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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
Biden: "We Made Mistakes" After The Hell Of 9/11, As He Urges Israel Not To Be "Blinded By Rage"; Biden: We Must Denounce Anti- Semitism & Islamophobia; Jordan To Hold News Conference Friday Morning Ahead Of Third Speaker Vote. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 19, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: CNN's coverage, from Israel, continues.
THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: I'm Kaitlan Collins.
And this is THE SOURCE, live from Tel Aviv, tonight, where President Biden just delivered a primetime address, to the nation, only his second ever, from the Oval Office, 24 hours, after he left here, in Tel Aviv, and returned to Washington.
He made a direct appeal, to the American people, and to the U.S. Congress, for aid, both here in Israel, but also in Ukraine, saying that their success, and I'm quoting him now, is "Vital for America's national security."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When terrorists don't pay a price for their terror, when dictators don't pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction. They keep going. And the cost and the threats to America, and the world, keep rising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The President said that American leadership is quote, "What holds the world together." And he warned that if the U.S. doesn't act here, he says conflict and chaos could, quote, "Spread to other parts of the world."
That's why he says, tomorrow, he is sending an urgent budget request, to Congress, for both aid to Israel, and Ukraine, and for other national security needs, as he repeated one of the message that he delivered, here, while on the ground, in Israel, just 24 hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: When I was in Israel yesterday, I said that when America experienced the hell of 9/11, we felt enraged as well. While we sought and got justice, we made mistakes. So I caution the government of Israel not to be blinded by rage.
And here in America, let us not forget who we are. We reject all forms, all forms of hate, whether against Muslims, Jews, or anyone. That's what great nations do. And we are a great nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, as a former White House reporter, who covered President Biden, watching this speech, I think one thing that's important to point out is how rare, you see the President, in this setting, speaking from the Resolute Desk, in the Oval Office, straight to camera, and straight to the American people. He's only done it two times, since he has ever taken office.
And tonight, he was talking about two very different wars, what's happening in Ukraine, and what is happening, here in Israel, two very different entities. But he drew a through line, from Hamas, the militant group, of course, in Gaza, and President Putin, and Russia.
In this speech, the President sought to really try to lay out the stakes, for the United States. He said he understands why people are asking questions. Why is U.S. aid and U.S. money going to Ukraine? Why is it going to Israel? He talked about why it's important, and how it actually does matter, to America's national security, and the argument that he made.
Of course, a lot of that speech was informed by the visit, that the President had here, just 24 hours ago, when he was sitting in, with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, giving a speech after that, talking about why this is so important.
With me now, to analyze that speech, and the big takeaways from it, is Israeli journalist, Nadav Eyal. He's also the Author of the book, "Revolt," and joins me now.
Obviously, everyone, in Israel, has been paying very close attention, to what President Biden has been saying, his visit, yesterday, his first speech, after the October 7th attack.
How do you think what was just said will register with people, tonight?
NADAV EYAL, ISRAELI JOURNALIST & COLUMNIST, AUTHOR, "REVOLT": Well, for Israel, this is a commitment, for its security.
People need to understand that what Israel's -- Israelis lost, because of this attack, is their sense of security, and confidence, with their own defense forces, both because of this huge intelligence failure, but also because of what happened.
We just saw mass murder, and ethnic cleansing, on our southern border, with these communities. In a matter of eight hours, more than 1,400 people murdered.
And the fact that the President of the most important power, in the world, would come to Israel, and not only say, "We're behind you," in terms of security, but also have some stardust of empathy, to the Israelis, is so powerful, and moving, for Israelis. And that was really important to hear him.
COLLINS: Well, and I was reading something you wrote, earlier today. And you said, Biden's visit that he came here for just a few hours that the U.S. is sending two aircraft carriers here?
COLLINS: You said, "Not only to protect us from our enemies, but to protect us from ourselves. From the mistakes of our leaders in the security establishment, those who have all failed."
So essentially, you're saying his leadership means so much, because of the reflection of the leadership, or lack of, here in Israel?
EYAL: Yes, I think the Israeli leadership failed us, both in terms of intelligence, and leading our defense forces, which are so powerful, and could have prevented this attack. And they will pay the price. This is a democracy. I'm a journalist. And we're going to make them pay the price, for their failures. But we're at war right now.
