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CNN Live Event/Special
Israel PM Warns Ground Offensive Into Gaza "Is Coming"; Tempers Flare At UN Meeting Amid Ceasefire Calls; UN Chief Stresses Urgent Need For More Aid To Gaza; Israeli Woman Describes Raid And Kidnapping By Hamas Gunmen; Intensive Talks Ongoing To Free Hostages Held By Hamas; Gaza Death Toll Rises As Humanitarian Crisis Deepens; Republicans Name New US House Speaker Nominee; Trump's Legal Troubles Hanging Over His 2024 Candidacy; CNN Visits Israeli Community Near Gaza Border; Tensions High in West Bank Amid Violence in Gaza. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 25, 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 everyone, I'm John Vause, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. And we begin on the border with Gaza, where the clock is ticking down to an Israeli ground offensive while negotiations continue to try and free more than two hundred hostages being held by Hamas, and other militant groups in Gaza.
Sources say those negotiations appear to have reached an impasse overHamas demands for fuel. Israel says that is a nonstarter. At the same time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to reassure troops who have been on standby for more than two weeks the ground offensive is still on track with just one goal to smash Hamas. Retaliation for the militant group's October seventh attack which left more than 1400 civilians in Israel dead.
Even before any ground incursion, unrelenting Israeli airstrikes have had a devastating impact on Gaza and more than two million Palestinians who live there are now facing a dire humanitarian crisis.
On Tuesday, only eighth of an expected 28 trucks crossed over from Egypt and as the civilian death toll in Gaza climbs higher, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire bringing an angry backlash from Israeli diplomats. Guterres said the appalling acts of Hamas do not justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people, and that said delivered to Gaza so far does not match the enormous need.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: Relief is finally getting into Gaza but it is a drop of aid in an ocean of need. In addition, our UN fuel supplies in Gaza will run out in a matter of days, and that will be another disaster. Without fuel, aid cannot be delivered, hospitals will not have power, and drinking water cannot be purified or even pumped. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us Elliott Gotkine is with us live from London with more on this. And I guess Elliott, the key question here now is fuel and it seems like they were reaching some kind of point here, crunch time if you like, but if fuel doesn't arrive then operations in a variety of places, hospitals, UNRWA, wherever across Gaza just stop.
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: That is right John. And six hospitals have already closed. UNRWA, this is the United Nations relief and works agency for Palestinian refugees, they are saying that they will have to cease operations as of this evening if they do not get fuel into the Gaza Strip. And Israel's argument is simply that if they do allow fuel into the Gaza Strip, it will simply be pinched, it will be stolen, taken by Hamas militants, and used for their war machine.
And Israel does not want to do that. So we are at a bit of an impasse right now but pressure is clearly building on Israel to allow fuel into the Gaza Strip, in addition to the other humanitarian supplies that have already begun to trickle in. But as the UN secretary general was saying, more aid is needed. There are reports of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip having to drink salty and dirty water, leading to further concerns of illness and disease spreading in the Gaza Strip as well.
And all the while, we have now also got calls from the UN secretary general for this ceasefire, the response from Israel's foreign minister Eli Cohen was shame on him after not just the call for the cease-fire, but for saying that the Hamas attacks of October the seventh did not happen in a vacuum, that they happened after 56 years of in his words, suffocating occupation by the Israelis. That clearly did not go down well in Israel which still is saying that this ground offensive is going to take place.
But pressure is building, not just to let more humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip, but also on Israel before it's really even got going. We knew that the response from Israel was going to be bigger than we have seen in the past after those savage attacks of Hamas on October the seventh, and the gloves were off this time. And we also knew predictably that as that air campaign began, that civilian casualties were going to rise even if Israel is just targeting Hamas militants and their infrastructure and the like.
And so this is the problem because you have got the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying yesterday that the war is just starting. Yet pressure is building on Israel and it has not even achieved any of its main objectives. It hasn't got the 220, just under, hostages that Hamas is still holding that it abducted on October the seventh.
