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CNN International: CNN's Continuing Coverage on the War in Israel on its Second Week. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired October 20, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to all of you watching in the United States and all around the world. I'm Max Foster in London with our ongoing coverage of Israel at war. 8 a.m. here in London, 10 a.m. in Gaza City and Jerusalem.
We begin this hour with U.S. President Joe Biden's direct appeal to the American people to support Israel and Ukraine in the face of threats to their existence. Mr. Biden delivered a prime-time address from the Oval Office. He's expected to ask Congress to approve more than $100 billion. which would also include money for security at the U.S. southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: In Israel, we must make sure that they have what they need to protect their people today and always. The security package I'm sending to Congress and asking Congress to do is an unprecedented commitment to Israel's security that will sharpen Israel's qualitative military edge, which we've committed to. The qualitative military edge.
We're going to make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We're going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Meanwhile, truckloads of humanitarian aid meant for Gaza will apparently have to wait in Egypt for a bit longer. Multiple sources tell CNN the Rafah crossing is not expected to open today, but possibly will on Saturday.
And there are new signs that Israel is closer to launching a ground invasion of Gaza. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with troops along the border on Thursday, telling them quote, "to see Gaza now from a distance, you will soon see it from the inside." The Israeli military reports its jets struck more than 100 Hamas targets in Gaza overnight and the IDF is not saying whether it will suspend airstrikes around the Rafah crossing when it opens to humanitarian aid deliveries. CNN's John Vause spoke last hour with IDF Lieutenant Commander Peter Lerner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER LERNER, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: We are continuing to strike Hamas, destroying their operational capabilities, and we will continue to do so. The humanitarian mission has to work in parallel to the military operation, and we are, I would say, committed in order to differentiate between the non-combatants, civilians, and the terrorists. But unfortunately, there is a challenge that terrorists will abuse the humanitarian mission.
We just saw a few days ago how Hamas had no problem going into a U.N. compound and commandeering fuel and medical supplies. This is the challenge that we face.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: That is very much understood and these things have happened in the past too with the mass and the other militant groups in Gaza. But as far as these ways are concerned, I'm just trying to have the process here. Has there been some kind of political decision? Is there agreement? As far as the Israelis are concerned, when this humanitarian flow of aid is meant to begin? Because we're hearing that it won't be Friday, it may be Saturday, it may be sometime over the weekend. What's your understanding?
LERNER: I'm not aware of any instruction that the IDF has had to hold fire to stop striking Hamas. After what Hamas did in Israel's communities, and we're still burying some 200 people a day and still finding bodies in the field with our raids in the adjacent areas of the Gaza border. So our instruction is to continue to press forward to strike Hamas where they are. The humanitarian mission, when the instructions arrive, we will of course implement them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Katie Polglase here in London with more. I mean, it's so hard getting the right information here, isn't it. But as you understand, physically, the border can open now but the trucks aren't going in, and they're concerned about the safety of truck drivers and aid workers at the delivery points, aren't they?
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Absolutely. And there have been some very practical issues. They've been filling in roadblocks and holes in the road and that kind of thing. And Biden, President Biden, warned about that. There was going to be eight hours of necessary measures to fix the roads before they go in. But it's worth noting that some of the repairs from the Egyptian side, they have accused the Israelis of striking the Rafah crossing. And this is why there were issues with the road that made it unable to cross. So it's still a lot, very volatile situation on the ground. This isn't an area far from any of this conflict.
And as you mentioned as well, this is an area where people are trying to get out and this is not part of the current agreement. They are trying to get humanitarian aid in as we're reporting this morning. It may not be today anymore. It may be tomorrow. It may be the day after. As that humanitarian aid is still waiting to go in, people on the inside of Gaza are trying to get out. And that current agreement doesn't allow for that. So that's clearly also a large concern as well.
