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Hala Gorani Tonight
Israel Vows to Continue Gaza Attacks Despite Calls for Truce; Egypt, Jordan And France Pushing for Middle East Ceasefire; EU to Ease Restrictions for Vaccinated Non-EU Visitors; Netanyahu Pressing Ahead with Military Operation In Gaza; Supermodel Bella Hadid Speaks Out In Support Of Palestinians; Nurse Who Looked After British PM Quits NHS. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 19, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNNI HOST: Hello everyone live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, global pressure is piling up. Demands for a ceasefire are
growing, but will Israel and Hamas agree? Also this hour, the French are back at their restaurants and museums and outdoor cafes after many long
months under coronavirus lockdown, CNN takes you live to a Parisian cafe.
Plus, the U.S. Secretary of State is set to meet his Russian counterpart face-to-face with Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov may say to each other
about tense relations. A week and a half into the worst fighting between Israel and Gaza militants in years. It appears the Israeli military is only
A senior official says the IDF is preparing for quote, "more days of conflict despite many international calls for a ceasefire". Israel says it
came under fire from dozens more rockets launched from Gaza today, sending people running for cover and across the border war planes bombed what
Israel identified as Hamas targets including a weapons depot, it says.
Palestinian officials are accusing Israel of war crimes as the civilian death toll in Gaza continues to rise. But Israel's Prime Minister says the
operation against Hamas will continue until the quote, "objectives are achieved".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: There are only two ways that you can deal with them. You can either conquer them, and that's always an
open possibility, or you can deter them. And we are engaged right now in forceful deterrents. But I have to say we don't rule out anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's get the very latest now from Ashdod, Israel, Nic Robertson joins me now live. We'll get to this flurry of diplomatic activity, we're
hearing it from the White House, we're hearing it from France. We're hearing it in Arab capitals, really this push for a cessation of
hostilities. But meantime, the Israeli Prime Minister is not giving any indication that he's willing to stop the attack on Gaza. What's the latest
from your vantage point?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: When we left the area that was close to Gaza, we had been at an IDF artillery position through
the late afternoon into the early evening just as night was falling. As night was falling and as we were driving back around towards where we are
now, Ashdod, we have been able to see rockets coming out from Gaza that had been intercepted, we've been able to hear artillery being fired from
Israeli defense force positions into Gaza. I think the thing to watch for tonight is does that de-escalation come tonight?
Does the Israeli Air Force not mount the heavy and intensive rage that it's mounted over the last few nights? Or do they have one huge big push and we
will hear from here without doubt if that's the case. Very heavy -- you know, we'll be able to hear a lot of aircraft flying in the air, fighter
jets flying in the air over here on the way into Gaza, we'll know about it here. So, I -- you know, the language that's coming from the Prime Minister
that he is not going to stop until he's secured the objectives. The objectives, he says are quiet and security for you the citizens of Israel.
That was the message that he had after he had that phone call with President Biden. And I think you know, there's -- you know, there's open
speculation within the Israeli media here and some of the newspapers saying that what they've been hearing from the military commanders is that they've
hit a lot of the targets, you know, perhaps as many of the targets as they can expect to hit. We know that they've been continuing to go after Hamas'
tunnel networks, but perhaps they're reaching that moment where there aren't many more readily available strategic military targets.
Although, we know that they've tried to take out Hamas' military chief and have failed twice during this operation so far. And that would be a huge
political success for President -- for Prime Minister Netanyahu if that was achieved. That doesn't look like that's going to be possible.
GORANI: It's interesting though what we're hearing from the U.S. President Joe Biden. That he expects significant de-escalation today. That's very
precise. The Israelis though are not sending the message out to the world that they're willing to listen to that. What should we make of that
ROBERTSON: Yes, I think it's a number of things to make. I mean, anything can happen tonight from Israel's perspective, there will be a concern that
there will be a last big flurry and push from Hamas who would -- began this by firing rockets at Jerusalem. And if Hamas was to fire a number of
rockets at Jerusalem and there were to be significant casualties, that would well be a game-changer for Israel.
From the Israelis perspective, they wouldn't really expect their Prime Minister to sort of act immediately to respond to President Biden, that
they would think that there were perhaps be a big push tonight to get the final sort opportunity of round of targets. So, then see a de-escalation
through to tomorrow. I think when President Biden talks about a de- escalation, that's a process.
