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Spokesman For Israel's Prime Minister Discusses Israel's Ongoing Conflict with Hamas; Bodies Being Removed from Plane Crash Site in Ukraine; U.S. Flights Resume into Israel; Chikungunya Being Transmitted by Mosquitoes in the U.S.; Administration Yet to Make Multiple Decisions
Aired July 25, 2014 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Wolf, I'm not going to confirm what might or might not be on the agenda of the Israeli security cabinet. I can say the following. We have consistently said yes to ceasefire proposals. We said yes to U.N. proposals and Arab League proposals, to a humanitarian proposal by the Red Cross. We said yes to them all. It's Hamas that has consistently said no or have violated humanitarian ceasefires. So let's be clear. The ball is in Hamas' court.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: If Hamas accepts a one-week ceasefire, this is the two-phase Kerry proposal, I'm told, one week a humanitarian ceasefire, all rockets, missiles coming into Israel stop, Israel stops its military operations in Gaza. A one-week and then Israel, Hamas through intermediaries deal with some longer term issues. Is that acceptable?
REGEV: We heard the leader of Hamas yesterday put so many preconditions, so many preconditions on a ceasefire as to make it impossible. We're ready, have been ready. We accepted the Egyptian proposal without any preconditions. We want to see this stop. We want to see a period of security, no more fighting, no more rockets on Israel. No more tunneling under the border to attack our people. We want an end, a real end, a sustained period of peace, quiet, and security.
BLITZER: I'll rephrase the question. The proposal that John Kerry conveyed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they spoke on the phone last night, is that acceptable, what Kerry wants? In other words, is the United States through John Kerry and Israel through Benjamin Netanyahu right now on the same page?
REGEV: We want to come out of this with a sustained period of quiet. We don't just want a timeout for Hamas to recharge its batteries and have more rockets on Israel. Now, up until now Hamas has said no to any sort of ceasefire. Hamas keeps shooting rockets. Just today sirens went off in Tel Aviv and around the country because rockets were coming in from Gaza. And Khaled Meshaal says they will continue the struggle, their word, "struggle," and violence until all their demands are met. And, Wolf, you know what has to be said. He sits there in Qatar, the leader of Hamas, living in five-star hotels and living a life of luxury. He doesn't care how many innocent civilians are dying in Israel or Gaza. BLITZER: I understand all that. I understand Israel accepted the
first ceasefire, Hamas didn't accept the first ceasefire. But specifically, is the Israeli government and the U.S. government when it comes to a ceasefire right now, this new proposal that John Kerry has worked out, are they on the same page?
REGEV: Let's be clear. We all want an end of rocket fire on Israel. We all want an end of terror attacks from Gaza into Israel. Everyone understands that. We all want a situation where we come out of this with a sustained period of quiet, not just a Band-Aid. We don't want to have to do this all again six months from now. And that's what we're looking for, a sustained, a durable period of peace and quiet.
And ultimately the Gaza Strip should be demilitarized. There's no reason for these rockets in Gaza. There's no reason for this terrorism in Gaza. The international community through very generous donations has spent a lot to try to help people of Gaza. What's the problem? Hamas used the money to build rockets, to build a terrorist infrastructure, to build a subterranean system of tunnels and bunkers instead of investing in schools and in kindergartens. They have invested that aid into building a terrorist war machine.
BLITZER: Specific question. If there's a week long pause, the fighting stops for a week, is Israel ready to withdraw its forces from Gaza or determined to keep those troops in Gaza during that first week pause?
REGEV: I'm not going to go into any details of the diplomacy because obviously the diplomacy is fluid. Our forces on the ground in Gaza are acting in defense of Israel because they are now going and taking out those tunnels, and that can only be done on the ground. They are looking at those tunnels which Hamas uses to send terrorists across the frontier under the border. They pop up on our side of the border with explosives, automatic weapons, with rocket-propelled grenades. They want to kill our people. So our army is acting to close those tunnels and destroy those tunnels. It's a very important mission, and that mission has to go on.
BLITZER: We spoke yesterday, you said Israel's investigating this shelling of this U.N. shelter where so many innocent people, Palestinian young people, old people were killed, many, many more were injured. You stayed could have been an errant Israeli attack or a Hamas missile that was aimed towards Israel and landed there. You say the IDF is investigating. Do you have any conclusions yet what resulted in these horrible deaths?