You mentioned as well, and we were just hearing from the IDF as well, the Israelis' concerns here, what we understand from sources is that they are concerned that if humanitarian aid gets into Gaza, that it will then get into the hands of Hamas rather than the civilians. But of course, the concern around that is that if the aid doesn't go in, the civilians don't get it either way.
And as we're reporting, with these strikes and the continued siege, it is clearly a very urgent situation, a deteriorating situation. And I think it's also worth noting that just this morning, we heard from a body of experts at the United Nations with some pretty strong language, maybe language we haven't yet seen so far. They describe what is going on in terms of lack of aid getting into Gaza, plus this continued siege.
They say that may account to crimes against humanity. And that is the kind of situation we're dealing with. So seeing these trucks sitting at the border. That is really a very desperate situation that needs to be fixed.
FOSTER: And realistically, you know, how much is 20 trucks going to help? But that's the south of Gaza, north of Gaza. The focus seems to be on this military buildup on the border.
POLGLASE: That's right. And we've been reporting this morning as well that the IDF is saying they have targeted 100 Hamas targets inside Gaza. Now, amongst that, they're saying one of the key Hamas operatives that was part of the 7th of October attack.
He has also been and one of the targets of that attack that is why they are doing this is all part of a buildup as you say towards a ground offensive as well as this aerial attack that we are seeing whether this happens when it happens still remains to be seen but clearly the messaging from the Israeli side we are still going ahead this is not a de-escalation we fully intend to go into Gaza at some point and you can hear from those men just earlier from the words from the defense minister as well saying you will see Gaza from the inside, that's pretty clear language as to what he wants his troops to hear.
In terms of civilians in Gaza, these words are clearly very, very alarming.
FOSTER: Okay, Katie, thank you.
As we mentioned, U.S. President Joe Biden delivered a rare prime time address from the Oval Office on Thursday to explain why more military aid to both Israel and Ukraine is in America's long-term interests. On Friday, the White House is expected to submit an urgent budget request to Congress to continue funding the war efforts of both countries. The problem, of course, is Congress can't act on the request until House Republicans choose a new speaker, but no one knows how long that will take.
CNN's Kayla Tausche has our report.
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Biden in an Oval Office address making the argument that the world is at an inflection point, democracies against dictators and that Ukraine and Israel are on the front lines of this war.
He also made the argument that the U.S. needs to continue investing to help Ukraine and Israel win that war. Here's the president.
BIDEN: American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances will keep us, America safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. To put all that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine, if we turn our backs on Israel, it's just not worth it.
TAUSCHE: Biden called it a smart investment that would pay off for generations and also alluded to the fact that it would help keep U.S. troops out of those conflicts and keep the conflicts from widening. It all comes ahead of the White House asking Congress for roughly $100 billion in new aid to fund these crises. About $60 billion of that would help Ukraine continue defending itself as Russia's unprovoked invasion nears the two-year mark.
And Israel, as the war with Hamas enters the two-week mark, would see about $10 billion from that package. But there remains to be seen what the path is for that package in Congress, where there's a leadership vacuum in the House of Representatives and very clear consternation among both fiscal hawks and progressive Democrats about writing blank checks to many of these countries.
The White House is confident that there remains bipartisan support and that there is rough agreement among many lawmakers that the U.S. will end up on the right side of history.
Kayla Tausche, CNN. the White House.
FOSTER: Joining me now, Leslie Vinjamuri, Director of the U.S. and America's Program at Chatham House. Thanks so much for joining us today, Leslie. Just first of all, it's interesting, isn't it, the way Biden has tied the Israel budget to the Ukraine budget. What chances do you think he has of getting them through together?
LESLIE VINJAMURI, DIRECTOR, U.S. AND AMERICAS PROGRAM, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, you know, that's right. It is very interesting. The case for support for Israel is strong in Congress we know that case for supportive aid to Ukraine has come under attack from various parts of the Congress.
[03:09:58] So I'd tying them together is, you know, it's a risky political move but that was a powerful speech at a time when again American support if you look at the polling is actually quite strong still for supporting Ukraine so that the pushback is coming really more from Congress.
