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CNN Live Event/Special

Israeli Forces Carry Out Dozens of Airstrikes on Hamas; Families, Children Feel Impacts in Gaza; Biden Makes Diplomatic Push in Calls to World Leaders; China's Middle East Special Envoy Visits Region; Fears that Conflict Could Escalate Across Region; Nine Republicans Enter the U.S. House Speaker's Race; Memorial Held for Detroit Synagogue Leader Stabbed to Death. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 23, 2023 - 00:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes with the latest on the Israel-Hamas war.


And Israeli forces, stepping up airstrikes in Gaza ahead of what they're calling the next stage of Israel's war on Hamas. The IDF targeted and carried out dozens of airstrikes in just the last few hours.

It appears to be the most sustained bombardment in Northern Gaza since the start of the conflict. A senior Israeli official telling CNN there will be no cease-fire talks amid the -- amid the hostage crisis, saying humanitarian efforts can't interfere with the mission to dismantle Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with the nation's war cabinet on Sunday to discuss security, amid other things. The country's defense minister saying it is likely the invasion of Gaza needs to be Israel's last moves inside the region, vowing Hamas won't be around for a long.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): This needs to be the last maneuvering inside Gaza. Due to the simple reason that Hamas will cease to exist. It might take a month, two, but eventually, there will be no Hamas.


HOLMES: Journalist Elliott Gotkine joins me now from London to talk more about this. Everyone is so, you know, anxious about the start of this ground operation. It's been imminent, it feels, for days, and there's this shelling North of Gaza. Bring us up to date on what we know and what might be to come.

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Michael, the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces still seem to be in a holding pattern outside the Gaza Strip. Now, there were clashes inside the Gaza Strip, on the ground, for the

first time yesterday, for the first time since that terrorist attack from Hamas on October the 7th.

Now, the result of that was that an anti-tank missile was fired by militants towards Israel. One IDF soldier was killed. Three were injured.

And Hamas, at the same time, claiming to destroy a couple of bulldozers and a tank.

So this was the first skirmish, but this doesn't seem to have been the starting gun on a ground invasion. Now, there could be multitude of reasons why Israel hasn't gone in just yet.

It's clearly focusing on airstrikes to try to target commanders, target weapons, storage facilities, and also, of course, that tunnel network that Hamas maintains underground.

There could be other reasons, such as the weather, or simply just changing facts on the ground, maybe something to do with the hostages, where they are. They're also trying to find where the hostages are. And also where bodies may be from people that were taken from Israel inside the Gaza Strip.

But for now, we still don't know. We still think that it is imminent, that Israel go in. We, of course, heard the chief of the general staff, Herzi Halevi, over the weekend, telling troops that they will be going into Gaza. The simple fact that right now, Michael, remains that we simply do not know when.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, it's interesting. The U.S. is sort of floating the idea reportedly about a delay in a ground offensive; of course, hostage negotiations and so on.

But you know, when it comes to this sort of operation, does the U.S. wield that much influence on what Israel might be wanting to do and when?

GOTKINE: It certainly has the most influence of Israel of any country around the world, and we've seen a flurry of leaders coming to Israel with more on the way. We're expecting the French and Dutch leaders to come to Israel, as well, to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He's had his eighth conversation with President Biden, as well. We do understand at CNN that the U.S. has been pressing Israel to delay its ground invasion to try to get more work done, make more progress with the Qataris on trying to get hostages released.

We of course, saw two hostages released over the -- just before the weekend. That is what we understand. The Israelis are saying that's not the case.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that any decision is well. These are decisions for Israel to make, in his words. And when asked about the possibility of the U.S. leaning on Israel to

delay more humanitarian aid on hostage negotiations, President Biden's reply was, "I'm talking to the Israelis." So not really giving much away there either.

But perhaps there clearly are conversations going on. And the Israelis say, they're not being asked to delay. And Israel, certainly given the imperative that it feels that exists for it to go in to deal with Hamas, to try to destroy the militant group. And certainly, its capabilities following that terrorist attack of October the 7th.


