The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 5, Episode 21 - Gaza - full transcript
A fact finding codel to the Middle East is torn apart by an explosion. Key members of the administration and their loved ones are caught in the mess. The President is forced to consider retaliatory military action the unstable area, with possible repercussions that could last decades.
- I just wanna grow in my job.
- Why do you say that?
I have one career.
I want it to matter.
You're not going to Gaza.
You're not attending talks
with Israelis and Palestinians...
...who don't work for their governments.
- We'll see.
You want me to go to
the Middle East with a whistle...
to make lanyards?
I need you to go so
we can stay out of trouble.
It's the best we can do in that region.
I think we should be more engaged
over there, not less.
- Thank you. I appreciate it.
- Thank you.
Your diplomatic passport.
You're going on a CODEL
to the Middle East.
No presidential handholding.
See what's going on, brief me and Toby.
Four days, I'm still not adjusted.
2 a.m., staring at the ceiling.
- Those briefings would put you out.
- Good idea.
Get somebody to hit me with one.
- They're a displaced population.
Palestinians moved 15 miles.
Did you ever move?
They're still refugees.
You know, after 50 years,
one option might be to get over it.
- It feels hotter today. Is that possible?
- Enjoy your break?
- Wasn't what you think.
- Let's go, folks. We're moving out.
Good choice for this climate.
Everybody's this angry now, what must
it have been like before air conditioning?
Yeah. Travel, learn about
new cultures, make new friends.
What do photographers say
in the digital age...
...now that the "come and see
my darkroom" line...
...has gone the way of the dodo?
They offer their high-speed Inter...
Ladies and gentlemen, the duty-free cart
will be coming through the cabin shortly.
Please refer to the catalog
in the seat pocket in front of you...
... for any items you may wish
- The in-flight service...
- Heard from Donna?
I get these daily, interminable e-mails
that I have no time to read.
She doesn't seem to have mastered pith.
Donna's style is more along
the lines of les mots mo'.
- You hear from Andy?
- Concision's not her problem.
Every day, the same three little words:
"See your children."
Before e-mail, it was a lot harder for your
ex to hock you from 6000 miles away.
Are the kids with Andy's mom?
The very definition of
an approach-avoidance situation.
- Say you're from Minnesota.
- I am.
- No, we're pretending.
- We're not, actually.
- And you'd like prescription drugs.
- What do I have?
It could be clouding my judgment.
- You're no fun.
- I'm having fun.
Minnesota set up a website
linked to Canadian pharmacies...
...for the importation of cheap drugs,
in violation of federal law.
I'm getting calls wondering why the
administration's not enforcing this ban.
Curiosity as to what other statutes
the White House is planning to ignore.
Shouldn't somebody applaud
our affirmation for states' rights?
- Is that what we're doing?
- Not really.
We need a policy. Hoping no one
noticed has run its course.
I'll get into it after I check on how
the Timberwolves and Twins fared.
- Bit's over.
- Leo. Got a minute?
The vice president attended
that fundraiser last night.
- He did well.
- Keep the amazement out of your voice.
- I was trying to pay you a compliment.
- He got questioned about this trip.
- It's a CODEL.
Has nothing to do
with administration policy.
They want to know if we're
in the peace process.
It's a tar baby. Sisyphus.
Hijacks your entire agenda.
Lands everyone back right where they
started, only angrier, if that's possible.
Josh. Arrived, Gaza.
Couldn 't even unpack.
Still no comprehension of the money.
Probably criminally under or over tipping
the entire Palestinian service sector.
Will either be run out on a rail
or given a parade upon leaving.
We were whisked down
to a meeting with the Fatah leaders.
If that sounds fascinating...
... then you've gotten more out of
the description than the experience.
Turns out Palestinian politicians
are just as coma-inducing...
... as our domestic variety.
These incursions are designed
Tanks roll in.
This naturally excites resistance...
...which then is used
as a pretext for armed assault.
You'd agree that Israel doesn't set out
to target innocents.
No. I do not agree.
As opposed to Palestinian suicide
bombers on buses, in pizza parlors.
Same old story, same old song
and dance, eh?
