Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, January 9, 2024




Oakland Port Shutdown

Saturday, January 13, 2024, 12:00 A.M.

Port of Oakland

Description: *NOTE THE TIME LISTED HERE IS A PLACEHOLDER--TEXT "GAZA" to 833-633-0604 for more details. As the genocide in Gaza intensifies, our movement continues to fight with all our might for a permanent ceasefire. This past October, a U.S. military vessel left the port of Oakland and headed to Israel with military equipment, and technology that were used against the people of Gaza. This ship is on its way back to Oakland. Stand with people and workers of conscience across the world. Join us as we kick off APTP’s week of action commemorating the militant legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Join us to say no to the war machine in Gaza, and no to the war machine right here in Oakland. For updates text Gaza to 833-633-0604 info@araborganizing.org



1:00 P.M.



Never Again and Again and Again - by Mr. Fish

Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of January 9, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 23,084,* 58,926 wounded, and more than 381 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 4,910.

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on January 6. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has been unable to regularly and accurately update its tolls since mid-November. Some rights groups say the death toll is higher than 30,000 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!


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


Over 1,000 trade unionists from around Northern California rallied and marched in Oakland to oppose the genocide in Gaza. It was announced during the rally that despite bureaucratic obstacles SEIU 1021 which has over 50,000 members had endorsed the rally and resolution. Unions formally endorsed included AFSCME 3299, OEA, UESF, SEIU 1021, ILWU Local 10, Inlandboatmen’s Union SF Region-ILWU, UNITE HERE Local 2, IFPTE Local 21, SF Public Defenders (workers, not union or unit),  Stanford Graduate Workers, Trader Joes United (Rockridge), IWW Bay Area, IWW 460-650 - Ecology Center 

National or statewide unions or units (with Bay Area members) that have called for a ceasefire: UAW (international), UAW Local 2865 (statewide), UAW Local 2320, APWU, Starbucks Workers United, California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, CIR/SEIU (national) SEIU-USWW (statewide), Staff Union of CIR/SEIU (unit of CWA local 1032).

The rally was sponsored by Bay Area Labor For Palestine and there was also another Labor For Palestine Rally in New York.

For More Information:


Production of Labor Video Project







Stand With Palestinian Workers: Cease the Genocide Now—Stop Arming Israel!

Labor for Palestine Petition

“We need you to take immediate action—wherever you are in the world—to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of the blockade.” —An Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel (October 16, 2023)

 The undersigned U.S. workers, trade unionists, and anti-apartheid activists join labor around the world in condemning the Israeli siege on Gaza that has killed or maimed thousands of Palestinians—many of them children—and stand with Palestinians’ “right to exist, resist, return, and self-determination.”

 The latest Israeli attacks reflect more than a century of ongoing Zionist settler-colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleansing, racism, genocide, and apartheid—including Israel’s establishment through the uprooting and displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba. Indeed, eighty percent of the 2.3 million people in Gaza are refugees from other parts of historic Palestine.

Israel’s crimes are only possible because of more than $3.8 billion a year (or $10-plus million per day) in bipartisan U.S. military aid that gives Israel the guns, bullets, tanks, ships, jet fighters, missiles, helicopters, white phosphorus, and other weapons to kill and maim the Palestinian people. This is the same system of racist state violence that, through shared surveillance technology and police exchange programs, brutalizes Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and working-class people in the United States and around the world.

In response, we demand an immediate end to the genocide, and embrace the recent urgent call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel:

1.     To refuse to build weapons destined for Israel. To refuse to transport weapons to Israel. 

2.     To pass motions in their trade union to this effect. 

3.     To take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege, especially if they have contracts with your institution. 

4.     Pressure governments to stop all military trade with Israel, and in the case of the U.S., funding to it.

We further reaffirm the call on labor bodies to respect previous Palestinian trade union appeals for solidarity by adopting this statement, and/or the model resolution below to divest from Israel Bonds, sever all ties with the Israel’s racist labor federation, the Histadrut, and its US mouthpiece, the Jewish Labor Committee, and respect the Palestinian picket line for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). 

Please sign and forward widely!

