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CNN Live Event/Special
The Prospects For Peace After The Israel-Hamas War; Survivor Of Nova Music Festival Describes Terror; Israel At War; House Speaker Chaos. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 22, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome to everyone watching us around the world. I'm Julia Chatterley in New York. And you're watching CNN's continuing coverage of Israel at War.
Tonight, Hamas fighters and Israeli troops clashed inside Gaza as airstrikes intensify. Just take a look at this.
Israel's military says it carried out dozens of strikes on Hamas targets in the Palestinian enclave just hours ago. It's part of what Israel calls its preparation for the next stage of its war. This comes as efforts by the United States and Qatar continue to secure the freedom of more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas on October 7.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIE HAGARI, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (through translator): Part of the preparation for the attack and collecting information regarding the hostages, this is a national priority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Amid the violence, 1000s of people have been displaced in both Gaza and Israel. You're looking at a hotel that's been turned into a shelter in Jerusalem where some Israeli families are now staying. Many left their homes fleeing rocket attacks and the risk of military fighting. Rafael Romo has been hearing some of their stories and he joins us now from Tel Aviv.
Rafael, good to have you with us once again. I'm sure there's a terror for these people in leaving their homes but there's also a terror in remaining in many of the cases. They have no choice.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right. They have no choice and we've been talking to families who, if you can imagine that, they woke up a terrorist on the morning of October 7. They had very little time to pick up their belongings and get out of there because they honestly had to run for their lives. It is that bad what they saw, what they were telling us. And there are families that are understandably afraid, Julia, for their safety and outreach at the brutality of the Hamas terrorist attacks. And as some of them lost their homes, other had to just get away as quickly as they could. But the husband, the father had to stay behind. And we found about 500 of them at a hotel turned into a shelter in Jerusalem where some shared with us stories of horror and grief.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JENNIFER KAHANI, DISPLACED MOTHER: We had terrorists all around us.
ROMO (voice-over): Jennifer Kahani says she and her family woke up to the sound of explosions and missiles whizzing by. It was the morning of October 7 in the village where they live in southern Israel near the border with Gaza. They soon realized they were under attack.
KAHANI: We saw helicopters overhead. We saw -- we heard gunfire near us. The terrorist were not far from where I live.
ROMO (voice-over): Kahani and her five year old son --
KAHANI: What would you like?
ROMO (voice-over): -- are two of the more than 500 displaced people from Israel's north and south who are now living at a Jerusalem hotel turned into a shelter.
MICHAEL MISTRETTA, CEO FIRM: We take a hotel, house people inside, feed them, do activities, so trying to create some sort of normality. We'll be hosting next week 1,200 people across the country.
ROMO (voice-over): This Christian organization called the Fellowship of Israel and Related Ministries or FIRM for short, has mobilized to help displaced people who had to flee their homes.
NISSIM COHEN, DISPLACED ISRAELI: They want to destroy Israel.
ROMO (voice-over): Nissim Cohen and his wife Camillia (ph) live in northern Israel. Their son Joseph (ph) warned them a war was coming from the south after the October 7 attacks. Now they're also among the displaced. They say they fled their village located two kilometers from the border with Lebanon, because they saw missiles launched by Hezbollah intercepted right above their heads by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system.
(on camera): From your house near the Lebanese border, could you see the missiles, the rockets flying by?
COHEN: All the missiles. I saw all the missiles. I -- we saw the army in the border.
ROMO (voice-over): According to the Israel Defense Forces, about 100,000 people have been evacuated from communities near both the Gaza and Lebanon borders due to the heightened risk of attacks.
MISTRETTA: Some of them lost their homes. A lot of them lost loved ones. Some of them -- I met a family just yesterday that their 18 year old daughter, her best friend has been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. So the trauma is really pervasive. As a group of Messianic Jews and Christian Arabs really working together to help me care for as many people as possible.
ROMO (on camera): Many of these families share a feeling of uncertainty right now. When will the war end? When will they be able to go home? Those are questions for which they don't have an answer right now.
(voice-over): Jennifer Kahani says her husband stayed behind with others trying to figure out how to defend their communities against further attacks.
KAHANI: We didn't just lose Jews, we didn't just lose, you know, Zionist or Israelis that day, we lost tourists that came here for a celebration of peace at a party. We lost caregivers from the Philippines and from India that we're caring for elderly.
ROMO (voice-over): For now, Kahani says all she can do is hug her son a little harder, pray for her husband safe return and hope that something like this never happens again.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ROMO: And Julia, as you may remember, the Israeli military and other agencies here in Israel announced the plan last week to evacuate 28 communities living within two kilometers of the Lebanese border. Since then it has included towns that fall within the vicinity. And these families don't really know when they will be able to go back to their communities in the north or south. Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, that's the challenge, isn't it?
