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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Continues; Bashar al-Assad Says West Must Work With Him To Combat ISIS; African Start-up: Abugida Fashion

Aired July 16, 2014 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, one day after an aborted attempt at a ceasefire between Israel and Hams, the death toll in Gaza has soared past

200 while hopes of a lasting solution plummet.

I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World live once again from Jerusalem with special coverage of the ongoing deadly conflict.

Just ahead, I'm going to take you inside Gaza to see how the population is being squeezed by evacuation orders from the Israelis and

resources also being squeezed under Israel's tightening grip.

We'll find out why Hamas didn't play ball with Egypt's peace proposal when we speak to the organization's international relation spokesman Osama

Hamdan (ph).

And we'll get differing views on the Israeli response from economics minister Naftali Bennet and the award-winning author and peace activist

David Grossman.

Israel steps up its offensive on Gaza just a day after a failed attempt at a ceasefire. It is just after 6:00 p.m. here in Israel.

The IDF has said it has hit some 50 targets in Gaza today in Beit Lahia (ph), (inaudible) and Zeitun (ph).

Israel says it used leaflets and recorded messages to warn residents to leave the areas ahead of the air strikes.

Well, some Palestinians took that warning, other flatly refused to leave their homes. More than 200 Palestinians and an Israeli have now been

killed in this conflict.

At a press conference to the Italian foreign minister, the Israeli prime minister explained why he thinks the airstrikes are necessary.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, imagine that your city is Rome, Florence and Milan were rocketed indiscriminately by

terrorist group next to you. You wouldn't accept it. And you'd fight back. And that's what Israel is doing. And we're fighting back.

Those who are firing it are not seeking a political solution, those who are firing it are seeking the disappearance of Israel.


ANDERSON: I want to get you into Gaza now. And Ben Wedeman is outside of the border. And Ben, I believe that you are at a funeral for

four children, correct me if I'm wrong, who were killed by an airstrike or a naval strike today. At Gaza Port. Explain.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm at the (inaudible) refugee camp, which is just north of the Gaza port where

apparently about an hour ago during naval bombardments, four boys were killed, four boys by the name of Mohammed, Zakaria, Ahmed (ph), and Ismail,

cousins all around the ages ranging from 9 to 11 were killed by a round fired by an Israeli ship offshore.

There's been a lot of that happening today, bombardment from the sea.

According to relatives, they were simply playing on the beach. And of course it's important to keep in mind that with all these people who are

being given orders by the Israeli army to leave areas like (inaudible), Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia (ph), everybody is coming to this area, Gaza

City. And of course it's the middle of summer, it's hot, the beach is where boys at that age are going to go.

We have no idea why the Israeli army would bombard into that area.

But now we're at the funeral where there are hundreds of people from the extended Bakar (ph) family, are very angry about what has happened.

Right now, they're reading prayers over the four -- the dead -- the bodies of the four boys. I saw some of them as they were carried on

stretchers into the mosque. Afterwards they're going to go to be buried at a nearby cemetery -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman reporting.

And images of that naval strikes on the beach at -- or close to Gaza Port forthcoming here on CNN. As soon as we get them all, we'll bring them

to you.

We've got a lot more on the Israel-Hamas conflict coming up.

First, author and peace activist David Grossman speaks with me about Israel's next steps in the wake of what is this failed ceasefire.

Plus a spokesman for Hamas gives us his perspective on why the truce deal wasn't acceptable.

And later, I want to show you what first responders in Gaza must endure on the front lines of this conflict.

All that plus and interview with the Israeli economics minister Naftali Bennett coming up this hour.

I'm going to pause and take you away from here to Iraq where security forces have lost control over central Tikrit to militants believed to be

from ISIS. After early advances, Iraqi troops had to withdrawal when they came under heavy fire. At least 50 Iraqi soldiers and 40 militants, we are

told, were killed in the battle.

