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CNN Live Event/Special

CNN's Continuing Coverage on the ongoing War in Israel. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 25, 2023 - 03:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world as we continue our coverage of Israel at war. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is telling troops the next stage of the war, the ground offensive, is coming with just one mission, in his words, to smash Hamas.

His comments come amid concerns over the hostages and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where the death toll is still rising. At the United Nations Security Council Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew backlash from Israeli diplomats when he appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: I have condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians or the launching of rockets against civilian targets. It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.

The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas, and those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Excellencies, even war has rules.


KINKADE: Those comments prompted this swift response from Israel's U.N. ambassador who took to social media to call on Guterres to resign immediately over those remarks. But even as tensions flare, the situation in Gaza grows more dire by the day.

Drone footage has captured the level of destruction there following more than two weeks of Israeli airstrikes. A response to the deadly terror attacks by Hamas on October 7. On Tuesday, only eight of the 20 aid trucks scheduled to enter Gaza made it through the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border. While some food, medicine and water is being delivered, residents say it's not nearly enough to meet the urgent needs.


MAHMOUD SHAMIYEH, DISPLACED GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): This thing that is being distributed cannot be called aid at all and it should not be referred to as such because these items do not cover any of the people's needs. People in Gaza are dying in two ways, a fast death or a slow death in refugee camps. We are asking for the simplest and most essential element that allows every person, young or old, child or adult, to stay alive. Neglecting our lives like this is unacceptable.


KINKADE: One of the biggest concerns is a lack of fuel, which is used to power Gaza's hospitals. The World Health Organization says six hospitals have already been forced to close.

Journalist Elliot Gotkine is with us from London. Good to have you with us, Elliot. So I wanna start first on the comments by the United Nations Secretary General calling for an immediate ceasefire, but also urging the world not to forget the decades of occupation. And of course Israel's swift response, take us through it.

ELLIOT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: That's right Lynda, so we heard from the United Nations Secretary General while recognizing the barbarity of the Hamas terrorist attack on October the 7th, at the same time saying that doesn't mean that Israel can impose collective punishment on the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, saying in his words that protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than one million people to evacuate to the south of the Gaza Strip, where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine, no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself.


But as you say, this did not go down particularly well among Israeli diplomats. Its envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, calling for Antonio Guterres to resign immediately, saying that he's not fit to lead the United Nations and accusing him of tolerating terrorism for those comments about Hamas' attack not taking place in a vacuum. But of course, against this backdrop, Israel is no stranger to criticism from the United Nations or rouse with the United Nations.

At the same time, the United States is not yet calling for a ceasefire until the hostages have been freed. And I think until the United States changes its position, and that doesn't seem likely right at this moment, then Israel will still feel free to try to carry out its objectives. Because from Israel's perspective, the real problem here is that amid these calls for a ceasefire, from its perspective, it has yet to really achieve any of its objectives. Hamas is still firing rockets towards Israeli civilians. It is still infiltrating into Israel, the IDF saying that it managed to intercept a cell of divers emerging from tunnels into the sea off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.

It hasn't freed the vast majority of the hostages. There are still about 220 being held by Hamas. And so until such time as it feels that it has achieved any of those objectives, never mind completely destroying Hamas, which it said was its main objective at the start, it seems unlikely that Israel is going to buy into these calls for a ceasefire. Lynda?

KINKADE: And of course, we have been speaking about the concerns of a broader regional conflict. We've already seen some back and forth between Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel, but now we've seen Israel's target spots in Syria. Take us through that.

GOTKINE: That's right. Now, we often get reports that airports in Syria, in Aleppo, Damascus, have been hit and the finger very much being pointed at Israel, but Israel not saying that it was responsible, the assumption being that Israel is taking out those targets because it is trying to prevent weapons from getting from Iran to its proxy Hezbollah in the south of Lebanon.

But overnight Israel says that it did strike Syrian targets, it said it hit in response to two missile launchers fired from Syria towards the Golan Heights on the border between Israel and Syria, saying that it hit military compounds, artillery posts of the Syrian army and also radar systems as well. So we've already, it's not the first time since October the 7th that we've seen missiles being fired from Syria towards Israel and Israel retaliating.

