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Hala Gorani Tonight
Israel-Gaza Conflict Enters Second Week; Portugal Reopens For Tourism From The U.K. And E.U.; British Tourists Head On Holiday To "Green List" Countries; India Aims Resources At Rural Areas As COVID-19 Cases Spike; Protesters In Japan Call For Cancellation Of Tokyo Games; San Marino Selling COVID Vaccines To Tourists; Israel Blames Hamas For Civil Law Casualties In Gaza. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 17, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. We are coming to you live from CNN London and it is good to be back. I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, violence on the Israeli-Gaza border enters this second week with no signs of slowing. But can the world pressure either side to back down?
Then in the air again, the international travel restrictions are easing in some parts of Europe. What does that mean for you? And while rural India
bears the brunt of COVID, a tropical cyclone barrels down on some parts of the battered country, the last thing India needs.
We're going to start with the Middle East. People on both sides of the Israeli-Gaza border are bracing for another sleepless night, fearing new
attacks as the violence between Israel and Gaza militants is stretching into a second week. Israel unleashed more heavy airstrikes Monday, saying
it killed a top Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, but also says it targeted tunnels used by Hamas, as well as homes belonging to Hamas commanders.
But the civilians though are paying the price once again. The Hamas-run Health Ministry says 59 children and 35 women are among the 200 people
killed so far in Gaza. On the other side of the border, Israel came under attack from a new barrage of rockets fired from Gaza.
One hit this residential building and Ashdod, injuring three people. At least 10 people have been killed in Israel since the violence began,
including two children. Let's go straight to the region.
Nic Robertson is in Ashdod, Israel. The USA is saying that it's quietly working on trying to achieve some sort of ceasefire between the two sides.
But it doesn't appear as though the violence is letting up at all. What's the latest where from your vantage point, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think one of the interesting things that we heard from the U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken, who's been speaking to, you know, his opposite numbers from ministers in this region here, said today when he was in Europe, he said if
the two sides want a ceasefire, then essentially then we'll get involved and we'll help. The very fact that he said if they want a ceasefire really
does seem to hint at the evidence here that both sides are not ready for that ceasefire.
We've been down right on the border today where the Israeli Defense Force artillery positions are. And late into the afternoon and past nightfall
here, those heavy artillery pieces were firing large rounds into Gaza. Typically in the past, the Israeli Defense Force uses those to target Hamas
But when you see that amount of artillery firepower firing off and the fact that we're down there filming it, it shows you there's a very strong
message to the world, but to the -- to Hamas and others in Gaza, that Israel isn't finished in this conflict yet. And we've heard that from the
Defense Secretary here, Benny Gantz, saying that there are plenty more Hamas targets.
And Hamas is saying the talks over the weekend have the possibility of a truce. A senior Hamas official has told CNN that there are two sticking
points for that. One is there demand that Israel stops what they call provocations in Jerusalem.
And the other sticking point Hamas says is that Israel is telling Hamas they must go first with a cessation of firing by three hours and the Hamas
is saying that's not suitable for them. Israeli officials haven't confirmed their side of Hamas's account. But I think that gives you the picture here.
Diplomacy is really being drowned out by the guns at the moment, Hala.
GORANI: Right. And the death toll on both sides, but especially on the Gaza side, which has been disproportionately affected in terms of deaths,
continues to climb.
ROBERTSON: There's been really harrowing pictures of young children rescued from rubble, fathers in hospital, recounting the moments when the buildings
they lived in their homes were collapsed around them and then they realized that their loved ones, their children were under the rubble and they were
calling out themselves helpless, you know, ending up in hospital, says really harrowing images coming from Gaza.
Israel says it goes out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. The rocket that was -- that managed to get through Israel's Iron Dome defensive
system, the Hamas rocket they managed to get through today on this city here, Ashdod, hit a residential neighborhood. Three people were injured in
But, absolutely, the longer the guns keep firing, the more civilian casualties there are. And those images of the suffering in Gaza and the
U.N. says that there are now many tens of thousands of people who without homes, and that's an issue.
ROBERTSON: There were indications this morning from the U.N., that the sewage facilities in parts of Gaza are breaking down, that the electricity
supplies are breaking down. So, yes, all this continues.
GORANI: Thank you very much, Nic Robertson.
Our Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is in Jerusalem. What's the latest on possible ceasefire as brokered, well, not just by Americans,
but by some of the Arab -- in Arab capitals across the region? Is there any hope there at all, as we listen to the -- as we can hear behind you the
call for prayer, Ben?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is hope, eventually, that the efforts particularly those led by the Egyptians, will
lead to perhaps not a long-term ceasefire. But what Gaza needs at this point is some sort of brief, if only a few hours, cessation of hostilities.
