January 2nd, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 1/2/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°
Airstrikes continue in Gaza as Israel amasses troops and artillery at the border.

A ground assault could begin at any moment. We'll have a live report from Nic Robertson in Israel.

And tragedy strikes John Travolta and his family. His sixteen year old son dies while the family is on vacation.

We’re blogging throughout the hour, and we hope you will join us.

Just follow our rules. Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book)
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (we don't like screaming)
3) Use your real name

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (422 Responses)
  1. Renee

    @ Erica: I'm keeping the faith! It's got to be all up from here. My NYE resolution - calm. Everything I am wishing for is calming. Good Luck to you Erica. I am sure it will be a great year for you!

    January 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  2. Ibrahim

    Haaretz openly criticizes the policies of Israeli government. There seems to be a firewall that blocks coverage of exactly what is going on in Palestine before these battles happen. What is it about the situation Palestinians are living through that causes them to feel such dispair? Given America bankrolls Israel's occupation, that's a question CNN should be seriously asking.

    Palestinians are barred from access to food and medicine. Their homes are bulldozed to make way for Jewish settlements. Their electricity is cut off, leaving them in the dark.All of that, the US media ignores. Even Israeli papers criticize and question those policies, but for some reason American media will not.

    BTW, Israel has been killing Palestinians and bulldozing their homes before Hamas existed.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  3. robert smith

    hamas drags missiles thru very long tunnels so they can put them in the middle of gaza and shoot them. Why don,t they shoot them on the other side of the tunnels so the civilians won,t get killed. There is no civilians on the other side of the tunnels so there is no point The ideal is for lots of civilians to get killed. no one would care if hamas terriousts where killed

    January 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  4. Ashley - Hamlin NY

    Again I need to praise the amazing job that Nic Robertson is doing. I bow down to you Sir! You're an inspiration to us journalist students everywhere!

    January 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  5. Mike Tremblay Lasalle On Canada

    Hamas can't win with rockets and fear alone....maybe they should have though things through before firing the first rockets...diplomacy is the only way towards peace....not fear mongering...Isreal is only defending its citizens...and where the heck is the UN....they need to step up to the plate before it gets way out of hand....thats why the UN was formed right, to protect against rouge nations?

    January 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  6. Minou, New York City

    Israel's response is DISPROPORTIONATE! They've killed far more people in a few days than Hamas' rockets killed in months.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  7. EJ (USA)

    Reading through all these comments and listening to the news just makes me want to turn off the TV, go to sleep, & pretend like it's not really going on.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  8. Sherrol in Canada

    Hello everyone............Lots happening today, too sad, the loss of John Travolta's son. No one should have to bury their child.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  9. Donna-Rene'e

    I hope with all that's going on .. the President Elect's safty and that of his family is taken into account. The minute by minute update to his location. is so publicized. My prayers also go out to both Gaza and Israel.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  10. John Ortolani

    This is so simple. Israel is entitled to be there, just like the Palestinians. They have, for the last 50 years tried to live in peace, but everyone wants to anniliate them. Why? Is their existance proof of a living God? The prince of Persia is alive in the Middle East. It would be so simple to give the Palestinians there own territory, but they will not except anything other than the complete destruction of Israel. The world condemns Israel, but not a word when Hamas daily, bombs Israels' citizens, killing woman and children. God is protecting Israel. The sooner people realize that, the better.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  11. Megan Dresslar- Shoreline, WA

    That's cool!!! Nice to see Dr Gupta tonight on program........ that's sad for him to die! Thanks for information today Dr. Gupta.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  12. Frank - Skippack, PA

    As long as both sides have immutable positions nothing good will ever happen...

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  13. reem wazani

    what israel is doing are war crimes. and this is the real terrorism. it doesn't matter how many palestinians are killed, israel cann't kill the spirit of palestinian people.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  14. Minou, New York City

    My heart goes out to the Travolta's. No parent should ever go through that.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  15. eric

    what are the chance that others will join the fight if Israel take over gaze and never leave?

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  16. franco jaber

    Hi anderson ,,,lets just stop for a second and look at reality woman and children are dieing and all we can talk about is let isreal defend it self ,the truth is isreal needs to stop its agretion on palestinans because we all no that isreal is a super power,

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  17. mario

    hey first time blogger,getting how crazy is everything

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  18. Bea

    I respect Dr. Gupta but dealing with overactive immune system issues myself I've learned that doctors really don't know a whole lot about them. Each patient is different and has different triggers and doctors . So when folks draw conclusions based on "most people" I always pause and take a deep breath ...

