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Israel Declares 7-Hour Cease-Fire; Water Emergency for Toledo, Ohio; NFL Preseason Starts; Mohammed Deif Says Palestinians Want Peace

Aired August 4, 2014 - 06:30   ET




We're following breaking news in the Middle East. Israel's military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza just this morning. This since Israel put a cease-fire in place for seven hours today.

But the Palestinian official claims an air strike was launched shortly after the pause took effect from Israel injuring 30 people. Israel, though, denies that claim. And now, international pressure is mounting on Israel after a strike near another U.N.-operated shelter killed nine and injured at least 27 people Sunday.

The State Department said in its statement it is appalled by the strike. The U.N. called it a gross violation of international humanitarian law.

Joining us now to discuss is senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, live for us at the White House.

Jim, when you look at this statement, especially coming from the State Department, this is not language we see very often. Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman also using the word "disgraceful."

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You know, this is the toughest language out of the Obama administration directed at the Israeli government since this conflict started.

And let's put it up on screen, the statement from Jen Psaki, the State Department spokesman. It says the United States is appalled, as you said, Kate, by today's disgraceful shelling outside a U.N. school in Rafah, sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed.

And, Kate, what is also interesting about this statement, it goes on to say the coordinates of these various U.N. schools, these U.N. facilities, have been communicated to Israeli forces. So, the Obama administration basically saying, hey, you know, to the Israeli government, you know where these facilities are, you have to take better care, take greater steps to avoid these civilian casualties.

And couple with the U.N. statement from the U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon who called this a moral outrage and a criminal act, clearly the international community led by the United Nations and the United States is becoming very, very impatient with the Israeli government with respect to these civilian casualties, the Israeli government, of course, says, Kate, that they don't target civilians and in many cases these are errant strikes that take out civilians near these facilities, Kate.

BOLDUAN: I also want to know what you're hearing from the White House as well. There are some suggesting this morning that the cease-fire, this humanitarian cease-fire, being put in place by Israel is somewhat in response to the strong international criticism coming in because of that strike. What are you hearing from the White House?

ACOSTA: You know, not really hearing anything about that. I mean, it is interesting that this humanitarian cease-fire is coming just hours really after this outrage started pouring in. So, I suppose that question will be asked.

I know you'll have the State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on, later on in the 8:00 hour.

You know, I think it's also interesting that what you heard from over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reported as saying that he didn't want the Obama administration second-guessing the Israeli operation to root out the Hamas militants in these tunnels. And so, I think that is a reflection of some of the tensions that are going on between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government.

Of course, the White House likes to bend over backwards and also say the Israelis have a right to defend themselves and no government, no country would want to tolerate rockets coming down on civilian areas.

BOLDUAN: What are you hearing about that point exactly? Netanyahu reportedly saying don't second-guess in how to deal with Hamas over the weekend. The questions of tension between -- especially President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu, that's not new. But publicly -- not new at all.

But publicly, these two administrations always talk about being on the same page and supporting each other. What are you -- is that changing now or is this a little bit of more of the same, do you think?

ACOSTA: You know, I think it's more of the same. I do think that the level of really outrage in that statement from Jen Psaki is notable. I think that this question will be coming up all day long. You'll have her on, Josh Earnest will be having a briefing later this afternoon. This question will come up as to whether or not there are these tensions.

And keep in mind, the president was asked on Friday about whether or not he has lost influence in the world, whether the Israelis are even listening to him when he's asking the Israeli government to take greater steps to avoid civilian casualties. The president was sort of resigned in saying, you know, look, the United States can't control every bad thing that happens in the world. But, again, Obama administration officials reemphasizing they believe Israel has a right to defend themselves. You did hear Netanyahu over the weekend describe the United States as being terrific in all of this. It was an interesting use of words. He also praised the U.S. government for the 200-some-odd million dollars that were appropriated by the Congress to add to the Iron Dome system in Israel.

So, you know, I think mixed in with some of those niceties, I think there is tension building between both of these administrations and I think we'll see some of that play out this week, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, you do have tough talk. As you know, it was one of the few things that Congress did before it left for recess, was giving more money, offering up more money to Israel for support of that Iron Dome defense system.

ACOSTA: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Jim, thanks so much. Busy day at the White House today. Thank you.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. You bet, Kate.


