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Quest Means Business

Rights Groups Warn Of Catastrophe In Gaza; Blinken Visits Israel In Show Of Solidarity; Interview With Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA); Netanyahu's Office Releases Photos Of "Babies Murdered And Burned" By Hamas; Blinken: U.S. Stands "Shoulder-To-Shoulder" With Israel; EU: Israel Must Follow International Law. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 12, 2023 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: At 10 o'clock at night in Israel and in Gaza as the just comes round. And there you see the dark skies over

Gaza. The power has run out after the only electricity generating station ran out of fuel.

The situation in Gaza is growing dire by the day and still, Israel continues its assaults.

Hello. I'm Richard Quest.

Our breaking news coverage of Israel's war on Hamas continues.

Tonight, the United Nations says food and water are quickly running out in Gaza. The region has been cut off and is getting pummeled by airstrikes.

Israel says it's hitting terror targets belonging to Hamas. But as you can see from these pictures during the day, dark smoke can be seen from the


Humanitarian groups are warning of a severe crisis as basic supplies are running low. In terms of the number of people who have lost their lives on

both sides. In Gaza, it is now above 1,400 it is believed and Israel says attacks by Hamas killed at least 1,200 people.

While this is going on, the US Secretary of State who is in Israel says Israel must avoid harming civilians to the best of its ability. He told

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, American support for Israel will never falter and the prime minister said, Hamas must be cut off from the

international community.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: President Biden was absolutely correct in calling this sheer evil. Hamas is ISIS and just as ISIS was

crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed, and Hamas should be treated exactly the way ISIS was treated. They should be spit out from the community of



QUEST: Sam Kiley is following the events of the day from London to pull them together and to bring us them.

Sam, the event of the day, the Israeli -- as we hear more details of atrocities during the attack. We're also now seeing the situation in Gaza

deteriorate quite dramatically, without power, water, sewerage and the like.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, Gaza as you know, Richard has a population of about two million people in about 140

square miles. It's a thin strip of territory, bordered on one side by the sea, and on two other sides by Israel, and also the Egyptians have sealed

their crossing. So it is in a state of total siege.

Now usually, limited -- well, food and other essential supplies do get in regularly from Israeli territory, those have all been cut off as indeed is

the power supply. Without a power supply, clean water, which is in any case, in short supply is limited in Gaza. So the conditions for civilians

in Gaza are extremely uncomfortable now and there will be NGOs and other aid organizations who are saying that they could reach catastrophic levels

pretty quickly.

Now Hamas has said that they are planned for this, certainly from a military perspective, they are comfortable that they can sustain themselves

at any rate through a prolonged siege, but that is clearly not going to be the case for the civilian population, who as ever are the most to suffer in

these exchanges of fire.

QUEST: So the talk of aid corridors or limited fuel for hospitals and all of these sorts of measures designed, if you will to put a humanitarian

ability to the siege. Do we give much to this?

KILEY: Well, they're very urgently needed, the international community is increasingly strident in the calls for such a corridor and indeed to allow

those who wish to evacuate from Gaza to do so. There are large numbers of foreign nationals, for example, or dual nationals stuck in Gaza, they can't

get out. And of course, ordinary civilians might want to flood out.

The route that they would most likely take or be allowed to take would not be into Israeli territory, but into Egypt and Egypt historically have been

allergic to this idea of having significant populations of Palestinians moving to their territory and are showing no signs at all of opening their

border there.

QUEST: If there is some form of humanitarian corridor or there is aid going in, I assume it would have to go via Egypt and via the Egyptian crossing

since the Israelis, unless there's a change of heart would be unlikely to agree to that.


KILEY: Yes, they won't have to. If anything going into the strip, it would have to go right now through the Rafah Crossing, which is in the far south

of the Gaza Strip into effectively the Sinai in Egypt, but the Egyptians historically, are not very keen on that crossing being used for any

significant volumes of traffic.

