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Dozens Now Killed in Israel-Palestine War; Both Leaders Say They're Not Backing Down; President Biden Understand Israel's Right to Defend Itself; India's Death Toll Keep Rising; Nepal's Healthcare System on Breaking Point; Ethnic Clashes Rock Jewish-Arab Cities In Israel; Reports on Coronavirus Pandemic; Info Hoarded, Decisions Delayed As Virus Spread; Ohio Lottery To Give Five Vaccinated Winners $1 Million; President Biden, U.S. Defends Israel's Right To Defend Itself; U.S. Fuel Pipeline Restarts As Gas Stations Run Dry; Columbian Leader, Police Conduct Under Investigation; Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Crisis; Future Of Tokyo Olympics. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 13, 2021 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Destruction and chaos as the conflict escalates between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.
And a new WHO report says the pandemic was, a quote, "preventable disaster."
Then, first a crippling ransomware attack, it's a key pipeline in the U.S., now a gasoline shortage.
That's all ahead this hour. I'm Kim Brunhuber. And this is CNN Newsroom.
All right. We begin in the Middle East where Hamas militants have fired another wave of rockets from Gaza towards Israel. Listen to this here. Those are the air raid sirens wailing in this video from Tel Aviv as residents scramble to shelters.
Israel says at least seven people have been killed by the nearly 1,500 rockets launched by Hamas since Monday. Israeli airstrikes leveled another building in Gaza on Wednesday. The Palestinian health ministry says 67 people have been killed there including 17 children. But Israel insists its targeting Hamas intelligence offices.
In cities throughout Israel, Arabs, and Jews who have lived side by side for decades have turned on each other in riots, beatings, and arson attacks. The pictures are graphic and some viewers may find them disturbing.
Now, one video shows a right-wing Jewish mob just south of Tel Aviv trying to launch an Arab driver. He was wounded and taken to the hospital. And in another town in the north of air mob attacked and critically wounded a Jewish man. One local mayor says 17 years of coexistence has been trampled. An angry Israeli prime minister denounced those attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Citizens of Israel, what is happening in the towns of Israel in recent days is intolerable. We've seen Arab rioters torching synagogues, torching cars, storming policemen, hurting peaceful and innocent citizens. This is not something we can accept. This is anarchy. Nothing can justify.
And I will tell you more than that, nothing can justify a lynching of Jews by Arabs and nothing can justify a lynching of Arabs by Jews. We will not accept it. This is not us. Not this violence, not this savagely. We will bring back governance to Israel cities everywhere, and all cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): All right. Let's go live now to Tel Aviv and journalist Elliott Gotkine. Elliott, what's the latest?
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Well, a number of developments. You've gotten through some of the headlines there, Kim. We've had some more rocket fire from the Gaza strip into Israel this morning. And more airstrikes as well. In total, the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces says more than 1,600 rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza strip since the latest flare-up and more than 600 targets have been hit in Israeli airstrikes.
You mentioned the death toll so far, 67 Palestinians, more than 300 injured. That's according to the Palestinian health ministry in the Gaza strip. More than seven Israelis killed, and more than 200 injured as well. And at the same time, we've got the kind of diplomatic gears creaking into -- diplomacy wills, I should say, creaking into gear.
We had a conversation between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night. Biden saying that his expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner rather than later, adding that the U.S. administration is reaching out to other players in the region to see how they could mediate some kind of ceasefire or pull back from each side that includes the Egyptians, the Emiratis and the Saudis.
Prime Minister Netanyahu for his part says that he told President Biden that Israel would continue to strike the military capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza strip.
And as we know on Friday, there is due to be a public meeting held by the U.N. Security Council which has been called for by the Norwegians and Tunisians and Chinese at which the Israeli and Palestinian delegations will both speak again trying to put pressure on both sides to find a way to pull back.
And I should also add, that there's not been any joint -- joint -- joint statement by the Security Council those blocks by the U.S. we understand because it prefers a direct diplomacy when there is violence going on, rather than just putting out statements.
And just regarding the growing violence between Israeli, Arabs and Israeli Jews. I know the word shocking is bound and about, you know, so much that it almost loses its value but it already was just quite shocking to see these things happening on the streets of Israel. President Reuven Rivlin calling into a local TV station, calling for an end to the madness, and there were some reports that the government was considering sending the army and to try to restore order. But the police have been unable to do.
The Defense Minister Benny Gantz now says that that is not the case that instead further reinforcements of border police will be sent -- excuse me -- to those flash point cities to try to calm the situation and ensure that we don't see a repeat of the scenes of the really quite horrifying scenes that we saw last night.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Yes. Horrifying is exactly the word. Elliott Gotkine in Tel Aviv, thank you so much.