Now, I just heard Nic talk about the sewage system.
We understand from the Gaza electricity company, that they are within hours of running out of fuel, the fuel which provides the power to the water
system. It does appear that as a result of Israel's blockade and bombing, that Gaza is being pushed back into the pre-industrial era at this point.
There are more than 40,000 people who are taking refuge in UNRWA, UNRWA being the U.N. Palestinian relief agency, are taking refuge there because
their homes have either been destroyed, or they live in areas that is -- are inhabitable or too dangerous.
So, you know, we're spending an awful lot of time talking about Israel hit this because of that, and Hamas fired rockets here and there. But the fact
of the matter is there are 2 million people stuck in Gaza, they cannot leave. They do not have bomb shelters, and their lives are in danger, not
just from the war, but the fact that the entire Gaza strips infrastructure is about to collapse, Hala?
GORANI: All right, Ben Wedeman live in Jerusalem, thanks very much.
And of course, there was that leveling of that high-rise media building. I'll be speaking to the Senior Adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, a
little bit later this hour. For more on what the Israeli say is proof that militants were operating out of that building, proof we have not seen.
In many cities around the world, people have been protesting the violence in Gaza. We're seeing it in New York. We saw it in Paris. Some pretty large
crowds marching in the streets of some of the capitals, many waving signs and flags in support of the Palestinians.
In Jordan and Lebanon, demonstrations have also erupted right next to the border with Israel. In Lebanon, some protesters even rushed toward the
border wall and threw objects at Israeli soldiers before they were dispersed by authorities.
Salma Abdelaziz is in Beirut and she joins me now with more on what we're seeing, what we saw in Beirut but also around the world. Talk to us about
what you saw today, Salma.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Hala. This weekend on Saturday, we were right along the Lebanese-Israeli border. People had gathered there,
not just to commemorate Nakba Day, of course, which happens annually to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that were displaced
But that anniversary was, of course, compounded this year, these protesters told me, by seeing those images of families under bombardment in Gaza,
struggling to live -- living through that horror during Eid Al-Fitr holidays, one of the holiest times of the year for Muslims.
So those protesters said it was an especially difficult time for them to come out. And that's why you saw so much anger and grief pouring out. We
quite quickly saw small groups of men rushing up to that Israeli border fence, climbing up those walls, throwing rocks, stones, Molotov cocktails,
burning tires, really anything they can get their hands on.
By and large, the protests did end peacefully because Lebanese troops moved in, broke it up, made some loud noises and told everybody it's time to go
home. And that's exactly what happened. Very similar scenes in Jordan, as well. But if you look at the region at large, Hala, it really feels like
the Arab streets have been silenced.
And there's a couple of reasons for that. The first is, of course, this is a post-Arab Spring period in this region. You have autocratic regimes, that
human rights groups will tell you do not want to see hundreds of thousands of protesters in their streets. That type of mobilization is a threat to
dictatorships in this region. Civil rights groups will tell you that.
And the second thing is these normalization agreements. So last year, you had four countries Morocco, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, all
signing normalization agreements with Israel. Their argument being to sign in these very contentious agreements is that it gives them greater power,
greater mediation efforts at the negotiating table when and if something happens.
So that's something happening is happening right now, Hala. So the question is, will they live up to their world? Will they actually be able to wield
that influence, they say, these agreements give them? And finally, Hala, and I think I want to make this point. There's a big generational gap here.
When we talk about the Nakba, we are talking about --
ABDELAZIZ: -- something that happened over 70 years ago. There is a generational divide here. The experience of the great Arab wars of the
Intifada is that the fathers and grandfathers of this region lived through is not the same as the experience of the young people who are on the
streets protesting against their governments, against their dictatorships, who did not live through these experiences of the great Arab wars.
They are living a very different reality. And they're looking at the situation as it is right now. And asking the question, what can be done
now, away from the history, away from the dates, away from the passions to improve lives for families in Gazas, for families in Gaza, rather, for
families in Shahdara (ph)genre, what can happen now, Hala.
GORANI: Exactly. And they have their own problems. There's COVID. There's a financial collapse in Lebanon. There's a war in Syria, the country is
decimated. I mean, they have other things on their minds. As you mentioned, importantly, and greatly, the generational divide could have a lot to do
with it. We saw bigger crowds in London than in some Arab capitals, which is really interesting, in and of itself.
Thanks so much, Salma Abdelaziz in Beirut. We're going to have much more on the story ahead on the program. In about 20 minutes, as I mentioned, I'll
be speaking to Netanyahu adviser, Mark Regev, and a former spokesperson for the PLO, Diana Buttu. They will both be joining me in about 20 minutes.