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  19. Kathy

    Justifying Israel's actions is justifying violence. I'm appalled at the stance the White House has taken. I thought we were the defenders of democracy not the accomplices of repression.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  20. Bruce Barton

    Israel's "End Game" is clear – stop shooting rockets into Israel. The "collateral damage", Gaza complains of, results in all wars.

    "Collateral damage" wasn't heard of in WW II. German cities were "carpet" bombed to kill the factory workers and to destroy the factories.

    After Victory in Europe (VE Day), our military was preparing to invade Japan. The Japanese said they'd defend the country to the last man and had the reputation that caused our military to figure there would be a casualty rate worse than D Day (in Europe). Harry Truman had the guts to use the A bomb – twice and Japan surrendered.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  21. Bonnie

    I feel so bad for the Travolta family. They seemed like such a loving close family. My prayers are with them.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  22. Paolo

    How tragic! My deepest sympathies to the Travolta family.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  23. Cory

    To all of you deeming the Israeli retaliation an act of genocide, could you be anymore oblivious? Your all just seeking a sorry excuse to exhibit antisemitism. I never knew a country defending itself against an unprovoked three month missile attack on civilians could be accused of violating human rights. The Palestinians were offered a country and peaceful terms under the provisions of the U.N. partition in 1947, it is their own fault for attacking Israel on the basis of hatred and therefore deserve exactly what they're getting soley because they brought it upon themselves.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  24. Noel Griese

    You don't suppose, do you, that Israel timed the air attacks for the waning days of a lame duck president, with ground action to be completed before the inauguration of a new president and the induction of a new secretary of state, do you? Hmmm. Well, it does appear, with Israel sending a top emissary to France to placate the call from there for a cease-fire, that it's quite aware that it's fighting a diplomatic and public relations war as well as a military action. And can you imagine Israel taking such an action without advance U.S. approval?

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  25. Mark

    Hamas leaders promise its people the return of what they call occupied territory, which they mean to include all of Israel. They want an Islamic state there. Who can stand up to Hamas in Gaza ? Even the Palestinian Authority could not, and it was killed off in a violent struggle. Hamas had no problems getting explosives, munitions and missles through the tunnels. Those were more important than food and medicine for the Palestinian people there. There are many Palestinian cities in the west bank, but the Israeli airforce is not dropping any bombs there. Why, because only the Hamas leadership is the target of this operation,

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  26. Mahmut Ali

    We need to stop Israel from killing innocent civilians in Gaza. Why don't we respond and stop them from this massacre?

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  27. Jack

    Hi Anderson: I don't care if this message is posted or not. I just want to make sure that you get it and read it.

    What Ben Wiedeman just said in the communication with you on TV is not correct. It is not true that Gaza is so densely populated that the missiles and weapons could not be stored or fired by Hamas from anywhere else but within the population. That is a lie. The Gaza strip has plenty of open space, beaches, and especially in the area where the Israeli settlements used to be (nothing there right now except demolished houses and greenhouses that Palestinians destroyed when the Israelis left). Gaza City itself is densely populated, but not the whole Gaza Strip, and even in Gaza City there are open spaces. Hamas puts their weapons within the population to use them as human shields, and win the media war as innocent people are hurt. Please check this information, and correct this for the viewers, because incorrect comments like this one from Ben W. can give the wrong impresion. And please, just in case, let's not take any Arab commentator comment as a given (please put an Israeli there to answer right back at any Arab comment. Be balanced). Please remember their fake setup pictures from the 2nd entifada and their lies about the made up "Jennin Masacre". Please corroborate carefully every piece of information you get, as wars sometimes are won or lost due to the media. So you have a big responsibility here. I hope you ensure balance reporting. Thank you!!

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  28. Sarah Rutherford ATL

    this is the second time a celebrity's child has died in the bahamas.. its so sad

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  29. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Sanjay sounds like he doubts that Kawasaki caused Travolta's son's death.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  30. Chris

    My best to the Travolta family. It is always tragic when someone dies young.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  31. Rafael Cubas


    I'm deeply sorry for Travolta's loss. However, I believe that the whole world is going through a far more bigger situation that John is.