Rafael, I can't help but compare the images that you were showing, the conversations that you were having there with Israelis that clearly are suffering, still tortured by the events of October 7, but also to compare that with what we can clearly hear behind you and the noises that we can hear and the challenges for the Palestinians in Gaza that have tried to, to move south of those that can and many of those in incredibly difficult situations, living arrangements, once they have moved.
ROMO: Yes, that's right. And we were actually having a conversation with the group serving these families precisely about that. And they said they feel very, very bad also for the Palestinians who have been displaced by the war, but because of -- precisely because of the war, they're unable to serve those people in need in Gaza. And so they were saying, what we can do at this point is serve the people who are in Israel, and that's what we're doing right now. But definitely, they do not want to compare, they understand that it is a horrible tragedy, what is also happening in Gaza.
But as much as they can do, they can serve the people who are here in Israel for now. And again, we're talking about the more than 100,000 people. Many of them saw some of the wars of the war at the very beginning and those families have yet to recover. This is a very, very hard trauma.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, there's no comparisons here. It's sadness all around. Rafael Romo in Tel Aviv for us there, thank you.
Now, Prime Minister Netanyahu held a meeting today with the Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff, the head of Mossad intelligence agency and other officials, they provided a situational and security assessment. The meeting at a military base in Tel Aviv came a day after the IDF chief told troops they were going into Gaza to destroy Hamas operatives and its infrastructure. During these tragic and uncertain times, it may feel to some that the prospects for advancing peace in the Middle East virtually nonexistent. But my next guest says the path to normalizing relations between Israel and its neighbors remains possible. He says today's conflict could even accelerate the process once Hamas is defeated.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is no stranger to Middle East diplomacy. He was an advisor to the 2020 Abraham Accords that normalized Israel's relations with the UAE and Bahrain with U.S. meditation -- mediation. He was also an informal personal adviser to U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. And he's also the founder and CEO of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute.
Professor Sonnenfeld, good to have you on the show. Thank you so much for your time. I read your op-ed in time that laid this out in it. I have to say it gave me hope, a silver lining amid some very bleak event. The caveat of course to this is it's once Hamas is destroyed. We're talking about a future beyond that. Do you see that happening in this process, first and foremost?
JEFFREY SONNENFELD, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT PROFESSOR: Julia, it's good to be with you on this very difficult night, especially coming off of Rafael's report --
SONNENFELD: -- if I weren't wearing glasses, you'd tears welled up in my eyes. In fact I think that's why --
SONNENFELD: -- I'm on characteristically wearing the glasses. That's such a difficult profile that he presented. But you capture the essence of the article so well, not to sound idealistic, Pollyannaish or simplistic, but in fact, the prospects are still there. Hamas has to be somehow eliminated. But there is no Arab nation, there's nobody listening, that can name an Arab leader of any Arab state that backs Hamas.
In fact, in terms of money, just going to Gaza, the United States, believe it or not, gives 10 times alone money to Gaza, half a billion dollars, which is far more than even the Saudis, the UAE and Bahrain combined come out to about 50 million. So, it's -- there's not a lot of support for them. And one thing which I hear repeatedly from the leaders, the business leaders, as well as the government leaders from these countries, is there -- they are not standing behind. No Arab leader stands behind Hamas, the only support is from Iran, which shows your listeners know is Persian and not Arabic. And that's a lot of the issue here.
So, the Saudi incentives to still get things back on track is very strong. They don't want this increased foothold of influence from Iran through their proxy being Hamas and Hezbollah. And, of course, for the Palestinians, where the fighting to stop this moment, the quality of life does increase under Hamas.
SONNENFELD: The prosecution has been terrible. And for the Israelis, they weren't recognition, normalization and peace. So, incentives, yes, are still there.
CHATTERLEY: I want to ask about the Palestinians first and foremost, do you think they understand that their fate can be separated severable from Hamas, because, as you quite rightly pointed out in the article, right now, no one wants to invest in Gaza, the biggest recipients of aid money out there. Most people just want economic opportunity to be able to take care of their families, to have some kind of hope for the future. And I know that was at some core part of what the Abraham Accords were trying to achieve was economic prosperity. But do the Palestinians at this moment, amid what they're facing understand that?
SONNENFELD: I can't believe it. I don't mean to be patronizing how well you understood what was in that article. I've had a lot of interviews on this. Nobody's asked a question like this for the past five years. In frustration, I've been trying to explain what the promise was.
