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Cease-Fire Holding in Gaza; The Process of Negotiating Peace; Ebola Scare in New York City; Second Ebola Patients Arrives in U.S.
Aired August 5, 2014 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So where we are in the process of finding negotiations for peace? The Palestinians are already in Cairo; that's where the talks are supposed to happen. The Israelis say they'll head there too so long as the cease-fire holds. So that's what makes this 72 hours so critical.
Back on the ground, Israeli troops are said to have left Gaza after destroying all the terror tunnels they targeted.
Also on the ground is CNN's Anderson Cooper along the Israel/Gaza border. He's got the very latest for us this morning. Thanks for being there, Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, AC360: Good morning, Chris, Kate and Michaela.
Yes, the scene is incredibly peaceful. It is 3:00 in the afternoon, some seven hours after this cease-fire began and so far it is holding and a lot of people breathing a sigh a relief.
People are out here in Ashkelon, a seaside community. Some people are actually swimming in the ocean, people bringing their families down, able to walk around without the fear of air raid sirens going off, the fear of incoming rockets, though there were some last night before the cease-fire took effect.
It is obviously a much different scene a few miles from here in Gaza, where many people are now going back to their homes finding their homes destroyed, searching for the bodies of their loved ones, people they weren't able to find under the barrage of incoming rocket fire, the danger from the conflict has gone on almost four weeks now.
Our John Vause filed this report a short time ago.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This morning, all Israeli ground forces withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, both Israel and Hamas agreeing to an Egyptian plan for a 72-hour cease-fire.
But moments before it went into effect, a final barrage, Hamas firing 20 rockets from Gaza into Israel and the fire going both ways, according to Palestinian media. The deal, brokered by the Egyptians is little different to the one
offered weeks ago. It allows for no fighting from either side. The U.S. State Department expressed optimism saying in a statement, "We strongly support this latest proposal for a 72-hour cease-fire and urge both parties to respect it completely."
Overnight, an IDF spokesperson told CNN they've now completed one of their main military objectives, destroying 32 of Hamas' tunnels which they say would have been used for terror attacks.
For now, displaced Palestinians are leaving the U.N. schools turned shelters, gathering their possessions to return home, and if the cease-fire holds, Israel says it will join delegates representing Palestinians in Cairo to try and negotiate a more permanent end to the fighting.
VAUSE: And, Anderson, we understand that the number of bodies which have been pulled from the rubble of the debris of those homes now stands at 38, but that was some time ago. We spoke to Palestinian officials, they say they are simply overwhelmed right now. Many bodies are mutilated, they say. They are decomposing because they have there for weeks -- Anderson.
COOPER: John Vause, people trying to account for missing relatives and loved ones. We'll continue to check in with you, John, throughout the day.
This cease-fire is very similar really to an offer suggested by Egypt more than three weeks ago which Hamas rejected at the time. The difference this time, Hamas was consulted by Egypt as part of the deliberations, also the difference Israel says they have ceased all operations, no ongoing operations against those tunnels which they put such a pry high property on.
Earlier this morning, I talked to Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces.
COOPER: Colonel, from the a military standpoint, what does Israel believe they achieved here?
LT. COL. PETER LERNER, IDF SPOKESMAN: Well, primarily, which was our primary concern was indeed these tunnels and I'm happy to report 32 or approximately 32 of those have been destroyed, demolished and no longer pose a threat to Israel. I mean, throughout the last three weeks we have seen several attempts of infiltration by Hamas terrorists into Israel.
COOPER: Are you convinced there are no more tunnels?
LERNER: We can't be certain for sure. We know what we know. If there are still more tunnels underground, and it is a possibility -- that is why we have I would say withdrawn our troops. We have left a substantial presence around the Gaza Strip so that if somebody decides to come out of a hole from the ground, there will be forces on the ground to deal with it.
COOPER: The IDF, Israel has received enormous criticism from the United States and the from the U.N. for an incident on Sunday in which the IDF says they were targeting three Islamic jihad militants on a motorcycle, striking near just outside a U.N. shelter. Have you looked more into this incident? Why did so many civilians die in this strike?