Well, Iraq's government says it needs all the help it can get to defeat ISIS and as Arwa Damon now reports, some old enemies of the United

States are now Iraq's new friends.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With its own forces struggling, the Iraqi government is increasingly relying on Iranian backed

Shia militias to hold the front against ISIS, especially around the capital. That reliance has the U.S. concerned.

And with U.S. advisers on the ground and surveillance overhead it's created an indirect alliance of foes.

Among them, AAH, Asaib al-Haq who in 2007 carried out one of the most sophisticated attacks against U.S. forces. Disguised as American soldiers

driving American vehicles and speaking English, the assailants caught U.S. troops at the provincial counsel building in Karbala unaware. One U.S.

soldier was killed at the site, four others kidnapped and slain.

The mastermind of the attack, this man, Qais Khazali along with his brother Laif (ph) and Hezbollah operative Ali Moussa Dakduk (ph).

In his first interview with an American network, he says AAH is not the enemy of the American people, but they were fighting an occupation.

He boasts of the tactical battle between AAH and the American military.

QAIS KHAZALI, ASAIB AL-HAQ MILITIA (through translator): In the beginning, a small IED was able to destroy an American Humvee, but then the

Americans up-armored the humvees so we developed an IED that could blast through the armor.

DAMON: And while for now they may be fighting against a mutual enemy, the U.S. is worried about the control Shia militias have and the

possibility that ISIS has infiltrated Iraqi forces, dangers U.S. advisers could face.

What is your position, vis-a-vis the presence of American advisers in Iraq? American drones are flying overhead right now and the Iraqi

government has asked for U.S. air strikes?

KHAZALI (through translator): We don't look at the U.S. as an occupying force anymore, this is over.

DAMON: Iraq doesn't need more fighters, he says, it has plenty. But they do need experience. There are both U.S. and Iranian advisers on the

ground and both nations among others flying their drones overhead.

The war with America trained AAH in unconventional warfare, but now Khazali says they are up against an enemy that fights just like they do.

KHAZALI (through translator): The American military is a classic military, so it is fight against them using guerrilla warfare. It is

easier than fighting al Qaeda. Guerrilla warfare is more difficult and complicated and requires a lot of endurance and specific tactics.

DAMON: AAH fighters have been to the Syrian battlefield and faced ISIS there. But here, they are better equipped and with their Iraqi allies

an even stronger enemy.

Iraq needs all the help it can get, as uncomfortable and bizarre as these alliances are for the Americans.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.


ANDERSON: Well, throw one more layer into this complex mix. In the fight against ISIS is Syria.

President Bashar al-Assad has been battling ISIS militants along with other rebel forces as you know through it all he's maintained he will hold

on to his country. And he's just been given seven more years in office.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. al-Assad was sworn in for his third term as Syria's president. And in an interview with the British newspaper The

Guardian, Syria's deputy foreign minister says the west should accept that reality.

He says the only way to stop ISIS is to coordinate with President Assad.

Well, CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joining us from London. Nick regularly reports for us from Syria in the London

bureau today.

Bashar al-Assad, Nick, sworn in for a third seven year term, keen to set out his stall as the only man capable of stemming ISIS's threat.

Any chance at this point that the west could or will be forced to work with him?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very unlikely at this stage, frankly, certainly not in an overt fashion at all.

I mean, it does sound -- listen to Bashar al-Assad today, certainly no one could believe 18 months ago he would have been in such a comparatively

composition. He was on the ropes 18 months ago. Now, yes, he has greater dominance around Damascus and the mountains towards Lebanon and towards the

Mediterranean coast. He's seeing ISIS advance remarkably towards the more moderate rebels who used to be his major concern.

You pointed out he's battling ISIS militants. We actually on the field there are many reports of the regime not confronting ISIS, some say,

in fact, they may even be covertly or perhaps tacitly working with them to allow them to push those moderate rebels back.

But it's the ISIS advance that have everybody most concerned now.

In the long run, is an alliance with Bashar al-Assad and the west likely or to the west (inaudible), well not really because they've killed

over 100,000 potentially people in Syria in this very bitter conflict. In the long run, Assad doesn't have a particularly bright future, many say, in

the region.

