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THE SITUATION ROOM
Reports: 12-Hour Israeli Pause Saturday; Funerals Stoke Rage on West Bank; Interview with Mustafa Barghouti; Interview with Michael Bociurkiw; MH-17 Crash Site Still Not Secure
Aired July 25, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happening now, a SITUATION ROOM special report. Breaking news, a pause in fighting. Israel's prime minister has reportedly promised a 12-hour halt in the assault on Gaza starting just hours from now, but Israel's cabinet for now, at least for now, has rejected a long-term cease-fire. Details coming up.
Day of range. Deadly protests erupt in the West Bank as outrange at the Israeli operation is boiling over. Our reporters were there for one of the largest Palestinian demonstrations in years.
Crash site chaos. Debris and remains from Malaysia Flight 17 still unsecured as rebels grow impatient with international monitors. Now one country wants to send in armed forces.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following this hour's two breaking news stories in Ukraine. The U.S. believes Russia is preparing to send heavy weapons across the border, and tension is growing over international access to the Malaysia Flight 17 crash site.
Here in the Middle East, Reuters is now reporting that the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has told Secretary of State John Kerry Israel would begin a 12-hour pause in Gaza hostilities starting tomorrow morning, 7 a.m. local time about seven hours or so from now.
But that comes after Israel's security cabinet unanimously rejected a proposed one-week cease-fire with Hamas. A proposal put forward by the secretary of state John Kerry.
Meanwhile, deadly violence has spread to the West Bank. At least four people were killed in what was dubbed a day of rage with Palestinian protests against the Israeli attacks on Hamas targets in Gaza. The latest toll there is now at least 826 people killed and more than 5,000 injured. Thirty-six Israelis have also died, including three civilians.
We're covering all angles of the breaking news with our correspondents and guests here in the Middle East, in Ukraine as well as in Washington.
Let's begin with our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. What's the reaction over there at the White House, Jim, to the Israeli cabinet were unanimously rejecting this proposal put forward for an initial seven-day cease-fire?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, at this point, and I think this goes to the delicate nature of these negotiations, the White House is deferring to Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been in the region for the last several days, trying to work out some sort of cease-fire agreement. I was just talking with a top White House official here just a few moments ago. And this official said that the president has given John Kerry his marching orders to try to work something out.
Now, we should point out, Wolf, in just the last several minutes, the pool reporters traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry said that Kerry told reporters that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated a willingness to go along with that 12-hour cease-fire. As you mentioned Wolf, Reuters and AFP are reporting independently that Israel has decided on a unilateral 12-hour cease-fire that would begin in Gaza starting at 7 a.m. tomorrow.
Now, you mentioned the Israeli cabinet. We should point out that Kerry said earlier in the day that he heard those reports about the Israeli cabinet rejecting a cease-fire plan. He called those reports, quote, "mischief."
The other thing we should point out is that Kerry right now is on his way to Paris. He could be meeting with the foreign ministers from Qatar, Turkey, and a number of European countries to start working on this longer-lasting cease-fire agreement that they would like to see reached.
Meanwhile, over here at the White House, this cease-fire agreement and the potential for it did come up at the press briefing earlier today, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest danced around the question, said he didn't know what was going on with that cease-fire plan, basically illuminating the fact that Kerry really is in charge when it comes to what is going on right now with respect to that plan and what is happening from the White House perspective on this, but Earnest did say that the violence in Gaza is having, quote, "tragic consequences."
He said that the United States is saddened by that school bombing that occurred at that U.N. school in Gaza earlier this week, and so I think there's a real sense of urgency over at the White House to see Israel take what they're calling, quote, "greater steps" to reduce those civilian casualties. We'll have to see if this potential cease-fire plan that appears to be in the works, or at least 12 hours will hold, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. Well, the Israelis had accepted these short-term truces, as you will, for humanitarian purposes put forward by the U.N. and others. The Israelis point out that, inevitably, during those brief pauses, if you will, Hamas doesn't stop firing rockets and missiles into Israel. We'll see if it goes into effect tomorrow morning local time, 7 a.m. local time if the Israelis do pause and they say they will, what Hamas will do. That will be significant.
