Return to Transcripts main page

State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Urgent Push for Humanitarian Aid into Gaza as War Escalates; Israel Preparing for Next Stage of War against Hamas; Gaza Residents Flee as IDF Readies for Next Stage of War; Rep. Jim Jordan Trying to Win Over Holdouts in House; CNN sees Five U.N. Fuel Trucks Cross from Egypt into Gaza at Rafah; Tensions on Northern Border Spark Fears of Second Front. Aired 11a- 12p ET

Aired October 16, 2023 - 11:00   ET




NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Hello, everyone, I'm Nia-Malika Henderson in for Kasie Hunt. It's Monday October 16th, 11 am

here in Washington and 6 pm in Israel and Gaza. In urgent diplomatic effort is underway to get critical humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza as

Israel prepares for what could be an imminent ground offensive against Hamas.

Aid trucks are lined up near the Rafah border crossing Egypt waiting for clearance. And just a short time ago, a CNN staffer witness five U.N. fuel

trucks crossing into Gaza, the first known aid to make it across the border. On the other side, Palestinians fleeing the fighting are desperate

to get out.

Many have heeded Israel's order to leave Northern Gaza. But as devastating airstrikes continue, the Palestinian Authority says there is no single safe

zone for civilians. Israel says it has no plans for a ceasefire right now vowing to completely destroy Hamas. Today, it updated the number of

hostages being held in Gaza to 199.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in Israel, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials and President Joe

Biden is fueling speculation that he could also visit Israel soon after he abruptly canceled a domestic trip today. A National Security Spokesman says

the U.S. is working hard to open the gates of humanitarian aid.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: We believe it's essential that humanitarian assistance, food, water, medicine, also electrical power

remains available to the people of Gaza as much as possible. They are the victims here too. They didn't ask for this. We want to make sure

humanitarian assistance can continue to get in.


HENDERSON: I'm going to bring in my colleague, Becky Anderson. She is live in Tel Aviv, Becky.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Yes, let's start with the latest news this hour. And that is those images and let's brings them up of

those five U.N. fuel trucks coming in to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, the only viable way in and out of the Gaza enclave since Israel

established this total siege around the enclave and closed its border crossings with Gaza.

Egypt has been under enormous pressure to get that border open on its side, Israel and Hamas under pressure to open it on the Gaza side. Why, there is

an enormous amount of fuel, medical supplies and food aid sent there by the UAE, by Jordan by other regional countries, by the WHO, by U.N. agencies

sitting in Irish, which is on that southern side of that border, which is massively needed.

Given that there is this total siege and of the enclave and some half a million people have evacuated from Northern Gaza into the area in the south

but face serious issues with no fuel, electricity, water, food supplies, and medical supplies. So incredibly important that we see these images shot

by a CNN cameraman on the Gaza side of the border of these trucks coming in.

That may indicate the opening of that border, at least for humanitarian supplies. The U.S. has been putting a lot of pressure on Egypt. And we know

John Kirby spoke to CNN just this morning saying they are hoping that border crossing will be open. What the U.S. is also hoping will happen is

that people including U.S. citizens will be able to evacuate out of Gaza through that crossing.

To date, Egypt has made it very, very clear that if it opens for humanitarian supplies only coming in from Egypt. They do not want to see a

flood of people leaving particularly Palestinians leaving from Gaza. Why this is nothing about how Egypt feels about the Palestinian people?

They are firmly and squarely on the fall that says the plight of the Palestinian people, which is squarely at the center of this decades old

conflict needs to be addressed. What they don't want to see is a flood of people hitting the -- Jordan wants to see a flood of people that could

potentially go into Jordan.

This is a national security issue as far as both those countries are concerned and they called it a red line. So we continue to wait to see what

happens, conflicting reports at present about what will happen next at that border crossing but a relief for many, as they see certainly the sign of

these U.N. trucks at least in principle, getting in to get fuel into an area where it is so badly needed, Nia.

HENDERSON: And Becky the number of reported hostages has gone up from 150 to 199.


Is there any other information on that crisis?

