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Quest Means Business
Israel Forms Emergency Cabinet and War Cabinet; US House Republicans Nominate Scalise for Speaker as Issue of Aid to Israel Looms; Brutality of Hamas Attacks on Civilians Emerge; Officials: Gaza Hospitals Running Out of Fuel for Generators; Families of Israeli Hostages Plead for Their Release. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 11, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: A fourth of the community.
RANAE BUTLER, FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED IN ISRAEL: They are missing. Others are wounded. Everyone is for everyone. All the survivors decided to stay
together when we were evacuated and that's what we are doing. We had a really -- yes.
COOPER: Ranae I'm so sorry for what you're going through, what your family continues to go through and all the families from Nir Az. I appreciate you
being with us. And we wish you continued strength and peace in the days ahead.
BUTLER: Well, they had professionals. They were with having a bunch of looters, having a bunch of murderers, and having the ones who burned and
blew gas and rolled paper under people's doors to smoke them out. They were so prepared, so prepared for this.
COOPER: Ranae Butler, thank you. I'm sorry.
BUTLER: I am, too.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Live pictures this evening from Gaza, it is just after 10 o'clock at night. You can see we are getting
reports of airstrikes into Gaza. The evening has begun, and you can see the whole area is blackened out. The electricity has stopped in Gaza, because
the only power station has run out of fuel and with the siege, the blockade, or whatever you want to call it by Israel, preventing further
fuel from going in, so now everybody is -- those who have them rely on generators. Otherwise, that's the scene in Gaza as in Israel, the
government there is to form an emergency government and a war cabinet is to be put together.
We have a very busy hour ahead, I'm delighted that you're with me. I'm Richard Quest. A good evening to you.
Tonight, Israel is to form an emergency government and war cabinet. The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and the former Defense minister, Benny
Gantz, made the announcement saying the new government's sole purpose will be decisions related to the war. We've also learned more about the horrific
attack on a kibbutz in Kfar Azar, Israel says it found the bodies of babies and toddlers beheaded. Officials say they are among the 1,200 victims
killed by Hamas.
The Palestinians say in Gaza, the number of people who have died is at least 1,100. The area is under heavy bombardment at the moment and the UN
says, there is need for access to food and water.
Becky Anderson is in Tel Aviv this evening.
Becky, before we get into the sort of, whatever we are talking about. It is noticeable, Tel Aviv's skyline lit up fully tonight as usual, as one would
expect, contrast that with Gaza, where the power has failed, largely because of the failure to get fuel supplies.
But tonight, Israel again attacking Gaza.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Yes. Absolutely. And you're absolutely right to point out, the sole power station in Gaza is now not
functioning. Many people there use generators, including the hospitals, for example, but they will also run out of fuel in the next couple of days as a
result of this total siege -- no fuel, electricity, water, or fuel going in to Gaza.
Let's just step back because I think you laid out, Richard, very well, the sort of threads that we have today and how this thing is developing. I want
to start with the politics because I think this is important, because the idea that there are not the sort of officials in Israel equipped to work
through what happens next was really quite frightening.
So five days into this, there has been an agreement reached between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, who is the head of the
National Unity Party and former importantly former Defense minister and they are going to form an emergency government. It'll have a War Cabinet,
separate to the regular security cabinet.
These negotiations have been ongoing, I have to say, since pretty much the early hours of this attack on Saturday morning. We had thought that this
emergency government would come earlier than this, but we are five days in at this point. This government will not pass any laws or make any decisions
that have -- that are not concerned with the conduct of this war.
And that implies, of course, that the controversial judicial overhaul will not move forward while this emergency government is in place. But I think
it's really, really important to point out, this is a cabinet of seasoned Defense and Security officials, who are now tasked to oversee what is its
unprecedented position that Israelis find themselves in now.
I mean, Israelis are, frankly terrified of what happens next. The sense of vulnerability and shock is clearly overwhelming. What happens next is going
to be very, very complex, of course. What the Israelis do next in Gaza will have huge consequences, not just for Israel, but for the Palestinians
living in Gaza, 1,200 Israelis dead, as you pointed out, to date and close to 3,000 injured in Gaza, over a thousand dead and over 5,000 injured.