The Israelis are saying adamantly to me that the longer term proposal put forward by the secretary of state, they rejected the cabinet, rejected it unanimously because it made too many what they thought were concessions to Hamas. They say they don't want to make those kinds of concessions to Hamas, whom they call terrorists.
More on this part of the story coming up. Jim Acosta over at the White House. Stand by.
Palestinian leaders, meanwhile, called for a day of rage in the West Bank to protest the Israeli operation in Gaza, but the protests quickly turned deadly as thousands of Palestinians took to the streets not far from where we are over here in Jerusalem on the way to Ramallah on the West Bank.
Our senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, was there.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Funerals in Gaza now funerals in the West Bank. This one for 20-year-old Muhammad Eliareg (ph), who was killed during a protest in the Calandila (ph) refugee camp. As anger rises at the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza.
In Ramallah, supporters of Hamas and other Palestinian factions rally in solidarity with the people of Gaza. "We will not surrender," vows this speaker. "We will continue until the resistance is victorious."
They paraded through the center of town, watched warily by Palestinian authority police.
(on camera): A few years ago when Hamas and Fatah were at one another's throats, the Palestinian Authority would never have allowed a demonstration like this. But with the war in Gaza continuing, Hamas popularity here has skyrocketed.
(voice-over): The demonstrators headed toward the Israeli settlement. The police tried but failed to stop them. Clashes ensued. Israeli troops firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber bullets.
The protesters, mostly young men who were too young to experience the second Intifada, throwing rocks back.
"We came here to support Gaza," says this 19-year-old who didn't want to give his name or show his face for fear of Israeli retribution. "We don't want some TV station to sing songs for Gaza. We don't want talk. We want action.
Palestinian parliamentarian Mustafa Barghouti sees a third Intifada in the making.
MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, MEMBER OF PALESTINIAN PARLIAMENT: We need peace by ending Israeli occupation, by ending oppression of the Palestinian people by allowing people in West Bank, in Gaza and Jerusalem, to finally be free from Israeli oppression and occupation.
WEDEMAN: As the war in Gaza rages, a new generation in the West Bank and Jerusalem is joining the fight in the absence of peace or a peace process, this is the alternative.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Ramallah on the West Bank.
BLITZER: Let's get some more right now. CNN's Martin Savidge, he was also on the West Bank. He watched what was going on. And it's not very far away from where we are. We said the West Bank is literally on the outskirts of Jerusalem. I heard a lot of sirens earlier in the day. So how tense was it?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's extremely tense in the West Bank. People there that we spoke to are very angry. They're very upset. It's been building for a long time. They see the killing of what they say is innocents, women and child in mass numbers. They're angry at their own Palestinian Authority that hasn't done anything, they believe. They're angry at the international community, which they don't believe is doing enough to try to stop the deadly killing. And then they're angry about their own situation. So it's been simmering for a long time. Now it's starting to boil and starting to boil over.
BLITZER: Those of us who remember the first Intifada, the second Intifada, there are some who are concerned there could a third Intifada...
BLITZER: ... as you heard Ben Wedeman suggest that, maybe. That's what a lot of people fear.
SAVIDGE: They are saying that on the streets openly. It seems that is a potential reality. There is talk of more violence tonight. Right now on the streets we're said -- we're being told it's only skirmishes. But there are fears that this could turn into an all-out conflict there.
BLITZER: Martin, stand with me a moment. I want to go to Karl Penhaul right now. He's in Gaza. I understand, Karl, there's some explosions where you are?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's certainly some kind of activity fairly close to our vantage point. We just consulted with our security consultant. He believes maybe it was a .50 caliber heavy machine gun firing just one or two rounds, perhaps, ricocheting off something. Difficult to know which of the sides may have fired it. We have certainly seen no presence of Hamas militants in this area of town, certainly not openly.
Nor of course, have we seen any presence of Israeli troops on the ground or any of their armored personnel carriers or tanks in this region, vehicles that may be mounted with light or, in fact, heavy machine guns, as well. But certainly some kind of activity. A little bit calmer now.
