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CNN Live Event/Special
Hamas Releases Two Israeli Women Held Hostage In Gaza; Third Convoy Of Aid Enters Gaza, UN Warns It's Not Enough; Aid Group: At Least 2000 Children Killed In Gaza; Israel Preparing "Multilateral Operation" Against Hamas. Hamas Releases Two Israeli Women Held Hostage in Gaza; Parents of Injured Hostage Share Hopes, Fears; Eight U.S. House Republican s Vying for Speaker Role; Palestinians Fear Massive New Displacement. Aired 12-1a ET.
Aired October 24, 2023 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world, I'm John Vause at the CNN Center in Atlanta with our ongoing coverage of Israel's war with Hamas.
And we begin in Gaza where two more women being held hostage have now been released, but the militant group Hamas is still holding more than two hundred civilians, all of them kidnapped 16 days ago during that deadly Hamas attack on Israel.
The hostages have been identified as Israeli's Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz. They were both released at the Rafah Crossing on the border with Egypt, where Red Cross officials took them away by ambulance to be reunited with family at a medical center later in Israel. Qatar and Egypt helped negotiate their freedom.
Hamas officials say the women were released for humanitarian and health reasons. It comes just two days after Hamas set free two American women as well. Right now the precise number of U.S. citizens held by Hamas in Gaza remains unclear.
After the weekend, 10 Americans are now unaccounted for and the Biden administration is urging Israel to delay any ground offensive while hostage negotiations continue with Hamas. Publicly, though, the White House is insisting it has no interest in dictating Israel's military operations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: The Israeli Defense Forces need to decide for themselves how they're going to conduct operations. We're not in the business of dictating terms to them and we're certainly not going to be in the business here in the White House of previewing any future operations one way or the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: And Israel's Defense Minister is giving every indication a ground incursion could happen at any moment, saying the military has been planning a multilateral operation against Hamas from the air, ground, and sea. Joining us Elliott Gotkine is now with us live from London. So what more do we know about this offensive that looks so imminent but seems to be on hold for a variety of reasons?
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: It does seem to be on hold, John, doesn't it? And we have had those words from Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, talking about a trilateral attack from land, from the sea, and from the air. Of course the other day we had the chief of the general staff Herzi Halevi telling troops that they will be going into the Gaza Strip.
We know that the troops that have been gathering in the dusty fields around the Gaza Strip, along with all that military hardware, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and the like, are also carrying out training exercises ahead of an expected ground invasion.
And if that was not enough of an indication, we now also hear that Google Maps and Ways, and I can tell you that everyone in Israel uses Ways, has temporarily disabled live traffic features ahead of what is expected to be this ground invasion. So that is something one imagines that could give indications of troop build ups or where traffic is going.
So that has been temporarily disabled by Google and Ways, Ways which was an Israeli company bought by Google for about a billion dollars, but is now kind of more integrated into the company. So all of these seem to be indicating that we are, again, getting closer to this ground invasion. But, as you say, many reasons for the delay. We understand the U.S. was leaning on Israel to try to get more progress with the release of hostages.
We also know that there are other reasons, perhaps the weather, perhaps gathering more intelligence from Hamas operatives who have been captured by Israel as they interrogate them. And, of course, all the while that air campaign, the bombing campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip is continuing as Israel seeks to take out not just commanders, but also infrastructure and, of course, all the while that goes on, the civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip also rising, John.
VAUSE: Elliott, thank you. Elliott Gotkine, live for us in London with the latest, thank you.
