Return to Transcripts main page


World Reacts After Trump's Decision on Israel; Wildfires Continue to Engulf Los Angeles; Donald Trump Jr. Invoked Attorney- Client Privilege; Trump recognizes Jerusalem As Israel's Capital; Moore Opponent Fighting For Every Vote; CNN Freedom Project; Migrants Face Exploitation In Italy. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 7, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Concern and condemnation. The U.S. president's decision on Israel is causing shock waves. We are getting reaction from around the world.

Huge wildfires scorching Southern California, and the winds are complicating efforts for overwhelmed firefighters.

And later, a CNN Freedom Project report how some migrants looking for a better life are forced into prostitution in Italy.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN newsroom.

Senior White House officials admit President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital has derailed the Middle East peace process. But they say they were ready for that, and they think it will only be temporary.

Mr. Trump insists he's not picking sides and remains committed to securing a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all. But today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do.


CHURCH: Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department is warning Americans traveling abroad to take extra precautions. It says the threat of protests and political violence is high, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

And only CNN has the resources to cover this story from every angle. We have correspondents positioned throughout the Middle East to bring you the latest reaction. So let's start with CNN's Becky Anderson in Jerusalem. Becky?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, one Palestinian leader calls it the biggest mistake of President Trump's life. Veteran negotiators say recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital disqualifies the U.S. from mediating any future peace talks. And listen to Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas.


MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): He's denounced and rejected measures to create deliberate constraints to all the efforts toward realizing peace, and these measures are considered a reward to Israel for denying the accords and challenging the international law, and it encourages the occupation policy, settlements, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.


ANDERSON: Well, no surprise the reaction from Israeli leaders quite the opposite. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the move is long overdue, and he's encouraging other countries to follow suit.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We're profoundly grateful for the president for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the U.S. embassy here.

I call on all countries that seek peace to join the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move their embassies here.


ANDERSON: Well, 86 countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv right now. Zero have embassies in Jerusalem. And based on their reactions, it doesn't seem likely that many others will follow the U.S. lead.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): The status of Jerusalem is a question of international security that concerns the entire international community. And I'll reaffirm that the status of Jerusalem must be determined by Israelis and Palestinians in the framework of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.

POPE FRANICS (through translator): I cannot hide my deep concern about the situation that has developed in the last days. I pray that wisdom and prudence can prevail.


ANDERSON: Well, British Prime Minister Theresa May says -- and I quote -- "We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."

[03:04:57] A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel says, quote, "The federal government does not support this decision because the status of Jerusalem is to be negotiated within the two-state solution."

And the Chinese state media editorial says, quote, "No country has its embassy in Jerusalem for good reason. Mr. Trump's move could open a Pandora's box of turmoil in the region that experience suggests will be felt worldwide."

Well, Palestinian leaders are calling for a general strike and another day of protests against Donald Trump's decision. Demonstrators marched through the streets of Gaza on Wednesday. Others burn American flags and portraits of President Trump.

And those protests spread to several other countries as well. Let's bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Amman, Jordan and Gul Tuysuz in Istanbul in Turkey.

Playing with the status of Jerusalem, Gul, is like pulling the pin of a grenade, says the Turkish prime minister. It will lead to grave disaster. Clear concern from Ankara that this decision could and i has opened a Pandora's box in the region. Explain.

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's right. Turkish leaders made warnings to the U.S. president, President Trump, saying before he made the announcement that this could cause chaos in the region. Before the announcement was made, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came out and said that this would only feed radicalism in the region. Take a listen.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): Any step to change Jerusalem's legal status, which was affirmed by the U.N. resolutions many times, should be refrained from. Nobody has the right to play with the fate of millions for their personal ambitions. Such a step would only work to the advantage of terrorist organizations.


TUYSUZ: That is sentiment that has been echoed by other leaders across the region, saying that any move on changing the legal status of Jerusalem would play into the hands of radicals and would embolden extremist in the region.