All right, a quick update on what's going on with COVID. This is something that really concerns us all. Here in the U.K., we're seeing major moves
toward normalcy after months of lockdown across England, Wales, and most of Scotland. Pubs, restaurants and cafes, cinemas, even theaters, you can all
go into theaters if you're in England, all open to a very receptive public.
And England has given the go ahead for international leisure travel by day's end. Twenty-two flights from Britain will have landed in Portugal.
And there are still COVID-19 rules to follow, though, but people can take off. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RITA MARQUES, PORTUGUESE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TOURISM: The experience I hope that the end of the day would be, I guess, that it would be -- it will
be great. So that's our main objective. Of course, you have to be tested in order to get into the country, and you have to comply with all the rules.
Use the mask, social distance, everything that we already know, because we do have a great experience about epistemological situation, I guess. But at
the end of the day, as I was telling you, we want the tourists to have a great, great experience here in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, Portugal relies so much on British tourists there. I'm sure they're delighted. These reopenings, though, are cautious because the
coronavirus is still spreading. Anna Stewart has more from Gatwick Airport. Anna?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Hala, the nation have had their haircuts. They've had their pints outside pubs, and from today, they can finally go
on holiday. At least those in England, Scotland and Wales can. Now, the travel and tourism industry is breathing a big sigh of relief. But this is
a really cautious reopening of the borders and somewhat to see a much swifter return to the skies as I've been finding out here at Gatwick
STEWART (voice-over): After nearly four months of a travel ban, holidaymakers finally allowed to take off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's been canceled book, canceled book several times. Yes. So, finally, going, really can't wait.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we've not been there since December. So it's going to be --
STEWART (on-camera): You're on the first flight out this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, yes. Missing that.
STEWART (voice-over): These travelers are heading to Portugal, one of a select few destinations on the U.K.'s green list, which means no quarantine
needed when they return.
JOHAN LUNDGREN, EASYJET CEO: So from today, you're allowed to travel which is a big step. Now, of course, we would like to see that the green list
would have considered -- consistent of more destinations and countries. And we believe with the latest data that is available that that green lists can
and should be expanded.
STEWART (on-camera): Moving in the right direction, but how costly has the pandemic means (ph) easy there in terms of the cash burn?
LUNDGREN: Of course, this has taken an immense toll on the whole of the industry and easyJet has done an exceptional there (ph), but we all just
going to do what it needs to take to manage the situation and come out strong on this. And today is the big first step of that journey.
STEWART (voice-over): Analysts say COVID testing requirements may hamper airlines recovery. Those traveling to countries on the U.K.'s green list
still need to take two PCR tests for the return. And some destinations require further tests. It all adds up to an expensive holiday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three times the cost of the flights.
STEWART (on-camera): That's how much the test costs, three times the cost of the flight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was anxious-making because you're not sure what you're getting is what you should have.
STEWART (voice-over): There are also worries extra checks at the border could lead to long queues.
STEWART WINGATE, GATWICK AIRPORT CEO: So as passengers travel out of the airport, we've got a high degree of confidence that we've got the right
capacity in place to offer really good levels of service for passengers traveling through the airport. Probably our one area of concern, which I'm
sure will not surprise you, is the border when passengers returned back into the U.K. So we've certainly be asking for passengers tolerance, that
that may take longer than it ordinarily would.
STEWART (voice-over): It's wheels up the airlines and airports as the travel ban lifts. But it'll take time for the recovery to gain altitude.
STEWART: The U.K. governments review the countries on its green, amber and red lists every three weeks. And their real hopes that more countries could
be added onto that green list. It may come too late, though, for that important summer season for travel and tourism. And there are fears that
more countries could be added to the red list. Not least with this worrying spread of the Indian buried and that has been labeled a variant of concern
here in the U.K. Hala?
GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Anna.
Oh, you booked a holiday and you're taking a risk. The country you hope to fly too could be added to the red list. And that would be an issue, of
course, for many people trying to plan their summers.
Now for the first time in nearly a month, India has recorded fewer than 300,000 new daily coronavirus cases. It's a positive development,
relatively speaking, but the country still tallied more than 4,000 deaths. The health ministry is now focusing on slowing the outbreak in rural areas
where infections are spiking and were two-thirds of the population lives. A doctor on the front lines in Chennai, India, spoke to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. PREETHA REDDY, VICE CHAIRWOMAN, APOLLO HOSPITALS: Right now, there's no going away from the fact we are in the middle of a crisis. The crisis is
that from the cities it has moved to the rural areas, which are definitely lacking and as much infrastructure as we would have in the cities. We did
think that it was the vertical living and the crowding in the cities we just made it, you know, just more contagious, but -- and the focus now has
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, the government says it will provide beds, oxygen and other supplies to equip community health centers to care for moderate cases of
coronavirus. But we saw over the last few weeks, oxygen supply is a major issue in India.