    May the Lord be with Travolta family.


    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  32. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    Dr. Gupta,

    wouldnt the immune response affect all of the circulatory system? how is it confined only to the coronary circulation?

    January 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  33. Stu Silbergleit

    Why are there expectations that Israel should cease fire when Hamas itself isn't calling for a true cease fire. The reality of the situation is that Israel has taken numerous steps over the years to seek peace but have had obstacles thrown in their way. Israel gave up its "occupation" of Gaza hoping that would enable the Palestinians to move toward self government–instead the government established espouses hatred of Israel and a policy that calls for Israel's elimination and death to its citizens. Israel releases hundreds of prisoners as good will gestures, while their soldiers are never returned alive. I believe that Hamas has provoked the latest violence because it serves their interest as a rallying point, notwithstanding the crushing impact on its citizens.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  34. Jack Raiden - Washington DC

    Who Started it does not matter. What matters is, that we back our allies. Isreal is powerful nation, like the USA they have much heart and will power, and never back down. They have a sizable airforce, and US designed tanks to boot. They have the tech and the numbers to wage a respectable war. Just know the US president does not control the nation of Isreal. They have their own leader. But if my civilians get murdered over a pointless never ending holy war. I would strike back at the attackers too and with everything I got. You cannot bring those poeple back, and they would pay dearly for that atrocity. Isreal – Go kick some tail. The rest of america may not agree with your attacks. But i got your back anyday. Semper Fi


    To CNN: Happy new year ya'll and hope you all had great holidays.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  35. Deni NS

    Brandi that's very true and I feel sorry for anyone who has to go through that loss I just find it a sad state of affairs when we only give our support to such well known figures because we think we "know them" personally when even now people around the world lose family in horrible ways.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  36. Pastor Suah

    Hi Anderson, has the world forgotten the promised of God to the children of Israel. No man can undo what God has promised to do on this earth. Read the story in the book of Exodus and the entity of the Holy bible (biblical history), see where the children of Israel came from to possess the land they sit on now. No man will end the war between the Philistines and the Israelis until Israel possess that land fully. Let the world not waste their time on making peace. Let us all await on God’s promised. It shall come to pass.


    Pastor Suah

    January 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  37. gigi, Columbus Ohio

    I am not sure who is right in the fight beween Isreal and Hamas and I am sure that this fight will continue for years to come. I just saw that 3 young children were killed while playing outside their house. Is this region so used to war that they allow their children outside even during bombings. It is a very sad situation for all

    January 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  38. Nasser

    Just remember the phrase, "chickens will come to roost." Whatever Israel does against defenseless Palestinians will come back to haunt them. God has a way of making things even.

    BTW, if Israel was so good and was a real democracy it would allow the right of return of all palestinians just like it does with russian Jews. Fact check: if it let everyone vote there would be more Palestinians then Israelis, and Israel would cease to exist. Thats why they are doing ethnic cleansing.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  39. ericacnn

    Let's hope so, Jo Ann!

    January 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  40. Tom Schmeh

    I am admittedly not real bright, but...
    Israel and Hamas have a truce, during which Israel blockades Gaza;
    the truce expires and Hamas fires the first shot, claiming it will continue until the blockade is lifted; and Israel fires back, claiming defense.
    So, why is NO one, including CNN, talking about the problem... the Israeli blockade of Gaza... is it legal? is it moral?

    – Tom Schmeh
    Knoxville, Iowa

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  41. Paolo

    Hi everyone!

    On Burris' appointment, Burris had a chance to be the bigger man – to decline the senate seat from the guy he criticised just days if not weeks ago.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  42. Ashley - Hamlin NY

    I absolutely feel John Travolta’s pain as my brother also had Kowasaki’s disease when he was three. It’s completely shocking to watch someone go through it and makes you feel utterly helpless. Thankfully, my brother hasn’t had any other heath problems due to the disease. I hope that Kowasaki’s had nothing to do with Jett’s death either, as it can be triggered from harsh chemicals.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  43. Maayan

