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Kerry Seeks Gaza Cease-Fire Amid Rising Casualties; Body Identified as Suspected Ferry Owner;Bodies Moved from MH-17 Crash Site; Hamas Claims it is Ready For Humanitarian Cease Fire
Aired July 22, 2014 - 6:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VITALIY NAYDA, UKRAINE INFORMATIONAL SECURITY: Russia finance terrorist activities on the territory of Ukraine. Russia Federation provides weapons, ammunition, terrorists, machine guns, missile launchers, everything to the terrorists on the territory of Ukraine. So, we do not share any responsibility of provoking the unstable situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You know that countries are very worried about coming here because of the ongoing warfare. Given that, why did the Ukraine government decide to start developing in the Donetsk region when you know the cease-fire is so fragile here, when you know peace is so fragile and that we're waiting desperately for international experts to come? Why start shelling again during this period when we have to investigate?
NAYDA: You know, I'm part of the Ukrainian government, so I cannot give comment to that question.
Unfortunately, right now, the territory is under the control of terrorists and the Ukrainian government can hardly apply all measures to control the territory. It's only on the Russian side who has to give orders to terrorists to stop fighting, to cease-fire, and to give international community, to give everybody to all those countries whose citizens died in that terrorist attack, to give a chance to get to the scene of the plane crash.
CUOMO: Last question, sir -- do you have any reason to believe, any intelligence developed, that will substantiate claims that the militiamen here, the locals, were looking through the crime scene to hide certain evidence that, that they took the flight data recorders for some bad reason? Do you have any intelligence to back up any of those allegations?
NAYDA: Exactly. From the very first moment, we got intelligence that terrorists were given orders by the leaders of the terrorist groups there at the scene to hide all the evidence. We knew for sure from our sources that they tried to take some bodies on the tracks and move them away. Right now, we're checking that information. We can't confirm it officially right now but it's intelligence.
We knew for sure that they were trying to get access directly to the black boxes of the plane, not to give a chance to Ukrainian authority or whatever else authority to get access to the black box, and they were given orders to move it to separatist leaders. CUOMO: Mr. Vitaliy Nayda, thank you very much for your perspective
this morning. We appreciate it. It's hard to understand this situation. Every big of information helps. Thank you.
John, Kate, as I give it back to you, there are lots of different types of warfare, as we know. One is an information warfare, a propaganda warfare. That is very much going on especially where we're standing right now.
It's hard to find someone in this area of eastern Ukraine who does not subscribe to the theory that Ukraine's government had something to do with taking this plane out of the sky, either as a plot against Vladimir Putin or in order to just show animosity and turn the world against what they say is a righteous rebellion.
So, there are very different points of view on this. The facts have to bear it out. That's why the investigation is so important.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's why it's important that you're on the ground. You're going to weed through it all and bring the facts to light.
Chris, thanks so much. We'll get right back to you.
Coming up next on NEW DAY, we're going to have much more on the Flight 17 investigation. But, first, the fighting goes on in Gaza as Secretary of State John Kerry, he pushes for a cease-fire. We're going to talk with a Palestinian parliament member about the chances for peace.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, he vanished after the South Korean ferry disaster in April. Now, the suspected owner has been found dead. What authorities are now saying about this? That's ahead.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY.
We'll get to the latest on Flight 17 in just a moment, but we want to give you a look at your other headlines.
In the midst of the east -- in the Middle East the bloodshed in Gaza conflict has the U.S. pushing for peace this morning. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cairo, desperately trying to convince Hamas fighters to put down their weapons and accept an Egyptian cease-fire proposal. More than 600 Palestinians have already been killed, many of those civilians. Seven Israeli soldiers were killed Monday, efforts to identify one of them is on going this morning.
It is being called an unprecedented bankruptcy bailout. Detroit workers and retirees have approved pension cuts by a landslide. City officials revealed the results of two months of voting Monday, calling it a crucial step for the city as it tries to dig out of the largest municipal insolvency in U.S. history. A judge still has to decide next month if the overall bankruptcy plan is fair to all creditors. Robert McDonald, the president's choice to lead the troubled Veterans
Affairs Department, has his Senate confirmation hearing today. The agency has been under intense scrutiny for treatment delays and falsified records at V.A. hospitals and clinics around the nation. Meantime, a report by a government watchdog group found employees and medical professionals regularly faced retaliation by supervisors and other high ranking V.A. officials when reporting problems at veteran facilities.
Favorable weather conditions are finally giving crews a bit of an upper hand against the destructive wildfire. The biggest on record in Washington state, the Carlton complex fire, has already burned some 380 square miles. To give you perspective, that's four times the size of the city of Seattle. The wildfire has destroyed 200 homes already. Another 1,200 over central Washington have been forced to evacuate.
Clearly, we're going to keep an eye on that.
BOLDUAN: That's huge.
PEREIRA: A portion of that, they were concerned about air quality. All the evacuations, it's very concerning, to say the least.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Thanks, Michaela.