CNN's Ben Wedeman sets the scene in Gaza. And a warning again, some of those images in his report are also disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Once more hell is unleashed in a small crowded place. As Israel's fire and brimstone rain down on Gaza, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad's rockets roar out of Gaza into Israel. A conflict left to fester again has burst into flames.
"We heard an explosion. Two rockets, one after another," says Gaza resident (Inaudible). "I found my 18-year-old granddaughter dead. My son was injured in the head. And his other daughter had a broken leg."
By Wednesday evening, almost 70 people had been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Among them, at least 16 children. Hundreds have been wounded. In Gaza where 80 percent of the population are refugees or they are descendants, once more, they are made homeless.
"At six in the morning we were told to leave because they were going to bring down the building in front of us," say Abdelaziz Abu Sharia (Ph). "We ran out and waited in the street for four hours, and in the evening went back and found everything destroyed. There is nothing left."
Neither the militant factions nor Israel show any signs of backing down. Israel has mobilized reserves and it's moving thanks toward Gaza. While Hamas has put out videos of its rocket teams. The message? Clear. Escalation appears inevitable and all the death and suffering that go with it.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Jerusalem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): The Israeli prime minister is thanking the U.S. president for backing Israel's right to self-defense. Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden have spoken about the latest fighting. The U.S. is pushing for peace but it's also hoping to shift focus away from the region.
Phil Mattingly reports on the unwanted conflict now facing the White House.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When President Biden came into office, he made clear while the administration would certainly still be engaged in the Middle East, it was no longer going to be the focus, the focus that so many administrations had been drawn into for decades. The president wanted to move away from it. Shift the focus to the Indo-Pacific region, most notably, China.
However, once again, reality seems to have gotten away of best laid plans. The president now fully engaged his team in constant contact over the increasing violence, the escalation of the feud in Israel. The president speaking by phone for the first time with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is what he said after that call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has the right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY (on camera): Now the president also making clear that while top administration officials have engage with their Israeli counterparts they're also engaged with Egyptian counterparts, with the Saudis, with the Emiratis, trying to figure out if there is a regional solution to something that only seems to be getting worse by the day.
But one thing is definitely clear going forward as the administration continues to try and figure out if there is a path forward that they can play a role in. They're not getting away from the Middle East. They're not getting away from this region and the violence that often percolates in that region anytime soon.
Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Israeli ambassador to the U.S. was also part of the conversation between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu. The ambassador is also questioning the death count from the Palestinian health ministry saying it's controlled by Hamas. Here's more of what he told our Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:10:03] GILAD ERDAN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I was on
the call, and I was very, very pleased to hear the strong commitment of President Biden to Israel's right to defend itself, and to the safety and security of Israel. That's what I heard in that conversation.
Now I'm not saying that there will be no ground operation, but right now, our goal is to make Hamas stop trying to terrorize and to murder our citizens. They deliberately launched thousands of rocket and missiles at our cities. And we have to restore our deterrence in a way that they will understand that this vicious method cannot be used anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): And of course, we'll continue to follow developments here on CNN.
Khaled Elgindy is senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and is the author of the book "Blind Spot, America and the Palestinians."
Thank you so much for joining us. I want to start with this. With the scale of the growing of violence, are we at the brink of war here, do you think?
KHALED ELGINDY, SENIOR FELLOW, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE: It certainly looks that way. I think we are probably already crossed that threshold. This is now the second day of a massive bombing campaign, and a barrage of rockets. So, there is no ceasefire on the horizon. So I would expect this to continue, for at least several more days at least for the moment.
BRUNHUBER: But the level of violence between the Jewish and Arab communities in mixed cities. I mean, does this worry you as much as the rockets and airstrikes in terms of the potential for escalation?
ELGINDY: Yes. I mean, I don't think we've ever seen anything like this situation. Obviously, you know, we have seen violence in Gaza, we've seen Jerusalem unrest periodically over the last many years, and other areas where the Israeli occupation is deeply entrenched.
What we haven't seen and what's new is the Palestinians who are citizens of Israel have also kind of joined the fray. In addition to extremists on the Israeli side, both in places like Jerusalem, but also in Israel itself, where there is mob attack. It looks primarily like they are vigilante attacks by Jewish citizens against the Palestinians who are citizens of Israel in various parts of the country.