LERNER: So, here's what we know about the incident. For sure, there were three terrorists speeding through town and we intercepted them on the way. We struck them with our aircraft. Palestinian/Islamic jihadists, they had bad intentions and that's why they were targeted. So, out of the figures that you mentioned, the 10, so we know at least three of them were terrorists involved in this strike.
We are currently investigating the outcome. We don't know if these terrorists were carrying explosives that caused a large explosion. Now, every loss of human life in this conflict is a true tragedy, and I'm heartbroken when I see the pictures coming out of Gaza. This is a reality we are faced. We didn't have a choice but to operate against these terrorists that had, you know, all they were doing is constantly attacking Israel.
When we spoke earlier this week, Anderson, and what I said was we just don't have a choice.
COOPER: Israel says they will send a delegation to Cairo to meet to discuss furthering this cease-fire -- obviously any longer term talks is going to require an extension of this 72-hour cease-fire and that's something that will be negotiated -- Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Anderson, we'll get back to you. Thanks so much, Anderson cooper on the ground in Israel.
Let's discuss this. Let's bring in CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, and Aaron David Miller, vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center.
Good morning to both of you.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Good morning.
BOLDUAN: Between you, many years of experience from both sides of the aisle on how an administration would handle this.
Aaron, I want to ask, because you advised both Democratic and Republican administrations on these peace negotiations. The cease- fire right now is holding, but it's the talks and details of the talks that would be going on and commencing in Cairo that really matter. What happens now?
MILLER: I think that's the real challenge, Kate. The expectations on each side are really quite inflated. The Israelis really want and the prime minister has used this word repeatedly to demilitarize Gaza. It's going to be hard to do.
Hamas, frankly, has called for the end of the siege, the blockade, literally economic freedom for Gaza, that's going to be extremely difficult to do, and the challenge, you know, is not making the perfect the enemy of the good and trying to find a balance.
So, the Egyptians I think will play the role of trying to get a series of cease-fires to give probably the United States and John Kerry as is his want, Israeli eager as we know to try to get in the middle of the mix. The real question this time around, unlike his last repeated efforts -- will the mix cooperate?
And that's, again, going to depend on whether or not Israel and Hamas, and they are the two major players here, will find the kind of balance of interest to create a situation where this has some more durability, and a year and a half from now we don't find ourselves back in the exact same place.
BOLDUAN: So many questions, no one knows how it's going to go, David, that's for sure. He talks about John Kerry, Aaron talks about John Kerry wanting to get into the mix but will the mix cooperate? I'm also interested in how the Obama/Netanyahu relationship plays into this. That frosted relationship.
I think you said that you think this is the worst relationship dating back to Eisenhower between these two countries.
GERGEN: I think you can be said it is the worst relationship. The two men simply don't trust each other and there are many signs they loath each other, you know, essentially Netanyahu thinks that Obama is weak and unreliable and Obama feels strongly Netanyahu is bull-headed and is not a team player and looks out for Israel's interests but doesn't look after the interests of the greater Middle East.
So, I think that's going to color the negotiations and clearly, Egypt looks like it will be in the lead, not the United States but Egypt will be in the lead in trying to settle this. And what's -- I think what's at stake here, normally in the past we talked about land for peace, that was the old formula, right? This time it's trade for peace.
You give us our peace in Israel and we'll allow you to trade and to try and rebuild your community, in fact, we will help you. That's still a very, very hard bargain to strike, and I think one of the issues here is also going to be, if I may say so, there's going to be a tendency by those of us in the media to move on once we get to cease-fire and they go to negotiations, there's the argle-bargle of negotiations, not an interesting story, yet the humanitarian need and the need for accurate security, with he need to come back to this regularly to understand what's going on. It's really important for everybody that they get this settled.
BOLDUAN: And to keep the eye of the world on this crisis --
BOLDUAN: -- because it doesn't end when the rockets stop firing.
GERGEN: Exactly. What we have now is the Israelis have the whip hand literally, quite literally.