But does the more short-term issue of what do you do with ISIS now come to the fore in the west thinking? Certainly. And they're having a

series of very bad choices ahead of them in that region, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick, you eluded to the fact that possibly in some quarters at least Assad isn't battling opposition forces, in fact he may be covertly

colluding with them.

What do you know about the story that rebel forces control some, if not the majority of, the oil installations, certainly in the north of

Syria. And again a story that possibly there was some covert collusion between them and the Syrian government there. Very briefly.

WALSH: It's an extraordinary complex and lacking in many overt bits of evidence here, but many say that way back when Sunni rebels, or Sunni

extremists were fighting the Americans, Assad let them have a base in Syria. Those contacts were remained. And then when ISIS came to the fore,

perhaps those contacts were continued.

ISIS now, not the rebels, control many of the oil fields in the east of Syria. They perhaps make money out of that, some say quite a lot

particularly with those. They now control in Iraq some suggestions maybe some of that money may have found its way to the regime who bought the oil

off them.

And a very messy picture, very hard to prove, but at the end of the day the main question people ask themselves is why has it been the regime

airstrikes have focused on more moderate rebels and barely hit ISIS at all apart from one memorable occasion in the last month or so in which they

struck at Raqqah, many say, and border areas as well. Many say, and that was in fact pressure from Tehran and Baghdad saying, look, Bashar al-Assad

it's time to take the fight to ISIS because they're now our collective problem as the Shia grouping in the Middle East now -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Nick Paton Walsh on the story tonight for you out of London.

Well, still to come this hour here on Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson, why some say this tram line snaking through a divided Jerusalem

provides a beacon of hope for the future.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live from Jerusalem. Welcome back.

Let's get back to the Israeli-Gaza conflict.

Now the U.S. has taken a step back from negotiations to end the violence, hoping to give regional neighbors a chance to work it out. The

(inaudible) -- let me start that again, the Amir of Qatar went to Turkey yesterday to talk with Turkish leaders. And earlier this week, Egypt

offered a ceasefire plan that Israeli agreed to, but Hamas did not.

Hamas leaders say they weren't even on the ceasefire discussions and only found out about the plan in the media.

Well, it's important to remember Egypt's new government is clearly no fan of the Muslim Brotherhood. And Hamas is an offshoot of that group.

Well, after accepting Egypt's proposal, Israel aborted it six hours later after continued Hamas fire was incoming to Israel.

I want to bring in Naftali Bennett now. He is Israel's minister of the economy. And, sir, we thank you for joining us on the show.

The cabinet meeting which closed out at 9:00 am yesterday some 36 hours ago accepted the ceasefire initiative, a proposal for a ceasefire

from Egypt. You were in that cabinet meeting. Did you support that decision?

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI MINISTER OF ECONOMY: Well, I actually thought that we need to demand of Hamas to also disarm itself, but

ultimately the cabinet accepted the ceasefire. Israel officially said we're willing to stop right now if both sides stop. Hamas declined.


ANDERSON: Can you explain why?

BENNETT: Yeah, because I thought that Hamas should not only stop shooting, but they should stop -- they need to disarm themselves from these

missile launchers, because otherwise we'll get it two months from now.

ANDERSON: Do you now support the notion that the prime minister tried at least?

BENNETT: I stand behind our prime minister. I might have differences in the cabinet, but I believe to his cabinet and I stand firmly behind all

decisions, whether I initially support it or not.

ANDERSON: That isn't because he actually sacked his defense -- deputy defense minister yesterday for going against the grain, you're not

concerned about that?

BENNETT: No, no, no. I care about Israel. And at the end of the day we have a leader and he's doing a good job. And I stand behind him. We

agreed to the ceasefire, Hamas answered by sending another 100 missiles on Israel, on my own town, and we're going to fight if we need to fight.

ANDERSON: How much pressure is the Israeli prime minister under from the right of his government at this point? Be honest.