That part of this is new, and I think it suggests a shift in the nature of this conflict from , you know, one where people are looking at this idea of two states, to one where Palestinians who, regardless of where they live, whether as citizens of Israel or in occupied territories as not citizens are kind of struggling for equality. I think that maybe where things are shifting. BRUNHUBER: It should be pointed thought, I mean, we are seeing it on
both sides. We are seeing vigilante justice with Arab mobs attacking Israelis as well.
In terms of trying to stop this, I mean, you've argued the U.S. helping to de-escalate the violence means, quote, "putting the brakes on the Israelis," but concretely, what do you expect the Biden administration to do given that by all accounts they've tried to de- prioritize the Middle East?
ELGINDY: Yes. Well, the Middle East usually has other things in mind. Other presidents have tried to de-prioritize this issue in particular, and it has a way of imposing itself onto the agenda. I think the United States has an important role to play because of its special relationship with Israel, because United States gives $3.8 billion of military aid to Israel, that in very real ways underwrites Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
And so, the United States has a unique responsibility, I think, to try to restrain the one party that it has influence over, which is Israel. I mean, Israel, there is no other party the Israelis will listen to or trust more than the United States. So, the United States has a considerable amount of leverage.
And the fact that Israel, you know, we are talking about a very asymmetrical situation, Israel's firepower, Israel is the most powerful military in the Middle East against the Palestinians who are arguably the weakest party in the Middle East from a military standpoint, a technical standpoint, and even politically.
And so, clearly, there is going to be far more damage on the Palestinian side because of Israel's massive firepower. And so it's essentially the United States be able to exert some influence to rein in the Israelis because that's where they have the most influence.
BRUNHUBER: But more broadly on the international action, Palestinians -- Palestinians have asked for the U.N. Security Council to step in and will now hold a meeting Friday on this. What are you hoping for, and what do you expect to happen given that the U.S. is already blocked even just making a statement on this conflict so far?
ELGINDY: Yes. That's pretty standard procedure for the United States with Israel at the Security Council, they don't like to see action at the Security Council. They consider Washington to be the sole address really for dealing with this issue. And so, again, that underscores the centrality of the American rule.
And so, the notion that the United States can take a backseat or be hands off is really kind of nonsensical because we are attached at the hip to Israel. We have the special relationship. We're heavily invested in Israel's military, and so that's a role that can only be played by, it needs to be played by the United States.
BRUNHUBER: All right. We'll have to leave it there. But thank you so much for your analysis, Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and author of the book "Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians." Thank you so much.
ELGINDY: Thank you.
BRUNHUBER: Still ahead, Nepal is facing a massive shortage of oxygen and ICU beds as that country faces an unprecedented coronavirus surge.
Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): India's coronavirus death toll approached 260,000 Thursday with 35 of the country's 36 states now under lockdowns and other restrictions. The number of deaths has exceeded 3,000 a day now for more than two weeks. And after the scenes of desperation we saw in Indian cities, the virus is now rampaging through rural areas where medical care is limited.
The situation is leaving families grieve stricken as they struggle to get oxygen for their loved ones. Two Indian states and the union territory of Delhi are now suspending vaccinations for people aged between 18 and 44, due to shortages.
India's neighbor Nepal is also drowning under a surge of COVID cases. Patients are lining outside hospitals, begging for oxygen or an ICU bed. But with supplies running out, many health care facilities are no longer admitting new COVID patients. And doctors say they're being pushed to their limits.
Joining me now from Kathmandu is Nripendra Khatri, communication coordinator for Catholic Relief Services in Nepal. Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.
Last week, you warned that Nepal could be facing a, quote, "human catastrophe." Has it reached that level now? Are you already there?
NRIPENDRA KHATRI, COMMUNICATION COORDINATOR, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES IN NEPAL: The situation has been getting really bad. You know, I mean, but this is going up rapidly, faster than any place in the planet, faster than India. Just recently, the cases are like almost 50 percent of the test we do.
So, yes. I mean, looking at the situation despite being in lockdown, you can see hospitals being crowded. Lack of oxygen, ICU, you know, beds like you mentioned, you know. And more or less, I mean, with a lockdown, I think the need again is for people who need that access to medical supplies, they can't get to the hospital. That's being another really painful situation at the moment.
So, service is actually looking into trying to get doctors from around the world especially, you know, to volunteer their time. And probably reach out to those people almost about 80,000 plus people living on self-isolation at the moment, creating a daily medicinal approach more remotely, you know, where doctors can volunteer and people reach out to them for more medical advices. Yes.