And I suppose, the demand from the Israeli people for Israel to go in and to go in hard. But it still seems to be a matter of when, rather than if, that Israel will go in on the ground. But as I say, we simply don't know when that's likely to be.

HOLMES: Yes. Indeed. Elliott, thank you for the update. Elliott Gotkine there in London for us.

Now some parents in Gaza are resorting to heartbreaking measures for their children. And a warning: the images you're about to see are graphic.


They're writing their children's names on their limbs so that they can be identified if the parents or the children are killed. A CNN photographer capturing these gut-wrenching images of dead children, indeed with their names written on their legs.

The government media officer of Hamas, which runs the besieged enclave, says more than 1,900 children have been killed so far. And the UNICEF spokesperson told me earlier that children in Gaza need a tune.


JAMES ELDER, SPOKESPERSON, UNICEF: Without a cease-fire, without a massive increase in aid, we are going to see the number of children, boys and girls in Gaza. The number killed, we're going to see that skyrocket. We urgently, Michael, need a massive increase in aid there. It really is a matter of life or death now.

Getting medicines in, getting water in. There is grave shortages. So it can, unfortunately, get much worse. It's hard to say that when you quote the numbers you say are children being killed.

But there is no doubt that the situation can get much worse for them, because aid, the amounts that they need right now, is not nearly enough.

And Michael, UNICEF has enough aid for a quarter of a million people. We could get that into Gaza in a matter of hours. We're not able to do that right now. That has to change. We need unconditional aid. We need a ceasefire. Children of Gaza, they

need it yesterday.


HOLMES: UNICEF spokesperson there, speaking with me earlier.

CNN's Scott McLean now with more on the situation in Gaza. And a warning: his report contains graphic images.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those who arrive at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza, alive, are the lucky ones.

There were five airstrikes this morning, near the hospital. This video shows the smoke from one, rising nearby. Some 110 bodies were brought here overnight and this morning, one medical source tells CNN.

The morgue is now full. The rest of the bodies, wrapped in white sheets, now lay outside in the heat of the day. Relatives try to identify their loved ones. Finding them confirms their worst fears.

Inside the hospital, children, including a toddler, are among the dead. Several of these victims were found with their names written in Arabic on their legs, an increasingly common marking, as parents try to make identification easier if they, or their kids, are killed.

This hospital is located outside of the area of Northern Gaza that Israel has been trying to get civilians to evacuate. On Saturday, the IDF dropped leaflets, telling people that "Everyone who chose to not evacuate from the North of the strip to the South of Wadi Gaza, might be considered as a partner for the terrorist organization."

In a statement, the IDF confirmed it dropped the leaflets, but said it has no intention to consider those who have not evacuated from the affected area of fighting, as a member of the terrorist group.

Even those who have managed to avoid the bombs are not out of danger. A trickle of aid, 20 trucks, were allowed to cross the Rafah border crossing from Egypt on Saturday. But that's a tiny fraction of what is needed.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, PRESIDENT, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: Twenty trucks of aid to Gaza will not change much. Gaza needs at least 500 trucks daily, of fuel, food, medicines, and water.

As a matter of fact, for 14 days, Gaza got nothing under the Israeli siege. And it's immediate need now is 7,000 trucks.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Satellite images show dozens of trucks waiting at the border, and dozens more a quarter mile down the road, all unable to get in.

Aid groups say that the death toll could skyrocket because of disease and hospitals that are overwhelmed and under supplied.

With no electricity or generator, this shopkeeper in central Gaza is keeping the store open by candlelight, as the shelves look increasingly bare.

The World Food Programme says the shortage of basic supplies is pushing Gaza to the edge of catastrophe.

The IDF says it killed dozens of terrorists overnight but vows that the number of airstrikes will only increase ahead of an expected ground operation.

Meanwhile, conditions for the people of Gaza worsen by the hour.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.