It hasn't destroyed Hamas' infrastructure, it has clearly destroyed some of, it has not taken out all the militant groups, rockets are still being fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. So Israel will be very reluctant to engage in any kind of cease-fire right now, and it hasn't even achieved any of its main objectives. The main one, it says, being able to destroy Hamas, to prevent it from
ever being able to carry out an attack on that scale again. To prevent it from governing the Gaza strip. And of course to get those hostages home. And it is hard to see Israel heeding these calls for a cease- fire before it is achieved any of those objectives, John.
VAUSE: Elliott, thank you. Elliott Gotkine, live for us in London. Well the Israeli ambassador to the UN has warned Israel's assault in Gaza will not let up until all hostages are released. In recent days, Hamas set free four women, two American and two Israeli. We are learning more details from one hostage about her ordeal in Gaza, where she says Hamas gunmen took her underground to a vast network of tunnels which she said was like a spider web. CNN's Matthew Chance has our report, and a warning, his report contains graphic content.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the extraordinary moment an 85-year-old Israeli grandmother was released by Hamas. In video recorded by the militant group, you can see her shaking the hand of a masked gunman, shalom, or peace, she says as she is led away. Back in Israel, Yocheved Lifshitz is speaking about her hostage ordeal.
YOCHEVED LIFSHITZ, ISRAELI HOSTAGE RELEASED BY HAMAS (through translator): I went through hell, they went on a rampage in our kibbutz. They kidnapped me, lay me over a motorcycle on the side and flee with me through the ploughed fields. They stormed our houses, beat people, some of them like me kidnapped. They did not distinguish between old and young.
CHANCE (voice-over): The Hamas attack on her kibbutz of Nir Oz in Southern Israel earlier this month left a quarter of its residents killed or kidnapped, including many children according to Israeli officials. Yocheved described as she was forcibly driven away with her elderly husband and hit with sticks on the journey into Gaza. Her daughter who helped translate her mother's ordeal to reporters described where her mom and several other Israeli hostages were held underground in Gaza.
SHARONE LIFSCHITZ, DAUGHTER OF FREED ISRAELI HOSTAGE: There are huge network of tunnels underneath. It looks like a spider web.
CHANCE (voice-over): The October seventh attacks, many of them recorded by Hamas gunmen themselves, as they rampaged through Israeli communities, took an unprecedented toll. Leaving at least 1400 Israelis dead, and more than two hundred like Yocheved kidnapped and taken to Gaza.
LIFSHITZ (through translator): The lack of knowledge in the army in Shin Bet harmed us very much. We were warned three weeks ahead of it. They showed us, masses reaching the road. They sent fire balloons to burn our fields, and the army somehow did not take it seriously.
CAHNCE (voice-over): A catastrophic lapse in security, that left so many Israelis exposed. Matthew Chance, CNN, Tel Aviv. (END VIDEOTAPE)
VAUSE: And joining us now is Christopher O'Leary, senior vice president with the Soufan Group which advises both governments and the private sector about global security. He's also the government's former director of hostage rescue and recovery. Christopher, thank you for being with us.
CHRISTOPHER O'LEARY, SVP FOR GLOBAL OPERATIONS, THE SOUFAN GROUP: Good to be here.
VAUSE: So hostage negotiations between Hamas and Israel are taking place via Qatar and Egypt, and CNN reports as part of the negotiations, Hamas wants more fuel allowed into the coastal enclave, according to a person familiar with the group's demands, but Israeli officials have made clear publicly that that isn't negotiable. And here's Mark Regev, a senior aide to the Israeli prime minister explaining why. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISOR TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The government decision is that fuel does not go in because it will be stolen by Hamas, and it'll be used by them to power rockets that are fired into Israel to kill our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAUSE: So right now, are the odds pretty slim about any kind of a breakthrough here? And is the bottom line for Israel simply damned if they do and damned if they don't?
O'LEARY: So, yes, they are damned either way. They have to continue negotiations, Hamas is being very calculated about everything they are doing, the release of the hostages up to this point has been calculated. It was a manipulative step releasing Americans first to sow some discord and build a little friction between the United States and Israel.