And as we've been explaining, you know, the fuel, the food, the electricity, the water, really, very much an issue now, as that blockade,
that siege, that total siege is enacted -- Richard.
QUEST: This rumor -- well, more than a rumor, the Qataris and the relationship they are now playing in an effort to free at least the women
and children hostages. Can we confirm that they do -- that this is taking place. What more do you know?
ANDERSON: This is really -- yes, this is really important, because as we talk about the complexities of what happens next in Gaza, obviously
squarely in focus, you know, as far as the Israelis are concerned, and you know, and quite frankly, you'd be hard pressed not to find anybody around
the world who would empathize with the plight of these hostages between a hundred and a hundred and fifty Israelis and others held hostage by Hamas
So these diplomatic efforts to try and get their release is incredibly important. Diplomatic sources confirming to me now that the Qataris are in
touch with both the Israelis and Hamas on the release of the hostages, and these discussions are very much focused on getting the release of the women
and children in exchange for Palestinian women and teenagers who are held in Israeli jails.
And I've been told that this exchange certainly hasn't been rejected by either side. Any exchange, of course, has a precedent, not least when the
Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit was released in 2011 in exchange for over a thousand prisoners. His release coming five-and-a-half years remember,
after Shalit was captured in Southern Israel along the Gaza Strip.
And with regard the Qataris, let's remember, the important context here. The Qataris were the key interlocutors, on the recent US-Iran prisoner
exchange. They have an open line of communication with Hamas, that was opened in the mid-2000s, at the behest, let me tell you, of the Bush
administration, and we know in the past conflicts, not least 2021 here that they worked alongside the Egyptians to help secure a ceasefire.
So bottom line, you know, the attention is very much focused on these hostages. The Israelis still haven't released the actual numbers, but we
are now aware, it could be between a hundred and a hundred fifty men, women, children, the elderly being held, you know, sort of littered around
Gaza being used as human shields effectively. Let's be quite frank about this.
And we can now confirm that there are ongoing discussions between Israel and Hamas about what is described as a prisoner exchange at this point --
QUEST: Becky, I am grateful. Thank you. Becky is in Tel Aviv.
Sharren Haskel is a member of the Knesset. She belongs to the National Unity Party, which is led by Benny Gantz.
This new unity government will have great experience and will certainly know their way around these situations. What do you hope it does?
SHARREN HASKEL, MEMBER OF THE KNESSET: I'm sorry, what was the question?
QUEST: What do you hope it does? I mean, how is it going to work putting all these people together in a unity government from a group of people who
until this atrocity could barely talk to each other?
HASKEL: Yes, I mean, we had many internal challenges here in Israel, but when you have such a tragedy that hits your face, I mean so many more than
1,200 who have lost their loved one and all of our hearts are completely broken. You know, it gets us to unite together.
I mean, regardless, even if we wouldn't have sat in a unity government, Netanyahu and the government would have got a full backing from us from the
opposition from any move that will bring back our safety and security to our people.
But I think now with this unity government, it's going to be dealt professionally and I think the people need to set an example, to unify
together in order to win this terrible war that was struck upon us.
QUEST: The stories of what we've heard in the kibbutz, what we've heard at the Nova festival are beyond the capacity of language, if you will, to
express the full horror. But I wonder what you believe, is a legitimate Israeli government response on an enclave that is full of civilians who are
being used as human shields by Hamas.
HASKEL: Well, Richard, you need to understand, this is Israel's 9/11. We have so many dead. The festival that was in the south, try to imagine the
Coachella festival, when so many people are gathering around to celebrate music, young people, families, you know, and suddenly, there's a vicious
attack of terrorists surrounding you, shooting in like a duck in a range. You see body and corpse dying all around, women are being raped, and shot
I mean, this kind of atrocity, these crimes against humanity are horrible. And unfortunately, Hamas has forced us now to defend ourselves and to make
sure that we completely eliminate Hamas.
I mean, Hamas is ISIS. Hamas is a terrorist organization. They're a vicious enemy who is brutal, who has committed crimes of war and crimes against
humanity with everything that they've done.
