Return to Transcripts main page


Cease-Fire and Peace Talks Over; Theodore Wafer Found Guilty; Ebola Outbreak Declared Public Health Emergency; Christians Running from ISIS

Aired August 8, 2014 - 06:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "THE LEAD": Welcome back to NEW DAY, I am Jake Tapper live in Jerusalem. Despite the millions of times the words salaam and shalom were made this morning in this region as a good morning greeting, peace here remains as elusive as ever. The Middle East cease-fire is over, as are peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israeli delegation left Cairo this morning soon after the truce ended with rockets starting to fly back into Israel.

The Israelis now responding with air strikes in Gaza.

Let's bring in Gershon Baskin, he's previously been involved in negotiations with Hamas. Notably talks that led to the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held in captivity for five years. Gershon is now the CEO and founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. Gershon, thanks so much for being here. I guess the first question, how do we get out of this mess?

GERSHON BASKIN, CEO, ISRAEL/PALESTINE CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND INFORMATION: Well, it's very complex, obviously. The first thing is let's put some assumptions on the table that should be understood by everyone. One, Israel did not create deterrence vis a vis Hamas and I would contend that you can create deterrence against people who willing to die who in fact that's part of their mission. Two is that the demands put by Hamas on the table are reasonable demands. What they want is freedom, what they want is a port, an airport, movement of goods and people to get out of the open air prison that Gaza has become. Three, if Hamas was willing to talk peace with Israel, those demands might even be agreeable by Israel. But in exchange for a cease-fire that we know that Hamas will be using the time only to rebuild themselves, to rearm themselves, to build better bunkers and prepare themselves for the next war. This is not an acceptable solution. So what we need to do is to be able t to address the core issues which are basically the demands of Hamas for political freedom, economic development and liberation, and put them on the table in the framework of a regional peace deal. That's the way out of here.

TAPPER: I said something similar to Mark Regev the spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday as it became clear that the cease-fire was over. He said that the reason that the blockade exists, although of course they don't call it a blockade. But the reason those restrictions exist is because of the weapons that had been going into Gaza and then being used against the Israeli people. BASKIN: Right, well if we want to be honest the weapons started coming

into Gaza back in 1995 when the first tunnels across the Sinai were built at a time when Israel was still in full control of the borders there and in fact they continue to be smuggling weapons into Gaza throughout that decade. The Isolation Policy is the official name of the Israeli policy, not blockade or siege. Isolation was a political move to isolate Gaza after Hamas was elected to government there and in particular after Gaza conducted its coup d'etat in June of 2007 against the Palestinian forces from the Palestinian authority. Then Israel decided to politically isolate Gaza from the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, from Israel and from the rest of the world. It was a political decision much more than a security decision.

TAPPER: And a mistake, you think?

BASKIN: I think it was a big mistake. What we really have to focus on when this is over is to re-examine all the lost opportunities, once again. To argue about it now is kind of a chicken and an egg and it's not going to help anyone.

TAPPER: Let's talk about, because there are a lot of viewers out there who are saying why even negotiate with Hamas? Israel, the EU, the United States, Japan, all consider Hamas to be a terrorist group. Hamas used to stage suicide bombings all the time. Are they even people that one can negotiate with? You have negotiated with them. Explain how one negotiates with Hamas.

BASKIN: If the end game here is to preserve Hamas and power, then you negotiate with Hamas. Hamas is ideologically determined to destroy Israel in the long term. It's not a short term goal. But in a short term way they are very pragmatic and they're willing to negotiate pragmatic issues. They have done that over the years and Gaza has continued to live in difficult situations but Hamas has engaged with Israel through third parties. I would suggest that that's not our goal. What we really want to do is resolve the conflict which means that we have to negotiate with the leaders of the Palestinian authority, the Palestinian people, the PLO in a framework of a regional framework where we have a convergence of interests between Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and look at a much wider perspective of the region security, stability, development, peace.

TAPPER: One of the things that I have heard from Palestinians is when it comes to the demand that the Israeli government is making on demilitarization, removing the rockets, removing Hamas' weapons, which is one of the chief demands of Israel before the siege of Gaza, as the Palestinians refer to it is lifted. Palestinians say, look, Abbas in the West Bank agreed to all of that and what has that gotten him? It's gotten him nowhere. He's been isolated. There's no airport in the West Bank and it's still not a state.

