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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Can The Cease-Fire Hold?; Second American Ebola Patient Arrives In U.S.; Protecting Jerusalem's Old City
Aired August 5, 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: Back to THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper live in Jerusalem. In the last few moments before this current fragile 72- hour cease-fire kicked in, both sides got off some parting shots. CNN teams on the ground actually witnessed one Israeli strike on Gaza City early Tuesday morning and heard several others.
And according to the Israel Defense Forces, about 20 rockets were also fired from Gaza towards Israel. All of that minutes before the cease- fire went into effect.
I want to play a clip that we saw today from NDTV, an Indian news network whose reporters say they watched from their hotel room window as one of those rockets was prepared and launched from a packed civilian area of Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By reasonable doubt it's fair to guess that this is a potential Hamas rocket launching site that this is an area very heavily built up. A lot of residential and hotel buildings all around. Sort of a bush on top of whatever they've buried under the sand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the rocket being fired Tuesday morning a day after the -- from the exact spot the rocket has been fired. That's the smoke. We just shot a video of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So what will happen on ground when and if the 72-hour cease- fire runs out without a long-term agreement there? Joining me from Ramallah in the West Bank is Muhammad Shitayyeh, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Thank you so much for joining us.
I want to get to the cease-fire and moving it forward in a second. First of all, that area, that video was shot, that was packed with civilians. Hamas turned a neighborhood into a target. As a Palestinian, that must bother you.
MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, SENIOR PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR, PLO: What bothers me is the killing of innocent people. Remember one important thing. Gaza is very crowded area, about 1.9 million Palestinians live in only 370 square kilometers. So wherever you go in Gaza, it's very crowded whether here or there.
What we want and what we have been really calling is an end of this aggression. You see it is not just defied under any circumstances that if somebody hijacks a bus, you don't simply bomb the bus kill one person.
And there are circumstances, this is not justified to really demolish or attack a launching, rocket launching machine to kill so many people in one shot. This is totally unacceptable under any circumstances and we fully condemn it.
TAPPER: I understand you condemn the Israeli military operations in Gaza, but really, you're not going to express any remorse at all as Hamas firing rockets from right next to population centers, apartments, houses, businesses, really?
SHTAYYEH: No. You see, you have to get it right. We have to understand that it is Israel who started this had aggression on Gaza. And the people in Gaza if Israel has the right to defend itself, I assume that any nation in the world, any human being in the world has also the right to defend himself.
As I told you, the issue is not using as it has been claimed earlier human beings as shields to protect themselves for Hamas or whatever. The issue here is the following. There is an attack on civilians. Whatever there does not justify killing 1,600 people -- 85 percent of them are children, kids, civilians and so on.
Adversely, we don't like all of this war at all. We want it to stop. We don't like it here or there. That is the most important thing. It's an act of aggression by Israel on civilian people.
TAPPER: Let's move forward. I want to talk about this cease-fire deal. Why now? Why not three weeks ago? Israel says that they signed off on this cease-fire agreement, but it's not really any different from the one the Egyptians proposed three weeks ago or the one that you and other Palestinians in the West Bank proposed one week ago. What's different with this deal than what you and Egypt have already proposed?
SHTAYYEH: Well, by all means, we were hoping that we stopped this aggression from day one. Unfortunately, things escalated and we went from one funeral to the other and therefore, the escalation couldn't be contained.
Adversely, the whole circumstances have ripened the regional, the United States effort, the Egyptian effort and I think everybody has come to a conclusion that it is the right moment.
By all means, we have lost 1,850 Palestinians and I think that at the end of the day, we are coming to the same conclusion. From day one, President Abu Mazen has visited Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, all over the place.
He has phone calls with Secretary Kerry. He had meeting with him. Our main interest was to stop this aggression from day one and to avoid losses of human lives under these sort of terrible conditions.
TAPPER: The Israelis say going forward, assuming the 72-hour cease- fire holds and we all hope it does, going forward, the Israelis want Gaza demilitarized in exchange for the lifting of the blockade in greater economic opportunity for the people of Gaza. Would you be willing to support the demilitarization of Gaza in exchange for what the people of Gaza so desperately need?
SHTAYYEH: Well, look, I see this as really blackmail. I don't think there should be any trade between reconstruction of Gaza, humanitarian aid, relief aid and demilitarization of Gaza. The demilitarization of Gaza should be part of a final status negotiations.
