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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
White House Condemns Gaza School Strike; United States Supplying IDF with More Ammunition; Interview with Maen Areikat; Republican-Led House Votes to Sue Obama
Aired July 30, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, breaking news, thousands attacked in a shelter in Gaza. The White House condemns it.
Plus why most Israelis don't want the fighting to end.
The largest Ebola outbreak in history. Two more Americans exposed. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, thousands seeking shelter in a school in Gaza attacked, the United States tonight condemning the strike, but stopping short of placing blame on Israel.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz saying today, quote, "Israel needs to live up to its own standards to limit civilian casualties. The United Nations went further, saying Israeli artillery was responsible for the deaths in the shelter.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said 20 were killed in the attack. This comes after another failed cease-fire today. Our Karl Penhaul went to that school that was attacked to see what happened. What did you see?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, 3,000 people had been crammed into the school. It was before dawn. It was still dark, most of these people with sleeping still. One shell came through the roof, and another smashed through the latrines and knocked through the wall of a classroom as well.
One man who had been sleeping outside along with the other men said that when he woke up to the sound of the explosion, he looked around and saw elderly men cut to shreds by the shrapnel.
Another lady who had been lucky to be sleeping in one of the classrooms with her children said there was smoke everywhere. She poured water in her eyes just to get the bearing and she felt the shrapnel raining down.
When we got there to take a look, the blood had already dried on the ground, but we saw the holes, and the debris on the on the ground. People where bring up metal shards to say this is what exploded. This is where the explosions came. I know that you had investigated -- the investigators were there. They spent a lot of the morning there. We are very keen to find out who is to blame for this. I know my colleague, Richard Roth, has more on that later. There was also a very bloody footnote to this incident. A lot of these people are dirt poor families who had come to that school on the backs of donkey carts and brought their families in that way.
There was another explosion outside the school that simply slayed the donkeys that were grazing and parked outside. Then you think what will happen to these people after such a tragic incident. After all they had left that are homes because it had become a battlefield.
Now the shell had turned into a combat zone. The answer is tonight they will be sleeping back in that same school. There is nowhere else for them to run anymore. They simply have to bed down where they saw others die.
BURNETT: That's just horrible to even contemplate, Karl. Yesterday, you talked about how it was in the early morning in the dark, and it was so dark in Gaza. You talked about the power plant. There was an explosion there. There were areas of Gaza City that were completely and utterly dark. Israel said today they would sent supplies, diesel for the power station, supplies. Have you seen any of that?
PENHAUL: We haven't seen any of that, Erin. In fact there are power lines that connect Israel to Gaza. That was what brings actually most of Gaza's power in, but they were bombed in the first few days of this confrontation. As far as what the picture looks like in Gaza City right now, you know, that's it.
It's a black hole. You know, one or two lights pops on in windows. That indicates to me that people have small personal generators, but Gaza is without power. It may even be worse, because we heard more air strikes around the power plant.
Tonight, it is the diesel fuel tanks that have been damaged there. Even if new fuel does come in, there's nowhere to put it -- Erin.
BURNETT: Karl Penhaul, thank you.
As Karl mentioned there is huge controversy over who actually fired the missile into the school. Richard Roth reports from the U.N.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the missiles of July in the Gaza Strip. Israeli bombardments coming in and Hamas rocket fire going out. The United Nations is caught in the crossfire, military and political.
The latest attack this morning in the Jabalia school shelter causing at least 20 deaths. It was the sixth time a U.N. school was hit with scores of casualties, according to the U.N.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes you run out of words.
ROTH: Exasperated U.N. officials blame Israel for the most recent carnage on their grounds in Gaza, but the U.N. has a problem. Missiles keep turning up inside U.N. schools in Gaza.
Three different U.N. schools that were supposed to be closed for the summer contained missiles, according to the U.N. In one school, a lone guard left to look after the rockets. A day later, they disappeared.