REGEV: You're right, horrible deaths, a tragedy. We don't want to see a civilian in Gaza get caught up in the crossfire between us and Hamas. It is possible. We don't know yet that it was Palestinian fire because as the United Nations itself reported, there was rocket fire of Hamas landing in Beit Hanoun in the vicinity of that school. There was also fighting between our forces and Hamas terrorist forces who turned the vicinity of the school into a war zone.
And the truth is this. Even if we do discover in the end it was errant Israeli fire, why was a U.N. school, a vicinity of a U.N. school, turned into a warzone by Hamas? And as the secretary-general of the United Nations said himself, Ban Ki-moon, he said if Hamas is turning U.N. facilities into a warzone, they are responsible for endangering the lives.
BLITZER: But you know the U.N. officials on the scene, and they say they twice asked Israel, gave the coordinates of the school and twice asked Israel for permission to remove those people. They got no response from you.
REGEV: First of all, we did yesterday for four hours, 10:00 a.m. local time we allowed for humanitarian coral to allow people to leave as we have done in the past. Hamas opposed that. Hamas wants to keep civilians in warzones as human shields. But we have consistently agreed as we did yesterday to allow people to leave.
BLITZER: And so when they say they got no response from you, the U.N. officials on the ground, you say?
REGEV: Once again we agreed yesterday, I know for a fact, to a four- hour corridor to allow people to leave that area. And we don't want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire. It's Hamas that has developed policies that deliberately put Gaza citizens in danger.
BLITZER: So the prime minister is meeting as we speak right now with his secretary cabinet meeting. Will he make a statement afterwards?
REGEV: Not clear to me.
BLITZER: Mark Regev, spokesman for the prime minister thanks very much for joining us.
Alisyn, clearly this is a critical moment. Right now the Secretary of State John Kerry is still in Cairo. I anticipate he's waiting for a final word from the Israeli government. Through intermediaries he's waiting for word from Hamas. The U.S. doesn't talk to Hamas, considers it a terrorist organization, but it does talk to Qatar, does talk to Turkey, does talk to the Palestinian Authority, and they are presumably going to give the response from Hamas. These are critical hours right now, and so much is at stake, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed they, and let's hope for some progress. Wolf, thank you for that update.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials are keeping a close eye on the situation in Israel. They are saying that the FAA could reinstate that ban on flights to and from Tel Aviv if the situation continues to deteriorate. Pamela Brown has more from Washington. How is it looking, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, officials, of course, keeping a close eye on the situation there, Alisyn, but we have learned that the first flight from the U.S. has landed in Tel Aviv since that ban was lift. Two U.S. officials tell CNN that the threat is the same in Tel Aviv as it was before that FAA freeze.
The big change that has happened since ban was lifted 36 hours after it was put into place according to the officials is that Israel has shared more information about airport defenses. Sources say since Tuesday there have been intense discussions among the FAA, the intelligence community, and other U.S. government agencies with Israel, and part of what came out of that was Israel's willingness to adjust certain protocols and procedures to convince U.S. officials it would be safe for planes flying into and out of Ben Gurion airport.
Now, it is ultimately up to the U.S. airlines, and all three U.S. airlines that fly to Israel announced that they would resume flights. Now, in the background of all of this, accusations that the ban was more politics than safety, Senator Ted Cruz accusing the president of using this ban of forcing the ally to comply with foreign policy demands, and then former mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to already to protest the ban. U.S. officials I've been speaking with, though, again say they are keeping a very close eye on this situation in Tel Aviv and will put that ban back into place if need be. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Pamela, thank you very much.
Another story now, the dignity of the dead in MH-17 remains a focus as more victims are on the way to the Netherlands. And 74 more loved ones taken out of bags and placed into coffins and are now being flown back today. Another 30 to 40 are expected tomorrow. Now Dutch and Australian officials are sending police to the crash site in an effort to secure so investigators can at least begin the difficult job ahead. Nick Paton Walsh joins us with the latest. Nick, what's the situation on the ground?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, here we've seen somber scenes yet again, 74 more coffins taken away from the tarmac here. The C-17 Australian plane taking off in just the last half an hour or so, but that sight seen by Dutch and Australian foreign ministers, both here to pay what they thought was going to be full respects to the last flights back with these bodies, but we understand the work is still ongoing and about 30 to 40 coffins will be shipped out of here tomorrow morning, perhaps just in one aircraft.