Now releasing two elderly Israeli citizens, also creating some doubt within Israel for the hostage families asking things to be delayed, so there's other opportunities, but the negotiations have to continue. But for Israel it is an opportunity to get some small victories, but also gather information and intelligence about where the other hostages are, also identifying all of them. Not all hostages or potential hostages are fully identified. So negotiations are an opportunity to gather information as well.
VAUSE: There are other factors here, you sort of touched on it. These hostages are from a number of different countries, and still yet to be all identified, and not all of them are being held by Hamas, other militant groups in Gaza like the Islamic Jihad reportedly holding a small number as well, they're scattered across Gaza. So how much more complicated does all of this make these negotiations? O'LEARY: It makes them quite a bit more complicated. First off, Palestinian Islamic Jihad is more Islamist and more radical than Hamas is, although Hamas probably changed the calculus a little bit with October seventh and their activities.
But Palestinian Islamic Jihad is an extension and was born out of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which, if you peel that back a little bit, some of the founders of Al-Qaeda came from EIJ, and they are, you know, very militant, very Islamist and traditionally Hamas has been a little more nationalistic and, you know, with Islamist leanings although that has been turned on its head in recent weeks.
But trying to negotiate with Hamas, who does not have control of all the hostages, makes it a much more challenging negotiation to try to get all of the hostages out at some point.
VAUSE: And right now more than three hundred thousand Israeli troops amassed on the border with Gaza, the IDF says they are ready for a ground offensive. That level of readiness comes with a time limit. So how much more time do these negotiations have from a military point of view, and once that offensive begins, what are the chances of rescuing the hostages, any kind of operation to get them out of Gaza?
O'LEARY: Going into Gaza is going to be extremely difficult and complex, having spent time in places like Fallujah and Mosal. Gaza is much denser because they had limited geography in Gaza, they've built buildings up whereas if you look across the Middle East, most Middle East cities have, you know, buildings that are on average two or three stories with open rooftops, the families sleep on the roof during the hotter months.
You know, Gaza is much more complex making any kind of hostage rescue very difficult. It is a 360 degree threat picture, and also has been widely reported potentially hundreds of miles of reinforced tunnels, which is likely where all the hostages are being held.
VAUSE: Christopher, thank you for being with us. We appreciate your time and your insights as well.
O'LEARY: Good to be here.
VAUSE: The little humanitarian assistance allowed into Gaza is coming via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. A few other Israeli crossings remain closed. And now new satellite images appeared to show the Egyptians are sealing the crossing point with cement slabs in between aid convoys.
Inside Gaza, near constant Israeli airstrikes have left behind a level of destruction like never before. And warnings from aid groups of humanitarian catastrophe are growing louder. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has more on the civilians caught in the crossfire, and warning her story contains graphic images.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Moments after an overnight strike in Gaza, stunned survivors stumble out. People nearby rush to help. There is no ambulance, we have to get people out, a man shouts. Men dig with bare hands. It is dark, dusty. The screams are jarring. Look at the children, look at the children, he says. It is sheer chaos and carnage.
This is the aftermath of just one of the hundreds of bombings a day that batter the Gaza Strip, the scene captured by a journalist. Israel says it is targeting Hamas and aims to wipe out the group, but Palestinians and aid agencies say it is civilians that are dying by the hundreds. Drone footage shows entire neighborhoods already leveled by the near constant bombardment, nothing is spared.
Schools, mosques, shelters, medical centers all struck according to the United Nations. Gaza is all too familiar with war, but has never seen it on this scale. And for survivors, there is little life left here. Baby Sanat Al-Halabi is now an orphan, but he is far too young to understand that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What did this little boy do, an airstrike hit his house when he was sleeping, his uncle says. His whole family was killed. He is the only survivor. Stop this. Stop this suffering.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): There are calls for Israel to pause hostilities, but the IDF is only ramping up its attacks and preparing for what's expected to be a full on ground invasion of the enclave. But Gazans say they can endure no more. Amar Al Batah says nearly 50 members of his extended family were killed after they followed Israel's evacuation instructions.
AMAR AL BATAH, GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): We were hosting our family from the north, 50 to 70 people, because it was supposed to be safe, he says. But at dawn, our home was bombed. We don't know what to do. We have lost our minds.