To endorse the following statement as a trade unionist, please click here:


To endorse as other, please click here:


 Initial Signers on behalf of Labor for Palestine

(Organizational affiliations listed for identification only)

Suzanne Adely, Labor for Palestine, US Palestinian Community Network, Arab Workers Resource Center; Food Chain Workers Alliance (staff); President, National Lawyers Guild; Monadel Herzallah, Arab American Union Members Council; Ruth Jennison, Department Rep., Massachusetts Society of Professors, MTA, NEA; Co-Chair, Labor Standing Committee River Valley DSA; Delegate to Western Mass Area Labor Federation; Lara Kiswani, Executive Director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC); Block the Boat; Michael Letwin, Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; Jews for Palestinian Right of Return; Corinna Mullin, PSC-CUNY International Committee; CUNY for Palestine; Clarence Thomas, Co-Chair, Million Worker March; Executive Board, ILWU Local 10 (retired.)

The list of signers will be updated periodically.



The Labor for Palestine model resolution can be found at:




Jewish Doctor Speaks Out on Israel and Palestine

Dr. Gabor Maté, Hungarian-Canadian physician and author describes his own life experience and expresses his view on the situation in Israel and Palestine.

“I’m personally a Holocaust survivor as an infant, I barely survived. My grandparents were killed in Auschwitz and most of my extended family were killed. I became a Zionist; this dream of the Jewish people resurrected in their historical homeland and the barbed wire of Auschwitz being replaced by the boundaries of a Jewish state with a powerful army…and then I found out that it wasn’t exactly like that, that in order to make this Jewish dream a reality we had to visit a nightmare on the local population.

“There’s no way you could have ever created a Jewish state without oppressing and expelling the local population. Jewish Israeli historians have shown without a doubt that the expulsion of Palestinians was persistent, pervasive, cruel, murderous and with deliberate intent—that’s what’s called the ‘Nakba’ in Arabic; the ‘disaster’ or the ‘catastrophe.’ There’s a law that you cannot deny the Holocaust, but in Israel you’re not allowed to mention the Nakba, even though it’s at the very basis of the foundation of Israel.

“I visited the Occupied Territories (West Bank) during the first intifada. I cried every day for two weeks at what I saw; the brutality of the occupation, the petty harassment, the murderousness of it, the cutting down of Palestinian olive groves, the denial of water rights, the humiliations...and this went on, and now it’s much worse than it was then.

“It’s the longest ethnic cleansing operation in the 20th and 21st century. I could land in Tel Aviv tomorrow and demand citizenship but my Palestinian friend in Vancouver, who was born in Jerusalem, can’t even visit!

“So, then you have these miserable people packed into this, horrible…people call it an ‘outdoor prison,’ which is what it is. You don’t have to support Hamas policies to stand up for Palestinian rights, that’s a complete falsity. You think the worst thing you can say about Hamas, multiply it by a thousand times, and it still will not meet the Israeli repression and killing and dispossession of Palestinians.

“And ‘anybody who criticizes Israel is an anti-Semite’ is simply an egregious attempt to intimidate good non-Jews who are willing to stand up for what is true.”

—Independent Catholic News, October 16, 2023






the French word

for rabies


la rage -

rage or outrage



the French have a saying -

a man who wants to get rid of his dog

accuses it of spreading rabies


the people of Gaza

treated as inhuman animals

worse than dogs

are charged

with terrorism


come to think of it

what an honor !


world war two's resistance

against nazi extermination

was designated

as terrorism

by the Axis allies


what an honor !



was monitored

as a terrorist

by the CIA


What an honor !



peacefully meditating

near Israeli-funded cop city

was executed

in cold blood

on suspicion

of domestic terrorism 


What an honor !


in the spirit of Mandela

in the spirit of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising

in the spirit of Tortuguita

in the spirit of Attica

may the anti colonial outrage

of the People of Palestine

contaminate us all -

the only epidemic

worth dying for


 (c) Julia Wright. October 17 2023. All Rights Reserved To The family of Wadea Al- Fayoume.



The ongoing Zionist theft of Palestinian land from 1946 to now.

77 years of brutal oppression must end!

End all U.S. aid to Israel now!

For a democratic, secular Palestine!



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

Poetic Petition to Genocide Joe Before He Eats His Turkey 

By Julia Wright


Mr Genocide Joe

you have helped broker

a Thanksgiving truce

in Gaza

where your zionist partners

in war crimes

say they will stop

slaughtering "human animals"

for four days



Mr Genocide Joe

closer to home

you have your own hostages

taken in the cointelpro wars

who still languish

in cages

treated worse than animals




as you pardon

two turkeys

in the White House today

as you get ready to eat your military turkey

and have it too

it would at last be time

to unchain

at least two of your own "human animals" -

Mumia Abu-Jamal


Leonard Peltier


(c) Julia Wright. November 25, 2023. All Rights Reserved to Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier.



