Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, January 22, 2024







Israeli tank overlooking the devastation of Gaza from the Israeli border.

Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of January 22, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 25,105,* 62,681wounded, and more than 393 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.  The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) and the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission released a new tally of Palestinians detained by "Israel", revealing that the number of Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank has risen to more than 6,115.

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on January 12. Some rights groups put the death toll number higher than 32,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.




We are all Palestinian

Listen and view this beautiful, powerful, song by Mistahi Corkill on YouTube at:



Here is my new song and music video, We are all Palestinian, linked below. If you find it inspiring, please feel free to share with others. All the best!


Thousands at stadium sing, "You'll Never Walk Alone," and wave Palestinian flags in Scotland.

We are all Palestinian



Labor for Palestine

Thousands of labor representatives marched Saturday, December 16, in Oakland, California. —Photo by Leon Kunstenaar

Video of December 16th Labor rally for Palestine.


Bay Area Unions and Workers Rally and March For Palestine In Oakland


For More Information:


Production of Labor Video Project




Free Julian Assange

Immediate Repeated Action Needed to Free Assange


Please call your Congressional Representatives, the White House, and the DOJ. Calls are tallied—they do count.  We are to believe we are represented in this country.  This is a political case, so our efforts can change things politically as well.  Please take this action as often as you can:


Find your representatives:



Leave each of your representatives a message individually to: 

·      Drop the charges against Julian Assange

·      Speak out publicly against the indictment and

·      Sign on to Rashida Tlaib's letter to the DOJ to drop the charges: 

           202-224-3121—Capitol Main Switchboard 


Leave a message on the White House comment line to 

Demand Julian Assange be pardoned: 


             Tuesday–Thursday, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. EST


Call the DOJ and demand they drop the charges against Julian Assange:

             202-353-1555—DOJ Comment Line

             202-514-2000 Main Switchboard 



Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!


Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733



Leonard Peltier Update - Not One More Year


Coleman 1 has gone on permanent lockdown.

The inmates are supposed to be allowed out two hours a day. I have not heard from Leonard since the 18th. 

The last time I talked to Leonard, he asked where his supporters were. He asked me if anyone cared about these lockdowns.

Leonard lives in a filthy, cold cell 22 to 24 hours a day. He has not seen a dentist in ten years. I asked him, “On a scale of 1 to 10, is your pain level at 13?” He said, “Something like that.” Leonard is a relentless truth-teller. He does not like it when I say things that do not make sense mathematically. 

That is why Leonard remains imprisoned. He will not lie. He will not beg, grovel, or denounce his beliefs. 

Please raise your voice. Ask your representatives why they have abdicated their responsibility to oversee the Bureau of Prisons and ensure they adhere to Constitutional law.

Uhuru, The African People’s Socialist Party, has stepped up for Leonard. NOT ONE MORE YEAR.


Fight for Free Speech – YouTube:



Leonard should not have spent a day in prison. Click “LEARN” on our website to find out what really happened on that reservation: 


A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 
Leonard Peltier

Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier

Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

Video at:


Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603



Updates From Kevin Cooper 

A Never-ending Constitutional Violation

A summary of the current status of Kevin Cooper’s case by the Kevin Cooper Defense Committee


      On October 26, 2023, the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP wrote a rebuttal in response to the Special Counsel's January 13, 2023 report upholding the conviction of their client Kevin Cooper. A focus of the rebuttal was that all law enforcement files were not turned over to the Special Counsel during their investigation, despite a request for them to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.

      On October 29, 2023, Law Professors Lara Bazelon and Charlie Nelson Keever, who run the six member panel that reviews wrongful convictions for the San Francisco County District Attorney's office, published an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle calling the "Innocence Investigation” done by the Special Counsel in the Cooper case a “Sham Investigation” largely because Cooper has unsuccessfully fought for years to obtain the police and prosecutor files in his case. This is a Brady claim, named for the U.S. Supreme court’s 1963 case establishing the Constitutional rule that defendants are entitled to any information in police and prosecutor's possession that could weaken the state's case or point to innocence. Brady violations are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. The Special Counsel's report faults Cooper for not offering up evidence of his own despite the fact that the best evidence to prove or disprove Brady violations or other misconduct claims are in those files that the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office will not turn over to the Special Counsel or to Cooper's attorneys.

      On December 14, 2023, the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), Mary Smith, sent Governor Gavin Newsom a three page letter on behalf of the ABA stating in part that Mr.Cooper's counsel objected to the state's failure to provide Special Counsel all documents in their possession relating to Mr.Cooper's conviction, and that concerns about missing information are not new. For nearly 40 years Mr.Cooper's attorneys have sought this same information from the state.

      On December 19, 2023, Bob Egelko, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the ABA letter to the Governor that the prosecutors apparently withheld evidence from the Governor's legal team in the Cooper case.

      These are just a few recent examples concerning the ongoing failure of the San Bernardino County District Attorney to turn over to Cooper's attorney's the files that have been requested, even though under the law and especially the U.S. Constitution, the District Attorney of San Bernardino county is required to turn over to the defendant any and all material and or exculpatory evidence that they have in their files. Apparently, they must have something in their files because they refuse to turn them over to anyone.

      The last time Cooper's attorney's received files from the state, in 2004, it wasn't from the D.A. but a Deputy Attorney General named Holly Wilkens in Judge Huff's courtroom. Cooper's attorneys discovered a never before revealed police report showing that a shirt was discovered that had blood on it and was connected to the murders for which Cooper was convicted, and that the shirt had disappeared. It had never been tested for blood. It was never turned over to Cooper's trial attorney, and no one knows where it is or what happened to it. Cooper's attorneys located the woman who found that shirt on the side of the road and reported it to the Sheriff's Department. She was called to Judge Huff's court to testify about finding and reporting that shirt to law enforcement. That shirt was the second shirt found that had blood on it that was not the victims’ blood. This was in 2004, 19 years after Cooper's conviction.

      It appears that this ongoing constitutional violation that everyone—from the Special Counsel to the Governor's legal team to the Governor himself—seems to know about, but won't do anything about, is acceptable in order to uphold Cooper's conviction.

But this type of thing is supposed to be unacceptable in the United States of America where the Constitution is supposed to stand for something other than a piece of paper with writing on it. How can a Governor, his legal team, people who support and believe in him ignore a United States citizen’s Constitutional Rights being violated for 40 years in order to uphold a conviction?

      This silence is betrayal of the Constitution. This permission and complicity by the Governor and his team is against everything that he and they claim to stand for as progressive politicians. They have accepted the Special Counsel's report even though the Special Counsel did not receive the files from the district attorney that may not only prove that Cooper is innocent, but that he was indeed framed by the Sheriff’s Department; and that evidence was purposely destroyed and tampered with, that certain witnesses were tampered with, or ignored if they had information that would have helped Cooper at trial, that evidence that the missing shirt was withheld from Cooper's trial attorney, and so much more.

      Is the Governor going to get away with turning a blind eye to this injustice under his watch?

      Are progressive people going to stay silent and turn their eyes blind in order to hopefully get him to end the death penalty for some while using Cooper as a sacrificial lamb?

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974


Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)




The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



Sign the petition:




Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!

Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression



Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 


The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 


Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.


Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement, you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 


State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 


Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:


National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811






1) In Strategic Bind, Israel Weighs Freeing Hostages Against Destroying Hamas

Some Israeli commanders said the government’s two main goals were mutually incompatible. To eradicate Hamas, the military would have to engage in a lengthy war that would most likely cost the hostages’ lives.

By Ronen Bergman and Patrick Kingsley, Jan. 20, 2024


A soldier carrying a rifle walks alone on a dirt patch rutted with tire tracks.