And that, of course, is a big worry across this particular part of the world. And when you look at the street, we were at a demonstration outside the Istanbul consulate -- the U.S. consulate in Istanbul last night. There are people gathered before the announcement was made.

And when it was announced to them that President Trump had, in fact, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the crowd began booing. And it was palpably different the before and after event. There were chants, damn the USA, damn Israel. Killer USA, get out of the Middle East.

So, a clear difference in the crowd before and after the announcement was made. And it just goes to show you at least in one small highlight how tense this issue really is for people who feel that standing up for the status of Jerusalem is in fact, a religious obligation that they have.

And on Friday, tomorrow, we are expecting more protests, more demonstrations here in Istanbul and across Turkey, and we'll be following those developments to see how this declaration this announcement plays on the streets of this predominantly Muslim country. Becky?

ANDERSON: Gul with the perspective from Turkey protest. Thank you, Gul in Jordan over Trump's declaration on Jerusalem. Trump says this is just a recognition of reality.

Jomana, why is Amman so sensitive to any changes in the status of this city of Jerusalem?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for several reasons, Becky. Of course, the Jordanians, Jordan is the custodian of the holy site for Muslims in the city of Jerusalem. Then you have the fact that more than half the population of this country either Palestinian or of Palestinian descent.

So there is always that concern about any instability that might come out as a result of this announcement. And, you know, there is so much anger, fury, sadness here, Becky. But it's not just the Palestinians. You have seen that same reaction also from Jordanians in this country because of the significance of Jerusalem to everyone in this country.

The government coming out with a strongly worded statement as expected, saying they reject this announcement, saying that it is illegal. It violates international law. And any change to the status of Jerusalem this needs to be done through direct negotiations by both parties.

And again, Jordan's position has always been that there is only one solution. That is the two-state solution, and east Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian state.

[03:09:58] And we heard that repeated yesterday by King Abdullah during his visit to Turkey. Take a listen to what King Abdullah had to say.


ABDULLAH II BIN AL-HUSSEIN, KING OF JORDAN: It is imperative now to work fast to reach a final status solution and a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. And this must allow Palestinians to establish their independent state, side by side with Israel and its capital in East Jerusalem.

Ignoring the Palestinian, Muslim, and Christian rights in Jerusalem will only fuel further extremism and undermine the war against terrorism.


KARADSHEH: And Jordanian officials here are not only concerned about the direct impact this decision will have when it comes to the stability and security of the region. They're also talking about what happens down the line. Warnings again as we heard from Gul in Turkey with Turkish officials saying the same that this kind of situation will be exploited by extremists that will turn this into a cause.

So a lot of concern about this, Becky, and Jordanian officials now saying they are going to be working with other countries to try and contain the repercussions.

ANDERSON: Jomana is in Amman, Gul in Istanbul i Turkey for you.

Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the decision, saying it encourages Israel's policy of occupation, of settlements, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. He says the U.S. is withdrawing from its role as mediator in the peace process. Well that brought a strong rebuke from Israel's ambassador to the United States. Have a listen.


RON DERMER, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: The only one who has withdrawn from the peace process has been the Palestinians who have avoided negotiations for years with Israel because they expected Israel to be delivered by the international community on a silver platter.

I think what the president has done today in this important, historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has said, listen, you guys just can't wait on the outside and hope that Israel is going to be delivered to you. You have to recognize realities. Israel exist, Jerusalem is our capital. The United States recognized it.

And anyone who thinks this actually undermine the peace would have to say that they somehow think there will be a peace in the future where Jerusalem would not be Israel's capital. Now that's not going to happen. So I think he has injected a dose of reality and truth into this process.

SAEB MUHAMMAD SALIH EREKAT, SECRETARY GENERAL, PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION: What he did tonight, he really disqualified the United States from any future role in peace making. That's the honest truth. He's rewarding the Israeli government for settlement activities, dictation, human rights violations, and the apartheid system they're creating.