They are themselves very anxious about political Islam. You have a dictatorship in Egypt that came to power by toppling the democratically

elected apparently, Muslim Brotherhood government there. Now Hamas was actually created as a branch originally of the Muslim Brotherhood. So they

are very, very suspicious indeed of the Hamas regime inside Gaza and want to keep it bottled up in that location, not having it leak into their own


They may have ever come under pressure, perhaps to allow some limited level of evacuation into their territory on purely humanitarian grounds --


QUEST: Sam, I'm grateful. Thank you.

The regional events or the regional perspective, the US secretary of State, Antony Blinken, we'll hear more from other parts of the region as he

continues his Middle East tour.

He is trying to run the conflict from spreading and hoping to release the hostages.

CNN's Becky Anderson is in Tel Aviv.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice over): The war between Israel and Hamas kicking off a flurry of diplomatic activity across the

Middle East.

ANTONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm sorry it's under these circumstances.

ANDERSON (voice over): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Tel Aviv on Thursday, to show Washington solidarity with Israel.

BLINKEN: The message that I bring to Israel is this, you may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself, but as long as America exists, you

will never ever have to. We will always be there by your side.

ANDERSON (voice over): The Secretary of State will say trying to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas, working with allies such as Qatar, to

strike a deal for the release of Israeli women and children for Palestinian women and teenagers according to a diplomatic source.

But Hamas says it will not negotiate as long as it remains under attack from Israel, and Israel says it has cut off water, electricity, and fuel as

long as those hostages are held in Gaza.

With a worsening humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave, the US has warned Israel it must follow the laws of war amid talk of a massive ground


Elsewhere, talk is underway with Egypt to allow civilians to exit Gaza via the Rafah Border Crossing. So far, no concrete deal there.

Meanwhile, the crisis paving the way for the first ever phone call between Iran's President and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince. Mohammed bin Salman

stressing Saudi Arabia's efforts to hold any escalation and civilian targeting, as well as support for the Palestinian cause. And that risks

Riyadh's much awaited normalization deal with Israel.

Jordan's King Abdullah, one of the first Arab states to strike a peace deal with Israel, renewing calls to establish a Palestinian state.

ABDULLAH II, KING OF JORDAN (through translator): What the Palestinian territories are witnessing currently is evidence that again emphasizes that

our area will not obtain peace and stability without achieving a comprehensive and just peace on the basis of the two-state solution so that

the Palestinian people can receive its independent country with sovereignty.

ANDERSON (voice over): While Blinken is in the region, he'll reportedly meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.

But despite the diplomatic pressure, peace in the region seems further away than ever.

Becky Anderson, CNN, Tel Aviv.


QUEST: US support to Israel will be complicated until the House of Representatives picks its new speaker, the Republican, Steve Scalise maybe

short of the votes he needs and indeed have some suggested, it is actually getting worse. Despite winning a vote amongst his colleagues to secure the

nomination, he facing stiff resistance from some members of his own party.

Rich McCormick is a Republican House lawmaker. He serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee and its Middle East Subcommittee.

Congressman, I'm very grateful to you, sir. Thank you.

Before we get to all this, we'll come to the House in just a moment and the speakership, but I do think we need to start with Israel, if you will, sir.

The pictures are appalling. You're a doctor, an ER doctor and you are well aware of the sorts of things that they will be seeing there. How far do you

think the US can go to restrain Israel which is obviously so hurting from what happened at the weekend?


REP. RICH MCCORMICK (R-GA): I don't think you can. I think this is going to be determined by Israel itself. I was part of the emergency room, actually,

the head of Emergency Medicine and Kandahar in 2016. When you stir up a hornet's nest like that, when you do the evil things that were done with

the emotions that are involved, the necessity to eliminate evil is going to be consequential.

The question is, how many fatalities are going to be suffered by civilians? How many more people are going to die by the Israelis? Soldiers? But also

soldiers themselves? Going room to room clearing out urban terrain, that's going to be tough stuff, and you're going to see a lot more people going to

the hospital.

QUEST: What is -- what do you think is the US tolerance for that? Because from what you just basically said and others, there is no way that you can

prosecute this campaign further in Gaza without serious loss of life, which begs the question for us allies, how much are you prepared to tolerate?

MCCORMICK: I think that's war. It's a horrible thing. At its best, it's a horrible thing.