BASKIN: I think they have a valid claim to make. Negotiations with Israel have gone on 20 years. They haven't produced the desired results. Abbas has lost his legitimation in the Palestinian public because he came into office saying we're going to negotiate, and here we have repeated wars by Hamas that get concessions from Israel with the use of violence. We need to move out of this pattern of rewarding violence and extremists and understand that there are moderates in the region that we can negotiate a real peace with and give the Palestinians what they deserve after 47 years of occupation. They deserve to have their freedom and liberation. We as Israelis, I as an Israeli, want my neighbors to be happy, peaceful, democratic, developed, prosperous as much as possible. That's in my interest as well.

TAPPER: Empower the moderates such as Abbas

BASKIN: Exactly.

TAPPER: Gershon Baskin, thank you so much. Back to you in New York.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jake. Thank you so much. We'll get back to you shortly , but let's get over to Michaela now. Taking a look at some of our headlines of the morning.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, everyone. We've been watching Hawaii because we know that state is bracing for two big storms.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Iselle has weakened now to a tropical storm before making landfall, but bringing with it heavy rain and winds. Forecasters are warning as much as a foot of rain could fall in some areas, thus flooding is a major concern. Meanwhile, hurricane Julio is about nine hundred miles behind. It is expected to skirt the islands but still will pack quite a punch. It's already a category three storm with winds over 120 miles an hour. It could be the first hurricane to hit that island in 22 years.

Another apparent provocation by the Russians. Fighter jets and nuclear bombers spotted near U.S. air space over Alaska. U.S. officials says the move required a precautionary intercept by American jets. Russian flights along the air space are nothing new but a U.S. air command official called the latest missions a spike in activity.

Malaysia's troubled airline, national airline, is getting a financial make over. The Malaysian government will pay nearly half a billion dollars to take that airline private, the first step in a planned major restructuring. The airline is being taken off the stock market and investors bought out. Malaysian Airlines have been in financial trouble before two disasters this year that killed more than 500 people.

Theodore Wafer faces life in prison after being convicted in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager on his front porch. The jury found Wafer guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Wafer's claim of self- defense was rejected. He said he believed McBride was trying to break in. Sentencing for Wafer is set for later this month. A lot of emotion in that trial. We have watched it here.


PEREIRA (on camera): Now they have a conviction. We'll wait for sentencing.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of people are saying that that's what it's sized up as from the beginning, despite the conflicting stories about it was a mistake, it was self defense, and those circumstances where you do something that was reckless and it winds up with someone being dead. Its manslaughter.

BOLDUAN: That's what it is.

CUOMO: So, that's that. We will watch the sentencing. A little break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, an emergency of global proportions. The World Health Organization issues its most frightening warning yet about Ebola. We are going to tell you how far it may spread and what has to be done to stop it and if that's possible. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has (inaudible).

BOLDUAN: Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians running for their lives. They've given a choice, they're going to be forced to convert to Islam or die. Pope Francis is pleading for their safety. We have a rare interview with the pope's chief spokesman coming up.



UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I am declaring the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease a public health emergency of international concern.


PEREIRA: Breaking news overnight in the Ebola outbreak that has claimed now nearly 1,000 lives. You heard it there.


PEREIRA (voice-over):The World Health Organization declaring a public health emergency and calling this biggest outbreak of the deadly virus ever recorded. Additionally, the U.S. is now ordering family members of embassy employees in Liberia to leave that country.


PEREIRA (on camera): Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at the CNN center in Atlanta with the very latest. Good morning, sir. Let's talk about this. What does this designation mean? What does it effectively bring us?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so they basically called it an extraordinary event of unusual nature and signaling to the international health community that they have got to come together. There's some very specific things that come out of this as well. The states that currently have transmission of Ebola. They are saying they should declare -- those states should declare a state of emergency and basically all the things that come with that, including things like trying to restrict mass gatherings, things like that and also specific things around travel as well.


GUPTA: So for someone who has been exposed or come in contact, no travel. They are basically going to try to do these screenings at airports that are going to be much more specific. If you have a fever, that that's not explainable. You're probably going to get further screening and even possibly tested depending on what the questionnaire shows. That's going to be a pretty big deal. If someone is -- that there is some sort of documented infection people will be isolated for 30 days so if you're traveling you'll get isolated. Let's say you're on the road somewhere and have been exposed and you come back positive. You are going to get isolated for 30 days and people who have come in contact 21 days. That's significant, Michaela. You imagine the amount of international travel coming out of these countries that could have a significant impact on airports all over the world.

PEREIRA: Going to every corner of the world. Let's talk about the criteria. I'm very curious about this. What is the criteria an outbreak has to reach for the WHO to make this determination.