And the fact that President Biden came here, was also to make sure that the Israeli government, out of this sense of failure, will not use its force, in ways that are not going to be efficient enough. And he made that point, in Israel. And, I think, he made that point, in the speech, from the White House, tonight.
COLLINS: He was talking about this support for Israel, it's about $10 billion, we believe, part of it going to the Iron Dome, which we've seen intercepting rockets --
COLLINS: -- here overhead.
There are some, on the progressive left, in the U.S. Congress, who believe that U.S. aid to Israel should not be unwavering. They've called what's happening in Gaza, a genocide. They've called for a ceasefire. What do you think when you hear that from those lawmakers?
EYAL: Well, for me, as an Israeli, and as someone, who admires the power of America, and the world, it's just heartbreaking, to hear these voices, from the U.S.
What we have seen, in our southern border, is for the first time what happens, when the Israeli Defense Forces failed, for eight hours. For eight hours.
And I have just talked with the survivor, of these massacres. I traveled to their hotels, in the southern of Israel, to speak with them, to have their testimonies. And I, as a former International Correspondent, I've never heard anything like that, unless you're talking about Srebrenica, the genocide in Serbia, during the Yugoslavian wars, or if you're talking about what Bashar al-Assad did to his people, in Syria.
This was an attempted genocide, in Israel. And if people don't make the distinction, between targeted murder, and between a Military campaign that was ordered, to defend Israel, then we have no basis for discussion.
And this moral argument is also a legal one. And the U.S. is making it, the U.S. from both sides of the aisles, Republicans and Democrats.
COLLINS: Nadav Eyal, thank you, for coming on, for sharing just your experiences, but also your reporting as well.
EYAL: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Thank you.
For more reaction, to President Biden's speech, tonight, we have CNN's Pentagon Correspondent, Oren Liebermann, also here with me; along with Dan Senor, who is a foreign policy adviser, in the George W. Bush administration, and co-wrote the upcoming book, "The Genius of Israel," a very timely read, at this moment.
Dan, I want to start with you.
Because we just saw President Biden, delivering this speech, after he took something -- took this rare step that you never see a foreign leader doing, a U.S. President, sitting in on a Cabinet meeting, here in Tel Aviv, a wartime cabinet. Of course, both then and now, he was urging Israel, "Don't be blinded by your rage."
I mean, what do you make of the influence that President Biden has, over Israel's moves here?
DAN SENOR, FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER, GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION, AUTHOR, "THE GENIUS OF ISRAEL": Well, the U.S. government has tremendous influence, right now, because the United States is the only country, in the world, right now, that Israel can really depend on.
I think the President's speech was important. I think his visit to Israel was extremely important. I suspect that the Military commanders, of Hamas, did not expect that within days, of their invasion of Israel, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful Military in the world would be visiting Israel, consoling victims, sitting in, in the War Cabinet, as you said.
So, I -- and tonight, in tonight's speech, which he didn't do, in the last couple of weeks, is he talked about Iran. He talked about holding Iran accountable, which I think was important, and Israeli leaders were looking for that. They haven't seen it, in the last of days, tying this all to Iran.
The only part that I found a little disconcerting, Kaitlan, was this lecture, if you will, to Israelis, not to be blinded by rage, which I just thought was a little tone-deaf, given what Israel has been subjected to, in the last few days, by a terrorist organization, a barbaric terrorist organization that really Israel, and does not have any territorial dispute with.
They pulled out of Gaza in 2005. And they've been just subjected to this terror, for years. And this was like a Nazi-like proportion, as the President himself has said.
I think Israel has been pretty disciplined. It's working with the international community. It's working with the United States, from the timing of its invasion. So, I don't think this is a country that's blinded by rage.
COLLINS: Well, Dan, I mean, just to follow up on that, how do you think the senior Israeli officials, the members of that wartime cabinet would hear a comment like that from President Biden?
SENOR: It sounded to me, like he was said certain things, in this speech, tonight, that were meant, as sort of code, to a part of his political base, in this country, that is not very enthusiastic, about the position he's taken, in locking arms, with the Israeli government, during this moment.
So, he's got to make the case, for a forward-leaning policy that is basically standing by Israel, as it begins, what I think, is imminent, a ground invasion into Gaza. And again, part of his base doesn't like it. So, he's saying some things that I think will appeal to them. And one of them was this lecture, if you will, about "Don't be blinded by rage."
