Return to Transcripts main page
One World with Zain Asher
Biden Tells A Group Of Donors That Israel Is Losing International Support; Hunter Biden Heaping Criticism On House Republicans And demanding To Testify Publicly Today; COP28 Climate Conference In Dubai Ends; Family Members Of Hamas-Held Hostages Answer A Few Questions From Reporters. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired December 13, 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 INTERNATIONAL HOST: A rare public rebuke. "One World" starts right now. Indiscriminate bombing, Joe Biden's unusual and harsh
criticism of Israel's actions in the war. Why he thinks global support for Israel is waning.
Also ahead, Hunter strikes back. The President's son lashes out just hours before an inquiry into his father is set to begin. And later, behind closed
doors, the Oval Office meeting that convinced Trump he still had a shot at the presidency, a month after he lost. It's a CNN exclusive.
Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga. Zain is off today. This is "One World". Israel's continued effort to rid Gaza of Hamas
is coming with a cost. Israel says that it suffered one of its worst battlefield losses of this conflict during an operation in Shijia. Nine
Israeli soldiers were killed when Hamas fighters hiding in buildings and tunnels attacked a brigade with guns and explosives. Among the dead was an
Israel has also told the U.S. that it is testing out using seawater to flood some tunnels in an effort to drive Hamas fighters out. It says it is
only flooding tunnels where it does not think hostages are being held.
And the U.S. is expressing some frustration with the continued suffering of Gaza's civilians. On Tuesday, Joe Biden told a group of donors that Israel
is losing international support in what were his most critical comments yet about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war plans. Israel says
Hamas is to blame for the humanitarian crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EYLON LEVY, ISRSAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: We know that some nations are perhaps losing nerve. They're losing nerve because Hamas is working very
hard to manufacture a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It continues to operate in civilian dress, out of civilian areas, deliberately trying to put
civilians in harm's way because it knows that those images will generate sympathy and sympathy will generate diplomatic pressure on Israel to stop
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And one more note about the situation in Gaza right now. The past day has brought torrential rain to the region. Gazans driven from
their homes and dealing with hunger and disease were forced to spend the night sleeping in puddles.
Well, it has been a nightmarish 68 days for relatives of hostages still being held by Hamas. Right now, U.S. President Biden is meeting with
families of American hostages in Gaza. Biden is promising them that he will not lose sight of their loved ones.
Hostage families are appealing to both the U.S. and Israel to try new ways to bring their loved ones home. But tensions between the two governments
are coming out in the open. President Biden's saying Tuesday that Israel is losing international support as its bombardment of Gaza continues.
Let's start our coverage with Alex Marquardt who is in Tel Aviv. And Alex, I know you have some new reporting on the status of the hostage
negotiations. What can you tell us?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianna, we're told that the mediators are trying to do what they can to get Israel
and Hamas back to the negotiating table, trying to come up with new ideas. We're told that Hamas, for its part, has not been very responsive.
Now, sources telling my colleagues, MJ Lee, Jeremy Diamond and myself, really that the talks have never ended in terms of trying to explore
different ideas. One senior U.S. official calling this a real exploration of ideas. But I think we really do have to differentiate between the talks
and the negotiations. Right now, there are no real negotiations.
Now, we understand that Qatar, which has been one of the main mediators and really the main conduit to Hamas, has reached out to Hamas with a couple
proposals, including possibly another deal that would involve not just women but men, as well. And Hamas, we're told, has not responded.
Now, in the last round of negotiations, I was told by officials that it was extremely cumbersome because Qatar had to reach out to the political Hamas
officials and Doha, who then had to Gaza. Now, you can imagine that communication line has gotten a lot more complicated because Israel is
actively hunting those Hamas leaders in Gaza who would make those decisions.
At the same time, Israel does believe that it is military pressure that will get Hamas back to the negotiating table. Now you'll remember, Bianna,
that Hamas was the one that didn't come up the side, that didn't come up with more women and children to extend the pause, extend the hostage
And that's why that deal eventually fell apart. So, this is why the mediators are trying to explore the possibility of adding men -- civilian
men, older men, onto the deal. But it is clear that, first of all, Israel really does want the remaining women and children. Hamas has argued that
the remaining women are IDF which, of course, Israel rejects.
Now, we understand from the prime minister's office, there are 135 remaining hostages in Gaza, but only 116 of them, Bianna, are still alive.