HOLMES: And joining me now from Washington, D.C., is Laila El-Haddad, a Palestinian author and journalist.

And thanks so much for making the time.

A week ago, you told CNN that minute to minute, you don't know if your family members are alive or dead. A week later, how are they coping or not coping? And what's happened and continues to happen?

LAILA EL-HADDAD, AUTHOR/JOURNALIST: Thank you so much. They're -- they're exhausted. They're tired. They're demoralized. They don't want to ask how they're doing. I mean, I don't know what to say. I don't know how many times we've gotten these questions.

And we keep trying to justify and explain to the world why we, why are relatives, why are children, are human beings that don't deserve to be killed.

They're not terrorist, as the flyers I was hearing the news report in.

The relatives I'm the most concerned about are the ones in Gaza City that have elected to remain, that have been given this false choice of displacing themselves, forced transfer, which is a crime against humanity, or else be considered terrorists, or an accomplice to terror. They showed me those flyers that was referenced, and they sent me a picture of it.


EL-HADDAD: And so it's -- it's -- I mean, I don't know what to say. They've lost all power. They had a little bit last week. They don't have any more. They have no more water.

My -- my cousin's wife doesn't have any -- any way to make formula for her infant twins. And -- and yet, the children keep saying to me, you know -- I mean, they have names. They have lives -- "I just want a Rubik's cube when this is all over." That's what he keeps saying.

But we're sort of watching this unfold on our screens. And meanwhile, humanitarian aid is being weaponized. And I feel like I'm in some kind of Orwellian, twisted Orwellian reality right now.


EL-HADDAD: And meanwhile, officials here are discussing not whether there should be a cease-fire but how many liters of water each person in Gaza should be getting. That's what I've been hearing.

HOLMES: It must be -- it must be -- I can't imagine what it's like to, as you say, just sit and watch from afar. I mean, you made the point of Israel warning Palestinians to evacuate South, even though it's hitting targets in the South.

These flyers you mentioned are interesting. And we confirmed them, too. They're telling Palestinians who won't or can't leave the North that they could be considered, and the wording is, quote, "a partner for terrorist organizations" in a ground operation.

What is your reaction, your family's reaction to that sort of warning?

EL-HADDAD: I mean, they were aghast. My -- my cousin's wife, Fiddat (ph), sent me a video of her rocking her infant twins and said, "So now, we're essentially being told that either we leave our home by force and get displaced and join, you know, a million others in tents without food or access to water, or we're terrorists? I mean, she literally had -- had no words.

And she said, we're not leaving. We're going to stay right here and die in the dignity of our own homes.

And I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm expecting at any moment to hear -- to see their names on the -- you know, in the news that I keep getting every minute, by minute. We just -- we lost several members of my mother's family in Khan Yunis (ph) in the South. And we lost and just found out very close friends in central Gaza.

HOLMES: It brings me to a point that I wanted to ask you about. I mean, I think everyone can agree. Hamas carried out an act of brutal terror against civilians on October 7. There has been, of course, quite rightly, enormous empathy with Israelis in the wake of that attack.

But Israel's bombardment of Gaza has gone on and on. The death toll of particularly women and children, it must be said, have mounted. Do you feel an empathy deficit around the world for Palestinians? Many or even most of whom in Gaza want nothing to do with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Hamas.

EL-HADDAD: Absolutely. I know we've said this from day one. It's selective moral outrage. It always has been, always will be. Not now, but it's especially emphasized now.

And -- and it has real-life consequences for Palestinians, who are dehumanized and demonized and othered. And you know, we saw this deliberate campaign happening in the beginning where they were depicted like this.

Their city was called wicked. They were called human animals and so on and so forth. The implication being that the laws of war don't apply to them. We can do what we want.

And the media is kind of going along with this spin. And so anything they do is morally -- anything the Israelis want to do that is morally justified.