And so we need to go in and fortunately to get the hostages that they've captured, some of them are babies and children. Some of them, their parents
have died and we see them being paraded in the streets of Gaza being beaten with sticks and spit on, crying for their parents, it is all over social
media, and they're laughing, and they're putting it on social media. We need to go and rescue them and we need to make sure that we eliminate
QUEST: How do you do that? How do you physically -- look, I understand the difficulty of getting hostages when they are in basements and tunnels
throughout Gaza. It will be a nigh-on-impossible task to do that. But how do you get rid of Hamas in Gaza without causing another, if you will,
humanitarian tragedy on the Palestinian side?
HASKEL: Well, we have to make sure that we eliminate all of their economic assets, all of their military assets, all of their bunkers full of
ammunition and rockets and missiles and weapons. We have to make sure that we completely eliminate them and unfortunately, Hamas, it doesn't operate
as an army or anything that is sort of set.
Unfortunately, they are hiding these bunkers, these ammunitions, these bases, this school of terror on how to prepare bombs and how to go and how
to train, they hide it. They hide it in schools and they hide it in hospital, they are hiding behind innocent civilian. They're using their
children as a human shield. And yes, it is difficult.
But for years now we've retaliated and we've said, okay, we will absorb, we will absorb and absorb and absorb and we see that we cannot absorb any
more. The amount of people who have lost their life, if you would take 9/11, with the amount of the American population and you will compare it to
Israel will be equivalent to 30,000 people dead.
And so we understand that we cannot retaliate anymore. We have to take charge and we have to eliminate ISIS that is straight on our border.
QUEST: I'm grateful for your time. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Sharren Haskel, member of the Knesset.
HASKEL: Thank you, Richard.
QUEST: Joining me from Tel Aviv, I think, yes, Tel Aviv.
With tensions rising so much in the Middle East, here in the US, well, it looks like progress, progress of sorts. Now, you'll be aware, of course,
the significance that the current US House of Representatives does not have a speaker, and the result of that is, it can't take up any legislation or
aid packages for Israel, Ukraine, or anybody.
Well, now it looks like the Republicans have picked Steve -- well, they have picked Steve Scalise as their nominee, and an official vote is
expected in the coming days.
The previous speaker was ousted last week. That House is currently paralyzed. It can't do anything by law. Jeff Zeleny and Scott Jennings,
both join me. Start with you, Jeff. I assume -- I mean, look, Scalise has got it by a very narrow majority. It's not exactly a thumping, great
victory for him, but it is a step forward.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Richard, it is a step forward, but not enough of a step forward. He was not confident that
he would have those 217 votes this afternoon to move ahead with a vote. I mean, clearly, he would like to use the momentum that he gained in that
closed door meeting earlier today to have a vote this afternoon and get on with it.
As you said, there is no question that the events in Israel have certainly shined a brighter light on the context and the importance for having a
speaker. So this certainly has moved things in one direction, but there was still enough opposition lingering out there that they decided to hold off
on having a vote this afternoon and they will have it at a later time, possibly tomorrow.
QUEST: I mean, what is the issue here? You know, you've got the man, you've either got him or Jim Jordan, who's now lost. So what is the -- who do they
expect is going to appear out of the Washington mist instead?
ZELENY: Great question, but what is happening is the dysfunction that led to the dismissal of Kevin McCarthy is still very much alive. So some of
these members are clearly looking for horse trading. They're clearly looking for a concession of some kind or something in return from Steve
Scalise, and some simply are still mad about the whole situation that Speaker McCarthy was thrown out in the first place.
So it does look like Steve Scalise, who's a Republican from Louisiana. He is the House majority leader. He was shot at a congressional baseball game
back in 2017. Certainly, it made him a little bit more well-known on both sides. So he appears to be -- he is the speaker left, if you will, but he
has to be voted by the full House of Representatives here, which will not happen today.
QUEST: All right, Scott Jennings. So I mean, I guess, forgive the naivete question, but they just -- let's just get it done, one way or the other.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this Republican conference you have to remember just kicked the speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy
out of his position despite the fact that 96 percent of Republicans in the conference supported Kevin McCarthy. Steve Scalise won a narrow majority
over Jim Jordan in conference. Jim Jordan says he is going to vote for and endorse Scalise on the floor.
But as Jeff pointed out, all 435 members have to vote and there will be some Republicans who are already saying that they don't want to vote for
Scalise because he hasn't committed to this or that. And the Republicans have such a narrow majority in the overall chamber, that any five people
can throw a monkey wrench into this whole thing.
