CNN BREAKING NEWS
Powell's Meetings Overshadowed by Bus Bombing
Aired April 12, 2002 - 10:51 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And we want to try to get some reaction to these incidents of the morning here.
Joining us right now is Hanan Ashrawi, who is the spokeswoman who is quite close to Yasser Arafat and a spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority. And Ms. Ashrawi, you and I spoke just last week, and you were lamenting the plight of the Palestinians as we watched the video coming from the Israeli incursions by the military. What do you have to say this morning after this event this morning that has been claimed -- or the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has claimed responsibility for this bombing in Jerusalem?
HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATOR: To me, it doesn't matter what nationality and what religion. What matters is that this lethal situation has to be ended. We need serious intervention. There are massacres taking place. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'm amazed that the body counts (UNINTELLIGIBLE) are in such small numbers (ph) (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but you forget the hundreds and thousands of Palestinians who have been killed, and are still being killed in earlier attacks (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
HARRIS: Ms. Ashrawi, we're having some difficulty with the telephone line.
HARRIS: I'm sorry, Ms. Ashrawi, we're still having some difficulty with the telephone line. I want to give you a chance to make your statement, because...
ASHRAWI: That's why I am saying we need genuine intervention. Sharon's policies policies are bringing death to more people. Except when it happens to Palestinians, not only doesn't the world sit up and take notice, you don't have cameramen, you don't have people in Jenin and Nablus. We need to stop Sharon, his lethal policies are drawing blood on both sides. That is what I am saying. That is why we need serious intervention, international groups, and we need to end the occupation if there is to be security for both people.
HARRIS: Well, we are watching pictures right now which are the result of what is apparently a lethal policy being followed here by Fatah. What I would like to know now, is what is the meaning of the timing of this particular bombing? We sitting here on the verge of a meeting between Yasser Arafat and Secretary of State Colin Powell, which many people are hoping could produce some progress towards getting some sort of peace and some calm on both sides here, and yet the timing of this bombing would seem to undermine that.
ASHRAWI: Timing has more to do (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bring security (UNINTELLIGIBLE) organization (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I don't know who (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
HARRIS: Ms. Ashrawi, I'm sorry to cut you off. I want to give you again a chance to finish your statement. Your telephone line is getting rather low on us. If you can speak a little louder, perhaps we can hear the answer to that.
ASHRAWI: It's not low. We don't have land line (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Israelis (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but still, this -- I'm speaking on a cell phone, and I'm close to the president's compound, and therefore the lines are scrambled.
HARRIS: I understand.
ASHRAWI: But anyway, what I'm saying is that Sharon had legitimized the language of violence. Now, I don't know whether it is -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) organization's intentions (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or not. I'm sure that it is not (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
HARRIS: You make a point about Ariel Sharon, but don't events like this undermine any talk of peace or negotiations at the Palestinian side, in fact (ph)?
ASHRAWI: Yes, of course, the same way as the Israeli incursions and shelling and killings have been going on for months, and yet you tell the Palestinians to be calm. The Israeli occupation has to end. This is the source of the violence on both sides. These do not take place as a result of a government, this isn't (ph) by the Palestinians. But what happened to the Palestinian is a result of a government decision and actions by the army. There are hiding evidence, they are imposing a complete blackout, and then they blame the Palestinians when they react, and say that undermines peace. What undermines peace is leaving Sharon without accountability, with full impunity. The Israeli army wreaking havoc, destroying homes and lives. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the bloodshed stop on both sides. That's what I am saying, and to do that, you deal with the cause, with the occupation itself.
HARRIS: Ms. Ashrawi, will Yasser Arafat make a statement today condemning this event?
ASHRAWI: I have no idea. I haven't been able to get in touch with him, and I'm not the spokesperson for the PA, by the way. However, after the meeting, I'm sure he will try to make statements. It's impossible -- it is very difficult for him to connect with the outside world and, of course, physically it is impossible to reach him.
HARRIS: I understand. I understand. Hanan Ashrawi. We thank you very much -- Daryn, over to you. DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, continue our coverage now of the breaking news out of the Middle East, and once again send out a welcome to our viewers here in the United States and joining us around the world on CNN International. This latest news, yet another suicide bomber, this time a young woman, setting herself off and explosives near a bus in a central Jerusalem marketplace, killing six people, wounding another 65. Right now for the first time, we're able to get one of our correspondents live from the site near that bombing, and that is our Sheila MacVicar using our videophone technology. Sheila, what's the latest you can tell us?
SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you were saying, six people confirmed dead. One of them, of course, the suicide bomber. There is still some confusion here as to whether or not the bomber was, in fact, a young woman, or a young man who was dressed as a woman. You can understand that given the result of the blast, it has been very difficult for police and other investigators to determine precisely whom the bomber was. It was a very crowded bus stop.
Now, you may be able to see behind me -- behind the trees, where the bus is. It is a narrowing of the road. This is a very busy road, especially on a Friday afternoon. It is right next door to a very popular market, where people were shopping, trying to get themselves ready, doing their last-minute chores before the beginning of the Israeli Sabbath, which will begin here in just a very, very short while.
It appears that the suicide bomber detonated their device while waiting at the bus stop. As the bus pulled up, many people were crowded around. That was the moment the person chose to detonate the device, and of course, we have heard, as you have said, the very high cost of this blast. Six dead, including the bomber, at least 30 others wounded. We are told that three of those who have been wounded are in critical condition.
All of this, of course, comes just literally minutes after Secretary of State Powell had finished his meetings with Prime Minister Sharon, just as they were preparing to depart for a tour of Israel's northern border area with Lebanon and Syria. A message that the United States was intending to send to Israel's neighbors that it should -- that they should exercise caution and do nothing that would further inflame the situation here.
Now, down below on the streets, we have a situation where you can see that there are many people crowded around. The ambulance crews have gone in and done their work. The investigators have gone in and done their work. We've got police officials down below, and of course a large gaggle of both press and local people.
KAGAN: And Sheila -- Sheila, one other point. Claiming responsibility for this, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, that faction of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. Of course, complicating the situation of peace efforts by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is there in Israel today.
MACVICAR: The Israeli government's position with regard to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is that Al Aqsa is a creation of Fatah. The Fatah organization is controlled by Yasser Arafat, and therefore, it is Mr. Arafat himself whom they hold directly responsible for this blast.
Israeli officials have been here all afternoon since this last took place, talking to the media, talking to the police. And what they are saying is basically, look, this is a perfect example of why we feel obliged to pursue this policy. We are fighting a war against terror. What better example can you have? This shows, in their words, the lack of respect they say that Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have for the efforts of the United States and Secretary of State Powell to try to achieve a settlement here.