The problem is not the armament of Hamas or the disarmament of Hamas. The most serious problem that the Palestinians are facing whether it is in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, in Gaza is occupation. We have not to deal with the symptoms.
We have to deal with the roots of the problem, the roots of the problem is that the fact that there is Israeli occupation to the Palestinian territory. We went -- we want to end this occupation.
We want to live side by side with the state of Israel in a state of Palestine for the Palestinians to enjoy Gaza's Strip lies on the Mediterranean side. I am sure most of our people would like to enjoy the summer to enjoy swimming to enjoy some music to be human beings.
This occupation, this siege is making -- is dehumanizing the Palestinian people whether in the West Bank or in Gaza.
TAPPER: Mohammed Shtayyah, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
Coming up next, infected patients hiding in fear, others running away. What doctors are up against in one African country as they try to stop the spread of the killer Ebola virus? They say the government is not doing enough.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Live from Jerusalem. A 72-hour cease-fire still in effect between Israel and the Palestinians. More on that in a moment.
But first, an update on that widespread Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Today the emergency coordinator for "Doctors Without Borders" made a plea for more international help in Sierra Leone where we've seen the largest number of cases since this outbreak began.
Although as you can see from this map, other areas such as Guinea and Liberia are also getting hit hard. CNN's David McKenzie is live in Sierra Leone where he spoke to some Ebola patients and the doctors who are treating them.
David, you also got access to the largest medical facility there where a bulk of the patients are being treated. Tell us about it. DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Jake. Though the bulk of the patients are there -- there are many patients or many sufferers who might just be out there in the villages in this area that haven't been found.
There's a sense from "Doctors Without Borders," Jake, that this situation is out of control and with all the heroic efforts they're doing to save patients and to quarantine patients, it's not enough.
I spoke to one woman who lost her husband and her son. It appears she's actually recovering some 30 percent do recover. But she said that this is just decimating communities and that she's going to fight to survive. It's a very serious situation here -- Jake.
TAPPER: David, talk to us about the level of response that you're seeing.
MCKENZIE: Well, the response by the "Doctors Without Borders" teams here is incredible. But they just cannot meet the demand to face this outbreak. It's incredibly complicated. It's in three separate countries in this area in the border region where people move back and forth.
So yes, it's difficult to combat, but there is a sense from many I've spoken to that the governments were too slow, that they didn't deal with this in the early stages and especially here in Sierra Leone, they might not have dealt with it when it was really crucial.
Now it's out of hand. They like to say they want to step one step ahead of an outbreak to stamp it out. I was told today there are three steps behind and this could never end. Forget the six months. This could never end if they don't get more help in here to try and stamp it out. That, of course, has regional and global health implications -- Jake.
TAPPER: Indeed. Horrifying. David McKenzie reporting from Sierra Leone. Thank you and stay safe.
Back in the U.S., the second American Ebola patient is now being treated at Emory hospital in Atlanta. This video shows Nancy Writebol being transported from a specially equipped ambulance. She and another American contracted the disease in Liberia while doing missionary work.
Today the president of that Christian mission group spoke about her condition and her family's emotional journey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, SIM USA: We were thinking about a possible funeral arrangements. Yet, we kept our faith. Now, we have a real reason to be hopeful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is live outside Emory hospital in Atlanta. Sanjay, what's the latest on her condition?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we hear she's settling into this isolation unit. The same one where Dr. Brantly is. The plan I understand talking to the doctors up there was to assess her overall condition. See what sort of toll this viral infection has taken on her body, her heart, her lungs, her kidney and her liver.
And then to see what sort of supportive therapy she needs. The fluids, any blood that she may need if she's had bleeding problems and also Jake, to get the third dose of this experimental serum that we've been talking about.
She's received two doses already. They were given in Liberia. This would be a third dose, which we understand they're planning administering on Wednesday. She should be meeting with her family and might be doing that, as well, Jake. But signs look pretty good, pretty optimistic -- Jake.
TAPPER: That's good. But she was taken into the hospital on a stretcher, which to many of us laymen seemed in stark contrast with the other patient, Dr. Kent Brantly who was able to walk in. Does that mean anything? Does it mean her body's not responding as well to this experimental serum?
GUPTA: I would say two things. First of all, I think the surprising thing to me and I think a lot of people was more Brantly and the fact that he was able to walk in. Keep in mind, just about 36 hours earlier, his condition was listed to us as grave.
He had had a conversation with his wife basically saying good-bye to her and then he was able to, as you saw, walk out of the ambulance into the hospital. I expected him to be on a gurney given that condition.