So there could be horse trading, there could be demands, they could be trying to make Scalise behind the scenes to make certain promises as it
relates to say Ukraine funding, for instance.
So those conversations are going on behind the scenes. And I think that's why they're not voting today because although Scalise got a majority of the
vote in the conference, he doesn't have the necessary votes on the floor just yet. But I hope he gets it soon because the Republican Party needs to
act like the majority party and they need to lead and they need to be prepared to do what's necessary for the US to support its allies in Israel
and in Ukraine.
QUEST: Right. Is it likely that they I mean, it's a very small number they need. Are they going to go round Democrats hoping to pick up some
JENNINGS: I don't think so. Jeff may want to comment on this, but I think what Republicans don't want is a bipartisan speaker where you've got a
speaker using Democrat votes. That's one of the things they were mad at Kevin McCarthy about.
The final thing he did as speaker was have a vote to keep the government open and funded and mostly Democrats voted for it and that is one of the
things I think that some Republicans were sore at him over, so no.
What you want to do here, most Republicans will want a Republican Speaker and not give anything away to Hakeem Jeffries, the leader of the Democratic
Party, although right now functionally, Jeffries is the most powerful person in the House despite being the leader of the minority party.
QUEST: We got you around, sir, Jeff Zeleny, with the shake of the head.
ZELENY: No shakes.
QUEST: But I wonder, you'll have to refresh my memory how many recalcitrant Republicans there were that got rid of McCarthy? Because you know of that
number, how many will come back to the fold and how many will stay out? And as you say, as Scott says, you only need five.
ZELENY: Look, there were eight -- eight Republicans voted against Speaker McCarthy. As Scott said, he had the support of the broad majority of the
All of those eight, some have already committed to supporting Steve Scalise. Matt Gaetz, first and foremost among them. He of course led the
charge against Speaker McCarthy. He said that he would be voting for Steve Scalise.
The bottom line is some of these members wanted a scalp, some of these members wanted to throw out there later. Perhaps a better question is not
if Steve Scalise will be speaker, but how long he will be able to keep the job should he be elected speaker because the same dynamics are still here.
There is still a government shutdown that is on the horizon next month.
So the dynamics and the challenges have not gone away. They simply rotated offices -- Richard,.
QUEST: Thank you. Just one quick question to you, Scott. Is there any talk amongst the Republican caucus -- conference -- about getting rid of the one
person rule to vacate the speakership? I'm sure it's got a technical name, but you know what I mean. This idea that one member can come forward. Now,
everybody says this needs to go. Otherwise, you're back to square one in relatively short order. Is anybody talking about abandoning that?
JENNINGS: Yes, there are people talking about it and a lot of people have suggested that it's necessary so that the Republicans don't continue on in
what has been called a hammer lock of dysfunction. That's what Mitch McConnell called it from the Senate side.
But it's not clear to me whether they're going to change the rules or whether they would have the votes to change the rules. So yes, there's been
discussion, but I think Jeff may want to comment on this, but nothing definitive right now.
My personal view is they should change it immediately, but I don't know if the support exists to do that.
QUEST: Jeff, did you have something you want to say on that or to move on?
ZELENY: Look, they're not going to change it. I mean, the reality is that there is an interest in -- it's called the Motion to Vacate. There's just
not an interest in changing it.
QUEST: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
After the break, we're going to go back to Gaza. The concerns over civilians and the enclave's only power plant has run out of fuel. Hospitals
may soon have no electricity.
The night sky in Gaza, is -- well, you can see for yourself. This is -- there is just basically no light. Gaza is blackened out tonight. The only
perhaps, firepower coming in from Israel as the attacks continue.
QUEST: The number of people who died in Hamas' attack on Israel now stands at 1,200 and each day reveals more horrific examples of the brutality of
CNN's Nic Robertson saw the carnage in one village. I do need to warn you, his report contains graphic content.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): The drive into Kfar Aza is chilling. Evidence of Hamas' butchery everywhere. This
Israel Defense Force General shocked at what he found.
MAJ. GEN. ITAI VERUV, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: I thought about General Eisenhower that come to the Deaf camp in Europe and see that he brings the
Young children --
ROBERTSON (voice over): He did the same inviting about 50 journalists.