The fact is such a speech on Jerusalem with all its history, religion, what it means to Muslim, Jews, Christians, Arabs, non-Arabs, so on, then comes and throw this decision in order to -- I don't know, maybe for internal reasons or for other reasons. But that's destroying the two-state solution. That is destroying moderates like us in the region. And that's crowning extremists in this region.


ANDERSON: Well, Gil Hoffman joins me now here in Jerusalem. He's the chief political correspondent and analyst at the Jerusalem Post. You've heard Palestinian voice. You've heard Israeli voice. We've heard voice from Amman in Jordan and from in Turkey where the line is that this decision is like pulling the pin of a grenade and opened a Pandora's Box that simply cannot be closed going forward. Chaos is what the region is talking about. Your sense?

GIL HOFFMAN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANALYST, THE JERUSALEM POST: Exactly the opposite. I cover Israeli politics for the Jerusalem Post. My job is to write about politicians bickering. Here there is such a consensus that I've never seen before, that what Donald Trump has done is not only right Israel but right for peace in the Middle East.

We've seen attempts for 30 years that have failed. He's trying something different. There's more hope than before.

ANDERSON: What kind of price do you now believe the arch negotiator, Donald Trump, a man who says he can negotiate his way in and out of anything -- what kind of price will he exact now from Benjamin Netanyahu given that effectively Netanyahu has the handed what he's always wanted?

HOFFMAN: The different approach is Barack Obama's approach of making this in the outfield very uncomfortable and pressuring him clearly did not work. Donald Trump is trying the exact opposite. And I think that Netanyahu is much more likely to give into pressure when it's coming with that (Ph).

And so now there's perhaps more of a chance for Netanyahu to make serious steps toward a peace process than ever before. And despite what they're saying around the world, this now is a new opportunity that should be celebrated and not...


[03:14:58] ANDERSON: So what is that opportunity? We're talking a peace process here, right? Have you got any sense of what the detail of that deal might be?



HOFFMAN: Yes. There will be a regional approach to solving the conflict. There's no -- there is reason why the first visit abroad by the president of the United States was to Saudi Arabia conference to Muhammad just playing a very serious role in getting the Palestinians to make the concessions necessary to help their own people.

ANDERSON: Did Jared Kushner get a nod and a wink, do you think, from the crown prince on the Israel issue?

HOFFMAN: I wouldn't be surprised -- I wouldn't be surprised if he did. He's been involved every step of the way. So has the king of Jordan. So has the Egyptian leader, Sisi. They're all working together to make this happen. There's also a very strong economic component to the plan to give the Palestinians hope for the future.

ANDERSON: Do you believe as has been reported but knocked back by many, that there has been a concession the part of the Palestinians agreed to by other Arab nations that Jerusalem will not be a capital for Palestinians going forward?

HOFFMAN: Well, there's been the report leaked apparently by the Saudis that their capital would be in a suburb of Jerusalem. I don't see much of a difference between that and Arab neighbors of Jerusalem that they are already that won't be part of Israel in a kind of long term status agreement. They -- and Jerusalem they can find a compromise, and this, what happened yesterday, does not get in the way of that.

ANDERSON: Gil, short term, security and stability of Israel at stake?

HOFFMAN: Look, there's always going to be people trying to hurt the security of Israel. They don't need excuses to do it, even if they are using those excuses now. Long-term, as the Israelis are going to be upset, the same people are celebrating now are going to be the ones saying we're giving up too much and we should have done this and we got lulled into a honey trap.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Gil, it's been a pleasure having you on, sir. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

That's the situation there. We know what Donald Trump has done. What we don't know is what happens next, either short or long term. But we are beginning to get some answers.

Back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: We certainly are watching very closely. Becky, we'll come back to you in just a moment.

But let's take a very short break. And after that, we will go to California where a number of fires continue to burn dangerously close to Los Angeles.

And U.S. lawmakers have plenty of questions for Donald Trump, Jr., but he's not offering many answers. We'll have that when we come back.



MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: What a day. What a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it. Every Australian had their say, and they said it's fair. Get on with it. And the parliament has got on with it, and we have voted today for equality, for love. It's time for more marriages.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [03:19:56] CHURCH: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull excited to announce that Australia has legalized same-sex marriage. The vote in parliament came just a short time ago. A national survey showed a majority of Australians were in favor of marriage equality, and supporters had fought for years for this vote.

Pew Research says Australia is now the 24th country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Firefighters in Southern California are facing a substantial challenge as they work to contain furious wildfires ravaging huge swaths of the state. Strong Santa Ana winds are a major factor in the rapid spread, and the single largest blaze, the Thomas fire in Ventura County, has now burned an area more than seven times the size of Manhattan.

Some 2,000 firefighters are battling that fire alone, and resources could get scarce as the existing fires spread while the risk remains for more to emerge. And first responders have tried valiantly to contain these fires, but the damage is already considerable, and what happens next is largely out of their control.

Omar Jimenez has reports.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Thomas fire just one of several fires raging out of control in Southern California, scorching tens of thousands of acres, shutting down schools, causing widespread power outages and forcing mass evacuations.


PAUL KORTEZ, COUNCILMEMBER, LOS ANGELES: Grab your family members. Grab a couple things that you need and get out now.


JIMENEZ: Alongside a major freeway in Los Angeles, terrifying images. Part of interstate 405 shut down as fire burned dangerously close. The interstate has since reopened.

Nearby, flames surrounded the iconic Getty museum. Dry conditions coupled with the strong Santa Ana winds make it tougher for firefighters to fight the flames.


RALPH TERRAZAS, FIRE CHIEF, LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPARTMENT: The greatest threat is and will always continue to be the wind. If the wind dies down we'll get a handle on this.


JIMENEZ: Neighborhoods in Ventura County quickly incinerated because of fast-moving flames.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this side here there was a window structure, and this was my bedroom.


JIMENEZ: And while the fire consumed everything in its path, people who lost their homes say they won't let the flames burn their spirit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, I became a victim of the fire, but at the end of the day, I'm alive.


JIMENEZ: In Ventura County, California, Omar Jimenez.

CHURCH: And our meteorologist Derek Van Dam is looking at how weather conditions are affecting effort to battle these blazes. Derek, of course, the wind that is the big problem here.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, definitely. Unfortunately, Rosemary, it's going to get worse before it gets better. You know, firefighters in Los Angeles receive what is called a brush-burning index before they go out and fight the fires each day. It's kind of an index to indicate just how bad the fire conditions will be.

Numbers over 165 are considered extreme. Today's brush fire index is at 296. This prompted the National Weather Service to issue its first ever extreme Santa Ana wildfire threat level. That means that fires will have extreme and rapid growth. They'll burn very intensely and be virtually uncontrollable.

And we talk so much about the Thomas fire, the explosive growth of this fire. It is so large at the moment in Ventura County that it is visible from the International Space Station. This was tweeted out earlier today by astronaut Randy Bresnik, aboard the ISS 12 kilometers into the sky.

This fire is massive. Over 100,000 acres already burned, and that is actually twice the size of the city of Milan.

Now unfortunately, like I said, it's going to get worse before it gets better. This is bad on top of bad. We have high pressure strengthening over the West Coast. That means it puts the squeeze in the pressure gradient over Southern California. That increases the wind speed. Already reports over 100 kilometers per hour in Ventura County, right where the Thomas fire is located.

And as this ridge continues to expand over the western U.S., it is also driving storm systems with much needed rainfall away from the western parts of the country. And that means no rain to help combat the fires.

So this is prolonged event, a prolonged period of dry conditions and very windy weather. In fact, the relative humidity values here ranging from low teens to low 20s. So timber dry. It doesn't take much to spark new fires here. That's why we have wind warnings and red flag warnings posted all over Southern California as we speak. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. I appreciate that, Derek. Of course the images we are seeing is just horrifying from that part of the U.S. in California.