When he talks about today, does he mean today U.S. time, does today U.S. time effectively mean until 7:00 a.m. in the morning to local time here in
Israel. So, there's some -- there's some graininess in it, there's ambiguity and language potentially on the Israeli side, so that the Prime
Minister here can be seen to be doing it on his terms. That is going to be hugely important for him, perhaps it's going to be elections here again
soon. So, all of these considerations, to be frank, Hala, we really are just going to have to read from what we see later tonight.
GORANI: All right, yes, we'll be following that with you, our team on the ground as well, to see exactly what happens in the coming hours. They will
be crucial. Meantime, as I mentioned, diplomatic efforts, world leaders scrambling to bring the heat down, but the U.S. is still blocking any
resolution from the U.N. Security Council, opting instead it says for quiet diplomacy.
The White House says the U.S. President Joe Biden was on the phone again today with Mr. Netanyahu, we discussed that with our Nic Robertson, it's
their fourth call over the past week. Biden told the Prime Minister he expects quote, "a significant de-escalation by the end of Wednesday." That
is his most direct call for peace so far.
Germany's foreign minister is making a one day trip to Jerusalem and to Ramallah tomorrow to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Meanwhile, Egypt is working with other nations including France and Jordan to help ease tensions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMEH SHOUKRY, FOREIGN MINISTER, EGYPT: But I think the consequences of the escalation of the violence and the loss of life and the destruction,
such necessitates that to all efforts to under state him to achieve a ceasefire, to avoid the escalation and to avoid the widening of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, this is Egyptian foreign -- the Egyptian foreign minister. CNN reporter Salma Abdelaziz joins me now from Beirut. So the
obvious first question is will any of these efforts work any time soon? It's been 10 days, the Israeli military and the Prime Minister of Israel
Netanyahu, have had an opportunity now to strike Gaza and many targets in Gaza for over a week. Timing-wise, I guess that means there's more of a
probability that some of these ceasefire efforts coming from various world capitals will work this time.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, Hala, really depends on your definition of de-escalation which is exactly what President Biden is
calling for, de-escalation, not an immediate ceasefire, and that is a very vague term. And there's also the question again about Prime Minister
Netanyahu's political will for a de-escalation.
He's made it clear over and over again, that there are specific military objectives to meet, whether those military objectives, they are essentially
to degrade Hamas' military capabilities. So, there's a question as to whether or not essentially Prime Minister Netanyahu will finish his
operation and then label that a ceasefire.
That is also a question, and yes, this is the fourth call as you've mentioned between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Sources
saying that President Biden adopted a strong and firm tone. But we also understand from sources that Prime Minister Netanyahu made no such pledge
for a de-escalation. So, there's a lot of questions there around terminology, around timing, around what you label as ceasefire, whether it
just simply is the end of the operation for the Israeli military. And then you have another effort, of course, because the other key factor in this is
Hamas, key for that is Egypt.
It is being backed right now in its efforts by France and Jordan, they're going in parallel in along with speaking to Hamas and trying to get an
agreement there. They're also working through the U.N. Security Council, France says it's hopeful that the U.N. Security Council can issue a
statement, a statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it's important to remember that so far, the United States has blocked three such
attempts at a full statement by the U.N. Security Council, although, to be honest, Hala, I think both you and I know that yet another statement from
the U.N. will do very little on the ground.
And let's just take a step back and away from all of this and look at the birds-eye view, everyone here is speaking about a band aid, about a
temporary solution. The Egyptians are talking about one year. We're talking about ceasefire, true de-escalations. What is the comprehensive long-term
plan here, Hala? Otherwise we'll be looking at this happening again in a few months, in a few years, it will all unravel quite quickly again. Hala.
GORANI: Right, it is not a long-term plan. Cessation of hostilities I think is the best we can hope for in the short term. Thanks very much,
Salma Abdelaziz -- and by the way, you were seeing images there of Emmanuel Macron, the French president, he has been in talks with his counterparts in
Jordan as well as Egypt. This is Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi; the Egyptian President in Paris. They are working together to try to come up with some
sort of formula to get a ceasefire in place with talks according to some reports, perhaps of even coming together to draft a resolution.
Speaking of France, after six hard months of COVID restrictions, France is starting to see a little liberation, get it. as cafes, cinemas and
galleries reopen their doors. In Paris, customers were able to get their morning coffees again outside, and there's even the French president doing
that. I believe that must have been before the hailstorm.