Let's give you an update on that horrible ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people earlier this year. South Korean police have now identified a body found last month as that of the suspected owner of the ferry.
Paula Hancocks is here with more of the story.
Paula, remember, you were there. You covered the story from the very beginning. There was a manhunt under way for him at some point, right?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, yes. He's the suspected owner of the ferry though his defenders deny that. There were basically 8,000 police around the country looking for this man. There was half a million dollar reward for any information that would lead to his arrest and he, apart from the captain who, of course, was filmed escaping that sinking ferry, he was one of the most hated men in South Korea. He was vilified by the press, the public, even the president criticized him for going on the run and for not coming forward and facing justice, though his defenders say he was a scapegoat.
Of course, as this manhunt was going on we now realize that he had already died, his decomposing body was found in a farm by one farmer, and that was back on June 12th.
BOLDUAN: They have finally identified him. Have they determined if it was murder or suicide or --
HANCOCKS: Well, police at this point say there's no sign of foul play, but they are not saying if it's suicide. They want to do more investigation. They say that his body was found surrounded by alcohol bottles, although his supporters say he didn't drink, but they say they have to find out at this point when exactly he died. They don't know the time of death or the exact cause of death but, of course, it is sending shock waves.
BOLDUAN: Real quick. We still haven't found some of the bodies. Is the investigation over?
HANCOCKS: The investigation is ongoing. There are still 10 bodies, unfortunately, that have not been found, 294 people have been confirmed dead, and as you know, many of them were schoolchildren on a field trip.
BOLDUAN: My goodness. Paula, thank you very much. What an unbelievable twist in a horrific story already. Thank you so much. Great to see you.
BERMAN: Dark, dark twist to something already pretty dark to begin with.
All right. Next up for us on NEW DAY, Secretary of State John Kerry, he will push for a cease-fire as Israel continues its offensive into Gaza. What are the chances this morning for a breakthrough? We're going to get the Palestinian perspective coming up.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST "THE SITUATION ROOM": Welcome back to NEW DAY. I'm Wolf Blitzer live in Jerusalem. As the death toll rises in the Gaza conflict, the Secretary of State John Kerry, he's still in Cairo today pushing forward with his efforts to try to broker some sort of cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas. Let's bring in a Palestinian point of view right now. Joining us is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. He's a member of the Palestinian Parliament and founder of the Palestinian National Initiative. Mr. Barghouti, thanks very much for joining us. When we spoke last night you were hopeful that maybe there could be some sort of humanitarian pause, a temporary cease-fire today. That clearly has not developed. Where does the effort for a cease-fire stand from your perspective?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, FOUNDER OF PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: Since yesterday, both the Hamas side and Palestinian groups in Gaza have been asking for this humanitarian cease-fire to be able to take out the injured people who might be suffering now under the rebels and to take out the bodies. But since yesterday and up until this moment Israel refuses to accept a humanitarian cease-fire, and that is very unfortunate. The other development is that I think now there is an increasing rise of the voices in so many places in the world describing what Israel is doing in Gaza as a massacre and as an act of genocide. The total number of Palestinians killed is 583 people and 3, 645 injured. 90 percent of them are civilians, women and children. The French foreign minister has called what's happening there as a massacre. He's calling for immediate cease-fire. The U.N. is calling for a cease-fire. Mr. Ban Ki-moon is calling for an immediate cease- fire, so I think the pressure is mounting to -- on Israel that something should be done to stop this war. BLITZER: But as far as you know, Hamas is ready for this kind of at
least temporary humanitarian cease-fire. Is that right?
BARGHOUTI: Yes. Not only are they ready, they are asking for it. They told me yesterday, I spoke to them, and they said they want it very much because they are worried that many injured people might die under the rubble because they cannot get them out. Also, they want to retrieve the bodies of people who are killed. As you know, six hospitals have been attacked by Israel. Yesterday Israel killed four people in one of the hospitals. 31 families in Gaza have been completely eliminated. I'm talking about the grandfather, the grandmother, the father, the mother and children, grandsons and grand daughters. You know, Palestinians live in extended families in one house usually or in several houses, and these are 31 families have that been eliminated completely. Their Social Security numbers have been eliminated because nobody is still alive from these families.
This is becoming very ugly and I think the Israeli efforts to de humanize the Palestinians and claim that they are the only responsible side for this is not working, especially in the light of the difference between the number of people killed. As I said, 583 Palestinians killed versus 28 Israeli soldiers and 2 civilians. The -- the difference is dramatic. As we say, we don't want any Israeli or Palestinian to be killed, but this aggression, this war must be stopped as soon as possible. This is intolerable. I mean, with the passage of every day, the number of people killed is increasing. Yesterday 120 people were killed. The day before 100. The day before that 85. Maybe today it will be 150. It's becoming a genocide, its becoming a true massacre against Palestinian civilian population.
