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Quest Means Business
Israeli Troops Have Carried Out Local Raids In Gaza; Jordan Extremely Concerned About Conflict Spreading; Nations Urge Israel To Let Aid Into Gaza; Austin Visit Israeli Air Base, Affirms U.S. Support; Netanyahu: This Is Only The Beginning; Biden Speaking On Development In Israel. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 13, 2023 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: It's 10 o'clock in the evening in Tel Aviv and Gaza, and there you see the picture from Gaza. The picture
only tells half the story in a sense, the half of the blackout because of the failure of electricity, but the situation is extremely tense, as Israel
has told half the territory of -- the total of Gaza to evacuate south and that is something the UN says is impossible.
Meanwhile, the IDF says it is carrying out local raids.
Friday, October the 13th. I'm Richard Quest, good evening to you.
The picture of Gaza that we all see as we all see what happens. Israel says it's infantry and armored units have been entering the Gaza Strip for the
first time since the Hamas attack last weekend.
The IDF says ". soldiers collected and searched evidence that would assist in the effort to locate hostages. In addition, IDF soldiers thwarted
terrorist cells and infrastructure located in the air located in the area."
The Israeli forces have told people living in Northern Gaza to evacuate south for their own safety. We're talking here about more than a million
people to relocate to the southern parts of the region, a region that didn't have its own right is absolutely jam packed to begin with, and from
which there is no way out as the Rafah Crossing has also been closed.
CNN's Becky Anderson is in Jerusalem.
Becky, tonight, two aspects of this: The warning to move south, and the first, if you will, that we know of anyway, incursions by the IDF into
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Richard, I think -- let's just consider the language here, because I think it's really important that we
don't suggest that they've started this ground incursion, but you're absolutely right to point out that there have been these raids as they have
described them into the Gaza Strip. And as you absolutely rightly pointed out, this is the IDF telling us in an effort to try and locate these
hostages between a hundred and a hundred fifty of them, the IDF hasn't said exactly how many, but that is Hamas' count.
We know these hostages, according to Hamas are littered around Gaza, so it's very difficult for the IDF to know where to start at this point, but
they are definitely looking for evidence about where these hostages might be and also trying to denigrate Hamas' military capabilities on the ground.
Richard, what we don't know is how many raids were conducted. They say that this was in a day when those were specifically conducted, or whether they
actually were able to collect any decent evidence as to where these hostages might be.
But it is really important that we sort of think about the context of this because of course we are, you know, a way to anticipating what could be
certainly the prospect of a huge assault, a ground incursion. They have saturated, the southern part of the Israeli border with some 300,000
They have given a 24-hour warning. You're absolutely right to point that out as well, 24 hours to evacuate that area, a million people down to the
south. Let's just consider the size of that. That is the size of Delaware's population, asking in 24 hours, and this was midnight last night.
And I speak to you at what -- 10 o'clock here, so we've got two hours to go if the Israelis were to stick to that, to get a million people down south
of the Wadi Gaza.
So you know, this is really tough stuff, and the UN has been very specific about saying that this is an -- this is almost an impossibility.
I just want to bring up a statement from the UN because I think this is important to point out. If you can get that statement up onto the screen
for our viewers.
QUEST: Yes, it is there.
ANDERSON: And I will just read out what it actually says. I don't actually have the script in front of me, and perhaps you want to read it
out to our viewers.
QUEST: Sure. Thank you. Yes, yes, it's there. "We consider it impossible -- it is impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating
humanitarian consequences. And we strongly appeal for any search order to be rescinded, avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into
a calamitous situation."
Becky, that's the statement, but there's no evidence -- well, quite the contrary, that Israel is going to do anything like rescind the warning.
ANDERSON: That's right. And we've heard reports of pamphlets being dropped on the population in Gaza, you know, warning them that they have 24
hours to evacuate at this point.
Look, I know that you've got General Wesley Clark up next, and the general will give us a real sense of where he thinks this is headed.
What I can tell you is I spoke to the Jordanian Foreign minister just a little bit earlier on. Now, Ayman Safadi was in the meetings with His
Majesty, King Abdullah and Antony Blinken earlier on today. We've seen Antony Blinken, of course, doing the rounds of the region, and you know,
the Jordanians are very, very concerned about how this could escalate beyond containing this, if you will, in Gaza.