Also a bit further across on the eastern border between Gaza and Israel, we have seen some illumination flares going up there in the last few moments. We've heard the Israeli big guns in action. Those are the 150 -- 155-millimeter self-propelled guns, as well. Who knows, really, what is going on there? Is this perhaps Israeli ground troops positioning themselves so that they're in a good position, should that 12-hour cease-fire window come into force tomorrow?
Of course, as well, what we're looking for here is to try and hear some response from the Gaza militant factions to see if they're going to respect that 12-hour cease-fire to see if finally Gaza is going to get a little bit of calm, at least, even just for a few hours, Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, Karl, let me ask you, if the Israelis do unilaterally pause starting at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning, is there any guarantee that Hamas will pause as far as launching rockets and missiles into Israel?
PENHAUL: Well, I think that's what we've got to look at. Let's look at the past experiences of the past few days, and when we had, I believe, it was a five-hour cease-fire, the first one that came in. There were violations on both sides who broke that violation first.
Well, the Israelis would have us believe that it was Hamas. And really, that does seem to fall in line with what we observed from the Gaza Strip, as well. Perhaps rocket fired into Israel were the first to breach the cease-fire then, and that brought some kind of reaction from Israel, at least according to Hamas fighters.
We're going to have to keep a close eye on it. Tomorrow will tell. But, you know, Hamas really does feel emboldened by its actions in the last few days. We've seen they've continued to burrow into Israel via those tunnels. We've seen them continuing to fight hand to hand in some of the neighborhoods, especially in eastern Gaza with the Israeli soldiers. They may want to try and continue to press what they clearly believe is somewhat of an advantage, Wolf.
BLITZER: Karl Penhaul in Gaza. We'll check back with you. And Martin Savidge still -- did you get the sense the Palestinians who were protesting on the West Bank, do they actually support Hamas?
SAVIDGE: Many of them believe that Hamas is doing something that the Palestinian Authority has not been able to do, and that is strike a blow against Israel. So I think that there is a growing sentiment that, if no one else is going to try and stop this conflict, then Hamas is the one that is doing the most. They do seem to be showing up in greater numbers supporting Hamas.
BLITZER: You'll be here for the duration of whatever is going on. We'll stay in close touch with you. Be careful out there, as well.
SAVIDGE: Thank you.
Up next, we're going to get reaction from both sides to the breaking news. I'll speak with an Israeli cabinet member, also a member of the Palestinian parliament.
Plus, the chaos at the crash site of Malaysia Flight 17. Still unsecured a week after the plane was shot from the sky. Now Australia wants to send in armed police.
BLITZER: We're coming to you live from Jerusalem, where we're following the breaking news reports that the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has told Secretary of State John Kerry Israel will begin a 12-hour pause in Gaza hostilities, starting just less than seven hours from now.
Earlier, Israel's cabinet unanimously rejected a proposed seven-day humanitarian cease-fire with Hamas, a proposal put forward by the U.S. and others. The Israeli intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, was in that Israeli cabinet security meeting, and he broke the news during this interview with me.
YUVAL STEINITZ, ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE MINISTER: It doesn't seem as close at all. Hamas and Qatar want a cease-fire that will legitimize terrorism, will legitimize Gaza and actually will legitimate under certain conditions launching rockets as the Israeli civilians.
One thing is clear, Wolf, terrorism shouldn't be a piece and there should be no prize for terrorism for launching rockets on Israeli civilians.
BLITZER: So it sounds to me, minister, correct me if I'm wrong that the deliberations Prime Minister Netanyahu and you and your other cabinet ministers have been having, it doesn't sound likely this cease-fire is something that Israel is going to accept.
STEINITZ: Let's have a little peace. Israel was ready already also in the past and will be ready in the future, if necessary, to make a cease-fire. Israel was ready to accept the Egyptian proposal for the complete cease-fire, immediate cease-fire. It was rejected by Hamas.
But one thing is clear. Any -- the goal should be a real enduring cease-fire and bringing security and confidence coming to the people of Israel. Also to the people of Gaza. In order to achieve this, you have to demilitarize Gaza. Gaza was supposed to be totally demilitarized. This is a Palestinian commitment signed by Abu Mazen on the White House lawn 20 years ago that Gaza will remain forever demilitarized. It was captured by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, organizations very similar to al Qaeda or ISIS in Iraq and now Gaza should be demilitarized again. Otherwise, there will be no real solution to the situation.