An Israeli soldier patrolling in Gaza, as photographed during an escorted tour by the Israeli military for international journalists. Credit...Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times

After more than 100 days of war, Israel’s limited progress in dismantling Hamas has raised doubts within the military’s high command about the near-term feasibility of achieving the country’s principal wartime objectives: eradicating Hamas and also liberating the Israeli hostages still in Gaza.


Israel has established control over a smaller part of Gaza at this point in the war than it originally envisaged in battle plans from the start of the invasion, which were reviewed by The New York Times. That slower than expected pace has led some commanders to privately express their frustrations over the civilian government’s strategy for Gaza, and led them to conclude that the freedom of more than 100 Israeli hostages still in Gaza can be secured only through diplomatic rather than military means.


The dual objectives of freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas are now mutually incompatible, according to interviews with four senior military leaders, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to speak publicly about their personal opinions.


There is also a clash between how long Israel would need to fully eradicate Hamas — a time-consuming slog fought in the group’s warren of underground tunnels — and the pressure, applied by Israel’s allies, to wrap up the war quickly amid a spiraling civilian death toll.


The generals further said that a drawn-out battle intended to fully dismantle Hamas would most likely cost the lives of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants invaded Israel, killed roughly 1,200 people and took some 240 captives, according to Israeli estimates.


Hamas freed more than 100 hostages in November, but has said it will not release the others unless Israel agrees to completely cease hostilities. Most of the remaining hostages are thought to be held by Hamas cells that are hiding within the subterranean fortress of tunnels that extends for hundreds of miles beneath the surface of Gaza.


On Thursday, Gadi Eisenkot, a former army chief who is serving in the war cabinet, exposed a rift inside the government when he said in a television interview that it was an “illusion” to believe that the hostages could be rescued alive through military operations.


“The situation in Gaza is such that the war aims have yet to be achieved,” said Mr. Eisenkot, adding: “For me, there’s no dilemma. The mission is to rescue civilians, ahead of killing an enemy.”


That strategic bind has amplified the military’s frustration at the indecisiveness of Israel’s civilian leadership, according to the four commanders.


The commanders said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s equivocation about a postwar plan for Gaza was at least in part to blame for the military’s predicament on the battlefield.


Mr. Netanyahu has yet to clarify how Gaza will be governed after the war — and the commanders said that without a long-term vision for the territory, the army could not make short-term tactical decisions about how to capture the parts of Gaza that remain beyond Israeli control. Capturing the southernmost part of Gaza, which lines the Egyptian border, would require greater coordination with Egypt. But Egypt is unwilling to engage without guarantees from Israel over the postwar plan, three of the commanders said.


Asked for comment, Mr. Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that “The P.M. is leading the war on Hamas with unprecedented achievements in a very decisive manner.” In a speech on Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu promised both to achieve “total victory over Hamas,” and also rescue the hostages.


The Israeli military initially declined to respond to the commanders’ comments. After publication online on Saturday, the military released an official statement saying that it did not know the identity of the commanders who spoke to The Times and that their opinions “do not reflect” the military’s position. The statement added, “The release of the hostages is part of the goals of the war, and is of the utmost importance.”


The generals fear that a lengthy campaign — without a postwar plan — would erode any remaining support from Israel’s allies, limiting their willingness to supply additional ammunition.


Foreign leaders have grown alarmed by the death toll caused by Israel’s campaign: More than 24,000 Gazans have been killed in the war, according to health authorities in the enclave, prompting accusations — strongly denied by Israel — of genocide. Gazan officials have not said how many of those killed were combatants, but Israeli military officials say the toll includes more than 8,000 fighters.


Families of hostages have become more vocal about the need to free their relatives through diplomacy not force. Some hostages taken into Gaza have since been declared dead — and it is not yet clear whether they were accidentally killed by Israeli forces or by Hamas.


Of the more than 100 hostages liberated since the invasion began, only one was freed in a rescue operation. The others were all swapped for Palestinian prisoners and detainees during a brief truce in November.


By focusing its efforts on destroying the tunnels, the military risks mistakes that could cost the lives of more Israeli citizens. Three Israeli hostages were already killed by their own soldiers in December, despite waving a white flag and shouting in Hebrew.


“Basically, it’s a stalemate,” said Andreas Krieg, a war expert at King’s College London. “It’s not an environment where you can free hostages,” he added.


“If you go into the tunnels and you try to free them with special forces, or whatever, you will kill them,” Dr. Krieg said. “You either will kill them directly — or indirectly, in booby traps or in a firefight.”


“Basically, it’s a stalemate,” said Andreas Krieg, a war expert at King’s College London. “It’s not an environment where you can free hostages,” he added.


“If you go into the tunnels and you try to free them with special forces, or whatever, you will kill them,” Dr. Krieg said. “You either will kill them directly — or indirectly, in booby traps or in a firefight.”


Many tunnels have been destroyed but if the remaining tunnels are left intact, Hamas will remain effectively undefeated, decreasing the likelihood that the group would release hostages under any circumstances short of a complete cease-fire.


The remaining alternative is a diplomatic settlement that could involve freeing the hostages in exchange for thousands of Palestinians jailed by Israel, along with a cessation of hostilities.


According to three of the commanders interviewed by The Times, the diplomatic route would be the swiftest way of returning the Israelis who remain in captivity.


For some on the Israeli right, the war’s limited progress is the result of the government’s recent decision, following pressure from the United States and other allies, to slow the pace of the invasion.


But military leaders say their campaign has been stymied by a Hamas infrastructure that was more sophisticated than Israeli intelligence officers previously assessed.


Before the invasion, officials thought the tunnel network beneath Gaza was up to 100 miles in length; Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, had claimed in 2021 that it was closer to 300 miles.


Military officials now believe there are up to 450 miles of tunnels underneath a territory that is just 25 miles at its longest point. Under Khan Younis alone, Israel estimates that there are at least 100 miles of passageways, spread across several levels. And across Gaza, there are an estimated 5,700 shafts leading to the network, making it so hard to disconnect the network from the surface that the army has stopped trying to destroy every shaft it finds.


Locating and excavating each tunnel is time-consuming and dangerous. Many are rigged with booby traps, according to the Israeli military.


Once inside, a highly trained Israeli commando loses most of the military advantage he holds above ground. The tunnels are narrow, often only wide enough to pass in single file. That means that any fighting within them is reduced to one-on-one close quarters combat.


On the eve of Israel’s invasion, the military assessed that it would establish “operational control” over Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah — Gaza’s three largest cities — by late December, according to a military planning document reviewed by The Times.


But by mid-January, Israel had yet to begin its advance into Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, and still had not forced Hamas from every part of Khan Younis, another major city in the south.


After the army appeared to establish control over northern Gaza at the end of last year, it said that the war had entered a new, less intense phase. Generals withdrew roughly half of the 50,000 troops stationed in northern Gaza at the peak of the campaign in December, and more departures are expected by the end of January.


That created a power vacuum in the north, allowing Hamas fighters and civilian officials to try to reassert their authority there, alarming many Israelis who hoped Hamas had been entirely vanquished in the area.


On Tuesday, Hamas militants in northern Gaza fired a barrage of about 25 rockets into Israeli airspace, angering Israelis who had hoped that after months of war that Hamas’s rocket launching abilities had been destroyed.


In recent days, police officers and welfare officers from the Hamas-run government have re-emerged from hiding in Gaza City and Beit Hanoun, two northern cities, and tried to maintain day-to-day order and restore some welfare services, according to a senior Israeli official who spoke anonymously in order to discuss a sensitive matter.


And Hamas’s top leaders in Gaza — including Mr. Sinwar, Mohammad Deif and Marwan Issa — remain at large.


Some Israeli politicians say that Israel could defeat Hamas faster, and rescue the hostages, by applying more force. They say that more aggression could also compel Hamas to release more hostages without a permanent cease-fire.