And as you mentioned, President Biden meeting with hostage families of all eight of the American hostages who are believed to still be in Gaza, there
are -- one woman and seven men are believed to be among those American hostages. Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: I believe 17 women are believed to be held currently in Gaza as hostage. Alex, can I ask you another question about the reporting about
seawater being pumped through tunnels in Gaza by the IDF as it pursues Hamas leadership? IDF is saying they do not believe that any hostages are
We heard the president second that yesterday in terms of what he is being told. What more can you tell us about these new efforts on the part of the
IDF? Well, President Biden's saying that he didn't know for a fact that the tunnels that are being pumped full of sea water didn't have hostages.
He said he certainly was worried about the civilians, both those hostages and Palestinian civilians more generally. But what we understand is that
the IDF is pumping seawater from the Mediterranean into those tunnels on a limited scale, essentially testing to see what kind of effect it would
have. They're doing it in a limited way.
Bianna, as you know, Hamas has claimed to have some 300 miles, 500 kilometers of tunnels all across the Gaza Strip. There are obvious benefits
if this were successful, because it would destroy a key part of the Hamas infrastructure. It could kill Hamas militants. At the same time, you are,
of course, possibly risking the lives of hostages if they are indeed in those tunnels.
A U.S. official told our colleague Natasha Bertrand that they are unsure, that Israel is unsure how effective this is going to be. If they were to
expand this, it will obviously be a significant new tactic that the IDF is using in Gaza. But for now, we are told it's being done on a relatively
limited scale. Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: All right, Alex Marquardt reporting for us from Tel Aviv. Thank you. Well, joining us now is a spokesperson for the International Committee
of the Red Cross, Sarah Davies. We should know that the president of the ICRC is expected in Israel tomorrow after a week visiting Egypt and Gaza
for discussions on allowing Red Cross representatives to have more access to these remaining hostages in Gaza.
Sarah, thank you so much for joining us. So, as we just heard from Alex, there are over 130 hostages remain to be held there by Hamas and we're
hearing horrific stories from those that have been rescued and returned back to Israel about how they were treated, abused, and malnourished even
worse. So, talk to us about what the ICRC is doing to effort additional access, any access at all to these hostages.
SARAH DAVIES, ICRC SPOKESPERSON: Thank you so much for having me, firstly, Bianna. So, what we are doing, what we have been doing since day one, since
the 7th of October, is publicly, of course, calling for the immediate release of all of these hostages as well as our access to them so that we
can, exactly as you said, check on their welfare, provide them with any needed medications and re-establish contact with family members, which is
also an incredibly huge part of the devastating situation of those people living for it right now.
We have not stopped in our efforts to gain this access. We have continued to discuss with Hamas leaders face to face at the highest level, including
our president. We have done this in the level of Israel and Tel Aviv. We've spoken to different leaders, including the Israeli authorities. But what we
need in order to achieve this access -- be granted this access, is a very solid agreement between the two parties to this conflict.
And that does have to take place at a political level, whatever that may look like, however that may be negotiated or through whichever mediators,
before we can then implement our role, which is to facilitate either the release or facilitate our acts, our visits to these hostages.
GOLODRYGA: And as we know that it was Hamas that did not uphold its commitment to the temporary truce when the hostages were being returned
back to Israel that ultimately led the bombardment to continue and the truce to end as we just heard there from Alex, CNN's reporting that Hamas
has not been responsive to the latest attempts at outreach and any sort of negotiations on hostage release.
And there's a lot of misconceptions about what your organization can and can't do. So, let's just walk through that. You are a neutral party. You do
not have weapons. You do not have power over the parties, including Hamas. You cannot take medications from families to provide for the hostages but
you can put pressure on Hamas to deliver those life-saving medications.
And I have to say, I've spoken to a couple of family members whose -- have hostages -- their loved ones remain hostage -- held hostage in Gaza and
they were very direct in their frustration and disillusionment with the ICRC's conduct here.
And I do want to quote from them specifically to put in their words where that frustration comes from. They are saying that you are not being vocal,
clear and consistent enough about Hamas preventing the Red Cross to have access, upholding its end of the bargain to those hostages.
I'd like for you to respond to that because you get that frustration, as well. I know you've met with family members who say there's really a lack
of empathy on the part of your organization on this front. What is your response?
DAVIES: I can assure you that we, of course, while we are not in these shoes, we can never fully understand what these families are going through
right now. Our hearts are with them.