BRUNHUBER: Now the government response hasn't helped here, even the vaccination campaign. There were people lining up for hours in some places, seen now is helping to spread COVID. It was just a few days ago I was here, you know, (Inaudible) my colleague was interviewing the prime minister who assured him that the country had COVID under control. Clearly, nothing could be further from the truth. And now he's been forced to resign. How could the government have been so out of touch throughout this crisis?
KHATRI: I mean, the government they're trying. As soon as the second outbreak came out, it was more from the immigration migrating people from India, when India's economy came to a halt. A lot of people entered through the border area. We have about 1,800 kilometers of border, open border with India.
So, I think that's where it started. And it was very hard for the government as well to control the flow of people because I mean, unless you have a great wall of Himalayas which would take forever, but I think what the government did was, you know, they tried, but I mean, the amount of vaccine -- the amount of vaccine was so low at the moment that it was a little chaotic situation.
So, I mean, when you look at that, you know, definitely we need to work especially organization, humanitarian organizations need to think about now the virus is already here, you know, how do we overcome that supporting the government, getting the partners together, you know, thinking about a longer term vaccination rollout more on ethical grounds, you know, (Inaudible) for all kind of vaccine.
Because if you look at Nepal, you probably heard that there is a case -- there are cases on the Mount Everest as well. So, if you look at the topography, it's lowlands to high hills. And getting to the high hills is a lot of -- a lot of hard work, you know. I mean, it takes a lot of time especially by foot. Some places you've got to walk for eight days.
So even if we get the vaccine up here, I think we are looking for support from the international health community to actually give those vaccines across all these places, not just in towns and rural areas, but in the arms of individuals, I think.
BRUNHUBER: What specially is that then you mean in terms of like, doctors, and people to do this? Or what exactly are you asking for?
KHATRI: So, I think we are looking at more support from the international health community to create such a robust system for countries like Nepal where the healthcare system is not as improved and high technology. You know, trying to get the vaccine wouldn't just solve the vaccine.
Because if vaccine comes in, people will lineup. But making sure that vaccines are equally distributed in all areas, and there is a system, proper system in place for people can access this vaccine easily. BRUNHUBER: Well let's hope aid does come as soon as possible because
it sounds as though the situation is getting worse and worse. Thank you so much for speaking with us, Nripendra Khatri in Kathmandu. Stay well, and good luck in all of your work. I appreciate it.
KHATRI: Thank you so much. Goodbye.
BRUNHUBER: Well as the crisis continues, there are many ways you can help people in India and Nepal cope with this devastating COVID outbreak. Go to cnn.com/impact to find out how.
The U.K. health minister says England is heading in the right direction right now. And as a study finds the spread of the virus has dropped by half since March. The results? The number of new daily cases has fallen sharply.
Researchers found just one in 1,000 people were infected with most being adults age 25 to 34 who aren't yet eligible for a vaccine. More than 90 percent of the cases are now caused by the British variant, which officials are still warning is still a threat.
A new report says the coronavirus pandemic and the millions of lives lost could have been prevented. And it contains a blunt warning about how prepared the world is for the next one. We'll take a closer look at that.
Plus, the latest on the conflict between Israel and Gaza. We'll look at why the U.N.'s Palestinian refugee agency says the fighting hits so close to home.
Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. And you are watching CNN Newsroom.
Each side of the Israeli Palestinian conflict has said if the other side stops, they will. But there is no sign of that happening. These airstrikes happen a short time ago in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say at least 67 people have been killed in the strikes since Monday. Hamas launched rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is sending thousands of Israelis running to shelter. Israel says seven people have been killed by rocket fire.
And the violence is spreading within Israel. Arab and Israeli mobs are attacking each other in a number of mixed communities.
Aida Touma-Sliman is an Arab-Israeli lawmaker in the Knesset and she spoke earlier with CNN's Hala Gorani about the urgent need for a ceasefire. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AIDA TOUMA-SLIMAN, MEMBER, ISRAELI KNESSET, HADASH: First of all, I think that for my regret, there are very bad Jews of the situation and the escalation that started a month ago with the (Inaudible) of Ramadan month and the attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the situation in Sheikh Jarrah. And later on, the protests against what is happening. The escalations with rockets coming from Gaza, and the war launched by Netanyahu's government on Gaza is deteriorating the situation here. First of all, I think it's --
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
TOUMA-SLIMAN: -- very crucial now to ceasefire, first of all, between -- between the Israeli army and on Gaza to reach a kind of a ceasefire and to hold the police responsible of settling down the situation and secure the population.