Coming up next on NEW DAY, much more out of the conflict in the Middle East. Hamas refusing to agree to this morning's cease-fire. Does the militant group even want peace? That's the question many are asking. Hamas' political leader speaks out exclusively to CNN. You do not want to miss that.

Also this. A tap water ban in parts of Ohio still in place. Toxic algae poisoning the water supply for nearly half a million people. When will the water be safe to drink once again?



Here is a look at your headlines.

In Iraq, ISIS militants seized the Mosul dam, the country's most important supply of water and electricity. This comes after they took over three towns in northern Iraq, forcing hundreds of civilians to free. The U.N. in Iraq is warning that those people are trapped in dire circumstances and are in desperate need of items, including food, water and medicine.

Meanwhile, nearly half a million people are still without drinking water this morning in Toledo, Ohio. Toxins believed to be from an algae bloom in Lake Erie have contaminated the tap water, so residents cannot drink nor cook with it.

In an early morning press conference, Toledo's mayor announced new testing shows the system is safe. However, he is insisting on keeping the water advisory in place. Alexandra Field has more.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day begins without drinking water in Toledo, Ohio.

MAYOR MICHAEL COLLINS, TOLEDO: We are still at status quo. The do not consume is still in place.

FIELD: The National Guard delivering water by the truck load. The Red Cross handing out gallons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come and get some. Come and get it. Come and get it.

FIELD: Store shelves are empty and people are clamoring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I don't have water my baby doesn't eat. So that's going to be an issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't wash dishes, can't wash up, you can't cook. It's hell.

FIELD: Four hundred thousand people in the Toledo area can't drink tap water. Boiling it will only make the problems worse. The warnings first issued on Saturday.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Everybody stay cool, stay calm and we'll get through this. We'll learn from this and we'll bring improvements.

FIELD: The issue appears to stem from algae blooms growing in Lake Erie. This photo shows a previous bloom so big you can see it from space. Routine testing of the water supply uncovered the problem, turning up two water samples with dangerous levels of microcystin, a toxin sometimes released by algae blooms. More testing is under way, but additional results are needed before the ban can be lifted.

COLLINS: I am not going to take any chances with this community's well-being and health.

FIELD: Businesses and restaurants are closed. Officials say the water is safe for adults to bathe in, but that's not recommended for people with sensitive skin or weakened immune systems. The toxin can cause sickness and infect the liver. In worst cases, it can lead to liver failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't appreciate it, don't know about it until you don't have it.

FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.


PEREIRA: And next hour on NEW DAY, we're going to speak with Toledo's mayor about that on going water emergency in Toledo, Ohio. In other news, remains found along a California river have been

identified to this man, Shane Miller. He's the suspect in the 2013 murder of his wife and two daughters. Miller was profiled on CNN's "THE HUNT" with John Walsh. The Shasta County sheriff announced the remains were identified through dental records and were discovered Friday near the site where Miller abandoned his truck last year.

A new study shows that playing video games may not be that bad for children after, all as long as it's in small amounts. Researchers at Oxford University found that children who play video games for an hour an hour or less a day were better adjusted, less hyperactive and more likely to care about others. The study shows those positive effects seem to disappear for kids who don't play video games at all or those who spent more than an hour a day gaming.


PEREIRA (on camera): So its interesting, there's a specific amount that those traits seem to show in. Yet if you don't play at all or play way too much --

BOLDUAN: I think its more - - tends towards the way too much when you play the video games.

PERERIA: Is that meaning moderation is key here?

BOLDUAN: What? We don't live in this world.

PEREIRA: Crazy sauce.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: If you don't play at all, you're not as empathetic?

PEREIRA: Empathetic.

CUOMO: I don't buy it.

BOLDUAN: Says Mr. Empathy over here.

CUOM O: I'm not a gamer. Maybe that's a problem. I should start playing more video games. I don't know. As a parent, I'm sideways on the video games. And there is no one hour. It's a real battle. Anyway, let's get to the battle of the gridiron football. The long wait finally over. The NFL preseason got under way last night at the Hall of Fame Game between the Giants and the Bills.


CUOMO: This was great. The two teams widely predicted to be the second and third best franchises this season in New York battled it out. Number 1, of course, would be the New York jets. Brian McFaden has more in this morning's bleacher report. That was obvious.