We know from conflicts all around the world where we work that being separated from family members because of a conflict is one of the most
things that people can suffer. People say it's not the lack of food, it's not the lack of water or the difficult living conditions, it's the fact
that they do not know where their family members are, what is happening to them, if they're okay, when they will see them again.
We understand this and our heart, I cannot express how difficult this situation is for the families right now. We are doing everything in our
power to relentlessly work, to not just gain access, but to see the immediate release of all these hostages, which is what we have been
publicly calling for.
But I do want to clarify that while we publicly speak, of course, most of our work for the last 160 years up to now takes place behind closed doors.
And this is, of course, a very frustrating situation for people who are seeing this play out understand.
But this is really critical. It's so essential to our role as that neutral organization to be trusted by armed groups around the world, state
authorities, governments, not to deviate from this neutrality, which could jeopardize our neutral intermediary role. And that role is what saw us
facilitate the release and transfer of 105 hostages during that agreement phase in late November.
GOLODRYGA: Understood. You, though, do say that there's nothing more you can do publicly and speak out more aggressively and putting more pressure
on Hamas than you're doing right now?
DAVIES: We are continuing, of course, to publicly call for the immediate release and our access. This is something we have called for publicly
multiple times since the 7th of October.
But this is not the only thing that we are doing and we have learned from decades of experience in conflict zones that the discussions that take
place directly with parties to the conflict, those involved as well as other actors of influence, yield results in the long term rather than us
publicly -- focusing publicly on what we're saying, what we're calling for. We do this but we do also focus very much on what takes place in direct
discussions with those who do have influence in this situation.
GOLODRYGA: You have a number of priorities and objectives in this war obviously having access to hostages being one but also addressing the
growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, another. And the president of the ICRC recently visited the European hospital in Gaza and said things -- she saw
things that I want to quote her, were "beyond anything that anyone should be in a position to describe children with atrocious injuries".
And she said it's come to the point where it can't even be fixed by the delivery of more trucks and supplies. What more can the Red Cross do to
address some of these growing concerns about the humanitarian crisis, tens of thousands of civilians there deprived of daily essentials, food,
DAVIES: As you say, it is really quite a devastating situation that we are seeing unfold in Gaza.
Civilians are currently living under tents. Just last night there was torrential rain, very heavy winds. And people are living through a very
horrific -- a nightmare situation. We are on the ground. We have surgical teams in European Gaza Hospital and we are continuing to supply medical
equipment, food, essential items like blankets and tarpaulins where possible.
But what is needed and what is the responsibility of the parties to this conflict is to ensure that aid can be delivered unimpeded and safely, so
that teams, not just our teams but other humanitarian organizations, can continue to distribute aid without this challenging security situation that
does currently, unfortunately exist.
We also do call for a sustained flow of aid to enter Gaza but as our President did say, the amount of trucks entering does not make a difference
if we can't safely distribute these really critically needed items, you know, simple things like chlorine tablets so that water can be purified and
people can drink that safely.
The injuries that we're seeing, of course, as you said, are horrific. Medical personnel -- local medical personnel and our surgical teams are
working relentlessly as for hours on end performing surgeries, but more is needed. There are common colds, there are infectious diseases.
Unfortunately, we are seeing this list of concerns just continue to grow.
GOLODRYGA: All right, well, Sarah Davies, thank you so much for your time today. And please do keep us posted about your work and doing more to get
access to these hostages and hopefully get them home, as well, in addition to your work on the ground there in Gaza. We appreciate it.
DAVIES: Of course. Thank you so much.
GOLODRYGA: Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continues his mission to get more aid for his war with Russia, stopping in Oslo today to
meet with Nordic leaders. His visit coming ahead of Thursday's crucial European Council meeting.
Now, this, as his pleas for more war funding from Washington may, in fact, go unanswered. Congress is divided on an aid package, with Republicans
saying they'll only pass one if it's tied to U.S. border security changes.
The U.S. President says letting Ukraine aid run out would be, quote, "the greatest Christmas gift for Vladimir Putin". However, Joe Biden shifted his
language slightly, seeming to acknowledge a new reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The American people can be and should be incredibly proud of the part they played in supporting Ukraine's success.