This is what Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian Foreign Minister told me a little earlier on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We're extremely concerned about this conflict spreading, of top priority for us is the West Bank, then we
have Lebanon, because if the conflict -- if the level of violence and war we see there spread into those territories, then the whole region is going
to be engulfed, popular reaction is going to be more aggressive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And I regularly talk to the Jordanian Foreign Minister. I can tell you, Richard, with respect to him. We have spoken about his concerns
about what is going on here, and an escalation of that violence for months and months and months.
Now, I spoke to King Abdullah back in December. I was in Jordan. He was concerned about what was going on at the Haram Al Sharif or the Temple
Mount complex. Of course, the Jordanians have custodianship over that Holy Site, a Holy Site for Judaism, of course, the site of the third holiest
shrine in Islam, the Al Aqsa, and of course, this is a revered site for Christians.
And Hamas now using much of what we've seen, the escalation of violence that we have seen at that site talking about the desecration of the Al Aqsa
Mosque. Hamas have been using that as a reason for what was this monstrous attack Saturday, last week.
So you know, real concerns in the hours ahead of what happens in Gaza, Richard, and real concerns from the region, about how they try and ensure
that this doesn't escalate out, because that could be even worse than what we are already facing, which is pretty catastrophic.
QUEST: Becky, grateful to you.
Becky Anderson in Jerusalem tonight.
She mentioned General Wesley Clark, there he is, the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, one of our military analysts.
Judging from what you know, and your vast experience, when do you think we would expect Israel to move?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think it's going to be a reconnaissance-driven operation. So they've already started moving. They've
got other first raids that have gone in, they're probably going in to some of the headquarters sites that have been bombed. They're looking for
information, for paperwork, for broken computer disks or whatever that will give them greater information.
At the same time, they are building up their strength. They're working their plans, but there is no urgency about this than it has to be done
tonight. One thing you have to do is do it right.
Now, the objective has been given by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to eliminate Hamas. That is very tall order it is going to be a very difficult
thing to do.
But everybody is making a lot of noise about the Israelis warning the Palestinians to evacuate. Of course, they would do that because the
Israelis are following -- trying to follow the laws of land warfare. They're trying to respect civilian life. They're trying to use --
QUEST: Right, but General Clark --
CLARK: What they are going against is a terrorist organization.
QUEST: But as we had on our program last night, if you are asking them to do something that is, I suppose, technically possible, but in reality
impossible to move a million people south, what's the status of that, in a sense?
I mean, the issue as the UN says is fine, you can give as many warnings as you like, it is not possible to move a million people south in the period
of time you've given.
CLARK: Well, it may not be possible, but maybe move a half million, maybe you move a quarter of a million, maybe you move a hundred thousand out of
the area that's in the furthest north, that's the first line of attack from Israel.
Whatever it is, it's going to save lives, both Palestinian lives and Israeli lives. And remember, it's Hamas that is ordering their people not
to leave because Hamas wants to use them, wants to hide behind them, wants to cause civilian casualties, wants to use that to turn the world against
Israel, which is, after all, only reacting in defense of this horrible tragedy that occurred last Saturday.
So I think we have to keep the balance in sight here. Yes, we're worried about these million people. And the world is working with Egypt to try to
get that border crossing, open at Rafah, but you can also understand that President Sisi is not so happy to have a hundred thousand, two hundred,
five hundred thousand Palestinians swarming into Sinai at this point.
So really, the EU, the United Nations, a lot of organizations have to come together to deal with the refugee crisis south of Gaza, and let the
Israelis take care of eliminating the militant wing of Hamas, the ones that committed the terrorist attack.
QUEST: In your view, can they do it?
CLARK: Well, I think they can -- I think given time, yes, they can do it. But Richard, this is a very tough military operation, because you're going
into a series of prepared base areas with underground tunnels and store rooms and prepared ambush sites, no doubt and improvised explosive devices.
Look, Hamas is -- these people are all students of warfare. They saw how the ISIS defended itself in Mosul. You can be sure that there are people
who will stay and fight and die against Israelis. There'll be suicide bombers, there'll be minefields. There'll be all kinds of obstacles. So
they'll try to make it as painful as possible.
