Showing posts with label Gaza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gaza. Show all posts

Monday, July 15, 2024

Biden’s aid pier in Gaza to shut down after 2 months of operation

The troubled project is set to close down after less than two months since installation, without addressing any concerns around ongoing genocide in Gaza

July 12, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch

After less than two months since its installation, the United States is set to close Biden’s failed “humanitarian aid pier” in Gaza, which was first announced during the US President’s State of the Union address in March, amid heightened Palestine solidarity protests. The pier served as Biden’s response to growing outrage around the death toll of Israeli attacks in Gaza, the lack of humanitarian aid entering the enclave, and the United States’ sustained political and military support for Israel.

Gaza: fresh airstrikes reported in centre, south, as conflict intensifies

New Israeli airstrikes reportedly struck southern and central areas of Gaza on Monday as UN humanitarians and partners continued to treat the victims of a deadly strike on Al Mawasi in southwest Gaza on Saturday that reportedly left at least 90 dead and around 300 injured

In an update from Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis where victims have been admitted, veteran UN aid official Scott Anderson reported witnessing “some of the most horrific" scenes he had experienced in his nine months in Gaza.

“With not enough beds, hygiene equipment, sheeting or scrubs, many patients were treated on the ground without disinfectants, ventilation systems were switched off due to a lack of electricity and fuel, and the air was filled with the smell of blood,” said Mr. Anderson, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator and Director of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

'Dangerous Precedent': Record AIPAC Spending Helps George Latimer Defeat Jamaal Bowman

By Jake Johnson

"Jamaal and our movement were such a threat to right-wing power, to GOP megadonors, and to AIPAC's influence in Congress that they had to spend $15 million to defeat us," said one progressive organizer.

Progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman lost his reelection bid in New York's 16th Congressional District on Tuesday to an establishment-backed county official whose campaign was propelled by nearly $15 million in spending by AIPAC's Republican-funded super PAC.

The United Democracy Project's (UDP) spending made the Democratic primary contest the most expensive House race in U.S. history. According to a Sludge analysis of independent election expenditures dating back to 2001, UDP's $14.5 million onslaught to oust Bowman was "more than any other group besides those affiliated with a political party has ever spent on a House election."

The investment paid off, with Westchester County Executive George Latimer leading Bowman by a margin of 58% to 42% with close to 90% of the vote counted in the 16th District, which was redrawn ahead of the 2022 midterms to include more of suburban Westchester County and less of the Bronx.

Bowman, a former Bronx middle school principal who won his House seat in 2020 by defeating AIPAC favorite Eliot Engel, said in his concession speech late Tuesday that "we should be outraged when a super PAC of dark money can spend $20 million to brainwash people into believing something that isn't true."

"When we say 'Free Palestine,' it is not antisemitic," said Bowman, one of the House's most vocal critics of Israel's assault on Gaza. A majority of Democratic voters in the U.S. believe Israel is committing genocide in the Palestinian enclave, according to a recent survey.

"I would like to make a public apology for sometimes using foul language," he added, referring to remarks he made during a rally over the weekend. "But we should not be well-adjusted to a sick society."

"If you stand by while far-right groups try to buy elections, you further alienate and disillusion the young voters and voters of color you need to reelect Joe Biden this November."

Alexandra Rojas of Justice Democrats, the progressive group that recruited Bowman for the 2020 contest against Engel, said late Tuesday that "Jamaal and our movement were such a threat to right-wing power, to GOP megadonors, and to AIPAC's influence in Congress that they had to spend $15 million to defeat us."

"This demonstrates the power of our people-funded movement, the strength that any single progressive with the moral clarity to stand up to far-right interests has, and just how on defense AIPAC really is," said Rojas. "AIPAC knows the future is not on their side, so they have no choice but to overwhelm, confuse, and depress voters with a flood of dark money to generate support for their candidates. That's exactly why they pledged to spend an unprecedented $100 million to unseat the Squad this year."

Rojas said her organization is now turning its attention to Rep. Cori Bush's (D-Mo.) August 6 primary against St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell, whose campaign is backed by AIPAC and Republican donors—including a billionaire CEO from St. Louis.

"We cannot give in to hopelessness or cynicism—we must fight back, NOW," said Rojas. "Let's come together in this difficult moment and do what it takes to stop AIPAC from unseating another one of our progressive champions this summer."

While Bowman fell to Latimer, another Squad member—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—cruised to victory in her primary, winning more than 80% of the vote against investment banker Marty Dolan. AIPAC's super PAC did not spend in the race, according to available disclosures.

"Wall Street came for us again, and the people prevailed," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter following her victory. "Thank you to the Bronx and Queens for choosing me to be your congresswoman."

Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.), another Squad member, also fended off a primary challenge earlier this year, overcoming a torrent of right-wing dark money. AIPAC sat out this year's race after failing to defeat Lee in 2022.

But Emgage, a PAC that works to turn out Muslim American voters, said Tuesday that Bowman's defeat at the hands of a candidate loaded with UDP cash "sets a dangerous precedent for groups like AIPAC to influence local elections and crush people-led politics."

"It should sound the alarm for Democrats and Americans across the country who believe in collective organizing to advance positive change for communities that are often sidelined in American politics," the group said. Axios reported Wednesday that some House Democrats are quietly "grumbling" about AIPAC's massive spending to defeat Bowman.

"The number is gross... I don't like it," one unnamed Democratic lawmaker told the outlet.

Aru Shiney-Ajay, executive director of the youth-led Sunrise Movement, echoed Emgage's message, saying in a statement that "Democrats should see this race as a massive warning for November."

"If you stand by while far-right groups try to buy elections, you further alienate and disillusion the young voters and voters of color you need to reelect Joe Biden this November," said Shiney-Ajay. "Here's my warning to Democratic leadership: reject AIPAC, or risk losing your own base."

This article originally appeared in Common Dreams on June 26th, 2024

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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Biden Moves Forward With 'Immoral' $1 Billion Arms Shipment to Israel

The new shipment was announced "right after the State Department admits Israel has 'likely' used U.S.-supplied weapons in violation of humanitarian law," said one journalist.

Less than a week after U.S. President Joe Biden said he was pausing a shipment of thousands of bombs to Israel, citing concerns over the safety of civilians in Rafah and other "population centers" in Gaza, the White House informed Congress Tuesday that it will soon send over $1 billion more in arms and ammunition to the Israel Defense Forces.

The package includes about $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles, and $60 million in mortar rounds, congressional aides toldThe Associated Press.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

What students protesting Israel’s Gaza siege want — and how their demands on divestment fit into the BDS movement

By Mira Sucharov, Carleton University

A wave of protests expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people is spreading across college and university campuses. There were more than 400 such demonstrations by the end of April 2024 just in the U.S., with many more in Canada and other countries.

The specific demands vary from place to place. What unites them is a call for schools to use their financial leverage and other kinds of influence to apply pressure on Israel.

The protesters are demanding divestment, meaning the sale of financial assets either related to Israeli companies or shares in other corporations perceived to assist the Israeli military. In addition, many protests include calls for the disclosure of those financial ties. They also feature demands for colleges and universities to distance themselves from Israel by ending study-abroad programs and academic exchanges.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

News of Mass Graves Isn’t Much News to US Outlets

The bodies of over 300 people were discovered in a mass grave at the Nasser medical complex in Khan Younis, a Gaza city besieged by Israeli forces. The discovery of these Palestinian bodies, many of which were reportedly bound and stripped, is more evidence of "plausible" genocide committed by Israel during its bombardment of Gaza. Over 34,000 Palestinians have died thus far, with more than two-thirds of the casualties being women and children (Al Jazeera, 4/21/24).

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The student movement for Palestine intensifies struggle with wave of university encampments

by Natalia Marques 

After Columbia students launched their Gaza Solidarity Encampment, students across the US joined the call to stand in solidarity with Palestine
The Columbia Gaza Solidarity Encampment entered its seventh day on April 23. In the early hours of the morning, students woke up to the sound of three helicopters of major news outlets flying above where they had set up their tents on the campus’s Butler Lawn. 

Columbia Faculty Walk Out Over Student Suspensions, Arrests for Gaza Protests

While expressing gratitude for solidarity actions, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar—whose daughter was suspended—said that "this about the genocide in Gaza and the attention has to remain on that."

Over 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by U.S.-backed Israeli troops, and Columbia University students have been suspended and arrested by New York Police Department officers in recent days for protesting the slaughter—which led to a walkout by the Ivy League institution's faculty on Monday.

Monday, April 8, 2024

World Marks Six Months of 'Relentless Death and Destruction' in Gaza

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his call for an "immediate humanitarian cease-fire, the unconditional release of all hostages, the protection of civilians, and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid."

 Peace and human rights advocates on Sunday renewed calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and an increase in lifesaving  humanitarian aid for its starving people as the embattled enclave  marked six months since the start of Israel's genocidal retaliation  for the October 7 attacks.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

UN Security Council demands ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza, ending months-long deadlock

This was the Council’s first explicit call for an immediate ceasefire since Israel began a military offensive in the Gaza Strip following last October’s brutal attack by Hamas and other Palestinian groups against settlements in southern Israel, in which over 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 taken hostage.