Look, we didn't have to go house-to-house in Japan, because we used a nuclear warhead. Think about the fire bombings that we did during the wars.

Think about all the casualties we've had in all wars. There is never a clean.

Anybody who thinks that you can have something that's clean, where only the combatants die doesn't understand war at all. They've never been in a war.

It's just not realistic.

QUEST: In this scenario, is the US government, US Congress, are you functioning efficiently without a speaker?

MCCORMICK: I don't think we're -- well, even when we had a speaker obviously, that's why we don't have a speaker, so no, we're not functioning

well right now. But we'll get back there. People are dying.

I always say I was a helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps. I was an ER doc. People are risking their lives every single day. We have a job where we go

to an office, and we try to figure out what to do with a lot of money. We try to fund a very important function, but nobody is dying right at this


QUEST: Right.

MCCORMICK: And we have a job to do and we've got to settle that.

QUEST: So, are you going to support Steve Scalise for the speakership when it does finally come up?

MCCORMICK: Yes, my understanding is that most of the body has decided that, but it's not about what I've decided. It's about what those 15 to 20 people

have decided and they need to get in a small room with Steve Scalise and whatever other members might be pertinent to that conversation and sell it.

Getting a big room full of congressmen that all have the same thing to say doesn't really help us move the ball forward. There needs to be

consequential conversations right now, because it doesn't seem like -- it just seems like people have been galvanized right now.

I wish we would have stayed in the room and solved it that first day, that's what I voted for. Some people blocked that, unfortunately, and now

we are where we are.

QUEST: Going back to the events in the Middle East. You're on the Middle East Subcommittee. The intelligence failures, both -- I mean, I suppose if

Israel's intelligence failed, then almost by definition, because it supplies much of it to the United States, the US was one hand behind its

back to start with.

But would you have expected -- should the CIA and the other -- I mean, you spend a small fortune on intelligence and there were more than a thousand

people who attacked the weekend, it does beg the question who was asleep?

MCCORMICK: We spend more than a small fortune and I think Israel does, too. I think this just goes to show you that no matter how much technology you

have, it doesn't replace the human element of intelligence gathering.

From a guy who has been in the military for over 20 years, I've noticed that all along. You cannot replace the dangers of placing humans in

inconsequential danger in order to gather that intelligence. I think that was the lacking part of this.

I'm sure we're going to learn from it, just like we did from 9/11 where are the gaps are and how new technologies might help, but really, the human

element, I think, is what was lacking the most.

QUEST: The 9/11 analogy is a strong one, both factually because of what happened, but also because the US response in many ways clouded the view of

the United States. We're thinking of the torture, we think of Guantanamo Bay, the variety of things that happened.

Would you caution Israel to guard against losing in the court of public opinion as well?

MCCORMICK: Well, I think that's going to be played out on the media in unfair ways anyways. We know there's going to be civilian casualties and we

know that children are going to get hurt.

I kind of pushed back on the idea that in Guantanamo Bay we're torturing people. I know what torture is.


You could say we interrogated people on water boards. I've seen people interrogated on water boards in SEAL training that I participated myself.

It makes it sound like we're dismembering people or harming them permanently. I just think that's an unfair analogy. I just -- I don't

accept that.

QUEST: I'm grateful that you came with us tonight, sir. Thank you very much, putting it into perspective and giving a different perspective, but

certainly in terms of somebody who has actually been there, done it, and seen what it's like.

Thank you, sir.

MCCORMICK: Thanks, Richard.

QUEST: In a moment, a closer look at the crisis in Gaza: How civilians are getting caught up in the middle of the conflict.


QUEST: UN officials are warning the humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, and you can see why.

First of all, it is highly crowded -- overcrowded. And now, entire neighborhoods are being flattened as homes are turned into rubble. Fourteen

hundred, at least have been killed, it is believed.

Israel's bombardment continues. I want to warn you, the next video we are about to show you is extremely disturbing and it is graphic.


QUEST: It is the aftermath, it's the Israeli airstrike on the Al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza. It's the chaos, the terror, and the anguish.