Sicker patients would be transferred to larger hospitals with more advanced facilities. Official say vaccines are also helping reduce the severity of
cases. Again, these have all been issues for weeks in India. Not enough vaccines, not enough oxygen.
And in the midst of that COVID tsunami, western India is now being hit by a devastating tropical cyclone and it is making landfall in the western state
of Gujarat. Tropical cyclone Tauktae has already killed at least six people in the country, south.
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated ahead of its arrival and is bringing with it severe winds, heavy rain and possible storm surges as well
to Gujarat. So really the last thing the people of Gujarat needed in the middle of this COVID crisis.
Now, what's happening in India is putting Africa's fight against the virus at risk. Let me explain. India's Serum Institute is the largest
manufacturer and supplier of COVAX shipments. But those vaccine exports have been halted since late March. COVAX is the global agency working for
equitable access to the coronavirus vaccine. And less than 2 percent of Africans have been vaccinated. And we've just learned that Kenya is just
weeks away from just totally running out of vaccines.
And that's where we welcome Correspondent Larry Madowo, joining us from Nairobi and joining CNN. Welcome to the network. Talk to us a little bit
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
GORANI: -- this concern, this concern that the vaccine supply will run out in a country like Kenya.
MADOWO: So Kenya, like a lot of other African countries has been relying on this COVAX facility to get its vaccines either at low cost or for free. And
what candidate again, like many other African countries is vaccinated everybody who was available.
They got 1 million vaccines and they put in the shots of people in the shot of arms. Now, there's no sign as to when the second shots will be coming,
because by the end of this month or early next month, Kenya will be completely out of vaccines. They've used about 91 percent, according to the
chair of the vaccine task force of the Minister of Health, that's what he's told CNN.
And one of the things that Kenya did was space out the period between the first vaccine and the second eight weeks. Because of this delay, they have
now pushed out to 12 weeks and even that is an if, if they can get more vaccines in time.
GORANI: All right. Larry Madowo, thanks very much. We'll be catching up with you a little bit later for more on this story out of Kenya, coming up
next on the program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just 10 weeks to go, day-by-day the frustration, the opposition in Japan only grows.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: We take you to the streets of Japan where protesters are making their opposition to the Olympics, abundantly clear. We'll be right back.
Stay with us.
GORANI: Support for this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo is plummeting among Japanese residents. A poll by a major Japanese newspaper shows 43
percent of respondents favor canceling the Olympics, 40 percent want them postponed again and just 14 percent of those answering the Asahi Shimbun
poll thought the game should proceed as planned.
Tokyo is under a state of emergency with a new wave of COVID-19 infections. And Selina Wang has more from Tokyo on the growing opposition to the games.
WANG: I'm walking along in anti-Olympics protests that's underway right now here in Japan. They are chanting for the games to be canceled, holding
signs saying that these games cannot go on asking for the Olympic torch flame to be extinguished. I've spoken to many of the protesters here today
and they're frustrated by the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They don't feel these games could possibly be held safely and securely. Several of them have lost their jobs amid the pandemic. They say that
important resources need to be put towards saving people's lives and for dealing with more important causes like rebuilding the region devastated by
the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
One of the protesters here today even told me that it would be inhumane to host the Olympics this summer. Now, the protesters here today, the way they
feel reflects the mounting public frustration here on the ground in Japan. According to local polls, the majority of people in this country think the
games should not be held this summer.
In fact, an online petition calling for the games to be canceled, in just nine days, received more than 350,000 signatures. Even a doctor's union in
Japan said these games have to be canceled. Warning that could turn into a super spreader event, even without any spectators in the stance.
Now, despite all of this, mounting public opposition, the anger and frustration but I'm really hearing from people today, the Japanese
government and the International Olympic Committee, the real decision makers here insists that these games will go on as planned safely and
But that doesn't reflect the reality here on the ground. When you have COVID-19 cases surging in Japan, just about 1 percent of the population
fully vaccinated. Not to mention, large swathes of this country are currently under a state of emergency. But just 10 weeks to go, day-by-day,
the frustration, the opposition in Japan only grows.
Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.
GORANI: All right, Selina, thanks very much, in Tokyo.
Tourists in San Marino can now buy doses of Russia's Sputnik COVID vaccine. The small countries surrounded by Italy started its vaccine tourism
campaign as a way to use an extra 20,000 doses. Two shots will cost you about 60 bucks. And they come with specific rules on how long to stay in
Let's bring in Delia Gallagher for more on this. So for some of the catch might be well, it's the Sputnik vaccine and it doesn't benefit from the
same level of trust across the board, as say, Pfizer. How will this scheme work?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you think that, Hala, but, you know, I was talking to some of the officials from San Marino this morning,
they've just opened up this offer online this morning. They've already had bookings, they tell me from places as far away as China, Dubai, the
Philippines, and closer to home in Ireland, the U.K., France, and Switzerland. So there are a lot of people who are OK to take the Sputnik
vaccine. Of course, San Marino is a tiny country.