VERUV: You will see, it is a big massacre. Big disaster.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Have you ever seen anything like this in your career before?
VERUV: Never, never.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Less than a mile from Gaza, 70 Hamas fighters stormed in here early Saturday, some even flying.
ROBERTSON (on camera): They're telling us this is one of the paragliders that flew in here. You can see the engine here, the propellers here made of
carbon fiber, the fuel tank up here and the frame of it in the seat at the front.
ROBERTSON (voice over): The IDF in control now after a two-day battle, Hamas lie where they fell. Only now, the extremes of their barbarity
Seven hundred plus civilians lived here. How many were killed, still unclear. How they died, brutally apparent.
Some decapitated they say.
VERUV: Killed babies in the front of the parents and then killed the parents. They killed parents and we found babies between the dogs and the
family that killed before him. They cut head of the people.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Each body bag silent sentinel to the intelligence failure that allowed Kfar Aza and other communities near Gaza to be overrun
and motivation for troops, too.
VERUV: We wait to -- to switch ourselves from the defense to the attack because you know, we defend our people and till now we collect their
ROBERTSON (on camera): You say you're going to attack, will you be going into Gaza, we can see it, look at that -- it is on the horizon.
VERUV: You know, I look to the next hundred yards.
ROBERTSON: You take care of the next hundred yards.
VERUV: Next hundred yards, and then I fight to the next hundred years, and then look forward.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Forward to a possible showdown with Hamas, how and when still to be determined.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Kfar Aza.
QUEST: Now there you have the nature's pictures over just a couple of moments ago is the rocket fire over the Israeli town of Sderot.
Nic Robertson is there.
Before we talk about what might be next. Tell me what's been happening this evening, please.
ROBERTSON: There's been a lot of everything. There has been tank fire around the hillside. This is the first evening we've seen that. There's
been a lot of artillery fire, heavy artillery fire going in on Hamas positions inside Gaza on their firing positions.
There have been outgoing rockets and you saw one fuselage, I think there, intercepted by the Iron Dome defensive missile system seems to be effective
here because there were no impacts reported. The barrages of rockets we've had seen from Gaza, perhaps more that I would say than last night.
But another thing that's sort of new here tonight, we had an extended period of heavy machine gunfire from this direction about a mile-and-a-
half, two miles away. There is a small hill here, tiny hill.
The other side of it, there is a small community Nir Am. In that community, three Hamas operatives were hiding out. In that small arms fire and heavy
machine gun fire that we could hear, that was the Israeli Defense Forces going after and, to use their euphemism, neutralizing the Hamas militants
there. We can see flares being fired over the area to give some illumination as well.
It is this moment, this period, been quiet for the past three, four, five minutes. But we can be sure that it will change. But there is a lot of
activity. Part of what we are seeing, the tank movement, for example, that big gun battle, for example. It's because that there are a lot more troops
in here in this town, around this town, spread along the border area. There are a lot of heavy, very heavy artillery guns being brought in. You can see
them on the roadside here, huge batteries off of them.
QUEST: So, the suggestion, well, I go further than that. I would say the consensus, now that there is a national unity government, is that there
will be a ground incursion, invasion, whatever you want to call it. And it's just a question of time as to when?
ROBERTSON: And how, and how big, and what the objectives will be. And other hostages released first, or not. So, there are so many questions around it.
But I don't think there's any question in the mind of anyone who has been targeted by Hamas about what the government should do. Even people that
wouldn't necessarily normally support Prime Minister Netanyahu, and that maybe speaks to your point about being joined by Benny Gantz now.
I spoke to one man who survived only because the hand grenade thrown into the rocket shelter that he was hiding in, one was thrown in, it was crowded
full of people. People were killed and injured in that gunfire -- it was fired in. People are falling to the ground, and then a grenade gets thrown
And he survives, because he cowers against the wall. The grenade does not go off. Unbelievably. His life was saved.
We talked about his feelings, about how to deal with Hamas. Is there any other way than neutralizing? That is what the prime minister effectively
says that he wants to do. He does not see another solution.
ROBERTSON: But I think also like so many people, they are aware that whatever the military operation is, they may get their outcome in the short
term. But the long term, perhaps nothing really changes.
