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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Israeli and Hamas Spokesmen Dicsuss Latest Attempts to Reach a Ceasefire; Israel, Palestinians Agree To 3-Day Cease-Fire; New York Patient Being Tested For Ebola
Aired August 4, 2014 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper live from Jerusalem.
We're following breaking news out of Cairo. A Palestinian delegation representing all four major factions of the Palestinians has now agreed to a three-day cease-fire proposal offered by Egypt, the Egyptian government. They say they are now waiting on the Israeli side to offer their view on whether or not they will come to Cairo. We are here in the Middle East where another truce fell apart today.
But let's go right to Mark Regev. He's a Spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. And -- well, first of all, Mr. Regev, thanks for being here. What's your understanding of the details of this ceasefire proposal, 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire?
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN, ISRAEL GOVERNMENT: Basically, this is the Egyptian proposal.
TAPPER: From three weeks ago.
REGEV: That is well accepted three weeks ago. And if the Palestinian parties, the different groups in Gaza have accepted it, so what has to be said is all lost of life that we've seen in the last three weeks has been totally without any reason. Israel accepted this proposal three weeks ago.
TAPPER: Are you willing to accept it again?
REGEV: We have. This is the same proposal. It's the Egyptian proposal which calls for an immediate ceasefire -- unconditional ceasefire. And then the parties will agree to talk about the outstanding issues. For us, the most important outstanding issue was the issue of demilitarization, because we don't want to revisit this conflict in six months or in a year. We want it to be over.
TAPPER: For the Palestinians, especially in Gaza, one of the issues that they're most concerned about is inability to thrive with maritime block paving lifted, acces to Israel, acces to Egypt, those entry points being opened. I know that Israel doesn't technically call in a block pave, but whatever you would call it, that being lifted. Would Israel be willing to entertain those requests, demands, whatever they are in Cairo in these subsequent talks?
REGEV: Prime Minister Netanyahu said publicly a few days ago that if we get sustained quite from Gaza, the restrictions that are there for security reasons can be -- ultimately, when we left Gaza nine years ago, when we pulled out of Gaza, we signed an agreement for access and movement. There was supposed to be trade and commerce, tourism, cooperation. The reason all that doesn't exist is because of the violence, because of Hamas, because of the rockets. If we get sustained quite from Gaza, if they're no longer attacking us, then from our point of view, of course we can rethink our relationship with Gaza. If Gaza ceases to be hostile, that's a new reality.
TAPPER: Are you willing to negotiate with Hamas, a group that both Israel and the United States designate as a terrorist organization, also a group collected to represent the people of Gaza? Israel has been very clear in saying that Hamas is the same as Al-Qaeda, Hamas is the same as Boko Haram. Would Israel be willing to negotiate peace with Hamas?
REGEV: As long as Hamas is a terrorist organization -- and it's not just Israel, as you've said, it's the United States, the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia. All these countries have officially, legally declared Hamas a terrorist organization unless Hamas changes its fundamental patterns of behavior. And as we've seen, there's no sign of that. They continue to target innocent civilians. They continue to shoot rockets and trying to indiscriminate -- to kill Israelis, to send death squads across the boarder through those tunnels.
Unless Hamas changes, they are still a terrorist organization and we will not speak to them. We are speaking. The negotiations are through intermediaries and that's the way it will be because we don't talk to terrorist organizations.
TAPPER: That's weird. I'm getting ahead of the process by even talking about where it goes from here. Let's talk about these 72 hours because obviously the ceasefire as of the last few weeks have not been successful to put it lightly
REGEV: And here, I'll stress. We are entering this with our eyes wide open. We've had over the last three weeks eight proposed ceasefires. All of them either Hamas rejected or they violated ate. It is -- we saw it explode again last Friday when there was a ceasefire that people worked on, the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.N. Secretary General. They worked on this for days endless, hours of work, putting together bit by bit of ceasefire. And we saw that someone violated it within an hour and a half. So, we are coming to this with our eyes open.
REGEV: We'll be the (inaudible) of Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza, will they violate this other agreement. And if they do, I think it will be clear to everyone who is responsible for the continuation of the violence.