Already the UAE signed on for this normalization. Already Morocco signed on. Already Bahrain. And we do know, of course, they've had good relations, surprisingly, with Jordan, Egypt and Israel. And what these business leaders were telling me -- they were doing so much business under the table from these Arab states at the tables tipping over, we just wanted to formalize it.
And the last piece of the puzzle, maybe the Biden administration shouldn't have been bragging about it before their -- the eggs were hatched. But is that President Biden admitted just last week that he was originally going overseas. As soon as the holiday was over on October 7, he was going there to sign the accords with Saudi Arabia. That was a major threat to Hamas, but nobody else because immediately $50 billion was going in to Gaza. And the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority knows this.
The Palestinian Authority also was seized the chance to retake their control of Gaza. Of course, Gaza has not been run by Israel. It's been independently administered by Hamas after the Palestinian Authority was driven out in the civil war in 2004, 2005. So, you know, the money that was going in was -- there's going to be a land bridge, which is incredible. In Blackstone alone, I probably had over should have thanked them but Steve Schwarzman said they'd be responsible for the building of this $10 billion high speed highway connecting Gaza and the West Bank.
They're going to be tripling the exports, doubling the GDP, huge investments in education. The -- what Hamas destroyed these greenhouses, these hot houses that Israel had yielded over to the -- when Israel withdrew back in 2005. That were fantastic -- they're going to rebuild all those. There are major export opportunities there, as well as the power plants, tou know, having regular reliable power was a major issue. The World Bank was very frustrated, they made investments there and they got destroyed.
But nobody -- Qatar has given a little bit of money. But basically nobody, no Arab nation has put money in there and no businesses invest there. And it's so different in the rest of the Gulf nations in the West Bank.
CHATTERLEY: Professor Sonnenfeld, I get your point. And we can see your passion for this too, because I know this is what you were headed for. And I think there are those that have pointed out that this was almost a desperate attempt by Hamas to disrupt that process given that it sort of pushed them further into some form of obscurity with not being able to help the people in Gaza over the past 18 years. What's the most important piece to get us in the direction where we can even be having this conversation and saying to the Palestinian people and to other regional leaders too, look, there is a path here, a two state solution may not be happening tomorrow, but we can at least help alleviate some of the economic challenges. I don't know how you separate where economic peace begins and political peace ends. But we need them both.
SONNENFELD: Well, on the political peace, there's something that Dennis Ross, who was the Middle East envoy under President Bush 41 and under President Clinton and under President Obama. And Dennis Ross has advanced a proposal. Is getting a lot of traction for a Gaza interim authority to administer it until the Palestinian Authority or some other Palestinian Governance Forum takes control of Gaza. So, in terms of the political side, there's that. But you asked about the economic side, I probably going to get in big trouble with CNN on this, because we have a piece coming out tomorrow on the CNN website that nobody in the world has heard this before, but you Julia, is that there is on the economic side, there is a plan.
We work very hard, me and my team helping U.S. Treasury Department create the oil price caps that put pressure on Russia. The exact same thing could return, the sanctions should be brought back on Iranian oil. And the Saudis, strangely enough, could help enormously. The Saudi production for whatever reason, is down by a third from where they were pumping under President Trump. I don't know perhaps they like Trump, they want to Trump back in, they didn't like Biden, they like Putin, or they didn't like the idea of oil price caps, because it sounds like a buyer's cartel, whatever the reason was, is that they're down by about 4 million barrels a day. And if they increase those 4 million barrels a day to go to the full 13, that completely replaces Iran. Iran only pumps out 4 million barrels a day. But they're making a fortune audit. Iran has a 75 percent profit margin right now. That's like way more than what Tiffany's made on their luxury goods. If we could put the price caps on it, $30 or so, on Iranian oil and enforce it the way it was enforced very well with Russian oil at $60, this could put tremendous pressure on their ability to fund this terrorism of Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah and Hamas.
CHATTERLEY: We'll look forward to reading that op-ed. And thank you so much for the teaser. And to your point, I don't think the Saudis want to look like they're being able to be pushed around by the Iranians or Hamas either. So there's incentive there too. And for the vision for MBS as well.
We have run out of time. Sir, thank you so much for your time. Great to chat to you, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.
SONNENFELD: Thank you. You've nailed it better than I could have said it. Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you. Advisor to the 2020 Abraham Middle East accords and also the founder and CEO of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute. Sir, thank you.
All right, we're getting a look at the aftermath and the deadly Nova music festival. That's the site where Hamas gunman first attacked killing hundreds of festival goers, that managed to survive, forced to leave their campsite and ran for their lives. One of those survivors is our next guest. She's an American who was in Israel for a wedding and the festival.
Natalie, thank you so much for joining us to share your story.
