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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Will Ceasefire Last?
Aired November 21, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much.
Good evening, everyone, from Jerusalem. What an extraordinary week it has been. And what a dramatic night it is. A new day here. We're entering day nine of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Ad there is a ceasefire. When words spread of the agreement, this is what it sounded like in Gaza City.
(CHEERS AND SHOUTING)
People took to the streets. Massive traffic, crows as people celebrated -- Gazans celebrated what they saw as a victory for Hamas and for Gaza.
The question tonight, will the ceasefire hold or will of these cheering end in rockets once again crisscross over the borders? Will all these people once again take cover in their homes? Will the celebrations end and the fear return?
For U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egypt President Mahmoud Morsi -- Mohamed Morsi, who pushed the ceasefire, the hope is, of course, the deal will stick. The agreement calls for a discussion on a number of issues including the freedom of movement for Palestinians in and out of Gaza. And a commitment by Israel not to target militants within Gaza. Also commitment from militant groups in Gaza, Hamas included, to halt rocket fire into Israel.
Again, a discussion, nothing is a done deal. Over the next hour we're going to look at the negotiations still happening now. We'll also hear from the spokeswoman for the Israeli Defense Forces and for the leader -- from the leader of Hamas.
Plus our reporters on the ground a whole lot more. We begin with a look at what has transpired over just the last 24 hours. And it's remarkable there's a ceasefire at this hour when you consider how this Wednesday started off. Take a look.
COOPER (voice-over): At midday no sign of a truce yet when a city bus is bombed in Tel Aviv. At least two dozen people are wounded. Israeli Police say terrorists left two bombs on the bus and fled. Only one exploded. Hamas praised the attack near the headquarters of the Israeli Defense Forces but the group didn't claim responsibility. Farther south, an Israeli home was hit by a rocket. Room after room left in ruins.
According to the Israeli military, more than 60 rockets were fired from Gaza today with more than 40 landing in southern Israel. The others were intercepted.
Across the border in Gaza several large explosions throughout the morning and afternoon. A hundred strikes confirmed by Israeli authorities today before the ceasefire. The skyline of Gaza City covered in smoke. The city on edge.
On some streets buildings were turned to rubble. CNN's Arwa Damon got a look at what's left behind.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There used to be a small fairly well-known shop here that actually has branches throughout the city, selling wedding dresses, party dresses. There is a bouquet lying back there in there amidst the rubble. It appears that in this case the target of the strike was the police station behind it.
COOPER: But this evening, local time, after intense hours of negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi announced the ceasefire.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States welcomes the agreement today for a ceasefire in Gaza, for it to hold, the rocket attacks must end, a broader calm return.
COOPER: A short time later in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks with reporters.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (Through Translator): I know there are those who expect an even more intense military response and that may perhaps be needed. But at this time the right thing for the state of Israel is to exhaust this opportunity to obtain a long-term ceasefire.
COOPER: Throughout Gaza celebratory gun fire rings out. The leader of Hamas remains defiant.
KHALED MESHAAL, HAMAS LEADER (Through Translator): Israel, in all its goals, has failed, thanks to God.
COOPER: And on the streets of Gaza City, massive crowds and traffic, the tension seemingly gone as people celebrate the ceasefire and leave their homes for the first time in days.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I haven't seen this many people in the streets of Gaza for quite some time. You can hear the mosques blaring, the horns honking, people whistling, cheering.
COOPER: And let's go over to Gaza City right now. Ben Wedeman is there along with CNN's Arwa Damon, reporting.
Ben, I assume it's quieted down. It's now 3:00 am there. Just a little past 3:00 a.m. there. Let's move the story forward. What happens now?
WEDEMAN: Well, really, the next sort of 24 hours is critical. We can still hear the drones overhead. The Israeli troops are still on the borders of Gaza. If the ceasefire holds, if there are not major violations, and the Israeli military has expressed the realization that there may be some violations, but if nothing major occurs, then they will be able to start actually talking about some of the details that were laid out in the agreement that was worked out between Hamas and Israel, with the help of the Egyptians. Things like the opening up the crossings, easing of travel restrictions.