Well a third convoy of humanitarian assistance has arrived in Gaza. The UN says 20 trucks crossed from Egypt Monday, carrying desperately needed supplies of food, water and medicine. But just like the previous two shipments, fuel was not included despite critical shortages across Gaza. And the UN warns the amount of aid being allowed into the enclave is barely a fraction of what is needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANE DUJARRIC, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOKESPERSON: I think as others have said it's a drop in the bucket. [00:05:02]
I mean, I think the number of trucks that usually went into Gaza every day was about 450 or so, and now we're seeing 20 or 30 and we're not seeing any fuel, which is a great concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: According to Palestinian officials, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have intensified the past 24 hours. Even in the south, where at least 28 people were killed and dozens injured near the city of Rafah according to Hamas security officials. Last week Israel told more than a million people in Northern Gaza to relocate to the south for their own safety. And aid groups warn that all that chaos and destruction from unrelenting Israeli airstrikes is taking an outrageous toll on Gaza's children.
One Palestinian human rights group says so far more than two thousand children have been killed in just over two weeks. A number which, for now, remains almost impossible to verify. But still, the number of dead and wounded children has brought calls for an immediate ceasefire to save the children, demanding all parties take steep steps to protect the lives of children in Gaza. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has more now, but her story comes with a warning, it contains graphic video which some viewers will find disturbing.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ , CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The piercing screams of yet another mother who has lost her child. The wails of countless moms and dads haunt Gaza now. Almost two thousand children have been killed here in two weeks, according to the Palestinian ministry of health. Families terrified they may be struck down next are writing the names of their children on their legs in the hope they can identify them in the chaos.
And more are dying by the day as Israel intensifies its airstrikes on what it says are Hamas targets in Gaza. Over two million people, half of them kids, are trapped in this war. The Israeli military, yet again, called on all residents to flee south, an order the UN has previously called inhumane and a potential breach of international law.
But even those who can somehow make the journey under bombardment and under siege find no refuge. This is Khan Yunis in the south of the strip. Death follows families here too. And no one can leave. A complete siege has sealed borders, food, water, medical supplies are running out. Survival is made more difficult by the hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They said to come here, because it is safe, this man says. But last night the airstrikes were the most difficult we've seen so far.
MOTAZ AZAIZA, PALESTINIAN PHOTOJOURNALIST: Heading to the place that get striked. ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): On his social media, Palestinian journalist Motaz is documenting the toll on children. His feed is full of images of innocent faces. Tiny victims terrified and wounded by violence, no one here can tell them when it will end.
AZAIZA: Can anyone just tell me what they did to deserve this? To be murdered this way. I mean, please. Is there any reason why these children, two years, three years, they are murdered in this way.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): There are calls to delay an eminent ground invasion on the enclave from the U.S. and rights groups, but Israel is undeterred, hounding the battered strip with hundreds more airstrikes. A place of suffering, somehow now bracing for even more. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: To Gaza City now we're joined by doctor Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a British Palestinian surgeon working at the Shifa Hospital, the biggest medical facility in Gaza. Doctor, thank you for speaking with us, we appreciate your time, sir.
DR. GHASSAN ABU-SITTAH, SURGEON, WORKING AT SHIFA HOSPITAL IN GAZA CITY: Thank you.
VAUSE: The most urgent need right now in Gaza is what's not coming, and that is fuel. Shifa Hospital runs off two very big generators. If no fuel arrives, and there are no more supplies coming in, when do those generators stop working?
ABU-SITTAH: So, over the last few days, we have been getting increasingly frequent and longer electricity cuts. The real question is, is there anything left of a hospital when there is no electricity? And my answer is no, effectively the hospital will become a mass grave if it runs out of electricity.
We have 160 patients who are ventilated because of the critical nature of their wounds. We cannot run the operating booths, we cannot run the anesthetic machines. Effectively, the hospital, which now has around 1700 wounded patients, three times its capacity, will cease to exist as a hospital.
VAUSE: So, right now, the situation of electricity. We know the Israelis cut off supplies coming in from Israel. The only power station in Gaza is out of fuel. So when you say you have had intermittent power supplies, are you essentially load sharing or going through blackouts or rolling blackouts with your own power supply from those generators trying to make it last longer?
