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CONNECT THE WORLD
Talks to Renew Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire; Day in Gaza; Hamas Militants Cross Border Into Israel; Egypt Sexual Assault; New Sanctions on Russia; Children Caught in Conflict; Israeli Families Fear Rockets; Hamas Rockets Found in School; Breaking News: Malaysian Plane Crash in Ukraine
Aired July 17, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: For five hours this Thursday, Israel and Gaza got a reminder of what a tense peace can feel like, but rockets are flying
again this evening, and over the longer term, truce is likewise up in the air. I'm Becky Anderson, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. It is 6:00 PM live in
Coming up this hour, we're going to take you inside Gaza on a day when residents had a rare chance to come out and assess the destruction
inflicted on them.
A dark cloud hangs over the summer holidays for Israel's children as they move indoors to bomb shelters.
And a next generation of Israelis and Palestinians tell me about their hopes and fears for the future of the Holy Land.
Shells and rocket fire are flying over the Israeli-Gaza border once again this hour. A five-hour respite from the fighting is now over, but
talks are underway to extend what was a humanitarian cease-fire.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat tells CNN that his team is trying, along with the UN, to renew the truce for another few hours or even
days, but there is still no word on what would be a permanent cease-fire.
Israel and Hamas quickly resume their attacks earlier shortly after today's brief cease-fire ended. So far, at least 230 Palestinians and one
Israeli have been killed in the days-old conflict. Karl Penhaul has been in Gaza, and he has been assessing the day's action.
And believe me, earlier, there was a relative calm and people were able to get out. Let's see what he found.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First a warning, then the bombs. Gaza's fast becoming sanctuary only for living
nightmares and walking ghosts. "I feel like we're already dead," he tells me.
Moments before we saw him, Baka Bidwan (ph) gathered up his family and loaded them onto his donkey cart. The Israeli military dropped pamphlets
on the area through the night, telling civilians to clear out. The problem is, the Gaza strip is so small, there's no real place to run. "Me and the
children are terrified," his wife says.
Two blocks away, others load essentials into cars. Conflict is so frequent, it's a drill they know well. "We'll be away until the situation
calms down. I'm taking food and supplies," he says.
From high ground, the battlefield. Densely-packed homes, little open space. Israeli bombs fell, yet failed to silence the rockets of Gaza
PENHAUL: When we got to this wrecked shell, you could still smell the high explosives. In the lounge, a picture of a Hamas member killed in a
previous confrontation with Israel.
PENHAUL (on camera): And there, since we started to talk, we hear bomb strikes in the general area. And now, they're saying let's move out.
PENHAUL: OK, we're hearing more bombs going off even closer now, so we're definitely getting out of this immediate area.
PENHAUL (voice-over): A few minutes' drive away, the United Nations have opened up one of their schools as a temporary shelter. More families
are on their way. This lady has just found out that she has no home to go back to. She says it's been bombed.
I find Baka Bidwan, the man I met in the morning, and his donkey cart parked outside the school. His family is safe inside. He doesn't want the
war to go on, but he says Palestinians cannot go on living like before, confined in the Gaza strip, locked behind closed borders.
"We don't really know whether we're half alive or half dead," he says. The faces of refugees with no place to flee, the faces of Gaza's walking
ANDERSON: Karl Penhaul reporting there. And later in the show, we're going to focus on the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians. First,
anger and despair in Gaza after four Palestinian boys were allegedly bombed Wednesday while playing at the beach.
Plus, we're going to take you to the other side, where Israeli kindergarten and summer camps have moved to bomb shelters. And later,
we're going to talk to young Israelis and Palestinians about their hopes and fears for the future.
I'm going to get you back to Karl Penhaul. And Karl, we were just watching your report. I know for a period of time today, the market was
running again, I know people were looking to get their utilities back up and running. What's the picture this hour?
PENHAUL: Well, Becky, that was interesting during those five hours of humanitarian cease-fire. It was almost as if the whole of Gaza was in a
race against time. As you say, the markets abuzz, there was produce aplenty. The wartime inflation is pushing prices sky-high. The price of
tomatoes has doubled, potatoes, they're up 50 percent.
We also saw the Gaza power company, their workers out, trying to restore electricity to areas where the power lines had come down. But
since then, since the 3:00 local deadline past, things -- well, the fight is back on.
Just a few moments before we came to air -- and I don't think we've quite got that video ready for you yet, but you may have it in the next few
moments -- but about 400 yards from where we are now, we heard first of all a round from an Israeli aircraft land on the top of the building. That so-
called "knock on the roof" the warning.
