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Search Underway for Missing Air Algerie Flight; Calls for Middle East Cease-Fire Growing; Flow of Illegal Immigrants Has Slowed; FAA Lifts Ban on Flights to Israel

Aired July 24, 2014 - 06:30   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Back to the breaking news that we're watching. An Air Algerie flight with 110 passengers and six crew members is missing. Swiss Air, operator of the Air Algerie flight, says it lost contact with Flight 5017 almost an hour into the flight from Burkina-Faso to Algiers. Search protocol for the flight has begun. We're going to bring in more information as soon as we have it. We'll keep an eye on that.

Another somber day in the Netherlands. Seventy-four more coffins carrying victims of Flight 17 are headed there. International monitors are back on the scene of the crash sight including a forensic expert and a technical expert. All of this as European Union considers harsher sanctions for Russia for its suspected role in the disaster.

Back here at home, a Philadelphia mother and daughter have died from injuries they sustained when this happened. Their food truck exploded earlier this month. Olga Galdemez and her daughter Jaylin Landaverry were working in the truck when it exploded on the 1st of July. Investigators suspect that gas was leaking from the truck's propane thank when it ignited and then it reached the grill.

The coast guard busy scouring the waters near American Samoa for the man whose plane crashed into the ocean killing his 17-year-old son. Harris and Babar Suleman set out for an around-the-world adventure in their single-engine plane. They were hoping to set a world record by finishing in just 30 days. Instead they crashed late Tuesday minutes after takeoff. Harris' body has been recovered. They are still looking for his father in the ocean there.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That's just terrible.

PEREIRA: Heartbreaking.

CUOMO: All right, Mick.

Let's take a little break here on NEW DAY. The feds OK flights in and out of Tel Aviv. The restriction is raised, but that doesn't mean that just because they are allowed to, airlines will fly there. Hamas has admitted to targeting the airport. So, we're going to go to Wolf Blitzer live in Jerusalem for what

happens next.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And tonight, CNN'S Emmy-nominated series "THE SIXTIES" returns at 9:00 p.m. with the space race. So, here's your "SIXTIES" minute.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting live from Jerusalem.

The FAA has now dropped its 36-hour ban on flights to and from Tel Aviv by U.S. carriers. Delta, United and U.S. Airways will now decide when to resume their service.

Meantime, the rocket fire certainly hasn't stopped. Earlier in the day it slowed down a bit. In the last hour or two, it's picked up over central Israel, including the Tel Aviv area.

Efforts, meanwhile, are under way to try to achieve some sort of cease-fire. Israel is continuing its military operation, primarily going after those Hamas tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel.

Joining us now is Gilead Sher. He was the one -- one-time, he was the chief of staff to then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the chief peace negotiator back in 2000.

You guys got pretty close then when Bill Clinton at the end of this term was there. But it wasn't close enough. Is a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, still viable?

COL. GILEAD SHER, CHIEF OF STAFF TO FORMER ISRAEL PRIME MNISTER EHUD BARAK: Very much so. I believe that's only way to secure Israel's future as a democratic nation station of the Jewish people. There's no other way but to disengage from the Palestinians into a two-state reality, having one Israeli Jewish democratic state and one Palestinian demilitarized state, living side by side to one another.

BLITZER: Because you know a lot of your fellow Israelis are increasingly, given what's happened over the past couple of weeks, saying that maybe the two-state solution is not acceptable. They say they can't trust the Palestinians.

SHER: Well, I believe that, well, if they don't trust the Palestinians, let's do it on our own and let's delineate the boundaries in order to encompass a Jewish democracy within those boundaries. I believe that's --

BLITZER: Unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, you would support that?

SHER: While leaving the doors wide open to resume negotiations and negotiate a permanent status agreement which is, you know, as I believe, has very long odds. BLITZER: You know, this stop of U.S. and European service, a lot of

European service flying to and from Tel Aviv. It was a real jolt to the Israeli public over the past couple of days. The last time the U.S. recommended no flights into Ben Gurion Airport was back in 1991, when Saddam Hussein was launching Scud missiles into the Tel Aviv area.