CUOMO: I didn't say that, Brian. Jets are clearly the best team. MCFADEN: At least you root for your team. I'm a Viking fan. Well, it's official. Football is here. You can smell it. It may be just this preseason, but , hey, don't tell that to diehard NFL fans and especially the players on the field getting ready to light things up. Newly inducted hall of famer Michael Strahan pumping up his former Giants team.


MCFADEN (voice-over): Jim Kelly on hand as well, he's currently in the middle of a courageous battle with cancer. Preseason football isn't really about the final score. Giants' running game looked really awesome against the Bills' defense. Rookie Andre Williams led the way on the ground. Giants win 17-13. This is trending on, Tiger Woods' return to the PGA is short-lived. Had to withdraw from the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday because of that bad back. Tiger was clearly in pain after he teed off on the ninth hole, grimacing and trying to keep it together. This is Tiger's third tournament since having back surgery in late March. No word on the severity of the injury and if he will play in next weekend's T.J. (ph) championship in Louisville. Sergio Garcia was in contention as well, but this didn't help. Garcia's tee shot on the par four, third hole, goes way left, hits a woman on the hand, causing her to lose a diamond from her ring. They looked around for it for quite some time. Garcia even offering up his phone number to take care of it. But great news, the diamond was eventually found. By the way, guys, Rory McIlroy beat Garcia by two strokes. That gives Rory the world number one ranking.


BOLDUAN: That's pretty impressive. That must have hurt her hand.

MCFADEN (on camera) That's a big ring, too.

BOLDUAN: I know, I'd want that diamond back. Bring it on this way.

CUOMO: You had to know, Brian, as soon as you said diamond, the whole Rory McIlroy is now number 1 in the world thing was going to be lost on at least half of the audience.

BOLDUAN: Did Rory pull diamonds out of his pocket? No.

MCFADEN: I thought about not mentioning it, just omitting it from the entire script.

CUOMO: Pulled a rabbit out of his hat with a tricky win.

BOLDUAN: What about diamonds?


CUOMO: Thanks, Brian.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Brian.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a firey and exclusive new interview with the leader of Hamas, the political leader of Hamas.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): What he says needs to happen now in order to end the conflict. We'll have that.

CUOMO (voice-over): Key words there. The head of the political arm of Hamas.


CUOMO (on camera): The question is are the two arms really in concert? Let's go back to that video you just saw.


CUOMO (voice-over): Ebola on our shores. Can American doctors beat this virus, or can they least keep it contained from you? We're going to have a live demonstration of some of the amazing new technology that's at play here just in case so you know what's going on before you need to know. We're going to tell you even before. Look at me, I'm hot headed.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Look at me. I'm red-faced.

CUOMO: Look at the baby. Do you see the baby in the belly?



BOLDUAN (on camera): Welcome back to NEW DAY.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): Israel is now midway through a seven-hour cease- fire in Gaza to try and allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip with one air strike reported since the pause began. This follows more air strikes that happened over the weekend, including one near a U.N. shelter. Israel has consistently said that Hamas deliberately shoots from civilian areas like these shelters in order to draw fire, to increase the amount of civilian casualties. But. the leader of Hamas' political wing disputes this claim and much more. He sat down with CNN's Nick Robertson for an exclusive interview.


BOLDUAN (on camera): Nick, a very important time to be hearing from this leader.

NICK ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, one of the things I asked him is, you're so far away, you're in exile so far away from the battlefield in Gaza and your military forces, are you really in command of them? And he said absolutely. We're in sync, we've been through this before. But I began by asking him this very contentious issue, why do they keep firing their rockets from civilian neighborhoods?


ROBERTSON: President Obama said it is irresponsible of Hamas to fire their rockets from civilian neighborhoods. That's what you're doing. Why do you do it when you know civilians are going to die?

MOHAMMED DEIF, LEADER OF HAMAS' MILITARY WING (via translator): Look at the results. How many Israeli civilians did our rockets kill? Israel knows the number. Meanwhile, how many Palestinian civilians has Israel killed? Up until now it killed 1, 700 people, while we killed by Israel's own admission, 63 soldiers. We kill soldiers, combatants while they kill civilians.

ROBERTSON: Because you're firing your rockets from civilian neighborhoods, that's where you're firing your rockets from. Your rockets are fired, Israel says, indiscriminately to civilian areas, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem. President Obama says you're firing your rockets from civilian neighborhoods. You know what that means, that you will have high civilian casualties. Critics are saying that the only reason that you're doing this is so that you get the international outpouring of international sympathy because of high civilian casualties.