(on camera): What is the link between increasingly missiles found in schools run by the U.N. and attacks on facilities by Israel --
JOHN GING, U.N. HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: I think we need to be crystal clear here. The schools where rockets have been found have been schools that were abandoned by the U.N. due to the intensity of conflict in those areas.
ROTH: So the U.N. is saying no active shelters that were attacked by Israel were found to have rockets inside. Israel insists that Hamas fires rockets from civilian backed areas including U.N. buildings and Israel has to fire back. The hiding of missiles in U.N. schools gives Israel fuel for the artillery attacks.
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon has said that when Hamas terrorists turn a U.N. facility into a war zone by storing weapons, all sorts of things that we have seen unfortunately a consistent pattern of behavior, they are responsible for the casualties that ensue.
GING: No school that has been sheltering people or has been under the U.N.'s control have there been weapons found while under the U.N.'s control. So, again, there is no excuse to say that there are weapons in this schools when they are being used by shelters or under the U.N.'s control.
ROTH: United Nations mine detection officers are on the ground in Gaza now to hunt for missiles on U.N. properties and eliminate any excuse for either side to draw the into the fight. Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.
BURNETT: Dore Gold is a senior foreign policy adviser to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. Thank you so much for being with us tonight, sir.
You know, the United Nations of course condemning Israel today for attacking a school that they say was being used as a shelter for 3,000 Palestinians. The U.N. says there were no weapons at that school. Why did Israel attack?
DORE GOLD, SENIOR FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER TO PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, first of all, we don't know who exactly attacked there. We cannot give an instant answer from an incident which just occurred today. What we have found in terms of a general trend is that we have found that there are three U.N. schools that involved weapons in them stored.
I'm talking about rockets stored in these U.N. facilities in the last few days and weeks. Therefore, we don't know if this is just another case or not. We do suspect that there was a fire fight in the area. We know that both sides were firing mortars, which of course are explosive shells.
And yet whose mortar exactly hit, I can't say. This is a murky battle, and to make a call as to what's the reason for a particular explosion or particular tragic result is a little premature.
BURNETT: I understand your point, there was a fight nearby, and that therefore it's not only unclear who may have struck the school, though, I will say the U.N. said their preliminary analysis was that Israel, but I understand that you're saying it's not yet sure who it might have been.
GOLD: That's correct.
BURNETT: But in the vicinity, why would Israel believe that it's OK. That it's justifiable to fight near a shelter for 3,000 civilians, knowing that there would be the risk then that this facility could be struck? I mean, the U.N. says they gave the Israeli defense forces the coordinates for this school to make sure they did not strike, 17 times.
GOLD: Well, the general approach of Israel has to be stated here. You know, what we're facing here in the Gaza Strip are rocket attacks against Israeli cities and villages. Those rocket attacks are coming from heavily populated areas that are placed -- the launch points, the storage areas are all placed in populated areas by Hamas.
Let's try and separate the civilian population, as best we can from the military capability of Hamas. So how do you go about making that separation if Hamas is mixing them up?
You start out, of course, with leaflets, you move quickly to radio programs, you break into Hamas' radio station with electronic methods. You reach people on their cell phones, you sent them text messages, their personal phones. You sent them all kinds of warnings to get out of an area.
Generally it works although Hamas is telling the population, when the Israelis talk to you, don't leave your home.
BURNETT: Here's my question on that. You're talking about an area of desperate poverty, incredibly densely populated. Obviously leaflets as well as cell phone warnings, because a lot of people may not even have access to the technology. I see your point. But when you give the warning and say go, where are they are supposed to go, Dore? The borders are closed. Where are these supposed to go, Dore?
GOLD: That is the right question. I asked from the army for a copy of these leaflets that are put in these areas. They're in Arabic, they have a map of where the particular area is located in Gaza, and then they have usually a red arrow pointing to where the population has to move.
You have to indicate to people on the map in a radio broadcast, in a special text message that you might send them, or in a cell phone communication, you have to move from here to there. If you don't do that, you're putting them in an impossible position.
BURNETT: So where's the there? That's my question. Where is the there? The shelters, they U.N. shelters, they say Israel struck them six times. Is it just a red arrow over there, or is it a specific place that you're going to guarantee is safe?