Certainly Hamas is going to welcome the fact that they will no longer be moving targets, whenever they step outside their houses here in Gaza. So it's really -- if we can get through a period of relative quiet and peace, then they can start working on something a little more permanent than just 24 hours of relative quiet -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Arwa, I can hear in the skies behind you, I can hear those drones still overhead, a sound we've heard a lot over the last eight or nine days. You've spoken with a lot of people today. There's a lot of people this evening. How did they see it?
DAMON: Well, there is, of course, a sense of relief understandably even if the ceasefire does not hold, that for the time being they are able to get out. We were down in the streets amongst them. Many of them celebrating, they were saying, what they were calling Hamas victory, a victory for the Palestinians. Others, though, saying that they were simply out celebrating because they could. Because they spent so many days cooped up.
There were entire vehicles with children packed inside them. One father saying that his kids had begged him to take him out because they'd spent so much time indoors and just an overwhelming sense of relief that at least for one night, for now, people can get some sleep and be at ease with the knowledge that at least for now, there's not going to be that unexpected strike near their home.
COOPER: Ben, you and I have talked about this a lot over the last couple of nights about the level of support that Hamas has among people in Gaza. Talk about that a little bit and -- the decision made tonight, the ceasefire. How does that bolster Hamas?
WEDEMAN: Well, it bolsters Hamas in the sense that they were able to, A, confront Israel. To really, you know, provide a military challenge to Israel and emerge from it without leaving large swaths of Gaza in rubble. What we saw four years ago, they had another confrontation with Israel. Israel sends in the ground troops. It was a 22-day bruising war with 1,400 people killed.
After that, there was a good deal of resentment against Hamas for sort of getting Gaza into that sort of mess. This time around the mess has been avoided in relative terms compared to the last four years, and Hamas can say, as a result of this war, we have something to show. An easing of the crossings. An end to Israeli military operations and air strikes within Gaza. These targeted airstrikes.
I'm not talking about the campaign of bombing over the last eight days. So they do have something to show for the suffering that has happened here and that is something that will bolster their position.
Is Hamas popular? Not necessarily. There are a lot of people who benefit from it, but many Palestinians here in Gaza really do feel that Hamas is really, by no means, a democratic regime and it's a regime that really doesn't have much tolerance for any sort of descent -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And we've certainly -- we've certainly seen that.
Arwa Damon, Ben Wedeman, stay with us.
I want to bring in Avital Leibovich, the spokeswoman for the Israeli Defense Force. She's joining me here in Jerusalem.
I'm curious to know your thoughts on this ceasefire. Obviously, the devil is in the details and you want to see what's going to happen over the next 24 hours. But for now, the Israeli troops that had mass on the border, are they staying there?
AVITAL LEIBOVICH, SPOKESWOMAN, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: They're staying there only for the night. Tomorrow we'll have an assessment, operational assessment, and then we'll decide what to do with these soldiers. Maybe some of them will be sent home. Others will be staying just so we can see if the situation stabilizes.
COOPER: If it does stabilize for 24 hours, do you know and can you comment on whether those drones will continue to fly?
LEIBOVICH: The drone is a totally different issue. It has something to do with intelligence. But we won't attack Gaza since we are respecting the ceasefire. However, if a launcher, with a launching squad, will attempt to target us, we will have to target that launching squad.
COOPER: There have been some rockets fired toward Israel. How many since the ceasefire went into effect?
LEIBOVICH: Just 9:00 this evening, Israeli time, five rockets have been fired. Two of them were intercepted by one of our Iron Dome batteries. And three have landed in Israel.
COOPER: And how do you view that?
LEIBOVICH: We try to take it in proportion and see that this is just the beginning of the ceasefire. And this is why we haven't responded. As I said before, the next coming weeks will really determine where exactly are we heading.
COOPER: So even though there have been five rockets fired beyond the Iron Dome response, you haven't responded to try to take out where those rockets were fired from.