GUPTA: You know, its interesting because polio, for example, earlier this year also met the criteria. Again not because of widespread dissemination, but more because this was unusual, you know. There were several countries where they thought they had basically eradicated polio and you were starting to see resurgences, and the idea is that this is unusual and the international community can get together and do something about this. And that's what happened here with Ebola as well. We are on target right now if things continue the way they are. This outbreak will have more cases infected and more people who have died than all the previous Ebola outbreaks put together.

PEREIRA: And I want to get to that, Sanjay. Is that it's not just the number, because we always want to put a human face on it. It's not just the death toll or the amount of people infected. It's the speed by which it's spreading, correct?

GUPTA: No question. It is the speed. It's sort of -- typically you think of this occurring in some remote village, remote area in one specific location and resources can be sort of targeted at that one location. Here you almost had three simultaneous outbreaks occurring in Guinea, in Sierra Leone, in Liberia. That became really challenging for it to be controlled. You can see at the left side of the map there and now a little bit of how its spreading as well to Nigeria, a suspected case just west of there as well. So that's part of the concern. But one thing I'll just point out, when the WHO does something like this and sends a signal to airport screeners. What happened in Nigeria may not have happened. Yet, a guy who got off a plan from an infected area got into the airport terminal, collapsed, was immediately given care by several healthcare workers, none of whom were protected.


GUPTA: Because they didn't think to protect themselves. That's going to change. People who are sick coming out of these countries will be screened.

PEREIRA: With an abundance of caution, because you said there's so many other tropical diseases. Malaria, dengue fever, et cetera, et cetera that could appear at first like the symptoms of the precursor to Ebola. Dry. Sanjay Gupta, great conversation with you as always. Thanks so much. We'll be talking to you throughout the day, I'm sure. Don't forget to tune into "SANJAY GUPTA, MD" weekends right here on CNN, Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. Sundays at 7:30, bright and early, a.m. eastern time.

Next up on NEW DAY, President Obama says we cannot turn a blind eye to potential genocide in Iraq. Also weighing in, Pope Francis. We're going to give you a unique perspective from one of his top advisors.

Also ahead, hopes dashed for an extended truce between Israel and Hamas. The fighting has resumed. What on Earth will it take to get those two sides talking again?


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Terrorists known as ISIS are tearing through Iraq trying to create an extremist religious state, and as part of that they are hunting Christians, calling them apostates, deniers of their religion and telling them convert to Islam or die. Tens of thousands are running for their lives and a growing number are dying. This is called genocide and it has gotten the world's attention, including Pope Francis who is pleading for peace.

Joining us from Rome this morning is Greg Burke. He's a senior advisor for communication at the Vatican. Its good to see you, Mr. Burke. Thank you for joining us.


CUOMO: What does the pontiff make of U.S. efforts for humanitarian aid, is there any response from the Vatican?

BURKE: Certainly not officially in terms of the U.S., Chris, but what the pope has been asking for, just as of yesterday, is any help of the international community and so obviously that is a great first start. The Holy See would like to see more of that, Pope Francis will certainly, you will hear more from him in the next few days about that. Calling on both the individuals, but especially on those who have not just the soft power but really the power to get aid to people who are starving, dying of hunger and of thirst in this moment.

CUOMO: The reality is, and I'm sure that the Holy See is very aware of this, humanitarian aid is not enough. We are reminded of Pope Pius XII and being criticized for being silent during World War II. Pope Francis seems much more outspoken. Does the church recognize that this may be a case of justifiable war to save these people? BURKE: Well, I don't think at this point we're going to get into what

suggests war, the just war theory or not, but once again what the pope is asking for, the international community, doing what has to be done in order to save these people. You cannot -- there is such a thing in Catholic theology as sins of omission. I think the pope is asking everyone to make an examination of conscience here. Its not thinking you're a good guy just because you're not a bad guy. You can be a good guy, among the good guys who aren't doing enough to stop the evil that's being done, and certainly that is what the church is asking for. The Holy See and the pope are asking for the international community, first of all, to pay attention to this issue, the fact that you're here talking about it is obviously a good sign that it has sort of -- the needle has moved a little bit. We've gotten it on to the radar screen but obviously a lot more has to be done, and it's got to be done on the international level.

CUOMO: I'm aware of the catechism, but the practicalities here seem pretty obvious, Mr. Burke. These are terrorists. They are hell bent, literally, on creating an extremist religious state. They will kill people with a lot of enthusiasm who deny their own religion and deny their efforts. It will take force to stop them. Is that what the Vatican is going to ask for?