QUEST: Right. Nick, I just want to pop in before I leave you, I want to put to you the -- I was talking about a national unity party member of the
Knesset earlier in the program. And, you know, I put the question again, at some point, the civilian losses are going to turn the tide of public
opinion against Israel, and from Gaza. She just said yes, but there comes a point, we have absorbed, we've absorbed, we've absorbed, but we can absorb
And that is really the issue here, isn't it? What happened over the last few days from Hamas is so above and beyond.
ROBERTSON: Swift, decisive, and overwhelming force is what President Biden said to Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday about what the United States
would do. Swift, I think is the key, not to have public opinion, international opinion, and therefore pressure on you, not to have that
opinion wane, which is quite high in support for the government at the moment.
But this happens every time. Israel tries to go after Hamas, Palestinian civilians in large numbers are killed. There is an international political
backlash against Israel, and it is forced to compromise. The scenario, there is nothing different in the scenario today. The stakes are higher,
the scales are up a level. And that's the scary part. The potential, the potential for civilian suffering is huge.
And I think that this worries everybody. Obviously, this is something the Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government will be acutely aware of as
they balance what they have to do, and how they have to do it. They know that there's a limited time period.
QUEST: Nic Robertson who's in Sderot, come back when there's troop and certainly when there's more attacks, or rocket fire. Thank you, sir.
This is CNN.
QUEST: In Gaza, the situation is getting worse, to the point of being critical. Israel is hammering the city with airstrikes in retaliation for
the Hamas attack.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
QUEST: Now, Gaza's one and only power station in the last few hours stop working after Israel cut off fuel supplies, and the supply ran out.
Palestinian officials and doctors are warning hospitals will soon run out of fuel. They too run their generators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ABDELQADER HAMMAD, SURGEON TRAPPED IN GAZA: The situation is very disastrous. And what makes it worse is that the fuel is running out, now
that the hospital is running on generators, and they are running out of fuel in about three or four days. And all ventilators, all theaters (ph),
all dialysis machines runs on electricity. So, the situation is a medical disaster at the moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: In Gaza, at least 1,100 people have now been killed, according to Palestinian officials, neighborhoods reduced to rubble, and this chaos in
the streets as fear grows of a possible Israeli ground invasion.
A quarter of a million people have already been forced out of their homes in Gaza, according to the U.N. They're just about nowhere or very few
places to flee. And I'm going to show you why.
So, Gaza, the strip, the Gaza Strip is only 41 kilometers long and around 12 kilometers wide. More than 2 million people live there. It is one of the
most densely populated places on earth. Movement in and out has been closely controlled by Israelis at two checkpoints.
Right now, they are blocked. There's only one possible exit route down to the south, into Egypt. That crossing came under attack by warplanes on
A senior Israeli official is telling us talks are underway to allow U.S. citizens and Palestinians to leave Gaza into Egypt.
Four Palestinian paramedics were killed in Gaza on Wednesday. And the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that the deaths took place for just
half an hour. The colleagues' grief clearly visible in these videos.
Marwan Jilani is the director general to Palestinian Red Crescent Society. He joins me from the West Bank now.
Sir, thank you for joining us.
Before we go further, can you update me with the current situation tonight in Gaza?
MARWAN JILANI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, PALESTINIAN RED CRESCENT SOCIETY: Well, the situation tonight, as in the previous couple of nights, is devastating.
It is -- we have never seen such horrors, such suffering. Our teams are dealing with a huge number of injured, calling for help. But who can we
cannot reach too because Gaza has been -- has been turned into an isolated island.
Each part is separated from another by the destruction of the infrastructure. And since two days ago, our ambulances were unable to move
from one part of Gaza to another. We have distributed our ambulances out of the EMS centers, out of the ambulance centers, we had paramedics on foot,
in order to be able to reach those areas, which no ambulance can reach, and which are under a lot of heavy bombardment.
And as a result, we have -- we have lost our four colleagues today in our time. This evening, in which -- which has stressed out the entire team. Our
EMS colleagues are exhausted, are stressed out. And --
JILANI: -- they have to go out again, and they have to face the same -- the same threat, the same danger. Although we have clear emblem -- our cars are
marked, our car numbers on top of the ambulances are given to the Israeli authorities. And still, our medics suffer direct hits, and they suffer
great losses. Unfortunately.