TAPPER: If Hamas, Islamic Jihad, (inaudible), popular front deliberation of Palestine, others, abide by the ceasefire, does Israel commit or abide? Because as you know there was a humanitarian pause that Israel declared today and then Israel hit some Islamic Jihad targets in a refugee camp, also hitting some other people including an eight-year-old? Israel said, "Initially, that's not true," then Israel said, "Oh, that was an ongoing operation so it doesn't count?" This ongoing operation thing is Israel willing to stop operations so there are no ongoing operations that can continue?
REGEV: We will cease all our activities -- military activities, all our offensive operations against terrorist targets in the Gaza's groups.
TAPPER: Including ...
REGEV: Including everything.
TAPPER: ... tunnels -- including tunnels?
REGEV: The tunnel issue is being solved by itself because that's winding up anyway.
TAPPER: That tough, OK.
REGEV: That's winding up anyway. So, basically if Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza honor this Egyptian proposal, of course we will.
TAPPER: And Israel is willing to go to Cairo. You're willing to send somebody to Cairo to talk about what next as part -- both as part of signing off on the ceasefire and also in the talks about Gaza's status in improving the lives of Gaza?
REGEV: The Egyptian initiative has different elements. The most important element the beginning is unconditional immediate ceasefire that we accepted three weeks ago. And now, finally, Hamas and the others are accepting that. Then of course there are discussions in Cairo which will be (inaudible) for us the most important issue. And I'll say it again, it is working to make sure that Hamas does not rearm into a longer term goal, the demilitarization of Gaza, because our problem is that Hamas has this enormous military machine. Now, because of this conflict, we are active through our military action to think about that machine.
We don't want to see that terrorist military machine rebuilt. We don't want to see more rockets in Gaza. We don't want to see more tunnels and we have to make sure that Gaza stays demilitarized.
TAPPER: You wouldn't include -- I mean there would be -- I would assume it's OK with Israel that Gaza have some sort of police force, and those members are armed, yes?
REGEV: We don't have a problem with that sort of thing.
TAPPER: OK. You just mentioned that the tunnel situation is over. Is it over, are the tunnels gone, 31 tunnels I think?
REGEV: I'm not going to give a number, but they're operation is winding up as we speak. TAPPER: OK. So, that shouldn't be a consideration going forward?
REGEV: I don't believe so.
TAPPER: All right. Well, from your lips to Gaza ...
REGEV: Once again, we'll be watching very closely to see what Hamas does after 8:00 in the morning (inaudible) more than once when the U.N., the United States, others have said ceasefire and Hamas has destroyed the hopes for a better future. We'll be watching very closely, see what happens tomorrow morning.
TAPPER: All right. Well, we're going to talk to your representative from Hamas coming up and we pray for peace and hope this halts. Thank you so much, Mark Regev, Spokesman for Israel Prime Mister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Coming up, that three-day ceasefire agreed upon by Palestinians, will Hamas' firing missiles this time around still happen? But will ask a spokesman for the group, next. Plus an experimental treatment never used on humans before. But this American on what he though was his death bed took a chance and it likely saved his life. So, why isn't this mystery serum available to everyone who has Ebola? Coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jack Tapper, live from Jerusalem. We're following breaking news that both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians have agreed to a three-day cease fire as brokered (ph) by Egypt, of course, as we've learned hopes of a truce even a temporary one often rise just as quickly as they crumble, leaders of Hamas, the group that controls Gaza and is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. They have steadfastly refused in the past to adhere to any cease fire that does not include meeting demands that would in their view improve the lives of the 1.8 million people of Gaza.
Now, the Israeli government has made no secret of its belief that Hamas cannot be trusted to abide by a cease fire, but also it is also true that working through intermediaries, Israel has signed off, has just announced by Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev in the previous block that they will sign off on this 72-hour cease fire proposal.
Joining me now live from Qatar is the spokesman for Hamas, Osama Hamdan. Mr. Hamdan, thank you so much for joining us. So, is it true Hamas has signed off on this 72-hour cease fire agreement?
OSAMA HAMDAN, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: One, in fact, not only accepted that 72-hour humanitarian cease fire, in fact, our efforts in Egypt the last two days, today and yesterday, make that to be a fact. Now, we hope that the Israeli side would be committed to the cease fire and they won't violate that like what had happened with the last 72-hours, when they violated that and Rafah (ph) committing a massacre 150 Palestinians, 80 percent of them they were women and children. We hope that Israeli will be committed that cease fire and I believe this is a big question because a few days ago, the deputy speaker of (inaudible) had published a plan for the complete destruction of the Palestinians in Gaza, suggesting to vote (ph) all Palestinians in Gaza in a concentration camps. It's a genocide. This is the mentality of a senior (inaudible) member, the party of the prime minister and the deputy of the (inaudible) talking about the Palestinians like this so we hope that they can make it be committed to the cease fire.