So, I think, probably the Israeli leaders are not crazy about it. They don't think it reflects reality. But they recognize, I guess, or they're calculating that he's juggling, balancing a number of equities here.
COLLINS: Well, and Oren, Dan mentioned Iran there.
You saw, Biden was warning about conflict, chaos, this spreading into the Middle East.
And, of course, as that -- as he was making those comments, I thought about your reporting, of this U.S. Navy destroyer, operating in the Middle East, intercepting multiple missiles, near the coast of Yemen, of course, questioning where those missiles, what they were targeting.
There are already concerns about this escalating. I wonder how much you think this amplifies those already existing concerns.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Oh, very much so.
Look, for 20 months of war? And we'll use the analogy that President Joe Biden made, between the war in Ukraine, and the war in Israel. For 20 months, the war in Ukraine has not spilled, out of Ukraine's borders, with tiny exceptions here and there, a missile that went over the border, into Poland, for example.
But we're not even 20 days, into the war, between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza. And we're already seeing the regional amplification of that, and protests at most of the U.S. embassies, across the region.
We saw the USS Carney, a destroyer, in the Red Sea, intercept, three cruise missiles, and a number of drones that were launched from Yemen, according to the Pentagon, by Houthi forces, and potentially targeting Israel. So you're seeing that spillover.
And for the U.S., and certainly for Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the linking chain here is Iran. The Houthis are backed by Iran. A number of Iranian proxies, in Syria and Iraq, have attacked U.S. forces in the past. We've seen similar attacks, over the course of the past 48 hours, though the Pentagon hasn't yet attributed that. So, you see the concern, not only of --
LIEBERMANN: -- of Iran's proxies here, but the possibility of the spreading, and perhaps spreading quickly here.
COLLINS: Well, and Dan, obviously, what everyone is kind of bracing for, and waiting for, is what this ground invasion, that everyone's expecting, which the Defense Minister, here in Israel is previewing, essentially, what that's going to look like. And one thing that goes hand-in-hand with that conversation, are the hostages.
And something you said recently, really stood out to me, which is that you don't think that all of the hostages are under Hamas' control. And a Hamas leader seemed to confirm that tonight, in this interview, with "The New York Times."
I mean, how much does that complicate what negotiating, for their release looks like, I mean, what this ground incursion could look like, as well?
SENOR: Look, Qatar is trying to negotiate, with Hamas, to get apparently some of the hostages out, as an intermediary, if you will, between the United States government, and Hamas.
The problem is Palestinian Islamic Jihad apparently has a number of the hostages, so we're told. And who knows what other ragtag kind of sub-militias have some of the hostages?
So, even if Hamas wanted to negotiate? And it's not clear to me that they do. But even if they did want to negotiate, it's not clear to me that they actually have control, of all these hostages. So, I think it makes the whole process tragically futile.
If Hamas were serious, or any of the other parties in Gaza, that have hostages were serious, about negotiating, I think they'd be doing things, right now, that they haven't been doing. They'd be allowing Red Cross, or Red Cross an access, they'd be up -- to the hostages to make sure that they're safe. They'd be allowing medical supplies, to get in. They're doing none of that, which tells me their intention was never really to negotiate, but to use the hostages, as human shields, of sorts, and to really almost like a deterrent, against Israel, slow things down, slow the process down, make Israel think twice, about coming into Gaza.
I think Israel's going into Gaza. I think they're going in soon. And tragically, Kaitlan, I just I don't think this hostage crisis is going to get resolved, before then.
COLLINS: Yes, so many families, waiting on news, about those people.
COLLINS: Dan Senor, Oren Liebermann, thank you both, for that analysis, and that reporting.
COLLINS: Tonight, you saw President Biden, talking about what this means, what could happen next.
He also was referencing how he has struck a deal, to try to get aid, finally, into Gaza, as Dan was referencing there. It was supposed to start flowing, from Egypt, over that Rafah Crossing, the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt, in just a matter of hours, from now.
But we are hearing from sources, tonight, that it is not likely to be the case. We'll see when that could potentially happen.
Anderson Cooper is here, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Today, Jewish families worried about being targeted in school, wearing symbols of their faith, walking down the street, or going out about their daily lives.