But the words from the Dutch and Australian foreign ministers, both of great grief but also the Australian foreign minister continuing, Julie Bishop, to tell me that they wanted the OSE, the monitors at the scene of the crash site, to negotiate some sort of access with the separatists. And I spoke to the head of the Dutch investigation. He told me they just want to get there. They don't really care the conditions they get there under provided they can continue their work at the site but also the Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans telling me they are very clear. They want the investigation to go through. They want the culprits behind bars, and they say there's been talk of maybe use of force to access the site is not good enough, is not transparent enough. He said the Netherlands will do whatever they can to retrieve the remains of those victims of MH-17 still at the crash site. Back to you.
CUOMO: Nick, thank you for the reporting. Every reason to believe there still could be remains at the site, and Nick's reporting confirms that the militants are still not making it easy to access that investigation scene. CAMEROTA: Incredible. More than a week later.
CUOMO: All right, a lot of news this morning so let's get you the headlines from Michaela.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, guys. We start with the grim news in Africa. We have new details on the Air Algerie plane crash. French President Francois Hollande says the French military has secured the crash site in Mali and they have found no survives. We do not know for sure what brought down the flight, but it disappeared from radar after changing its flight path because of bad weather. Some 15 minutes into the flight 110 people and six crew members were aboard.
President Obama is set to meet with counterparts from Guatemala Honduras, and El Salvador today to discuss the rising number of Central American children crossing the border through Mexico. In the meantime a new poll CNN/ORC poll shows a shift in how the Americans feel about the immigration issue. And 51 percent now say the main focus should be stopping the flow of undocumented immigrants. That's up 10 percentage points since February.
The president is also speaking out critically of American companies avoiding taxes through overseas mergers. In a speech at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, the president called such companies "corporate deserters." The president is urging Congress to pass retroactive legislation to discourage companies from these mergers. Republican lawmakers instead want broader reforms, including reduced corporate taxes.
You know, look, I've seen a lot of things doing this job, some very curious surveillance video. This takes the cake. Police in Florida are looking for these fellas who decided apparently to rob a restaurant wearing only their chonies. They were of course caught on camera. It happened Sunday morning. The three men stole various food items, I'm told cases of hamburgers, red peppers, and bacon, man food, that was later found on the beach hours later. Also worth noting, once they were in, they said, hey, these underwear are too restrictive and took those off.
CUOMO: Full Monty.
CAMEROTA: Do we have that surveillance video?
PEREIRA: I have kept that safe from the viewers' televisions.
CUOMO: Quick, theories as to why they did it this way.
PEREIRA: High as a kite.
CUOMO: High as a kite. Going with the drugs, too?
CAMEROTA: I'm thinking some marijuana was involved.
CUOMO: Going with Michaela?
CAMEROTA: I am. Oh, yes. And you?
CUOMO: Light and fast.
CAMEROTA: Light and fast?
CUOMO: In and out.
CAMEROTA: You want nothing to impede your --
CUOMO: Light and fast.
CAMEROTA: OK. How about a combo of those two?
PEREIRA: I guess that doesn't really work together.
CUOMO: I think one may cause the other.
CAMEROTA: No, pants slow me down.
CUOMO: Although, to your theory, if those boxes were found intact on the beach, not eaten. That may blow your theory out of the water.
CAMEROTA: Good point, good point.
CUOMO: The munchy defense rarely used in criminal prosecutions, rarely used.
PEREIRA: Thought you'd enjoy that little tidbit.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for that.
Next on NEW DAY, another family still reeling, of course, after the takedown of Flight 17, a mother grieving the loss of her son and desperate to get his body home. We will speak to her.
CUOMO: And Republicans think President Obama has gone too far and used too much power. Turns out a lot of you do, too. We're going to tell but a brand new poll and what it means on "INSIDE POLITICS."
CAMEROTA: Another flight with remains of MH-17 victims is on its way to the Netherlands. It may be a small sense relief for some, but just a step for many grieving families who still do not know when they will be able to lay their loved ones to rest. With us now is Selena (ph) Fredericks who lost her 23-year-old son, Bryce, along with his girlfriend, Daisy, on MH-17. We want to welcome Selena now. Thanks so much for speaking with us.
SELENA FREDERICKS, MOTHER OF MH-17 VICTIM: Yes, hello, you're welcome. CAMEROTA: Selena, we know it's been a torturous week for you. How are
you holding up today?
FREDERICKS: I can't hear you very clear.
CAMEROTA: We're wondering how --
FREDERICKS: I can't hear you.