BLITZER: What about a one-week temporary humanitarian cease-fire? That seems to be on the table, phase one, and then all of these other issues could be discussed subsequently.
STEINITZ: Look, I hope that we can find a diplomatic solution that will enable the demilitarization of Gaza once more for the benefits both of Israelis and for the Gazans.
If Gaza would remain demilitarized, there would be no rockets launching on Israelis and no suffering in Gaza. This should be the process of and a prospect of any real solution in Gaza.
We have to insist on the demilitarization of Gaza. We will not accept any proposal that will appease terrorism. And please don't forget it's true that ISIS are fighting in Iraq and al Nusra in Syria and al Qaeda all over the world. Islamic jihad and Hamas are fighting mainly against Israel, but those are very similar organizations. We are speaking of Islamic zealots, terrorists, and nobody should appease such kind of terrorism, such kind of assaults on civilians.
BLITZER: So where exactly are you, because it sounds to me like Secretary Kerry wants to announce that there's at least a temporary cease-fire for a week or so. Is that going to happen?
STEINITZ: I don't know but I think, and I'm confident Secretary Kerry is well an aware, you have to be very careful not to empower Hamas vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority. Not just the Palestinian Authority but also Egypt and the whole Arab League are actually supporting the Egyptian proposal and not the Catalian (ph) approach because the Catalian (ph) approach is about empowering the terrorists and empowering the zealots.
BLITZER: Qatar has been the intermediary between the U.S. -- the U.S. doesn't talk to Hamas, because it regards it as a terrorist organization. But Qatar has been talking to Hamas together with others including the Palestinian Authority, right? Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with the leader of Hamas in Qatar. So I'm not exactly clear what, if anything, is going to emerge from this current diplomatic frenzy towards a cease-fire.
STEINITZ: I don't know. But let's not forget. I mean, maybe the Arab league can handle it. Egypt is the major -- the most influential Arab country can make the mediation. Qatar is very dangerous. Qatar like Iran is the main supporter of Hamas.
You know, Hamas is getting most of its rockets from Iran and most of its financial aid from Qatar.
So this is a country that supports terrorism. Not just against Israel but also other terrorist groups in the Middle East.
If Qatar one day will change its attitude against terrorism, then Qatar will be more legitimized, but we cannot ignore the fact that Qatar hosts Mashal, the chief terrorist, the chief leader of this terrorist organization. And Qatar like Iran, Iran is supplying Hamas with missiles and rockets illegally against U.N. Security Council decisions. And against all previous agreements, and Qatar is supplying with money.
Now, if we like to have any hope to future peace process in the Middle East, such groups of terrorism, of terrorists cannot be legitimized. Don't forget: Hamas captured Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, killed several hundreds Palestinian Fatah, official Palestinians exactly like ISIS did in Mosul in Iraq.
BLITZER: Minister, so I must say going into this interview I was a little bit optimistic that there would be at least a one-week cease- fire. But what I'm hearing from now, knowing what Hamas wants, knowing what Qatar wants, it doesn't sound like there's going to be much of a deal.
STEINITZ: There's only one thing that's going to work for the benefits of both Israelis and Palestinians. The demilitarization of Gaza. If Gaza will be demilitarized, you will be able to lift the -- what is so restrictions and both on the Israeli side of the border won't suffer from rockets and terrorist activities. And people in Gaza will be able to improve their standard of living. This is only true solution.
All other proposals are wrong, because they don't touch the core of the problem. The fact that Gaza was supposed to remain demilitarized, and there are currently thousands of Iranian missiles and other missiles in Gaza.
BLITZER: I know you're going back to that security cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv. Minister, thanks very much for joining us.
STEINITZ: You're welcome.
BLITZER: Yuval Steinitz is the minister of intelligence of Israel. Thanks very much.
BLITZER: All right. Let's get the Palestinian response. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian parliament. He's the founder of the Palestinian National Initiative. He's joining us now live from Ramallah.
Dr. Barghouti, once again, thank you so much for joining us. Let's get to some of the specifics, see if you have the answers. I'm not sure you do.