“We should apply much more pressure,” said Danny Danon, a senior lawmaker from Mr. Netanyahu’s governing party, Likud. “We made a mistake when we changed the way we were operating.”


But military analysts say that more force will achieve little.


“It is an unwinnable war,” Dr. Krieg said.


“Most of the time when you are in an unwinnable war, you realize that at some point — and you withdraw,” he added. “And they didn’t.”


Mr. Netanyahu says it is still possible to achieve all of Israel’s goals and has dismissed the idea of stopping the war.


“Halting the war before the goals are achieved will broadcast a message of weakness,” he said in his speech on Thursday.


Rawan Sheikh Ahmad and Johnatan Reiss contributed reporting.



2) He Loved Basketball and Wanted to Help His Family Stores. A Bullet Ended It All.

A Palestinian-American teenager was killed by a barrage of gunfire in the West Bank. “This is a shock to the whole family, the community and anyone else with a heart that knows him,” a relative said.

By Anna Betts and Katy Reckdahl, Jan. 21, 2024


Tawfic poses for a photo in front of a car in a blue suit and black glasses.

The news of Tawfic’s death left friends and relatives in Louisiana in disbelief. Credit...via Hafeth Abdel Jabbar

He loved to play basketball with his friends. He dreamed of studying business administration to help his family’s stores. He enjoyed taking care of his younger siblings and was “very polite, very respectful, very intelligent,” according to his mosque’s president. Then, suddenly, a bullet to his head ended everything.


A Palestinian-American teenager was killed by a barrage of gunfire in the occupied West Bank on Friday. The U.S. State Department confirmed the killing without naming the victim, but the teenager’s family identified him as Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, 17. The details of Tawfic’s death were unclear, but the Israeli police has said that the killing involved an off-duty law enforcement officer and an Israeli civilian, and that they were investigating the incident.


Tawfic was born to Palestinian parents and was raised in the suburbs of New Orleans. His grandfather had come to America “looking for the American dream,” said Sherean Murad, the assistant principal at the Muslim Academy in Gretna, who taught Tawfic civics when he was in the 11th grade.


Tawfic and his family had moved to the West Bank temporarily in May to connect with relatives — he hoped to improve his Arabic while he was there and planned to return to the United States for college.


News of his death left friends and relatives in Louisiana in disbelief.


“We are livid as a community, because it’s so senseless,” Ms. Murad said.


Tawfic’s second cousin, Mohammad Abdelwahhab, a medical assistant in New Orleans, was still trying to process the news on Saturday.


“It was a shock,” said Mr. Abdelwahhab, 21. He added, “This is a shock to the whole family, the community and anyone else with a heart that knows him.”


“He’s so young,” Mr. Abdelwahhab said, adding, “He was just about to celebrate his graduation and finish and he was going to go on with his goals.”


On Saturday, large crowds of friends and relatives gathered to mourn. During the day, an open house was held at Tawfic’s uncle’s home, where children and women shared memories of the teenager over strong cups of coffee, dates and plates of yellow rice and lamb. In the backyard, men young and old gathered to eat and celebrate Tawfic’s life.


Tawfik Abdeljabar, 23, a close cousin with the same name but a different spelling, said that he and Tawfic had felt like twins. “We would joke about who got the better name. I would say K was better, and he would say C,” Mr. Abdeljabar said.


Another cousin, Zarifa Abdeljabar, 22, recalled memories of the two of them in the West Bank, specifically when they went on drives for iced coffees and enjoyed the peace of the mountains.  


Because Tawfic was killed in a religious conflict, he is considered a martyr, Ms. Abdeljabar said. “A warrior of God,” she called him.


In the evening, a vigil was held for the men of Masjid Omar, the mosque in Harvey, La., that Tawfic had attended. Hundreds were there, with many wearing the Palestinian kaffiyeh scarf.


In an interview with The New York Times, Nabil Abukhader, the president of Masjid Omar, urged the Biden administration to do more to “fight for our rights as Americans.”


“It’s important we protect our children from this killing cycle,” he said.


Some family members missed the Saturday gatherings, including two of Tawfic’s uncles and his older brother, who flew out to the West Bank as soon as they heard the news.


One of his cousins was in deep mourning when she went into labor on Friday and gave birth to a baby boy.


She named him Tawfic, with a C.


Gaya Gupta, Roni Caryn Rabin, Rami Nazzal and Anushka Patil contributed reporting.



3) Despite pressure from Biden, Netanyahu restates his opposition to a two-state solution.

By Adam Rasgon Reporting from Jerusalem, Jan. 21, 2024


In front of American and Israeli flags, President Biden sits next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Other men surround them in a semicircle.

President Biden met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his war cabinet in October. Credit...Kenny Holston/The New York Times

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has doubled down on his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, again rebuffing pressure from President Biden to agree to that path after the war in Gaza is over.


“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control of the entire area west of the Jordan River — and that is irreconcilable with a Palestinian state,” Mr. Netanyahu posted Saturday evening in Hebrew on X, formerly Twitter.


Mr. Netanyahu’s comments came just a day after Mr. Biden spoke to him about a two-state solution and floated the possibility of a disarmed Palestinian nation that would not threaten Israel’s security. Mr. Biden has argued that the creation of a Palestinian state is the only viable long-term resolution to a conflict that has dragged on for decades, repeating a position held by most American presidents and European leaders in recent history.


While there was no indication that Mr. Netanyahu would ease his strenuous opposition, which is popular with his fragile right-wing political coalition, Mr. Biden expressed optimism that they might yet find consensus.


“There are a number of types of two-state solutions,” the president told reporters at the White House several hours after the call, their first in nearly a month amid tension over the war. “There’s a number of countries that are members of the U.N. that are still — don’t have their own militaries. Number of states that have limitations.” He added, “And so I think there’s ways in which this could work.”


On Sunday, Grant Shapps, Britain’s defense secretary, called Mr. Netanyahu’s latest comments “disappointing.”


“There isn’t another option,” Mr. Shapps told Sky News in a televised interview. “The whole world has agreed that the two-state solution is the best way forward.”


António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, said that denying statehood for the Palestinian people was “unacceptable.”


“The right of the Palestinian people to build their own state must be recognized by all,” Mr. Guterres wrote on X, without referencing Mr. Netanyahu.


The Biden administration and the Israeli government have diverged sharply over how Gaza will be governed when the fighting ends. President Biden and his top diplomat, Antony J. Blinken, have urged Israeli officials to move toward the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.


Mr. Biden has suggested that a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank, could take over Gaza once Hamas has been removed from power there. Mr. Netanyahu has rejected the idea of the authority returning to the enclave.


Despite support from the international community, a two-state approach still faces enormous obstacles, including waning support for it among the Israeli and Palestinian populations, the continued building of settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and a divided Palestinian leadership.


Two key partners in Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition — Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister, and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the national security minister — are staunch opponents of a two-state solution. Some analysts have suggested the two ministers and their parties would vote to dissolve the government if Mr. Netanyahu took serious steps to advance the establishment of a Palestinian state.


Analysts pointed out that Mr. Netanyahu’s willingness to undermine his American counterpart was becoming routine.


“Humiliating Biden has become a daily occurrence for Netanyahu,” Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, a think tank in Washington, wrote on social media.


Peter Baker contributed reporting.



4) Gaza’s women are bearing the brunt of the war’s toll, aid groups say.

By Victoria Kim, Jan. 21, 2024


Five women wearing head scarves sit in a row of chairs holding babies or toddlers.

Palestinians lining up with their children to receive vaccinations in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip this month.Credit...Fatima Shbair/Associated Press

International agencies, aid workers and physicians are giving a harrowing picture of what they say is the disproportionate burden and risk of war borne by the women of Gaza.