NATALIE SANANDAJI, AMERICAN SURVIVOR OF NOVA ATTACK: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: We're now two weeks out beyond the devastating attacks that we saw on October the seventh. You're many miles away now because you're back in New York. I know you've described yourself as being happy to be alive. Do you still feel that way first and foremost, or have other emotions come to the fore now?
SANANDAJI: There's definitely a type of survivor's guilt. The more stories I hear of those who have been taken hostage or killed, the more families I speak to who had kids at the festival that are worried for their children or had to bury their children, I can feel almost selfish to say, I'm happy to be alive. But I do feel that as someone who did survive, as someone who saw all of this happen firsthand, I do feel that is -- I have a type of responsibility to speak about what happened and to bring awareness to it and to speak for all those who can't speak for themselves right now.
CHATTERLEY: Of course. And you have nothing to feel guilty for. I think when I read your story, what stood out to me was in terms of what you went through, the sheer confusion, you were running in one direction, you didn't know if it was the right direction. Someone suggested you shield, you hide in a ditch with them and one of the people around you said it wasn't a good idea and actually that decision ultimately saved your lives because the people there died.
Natalie, have you spoken to anybody sort of professionally since then to help you deal with this, to process this beyond just communicating what you went through to help us understand better?
SANANDAJI: I haven't yet. It's definitely on my to do list. I I've said something to a few people that I've gotten mixed responses in regards to this but I said that everyone responds to trauma differently. And I feel that right now my body and minds response to this trauma is making me feel a bit disassociated. And I feel that that's almost my superpower, because it allows me to tell my story over and over again without breaking down, without getting emotional, without causing more trauma for myself.
Eventually, in the near future, I will seek help in regards to processing this trauma. Obviously, once I started doing that, it will bring out a lot of emotions that are currently stored somewhere deep inside. And it may make it harder for me to keep telling my story or maybe telling my story will continue to be part of my therapy. Because some people do say that speaking about it, talking about it also helps you heal.
CHATTERLEY: I think in some of the comments that you've made, you've been incredibly clear on how you view what happened, but also what's happened since. And that, in your mind, this shouldn't and isn't about years of conflict and of challenges between Israelis and Palestinians. This is about something more fundamental. And it's now Israel versus Hamas, and that you wanted people to understand that. Just explain what you mean by that.
SANANDAJI: Yes. What I mean by that is, Hamas is using the Palestinian people to their own benefit. They're using false information and propaganda to make others around the world believe that they're pro- Palestine, and they want to free Palestine. But killing other innocent people, people that were just at a party to enjoy themselves, babies, the elderly, that's not going to free Palestine, nothing that they did is in helps a freeing Palestine. If anything, as I've said before, Hamas is just as complicit in the deaths of innocent Palestinians as they are in the deaths of innocent Israelis.
When the Israeli army gives a warning to the people of Gaza that they're going to come in and attack a certain area in order to try to wipe out Hamas' weapons. What does Hamas tell the people to do? They tell them to stay put. They use them as their own human shields. They do not have the Palestinian people, the people -- the innocent citizens of Gaza, they do not have their best interests at heart.
CHATTERLEY: And I just, for balance will point out that that's your perspective on this too.
Natalie, one of the things that I read when I was reading your account of what happened was that at the final moments, somebody drove up in a white van and you were there thinking if this is Hamas, then this is it, because there's nowhere to run to. And it turned out to be someone who had come at their own risk, a man to help you. He took you to a nearby village and probably saved your life, I think. We don't know who that man is. And I'm not sure whether you've actually discovered who he was.
But if he is watching and he recognizes you, what's your message to him?
SANANDAJI: Just thank you. He did the most selfless thing a person could do and put his own life at risk to save us. I truly believe I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him.
Since sharing that part of my story, some people have reached out saying that they saw videos of him, photos of him, I know who he is, and some people are trying to help me get in touch with him because I would like to personally thank him.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Well, hopefully he's watching and he'll see that he saved your life.
Natalie, thank you so much. We wish you well. Thoughts and hearts with you --
SANANDAJI: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: -- as you recover. Thank you.
SANANDAJI: Thank you for your time.
CHATTERLEY: Natalie Sanandaji there, thank you.
OK, relief aid is now arriving in Gaza. Still ahead, we'll tell you the amount of supplies being unloaded and what's not critically part of that delivery.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. Eight convoys are being moved into Gaza but fuel is not part of that relief.