If Israel does begin a brief, let's say, 12-hour pause tomorrow morning 7 a.m. local time, and stops its attacks in Gaza, do you think Hamas will stop launching rockets and missiles into Israel during that brief 12-hour pause?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, PALESTINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Of course, they will, but that's not the only issue. Finally the truth is coming out, Wolf.
For two weeks, all the stations of the world were saying that Hamas and Palestinians are refusing cease-fire, and Israel accepts it. Now it is clear that Israel is rejecting Kerry's proposal and Mr. Ban Ki- moon's proposal for a cease-fire at least for seven days.
Twelve hours is nothing. And that means Israel is rejecting cease- fire, and that is, of course, a problem.
On the other hand, it was always said ta Palestinians are divided on this issue. It is clear now that Palestinians are unified. And in my opinion, Israel is dragging itself into a very serious problem. Because its government is not showing that to be the most extreme, but it seems also the most stupid, because now there is an explosion in the West Bank.
Yesterday we had the most peaceful march ever with the largest participation in our history. More than maybe 30 or 40,000 people participated. Israel responded by shooting people. Two hundred ten people were shot with gunshots. Reminding us or making us remember what the apartheid army in South Africa did to the people in Soweto at one point in time.
And today, they killed seven more Palestinians who are not Hamas. These are people who are peacefully demonstrating, demanding freedom and showing solidarity with their brothers in Gaza.
And before that, Israel made a strike on a shelter, the United Nations shelter in one of the schools and killed 16 people and injured 200 and then claimed that maybe they did not do the shooting. I mean, this is crazy.
I think the intelligence minister that you've been speaking to is not intelligent at all by talking about Qatar and now he wants Israel to fight Qatar? This is very strange. I think what is happening is that...
BLITZER: Let me ask you, Dr. Barghouti.
BARGHOUTI: ... practicing terror.
BLITZER: All right. Dr. Barghouti, I just want to be precise right now. If Israel does this unilateral 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire tomorrow morning, you're saying that Hamas has agreed to comply. Has Hamas also agreed to the U.S. Egyptian proposal for a one-week cease- fire? Are you saying Hamas has agreed to that?
BARGHOUTI: Not only Hamas but all Palestinians. All Palestinian groups have agreed to seven days cease-fire, during which time negotiations can start about all the several issues, including lifting the siege on Gaza.
But Israel wants to continue the siege on Gaza. And now when they speak about demilitarizing Gaza, they don't tell us anything about demilitarizing the Israeli areas around Gaza, for instance.
And why shouldn't there be an equal approach to the two sides?
Actually, Israel does not want to demilitarize Hamas. Israel wants to prevent Palestinians the right to resist occupation. The right even in a peaceful means and peaceful means like we could in the West Bank. They want to take away from us the right to say we want our rights. They want to take away from us even the possibility of marching peacefully in the best traditions of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. And when we do, they shoot us. This is totally unacceptable. And they are denying and negating the fact that the cause of all these troubles and all this violence is the continuation of occupation of West Bank and Palestinian territories.
BLITZER: Here's the question, Dr. Barghouti.
BARGHOUTI: We will not only have cease-fire but we will have peace.
BLITZER: Well, here's the question. A lot of us are worried about this. I'm sure you're worried about it, as well. Given the feelings now among the Palestinians in the West Bank and ewe saw the demonstrations overnight, given those feelings, are we now on the eve of a third Intifada?
BARGHOUTI: I don't think on the eve. Maybe we are already in a third Intifada, but it's a peaceful one. It's a nonviolent one from the side of the Palestinians.
And we will do everything we can to keep it nonviolent, although we are encountered by severe violence from the side of Israel.
And now it is the duty of the international community to tell Israel enough is enough. You cannot practice terror against civilian population. You cannot keep shooting Palestinians when they are trying to just peacefully express themselves. You cannot continue to kill children and women and claim you are fighting terrorists.
Enough is enough with occupation. I think people are impatient when they see their brothers, their families killed and massacred in Gaza. They are impatient about the humiliation we receive from the Israeli Army every day. They are impatient and angry because we are even prevented from praying in Jerusalem whether we are Muslims or Christians and enough is enough. People are boiling with anger.