ANDERSON: Yes. So that number has written risen significantly. It took many days for the Israeli authorities to actually indicate just how many

hostages there were? They were talking about 155, only 24 hours ago, that number has now risen to 199. Israeli and foreign citizens as they describe


Over the past Friday, sort of into Saturday, we said the past couple of days, we had indications from Israeli forces that they had made some raids

into Gaza to try and gather some evidence of where those hostages are and how they are? Not clear what evidence they were able to get during those


But clearly, this is an absolute national priority for Israel. And it just feeds this, the sense that these hostages are there. Nobody knows what's

going on with them, feeds a sense of sort of cumulative trauma, collective trauma that you feel from every Israeli who is going through this 10 days

in to this.

You know, Saturday, last week that massacre, that a horrendous massacre, so many people you speak to here, have lost people in that massacre or their

brothers, daughters, sons, husbands will be at that border as one of the 300,000 troops who are now gathered there.

And in the sense that Israel has promised to take out Hamas is something that really drives Israelis that you speak to. They understand the fear of

collateral damage. They understand the fear of civilian death in Gaza. But just getting that number and seeing it rise, as it has really shocked

people here.

And it will shock people around the world clearly a priority for Israel, for the U.S., for those who believe that their citizens are being held

hostage, you know, very, very worrying that number has risen as it has.

HENDERSON: Becky Anderson thanks so much for your report from Tel Aviv. Stay safe. Let's dive into all of this. Now with today's panel. We've got

Cedric Leighton. He's a CNN Military Analyst and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel. Also with me is a Columnist for The Washington Post, Josh Rogin.

And Tia Mitchell joins us. She's the Washington Correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Thank you all for joining us today. Josh, I'm

going to start with you. Antony Blinken is back in Israel. He's been meeting with Arab leaders all over Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt.

Have you noticed at all a shift in the Biden Administration sort of public posture, public statements since Blinken's meetings?

JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, well, I think the public statements have been remarkably consistent. I think what's changing

is the private messages. And then there's a strategy inside the Biden Administration to say very little in public, but then to have the tough

messages delivered in private.

And I think those tough messages from Antony Blinken and other Biden officials come in, basically three categories. One is let's not expand the

war after the expected Gaza invasion, encouraging happens, land encouraged by Israeli forces, a lot of these other countries are promising to do a lot

of things.

Qatar is promising to cut off the world oil supply, gas supply rather. Iran is threatening violence, Syria, Russia. So his first message is let the

Israelis do this. And let's not expand the war. The second message is about the hostages. This is focused mostly on Qatar. And the third message is

about the humanitarian aid.

Not just the aid in but 500 to 600 Palestinian Americans who are trying to get out. So that's a four dimensional chess going on. And most of it is

playing out behind the scenes. The U.S. Israeli part actually is the most interesting part because as you mentioned, in your setup, if President

Biden arrives in the region and today or tomorrow, the next day.


ROGIN: Well, that will dominate everything it would be hard to imagine that Prime Minister Netanyahu was going to send in the ground forces at that

moment. So that could mean that there'll be a delay in the ground incursion into Gaza. And that could reset the table both diplomatically and

militarily in ways that we can't right now predict.

HENDERSON: And Tia, what's your sense, obviously, Biden has canceled some of his domestic plans out of the White House. They're saying he wants to

focus on this. How likely is it that you think he goes to Israel? Benjamin Netanyahu is of course invited him and how involved is he with these

decisions that are going on in regards to Israel?

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Well, number one, Josh made an important point that I think makes it more

likely that he might go because if there's a chance that the American President going to Israel delays or causes a pause.


Some reflection on the incursion into Gaza I think the Palestinians would welcome that. But it also might be a way for Israel to showcase some

diplomacy and kind of quiet some of the concerns about the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. That being said, we know that Biden has been

hands on, even when he has done recent interviews and talked about his involvement.

He's clearly today more meetings for going that travel. And we know that Israel is important to him. He's talked about taking his family's there.

He's talked about the historic oppression of Jewish people and why Israel is an important ally. So I do think he thinks it's important that he stays

very engaged in this.

HENDERSON: And Cedric Leighton, he was interviewed by 60 minutes. So last night, very heartfelt comments about the importance of Israel traveling

there with his kids and grandkids at some point into Germany. He was asked about Iran and whether or not Iran had any involvement in this, and there

have been conflicting reports about this and here's what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I don't want to get into classified information but to be very blunt with you. There is no clear

evidence of that at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, no evidence that Iran is behind any of this?

BIDEN: Correct. Now, Iran constantly supports Hamas and Hezbollah. I don't mean that. But in terms of where they, would did they have foreknowledge

that to help plan the attack? There is no evidence of that at this point.