ABU-SITTAH: Yes. I think what's happening is that they are trying to cut down on usage because they have been dependent on the generators for 24 hours since the war started. And so my feeling is, as time passes and fuel supply is less, there are going to have longer and longer outages. VAUSE: Not only do a lot of people there in the ICU and on ventilators because of them being wounded during this conflict with Israel, but you also have an unusually high number of pre-born children who are basically being incubated right now. How many and what is their status and what happens when the power stops?
ABU-SITTAH: I mean, the same situation applies to the incubator units. Shifa has the largest maternity unit in Gaza and its largest neonatal unit. I think over 15 incubators will cease to function once the electricity is out.
VAUSE: So this is essentially, without electricity, there is a countdown to these children dying.
ABU-SITTAH: Absolutely. Absolutely. Not just the children, the wounded, and the ventilating machines, and anyone wounded who needs an anesthetic machine for their surgery.
VAUSE: Medical supplies have been part of the three shipments in recent days, no fuel. How would you describe what you have received in those shipments compared to what you actually need?
ABU-SITTAH: Miniscule. Sending, what, 14, 16 trucks to two and a quarter million people, 14,000 wounded. It will not be sufficient to make any tangible difference to the outcome of their treatment. What we need is a continuous humanitarian corridor, and the cessation of the bombing so that we can evacuate the wounded to a safe place so that medical teams from outside can come in and help, and so that supplies can be replenished. Otherwise these quantities are just there as a media gimmick.
VAUSE: I want to ask you about something the Israeli military told me last week and that is that Hamas, the militant group that is running Gaza right now and responsible for the conflict with Israel, they essentially seized supplies of fuel from a UN compound, enough fuel, according to the Israelis, at least, to run Gaza for a week. So, with that in mind, have you received -- has your hospital received any extra fuel supplies from Hamas at any point?
ABU-SITTAH: I am not aware that the hospital has been receiving any extra fuel supplies. What I understand from the administration is that what we have is what was in the supplies before then. But this also extends to the ambulances. I understand now that the gas stations are only giving health staff and ambulances access to petrol, and so even the ambulance as it stands is saying that unless they have access to petrol, they will not be able to bring in the wounded.
VAUSE: Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, thank you so much for being with us sir, we wish you all the very best of luck. Clearly this is a very difficult time for you and all the staff there at Shifa Hospital. So thank you for being with us.
ABU-SITTAH: Thank you.
VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, Israel prepares for a new phase of this war, but when is it actually going to happen? The latest plans from the Israeli defense minister, just ahead.
VAUSE: For days now Israeli officials have been publicly hinting that a Gaza ground offensive is imminent, many referring to the next phase of the war. But what they haven't said publicly is what that would look like, until now. On Monday, Israel's defense minister released a video statement saying the IDF is preparing a multilateral operation on Hamas from the air, ground, and sea.
By now more than three hundred thousand Israeli troops have amassed on the border with Gaza, and as CNN's Nic Robertson reports, in order to begin this next phase of the war, it could come at any time.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just outside Gaza, farmers fields churn with the controlled fury of a nation readying for an incursion to strike Hamas. Battle ready troops with everything they need, except an order to attack. In part, sources tell CNN, because America wants more hostages released first.
KIRBY: We want to get the rest of them out. And that, you know, you've got to have the ability to continue to negotiate and try to work towards that outcome.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israeli officials denied the White House is leaning on them to ease off on attacks and allow in humanitarian aid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe the best way to get the hostages out is to keep the pressure on.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calculus of when to send in ground troops has never been so fraught. He is vulnerable to White House pressure because Israel needs U.S. weapons. And he is under increasing international pressure over civilian losses in Gaza. So much so it seems to be running down the clock on his plans to smash Hamas for its brutal October seventh attacks.
RON BEN-YISHAI, MILITARY ANALYST: I think both in Washington and in Jerusalem they understand that the legitimization window is closing quickly.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): He is also under pressure at home, too. Military and others hawkish, either to begin a decisive ground attack.
ISRAEL ZIV , FORMER GENERAL, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE: We are finishing preparing, you know, the ground force because we have changed plans and we are going for every maneuvering.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Where, less than a week ago, these fields were teeming with tanks, troops making last-minute repairs. Today, there are just tracks in the sand.