BENNETT: Considerable pressure, because many in Israel say what's the point to have a ceasefire if Hamas can continue strengthening themselves

and arming itself again and then shooting missiles at our country.

I mean, here's what the Israeli public seas. Nine years ago, we took all of Gaza, handed it over to the Palestinians. We retreated to the '67

lines. We dismantled all...

ANDERSON: Many saying leaving no infrastructure, no real chance...

BENNETT: Well, actually quite...

ANDERSON: ...with a siege around...

BENNETT: No, Becky, you're wrong, because there was no siege initially. It all started when they, instead of turning it into the

Singapore of the Middle East, they turned it into hell. And since then, they've shot roughly 10,000 missiles on Israeli citizens.

This whole conflict right now can go away in one second if Hamas says something simple -- we're going to stop shooting.

ANDERSON: They won't do that until you release, re-release those prisoners who have been released again. And you stop the siege of Gaza.

I am just quoting what they say.

And I wonder what -- how we get out of this status quo at this point?

BENNETT: Look, our goal -- we have no claim for Gaza. They founded a Palestinian state on the '67 borders. Not on Jew is living there. They

have all the opportunity to build and spend billions of dollars building a Singapore, building a prosperous country. It's their choice. If they

choose to fight, we'll fight. We don't want to fight. I'm a major in reserve. I have no desire to go fight again, but we will defend our


ANDERSON: Is this problem going to leak into the West Bank where there are Israeli settlers, of course. I mean, there's no unilateral

pullout by Israel, is there, of the West Bank. And if it does, just how dangerous could that be?

BENNETT: I don't think so. I think because Israel has 400,000 Israelis living in Judea and Samaria (ph), I think things are staying


The irony here is whenever we pull out of a certain area, Iran sends its proxies, its radical Islamist groups, and then they start shooting

missiles at us. Sort of a weird deal, you give land and in return they shoot missiles at you. It's a bad deal, that's why I oppose that sort of a


But we have to understand right now Hamas has become a self genocide system. They are deliberately killing their own people in order to become

victims. They're -- you know what they're doing in kitchens, in schoolrooms, in hospitals, they place missile launchers, shoot missiles on

Tel Aviv and have kids stand next to those missile launchers so they're effectively murdering their own women and children.

ANDERSON: And we will put those accusations to Hamas when they join us a little later in the show.

For the time being, now at least, we thank you very much indeed for joining us.

BENNETT: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: We know it's almost become a cliche to talk about the roots of this conflict stretching back to Biblical times, but the fact is that a

little historical context can go a long way. And an article on our website makes that easy for me and for you with a nod to the very first references

through the wars of the last century and the peace efforts that ultimately fell short. We've got a time line that gives you the background you need.

And of course join the debate -- it's your debate, it's a global conversation, that's a discussion of history and how it can all start.

It's all at

All right, live from Jerusalem, this is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. I'll be back shortly with your world headlines and much

more analysis on the standoff between Israel and Hamas. Before that, I want to move away from the region, a time out as we go to Ethiopia for this

week's African Start-up to find out how tradition and innovation are coming together in what is a fledgling fashion empire.

Stay with us.



HIWOT GASHAW, FASHION DESIGNER: Hello, my name is Hiwot Gashaw. I'm a fashion designer. Welcome to my workshop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Hiwot Gashaw founded Abugida Fashion based on the outskirts of (inaudible), the heart of Ethiopia's fashion industry.

GASHAW: Abugida means learning something new. And with fashion, I learn something new everyday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Gashaw started her business at the age of 22 and has managed to create a unique fusion of strong Ethiopian heritage and

western culture.

GASWAW: This is one of my designs. This is a summer dress. This material is cotton. This material is in Amharic tibeb. This is simple and

beautiful and comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ethiopian garments are mainly made from woolen materials and would traditionally be hand stitched. Gashaw has continued

to use this trend in her intricate designs.