But that support for Israel is very strong. And the president was really taking that risk of making a case for democracy, for America's internationalist agenda at a time when we know that's a much harder case to make. But the president has linked this to the 9/11 attacks, to America's memory of trying to respond to terrorism.
And of course we have the domestic politics of what's going on in the House right now. So it's a very complicated picture, but those attacks on Israel were so extraordinarily terrible. And I think that there is a resonance with the American people. So I expect that there will be support passed at a high level for Israel.
FOSTER: Well, he referenced the utter chaos, didn't he, in American politics and tried to get past that. Let's just have a listen to that part of the speech where you reference that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I know we have our divisions at home. We have to get past them. We can't let petty, partisan, angry politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation. We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win. I refuse to let that happen. In moments like these, we have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: It's interesting, isn't it, Leslie, how he's actually going, he's not actually speaking to lawmakers there. He's appealing directly, isn't he, to the American public. But realistically, he can't do anything until he deals with those domestic divisions he referenced.
VINJAMURI: That's right. And he is relying on public sentiment to really show a strong support, especially right now, I think, for Israel. This is a president who has really been trying his entire presidency to speak to that importance of unity.
And we know from the numbers that the American public is simply not unified, hasn't become more unified under this president. But again, when you start to talk about terrorism, the Hamas attacks of the scale and of the brutality and the nature that we've witnessed, I think that appeal is very strong. Of course, the other very real concern is that there are divisions.
People are obviously across the United States, especially across America's college campuses, very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza for the Palestinian people. And this president is trying also to ensure that those divisions and that violence don't spill across America's streets. nd we've seen some of that already. So that ability of the president to really talk about terrorism when he's when he's talking about these attacks on Israel is critical and again to link it to Ukraine at a time when that war has been going on for a long time or Americans are sensing that there isn't an end game but still supporting and again you're right he's using that vehicle try to mobilize American public opinion at the sentiment the emotion of it all which is extraordinary we all feel it. The pressure of the very unruly House of Representatives right now.
FOSTER: Well, we haven't got many numbers on this because it's all so new, of course. If we bring up the latest polling to see how he is handling this latest crisis, it's all pretty positive. We'll bring them up in a moment. There we are.
42 percent approve of Biden's handling of the terror attack on Israel. But that's actually quite a specific question, isn't it? Because a lot of sympathy for what the Israelis went through, a lot of, you know, historically, a lot of sympathy for what Israel has gone through in the United States. But going forward, as there's this ground invasion, there'll also be a huge amount of sympathy as you just referenced amongst young people for Palestinians about what they're going through. So that's gonna be the big challenge, isn't it? Holding Israel back while still supporting Israel in the longer term.
VINJAMURI: That's right, and you've just hit on the key, the crucial divide here, which is in some ways a generational divide, the younger people that deep commitment to Israel isn't what it was, what it is in older generations. I mean, you would expect actually that polling to be much stronger, given America's long-standing ties to Israel and to a president of the United States that made a trip to a country that's under attack is quite extraordinary.
But we have all seen the tremendous suffering of the Palestinians and that broader historical context has great resonance and as it should and we all know that to bring any real solution that to the region which now seems like a much further that has been pushed much further back that it will require some concerted efforts with the U.S. engagement to really investing in a two-state solution that something that hasn't been on the front radar of this administration.
And I think people will begin to see that dilemma playing out across their television screens. And that's going to make it a much more difficult context for this president.
FOSTER: Okay, Leslie Vinjamuri, thank you as ever for all of your expertise on this.
VINJAMURI: Thank you.
FOSTER: Now Israel's expected ground incursion into Gaza may be coming closer. Israeli leaders met with soldiers gathering at the border on Thursday, more on that and a perspective from a military expert as well after the break. Plus in Pakistan we've got these demonstrations, crowds taking to the
streets to support the Palestinian people. A report from Jordan also coming up.