ROBERTSON: There's a soldier's jacket here. Bread in a bag on a table. The question is where have all the tanks gone? Forward for an incursion or back to base before a pause?
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Close to the front line in Gaza, these days, more questions than answers. International diplomacy, it seems, pushing military plans off track.
BEN-YISHAI: The pressure from Washington is real. It is real and strong and the prime minister says many times to his ministers, listen, we are getting from the United States more than you know.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): The IDF, however, refuting reports in Israeli media of a growing rift between Netanyahu and his military commanders. Nic Robertson, CNN, Sderot, Israel.
VAUSE: General Wesley Clark is a CNN military analyst and former NATO supreme allied commander. He joins us this hour from New York. It's good to see you, sir.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: So, the Israeli defense minister was at an IDF naval base in Ashton. He made a few brief remarks about the plans for a Gaza incursion. This is what he said, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (though translator): Keep preparing for our operation. It will come soon. We are preparing thoroughly for the next step. A multilateral operation in the air, ground, and sea. Do your work, get ready. We will need you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: There is also this reporting, the times of Israel learned that, after 16 days of airstrikes, the IDF has told the government that it is fully prepared for a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, and believes it can achieve the goals set out for it, even at the risk of heavy casualties to soldiers, and amid ongoing attacks by Hezbollah in the north.
If the Israeli military has been doing its job it seems it would be preparing for a ground incursion into Gaza long before this latest conflict. So, if the IDF is ready in terms of a military offensive, does that now mean the question of timing comes down to outside factors, political questions, negotiations, for example, over hostages, that kind of thing?
CLARK: Sure, it does come down to that. But not just about the hostages. This is also about what's happening in the north, it's about the larger diplomatic picture. It's about trying to get the conditions set so that when the force goes in it has the greatest possible amount of international support and the greatest possible pressure on Iran and Hezbollah not to intervene. So, it's not just about the hostages, although that's certainly an important consideration.
VAUSE: Yeah, one of the other things, also, which is of concern to many countries around the world is the civilian death toll in Gaza. It is high and there is obviously this concern that it will grow higher once this ground invasion gets underway. Here's U.S. National Security Spokesperson John Kirby.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRBY: We have, since the beginning of the conflict in the early hours, maintained a level of communication with our Israeli counterparts to ascertain their intentions, their strategy, their aims, to see what their answers are to the kinds of tough questions that any military ought to be asking before you launch any kind of a major operation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So what tough questions would you be asking the Israelis at this point?
CLARK: Well, the first thing is what's the end state? Well we have to be careful about this because there are -- it is pretty clear the end stage should be the Palestinian authority coming in and reasserting its leadership over that part of the Palestinian people living in Gaza. That was the original intent before Hamas took over, but, we are not going to be able to get the Palestinian authority to commit to that in advance of the Israeli operation.
There is too much heated, too much passion, too many problems, too much anger in the Arab Street. The fighting in the West Bank, for example. And so no Palestinian leader is going to raise his hand and say I will work with Israel on this. That has to be developed going along. But that's not a reason not to do the operation. We have to be careful. Now, having said that, then you are going to want, military to military, to ask the Israelis, what do you need? How will you do it?
And they'll tell you some of the secrets, they're not going to tell us all the secrets probably. But they are going to face tough obstacles to get in, improvised explosive devices, ambushes, and so forth. There are tunnels in there, they probably have some forces already in there in a forward reconnaissance role.
It will be a reconnaissance-led effort. Air and ground reconnaissance. There are going to be mistakes made and a lot of casualties. And so it's going to be very painful. But the United States has said that we are fully in support and that is what the White House is showing.
VAUSE: What sort of response do you think will Hamas have waiting for Israeli troops? Because that will be beyond the ordinary as well. It doesn't really make a lot of sense that Hamas leaders would spend two years planning an assault on Israel, a very deadly one, only to be captured and killed by the IDF?