And I know many of you, in the Muslim-American community, the Arab- American community, the Palestinian-American community, and so many others, are outraged, and hurting, saying to yourself, "Here we go again," with Islamophobia and distrust we saw after 9/11.
Just last week, a mother was brutally stabbed, A little boy, here in the United States, a little boy who just turned 6-years-old was murdered, in their home, outside of Chicago. His name was Wadea. Wadea. A proud American, a proud Palestinian-American family.
We can't stand by and stand silent when this happens. We must, without equivocation, denounce anti-Semitism. We must also, without equivocation, denounce Islamophobia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: That was President Biden, just a few moments ago, in the Oval Office, making that emotional plea, to Americans, to denounce all forms of hate, part of that primetime address that he delivered to the nation, also making the case for wartime aid, to Ukraine and to Israel.
CNN's Anderson Cooper is here with me.
And we just heard, from the White House, Anderson that the President spoke to the uncle, and the father, of that 6-year-old boy, who was killed, simply which that we know is being investigated, as a hate crime, now.
I mean, it was a really human moment, in this speech --
COLLINS: -- where he was talking about these big picture ideals, of democracy and whatnot.
COOPER: And I do think that's something that people, here in Israel, have seen, in President Biden, over the last almost two weeks now, that has really struck them.
The sort of, look, whatever your politics are, whatever you may think of, of the President, based on political beliefs? This is a man, who knows pain, and knows loss and grief, and has walked that lonely road, for much of his life.
And he's able, in these moments, certainly he did that here in Israel, both in his initial comments, and the comments he made, here, to kind of touch that pain that so many people here are feeling. I mean, there's such that undercurrent of just shock and loss. And what he turns the kind of the, that black hole in the center of your chest.
So, I think a lot of Israelis, I spoken to were surprised that this statesman is sort of talking in such personal terms. That's not something they see here a lot, from what they said to me. But they really, they liked it.
COLLINS: Yes. And he seemed genuinely touched, as he was meeting, with the survivors, the first responders, yesterday.
But also, in the speech, tonight, he talked about the civilians, in Gaza, and what they're going through, and these efforts to get aid in --
COLLINS: -- across the Rafah Crossing, which he brokered this deal, with the Egyptian president, on the flight back from Israel, yesterday.
But we're hearing that, right now, it's not expected to go in, in just a few hours from now, like it was expected to.
COLLINS: The Doctors Without Borders are saying a hotel -- or that a hospital, excuse me, in Gaza, is about 24 hours away, from running out of fuel. I mean, these are massive concerns. And every moment counts for this aid.
COOPER: Yes. And the deal that President Biden talked about, on Air Force One, as he was heading back, from Israel, was that -- with El- Sisi, was 20 trucks, initially, as a beginning, see how it goes. If it isn't taken by Hamas, that he -- that President Biden wants a steady stream of aid go in.
Obviously, Israel has serious concerns about what is it the inspection of these trucks? What is coming in? Who's actually going to be responsible for inspecting it? Is the United Nations. Who is it? And how is it being distributed?
One of the concerns, among humanitarian officials that we've heard from, is if you send 20 trucks in, to an area, where there's hundreds of thousands of people, who are desperate, for food and clean drinking water and shelter? And they think these are the last and only 20 trucks coming in? There's no telling the chaos that 20 trucks can cause, among hundreds of thousands of people.
If the message is there's 20 trucks coming today, there's going to be 50 more tomorrow, and 100, the next day? That can be more orderly.
But I think there's a great concern, about what happens, when those trucks cross-over, both from what happens, with Hamas, and also what happens with just civilian population, who are desperate.
COLLINS: Yes. And 20 trucks is a small drop in the bucket.
You were one of the first reporters, today. We're here in Tel Aviv. But you went close to the border, to one of these kibbutzes that was attacked. And you were one of the first ones, actually in, to see the aftermath. What did you see?
COOPER: Yes, the idea of allowed journalists in, for the first time, so there were a number of journalists, there, Israeli media and others.
It was extraordinary. I've been asking to go to Nahal Oz (ph). I've been trying to get to Nahal Oz (ph). It's a mile and a half, from the Gaza border. So, the IDF is very careful, on the security situation, about who they allow in there.
They have been -- they continue to bury bodies. Five bodies were buried today, by a guy, named Ron (ph), who is sort of the caretaker there, and lives there.