LEIBOVICH: Right. We are practicing our restraint.
COOPER: In terms of Hamas, what does this mean for Israel's relationship with Hamas?
LEIBOVICH: Well, first of all, it suffered a harsh blow in this operation. We targeted quite a large part of its arsenal, especially the Fajr-5, the same Iranian-manufactured missiles that rockets that's reached all the way to the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem area. And I believe that Hamas was very much surprised with our intelligence capabilities since many of these launchers were hidden underground or in civilian places like the soccer stadium that we targeted one of the nights, or media buildings had some terrorists in them and so on.
So the combination of the surprise effect, the good intelligence, and the very accurate targets, I think caused quite a big shock to Hamas.
COOPER: Obviously Israel in the past has dealt with the Palestinian Authority. Israel does not recognize Hamas, Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist.
Can you foresee a day where that changes? Where Israel sits down with Hamas or even recognizes Hamas?
LEIBOVICH: Well, this is really political echelon but I don't see a near time of -- you know, a day that will be in the near feature for this kind of reconciliation.
COOPER: There are clearly a numbers of Israelis who wanted more of an operation. Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about that. What would a ground operation have looked like from the IDS perspective?
LEIBOVICH: A lot of forces, maybe even tens of thousands, going deeply into the rocket area where the storage is, looking for those tunnels exactly because we have bombed something like 140 tunnels in this current operation. Out of 400. So going deeply into those places, in those civilian areas where the weaponry and the ammunition is really hidden there. This is something you can deal only with ground forces.
COOPER: Do you have any idea how many Fajr-5, Fajr-3 rockets, these more sophisticated rockets, that Hamas, the Islamic Jihad have gotten hold of? How many they still have left?
LEIBOVICH: A small number, to our estimation. However, keep in mind --
COOPER: Dozens or?
LEIBOVICH: Yes. Even less than dozens, but keep in mind that Iran will try to smuggle in more rockets of this kind since we have damaged this arsenal.
COOPER: So you have no doubt that, even under the ceasefire, that Hamas and other groups will try to get more rockets brought in?
LEIBOVICH: I hope it didn't happen. I hope Hamas will respect the ceasefire. But it is an option. It's happened in the past many times. But we have to be alert for this kind of option.
COOPER: Avital, appreciate your being with us. And I thank you very much. I know it's late. It's been a long day. Thank you very much.
We have a lot more ahead. The political leader of Hamas says his group was not behind today's bus bombing in Tel Aviv.
Christiane Amanpour had an exclusive interview with the Hamas leaders in Cairo. She pressed him about whether he would ever, his group would ever be willing to recognize Israel's right to exist. What he said next.
COOPER: That was the scene in Gaza City earlier today before the ceasefire was announced. Also today a bus bombing in Tel Aviv wounded more than 20 people. At least two bombs planted on the bus. Only one of those bombs actually detonated. The attack happened near the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Christiane Amanpour had an exclusive interview with the Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, in Cairo, and asked him about that specific attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, no. I'm asking you, did Hamas claim responsibility? Did Hamas do that?
MESHAAL (Through Translator): Not Hamas, not other people from -- not Hamas. No one can announce except those who committed. Not me. The lesson is what matters. What led to this? Who created the circumstances that lead to this operation? It is Netanyahu with his crimes and killing the kids of Gaza and the continuity of aggression. He created such ramifications. Everywhere. This could lead to any kind of reaction as a retaliation for what happened in Gaza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Reporters in Gaza City said that when the bombing was announced from loud speakers in mosques there was some celebratory gunfire heard throughout the city in Gaza City.
I spoke with Christiane Amanpour about her interview with the Hamas leader.
COOPER: Christiane, you repeatedly pressed the head of Hamas about whether or not they would ever recognize Israel. He gave a lot of talking points. You really pressed him on it. This is finally what he -- what he had to say. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You say that you would accept a two-state solution but that you will not recognize Israel's right to exist.
MESHAAL (Through Translator): I accept Israel the state of 1967. How can I accept Israel. They have occupied my land. I need recognition. Not the Israelis. This is a reverse question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What do you make of what he said, Christiane?
