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IDF Chief of Staff Says, We Will Enter Gaza; U.S. Says It Will Boost Defense Posture in Middle East; Calls for More Aid After Trucks Deliver Supplies. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired October 22, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade with CNN's continuing coverage of Israel at War.
It's 3:00 A.M. in Atlanta, 10:00 A.M. in Gaza, where the clock is ticking down to an anticipated Israeli ground offensive. The Israeli military says its bombardment of Hamas targets will become even more relentless than it's already been. Authorities in Gaza say more than 4,300 Palestinians have been killed in the past two weeks, following the Hamas terror attack in Israel which killed over 1,400 people. Around 200 others are missing or taken hostage.
Hundreds of armored vehicles along with thousands of Israeli troops are now poised to strike at Hamas at a moment's notice. Here's what an IDF spokesperson told CNN earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, SPOKESPERSON, IDF: The timeline, you know, that changes according to many variables on the ground, in the air, and across the sea. The important thing is that the IDF will conduct significant military operations in order to defeat Hamas, in order to bring our hostages home, and in order to fundamentally change the security situation that we have in Southern Israel and frankly all of Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, the Iranian-backed militants in Lebanon putting pressure on Israel's northern border and threatening a wider conflict. The U.S. defense secretary announced the U.S. will boost its defense posture in the Middle East. The directive calls for more advanced missile defense systems to be deployed across the region as well as placing more U.S. troops under prepare to deploy orders.
The immediate goal is to provide greater protection to the American ships, planes, and troops already in the region and prepare for any potential threats.
Elliott Gotkine joins us now from London with more on the developments. Good to have you with us.
So, the Israeli Defense Force certainly indicating that it's going to increase its strikes on Gaza, again, warning citizens in the north to head south to avoid significant combat. And now the U.S. is stepping up its deterrence in the region. What else can you tell us?
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, quite a number of developments there, Lynda. So, what we're seeing, as far as the potential for a ground invasion is concerned, we've been talking about it being a question of when rather than if ever since October the 7th when Hamas launched that terrorist attack. And it does seem like that that timing is now imminent.
We had the chief of the general staff, Herzi Halevi, telling troops, you will be going in, and telling them to keep in mind the images of those people being killed, men, women, children, the elderly, even babies being killed, being kidnapped by Hamas to kind of inspire them to complete this mission, which was just outlined by the spokesman there, ready to just try to destroy Hamas' military capability and prevent it from ever being able to launch such an attack again.
And we talked about ramping up airstrikes. We've already seen dozens of strikes, according to the IDF, being carried out overnight on everything, from tower blocks to command and control centers operating out of mosques to weapons storage facilities and the like, really trying to pave the way for this ground invasion and to minimize the threat to their troops, because this will, even in the best of times, a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip is complicated and fraught with danger, both to the lives of troops and also, of course, to the lives of civilians in the Gaza Strip caught in the middle.
Israel will be aware of those. They also know that Hamas is expecting them to go in. So, we're really just waiting to see when and how the IDF goes in and exactly what it plans to do. Because, of course, also on their minds will be the presence of more than 200 hostages that Hamas took. They don't want to cause any harm to them. They want to try to rescue them, but that is not going to be a very easy circle to square, if you like, when they are trying to destroy Hamas at the same time. Lynda?
KINKADE: And, of course, Elliott, Israel doesn't just have its focus on Gaza and the West Bank. It's also looking towards its northern border, Hezbollah intensifying its attacks there. Israel responding with strikes, and now evacuation orders.
GOTKINE: That's right. In terms of strikes, the IDF saying just in the last few hours that it took out a terrorist cell, it says, belonging to Hezbollah. It was about to fire anti-tank missiles towards the Adevim (ph) community right up there on the border. There have been exchanges of fire. Israel saying that every single time they are hit or rockets are fired from Southern Lebanon towards Israel, that they will retaliate. And this kind of back and forth, tit-for- tat, has been building steadily over the last couple of weeks. We saw evacuation orders for the town of Kiryat Shmona, about 20,000 people live there. And now 14 communities have been added to that. I should say that this is a voluntary evacuation order. They are not being obliged to leave. They are being put up in state-subsidized guesthouses. And this morning, the IDF saying that they are adding 14 more communities there, not just to protect them but also to give IDF itself more operational room for maneuver when it comes to attacking Hezbollah and other militant groups that may seek to fire towards Israel. Lynda
KINKADE: All right. Elliott Gotkine, we'll leave it there for now, good to have you with us from London, thank you.
