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Flight 17 Parents Desperate for Answers; Hamas Now Wants 24- Hour Cease-Fire

Aired July 27, 2014 - 07:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-two minutes past the hour.

And international monitors say the situation at the crash site of Malaysia Flight 17 is too dangerous to enter today. This news coming as we learn a contingent of Dutch police arrived in Donetsk, Ukraine, to help with the investigation. The Dutch team does plan -- the plans I guess -- they plan to put in Donetsk, until it's safe to travel to the crash site.

I guess they are going to put up shop until they know they have a green light to move forward.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, also, CBS News says it learned early details from one of the black boxes, which indicates the plane was indeed shot down by a missile. CNN has not been able to independently confirm that.

PAUL: One family, though, searching for answers about their daughter, did make that dangerous journey to the crash site in war torn Ukraine.

BLACKWELL: Kyung Lah joins us now from Kiev.

Kyung, this family was able to make it in just before it appears that the security situation is just too dangerous there. The reports are that some distance away from the site, the fighting is going on and getting from Donetsk, through this danger, to the crash is not feasible.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not feasible. You can imagine the frustration for the many, many other families around the world especially in Europe and Malaysia watching this, that this site still all these days after the plane crash happened, the Dutch police and the Australian police are still unable to get there to secure the site.

So, driven by frustration, determination, we followed one set of parents as they made their way in on their own.


LAH (voice-over): Nothing could keep these parents from Flight 17's wreckage, not a bloody conflict or a breakaway republic filled with armed rebels. ANGELA DYCZYNSKI, PASSENGER'S MOTHER: Of course I cry. Of

course, I -- we thought how do we survive this? We couldn't believe it.

LAH: Being this close they still don't want to believe that their only child Fatima is gone. The 25-year-old aerospace engineer aimed to be an astronaut one day and hoped space exploration could bring peace on earth.

ANGELA DYCZYNSKI: She would challenge me if I would give up. She has a training of not giving up.

LAH: And neither will her parents. The Australians flew to Ukraine armed only with shock, grief and hope to find their daughter alive.



LAH: We met them on the Ukrainian side of the conflict as they fought to get to Donetsk.

Local Ukrainian government officials urged them not to go, warning them the fighting was getting worse. Embassy workers on the phone begged them to stay.

ANGELA DYCZYNSKI: You have not sorted this out. Please do not contact me anymore.

So the risk, we know. No worries.

LAH: Refusing to listen, they left in a private car, crossing rebel blockades to their daughter's plane that the U.S. says the rebels shot down. They are the first of the families to come here -- seeing is not believing.

ANGELA DYCZYNSKI: I really want no condolences. I really say this to the -- no condolences.

LAH: Denial is powerful. A parent's grief unyielding.


LAH: So even seeing it for yourself does not always help. It is dangerous international observers are warning parents to stay away. These parents are still in Donetsk. They are not able to get out right now -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, Hamas agreed to a cease-fire that was scheduled to begin just about 30 minutes ago, but our reporters on the ground there in Gaza are still hearing the shelling. What's the response from Israel? More of the breaking news out of the Mideast, next.


ANNOUNCER: This CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: We have the latest now on the breaking developments out of Gaza. Hamas saying it's agreeing to a new cease-fire agreement or at least the humanitarian pause as the U.N. envoy called it for the region where more than 1,000 Palestinians had died in just the past few weeks.

PAUL: This is an about-face. This coming after Hamas turned down a cease-fire extension by Israel hours ago. And the thing is there has been heavy shelling and explosions in Gaza, and earlier, there were rocket attacks in Israel as well.

We do need to point out, Hamas agreed to a cease-fire and they asked for that cease-fire to start at 2:00 p.m., 40 minutes ago. Israel, we're now learning never agreed to that. So that may be why obviously the shelling is still going on.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller. He's the public policy scholar for the Woodrow Wilson International Center. Good to have you with us.

And you just listened to the interview with Robert Serry, the U.N. envoy who brokered this deal. What's your take on what you heard?

AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: You know, there is an enormous amount of uncertainty. The relationship between the military wing of Hamas and the political wing is very unclear.

And the idea that somehow you could string together a series of 24-hour cease-fires is a way to get out of this probably is a real stretch. I mean, the reality is if you look at step back for a minute -- now, I understand these cease-fires are extremely important. Twenty-four hours of quiet means nobody is dying. That's obviously one of the key objectives with respect to de-escalating.

But the basic reality I think is more painful, that is, there is simply an insufficient urgency on the part of both parties to de- escalate. The Israelis do not believe that they have delivered either to Hamas's high trajectory weapons stockpile or the tunnels, the kind of stunning defeat that they would like to inflict.