AMANPOUR: Well, I kept pushing him. I kept saying, you know, you say this is a reverse question but it is the question. Recognition of Israel. And after several times he said, look, when there is a peace agreement then the Palestinians can decide themselves. That was his final point on that, which I thought was really interesting and it was interesting to hear the head of Hamas say that. And he has become quite the figure at the moment.
You know, Anderson, far from being isolated as the U.S. and Israel had always wanted to do, now with this Muslim Brotherhood spring, really people have been beating down the doors throughout this war to go in and stand shoulder to shoulder with Hamas. So they've come out of this with somewhat elevated stature.
COOPER: And how does that change the dynamic, you think? In particular with Mahmoud, with the Palestinian Authority, which is the group that Israel and the United States has been trying to deal with and as you said, trying to politically isolate Hamas by not recognizing?
AMANPOUR: Well, I think this must be a nightmare for the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas because all the attention has been on Hamas in Gaza and Khaled Mashaal has been here with a seat at the table, obviously talking through the Egyptians to the U.S. and to Israel, but nonetheless a seat at the table.
I think what's really interesting is if indeed the parameters of this ceasefire include a lifting of the blockade of Gaza, an easing of restrictions, trade and commerce, travel restrictions, and by -- for the Israelis if it results in a lack of rockets coming in to Israel, no more rockets being fired into Israel and no more resupply of weapons to Gaza, then perhaps the fact of the matter is and it looks like Hamas is a force to be reckoned with, even after this eight days or more of war.
COOPER: And negotiations, if the ceasefire holds for the next 24 hours, negotiations are to begin again for these next steps.
AMANPOUR: Yes, obviously, this is sort of a ceasefire but there are many more things to be built on it. And the interesting thing again here which didn't happen before is that Egypt, the leading player in getting this ceasefire is a guarantor of the ceasefire. That was something that Israel wanted and Hamas wanted as well. But Israel and Israeli officials told me in Jerusalem that they didn't want to go into another nebulous ceasefire.
They wanted real partners, as they said, to guarantee and if there is a problem and if they think somebody has been violating it, they can go and talk to the guarantor. So that, I think, is a bit of a change as well.
COOPER: All right. Christiane Amanpour, appreciate talking to you tonight. Thank you.
Well, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned there could be additional military action if the ceasefire does not lead to long-term security. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says a broader ceasefire and long- term solutions are necessary to address the underlying causes of conflicts.
Joining me now live is Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
Michael, we've heard from a lot of Israelis tonight, particularly in the border regions, along the Gaza border, who are very concerned and very doubtful about Hamas's ability long-term to maintain the ceasefire, to live up to the agreements and to make progress on these agreements.
How can you guarantee that Hamas will simply not use this and other groups, like the Islamic Jihad, as an opportunity to rearm, to restock their supplies of the some of these sophisticated weapons that we've seen them having?
MICHAEL OREN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Well, first of all, it's good to be back with you, Anderson, as always. Well, you can understand some Israelis are incredulous, a little skeptical about the ceasefire. They've been living under weekly if not daily rocket attacks from Hamas since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. And yes, they have seen various ceasefires, and seeing those being violated again and again by Hamas.
Prime Minister Netanyahu took a very courageous decision. President Obama asked him to take a risk on the ceasefire and Prime Minister Netanyahu, out of respect for the president, out of appreciation for everything America has done for Israel during this conflict, particularly in supporting the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, Prime Minister agreed to that ceasefire.
Now there are no guarantees. Israel will always reserve the right to defend themselves should Hamas start shooting at us again. But we have no desire for conflict with the Palestinians of Gaza. We want to live in peace with out neighbors amongst ourselves. And if Hamas does not fire at us, Hamas has nothing to worry about from the state of Israel.
COOPER: I mean, but -- do you see now Egypt playing a greater role in trying to stop the flow of weapons from -- you know, in these tunnels which is where a lot of these -- the rockets are coming from through Sinai, through Sudan, ultimately through Sinai and then through the tunnels?