Can Israel do it? Yes. But Israel hasn't wanted to do it up till now. Israel believed the fiction that they could live with Hamas. And apparently
Hamas put that fiction out so they could prepare militarily for this two- phase attack.
It's a two-phase attack. Phase one is you strike in Israel. Phase two, you go on the defense against the Israelis, when they come in, and use the
advantage of the built up urban area and the population to not only inflict losses on Israel, bog it down, embarrass it internationally, cause
international opprobrium and upset all the other moderate regimes in the region.
So it's a bold, strategic move by Hamas that Israel must answer and the world must understand how Israel is answering it, and why it must do so.
QUEST: Because at the end of the day, I mean, you know, at the end of the day, it must not be -- the sight must not be lost, of the fact that it was
Hamas that started this, and I do wonder and worry in the coming days and weeks that will be, if not negated, it will be circumvented for whatever
But the reality is, the brutal reality, General, if Hamas had not done what they did, we would not be here now.
CLARK: Right. That's exactly right, Richard.
Hamas did start it, Hamas planned over a period of early of some two years, with the assistance of Iran, either directly or indirectly. We don't know
the details of that Iranian assistance, yet, but we know that Iran was a major source of training and support during all of this period with Hamas.
And so we've got -- and this was an attack by Hamas, and indirectly by Iran on the global order. It's an effort to break up a possible agreement
between Saudi Arabia and Israel, an effort to destabilize the Middle East, an effort to strengthen Iran's reach into the region.
And, of course, one of the consequences, if you go by the old Latin phrase of "cui bono," who benefits from this? Vladimir Putin benefits
tremendously, because all we're talking about right now is Israel and Hamas and we can't forget that Ukraine is fighting for its very life against an
unprovoked Russian invasion that didn't go the way the Russians wanted, but there is no sign that Putin is willing to stop.
And so this is a very, very, very convenient distraction for Vladimir Putin.
QUEST: General, I'm grateful for your time, sir. Thank you, General Wesley Clark.
There has been a little sign of the mass exodus from Gaza. That is despite Israel's warning. As General Clark was saying, Hamas has told residents not
to leave the region and this is what the IDF spokesman told us earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. PETER LERNER (RET), IDF SPOKESPERSON: We are telling people, if you care for your life, don't wait for Hamas, take your time, take your
things, take your family and move south because Israel is fighting Hamas.
You are not our enemy. Hamas is our enemy, and therefore, we are operating in order to remove this threat once and for all from Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And the UN Secretary General says the situation in Gaza has reached dangerously new lows.
CNN's Nada Bashir reports on that.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice over): As dawn breaks in Gaza, now under bombardment by Israel for seven days, a sinister warning from the skies,
pamphlets from Israel's Defense Forces telling all civilians in Northern Gaza to evacuate southwards.
(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)
BASHIR (voice over): "We're seeing our children killed right in front of us. They're starving us of food, of water. We have no electricity, nothing.
This isn't a life. And now they tell us we have to leave, but we don't know where we will end up."
Hamas leaders have called on civilians to remain steadfast and stay put, accusing Israel of engaging in psychological warfare. But families
desperate for some semblance of security, gather their belongings.
And while they are unsure of what awaits them in the south, one thing is clear, there is no guarantee of safety wherever you are in Gaza.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
BASHIR (voice over): "It happened to our grandfathers and now it's happening to us. We are being forced out. Gaza is being destroyed. Nothing
is left. It's a catastrophe."
More than two million people live in a tiny besieged Gaza Strip, still under a blockade enforced by Israel in 2007. More than half of those are
now being told to move.
The Norwegian Refugee Council has characterized the evacuation order, which holds no guarantee of safe return as an act of forcible transfer, in other
words, a war crime.
Meanwhile, the UN's Refugee Agency for Palestine says the scale and speed of the unfolding humanitarian crisis is bone chilling.
TAMARA ALRIFAI, UNRWA SPOKESPERSON: On the move are more than 1.4 million people in Gaza. These are ordinary Palestinians who all live in the Gaza
strip with their families, including pregnant women, children, children with disabilities.
BASHIR (voice over): An ongoing siege means access to food and safe water is quickly running out.