ABDELAZIZ: Gaza is praying for relief. But the cries of anguish here are so far unheard. The bloodshed won't stop. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
VAUSE: When we come back here on CNN, number five, come on down. US Republicans nominate another potential House speaker, but will he too fall victim of party infighting and feuds?
VAUSE: Three weeks after Kevin McCarthy was ousted as US House speaker, Representative Mike Johnston is now the latest Republican nominee in the carousel of candidates. After winning their nomination in the party room, Johnson will now face a vote on the House floor Wednesday. That is where it all gets a little bit dicey with just a small number of Republican law-makers able to derail the election. CNN's Manu Raju has the very latest now reporting in from Capitol Hill.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: House Republicans say they are ready to end weeks of bickering, internal feuding, and the first ever ouster of a sitting speaker that has left the chamber paralyzed for the past three weeks. They say they are ready to put that to an end in the aftermath of Congressman Mike Johnston, a Louisiana Republican who was nominated as the speaker designate, someone who needs actually the votes of the full House, 217 votes in order to be elected on Wednesday at noon.
He plans to take it to the floor. This coming after three other nominees saw their bids collapse, including one Congressman Tom Emmer just earlier in the afternoon, just a couple hours after he won his party's nomination faced a fierce backlash on the right and then decided it was time for him to drop out because he had no path to the speakership. Well, Mike Johnson then won the nomination himself, the fourth time a nominee has come forward in the aftermath of Kevin McCarthy's ouster. There was some concern inside the room.
There were roughly 44 members who voted for other candidates, someone who is not Mike Johnson or any of the other declared candidates. Ultimately though some of those came to his side when it came to one of the final vote to decide whether or not they would back him on the floor. It were 22 members who were missing from that vote and also three members who voted present.
And Mike Johnson on the floor on Wednesday can only afford to lose four Republican votes, so he has some work to go, but still there is confidence in the ranks that after all of this infighting that even though the members who finally opposed pushing out Kevin McCarthy even they say it is time to put this to an end and back Mike Johnson to the speakership.
MIKE JOHNSON, US HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Democracy is messy sometimes, but it is our system. This conference, and you see, this House Republican majority is united.
RAJU: But even if Mike Johnson wins this vote on Wednesday, there are such huge issues confronting the next speaker, and they'll have to not just put back the pieces together but start to put together a strategy that is essentially in shambles, a legislative strategy and an agenda that has been completely derailed by this infighting.
And some of the key issues on the table, how to deal with aid to Israel, how to deal with aid to Ukraine, the White House and Senate Republican leaders want to tie that issue together. How will they deal with that in the House when there has been resistance to the idea of tying Ukraine aid to Israel aid. Also avoiding a government shutdown by mid November, something that could cause a huge fight within the ranks as well.
So, so many questions for Congressman Johnson. If he does win the speakership, major issues await him. And could he run into the same problems that Kevin McCarthy did, and end his speakership? That is also a huge question for his future as the House tries to move past this ugly period. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is just an extraordinary spectacle that we are watching, you know, and there are many reasons for this. Obviously it is a reflection in some ways of the fissures within the party that have been widened in the Trump era. I mean the Trump wing is clearly the dominant wing of the party. You saw how decisively and quickly his intervention doomed the Emmer candidacy.
But there is also a breakdown in the fundamental party discipline that we are watching. You know there have been a lot of commentators and academics, myself included, who have felt that over really the past three or four decades, our congress has become more like a parliamentary institution that is common abroad in Australia or the UK where there is elevated levels of party discipline.
Here we are watching each side, each wing in the party repeatedly veto the plurality or majority choice of the caucus overall, because they don't like it. And, you know, that could go on forever, unless at some point one wing blinks --
VAUSE: Yeah well Tom Emmer, as you say, he dropped out mostly because of opposition from Donald Trump and his supporters in congress, among them Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE, US HOUSE REPUBLICAN: He didnt object to Joe Biden's electoral college votes, he voted with the Democrats to overturn President Trump's ban on transgender in the military. He has a voting record I couldn't support and most Republicans, conservative Republicans, don't support. I think we need a speaker of the House that reflects the views of Republican voters, and Republican voters largely support President Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: What was interesting listening to Greene there was making a distinction between Republicans and conservative Republicans. It seems to go to your point and says a lot about where the GOP is in terms of mainstream versus MAGA.