GASHAW: This is men's t-shirt. This is wool and this is knitting. This material is Ethiopian culture right here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having started her career as a model, she discovered a love of making clothes and wasn't long before she took to

making her own designs.

Gashaw has trained all the women that she employs herself. She now has six full-time workers.

GASHAW: I work with women who used to be on the streets. But now I train them, they work with me and they are able to support themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Abugida Fashion produces and sells a collection of clothes like women's scarves and mens' designer jackets.

GASHAW: What makes my clothes unique is you can wear them anytime. I also design and I sew them myself giving them a personal touch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But opening her own small business has presented challenges.

GASHAW: Machinery and raw material, machinery is very expensive and getting raw materials for making the clothes is hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite these sourcing issues, Gashaw has high hopes.

GASHAW: I want Abugida fashions to become a brand like Gucci and to be known all over the world.



ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from Jerusalem. The top stories this hour.

Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third term as Syria's president. He's to serve another seven years in office. Now, the

president has been fighting a long, destructive civil war which, according to the UN, has claimed more than 150,000 lives.

Typhoon Rammasun is now out of the Philippines and is expected to hit the Chinese island of Hainan on Friday. The storm caused several deaths,

flooding, and power outages in the Philippines.

Source say negotiations on Iran's disputed nuclear program will likely be extended beyond the July 20th deadline to reach a permanent deal.

There's said to be a wide gap between Iran and Western powers on the difficult issue of Iran's uranium enrichment. But the US secretary of

state says he believes there is a way forward.

Four children have been killed in a refugee camp in northern Gaza from a around fired by an Israeli naval ship. It's come after Israel's defense

forces say they've attacked more than 50 Hamas targets in Gaza. Israel says it warned residents to leave the area ahead of the airstrikes, 209

Palestinians and an Israeli have been killed in what is this current phase of the conflict.

Well, we talked earlier about a cease-fire proposal put forward by Egypt yesterday that Israel agreed to before abandoning it under hail of

Hamas rockets. Hamas for its part says that plan didn't address a lot of the concerns of Gaza residents.

Joining me now on the line is Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan. He's on his way to Doha. And sir, just briefly, remind us why it was that that

initiative tabled by the Egyptians, signed up to by the Israelis, was completely unacceptable to Hamas and why consequently and subsequently,

Hamas fired some 70-odd rockets into Israel.

OSAMA HAMDAN, HAMAS SPOKESMAN (via telephone): Well, if I want to talk about this issue, I have to say that initially, that proposal was not

introduced to Hamas. No one discussed that with Hamas. And we don't receive proposals through the press conferences or something like that.

So, we've said we did not receive that officially, and we will not give an official answer.

Yesterday night, we received that officially, and we informed the Egyptians that we have to add and to -- make some changes to this paper --


HAMDAN: -- and now, everything is under discussion.

ANDERSON: Oh, that's interesting. So, everything is now under discussion.


HAMDAN: There is a discussion --

ANDERSON: So, was it that the -- let me stop you, sir. Hold on for one second, let me stop you. It is now, then, under discussion. Meantime,

are you in control of the military wing, which certainly yesterday continued to fire rockets provocatively into Israel while they had agreed

to a cease-fire?

HAMDAN: Well, the military were doing their duties, and they have to continue what they are doing unless there is a clear understanding and a

cease-fire agreement, which did not happen yet. If that happened --


ANDERSON: Do you -- are you in control --

HAMDAN: -- they would commit to that.

ANDERSON: -- of that military wing? Because there's been much talk about a schism between --

HAMDAN: Well --

ANDERSON: -- the political wing and the military wing. Are you in control? Will they listen to what the Hamas politicians say?

HAMDAN: Well, if there was a cease-fire agreement, that would commit to that. It had happened before, 2012, 2008 and 09. It happened before.

ANDERSON: Correct.