BLITZER: All right.
BARGHOUTI: And that's why you are seeing now a new uprising in the West Bank. This is what Israel did.
BLITZER: One final question, Dr. Barghouti, because I know you. You're not justifying Hamas's launching of -- now they've launched about 2500 rockets and missiles into Israel. You're not justifying that, are you?
BARGHOUTI: No, I don't. And I think all these rockets could not have been shot if Israel did not start attacking the people in the West Bank and then in Gaza Strip. And I am saying, I don't like violence at all. I don't want anybody to be shot or killed but I am saying you can't tell me that Israeli lives are precious and Palestinians are not. Nobody can tell me that Israel should have security but Palestinians cannot have security.
I mean, you have shown the results, 36 Israelis killed. I don't want any of them to be killed but on the other side, we have more than 870 Palestinians killed. We have equal human beings. And this massacre should be stopped and Israel is the most responsible side of this conflict because it is having the biggest and largest military arsenal and it is supported by the United States which is giving it money, giving it weapons. But when the state secretary asks Israel to give a ceasefire for seven days, they say no to him.
They say no to him and they say no to Ban Ki-Moon that represents the United Nations. They are actually saying no to international legitimacy and to -- and they are trying to be impunitive to international law.
BLITZER: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti joining us once again from Ramallah on the West Bank.
Dr. Barghouti, thanks very much.
Coming up, we're continuing to follow the breaking news. There's disturbing new details from the crash site of MH-17. Just ahead, my live interview with the spokesman for the international monitors who are now on the scene.
Plus, there's growing tension at the crash site. A pro-Russian group of rebels want the investigation over but those international monitors say it hasn't even begun.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
BLITZER: We're live here in Jerusalem. But there's ominous breaking news in Ukraine right now. The Pentagon says Russia now appears to be shipping heavier caliber more sophisticated combat rocket systems into Ukraine to the pro-Russian separatists.
This is a major, major development. The one of the strongest statements yet from the White House and the State Department. Spokesman for President Obama says that the U.S. now has concluded that the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russians, in their words, are "culpable," that's a quote, culpable for this disaster.
Also the Pentagon says Russia now appears to be shipping heavier caliber more sophisticated rocket systems like these pro-Russian -- like these to the pro-Russian rebels. The news comes amid reports of heavy fighting near the scene of the crash.
A CNN crew found homes and other buildings heavily damaged.
Also the rebels say they're running out of patience with the investigation at the still unsecured crash site.
Joining us now from Ukraine is Michael Bociurkiw. He's a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE.
Thanks, Michael, very much for joining us. It's now been more than a week since that devastating attack that took down Malaysia Flight 17. The OSCE hasn't been able to fully secure the crash site, as you know. That's not necessarily even its job. But there's a battle that's happening just a few miles away from the investigation.
Here's the question. What's being done even at this late point to fully secure the crash site and the debris from the flight? .
MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE: Well, thanks for having us back, Wolf. In fact, as we're speaking right now I can hear in the background heavy weaponry going off so we're in Donetsk, about an hour and a half away and that gives you an idea of how dispersed the kind of violence is. But yes, at the crash site, it has not been secured since day one and it probably won't be secured because it is such a big area. It is in a conflict zone.
Wolf, we went there today with Dutch and Australian investigators. And we actually did cover a lot of territory. We did see a lot. And we saw things like personal belongings. And we actually were told by the rebels that yes, they see the fuselage, the debris laying there for another week or so and then it will be time for it to be moved.
And what they're expecting is for a group of maybe 25 to 35 international experts to supervise the removal of that debris so that it's finally removed from their territory, at least that's the sense we got from them today. It was quite an astonishing piece of news. I know there's a lot of diplomatic activity going on at very many different levels but that is what we were told on the ground today.
BLITZER: How worried are you that not only your folks but the investigators, the police who are coming in, the troops, they will themselves come under attack?
BOCIURKIW: Well, I think, Wolf, if there's one thing that has become clear over the past six days is that the access has been very good. The Malaysians, for example, they were with us for what, three days. They said they've not only felt safe and protected but they covered a lot of ground. Indeed, it is a -- it is conflict zone. The frontline is moving. But in terms of that kind of passage, that narrow passage between Donetsk where I am right now and the crash zone about a 90- minute drive away, we've had really, really good access.