CAMEROTA: Can you hear us? I know it's loud at the airport where you're waiting. How are you doing today, and what are you doing at the airport?
FREDERICKS: I can't hear a word, sorry.
CAMEROTA: We're having trouble obviously with Selena's audio. We'll take a break for a second and try to get back with her. More on NEW DAY in one minute.
CUOMO: That's the right call, Alisyn, because we want to make sure that we have that conversation the right way. She's dealing with enough already so we'll get that straight and we'll get right back to you. Let's take a quick break, allowing us to do that. A little tease ahead in the show, we're going to have "INSIDE POLITICS". We're going to have the discussion about the leaders of three Central American countries heading to the White House for an urgent meeting. Be back in a second.
PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're working to get our connection back with our guest in the Netherlands, a very important conversation to be had there. While we do that, we want to tell you about a new health concern that you've got to know about. It is a virus called chikungunya, say that twice, spread by a mosquito. Almost 500 cases have been reported in the U.S., the large majority in Florida where 80 cases have now been confirmed. This virus is not new to the United States since travelers can bring it back with them, but this year it marks the first time that it's been transmitted by mosquitos within the U.S. How widespread could this become? We've got the man to answer it, Dr. Alexander van Tulleken. He is a senior fellow at Fordham University, also trained in tropical medicine. Smart major. You get to travel a lot. I like this. So talk to me. I was on assignment in Jamaica recently and found about chikungunya , and it was a little frightening. How serious is this illness, first of all, and how is it spread besides through mosquitoes?
DR. ALEXANDER VAN TULLEKEN, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: This is not a fatal illness, but it is worth worrying about. It will certainly blow a hole in your summer if you get it. It'll be time off work for sure. Its very painful so the name chikungunya is a Tanzanian tribal work meaning to curl up.
PEREIRA: Oh, no.
VAN TULLEKEN: Because you get such severe joint pains from it. CUOMO: So it has nothing to do with chickens?
VAN TULLEKEN: Nothing to do with chickens at all. In fact, there's no animal reservoir. It's just found in humans.
PEREIRA: It goes from mosquito to man, unlike West Nile that was transmitted through avians.
VAN TULLEKEN: Exactly. So this won't kill you, but it can there are some cases, some cases you don't get any symptoms as all and some cases will be a kind of flu-like illness, a bit of joint pain. You'll be better in a week, but a few people do get enduring, what you call arthropathy, so joint pain going on for a few years even. So you want to avoid it, and it's another one of these things. We should say, first of all, if you haven't left the U.S., there are a tiny number of cases where Americans have caught it without going to the Caribbean or to another country, so it's really not something you should be worried about if you live in the U.S. and you haven't left, except that it's just one more reason to wear your mosquito repellant.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about this. This is spread by mosquitoes. What else can you do, really just mosquito repellant solves this problem?
VAN TULLEKEN: Its spread by a couple of different kinds of mosquito, but the one to worry about is the Asian Tiger mosquito which is relatively new kind of mosquito in the U.S. Its taking over from another kind of mosquito which also spreads Dengue, West Nile and Yellow Fever.
CUOMO: Why? What's happening? A mosquito war, was it brought here?
VAN TELLEKEN: Exactly. It was brought over here in tires in about 1985.
VAN TELLEKEN: You try to get water out of a tire , you just can't tip the water out of tires so the tires come over, import old tires, got a bit of water in them and the eggs lay there. Introduced in 1980, '85, and that's taken over from a local kind of mosquito. The point about the Asian Tiger mosquito is it spreads at least one strain of chikungunya very effectively, but it feeds during the day.
VAN TELLEKEN: So covering up in the evening isn't going to be enough. Staying indoors isn't enough, bed nets aren't going to work so you really need your repellant on.
PEREIRA: Here's the thing. You can't ask a mosquito where he comes from. They're just going to come and nibble on you. One of the things, and I think it's important to note and it may seem frivolous to ask. We're wearing sunscreen, we're wearing bug spray. What comes first? This summer we need to pay attention to this.
VAN TELLEKEN: Exactly correct question. First of all, your sunscreen needs to be applied several times a day. Your mosquito repellant, if you're using the right one, shouldn't be applied more than twice a day.
PEREIRA: What's the right one, though?
VAN TELLEKEN: The right one is Deet, and people worry about Deet because it seems like a very nasty chemical. It doesn't smell nice, it doesn't taste nice, it dissolves the bottle. It seems like horrible stuff. Its safe for humans, its been very well tested and its really by a long way the most effective.