So, that was a real victory, though, for Hamas.

SHER: It's not a victory for Hamas. It's just an unfortunate decision taken by the FAA I believe that, you know, it's much safer to fly out to Tel Aviv and from Tel Aviv than it is to fly over Ukraine, and as we just heard about the Air Algerie plane that is missing right now.

BLITZER;: But if rockets are going towards Ben Gurion Airport, and I spoke yesterday with one of the Hamas spokesman, he said they are targeting Ben Gurion Airport because Israel uses it for military purposes as well. You can't blame the FAA and others for being concerned about the commercial traffic coming in and out of Israel.

SHER: Well, we have excellent means to make these flights safe into and out of Israel.

BLITZER: So the cease-fire right now, is there going to be a cease- fire? John Kerry is working hard, Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary- general, I know Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Egyptians, Qatar, Turkey. They all seem to be working, but I don't see a cease-fire.

SHER: Eventually, there will be a cease-fire. But there are two diverging time lines here. Israel needs a tad more time in order to clean up the tunnels and to get hold of the arsenal, the huge arsenal of missiles and rockets.

This is the military time line and there is the political time line which does not converge with this one that requires to stop the operation and start rehabilitating the -- the whole region. But there will be eventually in a couple of days, maybe in a couple of weeks, there will be a cease-fire.

BLITZER: And Israel will withdraw all of its forces. Thousands of Israeli troops are still on the ground.

SHER: Well, it depends. It depends on the contents and parameters of such a cease-fire. We cannot allow anymore, you know, kind of a truce for 18 months or so and then once again being threatened to -- on our civilian centers and our -- and our civilians all together.

BLITZER: You see the horrendous pictures coming out of Israel. All the civilians, the children who have been killed.

SHER: That's very regrettable and it's a lot of sorrow, but this is collateral damage that is caused because we have to counter Hamas' terrorism. There's no other way but to fight it in their -- in their areas of operation, and that's what we do. We do it very carefully, very responsibly, but we have to do it.

BLITZER: Gilead Sher, former chief of staff to the Prime Minister Ehud Barak, thanks very much for joining us.

SHER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Gilead Sher joining us.

Chris, back to you. Even as we speak, some of those rockets and missiles, they are still coming into Israel. So, Hamas, they have more rockets and missiles in their arsenal. This is not easing up, at least not yet.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Wolf, be safe on the ground, your reporting is very valuable but so are you. We need you to make it back safe and sound. We'll be back to you in a little bit.

We'll take a quick break here on NEW DAY: when we come back, are troops needed to fix the mess at the border? I'm not talking about Ukraine or even what's going on in the Middle East -- right here at home. Officials are headed there today to evaluate whether the National Guard is the next move. We're going to have the border control chief right here on NEW DAY to tell us what the situation is there and what needs to be done.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. MH-17 and Israel have drawn our attention abroad, understandably, but do not forget what's happening right here on our southern border. What to do about the flow of undocumented children crossing the border and into the U.S. and being kept in questionable conditions here for weeks. So, Congress is still battling over funding. The president is about to meet with Central American leaders, and all the while a very big move is in his back pocket, and that is sending the national guard to the border to secure it. Let's speak with Gil Kerlikowske. He's the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Commissioner, thank you for joining us. Please, give us the latest information on conditions at the border.

GIL KERLIKOWSKE, COMMISIONER OF U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Well, right now the conditions at the border we're very pleased. We're somewhat optimistic, in fact, with the reductions in apprehensions of unaccompanied children. There could be a lot of reasons, but we're certainly preparing if this increases again.

CUOMO: So the flow is slowing, and you believe that is because?

KERLIKOWSKE: There are a lot of reasons. First of all, this is the hottest part of the year, and we know historically that those migration flows do slow down. Also, we have a campaign in Central America to tell people, parents, relatives, how dangerous the journey is and it is not a path to citizenship if you arrive in this country.

CUOMO: Thousands and thousands of kids are being kept in questionable conditions on the border. There are rumors being spread that they are mostly gang bangers and they are drug associates and they are also lousy with disease. Is this true?