FOSTER: But there are signs that Israel is moving closer to the start of an expected ground invasion of Gaza. On Thursday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with troops at the border. Officials tell CNN that Israeli politicians have given the green light for a ground offensive. And it's now up to the military to decide when to go in. And CNN crews in the area report an increase in military activity.
CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has more.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In Israel's war with Hamas, more than 60 of the terror groups' operatives arrested early Thursday in the West Bank.
The clock now ticking on a far more dangerous phase of the war for the IDF, going into Hamas' heartland, Gaza.
NIR BAKAT, ISRAELI ECONOMIC MINISTER: The Israeli government made a decision, gave green light to the army, wiped them out, and now it's in the hands of the army.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israeli politicians are preparing expectations. for a long war and for the first time hinting at what an end of war may look like.
AVI DITCHER, ISRAELI AGRICULTURE MINISTER: The Gulf Strip all along will have a margin that they will not be able to get in. It will be a fire zone. No matter who is -- who are you, you'll never be able to come close to the Israeli border.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Dichter, a former head of Israeli security, says what Israel wants is the level of security control they currently have in the West Bank. Complete access on their terms.
DITCHER: Today, whenever we have a military problem in every single place in the West Bank, we are there.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): So that's what you have in Gaza going forward?
DITCHER: Gaza in terms of security. Remember that in Gaza Strip, once there is no administration. It has to be built in another administration.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): But as these plans take shape and troops prepare to go into Gaza, airstrikes are triggering international calls for a humanitarian pause to ease civilian suffering. Ditcher rejects the need for a pause.
DITCHER: We don't activate against civilians.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): But there are civilians' collateral damage.
DITCHER: In a war, in a war, in a war, a la guerre comme la guerre. In a war, we do understand and unfortunately we have suffered.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): With or without a pause in strikes, 20 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid are expected to enter Gaza from Egypt soon. Against the scale of need, it's a token ahead of a possible ground incursion. Maybe all that gets through for a while.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Sderot, Israel.
FOSTER: Well, my next guest is the author of "War Transform, the Future 21st Century Great Power Competition and Conflict." Mick Ryan is a retired major general in the Australian Army and he's with us from Brisbane. Thank you so much for joining us.
So the latest we've got is that the politicians have given the Israeli military the go-ahead for a ground invasion. What happens next?
MAJ. GEN. MICK RYAN (RET.), AUSTRALIAN ARMY: It's good to be with you. Well, hopefully the same politicians who've made those decisions have set out clear objectives at both the political and military levels. And they've given military commanders the limits within which they can operate in Gaza. This isn't and it can't be a free for all. It should be a very precise and discriminated operation to achieve Israel's strategic objectives.
FOSTER: Some military experts speculating that they're not going to go in, this is all posturing because it's such a huge challenge. What do you think about that?
RYAN: Well it's certainly a viable strategy for Israel to pursue and you know at the end of the day Hamas undertook these attacks on the 7th of October, these heinous attacks, to prompt Israel into doing exactly what many are speculating it's going to do, undertake a ground war in Gaza. If Israel didn't go in it would really subvert that Hamas plan. And frankly, the only people who win by a ground invasion is Hamas.
FOSTER: Just explain that a bit more, the suggestion that Hamas wants this to happen.
RYAN: Well, there's no other reason they would have undertaken these attacks on the 7th of October, but to prompt a large-scale Israeli grand incursion into Gaza. At the end of the day, if the Israelis were to do that, Hamas knows it would cause civilian casualties. It would reinforce Hamas' position in Gaza, but it would also totally destroy Israeli's relationships with its regional neighbors under the Abraham Accords or the normalization of its relationship with Saudi Arabia. All these things are to Hamas and to Iran's benefit. FOSTER: So a ground invasion into Gaza is a trap, you think, by Hamas
to trap the Israelis?