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier’s Letter Delivered to Supporters on September 12, 2023, in Front of the Whitehouse


Dear friends, relatives, supporters, loved ones:


Seventy-nine years old. Mother Earth has taken us on another journey around Grandfather Sun.  Babies have taken their first breath. People have lived, loved, and died. Seeds have been planted and sent their roots deep below red earth and their breath to the Stars and our Ancestors.


I am still here.


Time has twisted one more year out of me. A year that has been a moment.  A year that has been a lifetime. For almost five decades I’ve existed in a cage of concrete and steel.  With the “good time” calculations of the system, I’ve actually served over 60 years.


Year after year, I have encouraged you to live as spirit warriors. Even while in here, I can envision what is real and far beyond these walls.  I’ve seen a reawakening of an ancient Native pride that does my heart good.


I may leave this place in a box. That is a cold truth. But I have put my heart and soul into making our world a better place and there is a lot of work left to do – I would like to get out and do it with you.


I know that the spirit warriors coming up behind me have the heart and soul to fight racism and oppression, and to fight the greed that is poisoning our lands, waters, and people. 


We are still here.


Remember who you are, even if they come for your land, your water, your family. We are children of Mother Earth and we owe her and her other children our care.


I long to turn my face to the sky. In this cage, I am denied that simple pleasure. I am in prison, but in my mind, I remain as I was born: a free Native spirit.


That is what allows me to laugh, keeps me laughing. These walls cannot contain my laughter – or my hope.


I know there are those who stand with me, who work around the clock for my freedom. I have been blessed to have such friends.


We are still here and you give me hope. 


I hope to breathe free air before I die. Hope is a hard thing to hold, but no one is strong enough to take it from me. 


I love you. I hope for you. I pray for you. 


And prayer is more than a cry to the Creator that runs through your head.  Prayer is an action.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse



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 

March 23, 2023 

Dear Friends and Comrades, 

This is Kevin Cooper writing and sending this update to you in 'Peace & Solidarity'. First and foremost I am well and healthy, and over the ill effect(s) that I went through after that biased report from MoFo, and their pro prosecution and law enforcement experts. I am back working with my legal team from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

'We' have made great progress in refuting all that those experts from MoFo came up with by twisting the truth to fit their narrative, or omitting things, ignoring, things, and using all the other tactics that they did to reach their conclusions. Orrick has hired four(4) real experts who have no questionable backgrounds. One is a DNA attorney, like Barry Scheck of the innocence project in New York is for example. A DNA expert, a expect to refute what they say Jousha Ryen said when he was a child, and his memory. A expect on the credibility of MoFo's experts, and the attorney's at Orrick are dealing with the legal issues.

This all is taking a little longer than we first expected it to take, and that in part is because 'we' have to make sure everything is correct in what we have in our reply. We cannot put ourselves in a situation where we can be refuted... Second, some of our experts had other things planned, like court cases and such before they got the phone call from Rene, the now lead attorney of the Orrick team. With that being said, I can say that our experts, and legal team have shown, and will show to the power(s) that be that MoFo's DNA expert could not have come to the conclusion(s) that he came to, without having used 'junk science'! They, and by they I mean my entire legal team, including our experts, have done what we have done ever since Orrick took my case on in 2004, shown that all that is being said by MoFo's experts is not true, and we are once again having to show what the truth really is.

Will this work with the Governor? Who knows... 'but' we are going to try! One of our comrades, Rebecca D.   said to me, 'You and Mumia'...meaning that my case and the case of Mumia Abu Jamal are cases in which no matter what evidence comes out supporting our innocence, or prosecution misconduct, we cannot get a break. That the forces in the so called justice system won't let us go. 'Yes' she is correct about that sad to say...

Our reply will be out hopefully in the not too distant future, and that's because the people in Sacramento have been put on notice that it is coming, and why. Every one of you will receive our draft copy of the reply according to Rene because he wants feedback on it. Carole and others will send it out once they receive it. 'We' were on the verge of getting me out, and those people knew it, so they sabotaged what the Governor ordered them to do, look at all the evidence as well as the DNA evidence. They did not do that, they made this a DNA case, by doing what they did, and twisted the facts on the other issues that they dealt with.   'more later'...