HENDERSON: So on please these horrendous attacks on how might Iran respond to a ground invasion?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think Iran has several different choices that they have to make the end. And one of them is how

far do they really want to take this. So when President Biden spoke about not wanting to get into classified information, there is the possibility

that the information that he has is far more extensive about Iran's involvement than what we know publicly.

But whether that's true or not, the key thing to note is that there are certain indications that Iran has been actively supporting Hamas, just like

they actively support Hezbollah and have done so for many, many years.

The key thing to note about how these people talk to each other is often that they speak not directly they speak indirectly. They will talk in

poetic form, they will talk in a way that is very different than what we're used to in the West.


LEIGHTON: And what that could mean is that the Iranians gave them the green light. But they did it in such an oblique way that if you were monitoring

the conversation, you're getting the oblique reference, you're not getting that was a direct order, whether that was a direct green light.


LEIGHTON: And that's I think the nuance here that the intelligence agencies always have to grapple with when they're dealing with targets like this.

HENDERSON: Yes, and certainly a lot of fear about whether or not this is going to expand in the region. Coming up, Israel prepares for a ground

invasion of Gaza as its military releases updated information on how many hostages Hamas is holding.



HENDERSON: I want to turn to today's panel again. Tia, I'm going to start with you on this, Joe Biden probably the most experienced President and

foreign policy that we've seen in decades, right? So we've got a CNN poll asking Americans whether or not they trust Biden on Israel.

And here are the numbers 16 percent say they've got a great deal of trust, moderately trust him 31 percent, not much 26 percent, not at all 28

percent. So I didn't major in math, but it seems like more don't really trust him, right? It's sort of split right 50, 50? What do you make of

those numbers?

MITCHELL: What I make of those numbers is just the bigger theme in politics today, which is partisanship, almost blind partisanship. So there are some

voters that no matter what Joe Biden does, they're just poised to oppose him. And there are some voters who no matter what Joe Biden does they're

poised to support him.

And then there are very few in the middle who are kind of on any given day could go one way or another. That's just the way American politics is right

now. Most people have made up their minds.

And there's little that a figure like Joe Biden can do to change that. Now, don't get me wrong, but there's a big gap. Or you know something huge could

make a shift. But for the most part, the routine day to day is not going to move the needle much.

HENDERSON: And Josh, on this interview or yesterday 60 minutes, Joe Biden. He was talking about reoccupying Gaza, should Israel reoccupied Gaza,

here's what he had to say.


BIDEN: I think that it would be a mistake to pro-Israel to occupy Gaza again, we did but to going in and taking out the extremists. The Hezbollah

is up north, but Hamas down south is a necessary requirement.


ROGIN: Right. So he's supporting the encouraging, but he's saying they should get in and get out easier said than done. You know, but that's kind

of a reasonable position for the American President to take. You know, when it comes to the politics, I think the Republican candidates have tried to

attack him from the right on the Iran issue.

They think that his warmness towards the Iranian regime was naive. And in retrospect, now, I don't think that's going to get a lot of traction with

any new voters on the left. What President Biden has done is he sort of shored up the pro-Israel support inside the Democratic Party and sort of

rejected the appeal by some progressives to take a more balanced or even pro-Palestinian approach.

And I think that's an important development inside the left, inside the Democratic Party. But remember, the President Biden while being very pro-

Israel has always been very anti-Netanyahu. These are two men who have known each other for 50 years. They've hated each other for 50 years. And a

lot of the policies that Prime Minister Netanyahu was implementing were things that President Biden had opposed remember he --

HENDERSON: Just recently ran with trying to reshape how the judiciary --

ROGIN: Yes, he didn't meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu for almost three years, then he only met him once in New York, he didn't invite him to

Washington. Now he's going to go there and stand shoulder to shoulder, next to him. That's a big change in the Biden, Netanyahu relationship.

And in a sense, that makes sense politically, but inside Israel, you have to think that nothing was very unpopular right now. And a lot of the

policies that Biden oppose, are set to have contributed to the state of affairs where Gaza was neglected in favor of Netanyahu's focus on the West

Bank and the settlements etcetera.


And, you know, you have to imagine that a lot of people in Israel thinking maybe President Biden was right about a lot of those things.

HENDERSON: So Colonel, the number of hostages, it was about 150. It has gone up to 199 that is heartbreaking news. What do you think I mean, the

likelihood of kind of rescue, or is it more likely that there will be some sort of prisoner for hostage swap? What's your sense?