RYAN: Well, they certainly set it that way. I mean, the Israelis are pretty clever and they're good strategists and operational artists. But at the end of the day, there will be a certain number of civilian casualties that are unavoidable in this kind of environment. This is a very densely packed urban environment and it will be very hard for the Israelis to root out Hamas without civilian casualties.
FOSTER: In terms of a regional escalation of violence, everyone's looking at a ground invasion, aren't they? I mean, Iran suggested it. They've also got these uprisings of, in terms of protests, at least, in countries like Lebanon and Jordan. The last thing they want to see is a ground invasion, because it's just gonna inflame all of that tension outside of Israel and Gaza, right?
RYAN: That's absolutely right. Right from the 7th of October, we've started to see protests. And in the wake of the hospital incident this week, we've seen increased protests. That will only affect the stability of regional nations and Jordan and countries like Egypt and UAE and Qatar really don't want to see that either.
FOSTER: Just explain a bit, you know, if you could, about the mentality of the Israeli military because obviously this is, they've lived with this for decades, they've suffered many injustices and you know whenever there is an attack on a group of Israelis, for example, going back decades, the policy has always been to go back in get retribution, isn't it? No matter how long it takes. So just explain a bit more about that Israeli psyche.
RYAN: Yeah, for a long time now, Israel's had a strategy which is colloquial described as mowing the grass where there's an incident, they go in, they smack Hamas or whoever's responsible and then pull out again. The Israelis don't really want to go back in to have to re- occupied Gaza. They know that would be expensive in both lives and treasure and really wouldn't enable the rise of a more effective political entity in Gaza to replace Hamas. So at the end of the day, Israel will probably have to rethink its policy towards the Palestinians in Gaza to have a long-term enduring and just solution here.
FOSTER: OK. Mick Ryan in Brisbane, really appreciate your time. Thank you so much for joining us today.
RYAN: Thank you.
FOSTER: Now, the Pentagon says a U.S. Navy destroyer shot down multiple drones and missiles that have been heading towards Israel. A US official said they were launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels on Thursday before the destroyer, USS Carney, destroyed them in the Red Sea. The Houthis are backed by Iran. And according to the Pentagon, the U.S. is still trying to find out for sure what their intended target was. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PRESS SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Information about these engagements is still being processed. We cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel. Our defensive response was one that we would have taken for any similar threat in the region, where we're able to do so against our interests, personnel and our partners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: And U.S. officials say there are no casualties amongst US forces and they're not aware of any civilians being injured either.
Now, Israel's retaliation against Hamas and the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, sparking huge rallies to support the Palestinian people and renewing outrage against Israel and the West. We'll speak to a renowned business leader, historian and former government official, who says the West should not ignore the voice on the Arab streets.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, let's get you up to date on our continuing coverage of the war in Israel. U.S. President Joe Biden expected to ask Congress today to approve more than $100 billion in additional funding for Israel and Ukraine. He delivered a primetime address from the Oval Office on Thursday night, making a direct appeal to the American people. The president says the U.S. must stand up to tyrants and terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy, completely annihilate it. We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win. I refuse to let that happen. In moments like these, we have to remind, we have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America, the United States of America. And there is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Meanwhile, aid trucks hoping to deliver humanitarian supplies from Egypt into Gaza will have to wait another day. Multiple sources tell CNN a convoy that was expected to cross the border today will now likely wait until Saturday.
There are growing signs that Israel's ground offensive into Gaza may be close. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops along the border they'll soon see Gaza quote "from the inside."
Meanwhile, Arab nations are presenting a united front as their anger and outrage continues to spread across the Middle East and around the globe. CNN's Nada Bashir reports from Jordan.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): The people demand freedom for Palestine. It's a decades-old rallying cry, but one that still resonates across the Arab world.
Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have ramped up across the Middle East, a growing movement denouncing Israel's continued aerial bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, which began in response to the Hamas attacks of October 7th.