With a barely functioning health care system, extreme shortages of food and clean water, and repeated displacement, pregnant women, mothers and newborns are particularly vulnerable, the groups say.


Out of every 10 people killed in Gaza since the Oct. 7 attack in Israel that prompted the war, seven have been women or children, a “cruel inversion” compared with the previous 15 years, when roughly the same proportion of civilians killed in the territory were men, according to U.N. Women, the United Nations’ women’s rights agency.


The agency said in a report released Friday that two mothers were being killed every hour. The agency extrapolated that figure by comparing demographic data on marriage and motherhood in Gaza with the total number of women reported to have been killed. The report also said that nearly a million women and girls had been displaced by the fighting.


On Sunday, Gazan health officials updated the overall death toll, saying that more than 25,000 Palestinians had been killed in the war.


Separately, an official with UNICEF who recently visited Gaza and met with mothers at a hospital in Rafah, the southern city that has become the refuge of last resort for civilians fleeing the fighting, said Friday that the situation for pregnant women and newborns was “beyond belief.”


Tess Ingram, a communications specialist with UNICEF, gave a briefing in Geneva and described speaking with a midwife who said she had performed emergency C-sections on six dead women in the past eight weeks and seen more miscarriages than she could count. A woman told her that her fetus had gone still inside her womb but wondered out loud whether it was for the best that “a baby isn’t born into this nightmare,” Ms. Ingram recounted.


“Becoming a mother should be a time for celebration,” she said. “In Gaza, it’s another child delivered into hell.”


The report and Ms. Ingram’s remarks echoed the warnings of a letter published in the most recent issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, in which five public health experts said “urgent protection” was needed for Gaza’s pregnant women. The World Health Organization has estimated that there are about 52,000 pregnant women in the enclave, with about 180 births each day.


“Women who are pregnant and exposed to armed conflict have higher rates of miscarriage, stillbirths, prematurity, congenital abnormalities and other adverse outcomes,” they said. “What we are currently witnessing will most probably create long-lasting generational effects.”


U.N. Women has faced a storm of criticism for being slow to address the sexual violence committed during the Hamas-led assault in Israel on Oct. 7. On Friday, the agency’s executive director, Sima Bahous, said in a statement that the organization condemns “all acts of sexual and gender-based violence wherever, whenever, and against whomever they are perpetrated” and called for accountability.



5) A Map Without Israel Plunges a Grade School Into a Political Firestorm

A social media post invited attacks on an Arabic arts teacher in Brooklyn. Parents say the backlash went too far.

By Ginia Bellafante, Jan. 19, 2024


A colorful map of North Africa and the Middle East appears on a whiteboard in a school classroom. Above it are the words “Arab World.”

A nine-month-old photo posted on social media by Qatar Foundation International was the catalyst for an uproar at a grade school in Brooklyn last week.

A cherished tradition at Public School 261 in Boerum Hill, the heart of gentrified Brooklyn, is the annual march to Borough Hall in honor of Martin Luther King’s Birthday. Children prepare for weeks, making signs denouncing racism, homophobia, climate upheaval and other expressions of social and ecological pox. So the disappointment was pervasive this year, when the march was canceled and replaced by an assembly in the cafeteria.


The catalyst for the change was the uproar that emerged after a social media post, nine months old, from Qatar Foundation International, resurfaced with a picture of a P.S. 261 classroom featuring a colorful resource map of North Africa and the Middle East. It was pinned to the wall under a handwritten sign that read: “Arab World.”


Last week, an article in The Free Press, a media site that has positioned itself against what it considers the enemies of free speech, called attention to what was missing from this geography. Algeria, Yemen, Sudan were among the nations that appeared on the poster. Israel did not. Instead, the region was called Palestine.


The map had been used in a class on Arab art and culture for 12 years. But in this tinderbox of a historical moment, the fact of it blasted into wide view largely via The New York Post, which published an article with the headline “Brooklyn Public School Omits Israel From Qatar-Funded Classroom Map, Labels It Palestine.”


A follow-up in The Post later that day focused on the outrage of local officials. Dan Goldman, the Democratic congressman whose district includes Boerum Hill, weighed in to say that he was “deeply concerned.” The politicians wanted to know how the city’s Department of Education signed off on a display that had brushed Israel into nonexistence.


The central office of the D.O.E. has neither the time nor necessarily the commitment to vet everything that happens in every classroom in a system that serves nearly one million children. Some wish that it did. Tova Plaut, an instructional coordinator for the department, has been especially vocal about what has happened at P.S. 261 and sees the issue as the symptom of a broader problem of “Jewish hate and erasure” in city schools, “not a one-off,” she told me.


“This particular example speaks to why there needs to be systemwide training on how to recognize antisemitism,” she said. The definition she prefers is the robust one that comes from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which has been adopted or endorsed by 43 countries.


On Tuesday, the district superintendent, Rafael T. Alvarez, sent a letter to the community to announce that the map had been removed and that the New York Peace Institute, a conflict-resolution consultancy, had been contacted to help “find a way forward.’’ He stressed how long the map had been in use presumably without incident, but he apologized for the effect that it was having. District 15 was “committed to making sure our students feel safe and supported at all times,” he wrote, perhaps somewhat ambitiously. Toward that goal the district would review programming to make sure that it aligned with “core values.”


Parents looking for assurance that the Arab arts class would not be removed from the curriculum were left feeling anxious. “It would be devastating if the program were cut,” Lauren Katzman, the mother of a first grader at 261, told me. Last week, a broad group of parents, teachers and staff members issued a statement calling for protection of a program that honors the “diversity and Arab heritage of the Boerum Hill neighborhood.” More than 240 people had signed it.


Ms. Katzman was among 16 Jewish parents who drafted a separate letter a few days later in a similar vein, condemning “the recent vicious doxxing and harassment campaign against our teacher Ms. Rita Lahoud and her Arabic arts program.” The exposure and all the media intrusion had made many people fear for the safety of all children and teachers at 261. There were now police officers and news crews outside. Reporters had staked out Ms. Lahoud’s home, where she was photographed on the sidewalk.


More than most public schools in New York, P.S. 261 represents the “gorgeous mosaic” of David Dinkins’s famous construction, where children walk to school from public housing and $5 million brownstones, from Jewish, Christian and Muslim families. Much of Brooklyn’s Arab community has shifted south, toward Bay Ridge, but it remains a presence in Boerum Hill, especially along Atlantic Avenue.


It had been the goal of Ms. Lahoud — nearly everyone at the school calls her Ms. Rita — to bring some of that world into the classroom. By the end of any given year, she has taken her students to the Metropolitan Museum to look at Arabic art, administered temporary henna tattoos, taught them how to count and write their names in Arabic, introduced them to pita bread and shown them how to render olive trees in watercolor.


Years of budget tightening within the school system have made interdisciplinary classes like this — merging art, architecture and history across a region, the sort of thing routinely offered at private schools — unusual. P.S. 261 has been able to offer the program because of funding from the nonprofit Qatar Foundation, another aspect of the story that has come under fire in the press. Founded by members of the Qatari royal family, the foundation partners with a range of institutions around the United States including Georgetown and Northwestern Universities as well as the public school system in New Haven, Conn.


“Part of what drew us to 261 is that the principal was going to be creative and find ways to bring joy and culture into our kids’ lives,” Sarah Eisenstein, another parent, said. “It would be wonderful to live in a world where schools didn’t have to write a grant to get art or choose between things.”


Was it inevitable that the rancor upending college campuses would find its way into a Brooklyn primary school? In a place as diverse as P.S. 261, ideological conflict is not altogether surprising. But Ms. Eisenstein wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the disagreement.