The bigger worry, of course, is a bigger flare-up between Israel and Hezbollah in the south of Lebanon and that has been simmering for the past couple of weeks as well. But even in the more broader region we saw Houthis who are aligned with the Iranians in Yemen firing rockets towards Israel, those being intercepted by the United States, which is sending, which of course is sent already two aircraft carriers and other warships and many other military assets to the region, including additional missile defense systems. So there are still concerns. We heard this morning as well that Australia is beefing up its presence in the region as well for fear of a wider conflagration in the region. So there are concerns.

For now, it's mainly restricted to Israel and Hamas and militants in the Gaza Strip, but there are still very real concerns that certainly with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and perhaps other actors in the region could turn this into a broader war. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, Elliot Gotkine, good to have you in London staying across all those developments. Thank you.

Well, the U.N. Relief and Works agency is warning it will be forced to hold its operations in Gaza by tonight if no fuel is delivered. That comes as the agency has repeatedly said Gaza needs thousands of liters of fuel a day in order to run basic necessities like hospitals and bakeries.

But Israel has ruled out any fuel being allowed into Gaza because it claims Hamas may steal it for its operational infrastructure. The little humanitarian assistance allowed into Gaza is coming via the Rafah border with Egypt. The two other Israeli crossings remain closed.

And now new satellite images appear 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 a humanitarian catastrophe are growing louder.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is more in the civilians caught in the crossfire. And a 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's 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 Sanad Al- Halabi is now an orphan, but he's far too young to understand that.

What did this little boy do? An airstrike hit his house while he was sleeping. His uncle says his whole family was killed. He's the only survivor. Stop this. Stop this suffering.

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.

Amir al-Batta says nearly 50 members of his extended family were killed after they followed Israel's evacuation instructions.

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've lost our minds.

Gaza is praying for relief.

But the cries of anguish here are so far unheard. The bloodshed won't stop.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Well, still to come, third time's a charm. Fourth time is routine. U.S. House Republicans have voted on yet another nominee for speaker with a key vote on the full House floor just hours away. Could this be the one?

Plus new prosecution deals could mean trouble for former U.S. President Donald Trump. We'll have the details after the break.




KINKADE: Republicans have named a fourth nominee for U.S. House Speaker in three weeks since Kevin McCarthy's unprecedented outstrip from that post.

Congressman Mike Johnson survived a key vote at the 11th hour Tuesday night, becoming the party's latest candidate for the embattled role. Here's what Johnson had to say after securing the nomination.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Democracy is messy sometimes but it is our system. This conference that you see, this House Republican majority is united, is united.



KINKADE: Well, the full House vote is said to be held around lunchtime today. Despite weeks of Republican infighting, Johnson says he's very confident he'll get the 217 votes needed to become Speaker.

Donald Trump's former chief-of-staff was reportedly granted immunity from prosecution in the special counsel's federal election subversion case. According to ABC News, Mark Meadows has met with federal prosecutors at least three times this year during their investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

ABC reports that Meadows told special counsel Jack Smith's investigators that he did not believe the election was stolen and that Trump was being dishonest in claiming victory. Well in the Georgia election subversion case, former Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis has pleaded guilty. to aiding and abetting false statements about the results of the 2020 election. Last week, former Trump campaign lawyers Kenneth Chesbro and Sidney Powell also pleaded guilty.

Michael Genovese is a political analyst and president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount and he joins us from Los Angeles. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So Mark Meadows, Trump's former chief-of-staff, reportedly gets immunity thanks to an agreement to testify in the investigation into the insurrection. Should Donald Trump be worried?

GENOVESE: Well, it's been a bad few days for Donald Trump. A number of his supporters who work for him are peeling off, talking to prosecutors, making plea deals.

And the traditional strategy, which is to start on the outside and work your way into the big fish, is starting to work. They got a big fish today, and that is Mark Meadows, president's chief-of-staff. He knows where all the bodies are buried. He has a lot that he could offer. And so I would guess that he got a very good deal. And so the dominoes are starting to fall. So I guess Donald Trump has to be concerned right now.

KINKADE: I have to ask you though just how trustworthy is Mark Meadows especially given what he has reportedly told investigators in this case is at odds with what he has written in his own book. I know, and then he could be attacked for that. Which is the truth here?

GENOVESE: I think that because he is still subject to perjury charges, he is likely to tell the truth under oath. And so I think the courts will rely on that, but he's got a lot that he could offer.

And so, Donald Trump's dance card is already quite full, and he's gotta be concerned because he's got a lot of legal troubles, he's got a lot of political issues because of the campaign. And so, Donald Trump must not be sleeping very well right now and Mark Meadows is probably the biggest thorn in his side right now.