Well, we have some video that illustrates how lives have been disrupted even for those in Gaza who have survived the death and destruction so far. A tent city offering refuge to thousands of Gaza residents who are fleeing south, the Hamas-run government in Gaza said in a statement earlier this week that more than 1 million people have been displaced.
Well, there are -- they are desperate, of course, for basic necessities that most of us take for granted. The World Food Program says shortages of food, clean drinking water, power, and medicine are pushing Gaza to the edge of catastrophe.
Francesca Albanese is the U.N. special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, and she spoke with my colleague, Michael Holmes, earlier, describing how the situation in Gaza is disastrous.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: 1.4 million Gazans, that's more than half the population, have been displaced. What is the human impact of those numbers? What are you hearing from staff and civilians inside about that impact?
FRANCESCA ALBANESE, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON PALESTINE: I hope that these numbers do not come across as (INAUDIBLE), 1.4 million displaced. Yes, as you said, it's more than half the Gaza population without a roof on their head. And half of the population of Gaza is made of children. 4,300 people have already been killed. 1,400 of them are children.
Of course, we are talking about a population who is extremely, extremely distressed and traumatized also, because they come from six years of unlawful blockade and five wars. Someone who's 16 years old in Gaza has already gone through six major wars.
Look, the situation is disastrous. And I do not think that, by any means, a security response was what the situation between Israelis and Palestinians needed. And, surely, this is not going to bring more peace to this tormented land.
HOLMES: I wanted to ask you, we know the blockade by Israel, no food, no fuel, no water, no medicine. Do you know if people who have died as a direct result of the blocking of water, food, fuel, so on, as distinct from the bombardments? I'm curious whether you know the closing off of literally everything has cost lives yet, as opposed to the potential to do so?
ALBANESE: Michael, I understand this question, but it's impossible to give an answer amidst this chaos. You asked me about my contact with the people in Gaza. One -- I mean, my first entry points are humanitarian actors, human rights actors, and even the houses of the directors of the most renowned human rights organizations, Raju Sourani, who's the head and an icon of human rights engagement. He's been taken out of the rubble. I'm glad to know that he's alive.
But this is the kind of challenges that the people in Gaza are facing. It's very difficult to have information in the first place because they do not have electricity to communicate, and the situation is just too volatile to be able to provide the indicators who are referring to it.
HOLMES: Yes. What do you know about the capabilities of U.N. facilities inside Gaza, schools, other facilities, as well, most of which are being used for shelter by many thousands of Gazan civilians?
How overrun are they? Are they under threat?
ALBANESE: They are critically under threat. Because, for example, there are half a million people sheltered in UNRWA schools, and I think over 170 -- sorry, under 70 schools have been hit, including 20 UNRWA schools, so hospitals, mosques and schools are all targeted. So, there was a hospital that was bombed, Al-Ahli hospital, a few days ago. And now there is another hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, which is hosting 400 patients and 12,000 IDPs, internally displaced people. And it has received an evacuation order. So, it's likely to be bombed as well. I mean, this is the fear. The situation is disastrous.
KINKADE: Well, Israeli airstrikes have also pounded several targets in the West Bank over the weekend. The United Nations says at least 13 Palestinians, including five children, were killed after an Israeli security forces operation lasted for 28 hours in a refugee camp in the area. Israeli forces also launched an airstrike early Sunday morning on a mosque in the West Bank, what they called an imminent terror attack. And IDF spokesperson tells CNN that they had new intelligence that suggested there was a joint Hamas and Islamic Jihad squad from an under command center in the Al-Ansar mosque.
The Gaza crisis summit in Cairo, Egypt, ended on Saturday without any agreement because of differences, according to two officials. Arab leaders had gathered to try and thwart and growing escalation of the situation in Gaza and to try and protect its civilians.