LEIGHTON: Right now, my sense is that there's going to be some kind of a prisoner for hostage swap, if Hamas is not provoked to do something really

bad to the hostages, also, if they haven't done anything bad to hostages already, so because that could affect the Israeli response?

You know, frankly, from a military standpoint, it's very difficult for the Israelis to go in and recover the hostages in a way that would work because

of the difficulty in finding them, the difficult the possibility that they're under tunnels and inside, you know, this cavernous, massive

labyrinth basically, that they have in Gaza, both above ground and underground.

So when you look at all those possibilities, it's certainly in Israel's interest and in the Arab world's interest outside of Hamas, to get this

resolved very quickly, and to do that diplomatically. So a country like Qatar could play a significant role in that.

HENDERSON: -- Antony Blinken is meeting with officials from there?

LEIGHTON: Exactly. And that's the reason he's doing that I'm certain, same with the Egyptians. And he's also had communication with the Turkish

Foreign Minister. So those are the kinds of things these are all players that have a role with Hamas one way or the other.

And that diplomatic front is going to be very, very important in the next 24 to 48 hours, if something can be done to effect those that hostage

release and perhaps coincide with a certain President's visit, if that visit is going to happen. That would be a major foreign policy coup for the


HENDERSON: Right. And to all of this is happening as there's a presidential election going on the GOP primary, Nikki Haley, weighed in on the refugees



NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whether we're talking about Gazans and Palestinians. You know, all of them don't, you've got half

of them at the time that I was there didn't want to be under Hamas, Israel, they didn't want to have terrorists overseeing them.

They knew that they were living a terrible life because of Hamas. You had the other half that supported Hamas, there are so many of these people who

want to be free from this terrorist rule. They want to be free from all of that. And America has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can

separate civilians from terrorists. And that's what we have to do.


HENDERSON: Ron DeSantis, of course, it's something very different basically saying that the Palestinians were all anti-Semitic, somebody pointed out

that they're also Semites as well. What do you make of how this is playing out on the campaign, Nikki Haley, I think is a distant second now in a lot

of the polls to Donald Trump and has a lot of foreign policy experience as well?

MITCHELL: Right. I think that highlighted that Nikki Haley, as she said, is one of the candidates for the Republican nomination who actually has

foreign policy experience. And I think that's why she's risen to the alternative to President Trump at that alternative for those who want to

move away from the age of Trump in the Republican Party.

She's become their candidate of choice, but there are not enough of them. And I think she also makes an important point about Hamas's rule in Gaza.

That was an election that was over 15 years ago, they haven't allowed another election. So you know it's easy to say, well, the people voted to

have Hamas rule them.

And now they have to live under Hamas's a governing structure and all that that brings including the incursion from Israel, but the case is that they

haven't been allowed to speak in any recent time on that.

HENDERSON: And Josh, obviously, Donald Trump coming out and praising his blog, much to the dismay of lots of Republicans who some didn't even want

to comment on it.

ROGIN: Right. I mean, Former President Trump's comments on this have just been bizarre, as are most of his comments these days, which just sort of

tells me that, like, it's not clear that the Republican primary voter field really wants foreign policy experience or foreign policy rationality.

And, you know, that's why DeSantis is saying Islamophobic things, because that's what Trump proved works in a GOP primary. And so yes, there'll be a

minority of Republican voters who will praise Nikki Haley for saying not Islamophobic things, but that might not win the day.

And, you know, if you just think about what situation we would be in, if President Trump were in office, he would be criticizing Israel praising

Hamas, talking to Russia, and that would be a complete disaster. So I think this is a good moment to sort of take a look at what responsible leadership

at the time of crisis really means and how important it is? But again, I don't think that the Republican Party is prioritizing that if we're being



HENDERSON: Right. It is quite a contrast. So even though if you look at Biden's numbers, people still have doubts about his ability to handle this

crisis. CNN Military analyst Cedric Leighton we thank you Josh Rogin of The Washington Post and Tia Mitchell with the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Thank you all for being here. It's the start of what may be a huge week in the race to be the Speaker of the U.S. House. The Republican vying for the

top job is facing an uphill climb ahead of a pivotal vote.



YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: -- Mediterranean and we know, what is the meaning? So let me tell you, Mr. Secretary, this will be a long war,

the price will be high, but we are going to win for Israel, for the Jewish people and for the values that both countries believe in. With your

permission you will enable --


HENDERSON: That is Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with Israeli Defense Minister in Israel. Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Nia-

Malika Henderson live in Washington. Of course, we're going to follow the latest developments in Israel and Gaza but it's also a big week here in the

U.S. capital were voted scheduled tomorrow to choose the next House Speaker.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan is facing what appears to be a very tough, very uphill climb in his bid for the job. For more, let's

bring in CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju, Manu? OK, we're going to go back to Blinken.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: -- to defend its people and in that you have, you always had the support of the United States. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much sir.

HENDERSON: And we're going to bring in Manu Raju, and tear away from Antony Blinken there. Manu are you there? There you are. Hi, Manu Raju apparently

there's going to be a vote tomorrow for Speaker of the House. That's what Jim Jordan is promising. How likely is this vote?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, he is still pressing ahead, Nia. Remember, he said last week very clearly he did

not want to go to the House floor and let's see at 217 votes. That's what he's required to be elected speaker at the moment. He does not have that;

there is a sizable amount of Republican opposition that he needs to overcome.

He cannot lose more than four Republicans in order to unstick the house that has been totally paralyzed in the aftermath of that historic vote

almost two weeks ago now to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker. But he has been trying to meet one on one with these holdouts trying to pick off some key

members and trying to win over them and he's had some success.

In fact, two members who have been opposed to him including Congressman Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, announced his

support for Jim Jordan today after he had some insurance, and how he would deal with some key issues including over defense policy.

So that is a big pickup for Jordan, but can he make up all of the rest of these holdouts to get him to the speakership? That remains the key

question. And if he doesn't, does he still decide to move forward with that public vote, which would pressure some of these holdouts forced them to

publicly say they are opposed to Jordan something that will cause backlash for them from their base, from their from people who support Jim Jordan

like the former President Donald Trump, all could come to a head by Tuesday evening.

A big test to tonight will be tonight when they meet behind closed doors the House Republicans do as a full conference to air out their grievances

error, all the tension that we have been seeing, have they moved any closer to bridging the divide? That is still a major question. And the big test

for Jordan as he tries to become Speaker of the House but unclear if we can get there if the House will remain paralyzed, Nia.

HENDERSON: Here we go again, Manu we'll be watching it closely. And we know we're going to break, you're going to bring us all the news on it. Manu

Raju on Capitol Hill thanks so much. And let's break it down now with our panel. We've got CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney. She's a former

Senior Spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

We've got Terry Sullivan, who is a Founding Partner of Firehouse Strategies. He served as Campaign Manager for Senator Marco Rubio's 2016

presidential run, and back with us, Tia Mitchell. She's the Washington Correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Thank you all for being


Terry, you know, I got to go to you. I always have to go to the Republican first, so yes. Nikki Haley had some interesting things to say about this.

Of course, this is a big topic among Republicans, some like Jim Jordan, some don't. Here's what she had to say.


HALEY: This is not a good look; this is not good for our country. We saw what happened to Israel when they were distracted. America looks so

distracted right now. When Americans distracted, the world is less safe.


HENDERSON: Do you agree with that? I mean, I had thought that what was happening in Israel would really push this thing along quickly, and there'd

be a speaker by now.

TERRY SULLIVAN, FOUNDING PARTNER, FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES: Yes, you'd think that a global pandemic would bring America together.


SULLIVAN: Not divide us. So I mean we're in a new age of politics. And it's showing itself on the Republican side right now. But it's on both sides of

the aisle. And this is where American politics is. And it's partly due to it's the breakdown of politics of ideas and policy and the strengthening of

politics by personality.

You don't hear divisions here about policy or big, you know, conservative versus moderate. You hear, I don't like this person, or I don't like this

style of play. And so that's really where we're at and modern politics in America.

HENDERSON: And Tia, it is very, very personal, right? Apparently, you've got Jim Jordan who really is enacting a pressure campaign in something

that's a good idea. Some don't think that's a good idea. Dan Crenshaw was on CNN this Sunday, and he said, this isn't a good idea. It's the dumbest

idea. I think we have that sound.


REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): What I would really recommend to Jordan's allies, too, is a lot of them have mounted this this old this high pressure

campaign. They're going to whip up Twitter against the people who are against Jordan.