The UN World Health Organization has warned that hospitals here have only a few hours of electricity each day, pushing Gaza's already crumbling
healthcare infrastructure to the brink of collapse.
At the Al-Shifa Hospital, the bodies of those killed in the airstrike lay shrouded outside. There is, doctors say, simply not enough space in the
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
BASHIR (voice over): "They were all innocent civilians, women, children. The airstrikes came suddenly and destroyed all our homes with children
still inside. And now, we don't even know where we can bury our dead. Enough, please, enough."
In less than one week, Israel has dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Gaza. The equivalent to the total number of airstrikes carried out during the
2014 Israel-Gaza War, which lasted 50 days.
And while there continues to be widespread condemnation of the collective punishment, the people of Gaza are being subjected to, there is every
indication that this war will only intensify and many here feel that the world has abandoned them.
Nada Bashir, CNN.
QUEST: We'll take a break.
When we come back, we'll have more including President Biden is due to speak in this hour.
QUEST: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been meeting today with Arab leaders and the message he says is there can be no more business as
usual with Hamas.
Before he landed in Bahrain, the secretary was in Doha, where he was seeking cooperation from Qatar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: We discussed in detail our efforts to prevent any act, state or non-state from creating a new front in this
We're also working intensively together to secure the release of hostages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now several countries are urging Israel to provide a safe passage for aid into Gaza. Rafah is the crossing point to be available for this.
It's the only crossing point between Egypt and Gaza. A source telling us, the Palestinian side of the border is nonfunctional after multiple
airstrikes by Israel.
Sam Kiley is in London.
Two things here, Sam. We want to talk -- I want to get to. Firstly, this idea of an aid corridor. We had a sort of a go of that last night, but it
seems to be firming up in a sense.
But let's start with this idea of evacuating people south. Now, the UN says it's impossible, but you may have heard General Wesley Clark saying, look,
you do what you can. Even if it's a hundred thousand people, you move whoever you can south.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, look, the Gaza City, which is the area really that the Israelis are talking about,
they have said to the citizens of Gaza, that they've got to get south of the Gaza Wadi, which is a sort of two-thirds of the way north, up the
thirty-eight, thirty-five-mile long Gaza Strip, Richard. That is most of the population. It is the most heavily concentrated part of the population
of the entire Gaza Strip and they are essentially saying evacuate the entire part of that population into the south where there is no
infrastructure of any significance.
On top of that, there are a very large number of hospitals, which are already of course, inevitably under extreme strain both in terms of
numbers, fuel, and supplies. Gaza is now entirely besieged, fuel cut off. They can't move critically injured patients.
So far, authorities there have told CNN that that would be a death sentence to move these people. So yes, people are on the move. Hamas is not
preventing anybody in that area from leaving, they're asking people to stay, it is true, that they cite military locations alongside and under
civilian buildings and other targets or other places that shouldn't be targets. And that if targeted, or indeed used as a military bases covertly,
both of those ideas potentially could be subjected to war crimes prosecution.
So it's a terrific mess, but the idea that you can move a million-and-a- half, 1.1 million people is nearly impossible, I think.
QUEST: All right, now this idea of the aid corridors, whether they happen now or after whatever comes along, they're going to happen at some point.
But the reality is, you told me this yesterday, the Egyptians, it has been firmed up today in a sense they are not about to open that border.
KILEY: Well not as a valve for people to come out. I have no doubt that the Egyptians are likely to open it up for a coming in the United Arab
Emirates, for example, landed a plane in northern Egypt in the Sinai, to try to get aid or prepare for aid for people either to go in or if people
do suddenly push out.
I mean, they may simply get overwhelmed by the sheer weight of humanity there, there isn't a massive Egyptian presence, and they certainly wouldn't
want to be in the business of shooting refugees who themselves are fleeing airstrikes or a ground assault.
So it's a bit of a conundrum for the Egyptians, but they are politically allergic to the idea of, first of all, allowing the Israelis in their view
to empty the Gaza Strip of its Palestinian population. And then secondly, coping with the importation of potentially two million Palestinians into
Egyptian territory that could never go back.