In his opening remarks, Jordan's King Abdullah rallied against Israel's bombing campaign, calling it a war crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING ABDULLAH, JORDAN: All civilian lives matter. My friends, I am outraged and grieved by those acts of violence waged against innocent civilians in the Gaza, in the West Bank, and Israel. The relentless bombing campaign under way in Gaza, as we speak, is cruel and unconscionable on every level. It is collective punishment of a besieged and helpless people. It is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. It is a war crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, Israeli and senior U.S. officials were not at that summit. Israel's foreign affairs minister said it was unfortunate some of those attending, quote, had difficulty condemning terrorism.
Then there is the question of aid, both humanitarian and military aid. Billions of dollars from the U.S. is in limbo. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez reports that the White House is facing an uphill battle to get the aid package through Congress any time soon.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: The White House is asking for $105 billion in additional funding to include aid for Ukraine and Israel. In a breakdown of the numbers provided by the White House, that includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel and over $9 billion for humanitarian aid, in addition to funding for the U.S./Mexico border and the Indo-Pacific region.
Now, a White House official tells me over the course of the weekend, the White House legislative affairs team is in talks with members of Congress of both sides of the aisle to shore up support for this funding package.
Now, the White House says they anticipate that there will be bipartisan support for a package like this, but they also face an uphill battle as there is still no speaker of the House of Representatives.
Now, House Republicans ended the week still scrambling to find a speaker after pushing Republican Representative Jim Jordan out of the race. And over the course of the last 24 hours, new speaker hopefuls have already begun to emerge, but there is no conclusion in sight, putting this funding package still in limbo.
Now, President Biden is also trying to shore up support with Americans. In a primetime address this week, he made a direct appeal to Americans, trying to make clear that these just aren't ongoing conflicts happening abroad but they affect U.S. national security and it is important for the United States to remain involved and provide critical aid.
Now, today, the president also received a briefing from his national security team as all of this continues to unfold and his team seeks to shore up support among Americans, but also members of Congress.
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, traveling with the president.
KINKADE: Well, still to come, the fear of violence spreading beyond Gaza with Israeli tanks on the border. We'll talk with a Middle East expert about the prospect of this conflict escalating into the wider region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHELLY SHEM TOV, MOTHER OF HOSTAGE OMER SHEM TOV: All the countries, where are you? You must understand, it's crazy. We are in hell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in hell.
SHEM TOV: And we want our lovers back home now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: That's the mother of an Israeli hostage pouring out her anguish at a demonstration in Tel Aviv Saturday night. She was one of several family members of hostages who joined the rally along with hundreds of other Israelis. They called on the government to bring all the hostages home immediately and waved signs calling for a ceasefire. Israel's military says 210 people are currently being held in Gaza two weeks after the deadly Hamas terror attack in Israel.
I want to bring you the story of another family ripped apart by the October 7th terror attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Rotem. For the past two years he's been fighting lymph node cancer, but now his fight is to do anything he can to return his entire family home that was kidnapped by Hamas to Gaza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: As you just heard, that is Rotem, a cancer survivor whose siblings and father are believed to be held hostage by Hamas.
And if that's not enough for one family to face, another family members you see in this video have been killed.
I want to speak to Rotem's mother, Hadas, whose two younger children and dad are now believed to be hostages. I'm so sorry for what you're going through and I thank you so much for joining us and taking the time to speak with us.
I know five members of your family were kidnapped. I'm so sorry that two have been killed, your mother and your niece. It's hard to imagine what you're going through. How are you coping?
HADAS KALDERON, FAMILY MEMBERS KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: You know, five members, as you said, five members of my family has been kidnapped cruelly away. They've been taken from their bed in pajamas, to Gaza.
And a few days ago, we got the message. My mom, my dear, dear, beautiful mom and my niece, she has special needs, autism. My mom, she's American citizen. They've been murdered in Gaza.
I don't have the time even to stop, to feel the pain and to grieve. You understand? I don't have the time because I have to still make my fight for my children. So I didn't go to the ceremony. I didn't go -- I don't sit for seven days like in a Jewish religion. I don't have the time for that. I don't have the time to grieve about my friends, 80 friends have been kidnapped, a lot of friends from childhood that have been killed, murdered. I don't have the time to grieve for my house, my nice house, beautiful house, that's been gone by massacre, by pogrom.