And they say, frankly, that they see that they have no other choice but to pursue their military strategy in the West Bank -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Our Sheila MacVicar reporting to us from just about the Mehane Yehuda marketplace in central Jerusalem, the site of this latest suicide bombing. An now that we're at the top of the hour, let's go ahead and recap the events as we know them so far.
This is yet another suicide bombing, the sixth suicide bombing in the last two weeks. Six people have been killed, as many as 65 other people were wounded. As you just heard Sheila reporting in the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a faction of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claiming responsibility for this latest attack, this the day before Secretary of State Colin Powell is set to meet with Yasser Arafat.
We learned from our Andrea Koppel that, as expected, Secretary of State Colin Powell has gone to the northern part of Israel -- that was a pre-scheduled visit -- to look at the situation on the border with Israel and Lebanon. No word yet -- or actually the White House come out and said as far as is planned now, it's still on for Secretary of State Powell to meet with Yasser Arafat tomorrow -- more on that in just a bit.
We continue to track the situation. Here is Leon.
HARRIS: Well, as we know now, just under about two hours ago, a suicide bomber blew herself up outside this bus, bus number 6 that at that market, and six are dead, 70 are wounded. Now, those are the barest of details we know right now.
Let's get our Bill Hemmer now to fill us in with a little more detail about what happened, because Bill was down there shortly after that explosion happened this morning. And Bill is with us from our Jerusalem bureau. Bill, walk us through exactly what you saw when you went down there.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here is what I saw, Leon. A bit past 4:00, physically I was inside of a taxicab riding up along Jaffa Road, heading out to our bureau here in Jerusalem. And it was quite remarkable, I thought, how calm the streets were. I literally observed a man operating a juice stand. There were no customers there, but he was just cleaning it out, going about his day. It's a beautiful, sunny day today here.
Further up as we passed that marketplace that was hit, I looked inside there, as we do just about every day when we go past. And numerous times, Leon, we have gone past that market, and frankly it was not very crowded. With the Passover holiday last week, a number of Israelis had essentially stayed inside. But with the holiday passing a week ago, and with things seemingly calmer on the streets, a number of Israelis have told us that, you know, they went about nine days with any sort of explosion inside of Israel Proper. But clearly, this is something that is going to continue to bring out essentially the concerns that so many Israelis have had about the security.
The thing about Jaffa Street, though, Leon, is this. This has been the target, frankly, of a number of suicide bombers over the past 18 days. If you remember this Sbarro restaurant, that pizza restaurant? It is only well within I'd say a quarter of a mile from this location here. A little further down the street in an eastern direction there. But Jaffa Street has been a location for numerous bombers and their targets. And again, we see it again today -- Leon.
HARRIS: Well, let me ask you this, Bill, and I'm not going to ask you to do any speculation. We just wonder if you had talked with anyone who has told you anything about that. The fact that the bombing did happen on that street, while Israeli military has been playing out these incursions and shutting down these different Palestinian camps and Palestinian areas. Any idea exactly what is going on and whether these bombers that are doing these things, the ones that we have seen and like this one this morning, you know, is there some concern that there may be something there within Israel, within Israeli territory and not necessarily just the Palestinian camps and refugee areas that folks there have got to be (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
HEMMER: Yes, listen, I can't offer much on that, Leon, but I will tell you that Hamas has said for some time, and again, al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for this incident today. But they have said for some time that despite military incursions, they will not stop and will not end their own incursion into Israel Proper. And again, we see it today, this afternoon.
In fact, when we were down there on the scene, Leon, the mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, was speaking with reporters. And he was saying to us quite under no uncertain terms that how many and how much longer will this go on? The mayor was talking with reporters. I want to play just a part of the interview and part of the comments he had there on the street on Jaffa Road a sort time ago -- here is the mayor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the meeting between Mr. Powell and Mr. Sharon. How has it changed the dynamic?
EHUD OLMERT, MAYOR OF JERUSALEM: To be very honest with you, it doesn't change anything. Had you asked Sharon yesterday, he would have told you then that the fact that the secretary wants to meet with Arafat will be an incentive for these events. He wasn't there, so he didn't say. But I know what he had to think and this is inevitable. If you can keep on doing this, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to meet with you, why not keep doing this? Why not continue? Why not another one and another one and another one? Why not?
QUESTION: Are you saying that because Mr. Powell is meeting Yasser Arafat, it makes bombings like this more likely?
OLMERT: I say, first of all, that the bombings took place before, and they will take place after. And that these meetings are not an incentive to stop them, but to continue them.
QUESTION: What do you think about the actual success or otherwise of what you are doing militarily in the West Bank, don't you look at this and wonder?
OLMERT: No, I don't wonder at all. No one promised (UNINTELLIGIBLE) up there one weeks or three weeks. Everyone said from the outset it will take a lot more time. This is a lot more difficult, and it has to take much more time before we can create a new reality. And this is something that has been tried for 10 days. Unfortunately, from day one of this operation, there was such a comprehensive reaction from the West that many of the Palestinians (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bombers were told that they can carry on. That is an encouragement. They are probably being in response to the Palestinians and the negative to the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Israel.
QUESTION: But do you not care that they -- that people who do this probably will continue to be encouraged possibly and won't go find their way through?
OLMERT: If they will be encouraged by the Palestinians, then this is another evidence of why the Palestinian leadership is not worthy of its responsibility. And one has to draw the necessary conclusions from this, something that we asked the international community to do, and unfortunately the international community is unable and unwilling to.
QUESTION: How are they fighting their way through, when you have got so many soldiers in the West Bank? How are they getting through?
OLMERT: Listen, not every point is sealed. And we always said that there is not -- the question is not why they find themselves. The question is how come many more didn't find themselves a way to come? And this is probably because (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
QUESTION: But it's not really a defensive shield that's going on here.
OLMERT: It's not sealed completely, and we never say that it will. But it reduces the number of such attempts, and this is something which is quite significant. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) terrible and unbearable. And I ask myself now, what is the secretary of state visiting Jerusalem today may think about this? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will reconsider their attitude towards the meeting with Yasser Arafat. Yasser Arafat is continuing his push for such suicide bombings in the heart of Israeli towns. He is not aware of the problem for anything. And the third thing, in spite of all of this, the secretary and the foreign secretary of Israel and the secretary of state the United States (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to meet with Mr. Arafat is certainly not an incentive to stop these suicide bombings, but to continue them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: Ehud Olmert, the mayor of Jerusalem, speaking to reporters on the scene there just several minutes ago. Again, the word that we have now, 6 dead, now hearing at least 65 wounded on the scene there. This following two days earlier on Wednesday earlier in the week on a bus, a commuter bus in the early-morning rush hour from Haifa down to Jerusalem, a suicide bomber there blew himself up on board that bus. Eight people died on Wednesday. Again, the latest numbers we have, six dead today.