You don't expect to meet many
Aerosmith fans in Gaza.
Colin Harrison. Photojournalist.
The cameras were a big hint.
Four hundred Fatah members
resigned in protest...
...over alleged financial abuses
...among your leadership.
- This is not what we must discuss.
Sixty percent of Gaza
live below the poverty line.
Gaza is an open-air Palestinian prison.
You'll never understand anything
about Gaza by listening to politicians.
Or with you distracting me.
Hey, I'll let you listen in peace...
...if you meet me in the bar
when this ends.
- I don't know how long this is gonna...
- I'll wait.
What would you like?
Among the tribulations of life in Gaza,
the inability to get a proper pint.
What's your pleasure when you're not
being subjugated by fundamentalists?
Rusty nail. Old-fashioned girl.
- My dad's drink.
- Still enchanted?
So, is this your routine?
Scout the new arrivals,
make for the nearest blond?
Well, not always blond.
What's wrong with
You're fact-finding. Why is that?
I mean, there's more to understand
in Gaza than facts.
To an old-fashioned girl.
I'm sorry. That was just really cheesy.
Hate to see you blow the whole dashing
Thanks very much.
- So show me.
The real Gaza.
- See. What I was hoping...
- I know what you were hoping.
So when do we start?
When you get out of the hotel
and into the streets...
... what hits you about Gaza
isn 't the overcrowding and poverty.
You've been briefed about that.
What strikes you is something else.
The sense of a people waiting,
but with no expectation.
It's hard to convey.
I'd like you to meet someone.
- Ashraf Monsour, this is Donna Moss.
Miss Moss is with the American
government delegation. She'd...
She'd like to understand Gaza better.
I am not unemployed. I'm electrician.
Ashraf works in construction in Israel.
I am not unemployed.
- I don't...
- The Israelis closed the checkpoints...
...after a suicide bombing.
- Last week.
- I can't work to feed my family.
- He says I should become one of them.
- What's it say?
"The glory of eternity for our martyrs."
The Palestinian Authority pays 2000
U.S. dollars to the families of "martyrs."
Plus 150 a month
until the last child leaves home.
I wish to work. These martyrs...
These martyrs take food
out of my children's mouths.
When it's open, 19,000 Palestinians
... pass through the Erez checkpoint
to work jobs in Israel.
Fact. More later.
We're not cutting cotton subsidies.
We went through a whole trade thing.
I'm not reopening that
exploding can of worms.
- Since when is this under the NSC?
- Since heroin traffic spiked in Europe.
I'm about to come down with
globalization headache number five.
When farmers can't afford
to grow cotton...
...can't compete with cheap U.S.
textiles from subsidized crops...
...they plant something else.
- Fields. Like someone colorized Nebraska.
Well, maybe we should
Explosion in Gaza. The CODEL.
- It just happened. That's all I know.
- An apparent car bomb has exploded.
- MSNBC's got it!
I'm holding. I've been holding. Carol.
- I keep getting cut off.
- Try his cell phone.
- I'm trying.
- Not the switchboard.
I'm calling his cell phone in Gaza directly.
- And getting cut off.
- Do we know anything?
We're trying cell phones,
but we can't get through.
- They're probably busy.
- They could answer their phone. Or not.
- Donna? Andy?
- We don't know.
- No one's getting through.
How are...? How are you?
Are you...? Are you okay?
She's all right. She was in the other car,
and she's all right. You're all right.
- My God, I see her!
On the right... On the cell phone.
We can see you. You're on TV.
On the... On the monitor.
Two congressmen confirmed dead.
Korb and DeSantos.
- What about Donna?
- What about Donna?
She was in the car that...
Andy saw people put in ambulances.
That's all she knows.
I'm just glad that you're okay.
Just come home, will you? Just...
Get the hell out of there
and come home.
Three dead so far, sir.
Congressmen DeSantos and Korb.
- Oh, God.
- And we just got word.
There are others injured.
They've been taken to area hospitals.
Sir, I'll get the phone numbers
of the congressmen's families.
I asked Fitz to go.
Getting in and out of the Israeli
settlement of Kfar Darom...