CLARK: You know, it's been apparent from the beginning that Hamas knew what would happen. They go out and capture and kill as many people or create mayhem. They know the Israelis are going to come back. So it's at least a two phased operation from Hamas' viewpoint. It's, number one, rough up Israel.
Number two, when Israel invades, suck them in, kill as many as possible, make them look as bad in world opinion, isolate them, and then maybe there is a third phase, which is Hezbollah coming in from the north or some other intervening force from the outside. But, for Hamas, this is sort of go for broke time.
They knew what was going to happen, they have been preparing for it, they have got two million civilian hostages in there that they will use at every opportunity not only to hide behind in a shootout, but also to use to attack Israel's use of the laws of land warfare and Israel's methods in combat. So this is going to be a really tough fight, kinetic and non-kinetic.
VAUSE: General Clark, great to have you with us. We really appreciate your insights.
CLARK: Thank you.
VAUSE: And we will take a short break. When we come back here on CNN, the family of a young American Israeli man kidnapped by Hamas is speaking to CNN. Sharing their hopes for their son, as well as their calls for an urgent international response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The support is there. The empathy is there from the U.S. We are obviously hungry for more than that. We want action, we want results.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back. Thirty-one minutes past the hour.
We have an update now on the major developments in Israel's war with Hamas. The families of more than 200 hostages being held in Gaza have been given some hope with the release of two more civilians who were released on Monday.
Two Israeli women, Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, were released by Hamas to the Red Cross. Hamas says they were set free for health and humanitarian reasons.
CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with the grandson of one of the women about her current condition. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL LIFSHITZ, GRANDSON OF FREED HOSTAGE: She's talking. She's -- she can walk. She can hug her grandchildren, which are very happy for that, and we are very glad to meet her. It is incredible that we see her. We -- we couldn't imagine that it will happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Lifshitz's daughter says she is now trying to secure her father's release, who's also believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.
Red Cross says it's ready to help facilitate future releases, as well, should they happen.
Well, the release of four hostages overall is bringing some hope to those -- of those families whose relatives are still being held. And there is also hope for another family, now knowing their son might be among them.
Israeli-American Hersh Goldberg-Polin was at that music festival, where 260 people were killed by Hamas militants more than two weeks ago.
His parents spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper not long after the attack, describing their son's injuries and fears for his safety.
After that interview Anderson realize he had seen their sign Hersh before, in a video taken at the music festival during the Hamas attack. On that video, Hersh is seen alive, badly wounded after losing part of an arm from a grenade blast, but still able to walk.
A short time ago his parents spoke again with Anderson, and they told the world they want the world to see what Hamas has done to their son. And a warning: the video you're about to see is graphic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allah akbar. Allah akbar.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): "God is great," the gunman shouts, recording on his phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: Hurry, come! We have a prisoner. A prisoner!
COOPER: He checks a car, looking for anyone else hiding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: You mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
COOPER (voice-over): Other gunmen shout as they bring survivors from the shelter. "Come, come," they yell. "Load them."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: Load, load, load them. Come on!
COOPER (voice-over): That's Hersh on the right with another hostage. His left hand and part of his arm is blown off. The bone sticks out. The other hostage appears wounded, as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: Bring them from within. Yalla, keep loading them. Load them. Load, load.
COOPER (voice-over): Another wounded hostage is dragged by his hair and tossed into the truck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: Keep loading. We'll show you.
COOPER (voice-over): A fourth man is thrown on top of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: Bring them. Come on, bring the one from there.
COOPER: When I sent the video to you, what was your initial --?
JON POLIN, SON ABDUCTED BY HAMAS AT MUSIC FESTIVAL: First of all, it's a crazy sequence of events that we talked to you through a computer screen, and then get a phone call from you saying, "I have a video of your son."
COOPER: I didn't want to say it on live television.
RACHEL GOLDBERG, SON ABDUCTED BY HAMAS AT MUSIC FESTIVAL: Which we so appreciated.