That is the dumbest way to support Jordan and I'm supporting Jordan. I'm going to vote for Jordan, right. And as somebody who wants Jim Jordan, the

dumbest thing you can do is to continue pissing off those people and entrench them.


HENDERSON: He's a supporter of Jim Jordan. And he is advising against his pressure campaign, which apparently includes Sean Hannity calling some

people and saying you've got to get behind Jim Jordan.


MITCHELL: And Sean Hannity is encouraging his viewers to call certain members of Congress who were reportedly not supporting Jim Jordan. I do

want to push back a little bit on Terri, because you said both parties, but it's a lot more pronounced on the Republican side. We have to remember

Nancy Pelosi had a similar majority, and she did not have these problems with her conference during the years that she was speaker.

The Republican Party it was very telling on Friday, Austin Scott, I know him because I covered Georgia's delegation. Most people did not. And he was

able to get any one votes competing Jim Jordan might --

HENDERSON: Even his colleagues might --

MITCHELL: In the fact that he still kept it very competitive with only an hour notice that he was running for speaker. So there's a lot of fracture

within the Republican Party. And I think there's a lot of anger, not necessarily at Jim Jordan himself, but at those who are pushing for Jim

Jordan, those who push to get rid of Kevin McCarthy, and then help block Steve Scalise.

So they're just a lot of divisions within the Republican conference. And so now it is for some members is just do we want to let them win by letting

them get their person Jim Jordan as the speaker.

KAREN FINNEY, FOEMER SENIOR SPOKESPERSON, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Yes. Jim Jordan lost last week. Can we just remember that? So his message now is I

lost last week, but vote for me this week.

SULLIVAN: This is how this works. I mean, you know, this is how this works and how --

HENDERSON: Is this how it works?

SULLIVAN: It's normally done behind the scenes. But look, and no one's, no one's running as hard and aggressively as Nancy Pelosi. And she did a damn

good job of being a Machiavellian leader and being cutthroat and holding a tight control on the House. But right now, the Democrat Party is fighting

amongst itself, whether they're support Hamas or not. So I don't know that it's fair to say.

FINNEY: No, no, no, no.

SULLIVAN: I don't know whether there's a fight within the Democratic Party about --

FINNEY: No, there is not a fight about whether or not that is completely untrue. There is a conversation about the fact that we need to, we ought to

be talking more about the plight of the Palestinian people, children in particular, who are suffering because of Hamas, and, frankly, because

Israel is trying to root out come. That is not the same thing.

SULLIVAN: That is a division with how supportive to be for Hamas. Is it -- within the Democrat Party?

FINNEY: And to your point --

MITCHELL: It's one thing to disagree on policy. There's always been disagreement within both parties on policy, whether it's the Israeli

Palestinian conflict, or whether it's gun control or abortion rights.

But this, these internal leadership conflicts leaking out into the public is where the Republican Party is having issues right now, where the

Democrats haven't in recent history; I'm not saying they never will. But right now, this has been a Republican issue.

HENDERSON: Karen, I want to ask you, is there a role for the Democrats to play in this? You know, everybody's talking about well, maybe there's some

sort of bipartisan speaker that the Democrats can support and some Republicans can't do. Is that just a fantasy? What's your saying is?

FINNEY: Sure, if moderate Republicans want to come on to our side and support Hakeem Jeffries, absolutely. But look, more importantly, I just

want to take a step back, because two weeks ago, it was ridiculous. It was embarrassing. But now the whole world is watching.

It's not just Republicans are disagreeing with I just want us to really understand the stakes. Our own reporting suggests that the conflict that

we're seeing in the Middle East could get broader, particularly if we see Hezbollah get more involved which means potentially Iran, then we are in a

much broader situation.

And we can't even pass something to get aid to Israel, because the Republicans cannot decide on a speaker. That's the stakes of what's going

on. It's not just about I don't like you, you were mean to me. And here's the thing, to some degree, I think what Democrats are feeling is, this is

chickens coming home to roost.

When you spend, when you have a whole portion of your party saying, election denialism around 2020 and now, that's the guy you're trying to put

up as your speaker, that's not about whether or not Democrats can support or work with that person. That's about whether or not Republicans are

serious about coming to the table and growing up, and actually helping to lead the country.

HENDERSON: And listen, in fairness to what Karen is saying some moderate Republicans actually agree with this idea of what maybe Jim Jordan isn't

the best person to be sort of the face of the Republican Party.