Prior to that if you talked to Israelis on the streets, there had been a period of about nine days when no explosions went off or penetrated here in Israel Proper. And there was a feeling by some, they said, that the military operation, the incursions were working. They were preventing suicide bombers from penetrating Israel, and in a sense, they felt somewhat safer as a result of that. But clearly that feeling is erased today here in Jerusalem with that bomber, a woman detonating herself outside a marketplace area along Jaffa Road.
Gil Kleiman is an Israeli police spokesperson. He joins us by telephone. Sir, I understand you are still on the scene there. Tell us what you have for us, and if any of the numbers regarding casualties have changed, sir.
GIL KLEIMAN, ISRAELI POLICE SPOKESMAN: Well, the numbers haven't changed. We are still dealing with over 65 wounded. We have six dead. That doesn't include woman suicide bomber.
What we understand at this stage is that she evidently tried to enter into the market, but there was a large police presence at the market. And she turned around and approached the bus station. As the bus pulled, people were getting on and off the bus, she detonated here. Right now, we have no indication of her name and her identity. That's being checked on an investigative level.
Right now, the bodies have been taken out or are being transported out at the scene, and the bomb crew is getting done with its final forensic work along with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I would just like to correct (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
HEMMER: Sir, why has Jaffa Road -- go ahead. Please go ahead.
KLEIMAN: I was just going to say that we had a suicide bombing today, but this morning we also lost another border patrolman in a shoot out with terrorists. Theirs were killed. We had one border policeman dead. And like you said, two days earlier -- our last suicide bombing was back on April 1. It's the one before the bus in which another policeman was killed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) car bombers blew up. We have had over 37 suicide bombing incidents since the 22nd of January. And that you must remember that in spite of the suicide bombings, they have shooting incidents, bomb explosions, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from attacking.
HEMMER: I was referring to specifically any suicide bombers penetrating Israel Proper...
HEMMER: ... outside of the explosion in Haifa on Wednesday morning. Sir, why has Jaffa Road been such a target over the past 18 months? And why is it that despite the security that we have seen set up here that suicide bombers continue to penetrate your country?
KLEIMAN: It's impossible to close off the city 100 percent, any city. Jaffa Road is not the only place for an attack. We have policemen out in full force regardless of what the army is doing in the armies. The police have been on call for a year-and-a-half (UNINTELLIGIBLE) time. We lost a policeman, like I said, on April 1. We lost another policeman on March 30. We lost a policeman today. We lost two policemen two days in Haifa in the bus bombing.
So the police as far as being responsible for security, they are doing the utmost and (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But there is no way you can 100 percent (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a city, and there is no way you can get 100 percent clear of suicide bombers. Its' enough that one suicide bomber gets -- well, even if you're 99 percent successful, it's enough that one suicide bomber gets through and causes devastation that we hear today.
HEMMER: Do you agree with the opinion and the feeling of some Israelis that prior to Wednesday morning, there had been a sense of calm and reassurance with the military action under way?
KLEIMAN: I can't really say what civilians feel. I know what we are feeling in the Israel police. We have not lowered our level of mobilization, although we did have a lower level of warnings, the intelligence warnings with regard to this area. The army was (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But as far as tactically, our police force is a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) force. As a matter of fact, we even upped our mobilization at the beginning of week. We have returned to schools for children fearing that they might use that as an incentive to attack the children going to school after the Passover vacation.
So as far as the police is concerned, we have been out in full force for a year-and-a-half, and our work assumption is that this has been going on for a long time, and we'll continue it for some time. We don't think as far as we are concerned that they will let up as now. As far as our mobilization, we have had almost full mobilization. It's very difficult for us. We are a law enforcement agency with a dozen police offices responsible for the whole country. And it's like say it's a big bend in a very small security blanket.
So we have been for mobilization, and we'll continue as long as needed. HEMMER: Yes. And quickly, just to follow that up. Do you believe you can do more at this point in terms of security?
KLEIMAN: As far as the Israel police is concerned, I know that we (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We are working 12-hour shift instead of 8-hour shifts. We don't get any overtime in the Israel police. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it doesn't have overtime. We are working full out. We have had all of our courses canceled. We have everybody who is in police officer school or sergeant school or inspector school out on the street. I don't that think we can get more with the situation. We have -- we are doing the 100 percent effort, and we are giving 100 percent effort.
And we have, like I said, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), two days ago a policeman died, two policewomen or a policewoman, like I said, April 1, a policeman died, and Saturday (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We found this situation happened many, many times. The policemen on scene have been able to start shooting terrorists. They have been able to view the situation very quickly a very effective suicide bombing -- suicide terrorists shooting terrorists, not bomb, but shooting terrorists with M-16s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) our policemen and die (UNINTELLIGIBLE) . And we are practically (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
HEMMER: Gil Kleiman, a police spokesperson with the Israeli police force on the scene there in Jerusalem.
If you are just joining us, the numbers we have, 6 dead. 65 wounded, after a woman suicide bomber, linked to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, blew herself up outside of crowded marketplace standing near a bus stop. And again, there are wounded and casualties on the bus and on the street. It was the scene of a massacre earlier today, just about two hours before the sun went down, just about two hours before the Sabbath was to begin here in Israel.
There have been numerous reports on the scene, as we look at the map that locates the Mehane Yehuda market there right along Jaffa Road. If anyone knows this part of the world, you know that Jaffa Road is one of the main thoroughfares that cuts right through central Jerusalem. It has been a target in the past.
And what is quite interesting is that previous attacks along that road, the Israelis are quite quick to clean up the scene. If you take a ride or even a walk by some of the previous attacks, you can see new glass, you can see new facades put up in front of store fronts. We mentioned the pizza restaurant, the Sbarro restaurant. That has been all cleaned out and redone.
And it's a similar scene in Tel Aviv. Thirteen days ago, when a cafe was ripped apart on a busy Saturday night, just going there three days ago personally and walking through that area, they are still fixings things up and putting up windows and changing the infrastructure of that shop, and they say they hope to get it reopened again. The Israelis again have been very good about being very quick to try to and establish some sort of normalcy after we see acts like this today. I mentioned number of reporters did report to the scene there. One of them was CNN's Jason Bellini. He was there at the time, and Jason picked up some exclusive videotape. We are going to stop now and pause and listen to the videotape that Jason had a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Igor, it's Jason. There is one woman in front of me who is hurt. She is bleeding. I am trying to get a little bit closer to see what's going on. There was a loud explosion. It happened about four minutes ago.