COOPER: Of course.
GOLDBERG: The way everything that has unfolded, the gentleness that you used, because at the end of the day, you're a journalist, and journalists want a story. And that could have been dealt with in many other ways that were not kind and gentle.
POLIN: So first, seeing that video, in general, gave us a dose of optimism. And as horrible as it is as a parent, to see your kid under gunpoint, being pushed, with one arm. The composure with which he's walking on his own legs, pulling himself with his one weak hand -- he's a lefty, and his left arm was blown off. Pulling himself with his one weak hand onto the truck, gave me a real dose of strength that he's handling a horrible situation, and he's doing it with composure.
GOLDBERG: We're seeing he walked out calmly, which he did, but I think it was from shock.
COOPER (voice-over): They have this photo taken inside the shelter, before Hamas gunmen throwing grenades inside. Rachel says as many as 29 people were crammed together. That's Hersh, and this is his friend Aner Shapira.
GOLDBERG: So Hersh and Aner went to the festival together. They've known each other since they were kids.
Aner was by the door, and Aner, by everyone's account who we spoke to, as they were throwing in grenades, he would keep picking them up and throwing them out. Picking them up and throwing them out. All these witnesses say there were 11 grenades thrown in. He threw out eight.
COOPER (voice-over): Rachel says eight people survived and avoided capture by hiding under the blown-up bodies of the dead, but Aner Shapira didn't make it out alive.
GOLDBERG: His parents, they just came to her house on Friday, and the people who are identifying bodies actually let them know that they identified him with DNA, but in his hand he was holding a grenade. His dead body had a grenade in it, in his hand.
COOPER: That's incredible.
GOLDBERG: He's the real hero. Those eight people, and even the people who walked out and are now in Gaza, it's because of Aner.
COOPER: How are you able to get through each day?
GOLDBERG: I personally feel like we have to keep running to the end of the earth to save him. And we have to try to go, believing that somehow, he got treatment, and he's there. And he's in pain, and he's suffering, but he's alive, and he's there.
And there are also the moments in this universe that we now live, where you say maybe he died on that truck. Maybe he bled out in that chalk. Maybe he died yesterday. Maybe he died five minutes ago.
And there are those moments where you think, how are these thoughts even -- I don't understand these thoughts. But they're real thoughts.
COOPER (voice-over): They often go down to see their son's room.
COOPER: This is Hersh's room?
GOLDBERG: This is Hersh's room. This is also our -- it's a steel door because it's our --
COOPER: Safe room.
GOLDBERG: -- bomb shelter.
COOPER (voice-over): You can feel him here, close: his globe, his books and mementos. It's all just as he left them. Rachel did make his bed, however. She wants it ready for when he returns.
GOLDBERG: We have a porch that's facing South. And on Friday night, I was, like, screaming to him and hoping. Because Friday night, you know, we bless our children traditionally. And traditionally, you bless your children on Friday night. So I was screaming toward -- it's a traditional blessing. And so I was screaming the blessing to him with my hands up. I usually put my hands on his head when he's home. So --
COOPER: What does the blessing say?
GOLDBERG: It says up may God bless you and keep you. May God -- may God's face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God's countenance be lifted up towards you and give you peace. So --
COOPER: What do you want people to know about Hersh?
GOLDBERG: He's just a super-curious kid, and this wanderlust that he developed when he was 6 or 7 years old has been his life, you know, obsession. Always asking for maps, and globes, and atlases, for his bar mitzvah.
Really, you know, these last few years, he's saved every penny to go on this trip that he has a ticket for on December 27. He was going to go to India and then all points East.
COOPER: Rachel and Jon were just on the cover of "TIME" magazine. They're trying to get the world to pay attention to the plight of the hostages, particularly those like Hersh, who have serious wounds or medical issues.
POLIN: As American Israelis, we've been embraced by the U.S. government. The support is there. The empathy is there from the U.S. We're obviously hungering for more than that. We want action. We want results.