SULLIVAN: Yes, definitely. Look, there is a fight within the Republican Party. It's not about the speaker's race or about a bunch of congressmen

who can't get along or they fight for the identity of the Republican Party. And that's a fair argument to have. It's not good politics for the party, a

good optics to be doing this, you know, in front of all of America.

FINNEY: And the world at the moment.

SULLIVAN: Of course. But it's different.

HENDERSON: We're going to have to wrap it there. Karen Finney, Terry Sullivan and Tia Mitchell, we thank you for this very spirited discussion

this morning.


We continue to follow the latest out of Israel and Gaza just ahead. We'll go back to Tel Aviv with CNN's Becky Anderson with the latest on the



ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Tel Aviv, welcome back. As we wait to see what the next stage in this war between Israel and Hamas will look like and

what sort of price will be paid. The latest news coming out of Gaza today and it is more optimistic I have to say just for a small window as it were.

Then we've had of late, we have seen this images shot by our CNN cameraman on the Gaza side of the rougher border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

Five U.N. fuel trucks which have crossed that border much needed supplies, of course is getting into southern Gaza where so many people have fled told

to evacuate by the Israelis ahead of what whatever we see next in this conflict in northern Gaza.

So that's important stuff as we understand it. There has been conflicting reports about what is going on with regard keeping that border crossing

open whether it will be open for people to evacuate into Egypt that is very, very unclear.

All we know at present is what we can report on the ground and from the ground which is these five fuel trucks witnessed by our CNN cameraman

moving through that border into southern Gaza. One man who will know just how crucial that fuel is, is Jason Shawa. He's 55; he is a Palestinian

American with kids he's lived in Gaza since the 70s with his mother and his father. As I understand it, Jason is on the line for us.


Jason, you normally live in Gaza City. Tell me where you are now. And how you got there?

JASON SHAWA, GAZA RESIDENT: Yes, I do live in Gaza City; right now I was forced to relocate about 10 miles south of my house. Because there's really

army issued an order to all Gazan citizens to leave because they were planning to carpet bomb the building, the city. So yes, that's where I went

with my family and 50 other friends. And there are 20 children are staying with me here in a very, very small house with virtually no water or food.

ANDERSON: Yes. Well, now tell me, I mean, what is the situation there?

SHAWA: The situation is very dire. I mean, if you want me to talk about the situation -- at this small house, we virtually have no drinking water. It's

a major, major daily task of trying to secure water, drinking -- water for washing, cleaning hygiene. Food is another major issue keeping children

calm with all those F16s and whatever flying overhead. Military drones filing private rockets over us onto Gaza. I mean, that's it's a mess.

ANDERSON: I mean I'm very sorry for what you are going through. I mean, clearly, there's an awful lot going on behind the scenes that we are not

privy to with regard military planning. What we do know is that clearly Israel is preparing itself for the next phase of this.

We've seen the troops and mash on the border. We've heard the warnings that this will be a land sea and air incursion and the demands that people

evacuated south from Gaza City to get out of the line of any -- further action.

Tell me there have been reports that people have been prevented from leaving Gaza City because Hamas has road blocked in and has been warning

people not to leave their homes. Can you just explain to me what you witnessed on the way down? How many people were leaving how many people you

believe may have fled? You're saying that you've got 50 in a small cabin alone friends and family, correct?

SHAWA: Yes, correct. Well, first of all about the, what you said about Hamas preventing people from movement, I did hear that through my -- but

myself and friends family and other relatives who also relocated to the same area I am staying at, hundreds so nothing of that sort. I made some


They also said that that's not true. Of course everybody living here knows that can't be true. I mean, there really I mean, no Hamas people are on the

streets, so it's just people fleeing their homes that's basically hit that is a false claim.

ANDERSON: I mean, we've just been reporting that the first fuel trucks are on their way into Gaza. We're just talking about five that we have

witnessed the CNN cameraman at the Rafah border. Can you just explain just how critical those supplies of fuel food medical supplies are going to be?

Because clearly, you have no idea nobody has any idea at this point how long this thing is going to last?

SHAWA: True, true. Well yes, fuel supplies, these fuel supplies are extremely crucial, but they don't benefit the average citizen. I mean, we

have no fuel here to power our generator. This fuel will probably strictly be used for ambulances and EMS services to go and dig up bodies or injured

people from beneath rubble above the homes.