But here in Jordan, the plight of the Palestinian people is an issue which lies at the very heart of the country's identity. More than 50 percent of the country's population is Palestinian or of Palestinian descent. The neighborhood of Baqaa, just outside of Amman, is one of several historic refugee camps established to house Palestinians displaced by the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Khalil Raith has lived here for most of his life and has spent years painting murals depicting the Palestinian experience. Each wall tells the story of the injustice Palestinians here say they have faced for more than 75 years.
(on-camera): This is the symbol of the right to return.
KHALIL RAITH, BAQAA RESIDENT: Yes, yes. And I still have it.
BASHIR (voice-over): Outrage over Israel's relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which is home to more than 2 million people, is felt by so many here in Jordan.
Mohamed Qasem has been attending protests in Amman from the outset of this war. It is a movement that has drawn people from across the country, old and young.
MOHAMED QASEM, AMMAN RESIDENT: We know the narrative because we survived it, we lived it. And you know, our grandparents lived it, our parents lived it, we lived it. We thought we were going to tell stories to our kids. But now there are witnesses in it as well. It's been 75 years and right now it's happening all over again.
BASHIR (voice-over): Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have gripped countries across the region including Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
Arab leaders too have been vocal in their condemnation of Israel's airstrikes on Gaza and the rapidly rising civilian death toll. But there is also mounting concern that this war could create a deeper rift between the Arab world and the West. AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The growing perception on
the street, as they see this unequivocal ironclad support for Israel in this war, it is a growing perception that this is a Western Arab Muslim world. That's a place we don't want to get to.
BASHIR (voice-over): But it's not just the Arab world. The outrage and frustration felt in the Middle East is also mirrored in protests taking place further afield.
From London to Washington D.C. as millions across the globe, just like Mohamed and his family, demand an end to Israel's airstrikes, an end to the siege of Gaza and an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Nada Bashir, CNN, in Amman, Jordan.
FOSTER: Joining us now from Kuwait City is Bader Al-Saif, a professor of history at Kuwait University. Thank you so much for joining us. There's a huge concern, isn't there, internationally about an escalation in this conflict. And, you know, are we starting to see that in the protests, the demonstrations in countries like Lebanon and Jordan, which have these huge Palestinian populations?
BADER AL-SAIF, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, KUWAIT UNIVERSITY: Let me tell you, the protests are not only in Palestinian-sizeable populations, places where Palestinians exist. They are from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf. We see them in Rabat. We see them in Manama. We see them in Doha. We see them in Kuwait. We see them across the region.
And they are united in one demand, ending the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and ending the Israeli occupation. This is a no-brainer. These are people under occupation and they deserve a dignified life like anyone else in the world.
I have not seen such a scale of protests in the region since the Arab Spring. And the interesting thing is people from all walks of life are united, liberals, conservatives, old ones, young ones, towards this common goal.
If Israel wants to live in peace in this region, they need to adapt to these messages. And a two-state solution should be front and center in their position. Continuing to dehumanize, deposes, and displace Palestinians is not the answer.
FOSTER: You mentioned the Arab Spring. People are talking about this potentially being a second Arab Spring and uprisings in countries, for example, like Jordan, where there's a huge amount of concern for Palestinians and they're concerned that their government perhaps isn't showing the same sort of support. It's a very delicate matter, isn't it, for many of these leaders showing support for Palestinians, but also when they have strong relations with Israel.
AL-SAIF: It is a delicate matter indeed. And let me tell you, the governments around the region are picking up on the voices of the people. They're escalating in their rhetoric. And the more that Israel continues in this assault, supported, unfortunately, by the U.S., the more it will be gaining a lot of traction to ensure that its discourse and its policies also change towards Israel.
This is not something that you can continue doing. It's not about only the Palestinian people in Gaza. It's a humanitarian issue. It's beyond Arabs, really. And this is something that has been a rallying call across the world. And this is something that other countries in the West need to listen to. The Global South cannot remain sidelined anymore.
FOSTER: Obviously, Israel suffered a horrific attack. They are arguing this is a response to that, their right to defend themselves. But presumably you're saying that a ground invasion is the worst thing that could happen at this point.