We'll continue to supply Ukraine with critical weapons and equipment as long as we can. But without supplemental funding, we're rapidly coming to
an end of our ability to help Ukraine respond to the urgent operational demands that it has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: In the coming hours, House Republicans are expected to vote on the resolution to formalize an impeachment inquiry into President Joe
Biden. The probe has struggled to uncover wrongdoing by the President. House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries telling CNN what he thinks
of this investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAKEEM JEFFRIES, HOUSE DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADER: The Republicans have now reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents heard from many witnesses,
and they can't find a scintilla of evidence to justify this impeachment inquiry. It is happening because the puppet master in chief, the former
twice-impeached so-called President of the United States of America, has ordered them to launch this impeachment inquiry as a political hit job on
President Joe Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Meantime, President Biden's son Hunter is heaping criticism on House Republicans and demanding to testify publicly today. But a
Republican-led investigation wants a closed-door deposition. Hunter was subpoenaed to answer questions as part of that House panel's impeachment
inquiry into his father, which we've been telling you about. Here's what he had to say a little earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTER BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN'S SON: For six years, I have been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine, shouting, where's
Hunter? Well, here's my answer. I am here.
Let me state as clearly as I can, my father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma,
not in my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home nor abroad, and certainly not as an artist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, let's get to Washington and CNN's Annie Grayer for more. So, Annie, two questions here. How are Republicans responding to what we heard
from Hunter Biden and how is the White House?
ANNIE GRAYER, CNN REPORTER: Well, the House Oversight Chair, James Comer, and Judiciary Chair, Jim Jordan, are out with a new statement where they
say they will be initiating contempt proceedings against Hunter Biden because he did not appear today.
Now, of course, Hunter was on the Hill, but he only made that public statement to press and his subpoena was for a private closed-door
deposition where the Committees were waiting for him. So, because Hunter did not comply to the exact terms of the subpoena, Comer and Jordan are
moving forward with contempt. That becomes now a calendar issue with a series of steps that have to happen.
The Committees have to officially pass a contempt proceeding, then it has to go to the floor. The House is done for the year by tomorrow. So, this is
unclear now when contempt will actually happen against the President's son. But the White House has been forceful in pushing back on all allegations
from Republicans and supported Hunter's statement today.
GOLODRYGA: Any response from Republicans on Hunter basically calling their bluff and saying, I am willing to testify, but I want to do it publicly?
GRAYER: Yeah, they say, Bianna, that that's fine. We can do a public hearing at a later date. But the terms of the subpoena or for a closed door
deposition, and that is what they want to stick to. They want to follow this certain process. They want to get Hunter behind closed doors.
Hunter, of course, though, says he doesn't want to do a closed door deposition. He's afraid his statements will get taken out of context or
cherry-picked. So, that is the standstill that we found ourselves in today, where both sides really dug in, And now, Comer and Jordan taking an
official step to actually moving to hold Hunter in contempt.
GOLODRYGA: Annie Grayer reporting from Washington. Thank you so much. Coming up, why the U.S. president and the Israeli Prime Minister don't see
eye to eye on the way forward in Gaza. The growing rift between two staunch allies when we return.
GOLODRYGA: CNN exclusive reporting to bring you now, newly obtained audio from Kenneth Chesebro, the pro-Trump lawyer who's now cooperating with
investigators detailing what he says happened at an Oval Office meeting with the then president, Trump, just weeks after the 2020 election.
Lawyers were told before meeting Trump not to get his hopes up about the chances of overturning the election. But when the discussion turned to the
state of play in Arizona, Chesebro deviated from the plan.
CNN's Marshall Cohen is live for us from Washington, D.C. What more are you learning, Marshall?
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Hey, Bianna, this is really fascinating stuff and it comes from a recent interview that Ken Chesebro gave to criminal
investigators in Michigan detailing the meeting in the Oval Office in December 2020 where he and a bunch of other Trump attorneys met with the
President for a photo op. It was supposed to be just a simple meet and greet.
They were told, as you mentioned, don't get his hopes up about the election. Just take the photo and walk away. But that's not what happened.
There was a pretty extensive conversation about the state of play in a few key states.
First, Wisconsin, where one of Trump's attorneys in that state, Jim Troupus, basically told Trump that it was game over, telling the truth to
the president. Here is a clip about that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNETH CHESEBRO, PRO-TRUMP LAWYER: It's clear that troops personally told the President there was zero hope for Wisconsin. As part of this message, I
think crafted to try to get him to concede, to just give up this long shot challenge. So there was a conscious effort to deflect him from a sense of
any possibility that he could pull out the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: This is important, Bianna, because it's yet another example of Donald Trump being told to his face bluntly that he lost. This is something
that special counsel Jack Smith in the federal indictment against Trump has made clear that there was a pattern of this happening.