In Struggle & Solidarity,

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)



Letter from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

November 6, 2023

      I’m back at Red Onion. I have no lines of communication. They have me in the B-3 torture cellblock again where there is no access to a kiosk and they’re withholding my tablet anyway. Even if I had it, it’s no use with no kiosk to sync it to and send/receive messages.

      This was a hit. Came from DOC HQ in response folks complaining about my being thrown in solitary at Sussex and the planted knife thing. Kyle Rosch was in on it. The warden and AW here said he’s having me sent back out of state. In any case I don’t want be in this racist trap.

      They cut all my outstanding medical referrals to send here cuz there’s no major medical facility in this remote region. I was pending referral to the cardiac clinic at MCV hospital (Medical College of Virginia), which is on the other side of the state. Also was pending referral to urology there. They were supposed to do testing for congestive heart failure and kidney problems related to my legs, feet, and ankles chronic swelling, and other undiagnosed issues: chronic cough, fluid weight gain, sweats, fatigue, chest pain. They just cut these referrals all of which I have copies of from my medical files.

      They’ve been removing documents from my file too. Like the order I had for oversize handcuffs—which I was gassed the morning I was transferred here for asking the transferring pigs to honor. They took the order out of my file to try to cover their asses. I and others have copies of that too. At this point things are hectic. I’m back in old form now. I was somewhat in hiatus, trying to get the medical care I needed and not provoking them to avoid the bs while that was going on. But the bs has found me once again : ). I need all possible help here. At a level a bit more intense than in the past cuz I need that diagnostic care they cut the referrals for and it’s not available in this remote area. They’d have to send me back to Sussex or another prison near MCU in the VDOC’s Central or Eastern Region. I’m in the most remote corner of the Western Region. My health is not good! And they’re using the medical quack staff here to rubber stamp blocking my referrals.

      Although that lawyer may have given you a message from me, she is not helping me in any way. So no-one should assume because a lawyer surfaced that she is working on anything to aid me. Just have to emphasize that cuz past experience has shown that folks will take a lawyer’s seeming presence as grounds to believe that means some substantial help is here and their help is not needed. Again, I need all possible help here….My health depends on this call for help in a more immediate sense than the cancer situation. I’m having breathing and mobility problems, possibly cardiac related.


      All power to the people!



We need to contact these Virginia Department of Corrections personnel to protest:: 


VADOC~ Central Administration; USPS—P.O. Box 26963; Richmond, VA 23261

David  Robinson Phone : 804-887-8078, Email~david.robinson@vadoc.virginia.gov

Virginia DOC ~ Director, Chadwick S Dotson, Phone~ (804) 674-3081 Email~Chadwick.Dotson@.vadoc.virginia.gov


Virginia Department of Corrections Interstate Compact Liaison

Kyle Rosch, Phone: 804-887-8404, Email: kyle.rosch@vadoc.virginia.gov


VADOC ~Central Administration

Rose L. Durbin, Phone~804-887-7921Email~Rose.Durbin@vadoc.virgina.gov


Red Onion~ Warden, Richard E White, USPS—10800 H. Jack Rose Hwy., Pound, VA 24279

Phone: (276) 796-3536;(or 7510)  Email~ rick.white@vadoc.virginia.gov


Red Onion State Prison, Assistant Warden

Shannon Fuller Phone: 276-796-7510  Email: shannon.fuller@VADOC.virginia.gov


Write to Rashid: 

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson #1007485 

Red Onion State Prison

10800 H. Jack Rose Hwy

Pound, VA 24279




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) As Gaza Losses Mount Under Strikes, Dignified Burials Are Another Casualty

“The lucky are those who have someone to bury them when they die,” Dr. Mohammad Abu Moussa, a radiologist at one Gaza hospital, said of those killed by Israeli airstrikes.

By Raja Abdulrahim, Photographs by Samar Abu Elouf and Yousef Masoud, Jan. 6, 2024


Bodies wrapped in colorful blankets lay on the ground outside in a hospital courtyard, with several men standing nearby.

Bodies on the ground in October outside Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. Credit...Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

For four days, Kareem Sabawi’s body lay wrapped in a blanket in a cold, empty apartment as his family sheltered nearby. He was killed during intense Israeli bombardment near his family home, his father and mother said, and in the days that followed, it was too dangerous to step outside and lay their 10-year-old child to rest.


His family called the Palestine Red Crescent for help. But it was the early days of Israel’s ground invasion in northern Gaza, and forces were blocking streets with tanks and gunfire, preventing rescue workers from reaching those killed by Israeli airstrikes. Each day, the father, Hazem Sabawi, suffered a double torment — mourning his son and unable to afford him the final dignity of a proper burial.