TAPPER: I take your point on the language from the deputy speaker of the (inaudible), but with all do respect, sir, you yourself have said things in the past that would cause Israeli's to not trust you not trust Hamas. Let's look forward and talk about this cease fire if we could, I don't want to this to turn into a list of things people have said in the past. Let's talk about brining peace possibly even for just three days (inaudible) reason. Yes?
HAMDAN: Excuse me. Excuse me it's not the best. It's three days ago only. It's the 1st of August this year. So we are not talking about a very past, we are talking about three days ago. And although I'm saying that I hope that they can be committed, and, you know, they were criticized by the United States yesterday and the United Nation after they bombed a school killing children and women, killing innocent people in the school and they suggested that there was someone passing by on a motorcycle as a wanted person and they killed the people there. So, we are talking about facts on the grounds not an old history. So I hope that they can ...
TAPPER: Those are things that ...
HAMDAN: ... that they can control themselves.
TAPPER: Those are acts, yes, that we covered on CNN but, again, it's not as though Hamas doesn't have blood on its hands. Let's talk about the 72 hours. Do you commit that none of the individuals who are associated with Hamas will fire rockets or mortars into Israel?
HAMDAN: As I told you, this cease fire was created mainly by the efforts of the Palestinian delegation including Hamas. So, we are the creator of this cease fire and we will be all, as Palestinians including Hamas and Islamic Jihad (ph) committed to that unless the Israelis did not violate that. We hope that they will not violate this cease fire this time.
TAPPER: I talked with Mark Regev, the spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu. We talked about things that members of Hamas, member of the Palestinian community want for the people of Gaza. One of the items that people Israel I think would be very interested to know is whether or not Hamas is willing to remove from its charter "The day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them and until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or tree." That's interpreted here in Israel as a charter calling for the killing of Jews. Would Hamas consider removing that from its charter?
HAMDAN: I want you consider two issues. The first, the deputy speaker when he talks about genocide against the Palestinians, it's a fact that he is in a position that he can make a decision, (inaudible) Hamas we say clearly that we are against the occupation. We don't have problem with the Jews because they are Jews. In fact, we respect their religion. We respect their prophet Moses Alaihis Salam. We believe that he's like Muhammad our prophet, and we believe in both of them plus Jesus. We believe in the three of them, unlike the Israelis who does not believe in Jesus or Muhammad.
TAPPER: Would you consider that -- would you consider removing that from the charter.
HAMDAN: Excuse me, let me -- let me continue that. So, we are not against the Jews as Jews. We don't have problem with them. In fact, they live among Arabs and the Muslims and the Arab area after they were kicked out from Europe in he middle ages, and they lived normal people, (inaudible) they lived as citizens in our country.
We are against the occupation regardless to their religion or to the race of the occupation. We want our land to be free. We want our people to be free. We don't want to live under an (inaudible) system controlled by the Israelis thinking that they have the right to control our lives and our people. This is the fact, if they are against a sentence here or there, we want them to change the occupation. We them to withdraw from our occupied lands which everyone in the international community is saying it's an occupied place.
TAPPER: All right.
HAMDAN: They have to withdraw. If they would withdraw, they will help in creating this, continuing the occupation and killing the Palestinians will not bring these and will not bring security for both the Palestinians and them.
TAPPER: That's true. And killing Jews will not bring security or peace either. Osama Hamdan, thank you so much. We appreciate your time. Coming up next, a patient in the New York Hospital, in isolation and being tested for Ebola after returning from West Africa with symptoms of the killer virus. Details on his condition, coming up next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper live in Jerusalem. More on a potential pause to violence in Israel and Gaza in a moment. But first, the nightmare virus tearing through West Africa, killing 887 people there might now be on American shores. Not in Atlanta.
In New York City, Mount Sinai Hospital is testing a man for Ebola after he was admitted with a high fever and told doctors he had recently traveled to West Africa. Hospital officials from Mt. Sinai say they have put the patient in isolation.