    To Jamal and Angelo and to all those who don't have their facts straight,

    Israel does allow humanitarian aid into gaza, however, Hamas does not disperse it the way they should in order to create an even worse humanitarian crisis. Yes, I agree there is a humanitarian crisis, but how dare anyone say that Israel wont allow food or water into the area.This is acountry that was founded by many Holocaust survivors who know what its like to suffer and would never do unto others as others did unto them. Hamas needs to act in the best ineterest of its people and not hide behind them like cowards. I am so sad for the innocent victims of the this situatuion on both sides, but Hamas has proved itself untrustoworthy in the past and Israel needs to be cautious. Someone please tell me which country in this world would allow bombing of its people without retaliation? Thats right...no such country exists. No one likes War so stop posting comments insinuating thats Israel enjoys taking part in killing people, she is just doing whats right for her people and survival. Aside from this, where are all the Arab countries during this crisis? Instead of focusing so much on the claim that Israel is causing the humanitarian crisis, maybe we should ask ourselves why not one Arab nation has taken action or provided Gaza with the help it needs.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  44. jabril

    Bush and condi rice need not comment on the conflict on the middle east we already kno what they think even before they open their mouth, they are pro israel no matter what the situation is, bush is a crazy evangelical radical who thinks the jews are the choosen people of god and therefore if your friendly to the jews god is with you and will bless you, and condi is just his parot, she just repeats anything her bush tells her, If obama gets in the white house and keeps the status quo on our foreighn policy which overwhelmingly pro israel and no matter what they do then we can expect more terrorist attacks coming our way. bush has got the entire world hating us. if obama gets in and just try to play it safe and dont create no waves and just keep the same old politics thats has the entire muslim world want to kill us all then obama will be no different than the rest of the politicians who lie to all every four yrs and promise change and then get elected and forget anything they said and play it safe and just keep up the same washington games i dont kno how much this nation and can continue to exist nad be ruled by lying politicians

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  45. ray joseph cormier

    Hamas was legitimately, Democratically elected in December 05 to form a government for a people tired of Fatah corruption. All external monitoring agencies certified the election as free and fair.

    Israel and the U.S. would not accept the popular will of the Palestinian people, and contrary to any notion of Democratic ideals, immediately cut off all financial assistance, criminalizing all other groups and individuals who would fill the void. They would not talk to Hamas, closing the brief window of opportunity to negotiate. a real peace. Tightening the screws even further, Israel imposed a total economic blockade on what essentially a city-state.

    As a Canadian, I can see and understand how Hamas could interpret such actions as an intention to totally destroy them. Hamas has every human right to fight for survival.

    Gaza is an modern day, Israeli controlled, Warsaw Ghetto/ Gulag prison for a whole people with no way out.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  46. Rebecca

    Where is the UN? Why the world allows Israel to use such violence against the Palestinians for so long? Why can we have UN troops there on the ground to stop those violent circles? Why a nation so powerful is allowed to bomb one so pail back to the stone age? Anyone who doesn't want UN boots on the ground clearly doesn't stand for peace!

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  47. Rudy

    Well I would have to say that it is amazing to me that the world is so easy to trick. Hamas once again after starting this whole mess is made to look like the victim, unbelievable. This whole problem is Hamas can't face reality and that reality is that Israel is a nation and is not going anywhere. Since Hamas will never recognize Israel and this is issue number with Israel there will never be peace. Hamas must recognize Israel as a nation or this whole notion of peace is just a dream.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  48. Nethaniel - hollywood, FL

    Dear anderson, what you need to understand is that chamas obviously has no regard for their fellow men, they live and hide behind the innocent. Chamas uses children as decoys and then blames Israel for killing innocent people including children. All that Israel is doing is protecting itself against the constant missiles hiting homes and killing civilians who are tring to live their lives. Israel has all the right to bomb the chamas hideouts, althoough they realize that they are unintentionally hurting palastinian civilians. How do u expect Israek to kill the enemy when they are hiding, like cowards, among the innocnet?

    January 2, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  49. Stuart Wade

    Bush says its Hamas at blame but the Jews do not have clean hands. The Jews have committed crimes against Palestine for years. I say we should give Hamas the same weapons we have given Israel over the years. let them fight it out.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  50. Aysha Omar

    FYI In response to lack of common sense, of course Palestinians fire rockets in Israel and have suicide bomber attacks, but when you are being occupied and bombarded everyday palestinians also have the right to defend themselves. Also, just so you know Israel was built on the blood of palestinians and the millions of refugees that now have no home due to Israel. How would you like it if one day a foreign country came and occupied the US? I am sure we would also defend ourselves.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
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