“After the fourth day, I said that’s it. Either I will be buried with him, or I won’t bury him at all,” he said, recounting how he laid his son under a guava tree behind a neighbor’s apartment building.


“Every human has the right to be buried,” Mr. Sabawi said.


It has been 13 weeks since Israel’s war in Gaza began after the attack on Israel by Hamas, which killed about 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials. Since then, the living in Gaza have been forced to inter their dead hurriedly and without ceremony or last rites, lest they risk the same fate as their loved ones.

More than 22,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since Oct. 7, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Civilians are being killed at a pace with few precedents in this century. The conflict has turned Gaza into a “graveyard for thousands of children,” the United Nations said.


“The situation has gotten to the point where we say: The lucky are those who have someone to bury them when they die,” said Dr. Mohammad Abu Moussa, a radiologist at Al-Nasr Hospital in southern Gaza.


Traditionally, Palestinians honor their dead with public funeral processions and mourning tents erected on streets for three days to receive those who want to offer condolences. But the war has made those traditions impossible to uphold.


Instead, the dead have been buried in mass graves, hospital courtyards and backyard gardens, often without headstones, their names scrawled on white burial shrouds or body bags. Funeral prayers are said quickly — if at all — in hospital hallways or outside morgues.

Nebal Farsakh, a spokeswoman for the Palestine Red Crescent, said the violence often made it impossible for rescuers to reach attack sites or recover bodies. Some families have been trapped inside their homes for days with the corpses of their loved ones, she said.


Gaza health officials estimate that about 7,000 people in Gaza are missing, most presumed dead under the enormous destruction from Israel’s onslaught. On some homes, people have spray painted the names of those believed to be buried under the rubble.


As nearly two million civilians have been displaced and made dangerous treks on foot to southern Gaza — passing Israeli forces with guns trained on them — some have described seeing dozens of bodies along the way, bloated and decomposing. They have told The New York Times that Israeli soldiers would not allow them to even cover, much less bury, the dead.


The Israeli military said it had prevented people from approaching bodies “for operational reasons” and also to determine whether any of the dead might be Israeli hostages taken by Hamas to Gaza on Oct. 7.


For Mr. Sabawi, burying Kareem was the least he could do for a son he felt he was unable to protect.

He and his wife said an Israeli airstrike hit near their home in early November when their family was preparing lunch with what little flour and rations they had. Mr. Sabawi was thrown in the air, and when he hit the floor, the kitchen door fell on him. When he got up, he saw Kareem bleeding profusely from his head.


Mr. Sabawi said he scooped him up, even though his arm was injured, and the family ran to a neighbor’s apartment. Kareem was still breathing as his panicked father administered CPR.


It was too late.


Neighbors took the family in and brought a blanket to wrap Kareem’s body, Mr. Sabawi said. He waited four days, fearing they might be killed by an airstrike or Israeli soldier if they went outside to bury him. On the fifth day, Mr. Sabawi and a neighbor said the Muslim proclamation of faith before leaving the apartment.


In the garden behind the building, they dug a shallow grave and laid Kareem in it, covering him with dirt, and rushed back inside.

“The next day, I went back down to put more dirt over the grave,” Mr. Sabawi said. On the tree, he hung a makeshift headstone and placed a brick at the top. “Every time there was an opportunity, I went down to put more dirt so it would become a proper grave.”


His wife, Suha Sabawi, 32, said she knew that not all parents in Gaza got the opportunity for such bittersweet closure.


“Lots of people said to me, ‘Thank God you were able to bury your son,’ because lots of people can’t bury their children,” she said.


Ahmed Alhattab, a father of four, said a rocket struck his apartment building on the night of Nov. 7 in Gaza City. There were 32 family members inside, 19 of them children. Palestinian news media reported the strike at the time, putting the initial death toll at 10.


Mr. Alhattab and three of his sons escaped from the rubble, but one had a skull fracture and was bleeding, he said. Mr. Alhattab handed his two uninjured sons — aged 5 and 9 — to neighbors and carried his wounded 7-year-old, Yahya, until he found an ambulance to take him to a hospital.


The next morning, he said, he returned with neighbors and relatives, and they dug out four dead family members with their hands, among them his 32-day-old nephew.


They buried them in a single grave in a private cemetery that belonged to another family because it was too dangerous to get to the public cemeteries farther away. Some public cemeteries have also been razed by Israeli forces.