What's the name of this market?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the name of the market?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mehane Yehuda market.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened around five minutes ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come with me! Come with me! Come with me!
BELLINI: Give me on more second here (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BELLINI: I just need another minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: Clearly from that videotape, you can see a number of the wounded and the injured passing by these cameras and from being down at the scene, it was quite a gruesome site with a number of people and wounded walking away at times, but others on gurneys, cuts and wounds all over their bodies. One man walked by literally with body parts clinging to the side of his face.
Let me get to Jason Bellini right now back at our bureau. Jason, you were there. We watched your images and pictures. Tell us what you were doing there, No. 1. What happened when it went off, and then quickly in the moments after that.
BELLINI: I was there finishing up a report, and the camera was in the hands of my translator at the time when we heard the blast. And everyone froze for just a moment. We were kind of looking around trying to figure out where it came from. And then we heard screaming, and then we heard yelling and then the rush of people going down the road. I didn't know which direction to go, because you really couldn't tell from -- where we were in the market, which is literally half a block away from the blast, it was hard to tell where the blast came from. So I picked a direction and it turned out we were going in the correction of the blast. And then people were running back towards us.
That's some of those images you saw before those that I gathered while I was on the phone with our international desk and was trying to hold the camera at the same time. I saw people running towards me. I saw the first of the walking wounded just before turning the corner. And then before I could -- at that point, I was on the phone with our international desk, still trying to figure out what was going on. I saw people screaming and yelling and people who were more severely wounded who were eventually able to go into the street and to see a bus there with the front portion of it -- the windows were all blown out.
At that point, we didn't know exactly the explosion was. My translator, he got some video that you may be seeing there that shows the area right next to the bus at the bus stop. I also spoke to some people immediately afterwards. And one young guy who had his leg injured. He was being helped by a civilian. She was pouring some water on his leg. I asked her to ask him, since she spoke Hebrew, what had happened. And he said he standing there right where -- at the bus stop when the blast occurred. He was there -- he was at that stop, but he couldn't even tell where the blast was coming from.
HEMMER: Jason, the description I was given by a number of eyewitnesses say that the woman was standing on the street on the curbside to the right side of that bus. And you can clearly see from the videotape that windows had been blown out, and the right side of bus is obviously charred. Do you know from talking with eyewitnesses, was the intent of the bomber to get on board that bus, or was she essentially lingering on the street outside?
BELLINI: No idea. I never spoke to anyone who actually met the person who was standing there or really noticed that person well. So I don't know. I don't have an answer to that one.
HEMMER: Yes. Did you notice how crowded that marketplace was today? And the reason I bring that up, because a number of days we have gone by that place and sometimes it's empty and sometimes it's bustling with people. Today it appeared to be toward the latter as people were getting fruits and vegetables and other food, getting ready for the Sabbath, which will begin here momentarily. Based on what you saw there, just how crowded was it at the time of that blast just past 4:00 local time?
BELLINI: It was pretty crowded and it was noisy. I remember that I was trying to figure out how I was actually going to do the on- camera portion of my story that I was trying to do, because it was so noisy and music playing, a lot of people walking around me. I kind of had to elbow my way through certain areas of the market. So it was very crowded there. And you mentioned earlier that the town itself has felt that Jerusalem itself has felt rather calm. Just before going to the market, I was on a street corner where there was a jazz concert occurring. There were about 100 people there. And I thought to myself, well, these people really -- things are feeling very normal here. People seemed very calm. People don't seem very worried, and then literally 20 minutes later, I was in the market when that bomb blast occurred.
HEMMER: Remarkable, too. Again, I think your reflections go through what a lot of us were feeling at the time along that road. That it appeared to be some sort of calm and normalcy perhaps did return to Jerusalem for a short time, but clearly that has been shattered now. Jason Bellini again on the scene there at the site of that suicide bombing a short time ago here in Jerusalem.
Before we go back to Atlanta, quickly, Leon, once again 6 dead, 65 wounded. Colin Powell is here meeting with Ariel Sharon earlier today. Tomorrow he goes to Ramallah to talk with Yasser Arafat.
And by the way, Leon, it was two weeks ago today when the military incursions began, and they started in Ramallah, taking apart the compound of Yasser Arafat, and still the troops and tanks are positioned there.
Again, a meeting tomorrow, Powell and Arafat one on one in Ramallah -- Leon.
HARRIS: That's right. Thank you very much, Bill. We'll get back to you in just a bit. Right now you mentioned Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is there in the region. Let's check with now with our Andrea Koppel who has been traveling with the group that has been covering the secretary's trip. And we understand, Andrea, that the secretary is going to have a statement to make any moment now.
Actually -- well, OK, I am sorry. But apparently we are having a problem getting that phone line established. But as I understand it, Andrea is in the room where Secretary of State Colin Powell is going to be making the statement which should happen any moment now. She is there in that room to cover it, and once that does get under way, we'll take you there live to get the remarks -- over to you, Daryn.
KAGAN: While we wait for Secretary Powell to make that statement, let's go back and check with our Sheila MacVicar, who is at the site of the bombing in that Jerusalem marketplace. And as I understand it, Sheila, you have the mayor of Jerusalem with you who earlier had some very strong comments on what has taken place and what Mr. Powell's next move should be.
SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, I am on the rooftop overlooking the site of this bombing at Jaffa Street above the market, the Mehane Yehuda Market. It's very crowded. I'm with Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert. He himself had just been in the market and had just been talking to people.
Mr. Mayor, tell me what happened? What did you see? EHUD OLMERT, MAYOR OF JERUSALEM: Well, the suicide bomber was trying to get through into a bus, which was standing just opposite the entrance to the bakery two meters on the side. And when she was not allowed into the bus, she just exploded herself and killed six passersby that were standing there at the entrance to the bakery, and 73 people were wounded and rushed into the hospitals.
That's just statistic (ph). There (UNINTELLIGIBLE) statistic (ph). There (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Again, six innocent civilians that came like me on Friday afternoon to buy (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for that traditional Jewish Friday meal. They came to buy the cakes and the bread for this traditional meal. I bought it, and I left 30 seconds before the explosion on the same spot. And they didn't leave, and they are now lying dead on the ground there, and this is terrible.
MACVICAR: This is not the first time there has been a suicide attack -- that is the horn for the beginning of Sabbath. That is the horn that marks the beginning of the Israeli Sabbath beginning tonight, the Jewish Sabbath just starting now.
Now, this is not the first time that there has been a suicide attack on this stretch of Jaffa Road. It's very narrow, very crowded and very busy. Tell me what the mood has been in Jerusalem over the course of the last number of days.