There are hostages from somewhere around 30 countries. Why have we not yet seen prime ministers, foreign ministers, global leaders screaming to get the wounded help?
COOPER (voice-over): Rachel also got to be on a call with other American families and President Biden.
POLIN: He stayed for 90 minutes, and he listened to us, and he cried with us.
GOLDBERG: "I know loss. I've lost two children. I lost my wife, and I'm telling you that you need to go through this. But you also need to remember that you will be strong again for your family."
And he said things that, because he knows loss. So it wasn't platitudes. It was someone speaking who had -- who has lost children, speaking to a mother who lost her two children. And it was -- it was a real moment of coming together, just as people who know what pain is. You know, this very excruciating part of pain.
COOPER: This is a particular kind of pain. GOLDBERG: Correct. There's no playbook for this, that we know of, of
the game daily, is he alive? Is he getting treatment? Did he die 15 days ago?
Like, we're on the head of a pin. And every direction you fall is a bad direction. So a lot of how we get through the day, when you asked that before, is we're trying to balance on the head of the pin and just get everything done with the hope that he'll come home to us alive. And he'll go on that trip with one hand.
COOPER: Anderson Cooper, CNN, Jerusalem.
VAUSE: Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House will try again Tuesday to decide who will be their nominee for speaker, three weeks after Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the job by his own party.
Eight candidates now vying for the gavel, and deep divisions remain over who should be McCarthy's replacement. And for the very latest, here's CNN's Manu Raju.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican s emerged from closed doors tonight, still divided about the way forward. Uncertain about whether their eventual speaker nominee can get the votes he will need on the House floor to be elected speaker.
Even though we are about three weeks now since Kevin McCarthy was ousted in an unprecedented fashion. The first time a sitting speaker was pushed out by his colleagues and unable to act, completely paralyzed in the House because of that effort to successfully oust Kevin McCarthy.
Still no closer to getting a speaker, even though there are eight candidates now in the race. Everything from Republican Whip Tom Emmer, including some more junior members, including Byron Donalds a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
All down the line, making with their pitch to their colleagues behind closed doors.
RAJU: But members have emerged, making it very clear that their constituents are frustrated, and that they are concerned that this dysfunction could cost them the House majority next November.
How does this effect on the GOP?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I -- it reflects on our governing. REP. VERN BUCHANAN (R-FL): People are very angry, upset. I just got back from back in the district in Sarasota, Florida. People are very worked up down there about that, and they think all of us are -- are incapable.
REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): We're going to have to figure out how to get our act together. I mean, big boys and big girls have got to quit making excuses, and we've just got to go get it done.
RAJU (voice-over): Now, Tuesday will be a leadership election in which the winner, who would be the speaker nominee, must get --
RAJU: -- a majority of the conference vote. But that is different than a majority of the full House. There are 221 members of the House Republican conference. In order to be elected speaker, you need to get 217 votes on the House floor, meaning you cannot lose more than four Republican votes.
And at the moment, it's uncertain whether any of these candidates can do just that. If they can't, then it could take some time to actually get to a floor vote.
Or we could see this stalemate persist, and others talking about other avenues to try to reopen the House as this moves onto its fourth week. This paralyzed chamber, with members uncertain about how to resolve this crisis at this moment.
If any of these candidates can get their key issues -- like funding the government, aide to Israel, aid to Ukraine -- all awaiting action as the House remains completely stalled amid this GOP leadership crisis.
Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
VAUSE: When we come back, just as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are being told to leave their homes in Northern Gaza, we'll look at what life has been like for Palestinian refugees living in Jordan.
VAUSE: Young and old, soldiers and civilians. They're the faces of the new exhibit at Tel Aviv University, showing the victims of the October 7th Hamas attack.
Thirteen hundred seats of the campus auditorium are filled with images of the missing and the dead. Notably, more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since this began.
The Israel Defense Forces says 220 are now being held in Gaza. And the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Health Ministry says more than 5,000 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The exhibit at Tel Aviv university was organized by the student union as part of a wider anti-terror project.