And the reality is, the satellite imagery and all of the analysis shows the targets have been civilian targets. The overwhelming majority of the fatalities have been, you know, a large percentage. Nineteen hundred, I want to say now, have been children and have been -- it has been civilian infrastructure.


EL-HADDAD: And it's been farms and hospitals.


HOLMES: In fact, the U.N. says that -- I think the number was close to 40 percent of homes in -- or housing units in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged. About 1.4 million people displaced out of a total population of 2.2 million.

What -- what do you think could happen in the next days, and even weeks, particularly if there is a ground incursion?

EL-HADDAD: I mean, it's just an all-out catastrophe. Nothing short of Armageddon. I don't know what to say.

You know, it bears repeating. We're not talking here about a sovereign nation state where people can escape, where they can defend themselves.

We're talking about a besieged territory of 2.2 million women, children, elderly. I had a friend of mine who's 103 years old. She survived the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and her house was bombed, and she miraculously survived.

We're talking about human beings who have no recourse. We're captive. And we're -- we all seem to be OK with this in the modern age, with seeing this ethnic cleansing and this modern-day genocide unfold.

I mean, I'm literally speechless. I don't know what to say. And again, the statistics, and the targets, and else, tell a very different story about what's going on.

It's wreaking damage on the innocent civilian population of Gaza. It's not targeting Hamas. So I really don't know what the endgame is here. Except that no one in the United States, where I am right now, is interested in even saying the word "ceasefire". It's become a dirty word to be able to say, "End the hostilities." And so there's only one way this can end, which is tragically.


EL-HADDAD: For all sides involved.

HOLMES: Laila, I'm going to leave it there, unfortunately. But powerful testimony there. To your family and we wish them well. Laila El-Haddad, really appreciate it. Thank you.

Taking a short break now. When we come back, we'll tell you about the U.S. president's diplomatic push over the weekend to keep the conflict in the Middle East from escalating.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: U.S. President Joe Biden has been working the phones this weekend, making calls to world leaders in an effort to keep this conflict from spreading. CNN White House reporter Priscilla Alvarez with those details.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden made calls to multiple world leaders on Sunday as a potential invasion of Gaza looms.

Now, the president spoke with leaders of Canada and Europe, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Now, according to a White House readout, the two leaders discussed elements of Israel and Gaza, as well as President Biden affirming the flow of critical assistance to Gaza.

The two also discussed ongoing efforts to release hostages. Now, this is the eighth call between the two leaders since the terror attacks on October 7.

Of course, all of these calls come on the heels of President Biden's trip to Israel in the past week as well as ongoing efforts by U.S. officials to get that necessary assistance to Gaza and try to get the release of additional hostages being held by Hamas.

Now, while here in Rehoboth, the president was asked whether the U.S. is encouraging Israel to delay an evasion. And to that, President Biden said that he is only speaking to Israel.

Now, Israel officials maintain that it is ultimately Israel's decision as to how they move forward but that it is important -- and they stress -- that innocent civilians are protected and that assistance can get to Gaza.

President Biden staying close with his national security team over the course of that as all this unfolds.

Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, traveling with the president.


HOLMES: China's special envoy to the Middle East is in the region this week, expected to promote peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong with more on that.

So, why is he there in the Middle East? What is China's agenda here?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: Michael, China's envoy for Middle East affairs is in the region to push for peace talks. Zhai Jun says that China is willing to do, quote, "whatever is conducive" to promote dialogue, reach a cease-fire, and restore peace.

Over the weekend, we heard from Zhai Jun, who said that the risk of a large-scale ground conflict in Gaza is significantly rising.

Now, some background here. China wants to present itself as a neutral mediator, but the nation has deep economic interests in the Middle East, especially when it comes to energy, access to oil and gas.

Now on Saturday, Zhai Jun was in Egypt. He was at the conference where he made remarks. The Cairo summit for peace.

China, in addition to Egypt, is visiting the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Jordan, other countries in the region. And according to Zhai, China has provided and will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians through the U.N., through bilateral channels.