BOLDUAN: Well, Aaron, and it also begs the question, what has changed since this cease-fire? Because for most accounts, what Hamas and Islamic jihad have agreed to in this cease-fire was essentially what Egypt had offered last month. What changed?
MILLER: I mean, that's the cruel reality and truly the insanity and absurdity about the situation. Three weeks ago, literally, a call for a de-escalation or quiet, we could have been there already.
I think what's changed is a couple things. Number one, I think the Israelis concluded that they literally had to change the channel on the television set -- the pictures from Gaza, the asymmetrical casualties, all of these things and no prospects of de-escalation. That's number one.
Number two, I think both sides understand there was no way of any chance of accomplishing their goals and that the costs of confrontation were clearly getting out of hand. This time around, and I've argued repeatedly, until you had sufficient urgency on the part of Israel and Hamas to stand down there would be no quiet and no chance for a durable agreement. Now I think you at least begin to see the outlines of that urgency.
But, Kate, and David knows this well, nobody ever lost money betting against Arab-Israeli peace. And this is the real reality. I mean, buckle your seat belt because the next several days, the next several weeks, I think are going to prove critical.
GERGEN: What really changed here the Israelis accomplished their military missions.
GERGEN: Once they had, they could pull back. That's why they have the whip hand now. And that's why they're -- you know, we'll go to Egypt, if a deal emerge, it's fine. But if it doesn't emerge, fine, we're in charge here, we're going to protect our security.
BOLDUAN: David, what do you make of what Netanyahu said yesterday, all of this started coming out, talks of the cease-fire, they're pulling soldiers back to the border, Netanyahu says that the completion of the tunnel operation does not necessarily guarantee that this will end the fight against Hamas.
What he's saying then? GERGEN: He's saying calm for calm, fire for fire. We will maintain
calm on our side as long as you don't shoot rockets at us. You shoot rockets at us, we're coming back to smash you again.
BOLDUAN: Speaks to just the intense mistrust between --
GERGEN: Intense mistrust and how fragile this is. It's going to be fragile for a while. It's not clear that Hamas has control of its own people. You have a couple of errant fighters out there who's got access to rockets and we could be right back in this for a few days.
I think the basic conflict is in, at least in terms of fighting, but moving ahead with negotiations, that would be really hard and its eight 's important the U.S. keeps talking to Israel behind the scenes. Relationships are rocky, even the secretary of state now has rocky relations. He used to be the good guy for the Israelis but he's in sort of, he's like Obama -- we can't win, don't know what he'll do next.
BOLDUAN: It's a strange position it seems Secretary Kerry in.
GERGEN: They sort of think he's grandstanding. You know, go get your Nobel Prize and leave us alone.
BOLDUAN: Aaron, one final question to you and I want to get your take. Is the big question also, who is in charge in terms of who is Israel talking to? Because I know you and I have discussed this many a time. Who is in charge of Hamas, the political wing, military wing, neither, both?
MILLER: Well, clearly, the military wing is driving this conflict. The reality is they think they've won. If you measured their success by their semi rational standards, there's a case to be made. They killed six times the number of Israelis, they launched probably a sufficient number of rockets the day before the cease-fire, as they launched on the first day that the confrontation began.
Their political leadership remains intact. Their military leadership remains intact. The Israelis claimed they killed 900 Hamas fighters. That's out of an estimated total of some 10,000 to 15,000. They created the first Palestinian army in Gaza and they're got going to give that up easily.
But you're right, Kate, the question is who is making the decisions? For now, I think Hamas' military wing is still in charge and even if you bring the P.A., the Palestinian Authority, back into Gaza to man the crossing points, Hamas is not giving up control of Gaza and that is going to prove to be a critical challenge not just on this round but how you get to the other thing we haven't even talked about which is the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
BOLDUAN: Interesting, none of us even brought that up in this conversation. That's sure a statement of the state of play at this point right now.
Aaron David Miller, David Gergen, thanks, guys. GERGEN: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right. Lots of news we're watching. Let's get over to Michaela now.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning, everyone.