Many people around Trump told him that he lost. This specific example is new. It wasn't in the indictment, and it could be new additional evidence
against the president who is set to go to trial in March.
GOLODRYGA: And we know the discussion expanded beyond just the results in Wisconsin.
COHEN: That's right. It was a -- pretty expansive. The conversation turned to Arizona, and that's when Ken Chesebro chimed in. Remember, he was told,
don't get Trump's hopes up, but that's exactly what he did anyway. Listen to him describing what he told President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHESEBRO: So, I ended up explaining that Arizona was still hypothetically possible because the auto electors had voted. And I explained the whole
logic that because the auto electors had voted, we had more time to win the litigation. So, it was, I think, clear in a way that maybe it hadn't been
before that we had until January 6th to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: So, there's still a chance, according to Chesebro that Trump could keep fighting, telling Trump exactly what he wanted to hear. There was
fallout from that immediately. Reince Priebus, the former RNC Chairman who helped arrange the photo op, he was in the room, and he was livid. Here is
Ken Chesebro describing Priebus' reaction to the interaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHESEBRO: Right after the meeting, Troupus, well, Troupus said that Reince Priebus is extremely concerned with what I told the president about Arizona
and about the real deadline being January 6th, and that he was going to do damage control. Reince was going to follow up and I mean I was trying to
mitigate whatever optimism I guess I created.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: Instead of tamping down Trump's excitement about the election and maybe even prodding him to concede, instead Chesboro fanned the flames and
put ideas in his mind about January 6th. And we all know how that ended, Bianna, with the violent insurrection on the Capitol steps here in D.C.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah. Three years later, and we continue to unearth, thanks to your reporting and our colleagues, more damning information about what
happened really behind closed doors. Marshall Cohen reporting to us from Washington, D.C. Thank you.
COHEN: No problem.
GOLODRYGA: Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis came out swinging against Donald Trump during Tuesday's CNN town hall in Iowa. With just five
weeks before the state's caucuses, the Florida governor is looking to cast himself as Trump's main Republican rival. DeSantis attacked the former
president on everything from inflation to abortion and immigration. In fact, he couldn't stop saying his name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON DESANTIS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm the only one running that can beat Trump. The Trump administration under Trump. Donald Trump. Trump said at
the time they would do that. Trump. Donald Trump. Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, one of DeSantis' big criticisms of Trump was how much he's changed since the 2016 campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESANTIS: When he gets off the teleprompter now, you don't know what he's going to say. He's a different Donald Trump than 15 and 16. You know, back
then, he was colorful, but it was really America first about the policies. Now, a lot of it's about him. And when he's doing this and says that
debating Hillary Clinton after "Access Hollywood" was like an example of bravery that some general told him was more significant than soldiers who
fight and die in war.
That is offensive and that is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Slowly but surely, we continue to see DeSantis take on Trump directly. Well, later today, CNN's Abby Phillip will host a town hall with
Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. That will be at 9 P.M. Eastern, right here on CNN. We'll be right back.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome back to "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga. Well, some tensions between the U.S. President and the Israeli Prime Minister have
bubbled to the surface. Joe Biden is warning that Israel is losing international support by its quote, "indiscriminate bombing of Gaza". Those
comments came during a closed door democratic fundraiser Wednesday.
In addition, Biden and the Israeli Prime Minister also seem to have fundamental differences over who should govern Gaza after the war. Benjamin
Netanyahu says that he does not want any entity empowering Gaza with ties to terrorism.
In a statement, he said, Gaza will neither be Hamastan nor Fatahstan. He was referring to not just Hamas, but also to Fatah, the largest Palestinian
faction that controls the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. meanwhile says that it will reject any proposal that includes Israeli control over Gaza.
Time now for The Exchange, and for more on this fresh tension between two staunch allies, we bring in Alon Pinkas.
He is the former Consul General of Israel in New York and a former political adviser to previous Israeli governments. Alon, it's good to have
you on. Given the lengthy history between Prime Minister Netanyahu and a number of U.S, presidential administrations, the war notwithstanding, was
this a situation that we were destined to have to face at some point?
ALON PINKAS, FORMER CONSUL GENERAL OF ISRAEL IN NEW YORK: Oh, absolutely. Not only was it destined to happen, Bianna. I think it is deliberate on
Netanyahu's part. On the one hand, Israel is sovereign and independent and free to make its own decisions and choices.