BROWNSTEIN: Look, what Marjorie Taylor Greene put forward there was a merger of anarchy because there are 18 House Republicans and districts that Biden won, there are another 15 in districts that Trump only narrowly won. And by definition you cannot have someone who is fully acceptable to the voters in Margie Taylor Greene's district, and someone who is fully acceptable to the voters in the district say of the Republicans in NewYork who won seats that Biden carried. It is an impossibility because the districts are so different. And
that is why the history has been, you can vote against your party on individual issues, on occasion, you're supposed to stand with your party on the organization of the chamber self, and the breakdown of that just shows the kind of corrosive rot that has settled in to the Republican House in terms of its commitment to governing.
VAUSE: Well on Tuesday I guess it was a win for Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, but two big blows with regards to legal problems. ABC News is reporting his former chief of staff has been granted immunity in the election interference case, Mark Meadows already telling the special prosecutor he had actually warned Trump about making baseless claims that the election was rigged, at the same time Jenna Ellis, a lawyer on the Trump campaign, is going to have to deal with prosecutors in Georgia, a guilty plea in return for no jail time.
So right now there are two people who are very, very close to Donald Trump in very different capacities, who have flipped and are now testifying to prosecutors in his legal trouble. While politically at the same time, Trump still has enough influence to decide who will be or will not be the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
BROWNSTEIN: Attempting to subvert the 2020 election result is not viewed by most Republican voters or elected officials as a disqualifying action, as something that renders Trump or others who participated unfit for leadership in the party. The question is whether the full electorate is going to agree. And in that question, critical to that I think, is what happens if -- are any of these cases involving Trump decided before the election?
We know in polling that the vast majority of Republicans say they want him to be president again even if he is convicted of a crime. Well 65 percent of Independents say they do not want him to be president again if convicted of a crime. It does not mean Biden is really going to win 65 percent of Independents in a race against Trump because a lot of those Independents are dissatisfied with him too.
But the issue of how the electorate responds, beyond this universe of Republicans who have been talking about, whether in the primary or in the House, if Trump is in fact convicted of a very serious 91 criminal charges he is facing, That I think it remains a very open question and one in which the outcome could be quite different from what we are seeing, the collective shrug from Republican voters and leaders alike to all of this gathering evidence against him.
VAUSE: Ron, we'll leave it there. Great to have you with us. Thank you sir, good to see you.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.
VAUSE: When we come back, the terrifying moments Hamas militants paraglided into Israel, and murdered at least 20 people in a nearby town.
VAUSE: Coming up to 32 minutes past the hour. Welcome back, everyone.
The October 7th Hamas attacks in Israel left a country not just giving its many dead but shaken and uncertain about how all the planning went unnoticed by Israeli intelligence.
New details have emerged about how Hamas was able to do just that. According to new intelligence, a small cell of Hamas operatives working in the vast network of tunnels beneath Gaza may have used hard-wire phone lines to secretly communicate with one another. They made a point of avoiding cell phones and computers.
Sources familiar with the intelligence tell CNN plans for the attack were not shared beyond this one small cell until a few days before October 7th, when other Hamas fighters were briefed.
One source tells CNN, while the Israelis were aware of some Hamas training exercises, they did not raise any concern, because they appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary.
And now, communities not far from the border with Gaza, where so many have been killed by Hamas militants, many are asking how could the Shin Bet and Mossad, how could they not have been aware of that growing threat from Hamas.
Jeremy Diamond visited a community where terrorists arrived on paragliders. And a warning: some of the video in his report is graphic.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On that day, Hamas delivered death on paragliders. As seen in this exclusive video, obtained by CNN, Hamas militants landed here, in Netiv HaAsara, killing 20 people in this community of just 800.
HILA FENLON, NETIV HAASARA RESIDENT: This is Pombian Villa (ph). That used to be like an American style wooden house.
DIAMOND (voice-over): Now, this is all that remains.