In Europe, it's got about 35,000 residents, but it's not a member of the European Union, because the European Union has not approved Sputnik for
use. So, those who will be going there will be getting the Sputnik vaccine. But, of course, if they're Europeans, there'll be a question about whether
or not that's valid in their own country.
Now, the vaccine and the people that will be using it, they will be -- have to do three nights in a hotel in San Marino for the first job so that they
can be monitored after that, but then they've also got to go back and stay another two nights for the second job after 21 days.
So it's going to cost you money to get there as well as to stay there in addition to the 50 euros for the vaccine, Hala. But the government
officials say that they've got the bookings and they are ready to start vaccinating the tourists starting on next Monday. Hala?
GORANI: All right. It's quite a tourism campaign. Thanks very much, Delia Gallagher.
Still to come tonight, news outlets are demanding answers after Israel strikes a building with their offices. We'll hear from an executive of one
of those media companies (ph), just ahead. Stay with us.
GORANI: Days after Israel destroyed a building in Gaza that houses the bureaus of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, there are still many
unanswered questions about the military's decision to target that particular high rise. Israel says it attacked the 12-storey building
because it also housed military intelligence assets from Hamas.
And earlier, an official defended the decision to level the entire thing, instead of only striking specific targets, which we know the Israeli
military can do. The official said the military took this measure because it includes steps to avoid civilian casualties like giving residents an
hour's warning that the attack was coming.
The Associated Press, which operated in that building, has condemned the attack saying its journalists narrowly fled in time. They were grabbing
everything they could. We saw a video of them just grabbing their equipment, and boxes, and flak jackets. Some reporters were forced to cover
the events from the street, as you see here. The news agency says it had no indication that Hamas was in the building and is calling on Israel to
present its evidence.
Al Jazeera, meantime, has denounced the strike as a "Clear act intended to stop journalists from reporting in Gaza." Earlier, Zain Asher spoke with
Giles Trendle, the Managing Director of Al Jazeera English, she asked him if the network had seen any evidence that Hamas was ever was or had ever
been in that building.
GILES TRENDLE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AL JAZEERA ENGLISH: We have no knowledge. We have no evidence of any Hamas operations in that building. And that's
what we're demanding, we're demanding an explanation, but we're saying, well, where's the evidence?
GORANI: Well, a Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, blames the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza on Hamas
and not on the Israeli military conducting the bombings. Mark Ragga joins me now live from Jerusalem.
First of all, Antony Blinken, Tony Blinken, the Secretary of State of the United States, says he's not been presented with any evidence that Hamas
was offering -- operating from that building. Will Israel show us proof that it targeted a building because Hamas was operating on any level from
that high rise?
MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: or sure. The evidence that I've seen, the intelligence that I've personally seen, is
unequivocal. It's crystal clear. Hamas was operating out of that building. They'd taken what should be a civilian building and turned it into a
legitimate military target because it was housing their military intelligence, it was housing their R&D, it was housing part of their war
machine that allows them to target Israel and to interfere with our activities.
GORANI: Where's the evidence?
REGEV: So the evidence is intelligence evidence. It's obviously highly classified. We're sharing it with the US Government. We already have. I'm
sure it's only a matter of time before all the relevant senior officials in the United States see the evidence.
GORANI: Tony Blinken says he hasn't seen it, isn't aware of it, and is asking for some more information as to why Israel is justifying taking down
a 12-story building that included residential apartments, the Associated Press, Al Jazeera. People have been working there for 15 years, journalists
saying they had no -- they had seen no evidence of any Hamas activity in that building.
REGEV: So we're very sure, we're totally -- our intelligence is crystal clear. And I can't talk about how the Americans filter up what comes from
the intelligence community to senior leaders. But I can tell you, the evidence has been shared with the United States and it is crystal clear.
GORANI: Yes. But I mean, just a few days ago, the Israeli military told us they were starting a ground incursion into Gaza. That turned out not to be
true. Now we're hearing that there's evidence that Hamas was operating out of a building that the Israeli military leveled. When do we know when
they're telling the truth and when they're not?
REGEV: Well, we always speak the truth. That's the truth. You can make a mistake --
GORANI: Well, you didn't last Friday. When you --
REGEV: There was a --
GORANI: When the IDF tweeted out that a ground attack was starting. That wasn't true.