DEIF: It is unfortunate that the U.S. administration and President Obama have adopted the Israeli narrative, which is a lie. Hamas sacrifices itself for its people and does not use its people as human shields to protect its soldiers. These are lies. And Hamas does not seek international sympathy through its own victims.

ROBERTSON: What are you prepared to do to get a cease-fire? are you prepared to destroy your tunnels? Are you prepared to stop firing rockets at Israel? Are you prepared to accept the right of Israel as a state to exist?

DEIF: We are ready for a cease-fire. We don't want war. We want the war to end today and we did not attack anyone. It was Netanyahu who transferred the crisis that took place in the West Bank on June 12 to Gaza. He is responsible for this. We are ready to stop this war and we want cease-fire.

ROBERTSON: Are you ready to stop building rockets, are you ready to stop firing rockets?

DEIF: I'll answer you. I'll answer you. Why are there demands only on the Palestinian people to get rid of their modest and simple weapons, but no similar demands on Israel, the occupying state? We are ready to discuss the removal of weapons.

ROBERTSON: Are you winning this war?

DEIF: : Our steadfastness is itself a victory. For us to kill their soldiers while they kill our civilians is also a victory for the Palestinian cause and for Hamas.

ROBERTSON: How are you having a victory for your resistance for the cause when so many Palestinians are dying? How is that a victory? Your rockets aren't striking the Israeli cities. You've killed a handful of Israeli soldiers. How are you winning? How is this a strategic victory?

DEIF: Our people are convinced today that the only way to get rid of the occupation and establish their state is through resistance, like all of the people of the world have done. Just like what the American people did when they got rid of the British occupation, and as the French did when they got rid of the Nazi occupation.

ROBERTSON: President Obama asked you to be more responsible, to not fire rockets from civilian neighborhoods. What concessions are you willing to make to get this blockade lifted?

DEIF: We are ready to take all the positive steps, and we have done it before. Let me say it. Let the aggression end.

ROBERTSON: Get rid of the tunnels. Stop firing rockets.

DEIF: I'll tell you, let the aggression end and the siege lifted and Hamas and resistance will not fire rockets on anybody. We're defending ourselves full stop.

ROBERTSON: You will stop the rockets?

DEIF: When the Israeli aggression ends, we will stop responding to them.

ROBERTSON: So let's define. What is the aggression that has to stop? Let's be very precise and clear.

DEIF: Israel has to stop all forms of aggression, missiles, jets, attacks by air, land and sea. They must open the border crossings and lift the siege. Beyond that, the main issue is to end the occupation and end the building of settlements because those are the true root causes of this conflict.


ROBERTSON (on camera): I also asked him about the issue that Hamas stores weapons in schools and mosques. Despite the fact that Israeli troops have found evidence of that, he said that is not true. He invited international monitors to Gaza to come take a look, Chris.

CUOMO (on camera): Well, Nick, you were asking the right and very pointed questions. But, as we hear from both sides, both sides say they want peace, but they're each waiting for the other to take the first step and it hasn't happened yet. Nick Robertson, thank you very much. Obviously the conflict in the Middle East is at the top of the agenda, but we have a lot of news morning. Let's get right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The third attack on a U.N. shelter just like this in just under a week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I would hope from the Israeli government is that it will seriously consider any opportunity for stopping this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will do what needs to be done to protect our people from these attacks from Gaza.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medically, scientifically, historically this is a first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They deserve the best medical care to try and resolve this infection that they can get.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dangerous levels of microcystin. A toxin sometimes released by algae blooms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody just stay cool, stay calm and we'll get through this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't wash dishes, can't wash up, can't cook. It's hell.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Good morning to our viewers from across the U.S. and around the world. There is breaking news in the Middle East this morning.


CUOMO (voice-over): The latest attempt at a cease-fire is iffy at best. Palestinian official says 30 were injured in an air strike shortly after the cease-fire began. Israel denies the air strike and says three rockets were launched from Gaza. We should mention Hamas never agreed to the cease-fire.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Also Israeli on going operations, those did continue during the cease-fire. Now, Israel says they've come under heaving criticism by the United States and the U.N. also today for a deadly air strike that happened near a U.N. shelter.