Well, wildfires have been burning not far from the famed Getty center in Los Angeles. We heard reference to that in one of our stories there. That's where valuable art work and other treasures are on display.

On Wednesday, police had to shut down portions of a nearby interstate as flames swept down near the museum. The center was also closed to the public and will be shut again on Thursday as a precaution.

[03:25:03] Official say the Getty was designed with wildfires in mind. It apparently has a sophisticated air filtration system that keeps smoke and ash from getting into the galleries. The center also has a one-million-gallon water tank on site.

We are getting some new information about Michael Flynn and what he allegedly did during the Trump inauguration. Flynn was then the incoming national security adviser, and according to a whistleblower, Flynn was texting during the inauguration telling a business associate that a plan to join Russia and build nuclear reactors in the Middle East was, quote, "good to go."

House democrat Elijah Cummings revealed details of the whistleblower's account, which also included this stunning claim. Michael Flynn's associates said Flynn assured him sanctions on Moscow preventing the deal would be, quote, "ripped up."

Meantime, U.S. lawmakers had questions for Donald Trump, Jr., specifically about a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower and the news reports about it.

Manu Raju reports the president's eldest son did not offer many answers.

MANU RAJU, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Now Donald Trump, Jr. went behind closed doors earlier in the day Wednesday for a marathon session with the House intelligence committee to discuss his interaction with the Russians during the campaign season.

And one thing that they zeroed in on was that Trump Tower meeting that occurred in June 2016 in which he met with Russian officials, Russian operatives, a Russian lawyer and being promised dirt on the Clinton campaign.

Now, he said that his father did not know about that meeting after it happened. He said he had to fill in his father after it happened. But he was asked about how he and the White House responded to the initial reports that were in the New York Times earlier this summer about the Trump Tower meeting.

One thing that he would not disclose is what he and his father discussed after those New York Times reports were published. He said that he would not discuss that because of attorney-client privilege because there were attorneys in the room when he was talking to his father, presumably about this topic and the response to it.

Also, on top of that, he did acknowledge that he communicated text messages with Hope Hicks, who is now the White House communications director, about the response to the Trump Tower meeting story.

Now, this raises questions because that initial response was misleading about what exactly was the nature of that meeting and why that meeting happened. And it raises questions among investigators as well, if the White House was trying to mislead the public, or perhaps they're trying to mislead investigators as well.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.

CHURCH: When we come back, the world is reacting to President Donald Trump's momentous decision on Jerusalem. We'll go there live.

A group of women in the U.S. Senate taking a stand against fellow democrat Al Franken. Just ahead, the momentum their action is causing.

We're back soon.


[03:30:35] ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Jerusalem. Here in the Middle East and the outrage, well, it' almost unanimous. Nearly every country condemning the move by U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it moves the peace process in a wrong and dangerous direction. Mr. Trump formally announced that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the U.S. embassy will move at some point from Tel Aviv to this City. This will setup a firestorm of criticism around the world and especially in the region. Protesters marched in Gaza. Some factions called for a general strike. Hamas say the move is a, quote, flagrant aggression against the Palestinian people that quote crosses all red line. In Turkey protesters filled the streets chanting killer U.S., get out of the Middle East and damn U.S and damn Israel. Turkey's government condemned the decision calling it a grave mistake. But the move was applauded by Jerusalem's mayor as it was condemned by Palestinians.


NIR BARKAT, JERUSALEM MAYOR: There's no peace agreement without Jerusalem being the capital of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. From our perspective, it's very, very simple decision to make. Whoever thinks there could be peace without recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people does not understand our region. That clarity the President brought to the process will only promote peace and it will not defer peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means the divestment of any peace process and the destruction of the chances of peace in the region. In one blow, President Trump has destroyed not only the chances of peace but the stability and security of the region as a whole.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON: And take a look at this. It is a list of just some of the

countries around the world expressing concern or opposition to the move by President Trump. A long list. The United Nations Security Council will meet on the matter on Friday. The U.N. Secretary-general saying that Jerusalem and the Jerusalem issue must been solved through direct negotiations.