QUEST: Our thoughts, absolutely, and completely with you on this -- on the awfulness of losing your colleagues in such a fashion.
I wonder, what do you need by way of resources besides the obvious piece, as a sensation of fighting. But in terms of medications, in terms of drugs,
in terms of operating abilities, this is going to go on for some while. And the situation is not going to get much -- well, it's going to get worse, as
most people would agree.
JILANI: Absolutely. And just a comment on your correspondent, the potential suffering is huge is now, and already here. We've never seen such
suffering. Before we go into what we need, I think that the first thing we need is for all of the conflicting parties to respect international law,
international humanitarian law, and respect the mission of our -- and all of the medical teams, medical facilities because we are doing a
humanitarian thing, we are fulfilling the humanitarian responsibility under international law. We are trying to reach those civilians that are under
the rubble, who were injured, who are stranded.
And being targeted, or being under the risk of direct hit is a violation of international law first. So, what we need is for the international
community to put the pressure in order for the Israeli authorities to respect our mission, to respect the mission of medical teams. This is
As you said, and as you heard in your piece. The main thing that is critical today is fuel. Power runs hospitals, runs ambulances, and more
critically, it runs most of the water. Without power, people have no drinking water. And the fuel is going -- people are relying as hospitals
are on generators. And we are going also to run out of fuel in the next two or three days.
If this happens, without any relief in terms of fuel, it is going to be a real catastrophe. It is going to be a humanitarian tragedy as never been
seen. I think that this is critical.
In addition, of course to water, food, medicine, and medical supplies.
QUEST: We will follow. We will speak to you again, sir, as this situation unfolds, to find out the fuel situation and what's happening next. I'm
grateful for your time, sir, thank you.
As we continue, desperate pleas for the release of hostages abducted. We have family members in just a moment.
QUEST: Explosions in Gaza just moments ago. Israeli strikes are continuing and are likely to continue through the night. A number of people killed in
the Hamas attack on Israel now starting to be about 1,200. Thousands have been wounded and bodies continue to be discovered in the kibbutz that came
under attack on Saturday.
In Gaza, the number of people that is more than 1,000, according to Palestinian officials. Israel is preparing its hospitals for escalating
violence. The ministry of health is moving patients from hospitals in the north of the country, as attacks come from Lebanon and Syria. Medical
workers across the country are already overwhelmed, ahead of the Soroka Medical Center, only 25 miles from Gaza, told "The New York Post" they've
treated 700 people after the attack under enemy fire as they did so.
Dr. Roy Kessous is the deputy general manager of the Soroka Medical Center.
He joins me now. I imagine the work continues, if not at the same pace. What are you now facing?
DR. ROY KESSOUS, DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER, SOROKA MEDICAL CENTER: Hi, Richard, I wish I could say good evening, but it's not good evening. You
guys catch me on sort of a two hours break at home, trying to get a shower and going back to the hospital.
So, the current situation in our hospital after I would say three to four horrific days in our medical center, talking about the first 24 to 36
hours, receiving over 800 wounded patients in a matter of hours, all hour surgery rooms were operated fully, and this is ongoing. Currently, the
situation is relatively stable, but very tense. We are in a situation that is not clear, we don't know what is going to happen next.
So, let's say in communication with the ministry of health and other hospitals in Israel, we are now in the process of transferring some of the
patients to other hospitals in the center of Israel, in order to be able to receive more wounded from our area.
QUEST: And I assume that if there is a ground invasion and it's my if, not yours, but if there is a ground invasion, then you will be one of the
medical centers that would be ready. You would be staffed up, ready, equipped to treat those who were injured during any fighting.
KESSOUS: So, Soroka is tertiary center. It's the second largest in Israel, over 1,200 beds. Currently, we are well-equipped and ready, but it's
challenging. Those numbers of wounded that we received in the last few days are numbers that have not been seen, not in Israel, in any war, not in such
a short period of time.
We are talking civilians, we are talking babies, we are talking women, we are talking elder patients with burns but were burned, some of them, alive.
Some of them, arrived to us, already dead. The stories that are coming from the field that are being told by the soldiers that we treat, by the
patients that we treat, civilians, are horrific. Women, children, families, entire families that were butchered. Pregnant, the first patient that we
received was a pregnant lady with a bullet inside her abdomen that actually killed the baby.