REGEV: Hala, that was an honest mistake. And if you don't mind, I'd like to say something here. We say, and we pride ourselves, that we're attacking
the Hamas military machine. We're trying to do it as surgically as we can in a calm -- complex combat environment, where Hamas is deliberately using
the Gazan civilian population as a human shield.
And this example of this building, of this high rise, is a classic example of Israel doing things right. There was not a single casualty, no
journalist was hurt, no journalist, heaven forbid, was killed. We gave an hour's warning so they could clear out the building. In so doing, of
course, we allowed Hamas to clear out as well, but the goal was to neutralize --
REGEV: -- what was an important Hamas target from our perspective.
GORANI: Will you show us the evidence?
REGEV: We succeeded without the loss of life.
GORANI: We, journalists, will we see this evidence, Mark Regev?
REGEV: I think (INAUDIBLE) praising Israel. This is a good, clean, surgical strike against a legitimate target without any collateral damage. It surely
GORANI: Well, as you know full well, it's not my job to praise any country or any government for what it does --
GORANI: -- but to get to the truth. And the truth here is that we have not seen evidence of any Hamas activity in that building. The other question
is, why take down an entire structure?
And by the way, Doctors Without Borders said one of its clinics was taken out. You have major infrastructure damage to Gaza, which is a territory
that's hemmed in with millions of people unable to leave, they don't have the air raid sirens, they don't have the bomb shelters. Do you believe, as
some have said, that the Israeli response has been disproportionate?
REGEV: Definitely not. We've had, over the last week, some 3,000 rockets fired by the Hamas terrorists against our people. They're trying to murder
Israeli civilians by deliberately targeting our cities in an indiscriminate way. They're trying to kill innocent Israelis. We're trying to stop that.
We're trying to stop that by targeting the Hamas military machine. We're doing so -- I think we're doing so effectively.
REGEV: We will bring an end to this, we will bring an end to the missile threat. And hopefully, when this is over, we'll have a sustained period of
quiet, which will be good for Israelis and good for Gaza as well.
GORANI: I want to ask you, we've known each other a long time, you and me, Mark, I've probably interviewed you dozens of times over now 18 years, I
believe, and I guess I want to ask you a question that's a little bit outside of the box. Let's assume that everything you're saying is true, and
that everybody agrees that what you're saying is factually correct.
What is this getting Israel, this approach? What is what this militaristic approach, this leveling of buildings, all of that? Is this the -- is this
working for the country, this constant, sort of, state of warfare of, tension of fear, this cycle of violence that is endless? Is it not time to
try another strategy?
REGEV: Hello. My -- me personally, and my country, we would want nothing better than to live with our neighbors in peace. We would like to have a
different set of relations with our battles to the neighbors. But there's a fundamental problem that can't be ignored. Hamas is not interested in
peace, they say so openly.
REGEV: It's in their charter. They say my country needs to be destroyed. They say every Israeli civilian, man, woman and child is a legitimate
target. And then --
GORANI: Mark --
REGEV: -- they just talk the talk.
GORANI: We've --
REGEV: They shift their rockets into Israel indiscriminately trying to kill our people. Now unfortunately --
GORANI: We're going to leave it there. We're going to leave it there. We're going to leave it there because I'm talking, of course, about what's
happening in East Jerusalem, what's happening in the occupied territories in the West Bank, other big issues as well that are --
REGEV: So I'm happy to address that, Hala.
GORANI: That are causing --
REGEV: I'm happy to address that.
GORANI: -- major pain --
REGEV: They are --
GORANI: -- for everyone living. Yes.
REGEV: Hamas has been escalating the situation, as you said correctly, in Jerusalem in the West Bank, ever since the Palestinian authority canceled
the election that was supposed to happen later this month. They have been out there trying to beef up the pressure. They've been out there trying to
head bent on trying to --
REGEV: -- escalate their terrorism. We have to defend ourselves against a group that ultimately wants to destroy any chance of peace and
reconciliation in the Middle East. And I would say anyone --
REGEV: -- who believes in peace and reconciliation should be supporting Israel in our attempt, in our struggle against Hamas. They are no one's
friends, not the Palestinian people least of all.
GORANI: Right. Well, I think a lot of Palestinians in East Jerusalem don't believe Hamas represent them either. And their issues are very far detached
from what's going on there and don't believe that what you think of Hamas should determine how you treat residents in East Jerusalem.
And that's one conversation, hopefully, that we'll be able to have in the coming days. Mark Regev, thank you very much for joining us on CNN. We'll
have a Palestinian guest, Diana Buttu joining me after the break. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
GORANI: We're joined now by Human Rights Attorney, Diana Buju, a former Spokeswoman for the PLO. She's in Haifa, Israel tonight. Diana, I don't
know if you -- I believe you were able to hear my interview with Mark Regev, a Senior Adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu. What is your reaction, first
of all, to what you heard?