DIAMOND: They were at home that fateful Saturday morning when Hamas terrorists burned their house to the ground, firing a rocket -- rocket-propelled grenade or a shoulder-fired missile here. Jacoby's (ph) remains were found charred inside. All they found of Bila (ph) were her teeth.
DIAMOND (voice-over): Hila Fenlon has called Netiv HaAsara home since she was a child, living within a few hundred feet of Gaza.
DIAMOND: And now, we can see here that there's smoke from Gaza.
FENLON: Gaza is very close to us.
DIAMOND (voice-over): Now, after surviving the October 7th attacks, she wants the world to know what happened here.
FENLON: It's a small community. Everybody knows each other. We know every person that lost his life here, all 20 of them. We want to three, four, five funerals a day. When eventually, they were to be buried.
DIAMOND (voice-over): This is her first time inside Nuritz (ph) and Alon Berger's (ph) home since the attacks, her first time seeing where her friend, Reit (ph), was killed.
FELON: It's too difficult for me.
DIAMOND: This is where Nuritz Berger (ph) lived her final moments. She died after these Hamas terrorists attacked this house from the outside.
And as she was sitting there dying, her daughters, her three daughters and her husband, they went into this room. We're told that they left this door slightly ajar, hoping that the terrorists wouldn't think that anyone was in here, because they door wasn't closed.
And they hid here in this corner, two of the daughters injured by shrapnel and by bullets.
DIAMOND (voice-over): For 40 minutes, they didn't make a sound, waiting for the men who murdered their mother to leave their home.
FENLON: I feel responsible to tell their story, because I know today -- I mean, it's been two weeks today, after that damn (ph) Saturday that our life turned into this. And I believe the world has forgotten already.
DIAMOND (voice-over): Today, telling that story looks like this.
So everywhere you go, you have to travel with security.
FENLON: Everywhere. For the last -- I mean, for the last two weeks, this is how it is. If you want to enter your home for one minute, you have to have somebody securing the house.
DIAMOND (voice-over): And when you're this close to Gaza, you have only seconds to react.
(SOUND OF ARTILLERY)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, inside, inside.
DIAMOND (voice-over): The sounds of war that are not all that fills the air in this frontline community. A mother's wails and a father's pleas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) DIAMOND (voice-over): For their 17-year-old son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
DIAMOND (voice-over): Every parent's worst nightmare come true.
Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Netiv HaAsara.
VAUSE: When we come back here on CNN, we head to the West Bank and speak with Israelis and Palestinians about rising tensions in the region amid the ongoing war with Hamas and Gaza.
VAUSE: Away from Gaza, there has been a notable increase in violent clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers in the West Bank. And for many Palestinians, there are now fear of a further escalation of violence with the nearly 700,000 Israelis who are in the region.
CNN's Sara Sidner is in the West Bank with our report. And a warning: her report contains some images which are disturbing.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armed and on high alert, Yossi Daban oversees 40 Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Since Hamas's terror attack on Israel, he considers them Nazis.
YOSSI DAGAN, SHOMRON REGION GOVERNOR (through translator): We are standing against a Nazi enemy, as cruel as the cavemen from 3,000 years ago that carried out a massacre on our brothers in the South.
SIDNER (voice-over): Jewish settler presence here has always been fraught, deemed illegal by international law. The events of October 7th have put these settlements on a war footing.
CNN gained rare access to one of the hundreds of settlements dotted throughout the Palestinian territories. Armed patrols are now every day occurrences in Kiryat Netafim.
Fortified perimeters segregate the Jewish communities from Palestinian.
Local husbands, fathers, and son volunteers keep the unwanted out at all times. Natan Douek has stopped going to work and called his local draft office in the days after the attack.
NATAN DOUEK, KIRYAT NETAFIM PATROL SQUAD: We need to protect ourselves, because we're surrounded by people who don't necessarily like us. I don't feel like I have to go fight, but definitely defend my home.
He's had enough.
SIDNER (voice-over): And the situation is no child's play. He says their world was turned upside-down on October 7th.
DOUEK: That day, October the 7th, was shabbat. At the end of shabbat we say a prayer and -- sorry.