The rest of his family, 24 relatives, he said, remained under too much rubble to recover.


For three days, Mr. Alhattab said, he stayed at the hospital as his son underwent surgery. The hospital was nearing collapse as airstrikes and clashes raged nearby.


He was told his son was unlikely to survive.


As relatives prepared to flee, he said, he made the heart-wrenching decision to leave Yahya behind to take his other sons south, where he hoped they would be safer.

Four days later, he heard from a friend that his son had died in the hospital, where he was buried along with other patients who died.


“The burial was temporary,” Mr. Alhattab said, “and I don’t know what happened with his body.”


Medical workers have told The Times they have sometimes had to dig graves in hospital courtyards. When staff members were forced by the Israeli military to evacuate, they said, they had to leave many bodies behind.


Now in southern Gaza, Mr. Alhattab says he wants to go home to recover his family’s bodies.


“When we bury the dead, we honor them,” he said. “And it calms one’s heart a little bit. You know where they are buried.”


When Fatima Alrayess, 35 and living in Austria, last spoke to her two younger brothers on Nov. 8, they told her they were headed back to their family home in Gaza City.

The brothers — Muhammad, 31, and Muayid, 25 — told her that a civil defense crew was on its way to the seven-story building, which had been felled by an Israeli airstrike three days earlier, she said. They said the attack had killed eight family members, including her parents.


“He wanted to bury them,” she said of Muayid.


But an Israeli siege of Gaza from the early days of the war had created dire shortages of fuel, among other essential goods, severely hampering the work of civil defense crews.


That day, the civil defense workers recovered the bodies of their mother, father and a 12-year-old nephew before it got too dark, Ms. Alrayess and another relative, Lubna Alrayess, learned from the brothers.


The next day, the brothers buried the bodies of the three family members in a cemetery and met civil defense workers at the demolished building in hopes of recovering more bodies, Fatima Alrayess said. Two sisters — one a dentist and the other a banker — a brother and two nephews were still missing.

As the rescuers began combing through the rubble, another Israeli airstrike hit, killing both Muayid and Muhammad, as well as several civil defense workers, according to Ms. Alrayess, her relative and Palestinian news reports.


The immediate aftermath of the strike was captured on video by a local photographer, who lamented that the brothers had followed their parents in death.


“My parents were buried in the afternoon,” Ms. Alrayess said. “Muayid and Muhammad were buried later that night in the same cemetery.”


Five members of the family remain under the rubble.



2) American Unions Long Backed Israel. Now, Some Are Protesting It.

The shift reflects a broader generational change, and has exposed philosophical rifts in the labor movement about what the purpose of a union ought to be.

By Emma Goldberg and Santul Nerkar, Jan. 7, 2024


A large crowd of people holding signs supporting Palestine, walking down a street in New York.

In December, United Automobile Workers members joined a march in Manhattan in favor of a cease-fire in Gaza. Credit...Andres Kudacki for The New York Times

“Why are we here?” said Brandon Mancilla, a leader with the United Automobile Workers. Mr. Mancilla faced a crowd of hundreds of union members gathered on the steps of the New York Public Library’s Fifth Avenue branch, huddling against the cold as they rallied for a cease-fire in Gaza.


“Cease-fire now, solidarity forever!” Mr. Mancilla, 29, said as the crowd cheered, waving union banners and Palestinian flags. “Let’s get more and more unions behind us.”


On display in that Dec. 21 protest — which came shortly after the 350,000 member U.A.W. voted to support a cease-fire — was a shift in the American labor movement’s relationship with Israel.


For decades, the most prominent American unions were largely supportive of Israel. Today, though, amid a resurgence of the American labor movement, some activists are urging their unions to call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and succeeding — a change that reflects a broader generational shift.

But many unions are divided over what stance to take or whether to take any stance at all.


Some American labor leaders have remained supportive of Israel’s war against Hamas, and moved swiftly to condemn Hamas’s attacks on Oct. 7. They are dismayed by the views of a younger generation of organizers who in some cases oppose Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.


“There has been a shift in society, and that’s reflected in the labor movement as it is every place else,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Jewish Labor Committee and head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.


Union Support for Israel


The American labor movement’s traditionally close relationship with Israel stems from decades of Jewish labor leaders staunchly backing the state, even before its founding. In 1917, the American Federation of Labor passed a resolution supporting the Balfour Declaration, which called for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, and throughout the 1920s and ’30s unions donated millions to Histadrut, Israel’s national labor union.