As this is unfolding, fuel, food, and water supplies in Gaza running dangerously low. You can see -- I mean that's Gaza, there are just no

lights, no electricity. Electricity there is being provided by generators and those generators are expected to run out of fuel. The Red Cross has

warned that it could run out of fuel at any moment.

Israel says no supplies will get in until Israeli hostages being held by Hamas are freed. The US and others are working to establish a humanitarian

corridor probably through the Rafah Crossing in southern Gaza, northern Egypt to get people out.

Ben Wedeman is covering this from southern Lebanon.

Good to have you, Ben.

This is -- look, there's no good part about this in any shape or form at all, but the situation in Gaza will deteriorate with great rapidity.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, I mean, we heard the United Nations, Richard, describe the situation as dire, but I think

dire is something of an understatement. It is really catastrophic.

I mean, basically, let's keep in mind, Israel has said it will and it has cut off all supplies of food, water, electricity, and fuel to the Gaza

Strip. Now, it is collective punishment. Basically, what they're doing is they're collecting the perpetrators of the Hamas attack on Saturday,

together with the vast majority of the population, the population that according to the CIA, 40 percent of the population is under the age of 15.

These are -- most of the people in Gaza aren't members of Hamas, most of them are simply trying to get by in a very difficult situation.

And I've been in Gaza when these flareups have happened. Oftentimes, you see that the reaction, apart from some hot heads is one of desperation and

life is already difficult in Gaza. They know that once the bomb start to fall and the place is put under complete closure, more than it usually is,

that their lives are going to deteriorate dramatically.

We've already seen more than 340,000 people have been displaced, many of them are taking refuge in UN schools that have been converted into

shelters. I've been to those shelters when they're crammed full of people, it is miserable there.

And of course, there's always the fear that even though those UN schools are not supposed to be targeted, oftentimes whether by design or by

mistake, they are. So there's no safe place in Gaza, and as usual, as we've seen so many times before, it's the civilians who pay the highest price.


ABU YOUSSEF SHAMIYA, GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): We are civilians who have no connection to political organizations. We returned here to find

that our house have become rubble, and the entire area had been destroyed.

We have now become homeless and have nothing, but the clothes we wear.


WEDEMAN: And of course, we heard from the Red Cross referring to the situation into hospitals, saying that those hospitals as all of those

machines start to stop running when the fuel runs out will go from being hospitals to become morgues -- Richard.

QUEST: Ben, the ability to get aid in through humanitarian corridors, whether -- I mean, probably obviously not through the Israeli border

crossings, but through the Egyptian crossing in the south. How realistic is this?

WEDEMAN: Well, it takes two to tango, so to speak. You need the Egyptians to agree to it and you'd need the Israelis to allow it.

Now the Egyptians at the moment aren't rushing to implement any sort of humanitarian corridor. We know that Secretary of State Blinken and others

are in contact with the Egyptians, are trying to see if this is possible. We know that, for instance, Jordan has shipped in some aid, some aid. They

are trying to get relief supplies into Gaza.

But of course, there's a problem. It is if you don't have security guarantees, the last thing you're going to want to do is send in trucks and

whatnot full of food and supplies that could actually be struck -- Richard.

QUEST: Ben Wedeman, I am grateful. Ben Wedeman is southern Lebanon tonight.

And so what to do?

Kenneth Roth is the former executive director of Human Rights Watch. He joins me now.

I read your article in "The Guardian," your opinion piece in "The Guardian," and in doing so, you answered the one question that I've been

asking myself.

Everybody says Israel should show restraint or should not break international law. But as Ben Wedeman was just saying, where you have your

protagonist, where you have your enemy in urban centers, that's simply not possible, is it? By definition, you're going to end up killing civilians?

KENNETH ROTH, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Richard, that's not entirely true. Let's first make clear that Israel has every

right to respond militarily to this horrible attack by Hamas, these atrocities, these blatant war crimes, slaughtering hundreds of civilians.

But international humanitarian law is absolutely clear that war crimes by one side never justify war crimes by the other. So Israel has a duty to

abide by humanitarian law.

Now you know Biden says in his address earlier this week, Israel doesn't deliberately kill civilians, but that's not the only standard.


They also need to ensure that they don't fire indiscriminately on civilian neighborhoods, and that's what they've been doing.