And China also wants to promote a two-state solution. Now, according to a foreign ministry read-out of the Cairo summit. We have it for you. Let's bring it up for you. This is what was said.

Quote, "To end the cycle of the conflict between Palestine and Israel, it is essential to implement the two-state solution to establish an independent state of Palestine and realize peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel," unquote.

Now, this is what we heard last week, on Thursday, from the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping. It was his first public comments since the war broke out in early October. Xi called for a two-state solution, saying that it was, quote, "the fundamental way out."

But what we have not heard from China? We have yet to hear any condemnation of Hamas.

Now, China has not condemned Hamas for its brutal and coordinated terror attack on Israel that took place October the 7th. And that has prompted both anger and disappointment from Israel, as well as criticism from the United States. Back to you, Michael.

HOLMES: And what is the thinking inside China about the Israel-Hamas war?

STOUT: Well, you can just take a look at what we've been seeing, online, on social media, well, a number of Chinese citizens have turned out online for unfiltered and open conversation about the conflict. There are many voices in support of Israel, saying it has every right to retaliate.

There are many strong pro-Palestinian voices, as well. And also, voices that have risen to the point of very extreme comments, anti- Semitic comments.


And it's important to note that China's very powerful online censors have ignored such comments to flourish and to flare up across social media in China.

That's prompted a number of people in China to warn of a risk, to air their concerns that those views, those anti-Semitic views that have been shared online, could translate into a real-world threat for Israelis and for Jews living in China.

Back to you.

HOLMES: Wow. Kristie, thanks for that. Kristie Lu Stout there in Hong Kong for us.

Still to come here on the program, Israeli officials urging more civilians near the Northern border with Lebanon to leave. More on the potential strength from Hezbollah. That's coming up.


HOLMES: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

Israel Defense Forces are pounding Hamas targets in Northern Gaza with some of the most sustained airstrikes in the war so far. They're also working to eliminate threats from Hezbollah militants along the Northern border.

An IDF spokesperson says they struck two Hezbollah terrorist cells on Sunday after the militants attacked Israeli positions. Israeli officials also announced that they would fund the evacuation of 14 additional communities near the Lebanese border.

Robin Wright is a contributing writer for "The New Yorker" and a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She joins me now from Washington, D.C.

Good to see you again, Robin. Let's start with the big picture there. There these clashes on the Northern border with Lebanon. The U.S. increasing its force posture in the region. Iran warning of regional spread. You know, Iran has a vested interest in the propaganda game.


But what is the risk of all of this metastasizing into a regional conflict?

ROBIN WRIGHT, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": There's a very real danger. That's reflected in the kind of language you've seen from the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon over the last couple of days.

The deployment of two carrier battle groups into the Eastern Mediterranean also shows that the United States is willing to flex its muscle to shore or to signal that it is willing to act in the event of a wider war.

At the moment, the kind of tensions have been playing out among Iran's proxies in targeting, whether it's firing drones and missiles at Israel from Yemen, firing to U.S. deployments in Eastern Syria, deployment in two places in Northern Iraq where the United States troops are based.

And of course, what's happening on the Northern border of Israel with the attacks from Iran's biggest proxy, Hezbollah. So there's a real danger that Iran is not just probing, but looking for something bigger.

But again, we are at that kind of precipice, the cusp of something bigger. We're not there yet.


WRIGHT: And I think the kind of diplomacy we're seeing is trying to prevent that.

HOLMES: Yes, good point. I wanted to ask you, too. Nearly 100 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since this began. Dozens more arrested in Israeli raids.

Are the risks of West Bank escalation increasing? East Jerusalem? And what would that do to this conflict?

WRIGHT: Absolutely. The passions and furies among all parties are growing with each day. And the real danger is that the Palestinians in the West Bank turn against the Palestinian Authority government and that, in that process of taking on Hamas in Gaza, that the Israelis also lose the option of talking to the leadership in the West Bank because they've become increasingly unpopular at home.