GOLD: No, you mention a specific area that you have to make sure that there are no military operations there, and those people are OK. Now, what happens in other parts of the Gaza strip when you have an army operating against Hamas? You know, you have exchanges of fire, you have all kind of things going on, but in general you're trying to protect the population.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dore Gold.
GOLD: My pleasure.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, U.S. supplies Israel with more ammunition.
Plus two more Americans exposed to deadly Ebola.
And Ukrainian officials claiming the M-17 crash site is surrounded by landmines. CNN went to the site to see if it's true.
BURNETT: The United States is supplying the Israel defense force with his more ammunition to continue fighting in Gaza. The U.S. defense official insists the sale is a resupply. And it's classified just how much Israel is actually purchasing, but the Israelis have a billion- dollar American weapons stockpile at their disposal. And the vast majority of Israelis don't want the fighting to stop. That's an incredible fact.
And our Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT with more.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the Tel Aviv seashore to the Israeli-Gaza border and beyond, the show of support from Israeli Jews for Netanyahu's war effort is clear -- we're with you. Hebrew signs say it with words. The people prove it with deeds.
Volunteers cook free meals. The sound of war booms behind them, in easy striking distance from Gaza. This is who they're doing it for -- the soldiers on the battlefield. The message -- we are with you.
Two opinion polls done to measure support for Israel's operation protective edge revealed that up to 95 percent of Israeli Jews are against a cease-fire. And what they really want is Hamas dealt with once and for all.
REZY MERY, RESIDENT: Hamas is a terrorism. And terrorism, they hurt every corner in the world. We just have to put -- take them out from Gaza.
SIDNER: Rezy Mery says he is happy with living side by side with Palestinians in Java, but Hamas is a different thing.
Netanyahu's plan to destroy the tunnel network in Gaza got a pat on the back in Tel Aviv.
SHILY SAVY, SUPPORTS ISRAEL: We have to continue. We have a lot of work to do there. Otherwise they will find a way to come inside. You know, all the tunnels, and I don't know the names, and we have to destroy everything.
SIDNER: For this young lady it's deeply personal. She's to be married soon, but her fiance is a soldier on the front lines.
He's in Gaza somewhere, and we're afraid, she says. We shouldn't stop fighting, we shouldn't compromise.
We sat down with a former head of Mossad, Israel's top intelligence agency, about what it would take to fulfill the sentiment of those polled.
DANNY YATOM, FORMER MOSSAD HEAD: It calls for conquering the Gaza which means reoccupation, no doubt.
SIDNER: Does it mean reoccupation?
Danny Yatom says the price of that will be high, perhaps higher than the public realizes costing lives and money.
YATOM: It means that they -- we will have to stay in Gaza with relatively largely deployed forces for two, three, four years.
SIDNER: The former spy chief initially did not support Netanyahu's decision to put Israeli boots on the ground in Gaza, but he admits something to us spy chiefs rarely do.
YATOM: Now I understand that I was wrong, because only with this ground operation we can't discover those tunnels.
SIDNER: Political analyst Marcus Sheff says the support for Netanyahu and his defense in army chiefs is remarkable.
MARCUS SHEFF, POLITICAL ANALYST: I can't remember an administration which has had so much support from the Israeli people.
SIDNER: But the poll did not include Palestinian with his Israeli citizenships, sometimes referred to as Israeli-Arabs. Those we spoke with were horrified and wanted the offensive to stop in Gaza.
We do know that peace rallies against the war, those were met with protesters who strongly disagreed and wanted Israel to keep pounding Gaza to get rid of Hamas -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Sara, thank you very much.
And joining me now OUTFRONT is Aaron David Miller, former adviser on the Arab-Israeli peace process and the president of the Arab institute, is James Zogby.
Great to have both of you with us.
Aaron, you just heard Sara's report. One poll showing 95 percent of the Israelis are against the cease-fire. They want Hamas dealt with once and for all. They don't want this to keep coming back at them. What do you make of that number, 95 percent?
AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER U.S. NEGOTIATOR FOR THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT: Yes. You would have to do a statistical breakdown of the polling to try to delve deeper. But I would explain it basically three factors. Number one, iron dome is working. It's minimized casualties and fatalities. That's number one. Yes, life in Israeli is altered, but it is not fundamentally shut down. That's point number one.
Number two, the government has escalated its own ambitions and its own demands and requirement for the end to the Gaza crisis. So in part, the political and military establishment has created the image that if in fact the Israelis keep going, well, guess what? You could end up with a victory.
Number three, Israeli casualties on the military side, even though, there are four times the number from both previous operations have been what the Israelis would regard as tolerable.
And one more thing, Erin. I really believe after the so-called tie with his Hezbollah in 2006 and with the Palestinians in 2008, 2009, and 2012, I think there's a real psychological drive here to make sure this doesn't end up as a tie, to basically find a way to create a definitive comprehensive, I think it's frankly a bridge way too far, final, final ending to this.
BURNETT: When you use those words, when you hear those, final ending, definitive, I mean, all the words that Aaron just threw out there, as he said, a bridge too far. I mean, those words, when you're talking about a victory in this conflict, I mean, we're talking thousands of years. Is any such thing even possible?
JAMES ZOGBY, PRESIDENT ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTION: That's for me?
BURNETT: Yes, for you.
ZOGBY: It is impossible. And that's part of the problem of why you get the numbers you get. These people are living an illusion. I'd say almost a pathological illusion, and that is that it can be won. We've been down this road now. I remember they were going to wipe out the PLO in 1982. And ten years later they sat down and negotiated with them.
Israel has this idea that it can destroy its enemy, but it can't. Ultimately, it needs to talk to its enemy. I think there are other reasons why you have these numbers. One is, I think the rather shocking racist assumption that you poll just Israeli Jews and eliminate 20 percent of the population that's Arab and don't even talk to them. And the third thing I think is that if you listen to Dore Gold, your head starts spinning because he makes a statement early on saying, we understand that there may have been a fire fight in that area.
Now, I doubt that there was a fire fight in that area. But once he says it, he sows the seed of doubt and then creates the open for people to say, you know, we didn't do anything wrong. It's all their fault.
So the nothing here that 1300 people have been killed doesn't register with the Israeli public as something that they have agency for, that they have fraternity for, rather, it's a sense that these people broad it on themselves.
Look, we didn't do it. Remember when Mohammed Abu Kadr, the young boy was murdered? The initial story in the Israeli press leaked from the government may have been an honor killing, because he was reputed to have been gale. Once that's out, then people absolve themselves from responsibility. And that's what you've got, a society that lives with an illusion, that has overwhelming force and absolves itself from responsibility. That's not a healthy situation.
BURNETT: So Aaron, what will the United States do about it, right? I mean, you know, we started this off by saying, look, they are going to be providing more ammunition. Things like grenade. At the same time the U.S. says, no, no we are supportive of a stronger cease-fire? But if the United States really wanted the fighting to stop, wouldn't they take strong action? Wouldn't they be saying, you know what, we know you have a billion-dollar stockpile weapons, but we're not actually going to let you have all of that.
MILLER: You know, if you wanted to show support for Israel, you would basically comply with Israel's requests, whether it was routine, whether or not the Israelis are doing this on a contingency basis. At the same time, if you wanted to send a signal, and I guarantee the twitter-verse is burning with the notion that the U.S. basically is supplying Israel with offensive weaponry or ammunition to kill more Palestinians, so you begin to see what a dilemma the Obama administration is in.
And look, the reality is-- and I don't want to (INAUDIBLE) this. Woody Allen said that 80 percent of success in life is showing up. The reality is he is wrong. Eighty percent or success in life is showing up at the right time. Kerry tried, he tried. But he came at a time when in fact there was insufficient urgency in the part of Israel for Hamas to basically deescalate. And frankly right now, I don't think that urgency exists either. I think if you sent Kerry back, even with the support of the president, you would still end up with no cease-fire.