They've been, you know, not just targeting Hamas militants, but wiping out neighborhoods. There is a duty not to fire causing disproportionate harm to

civilians. Israel has been going after these huge apartment buildings. God knows why.

You know, in the past, when they've done this, they say, oh, there was a Hamas office someplace. But when you render a hundred families homeless in

one swoop, that's not a proportionate attack.

You know, when you shut down all humanitarian aid, and basically are using the potential starvation of 2.3 million people as a lever to try to get the

hostages free, that's collective punishment.

QUEST: All right, so what do you -- what would you say would be proportionate, legitimate, legal, under international law, way for Israel

to respond militarily, which you admit and you agree they have a right to do?

ROTH: Yes, the key is -- I mean, international law provides the answer. you target the soldiers, the combatants on the other side. You don't fire

on civilian neighborhoods, you don't knock down huge civilian apartment. You don't strike civilian populations. You just don't do that.

QUEST: Okay, right, but -- I hear that, but what do you do when the war is in urban areas, and those people you are targeting are mixed amongst the


ROTH: In those cases, you have a duty to fire precisely at the combatants. And if you can't, if the only way you can hit the combatant is

by killing a bunch of civilians, then the duty is on the attacker not to fire. It's as simple as that.

I mean, you find other ways of proceeding. You wait until the Hamas militants are more vulnerable, you fire on them, you know, at their bases,

or places where they are away from the civilian population, but you don't wipe out an entire urban area, an entire downtown street just because there

might be a Hamas person there.

QUEST: Are you asking too much of the Israelis at the moment where the -- as we will show shortly, and I understand you have thoroughly condemned

what Hamas did, I understand that completely, completely. So let's be clear on that.

But are you expecting too much restraint or too much following the rules, if you will, when Israel as a country, counting its dead and hearing such

horrific tales of atrocity?

ROTH: Look, Richard, I didn't make up these rules. These are the rules of the Geneva Conventions, the protocols, the rules that every single

government of the world has ratified, including Israel, including the United States, these are like central to Pentagon doctrine. These are not,

you know, radical, you know, pie in the sky rules that human rights groups concoct, the government's wrote these rules.

And they're designed, of course, to deal with the worst situations, when you're at war, when your people are being killed, you still exercise

restraint, and you don't fire in a way that kills large numbers of civilians on the other side, it's as simple as that. That's their rules,

they should follow them.

QUEST: And I'm guessing that from what you're hearing, and what you're fearing, is that that's not going to be the case.

ROTH: I fear not. I mean, one of the points I made in "The Guardian" piece that I wrote is that, you know, people are saying, Okay, this is

Israel's 9/11 moment and that's a fair analogy. But they should take a lesson from George Bush's 9/11, because the United States had the world's

sympathy, they have the moral high ground. And Bush, in his case responded with torture in Guantanamo and abuses in Iraq, and the US lost the moral

high ground.

Does Israel really want to go down that path? It had everybody's sympathy because this horrendous Hamas attack on civilians. You know, kids who are

just going to concert and they get slaughtered, but they are going to lose that high ground if they start killing a bunch of civilians.

QUEST: And we heard the Israeli Defense ministers basically say, every target is legitimate. I think his exact words were, the gloves are off.

ROTH: He said the Palestinians are animals. I mean, that dehumanization is an invitation to atrocities. It's an invitation of war crimes. It is

something that a leader of a military should never say.

QUEST: Grateful for you, Kenneth. Thank you very much for joining us, Kenneth. I'm very, very appreciative of your time tonight. We will talk

more as this continues.

This is CNN.



QUEST: Today, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released what it describes as horrifying photos of babies murdered and

burned by Hamas terrorists. We're going to show you one of the pictures. We want to warn you this image is very graphic. I would suggest, now is the

moment to turn away if you don't want to see it.

I'll give you a second for that to happen, and I'll tell you when you can rejoin us. Here it is.

It's important that we show you the brutality of this war, and the images showed, of course, is the body of a bloodstained infant. But let me be

clear, we are not showing you other photos released by the prime minister's office because frankly, they are more difficult to look at and they do not

really necessarily need to be shown in that way.