For example, there are still the descendants of refugees from the 1948 wars between the Israelis and Arabs in what was then the Palestine and the newly
born Israeli state, they are still stateless and citizens, for example of Southern Lebanon and of course, considerable or have been the source of
considerable friction and problems ever since, and of course, living in very frequently miserable condition.
So this is not a long-term change to the landscape that the Egyptians can contemplate really -- Richard.
QUEST: Sam Kiley, always grateful, sir. Thank you. With the experience of covering these areas over many years and bringing it to you.
This is CNN. We will have a lot more in just a moment, including President Biden when and if he is going to speak shortly. We'll have it for you when
QUEST: The U.S. Defense Secretary is also in Israel. There are words of encouragement and material support. Lloyd Austin visited the Nevatim
Airbase where American munitions have been arriving. He also met the Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv and made clear U.S. commitment to fighting
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Now, this is no time for neutrality, or for false equivalence, or for excuses for the inexcusable. There is
never any justification for terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has touted his relationship with the U.S. He spoke a few moments ago when he also signaled it will be a
long war ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): I'm telling you, it's only the beginning. I'm not going to give you additional
details. But it's only the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: OK. Now IDF says it's coming out drone strikes on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon that exhorts an exchange of shelling along the Israeli border
with Lebanon. Hezbollah is claiming responsibility for attacks on four Israeli locations. The President is speaking. It's an economic statement.
But we'll be covering him as long as he talking about Israel in the Middle East.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm a big Pennsylvania guy. But you have an advantage in Philly. When I married a Philly girl, two, you
between Scranton and Wilmington, you know, Scranton -- you guys have no sense of humor men. Look Brian, thanks for that introduction. I really mean
it. And before I get started, I want to acknowledge two brave police officers in a serious note were shot last night. One was killed at the
I talked to the chief and the mayor about this. They put their lives on the line to protect this community. We owe them a debt of gratitude and we're
praying for them and for their families today. I also want to say I worry about the situation in Israel. The more we learned about the attack, the
more horrifying it becomes. More than 1000 innocent lives lost, including at least 27 Americans. These guys make -- they make a kind of pure. They're
pure -- they're pure evil.
I said from the beginning. The United States make no mistake about it. Stands with Israel. The United States stands with Israel.
Secretary of State Blinken was in Israel yesterday and Secretary of Defense Austin is here today. We're making sure Israel has what it needs to defend
itself and respond to these attacks. It's also priority for me to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. At my direction, our teams are
working in the region, including communicating directly with the governments of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other Arab nations and the United
Nations to surge support and humanitarian consequences for Hamas attack to help Israel.
You know, we have to -- we can't lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas. And
Hamas is appalling attacks. And they're suffering as a result as well. This morning, I spoke with the family members of all those Americans who are
still unaccounted for on a Zoom call for about an hour and 10, 15 minutes. They're going through agony not knowing what the status of their sons,
daughters, husbands, wives, children are.
You know, it's gut wrenching. I assured them my personal commitment to do everything possible. Everything possible return every mission American to
their families. We're working around the clock to secure the release of Americans held by Hamas in close cooperation with Israel and our partners
around the region. We're not going to stop to bring them home. Folks, now for the reason to be here, Secretary Granholm, no one's more enthusiastic
about building our clean energy future than you are.
And we also -- I got so many friends here today. Pennsylvania delegation Josh Shapiro, the governor, Mayor Kenny is an old friend. One of my closest
friends in the Senate. And in politics, Bobby Casey, Representative Brendan Boyle as always --
QUEST: There's President Biden reaffirming the evil Hamas pure evil, he says. But he also went into some of the details of the support. We're
sending support to help Israel and to do whatever is necessary to help bring back the American hostages. Telling us that he had a Zoom call this
morning for an hour and 15 minutes with the families of those who had been taken hostage by Hamas.
QUEST: He says we will do everything possible to bring them back. And his work is -- the administration's working around the clock. He also of course
referred to the visits by Defense Secretary Austin and Secretary of State Blinken.
Back in Gaza, Israel's continuing its massive airstrikes. The IDF has released this video. It shows the operations in northern Gaza. You can see
rockets also being fired from the ground as Israeli airstrikes took place.