... requires a military escort.
Five hundred mortar shells have landed
there in the last three years.
During our pre-dinner break,
I met an Israeli settler family.
Two days before, a mortar round
had exploded in their kitchen.
It came through the roof.
One half-hour later, my wife would have
been giving breakfast to our children.
Four others have fallen
around the house.
When the Palestinians get a hit,
they secure the launchers.
And that way, they can make sure
to repeat the strike.
- You must live in constant fear.
- Our soldiers will find the mortar.
You replace the tile roof
with concrete, and pray.
In Israel, there's talk
of giving up these settlements.
God wants us in this place.
It is our divine moral obligation
to be here.
If we give in to the Arabs,
they'll take more and more and...
We'll all end up in Tel Aviv.
And then they'll take that.
All of this...
It doesn't make you wanna leave?
This is the most safe environment.
In Jerusalem, when you see an Arab,
you don't know.
Here, if you see one, you know
he's dangerous, and you shoot him.
Please excuse us.
Donatella Moss. Tall, blond.
Do you have any idea of her condition,
where she was taken?
I understand. Is there
anyone there who...?
This is Josh Lyman,
calling from the White House.
The White House.
Yes. Where the president lives.
I'm looking for information about one of
the bombing victims, Donatella Moss.
Are you kidding?
You know the term "decent interval"?
Magley from the DNC wants
to talk about who to run...
...for the two vacant House seats.
- You're joking.
They're still picking up pieces
...he's talking about DeSantos'
- What's he calling you for?
- Thought Josh'd be upset about Donna.
I guess he figured since my ex-wife
was only almost blown up...
...that I'd only be almost upset!
- I'm getting calls from AIPAC.
- Every 10 minutes.
Them and every pro-lsraeli lobby.
Half trying not to sound happy, the rest
trying to avoid saying, "I told you so."
The president's giving an address?
- The vice president...
...would like to see an advance copy.
To check spelling, correct errors,
noted grammarian that he is?
You're worried about the politics. You're
as bad as that clown from the DNC.
It's a major address about a tragedy.
He has an interest in the content.
Yes. There's interest
in the political ramifications.
- That's what we all do.
- Some of us are trying to govern.
A heads-up. It's not so much to ask.
I'm polishing, right up till air.
I'm glad Andy's okay.
I wonder who they would have called,
had she been killed.
- What do we know?
- Roadside bomb, detonated by cell phone.
They knew they were targeting
The black Suburbans are well-known.
Up to now, that's been advantageous.
U. S. officials have long been off-limits
to Palestinian terror attacks.
- That seems to have changed.
- What's striking...
...is no claim of responsibility.
They usually can't take credit fast
enough. Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad.
All announced they had
nothing to do with this.
They don't wanna wake up
to a cruise missile for breakfast.
- What are we doing?
- State is in touch with Palestine.
The president meant things
that aren't a waste of our time.
FBI investigative team is en route.
Langley's coordinating with Mossad and
Israeli military in gathering information.
And compiling a list
of possible targets for retaliation.
Are there any? We can't go
flatten some refugee camp.
That's what we're trying to determine.
Mr. President, the Palestinian chairman's
on the phone.
I'll bet he is.
- In here.
- Yes, sir.
- You're on with the chairman, sir.
- Chairman Farad.
Mr. President, I wish to convey
my most profound dismay...
... and sincerest sympathies
over this inc...
- Murder, Mr. Chairman.
- Yes. Terrible. A criminal act.
The assassination of U.S.
An act of war, some would say.
The Palestinian Authority condemns
this attack in the strongest terms.
- All Palestinians condemn...
- Not the perpetrators, Mr. Chairman.
They'll be hunted down and made
to suffer the maximum punishment.
Swift and harsh.
Do you know who they are?
Mr. President, you must believe
no organized group would do this.
All understand to target Americans would
be catastrophic to the Palestinian cause.
In this, Mr. Chairman,
they are entirely correct.
Thank you for the call.
Again, Mr. President,
my heartfelt condolences...
... on this most barbaric act.
See what he says about it in
Arabic for domestic consumption.