The prime minister showed a number of images to the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and then later he shared his emotional reaction.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's beyond what anyone would ever want to imagine, much less actually see and God forbid experience. A

baby, an infant riddled with bullets. Soldiers beheaded. Young people burned alive in their cars or in their hideaway rooms. I could go on, but

it's simply depravity in the worst imaginable way. But it almost defies comprehension.


QUEST: Jeremy Diamond is in Ashdod, in Israel.

Jeremy's with me now.

Good evening to you.


The pictures that have been released and the stories that we are hearing and the video that we are -- that we've seen -- one particular video of a

grenade being thrown into a shelter where there are people, these are defining moments for how this will progress forward.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, Richard. And, you know, when you think about why the Israeli prime minister's office is

releasing these images. Why the Israeli military has been trying to show journalists and show the world what has happened in Israel over the past

weekend, you know, the first immediate reason but it is to show the depravity, the brutality, the barbarity of these attacks of Hamas committed

on Israeli civilians over the weekend, so that the world can know the kinds of enemy that Israel is dealing with here.

But then if you look a little bit deeper, if you think a little bit more strategically without trying to be, you know, too crass, or too cynical

about the situation, the ultimate reality is that what Israel is also trying to do here is to try and explain why it is going to take the actions

that it is going to take in Gaza, why it is undertaking the air strikes that it is carrying out right now, rumbling of which we can hear in the

background from our position here in Ashdod. But more importantly, to try and lay the basis for this potential ground invasion that everybody seems

to believe is going to come but no one has yet ordered.

And that is because not only for the Israeli public here to be prepared, and to understand the cost of the Israeli military casualties that will

undoubtedly come if a ground forces is going to Gaza but also to try and show the world of why there will be casualties going forward, to try and

explain why Israel must take these actions despite the fact that they will undoubtedly result in heavy, heavy casualties inside the Gaza Strip, some

of which will, of course, be civilians.

QUEST: Right.

DIAMOND: That is the nature of warfare over here. That is the nature of what happens when Israel goes to war with Hamas in the very congested,

highly saturated, populated area of the Gaza Strip

QUEST: But to take their point, they're going to do it anyway. I mean, they may be settling the ground for if you like the understanding of the

action, and reminding people of just the atrocities. But the international program that may or may not follow will not stop them.

DIAMOND: No doubt about it, we have seen this in the past. But obviously Israel tries to play the public relations game, you know, perhaps just as

much as any other country that is going to war. You know, they want public support to be on their side, they want international support to be on their


And that's why it was also very important to see the U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken here, not only standing side by side with the Israeli

prime minister, saying that is that the United States stands with Israel, and that Israel has not only a right but an obligation to defend itself in

these cases, but also to hear the secretary of state laying out the same case, as the Israeli prime minister, also talking about the barbarity and

the brutality of those Hamas attacks.

It is all part of the same notion of trying to maintain international public support and in this case, to maintain the support of the United


Now, I also spoke with U.S. officials who made very clear, that part of the reason for the secretary of state to come here before any potential ground

invasion takes place, so that the U.S. can provide some input, so that the U.S. can make statements like the secretary of state did today, about

urging Israel to stick to international law, to avoid civilian casualties, to the best extent possible. To the extent to which that actually changes

Israel's playbook going forward, only time will tell.

QUEST: Jeremy Diamond in Ashdod, it's half ten at night. Thank you, so grateful for you.

A grieving father has described the moment he learned his young daughter was killed by Hamas. Thomas Hand says he is relieved she wasn't taken

hostage, because that would have been much worse. A warning, Clarissa Ward's report contains disturbing content.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was 7:11 am on Saturday morning when the militants arrived at the Be'eri kibbutz.

Surveillance footage shows them lying in wait until a car arrives. They shoot the driver and enter the compound. More poured on motorcycles. Eerily

at ease and in no apparent hurry.

Thomas Hand heard the gunshots and immediately thought of his eight year old daughter Emily who was staying with a neighbor.


THOMAS HAND, RESIDENT: She doesn't do it very often, but unfortunately that night, that particular night, that Friday night, she went to sleep at

her friend's house.