The United Nations Relief Agency confirmed at least 14 relief trucks were bound for a warehouse in central Gaza. The agency also says that none of those trucks contained additional fuel, but they do however, contain food and medical supplies. Earlier Sunday we spoke to Marwan Jilani. He's the Director General of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. And Jelani said the aid coming into Gaza is helpful, but nowhere near enough for what's required.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARWAN JILANI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY: It's been very difficult. As you said in your report there are 2.3 million people who are lacking basic life support including food, water, medicine, and medical supplies for the hospitals and above all the fuel which runs the water and runs the hospital machines to keep people alive and to treat the wounded. I just came back from Egypt.
I was on the other side of the Rafah border to coordinate the entry of the eight with our colleagues from the Egyptian Red Crescent. We saw a tracheal coming in with, you know, two days ago 20 trucks, today just about an hour ago, we managed to get another 15 trucks and they've been received by Palestine Red Crescent by our colleagues and moved into UNRWA United Nations Refugee storehouses. So, this is really a drop in the ocean. It's not enough. The hospitals are running on a day by day basis in terms of fuel.
It was continues to see today that there has been about five, six trucks of fuel, tanks of fuel that came in, this will be distributed to hospitals and we will give them another -- maybe another two days each hospital to be able to run and care for the patients, the wounded and those who are at the hospital. So, it is a catastrophe. It is -- now, it is really -- it is a catastrophe. It is not a catastrophe that we will see in few days. No, today it is a catastrophe.
More than 1 million people are displaced. More than 6,400 people are killed. And more than -- almost 15,000 have been injured. And there are no safe places in Gaza. People don't know where to go.
And they are sheltering including in hospitals. Our hospital in Gaza City has 12,000 people who are seeking safe place to stay there. They are sheltering in our hospitals, sleeping in -- on the corridors of operation rooms and in the basement and in other in other rooms. And this situation really cannot go on for much, much longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Coming up, as those aid efforts continue more on the prospect of an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza, we're live near the border as Israel steps up its military offensive.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. Israel says it's been conducting dozens of strikes against Hamas late on Sunday. International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is close to Israel's border with Gaza and he's been saying the strikes have been the most sustained bombardment of the area he's seen since he began reporting from southern Israel two weeks ago. We're going to speak to him in just a moment's time.
A ground incursion, in the meanwhile, into Gaza could now be imminent. We've also heard that Hamas fighters clashed with Israeli troops inside the Strip. It will be one of the first ground battles in Gaza since the war broke out. And now Nic Robertson joins us from the city of steroid close to the border with Gaza. Nic, good to have you back with us. Last hour you and I were discussing the situation live on air and we could see the skyline behind you light up. We were hearing the noises of rocket fire. What's the last hour been like to compare?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, last hours been exactly like that. The last 15 minutes had been, I would say perhaps slightly quieter. But the -- but before that, we were seeing massive flashes on the horizon there behind me on, you know, in silhouetted behind me. And the detonations again quite literally rocking this building and shaking the window.
So that -- it's really being sustained through the night. This is what the IDF has said. The IDF has said that they will ramp up and increase their artillery and rocket strikes on Gaza in advance of a possible incursion to protect their troops when they go in and also target senior Hamas figures. But it's not clear if and when -- it's not clear if and when that incursion is going to come. Perhaps it's less about if. It does seem that it will come, but when it's going to come. I think that's where is difficult to say.
And that's partly because of the pressure that's being put on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu right now by President Biden, who is asking -- who is saying, look, let's try to get the hostages out, let's try to get some more humanitarian aid and think about the long term goals of what you want to achieve here. But of course, there's a lot of pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to go after Hamas after those barbaric attacks of two weeks ago.
A lot of people here want -- don't want to have the threat of Hamas doing that again, and they see this military solution, the IDF going into Gaza, as a way to stop that.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. But this delay providing precious moments perhaps for the diplomacy and, of course for those humanitarian aid efforts to. Nic, I'm going to thank you there. Nic Robertson in Sderot for us there.
Now as you've been reporting, Israel's military sees it's ramping up its aerial bombardment of Gaza, and it's once again calling on civilians to leave the northern part of the strip. New images are emerging of some of the damage there two mosques in Gaza's Jabalia refugee camp were destroyed in Israeli airstrikes. Reports that at least three Palestinians were killed in that attack on Sunday night. The Gaza-based Religious Affairs Ministry says a total of 31 mosques have now been destroyed in the territory since war broke out earlier this month.