KINKADE: And speaking of other legal cases, in the Georgia election interference case, a former Trump lawyer who had spread lies on the airwaves about election fraud was in court today. I just want to remind our viewers what you said after the election.


JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: President Trump is right that there was widespread fraud.

The election was stolen and President Trump won by landslide.

We have this overwhelming evidence of fraud.

This election was fraudulent. It was corrupted.

All of these are false and fraudulent results.


KINKADE: Well, today, Ellis was in court expressing remorse. I just want to play this sound.


ELLIS: What I did not do, but should have done, Your Honor, was to make sure that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true. I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges. I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.


KINKADE: So what's next for her?

GENOVESE: Well, you know, she was a loyal, MAGA supporter. She spouted the party line and did it effectively, but the truth is starting to surround her now and she's pressured. She had to do something. It's gonna be a very costly prosecution if she goes through with it. She had to make some kind of a deal.

And as I said, the dominoes are starting to fall and she's one of the many sort of smaller dominoes who could add to and get closer to the center. Apparently, she knows a lot about Rudy Giuliani and a few of the other people next to Trump, maybe not as much about Trump. But you know, she was a very loyal person and she did the MAGA line. Now she's got to tell the truth. Again, she is also subject to perjury charges.

KINKADE: Yeah. And Michael, I want to turn, if we can, to the House speaker issue. It's been three weeks since House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted, and they are desperate to end the chaos. Republicans have announced a new nominee, the fourth in three weeks, the House speaker. Just who is Mike Johnson?

GENOVESE: He's not very well known outside the Beltway because he's not a show horse. He's very conservative. He is one of the election deniers. And so, you know, this morning we thought that the candidate that the Republicans were gonna vote on was Tom Emmer, but he was an election denier. Donald Trump savaged him during the day. So he had to pull out because he knew he couldn't get the votes.

Question is, can Johnson get the votes? All you need are four people to say no. And there are some Republicans who have already said that they intend to vote for Kevin McCarthy in the first ballot, maybe the second, who knows? And so it's going to be very, very hard to see if how you get through this paralysis, because you know, you ask why all this craziness? What, what's, what's the point?

The point is this is a battle for the soul of the Republican party. You've got the Donald Trump-side versus the traditional Republicans. Is Donald Trump going to be a fixture going into the future or will they put them in the rear-view mirror? Will the Republicans go with an institutionalist, Emmer, or will they go with a Trump populist, a MAGA-Republican?

And that battle will determine the future of the Republican Party. It may be decided not in the halls of Congress, but it may be decided in courtrooms because if Donald Trump gets into legal trouble, that may be the end of him.

KINKADE: All right, Michael Genovese, always good to have you on the show. Good to have you with us. Thanks so much.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, still to come, CNN speaks with Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank about rising tensions in the region amid the war in Gaza.

Plus, the Queen of Jordan offers sharp criticism of Western leaders and their reaction to the catastrophe unfolding in Gaza. We'll have her comments when we come back.




KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations says Gaza will not have, quote, "a moment of quiet until all the hostages held by Hamas are brought home." Israel's defense forces dropped leaflets in Gaza on Tuesday, appealing to residents for any information about the hostages being held by Hamas. The message promises protection and compensation in return.

An 85-year-old Israeli woman was one of the four hostages that have been released. She says her mask garment took her underground to a vast network of tunnels, which she said was like a spider web.


YOCHEVED LIFSHITZ, ISRAELI HOSTAGE RELEASED BY HAMAS (through translator): We began walking inside the tunnels with a wet ground. It was moist all the time. We arrived at a large hall. There we were, 25 people. After two to three hours, they separated five people from my kibbutz near Oz.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KINKADE: Well even before the war with Hamas, tensions have been high between the Palestinians in the West Bank and Israeli settlers in the area. But now Palestinians are fearful of a new wave of violence from the nearly 700,000 Israelis in the region.

CNN's Sarah Sidner is in the West Bank with more. And a warning, some of the images may be disturbing.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armed and on high alert, Yossi Dagan oversees 40 Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Since Hamas' terror attack on Israel, he considers them Nazis.

YOSSI DAGAN, SHOMRON REGIONAL 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 everyday occurrences in Kiryat Netafim. Fortified perimeters segregate 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 didn't feel like I have to go fight, but definitely defend my home.

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 (on-camera): It's okay.

DOUEK: Some of it is --

SIDNER (on-camera): What's the prayer?