But given the situation in Gaza, given the amount, the vast magnitudes and scope of support that Biden provided Israel, you know, you would have
expected Mr. Netanyahu to heed some of the advice to at least not make it public.
But if you look at his history, his relations with the Clinton administration, with the Obama administration, with Vice President Joe
Biden then in the White House, and even toward the end of his relationship with Donald Trump, you should not be surprised.
Now, that being established, he's doing it deliberately because this is his way of appeal. This is all about politics for him. This is all about him,
getting away from the responsibility and shunning the accountability of his part for October 7th. And so, a showdown with an American president will,
you know, will show him as some -- show some bravado and show him as, you know, a prime minister who stands up to American pressure. There haven't
been any American pressures until now. This is part of his campaign to pretend that there have been pressures that he withstood. That hasn't been
GOLODRYGA: Yeah and there hasn't been pressure. We heard the comments and the sharpest we should note publicly from President Biden. But according to
CNN's reporting, the administration is not planning on drawing any red lines and any conditions on military aid to Israel at this point, despite
internal and, as you know, international pressure to do just that. I know you've written a lot being critical of how Prime Minister Netanyahu is
conducting this war, and at times it seems putting politics ahead of the safety and concern of the population there in the country. We saw that
video from him yesterday. Anshel Pfeffer, a journalist who has been covering Netanyahu for many years, wrote this as his headline in an article
yesterday. "Israel's at war. Netanyahu just launched his re-election campaign."
I mean, using Occam's razor, is it just as simple as pure cynicism on the part of a who's focused on his own political career at the time his
country's facing one of its most dire situations in its existence?
PINKAS: A hundred percent. Look, Bianna, he should have resigned on day one, then week one, then month one. He didn't. He didn't resign because the
concepts of responsibility and accountability and decency and public service are alien to him. For him, it's all about survival in politics.
And let's not forget that he's in an ongoing trial on three indictments for corruption and bribery. He has tried to launch for nine months just before
the war began a constitutional coup that caused, among other things, among other reasons, caused President Biden not to invite him to the White House.
So, for him now, it's 100 percent pure unadulterated cynicism. Look, if he has a different vision for what should happen in Gaza in the aftermath of
the war, the so-called day after, it's fine. It's legitimate. So, you speak to the Americans about that rather than dismiss what Secretary of State
Blinken and the most recently, Vice President Kamala Harris says in Dubai just 10 days ago. He dismissed it. He divided it. He then comes up with, we
won't let a terror, as you said in your introduction, we won't let a terror organization rule Gaza for God's sakes. For 15 years, he made Hamas big,
strong, and rich. That was a deliberate, purposeful policy of his. So, his excuses now, his one-liners appealing to his right-wing base are very, very
Now, the question is, can and will President Biden or the Biden administration indeed do something about that? As you mentioned, according
to CNN reporting, not now, not yet.
GOLODRYGA: Well, listen, this comes not only because of pressure from the United States, but also something that Prime Minister Netanyahu has lauded
and taken credit for, and that is the orchestration of the Abraham Accords and ties with some of the other Arab countries.
Just yesterday, the UAE said that they will not participate in rebuilding Gaza, and will even consider the future of the relations between the two
countries if a two state solution isn't put forward. So, clearly, there's a lot on the line for the Prime Minister. Alon Pinkas, thank you, as always.
We'll continue this conversation another time. Appreciate it.
PINKAS: Thank you, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we are following outrage in Poland after a far-right lawmaker disrupted a Hanukkah celebration in parliament by using a fire
extinguisher to put out candles on a large menorah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: This lawmaker also took to the podium and described the Jewish holiday as, quote, "satanic". The parliament speaker removed Braun from the
session, saying there's no tolerance for racism, xenophobia or anti- Semitism inside the chamber.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SZYMON HOLOWHIA, POLISH PARLIAMENT SPEAKER (through translator): I want to warn you that if what happened just now happens again, you will insult the
followers of other religions. From the same pulpit, I will consider that you have violated the seriousness of the sin, and I will expel you from the
deliberation. Come on, if you want. Please do it. Just do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: It's just sickening to see that, and I'm glad that he got the reprimand that he did. Well, U.S. President Joe Biden just met with family
members of American hostages. They've just come out of the White House and are speaking to the press.
(LIVE COVERAGE BEGINS)
UNKNOWN: -- seen too many civilians -- hostages, your loved ones alive again.