Now, as the Israeli incursion into Gaza seemingly imminent, US President Joe Biden spent Sunday working the phones. He spoke with the Canadian Prime Minister, the French president, Pope Francis and other European allies. And he again talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The call comes amid word the US is urging Israel to delay its invasion of Gaza, as Nic was suggesting. A senior Israeli official denies that. Two sources tell CNN that the US is hoping a delay will allow for more time to negotiate the release of hostages held by Hamas. Earlier, Wolf Blitzer asked the former US ambassador to Israel his thoughts on reports that the US is pressing Israel to delay that ground invasion simply to allow Hamas more time to release hostages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM NIDES, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: I think it's clear, by the President's words and actions, that he has sent us three is very clear message. One, we've got Israel's back without question. Second, sending a very stark warning to those forces, especially Lebanon and Hezbollah and obviously Iran, you know, is Biden likes to say, you know, superpowers don't bluff, so stay out of this. And third is the humanitarian crisis, which is already enormous. And I think the President has expressed the enormous sympathy.
This -- the war we are in is not a war with the Palestinian people. It's a war with Hamas. Israel is at war with Hamas who did and started this, and that is what we're focused on. But to be clear, it's imperative that we provide the ability for those suffering. Those Palestinians who are down south and in Gaza get the ability to be able to live as well as they can under the circumstances. So the President is pushing every day to make sure that that is the case. And that's something that I think this White House is very much focused on.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Why do you think, ambassador, that Hamas released those two American hostages, a mother and daughter? What did they expect to get in exchange?
NIDES: Listen, I can't imagine. My heart is breaks for these families that they're going through and I'm so pleased that, you know, this mother and daughter were able to be free. I think they're from Chicago. But there are almost 200 other families that Hamas has grabbed. I mean, children and mothers and fathers, and sick people and injured people, what barbaric behavior would create this?
So I, you know, I don't know what they're doing. I just hope they release more. I hope between the United States and Qatar, and our allies, we can get the -- we can reunite these families. It's barbaric, it's torturous. There's no reason for it. So my hope is that through the work of the United States, through our allies, we can get more families released in the hours and days ahead.
BLITZER: Let's hope that would be so great. Does Israel have a coherent strategy ambassador for what comes next in Gaza? If it were to remove Hamas, if Israel were to go in, destroy Hamas, what comes next in Gaza?
NIDES: You know, Wolf, you've studied Israel for a long time, and I've obviously spent time there. I don't know. I think that they're very much focus on eliminating the threat to the State of Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Right now, everywhere you look, there are images of Israel's war with Hamas across social media all over the internet. It's unavoidable. And Hamas is using this imagery to tell a proud sometimes deceptive and often cruel version of the story as Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Militants rushing across the Israeli border on October 7th, videotaping their assaults on their targets, a first glimpse of how Hamas organized and carried out the attacks that day. This video geolocated and authenticated by CNN is propaganda produced by Hamas and posted on social media to flaunt the success of their attack.
IMRAN AHMED, CENTER FOR COUNTERING DIGITAL HATE: Using propaganda to globalize their jihad against Israel and Jewish people, and they're succeeding because social media platforms are giving them easy access to a tool that allows them to broadcast to billions.
TODD (voice-over): This clip in a Hamas video seems to show hostages against a wall. This video released by Hamas is armed wing, the al- Qassam Brigades, purports to show a drone attack on an Israeli military post near Gaza. The drone dropping a timed IED on a remote controlled machine gun. Analysts say Hamas' social media follower has ballooned since the war began.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hamas's audience on social media since that attack on October 7th, it's increased to three, four, even five fold on a platform called Telegram.
TODD (voice-over): Telegram, a free speech platform that its founder says has more than 800 million users around the world. Hamas is banned from social media platforms like Meta, Google and X. But experts say Telegram has lacks rules in private encrypted messaging that's been very attractive to militants and extremists around the world. And Hamas is using Telegram in a very sophisticated manner to push its agenda against Israel.
CAITLIN CHIN-ROTHMANN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Telegram has allowed them to shape a narrative that's allowed them to spread messaging to very large audiences. We have to remember the audience isn't just Israel, it's not just Gaza. The audience is the entire world.
TODD (voice-over): But analysts say there's also a huge amount of misinformation circulating on social media about this conflict, including old video package to seem like it's new.
O'SULLIVAN: There was one video that claimed to show bombing and fire in Gaza. But that video was actually from a few years ago of Algerian football fans celebrating, was actually fireworks.
TODD (voice-over): But Hamas' ability to use social media to stoke fear is all too real. On Wednesday, a top European Union official said he's asked social media platforms to prepare for the risk of Hamas live streaming executions of hostages. The New York Times citing interviews with Israeli families and friends of hostages reports that Hamas has seized the social media accounts of Israelis who they've kidnapped, and posted on them videos of those hostages in captivity and violent messages.
AHMED: Using them to taunt their families and the Israeli government, and that is just the example of how they will use extreme tactics.