BURNETT: Well, certainly with poll numbers like we're seeing, with James on, there doesn't seem to be the desire on either side. But James, what if there was just a little more honesty here. Now, I
want to credit the former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren for not mincing words, right? He didn't come out and say, we're upset about the civilian deaths. We want to minimize them. He said, yes, there are going to be more that die. He wrote in "the Washington Post," Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas. More civilians will suffer. But by ending the cycle once and for all, thousands of innocent lives will be saved. Is he right about that?
ZOGBY: That's such a shocking and horrific statement and such an immoral statement that I don't even know how to respond to it. But that is the pathology I'm talking about, the sense of absolving yourself from the moral consequences, the immoral consequences of the behavior.
I want to make a comment, though, about the U.S. supplying assistance at this point. The fact is that it makes us complicit in everything that's happens. And that's how it's viewed in I Arab world and viewed in much of the rest of the world. When Gerald Ford ordered a strategic review, Israel got the message.
When Ronald Reagan spoke sternly and backed it up with begin, he ended the Lebanon war.
When presidents have acted with pressure against Israel, Israel got the message. But if we keep saying, even if it's tough talk in private, but then come back as we get nervous and say, no, no, we really support Israel. We're really on your side and we are hand in glove with you, and then give more aid. The sense of impunity is so intense that Israel says, we can do what we want. We're right, and no one is ever going to stop us. That creates the dynamic, and it hurts America in the Middle East.
BURNETT: Thanks to both.
And still OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with that unilateral doctr--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Our John Vause, as you see, had to duck for cover after a series of attacks in Gaza. We are going to be going live to John, next.
And Ukrainian officials say that Russian separatists have planted land mines around the wreckage of flight 17. CNN went to the site to see if it's true.
And breaking news on Capitol Hill tonight, a vote to sue President Obama.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Breaking news now: we have new images tonight of the aftermath following two attacks on a market in Gaza. Of course, we're going to warn you, these images are disturbing. We do think they are important to show.
In the video that we are now going to roll, you can hear and see ambulances racing to the scene after the first attack. Then -- seconds later, you're now watching the second attack.
The journalist shooting this video was injured after the strike. He sustained serious shrapnel injuries to both his feet and his torso.
That should give you a sense of what happened to those around him. His assistant then picked up the camera and continued to shoot.
John Vause is OUTFRONT tonight live in Gaza City.
John, that video is hard to watch. When you think about the injuries that person sustained, those around who probably lost their lives, the assistant picked up the camera and kept filming. You've been on the scene of what's been happening there. What have you seen?
VAUSE: Hey, Erin, I'm having a little trouble hearing you.
But let's just talk about that video right now. That was the scene earlier today in an area not far from the Gaza City, (INAUDIBLE) area, you may have heard of it. That's an area that's been repeatedly hit by Israeli air strikes, as well as ground operation I guess for going on about 23, 24 days now as this operation continues.
What that video shows is what many witnesses have told us, is that there were a number of strikes carried out by Israel in fairly quick succession. After that first strike, we're told by the witnesses that residents and ambulance crews rushed to the area, surrounded by warehouses and homes as well as shops. They came out to help the wounded try to evacuate them from the area, get them to hospital, and then as we've seen, with that very graphic video, which is very graphic. I'm sure we haven't shown the worst of it, there were two more strikes.
And what we have seen with that video, it has been broadcast on Hamas television, on Al Aqsa TV, and it has been graphic. It shows victims who have lost limbs, others who are covered in blood who are screaming for help. It also shows dead bodies, which have just been blown apart.
Hamas officials say the death toll from that market attack stands at at least 17, more than 200 were wounded. We've also been told by Hamas officials that one reason why that marketplace was so crowded is because they thought this four-hour humanitarian cease-fire which Israel unilaterally announced was still in place. Two and a half hours into that, there was pretty much no warning that Israel had decided it would respond to that repeated Hamas rocket fire. They warned they would, but they just didn't say when they were going to do it, Erin.