KERLIKOWSKE: No, it's not true. I've been down four times. Secretary Johnson has been down to the border five times. Most of these are family members, and we also check to see if -- if the young people, particularly the older teenagers, we check to see if they are gang members. That's not what we're seeing.

CUOMO: What you're seeing is them being used as political pawns and as a result our focus is not on their treatment the way it should be. And so, you have 116 cases at least where undocumented kids are saying they have been abused. What do we know about what's happening in these situations?

KERLIKOWSKE: Well, we know a couple things. First of all, our border patrol stations are clearly not designed to hold a lot of people, particularly young people, very young people for any length of time. But, because of this influx, we really had to -- we really had to put them somewhere. We had to try to make them as comfortable as possible. We had to make sure that they were fed. We had to make sure that they had medical supplies and then we had to get them out into other staff facilities, you know, that are just much better for them than a border patrol holding facility. Everyone, by the way, that has been down there, literally hundreds of members of Congress, faith-based organizations, they have praised the men and women of customs and border protection, particularly the Border Patrol, with the humanitarian, compassionate way that they have treated these people.

CUOMO: Well, that's good to hear, because it's not about laying blame at the feet of the Border Patrol and how they do their job, nor is it about laying blame at your feet. You just came in in March. So, Commissioner, this is you being tasked with the fix. The concern continues, though, that the conditions they are being kept in are just not adequate or acceptable for an extended period of stay which seems likely, so what do we do to help these kids?

KERLIKOWSKE: So you're right. And moving them out more quickly into better adequate facilities is key. Health and Human Services Under Secretary Burwell has worked really hard, and that's where we turn these young people, over to them, and we're doing everything we can to make sure that those facilities are adequate. Lackland Air Force Base, the Border Patrol Academy barracks at Artesia, New Mexico. Actually, these are much better, much nicer facilities than certainly a Border Patrol holding cell.

CUOMO: Its very important to remind people that most of these undocumented are just kids, and in that innocence we have to protect them. Let me ask you. It is now politically sailable to say we have to seal up the border. It has to be done now. This is proof of it, these undocumented kids. Do you believe, practically, you'll ever be able to seal the southern border of the United States?

KERLIKOWSKE: I guess my analogy would be I was a police chief for a long time, both in Buffalo and also in Seattle. People would ask me, "Is this a safe city?" Everyone had a different definition, so if we look at our border today, we have more resources, not only Border Patrol agents, but technology. We have great working relationships, for instance, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, local sheriffs departments, local police departments. The border is more secure and more safe, and when you look at those crime numbers in those cities in the United States that are along the border, those are crime numbers that are very, very low.

CUOMO: The Central American players in this, the president is going to speak to them. What do you believe the message will be? How much control do you believe they have over helping repatriate their citizens, and should they be repatriated? What do you know of the conditions in those countries? A lot to handle in one question, but take us through it.

KERLIKOWSKE: It is, but certainly in Central America, and in my job previously where I was President Obama's Drug Policy Adviser for five years, I made multiple trips to Central and South America, so we know that gang problems, crime problems, et cetera, are extensive in some of those countries. We need to be able to help those countries through the Department of State do a much better job of improving safety, improving security, but also improving the ability for young people to have a future. A future where they get an education, a future where they can stay in those countries and actually have some economic opportunity. Those are all important things.

CUOMO: All important. They are also important right here at home. Many are underserved within the United States, which makes it even more difficult to get the American people willing to extend a hand to Central America. Ambassador, Commissioner I mean. Well, you're kind of an ambassador and a commissioner right now in the job that you've been tasked with. Good luck, Mr. Commissioner. Let us know how we can help.

KERLIKOWSKE: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. We're following a lot of news, what's going on on the border, just one of the stories, so let's get right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overnight the FAA reversing its controversial travel ban flying to and from Tel Aviv.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cannot shut down everything just because one terrorist says I'm going to be threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's targeted because it's used by the Israeli Air Forces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to the families to ensure that every effort is made to bring their loved ones home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The responsibility lays at the feet of President Putin. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's excruciating is seeing your dad lying

there in a pool of blood, seeing your sister lying there in a pool of blood. That's excruciating.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. Kate is on assignment. We're joined by Alisyn Camerota. Am I saying it correctly? What is that, Spanish?.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Don't start with me, Cuomo. Michaela, he doubts my Italian authenticity all the time.