He knows who did it.
- I'm sure that's what the Israelis will say.
- They've lived 30 years with this guy.
The chairman's control
is less than absolute.
Hamas has a strong power base there.
I would like to observe
a moment of silence...
...in commemoration of
those dedicated individuals...
...who gave their lives in the service
of their country this day.
Prepare contingency plans
for retaliatory military action...
...against Palestinian terror targets.
Including the chairman's headquarters.
- Leo. You wanted to see me?
- Yeah. Listen.
With Nancy McNally out of the country,
you're gonna have to be our go-to...
I was gonna say "guy."
The problem with English.
"Guy" is wrong, "gal" is patronizing,
and "person" sounds arch.
- "Go-to guy" is fine.
- Good, because you're it.
Which is a lot to throw at you
weeks into the job.
I want you to know you have my
and the president's full support.
- I appreciate your confidence.
- We need you to coordinate intelligence.
Especially CIA and FBI.
You may have heard. They have
trouble playing nicely together.
- Boys will be boys.
- Don't be afraid to knock heads together.
We don't want turf wars
slowing down intel.
I'll keep on them.
- You run into resistance, let me know.
- I hope that won't be necessary.
Another thing. The president's
not crazy about the DCI.
It just rubs him the wrong way.
- This isn't gossip. It's guidance.
If the CIA's got something...
...the director's not the most
effective vessel for communicating it.
I'll underline anything
I think is significant.
We just need you to be all over this.
You're the White House point person.
I won't let you down.
Oh, and on that whole language score.
I was in the military. I manned
battleships, was one of the boys.
Occasionally was exhorted to drop my...
You know, and grab my socks.
- I've made my peace with the colloquial.
Just between us girls.
Still just the three confirmed.
It was not a suicide attack.
No claims of... Hey!
Is this working for you?
Now, if you'll ask your questions
one at a time, like...
...every other time, maybe you'll
come away with something to write...
...and maybe I'll still be speaking
to you when I climb down.
- Is the administration considering...
...military action in response
to the attack?
The immediate focus
is on gathering information...
...on who might have
Will the U.S. ask the Israelis
to carry out any military retaliation?
We're strongly urging both Israel
and the Palestinian Authority...
...to refrain from doing anything
to inflame tensions at this time.
Will the administration actively seek the
removal of Palestinian Chairman Farad...
...and press for
Israeli withdrawal from Gaza?
If you're asking if today's events will
impact U.S. policy, it's safe to assume...
...that question will generate
...in the coming days, weeks
and months. Gordon.
Do you have a comment
on today's FDA warning...
...on safety violations at
Canadian Internet pharmacies?
- I haven 't been able...
...to get exact information,
but they have gotten her stabilized...
...which sounds encouraging.
I'm sorry I don't have more,
but I didn't want you...
...and Mr. Moss to have
to wait any longer.
The thoughts and prayers
of a grateful nation...
...are with you and your family
at this time.
Not at all, Mrs. Korb.
Charlie, when your mother was killed,
you got one of these calls?
Yes, sir. Her captain.
Did it make you feel any better?
Not really, sir.
Nothing makes you feel better.
But it did make me feel proud.
- Potential bleeding issues.
- Dire issues?
Significant's the word they used,
but dire is good.
- How's Donna?
- Some issues.
- Hey. Donna okay?
- Some issues.
- I'm not sure what they are.
- You know what?
- Maybe we'll do this all at once.
- Hi, Kate.
- Any news on Donna?
- Some issues.
- Potentially significant.
- Anyway, there's been major blood loss.
- Poor kid.
What's gonna be our response?
- What do you think?
- Regime change.
Take out the chairman.
Palestinians never miss an
opportunity to miss an opportunity.
- Abba Eban's line.
- The guy in Tel Aviv's no picnic.
State's convinced nothing can happen
till these two guys are gone.
- Israel's not the problem.
- The walls.
- Israel didn't just blow Americans up.
- I'm not saying there's equivalence.
Israelis don't talk about driving
Palestinians into the sea.
- Some do.
- Come on.
- Never heard of "Greater Israel"?