The weather did not cooperate. You can see him enjoying his new found freedom. Meanwhile, another of Paris' most famous landmarks Le Louvre saw
customers and selfies return. Melissa Bell is live in Paris with more. I believe you are outdoor, I hope the weather is a little bit better than it
was earlier. People were really get hosed.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it has improved, thankfully. But it was interesting how little that terrible weather did to dampen the
desire of people to be outdoors. It cherishes -- you're quite right, we began with coffees in the morning, it's now time for the -- but it is the
first time not only that we've been able to be sitting in terraces, eating at restaurants that can serve outdoors, going to museums, going to cinemas,
going to theaters.
But it of course, also the first time that we're able to be out beyond 6:00 p.m., that curfew had been in place is now lifted to 9:00 p.m., and we're
able to be outside this time of night.
So, welcome relief on a number of France and the easing of restrictions that had been in place, Hala, for so many months and cost such a great deal
to the French economy. So, a welcome relief in terms of the French gaining some of their freedoms again, the big question of course, is when other
nationals are going to be able to enjoy the sights and sounds and flavors of Paris once again. The idea is that the EU is looking at a system that
would allow third party nationals who have been from outside the European Union if they have been fully vaccinated to come in to France with
Where those countries themselves are now French citizens who have been fully vaccinated, that same reciprocal rights. So, there should be some
possibility out there that by early June, tourists might once again return to Paris. In the meantime, we have something like what we used to have over
a year ago, Hala.
GORANI: Just a quick word, I mean, for our viewers can familiarize themselves with what the EU is saying about the possibility of third
country tourists entering the EU zone if they're fully vaccinated. This is what a spokesperson had to say about that earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIAN WIGAND, SPOKESMAN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Today, EU ambassadors agreed to update the approach to travel from outside the European Union.
The council now recommend that member states ease some of the current restrictions, in particular for those vaccinated with an EU-authorized
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, so the question is, you know, this has to be reciprocal I imagine, right? That you were saying that means also our citizens would
have be able to travel if they can prove they've been fully vaccinated.
BELL: That's right. They're going to make sure that it's reciprocal. And of course, the remain questions about precisely how the system is going to
work, Hala, because of course, in theory, it makes great deal of sense if you can show that you've been vaccinated and you can once around -- once
again travel across the European Union for instance, stated to be easy, why shouldn't you be able to do so when you're going further afield.
The trouble is how they're going to find the system also to vacation. They can be recognized in different countries. That of course is the challenge
ahead and the one that European leaders are going to be working with, with American leaders for instance in order to try and facilitate that kind of
And it is crucial. Paris, Hala, as you know is the most visited city in the world, even if there's some return to a sense of normality today, it is
very far from being the Paris that we normally know with its many millions of visitors every year.
So, that big tent I was mentioning a moment ago in the French economy, but also in the economies of other European countries that have seen such a
very long Winter full of such stringent restrictions. They are so desperate for the kind of tourism that can return the money they need to their
economies. That you can be sure this is something European leaders in Brussels are going to be working on very hard and know that they can happen
as quickly as possible.
We understand that the date that they are aiming for is the 9th of June, Hala.
GORANI: All right, what's in that glass by the way, I have water.
BELL: It is champagne, Hala, next time you come to Paris, we can enjoy it together. We had coffee in the morning, we felt it was time for the
GORANI: I cannot wait to be able to get to Paris. Thanks very much Melissa Bell live in Paris.
Now, a really tragic situation continues across India. And it's a deadly double blow there. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been on the ground
in Gujarat state, seeing the destruction left by a cyclone there that's killed at least 40 people. The cyclone is colliding with that horrendous
second wave of COVID. India is reporting more than 4,500 people died from COVID on Tuesday alone, that is the worst daily toll since the pandemic
began, not letting up the pandemic there. Health officials are also facing rising cases of what's known as black fungus disease among COVID survivors.
And several states are now trying to cope with the shortage of the anti- fungal drug that treats it.
Kenya is days away from running out of COVID vaccines. Doctors are hoping the country will receive some of the 80 million vaccines the U.S. is
donating through the global sharing initiative COVAX. Kenya's health minister spoke to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUTAHI KAGWE, HEALTH MINISTER, KENYA: I think that vaccine nationalism is something that has cropped up across the world. There's a continent we must
stop believing that there is anybody out there who is a good Samaritan, a biblical Samaritan who is just about to come and help us.
There's nothing like that. You know, this is a situation where we have seen very clearly it's everyone for himself or for herself, and God for us all
clearly. And therefore, going into the future, the local production, local manufacturing of pharmaceutical commodities and products is an absolute
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How bad is it for Kenya that the Samaritan(ph) Institute say on Tuesday that it will not resume vaccine
shipments internationally until the end of the year.