ANTONIO GUTIERREZ, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear that there is no alternative to the two-state solution, there is no plan b. It is only by realizing the vision of two states living side by side in peace security, and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final statutes issues resolved permanently through negotiations that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved.


ANDERSON: The European Union expressed what it called serious concern over the decision in a statement, it said, the E.U. position remains unchanged. The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states. Let's bring in someone who knows the inner workings of this region better than most in fact, he is probably forgotten more about this region than most of us will ever know. CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman, at the moment in Beirut. Ben?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. Well, the Middle East actually so far, apart from the words of condemnation by leaders, has been relatively silent when it comes to the street and reacting to the decision by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem a the capital of Israel. Now, here, for instance, in Lebanon where you have a population of around 450,000 Palestinian refugees, some of their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents came to this country back in 1948 when they fled or were driven out of their homeland. For them, this is a minor detail in a very long sad story.


[03:35:0] WEDEMAN: Jerusalem is less than 150 miles from Beirut's Palestinian refugee camp. Reminders of the Holy City around the walls, as are the faces of their heroes past. But for the thousands who call the camp home, the uproar over President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a world away. This 92- year-old man shows me a hatchet he says was left behind by Lebanese Christian militiamen who slaughtered hundreds of Palestinian civilians here in September 1982, allowed into the camp by Israeli troops.

Abdullah's anger is focused not Israelis or the Americans, but rather on Arab leaders who loudly support for the Palestinians claim to Jerusalem, then do nothing. All the Arab states are traitors, he says. They're all the same, traitors. The first generation of refugees is dying out. The camp teems with children, the latest generation of refugees. Most of the inhabitants of this refugee camp never stepped foot in Palestine. And given the failure of all attempts to solve the issue, probably never will.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are best second-class citizens, most restricted to living in ram shackle camps like this bard from a variety of professions. With no solution in sight, this bleating existence is their lot for the foreseeable future. Against the odds, the dream of return lives on in the heart of 77-year-old Ahmed Hadid.

Until judgment day, I will wait, says and I will tell my children and my grandchildren our land is Palestine. The location of the American embassy in Israel won't make much difference to the people here.


WEDEMAN: As far as Lebanese politicians go, we understand that the speaker of the Lebanese parliament has called for a session to discuss the American move on Jerusalem, but that is about it, Becky?

ANDERSON: Ben, playing with the status of Jerusalem says the Turkish Prime Minister is, quote, like pulling the pin of a grenade. It has opened a Pandora's Box in the region, we have seen some protests in Turkey, some protest in Amman and indeed, in Gaza. But as you rightly pointed out, not the likes of which perhaps from so many of these Arab leaders. Why is that? Why the relatively muted response on the streets?

WEDEMAN: I think it's important to keep in mind, Becky, that as far as many in the Middle East are concerned, that the United States leans a bit in the direction of Israel, to put it mildly, is not breaking news, it's a given that the United States will more likely take the Israeli position than support the position of the Palestinians. So it's not really a surprise that the United States comes out and makes a move that is clearly in opposition of the position of its European allies, in addition to its moderate Arab allies as well. And when we're talking about the peace process, people talk about this could bring the peace process to an end. But the breaking news is that the peace process essentially died in 2001 with the election of Ariel Sharon as Prime Minister of Israel. Since then you've had three Prime Ministers. You've had Sharon. Now you have Benjamin Netanyahu. By enlarge they had been at best unenthusiastic about settling the dispute between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and you've had the steady growth of settlements in the west bank, which is really where the problem lies. It's about land. It is not about where the American embassy in Israel is so this is very much a tangential issue in a much broader problem. And whether the American ambassador has dinner in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv doesn't really go to the core of the problem.

[03:40:11] And for many in the Middle East, in the Arab world, the problem has long been that the United States is much more willing to be sensitive to Israeli demands than it is to the Palestinians in general and so there's been much discussion certainly in the United States, in the American media about this decision somehow exposing United States as being excessively pro-Israeli, but for most people in the Middle East, that is old news. Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman on the region with his analysis. Ben, it's a pleasure. Thank you.