It's all still there. I mean, the burned-out cars, the blood, in people's safe rooms, the blood in mattresses soaked on beds. It is a stunning scene. And it is -- it was -- because it's only a mile and a half from Gaza, it was one of the first places hit, and a huge number, about some 400 people, they believe about 100, as many as a 100 people, are either dead or missing --
COOPER: -- which is one quarter of the population.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, I know we'll be seeing more of that tomorrow night.
COLLINS: Anderson Cooper, thank you.
Also tonight, as we are looking here, at this speech, from President Biden, we hear that this is a country, still deep in mourning. You hear that from every single person that you talk to. It's so quiet here.
So many survivors are not only grappling with loss, but still in disbelief, that they were able to survive, those who lived, when others around them were killed. That is such the case, for a young American survivor. She moved here, for what she thought was a better and peaceful life.
She'll be here, to tell her story, right after this.
COLLINS: The State Department has evacuated at least 1,500 Americans, and their family members, from Israel.
But a spokesperson has told CNN that many are choosing to stay, including my next guest, Tali Gilberg, who's an American-born dual citizen.
Tali lives, on a kibbutz, a community of nearly 600 people, less than half a mile from Gaza. It's so close that one of Gaza's crossings is actually named for this kibbutz, that she lived in.
It's so close that she was no stranger to rocket fire. But on October 7th, she knew that what she was hearing was different. It was not what she was used to. She shot this video, outside of her window, as she spent hours, sheltering from Hamas. The soldiers, you see here, that's the IDF.
Despite the fear, the trauma, and the uncertainty, Tali plans to stay in her adoptive country, as a survivor, even after that attack. And she joins me now.
And I'm so grateful that you're here. And I just -- you grew up in New Jersey. You moved here. And you were assigned to this kibbutz. But even after your service, you loved it so much, that you decided to stay there. [21:30:00]
But I was watching your video that you posted, from the day of this attack. And I want our viewers, to just listen, because you could hear the gunfire, in the background of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO -- GUNFIRE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: I mean, what was going through your mind, as you sat there for so long?
TALI GILBERG, SURVIVED HAMAS ATTACK ON KIBBUTZ EREZ, MOVED TO ISRAEL FROM NEW JERSEY IN 2019: Uncertainty, fear. I was very numb. I still am numb. Majority of the country' still numb. We are living out hour, not day by day. We don't know what the next hour is going to bring, what terrible news, we will hear.
There's still hundreds of people missing. And people are like are constantly getting notifications that their loved one is dead, or is still trapped in Gaza, or is dead in Gaza.
What was going through my head, for the most part was, I want to make it out of here alive. We also like didn't know what was happening, when it was happening. Not only afterwards, when I got out of the kibbutz, did I really look at the media, when I felt safe to look at the media, to actually look at the media, and was shocked at what had happened, during the day.
COLLINS: I mean, you must have been so scared to be in there, by yourself, alone. You're hearing what you know is not -- you know what's happening is not normal. But you can't leave. You can't go and find out what's going on around you.
GILBERG: Yes. There was -- when, at the very beginning, around maybe 7:38, I got a phone call, from someone, on the kibbutz, that knows I lived alone, and knows that his son lives across the hall, or like, across the hall from me. And he said for me to go be with him, because he had a gun. And that's like, was when I really understood, like the severity of this situation.
I heard the gunshots. I was trying not to think exactly what was happening, or that it was Hamas until -- not only when I received a video, from a friend, here in Tel Aviv, that Hamas was in Sderot, which is the city close to me, did I really understand like that this is not normal, and that like it is better to be with someone that has a gun.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, and each kibbutz has its security. And I know that everyone, in your kibbutz, survived, except one person, who was a member of that security team, but also a friend of yours, Amir Naim (ph).
COLLINS: Can you just tell me about him?
GILBERG: So, Amir's (ph) family is one of the big families on our kibbutz. Everyone knows them. They are constantly taking in lone soldiers, like myself. And when I moved to the kibbutz, in 2019, they took in one of my really good friends.
So, I mean, it was like a brother to him. So, I knew Amir (ph) through my friends. But also, Amir (ph) was a counselor, to a group, of lone soldiers, in 2021. And those fellow Americans became my friends as well. And so, I just got even more closer to Amir (ph). And he's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met.
COLLINS: And he had just gotten married. And his wife is pregnant, I know.