CUOMO: Do you put the Deet on your body or do you Deet your clothes?
PEREIRA: You have to put it on your skin. I would use Deet. I would put on my sunscreen, then I would put on the mosquito repellant after that. And you have to put it directly on your body so don't apply it like perfume, its not like this. Spray it in your hand and rub it on your skin.
CUOMO: Is there any medicine fort this by the way? Like, if you get it.
PEREIRA: Right, is there anything to relieve your symptoms?
CUOMO: Like Lyme disease. It sounds a little bit like Lyme disease.
VAN TELLEKEN: Lyme disease you can treat with antibiotics. This is really supportive care. So you'll go home, fluids, bed rest, painkillers.
PEREIRA: Doctor van Telleken, I just got one bite while I was on assignment.
PEREIRA: Makes me worry. Thank you for coming and talking to us about this. Again, as you said, it's not something you need to panic about but need to be aware of this summer.
CAMEROTA: I'm not going to panic but I am going to start wearing a haz-mat suit.
CUOMO: Somehow you'll manage to make it look good.
CUOMO: Will you stay around to help us de-louse Michaela?
PEREIRA: Its one bite.
CUOMO: It says it right in the book, de-louse, right next to chikungunya, which has nothing to do with chickens but does involve heavy de-lousing.
Right now it's time to get to "INSIDE POLITICS" on NEW DAY with Mr. John King, no louse there. JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: The big question as we go INSIDE POLITICS on
this TGIF is whether you're alive at the end of the segment after saying that to Ms. Pereira. We'll see how that one plays out. A busy day politics. Let's get right to it. With me to share their reporting and their insights Nia-Malika Henderson of "The Washington Post," CNN'S Peter Hamby. Let's start, a big summit for the president today to try to deal with the root cause of the border crisis.
He has the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador at the White House. One things the White House is considering is not deal with the children, these undocumented children when they get to the border, but send more personnel into these countries so they could actually apply for refugee status there to see if they can qualify so that then they would be fast forwarded into the United States, not sitting at the border and have this problem. Can the president do this on his own or can he get help from the Republican house?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It appears that he can sign an executive order and just go through his office to do this, and this has been the concern that congressional Republicans have had all along, about that $1 billion aid package. Whether it would actually stop people from coming here. It looks like at least from the reports out of the White House that perhaps he can do this, and it would put the focus back on humanitarian part of it rather than this crisis at the border.
PETER HAMBY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As much as Republicans, you know, don't like president's use of executive orders, you kind of get the sense that they would prefer that to rather working with him on this issue because they think this is his fault. They don't want anything to do with this. They don't want their stamp on it, even though they do want the problem solved. I don't think they want to be seen as cooperating with the president because they do have to worry about their base this year.
KING: They would have to give him some money to send these people down there and that's not the only thing the administration wants to do. Listen to Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security Secretary, he says if you want to deal with the problem you have to help these countries. Part of this problem he says is because maybe its sex trafficking, maybe its child trafficking for labor purposes, maybe its drug control issues, listen.
JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We're not going to address migration, illegal migration, from these three Central American countries into the United States until we can take appreciable steps to help them improve the conditions in their countries.
KING: That requires more than just, you know, moral support. That would require some money.
KING: That's part of the administration's nearly $4 billion request, but right now Republicans seem a, they're supposed to go on vacation a week from now, their summer recess. They seem in no mood to give him anywhere near $4 billion.
HENDERSON: That's right, and Democrats are complaining about this as well. Worrying about how this money will be allocated, worrying about what sort of strings are attached from these various countries so its not just Republicans.
HAMBY: And this isn't a quick fix. This is a years long project dealing with gangs, poverty, crime in Central America. I mean, this isn't something you can't write a check and expect that it is going to go away in a few weeks.
KING: We don't know if they will get to a deal on this border bill, we don't know if they will pass a few highway trust fund bill, we don't know if they will deal with VA reforms because the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans disagree. One thing the House has promised to do is to vote next week to sue President Obama. So we asked in our latest CNN ORC polling what do the American people think about this. And look at this, a plurality. 45 percent do think the president has gone too far using executive powers to overstep what they believe his authority as president is or should be. 45 percent say he's gone too far, 30 percent say he's gotten it about right, but look at that number. 22 percent say he has not gone far enough. So Republicans could say look, a plurality agree with us.