SIDNER: It's OK.
DOUEK: Some of it is -- you know, asking God to help us and -- and to keep our children safe and to keep our soldiers safe. And some of these words I just cannot say them because, you know -- we weren't safe on October 7th.
SIDNER (voice-over): Palestinians say they weren't safe from some settlers long before October 7th, and it's only gotten more violent since.
Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian activist and a former Palestinian Liberation Organization official in the West Bank.
HANAN ASHRAWI, FORMER PALESTINIAN LIBERATION ORGANIZATION OFFICIAL: They tell you they're afraid. Why are you committing a war crime? Why are you living on Palestinian land illegally? Just because Israel tells you you can? This is occupied territory.
SIDNER (voice-over): She says the Palestinian territories are shrinking beyond recognition because of all the illegal settlements.
And then, there is the growing settler Palestinian violence. Much of the violence has been caught on camera. Here, Jewish settlers throw rocks and fire guns at Palestinian homes.
In another incident, after a confrontation, a Jewish settler shoots an apparently unarmed Palestinian in the stomach. We asked Yossi Dagan about this incident.
SIDNER: How do you defend the Palestinians who have been killed by settlers?
DAGAN (through translator): Am I supposed to explain to CNN why terrorists that tried to killed civilians or soldiers were shot by security forces, the police, or the army? With all due respect, I don't really understand the question.
SIDNER (voice-over): But we clarified in English and Hebrew, showing him the video.
DAGAN (through translator): What you are showing me now is an edited, tendentious video of attempts at terrorists to hurt and kill Jews that are protecting themselves. This happens a lot, and unfortunately, there aren't two equal sides.
SIDNER: The video you're seeing is not edited. But Palestinians agree with one thing, he says. The sides are not equal. They are the overwhelming victims in this, they say. ASHRAWI: They're on the rampage. They gave them weapons, and they
encouraged them. And they gave them support and protection by the Israeli occupation army.
SIDNER (voice-over): Ashrawi is referring to Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's hardline national security minister.
Days after Hamas's attack, he announced the purchase of 10,000 guns to arm civilian security teams. He himself began passing them out.
Gun ownership used to be heavily restricted in Israel, but those laws have changed, and now settlers are getting a huge amount of weapons.
Back in settlement Kiryat Netafim, Liat Har-Tov takes us to the home where she raised her five children. She says here they have had a peaceful coexistence with their Palestinian neighbors.
LIAT HAR-TOV, WEST BANK RESIDENT: I lived here for 24 years. I never feared.
SIDNER: And now?
HAR-TOV: Something is gone. I think every mother in Israel these days feels the same. Something is not the same anymore.
SIDNER (voice-over): Har-Tov says she moved here, in part, because land was cheap, but most settlers also come because of religious reasons.
Jews consider the settlement part of their biblical homeland and refer them by their biblical names, Judea and Samaria. But international law says settlers are illegally occupying Palestinian land meant for a Palestinian state one day.
ASHRAWI: We are the people of the land. We will stay here. We are the indigenous people, and we're going to stay here, no matter what Israel tries to do.
SIDNER (voice-over): In this moment in the decades'-long conflict, no one here can see how anyone will be able to live in peace anytime soon.
VAUSE: Our thanks to Sara Sidner for that report.
Still to come, an Israeli human rights group is struggling with how to reconcile Hamas terror attacks. We'll hear from one of their representatives about how the murders are impacting its views on Palestinian rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC: THEME, "SHAFT")
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VAUSE: Well, that was Richard Roundtree playing John Shaft, the tough- talking private eye in the 1971 movie "Shaft."
Roundtree died Tuesday after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, according to a number of reports. "Shaft" propelled Roundtree into the cultural limelight. A former stage actor, he went on to add more than 152 screen credits, including roles in TV shows like "Roots," "Desperate Housewives," and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air."
He was 81.
The Mexican resort city of Acapulco is bracing for a potentially catastrophic hurricane at this hour. Hurricane Otis is already a Category 5, the most powerful rating, and strengthening as it heads for the coast. Wind speeds up to 270 kilometers per hour, or 176 miles.