KAGWE: We're not just waiting for these donations that are coming to Kenya. We are in discussions with the Johnson & Johnson facility in South
Africa. For what we think is going to be the new supply chain rather than relying on AstraZeneca. Given what is happening in India, and given the
difficulties that the Indian people are going through -- and the population of India, it is very unlikely that AstraZeneca is going to be the vaccine
of choice for the African continent going forward.
It is very likely that we are going to discuss and agree on Johnson & Johnson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Larry Madowo over there speaking with the Kenyan health minister. While many African countries have exhausted their supplies, South Sudan
announced that it will discard nearly 60,000 expired doses.
Health officials there say the vaccines were delivered only two weeks before they were set to expire and are now no longer usable, which is
extremely frustrating to say the least. The International Olympic Committee is trying to reassure an anxious Japan that the Tokyo Olympics would be
safe for athletes as well as the community hosting the games.
The IOC chief says he expects 80 percent of the people staying in the Olympic village to have been vaccinated. And that as many in Japan are
pressuring their government to cancel the games altogether. Blake Essig is in Tokyo.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Things were different when Belize's national band last visited Yokoshibahikari.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is unthinkable now, nobody is wearing masks.
ESSIG: That was nearly two years ago. Back then, Hida Chika(ph) and Kouti Akiba(ph) threw a party at their resort after inviting the band to
celebrate the town's decision to host athletes from the small Caribbean nation in the build-up to the Olympic games.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a small town. And we have very little chance to communicate with people from abroad. So, we were looking forward to it.
ESSIG: But COVID-19 had other plans, with cases on the rise across Japan, and seemingly no end in sight to the pandemic, Yokoshibahikari's mayor was
forced to make a choice, the health of its people or the Olympics.
MAYOR HARUHIKO SATO, YOKOSHIBAHIKARI, JAPAN (through translator): My biggest mission is to protect the town people's life and health. So, I made
this decision without any hesitation.
ESSIG: Part of the reason to pull out as host, his town has no PCR testing, which is a requirement in the Olympic playbook outlining COVID-19
counter measures. In addition, he says medical resources are limited and the public hospitals aren't capable of treating patients requiring
treatment for COVID-19.
SATO: We hear about the medical collapse in Osaka, and I'm afraid the same thing may take place here.
ESSIG: While disappointed, Dr. Akita Tagawa(ph) says he understands the decision was made to avoid potential risks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This hospital is the only in- patient facility in town. So, if this hospital was tied up with COVID patients, we cannot operate regular medical care at all.
ESSIG: So far, at least, 45 out of 528 host towns and Olympic teams have pulled out from participating in the program because of the pandemic.
With some officials saying more are expected to follow.
NAOMI OSAKA, TENNIS PLAYER: It's putting people at risk --
ESSIG: Superstar athletes have started to cast doubt. Recently, medical professionals, business leaders and a majority of the Japanese population
have called for the games to be cancelled. But will it make a difference? Olympic scholar John Horne says it already has.
JOHN HORNE, PROFESSOR, WASEDA UNIVERSITY: I think the criticisms from athletes and from elsewhere do matter because they leave a mark on this
Olympics, though it's going to be impossible to remove.
ESSIG: Reputational damage that Horne says could be amplified if the games are held.
HORNE: We don't want it to happen, but say there is a spike in COVID cases as a result of the games. Well, it will be devastating.
ESSIG: An Olympic story that for now is dominated by the dark cloud of COVID-19. Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo.
GORANI: Quick break, when we come back on HALA GORANI TONIGHT, an arctic meeting for former cold war rivals. The U.S. and Russia's top diplomats are
set to meet in Iceland, while Putin, politics and pipelines are on the agenda. We'll be right back.
GORANI: At a time of frosty relations, the stage is set in Iceland for a meeting of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov. It's happening on the sidelines of an arctic council gathering where Blinken has been reiterating the U.S. opposition to
Russia's controversial Nord Stream to gas pipeline. Let's bring in Matthew Chance from Moscow with more. Have they met yet, Matthew?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, they haven't, Hala. The meeting is going to be taking place this evening, I think in
about two or three hours from now. But my understanding is no fixed time has been set.
It's a bit, you know, kind of casual, they're going to keep it, you know, as sort of informal as possible in the sense they haven't set an exact time
for how long these talks are going to run either. And that's an indication, I think, of just how many items are on the agenda between these two, you
know, kind of diplomats, the top diplomat from the United States Antony Blinken; the U.S. Secretary of State, Sergey Lavrov, his counterpart here
There's a whole host of things that they need to discuss. What Russia wants out of this is a way to sort of, you know, rebuild the relationship I
suppose with the United States, more sanctions are imposed on the country.