So there -- the repercussions of all this play out both locally and regionally.

HOLMES: Can Israel's -- you know, short-term strategy, I guess, in Gaza be successful long-term without a political part for Palestinians? Apart from some level of self-determination or autonomy, without that, won't the next Hamas just be around the corner if this one is wiped out, as Israel promises?

WRIGHT: Michael, that's the most important bottom line of this conflict. And that is Israel can absolutely make military progress against Hamas. And eliminating command posts, arsenals, leadership.

But the question is, who rules Hamas? What happens next? And how do you prevent the creation of yet another militant group? Not immediately, but down the road, because there's no political alternatives.

Wars do not end militarily, ever. There is always a political outcome. It's been true of any major war that has ended. Otherwise, wars simply beget more wars.

HOLMES: Has -- has the U.S., the Israelis and others made a strategic mistake in pushing the Palestinian autonomy, self-determination question to the side? Because that has certainly happened. I mean, the U.S. hasn't really had skin in the game for a decade, nearly.

Has pushing that aside fanned the flames of, you know, groups like, or support for groups like Hamas and others, that sense of hopelessness, not just in Gaza, but the West Bank, as well? Was that a strategic error by Israel and others?

WRIGHT: And the United States as a broker. Absolutely. But that's been the core issue since 1948, since the creation of Israel, since the deadlock over what -- over the fate of the Palestinians, in part because of what the Palestinians decided themselves.

That's played out in four conventional wars and several unconventional words with militias like the PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah ever since. And it's likely to play out down the road that way, too.

The danger to Israel does not end, even if it wins militarily in Gaza.

HOLMES: And when it comes to Gaza, I wanted to ask you, too. The U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Sunday, quote, "We cannot go back to the status quo. They can't go back to the status quo with Hamas being in a position in terms of governance of Gaza."

But that then raises a question of what does need to happen when this is over in terms of governance of Gaza? If Israel, indeed, succeeds in breaking Hamas, who owns whatever is left of the Gaza Strip?

WRIGHT: And that's a question unanswered. And that was the problem when the United States went into Afghanistan, when the United States went into Iraq. It didn't really think through, how do you create peace? How do you create an alternative that's viable, credible, and legitimate to those who live in the countries?

It's a problem that we've seen repeatedly in the 21st Century, unfortunately.


HOLMES: Great analysis, as always. Robin Wright in Washington, appreciate it. Thanks so much.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

HOLMES: Still to come on the program, Republicans in the U.S. House can't get their act together. I'll talk to CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein about the party's struggle to elect a speaker of the House.


HOLMES: In Washington, nine Republicans have entered the race for speaker of the House of Representatives. They'll be making their case before the Republican conference later today, after Jim Jordan failed three times to win the spot this past week.

The House has been paralyzed without a speaker for nearly three weeks now, which ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy even calls embarrassing. Manu Raju with more on the ongoing drama.


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 the 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 the 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 did go to the floor. Three times. And he failed to win over enough support. He could 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the biggest "F" you 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.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): As swampy as swamp gets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get over it, and we need to move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could not have an entire branch of government off line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to get our act together. Because I'm getting calls from my constituents and saying, what the hell is 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. They'll answer some questions from the 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 will have a secret-ballot leadership election. That means that a majority of their conference will vote to nominate the next speaker candidate.

That person, it will be a secret-ballot election. So it's unclear exactly who's the front runner, and who might emerge here. But we'll see how close 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, the Democratic leader. That means that person, the candidate, the Republican nominee must limit defections in the ranks.

And it's unclear if any of them would 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 business is 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 a result this coming week? That remains a huge question. But a possibility they could still be unresolved and slip into another week if they can't get their act together behind a nominee.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


HOLMES: CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins me now from Los Angeles with more. Always a pleasure, sir. You're smiling already. Because you've got to, don't you?