HAMDAN: And they were committed to what we have agreed on. So, it's -- the question is not whether they will accept or not. The question is

whether the conditions will be -- the conditions of the cease-fire will be good for the Palestinian people --


HAMDAN: -- or not.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about, then, any initiative, or further initiative, being brokered at present. You say the Egyptian initiative is

now under discussion. I know that Qatar and Turkey are involved in tabling any motions for -- on behalf of Hamas. How would you describe the support

that Hamas is getting from Qatar and Turkey, if at all?

HAMDAN: Well, there is -- there was mediation from Qatar and Turkey, and they are working on that. And the Egyptian mediation is welcome, also.

But we have a clear position. Any issue -- any initiative or any proposal for the cease-fire is supposed to be discussed with the resistance and to

be accepted under the Palestinian conditions.

If that happens with the Egyptian side, it's OK. We are not opposing any mediation if that was a good mediation and guarantees the Palestinian

needs and rights.


HAMDAN: This is a clear position from Hamas, and they have called for a mediation from the first day, the Qataris and the Turks. The start

is from the first day. So, they were --


HAMDAN: -- they were helping. They were trying to help. And we accepted that.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this, then. You've said that discussions are ongoing. Are we close to Hamas accepting any initiative that is being

tabled at present? I'm seeing very real war and casualties on the ground in Gaza. Clearly, that is something that people, not just there, but

around the world, want to see stopped. How close are we, do you think, to an agreement from your end?

HAMDAN: Well, the war is launched by the Israelis. They were the side who they violated the cease-fire which was agreed on in 2012. And we

are working hard to have a new cease-fire agreement. This is the position.

I believe the Israelis are responsible for the civilian casualties, and I believe also that Hamas is doing the best to make the cease-fire a

real protection for the Palestinian people and a real protection for our civilians.

ANDERSON: So, to answer the question very briefly, are we hours away, are we days away from Hamas deciding that there is enough of the initiative

that they can buy into at this point? It's a very simple question.

HAMDAN: Well, there are good ideas introduced by Hamas. If that was accepted, we are hours from the cease-fire. If it was not accepted, it

will be the Israeli turn to say what they really want.

ANDERSON: OK. With that, we're going to leave it there, sir, but do stay in touch. We thank you.

As the airstrike continues to slam Gaza, let's get some perspective on what Palestinians are having to endure on a daily basis. Our Karl Penhaul

is on the ground for us from Gaza City.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we've spent most of the day in eastern Gaza, and those are the neighborhoods that

overnight had an air drop of pamphlets from the Israeli military and also these robo calls, these automated calls telling civilians to clear out of

their homes because they were going to come under fire.

True to their word, this morning, the Israeli military began to bomb those areas. During the course of the day, we have heard many, many

airstrikes there. In fact, at one point, we were visiting a building that had been hit. We started to hear airstrikes once again around that

building, and the people in the area simply ushered us out and took us to a safer place

We also came across one man who was moving his entire family on a donkey cart, and it really speaks to the fact that these civilians can

leave their immediate home, but really, Gaza is too small. They have no place to run to, they have no place to hide. And I said to him, are you


He looked at me and said, "Afraid?" He says, "I feel we're already dead."

Now of course, another key player in this whole conflict, not just the fighters on the Israeli side and on the Gaza side, but also the ambulance

men. They played a key role back in 2008, 2009, and 2012 in that confrontation.

This time, they're taking the lessons learned, and each time there are warnings of an Israeli airstrike, they're staging themselves two or three

blocks away from the neighborhoods said to be hit so they can get to casualties even quicker. But let's take a look at this report and see part

of what they have to go through.



PENHAUL (voice-over): The screech of an Israeli missile over central Gaza minutes before a cease-fire was supposed to start.


PENHAUL: Fast and furious, ambulance crews respond to a call there may be wounded. Damage, but no casualties. Back at base, emergency

dispatcher Ayman Shahwan hopes peace can prevail

ANYMAN SHAHWAN, AMBULANCE DRIVER: Everything bad in the world. Because of that, we don't like the war. Because of that, we want Israel to


PENHAUL: By mid-afternoon, his hopes for calm were shattered. Israeli fighter jets dumped bombs, a response to fresh rocket attacks from

Hamas, the militant group rejecting an Egypt-backed cease-fire. You can see why ambulance crews' nerves are jangled by more than a week of


I met Shahwan in the ambulance dispatch center a day earlier. As we talked, an Israeli jet dropped a bomb a few hundred yards away.