JONATHAN DEKEL-CHEN, FAMILY MEMBER OF ISRAELI HOSTAGE: Thank you. My name is Jonathan Dekel-Chen. I'm the father of Sigi Dekel-Chen, a 35-year-old
father who was abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7th. We met today with President Biden and other people from the administration. It was a
terrific -- terrific meeting and conversation.
I think we all came away feeling that as families of hostages -- of American Israeli hostages, which are eight out of a total of 138 hostages,
we felt that and we felt before and we were only reinforced in seeing and believing that we could have no better friend in Washington or in the White
House than President Biden himself and his administration.
REPORTER: Pope Francis today called for an immediate release of all the hostages. Do you believe the Vatican can help bring your loved ones home?
LIZ NAFTALI, FAMILY MEMBER OF ISRAELI HOSTAGE: I'll add. I'm Liz Naftali. I'm Abigail E. Don Moore's great aunt and we are blessed because she is
back with her family after she was a hostage for 50 days and witnessed both of her parents being murdered on October 7th.
And what I can tell you is that Abigail is a miracle. She is a light in this very dark time and metaphorically a lot of our families that are here
today and we are all one big family looking to get all of these people's sons and fathers and mothers out that we are here because the president and
his team have been bringing out light in this dark time.
And Abigail who is a four-year-old, is a symbol of that light. And as we come to the Christmas holiday, I hope that the Pope continues to speak and
others around the world not only pray, but pray for us, pray for our families, pray for our leaders, pray for the President, and that the Pope
and all that he can do is to push.
We love a Christmas miracle. We would love all of our loved ones to come back and be with us for Christmas. So, when you talk about the Pope, our
hope is that he and others like himself will influence these people in the Middle East that are all actors in this part of getting these hostages out.
And that is all of our hope for a Christmas miracle.
REPORTER: Can you talk about what kind of communication you guys have been getting? Are you getting updates on a daily basis? What kind of
communication are you getting from the White House? And thank you, of course, for talking with us.
DEKEL-CHEN: Yeah. Well, I can say this. Since a day or two after the massacre on October 7th and the hostage-taking by Hamas, we all began to be
contacted by Representatives of the United States government. The embassy in Israel, State Department, Secretary Blinken. And within just a few short
days, President Biden was on a video call with us. And since that time, we've been in frequent and very transparent contact with administration
And we've also really benefited, I think and most importantly, our sons, daughters, fathers, sisters, brothers, mothers have also really seen how,
in a very divided time, members of Congress, members of the Senate, from wall to wall, have shown solidarity with us.
REPORTER: Are you still waiting word on your loved ones on their release? Was the President able to share anything about that -- condition, where
DEKEL-CHEN: We're going to keep the content of the conversation private. It was a private meeting between representatives of the eight families still
and a ninth family or two other families whose loved ones have been released already. But we are going to keep the private conversations
REPORTER: Obviously, the world witnessed the great miracle as you indicated when some of the hostages were freed as a bunch of the temporary ceasefire.
What specifically are you requesting of the U.S. going forward to secure the release of your loved ones?
And as it relates to the desire for another ceasefire right now, is there any more information that you learned about the potential that could happen
DEKEL-CHEN: Well, as I said before, we're going to keep the private conversations private. What we do know -- what we do know, and we've seen
that the U.S. administration, from the previous round of negotiations and hostage release, the U.S. administration is completely committed to getting
the hostages out, the eight Americans who remain there and the other nearly 130.
We have no doubt about that. And today's meeting with President Biden and Secretary Blinken only reinforced that and that they are willing and ready
to do all that they possibly can by any number of means to get the hostages home.
NAFTALI: And also not -- one second -- and also not just to talk about them as hostages, but to talk about them as people. And that is what the
President and Secretary Blinken understand, is that they are just not numbers and they're just not faces. They are sons. They are sons. They are
grandparents. They are mothers.
And that is what the President and his team understand. And this is our last question, so I'm just going to answer by saying, we appreciate, we are
thankful to the President and to his team, because we know that they are working 24 hours a day and they are going to work through the holidays. And
they are going to do everything they can to make sure that all of our loved ones, real people, come home to us and to the families across the world and
in Israel. Thank you so much. No, thank you.
DEKEL-CHEN: Thank you.
REPORTER: Did you receive any new information today about your family members' whereabouts?