And then about four or five minutes after that, some kind of missile slams into the side of the building, sending a large explosion. That was
followed up a few moments later by another one. And now we're hearing a broadcast on Hamas radio that three children may have been killed in that.
We so far, however, are unable to independently confirm that.
That really just continues a picture that we've seen, and since the end of this humanitarian cease-fire, we've seen Israeli bombings come in,
we're heard Hamas rockets going out. We've seen Israeli military reports of Hamas mortars going in just across one of the border crossings as well.
ANDERSON: All right, Karl -- yes --
PENHAUL: The fight is very much still on. We've also heard, I'm being told, a statement from Islamic Jihad that they may have boots on the
ground on the other side of the border. They may have put some militants, again through some kind of tunnel, again into Israel. They say that
mission is ongoing. But we have no further details --
PENHAUL: -- or any confirmation from the Israeli side on that just yet, Becky.
ANDERSON: And to that end -- to that end, I hope you can hear me -- to that end, the IDF releasing some footage a short time ago, which they
say shows a foiled attempt attack against Israel through what they describe as "terror tunnels." What do we know about this incident? Because we're
going to run the footage. You just talk me through it very briefly.
PENHAUL: Right. We're talking about two separate incidents here. The incident that you're talking about, I believe, is the one that the
Israeli military detected this morning. The Israeli military say that 13 militants went through a tunnel from Gaza onto the Israeli side and tried
to carry out some kind of attack.
Now, we don't know the details of that attack. We do know that Hamas put a statement out early this morning saying that its units did go through
a tunnel. They also said that its commandos, Hamas commandos, all returned safely. They say that there were no casualties.
Although we do see from a statement from the Israeli military that when they detected this infiltration by Hamas militants, they launched
Now, though, we're being told from Islamic Jihad -- that's one of the other militant groups in this fight against Israel -- that they have an
ongoing operation on another sector of the border.
They haven't detailed how they've managed to get their Islamic Jihad commandos across the border, but we're told that that operation is
undergoing. We have no independent confirmation or confirmation at this stage from the Israeli military about that possible second infiltration,
ANDERSON: Yes, OK. And we're do more digging on that and get our viewers information as we get it. For the time being, Karl, thank you for
that. Karl Penhaul is in Gaza City.
Well, nine men are facing lengthy prison sentences for sexually assaulting women during rallies near Cairo's Tahrir Square, Egypt, of
course. The sentences range from 20 years to life. It's the first time Egypt has handed down such harsh punishment for sexual assault, and several
of them taking place just last month during inauguration celebrations for the new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Well, the government just criminalized sexual harassment last month, so in theory, at least, these sentences are setting a president. Ashraf
Khalil is a journalist based in Cairo and has been there for the past 15 years. And Khalil, criticism that the sentences are a stunt to help clean
up the nation's reputation. Just how serious is the government taking the issue of sexual harassment?
ASHRAF KHALIL, JOURNALIST: That's the part that really remains to be seen and depends a lot on follow-through and on the longevity of the
effort. They certainly -- at this point, you can conclude that they want to appear like they're taking it seriously.
This court case, this sentence yesterday, was broadcast on national television, and we're talking about events that took place on June 8th, so
that's a five-week turnaround, which has to be a record for any Egyptian trial.
So, there's definitely a desire to appear to be taking it seriously. And anti-sexual harassment activists that I've spoken with, they welcome
this new initiative, and they're willing to wait and see if the government is really serious about dealing with this as a longterm issue rather than -
ANDERSON: All right.
KHALIL: -- sort of something you can do with a splashy trial.
ANDERSON: Yes, we'll follow this story. Khalil, thank you. Russia is slamming the US for slapping further sanctions on Moscow, with Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev describing such penalties as, quote, "evil."
Well, Moscow also blasting the EU, the European Union, for what they call following America's lead, saying Western penalties will only worsen
the situation. On Wednesday, the US added Russian banks, energy companies, defense firms, and government officials to its list. Europe, on the other
hand, expected to issue more by the end of the month.
All right. Let's take a very short break. We are just days away from a deadline to strike a deal on Iran's nuclear program. Coming up, we'll
take a look at where the negotiations stand. And we'll look back at the time our team has spent here in Jerusalem, where we've witnessed the
conflict firsthand. Do stay with us for that.
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ANDERSON: You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, out of Jerusalem. Welcome back. As with many conflicts,
it is arguably the kids who suffer most. Their lives change irreversibly, don't they? Many become homeless, orphaned, or are killed.
But it's not just the violence that they are caught up in. The onus may be on their generation or those just above them to find common ground
and a way out of the conflict, where currently leaders have failed.