OREN: Well, we greatly appreciate it, Anderson, Egypt's role in this. Egypt made a very positive contribution into realizing the ceasefire. But yes, Egypt has a role also in blocking the flow of smuggled arms through Iran, either through Sudan or through Libya. Both of those routes passed through Egyptian territory before arriving in Gaza.
COOPER: According to the terms of the ceasefire, the underlying grievances of Gazans, in particular, border restrictions, preventing the movement of people and goods from Gaza, will be addressed after 24 hours of the ceasefire being in effect. So just to be clear, if we see no sign of aggression from within Gaza, for 24 hours, this issues will be dealt with immediately thereafter? Or what --
OREN: Well, they'll certainly be discussed. They'll certainly be discussed. If -- we've had our border crossings have been open to Gaza for virtually every type of material. There was no food shortage. No medical shortage, except for certain materials which we called dual use, like aluminum tubing that can also be used to make missiles. That type of material was passed on to non-government organizations or to U.N. organizations that we could trust.
There's a big question about the border between Gaza and Egypt, Gaza Strip (ph), that will be open as well.
COOPER: According to a senior Obama administration official, it was the president's -- President Obama's two phone calls today that, quote, "closed the deal." Is that accurate according to your understanding of how things played out? And what did the U.S. offer to various parties in order to maybe sweeten the deal?
OREN: Well, President Obama played an outstanding leadership role in helping to achieve the ceasefire and also Secretary of State Clinton who shuttled without stop between Jerusalem and Ramallah and Cairo, and was able -- also instrumental in achieving the agreement.
The sweetener is support for Israel, support for Israel diplomatically, standing beside us, and upholding our right to defend ourselves in the face of Hamas terror. That was very important for us. And also support for that Iron Dome missile system which you saw working, Anderson, and working so outstandingly, taking down about 85 to 90 percent of all the incoming rockets and denying the Hamas the opportunity to -- the ability to strike at our 5.5 million Israelis who are under rocket fire.
COOPER: We talked about this, Ambassador, a few hours ago. There have now been apparently five rockets launched, a number of them intercepted, but three of them landed in southern Israel. How do you see that? How seriously do you take that in terms of a violation of the ceasefire thus far?
OREN: Well, we assumed it would take a while for the ceasefire to take hold. I understand now that it has taken hold. I understand now that it has taken hold. There hasn't been fire for a while and of course we are not firing. So there is a ceasefire, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Ambassador Oren, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much.
OREN: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, as the ambassador said, right now the rockets are silent. But there is death and destruction on both sides. There has been. Can the ceasefire hold and a sincere effort at peace begin? That's the question of course. I'm going to speak with former Senator George Mitchell who was President Obama's special envoy to the Mideast. He's going to talk about what it was actually like -- what's it like inside those negotiating rooms in this, the most difficult of all solutions they try to come up with.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Coming up on 360, we'll talk to former Senator George Mitchell about negotiations and how difficult they can be and what it's actually like, when they're actually sitting around in the negotiating table and how tense it gets. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN CORRESPONDENT: So this is an assortment of rockets that have fallen over the Ashkelon area. It's not all of them. It's only some of them. There are more laying around here, but there are various types of rockets that you can find here.
For instance, this one is apparently a rocket that you can tell by the fins that pop out when the rocket gets launched. Whereas this one here is one of those homemade Kassam rockets, this one is made in a workshop in Gaza. You can tell because the fins are just welded on in a very rudimentary way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That was CNN's Fred Pleitgen on the Hamas rockets that fell on the Israel before the ceasefire. He and his crew were forced to take cover a number of times.
One American diplomat who understands the difficulty of what it took to negotiate this ceasefire and what is going to take to maintain it is former Maine Senator George Mitchell.
He was President Obama's special enjoy to the Middle East from 2009 to 2011. Mitchell previously held the post of Senate majority leader. So he schooled in the art of negotiating with those who hold up posing view points.