There's already a whole rafts of sanctions that have been posed by the United States and others of course on Russia for its various maligned
activity around the world. They will not stop, and of course, the Russians ultimately want the sanctions to be lifted so they can get on with the
business of rebuilding their economy which has been damaged by those measures and also of course, by the pandemic.
From the U.S. point of view, there's a whole host of misdeeds that need to be raised by Antony Blinken with Sergey Lavrov, we're talking about, you
know, its ongoing allegations of hacking in the United States. Whether it's with infrastructure or whether it's with you know, espionage and trying to
get information out of various agencies and official American companies.
And the plight of Alexei Navalny, Russia's main opposition leader who has been put in jail for two and a half years here. The imprisonment of a
couple of U.S. citizens which is high up on the agenda in the United States in Russian jails as well as a whole host of other issues you mentioned,
Nord Stream 2 as well which is a pipeline which would be carrying gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing other countries like Ukraine which Russia is
engaged in a conflict with.
And the United States feels that pipeline will hand Russia a geopolitical victory and give it really a lot of power, even more power in Europe in
terms of providing energy to that continent while at the same time weakening countries like Ukraine who would normally get transit fees from
Russia shipping its gas to Europe over Ukrainian territory.
And so the United States are, you know, fundamentally opposed to that. But at the same time, what we're hearing from Washington for our sources is
that actually the United States, the White House has decided to issue a waiver on sanctions on that Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Which effectively gives it the green light and allows the Russians and the companies working with Russia to go ahead and finish that pipeline. All
is expected to be finished at some time later this year, possibly as early as the middle of the Summer according to, you know, experts that we've
spoken to. So, a whole host of issues that have to be discussed, all of it of course, coming ahead of a potential high profile summit between
President Biden of the United States and President Putin. And that's going to be happening, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
GORANI: All right, Matthew Chance, thanks very much. With more there on that face-to-face which is due to happen this evening between Blinken and
Lavrov, we'll tell you, we'll follow this story and we'll tell you more about what was said between the two men as that information becomes
available. Still to come, a heartbreaking scene in Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's OK, it's OK, it's not near us. I promise. I promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: A child trying to comfort another child about a war they're both too young to understand. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, the Gaza-run health ministry says that 64 children have now been killed in Israeli airstrikes. UNICEF is warning that up to a million
others are suffering the consequences of simply witnessing violent conflict all around them with nowhere safe to run. Arwa Damon introduces us to one
girl whose story went viral. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE ABDULLATIEF, GAZA RESIDENT: Hi, welcome to our video.
YOUS, GAZA RESIDENT: Hi, welcome to our video.
NADINE: His name is You.
YOUS: Her name is Nana or Nadine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's the juxtaposition that is perhaps the most jarring between the clips Nadine, an aspiring social media
influencer, used to post about her life, often featuring her younger brother, Yous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOUS: Right here with my sister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: And the clip that was posted of her that went viral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE: You see 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)
DAMON: She is just a kid. But at the same time, she's not. Not anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE: Are you having fun? Oh. That was -- let's go. Let's go.
BOY: Just let me go. Let me go.
NADINE: No. It's OK. It's OK. It's OK. It's OK.
BOY: We need to go. We need to go home.
NADINE: It's not near. I promise. I promise. I promise. I was not laughing because it was funny. I was laughing because I was trying to keep my
brother calm down. Like I said, I love you.
YOUS: Me, too.
NADINE: We're back again here and this is all the stuff we got for the school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: This is what they should have been getting ready for. Instead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE: This is my bag in case anything happened -- happens or our house gets exploded. I don't really care about any of those things that are in
the bag. As I said, I care about family. I care about other people. And that's it. When the explosion happens we all hang out in this room. It's
better to die all of us together. This is where is the explosion. See right there? There's the ambulance. And I think that's the house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: "Of course Nadine gets scared," her mother says. She covers her fear for her brother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE: Small potatoes. This is like breakfast-dinner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: Nadine's mother watches her family as if she's quietly relishing in the laughter of the younger generations for laughter is more precious in
times like this. When you know even if you are just a kid that it can end at any moment. Arwa Damon, CNN.
GORANI: -- bring in Peter Beinart. He's a CNN Political Commentator and author of the "Beinart Notebook" on substack.com. Thanks, Peter, for being
with us. Where you've heard calls for ceasefire, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, has, as explicitly as he ever has in his fourth
conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu, called on the two parties to ceasefire.