GILBERG: Yes. He -- they celebrated their first-year anniversary, a few days before this happened. And she's pregnant. And she only like, told the public that after this all happened they were like, not ready to tell the public.
It's a very sad situation. We had his funeral the other day.
COLLINS: Did you go?
GILBERG: Yes. Everyone is very distraught. I saw people I had never seen cry before, crying, and bawled their eyes out. It was very -- it was an Army-like funeral. So, there was gunshots there. And that was very hard for all of us, you know?
COLLINS: To hear that it must have been very triggering?
GILBERG: Very triggering, to everyone there. Maybe the country is going to change protocol, based on this event's.
COLLINS: You talked about how you moved to this kibbutz. And you said it was one of your favorite places that you felt peaceful there. I mean, how has this shattered your sense of security?
GILBERG: I still think that once I'm able to go back, I will feel secure there, again, because it's my happy place. It's where I've built my home in Israel. A friend actually asked me this, if I would go back to live there. And I said I'd go back, if I can, tomorrow.
It's my home. It's the apartment, my quiet corner of the world that I've made, for myself, where -- it used to be the quiet corner of the world. Sometimes, it wouldn't be so quiet, with rockets. But we live in peace, there.
The people, on my kibbutz, they -- when the border was open, they would go to Gaza. They were friends with people in Gaza. I'm used to seeing Gazans, come into Israel, all the time to work, like I live right next to the crossing. And that's the crossing, where people come for, for like medical care, for work.
GILBERG: So, for me, we lived in peace. And we had -- we had like, a sense of being together.
I had friends, on the base there, when it was overtaken. My kibbutz was just a miracle that we're still here. And it's because of the great security team, we have, and Amir's (ph) sacrifice. There was also some people injured, from the kibbutz --
GILBERG: -- during the fight.
COLLINS: Tali, I'm so sorry, for what you've been through. And I'm grateful that you were able to even come and talk about it.
I've heard from people, who during this, have just said, I marvel at how people can come, and talk, and speak publicly, about something that they've witnessed that was so horrific.
So, thank you for that. And thank you for talking about Amir (ph) as well.
GILBERG: Thank you, for having me.
COLLINS: Thank you, Tali.
And we'll be back, in just a moment.
COLLINS: "The command will come." That is what the Israeli Defense Minister, told troops, today, who are gathering, near the Gaza border, also saying that they will soon see Gaza, not from across the border, but from the inside.
So, as Israel is signaling that an invasion is close, the question, of course, is what that looks like, and what will come next?
CNN's Nic Robertson is near the Gaza border.
Nic, what have you been seeing tonight?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Kaitlan, it's not just the Defense Minister, who's giving an indication that troops may be going into Gaza, soon.
I spoke with a couple of other government ministers. The Minister of Economy said, "Look, from the political side, we've already given the green light to the Military. It's up to the Military now, when they go in." So, the decision's taken. I was also speaking with the Agriculture minister, who also used to be a head of one of the security services, here, fought in Israel's Military, on many occasions. And he said some interesting things, about what Gaza will look like, after this Military incursion, because that's something everyone's been asking.
One of the things he said, "Look, we know that the defenses -- we know that the Gaza border, at 67 kilometers, about 50 miles long, along that whole fence line. We know that that was a security weak point. We're going to radically change it." He said there will be a big buffer zone, a no-go zone, effectively a kill zone. No one will be allowed in that area. And that will be there, to protect and make Israel safer, and stop incursions, coming out of Gaza. So, that's one change.
But in terms of the overall security change? And this would be a very big difference from where we're at today. He says that the security, in Gaza, the access, for the IDF, in the future, will be like it is, for the IDF, in the West Bank, at the moment, meaning they can go in and arrest people, whenever they want to, on their terms. Sometimes, it's a firefight. But it is nothing like it is going into Gaza.
So, what they're talking about is a big force that's going to take a long time, to take substantial control, inside Gaza, to completely eradicate, as they say, Hamas, from the streets, and from the community there. So, this new future, he said, for Gaza, is one where they will need to build a new authority structure there as well.
Now, there is no indication of how likely this is to be successful. But this is the first time, we've heard, from senior government officials, about their vision, for what it looks like, after the incursion.