(LIVE COVERAGE ENDS)
GOLODRYGA: And there, we have been hearing from family members of the eight remaining U.S. hostages in Gaza there, meeting with the President in person
at the White House, not going into detail about what they discussed with the President, other than calling it a terrific -- a terrific meeting and
praising the administration for doing all it can to continue its work in seeking for the release of the remaining hostages as soon as possible.
The family is saying they are desperate for a Christmas miracle, even seeking the guidance and anything that the Pope can do, any outside
organization there we heard after the President met, I believe for the first time at least with some of the family members of the hostages
currently held in Gaza. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Allow me please to declare the meeting adjourned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: A historic end to the COP28 climate conference in Dubai. Historic because for the first time in nearly three decades of COP summits,
delegates included a call for transition away from fossil fuels, the main driver of the climate crisis.
The deal they signed presents a series of options for countries to reduce carbon pollution so as to achieve net zero by 2050. However, it is not a
commitment to phase out coal, oil and gas completely, a step that many governments and climate advocates were pleading for.
Despite this, U.N. climate envoy John Kerry calls the agreement a significant step forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. CLIMATE ENVOY: Everybody here should be pleased what in a world of Ukraine, the Middle East, war and all the other challenges of a
planet that is foundering, this is a moment where multilateralism has actually come together and people have taken individual interests and
attempted to define the common good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, for more on this, let's bring in CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent, Bill Weir. So Bill, John Kerry tried, but it seemed like the
best he could offer was sort of a muted positive assessment of the summit's overall impact, citing the fact that people are at least focused on this,
given everything else going on in the world. What was your takeaway from the summit overall and anything significant that came out of it other than
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianna, I think it's telling that after the gavel fell, you had a standing ovation from many
developed countries who saw this as some progress, that at least it didn't fail, it didn't fall apart, and there was acknowledgement to transition
away from fossil fuels.
But then you had tears in the eyes of the small Pacific Island states who weren't actually in the room. They were trying to get their messaging
together, whether to object, how to protest before the gavel came down. But they missed it. Sultan Al-Jaber sort of rushed the close there and then
after the gavel came down, OPEC and gas producing nations put out sort of an exuberant statement congratulating the president of this COP.
Look, you can back away and say on one side you had over 130 countries calling for an explicit end to fossil fuels, the twilight of fuels that
burn. On the other side you had Iraq and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, not wanting to mention the F words at all. And so, you could say that the more
progressive countries ultimately won. But the devil is in the details on how this is all implemented, Bianna.
This is non-binding. This is countries vowing to try to put more renewables online and use less gas and oil. But the scientists tell us, in order to
hold the line at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, that the whole world needs to reduce carbon pollution by over 40 percent just in the
next seven or eight years or so. Right now, we're on track to do it about 10 percent, quadrupling of the
effort is just needed by the science and we'll see how that goes.
GOLODRYGA: You've been covering the effects of climate change for us for a few years now, but it does seem like we hit every single new record for all
the wrong reasons this past year. Given the fact that we couldn't even get them to agree to phase out fossil fuels, is that worrisome to you, or are
you more of an optimist in terms of the language they were able to agree on?
WEIR: Well, you know, we can choose to focus on the darkness or the light, right, on any given day. And yes, we should take great encouragement from
the fact that there were so many states and nations there together vowing to do pledges, vowing to crack down on methane over here, wrap up
renewables over there.
I talked to entrepreneurs who were incredibly excited by all the new ideas. They're vowing to do pledges, vowing to crack down on methane over here or
ramp up renewables over there. I talked to entrepreneurs who are incredibly excited by all the new ideas that are being uncorked as basically the world
understands that this is the problem and this is the future right now.
Sadly, it's too little too late just based on the science right now, but humanity has an amazing capacity to flex and adapt and change and evolve in
staggeringly fast ways. So, if you focus on how the rapid changes of the alternatives are coming up, they haven't replaced the old legacy fuels at a
scale that is sustainable right now, but it beats the alternative, Bianna, which is not talking to each other, just throwing rocks and getting nothing
done. So, this is a historic step, at least on agreement.
GOLODRYGA: So, let's end on a promising note. As you said, states like Texas doing things that were unimaginable 10, 15 years ago because the
economics are pointing in that direction and a lot of money has been pledged in this summit as well for that.
GOLODRYGA: Bill Weir, thank you so much.
WEIR: You bet.
GOLODRYGA: Well, that does it for this hour of "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga. Thank you so much for watching. Amanpour is up next and I'll see
you right here tomorrow.