I want to take a look at how the youngest citizens of Israel and Gaza are wrapped up in the present and future of this divide. I want to start
with a piece from Ben Wedeman on four Palestinian boys who were killed during what many kids like to do: simply play on the beach.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were killed on the beach Wednesday afternoon when the Israeli military
targeted Gaza's harbor. The four boys, Ismael, Zakaria, Ahed, and Mohamed, were cousins from the extended Bakr family, ranging in age from 9 to 11.
They were rushed to Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, but it was too late.
An Israeli military spokesman says the incident is being "carefully investigated" and that preliminary results indicate, quote, "the target of
this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives," unquote.
(CROWD SHOUTING IN PROTEST)
WEDEMAN: In just over an hour after their deaths, hundreds turned out for their funeral. Behind the angry chants, there is real grief.
WEDEMAN: Eleven-year-old Mohamed's mother convulsed with shattered disbelief. "Why did he go to the beach and play for them to take him away
from me?" she cries.
(PEOPLE SHOUTING, CRYING)
WEDEMAN: His blind father, Ramez, equally devastated.
WEDEMAN: "I felt as if the world had come to an end when I heard the news," he tells me. "I wish I had died before hearing he was dead."
WEDEMAN: Of the more than 200 people killed in the last ten days of Israeli bombardment, over 70 percent have been civilians, according to the
United Nations. Around 40 of the dead are children.
"Were those four small boys firing rockets?" Sufian, a relative, asks. "They went to the beach to play football."
WEDEMAN: The boys died on the sands of Gaza, and in the sands of Gaza, they were buried.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Shati refugee camp, Gaza.
ANDERSON: Well, across the border in Israel, regular summer activities for kids are far from conventional in what is this current
climate. As Diana Magnay now reports, the threat of rocket fire there is being taken extremely seriously.
(AIR RAID SIREN)
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Intercept over the Israeli town of Ashkelon, Iron Dome, Israel's missile defense
shield, is getting plenty of work as these rockets are destroyed midair. But Iron Dome isn't foolproof. When Gaza fires multiple rockets, some make
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A few seconds after the alarm started, I hear a huge explosion, and the door of the shelter is getting open, and I hear a
sound of broken glass. And then I go outside of the shelter and I see that almost everything is ruined and it's here, in my house.
MAGNAY: So far in this latest round of conflict, Israel's suffered just one fatality, thanks to Iron Dome, the siren alerts, and the
ubiquitous shelters. Kindergarten and summer camp have decamped bomb shelters now, where soldiers from Israel's defense forces oversee the kids.
This family spends their days here. There's no safe room back home, and they're scared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They took us on Sunday to the hospital because gravel fell down in the house all day, windows broken. And they hang on
buildings, instead of going to the beach, to the film, to the canyon, to the malls. They are frightened to go out.
MAGNAY: She says she'd take her family out of Ashkelon if she could, away from the line of fire, but Hamas's missiles are reaching further and
further, and for now, she doesn't have the money to move.
But most of the kids seem oblivious to the world outside, as happy in a bomb shelter as they are above ground. Thirteen-year-old Sivan is
philosophical about the fighting. "Rockets come from Gaza and Lebanon," she says, "but we're also bombing them, so it works out even."
But war is never even, and these children, thankfully, have no idea of the suffering on the other side.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Ashkelon, Israel.
ANDERSON: This just coming into CNN. The United Nations group that worked on behalf of Palestinian refugees is today condemning what it found
in one of its facilities. Now, this is in Gaza.
The UN Relief and Works Agency says it discovered 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school there. UNRWA calls this, and I quote, "a flagrant
violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law," adding that "it endangered civilians, including staff." UNRWA says the
rockets have been removed.
Well, live from Jerusalem this hour, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up, a lasting cease-fire between Israel and
Hamas remains out of grasp, at least for now. We're going to speak to the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians about the changing attitudes
that's come as a result.
First, though, diplomats could be inching closer to lifting some of the sanctions crippling Iran's economy. We've got a live report on that up
ANDERSON: All right. Some breaking news that we are just getting into CNN. Russia's Interfax News Service says that a Malaysian passengers
jet carrying 295 people has crashed in Ukraine. Now, Interfax quotes an aviation industry source who says it happened near Ukraine's border with
Russia. That source says the Boeing jet was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
So far, we're not sure of the number of casualties that may be involved or, indeed, what caused the crash. We are continuing to gather
more information on this as you would expect. I will get you more with our colleagues at CNN US.
(BEGIN SIMULCAST OF CNN US BREAKING NEWS)