Some in the region made their feelings known through light as an expression of protests in Bethlehem, Palestinians turned off the lights on the Christmas tree outside the church of the nativity. That is why Christians believe Jesus was born. The lights were also switched off on the Christmas tree in Ramallah. While in Jerusalem, happy Israelis projected images of the Israeli-American flags onto the western wall as a way to salute the decision. That is it from us for the time being. More news of course as we move through the coming hours. Reaction to President Bush's declaration that this, the City Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Becky Anderson many thanks to you there in Jerusalem. We'll cover some more news here.

U.S. Senator Al Franken responds to the growing calls for him to step down. What he plans to do Thursday, that is next.

And still to come, Doug Jones is reaching out to African-American voters as the Republican Party backs his opponent, Roy Moore. We're back with that.


[03:45:41] CHURCH: And at least six women have accused U.S. Senator Al Franken of inappropriately touching them. The latest one came forward Wednesday as he faces more pressure to step down, his office says he will make an announcement later today. A unified group of his female colleagues called for his resignation Wednesday. More than a dozen Democratic Party members quickly joined them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not feel that he should continue to serve. I think I would be better for the country for him to offer that clear message that he values women, that we value women, and that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The numerous of him have weight.


CHURCH: While this plays out, the White House is standing by their candidate in Alabama special election, Roy Moore. The accusations of sexual misconduct against him have overshadowed the race for the state's vacant U.S. senate seat. President Donald Trump was hesitant to back the Republican candidate at first, but endorsed him on Monday. Mr. Trump's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, explained why.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: The President has said the allegations are troubling. They're also 40 years old nobody came forward before. The guy's been on the ballot many times. Doug Jones is a liberal Democrats the president has said, and he doesn't want a liberal Democrat representing Alabama United States senate.


CHURCH: Roy Moore's Democratic rival, Doug Jones, is fighting for every vote in this election. With Alabama's special election just days away now, he is reaching out to a group that could decide this race, African-Americans. CNN's Alex Marquardt has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is going to be it.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Alton Smith and Laura Oliver, volunteers going door to door for Doug Jones in this predominantly African-American suburb of Birmingham. At the first house Oliver meets Renato Thomas who plans to vote for Jones next week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is who I am voting for.

MARQUARDT: If Jones has a stand a chance of winning, he needs every vote he can get, particularly among African-Americans. A monumental task requiring black voters to make a share of the electorate along the lines of their turnout in Barack Obama's last election, 28 percent. But this is a special election in an off-year, in mid- December. Randall Woodfin was just sworn in as mayor of Birmingham.

RANDALL WOODFIN, BIRMINGHAM MAYOR: It's a challenge, but I think it's a worthy fight. What I mean by that is there's six days before this election. You can't dis-count the last six days. There's more to be done there is work already being done and miracles happen.

MARQUARDT: You think it would take a miracle for Jones to win?

WOODFIN: I think miracle would work. I think there's a balance here.

MARQUARDT: What more does Doug Jones need to do to galvanize this base of support that he so badly needs?

WOODFIN: I would tell Doug Jones same thing I will tell any candidates, six days out, don't stop working. Keep knocking on doors.

MARQUARDT: Black voters are around a quarter of a total of the electorate but the majority of Democratic voters. Roy Moore's base is overwhelmingly white. Many African-Americans accuse him of being a racist. Moore has said he doesn't believe Obama was born in America and that representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim, shouldn't be allowed to serve in congress. Then this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then they started to create new right in 1965, and today we got a problem.

MARQUARDT: 1965 was the year the voting rights act was pass banning racial discrimination. This is a man who said the country was better off when black people

were not allowed to vote.

Democratic strategist Richard Dickerson believes Jones could be doing more to energize black voters, but said Moore's past will help galvanize them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If not a white supremacist, he is a racist. I think he is shown that time and time again by both word and deed and his actions.