Matthew Chance is in Tel Aviv. Interestingly, I -- when I saw those pictures, the -- we do see the locusts of the of the firing position of
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We do. And we also see the Israeli artillery or air-delivered munitions striking that
position as well. And actually, within the past few minutes, there's been a significant rocket attack on Tel Aviv. I was standing out here on this
balcony of this hotel in the center of the Israeli city, when the Iron Dome interceptors went into action and a huge explosion in the skies over Tel
And so, it shows that despite the pounding that the Gaza Strip has been getting over the course of the past several days by the Israeli Air Force
and its ships and its artillery guns, Palestinian militants are still able to fire the occasional rocket attack salvo out into Israeli territory.
Having said that, you know, that pounding has leveled entire areas of Gaza. Entire neighborhoods of Gaza City, for instance.
Increasing the humanitarian problems there. And that's been compounded by the Israeli order now, for more than a million Palestinians in the north of
the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the south to enable the Israeli armed forces to move in in a possible ground invasion that we're all anticipating in the
days ahead. And so, a very dire security situation and humanitarian situation at the moment on the ground in Gaza, Richard.
QUEST: And you talked about the rockets heading towards. The world reports earlier, I mean, Hamas saying it will target Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion
Airport, which is the International Airport. I mean, so, clearly, international flights were the exception of El Al and a few others have
stopped. But what is the realistic -- I mean, I realized, Matthew, one rocket getting through in Tel Aviv could do tremendous damage and loss of
But what is the realistic possibilities and opportunities for Hamas to fire at both the airport and Tel Aviv?
CHANCE: Well, I think in a limited way, they still got that capability as we've seen over the past hour or so. But if we're talking about the salvos
of thousands of rockets that were -- that were that were flung over or fired over into Israeli territory at the weekend, at the same time as the
Hamas militant attacks on the various Israeli communities took place, then I think that possibility is already -- has already gone.
You know, the situation on the ground in Gaza is very dire, as I say, already, the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces say that they've engaged in
limited land incursions into the Gaza Strip to deny the militants, the ability to fire rockets in that way into Israeli territory. The IDF are
also looking for the places where hostages are being held captive. So, remember, what complicates this military operation more than really any
other incursion that we've seen by the Israeli armed forces into Gaza isn't just the scale of it.
It's the fact that there are between 100 and 150 Israeli hostages being held at secret locations across the area and that is complicating.
QUEST: Matthew, grateful, sir. Thank you. Matthew Chance who is in Tel Aviv. Iran's foreign minister's been meeting the chief of Hezbollah in
Lebanon, whether discuss of course the ongoing conflict. It's all part of the growing fears that Hezbollah could add a new front to this war. He also
met his Lebanese counterpart and reaffirmed support for Beirut, saying Lebanon's security is Iran's security.
Michael Wahid Hanna is the U.S. Program Director of the International Crisis Group. The diplomatic potential for movement here. Last week at the
U.N. or earlier this week, the message was quite clear. There is no -- the time is not right for any diplomatic moves from the United Nations.
But I also fear that the time is not right for any diplomatic moves other than perhaps aid corridors and whatever can be done by way of hostage
MICHAEL WAHID HANNA, U.S. PROGRAM DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: That seems right. I think we're still in a very early phase speaking to
diplomats throughout the region. I think most are trying to get their bearings trying to understand where the conflict is headed. It's clear that
there's going to be a ground invasion. And that could be quite brutal and really changed the entire complexion of the conflict and the situation of
civilians in Gaza.
But we've heard very little about mediation and diplomacy. A little bit on ideas about trying to open eighth corridors. There have been some flights
to Arish and Sinai and Egypt. But nothing is going in at the moment. And there's been some discussion of moving out U.S. citizens and perhaps other
foreign nationals from Gaza. But there hasn't been much discussion yet beyond those kinds of broad frameworks.
QUEST: The lines are becoming quite clear, aren't they? Because not only do we have senior leaders from the U.S., from the U.K., the E.U. all arriving
in Israel. Now look, if there was a -- I suppose blue water between them and Israel over what Israel was going to do. They wouldn't go anywhere near
the place. They would make their statements and stay away. But the reality is, the need for these other actors, these countries to show their
WAHID HANNA: Yes. I mean, that's right. I think within the region, there is a lot of trepidation as well about what next, if we take a country like
Egypt, that is feeling increasing pressure, looking across its border to Gaza. And quite worried about the potential mass displacement of civilians
from the north and the south in a situation of really ongoing warfare, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, there's no fuel going in or food or
And so, you know, real fear about what next and how that will impact the entire region.