TODD (on-camera): Analysts say the big social media platforms are walking a fine line in the Israel-Hamas war. They're under a lot of pressure to eliminate misinformation and violent graphic content. But one analyst says they're also caught in what he called a demand dynamic where users want the latest most granular content about events on the ground, including terrorist attacks. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CHATTERLEY: Aid group so desperately trying to get much needed food and water to thousands of families displaced by the war. One of those leading the charge is World Central Kitchen. Its founder, Chef Jose Andres, joins us next as our special coverage continues.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back. Two weeks into Israel's war with Hamas, aid is finally very slowly trickling into Gaza. But aid workers keep repeating saying it's simply not enough. And the UN says Gaza is on the verge of running out of both water and fuel.
The group World Central Kitchen is working to help those displaced by the conflict. They set up kitchens in both Gaza and in Israel. And joining us now is the founder of World Central Kitchen, Chef Jose Andres. Chef, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
The numbers already speak for themselves. More than 110,000 prepared meals in Israel, 120,000 prepared meals in Gaza. It's incredible help but I'm sure you feel like it's simply not enough.
JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Obviously it's not enough. This only feels like drop of water in the ocean. But this is what World Central Kitchen and other smaller NGOs were trying to do. UN and all the different agencies, they have a huge task ahead of them. They're going to need all the help we can all provide, and together hopefully bring comfort through water and food.
On top of those hot meals that you mentioned, inside Gaza also we've been able to deliver over 1 million pounds of food in the form of fresh vegetables, fruits that we were able to position once the -- all of the attacks after Hamas had all these crazy attack to Israel. We move quickly. We partner with organization we've been there before, called Anera, which they are doing an amazing job. Mainly they dedicate themselves to medical. But also they proven to be a great partner, where we learn from them and they learn from us. And together again, we've been able to bring some comfort to many thousands of people in different parts of Gaza. So we do what we do best.
Believing that food is a human right, water is a human right. We were in Israel very quickly. We began at the same time feeling inside Gaza. And that's what World Central Kitchen does, trying to build longer tables and making sure that we send the message that food and water is a human right for every person.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And you have local partners I know in both areas that are doing an incredible job as well. You've been in warzones, you've been in operating helping providing meals in the aftermath of natural disasters. How does Gaza compare, whether it's the challenges of even getting food access to water, electricity? How challenging is it even for you guys to operate?
ANDRES: Well, I've not -- myself I've not been in Gaza yet, but right now use for everybody to know, World Central Kitchen, we're still operating inside Ukraine, we are operating in Armenia, which is another conflict. This will be the third conflict World Central Kitchen is in. For us, we are a young organization. We're still learning. We are positioning kitchens already, that we're building (inaudible), close to the southern entry in Gaza, where there we hope we will be able to produce between 50,000 and 100,000 hot meals.
We are trying to position some food trucks like the ones we have inside Ukraine near the front lines. I do believe that we're going to have to be very creative. Hopefully when the hostilities finish, and we're able to go in, Gaza is going to need a lot of aid, is going to need a lot of help. And we're going to have to be very creative in how to make sure that almost 2 million people in Gaza receive food and receive water. And that's what World Central Kitchen does best.
So we keep feeding all the people affected by the terrible Hamas attack in Israel, at the same time we are feeding -- getting ready to feed as many people we will be able once the hostilities and once we are able to go in. But in the meantime, having partners helps. I love the work that the men and woman of Anera are doing helping provide these tens of thousands of meals every day. And then same time, obviously, all the UN agencies, they're going to need all the support.
Many has lost lives. War is now something nice for anybody. Let's hope the hostilities end soon and we kind of started delivering all the needs that the humanitarian organizations can provide.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, we share that hope. Just very quickly again in Gaza. Do you have any sense of how much longer you can continue to provide those daily meals based on the supplies that you have at this moment? Are we talking days? Do you know actually how much they have? And I appreciate you may not have that yet.
ANDRES: We are talking days, communications are not easy. You know, even yesterday, I was able to communicate that, you know, I had some people I knew in a church and we were able to deliver 300-400 bags of food, which this is over 1,000-2,000 pounds of food. But again, this is a drop of water.
[20:50:03] We all know, we are all learning, we are all hearing the information we have is that really food is running very, very low. We see the same news, with magazines and others. So it's very important that they allow the humanitarian aid to flow.
I'm calculating that at the very least, you need roughly around 200, 250, 300 trucks every day to provide food only over a million people. This is every day. So I want everybody to understand that while seems like a small victory, only to allow 10 trucks, 14 trucks every day, this is not enough. So let's hope that we can find a way to start going in and start bringing food, water and medicines, fuel and everything else, use to cover the basics. But until this doesn't happen, the people of Gaza are going to be going already through very hard times.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Chef Andres, I know you don't wait into the politics, you're humanitarian. But would you like to see a ceasefire? At this moment, it would clearly make your job easier.