DIANA BUTTU, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: This is very typical of Israel. They simply want to continue to commit war crimes against Palestinians, and
somehow want us to believe that they're justified in committing these war crimes. They haven't been able to provide a single shred of evidence dating
as far back as 2008, when they also hit buildings then as well.
And what they do is they're not only blocking the media and -- by bombing these buildings, but they're also blocking media access. What they want to
do is they want to commit crimes, and they don't want anybody to report on them. And then they want us to simply believe the statements that they're
making about it. It reeks. It reeks, Hala. And the fact that the world is not doing anything to stop Israel is very alarming to me.
GORANI: Well, let's talk about that. I mean, you had statements from the White House, and from the US Secretary of State, largely saying that Israel
has a right to defend itself calling on calm on both sides. How do you -- how -- what do you read into that? I mean, what does that say? What impact
will that have on how things develop? Do you believe that the US has so far stood back in terms of putting any pressure on the Israelis?
BUTTU: They -- it's not that they've stood back, they've actually actively enabled Israel. The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion every year.
They just, today, approved an additional $735 million. They've three times tried to block statements in the UN Security Council. This idea that
somehow Israel gets to -- or has a right to defend itself is absurd. Israel's not defending itself. It's defending its occupation.
When do Palestinians get a right to security? When do we get up to defend ourselves? The big issue here is that by enabling Israel, they've actually
enabled these war crimes. And we see that time after time, year after Year0the situation's actually gotten worse, it hasn't gotten better.
And the only strategy that Israel has is to continually bomb Gaza to continually make sure that Palestinians cannot survive. I mean, this is not
a recipe for future relations as Mark Regev would like to make it seem. This is a recipe for --
GORANI: What about you -- sorry, Diana to jump in, but what about are you sensing a shift? I mean, we're seeing some op eds, editorials, analysis
pieces coming out in the US, that perhaps we're seeing a bit of a shift among some politicians in western capitals.
I mean, in the US, for instance, you had Jewish Congress, people come out and say, you know, we need a ceasefire immediately, the Israeli police
overreacted, and East Jerusalem, et cetera.
We're seeing, for instance, demonstrations in Brooklyn, in Chicago, in Paris, et cetera, maybe in a way that we hadn't seen just five or six years
ago. So, do you -- A, do you agree that there's a shift, and B, what impact do you think it could have?
BUTTU: There's definitely a shift. Look, I've long believed, Hala, that the world does not side with Israel, it might be the world powers that side
with Israel, but not the world. And we're so -- we're slowly starting to see that these cracks are taking shape, that they're -- that these cracks
are happening, and not just among the world, but in that diplomatic arena as well.
The big problem for me is how long do we have to continue to see kids in refugee camps being bombed by a nuclear power holder for the world to wake
up? So it is heartening. I just wish that it was happening faster. And I wish that it was accompanied by the global call for boycotting Israel, for
divesting from Israel, and for putting economic sanctions on Israel.
I think that that part is going to happen on the grassroots level. It just is going to take some time on the international level. And that's the
problem is that as long as Israel is given the green light and not given a red light, we're going to continue to see these types of war crimes being
GORANI: But on the Palestinian side, you have an issue, for instance, Hamas is in control of Gaza. I mean, Hamas is not any organization you want
leading you into some bright democratic future, right? I mean, what do you do to get on the Palestinian side, some sort of civil society going against
some sort of accountability there to the people that they represent? This is an important question.
BUTTU: Yes. Look, Israel claims that Hamas is the problem. In fact, Regev just said that. They've been kicking out Palestinians and killing
Palestinians since before Hamas was formed. They -- they've been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homeland since before the PLO was formed.
So this isn't a question of who is at the helm, it's this is a question of what Israel wants to do, which is to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from
their homeland. Now, that being said, I do think that we need to have a different Palestinian leadership, a leadership that is able to articulate a
strategy, that is -- that really addresses what's going on with the world.
And this is why we see so many people that have signed on to the BDS movement. And this is why we're seeing that this movement has grown
internationally, even though there have been so many attempts to try to shut it down globally as well.
So, I do think that it's -- that Palestinians need different leadership, but it's for us to decide who our leadership is. And we can't continue --
Israel can't continue to hide behind the excuse that somehow it's the Palestinian leadership that is leading it to bomb refugee camps, it's
Israel that's leading it to bomb refugee camps. It's their decision. They're the ones who are taking those.