QUEST: Michael, Hamas must -- well, not must. Did know what would come back at them if they did this particular attack they did. The size, scale
ferocity, mendacity, murderous nature of it. They did it anyway, knowing what was going to happen which raises the question of these other regional
actors. Iran, Syria, Lebanon. What point do they -- as opposed to God help us. What will point do they join in?
WAHID HANNA: Well, I think that's obviously the next big thing that people are watching. This risk for an escalation, particularly with Hezbollah in
the north. I mean, to your original point about intent, I think, you know, it might be that this has -- this has become a catastrophic success for
Hamas, that the ineptitude of the initial hours in terms of the Israeli response, meant that Hamas was far more successful than it could have ever
And so, I think that might be part of the equation. But clearly, when Hamas marches across border offensive of this magnitude, there has to be an
expectation that there would be serious response. And of course, they've been planning for it. And that's part of the reason that many people are
very concerned about what a major ground offensive in Gaza looks like. And of course, the scale and ferocity of that offensive and what that fighting
looks like, also has direct implication in terms of the assassination risks.
QUEST: Michael, I'm grateful. Thank you, sir. Thank you for joining us. When we come back after. We thought that there was a house speaker or at
least there would be. Steve Scalise, he -- when he decided that he didn't have the votes and he withdrew. Now we're back to square one.
Well, maybe not quite square one but it's still a mess. We'll talk about the U.S. House of Representatives and the inability to get a speaker after
QUEST: With so much taking place on serious news in the Middle East. I wouldn't waste your time talking about U.S. domestic politics except for
the effect it could have on what's happening elsewhere in the world. And the race or the attempt to find a new Speaker of the House has grown even
more chaotic with potentially serious consequences. The majority leader Steve Scalise has dropped out.
He cited a lack of support. He had a very slim win over Jim Jordan when the caucus voted, the conference voted. Jordan is a staunch ally of Trump. He
says he will seek the job. However, it's unclear if he has enough votes to win the gavel. Not if you look at how many he got when it was the first
vote. Depends how many you would take from Scalise. And then a new candidate, Austin Scott has decided he'll throw his hat into the ring.
Until we get a new house speaker, the House is effectively paralyzed and can't improve emergency aid for Israel. CNNs Melanie Zanona joins me from
Capitol Hill. I mean, you couldn't write this in a book and people believe it. We thought Scalise was it. Look, it all comes down to this rump of a 15
or so recalcitrant renegades on the Republican Party. Do we know if they will support Jordan?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Richard, I mean, it's hard to understate how chaotic and uncertain it is right now inside the House
Republican party. They thought they had their nominee. Steve Scalise came out of a closed-door meeting. He did win the majority of the vote but he
became quickly clear that he wasn't going to have the support that he needed to win on the House floor.
And so, he suddenly dropped out of the race last night, further plunging the House GOP into chaos and really heightening this leadership crisis that
Republicans are facing and there are serious questions about how they are going to move forward. Now, at this moment, they are huddled behind closed
doors once again to try to select a speaker nominee. Jim Jordan is one of those candidates. As you mentioned, he's well-liked by conservatives.
He's backed by former President Donald Trump, but he might have problems with some of the more moderate members of the party.
And meanwhile, running against him now is Austin Scott. A Georgia Republican. He's really in the race though as a way to act as sort of an
anti-Jordan alternative. So, Jordan is seen as the front runner at this point, but again, a lot of questions about whether Jordan is going to be
able to get the votes on the floor. And so, the big picture here is that House Republicans still have no consensus, still have no speaker.
It's unclear if and when they're going to be able to get one. And in the meantime, critical issues like aids for Israel and government funding are
all hanging in the balance
QUEST: And, of course, National Day. Absolutely. Thank you. Grateful to you. Thank you very much. This is CNN.