- Not from anyone serious.
People say nothing can happen
until these guys are gone...
...because they both may be stuck in
old attitudes or assumptions.
There was a time when all Arabs
wanted to drive Jews into the sea.
- But some argue that time's passed.
- Listen to Arab broadcasts.
Rabble-rousing to distract.
I'm not sure any credible Arab leader
expects Israel's demise.
- Even the chairman.
- Don't bet on it.
- There's a view...
- Don't say, "some argue"...
...and "there's a view."
Can we restrict it to your view?
Okay. Palestinians are no longer
fighting to destroy the Jewish state.
They're fighting for a state of their own.
A struggle against an occupying force.
And revolutionaries will outlast
and out-die occupiers every time.
I don't know if that's
more simplistic or naive.
It's tribal. It can't be solved.
It's Hatfield and McCoy...
...and there is no end.
- She's so young.
Suicide bombers often leave
these videotapes behind.
What's she saying?
"It was always my wish to turn
my body into deadly shrapnel...
...to knock on the door of heaven
with the skulls of Zionists.
God gave me two children
who I love so..."
She had children?
One and 3.
Her husband had no idea
she was planning to do it.
Families of suicide bombers
get showered with gifts.
It's customary at the funeral
to hand out sweets.
Well, you don't have to imagine it,
- We have to retaliate.
- Responding militarily...
...makes us a combatant.
When they attack your people,
they've made that choice for you.
Or we use this as an opportunity.
Employ the moral authority to reengage
in pressing both sides for peace.
We need to kill them!
We need to find them and to kill them.
We kill them. Then we find out
who sent them and we kill them too.
Kill the people who did it, planned it.
Kill everyone who was happy about it.
Thank you, Mr. President.
You can go in.
Where's Donna now?
She's being medevaced to Ramstein...
...then transferred to Landstuhl
- An operation?
- I don't know.
- We've got excellent people in Germany.
If there's someplace you'd rather be,
everyone would understand.
Border tour went on forever.
It's all right.
- You still got time?
- Ten minutes.
Donna Moss, she's with the Americans.
My friend Yossi.
- He's a very wicked man, you know?
- My hero, actually.
- Oh, I'm sure.
- So how old are you?
- I'm 22.
You like the army?
It's an Israeli's most sacred duty.
Nothing I will ever do is more important.
- Plus, girls like the uniform.
- The uniform?
They like me.
Colin says you have strong
feelings about serving here.
Is no good. Gaza.
- No good, how?
- Well, 7500 Israeli settlers...
...surrounded by 1.3 million Palestinians,
who do not wish them here...
...and we're in the middle.
Once, we're sent to dismantle
an illegal settlement.
The settlers punch and kick us.
A woman bit my arm so hard,
she drew blood. My own people.
Yossi spent some time guarding
the settlement in Kfar Darom.
I've been there. It's... It's dangerous.
I lost comrades.
For a soldier, this is expected.
But two were women.
Killed in their barracks.
- I'm sorry.
- Tell her what happened then.
Go on, man. You can tell her.
After the deaths of the girl soldiers,
some in my unit...
...they'd call on loudspeaker...
...in Arabic. Taunting,
calling them names.
And young Palestinians would come
out from hiding, boys with rocks.
And they'd shoot them,
with live bullets.
- I do not shoot children.
Donna, I serve with them.
They're not evil.
But when people who are not monsters
do this, it's the situation.
The circumstances are to blame.
I have to go.
- Thanks for speaking with me.
- Enjoy your visit.
I better not come and join your friends.
You know, after 50 years,
one option might be to get over it.
It feels hotter today. Is that possible?
Enjoy your break?
It wasn't what you think.
At this time, all electric devices
must be turned off...
... and stowed in preparation
for our landing in Frankfurt.
- What's the latest?
- The FBI team lands in five hours.
- You've spoken to Nancy?
- Dr. McNally's left Caracas.
- She'll hit Tel Aviv, Cairo, Amman.
- Tell her to be careful.
- What's the situation on the ground?
- Chairman's not letting the grass grow.
Palestinian Authority police made a night
raid into the Jabaliya refugee camp.