It's hard to say what the situation will be a week from now, but we -- again we did get the sense that they do want to see that debris finally moved and taken away and it remains to be seen how that will happen.
BLITZER: Michael Bociurkiw, please be careful over there. You and your excellent team from the OSCE. We will, of course, stay in close touch and hopefully this can be worked out.
Coming up, if rebels close off the crash site, how much can we learn with just the existing evidence? I'll ask two of our experts. They're standing by.
And the "Toronto Star" is now reporting an Air Canada jet had to circle the Tel Aviv airport because of incoming rockets. Should the U.S. re-impose that flight ban to and from Tel Aviv?
Stay with us.
BLITZER: As we just heard, the Malaysia Airlines crash site still is not secured even though more than a week has gone by since the crash. Pro-Russian rebels are telling crash investigators their patience is running out. So what can we hope to learn?
Joining us now our aviation analyst, the former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz and our law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, he's a former assistant director of the FBI.
Tom, over a week later that crash site still not fully secure. Still pretty much of a mess. What needs to be done, what can be done to secure it and find out precisely what happened?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Wolf, everything that needs to be done is what needed to be done from the first day. The perimeter set, no one allowed in that didn't belong in, that wasn't part of the investigation. All of the bodies identified and their location and then removed properly. And then the immediate work to collect the debris and analyze it. And of course of, they did get the black boxes. But, you know, much of what should have been done day one is yet to be done, although a number of the bodies have been removed but we understand there's still more at the site.
BLITZER: Yes, it's basically the problem is it's a war zone and an ugly situation to boot.
Peter, I want to quickly get your thoughts on what's going on here in Israel. Ben Gurion Airport. You know about the 36-hour ban on US air traffic coming in and out of Israel that the FAA imposed and then they quickly reversed it. Were you surprised by that reversal?
PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I was a little surprised it came so quickly. But apparently they got assurances from Israeli Defense officials that was confirmed by U.S. officials that the threat was minimal. So U.S. air carriers base on that decided to start their flights again.
BLITZER: You know, today an Air Canada jet was coming into Ben Gurion Airport outside of Tel Aviv. Apparently there was something going on because they had to circle for 10 minutes or so before they could land. I guess that sends a little bit of nervousness out there, doesn't it, Peter?
GOELZ: Sure, it's a fluid situation. But I think the FAA I know is monitoring it very carefully with Defense officials and with the Israelis. If the FAA believes that it is not safe for U.S. carriers to go into Ben Gurion, they'll pull the plug again.
BLITZER: Yes, I know you and Tom both have total confidence in the technical experts at the FAA. And I know they're working very closely with their counterparts here in Israel to make sure that passenger traffic in and out of Tel Aviv is good.
All right, guys, thanks very much.
More of the breaking news coming up. A pause in the Israeli offensive. Now reportedly less than seven hours away. We're going live to Gaza.
BLITZER: We're here in Jerusalem. The former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, tells CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Europe should join President Obama in imposing tougher sanctions on Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: There are a lot of people who feel that President Obama is not being tough enough on Vladimir Putin, on Russia. Do you think he's handling the Ukrainian crisis appropriately?
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Fareed, I think that he is facing some of the same challenges that American presidents face when dealing with threats within Europe. The United States, obviously, has a great interest in helping to maintain peace and security in Europe, and we have a formal alliance, NATO, to do so. But much of what we can do, and what the president is calling for requires the full participation of our European friends and allies.
And I would make three quick points. First, I think if there were any doubt, it should be gone by now, that Vladimir Putin certainly indirectly, through his support of the insurgence in eastern Ukraine and the supply of advance weapons and frankly the presence of Russian special forces and intelligence agents bears responsibility for what happened to the shoot down of the airline. Therefore, we have to up the sanctions, that are required. The United States has continued to move forward on that, Europe has been reluctant. They need to understand, they must stand up to Vladimir Putin.
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BLITZER: You can see the entire interview with the former secretary of state on "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS," that's this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
Coming up, much more of our special report. We're live here in Jerusalem. Stay with us.