OLMERT: There was a beginning of a light spreading in the city. Last night, I went out to the central town and spent time with young kids in a coffee shop in commemoration of the terrible event which took place (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and in defiance of this attempt to break the spirit of our people. And it was very crowded. And the young kids, they came to me and they said, Mayor, what's going to happen here? And I said, let's not go in there, let's go out. Let's not break down, because there is no way that we can break down to this pressure of terror and suicidal attacks. And they were happy and they were drinking and dancing, and I went back home after midnight. And I was very happy, because I say to myself, it's starting to come again into life.
This afternoon, there are six people lying dead here. And I can't tell you how tragic and how difficult it is, because these people, they don't care about politics. They don't care about the, you know, big summit meetings. They want to leave. They want to go home. They want to meet their children and the parents. And they are lying dead, and 73 are going to spend weeks in hospitals, in operations and in recuperation, and their life is going to change forever.
MACVICAR: Mr. Mayor, let me ask you what you think, how you think this event will impact on the visit of Secretary of State Powell. He has come here. He says that he is trying to find a way to bring both Israelis and Palestinians to negotiations to find a political solution to this problem. How do you think that this will affect Israel's government at the moment and the impact that that could have?
OLMERT: I'll tell you something. I feel very bad for Secretary Powell. I have a natural respect for him, for what he represents as the secretary of state of the United States of America and for his own personal record going back many years as a great general and as a great fighter. He is representing a nation which is this noble goal of fighting terror. America is fighting terror, and there is no one who dedicated more to this war against terror than the president, President Bush, who spelled it in the most explicit terms. And yet, look at what happened. Tomorrow morning, Secretary Powell is going to meet with the greatest terrorist in the world and the guy who is held responsible by the president, by the administration for all of the suicidal attacks. This is not what I say, which is obvious, but this is what President Bush stated just a week ago in his famous address, when he said that Arafat brought it upon himself, that he hasn't done anything in order to stop terror.
It is incumbent upon him to stop this (UNINTELLIGIBLE). No, he didn't do it. He didn't stop it, and Secretary Powell of the United States of America is going tomorrow morning to sit with the people who is responsible for the killing of six of my people in the street this afternoon.
MACVICAR: So what you are saying then is, it is your view that Secretary Powell should not meet with Yasser Arafat, should not meet with the Palestinians?
OLMERT: I feel bad. I feel bad for Secretary Powell. I'm feeling bad because I can't reconcile this with this very firm stand of America in its war against terror, and I know that some people will say, and they may already that those who send these killers are trying to stop the peace process.
Now this is a mistake, and you must understand once and for all that the logic of this part of the world is different from your logic. Those who sent the terrorists today wanted to send the terrorists so that everyone in the world knows that Secretary Powell meets with Arafat in spite of the fact that there was a terrorist action in Jerusalem, that America is forced to reconcile with the terrorists, in spite of what they do.
This is the opposite of what some people think that it was done in order to (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Arafat is not going to make peace. He doesn't want to make peace. He wants to continue the terrorist action and to get away with it. And I'm afraid that Secretary Powell is going to give him that present tomorrow if he meets with him, in spite of what happens.
MACVICAR: Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, thank you very much for joining us this afternoon.
As we know, six people dead, more than 60 have been wounded. This latest suicide attack taking place in a very busy and crowded Jerusalem street. Back to you.
KAGAN: Sheila, thank you very much, and on the note of Secretary Powell, we do know he is in northern Israel, and hearing from our State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel who's traveling with him, he does expect to make a statement very soon, and of course we'll have that for you as soon as the Secretary speaks. Leon.
HARRIS: Okay, now as we have heard there from Mayor Olmert of Jerusalem and Sheila MacVicar was speaking with him there, this all happened just a little over two hours ago, there at the Mahane Yehuda Market on Jaffa Street, a very, very popular street and popular area of Jerusalem and there were quite a few people there in that market area as they neared the hour where the Jewish Sabbath was about to begin. Shoppers there doing their last bit of shopping in that open air market there and this bomb went off there, just outside the #6 bus, but what we've been understanding, what we've been hearing from the authorities there is that apparently, it was a suicide bomber who was a woman.
But now there may be some doubt as to whether or not it was a woman. Perhaps it was someone who was dressed as a woman. That has not yet been determined. There are so many different reports about this, and it's going to take us some time to whittle out some of the facts there.
Let's check in now with our Jerrold Kessel, who's been following this for us from our Jerusalem Bureau. Jerrold.
JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Leon, before we address the details of the bombing, I just want to bring you up to date with some latest news information we have about more fighting across the Lebanon border, and that is as you reported, where Secretary Powell has been visiting. We're not sure whether he's still up there on the northern border, Israel's northern border with Lebanon, or he's on his way back.
But, Secretary Powell flew up there by helicopter this afternoon after his meetings with Prime Minister Sharon, and what we're hearing in the last half hour, there has been more attacks, Israel says, by Hezbollah, the Hezbollah guerrillas attacking in the Shebaa Farms district.
That's a part of the occupied Golan Heights, Israel occupied Golan Heights, which the Hezbollah have been attacking repeatedly for the past ten days, there and northern Israel, and in response, the Israelis say they have unleashed artillery and aircraft fire at the suspected sources of the Hezbollah attacks.
This while, indeed, Mr. Powell was visiting the area. He had expressed a good deal of concern about that volatile situation up on the northern Israel border with Lebanon. And as to the suicide bombing here, the latest details we're getting, as Sheila MacVicar was reporting, confirming six people killed by the woman suicide bomber, 72 people treated in hospital, and the latest the police are saying is that the estimate was that the woman tried to walk into that crowded marketplace.
Now it is -- let me explain the situation. It is a series of narrow allies, if you like, a couple of small streets. Built around that is where all the fruit, vegetable, and fresh produce stores are, and there is a very heavy security detail there because that has been a target several times, not just in this current round of attacks by Palestinians inside Israeli cities, but way back for many years. There have been periodic attacks in this market. It is fairly well protected.
The police believe she tried to go into the market, saw the security detail, turned around and set off her explosives at the bus stop, and that's where most of the casualties and the fatalities occurred, outside as the bus drew up.
The claim of responsibility has come in telephone conversations down in Gaza, and also up to Hezbollah radio station in Lebanon, saying they got a call from people who say they're the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. They claim responsibility and they were the ones who first said that this was a woman bomber. The word they use now is it was a young woman, on the telephone conversation.
This has now been substantiated by the Israeli police, saying it was a woman bomber who carried out this latest attack. And of course now, this attack has all kinds of ramifications for the Powell Mission. Leon.
HARRIS: Jerrold Kessel in Jerusalem, thank you very much, particularly for confirming that bit of information about the identity of the bomber. Daryn over to you.