There was an exchange of gunfire.
Six suspects were taken into custody.
- Are they the right people?
- Israelis say no.
- Did they wanna think about it?
- They say these guys are dissidents...
The chairman just... Settling old scores.
- He did take action.
- We awarding A's for effort now?
Effort's what he's accused
of never making.
What more do we know?
The planning, the execution,
the size of the bomb...
...all appear too sophisticated
to be some guys just freelancing.
Hamas and Hezbollah have used roadside
bombs like this against IDF tanks.
Maybe that's what this
was intended for.
Because Chevy Suburbans are
often confused with Israeli tanks.
As you noted earlier, sir,
fixed targets are hard to come by.
Half the time, the Israelis
aren't sure what to hit.
So let me sum up.
We don't know who did this...
...or even if they meant to.
Don't know how we'd hit them
if we did find out.
Don't know who these guys were
that the chairman arrested.
Is there anything, anything at all,
that we are certain of?
Other than three U.S. officials
were brutally murdered?
We know that at the blast site...
...groups of young Palestinians
stoned Western reporters...
...shouting, "God is great."
Hi, I'm Josh Lyman
from the White House...
Donatella Moss' room.
- Mr. Lyman?
I operated on Miss Moss.
For what, exactly?
I'm a little behind the curve.
She had a multiple compound
fracture of the femur...
...and a pneumothorax.
- Sorry, I...
- Collapsed lung, broken thighbone.
- Collapsed lung. That's no biggie?
- We suctioned the air from the cavity.
- Really? That sounds...
No biggie. Lung should re-expand
within 48 to 72 hours.
And a broken leg?
Compound fracture is one where
the bone protrudes through the skin.
- This was a multiple, so that meant...
- Yeah. Got it.
- You all right?
- I get a little queasy.
Plus the, you know, jet lag.
In any event, the main fracture
repairs went well.
We inserted a rod through the bone.
You wanna sit?
I'm... I'm fine.
So she's gonna be okay?
At the moment,
I'm more worried about you.
I'm good. I'm good.
Well, we'll wanna perform some Doppler
studies, ensure no clots have formed.
Recovery from the pneumothorax
may take several weeks.
The fractures, months,
with physical therapy.
Great. I mean, not great, but...
You can see her. If you'd like.
Sir. Kate Harper.
- Mr. President.
- I wanna thank you for your efforts.
Hell of an orientation.
No thanks necessary, sir.
I understand you knew
does occasionally come my way.
The admiral was one of
my mentors after Annapolis.
I had a mild tendency
Which he helped you correct?
Which he enjoyed...
...when not directed at him.
I have a similar taste.
- I'll bear that in mind.
- I'll bear that in mind, sir.
- Oh. No. I...
- I'm just jerking your chain. Charlie.
- Secret Service at the car?
- Yes, sir.
- Thank you.
Walk with me.
The Mideast reminds me of that joke
about the optimist and the pessimist.
The pessimist says,
"It can't get any worse."
The optimist says, "Oh, yes, it can."
It can get easy to forget there's
a silenced majority who just wanna live.
You spend all your energy dealing
with what's drowning them out.
- The invective and bomb blasts.
- Isn't our moral responsibility to them?
- It's quicksand. An ego trip.
Chasing that Nobel Peace Prize
right down the same sinkhole.
Well, after 50 years of strife and
futility, there's no dishonor in failure.
The only dishonor might be not to try.
Come take a ride.
Please. Come in.
I wish I could express the depth
of my sorrow for your loss.
I'm so sorry, Mrs. Fitzwallace.
A sailor's wife...
...doesn't live with fear
the way a soldier's does.
An admiral's wife, that much less.
You don't spend a career
preparing for this.
It seemed like a blessing until today.
The people responsible will be found
and brought to justice.
Don't promise that.
I know the world.
- I know.
- The FBI's gonna need time...
...with the remains.
- You should go home.
Israeli gunships just fired missiles
into an apartment house in Gaza City.
They were targeting a Hamas leader.
Twelve killed, including four children.
No word on whether the Hamas leader
is among the dead.