WARD: For 12 hours, he says he was pinned down under heavy gunfire unable to reach his daughter, as Hamas went door to door executing his neighbors.

HAND: Waiting, thinking the army will be here soon. You know, I can just hold on a bit longer, and longer, and longer.

WARD: By the time that military gain to control all of Be'eri, this is what remained off the once tranquil community. Late Wednesday afternoon,

Israeli forces let journalists in for the first time, after days of pitched battles.

MAJ. GEN. ITAL VERUV, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: I saw houses, soldier fight here, and I fight here myself. Only to get -- only to come into the

apartment to apartment. It took a lot of time.

WARD: Does it weigh on your conscience to know how long it took?

VERUV: You know, we have a very difficult question to ask ourselves. Now we look forward to defenses, to take survivors out of it, to switch

ourselves from defense to offensive operations. I'm sure that we ask ourselves all the difficult questions after.

WARD: For now, there are more pressing questions. The bodies of more than 100 residents have been recovered. But the army says that many more are

still missing.

You can see the amount of blood. This was a massacre. And the full scale of the horrors that transpired here are just starting to come to light.

Pictures, family photographs on the wall.

Thomas waited two agonizing days before getting the news.

HAND: They just said, we found Emily. She's dead. And I went, yes! I went, yes! And smiled, because that is the biggest news of the possibilities that

I knew.

That was the biggest possibility that I was hoping for, she was either dead or in Gaza. And if you know anything about what they do to people in Gaza,

that is worse than death. That is worse than death, the way they treat you. They have no food, that have no water. She'd be in a dark room, filled with

Christ knows how many people and terrified every minute, hour, day, and possible years to come. So death was a blessing, an absolute blessing.

WARD: Clarissa Ward, CNN, Be'eri kibbutz, Israel.




QUEST: Palestinian officials say hundreds of children are among the victims of the Israeli airstrikes at Gaza.

Nada Bashir has the story, and again I do need to warn you, there are graphic and disturbing pictures and content in this report that you must



NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Gripped by grief, and loss of unfathomable scale. Gaza's death toll and the number of civilians wounded

is rising with each and every airstrike.

In Al-Shati refugee camp, men dig with their bare hands, desperate to rescue loved ones from beneath the rubble of what once where their homes.

Saad begins to list the names of the children killed in this latest strike. Among them, his niece. She was just a few months old. Now, she is one of

more than 440 children Gaza's health ministry has said have been killed by Israeli airstrikes so far.

Israel says it is striking Hamas targets. But authorities here say medical facilities, schools, and residential areas have been impacted.

Our neighbors said that the Israelis had called, and told them to evacuate the area around our home. So we came to stay with relatives here in Al-

Shati, Nabeel says. But the next morning, when we woke up to pray at dawn, the air strike was happening. There was no warning.

The densely populated Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli land, sea and air blockade since 2007, is home to more than 2 million people. Around

47 percent of them are children. So far, at least 340,000 people have been displaced within Gaza. Many are now forced to take shelter in U.N.-run

schools like this one.

But civilians here are also now facing with the Israeli government has described as a complete siege on Gaza.

There is no water for us to drink, no water for us to wash yourselves with, so that we can pray, Maram says. They have bombed our schools, many people

are killed. It's not fair for children like us. Why is this happening to us?

Life under blockade is all that the children Gaza have ever known. For some, like 13 year old Nadine, it is hard to imagine a future beyond this

relentless conflict.

NADINE ABDUL LATIF, TEENAGER LIVING IN GAZA: The last couple of nights have been the worst couple of nights I've ever lived in my life. This is

not living, this is existing. We are not planning our futures anymore. We're just trying to survive.

BASHIR: But survival in Gaza is becoming more and more difficult by the day. The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating, and while the

U.N. has condemned what it has described as Israel's unlawful blockade on Gaza, and the indiscriminate nature of Israel's airstrike. There is little

hope that the bloodshed will end here.

Nada Bashir, CNN.


QUEST: And I'll be back after this break. This is CNN.