BURKE: I don't believe you'll hear that from the pope. If you saw what he said yesterday, I know he said violence is not resolved by more violence. Now, having said that in the past, the church has realized that in order to get humanitarian aid in some situations, that is necessary. But obviously you're not going to hear anything from Pope Francis suggesting that. You're going to hear the opposite. You're going to hear about dialogue. You're going to hear let's talk and get it together. If you get enough of the good people who can make a difference here, that is what we're going to be after. You're not going to hear Pope Francis saying we've got to start a war, start another war there.

CUOMO: What is your take on the proposition that the people, the victims, are being faced with there, convert to Islam or die? Under those circumstances, if they were to convert, to save their lives, is that an acceptable change in belief, even to the Vatican?

BURKE: In terms of Catholic teaching, the Catholic, the Christian faith has really been built on the blood of the martyrs. Something the pope has said recently, even before this all began was that, you know, there's actually more persecution right now of Christians than there was in the early centuries. I think some people heard that and thought that was strange and now with this most recent thing, maybe it doesn't sound so strange at all. The fact of the matter is Christianity has been built on the blood of the martyrs. That doesn't mean that everyone is cut out to be a martyr. Obviously there was an interesting mix. The French cardinals recently visited there in Iraq and basically making a plea, and they brought some attention to the thing, but they are saying basically let's make it possible for them to stay. Obviously not everybody has that kind of wherewithal, and there's nothing in the faith that says you cannot run for your life in the midst of that. Obviously it's an incredibly powerful example when somebody does stand up for their faith to -- to the point of death. That's an incredible example for those who follow them.

CUOMO: But hopefully it's not necessary. While the Vatican will not call for violence, if the international community steps forward, if the U.S. does what needs to be done to stop genocide that's going on against Christians and others right now, will the Vatican at least be slow to condemn those actions seeing how that is what it may take to help these people?

BURKE: Well, certainly the Holy See wants to see multi-lateral action here, as much of the international community involved as possible and in the past has certainly been willing to go along with that, never encouraging a war. But obviously if there is such defensive measures necessary to save people's lives, I think -- I think you will see that, you know. The -- the key thing, however, though, and you'll hear more of this in the coming days, is a call for everybody in the international community, at least to -- to stand up and pay attention and let's see what we can do.

CUOMO: And a few groups are as well equipped to provide humanitarian aid as Catholic charities. I know they are looking for an opportunity to get in there in Northern Iraq. Again, that may take military force to create the opportunity so it will be interesting to see how the church and the military work hand in hand to get these people help. Mr. Burke, it's rare for to you speak to the American media. Thank you for taking this opportunity and send the regards to the pontiff.

BURKE: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. We're going to be following this story from the Vatican perspective and more importantly the humanitarian crisis on the ground in Iraq. Just one story we have for you this morning, a lot of news so let's get right to it.


CUOMO (voice-over): Breaking news, back to Iraq. President Obama okays air strikes inside the country.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Today I authorized two operations in Iraq.

CUOMO: Terror group ISIS sacs more towns. Tens of thousands of Christians fleeing for their lives. The U.S. military in a daring humanitarian aid drop overnight, and U.S. personnel may be in danger. We're live in Iraq with the very latest.

BOLDUAN (voice-over) Also breaking, cease-fire over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's clear that Hamas has broken the fundamental premise for these folks.

BOLDUAN: Rockets once again fired at Israel, and Israel strikes back. Now the negotiations in Cairo seem to be over as well. Israel has left the talks. Will the fighting now get worse?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO (on camera): Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY, we want to welcome our viewers across the country and around the world, and there is breaking news that demands all of our attention today. First, genocide in Iraq has forced the U.S. to prepare for battle.


CUOMO (voice-over): President Obama has authorized targeted strikes to stop the advance of ISIS terrorists. The reason is simple, to protect those American advisers on the ground and to stop a growing humanitarian crisis. Take a look. Strikes would be intended to stop the terrorists from advancing in the major cities where Americans are, and then there is the goal of protecting Christians and other religious minorities.

BOLDUAN: The other issue here is the hundreds of thousands forced to run for their lives in the northwest, near the border with Syria. The reason, militants have been rooting out Christians, and religious minorities, most from what's known as the Yazidi tradition. They have faced a horrible choice. Fleeing their homes or an almost certain death. Many are now stranded on the top of a mountain there.

OBAMA: In recent days, Yazidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives and thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, are now hiding high up on the mountain with little by the clothes on their backs. They are without food, they're without water. People are starving and children are dying of thirst.


BOLDUAN (on camera): So food and supplies, water now arriving thanks to the U.S. military, but that's not going to be enough. For the very latest developments, let's get to CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, what is the very latest on what the U.S. is going to do now?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. U.S. troops left Iraq about two and a half years ago. They may be headed back, at least into the skies over Iraq