“In the past we always were able to discuss and work through differences as a community,” she said. “This time it seems like someone from outside our community really wants to stir up the divisions of our larger society. But parents are really coming together to say, ‘That’s not happening here.’”



6) When States Try to Take Away Americans’ Freedom of Thought

By The Editorial Board, Jan. 20, 2024


A photo illustration of The Thinker, a sculpture by Rodin, with a crumbling head. Pieces of the head are falling, forming a pile at the foot of the sculpture.

Illustration by Rebecca Chew/The New York Times

Universities have always been a home for the world’s great arguments. Professors and students are supposed to debate the issues of the moment, gaining understanding of the other side’s views, refining and strengthening their positions, and learning how to solve problems. Argument thrives in a culture of openness, and maintaining that culture ought to be paramount for universities, as well as any institution that wants to shape public policy or debate.


There are many ways to stifle a culture of openness; in recent years, both the far left and the far right have shown a willingness to win arguments by silencing the other side. But the threat that Americans should be most concerned about is any attempt by government to limit the freedom of individuals to express their views or to dictate what they say.


That is what happened when Nathan Thrall, a writer on Israeli-Palestinian issues, was invited by the University of Arkansas to speak on the subject last year, and an ideological barrier imposed by the state government prevented him from joining that debate. Mr. Thrall, like everyone else who enters a business relationship to an arm of the Arkansas government, was required by state law, as stipulated by the contract for his speaking fee, to sign a pledge that he would not boycott Israel. He refused to do so, calling the requirement “McCarthyist” and an affront to his free-speech rights.


This meant that he was unable to share his perspective, informed by years of experience writing about the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, at a time when students have a desperate need to understand the causes and effects of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The campus has lost many other speakers for the same reason, and students say they are missing out on the chance to hear a variety of voices.


“As the conflict rages in the Middle East and we attempt to make sense of it, we find our ability to listen to and learn from multiple perspectives and foster an informed conversation radically curtailed by the university’s interpretation of the statute,” one group of students and teachers wrote in a petition to remove the pledge.


The Arkansas regulation is part of a disturbing trend by state governments to silence speakers on subjects including race, gender, slavery and American history. The measures they have imposed restrict both academic freedom — the freedom to explore ideas and pursue research independently, without interference by the state — and freedom of expression more broadly.


Americans may disagree about boycotts as a matter of policy. (This editorial board doesn’t support boycotting Israel.) But as an act of protest, support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement falls clearly within the realm of free expression protected by the First Amendment. Arkansas and more than two dozen other states have enacted laws that prohibit state contractors from engaging in a boycott. These laws are abridging the speech of those individuals, groups and companies, and so represent a violation of their constitutional rights. In 1982, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that nonviolent political boycotts were protected speech and could not be prohibited by government officials.


Several federal judges have made that point about the laws targeting Israel boycotts, and a few states have weakened their laws as a result.


“The certification that one is not engaged in a boycott of Israel is no different than requiring a person to espouse certain political beliefs or to engage in certain political associations,” wrote a U.S. District judge, Mark Cohen in 2021, striking down an anti-boycott statute in Georgia. “The Supreme Court has found similar requirements to be unconstitutional on their face.”


Unfortunately, the federal appeals court based in Atlanta chose not to overturn the Georgia statute last June, relying in part on a 2022 decision by another appeals court that the Arkansas anti-boycott statute was constitutional. That ruling was based on an unusually convoluted logic that said the law was intended to regulate commercial activity, not speech.


In fact, the law is entirely about religion and politics, not commerce, as its lead sponsor, State Senator Bart Hester, made clear to The Times last year, and it was clearly intended to restrict speech. Mr. Hester said he was glad the law blocked Mr. Thrall’s appearance. “Keeping someone who wants to come speak on behalf of terrorists off our college campuses is a win,” he said.


Last February, the Supreme Court declined to review the Arkansas ruling, leaving the anti-boycott law in place. The court has not explicitly ruled that anti-boycott laws are constitutional; in the absence of such a ruling, courts should strike down these laws as an unconstitutional use of state power to silence individuals and an infringement on free expression.


States are interfering with the right to speak and teach freely on other issues as well. At least 10 states are considering laws that impose severe restrictions on a teacher’s right to speak to students about the importance of diversity and inclusion, following in the footsteps of Florida’s “Stop WOKE” law. That law, which was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022 and was expanded last year, makes it illegal for educators to say out loud in the classroom that they support the principles of affirmative action, or that American history is full of racist episodes, or that systemic racism has played a role in the institutions and economy of the country.


A U.S. district judge based in Tallahassee, Mark Walker, struck down the key provisions of the law as “positively dystopian” and unconstitutional as applied to higher education. “Striking at the heart of ‘open-mindedness and critical inquiry,’ the State of Florida has taken over the ‘marketplace of ideas’ to suppress disfavored viewpoints and limit where professors may shine their light,” he wrote, adding, “The First Amendment does not permit the State of Florida to muzzle its university professors, impose its own orthodoxy of viewpoints, and cast us all into the dark.”


A federal appeals court has agreed with Judge Walker, blocking enforcement of the law, but that hasn’t stopped other states from trying the same thing, hoping to get a different reaction from their federal courts.


Often, conservative lawmakers are responding to similar impulses on the left, which is more likely to use the tools of media, entertainment and academia rather than the law to shape public discussion. So while a vast majority of these current efforts come from lawmakers on the right, Americans should be as wary of efforts on the left to control what people can think or debate.


California’s community college system recently decided to dictate to its professors a set of anti-racist principles to teach to their students. The college system leadership said that the instructors — all state employees — would be judged on whether they acknowledge “that cultural and social identities are diverse, fluid and intersectional,” and would have to demonstrate “an ongoing awareness and recognition of racial, social and cultural identities with fluency regarding their relevance in creating structures of oppression and marginalization.”


Recruiting a diverse staff of educators and giving students an opportunity to learn about a wide range of cultures and societies are important goals. And some universities, such as the State University of New York, have adopted policies that allow much more freedom to students and administrators to fulfill those goals as they see fit. But as a recent PEN America report put it, referring to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, “There is a difference between protecting a school’s or faculty member’s right to include D.E.I. programming, and mandating that they do so, especially in higher education.” The report called the California mandate “one of the most censorious educational gag orders we have seen.”


Some higher education institutions have required new employees to sign statements supporting their personal commitments to D.E.I. principles, a litmus test that could have the effect of creating a uniform campus culture without a variety of viewpoints. One 2021 survey found that 19 percent of college jobs required these statements. Last year, The Times wrote about a noted psychology professor (and affirmative-action supporter) who lost a chance to teach at U.C.L.A. because he disagreed with the usefulness of required diversity statements, calling them “value signaling.”


At Ohio State University, several departments would not hire professors unless they “demonstrated commitments and leadership in contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion through research, teaching, mentoring, and/or outreach and engagement.” After protests by free-speech groups, including the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Ohio State said it would stop requiring these statements.


It would be easy to dismiss all of these rules and restrictions as a political tit for tat. But Americans should recognize what is happening as an escalation. Years of policing speech on college campuses, in the name of sensitivity, are now having unintended consequences. There is an “an imbalance around free speech on college campuses,” as the Harvard professor Ryan Enos told Michelle Goldberg of The Times. Many who point this out “are not doing it to stand up for free speech; they’re just doing it because they want to shut down speech they disagree with.”


The censoriousness at the heart of all these policies ought to concern all Americans.



7) Hospitals Are Squeezed as Israel Expands Fighting in Southern Gaza

By Hiba Yazbek and Adam Rasgon reporting from Jerusalem, Jan. 22, 2024


A Palestinian woman next to her daughter at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. Credit...Mohammed Dahman/Associated Press

Fighting intensified in southern Gaza on Monday, with medical personnel reporting heavy exchanges of gunfire and a surge of Israeli tanks and troops into areas around hospitals.


The Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Gazan health ministry said many people had been killed and wounded in the city of Khan Younis on Monday, without providing specific counts. Nahed Abu Taaema, the director of surgery at Nasser Hospital, the largest hospital in southern Gaza, told Al Jazeera in a televised interview that it had received 100 wounded people and 50 bodies.


Naseem Hasan, an ambulance officer at Nasser, said in an interview that tanks were about 100 meters south of the hospital and “can target anyone.” He said one ambulance carrying a person who had been shot in the head was not able to reach Nasser this morning and had to go to a hospital in Rafah — a journey that took three hours.


In a statement, the Red Crescent said the presence of Israeli troops near Al-Amal Hospital, which it operates, meant that its ambulances could not reach the injured in Khan Younis. It said that anyone attempting to move around the area was coming under fire.


“Khan Younis is very dangerous now,” Nebal Farsakh, a spokeswoman for the Red Crescent, said in an interview. “The whole district of Khan Younis is essentially besieged.”


As Israel has wound down its operations in northern Gaza, it has pushed ahead with its invasion of Khan Younis, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have sought shelter in schools, hospitals and tent cities.


Israeli officials have said the campaign in the city — which they describe as a Hamas stronghold — was targeting the group’s leadership, and they have accused Hamas of using hospitals and other civilian infrastructure to hide its operations. But civilians, many of whom have relocated several times since the start of the war, have been left with no refuge.


Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, reported on Monday that several people had been killed and wounded at a school in Al-Mawasi, west of Khan Younis, after an Israeli strike. The report could not be independently verified. The school was sheltering displaced people who went there after the Israeli military told them that Al-Mawasi, a seaside area, was a safe zone.


Ms. Farsakh said that Red Crescent crews had been receiving calls from people who were wounded across Khan Younis, including at the school in Al-Mawasi, and that the crews were unable to respond “because they are being targeted.”


The Israeli military didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. On Sunday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israeli forces in southern Gaza were acting with great precision and would be “expanding” their operations in Khan Younis.


“The plumes of smoke from the tanks, artillery and planes belonging to the Air Force will continue to cover the Gaza Strip’s skies until we achieve our goals, chief among them toppling Hamas and returning the hostages to their homes,” he said in a statement.


The Gaza health ministry said on Monday that Israeli strikes had killed 190 people and wounded 340 others in the enclave over the previous 24 hours. It did not specify how many of the casualties were in Khan Younis.


The ministry said on Sunday that more than 25,000 people had been killed since Israel began its bombardment of the strip after the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on its territory, which Israeli officials say killed 1,200 people.


Ameera Harouda contributed reporting from Doha, Qatar, Abu Bakr Bashir from London, and Johnatan Reiss in Tel Aviv.



8) An awkward meeting in Brussels highlights differences between Europe and Israel over the war.

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Monika Pronczuk reporting from Brussels, Jan. 22, 2024

"Mr. Katz surprised the room of 27 E.U. foreign ministers by screening a video of a proposal — first raised several years ago — to create an artificial island off Gaza as a logistics base to inspect cargo and passengers arriving by sea into the territory...Mr. Katz, the officials said, did not propose that Palestinians be moved to this island to live, but he also didn’t offer much context on why exactly he was screening it, nor did he elaborate on how it plays into the urgent discussions among Israel and its allies over how to manage Gaza after the war is over." Link to Island video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6apf052p5kiym5o/Island_En_HD.wmv?dl=0


Two men, wearing suits, speaking to each other.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the E.U.’s top diplomat, speaking with Israel Katz, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the E.U. headquarters in Brussels on Monday. Credit...Pool photo by John Thys

European Union foreign ministers pressed Israel’s top diplomat on Monday to ease civilian suffering in Gaza and move toward supporting the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in a closed-door meeting that highlighted the governments’ differences over the war.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has been pushing back against international allies, doubling down in recent days on his opposition to a two-state solution. He is also facing growing anger at home over the government’s failure to secure the release of the hostages and frustration over its handling of the war.


The Monday meeting at E.U. headquarters in Brussels largely reinforced the disconnect over the war in Gaza, where more than 25,000 people have been killed, according to health officials there. Rather than garner international support, Israel’s foreign minister, Yisrael Katz, left European officials confused about Israeli plans for the enclave.


Mr. Katz surprised the room of 27 E.U. foreign ministers by screening a video of a proposal — first raised several years ago — to create an artificial island off Gaza as a logistics base to inspect cargo and passengers arriving by sea into the territory, according to six European diplomats and officials familiar with the meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the press on the discussions.


Mr. Katz, the officials said, did not propose that Palestinians be moved to this island to live, but he also didn’t offer much context on why exactly he was screening it, nor did he elaborate on how it plays into the urgent discussions among Israel and its allies over how to manage Gaza after the war is over.


The video was shown as early as 2017, when Mr. Katz was transport and intelligence minister. An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue, told The New York Times after the meeting on Monday that Mr. Katz’s proposal was not government policy.


The Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki, who met separately with the E.U. ministers after Mr. Katz, seized on the video.


“We do not need any island. Not a natural one, not an artificial one. We will remain in our homeland. The land of Palestine is ours, it belongs to us, and we will remain in it,” he told reporters, emphasizing that he would advocate for Palestinian statehood and a cease-fire.


“We will not accept anything less than a cease-fire,” he added. “We will not accept anything short of a clear rejection of statements by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the two-state solution and that he will work on preventing it.”


The European Union is striving to find a common voice on the war in Gaza despite divisions among member states. Before the meeting, Josep Borrell Fontelles, the bloc’s top diplomat, drafted an informal policy paper for discussion that strongly backs the establishment of an independent Palestinian state — an idea that is also backed by the Biden administration.


On Saturday, Mr. Netanyahu said on social media: “I will not compromise on full Israeli security control of the entire area west of the Jordan River — and that is irreconcilable with a Palestinian state.”


The creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one was first proposed in 1947 at the time of Israel’s creation, and was rejected by regional Arab governments. In the years since, plans for a two-state solution have been proposed and stymied by both Palestinian and Israeli leaders. Mr. Netanyahu, who even before Oct. 7 opposed the creation of such a state, is particularly adamant that the Palestinians not be rewarded with statehood after Hamas launched its terror attack in October.    


Foreign policy is set by E.U. national governments, and is not an area where the bloc has collective force as it does in trade and economic affairs, and the 27 E.U. member states have often struggled to agree on diplomatic issues including the conflict in the Middle East. But on Monday, even the foreign minister of Germany, seen as Israel’s strongest advocate in the bloc, defended the idea of an independent Palestinian state.


“We are doing everything we can to move toward a two-state solution,” said the German minister, Annalena Baerbock. “There is no alternative that would allow Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and dignity.”



9) The U.N. chief calls the scale of killing in Gaza ‘unacceptable,’ as officials say the death toll exceeds 25,000.

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Jan. 22, 2024


António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations.

António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, at a summit in Uganda on Sunday. Credit...Abubaker Lubowa/Reuters

Israel’s military operation in Gaza has led to destruction and killing on a scale that is “utterly unacceptable,” the United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, said on Sunday as the Gazan Health Ministry said the death toll in the territory since the start of the offensive had surpassed 25,000.


Mr. Guterres called for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza that would allow aid to reach all those in need, and to facilitate the release of hostages taken during an attack on Israel led by Hamas on Oct. 7, during which the Israeli authorities say around 1,200 people were killed. More than 100 hostages remain in captivity.


In response to the Oct. 7 attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a campaign of airstrikes in Gaza and a ground invasion in a bid to eradicate Hamas. The government also declared a siege of Gaza, which has a population of about 2.2 million people.