DOUEK: You know, asking -- asking God to help us and to keep our children safe and to keep our soldiers safe. Some of these words, I just couldn't 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 that afraid, why are you committing a war crime? Why are you living on Palestinian land, illegally? Just because Israel tells 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.

(on-camera): How do you defend the Palestinians who have been killed by settlers?

YOSSI DAGAN, SHOMRON REGION GOVERNOR (through translator): Am I supposed to explain to CNN why terrorists that tried to kill 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 of terrorists to hurt and kill Jews that are protecting themselves. This happens a lot, and unfortunately, there aren't two equal sides.

SIDNER (voice-over): 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-Gavir, Israel's hardline national security minister. Days after Hamas' attack, he announced the purchase of 10,000 guns to armed 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've had a peaceful coexistence with their Palestinian neighbors.

LIAT HAR-TOV, KIRYAT NETAFIM RESIDENT: I lived here for 24 years. I never feared.

SIDNER (on-camera): And now? HAR-TOV: Something is cracked. 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 settlements part of their biblical homeland and refer to 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'll stay here. We're 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.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: That was CNN's Sarah Sidner reporting there.

Well, the Queen of Jordan says there is a quote, "glaring double standard" in the world's reaction to the Israel Hamas conflict. During an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Queen Rania said Western leaders condemned the October 7th Hamas attack and stood by Israel, but have not called for a ceasefire when it comes to Israel's bombing of Gaza. She also said Palestinians in Gaza are facing a terrible choice.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I want to ask you about what Jordan has said and your husband, the King, has said, that there has been anyway an attempt or suggestion to move Palestinians who are trying to seek safety either into Egypt or into Jordan, your country. And the King has said, this is a red line. I think the plan by certain of the usual suspects to try and create de facto issues on the ground. No refugees in Jordan, no refugees in Egypt.


QUEEN RANIA AL ABDULLAH, JORDAN: Well, look, the people of Gaza now are facing two choices. Either they leave or they face death or collective punishment. So essentially, they're giving a choice between expulsion or extermination, between ethnic cleansing and genocide. And no people should be given, have to face that kind of choice.

And what my husband was referring to is the people of Palestine should not -- of Gaza should not be forced to be moved again. Most of the residents of Gaza are already refugees. And right now, at least a million have been displaced from their homes. So we do not want another mass displacement of Palestinians, like what happened at the Nakba in 1948. And that's what my husband meant about this being a red line. The Palestinians have the right to remain on their land.


KINKADE: In Aqbal, the catastrophe that Queen Rania mentioned is the word that Palestinians used to describe how an estimated 750,000 people from Arab communities were forced from their home when the state of Israel was created in 1948.

Well the gruesome attack on October 7 took Israeli officials by surprise. But communities near the border with Gaza say the government should have been aware of a growing threat from Hamas.

Jeremy Diamond visited a community where terrorists arrived on paragliders, and a warning that some of the video in this 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 Yaakobi and Bila Inon. That used to be like an American-style wooden house.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Now this is all that remains.

(on-camera): They were at home that fateful Saturday morning when Hamas terrorists burned their house to the ground, firing a rocket- propelled grenade or a shoulder-fired missile here. Yaakobi's remains were found charred inside. All they found of Bila were her teeth.

(voice-over): Hila Fenlon has called Netiv HaAsara home since she was a child, living within a few hundred feet of Gaza.

(on-camera): 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 7 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, and there were 20 of them. We went to three, four, five funerals a day. When eventually they brought them to be buried.

DIAMOND (voice-over): This is her first time inside Nurit and Alon Berger's home since the attacks. Her first time seeing where her friend Nureet was killed.

FENLON: Oh, I can't take it. It's too difficult for me.

DIAMOND (on-camera): This is where Nureet Berger 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. Were told that they left this door slightly ajar, hoping that the terrorists wouldn't think anyone was in here because the door wasn't closed. And they hid here, in this corner, two of the daughters injured by shrapnel and by bullets.

(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 Saturday that our life turned into this. And I believe the world forgotten already.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Today, telling that story looks like this.

(on-camera): 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.

The sounds of war are not all that fills the air in this frontline community. A mother's wails and a father's prayer for their 17-year- old son.


Every parent's worst nightmare come true.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Netiv HaAsara.


KINKADE: Well, still to come, China sacks its defense minister months after he vanished from public eye. And he's not the first to be ousted in this manner. We're going to go live to Hong Kong for the latest. You're watching CNN.