ANDRES: Obviously, this is a very complicated issue. We are organization that we do food and water. Nobody, nobody wins in war. I think we all need to understand that what Hamas, this terrorist group, has done to Israel killing hundreds and thousands of people, and tens of thousand of endure, and displacing tens of thousands more is something like nobody can accept terrorism, doesn't have a space today.
And obviously at the same time, Israel is trying to defend their people and themselves. I know it is going to be people saying that, but Israel is doing its overreach. So let's hope that we find peace. Let's hope that we give an opportunity used to these -- to be the beginning of what hopefully can be what everybody dreams, where the Palestinian people live with the freedom they deserve, that we can invest in reconstructing that Gaza, and giving them the same hope everybody wants.
Let's hope that Israel and the Palestinian people find peace. And everybody will learn that through terrorism and through killing is not the way to be solving problems. Let's hope that we have started building longer tables.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. A heartfelt message, sir, and we share it. Thank you so much for your time. And thank you for all your incredible work, you and your teams, and partners. Chef Jose Andres there. We'll be right back.
CHATTERLEY: Turning to Capitol Hill now. The deadline to enter the US House of Representatives speaker's race is now closed. Nine House Republicans will make their case before the Republican Conference on Monday. The House has been paralyzed without a speaker now for nearly three weeks, which ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy calls embarrassing. Manu Raju has more on the ongoing impasse.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: House Republicans remain in turmoil almost three weeks after the unprecedented ouster of a sitting speaker. Kevin McCarthy was pushed out after eight Republicans joined with Democrats and voted out Kevin McCarthy as speaker. This was initiated by House Republicans and they have not been able to coalesce around anyone to replace McCarthy as of yet.
And the House can't do any business, no legislating at all until a speaker is elected. And they have been unable to unite behind any candidate. First, they nominated Steve Scalise, the House Republican majority leader. He was unable to get the votes to be elected speaker. He bowed out before going to the floor.
Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, was nominated then to be the next Speaker of the House. He didn't go to the fourth three times. And he failed to win over enough support. He can only afford to lose four Republican votes on this party line vote. He lost 25 on his third ballot. Ultimately, he bowed to reality and stepped aside.
Now, nine Republican candidates have filed to run for speaker. Unclear which of those nine will ultimately get the Republican nomination and more importantly, who can get the 217 votes that they would need on the floor of the House to be elected speaker. It is unclear if any of them can given the sharp divisions within the ranks.
REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): It's the biggest FU to Republican voters I've ever seen.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA): This conference is absolutely broken.
REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): Americans are sick of it. And I know most members of the House are sick of it. It is time for big boys and big girls to stop with the nonsense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The swampy a swamp gets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get over it and we need to move on.
REP. BRIAN FITZPATRICK (R-PA): We cannot have an entire branch of government offline.
REP. TROY NEHLS (R-TX): We got to get our act together because I'm getting calls from my constituents and saying what the hell's going on with you Republicans?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think history will assign the blame in the right places.
RAJU: Now, a bit here about the timing. On Monday evening, that's when the House Republicans will meet behind closed doors yet again. Those candidates will try to make their pitch to the conference, will answer questions from their members. They'll do that one by one. And we'll see how that ultimately goes. And Tuesday morning is a significant vote. Behind closed doors, Republicans who have a secret ballot leadership election. That means a majority of their conference will vote to nominate the next speaker candidate. That person, it will be a secret battle election, so it's unclear exactly who's the frontrunner and who might emerge here. But we'll see if the -- how close that. That person who gets the nomination is to the magic number on the House Floor, 217 votes to be elected speaker.
This is challenging for any Republican candidate because in the narrowly divided House, there are only 221 Republicans. Democrats are going to vote for Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic leader. That means that person, the candidate, the Republican nominee, must limit defections in the ranks. It is unclear if any of them will be able to do that after we've seen just Republicans going after each other after McCarthy was pushed out, unable to get behind anyone, unable to do the nation's business and much businesses waiting, dealing with aid to Israel calls for aid to Ukraine, avoiding a government shutdown by mid-November.
None of that can be dealt with the Republican agenda is completely stalled amid this GOP leadership infighting. Can they get it resolved this coming week, that remains a huge question but a possibility it could still be unresolved and slip into another week if they can't get their act together behind the nominee. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
CHATTERLEY: You're watching CNN Newsroom ongoing coverage of the Israel at war. I'm Julia Chatterley. I have another hour of news coming up after this.