MARQUARDT: Jones is best known for his case as a U.S. Attorney against two members of the Ku Klux Klan convicted of the 1963 bombing of the 16th street Baptist church that left four young black girls dead. John Knight, the head of Alabama legislative black caucus says that isn't necessarily registering with African-American voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the young voters are not familiar with that. But I think that many of them are asking, well, what are you going to do for me today? That is the kind of thing I pick up across the state as we go around.

[03:50:04] MARQUARDT: And go around they are. Now with less than a week to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to the churches. We're going to the places we know the voters are located. We've got to have everybody in place to do what's necessary to get him elected in this seat.

MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt CNN, Birmingham, Alabama.


CHURCH: Russia's Vladimir Putin says he will run for president again in 2018. He made the announcement on Wednesday, cheered on by a crowd of veterans and workers.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (TRANSLATOR): Thank you very much. Indeed there be better place and no better reason for making this announcement. Thank you for your support. I will put forward my candidacy for the post of President of the Russian federation.


CHURCH: If elected, it would be Mr. Putin's fourth term in office.

The European dream becomes living nightmare for some migrant women from Africa. CNN's freedom project explains how they are ending up in Israeli's streets.


CHURCH: This week on CNN' freedom project is focusing on modern day slavery within the Africa-Europe migration crisis. Last year thousands of African migrant women headed to Europe for a fresh start, only to be sold into prostitution. CNN Isa Soares has one woman's story.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On a bitter lit cold October night, young women over a stove. Each one waiting patiently for men. Finally across the road, a car stops, and one girl runs to her client. This is Europe, and these streets in Rome are their prison. In 2016 11,000 Nigerian women arrived by (inaudible). According to International Organization for Migration the most of whom becoming victim of trafficking and prostitution in Europe. Meet 17-year-old Becky. She was one of them, and she came in search of the European dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to look for a better life and a better future.

SOARES: But she was tricked by a Madam, a female Nigerian pimp who works for a trafficking ring.

She pays. He pays?


SOARES: But you're indebted to her. How much money do you need to her pay her back?


SOARES: But her journey is fraught. Along the way, she is taken prisoner and is raped at the hands of predators in Libya.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you're sleeping at night, they would just come, get up. Follow me. Sometimes they would have to put you in that same room where there other people there.

SOARES: Together with four other girls, Becky is put on a dinghy to Italy. Now he had the reality of this transaction is clear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to sleep with men. The highest they can pay you is (inaudible). They collate how many men to sleep with to get 200 euros.

[03:55:08] SOARES: Your whole life is to be tied to this debt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep paying, paying, and paying. It never gets finished.

SOARES: She escaped and is now being held by an anti-trafficking organization that has rescued more than 400 women and girls from prostitution. Like the others here, she has started Italian lessons and as a job as a ceramist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People, if you ask them they will not listen to you because they feel like living abroad is the best life ever. Everybody wants to be here. Everybody wants to see what it's like. But's not what they think it is.

SOARES: It's clear for all to see what it actually is. A new slave trade of human trafficking and human misery. Isa Soares, CNN northern Italy.

CHURCH: CNN's five-part freedom project series continues tomorrow. Isa Soares reports on a region in Italy known for its fertile farms, but life is not so plentiful for the migrants who work the fields. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a home, if you can call it that, for many of Italy's farming migrants. Figure dozen vary, but we have seen several hundred who lived here in squalid conditions and with poor sanitation. I meet this man who arrived in Italy in 2011. Six years on, he says he still endures the same demoralizing living and working conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working conditions are really hard, very difficult, because there isn't a normal contract. Two, there is no normal pay. Thirdly, the work is hard. These are the conditions that we live with here.


CHURCH: Join us Friday to see Isa's full report. That is at 6:00 a.m. London, 2:00 p.m. in Hong Kong part of the freedom project series all this week, only on CNN. And thank you so much for you company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on twitter. Love to hear from you. The news continues now with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. You're watching CNN.