Voters in Washington, Missouri, Michigan and Kansas are headed to the polls today for primary day. In Kansas, President Obama's distant cousin Milton Wolf is trying to upset long time incumbent Senator Pat Roberts.
Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Chris McDaniel challenged the results of his GOP runoff loss to Thad Cochran. McDaniel claims thousands of ineligible voters cast ballots. He wants state party officials to declare him the winner.
Big day tomorrow for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Major General Kenneth Dahl will meet with him at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and questioned him about his experience in Afghanistan. Many of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers claimed he deserted his post before the Taliban captured him in 2009. Bergdahl as you'll recall was freed in may in a prison swap for five high-ranking Taliban members.
The U.S. is digging into sub prime car lending beginning with General Motors. The automaker disclosed it received a subpoena from the Justice Department, that subpoena is in connection with an investigation into possible violations of civil fraud. Easy credit has helped fuel booming auto sales which are on pace for the best year since 2006.
Emergency landing in Florida after severe turbulence hit an allegiant air flight that was headed to North Carolina. Four people injured including a flight attendant who hit her head. The turbulence apparently started only 30 minutes into the trip, just as the in- flight refreshment service started. The flight was rescheduled for 10:30 this morning. All passengers were given a $100 voucher. I think I would have preferred a valium instead of a voucher.
BOLDUAN: And bus fare.
PEREIRA: That's a hard one. You've gone through that, your nerves are rattled and you have to get back on a plane. It's hard not to just freak out.
CUOMO: Turbulence happens.
PEREIRA: It does. I think of it as bumps in the road in the sky.
CUOMO: There it is. Why didn't I say that?
Coming up --
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: None of us like it but it's real.
Coming up on NEW DAY, do we have a case of Ebola in New York City? It's a scary question and there is a patient quarantined in a local hospital awaiting test results. We also know that an American missionary with the virus for sure is returning to the U.S. for treatment. So, we're going to talk with Sanjay Gupta about what the realities are here, what could happen and the secret serum that may have saved her life.
BOLDUAN: And is the Western media too pro-Israel or is it too pro- Palestinian covering the Gaza conflict? It depends on who you're talking to. We're going to look at the criticism over the media's role in covering this conflict.
PEREIRA: Welcome back.
New fears this morning about the deadly Ebola virus, and its arrival in the United States. A man who just returned from West Africa turned up at a New York City hospital with symptoms that were somewhat Ebola- like. He has since been quarantined at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, while doctors await lab results to see if he has the deadly virus.
All of this happening as another American infected with Ebola in Liberia, a health care worker there, is expected to arrive in the U.S. any moment on a medical flight. We'll keep you updated on that.
Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by in Atlanta.
But, first, we want to get to Jason Carroll who is at Mount Sinai hospital with more on this New York case.
What do we know, Jason?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a New York case where everyone is waiting for the test results to come back. Doctors here say that that could happen today at the very latest tomorrow.
In the meantime, that unidentified male patient, Michaela, is still in strict isolation. He's been in strict isolation ever since yesterday, when he walked through these doors yesterday morning, showed up with flu-like symptoms, explained to the doctors that he had been to West Africa. Doctors here say within seven minutes, he was put into strict isolation.
Ever since then they've been treating him, they've been monitoring him and basically they said after evaluating him, the chief medical officer here believes that odds are that this is not a case of Ebola. The New York City Health Department basically saying the same thing.
But, Michaela, until those test results are back, until they have them in their hands, they have to treat this patient as if he has been infected with the Ebola virus. That's why everyone is waiting so desperately for the test results to come back.
PEREIRA: Absolutely and they're taking the utmost caution.
Jason Carroll, thank you for that end of the story.
We have received confirmation that Nancy Writebol and the plane carrying her, she's the American infected with Ebola, has just landed at Bangor International Airport in Maine. The flight left Liberia Monday night and made its way to Bangor, Maine, where it will refuel and the plane will depart for Atlanta, where we find our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, live at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, where he's also on staff.
We know that this plane now, after it refuels, Sanjay, will be on its way to Atlanta where the other Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly is being treated right now. What can you tell us, because I think many people here, oh my goodness, Ebola is now in the United States, there's a patient here with it.