There is no way to live in this fear of a problem. I'm talking to you now, I'm locked in my house, its happening in front of my house, and there is no way to go out. The teargas is filling the houses and the situation is not secure. There has been attacks on Arab citizens in different cities today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Well, those living in Gaza have few bomb shelters and no iron dome defense system to protect them. The Palestinian health chief says residents are in a state of panic. CNN spoke to the Director of Gaza operations at the U.N. relief works agency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTIAS SCHMALE, GAZA DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONAT UNRWA: I just heard this afternoon that the sister of my communications officer was killed in an airstrike. So, this hits home very closely. I was informed this morning by one of our area staff, as we call them, our Palestinian colleagues, that a young girl going to (inaudible) school was hit by shrapnel and now has shrapnel stuck in her chest. And then this was until yesterday or the day before, four children were killed as a result of this violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Stay with CNN for the latest on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. We'll have updates throughout the hours ahead.
Any reports as the coronavirus pandemic could have been prevented if only the world had acted faster. That's according to an independent panel appointed by the World Health Organization. The report also warns the world can effectively respond to another pandemic without making drastic changes.
CN's Cyril Vanier joins us from London. Cyril, take us through the report's findings. What are they saying what went wrong here? CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST (on camera): Yes, Kim, look, this
independent panel found that the response was too slow and not decisive enough. And that the information, especially in the early days of the pandemic about the unknown pathogen that originated in Wuhan just wasn't shared quickly enough. Listen to Helen Clark, the former New Zealand Prime Minister and co-chair of this independent panel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HELEN CLARK, FORMER NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: Whilst the virus was spreading, information was being hoarded and decisions were delayed whilst waiting on responses to the board's exchanges of official emails. As information began to arrive at WHO, the organization was not sufficiently empowered to investigate, validate, and then confirm at speed that a dangerous outbreak was occurring.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER (on camera): Kim, we've got to bear in mind the timeline here, it was in December that this unknown pathogen pneumonia emerged in Wuhan, China. But it wasn't until December 2019 that is, it wasn't until December 30th that China actually alerted the World Health Organization to it. And it wasn't until the third week of January that Wuhan, China was put under a serious lockdown.
And then on the WHO side, of course, there are failings as well. It took them three weeks for their emergency committee -- I stress emergency committee, to actually meet, convene. And then another week for them to sound the alarm at the highest level which is declare this a public health emergency an international concern. In other, words tell everybody you have to take this very, very seriously.
So you are talking at least six weeks between the emergence of an unknown pathogen, and at the moment when the WHO, the body that is supposed to coordinate a response to this tells the world this is a very, very serious deal. But even then, Kim, February 4th, they were only at the time 200 reported cases of COVID outside of China. There was still time for countries to respond to this decisively, you know, and pose limits on travel, strict lockdowns, and take strict measures.
Many countries did not underplay the science, did not take COVID, underplayed the severity of COVID and that is why something that could have remained an outbreak became a pandemic. Something that the independent panel calls the worst world crisis the world has known since World War II.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): So many more questions, but we will have to leave it there, unfortunately. Cyril Vanier in London, thank you so much.
Here in the U.S., Ohio's governor is hoping to encourage all those holding out in getting vaccinated with a lottery. (Inaudible), will be awarded $1 million just for getting their COVID-19 shots, and five teenagers will get a full right scholarship to a state University. Here is the Governor and his own words. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): I know that some of you now are shaking your head and saying, that Mike DeWine, he's crazy. This million dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money. But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic, when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it, the real waste is a life that is lost now to COVID-19.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): According to the CDC, almost 42 percent of people living in Ohio have received at least one COVID-19 shot.
A vital U.S. fuel pipeline is back in operation nearly a week after it was shut down in a cyberattack. But panic buying at the pump is making what's already a bad situation much, much worse.
Plus, allegations of police brutality are fueling protests in Columbia. Now the country's president says police officers themselves are under investigation. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: A top United Nations diplomat is warning the Israeli- Palestinian conflict could lead to full scale war. Hamas fired another barrage of rockets from Gaza towards the Jewish state overnight. Israel says seven people have been killed since Monday. Gaza, Israeli airstrikes lit up the night sky again. Palestinian say at least 67 people have been killed including 17 children.
Meanwhile, things have turned violent in mixed Arab Jewish communities across Israel with reports of lynch mobs, arson, and riots.
Isaac Herzog, is the chairman of the Jewish agency for Israel and he joins us now from Tel Aviv. Thank you so much for being here with us. The U.N. warned this conflict could mushroom into full scale war. An Arab Member of Parliament tweeted quote, we are on the brink of a civil war. How close to the brink are we here?