BURNETT: John, thank you very much.
And Palestinian delegate to the United States, Ambassador Maen Areikat is OUTFRONT.
Ambassador, thank you for taking the time. I want to start with this horrible video that we have coming in of the attack on the market, that we were just watching there. As our reporter just pointed out, Israel had authorized a four-hour humanitarian window, it lasted about 2 1/2 hour. They say Hamas fired 26 rockets during that time.
During that -- the cease-fire that the Gaza citizens expected, though, they were in this market, according to the IDF, Hamas fired so they fired back. As a result you have a horrific act, like we just saw.
What is being done to get Hamas to stop firing the rockets?
MAEN AREIKAT, CHIEF PLO REPRESENTATIVE TO THE U.S.: Well, this is a twist of the facts, Erin. Israel has been lying about all these attacks on UNRWA schools. Today the United Nations verified that the shells that hit a school yesterday and killed 17, 19 Palestinians, and wounded scores of others with Israeli shells.
Israel has a habit of lying. Its officials lie. Its spokespeople lie, and they believe their lies.
I mean, I was listening to this horrible video. To be honest with you, this is the first time I hear the audio, listening to one victim saying, I lost my legs, I lost my legs. You want to tell me they targeted militants and fighters?
I think the world has to wake up. The United States has to wake up and urge Israel to stop this carnage. It is shameful that the United States is resupplying ammunition to a country that is committing right now war crimes.
BURNETT: Ambassador, let me ask you though, something, this is very important at the heart of this. The United Nations as you say, with the attack today on the shelter, they did say they thought it was an Israeli shell. But the U.N. has also said that they have found rockets being stored in three schools in Gaza. How is it those rockets are getting into schools if Hamas is not trying to get Israel to fire on schools?
AREIKAT: Well, that is a violation of the United States sanctity. We support the United Nations position that its property should be kept away from this conflict. But for God's sake, does it justify that Israel target a shelter of 3,000 innocent civilians who fled the campaign of aggression against innocent people? Does this justify -- Amnesty International said last week that firing from civilian operations, even in Hamas was firing from civilian population, to believe Israeli allegation, which I don't believe at all, if they fired from civilian population, it does not justify Israel to fire back deliberately to target civilian -- innocent civilians.
BURNETT: Isn't it true, at least, would you acknowledge that if Hamas is storing weapons in civilian structures like schools, that Hamas knows that means they will likely be attacked? They know that. They know by doing that they are putting civilian lives at risk. Isn't that true?
AREIKAT: You just mentioned the storing. Israel says they fired. There's a big difference between using the properties, which we don't agree with, and storing and firing from these properties. They have not -- Israel did not prove in one single incident so far that after they targeted --
BURNETT: Are you saying storing them there is OK?
AREIKAT: I'm not say it's OK. Why are you trying to put words in my mouth?
BURNETT: You're saying there's a difference between fire -- I'm trying to understand.
AREIKAT: I said we agree with the United Nations position. You are trying to exonerate Israel from its responsibility.
BURNETT: No, I'm not trying to do that, sir. I'm trying to get exactly where you are --
AREIKAT: This is what the media is trying to do. They are listening to all these lies that are coming from Israeli spokespeople, the Palestinian civilians are being slaughtered in the Gaza Strip by U.S.- made weapons. You are -- the United States government is resupplying them with more ammunition. You have Americans serving in the Israeli army who are fighting Palestinians and kill Palestinians, 750 U.S.- Israeli citizens are serving in the Israeli army. Isn't that against the American law?
BURNETT: Ambassador, I would say if you watched my interview with Dore Gold, who is adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I believe you would believe I held his feet to the fire as much as I'm holding yours right now, sir, if you had watched earlier in the program. But I really do just wand to understand exactly what you're coming from when you say this.
The Israel government says, right, all this comes back to the tunnels, ambassador, all of it. That these tunnels are being built by Hamas to go into civilian areas in Israel, and that this threatens Israelis security. They say once the tunnels are destroyed, they'll stop fighting. Do you as a Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, do you support that? Would you support ending getting rid of all those tunnels or not?