And Hamas on the other hand, has so much invested in terms of the death and destruction that has been beseted on Gaza, that they really do need a big win out of this. And right now, I suspect Hamas feels it's winning, it survived, it's diminished Abbas' influence and importance and it's elevated itself, really, quite stunning fashion, as a kind of co-equal party to a negotiation with Israel which in many respects is new.

So, getting out of this means two things. It means basically both parties have to realize that there's too much pain involved and they have to stand down, and at the same time they have to be shown that there is a way to achieve gain. And without enough pain and gain the sad tragic brutal reality is this could go on for quite a while longer.

PAUL: Well, another reality that you have written about, what you call reality, is that Israel and Hamas actually need each other. What do you mean by that?

MILLER: Well, I think it's -- in an odd way, the fact that they can't destroy one another means they have to seek maximum advantage out of one another. I mean, after all, Hamas feeds on the reality, it wouldn't exist and it wouldn't be resilient as an organization of resistance and confrontation if there were no Israel. Israel makes Hamas possible. It gives its legitimacy, it gives it its driving force, and it gives it a way through confrontation to separate itself from Mahmoud Abbas who clearly is not a man of violence that would like a negotiated solution.

The Israelis on the other hand face a difficult reality, if they want a cease-fire where do they go? They don't go to Mahmoud Abbas, they go to Hamas. If they want their prisoners back, where do they go? They don't go to Abbas, they go to Hamas.

And frankly, I suspect that many Israelis understand the reality, that Hamas's presence in Gaza over time is probably a more practical reality for them than a lawless Gaza out of control in which any number of jihadi groups operate out of the influence of any party.

So, in a way, I'm not suggesting that if each had one wish, they wouldn't completely wish the other away but they can't do that. And as a consequence, they interact with one another in a way that drives them, frankly, to find a more practical way to reduce conflict and to accommodate themselves.

It doesn't mean that Israel is prepared to accept Hamas as a partner in negotiation, it doesn't mean that Hamas is ready to recognize Israel, abandon violence and accept all previous agreements, which were the quartets, U.S., the U.N., E.U., and Russia's requirements for Hamas's participation in the political process. It doesn't mean any of that.

But what it means if you can't destroy the other guy, the reality is you have to find some way to accommodate, and as a consequence of this I suspect we're going to get out of this through some sort of practical accommodation where both Israel and Hamas give up some things, and get some things. That is not the preferred ending to this story because it sets up a year, two years from now, the prospects of another bitter and dangerous confrontation.

BLACKWELL: The breaking news quickly is that Hamas want this is 24-hour cease-fire scheduled to start -- they asked rather, not scheduled, that it begin at 2:00 local. No response from Israel though the shelling has continued according to our reporters there in Gaza.

Aaron, last question to you. What is in it for Israel to grant this cease-fire or agree to it? We've seen and heard that Israel doesn't really care about the world's concern about war crimes, as we heard from this U.N. official. They believe that this is their right and they have to protect itself as a state as many people do.

Why would they agree to this?

MILLER: Well, look. First of all the Israelis are in fact sensitive. They have to be, to international pressure. I mean, they have their security needs and requirements which drive Israeli policy, no question about that.

But, look, remember something, in these asymmetrical wars there is a military clock, there is a political clock and there is a public relations clock. And the reality is Hamas and Israel are fighting another war. Not with weapons, not with high trajectory rockets or airstrikes but public diplomacy and the creation of the image.

And the reality is Israelis have to be sensitive to the cruel and bitter truth that when you operate in densely populated areas you are going to end up killing a lot of innocent people. That has happened. Well in excess of 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, thousands more wounded, and tens of thousands displaced.

Israelis cannot ignore that reality. So, in effect, there is a kind of back and forth here to see who can capture the hearts and minds of their own public's and the international community as well. So, this is another conflict within the military political conflict that's occurring on the ground. And I think both sides will continue to want to present themselves, not only before their own audiences but before the international community in the best possible light and that has a lot to do with the timing and the need for these 24-hour humanitarian cease-fires.

BLACKWELL: We'll see we get a response from Israel.

Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller, thanks so much for helping us with this breaking news this morning.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

MILLER: Pleasure.

PAUL: All right. We're obviously going to stay on that story. It is developing and we'll let you know.

But have you heard about this carjacking at gunpoint? That's violent enough. But it gets worse. A family of four ended up in the driver's path. We'll tell you what happened.


BLACKWELL: Police in Philadelphia are on the lookout for two men suspected in a violent carjacking that led to the deaths of three children. By now, there's a $110,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

PAUL: Yes, police say the man carjacked a woman at gunpoint. This happened Friday night. And investigators say they ended up losing control of the car, crashed into a mother and her three children selling fruit on a sidewalk -- a 15-year-old girl, 10-year- old boy and 7-year-old boy were killed. That mom is still in critical condition.

BLACKWELL: And in Chicago, a 3-year-old boy is the latest victim of violence on the southwest side. The toddler is in critical condition with bullet wounds to his right hip and stomach. He's 3 years old.