KAGAN: And we have more information now about Secretary of State Colin Powell. As we told you, he's in the northern part of Israel today, looking at the area that has also come under attack, near the Lebanese border.
Our Andrea Koppel, our State Department Correspondent, is traveling with the Secretary of State who, now as we understand it, does not plan to make an official statement.
However, Andrea was able to talk with Mr. Powell and he told our Andrea Koppel that he has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told Mr. Sharon that he has condemned today's latest attack, says it is a perfect example of why he believes the international community must be involved in this conflict. And, most significantly, told our Andrea Koppel as of right now, there are no changes to his schedule. So that would mean that tomorrow's meeting with Yasser Arafat is still a go.
With more information on this, and to continue our conversation, let's bring in our Senior White House Correspondent John King, also our Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, both of them in Washington, D.C. today.
John, let's start with you. Does that information that Andrea related to us from northern Israel go in step with what you're learning from the White House?
JOHN KING, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it does. The White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer saying he fully expects the Powell-Arafat meeting to go forward as scheduled tomorrow. We should also make clear though, we are told by other senior administration officials that even before this latest deadly attack in Jerusalem this morning, that the Secretary's message would be quite blunt.
We are told he will tell Mr. Arafat he is meeting with him, not because the White House believes Mr. Arafat has done anything at all to stop the violence, but simply because Mr. Arafat is the leader of the Palestinian people and because Secretary Powell is in the region, trying to bring about a cease-fire, and hopefully down the road a bit, a political dialog between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Secretary Powell, we also are told, will make quite clear to Mr. Arafat that the President does not trust him, that this White House holds him in great disfavor at the moment and is expecting immediate steps from Mr. Arafat to do more to curb the violence. The link of this group, the claim of responsibility from Al Aqsa only reinforces that message.
That is an organization tied to the Palestinian Authority. It is an organization put on the State Department terrorist list just a few weeks back, so again the administration dealing with frustration and immediate problems, even as this very delicate mission by Secretary Powell goes forward.
The White House reacting as well to the bombing; we are told the President was in the White House Situation Room, receiving his daily national security briefing when he was handed a note about the attack in Jerusalem.
The White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer a short time later telling reporters:
"The President condemns this morning's homicide bombing in Jerusalem. There are clearly people in the region who want to disrupt Secretary Powell's mission. The President will not be deterred from seeking peace, despite this attack. There are people who do not want peace. The President wants peace and will make every effort to seek peace. That is why the Secretary is in the region."
So criticism already within Israel, but the Powell-Arafat meeting scheduled to go forward. A great sense of frustration at the White House, the hope from this trip was a cease-fire between the Israelis and the Palestinians, that now a very distant hope. The Secretary doing immediate damage control, if you will, trying to bring about an end to the violence. No sense of optimism, indeed much more frustration again here at the White House.
KAGAN: All right, John, stay with us. Let' bring Bill Schneider into this conversation. Bill, I don't know if you were able to hear the Mayor of Jerusalem talking to our Sheila MacVicar just a few minutes ago.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
KAGAN: But when asked about the possibility of this meeting going forward, and it does look like it will go forward, he said he was embarrassed for Secretary of State Powell to be meeting after such an event would take place like today. SCHNEIDER: That's right. That is the reaction we're likely to hear from Israel, the Israeli government, their citizens and supporters that this has completely put the United States on the spot, that any meeting with Arafat will look like it's legitimizing the terrorists.
Some of the Israelis have taken pains to establish connections to these terrorists, and of course, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has ties to Mr. Arafat's organization. Clearly, this bombing was sending a message. It is an attempt to put the United States on the spot and to undercut Mr. Powell's mission. It's becoming more and more clear, certainly the United States wants peace, but neither side seems to want a cease-fire. The Israelis say they want to complete their mission of mopping up the terrorists who oppose them and are killing them. And now it looks like the Palestinians, even though they are being devastated by the Israeli incursion, they have a higher agenda than a peace -- than a cease-fire and that is their political demands.
KAGAN: I'm interested getting back to the plans of the administration here, Bill. Interesting to see the Bush Administration stay on track, keeping Secretary of State Powell keeping his appointment with Yasser Arafat. This is an administration, two points, one that we have seen waiver in its policy over the last two to three weeks, and also one that they've made no secret. There is intense debate going on within this Bush White House about what is the proper way to handle the situation.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, because they're trying to obey two imperatives. They want to stand by the security of Israel, which the United States is committed to, but they also want to be an honest broker in the Middle East, able to make a deal with both sides.
Again, right now after this terrible tragedy, it looks like the United States wants a cease-fire, but it's not clear that either the Israelis or the Palestinians do because sadly, tragically, they may be calculating, and it's a cold-blooded calculation, that violence gives them what they want.
The Palestinians have always felt that terror is a weapon in their hands. One of them called it the equivalent of the F-16s that Israel has, the suicide bombings to the Palestinians that is putting their agenda on the table.
And even though the Israeli retaliation in the West Bank cities and refugee camps is creating terrible human devastation, the Palestinians also know that it's isolating Israel in world public opinion, and that a lot of people around the world are extremely critical of Israel. And it has also gotten the United States to shift course last week, when President Bush began openly criticizing Israeli policy.
KAGAN: Well, and let's look forward to this meeting tomorrow between Yasser Arafat and Secretary of State Powell. Symbolically, it will be important in light of today's events, and yet both men will come into this meeting basically with empty pockets. Yasser Arafat can't come in with a promise of peace. He saw what happened today and with the claim of responsibility by the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigade, and then Secretary of State Powell earlier today, his meetings with Prime Minister Sharon really produced nothing and no promises. So what could possibly come of this meeting?
SCHNEIDER: Very hard to say. I think the Palestinians know what they want to come out of this meeting. They want Secretary Powell to acknowledge that a political process will now begin, and it will be as Powell once said, instantly linked to a cease-fire. That will be a victory for the Palestinians, because they want to link the two.
Essentially, what they're demanding is a concession for terrorism. They're saying, we will stop the terrorist bombings if and when a political process begins that can address our demands, which are the demands for: 1) an end to Israeli occupation; and, 2) negotiations toward a Palestinian State.
Simply making that linkage will be a victory for Yasser Arafat. It's very clear that's what he wants to come out of that meeting. It's not clear what the United States wants. They clearly want a cease-fire. The question is, how much are they going to give Arafat in order to get some kind of commitment or at least gestures in the direction of a cease-fire?
KAGAN: Well at this point, if nothing else, it will look like they're at least going to give that meeting, still a go. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Yasser Arafat still set to meet tomorrow. Bill Schneider in New York, Bill thank you. Leon.
HARRIS: This is a fascinating little (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we're watching here unfold.