Right now, everyone really looking for any indications that the incursion is about to happen here. From Sderot, we've been able to see this evening, tank rounds fired in towards Gaza, heavy machine gun, flares. We haven't seen that before. And the area it was happening in, if there was to be an incursion, that would be one of the places, it would happen.
Early days yet. But I think the expectation, right now, is it's really coming soon, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Nic Robertson, thank you for that report.
And with me now is, of course, someone, who has been very familiar, with the Israeli Military. The former National Security Adviser, to the Prime Minister. Major General, Yaakov Amidror, is here, tonight.
You heard from Prime Minister Netanyahu, and other Israeli officials, warning this is going to be a long war. How long do you think it'll be?
MAJ. GEN. YAAKOV AMIDROR (RET.), ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (RET.), FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, JEWISH INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY OF AMERICA: I think that there will be basically two stages.
The first one, very intensive. It's to go into the area, slowly, and to be at the end, in areas, which are important, to control the area that we suppose, to control afterwards. It will be a slow-moving, of big forces, into the urban area, to identify where the enemy centers of command, and gravitas (ph). And it will be separate inside.
And then, we will be there for long time, few months probably, to clean the area, to go after the Hamas members, each headquarters that they have, each office that they have, to identify the underground tunnels --
COLLINS: Which are quite complex.
AMIDROR: -- and to try --
COLLINS: Do you think they'll get that intelligence, on where the headquarters and whatnot are, once they're across the border? Or do you think they have a good sense of that now?
AMIDROR: I think that all the headquarters that had been known, destroyed by the Air Force.
We have to collect the information, and to make all the investigation, of people, inside, and slowly, slowly to identify the network of the -- which was prepared, by the Hamas, and then to destroy it slowly, and surely. And to have more information, through the operation, it is something which will emerge, through the operation. Not everything is known now.
COLLINS: OK. So, you think they'll learn a lot, during the operation?
COLLINS: But with this, it's clear what Israel's intent here. They say they want to eradicate Hamas' capabilities, their Military capabilities.
But if Israel is successful in that, who is in charge of Gaza? Do you -- does Prime Minister Netanyahu have a plan for that?
AMIDROR: There are three options.
One, that Israel will remain there. I think it will be a mistake. We don't want the responsibility for 2 million people, with all the ramification connected to that.
I think that the -- for the Palestinians, the best is if the PA will take responsibility, something that they lost, because Hamas pushed all the members of Fatah out of Gaza, killed them.
COLLINS: Yes, they basically have no power. AMIDROR: Yes. But if they come after us, after we killed Hamas? That will be much easier for them. And, of course, from the outside, we can help. But this is something that might not happen, because the PA does not want to take the responsibility as well.
So, at the end, I think that Israel will have to disconnect itself, from the Gaza Strip. We don't have a responsibility for the civilians. We have only one responsibility is to destroy any attempt, by the -- anyone inside, to rebuild Military capability.
We don't have -- we are out of Gaza Strip, people don't remember, more than 15 years. We don't have any responsibility for any, in area, which we are not in. We don't have responsibility. We are not conquering the Gaza Strip.
COLLINS: But there's a sense of responsibility --
AMIDROR: We are out.
COLLINS: -- in the sense of the civilians, who live there. It's not their fault what Hamas did.
AMIDROR: Why it is ours?
COLLINS: Well you'd go in and you conduct this --
AMIDROR: Why it is our responsibility?
COLLINS: -- massive bombing campaign, you're telling them to leave because, of course, they're going to go in and to do that it would -- civilians would get killed, even if it's inadvertent, during that.
COLLINS: I mean, I think people would say that there is a sense of responsibility, for what happens to them next, if you topple --
AMIDROR: If we stay there?
COLLINS: -- their leadership.
AMIDROR: If we stay there, we have responsibility. But if you're going back to the border? And what we do is only to take for the -- for any attempt, to build new Military capability, inside. We don't have --
COLLINS: But what if there's a vacuum created? OK, so you feel you have no responsibility. You go in. You eradicate Hamas. You leave. But there's no leadership. I mean, we've seen that happen, time and time again, where a vacuum is created, and another terrorist organization, emerges.
AMIDROR: Yes. But you behave that 2 million Palestinians, they are like babies.
They have responsibility for themselves.
COLLINS: Well most of them --
AMIDROR: It is their --
COLLINS: -- half of them are under 18-years-old.