She is older. She has -- she came later. She was evacuated later so it may have taken more of a toll on her body. I don't think they're reading too much into it. It's sort of expected even being strapped in, some of that is standard for being transported in this way. You saw the people with her in those Tyvek bio-protective suits. That's standard, as well, Jake.
TAPPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting from Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you so much.
Coming up, stopping terrorist attacks on some of the holiest and oldest sites on earth. How Israeli police are using hundreds of secret cameras to watch every move. We got a firsthand look behind the scenes at how they do it.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper live in Jerusalem. This is of course, home to the old city of Jerusalem, the richest blending of cultural and historical significance possibly anywhere in the world for Christians, Muslims and Jews. This is also, of course, a city whose ownership is disputed with the status of Jerusalem, a major sticking point in any future peace talks. Keeping an area like the old city of Jerusalem safe on a day to day basis for residents, worshipers and tourists, is as challenging as its many paths are confusing.
Jerusalem has 3,000 police officers, a third of whom are assigned to the outskirts. Tensions caused by the war in Gaza combined with what police described as twos terrorist attacks yesterday combined with today also being a Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction of the first and second temples in this very city.
All of that combined made today especially nerve racking. We spent some time with the Israeli police to get a sense of their immediate task at hand.
TAPPER (voice-over): The old city of Jerusalem on edge. Just hours into a fragile cease-fire and a day after the current bloodshed between Israel and Gaza spilled into Jerusalem with two deadly events, the Israeli police characterized as terrorist attacks.
It's just feet from the Wailing Wall, the al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, where we meet up with Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld.
(on camera): How has it been today?
MICKY ROSENFELD, ISRAELI POLICE SPOKESMAN: This morning there were already disturbances at 8:00 in the morning as the temple mount was opened.
TAPPER: What happened?
ROSENFELD: Stone were thrown at police officers. They responded here ahead of time and prepared and pushed back the rioters. As stone were being thrown, a Molotov cocktail was thrown, petrol ones.
TAPPER (voice-over): On and off for the past few years, the Israeli police have banned some Muslims from praying here, Islam's third holiest site. Resentment of this policy and other policies has resulted in many clashes in the past.
ROSENFELD: There were clear indications there were going to be disturbances on temple mount and an age limit was implemented. Women, of course, of all ages but those security measures are critical to make sure the tension is kept and doesn't overflow.
TAPPER: The two attacks yesterday in Jerusalem have officials concerned that the events down south in Gaza have opened up a new front here. A Palestinian killed an Israeli by toppling a bus and an unknown gunman shot an Israeli soldier.
ROSENFELD: Hopefully after tomorrow, based on the security assessments, things will be back to normal. We'll have less security measures in and around the area in terms of police officers.
TAPPER: But just minutes later, another attack.
(on camera): So you just got a phone call. What happened?
ROSENFELD: Just as we're talking, we just received confirmation of a stabbing incident, Palestinian stabbed an Israeli security guard.
TAPPER (voice-over): The stabbing took place near an Israeli settlement on land that Palestinians say is theirs. The sites here are centuries old but Rosenfeld says the police are now aided by the modern technology of closed circuit TV cameras. More than 300 of them throughout the old city.
ROSENFELD: We have a lot of CCTV cameras that are watching every movement that takes place around the western wall area, the temple mount, the holy sites and the church of the Sepreka. The images are broadcast inside the command center, here near the entrance to the old city.
ROSENFELD: You have 60 screens watching sensitive areas, 320 cameras all together.
TAPPER: Not everyone is so enthusiastic about the cameras. This Arab businessman says the closed circuit technology helps crack down on crimes against Jews.
(on camera): Does it make you feel safer with the cameras or no?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so.
TAPPER (voice-over): But he says when he has made complaints about crimes against him by Jews, well, suddenly police say the cameras do not work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even the police here them say --
TAPPER (on camera): Nice to meet you.
(voice-over): Rosenfeld says it's not true, but the businessman says not a unique complaint in a city marked by divisions and tensions. The good news for Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld is that today in the old city was another day with no loss of life. And for now, that will have to be called a success.
TAPPER: Our thanks to Micky Rosenfeld. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper. It's all one word and also @theleadcnn. Check out cnn.com/thelead for video, blogs and extras. You can also subscribe to our magazine on Flipboard.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'll be back tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern co-anchoring live from Jerusalem. For now, I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.