KAGAN: No question about it.
HARRIS: Yes, it's fascinating to see how all of this is unfolding and the thinking right now about how this is going to affect the meeting that Colin Powell had tomorrow, which is as you say has not been called off.
Let's go over to -- back to Jerusalem right now, where Bill Hemmer is now joined by our Wolf Blitzer to talk some more about all of this and more. Hello guys.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Leon, hello again from Jerusalem. Wolf has just arrived, and what an event this was to come to the country, like so many reporters who report on the scene here. Events never seem to stop essentially. You've been here dozens of times, though, and I'm curious to know what you notice immediately in terms of impressions initially about the differences this time than previous.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I landed at Ben Gurion Airport, Bill, just as this bombing occurred here in Jerusalem, and by the time I went through customs, it took a little while. It didn't take very long. Drove up to Jerusalem from Ben Gurion Airport and the bottom line is, you get to Jerusalem and the city is empty.
It's deserted, especially as you know, after a bombing like this. There is no doubt that people are frightened. People are scared immediately when they hear words about another suicide bombing right in the heart of Jerusalem, Mahane Yehuda, the open air marketplace, they immediately rush to their homes. They want to stay in the security, the comfort, the safety of their homes.
HEMMER: I was remarking last hour just how many Israelis told us earlier in the week, prior to the bombing in Haifa on Wednesday, that they felt somewhat, some of them a sense of greater security, and they seem to be thinking and saying that the military operation underway was working in terms of containing suicide bombers here in Israel. Clearly, that's America's change now.
BLITZER: And what you keep hearing from Israeli government officials, police spokesmen, first protectors if you will, is that while they think they're doing a good job in slowing down the number of suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, they admit there's no 100 percent guarantee that this operation that's underway now in the West Bank could go on forever. But there's no certainty it's going to eliminate every conceivable terrorist action.
HEMMER: Colin Powell is here. Let's talk about the diplomatic angle, the political implications here. There is now talk in some circles anyway that Colin Powell should not go to Ramallah tomorrow and sit down with Yasser Arafat. He says the meeting will still be on. Can he afford not to go to Arafat and deliver a stern message?
BLITZER: If he doesn't go, he's going to upset all of those moderate Arab leaders with whom he met earlier in the week, trying to set the stage to get them to lean on the Palestinian leader to make the kinds of statements, to take the kinds of actions President Bush has been pressing for.
So he risks alienating the President of Egypt, the King of Jordan, the King of Morocco, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, as well as the European allies, all of whom want Colin Powell to be intimately involved with Yasser Arafat in trying to do something. The alternative is clearly upsetting to the Israelis. The Israelis don't want him to go meet with Arafat, but Powell finds himself in an extremely difficult situation.
HEMMER: You were in Washington yesterday. We were here on the air for about two hours, upon Colin Powell's arrival. One of the things we were talking about is how the U.S. is trying to mediate essentially in the Middle East conflict for decades quite honestly, and how much or lack of success they have had here.
Can you think of a diplomatic mission in recent memory that has had so much pressure and so much attention as the one facing Colin Powell right now?
BLITZER: It's an enormous challenge he faces. The only thing I can remember is the final days in March of 1979 when Jimmy Carter came to Jerusalem, then to Cairo to wrap up the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty, and it was touch and go. I remember I was on that plane with the White House Press Secretary Jody Powell (ph). He basically gave a briefing suggesting it was all over.
BLITZER: Carter was going to go home empty handed. He went Cairo one last time, met with the late Anwar Sadat, made the deal and, of course, the rest is history.
But mistakes then were enormous, because that was only a few years after the Israeli-Egyptian War of October 1973. That was a delicate, diplomatic mission that he succeeded in. This is going to be at least as difficult, if not even more difficult.
HEMMER: That's right. One of the other things that we've been talking about here and I'm curious to get your perspective on this, as just arrived from Washington. We're seeing the images here today and certainly there will be a lot of pressure in that meeting tomorrow regarding Yasser Arafat. Do you get a sense of the White House, though, that some are growing impatient with Ariel Sharon, knowing that the military incursions continue, while Colin Powell is already on the ground here?
BLITZER: I get the sense there are different schools of thought in the Bush Administration, some much more sympathetic to the Israelis, to the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, than others. Colin Powell was among those in the State Department traditionally, very sensitive to U.S. images in the Arab world and among the European allies at the United Nations.
But there are plenty of others inside the White House at the Defense Department especially, who see perhaps elements, perhaps elements of a double standard. The United States gets tough dealing with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, goes to war in Afghanistan.
The Israelis, they say, have a similar problem and they should be allowed to go after the terrorist infrastructure just as the United States did. And, of course, the position has widespread support among many Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
So, the President finds himself in a delicate, very, very precarious political environment right now.
HEMMER: Quickly before we go back to Atlanta, some sources here within the Israeli government tell me that Colin Powell will not leave here empty handed. Given the events on the ground, what is it that Ariel Sharon is willing to give at this point?
BLITZER: The bottom line is he, at least, had hoped to get a cease-fire.
BLITZER: And after this, it's problematic whether he can, although the Palestinians and the Israelis, as you know Bill, have an incentive in trying to help and make sure he doesn't leave empty handed, because they have so much riding on good will from the United States.
HEMMER: We'll talk about these issues again at great length during the coming days. Wolf Blitzer, welcome to Jerusalem.
BLITZER: Thank you.
HEMMER: Much different scene than before.
BLITZER: Very different.
HEMMER: Back to Atlanta now. Here's Leon once again. Leon.
HARRIS: All right, thank you very much gentlemen. Bill and Wolf, you are visitors there. Let's talk now with some people who have actually lived there and lived through all of this.
The Seeds of Peace Program, this is a program that brings teenagers from regions in conflict, and one of these regions is the one we've been watching this morning, the Middle East, and bring them to the United States and force them to spend time together and learn about each other, and perhaps have some respect for each other and then carry those seeds of peace, if you will, back to their native lands.
Two veterans of that program now join us this morning from New York. Bushra Jawabri is a 20-year-old Palestinian. You see here there. She joined Seeds of Peace at age 13. And also with us is Koby Sadan. He is a 21-year-old Israeli. He has been involved with the program since 1994, and as I understand it, Koby since you're up on the screen right now, as I understand it, you have actually just -- you recently served in the Israeli Defense Forces?
KOBY SADAN, SEEDS OF PEACE: That's right. I was released one and a half months ago.
HARRIS: Okay, were you involved in anything like what we've been seeing happen with these incursions?
SADAN: No, I wasn't. Luckily, I was not stationed in a combat unit. I was in the Foreign Relations Division.
SADAN: I had the luck not to be there.