And in the 1990s, he served as chairman of peace negotiations in Northern Ireland that ultimately led to successful Good Friday peace agreement.
I spoke to him earlier about today's developments in the Middle East and the difficulties that definitely lie ahead.
COOPER: Senator Mitchell, how optimistic are you that this ceasefire can hold and what would the next steps be assuming it does hold?
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE MIDDLE EAST: Well, it is a big step forward because the violence has ended and that's critically important. The longer it goes on with more fighting and dying, the harder it is to solve any problem.
On the other hand, past experience tells us it will be difficult to have a really enforceable truce that takes hold over a long period of time. They've been through this before several times.
But I think there may be a recognition here that both sides interest can be served by stopping this kind of violence and getting down to serious discussion on the underlying issues that involve both.
COOPER: In terms of the larger peace agreement, a larger negotiation, how complicated does it become because of the divisions within the Palestinian groups between Fatah, the Palestinian Authority in control of the West Bank, Hamas in control of Gaza and also involvement of other groups, factions, Islam and Jihad.
MITCHELL: Very complicated. By far and away the most complicated situation I have even been involved in and I think it goes far beyond what you described. It makes it very difficult.
In fact both societies are divided. Israel got an election coming up in two months. We don't know for sure what the outcome of that is going to be.
And the Arab spring has created a new dynamic in the region, not before experience, which hopefully can be harnessed for the benefit of moving forward in the peace process for which also could provide some obstacles.
So it is the most complicated situation imaginable, Anderson. And -- but I think even though we haven't been able to do it in the past, we have to keep trying because it is so important to the people there, to the region and to the interest of the United States.
COOPER: Egypt's role is beyond just a guarantor and a negotiating partner. If Israel's confidence in their own security is to be assured the flow of weapons into Gaza has to stop.
And Egypt will play a critical role in that because it seems like a large of number of these rockets (inaudible) rockets were seemed being used in the last year, just in the last couple of days are being smuggled in these tunnels through Egypt. MITCHELL: That's right and that is not new, Anderson. The nearly three years that I was there, that was a constant subject of discussion and controversy, it's not easy for Egypt. Remember, this is a vast territory, much of it desert.
Not very well policed and not very well governed. A lot of competing local interests, they are contrary to those of the national government in some cases here. So Egypt is under taking a major role here and how they are able to succeed in that goes a long way toward deciding how much the whole process goes forward. To be commended for what they've done so far.
COOPER: This may be a dumb question and naive question, but when you are in these rooms, I mean, is there yelling, are there arguments or is it very kind of calm and rational?
MITCELL: Well, in my case, almost all of the discussions were with one side at a time. They wouldn't talk to each other. So while there was a little -- few occasions of raised voices. The two did not directly come together.
When we did have the brief meetings between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, they were tense and direct and straight forward. I wouldn't say yelling, but they made their points very emphatically both sides.
It will be some time I think before you are going to get an Israeli representative in the same room with a representative from Hamas. Tough enough to get them in the same room with the Palestinian Authority, which is I said is committed to nonviolent negotiations.
COOPER: I'm curious, sometimes, you know, as a reporter, when you are interviewing people from various factions. You know, they kind of go into their talking points and use a lot of rhetoric. Is it that way when it is you one of one with them?
I mean, do you have to kind of sit through a lot of rhetoric or does everyone cut to the chase when it's just one on one and there are no cameras around?
MITCHELL: You have to sit through a lot of rhetoric. If you don't have patience and perseverance and the ability to listen for long periods of time don't get in the business of reconciling conflicts.
In Northern Ireland, which is a completely different situation, I spent five years there. I sat through thousands of repetitious hours. And there, there was yelling. There were insults. There were people were storming out of the room, storming back demanding that the other side be thrown out.
There was quite a bit of that and you have to have a huge reservoir of patience and be able to sit through it, listen to it all. Let everybody have their say. But in the end, what you have to identify is their self interest. Peace cannot be imposed from outside unless you do it by overwhelming force of arms, which is obviously not the case here. The parties have to want peace themselves. They can't rely upon the United States or any outside power to bring them to peace if they are not interested themselves.