After Israel’s founding in 1948, American unions started investing in the country’s bond program, using money from strike and pension funds. Some also donated money to build stadiums and children’s homes in Israel. By 1994, $1 billion had been invested in those bonds by around 1,700 American trade unions, according to archival research from Jeff Schuhrke, a labor historian at Empire State University.


“In many ways, you can argue that U.S. unions helped construct the state of Israel,” Mr. Schuhrke said.


In 1980, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., Lane Kirkland, declared that a Palestinian state would be “a terrorist state” and “an unmixed disaster to the United States” before hundreds of labor lawyers and union officials. In 1982, the union took out an advertisement in The New York Times declaring support for Israel in its war against Lebanon: “The A.F.L.-C.I.O. is not neutral.”


Union support for Israel sometimes bred internal tensions, with some of the union rank-and-file membership protesting the relationship. In 1949, the same year the International Ladies Garment Worker Union made a $1 million Israeli bond purchase, a group of its members asked the union to support Palestinian refugees. In 1973, thousands of Arab American auto workers in Detroit briefly walked off the job to protest the U.A.W.’s financial support of Israel. In 2002, after John J. Sweeney, then the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, spoke at the National Rally for Israel, a group of union members circulated a petition condemning his support for the country.


Professional Consequences


Since the Israel-Gaza war broke out, debates over the fighting have exposed deeper rifts over how unions should represent their diverse membership, and how to balance political advocacy with professional ramifications.


The Writers Guild faced an outpouring of frustration from more than 300 members when the union didn’t immediately condemn Hamas’s attacks on Oct. 7. Starbucks and its union, Starbucks Workers United, are suing each other over the union’s use of company imagery in a pro-Palestinian social media post. Chris Smalls, head of the Amazon Labor Union, drew backlash for a pro-Palestinian post that included the phrase “from the river to the sea,” — a decades-old Palestinian nationalist slogan that many see as a call for Israel’s annihilation — echoing an outcry The New Yorker’s union faced in 2021 when it posted the phrase on social media.


When a proposed statement calling for a cease-fire circulated in early November at the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, a U.A.W. sub-union of more than 3,000 public defenders and legal workers, a heated internal debate broke out. Those who opposed it said they didn’t understand why the union had to weigh in on the issue, which had little direct connection to their work.


One legal aid lawyer, Isaac Altman, said in an interview that he found the union’s proposed resolution to be one-sided. He said he couldn’t understand why the resolution did not shine a greater spotlight on the violence of Hamas militants. But he was also concerned that the statement would anger the legal establishment in Nassau County, potentially posing a harm to the clients he represents.


So he, along with three other legal aid lawyers, sued to stop the union from voting on a cease-fire resolution. A court issued a temporary injunction.


“I felt there was a real concern that judges would look negatively at this resolution and take it out on our clients,” said Mr. Altman, 27, who is Jewish.


Mr. Altman’s organization, the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, gets its funding from contracts with the Republican-controlled county. He and his colleagues worried about how the proposed resolution might affect their funding.


“We have a higher duty or obligation to our clients that I think trumps people’s right to speak,” said Ilana Kopmar, another plaintiff in the suit and a legal aid lawyer for 31 years. Ms. Kopmar said she was also worried about the impact such a statement could have on Jewish and Israeli clients.


The injunction was dissolved on Dec. 15 by a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York, and a few days later, the cease-fire statement passed, by a vote of 1,067 to 570.


The president of the Neighborhood Defender Service union, which is also part of the legal aid lawyers union, resigned on Nov. 6 over concerns that his organization’s funding would be at risk if it released a statement on the war. The Bronx Defenders, another public defense organization in New York, faced calls to be defunded across the city after its union released a statement in support of Palestinians.


“We have a higher duty or obligation to our clients that I think trumps people’s right to speak,” said Ilana Kopmar, another plaintiff in the suit and a legal aid lawyer for 31 years. Ms. Kopmar said she was also worried about the impact such a statement could have on Jewish and Israeli clients.


The injunction was dissolved on Dec. 15 by a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York, and a few days later, the cease-fire statement passed, by a vote of 1,067 to 570.


The president of the Neighborhood Defender Service union, which is also part of the legal aid lawyers union, resigned on Nov. 6 over concerns that his organization’s funding would be at risk if it released a statement on the war. The Bronx Defenders, another public defense organization in New York, faced calls to be defunded across the city after its union released a statement in support of Palestinians.