Tell us about how these hospitals are equipped to handle this.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this particular hospital here at Emory is one of just four or so sites in the country that has a special isolation unit. We've shown some pictures what have this looks like. It's basically allows health care personnel to gown up, to walk into the patient's room, and to basically be protected against the bodily fluids which may come on from a patient onto the health care provider. That's the real concern.
But I'll tell you, Michaela, most hospitals have isolation units. When it comes to Ebola, because of the way that it's transmitted by bodily fluids, close contact, you don't need the sort of special isolation units that have the reverse air filtration, for example, those things aren't necessary for something that is not airborne. So, you know, most hospitals are capable of doing some sort of isolation. Emory is one of those hospitals.
PEREIRA: As is Mount Sinai. We understand that they've got patient in isolation there.
And, again, you know, there's a lot of concerns from people about the nature of its infectiousness.
Remind folks again, Sanjay, if you will, about what we need to be concerned about and what they don't need to be concerned about, infection rates, et cetera.
GUPTA: Yes, you know, I think there's an important distinction between being contagious and being infectious. When people think something is highly contagious, they think of something spreading through the air, easily being caught, if it you're just in close proximity to somebody, somebody who is just walking around an airport even, possibly be contagious.
With something that's infectious, what it means it's not necessarily contagious, it means a small amount of body fluid in this case can cause an infection. It's not going through the air but if you're in close proximity and somebody's infected, body fluid, were to get on your skin through a break in your skin, that could cause an infection. So, it's important distinction between contagious and infectious.
PEREIRA: Thus the suits that we see all of the health care professionals that are treating Dr. Brantley and of course we'll be seeing those that are escorting Nancy Writebol as she comes to Emory Hospital they will be wearing those suits as well.
Let's talk about her now. She obviously had to be healthy enough for them to transfer her and to take that long flight from Africa, and she was given this secret serum. Tell us about this a little bit more about this serum, untested so far here in the United States.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean, these are the first patients in the world to ever receive this, Dr. Brantly being the first and Ms. Writebol being the second. You know, there's not a lot of data on it obviously because it hasn't been used in human beings before.
But generally speaking, what it is, is something known as a monoclonal antibody. And that basically means you get these cells, these antibody cells which are known to fight the Ebola virus and they get these from an animal for example, exposed to Ebola. They take the cells and they create the medicine. The thought is if you take the cells and put them in the human body, cells known to fight the Ebola virus, could they have an impact?
And Dr. Brantly, the health care team on the ground, thinks it definitely did have an impact and it was a pretty dramatic one.
With Ms. Writebol, they think the impact wasn't as dramatic with the first dose but the second improved for her quite a bit.
So, this is brand new, Michaela, happening real time. It is highly unusual. This is not typically how now medications are dispensed. They typically go through a clinical trial process where you determine it is safe and effective and that didn't happen here in human beings. It was sort of more of a last-ditch effort, if you will to try and provide some relief to the patients. They just didn't know how well it would work before they tried it. But so far at least, it seems to have worked well, we got to wait and see a little bit longer.
PEREIRA: Yes, I'm sure they're keeping an eye on both patients as well so they can find out, a, if it doesn't have lasting effects, if it is helpful and effective in treatment because certainly there are some West African countries that could use those dosages to be sure.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I'm sure we're going to be pressing you a lot today. Thank you so much, as we await the arrival of Nancy Writebol, down there in Emory University Hospital.
PEREIRA: She has landed in Bangor, Maine, the airplane is refueling and it will head to Atlanta where she will receive treatment. If you would like to learn more about the various groups that are
helping those that are affected by the Ebola virus, you can go to CNN.com/impact.
We're going to take a short break here on NEW DAY. Up ahead, it's primary day in Kansas. Can a Tea Party favorite who happens to be the president's distant cousin take down a Republican incumbent?
Also, the fighting in Gaza sparking quite a war of words. The debate about the media's role in this conflict, and whether U.S. coverage is too pro-Israel or too pro-Palestinian. That's all ahead.