Israel’s military operation has since reportedly claimed over 32,000 Palestinian lives, mostly women and children, displaced about 1.7 million and left massive destruction across the enclave.

The 15-member Security Council has failed in its four previous attempts to adopt a resolution on the Gaza crisis, most recently this past Friday, when permanent members China and Russia vetoed a proposal led by the United States (another permanent member, along with France and the UK rounding out the so-called ‘P-5’).

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Dem Donors Warn Biden's Support for Israeli War on Gaza May Hand Trump the White House

"Because of the disillusionment of a critical portion of the Democratic coalition, the Gaza war is increasing the chances of a Trump victory."

More than 100 Democratic donors and activists on Monday warned U.S. President Joe Biden that his administration's "unconditional support" for Israel's catastrophic war on Gaza "is increasing the chances" that former President Donald Trump will win this year's election.

In a letter, the Biden supporters—who according toThe New York Times include some six-figure donors—condemned the Hamas-led October 7 attacks on Israel while also arguing that Israeli military actions are not achieving the goals of eliminating the Palestinian group or freeing hostages.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Columbia Sued Over 'Retaliatory' Suspension of Pro-Palestine Student Groups

By Brett Wilkins

"Universities should be havens for robust debate, discussion, and learning—not sites of censorship where administrators, donors, and politicians squash political discourse they don't approve of," said the head of the NYCLU.

The New York Civil Liberties Union and Palestine Legal on Tuesday filed a lawsuit on behalf of members of two pro-Palestine student groups at Columbia University which avocates say were illegally suspended for engaging in peaceful protests and other events protected under the First Amendment.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Majority of Americans Want Halt of US Weapons Bound for Israel: Poll

"Everyone knows that the U.S. could end this today if we wanted to," said one analyst.

A new poll released Tuesday revealed that a majority of Americans want to the U.S. government to stop supplying the Israeli military with weaponry to carry out its brutal assault on Gaza that has killed over 30,000 Palestinians, most of them civilian men, women, and children.

As organizers called on Democratic voters in at least seven states to vote "uncommitted" on their Super Tuesday primary ballots on Tuesday to help push the Biden administration to demand a permanent cease-fire in Gaza, the YouGov poll provided another measure of Americans' growing outrage over their government's material and political support for the "genocidal" campaign by Israel's far-right government.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Gaza: Israeli advance on Rafah would have ‘dire humanitarian consequences’

 19 February 2024 Peace and Security

An extension of Israel’s military operation in Rafah, where over a million internally displaced Palestinians have been forced to shelter, will have “dire humanitarian consequences”, the UN Senior Humanitarian Coordinator for Gaza said on Monday.

Sigrid Kaag reiterated Secretary-General António Guterres’s concern that such an operation at present time would be potentially disastrous for innocent civilians.

“There are more than a million people crammed in Rafah. It's not intended for a million people in shelters, in random sort of plastic sheeted constructions. Health conditions are very worrisome,” she told correspondents in Brussels after briefing European Union foreign ministers.

She also voiced deep concern over getting aid into the Gaza Strip and distributing it to those in need.

“We have to acknowledge the fact that the security conditions, separate from military operations, due to what is called self-distribution by desperate civilians, but also looting and criminalization, is hampering efforts by the humanitarian community…to deliver assistance to the people that actually need it,” she said.

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More needs to be done 

Also on Monday, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, visited the Gaza Strip, where he met with internally displaced families.

He also met with NGO and UN personnel the see the challenges they face first hand, including the breakdown of law and order which is impacting the distribution of humanitarian supplies.

“It’s clear that more needs to be done,” UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told correspondents in New York at the regular press briefing.

“The UN needs the tools to deliver on the ground, including the need for Israel to allow entry of items critical to UN operations and to improve deconfliction,” he added. 

Continued hostilities

Intense Israeli bombardment from air, land and sea continues across much of the war-torn enclave, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), resulting in further civilian casualties, displacement, and destruction of civilian infrastructure.

Widespread ground operations and heavy fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups also continue to be reported, especially in Khan Younis and Deir al Balah, OCHA said in a flash update on Monday.

Between 17 and 19 February, dozens of rockets were also reportedly fired by armed Palestinians toward Israel, it added.

Nasser hospital evacuations

Furthermore, the Israeli military operation in the Nasser Hospital complex in Khan Younis have continued, OCHA said, noting that on Sunday, the UN and the Palestine Red Crescent Society evacuated 14 patients. Negotiations are ongoing for the evacuation of the remaining patients.

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), over 180 patients and 15 doctors and nurses remain inside the hospital.