He continues to undergo test, but no word yet on how long those lab tests will take and how soon doctors will know if this man does in fact have the virus. Let's bring in Jason Carroll. Jason, what is the latest that you're hearing from the hospital?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, doctors here at Mount Sinai, Jake, as you can imagine are trying to get to the bottom of this diagnosis just as quickly and as accurately as they can. Here's what I can tell you.
Earlier today, a male patient who had traveled to the region in question checked himself in very, very sick with some of the similar early symptoms of Ebola, as you mentioned a high fever, gastrointestinal issues, as well.
Patients and doctors here basically doctors basically here are saying this patient is in strict isolation. He is undergoing a medical screening. Just to give this a little bit more perspective is, CDC spokesperson also telling us that since this epidemic broke out, since last March, there have been some six patients also treated here in the United States.
They had also traveled to the area in question. All of those tests with all of those patients came back negative. It should take about a day or so for tests from this particular patient to come back, but as you can imagine, a lot of worry here in New York City.
The hospital releasing a statement. I'll read part of it to you. It says the necessary steps, all necessary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors, and staff. We will continue to work closely with federal, state and city health officials to address and monitor this particular case.
The hospital also saying, Jake, that it's going to be doing whatever it can to keep the community abreast of what's been happening here, as well -- Jake.
TAPPER: Jason Carroll, thank you so much. Kent Brently, an American who contracted this disease in Liberia, walked into Emory Hospital on Saturday, just days after being a few heart beats away from death. Thanks to a secret experimental treatment never been tried on humans.
CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the latest from Emory Hospital.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last Thursday, Dr. Kent Brantly thought he was going to die. It was the 9th day since he came down sick with Ebola. His condition worsening by the minute. He called his wife to say good-bye.
But he also knew just hours earlier, a secret highly experimental drug called z-map had been delivered to the clinic. The serum was delivered in sub-zero temperatures and with clear instructions allow the vials to thaw naturally before administering. It would be an agonizing eight-hour wait.
When it arrived, Brantley told his colleague, Nancy Writebol, who was also sick she should have the first dose. But as Brantley's health deteriorated and he became more desperate, he asked for Writebol's now thawed medication. It was a risk.
The treatment had been tried in monkeys and it seemed to work, but never before had it been tried in a human. Not even to test safety. Dr. Kent Brantly would be the first. While doctors don't often use this term, they describe what happened next as miraculous.
Within an hour of receiving the medication, Dr. Brantley's condition seemed to make a dramatic turn around. His breathing improved. The rash over his trunk nearly faded away.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: I do hope that it was as impressive as being described because if it is, that bodes very well for that particular product.
GUPTA: By the next morning, Brantley was able to shower on his own before making the 6,000 mile transport to Atlanta. Saturday afternoon, another first. Watch as Brantley walks off the back of the ambulance. He became the first patient infected with the Ebola virus to ever set foot in the United States or even this part of the world.
Tuesday, his colleague, Nancy Writebol, who also received the z-map serum will join Brantly at Emory University Hospital.
GUPTA: You know, Jake, again, this has never been done on a human being before. It had significant benefits in monkeys and nonhuman pry mates. It's what's known as a monoclonal antibody. Basically what it means is you take animals, inject them with the Ebola virus, they make cells to fight that virus. You take those cells then and create a medication.
That's essentially what a monoclonal antibody is. That was the gist of it. Again, we don't know if this fell under compassionate use, why Dr. Brantly was able to get this, how it happened, usually these things go through a clinical trial where it's tested for safety first and then efficacy.
But this was given to him at a very early stage. One thing, as well, this is happening realtime. I mean it, people were asking why isn't this more widely available. It wasn't supposed to be available at all until it went through the clinical trial process.
But they decided to give it a shot with Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, as well. How it sort of plays out? How more widely it may become available, we don't know. But this is happening, Jake, as we speak.
TAPPER: Sanjay, very quickly, what can you tell us about this patient in New York? We have about 20 seconds left.
GUPTA: There's been about a half a dozen or so patients that have come back from West Africa with fever because of the heightened tension, as you might guess, a lot of them are getting checked out. None of those half dozen have been confirmed as Ebola. Still likelihood is pretty low. TAPPER: All right, thanks, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper in Jerusalem. I'll be back tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."