PEREIRA: He doubts all of our authenticities.

CUOMO: Just a question.

CAMEROTA: Camerota, its a pleasure to be with you both.

CUOMO: The pleasure is mine, it is very good to be home. Its great to see you guys.


CUOMO: Thank you, sweetheart.

We do have breaking news this morning so let's get right to that. A search under way for an Air Algerie flight reported missing over Africa. The fate of 110 passengers, 6 crew members unclear at this point. We take you to CNN's Al Goodman. He is live in Madrid with more. Al, what do we know?

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that this plane went missing about an hour after it took off from the capital of Burkina Faso, that's in West Africa. It was going to fly due north for about 2,000 miles to the capital of Algeria, but it went missing with 110 passengers on board and 6 crew members, including 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew. Now, this was operated by Air Algeria, that's the national airline of Algeria, but the plane itself, an MD-83 belonged to a Spanish company right here in Madrid, so this plane was either leased or chartered. The company in Madrid is trying to check out what happened. It appears, though, that it was an Air Algeria crew entirely operating this MD-83, and at this point we have no other word. It was an overnight flight. It left around 1:00 a.m. local time. It was supposed to land around 5:00 a.m. local time in the capital of Algeria. But it's missing, presumably. A search is under way. Certainly the airline companies are doing everything they can to try to find out what happened. Back to you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much. Not a good week for air travel. We will keep everyone posted on that. Meanwhile, we also have other breaking news to get to, this in the Middle East. Let's get right to Wolf Blitzer, he's in Jerusalem. Hi again, Wolf.

BLITZER: Alisyn, good morning. The FAA now lifting its ban overnight on U.S. passenger planes flying to and from Tel Aviv. The FAA had stopped all flights citing security concerns after a Hamas rocket struck very close to the airport on Tuesday, about a mile away. Now three domestic carriers that fly to Israel, that would be Delta, United and U.S. Airways, they have to decide when to resume their regularly scheduled service. CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now from Ben Gurion Airport with more. What are you hearing, Martin, over there?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, it may be that the FAA says it's okay for the U.S. carriers to come but. However, it appears that once again Hamas was trying to at least target Tel Aviv and the area around the airport. There's been two barrages. The IDF says they intercepted five of those rockets. No reports of impact on the ground. So, the U.S. carriers can come. The question is, will they?


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Overnight the FAA reversing its controversial travel ban, removing restrictions on U.S. passenger planes flying to and from Tel Aviv in the face of mounting criticism. The decision coming one and a half days after flights were suspended due to security concerns when a rocket destroyed a home a mile from Ben Gurion airport. Warning sirens prompting this frantic scene later in the day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole airport rushed into the bomb shelters, and it was terrifying.

SAVIDGE: According to a statement, the FAA says it worked with the U.S. Government to assess the security situation in Israel and review both significant and new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation. Since the ban was enacted, Israeli officials have lobbied the U.S. Government to reverse its decision insisting that the airport is safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We protect this airport. There's no reason whatsoever for the mistaken FAA decision to instruct American planes not to come here.

SAVIDGE: : While Hamas continued to tout the decision as a great achievement saying, "Isolating Israel from the world is a great victory for the resistance and a destruction of the enemy's dignity." Earlier Wednesday former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg called the ban a mistake in a conversation with CNN's Wolf Blitzer after traveling to Israel in a show of support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to take a reasonable precaution, but you cannot shut down everything just because one terrorist some place on the other side of the world says I'm going to be a threat.

SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the region on a military jet Wednesday to press ahead with cease-fire talks with both sides. As the death toll on both sides of the conflict continues to grow.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SAVIDGE (on camera): It would take some time, Wolf, for the American planes to get here even if they do decide to fly. And the question is, the planes may be here, but how many people will actually be in the seats?