AMIDROR: It is their --
COLLINS: They don't get freedom (ph).
AMIDROR: It is their responsibility, to build something, which will be good for them, and good for us. And -- or good for them, at least.
I mean, we cannot be responsible for 2 million Palestinians that do not know how to build something, for themselves. It's not our responsibility. It's their responsibility. We don't have responsibility, for all the problems, that occur in Syria, or somewhere else, I mean.
COLLINS: Well, I have a lot of questions for you on what this could look like. And I want to have you back on that.
But there's something that -- I was just having that conversation, with Tali, who survived the attack, on her kibbutz.
I was watching Anderson Cooper's interview, earlier, with the sisters, of a medic, who could have left, but she stayed, and she was killed in her kibbutz. And her sister shared her last messages, with Anderson. And one of them was, "Where is the Military? Where is the Military?"
You served for 36 years in the Military? Where was the Military, on that day?
AMIDROR: I think it was a huge failure of the system, including the intelligence and the operational side. But this is something that we will investigate, and we'll find the solutions high (ph), to prevent it in the future, after the war.
Now, we are focusing on the war. All our energy, all our thoughts, all our time is about how to win the war.
And all your questions, about the day after, the minute after the war, the hour after the war, investigation will take part, in Israel. It's a democracy. The people will not let the army and the decision-makers not to be under investigation. And we will find what went wrong.
And many things went wrong, no question about it. But that will have to wait after the war because the war itself is very problematic, very challenging. It is not going to be easy. And we should not waste any gram of -- any time or energy, about something, which is not connected to the need, to win the war. And after that, everything is open, everything, I mean.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, I mean they're still in leadership. So, I think people would say it is connected. But we have much more to discuss. Thank you, for coming on, tonight, and for sharing your time, with me.
AMIDROR: Thank you for the opportunity.
COLLINS: Yes, at this very early hour, here in Tel Aviv.
COLLINS: Thank you, General.
And we'll be back, in just a moment.
COLLINS: The House is now expected to hold its third vote, for House Speaker, at 10 AM, tomorrow.
And we have just learned a few moments ago that Congressman Jim Jordan, who has not yet dropped out of this, despite not having the votes, is going to hold a press conference, at 8 AM, tomorrow morning. He has been pledging to stay in the race. He has had two failed votes, this week.
Melanie Zanona, back on Capitol Hill, joins me now.
Melanie, what are we expecting, to hear from Jim Jordan, at 8 AM, tomorrow?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Jordan is going to try to rally support, for his flailing speakership bid.
He was meeting with a number of those key holdouts, tonight, trying to win over his opposition. But we're hearing, it is not going over very well, for Jim Jordan.
So, the big picture, right now, Kaitlan, is that the Republican Party is frankly a mess. Their nominee for Speaker, which is Jim Jordan, cannot get the votes he needs, but refuses to drop out of the race, preventing other candidates, from getting in.
There was also a heated closed-door meeting, earlier today that devolved into yelling and screaming.
Also, one member, Nancy Mace just blocked -- got blocked -- got blocked, I should say, by another member, on Twitter, because they were fighting.
They also are starting to have personal threats. So, there are concerns for member safeties, for those Republicans, who voted against Jim Jordan.
So really, the House is in chaos, right now, with no Speaker, and no end in sight, Kaitlan. COLLINS: And a lot of cursing, it appears.
Melanie Zanona, we'll see what's said, tomorrow, maybe some expletives there. Thank you.
We'll have more, from the ground, here in Israel, right after this quick break.
COLLINS: Before we go, tonight, just a quick note, on those, who have been so incredibly amazing, to share their stories, with us. People, like Tali, and others, who have told us, what it was like, to live in that horrific day. And it's something that's had an impact, on all of you.
We've heard so many things, so much feedback, from people, on the impact, of these personal stories, and people asking how they can help, what they can do.
CNN's Impact Your World team has updated its list of organizations that are vetted, that are safe to donate to. And if you want to do so, tonight, you can go to CNN.com/impact. Or you can just text the word, "RELIEF," to 707070. It's a safe way, to donate, in a way that so many people have asked about.
I want to thank you so much, for joining us, as we are live here, in Tel Aviv.
We'll be back here, tomorrow night, with more important stories, on the ground, and reporting.
"CNN NEWSNIGHT" with Abby Phillip starts, right now.