The day after Israel declared independence in 1948, five Arab nations declared war and lost. And hundreds of thousands of Arabs who were living in what is now Israel, fled their homes for refugee camps.
CNN's Nada Bashir spoke to some Palestinian refugees in Jordan, who are now terrified that history will repeat.
NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through the narrow streets of Amman's Jabel el-Hussein refugee camp, the mood is clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No America, no America.
BASHIR (voice-over): Established more than 70 years ago, this community is now home to more than 30,000 Palestinian refugees. Just a fraction of the more than 700,000 who were expelled or forced to flee their homes from the 1948 Israeli-Arab War.
Families in this camp know the pain of exile all too well. Denied by Israel, the right to return to their homeland, it is a life sentence to separation from family, from friends, from home.
For those with loved ones still in Gaza, it is a sentence to the cruelest form of anguish.
ABD MUNIM SADDO DABABCH, PALESTINIAN REFUGEE IN JORDAN (through translator): Are we not human to you, because we are Palestinian? At any given moment, I could get a phone call saying that my sister and her children are killed. You know, my mother was killed during the Gaza war in 2009. I hadn't seen her for 12 years.
BASHIR (voice-over): Ali al-Ottleh says that he has more than 70 relatives in Gaza that have already been killed in this latest round of Israeli airstrikes.
ALI AMEEN AL-OTTLEH, PALESTINIAN REFUGEE IN JORDAN (through translator): Our home is Palestine. We will never forget about Palestine. Imagine being forced out of your home for 75 years. We've already spent 75 years as refugees. How could you expect the Palestinians to leave their homes and move to Egypt or elsewhere?
BASHIR (voice-over): Now, the prospect of thousands more Palestinians being forcibly displaced in neighboring countries, or even further afield, has been condemned by leaders across the Arab world and has been characterized by both the king of Jordan, and other officials, as both a war crime and a red line for the country.
MUSTAFA AL-HAMAMEH, JORDANIAN SENATOR: The Israelis were always adamant about no return of refugees. And that's why the Palestinians cling to what they call the law of return, or the right of return back. So any eviction, any new mass of Palestinian refugees, for us is a repeat of 1948.
BASHIR (voice-over): That fear of history repeating itself, of another nekbat, or catastrophe, as Palestinians describe it, is felt across the region.
Many of Haniah Sadawi's relatives are trapped in Gaza. Now, Haniah spends every morning calling loved ones, hoping they are still alive.
HANIAH AL-SADAWI, PALESTINIAN LIVING IN JORDAN: I don't even know whether my family is going to be able to go back to their homes, if they love homes to go back to. And of course, the biggest fear is that they're going to be evacuated and turned into refugees. They don't want to move. They would rather die in Gaza than move.
BASHIR (voice-over): The connection felt by Palestinians to their homeland is hard to overstate.
At this church vigil in Amman, a poignant moment of remembrance. "Oh, Jerusalem," they sing, a 1960s melody beloved across the region, dedicated to the holy city and to the Palestinian struggle.
A cause which has caused drawn people of all faiths, of all walks of life together with a message of enduring solidarity.
Nada Bashir, CNN, in Amman, Jordan.
VAUSE: This just into CNN. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has now arrived in Tel Aviv just a short time ago. This trip is to show solidarity with Israel and its war against Hamas.
He's the third world leader to make this trip to Israel in about the past week or so. President -- U.S. President Joe Biden was there on Tuesday. The U.K. prime minister, Rishi Sunak, followed him a day later.
Whilst Emmanuel Macron is there, he will meet with Israel's president, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And he'll be pushing, we're told, for a humanitarian pause in the Israeli air strikes, while stressing the need for a two-state solution, for some kind of way to resolve this conflict.
A source says he's also likely to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, possibly even tomorrow in the West Bank. More details on that as we get it.
I'm John Vause, back with more of our continuing coverage of Israel's war against Hamas, right after this.