Do you think we're getting there?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Perhaps, eventually this will peter out. I think the question we should all ask is, why does it take so
many dead people, so many dead children, particularly in Gaza, to get to this point? There's neither -- neither side is going to achieve very much
by this and the fundamental issues underlying this, the fact that millions of Palestinians lack the most basic rights won't have been solved by that
and that is what Joe Biden has failed to respond to, failed to speak about from the very beginning of this crisis.
GORANI: And you tweeted, "I remember the Israel-Palestine debate before, it feels different this time. There are fewer commentators with any
progressive or even centrist credentials," you tweet," -- defending Israel." Why the change, do you think?
BEINART: I think that the surge in progressive activism that we've seen in the United States has made it more difficult for people to evade some very
fundamental realities, which is the principles that we, as progressives, believe in the United States. The idea of equality under the law, the idea
that people shouldn't have different rights based on their race, or their religion, or their ethnicity, that those are being fundamentally profoundly
violated by Israeli policy.
And so you can't really believe in those principles of equality under the law of anti-discrimination and yet also be comfortable with what Israel is
GORANI: But is that playing out in Israel itself, do you think? Why or why not?
BEINART: No, it's not playing out inside Israel itself very much. Except, of course, for Palestinians who are who are kind of rising up. Look, across
the world, when you have a population that has power and privilege, that population will generally want to maintain it, you know. The -- Frederick
Douglass, the, you know, the famous abolitionist leader --
BEINART: -- famously said, power concedes nothing without a demand. So, I think the question for us is not really why Israelis would not willingly
change a circumstance in which they have basic rights and Palestinians don't. But how would the rest of us make kind of a moral demand, a moral
loving demand that things need to change?
GORANI: So obviously, you are a writer, a commentator, an intellectual, and you're Jewish. And you are sometimes -- I see it on social media, and on
other platforms, attacked by Israeli Jews, who are telling you you're wrong to defend Palestinians in the way that you do. Why do you think that
BEINART: Well, you know, we are -- the Jewish -- Jews have a variety of different opinions. We interpret our traditions differently. For me, I see
myself as a loving critic of the community that I love. But for me, the Jewish people were -- people founded in slavery. We become of people, in
the book of Exodus, in slavery. We are told 36 times in the Torah to remember the heart of the stranger because we were strangers in the land of
Egypt. To me, that's at the core of what it means to be a Jew.
So when I see Israel holding millions of people in -- under blockade, collective punishment in Gaza, which is, according to the U.N., made Gaza
unlivable for human beings.
And when I see Israel holding millions of Palestinians in the West Bank where non-citizens who can't vote for the government that controls their
lives, who can have their land stolen at any moment, that their houses demolished, to me, that is a violation of the fundamental ethical
imperative that we, as Jews, are supposed to believe.
GORANI: What I find interesting, and this isn't necessarily something that you spend many hours or days thinking about, but for instance there's a
supermodel named Bella Hadid. OK? She has, I think, like 50 million followers on Instagram.
Paul Pogba is a very famous footballer. They're publicly coming out in support of the Palestinian cause. Pogba flew a Palestinian flag. I don't
think this is something we would've necessarily seen five, ten years ago. And this kind of also supports the notion that we're seeing a shift in
popular culture. Do you agree?
BEINART: Yes, I think there is a shift. And I understand why some in the Jewish community might find it threatening, might see it as kind of people
being, you know, against Jews are kind of, you know, kind of, you know, expressions of ancient hostilities and animosities against Jews. But that's
not the way I see it. To me, it seems to me that there's a fundamental human imperative that we all share to have certain basic rights, and that
Palestinians are denied those rights.
Anyone who spends even an -- any amount of time seeing how Palestinians live in the West Bank or East Jerusalem or Gaza cannot be appalled, but be
appalled at the oppression that Palestinians face.
So it seems to me anyone who is, in good faith, outraged at that oppression, it seems to me, is someone who's struggling for basic human
values that I think are at the core of all religious traditions, including my own, including Judaism.
GORANI: I get the point that you're making. But I guess the question, the natural follow up is, then how do you get there? How do you get to a
situation where you have equality between these two people in that part of the world?
BEINART: I think for those of us who are Americans, the fundamental question is ending Israel's impunity, that if Israel can get $3.8 billion
of the U.S. military aid, no questions asked, as it does now. What -- you know, and that money can be used to imprison Palestinian children, to
demolish Palestinian homes. First of all, that's just not an ethical use of our tax dollars as Americans. And it creates a kind of impunity.