If it remains a Category 5, it will be the first one ever to make landfall in the Eastern Pacific. Mexico's president is urging residents to take shelter away from the coast and waterways.
An Israeli nonprofit human rights organization called B'tselem, wonders if alleged human rights abuses by Israel against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
CNN's Jake Tapper spoke with one of the organization's representatives to find out how the Hamas attacks on October 7th and the Israeli government's response has shaken up its mission.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Peace activist Vivian Silver lived on kibbutz Be'eri and was the former board member of B'tselem, a progressive group that monitors the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians. Its name, B'tselem, means "in the image."
It's from a Bible verse. It means in the image of God. All of us, all of humankind, are in the image of God.
On October 7th, Vivian Silver disappeared. She's thought to have been kidnapped by Hamas. Today, I spoke with B'tselem's Roy Yellin.
ROY YELLIN, B'TSELEM DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC OUTREACH: Part of, like, the shock and horror that we all experience is the fact that a lot of our supporters, immediate circles, even family members were killed, kidnapped or affected in other ways in what happened on Saturday.
TAPPER: B'tselem is an organization that works very, very hard to advocate for Palestinians, for human rights, to provide overwatch of the Israeli government, to criticize the Israeli government. Does what happened on October 7th make your job tougher? YELLIN: Certainly. First of all, I think, like, we're still, like, in
the process of understanding what happened, because it's -- it's something that, on the strategical level, the -- there's a change in the balance of power.
In addition to that, because extremism and fundamentalism feeds extremism and fundamentalism on the other side, we're also going to have a much tougher job of getting to the hearts and minds of people in Israel and around the world.
TAPPER: So what do you say to an Israeli who comes to you and says, this proves there cannot be any peace with Hamas. This proves they just want to wipe out Israel. They want to kill Jews. There can be no peace with Hamas. Maybe there can be peace with the Palestinian people, but not with Hamas running Gaza.
YELLIN: Not all Palestinians are Hamas, but also, not all Israelis are Bibi Netanyahu. Not all Israelis are Itamar Ben-Gvir and the other right-wing extremists that we have in our government now.
And changes are possible. I have to believe that in order to stay here. And I do believe that the only option is to find a way to live with Palestinians as equal, that I do believe that, only if we provide people on the other side with full complete human rights, future, equality, democratic norms, only like that we can live together.
TAPPER: You're still an optimist. Because you know, I've heard Israeli say, the reason that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank hasn't had an election in whatever it's been, 17 years -- I don't even know the number, the reason they haven't had an election is because, if they had an election today, the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, would be replaced by Hamas, that Hamas actually represents what the Palestinian people who are. And yet, you are optimistic about a peace deal still being possible.
YELLIN: You have to be optimistic, because we are not going to drive billions of Palestinians away from here. They are going to be here forever.
And I believe they're not going to have the power to drive us away from here. So we need to find a way in which to build a better future for all of us, and that can be done only by not exchanging rockets but exchanging words.
TAPPER: And you are monitoring what's going on in Gaza right now. What is your group seeing in Gaza right now?
YELLIN: A few of my colleagues, a few researchers in Gaza have lost family members. One of them is now living in a sort of makeshift refugee camp, in a tent.
Civilians are paying the price, and that's not -- never a good -- good thing. I don't think we're creating a different -- different narrative in which Hamas is culpable and responsible for what is going on. I think we're breeding more hatred and anger towards Israel.
TAPPER: But what about the argument from IDF that Hamas embeds itself within the populace. The IDF, Israel, has a right to defend itself against top terrorist attacks? And if Hamas hides among the Palestinian people, this is Hamas's
fault. What do -- what do you make of that argument?
YELLIN: The person who shoots civilians is the person who's responsible for shooting civilians, and they should do better. We should be better than Hamas.
And saying, Well, they started it, and they do it and it's their responsibility. No, it's our responsibility to be better than them.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. I'll be back with more of our continuing coverage of Israel's war with Hamas right after a short break. You're watching CNN.
Hello everyone, I'm John Vause and welcome to CNN newsroom. We begin on the border with Gaza when the clock is ticking.