Israel’s government says that civilian casualties are a tragedy, but it argues that it bombards residential areas because Hamas hides its forces among the civilian population and has built an extensive network of tunnels, some of them beneath hospitals. It also says that it warns civilians to move to areas away from the fighting.


Almost all of Gaza’s population has been displaced because of Israel’s military campaign, and international groups say the aid that is making it into Gaza is a small fraction of what is necessary to stem the humanitarian crisis that has played out over the last three months.


“This is heartbreaking,” Mr. Guterres said about the loss of life. He was speaking in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, during a summit that aims to increase trade and investment between nations in parts of the world that are less economically developed.


“The Middle East is a tinderbox,” he said. “We must do all we can to prevent conflict igniting across the region.”


Mr. Guterres said the destruction and civilian death toll in Gaza — which includes more than 150 U.N. staff members killed — were more severe than any that had occurred since he assumed his current post in 2017. In comparison, the United Nations says the fighting in Ukraine, which has also caused immense military losses, has killed at least 10,000 civilians since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.


In a further indication of the casualty toll, the British charity Save the Children said this month that Israel’s military operation had killed 10,000 children, and that thousands more were missing and presumed buried under the rubble.


The United Nations and aid groups cite the Gazan health ministry’s casualty toll in their reports, though those numbers have at times been the subject of debate. That is in part because officials in Gaza do not distinguish between civilians and fighters, and because the level of destruction has made it difficult for them to provide an accurate accounting. U.S. and Israeli government officials have sometimes cast doubt on the casualty numbers, though they have not in recent weeks systematically challenged the ministry’s figures.


Palestinian authorities also say that more than 62,000 people have been injured in the war. The head of the United Nations World Health Organization’s operation in Gaza and the West Bank said that many of them are children who have had limbs amputated and will need continued care.



10) U.S. and European officials push for Gaza aid to pass through an Israeli port.

By Vivian Yee, Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Adam Rasgon, Jan. 22, 2024


Displaced people line up to receive food cooked in large pots and distributed for free near the tents where the people live.

Food being distributed to people in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Saturday. Credit...Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

American, British and European officials are pressuring Israel to let aid for Gaza transit through the Israeli port of Ashdod to help alleviate a metastasizing humanitarian crisis, according to six U.S. and European officials.


Israel’s military responded to the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by invading and declaring a siege on Gaza, which was already under a yearslong blockade. It has since allowed limited amounts of aid into the enclave through two border points, one in Israel and the other in Egypt, but those deliveries have been bogged down by inspections and logistical snarls.


Humanitarian workers say vastly more aid is needed to meaningfully help Gaza’s 2.2 million residents amid dire shortages of food, water and supplies.


Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken pressed Israeli officials about allowing Gaza aid through the port of Ashdod when he was in Tel Aviv earlier this month, according to one U.S. official. That official and the others interviewed about the new aid proposal spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.


Under the new proposed agreement, aid would be shipped from Cyprus — an Israeli ally — to Ashdod, three of the officials said. From Ashdod, it would then be transported to Kerem Shalom, the Israeli border crossing through which aid has been allowed into Gaza, a European official said.


The ultimate goal, an American and a European official said, is to establish a workable alternative to delivering aid via Egypt in a way that satisfies Israel’s demand for security checks. Israeli officials have demanded stringent inspections on all supplies entering Gaza so as to weed out anything that could benefit Hamas.


A small step came on Friday, when the White House said that Israel would permit flour for Gaza to be shipped through Ashdod amid efforts to find “options for more direct maritime delivery of assistance.”


“We need these shipments to continue and for this port to remain open for aid,” Britain’s foreign secretary, David Cameron, said on the social media platform X after the White House announcement about the flour shipments.


The Israeli government has not formally announced the decision to let flour shipments through Ashdod, and the prime minister’s office declined to comment. But the Israeli security cabinet quietly agreed to the plan on Friday, according to an Israeli official briefed on the deliberations.


Ashdod sits about 16 miles north of Gaza on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Israel has been reluctant to open Ashdod for assistance destined for Gaza amid concerns that having more aid delivered through Israeli soil could prompt public backlash at a time when Israeli hostages are still being held in the enclave, according to a senior Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.


(For most of the war, aid has been delivered to Egypt before being inspected by Israel close to its border with Egypt, barely touching Israeli territory before being sent to Gaza. In December, some trucks from Jordan started going through Kerem Shalom.)


Gaza urgently needs the help. The United Nations has warned that risk of famine is growing, clean water is scarce and diseases are spreading. Amid Israeli airstrikes and intense fighting, Gaza’s hospitals have struggled to deal with a seemingly constant stream of wounded people and grossly inadequate medical supplies.


Aaron Boxerman and Edward Wong contributed reporting.



11) What Is ‘Settler Colonialism’?

A look at the academic roots of the idea, which has stirred fierce debate when applied to Israel.

By Jennifer Schuessler, Jan. 22, 2024


At a rally, protesters hold Palestinian flags and a sign saying “End Settler Colonialism Now.”

Pro-Palestinian activists at a rally in Washington in November. Credit...Shawn Thew/EPA, via Shutterstock

In the intense war of words over the Israel-Gaza war, a particular phrase has popped up repeatedly. At protests, on fliers and in some mainstream publications, it is common to see Israel described — or more likely, assailed — as a “settler-colonial” state.


The concept of settler colonialism originates in academia, where its use has surged over the past two decades, whether in case studies of particular places or sweeping master narratives that purport to explain everything since Columbus. It has also been widely taken up on the activist left, invoked in discussions of gentrification, environmental degradation, financial capitalism and other subjects.


The term “settler colonialism” may combine two words that are very familiar. But in combination, the term can land as a moral slander — or worse.


Those who call Israel a settler-colonial enterprise see a country formed by waves of Jewish arrivals who pushed Arab inhabitants out to create an exclusive ethnostate. To others, that is a gross distortion that redefines refugees as oppressors and ignores the long history of the Jewish diaspora’s attachment to its ancestral land — as well as the continuous existence of a Jewish community whose ancestors never left.


More broadly, critics say that the embrace of the term reflects a dangerously simplistic view of history — a kind of “moral derangement,” as Adam Kirsch, an editor at The Wall Street Journal, wrote recently, which justifies violence and rests on “the permanent division of the world into innocent people and guilty people.”


But for many scholars, settler colonialism is a serious and useful analytic concept. For them, it is meant not to condemn or delegitimize, but to illuminate similarities and differences across a wide range of societies, past and present.


“I believe there is purchase to the term,” said Caroline Elkins, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian at Harvard and a co-editor of the 2005 collection “Settler Colonialism in the 20th Century.” “From a strictly empirical perspective, there are colonies — and in some cases, nations today — that were founded on the premise of sending settlers to different locations in the world.”


But amid today’s fierce polemics, even scholarly discussion of the term is fraught. “We have all become very cautious about how we use it,” Elkins said, “out of fear that we’ll be misunderstood.”


‘A Structure, Not an Event’


Historians have identified many forms of colonialism. Some involve trade or natural resource extraction managed from afar. Others involve systematic exploitation of a local labor force, with the profits sent back to the imperial center.


While uses differ, settler colonialism generally refers to a form of colonialism in which the existing inhabitants of a territory are displaced by settlers who claim land and establish a permanent society where their privileged status is enshrined in law.


The concept emerged out of postcolonial studies, which arose in the 1960s and ’70s as a way of understanding colonialism from the point of view of the formerly colonized across the world. Among the key thinkers was the Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon, whose classic 1961 book “The Wretched of the Earth” argued that colonized people were justified in using violence to throw off their oppressors.