QUEST: I don't know how you go about your work after those sort of stories. I don't know how you actually carry on, but I've just spoken to not exactly
your opposite number, but somebody from the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza. You may have heard it before we came on air.
QUEST: And I don't expect necessarily the two of you would ever agree on much, but there is, clearly, going to be carnage on both sides. We've
already had it from Hamas and the civilian casualties that could be wreaked in further Israeli. Is it possible, Doctor, to square that circle in any
KESSOUS: I tell you, personally, that I think, I suspect that if I had a chance to speak to the previous speaker personally, on a personal level, we
would probably reach some sort of an agreement, understanding people, humanity, medical aspects, et cetera, et cetera. Somehow, these things are
going above us and the decisions are made without our, let's say, critical effect. And so, we see the results.
I was actually a bit bothered by the fact that let's say, by the previous speaker that said that they did not found even a word to mention some sort
of a condolence to over 1,200 people that were murdered in Israel in the last few days. I would expect some consideration, some mentioning of just
how horrific those acts were that were made not by an army, not by soldiers, by ISIS, by Hamas, which is a terror group and it's sad.
QUEST: Doctor, you said you had two hours rest and break. I'm going to let you go, so that -- maybe have a cup of tea and pop your head down for the
rest of that time. I'm grateful to you, sir. Thank you.
KESSOUS: Richard, I want to thank you for the opportunity. I want to just say, Israel is strong. We will not be defeated. Thank you very much. Have a
QUEST: Thank you, sir. Good evening to you.
This is CNN. We will continue our coverage after the break.
QUEST: The desperate families of the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas are now appealing for their release. Family members speaking to us say, they
want the public to see the videos of their loved ones being abducted, and I hope they will be found.
A warning, this one from Salma Abdelaziz, my colleague, contains disturbing images.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are festival goers, little children, sons and daughters, old and young. An estimated 150
Israelis now held hostage by Hamas.
Social media video of some of the abductions has gone viral, but the stories of these victims are still coming to light. This is nine-month-old
Fer (ph) here and his brother, three-year-old Ariel (ph) believed abducted from their homes in kibbutz Nir Oz along with their mother, Sherrie (ph),
their dad, and two other family members.
This horrifying video of their capture, Sherrie (ph) clearly terrified is the last time the family was seen alive.
Yifat Zaller, a relative, told our Anderson Cooper, she is in agony.
YIFAT ZALLER, RELATIVE OF HOSTAGES: I want my family back. I want my family back.
ABDELAZIZ: Also among the hostages, several Americans.
Hersh Polin-Goldberg, a 23 year Chicago native, is being described as a hero for his actions inside a bomb shelter during Hamas's rampage.
JON POLIN, FATHER OF HERSH POLIN-GOLDBERG: Several people, independent of each other, said your son and his friend Anir (ph) saved our lives. Anybody
who's alive because as grenades were being thrown in, they were tossing them back out.
ABDELAZIZ: His parents say, he sustained a critical injury and was later kidnapped by Hamas militants.
Yoni Asher is pleading for the release of his family, too, after seeing this video showing a scarf placed on his wife's head by militants. She was
believed abducted with their two daughters, ages five and three.
YONI ASHER, RELATIVE OF HOSTAGES: When my wife was with me on the phone, she told me that the terrorists of Hamas entered the house. Later on, I
managed to track her mobile phone and I saw that the location is in Gaza Strip.
ABDELAZIZ: Hamas says, the hostages are spread out across the Gaza Strip. Israel fears to be used as human shields. And in a chilling warning, the
group threatened to execute hostages if Israel continues its assault of the enclave.
The hostage horror complicates Netanyahu's mission to obliterate Hamas. But on the Israel-Gaza border, the country's defense minister is refusing to
YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI MINISTER OF DEFENSE: I released all restraints. We attack everything. The gloves are off. Hamas will no longer exist, we will
ABDELAZIZ: So far, Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians, including children, according to officials in Gaza. But for
the hostages, no indication of rescue efforts yet, and as Israel intensifies its attacks on Gaza, and prepares for a potential ground
offensive, desperate families fear their loved ones could be caught in the cross fire.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
QUEST: It is coming up to 11:00 at night in Tel Aviv, in Israel, and in Gaza.
Our coverage continues.