HARRIS: Okay. I have had the advantage of being able to watch the both of you coming in on our satellite feeds. You're coming in on two separate satellite signals here in Atlanta, and throughout the morning, I've been watching the two of you and watching your reactions to the coverage. And I want to say that, at least in my eyes, your faces and the emotions you expressed, your reactions seem to me to be identical. I want to know if your thoughts were as well.
Bushra, what were you thinking about what you saw this morning? BUSHRA JAWABRI, SEEDS OF PEACE: I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) depressing to see innocent civilians, whether they're Israelis or Palestinians being killed, and seeing innocent Israeli civilians killed today in a bomb, is frustrating and is depressing, and I think that should prove to Mr. Sharon that a military action in the Middle East isn't a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And I think that Mr. Sharon thinks that by killing innocent civilians, Palestinians, he would destroy the infrastructure for terrorism. Well, I think the real infrastructure is Palestinian desperation and rage, and it's frustrating. It's very sad to see innocent civilians killed.
HARRIS: Koby, what were you thinking?
SADAN: Well, I think very similarly. It is frustrating. It just reminds me, two weeks ago when I was home, going through all that every day hoping and wishing that I'll be back home that night. Every time I go on a bus wishing that I get off the bus, and basically accepting the fact that fate might have it that I will not get off the bus, and that is the life that we have right now in Israel.
But it is, it gives me a lot of hope when I am with Bushra, and I spend time with Bushra, and when I hear Bushra speak about the situation and hearing her condemning these terrorist attacks herself, and she in my eyes represents the silent majority of the Palestinian people who do not agree, and who do not take part in terrorist activities.
But they don't get enough coverage, and the Israeli people as well as the Palestinian people think of the other side as determined to kill the other side. But I think, I have learned from Seeds of Peace that the majority of people is silent, but is also working, would like to live at peace, would like to live in coexistence.
JAWABRI: May I answer that?
HARRIS: Yes, please go ahead, Bushra.
JAWABRI: Even though in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it might seem that many Palestinians and many Israelis do not want peace and they're happy with the killings that have been going on for over a year and a half now, as Koby has just said, we do represent a majority, a silent majority, but we are not silent. And I, like for example, 30 Palestinians and Israelis met at the Seeds of Peace center in Jerusalem with Mr. Zinni, but unfortunately this kind of a coexistence didn't have enough coverage by the media.
HARRIS: Well let me ask you -
SADAN: I would like to add something to that as well. It's not only that we are not silent. We are demanding to sit at the negotiation table. We are demanding to have international intervention in the sense of telling Mr. Arafat and telling both sides that violence must stop, that terrorism will not work, and getting them to sit next to each other and speak to each other, and we would like to be there too to let them see that we as a Palestinian and an Israeli have been able to live together in coexistence and to be friends.
HARRIS: Well, it is certainly a hopeful sign, to see the two of you sitting side-by-side and saying these things together. But what we have been hearing, we here at this network, we've been interviewing people who are still closer to the issue back home from where you come.
They say that all of this action that we're watching is doing nothing but creating the next generation of those who will be doing things like wearing bombs to bus stops. What is it going to take to keep that next generation to not do that and to not sprout that sort of anger and hatred and perpetuate all of this? What is it going to take?
SADAN: Well, we are the next generation. Look at us, and we can sit with each other and talk about peace and be willing to actively take part in making peace. And programs such as Seeds of Peace, who have been taking us since we were 13 and following us all the way until today when we are 20 and 21, and teaching us that -- teaching us the tools of talking to each other, sitting next to each other and being able to build toward a future together. And that is what will make the next generation believe in peace and be able to live with each other in coexistence.
JAWABRI: And I have to mention that over 2,000 seeds now, Palestinians and Israelis have been in touch since Day One of the intifada and have been helping each other to deal with the situation in a positive way.
HARRIS: Well, we sure do wish you two the very best, and we'll be watching to see how things play out from here. Bushra Jawabri and Koby Sadan, thank you very much for your time.
SADAN: Thank you.
JAWABRI: Thank you.
HARRIS: Best of luck to both of you. Daryn.
KAGAN: It's nice to see one seed of peace, I mean one seed of hope in what has been a very discouraging morning of developments. Let me go back to Jerusalem now and that's where we're going to find Bill Hemmer. Bill.
HEMMER: Yes, Daryn, thanks again from Jerusalem, as the sun goes down here, another deadly day of violence throughout the Middle East. I want to talk more about the suicide bombing and the implications thereof.
Emmanuel Nahshon is a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He is my guest here now this evening live. What is the message the Martyr Brigade is telling the Israeli government when it hits the Israeli people in the center of Jerusalem, two hours before the Sabbath is to begin? EMMANUEL NAHSHON, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY: Well, I think that there is a double message. There is a message to Israel and there is also a message to the United States and Secretary of State Powell, because in effect, the Al Aqsa Brigades belong to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, and I think that this is a direct message coming from Yasser Arafat to Colin Powell, telling him exactly how he views the situation here. What is his position, and his message unfortunately is a message of death and violence.
HEMMER: You hang this solely on Yasser Arafat?
NAHSHON: We do hang this on Yasser Arafat. It is an organization that belongs to his movement, and there is no reason to think otherwise.
HEMMER: Do you think then that Yasser Arafat has the ability, and this has been a question that has been ongoing for the better part of a year and a half, does he have the ability in your estimation to tell the Martyr Brigade to tell Hamas to have complete control over the suicide bombers that come to Israel?
NAHSHON: Well, what we are asking from Arafat is not necessarily 100 percent results immediately, but there are certain things that we're asking of Arafat that he doesn't want to do. When we ask Arafat to speak publicly in Arabic to his own public and tell them, stop the bombing, stop the violence, this does not imply anything that he has to do on the ground. It's simply speaking. This is really a minimum request and he will not comply.
HEMMER: Will Colin Powell go to Ramallah tomorrow and sit down with Yasser Arafat? Do you think that meeting should not happen?
NAHSHON: Well, we trust the wisdom of Secretary of State Powell. Secretary of State Powell is a friend of Israel. He's a friend of peace, and I'm sure that he will know best and he will find the best way in order to promote peace in Israel.
HEMMER: Can he afford not to meet with Arafat?
NAHSHON: Well, I wouldn't like to speculate on that, but obviously from our point of view, he has a mandate for peace and would like to do the utmost in order to reach peace.
HEMMER: Emmanuel Nahshon, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson, thanks for your time today.
NAHSHON: Thank you.
HEMMER: Once again, the numbers we have, six dead, at least 65 are wounded. The violence does continue here in the Middle East. So does our coverage in a moment here, live in Jerusalem. Back in a moment.
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