GORANI: Diana Buttu, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate your time this evening on CNN. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, when considering the impact of the conflict in the Middle East, or any conflict, really, it's important to remember that young people
make up a huge percentage of the population in Gaza and the West Bank. According to UNICEF, out of a populace of 4.8 million, 2.3 million are
children and officials at the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza say 59 children have been killed since the current round of hostilities began, but
numbers can't tell you how unending strife hurts a child. Listen to the words of 10-year-old Gaza resident Nadine Abdul Latif as she stands in the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE ABDEL-TAIF, GAZA RESIDENT: I'm always sick. I'm always I don't know. I can't do anything. All of this, what do you expect me to do? Fix it? I'm
only 10. I can't even deal with this anymore. I just want to be a doctor or anything to help my people but I can't. I'm just a kid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, we saw that video a lot on social media and so many people were touched by it. Another angle to all of this, of course, are the people
who lived in these mixed Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli cities like Lod. Well, a Palestinian rapper living in Israel is pleading with the
international community for help. Tamer Nafar says he's afraid for his life and he's using his music to try and explain to the world that he believes
that what is fueling the tensions between Palestinians and Israelis is something quite dangerous right now. Take a listen.
TAMER NAFAR, PALESTINIAN RAP ARTIST: (SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Right now, Tamer is in Lod, Israel where over the last week we've seen violent clashes in the streets between Arabs, Palestinians, and Jews.
He joins me now live. Tamer, what's your experience been this last week?
NAFAR: It's been intensive, scary, unclear, you know, everything.
GORANI: Yes. You actually called the police. You posted --
GORANI: -- on your social media. You were filming from what looks like your balcony arms --
NAFAR: No, it's not. The video, it's a video by one of the settlers, I attached it. I removed his vocals here. His vocals were "Guys here, we got
some settlers coming from Hebron and they got M16s and Uzis. It's going to be a party tonight." This is what he said. So I just removed the sound and
NAFAR: -- and added the -- my video call with my with -- my call with the Israeli police.
GORANI: But you did call the police?
NAFAR: The one --
GORANI: You did?
NAFAR: Yes. Yes.
GORANI: You did call the Israeli police? So when you called the Israeli police --
NAFAR: Yes, I did.
GORANI: -- what did you tell them?
NAFAR: First of all, you have it on my Instagram and it's subtitled translated to English. I call them -- I -- first of all, I got a message
saying that we are in a curfew and we are not supposed to go out. And suddenly, I saw buses coming inside of Lod -- from outside of Lod full of
NAFAR: Settlers. So I call the cops to understand, if there's a curfew to the citizens, how come there are people coming in? She's like, don't worry,
the police will take care of it. And I was like what are you talking about? The police is escorting them and welcoming them. And she's like they know
what they are doing. And it's like, I don't think they know what they are doing. I'm unarmed in my house with two kids.
I have armed settlers screaming death to the Arabs in our streets and the police are protecting the armed ones. So please tell me what is happening.
And she's like she gave me her supervisor and the supervisor, the -- our 911, the police Israel told me we don't owe you any questions -- we don't
owe you any answers and we don't need your approval and she hung up.
GORANI: OK. And so what's the -- nothing came of that then?
NAFAR: Of what? Of the video?
GORANI: Of your phone call, yes. No, the phone call that you made. You just said the Jewish settlers that were armed came into your town while you were
told to stay home. They didn't send the police? They didn't respond to you, is what you're saying?
NAFAR: No. The police -- I can see the police with them. I've been traveling around the city for a few days and they are being escort -- they
are armed and they are escorted by the police.
GORANI: So where does that leave the Palestinian residents of the city you live in? And by the way, you may not remember this, but I did a story on
you 15 years ago in Lod, I came to your house and I profiled them your rap group. I remember then you were telling me that we are second-class
NAFAR: Sometimes -- I wish we can -- our -- I wish that our third interview will be about normal life and art. I really wish.
GORANI: Right. But what my point is 15 years ago, you were telling me what you're telling me today. So look at the future, you have kids now, do you
have any hope?
NAFAR: It's worst. It's really worse because back then, it was still building up and now we have a really right fascist wing in the government
that are really pushing and inciting things, and now it's getting more --
NAFAR: -- you know, do I see hope?
NAFAR: Look, hope is a thing of a mood. Sometimes when I -- when I see -- when I feel scared sometimes, of course I don't feel hopeful. But when I
see a lot of my young people, my youth standing up for their rights and saying in the most humane way freedom to my people, someone -- somehow, I'm
not sure if it gives me hope, but it gives me a drive to keep on fighting because our struggle is a human struggle. And that gives me hope, I guess,
if that's the right word.
GORANI: Tamer Nafar is a Palestinian rapper. He's in Lod and he's joining me live tonight. Thanks for joining us, for your perspective. It's
NAFAR: Thank you.
GORANI: We're going to wrap it up for this hour. I'll see you in one hour. For now, it's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for being
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Polo Sandoval in Bogota, Colombia.