KINKADE: Welcome back. A potentially catastrophic hurricane has now made landfall near the Mexican resort city of Acapulco. The outer bands of Hurricane Otis have been drenching the city's famed beaches for hours with rain and powerful winds. Maximum wind speeds right now are around 270 km per hour. That's around 165 miles per hour. This is a category 5 hurricane, the most powerful rating and is the first ever CAT5 to make landfall in the eastern Pacific.

Well China's defense minister has been removed from his post after disappearing from public view two months ago. Li Shangfu is now the second highest profile official to be fired without any official explanation from Beijing. I want to bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout from Hong Kong. Good to see

you, Kristie. So after disappearing from public view for two months, The Chinese defense minister is now out of the job. He'd only been in that job since March. What can you tell us?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Lynda, this is the second ousting of a senior leader in China in just three months. Now according to Chinese state-run media, Li Shangfu has been removed as defense minister, as state counselor, and as a member of the powerful Central Military Commission. And you know, you also keep in mind that Qin Gang, he was the one who was ousted as foreign minister in July was also removed as state counselor. That was announced on Tuesday.


No explanation was given here. No replacement appointed for Li Shangfu. And that leaves China without a defense minister.

Before his dismissal, Li had been missing from public view since late August. He was reportedly under investigation for corruption, for the corrupt procurement of military equipment. But when the defense ministry was asked about the allegations in late September, a spokesperson simply said that He was not aware of the situation.

Now, this ousting comes after a surprise shakeup in the military when China revealed two new leaders of its PLA rocket force. It also comes after the unexplained removal of Qin Gang, who was dramatically ousted as foreign minister in July after he vanished from public view for a month.

And let's say that these events raise serious questions about the governance of China's core leader, Xi Jinping, as he continues to concentrate and consolidate power in an ever-opaque China. And we were monitoring today's Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing, and when asked about the sacking of Li Shangfu, this is what we heard from the spokesperson.

She said, quote, "I don't have any additional information to provide on this." Back to you.

KINKADE: Well, there you go. Kristy Lu Stout, staying across it for us from Hong Kong. Thank you very much.

Well 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.




KINKADE: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back. New satellite images appear to show Egypt sealing off the Gaza border

between aid convoys. These images were taken by Maxar Technologies Tuesday afternoon. They show an unbroken shadow of cement. A slab wall, which Egypt constructed after Israeli strikes, bombed the roadway on the Gaza side. The images come as eight aid trucks out of the expected 20 entered Gaza Tuesday. The United Nations once again warning that the enclave needs more aid. Residents also say they desperately need more assistance.


MAHMOUD SHAMIYEH, DISPLACED GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): This thing that is being distributed cannot be called aid at all. And it should not be referred to as such because these items do not cover any of the people's needs. People in Gaza are dying in two ways, a fast death or a slow death in refugee camps. We are asking for the simplest and most essential element that allow every person, young or old, child or adult, to stay alive. Neglecting our lives like this is unacceptable.


KINKADE: An Israeli non-profit human rights organization called B'Tselem monitors alleged human rights abuses by Israel against the 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, THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER (voice-over): Peace activist Vivian Silver lived on Kibbutz Be'eri and was a 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 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 (on-camera): B'Tselem is an organization that worked 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 we're still in the process of understanding what happened, because it's something that's on the strategical level. There is 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 (on-camera): So what do you say to somebody, 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 governments 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. 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 (on-camera): You're still an optimist because, you know, I've heard Israelis 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 want.


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 millions 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 to build a better future for all of us. And that can be done only by, you know, not exchanging rockets, but exchanging words.

TAPPER (on-camera): And you are monitoring what's going on in Gaza right now. What is your group seeing in Gaza right now?

YELLIN: Two of my colleagues, field researchers in Gaza, 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 never a good thing. I don't think that we're kind of creating a 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 (on-camera): But what about the argument from IDF that Hamas embeds itself within the populace? The IDF, Israel, has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. And if Hamas hides among the Palestinian people this is Hamas' fault, what do you think of that argument?

YELLIN: The person who should civilians is the person who's responsible for shooting civilians and they should do better and we should be better than Hamas and saying like they started it and they're doing it, and it's their responsibility? No, it's our responsibility to be better than them.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Jake Tapper for that interview and thanks so much for your company. I'm Linda Kinkade. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo, next. Stay with us.