ISAAC HERZOG, CHAIRMAN, JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL: So, first, let's differentiate between two different arenas. One has to do with the fact that the Israelis were bombarded and Arab bombarded from Gaza. Therefore we took actions and military steps to curtail and block and undermine the ability of Hamas to attack Israel.
And last night, we also spent again time in shelters including in Tel Aviv, where I'm broadcasting from which is quite unprecedented. When you think about it historically. And the other is an eruption of intentions within an Israeli society. Something which saddens us terribly and I can tell you outright, that I would say 90-95 percent of Israelis choose an Arab are against vehemently but there are extremist and we are dealing with them. BRUNHUBER: So, I wan to look at how we got to this point, I mean,
many Arabs blame Prime Minister Netanyahu's government for allowing tensions to escalate with the failure to curb right-wing extremism, among other things. What more could and should the government have done to prevent things from getting this far?
HERZOG: I think one needs to understand the geostrategic development that led to this. There is an Iranian led coalition in the region that wants to undermine any possibility of peace and stability. Due to that, Hamas is an ally of Iran, Hezbollah and others are allies of Iran. And they are just waiting for an opportunity to tilt the balance and erupt violence.
What happened was that in light of the emergence of Israel from COVID, and going back to other issues of the day, together with the fact that the Palestinian authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas decided to cancel the planned elections which were due to be held in a few weeks time. This led to an intention that was really prearrange, and last Friday night, out of nowhere, truly because there was quite in Jerusalem, riot started with huge rocks, you know, like, 15 pound rocks being thrown at police and on Jewish prayers, etc.
This led to an emergence of the entry of police into the temple (inaudible). And the spiral is there. The spiral, of course, led to an immediate decision by Hamas which, in my mind, Hamas arranged in advance to fire missiles at Israel's capital. And millions of Israelis were running for shelter after many years of quite and tranquility.
And actually after a blooming period of good relations between Jews and Arabs in the country which led to a record breaking achievement in dealing with COVID. So, this is extremely, extremely sad, but it doesn't mean that the majority of Israelis are not there to continue in peace.
BRUNHUBER: Let me just --
HERZOG: -- in defending us.
BRUNHUBER: Sorry to interrupt you, because we don't have very much time left, and I do want to get the attempt to find solutions here. Here, the White House says that there's been lots of calls between the administration and representatives in the region. But beyond sort of talking and urging the escalation, what role do you expect the U.S. to play here, especially given the shift from the previous administration's policy of unwavering support for Israel?
HERZOG: So, first of all, I think we all welcome the approach by President Biden and his team. President Biden spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday and the fact that he's expressed his eagerness and desire to bring calm and the diplomatic efforts which will (inaudible) by the American administration are very important. Bu let's agree on something. The problem is that America has no influence over Hamas. Hamas is a terror organization based fully on terror. Its philosophy is based on terror. And nobody can really demand from Hamas to stop, and the Palestinian authority has no control over Gaza. So, at the end, the end there is an effort which is being done by the international community. That's fine.
But most importantly, an effort which is done by the Egyptians, who enables adjacent neighbors of both Israel and Gaza. And we welcome these efforts as well. But one thing has to be made clear, no country in the world, definitely not a Democratic country in the world, can accept 1,000 missiles on its territory
BRUNHUBER (on camera): The Palestinians are appealing to the United Nations for help and the Security Council will meet in an open session on Friday. CNN spoke earlier with the president of the Palestinian national initiative about the group's grievances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
What's happening is a war cry, and it should not be allowed to continue. Let me say what we suffer from here, is not just attacks on us regularly. And periodically. I've been in Gaza in 2008 and 2012 and 2014, when Israel attacked us. Thousands of Palestinians were killed. Thousands of young people were injured. Hundreds of children.
Today, alone, I'm on up until now, today we have 14 children killed including a disabled child and his mother. And more than 60 Palestinians killed. What can justify that? There is none no justification. And the reality is, that this continuous escalation and continuous rounds are happening mainly because Israel continues its illegal military occupation of Palestinian. It's been 54 years. And because Israel as (inaudible) said which is Israeli human rights organization. Israeli is consolidating a system of apartheid, persecution, and racial discrimination which are going to be considered as war crimes by international law.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): But, Israel is defending its military tactics. The government accuses Hamas of firing rockets from civilian areas, including schools, and using women and children as human shields.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI EDUCATION MINISTER: All of this is unprovoked. If you have a grievance, you talk. You don't shoot rockets. And I will tell you more. An Arab father, 54 years old and his daughter, Nadine, 16 years old, was murdered by a Hamas rocket shot from Gaza into the city of Lidia here in Israel.