AREIKAT: Well, first of all, I represent the PLO. I don't represent the Palestinian Authority.
Secondly, these tunnels -- you know, the issue -- the score issue is not the tunnels, Erin. The Israelis started this war to stop launching rockets from Israel. Then they switched the objective to destroying the tunnels. Then, they want now to disarm Gaza. The issue here is not the tunnels. The issue here is a military
occupation, a military blockade of 1.8 million Palestinians who are living in an open-air jail. It's the 47-year-old military occupation of the Palestinian people. It's Israel's refusal to allow the Palestinians to live in dignity and freedom.
Let me say that clearly -- as long as the Palestinian people don't live in peace and security, Israel will not live in peace and security. It's a very simple equation. Live and let live. Israel wants to live and want to kill the Palestinians.
They don't want to see an independent Palestinian state. They want to continue their oppression against the Palestinian people.
BURNETT: Ambassador, thank you for your time tonight.
AREIKAT: Thank you very much.
BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT, is the wreckage of Malaysian Flight 17 surrounded by landmines. Ukrainian officials are charging that tonight. We are live on the scene to uncover whether it's true or not.
And the worst Ebola virus ever hits closer to the United States. Two Americans in isolation tonight after coming into contact with an infected person who later died.
BURNETT: Tonight, allegations the road to the wreckage of Flight 17 has actually been lined with land mines. According to Ukrainian officials, Russian rebels have placed land mines along the route, making it impossible for investigators to collect evidence and the remains of those left behind. It is now 13 days since Flight 17 was shot from the sky.
Today, Nick Paton Walsh made the dangerous journey to the crash site and he joins me OUTFRONT live now from Donetsk, Ukraine.
Nick, obviously, a lot of danger and a lot of risk to do that, to find out of these allegations were true. How difficult was it to get there, and what did you see?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Comparatively easy for us. How it would have been for the OSCE and its inspection to get to the site. We're one car, they're 10 to 20. And, of course, they're now subject to massive international scrutiny.
When we were there, we didn't see much in the way of land mines. Of course, this is a war zone, so there will be a lot of munitions in that particular area, but the feeling you get when you're there is separatists who were comparatively welcoming to us to get through aren't in particularly a big number around the area. They're nowhere to be seen at the crash site itself.
I think the feeling people get when they hear the Ukrainian government talk that way is they half are trying to suggest that retaking the area is the solution to the inspectors gaining access. We heard from the Dutch today the belief they don't think they're going to get near it in the days ahead. Certainly, the violence swirling around that very peaceful, eerily quiet area continued all day. We saw nothing but black smoke on the horizon around us from various parts of shelling going on.
The site, though, Erin, extraordinarily somber, still wreckage there, of course, people's possessions lying among the sunflowers, and sadly still these 12 to 13 days on, the stench of decay, you can still smell from some of the bodies that must still be around the area there -- Erin.
PINSKY: Nick, thank you.
BURNETT: And the debris as you were looking at holds the key to exactly what happened 33,000 feet above Ukraine, answers that families desperately need and deserve.
As our David Mattingly found out, though, with each passing days, inspectors do risk losing the crucial pieces of evidence.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A fireball caught on camera, and a devastating loss of life, but to those trained to investigate air crashes, the tragedy doesn't stop there. Accusations of looting and possibly contaminating important evidence is disturbing.
(on camera): When you first saw that, what was your reaction?
WILLIAM WALDOCK, CRASH INVESTIGATOR: The first thing I said was unrepeatable on TV. But after that, I was horrified.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): William Waldock is a crash investigator and director of the accident investigation lab at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He tells me why intelligence points to a missile strike in the crash of MH17. Investigators still need unaltered physical evidence to find the smoking gun, evidence you can't get from the black boxes.
(on camera): You still need the crash site to give you 100 percent.