You know, I don't have to stop and to process what's happened even, the traumatic 7th of October, this dark day, I don't have the time to process what's happened because I'm just work and work and run to the whole world to explain and to scream our pain and ask for saving my children's life and the other children. The only thing I can do is wear a black shirt. It's the only thing I can do for grieving, you understand?
KINKADE: Yes. I mean, your focus right now is on your son and your daughter, their father, taken hostage by Hamas. What do you know about what happened to them?
KALDERON: We know they've been hostage, we don't know much, no information, no nothing. We don't know if they get -- if they're staying in good situation, if they get food, water, any aid, we don't know. They open the aid for Gaza, the human aid. They didn't open the aid for the hostage. It's amazing. I think we've been abandoned, you know, twice. We've been abandoned in the first time, in the 7th of October, for eight hours nobody come to help us. We've been alone in this massacre. They destroyed our kibbutz. This was the first time.
Second time is now, which they don't put -- they don't think they have to -- the main goal is to take the children out. And it's not the main goal for the government. It's one of the other subjects but it's not the main goal and the whole world understand it already, the whole world, United States, France, they -- it's the main goal to take them out. It's not their war. After, you can make the war. And we've been abandoned twice.
And there's 210 civilians, babies, children, elderly men, women, pregnant women. It's unbelievable. They're still there and they keep the war. They're going to forget them, you know? They keep the war, talking about go inside Gaza. They kill -- they murder one of Hamas. Well, how come? It's a critical time, every moment is huge danger.
They must act now, immediately, and to save the children, the babies, send them home.
KINKADE: Hadas, can you describe your children for us? We've just seen images of your son and daughter. How do you describe them?
KALDERON: My little son, Erez, is 12 years old, my angel. He loved to laugh. He has a humor. He loved to play football, ping-pong. He loved to ride horses. He loved to ride -- he loved animals, you know? He's such a good heart. He loved to ride bike.
Sahar, she's my daughter, she's 16, she's a teenager. She love to dress, to have nice clothes, to put makeup, to dance, to draw, she's artist. And she have such a good heart. And she helps everybody and has so many friends.
And Ofer, their father, the best father ever. He take them and teach them to be human and value, good value. He takes them to the nature. He takes them to pick fish in the water, you know, to take them with a jeep in the nature, to travel. He loved to travel. He taught them how to ride bike, mountain bike. And he's a carpenter. He makes things from wood. He loves wood. This is his life. He's a simple man. He loves wood. He makes like tables in the kitchen, you know? That's what he's doing with his special hands.
I hope they are together and keep safe each other, you know? That's what I pray for.
KINKADE: So, they've now been held by Hamas for two weeks. If you had a message for Hamas, what would you say? What's your message to Hamas, who's been holding them captive for two weeks?
KALDERON: Hamas. I think Hamas had great opportunity to show the world it's still human. It's showing the face of them, you know? Because here now, what they did, it was the cruelest ever happened in the world. It's so -- they come and murder and butcher and murder and burn the houses, the cars, shoot even dogs. It's not good faith for them in the world. Who's going to talk to them after that?
And now they still had one opportunity to send all the hostage, to send the children and babies and hostages home. It's civilian, it's not the war. It's innocent people, you know, innocent. It does not belong to them. They have to send them home to show the world, here, we're still human. We don't touch. We keep safe your children as they've been our children, you know?
I think it's the best they can do for us and them. You know, I say the two governments, you must stop any arm acting. You must make -- fire stop, make any arm acting. The main goal is to save the children. You must take them out. Let go the citizens out. And then you do whatever you want, you know?
This is our enemy. We have to talk to them, not to the leaf or to the trees or to the stones. This is our enemy. We have to talk to our enemy. It's the only way. And I think -- I'm not political woman, I'm a simple woman. I'm not politic. But it's so obvious. We must take our prison, the terrorist prison, I think we have like 4,000, put them on the bus and give them, take them. Take them back and send our citizens, the children, back home.
KINKADE: You want a prisoner exchange. And from what we understand, we haven't heard any discussions of that just yet. But we wish --
KINKADE: We understand you want a prisoner exchange. You want your family back, you want your children back.