QUEST: The European Union has repeated its call for Israel to comply with international law as it moves to defend itself against Palestinian

militants. Other human rights groups have made similar appeals. Israeli President Isaac Herzog told CNN his country is complying with the rules of

law. The Israeli Defense Forces up against a foe that's using civilians as human shields. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hamas is still using

that tactic.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling is a CNN military analyst. He joins me.

Very glad to have you, Mark.

And the focus here -- look, everybody says they must prosecute this war within international law. And the human rights watch, former leader, made

some very good guidance on how you do that. And if you can't do, it you don't fight. Or you don't shoot. But how realistic is this?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's not realistic at all, Richard. You know, the Israeli forces, their spokespeople, will tell

you that they will use the concept of both international law and proportionality, and necessity. And they will define that over and over

again, and being a student of many of the conflicts in Israel, they have said that on multiple occasions, they have attempted to do that.

But when you're in a situation like you see in Gaza, with the density of the population. The kind of fight Hamas is putting up. It is very difficult

to eliminate collateral damage and eliminate any kind of civilian casualties or killings. It's just a statement of fact.

QUEST: So Israeli, this really comes down to I hate this to put this into cold words in a sense, but you used it, proportionality. When they have

also said, it's all about proportionality. You don't destroy an apartment building, 400 homes, because there might be one Hamas person there.

HERTLING: Correct.

QUEST: But is it reasonable -- is it reasonable to expect Israel to show proportionality in this scenario?

HERTLING: It's certainly challenging, Richard. And truthfully, I've had these kind of experiences myself, where some of our units would come in and

say, hey, we have a mosque over here that is housing terrorist fighters, and has a lot of arms and ammunition in it.

And you go to the lawyers. You say, is this proportionality? Should I strike it? Is it a set necessity to stop the fighting? And yes, it is.

But in the case like you're talking about, a 60-story apartment building, which exists in Gaza, that might be on top of a tunnel complex, or a huge

arms cache. You know, the Israelis sometimes to what they call a roof knock, where they hit the top of a building or the side of a building with

a bomb that doesn't explode. It warns the occupants of that -- of that apartment or house to get out. They will certainly do that, I'm sure.

They've done it in the past.

But going back to the statement, no, it's not 100 percent accurate. It can't be done all the time.


And there are going to be, unfortunately, injured and killed civilians that, frankly, don't support Hamas, which most of the people in the

Palestinian, in the Gaza do not. That's the interesting part.

QUEST: So, drawing on your experience, and, you know, Iraq, several tours in Iraq, drawing on your experience, what is the -- I was going to say,

better way, but you know what I mean, it's a poor choice of words -- for Israel to proceed as it moves forward?

HERTLING: You know, what we're seeing right now is the Israeli forces mounting the potential for an operation. And that takes a very long time.

There's a lot of people on the press, saying, why haven't they gone? Yet it's been five days? They need to get in there. And there are others that

are saying, they're planning it out.

I would be of the latter persuasion because I know what goes through a commander's mind.

QUEST: Right.

HERTLING: You also have to consider, Richard, it's been ten years since Israel has been inside of Gaza. The last operation was in 2014, and they

had a bunch of new reservists that they have mobilized, 300,000, who have, some of them have never been in combat. Most of them have probably never

been in Gaza. All of them don't understand the increasing complications of an urban battlefield, which they are going to face.

During that same period of time, where Israel has not been in Gaza, the Hamas fighters have prepared their positions over a ten-year period of

time. They've increased their funnel complexes. They had better sniper positions, they have ambushed positions.

The Israeli air force it's already troubled most of the town, which is going to hinder any kind of maneuver and resupply operations. So, this is

going to be an urban op that is going to be more difficult than anything Israel has ever seen before. Their last operation in 2014 resulted --

QUEST: All right.

HERTLING: -- in 56 soldiers dead, and about 2,100 Palestinians dead. We've already surpassed that with this operation, with less soldiers.

QUEST: General, I'm very grateful for you. Thank you. You put in a perspective for those of us who are not there and seeing these things

firsthand. I'm grateful to you, sir. Thank you

HERTLING: It's very difficult. Thank you.

QUEST: I am Richard Quest.

Breaking news coverage of Israel's war on Hamas continues. It continues with Jake Tapper, "THE LEAD", which is next. This is CNN.