So, when I say its indiscriminate murder, I mean that. We handed the Palestinians Gaza, all of Gaza. Take it, it's yours, and they created a state. There is a Palestinian state. They could've turned it into paradise. They decided to turn it into a terror state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): And we will bring you the latest on the story in the next hour.
The Tokyo Olympics are quickly approaching, and despite COVID cases on the rise, the international community says they are confident the games will go on. We are live in Japan next. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): A journalist working in Myanmar, working for a banned media outlet has been jailed for three years for his reporting. That outlet, the Democratic voice of Burma, says he was arrested in March while covering anti-coup protests. Meanwhile, protesters marched on Wednesday in Myanmar's second largest city Mandalay from 30 people were reportedly arrested. It's not been more than 100 days since the military coup against the country's elected government.
A pipeline that delivers nearly half the gasoline and fuels of the U.S. East Coast says operations have resumed. The Colonial Pipeline have been offline for six days after hackers demanded $5 million. There's no indication the company paid the ransom or intends to. Meanwhile, panic buying has led to widespread gas shortages from Florida to Maryland. Colonial now says supply should return to normal over the next few days.
CNN's Boris Sanchez has the latest.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Millions of Americans awaiting relief tonight amid panic at the pump. Colonial Pipeline restarting operations after a six day freeze. Despite warning of logistical lags ahead, the company promising to boost fuel supplies until markets return to normal, following a ransomware attack and a frenzy that dried out gas stations from Alabama to Virginia.
UNKNOWN: It hit us all of a sudden. Like the pandemic did. So, everybody is in a frenzy.
UNKNOWN: I went to like six different stations, and nobody's got any gas.
UNKNOWN: Even since I started pumping mine there was three more cars back.
SANCHEZ: Fuel running out in more than 65 percent of gas stations in North Carolina according to gas buddy. Outages also hitting nearly half the gas stations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia with Florida, D.C., Maryland and Tennessee also in the double digits. And at least four Governors declaring states of emergency.
UNKNOWN: We have cleared the way for more fuel to be delivered, and we are standing by to do whatever we can. But we really do need the federal government to step up.
SANCHEZ: With a shortage of truck drivers compounding logistical problems, the Biden administration waving some trucking requirements. And eyeing granting temporary waivers to allow foreign ships to send fuel to the East Coast.
The crunch, sending demand soaring across the country with gas prices climbing to a six year high. The average price surpassing $3 a gallon. Fueling the panic, social media posts leading to fears of a shortage.
UNKNOWN: We are seeing the same sort of crowd behavior that empty shelves of toilet paper and paper towels about a year or so ago.
SANCHEZ: Oil industry experts like Tom Kloza say that crunch was largely caused not by a strain on inventory, but by a rush to the pump.
TOM KLOZA, OIL PRIZE INFORMATION SERVICE: It's full-fledged hysteria right now. I think the behavior and the way it spread that, quote unquote, they say. We are not going to have enough gasoline is largely a social media phenomenon. And you know, something that we've seen a lot of in the last few years.
SANCHEZ: Posts like this 2017 video of someone apparently pumping gas into a plastic bag, getting more than 20,000 retweets as the consumer product safety commission is forced to put out a warning about using appropriate containers.
As suggested by Colonial Pipeline experts anticipate that this problem is not going to get fixed overnight. In fact, they believe that some of the outage numbers may take up into early Thursday morning. However, once the logistical issues get ironed out, and they believe that will happen within the next 48 hours, things will return to normal, if people do keep rushing out and panic buying fuel. That may take a little bit longer. And that's why the message from officials and (inaudible) is don't panic.
Boris Sanchez, CNN, Washington D.C.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): Investigations are now underway into alleged police brutality during the biggest wave of protests Columbia has seen in years.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, President Ivan Duque said investigators are looking into dozens of cases of suspected abuse, but as Stefano Pozzebon reports from Bogota, the protest aren't showing any signs of slowing down.
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice over): Yet again, on Wednesday, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Columbia. In the 15th consecutive day of demonstrations against the government's handle of the pandemic response, and police violence. 42 people have been killed so far in Columbia in this wave of protests that are sweeping across the nation according to the Columbian ombudsman. And even though the government has made concessions to the
demonstrators, suggest canceling University fees for lower income students. The march shows no sign of slowing down, as you can see. And on Wednesday, President Ivan Duque pledged to get to the bottom of the allegations over police violence and alleged excessive use of force.