I mean, McCarthy gone. Two failed candidates to replace him, Scalise and Jordan. I think, at last count, nine newbies to give it a shot. Do you see Republicans able to get behind anyone at the moment in the chaos?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Michael, I said the other day, we've used the word "unprecedented" an unprecedented number of times, since Donald went down that escalator in 2015.

But again, this is unprecedented. There's only been one motion to vacate the chair, to basically fire the speaker in the House, since the turn of the 20th Century. And that failed against Joe Cannon, who many of them worked in the office building named after him on Capitol Hill.

So, you know, that is the first thing that is taking us into uncharted waters.

The other thing and that makes the answer to the question so hard is that, historically, the parties have unified behind whoever wins the closed-door vote, right? I mean, you know, you can vote against your party on various issues in Congress, but you are supposed to vote with your party on the organization of Congress and the leadership of Congress.

And in many ways, the most remarkable part of this entire episode has been that, even after the caucus -- the conference, a vote in conference had -- you know, had voted to make Steve Scalise the nominee, the opponents held out.

After they voted to make Jordan the nominee, the opponents held out. There's no reason to believe that it's going to be any different behind, you know, whoever gets the nod --


BROWNSTEIN: -- presumably on Monday or Tuesday.

HOLMES: You know, this sort of thing, three weeks without a speaker, this sort of thing hasn't really happened before, has it? Such a sustained dysfunction. How damaging is it to the parties structurally? Even when they pick a speaker, and how lasting could that damage be?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, I think the damage is -- is enormous. And on a couple of different levels. First, you know, many of us, including myself, have written over the

years how our House of Representatives and our Senate, for that matter, it has become like a parliamentary institution that you are familiar with, where there is heightened levels of party discipline and increasing penalties on members who broke from the party on virtually any issue.

Well, that's sure all out the window in the Republican House. I mean, you are seeing members, really, certainly on the right, you know, a small minority, trying to lead the conference, make them follow their directives. And I mean, so far, were rewarded for it.


And of course, the other thing that I think we're seeing here is, you know, the continuing division between the MAGA wing in the party, the Trump-allied wing, which is clearly ascendant and clearly the dominant wing in the party but is not absolute.

And there are more institutionalist members who, obviously, were very reluctant about making someone as closely tied to the effort to overturn the 2020 election as Jim Jordan, as speaker.

Now, you may see the reverse, where you have the frontrunner, Tom Emmer, who under normal circumstances would be considered the most logical person to turn to. But Trump world is turning up the volume against him. So the stalemate may go on.

HOLMES: How -- you know, will there be fall-out, as far as far as we also talk about lasting damage. Will there be fall-out at the ballot box for Republicans over their dysfunction, their inability to govern as it is right now. Or are voter memories too short for that?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the conventional wisdom is both that voter memories are short and that what happens on Capitol Hill kind of stays on Capitol Hill. It doesn't really affect voter decisions.

But I'm not sure that's right. I mean, you know, what we saw in 2022 was a very unusual outcome, where a higher percentage of voters than we have seen previously, who were dissatisfied with Joe Biden's performance and dissatisfied with the economy still voted against Republicans in a key race, because they viewed them as too extreme.

And certainly, everything that is happening here is giving enormous ammunition to Democrats to make the case in 2024 that, whatever you feel about Joe Biden, however you feel about the way things are going in the country, you can not trust Republicans with power.

That argument is not going to work everywhere. But can it work in the 18 districts where -- that Republicans are holding out that voted for Biden in '20, as well as another 15 or so that only narrowly voted for Trump? I'm guessing that there are places, particularly in New York and California, where control of the House may be decided, that this can be -- this will likely be a problem for Republicans.

Because it was a spectacle unlike anything we've seen at a moment of enormous gravity in world events.

HOLMES: Yes, and you know, that's another issue. How does it make the U.S. look to the world? Yes, we'll do that another time. Good to see you, my friend. Ron Brownstein.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Michael.