Fanon, who wrote in French, did not use the term “settler colonialism.” But his ideas are echoed in today’s conversations, said Adam Shatz, the author of “The Rebel’s Clinic,” a new biography of Fanon published this week.


But Fanon’s ideas, he said, have also been distorted, particularly by those who have emphasized his justification of violence. For Fanon, he said, decolonization did not involve a simple act of violent “cleansing,” but a social transformation that would reorder the relations between colonizer and colonized.


“It does not necessarily mean that the solution to a situation of colonial injustice is for the colonizers to simply pack up their bags and leave,” he said.


Many scholars trace the current sense of “settler colonialism,” and its exploding influence in academic circles, to Patrick Wolfe, a British-born Australian scholar and the author of the 1998 book “Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology.”


In a tribute to Wolfe after his death in 2016, the scholar Lorenzo Veracini wrote that Wolfe said he had included the phrase in the title at the last minute, at the urging of his publisher. (It occurs infrequently in the book itself.)


“Like the British, who had supposedly set up an empire without really wanting to,” Veracini wrote, “this committed anti-imperialist scholar kick-started a scholarly field in a fit of absent-mindedness.”


Wolfe’s densely theoretical book, which focused on Australia, where white settlers styled themselves as arriving in “empty land,” included two much-quoted phrases. “Settler invasion,” Wolfe wrote, “is a structure, not an event.” That is, it is not a historical episode that ends, but a set of relationships embedded in the legal and political order. And it rests, he wrote, on “the logic of elimination.”


“It’s ‘a winner take all,’ a zero-sum game,” Wolfe told an interviewer at Stanford in 2012, “whereby outsiders come to a country, and seek to take it away from the people who already live there, remove them, replace them and displace them, and take over the country, and make it their own.”


The term gained ground across various disciplines, sometimes shorn of its harder-edged absolutes, like the idea that it always involves an effort to eliminate existing populations. In 20th-century instances, those populations often remained a majority, albeit a dominated one.


The essays in “Settler Colonialism in the 20th Century,” the 2005 collection edited by Elkins and Susan Pedersen, looked at examples including various European settlement projects in Southern Africa, French colonization of Algeria, Japanese expansion in Korea and Manchuria in the 1930s, Nazi plans to resettle ethnic Germans in occupied Poland, and Jewish immigration to Palestine between 1882 and 1914.


That book did not discuss the United States. But the concept also has deep roots in Native American studies, while also being in some tension with it.


Ned Blackhawk’s book “The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History,” which won last year’s National Book Award for nonfiction, refers frequently to settler colonialism. But Blackhawk, a professor of history at Yale, has also expressed reservations about the concept’s “totalizing features.”


“As an idea that emphasizes ‘Indigenous elimination’ as one of its central features, it often minimizes the agency, adaptation and resurgence of Native American communities,” Blackhawk said in an interview with Mother Jones last year.


From the Margins


Since 2005, the term “settler colonialism” has continued to spread in scholarly circles, migrating into political science, literary studies, musicology and many other fields.


Aziz Rana, a political scientist and professor of law at Boston College Law School, is the author of the 2010 book “The Two Faces of American Freedom,” which argues that settler colonialism lies behind both the nation’s enduring racial hierarchies and the emancipatory possibilities of its political tradition.


When he was in graduate school in the early 2000s, Rana said, the concept was used by some scholars of empire. But it remained “really at the edge” of fields like American history and American political science.


That changed, Rana said, as scholars of the United States began to embrace new thinking about race, slavery and Native Americans, and as the Iraq war and its aftermath forced a rethinking of the traditional consensus that the United States was not an empire.


At the same time, the term migrated out of the academy and was embraced by the activist left, where it became useful for drawing connections across a broad range of issues.


“Movement activists have very consciously sought solidarities across efforts to confront anti-Black racism, Native American dispossession and immigrant mistreatment,” Rana said. “The concept has been a powerful way of showing the links across these experiences.”


But seeing settler colonialism as inherently connected with “whiteness,” some scholars argue, is simplistic.


In a recent essay in the online magazine Aeon, Lachlan McNamee, author of the new book “Settling for Less: Why States Colonize and Why They Stop,” argues that settler colonialism is not just a “historical Western evil,” perpetrated by white nations against Black and brown people.


McNamee, a political scientist, cites Japan’s invasion in the 1930s of northeastern China (where it used the promise of free land to lure 270,000 Japanese settlers to the newly created state of Manchukuo, or Manchuria), as well as Indonesia’s resettlement of 300,000 farmers in West Papua in the 1970s and ’80s, following Indigenous uprisings. (Scholars have also cited the example of Liberia, which was colonized after the U.S. Civil War by emancipated African Americans, who became the dominant elite.)


Online maps depicting settler colonialism today “almost exclusively depict areas settled by Europeans,” McNamee writes. “Colonized peoples in the Global South have experienced a double erasure: first by settlers and second by settler colonial studies.”


Israel: An Outlier?


Nowhere is the idea of settler colonialism more charged than in discussions of Israel, whether it is used to describe Israel’s current settlements in the West Bank or the processes that led to the founding of the Jewish state itself in 1948.


A version of the argument appeared as early as 1967, in the French Marxist scholar Maxime Rodinson’s book “Israel: Fait Colonial?” (It was published in English in 1973 as “Israel: A Colonial-Settler State?”)


More recently, Rashid Khalidi, a prominent Palestinian American historian at Columbia University, drew on it in his best-selling 2020 book “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017.”


The concept, he said in an interview, was present in Palestinian writing of the 1920s and ’30s, even if non-Arabic-speaking scholars were not reading it. He said it also reflected the self-conception of early Zionists, who primarily came from Eastern Europe.


“This was a movement that saw itself as operating as a colonial project” under the sponsorship of the British, who controlled Palestine from 1918 to 1948, Khalidi said. “They made no bones about it until World War II. They called themselves settlers. They described their process as colonization.”


But to many Jews, connecting Israel with settler colonialism is anathema given the Jewish people’s historical connection with the land. The notion also gets mixed reactions among Israel’s left-leaning “New Historians,” who have challenged the country’s traditional nationalist narratives.


In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Avi Shlaim, the author of “The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World,” said that “Palestinians have had the misfortune to be at the receiving end of both Zionist settler colonialism and Western imperialism, first British and then American.”


But in an email, Tom Segev, whose books include “One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate,” said that “colonialism is irrelevant to the Zionist experience.”


Zionists were motivated primarily by “a historical vision for their future identity in what they considered their ancient homeland” rather than an “imperial strategic or economic vision or a desire to dominate the local population.”


Besides, Segev said, “most Jewish immigrants in Palestine and Israel did not come as Zionists but as refugees.”


For some historians, it is not a yes-or-no question.


“Are Jews ‘indigenous’ or settler colonialists in Palestine?” the scholar Barnett R. Rubin wrote in a recent essay in Boston Review. “They are both.”


“Today’s settlers in the West Bank and the Golan Heights could indeed return — their ‘mother country’ is Israel — but the same is not true of the citizens of Israel as a whole,” he wrote. “They cannot return to the scenes of the Holocaust or to the Arab and Muslim states that expelled them.”


For the United States, the idea of settler colonialism may not carry the same explosive charge. While the phrase is still outside the political mainstream, the idea lies behind the land acknowledgments — which recognize and name the Indigenous inhabitants of places — that have become commonplace across universities and cultural institutions.


To some observers, including some Indigenous critics, those acknowledgments are just toothless moral theater. But Rana, of Boston College, argues that taking the idea of settler colonialism seriously allows for a more honest view of how the United States — not just its territory, but its enduring legal and political structures — was formed.


Still, he cautions against treating settler colonialism as a historical master key.


“This lens doesn’t tell you everything you need to know,” Rana said. “But it allows you to see something that you otherwise would not be able to see.”