And we just want to wish you all the very best. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Hadas Kalderon, thanks so much for sharing your story and we wish you the best.
KALDERON: As a mom, I talk as a mom and from the voice of the other mom, and, you know, we must make sure our children are safe and to take care of them from the bad people, you know? This is our goal.
KINKADE: We really do hope you are reunites with your children.
KALDERON: (INAUDIBLE) time to fly even (ph). Just in the night when I sleep, I don't even know about it, but my friends who keep going with me and help me to tell me in the night, 4:00, you cried like hell, you screamed. I said, what? I don't even remember. I don't know. I was sleeping. Just when I sleep, without knowing, even, then I cry for my children.
KINKADE: Hadas, we wish you all the best. We really do hope you get reunited with your children really soon, with your family. Thank you so much and all the best.
KALDERON: Thank you, thank you. Thank you for any help. Thank you for any help.
KINKADE: We are going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
The Israel Defense Force say they are increasing and intensifying airstrikes in Gaza to, quote, minimize the risk to its troops in the next stages of the war. The Israeli military has prepared an enormous fighting force poised on the border with Gaza.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Ashkelon with the very latest.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in case there was any question that Israel intends to go into Gaza Strip with troops, a ground invasion, those questions are being put to rest this evening by Israel's military chief of staff, the top general saying, quote, we will enter the Gaza Strip. What he is also telling his troops is their mission, and he says that it is to, quote, destroy Hamas operatives and infrastructure.
Now, these comments add to others by the defense minister, by the Israeli prime minister, all making clear that a ground invasion is certainly approaching.
Now, on the ground, what we also see are the signs of a potentially imminent ground invasion as well. As we were driving along the Gaza Strip today, within about eight kilometers or so of the Gaza Strip, what we found was not one, not two, but four different groupings of dozens of tanks, armored personnel carriers, as well as these D-9 Bulldozers, which the Israeli military uses ahead of ground troops to try and dig up and set off any potential IEDs, as well as any other obstacles that may be in the way of those forces.
Now, put together these four groupings that we saw in just about one square mile of an area represented hundreds of tanks and armored personnel carriers as well as those bulldozers, and there were also infantry troops positioned along the way.
Now, the only question appears to be exactly when the Israeli military will move forward with this invasion. Certainly, Hamas seems to continue to be dangling the possibility of additional hostages being released as one way to try and delay this ground invasion, but Israel's military continues to insist that it will move forward at a time and place of its choosing.
In line with that, Israeli military officials now say that they are increasing their strikes, that they are intensifying those strikes in order to try and minimize the risk to their own troops when they move in on the ground.
But the question of what the impact will be on Gaza's civilians who have already suffered so much in two weeks of bombardment by Israeli forces, more than 1,600 children are believed to have died, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. That question of civilian casualties still remains going forward.
Israel's military has directed civilians to move out of the northern part of the Gaza Strip and to move south. And when I spoke with a Special Forces commander just the other day, this commander said that civilians have been directed out of those areas and he said, quote, anyone who has chosen to stay there has chosen a side, indicating to his troops that any person who remains in that area could potentially be an enemy and could potentially be a target.
Now, at the same time, that commander said that his troops will still try and avoid civilian casualties, but those comments and the broader specter of this war and how it has already impacted civilians inside of Gaza certainly raises the possibility of a very bloody time, bloody days, bloody weeks ahead.
Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Ashkelon.
KINKADE: Well, the entire region is close to a boiling point. Some experts believe that the longer it goes on, the chance of it spilling over into a much bigger deal increases.
Well, joining me now from London is Daniel Levy. He is the president of the U.S. Middle East Project. Thanks for being with us.
DANIEL LEVY, PRESIDENT, U.S. MIDDLE EAST PROJECT: Thank you for having me, Lynda.
KINKADE: So you were a former member of the Israeli delegation to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. And despite all those efforts, those years of discussions, it seems that peace is more elusive than ever. What is your take on what we are seeing right now?
LEVY: Well, I really appreciate you reminding me and your audience that there is such a thing as peace talks, or at least there was because we've just seen that report. We've seen the images coming out of Gaza, we've seen what happened to Israelis on October 7th, and you had a very moving interview with an Israeli woman who was saying, take all the children out of this conflict, release children being held prisoner by Israel and, of course, those being held in Gaza.