That is part of the reason that Benjamin Netanyahu has been so politically successful. Part of the reason he stayed in power so long is he's told
Israelis, look, we can do whatever we want to the Palestinians. And there are no geopolitical consequences for us because America will protect us no
matter what we do. If America changed its policy, it would change the political debate in Israel, because people like Netanyahu would not be able
to say that Israelis can have their cake and eat it, too.
Israelis would have to make choices. And I think that would create a space for other kinds of Israeli politicians who say, you know what, this
actually isn't the best for our country to be maintaining dominion over millions of people who lack basic rights.
GORANI: Peter Beinart, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate your perspective this evening on CNN.
BEINART: Thank you.
GORANI: And still to come tonight, the nurse who looked after Boris Johnson, when he was in the hospital with COVID has quit. We'll explain why
GORANI: Britain has now given its first vaccination to nearly 37 million people. But Boris Johnson is dealing with the fallout of a resignation it
isn't from his government, but from a nurse, Jenny McGee. She treated the Prime Minister when he was seriously ill with COVID but now she has quit
the NHS, the National Health Service. She said, "We're not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve and I'm just sick of it." Scott McLean
is live in London with the very latest in reaction to this resignation, Scott.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Hala, yes. So this nurse, Jenny McGee, is a New Zealander who had been working in the U.K. and
she was briefly in the global spotlight last year for a good reason. She was, as you said, one of two nurses who was singled out by the Prime
Minister for his thanks because she stayed by the Prime Minister's bedside during a 48-hour period whereas he describes it, "Things could have gone
either way," meaning he very, very nearly died from the Coronavirus.
Now the last time you might have seen Jenny McGee in the press or on TV was when she was having a tea party with the Prime Minister after he had fully
recovered from the virus. Since then, though, she's fit -- she's featured in a new documentary that will air on the British channel for about the
And in it, she has some pretty harsh criticism for the government saying that a lot of nurses felt that the government "Hadn't led very effectively
-- the decisiveness, so many mixed messages. It was just very upsetting." That's what the British Press Association is reporting that she said in
She also reportedly said that nurses, as you pointed out, were not getting the respect or the pay that they deserved. And so she went ahead and turned
in her resignation, she said. In the last budget in March, the government, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced that very nearly all public sector
employees were taking a pay freeze, but nurses got just a one percent pay bump.
And the reason that it wasn't higher is because, well, the government says that it had spent so much in help wage subsidies just trying to keep the
economy afloat during this time that it simply could not afford to -- afford that kind of money.
That one percent, though, is a pretty far cry from what the Royal College of Nursing was asking for. That's 12 1/2 percent saying that nurses were
simply burned out after the year that was in the pandemic and, obviously, risking their own lives on the front lines often especially at the
beginning of the outbreak without the proper protective equipment that they ought to have had.
The Prime Minister, when he recovered from the virus last year, said very plainly, he owes his life to the National Health Service. He was asked
about the situation today in the House of Commons and that -- and he said that he promise to appoint a pay review board to look at that increases for
nurses. As for McGee, she said that she plans to take a nursing contract in the Caribbean before going home to spend some time at home in New Zealand,
GORANI: All right. Heading to the Caribbean. Thanks very much for that. Scott McLean. The vaccine drive is well on its way across Europe. So let's
take a step back and see how the continent has fared over the past 14 months. This map shows the number of deaths in countries per 100,000
people. And you can see Italy in some Eastern European countries faring worse, they're in red.
Now, on to the other big factor, vaccines. This is how it looks when it comes to people partly vaccinated per 100,000. The U.K. is leading the way,
with Western European countries doing better than their Eastern counterparts. Even though the U.K. obviously had higher -- a higher number
of deaths per 100,000, they're doing better on the vaccination.
Let's take a look at one country, Sweden. Dr. Anders Tegnell is the country's chief epidemiologist and he joins me now live. Thanks for being
with us. So you have become a very controversial figure and very talked about scientist in Sweden, because of Sweden's initial approach in the
early days of the pandemic of not locking down the country as some other nations chose to do. When you look back at the last year and three months,
and you see, for instance, that the number of deaths compared to your Nordic neighbors were higher in Sweden than say in Denmark, or Norway, do
you have any regrets at this stage?