So the average citizen won't benefit of it really. And besides there is, I mean excuse me, and sorry my throat is very dry. There is also no

electricity in town whatsoever, no water or nothing, so this feels fine. Yes, it will help to transport as I said, injured to hospitals and to help

extract their bodies from beneath the rubble.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you on. And I'm so sorry what you're going through. And you got those 20 kids there as I understand it you've already

had a birthday party for one of the kids.


SHAWA: -- daughter.

ANDERSON: I mean you're really trying to keep the children distracted. You've lived in Gaza long enough.


ANDERSON: You've been through conflicts before; this is a decade's long conflict. How is this different? How does this feel different? In the past,

it was always managed back into a box. Just explain from your own perspective how you feel about what's going on now?

SHAWA: Well, it's different in terms of I mean, size and scale, the scale of bombing of Gaza City and other cities in Gaza has five, six major cities

and several smaller towns and villages. They have been all affected by bombing. The scale, as I said, was very large, so many people were bombed

in their homes.

Without any kind of warning, one of those was my cousin, a cousin of mine, Doctor. Orthopedic Surgeon was bombed last night, in his home with his wife

and son. Without warning, they were so lucky to escape with no injuries. And they were taken to a nearby hospital, which is also has been worn by

the Israeli army to evacuate in preparation for bombing hit.

And the hospital administration refused because there is, I mean, why would you -- up on the hospital. I mean, so yes, it's different than this time.

For example, we have zero electricity in town, absolutely no electricity. The only power plant we have, which supplies almost half of Gaza's power

needs shutdown, because of lack of fuel, and the other 50 percent which is supplied by Israel, and paid for by us, of course to Gaza, was cut



SHAWA: And so was the water supplied by Israel. So basically --

ANDERSON: Thank you. Yes. Thank you for sharing your story. I mean, you know, stay safe. Sounds like the weakest thing to say. But listen, look

after the kids, look after the family. And let's stay in touch. Thank you. We're going to take a very short break. We're back after this.

SHAWA: Thank you.


HENDERSON: CNN was granted exclusive access to the Israel Defense Forces as tensions wrap up along the nation's border with Lebanon. And CNN's Matthew

Chance has that report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're bracing for a dangerous second front. We gain exclusive access to

Israel's -- Northern frontier.

CHANCE: Well, the Israeli army have now sealed off as a security zone. Some of the areas close to the Lebanese border because of the threat being

posed, but they're taking us now to the closest period, the closest place they can do that they say, it's safe to see the lay of the land.

CHANCE (voice-over): And that land is hostile. None of the Israeli soldiers here wanted their faces shown to hide their identities from Hezbollah, the

powerful Lebanese militia with a vast Arsenal trained on these positions from across the border.

LT. COLONEL "MK", ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: We're ready. If they choose to come, they'll make a huge mistake.

CHANCE (voice-over): War with Hezbollah would be brutal said this senior Israeli commander who asked not to be identified. But it is now also

necessary, he told me.

CHANCE: Do you believe there will be a second front open here or are you hopeful still that Hezbollah will stay out of this war?

MK: I hope there will be another front, we need to destroy Hezbollah.

CHANCE: You hope there will be another front?

MK: Yes.

CHANCE: You want the war?

MK: Yes.



MK: What Hamas did in Gaza? It didn't come from nowhere. It came from Hezbollah, it came from Iran. And in order for us to stop what happened

from Hamas, we need to stop them off.

CHANCE: All right, well, this is his close as the Israeli military say we can go. Just across there is territory of Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah,

the Lebanese militia.

And Israeli soldiers in this position in Israel that tell us that over the past few days, there have been multiple attempts by Hezbollah fighters to

penetrate the fence and to come into Israel, but they've been fought back. If there is going to be a second front in this war in Israel, the

likelihood is, it's going to start here.

CHANCE (voice-over): Already there have been exchanges of fire, forcing local Israelis to flee, terrified what happened in Israel South could

happen here too.

NOGA, RESIDENT OF KIBBUTZ MISGAV AM: A terrorist attack at this scale has never happened.


NOGA: And I'm scared that I live on the border, what's to stop them from doing it here. And I want to be strong and I want to come back and live

here. But I need to think about my kids first.

CHANCE (voice-over): Back from the border, Israel is bolstering its forces with some of the 360,000 troops mobilized after the Hamas attacks last

week. If war in the north is coming, Israel seems ready, even bristling to fight, Matthew Chance, CNN, Northern Israel.