And I think it's just important sometimes to do that, to step back, take off our -- okay, the military are going to do this, what will they do next, and just remember that war is horrific and everything should be done to stop this.
Now, I know that America is, and it's been reported, claiming some credit that the ground invasion hasn't happened yet, this hasn't spread into a broader regional escalation yet, but neither of those things are guaranteed to continue. In fact, they're almost guaranteed to get worse.
And you're right to say that if we have a ground invasion, and what's happening without a ground invasion is horrific enough, 1,600 dead Palestinian children in Gaza, more than the entire child death toll, as horrible as that phrase is in Ukraine in the first year. But if there is that ground invasion, gets worse. There was an Israeli attack in the West Bank in Janine last night. Then the likelihood of a spillover, a broader conflagration increases.
So, I think you have to look at this and say, wait a minute, there's the humanitarian need. We had a trickle, just a touch of something yesterday. There was the release of the two Americans. Maybe we can get a dynamic where the prisoner release becomes more to the forefront. And we need to get into a de-escalation and an immediate ceasefire.
And I know people might say, oh, that's not realistic. But I'll tell you what's not realistic. What's not realistic is to think after years and decades that if you militarily crush the Palestinians and keep them without rights, without hope, stateless, every day, even before October 7th, subjected to a horrific occupation and dispossession, that somehow that will bring security to Israelis and Palestinians.
So, my plea is step back from the brink and now we can talk policy. But I think it's so important to remember those things.
KINKADE: It really is. You make so many great points there.
I've spoken with Israeli Defense Forces spokespeople. And I've asked them and challenged them on that notion of their objective, to destroy Hamas, to take out that entire terror network. And the risk that in trying to do that, there's some other radical terrorist emerges, some other group emerges. What sort of objective should they be on all sides right now to minimize the risk of escalation?
LEVY: Well, look, those folks, people are doing their job. They've given their talking points. The talking points are what they are. The political and military leadership, I think is -- I think it's looking for revenge. It thinks perhaps that if you target this and target that and target the other, and I get it, by the way, it's their job to provide security to Israelis, I think they conspicuously failed to do that, not only in the immediate lead-up to October 7th, but in the years and decades in which they avoided doing politics. The military can give respite to politicians to pursue other means. That's what the military will almost always tell you.
And if you want to do counterinsurgency, if you want to try and isolate militants, you don't turn the whole population against you. So, by keeping Palestinians in these conditions, whether it's in Gaza under a siege for 16, 17 years, already a population of refugees keep out during what the Palestinians call the Nakba, the catastrophe, if it's in the West Bank, wherever it is, what you're doing is you're encouraging rather than diluting militancy amongst the population.
So, they are now set, I would argue, with an impossible task of winning this militarily. And I think it's the job, because Israel is feeling pain, I get that, after October 7th. It was a horrendous thing. But the job I think of the outside, and this is why, yes, the U.S. administration has been in there, and I hope that they keep working those channels more intently, but it's the job of the outside to walk them back. They're doing some of that. I don't think they're doing enough of that. Maybe the supply of weapons, they think, gives them more purchase on the Israeli decision-making, but it doesn't feel that way. And I think to the rest of the world, this looks like warmongering, and it looks like a double standard.
And the king of Jordan spoke at a peace summit in Cairo yesterday, and he's an American ally, kind of dependent on America. He's someone taken seriously in Israel as well. And he made that plea. He said, when a country was doing the kind of things Israel is doing somewhere else, and he was, of course, referring to the Russia-Ukraine situation, they were held accountable unequivocally. And he was saying, the rest of the world is looking at this and seeing that you hold people of a certain race, religion in a certain part of the world differently. Their lives are worth less.
And I think there's a cost to America here, not only in what's directly happening, but also in the broader image, in vetoing a very modest call for a humanitarian pause at the United Nations.
So, I think there are so many reasons why America should help Israel step back from an unrealizable goal that its soldiers will pursue with determination, but it can't succeed because there is no military solution and the hell that the people of Gaza, the Palestinian 2.2 million who live there are going through and 20 trucks doesn't even begin to shift that hell. It needs to be brought to an end because it does not bring a better tomorrow.
KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Those 20 trucks carrying aid represent just 3 percent of what they normally get every single day.
Daniel Levy we'll have to leave it there for now but really good to have you on the program. Thank you so much.
LEVY: Thank you.
KINKADE: We're going to take a quick break we'll be right back.
KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
And Israeli ground incursion into Gaza will eventually have to deal with what the IDF is calling the Gaza metro. It's a vast network of tunnels beneath Gaza and clearing them out, poses and especially for any tactical problem for Israeli troops.
CNN's Tom Foreman explains.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As much as we hear about the tunnels under Gaza, there really aren't many photos or eyewitness accounts as to exactly what they are compared to the importance of them. Generally, many of them seem to be dug by hand, relatively small, and then they're reinforced with concrete so they can't easily be collapsed.
How big is this network? Well, think about this. Gaza itself is only about 25 by 6 miles and yet the indication from some experts is there may be more than 300 miles of tunnels underneath that.
The depth unknown. Maybe it's a few meters. Maybe it's a whole lot more and many of them appear fairly cramped.
Possible uses, well, hiding command centers, weapons caches, rocketry and, yes, maybe even hostages, secret movement of key Hamas figures.
So, they might be in this part of the area and go to this part of the area and be undetected because they can't be spied by satellites or people who are trying to look with drones or anything else, and they would represent a safe place in this small area, relatively safe, in that a lot of conventional weapons would not easily penetrate this but, in fact, you might have to bring in bigger sort of bunker buster bombs if somebody really wanted to be able to go through the reinforcement and all of that earth to get underneath.
But that's why this is a focus not only for Hamas but for the Israelis too.
KINKADE: Well, still to come, countries are working to get their citizens out of Israel and back home to safety. We'll have more on those efforts after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: Since Israel's war on Hamas began, countries have been working to bring their citizens home to get them out of danger.
And Michael Holmes reports.
HOLMES (voice over): Out of harm's way, countries around the world are flying their citizens out of Israel on repatriation flights filled with foreign nationals fleeing the Israel-Hamas war.
Many of the people leaving Israel were there to earn a living, better than they could in their homelands. Officials in Thailand say at least 30 of their citizens have been killed since Hamas launched its attack on Israel two weeks ago. Eight bodies have been returned. Many of the dead worked on Israeli farms.
The Thai government says it's working to return the other bodies and also repatriate thousands of Thai citizens who want to leave Israel.
PIROJ CHOTIKASATIEN, THAILAND PERMANENT SECRETARY FOR LABOR: The number of Thai citizens who wish to return home keeps increasing. We're trying to get Thai people back as much and as soon as possible.
HOLMES: Emotional reunions in Manila as a flight carrying Filipinos who were working in Israel returned home. Many of the evacuees were employed as caregivers in Israel when the attacks happened and some say they still can't shake what they saw.
MYLENE RIVERA, EVACUEE: Apart from the gunfights, explosions were heard along with the sirens. I felt nervous. I was shaking from fear.
HOLMES: More than 200 agricultural students from a work study program in Israel flew back to Nepal last week. Ten of their group were killed in the attacks. On Saturday the bodies of four students were flown back to Kathmandu. Grief-stricken families say it's hard to believe they are gone.
DURGA NEUPANE, AUNT OF DECEASED STUDENT: He used to say that he would return home, build a concrete house and bring all of us together. Now, even his body is not here.
HOLMES: The families say the students were full of hope when they left, a chance to earn money, as much as $15,000, and learn new skills in Israel's high-tech agriculture sector.
This father says his son was going to use his savings to start a farming business back in Nepal.
BEJHULAL DANGAURA, FATHER OF DECEASED STUDENT: If I had known about this danger, I would have stopped him. I thought he was going there on a study visa and it would be good for him and his bright future. HOLMES: A future cut short like so many others caught in the middle of a conflict far from their home.
Michael Holmes, CNN.
KINKADE: Well, thanks so much for joining us this hour. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
My colleague and friend, Anna Coren, has more of our coverage of the Israel-Hamas war after a quick break.