QUEST: Daily life in Israel has now changed in ways not seen in years. The streets of Tel Aviv, Israel's business and financial and tourist center if
you will, tense and quiet. Some companies have been forced to close for security reasons. 300,000 reservists have been called up. And tech firms
have lost employees to the military and nonprofit estimates that 10 percent of for example, tech workers have been drafted.
Eynat Guez is the -- Guez is the cofounder of Papaya Global. A tech firm that helps companies organize things like payroll. She joins me from Tel
Aviv. I must start as always talking to people in Tel Aviv just -- or in Israel. You -- with -- you must -- you must know or know of those who are
affected or have been hurt who have been taken hostage or god forbid have been killed.
EYNAT GUEZ, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, PAPAYA GLOBAL: Yes. And fortunately, I don't think that there is one person or one family in this country that
doesn't have any close relatives, friends or family that has been killed, took and hostage or -- I mean, just been missing currently. So honestly,
this is the sad reality of every -- each one of us.
QUEST: And in terms of -- in terms of the reservists that have now been called up and the ability. I mean, not -- I am aware of the stupidity of
the sort of almost distributed version, normal life is just about impossible for you.
GUEZ: There is no normal life in Israel in the last week. I mean, it doesn't matter if you've been called to the army and people -- I mean,
obviously just left their life, their family and went straight to the army. All of us, we are not doing we are not operating as normal. I mean, we are
helping, we are volunteering, we are assisting in quite -- providing quite a lot of aid to the -- to the -- to anything that is needed on ground and
are so -- the needs are just enormous.
So -- I mean, honestly, our lives has stopped almost seven days ago. And I hope that they will come to some kind of normal soon, but -- I mean, it's
definitely not going to be in the near future.
QUEST: What do you do? Somebody like yourself is running a company, which has -- you have much greater concerns at one level, but you are a global
company. And I guess you have to -- I mean, you learned this in Ukraine to an extent. Didn't you? But you have to just keep going somehow.
GUEZ: So obviously, I think that Israel and the Israel mentality, mainly on the tech kind of saying is that we always run global business, we always
have contingency plan. Obviously, this is far beyond any contingency plan or any disaster kind of that we ever kind of imagined. Myself at Papaya and
other a lot of our colleagues, we have a lot of supporting from our international teams that took over that are eventually replacing a lot of
I think that you need to understand that people are here are broken currently. I mean, it's impossible to focus on your job when everything
that you see around these people that lost family members, the horror that's coming from Hamas (INAUDIBLE) so, you know, we do whatever we can
myself. I mean, in the last week, I've been helping with bringing medical aid, military supply, everything that is needed.
So, you know, we all kind of shifted to everything that is needed on the ground.
QUEST: How would you describe your -- or the mood of your -- the people you know. Would you say it is one of -- I mean, you say shock and sorrow. But
is it one of anger yet? It has -- has it become one of them -- we need to do something?
GUEZ: I don't know if it's anger. Currently, we are still on the grieving kind of side of things. I mean, honestly, it's terrible. And I think that
the world needs to understand that we are facing terror. And this terror does not affect only Israel, it affects the world. And I think that's the
first thing that we need to do is unite against this terror. So, it's not a time to be angry, it's the time to really kind of assure that we are first
unite and have the ability to hug everyone around us that have been affected. I mean, anger will probably (INAUDIBLE)
QUEST: Right. A really difficult question for you. I concede. But as Israel go -- if and as Israel goes into Gaza and we start to see pictures of mass
civilian casualties which the military experts say there will be. What will be your thoughts then?
GUEZ: You know, it's a tough question but I do advise you to say, the horror that the Israel currently civil people have been going through. I
mean, definitely horror. We still have more than 150 people that are kidnapped and held in Gaza. So unfortunately, you know, I mean, I don't
want to answer this question. I want the kids and the families and the woman and other people that has been brought to Gaza to be back to Israel
first safe and then we can discuss about anything else.
QUEST: And I'm grateful for your for basically not telling me where to go and to answering the question of sort. Thank you very much. I'm grateful to
you. And of course, our thoughts and prayers and more than wishes are with you and all.
I'm Richard Quest. The news continues. We will follow every twist and turn of this. We will give you the analysis, the information. We will give you
the direction so you can make your own views, your own assessments, your own judgments. That's not our job. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper is next.