We have now had since the creation of Israel, 12 Israeli prime ministers, 10 American presidents and 19 American secretaries of state, countless envoys like myself and it didn't get done, but it's so important that we have to keep trying.
ANDERSON: Senator Mitchell, I really appreciate your time. It's fascinating to listen to you. Thank you.
MITCHELL: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, it is a much different scene in Gaza City than what we saw this morning. We are going to check with Ben Wedeman in Gaza City to find out what is going on right now whether the surveillance drones are still flying. I'm sure they are. We are going to talk to him next.
COOPER: When we come back, we'll take you live to Gaza City with all the latest on what is happening there right now and what the next 24 hours may hold. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That was the reaction when the word of the ceasefire began to spread through Gaza City. People have been coop up in their homes for days pouring into the streets, waving flags, happy not only for the ceasefire, which many saw as a victory for Hamas, a victory for Palestinians and also some just happy to get out of the house after days of bombardment and fear.
Israeli Defense Forces say there are five rockets were fired from Gaza within three hours of the ceasefire announcement and the days and weeks ahead will be crucial. The agreement calls for negotiations on issues including freedom of movement in and out of Gaza.
Joining me right now is Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Princeton University's Anne Marie Slaughter, former director of Policy Planning at the State Department and back with us, senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman in Gaza City.
So Ben, we checked in with you at the top of the program. Any change in the situation in Gaza City. I imagined things are pretty quite. There were celebrations earlier. The surveillance drones I assume are still flying?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is quiet now. I can hear the chickens downstairs, the drones overhead. The sound of the drones was drowned out for this few hours when people were out celebrating, but now they are back and it really is a reminder that Gaza is very much under the control of the Israelis.
They control the sky. They patrol with off the coast and with the war planes as well. So much has changed in the last eight days, but much hasn't -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ben, in your opinion, what does this mean for the power of Hamas and the power of the Palestinian Authority in Mahmoud Abbas? I mean, is this some sort of acknowledgment, A, that the attempt by the U.S. and Israel to politically isolate Hamas has failed and that the future lies with Hamas as opposed to with Mahmoud Abbas?
WEDEMAN: Well, I don't think the United States is about to switch sides and start backing Hamas, but it does indeed represent failure of the policy that was put into effect after the January 2006 elections here in the Palestinian territories.
Where the United States with Israel, with the European Union began to impose some fairly astringent restrictions on Hamas in an attempt to isolate it and in June 2007, it is widely believed the United States sort of passively supported an attempted coup d'etat by Fatah to try to oust Hamas from power and they failed.
And Hamas has managed to survive now two Israeli sorts of wars with Israel so to speak. It survived all of that isolation, all of those sanctions and now we have seen within the last eight days senior Arab foreign ministers.
We've seen the Turkish foreign minister come. Hamas is suddenly out of its isolation. It's now very much in the mainstream largely because of the changes in the Arab world with the so-called Arab spring -- Anderson.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, is there any -- we have seen plenty of ceasefires before like this one. Is there any reason to believe this one will be different? That it will actually lead to something more long term.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": I think it is unlikely to lead to something long term unless Israel wants it to, but it's very unlikely that the ceasefire will break down completely and the conflict will spread, which is one of the things a lot of people have said.
Look, the reality, Anderson, to put this in context is Israel is now the military super power of the region. Ben has wonderfully documented for us the incredible asymmetry of power.
So when the Egyptians think about getting involve or the Turks think about getting involve, they realized they are up against an Israeli military, which is just far superior to anything that they have and certainly far superior to anything even 10 years ago.
The Israelis now spend more money on their defense budget than all their neighbors combined. So they are in a whole different league partly because of technology, part because the Israeli economy is doing so well that the reality that is a -- that is a very strong deterrent to the Egyptians or to the Turks to get involved.
COOPER: Fareed, in your opinion, what does this mean about Iran, about the power of Iran in the region, the involvement of Iran in the region?