BLITZER: If there is a temporary humanitarian cease-fire, based on your conversations with Hamas, would they be willing to stop firing rockets and missiles into Israel? Stop infiltration through those underground tunnels as part of a broader cease-fire, just stop all of the fighting for now and then deal with some of the other long term issues down the road?
BARGHOUTI: Absolutely. They are ready for that, that's what they say. And by the way, nobody used these tunnels until this war was started by Israel. I mean, of course they use these (inaudible) tunnels as an act of self-defense in case there is a war, but I am sure all these operations will stop. And now there is a lot of criticism in Israeli media that Israeli Army was misleading the public about its goals and about its achievements. I think even "The New York Times" is writing that Israel is now in deep trouble because all the lies that have been told about this war are being exposed. And I think Prime Minister Netanyahu has failed, or is failing, at least increasingly in dehumanizing Palestinians and claiming that this is a war with Hamas, while its actually, it's a war on the civilian Palestinian population.
There are demonstrations all over the world, and I think, as I said, the pressure is mounting, and I hope this massacre will stop. This bloodshed will stop and that no Israeli or Palestinian will be killed anymore. We have to stop this and the only way to solve the problem is through a political process that could end the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories and end this conflict. End the system of apartheid which Israel is falling into, and I don't think any Jewish or Israeli person can be proud about the fact that Israel is becoming a system of apartheid and discrimination in the 21st century.
BLITZER: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, I know those are strong views that you have sharing the Palestinian perspective from Ramallah on the West Bank. Mustafa Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian Parliament. Thank you for joining us once again. In the mean time, lets go back to New York.
BOLDUAN: Alright, well thank you very much. We're going to get back to you shortly.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Coming up next though on NEW DAY, investigators are trying to find out exactly what happened to Flight 17 as pro- Russian rebels show some signs for the first time of cooperation.
Former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, who was recently in Ukraine, will be joining us to talk about the situation on the ground.
CUOMO: Breaking news, live from the crash scene of Flight MH-17 in Eastern Ukraine.
CUOMO (voice-over): Finally the bodies of the victims are headed home. Finally the black boxes are in the hands of investigators, but for the families and loved ones, this story is far from over. The finger- pointing is ramping up.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What exactly are they trying to hide?
CUOMO (voice-over): Now the Russians say a Ukrainian plane was in the area at the time MH-17 was shot down. We have the latest.
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem. Also breaking, no end in sight. The violence is clearly escalating. The death toll among Palestinians in Gaza now approaching 600. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the region this hour. Can he stop the bloodshed?
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Only Hamas now needs to make the decision.
CUOMO: A special edition of NEW DAY continues right now.
CUOMO (on camera): And we are live at the crash site here in Eastern Ukraine. This is where Flight MH-17 went down. It's a picture that's become a very familiar scene, and, unfortunately, little has changed here. Renewed fighting between the Ukraine and militants has made it even more difficult for the international community to come here on the ground and investigate this properly. The rebels here very much still in control. Just moments ago one came up to us and offered video of the first moments of the plane crashing down, as if he wanted to help us understand the situation. His next request was for money. Very mixed message about what the intentions of the people in control here is all about, and yet you have to take progress where you find it, and there are some good things to report this morning as well, at least in terms of the movement of the bodies and a slight movement in the investigation that we'll tell you about. But let me take you back to Kate and John in New York.
BOLDUAN: Those bodies finally on their way home, and now the investigation really needs to ramp up in that area where you are right there. Chris, we'll right back to you. Also, looking at this morning we're following the developments in Israel and Gaza there. Wolf Blitzer, as you see right there, he's in Jerusalem. He's monitoring the very latest. But first, let's talk about the very latest on the shootdown of Flight 17.
BERMAN: Russia facing the possibility of more sanctions when European foreign ministers meet today, travel bans, asset freezes, other restrictions on the table. We'll see if European leaders finally act. Now, a "New York Times" analysis shows the wreckage has signs of high velocity shrapnel, suggesting a supersonic missile like ones used by the Russians. They're saying that's what exploded near the jet.
BERMAN (voice-over): The U.N. Security Council, including Russia, adopted a resolution condemning the attack on the plane. A lot going on there on the ground, a lot going on in the United Nations, and a lot going on in Europe with leaders there. Chris?
CUOMO: All right, John. Thank you very much. What has been waited here for, for all the geopolitical back and forth that's going on and blaming in the process of trying to figure out who did this and why when it comes to the crash of MH-17. There should be focus really on the families and the victims, and there we do have some progress. They are finally starting to move home. Today, a very important step.
Dutch authorities who are on the ground and Malaysian authorities here as well, we believe they are right up the road right now, here at the site for the first time. But the Dutch will finally get to take the bodies, take them out of the bags and put them into coffins. That may seem like a small thing to someone, but to the families it will give a little sense of closure, a little sense of respect, and that may go a long way in what has been a long process of indignity.
CUOMO (voice-over): Finally, headed home.