AL-SAIF: A ground invasion can entail a regional war in which other parties can enter into the fray, and that could be a big bad escalation for all parties involved. Look, no blood should be shed, and everyone should condemn the killing of Palestinians and Israelis.
We need peace and security and prosperity for everyone involved. And to try and continue in this chain of violence and this cycle of violence, this is not going to end the story. Hamas has done an atrocious job in attacking, but let's not forget that this is also a reaction to the daily humiliation that Palestinians have been undergoing in occupation.
And they have no measure of moving about their daily lives, and that needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
FOSTER: How concerned are you that America is losing its moral high ground by very much taking Israel's side, whilst also expressing a huge amount of concern about the humanitarian crisis unfolding within Gaza? Is it losing some of the alliances it might have with some of those Arab countries which are more firmly sided with the Palestinians here?
AL-SAIF: The U.S. is depleting whatever good standing it has in the region. President Biden came a few hours ago and said we need to remember who we are. And I think there needs to be a very cautious approach to identifying who they are, because the America that we know in the region is one that cares about others. It's one that talks about a melting pot in its own country. It's one that cares about freedoms and dignity. That's not being translated on the ground when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Being a one-sided party is not going to help advance even the cause of the Israeli national security, if that's the limited lens that they're looking through. U.S. national security as well.
FOSTER: Okay. Thank you so much for joining us. Bader Al-Saif in Kuwait City. Now the U.S. has issued a worldwide alert advising Americans to be
extremely cautious amid protests that have erupted over the Israel- Hamas war. The warning sites increased tensions in various locations and the potential for terrorist attacks and also points to demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and diplomatic compounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We're monitoring conditions around the world. We're monitoring conditions in the region. We take a number of factors into consideration when making that determination. It's not necessarily any one thing, but everything that we're watching around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: It's been nearly two weeks since the deadly Hamas attacks in Israel, and we're still hearing new stories of bravery and survival. At the Mefalsim kibbutz near the border with Gaza, security cameras showed the initial Hamas attack. A volunteer Security forces spent hours exchanging fire with militants, often battling larger numbers and firepower. Some of the men who defended the Kibbutz described that morning to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YARDEN RESKIN, MEFALSIM VOLUNTEER SECURITY FORCE: Eli shot from his kitchen, right? He shot from his balcony. I shot from in between houses of people I know all my life. He had to throw his kids over a balcony to another guy's house.
UNKNOWN: I mean, it's real.
RESKIN: It's not when you are combat soldiers and you go whatever to do whatever you go.
UNKNOWN: Okay, it's totally different.
UNKNOWN: We are civilian. We are families.
UNKNOWN: It's your homes.
UNKNOWN: We are not combat soldiers. Totally different story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: An Israeli first responder group says they recovered plans to attack the kibbutz from a slain Hamas fighter and posted them online. CNN reviewed the documents which show in-depth knowledge of the kibbutz, but also that the attacks didn't go to plan.
Now we're just hours away from the next vote for a US House speaker and it's not looking good for Jim Jordan. His latest message as tensions explode within the Republican Party.
FOSTER: Anger and frustration growing amongst U.S. House Republicans as hardliner Jim Jordan vows to stay in the race for Speaker. He's facing steep opposition and growing pressure to bow out, but plans to hold a news conference and third vote in the hours ahead.
CNN's Melanie Zanona reports from Capitol Hill.
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Jim Jordan is not backing down despite the fact that he's been unable to win over some of his most ardent detractors. He is pushing ahead with his speakership bid. On Friday, he is planning to go to the floor for a third time. Before that, he is expected to hold a press conference where he's going to try to rally support for his speakership bid.
Now, on Thursday, he also met with some of the holdouts who have been vowing to vote against him. He's trying to win them over. And his goal right now is he knows he's probably not going to win on the first ballot on Friday that he takes, but he is hoping to show at least some type of progress. However, after that meeting, a number of those holdouts said they're not budging in their opposition. Let's take a listen.