HOLMES: Well, Argentina's presidential race is headed to a runoff, according to partial results from Sunday's first round.




HOLMES: Far-right economist Javier Milei is one of the candidates in next month's second round. His supporters celebrated just as they did after their shocking win in the open primaries back in August.

He's going to be going up against economy minister Sergio Massa. With 90 percent of the votes counted, Massa leads, with 36 percent to Milei's 30 percent. The candidate who wins the runoff will begin a four-year term on December 10.

Now, the killing of a beloved synagogue leader in Detroit has rattled her community. What investigators are now saying about a possible motive. That's coming up.



HOLMES: The Detroit synagogue leader who was killed over the weekend is being mourned by friends and family members. At a memorial service on Saturday, Samantha Woll was remembered as a model citizen who was endlessly positive and loved bridging divides.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has more now on her memorial and the investigation into her death.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the headline alone is a cause for concern: Detroit synagogue leader found stabbed to death. And it's understandable why some may jump to quick conclusions.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): But it's exactly what Detroit police are cautioning against, at least at this stage in the investigation. Now, they have not announced and arrested any subjects, and they have not announced a motive that they have found in this particular case.

But over the course of Sunday, the Detroit police chief put out a statement that read, in part, that "While the investigation into the death of Ms. Samantha Woll remains ongoing, at this time, no evidence of service suggesting that this crime was motivated by anti-Semitism."

What wasn't included in that statement was that they ruled out this being motivated by anti-Semitism, which highlights, really, where they are in this investigation. That they are in the very early stages. And it's why they are urging caution for people to jump to conclusions.

JIMENEZ: now, what we do know is on this block from standing near downtown Detroit, this is where police found the body of Woll. They say they followed a trail of blood to her home. That's where they believe the killing actually took place.

And again, they have not released any arrest or identify of a suspect they have at this point.

Now, as for what happened, while they still work through that, it did happen. And it's why this community is trying to figure out how to move forward at this point.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): A memorial service was held on Sunday where speakers from those who knew her best all the way to state-elected officials shared what they remembered about the 40-year-old Samantha Woll. Take a listen to Michigan's attorney general, Dana Nessel.

DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Samantha Woll may have been the nicest person that I have ever met or will ever meet in my lifetime.

Sam did more for our community, our state, our world, our lives in her short time here on Earth than most will ever accomplish in 1,000 lifetimes over. And her killer will not rob us of the memory of her joy and warmth and kindness that she leaves behind.

JIMENEZ: Over the course of that service, we also heard from state senator who was with Woll the night before she was found dead at a wedding.

And she said the only consolation she has in this is that some of her final memories with Woll were of laughter and of happiness.

Now, moving forward, the FBI is assisting the Detroit police in trying to figure out what happened here. The community is trying to move forward and process what happened as investigators, again, at this, point, are trying to figure out why.


Omar Jimenez, CNN, Detroit.


HOLMES: Sunday was a day of a global protest as tens of thousands marched in support of Palestinians.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free free Palestine! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free free Palestine!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free free Palestine!


HOLMES: In Brussels, demonstrators gathered outside the European Commission headquarters, calling for a ceasefire.

And in Sarajevo, thousands were seen waving Palestinian and Bosnian flags, also demanding a home to the Israeli strikes on Gaza.

Now, the New York Giants on Sunday honored the ten Americans still unaccounted for after the Hamas terror attacks. The team displaying American flags in ten empty seats at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Giants were hosting the Washington Commanders. Hamas released two Americans last week, but the U.S. secretary of state says ten others are unaccounted for and that at least some of them are being held hostage.

A renowned climber known as the French Spider-Man climbed a massive building in Paris to call for peace in the Middle East.

It took Alain Robert two hours to get to the top of the 220-meter tower. He says he's not picking sides in the war but called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to hear each other out.

Otherwise, he says, we are on the verge of World War III.

Thanks for watching, spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Our coverage of Israel at war continues with my friend and colleague, Rosemary Church, next.