PENHAUL (on camera): What we're being told by the ambulance workers now is that that was just a knock on the roof, one of the warning shots

from the Israeli military. They fear that Israeli fighter jets could be flying over anytime soon.

PENHAUL (voice-over): But there were no more strikes on this neighborhood, no casualties. When Israel and Hamas fought an air and

ground war in 2009, ambulance drivers and paramedics got caught in the line of fire. At least 30 were killed, and almost all the Red Crescent's

ambulance fleet was destroyed, according to emergency services chief, Dr. Basham Moursad (ph).

Shahwan and his colleagues know they may die trying to save others.

SHAHWAN: At the end, we have one sentence: this is our fate. This is our fate, to face this situation, and we are -- we believe in God.

PENHAUL: On Monday night, when TV news channels first reported Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire, ambulance crews celebrated.


PENHAUL: By Tuesday, less than 24 hours later, this was the Gaza skyline.


PENHAUL: Now, this morning, when I was talking to a civilian about that failed cease-fire plan, I said to him, do you want Hamas to agree to a

cease-fire. And he looked at me and he said, "Of course we want this war to stop. We do want peace." But he said, "We don't want peace at any


He said, "There cannot be a cease-fire until the world agrees to some of the Palestinian conditions." He said, "We want to come out of this not

just the same." He said, "Out of this war," he said, "we want to get a better life." Becky?

ANDERSON: I'm hearing that from everybody from both sides. It seems the status quo is not acceptable anymore. Live from Jerusalem, thank you,


You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up next, as the fighting continues, we're going to hear from an Israeli author

and activist -- peace activist -- who wants a lasting peace and solution, but thinks tough measures now might be the only way to achieve that.


ANDERSON: After endless cycles of violence followed by periods of tense peace, Israelis, Palestinians in much of the world wonder if there

can ever be a lasting peace.

Well, I spoke with David Grossman earlier today about that. He is an acclaimed Israeli author and peace activists. His books have been

translated into 40 languages and include "To the End of the Land" and "Falling Out of Time."

Here's what he had to say about the prospects for peace, the weakness of Israel's peace camp, and some surprising words of support for Israel's

prime minister. Have a listen.


DAVID GROSSMAN, ISRAELI WRITER AND JOURNALIST: I believe it's not a divine decree that we should find ourselves in this situation. Not in the

very acute current situation of war between us and Hamas. And even more so, not in this deep-frozen situation between us and the Palestinians in

the West Bank. There is such an air of despair here in Israel from the option of changing our situation.

ANDERSON: You have written about the right vanquishing the left here, and I wonder what you think has happened to the peace campaigners, the

lefties, as they're called here.


ANDERSON: What's happened, David?

GROSSMAN: It's very difficult to act against your instincts of survival, instincts of fear, to start to believe, to give faith in your

enemy of today, to start to believe that there is another option of life awaiting you, to the extent that I think so many people of the Israelis do

not believe anymore that there is any better option for us.

I find it almost humiliating as a human being to think that there is no way out of this terrible predicament.

ANDERSON: Is this hardening of attitude that you see in Israel today reversible?

GROSSMAN: May I just give you a metaphor? I'm a writer, after all. The situation here is like in a hermetic bubble. Within this bubble, we

and the Palestinians, each one of us has very good justifications for all of the terrible things we are inflicting on the other.

But there is a more important question, is why on Earth we are still stuck in this hermetic bubble and suffocating for more than a century? How

come our leaders, their leaders, do not have the power, the courage, the vision, to take us out of this bubble and to show us that there is another

option of life to us.