WALDOCK: I'm a firm believer that you follow the physical evidence.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): That's exactly what investigators did in 1996, in the case of TWA-800, when it was suspected that a missile may have brought the plane down. It wasn't until the wreckage was recovered and examined that it was determined there was no such evidence of an attack.
Waldock says a physical examination is needed on MH17 wreckage to confirm what many suspect is evidence of a missile strike in these photos. WALDOCK: Have you ever seen a stop sign that somebody fired a shotgun
at? That's what you sigh. You see the large number of penetration holes that are going from the outside in.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Would it be possible to cover up that kind of evidence?
WALDOCK: Hard, but if you have enough efforts and manpower.
MATTINGLY: And enough time.
WALDOCK: And enough time.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Protecting the crash site is even more critical when a plane is crashed deliberately. At Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the FBI noted the location of the smallest pieces of debris. More than ten days after the crash of MH17, there's no guarantee that even large pieces would be left untouched.
(on camera): Let's say someone came on with a forklift and were just able to take this away, would you ever get to the bottom of this?
WALDOCK: Not, because that's how easy it breaks.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): It demonstrates how fragile the evidence can be when every crack, every dent, every fragment could be a clue.
(on camera): Even under the best of circumstances, in an investigation like this, if there was a missile strike, it can't tell us who pulled the trigger. And there are even greater concerns of what questions might go unanswered, if critical pieces of evidence disappear.
(voice-over): Waldock now worries what the latest rebel clashes might do if the crash site is caught in the crossfire.
WALDOCK: Depending on the size of the bomb, you may destroy everything we've got.
MATTINGLY: And with it any chance of definitively directing blame for the deaths of 298 people.
David Mattingly, CNN, Prescott, Arizona.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever has gotten worse. Two Americans in isolation tonight.
And the House just approved a resolution to sue the president of the United States. We're live on Capitol Hill with that breaking news, next.
BURNETT: Breaking news, Republican-led House voted to sue President Obama. The GOP saying the president has abused his power by not going through Congress to make or change laws. Democrats call it a partisan stunt.
Dana Bash is our chief congressional correspondent.
And, Dana, the vote 225-201, shockingly, not a single Democrat voted for.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I know you say that with sarcasm but sometimes even on these highly partisan votes, some conservative Democrats wanting to send a message back home in their conservative districts crossed party lines, that didn't happen here.
And what you have is Republicans saying this isn't about the House GOP versus Barack Obama. It's a constitutional struggle. It's the legislative branch versus the executive branch, trying to stop a president from over reaching, from going too far and this specific issue, it's about changing the health care law without congressional approval.
But this is undeniably political and, Erin, you know this is, that this is three months before the election, talking about presidential overreach is a huge motivating factor for the Republican base and midterm elections are almost always about getting the core base out to the polls.
BURNETT: And Republicans aren't the only ones using the vote to their advantage, right? I mean, Democrats are going to capitalize on what they see as politics.
BASH: They already are capitalizing it and they're completely brazen about it. They're unapologetic about it.
Steve Israel, who is a Democratic congressman in charge of electing Democrats to the House in November, made it perfectly clear they are sending out fundraising letters. We see it in the inbox warning Democratic donors that they've got to give money and they've got to give big because the Republicans are trying to not just sue the president but impeach the president, which, of course, the House speaker says they have no intention of doing -- Erin.
BURNETT: Dana, thank you very much.
And next, two more Americans exposed to the Ebola virus.
BURNETT: Two more Americans have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus. The two are Peace Corps volunteers that came in contact with someone who later died from the virus. They are being held in isolation. The Peace Corps is not taking chances and is now pulling their volunteers out of Ebola infected countries.
The outbreak has gotten so bad in Liberia, the country's president has ordered all schools to close to help combat the virus. An update on the Americans: Kenneth Brantly and Nancy Writebol, two
Americans who have contracted the virus, both of them, we have been told, have shown some slight improvement. They're still are in serious condition. It's the next five to six days that will determine whether they are able to be among the so few survivors of that deadly virus.
Thanks so much for joining us. A special two-hour edition of "AC360" begins right now.