President Duque was speaking exclusively to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, and take a listen to what he said.
IVAN DUQUE, COLUMBIAN PRESIDENT: We have now 65 accusations on members of the military or the police. But specifically, 98 percent on possibilities in regarding police activity. 65 cases have been open because we have a zero tolerance policy for any individual conduct that is beyond the law.
POZZEBON: And eight of the 65 cases are for alleged homicide in the hands of the Colombian police. The Colombian president's office confirmed to CNN after they interviewed. This is taking place while Columbia is going through a dramatic wave of COVID-19. The intensive care units in the city of Bogota are filled at over 90 percent capacity as of Wednesday night. For CNN, this Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): And in that exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour, Colombia's president also said that he's willing to engage with protesters and he believes they have every right to hold peaceful rallies. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUQUE: I want to be very clear. That I have always been a defender of the right to pacific protest in our democracy. I have been a defender and I have trusted always in democracy. We have been dealing with cases of violence that are specific cases with all the protocols of the use of force. Any accusation of a wrongdoing of an individual that is a member of the police bodies have been investigated, will be investigated, and we are going to work closely with the Attorney Generals office.
The Attorney Generals office is doing the investigations with (inaudible), in order to determine what were the causes of people that have died in interactions or fights with police bodies.
And that is very clear from my side. We have to get to the bottom of the investigations. We have also have to move forward very closely with the investigations that are related to acts of violence against police bodies. But you mentioned something very important, Christiane, you mentioned that peaceful protests have said that we have to engage in a dialog.
We have opened that dialog, and we know we have people that have been badly affected by the political economic and social effects of the pandemic. And we know that we have to embrace many social causes in a rapid way, because we know that youngsters, for example, have been the most affected in terms of employment by the pandemic.
And we want to be able to put all the public policy to respond to those sectors of the population. But you mentioned something else, what do I want my legacy to be? At this moment, Christiane, I think the most important thing is that we have to attend the people that have been badly affected economically and socially by the pandemic.
And we are engaging into dialogues with young people throughout the country and we want to build a national pact so that we can attend to their employment needs, their education needs, and also to promote the leadership to have political participation and re-presentation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (on camera): And you can see more of that exclusive interview with Colombian President Ivan Duque by logging on to CNN.com.
In Kenya, refugees are expressing shock and fear about the government's decision to shut two massive camps housing hundreds of thousands of people. It includes many who fled war torn Somalia. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh filed this report from Nairobi.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is not the first time the Kenyan government has threatened to shut down these two sprawling camps, Dadaab and Kakuma. They jointly house more than 400,000 refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, and other countries. They've done this several times over the years, back in 2016, after terror attacks in Kenya.
The government said that Dadaab had become a source of insecurity in the country. A breeding ground for extremists and that they wanted to shut it down. They were offering cash incentives for refugees to voluntarily go back to their home countries.
Now, many are wondering if this time the threat is real. The United Nations refugee agency says it has put forward a proposal to the Kenyan government that they're working with them to try and find sustainable long term solutions. The countries courts have put the brakes on any moves to shut down the camps right now saying it's against the countries constitution.
And there are some who are wondering about the timing of this, coming at a time of heightened tensions between Somalia and Kenya, and wondering if this is just politics at play here. But what is very worrying for human rights organizations, for aid groups is the fact that the government has set a date. June 30th of next year. They say they want the camps shut down by that date. What is going to happen to the residents at these camps? The Kenyan government says some will be allowed to integrate into the local community, get work permits and stay here, and that others will be sent back to their countries of origin. And that is a terrifying proposal for these refugees. People who have
fled wars, instability, famine in their home countries. You've got tens of thousands who have no, no other home other than these camps. Generations that had been -- that were born in these camps. So, right now when they hear this news it is shocking and it is terrifying. Take a listen to what's some of the residents of Dadaab told CNN earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: It has shocked me because not only disrupts my education, this is the only home I have. And only the flag I've seen is the flag of (inaudible).
UNKNOWN: We have no place in Somalia. And I don't know what's going on. My children are not just familiar with it, and there's no safe at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARADSHEH (on camera): That man you heard from, right there has been in Dadaab for 30 years. He says his children have known no other home. These refugees have been living in limbo for decades, waiting to be resettled in third countries. Hoping for a better life and future for their children. Right now, they are faced with this uncertainty. They just don't know what is going to happen to them next.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Nairobi.
BRUNHUBER (on camera): The International Olympic Committee says the Tokyo games are still on track despite growing COVID concerns with less than three months to go, cases are still rising.