DR. ANDERS TEGNELL, SWEDEN'S CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST: It's very difficult to evaluate this pandemic, I think, and if you compare Sweden to the European
Union as a whole, Sweden has fared about middling when it comes to excess deaths, probably a better figure to compare with if you need to compare
TEGNELL: Sweden is among the countries that had the lowest excess deaths during this period. So it is difficult to compare, I will say. We managed
to break the transmission during two or three waves with a lot of interventions that we have in place. The Swedes have changed their behavior
enormously and in many ways where we have had a virtual lockdown also in Sweden,
GORANI: You -- you've been quoted as saying that perhaps in the beginning, when we didn't know how this virus would behave, that perhaps you
overestimated asymptomatic cases, that perhaps you believed this virus would behave a little bit more like the flu virus, that there would be more
asymptomatic carriers and therefore, that the population as a whole might reach a level of infected and recovered that was, in the end, higher. Is
that one of the mistakes, do you think, that was made here?
TEGNELL: I think that was the assumption of many people in the beginning because we all looked at similar diseases who are -- where it used to have
a very high level of cases that you don't recognize. And I think most of the modeling in many countries, U.K., U.S., built on the assumption that
there was quite a lot of symptomatic cases. Many of the measures in Sweden took into account that it could be asymptomatic cases. So that assumptions
didn't really change and wouldn't have changed the strategy that we used, I would say.
GORANI: So you're familiar, obviously, with Dr. Anthony Fauci in the United States, and Rand Paul is a libertarian politician in the U.S. And he was a
supporter of the Swedish motto, which was not to lock down. And when he asked Anthony Fauci a few months ago on Capitol Hill about why the U.S.
wouldn't favor that approach, this is what Anthony Fauci had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You've compared us to Sweden, and there are a lot of differences.
And you said, well, you know, there are a lot of differences between Sweden, but compare Sweden's death rate to other comparable, no us
Scandinavian countries, it's worse.
So, I don't think it's appropriate to compare Sweden with us. I don't regret saying that the only way we could have really stopped the explosion
of infection was by essentially, I want to say shutting down. I mean, essentially having the physical separation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: What has it been like to be talked about like this in the United States and on the world stage because your approach was so different to
other countries? What has it been like for you?
TEGNELL: I think that's the misconception, our approach has not been as different. And Sweden shouldn't be compared to the other Nordic countries.
Sweden, in many ways, are very different from our Nordic neighbors. Even if we speak similar languages, we are much more urbanized, which is very
important for the spread.
We have a high level of people coming from other countries. In many ways, we are more like our European fellow countries than we are if you compare
us to Norway and Finland. And if you look at that group of about 30 countries, it's actually Norway and Finland that are the outliers. Sweden
is much more similar to the rest of Europe than they are when it comes to how we fared during this pandemic.
GORANI: So you sound like you don't have any regrets here, but I guess let's look at today, let's look at the future. What percentage of Sweden is
vaccinated? Is this really going to be the way out for your country and in fact, countries all over the world? This is what's going to allow us to get
back to normal?
TEGNELL: Yes, at least in some countries. Unfortunately, the distribution of vaccines is very much focused on the rich countries in the world, where
Sweden is one of them. We have vaccinated more than 90 percent of our above 65 population, which is the very important part of the population to
vaccinate. And that made a huge difference to the mortality in Sweden. We fell very, very rapidly in spite of having an increase of the number of
cases. And now we can also see that -- the need for hospital beds is also coming down quite rapidly, thanks to the vaccinations.
And we even -- if we only reached -- I think we have vaccinated some -- used some 3 1/2 million doses for 10 million people. We have used them
very, very much in the popular population who are most vulnerable and that's why we have had such big results from the vaccinations already. And
TEGNELL: -- in another few months. I think we'll also see more results.
GORANI: All right. That's the case for many more countries around the world so we can finally, finally all move on. Dr. Anders Tegnell, the Chief
Epidemiologist in Sweden joining us live this hour. Thanks very much. Still to come. This is one of the most famous rock formations in the world. At
least, it was. Now we reveal what it will look like or what it looks like now, I should say, and why. Stay with us.
GORANI: One of the most famous rock formations in the Galapagos Islands has collapsed. Darwin's Arch, as it's known, within the northern part of the
islands. The rock bridge was named for the British scientists, Charles Darwin, so was the nearby Darwin Island. This is how it looks like now.
The top -- there -- the top is gone. You see it, it crumbled into the sea as a result of erosion. According to Ecuador's Ministry of the Environment,
now just two pillars stand at the UNESCO World Heritage Site unfortunately. Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you tomorrow, same
time, same place. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.