He was caught in crossfire early Saturday.

PAUL: The episode comes less than 24 hours after a 12-year-old boy was killed in a spray of bullets outside a convenience store.

BLACKWELL: Well, he spent his adult life trying to catch cold- blooded criminals. Now, John Walsh was called to do this after tragedy struck his life. Why today is really an emotional day for him.


BLACKWELL: Thirty-three years ago, today, a 6-year-old boy vanished from a department store in Florida. His abduction and the discovery of his remains really shook the nation.

PAUL: Adam Walsh was abducted July 27, 1981. You know his father, John Walsh, from CNN's "THE HUNT", and from "America's Most Wanted."

BLACKWELL: And his career of catching bad guys was inspired by his son's brutal murder, and I spoke with John earlier about Adam's case on this somber anniversary.


JOHN WALSH, THE HUNT: As you probably know, it took 27 years to solve Adam's case. We had to work very hard to get the case reopened and a wonderful chief, a younger chief in Hollywood, Florida, named Chad Wagner reopened the case and it was solved a month later.

It's a tough day for us. Several years ago, the sad memory of Adam was somewhat relieved by the fact that President Bush passed the Adam Walsh Act and Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act and we signed it in the Rose Garden that day. It's a bittersweet day for us. It was a bad day, the day Adam was kidnapped, but it was a day a powerful piece of legislation passed in his name.

BLACKWELL: But there's also a code Adam, which has reunited children with their families in department stores and malls around the country. Talk about that.

WALSH: Well, several years ago, a little girl was kidnapped out of a Walmart in the Midwest and the store manager was a woman and they caught the guy out in the parking lot. Store personnel held him. He had the 3-year-old girl in the front seat. He kidnapped her from the store, molested her.

And when it came to light, the fact was he was a convicted child molester on probation and parole waiting to go on trial. He ran. I wound up catching him on "America's Most Wanted."

And Walmart started this program nationally and named it after Adam, which I thought was wonderful. So, many, many big chain stores, Walmart the first to do it. Many government buildings practice code Adam. If the child goes missing, the stores shut down, the employees look for the child, they close the doors, they go in the parking lots.

And you're right, Victor, it's actually saved some children's lives. And as a matter of fact, to end the story, I did catch the guy that got away from the Walmart parking lot.

But it's another testament to Adam to make sure he didn't die in vain. Walmart did a good job naming it code Adam.

BLACKWELL: You know, last week, Anderson Cooper in the coverage of MH17 and the families of the victims and discussing his brother's suicide, the word closure is a TV word. There's never closure.

Have you ever reached that closure or do you agree, it's a TV word?

WALSH: No, I say to people all the time and I have met literally tens of thousands of victims in 33 years. There's no such thing as closure. We'll always be the parent of a murdered child. It's getting justice. It took us 27 years to get justice. And that ended a terrible chapter in our live and we move on.

And that's what I'm hoping "THE HUNT" will do that tonight. In that terrible chapter of what Brad Bishop did to his loved ones. And so, the people left behind will say at least he's been caught and paid for.

So, it's about justice and ending that chapter in your life and trying to move on. There's no such thing as closure.

BLACKWELL: You know, there's a question I have asked many times over the years of parents who have lost children. I'll ask you, it's a little unorthodox. Do you still talk to Adam?

WALSH: Absolutely, Victor. I believe he is my angel and certainly, I don't think that my wife and I would have been able to go forward if we didn't love Adam so much as most parents of children that are killed in some way love them. But, it's a motivation.

I really believe and I talk to him. I talk to him when I'm tired or think it's too much or you can't go on or the cases are depressing. Exactly what my wife said to me 33 years ago, let's never forget who the real victim is and Adam is out there.


BLACKWELL: Well, tonight, you'll hear the story of Brad Bishop, who John mentioned there. He's accused of killing his entire family 40 years ago. Almost 40 years ago. A brand-new episode of "THE HUNT" with John Walsh is on CNN at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

PAUL: Doing important work there.


PAUL: We want to thank you for starting your morning with us. We want to continue doing important work here and all the breaking news.

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts now.

PAUL: So glad to have you with us. As we are in the 8:00 hour right now, just a few seconds from. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

PAUL: First, let's talk about the breaking news out of Gaza. There have been explosions and heavy shelling there all morning long.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but there's a new offer on the table from Hamas. They are agreeing to a 24-hour cease-fire or U.N. envoy calls it a humanitarian pause. How will Israel respond?

PAUL: That's what we are waiting to hear.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Wolf Blitzer joins us from Jerusalem. CNN's Karl Penhaul joins us now from the other side of the city in Gaza City.

We are going to start with you, Karl. There were explosions at the top of the previous hour. What's it like now?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, those explosions carried on for about ten or 15 minutes into the hour. Since then, things have got considerably calmer. I would say totally quiet.