once he saw that it was popular with Israelis, and Israelis were very happy to see part of the hostage, not all the hostages, some

hostages coming out of Gaza, he tried to take credit for that.

And this is how Netanyahu has always operated, take credit for anything good that happens and blame everyone else for the bad things that happens.

But at the end of the day, he was prime minister for so many years. He was in charge of Israel's strategy, the Gaza strategy, the Hamas, keeping Hamas

in Gaza strategy was such a failure, and he should be the one to pay the price but he is not waiting around for anybody to ask him questions.

And they'll have to be some serious political movement from both from the opposition, but also, I think, elements within the coalition to make that

happen once this war ends.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, Anshel, if I could actually quickly, you have responded and called this next few weeks, I guess, the limited time the U.S. has

given Israel, unofficially at least, for this scale of the war to come to an end, mission impossible.

Two of the biggest goals set out by Prime Minister Netanyahu was the destruction of Hamas, militarily, at least, and releasing the remaining

hostages. It sounds like you're awfully pessimistic about either of those being accomplished in less than a month's time.

PFEFFER: Well, I think the headline of the piece I wrote was "Mission Improbable", not "Impossible".

GOLODRYGA: Improbable.

PFEFFER: That is -- it's very difficult in the next three or four weeks to complete the destruction of Hamas' military capabilities. The IDF doesn't

think it's possible to do that in a few weeks. They think it's a matter of months at least. But we may reach a critical point where Hamas will have

been significantly diminished in Gaza.

But the real question is not whether it'll take weeks or months to destroy Hamas' military capability. I think that is achievable. The question is,

does Israel have a strategy for the day after?

And currently, we're not seeing from Netanyahu such a strategy because on the one hand, he has his far-right coalition which won't let him actually

announce any type of pragmatic strategy. And on the other hand, he has the Biden administration which is pressuring him to agree to a strategy which

includes the Palestinian Authority.

So, Netanyahu, once again powerless as prime minister to deliver the strategy that Israel needs.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah. "Mission Improbable", I guess, offers a bit more optimism just a little bit than "Mission Impossible". Thanks for the correction

there. Anshel Pfeffer, thank you always for your time. We appreciate it.

PFEFFER: Thank you, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: We'll be right back with more.



GOLODRYGA: Breaking together the top minds in financial technology. That was the goal of a recent conference in Nigeria. Thousands from the industry

came together to connect and share ideas. We caught up with a few of the key players.


ADE BAJAMO, PRESIDENT, FINTECH NGR: This year, we're over 31 countries connecting in six continents, over 10,000 physical attendees and about five

or 6000 joining us online, as well. And the whole idea is very, very simple. We really, really wanted to make sure that we connect the ecosystem

where FinTechs can learn from each other, see what's out there, take the innovation to the next level really.

EBEHIJIE MOMOH, COUNTRY MANAGER: It's an opportunity to bring minds together. The discussion, the collaboration. I was amazed to see the number

of players within the ecosystem. They collaborate. Remember, we keep talking about Nigeria, but they have brought in a lot of players within the

ecosystem across Africa.

DEMOLA IGBALAJOBI, MANAGING DIRECTOR: At the last FinTech Week, for example, you could see three or four things. Number one was you saw young

people coming there looking to meet experienced companies. You saw young entrepreneurs who have already started something in FinTech, they are

looking to find partners.

Some people came there to learn, to listen to people, to do those kind of things. This FinTech Week is something that has been going on year on year,

and it's been getting bigger and there I see it better. Because one of the weird things about FinTech companies is that they are not doing it for


The FinTech market in Nigeria is huge and there are a lot of foreign direct investments, there are a lot of companies that are trying to bring inflows

into the country but they need to understand that these businesses do exist, right?

And FinTech week, FinTech, this kind of environment brings together different FinTech companies. Some of them are they collaborate together,

some of them they find new partners, new partnerships, you know. So, this environment, really, this helps us.

UNKNOWN: So, participants who were there would actually have benefited immensely from the vast experience of our panelists. These panelists were

handpicked and they caught across all industries. So whether they are regulators or whether they are top consultants or they are founders who are

sharing experience from the call phase, you know. So one of the things that really excited me was founders and investors talking about learning from

failures and knowing how important it is to feel safe and feel right, as well.

VOICE-OVER: Inside Africa in association with Zenith Bank.




GOLODRYGA: Well, award season is creeping up and the nominees are out for the 81st annual Golden Globes, leading the way with nine nominations

including best drama series succession from HBO, which like CNN is part of a Warner Brothers discovery company.

While on the big screen, Greta Gerwig's Barbie scored the most film nominations with nine, just ahead of Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, which

has eight. While the nominees may be set, but the award show is having difficulty nailing down a host. Chris Rock who was previously hosting the

Oscars has said no along with a number of other comedy stars.

Elizabeth Wagmeister joins us from Los Angeles. Elizabeth, first, welcome to CNN. Great to have you for the first time on "One World". Talk to us

about these nominees and the fact that "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" topped the list here.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you for having me and I am so thrilled to be here and working with you. And it is a big morning in

Hollywood. The Golden Globes are really going to serve as the award season kickoff after a time in the entertainment industry that was completely shut

down by both strikes.

Now as you said, we have "Barbie" leading all nominations, followed by "Oppenheimer". What's exciting about this is these are films that people

actually saw. Often time, around award season, we're talking about all the nominations and nobody has ever heard of these films.

And as we know, there is a trend in declining ratings, not just among the Golden Globes, but the Oscars, the Emmys, every single award show. So, when

you have these films that people have really seen, that's very exciting and will probably bode well for ratings.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, but the problem is, as noted Elizabeth, we don't have a host yet. What's behind that?

WAGMEISTER: That is correct. So, the Golden Globes are less than a month away and they have not found a host yet. I had some exclusive reporting

this past weekend that they reached out to Chris Rock. He declined. Also Ali Wong, who was nominated this morning for her role in Netflix's "Beef",

and Will Arnett, Sean Hayes, and Jason Bateman. They wanted them to host together.

Now, what I am being told from my sources is none of these stars declined because of the Globes. The scandal that has been circulating the Globes

seems to have blown over. People are really excited to attend. It's just that hosting one of these big shows is really seen as a thankless job. It's

a lot of preparation. It's a lot of negative feedback. It's a lot of deciding what topics to tackle on that stage.


So, these big stars, first of all, they're busy. A lot of them are on their comedy tours. And second of all, it just feels like the juice is not worth

the squeeze. So, that is what I'm hearing but they will find a host, the show will go on and again as I said my sources all say that celebrities are

really excited for the Globes this year and they're excited to return after having this time off with the strikes.

GOLODRYGA: Well, keep us posted on who you hear will ultimately be leading as you said just a few weeks away. Elizabeth Wagmeister, great to see you.

Welcome, again. Thank you.

WAGMEISTER: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, that does it for this hour of "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga. Thank you so much for watching. Amanpour is next. I'll see you

right here tomorrow.