ZAKARIA: I think it shows the limits. The Iranians are bogged down with their ally, Syria. They are trying to do something about that. I doubt very much they were very involved in this in the first place.
But it shows you that they don't have much of a reach. You know, this is always has been the claim that through Hezbollah and Hamas, they had some special asymmetrical power.
I think as I say, this reveals that Israel really dominates the region and you know, if the Israelis want to make peace with -- if the Palestinians want peace, they are going to have to make it on Israeli terms right now.
COOPER: Anne Marie, do you agree with that?
ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF POLICY PLANNING, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, in part, one thing I would note, one of the reasons Israel has such military predominance is also because of the tremendous support the Obama administration has given Israel on defense matters.
You heard Ambassador Oren refer several times the U.S. assistance on iron dome and the Obama administration has pointed out multiple times that it has really given Israel more defense cooperation than any other administration.
So that is part of Israel's predominance and I agree with Fareed. Where I would disagree a little is that I do think that Hamas has shown that notwithstanding two Israeli incursion and sanctions.
It's not only survived, but it's increased its ability to inflict pain on Israel. I mean, this incursion started because of the constant firing of the rockets and over the course of the last week, we have seen rockets landing in Tel Aviv and even aimed at Jerusalem.
So I totally agree that Iran can't level the military playing field not even close, but I do think Hamas has more power and now of course, more political recognition than we might have expected.
ZAKARIA: The interesting question, Anderson, will be whether Hamas gains from this politically. Because really what they have been able to do is survive. They have been able to survive. They have these pin prick attacks.
You know, these unguided missiles have been very ineffective. Yes, they've caused the Israelis to go through these procedures where they have to go into shelters. But they -- you know, they really don't kill people and they certainly don't disrupt Israel in a meaningful sense.
The question is, are they more popular on the street. There is evidence that both Fatah and Hamas are actually very unpopular with the Palestinian people. They have stuck with them and partly because, you know, of the Israeli embargo and blockade and the pressure, they don't want to oust Hamas. Because that would be in the sense doing what the Israelis want. But Hamas is not very popular.
COOPER: And Ben Wedeman, you have been saying that also now for several nights that they are not all that popular.
WEDEMAN: No, they are not popular. And Fareed is right to point out that Fatah itself is not popular. I think many Palestinians are weary of being caught between these two factions, which neither of which has really achieved what they want, which is some sort of final solution and the ability to live in a state of their own in peace.
Both have sort of the Fatah was a major sort of engine behind the second (inaudible), which really didn't leave the Palestinians anything in the way of positive result.
Hamas has sort of gotten Gaza into endless trouble with Israel. I think the people are indeed looking for some sort of third alternative that can sort of negotiate with Israel and stay out of the swamp of corruption that Fatah fell into.
And that many people here in Gaza say Hamas has gotten into with all the money it is making off of the tunnels and whatnot. So, yes, I think there is an exhaustion with both parties, but we've yet to see a third force to emerge here as an alternative -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ben Wedeman, thank you very much. Fareed Zakaria, Anne Marie Slaughter as well.
Up next some other news we are following. Also Susan Rice speaks out about the situation in Gaza. We will be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back. We are in Jerusalem. Tonight, we are following a number of other stories. Susan Hendricks is here with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, tonight, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice is responding to Republicans criticizing her for initially blaming the deadly Benghazi consulate attack on protesters angry over an anti-Muslim video. Now Rice says she was relaying information provided by the intelligence community and made clear the accounts were preliminary.
Jesse Jackson Jr. resigning his seat in Congress today and blaming deteriorating health. Chicago voters just elected Jackson to his 10th term despite being under investigation by the FBI and the House Ethics Committee as well.
Stores are expecting smaller crowds this Black Friday. The National Retail Federation is predicting 147 million people will go bargain hunting this weekend. That is down from 220 million last year. The report mainly blames the slow economy and concerns over the fiscal cliff. Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: All right, Susan, thanks very much. We will be right back.
COOPER: That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching 360. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10:00 Eastern with all the latest on the ceasefire. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts right now.