Right now, there are only -- the only ones who are active are the agents of fear, of violence, of hatred between the two peoples. We have to

start to create the agents of peace, of understanding, of understanding that the other people who stand in front of us also consist of human beings

exactly like ourselves.

ANDERSON: You lost your son, Yuri, who was a tank commander, in the 2006 war with Lebanon. How did that affect you as a father and as an


GROSSMAN: It affected my feelings, but it has not changed the way I see the solution to the tragedy of the Middle East. Having gone through

what my family had gone through maybe made me even more determined in investing efforts and thoughts in order to have the situation changed.

This last round, it shows us in almost a brutal way the machinery of the repetition of violence. And I think that more and more Israelis, among

them is our prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who acts in a very responsible and mature way in the last turmoil. His basic attitude now is

to try to lower the flames under this conflict, while Hamas is doing just the opposite.

ANDERSON: I think a lot of people might be surprised to hear you defending Benjamin Netanyahu in this current round, given that he is of a

right-wing persuasion and that we are where we are today. But you are quite vocal about that.

GROSSMAN: If I look at him, and if all Israelis are looking at him, and we remember the young Benjamin Netanyahu, who used to criticize all the

previous prime ministers for being too leftist and too soft regarding the Palestinians.

And suddenly, when he is sitting there in the armchair of the prime minister, he understands the complexity of reality and the limitations of

power, and maybe also as the Israelis who are looking at him can start to understand something about the mechanism of peace, conflict, and the

desperate need to be out of it.

ANDERSON: The complexities of the realities are almost overwhelming as an outsider looking in. I can only imagine what it feels like to be

either a Palestinian or an Israeli at this point. What's the solution?

GROSSMAN: Actually, I think the lines of the solution, they are very well known to every sane Israeli and Palestinian. They have been

formulated in so many meetings and documents in the past. It talks about two states: Israel and Palestine, living one next to the other, with a

border between them. A border, not this terrible war.

A border with as many as gates as possible to allow ideas and trades and humans to commute. Still now, we have a slight window of opportunity

when Mahmoud Abbas is there. And I do believe that once we have the beginning of it, there is a slight chance that our life will become better

and better and better.

Hamas is a terror organization. It is a terrible organization. I have no sympathy for it. But still, we cannot ignore it, and we cannot

even imagine, as people here say, to get rid of the Hamas, we shall have to integrate it.

The best way to win over the Hamas is to have peace with the Palestinians in the West Bank, so people in Gaza will understand the

terrible price they are paying for being abducted and kidnapped by the extremists there.


ANDERSON: And you can watch that interview again online on immediately after this show. Coming up after this short break, driving

through the divide, we discover one symbol of integration in what is a fragmented Jerusalem. That up next.


ANDERSON: Your Parting Shots tonight. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to escalate, we look at how the city of Jerusalem is

looking to bridge the widening divide, and whether it's been successful.


ANDERSON (voice-over): In a divided Jerusalem, there are few symbols of integration. Few examples, if any, of the city's some 500,000 Jews and

300,000 Palestinians coexisting together in an atmosphere of anything but hostility and discontent.

ANDERSON (on camera): There is, though, this: the light rail line, which does connect Arab and Jewish neighborhoods. And at a cost of just

around $2, everyone who uses it, whoever they are, pays the same price, uses the same seats, and in theory, at least, is free to travel wherever

they want at any time.

When it opened in 2011, it was celebrated by some Israeli Jews, at least, as a beacon of hope. Many Palestinians will tell you that it simply

enforces their notion of oppression, snaking as it does through this East Jerusalem, not to serve them, they say, but to connect residents with the

Israeli settlement to the north.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Earlier this month, Shu'afat Station, here in East Jerusalem, was targeted. The incident came after the young Palestine,

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was beaten and burned to death, allegedly in retaliation for the death of three Israeli teens.

ANDERSON (on camera): The stop is now open. There's a train coming in. But you can see the facilities are still a mess, a symbol of hope,

then, perhaps, but still so elusive.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. The headlines follow this.