“The hospital is still experiencing an acute shortage of food, basic medical supplies, and oxygen. There is no tap water and no electricity, except a backup generator maintaining some lifesaving machines,” WHO said.

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‘Steep rise’ in child malnutrition

UN agencies on Monday warned of a steep rise in malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, posing grave threat to health.

The situation is especially serious in north Gaza, which has been almost completely cut off from aid for weeks, and where one in six children under the age of two is acutely malnourished.

The situation is not much better in southern Gaza Strip the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WHO and the World Food Programme (WFP), said in a new report.

In Rafah, where aid has been more available, five per cent of children under two are acutely malnourished.

“This is clear evidence that access to humanitarian aid is needed and can help prevent the worst outcomes,” the agencies said, reiterating the call to protect Rafah from the threat of intensified military operations. 

West Bank violence

OCHA also reported further violent incidents in the West Bank over the weekend, claiming both Israeli and Palestinian lives.

On 16 February, two Israeli men were shot and killed in southern Israel, and four others including a child were injured, by a Palestinian man from Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian man was then shot and killed by an armed Israeli civilian.

On Sunday, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian men in Tulkarm Refugee camp, during an exchange of fire with a Palestinian man whose body was later withheld by Israeli forces from being handed over.

The second fatality was an unarmed Palestinian who was reportedly killed by an Israeli army sniper while standing on the rooftop of his house, OCHA said.

Between 7 October 2023 and 18 February, 393 Palestinians have been killed, including 100 children, and 4,511 Palestinians, including 699 children, have been injured in conflict-related incidents across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.  

During the same period, 12 Israelis, including four members of Israeli forces, were killed and 80 injured in conflict-related incidents in the same areas, according to OCHA.

World court asked for legal opinion

Meanwhile, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is holding a hearing concerning an advisory opinion on the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

The advisory, non-binding, opinion on the occupation was requested by the General Assembly in December 2022.

The hearings will be held from 19 to 26 February, with over 50 countries, groups and the State of Palestine scheduled to speak.

This article originally appeared in UN News on February 19th, 2023. 

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Sunday, February 18, 2024

ICJ Hearings to Examine 57 Years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine

By Brett Wilkins

"Decades of injustice will finally face scrutiny," said U.N. human rights official Francesca Albanese ahead of next week's Hague hearings on the legal consequences of Israel's illegal occupation.

More than 50 countries are set to participate in next week's hearings at the International Court of Justice focusing on Israel's illegal 57-year occupation of Palestine, a forum that follows the Hague tribunal's finding last month that Israel is "plausibly" committing genocide in occupied Gaza.

The ICJ—also known as the World Court—will hold a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of Palestine, which dates to the Israeli conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Syrian Golan Heights, and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula during the 1967 Six-Day War.

"The International Court of Justice is set for the first time to broadly consider the legal consequences of Israel's nearly six-decades-long occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people," Human Rights Watch senior legal adviser Clive Baldwin said in a statement. "Governments that are presenting their arguments to the court should seize these landmark hearings to highlight the grave abuses Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution."

The West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights remain under Israeli military occupation six decades after their conquest. The United Nations—to which the ICJ belongs—and many international NGOs contend that, despite removing its troops and settlers from Gaza two decades ago, Israel continues to occupy Gaza by controlling the besieged enclave's airspace, territorial waters, and the entry and exit of people and goods.

Since the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have killed or wounded more than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza while forcibly displacing around 90% of the population. Numerous Israeli leaders have called for the renewed physical occupation, Jewish resettlement, and ethnic cleansing of the strip.

During the current assault on Gaza, occupation forces have also killed at least 388 Palestinians, including 99 children, in the West Bank, according to U.N. human rights officials.

Israeli settlers have for decades been steadily colonizing the occupied territories under the protection of the IDF, while ethnically cleansing Palestinians whose lands and homes they steal.

Next week's hearings come on the heels of the ICJ's provisional ruling last month in a case led by South Africa—which will be the first nation after Palestine to present at next week's hearing—that Israel is "plausibly" committing genocide in Gaza. The tribunal ordered Israel to "take all measures within its power" to adhere to its obligations under Article II of the Genocide Convention.

Earlier this week, South Africa urgently appealed to the ICJ to act amid the looming threat of an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah. More than 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them refugees ordered to flee to the south of Gaza by invading Israeli forces, are crammed into what is now one of the world's most densely populated places.

On Friday, the ICJ declined to take any additional action against Israel, while reiterating that the "perilous situation" in Rafah "demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the court" in last month's ruling.

This article originally appeared in Common Dreams on February 16th, 2024.  

Please support the news you can use and visit The Brooks Blackboard's website for more news!   

Take a look at my brief bio about my writing life and on social media:

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