REP. MIKE KELLY (R-PA): I don't know that any minds change. This guy refuses to lose, and that's OK. I find that to be very good, but at some point, that we're going to have to move forward, and we can't keep the country shut down.
REP. VERN BUCHANAN (R-FL): We'll find out if there is any more votes. I don't think very much in the near future. It's going to be a while.
ZANONA: So we'll see if Jim Jordan is able to make any progress. We are told, however, that there were some people who voted for Jordan on the second ballot who are now planning to vote against him on the third, which would be very problematic for Jim Jordan and his speakership. In the meantime, there are now new concerns over members' safety.
There have been several Republicans who voted against Jim Jordan, who say they are now experiencing death threats. Jordan, of course, has denounced those death threats and said he has no involvement in this outside pressure campaign. But all of it speaks to the growing tensions and frustration in the GOP as they struggle to select a new speaker.
Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.
FOSTER: A new legal blow for Donald Trump. One of his former lawyers has cut a deal with prosecutors. Sidney Powell pleaded guilty in the election subversion case in Fulton County, Georgia on the eve of her trial as part of her plea.
Powell is admitting her role in the breach of election systems in rural Coffee County, Georgia. She's also required to write an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia, pay fines and testify at future trials against her co-defendants, which include Donald Trump.
Special counsel David Wise, who is overseeing the Hunter Biden criminal investigation, is set to make a rare appearance before Congress on November the 7th, the interview will happen whilst the probe is ongoing, not after it ends, which is the normal procedure. The Justice Department and other witnesses have disputed two whistleblowers' allegations about Wise's authority and the handling of the criminal probe into President Biden's son. But House Republicans have used those allegations to fuel an impeachment inquiry into the president.
The U.S. Army private who fled to North Korea last July has been charged with desertion. Travis King is currently in pretrial detention in Texas after his return to the U.S. last month. He faces eight charges total, including possession of child pornography, assault and disobeying a superior officer. The 23-year-old had been released from custody in South Korea back in July and was supposed to return then to the United States. Instead, he joined a tour of the joint security area where he fled across the demarcation line to North Korea.
Just ahead. a rally in New York City aimed at bringing hostages held by Hamas back home. Those details when we come back.
FOSTER: The Union of European Football Associations issued a statement saying no matches will be played in Israel until further notice. UEFA says the decision came after a thorough evaluation of the safety and security situation. The Israel Football Association and its clubs have been told to propose alternative venues and stadiums outside the country for their home matches.
The International Basketball Federation, known as FIBA, is extending the postponement of games involving Israeli teams. It covers EuroCup Women and FIBA EuroCup games. The league says it's been working closely with the Israeli Basketball Federation and is committed to the safety of all participants. FIBA says the games will be rescheduled as soon as the situation allows.
Also, MTV is calling off its European Music Awards in Paris next month. It says the move is out of a quote, "abundance of caution" since thousands of employees, artists and fans would need to travel from all over the world. MTV officials also say it just did not feel like a moment for a global celebration, but voting will continue and winners will still receive their awards. In New York, hundreds gathered in Times Square to demand the hostages
taken by Hamas be released. The Israeli-American Council organized Thursday's rally. Billboards displayed the faces of people believed to be held hostage, including babies and senior citizens. The crowd chanted, bring them home, as speakers at the event called for action.
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NOAM GILBOORD, JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL: It should not be complicated to condemn Hamas terrorism. It should not be complicated to affirm the right of Israelis to protect themselves from these attacks. And it should not be complicated to demand the unconditional and immediate release of all the hostages from this terrorist group.
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FOSTER: And before we go, if you'd like to help humanitarian relief efforts for Gaza and Israel, do head to cnn.com/impact. You'll find a list of vetted organizations answering the call on the ground. That's at cnn.com/impact.
And that wraps up this hour of "CNN Newsroom." I'm Max Foster, in London. We continue our coverage after the break with Bianca.