“We want the Guild leadership to avoid public positions that compromise the journalistic independence required of many members and could undermine our work,” said Megan Twohey, a leader in the caucus.


The union, which represents workers outside the media industry too, has not taken a position on the war. It has made statements about journalists killed in the conflict.


Within some newer unions, there’s been a reticence to weigh in on a cease-fire. The Alphabet Workers Union, for example, at Google’s parent company Alphabet, which has about 1,400 members, hasn’t voted on whether to call for a cease-fire, partly because the union is nascent and worried about alienating potential members, particularly tech workers in Israel. The issue has come up for discussion at membership meetings and on the messaging app Discord.


A Generational Shift


Changes in union attitudes toward Israel are coming at a moment of wider revival for the American labor movement. After strikes in Hollywood and at auto plants, public approval of unions stood at 67 percent last year, up from 54 percent a decade ago, according to Gallup.


“For a few decades, coinciding with the labor movement’s decline, its vision became much more narrow,” said Mr. Mancilla, the U.A.W. leader. “It was on the defensive.”


Now, many activists are eager to see their unions seize on the momentum of this period by taking bold stances on progressive issues, which they see as part of a history of American labor’s involvement in national and international politics. (Labor unions helped organize the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which tied demands for fair wages and civil rights.)


“People who have become very engaged in their unions want their unions to be the full expression of their politics,” said Rebecca Givan, an associate professor of labor studies at Rutgers. “There’s always a risk that can alienate some people, and it is likely to energize others.”


And some union organizers feel that if they’re taking on political fights at home, they should be taking on battles abroad as well.


Peter Lyngso, 30, a part-time package handler at United Parcel Service and a Chicago union activist, drew a parallel between younger union members’ push for a new contract and their urge to speak out on the conflict. “What you’re seeing is this new activist layer saying these are one and the same fight.”


Longtime labor experts say that the demand for pro-cease-fire statements from American unions is evidence of a generational shift. There’s a new wave of leadership from young activists who grew up after the Oslo Peace process of the 1990s collapsed.


“This is being generated by social-movement young people, Gen Zs, millennials,” said Seth Goldstein, a labor lawyer who has worked with the Amazon Labor Union. “ I don’t think they’re anti-Israel, necessarily. But what they’ve seen in Israel is the Netanyahu government.”


At the same time, some American labor leaders remain adamant about their support for Israel, including Mr. Appelbaum of the Jewish Labor Committee.


Randi Weingarten, 66, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is a longtime supporter of Israel. She went to Israel after the war broke out to meet with civil society groups, pay shiva calls and visit the families of hostages.


On Dec. 18, dozens of protesters outside the Museum of the City of New York demanded that Ms. Weingarten call for a cease-fire. She has since posted that she supports “a bilateral, negotiated ceasefire” that brings the hostages home, provides aid to Gaza and “starts the process of 2 states for 2 peoples.”


Ms. Weingarten said she felt it was important for unions to engage with geopolitical issues, beyond their contract negotiations, even when labor leaders are faced with protest and dissent.


“There will be people within the labor movement that say, ‘Just do the economics, just do collective bargaining,” she said. “Then there are people within the labor movement that say intersectionality is imperative.”



3) War Brings Tensions, and Assault Rifles, Into an Israeli College

At the University of Haifa, more than 40 percent of students are Arab, some with family in Gaza, and many others have now been called up as soldiers.

By Adam Sella, Jan. 7, 2024

Adam Sella visited the University of Haifa, speaking with dozens of students, faculty and staff.


A man with his back to the camera wears a backpack along with his service weapon.

Student-soldiers are required to keep their weapons on them at all times, bringing to class with them an enormous number of semiautomatic rifles. Credit...Amit Elkayam for The New York Times

In a classroom at the University of Haifa in late December, Yitzhak Cohen, a fourth-year law student, began the shoulder-shrugging, arm-contorting choreography familiar to any student trying to remove a backpack.


But instead of a knapsack, Mr. Cohen, 28, a reservist who had recently returned from fighting in Gaza to attend the university’s orientation, unshouldered his military-issue Tavor assault rifle and took a seat in the back of the class.


Nearly three months after the outbreak of war delayed universities’ start dates, students returned on Dec. 31 to campuses in Israel for an abridged semester. Amid the usual first-day jitters, students and faculty were additionally anxious about resuming classes during a war that had unsettled the country, Jews and Arabs alike.


At the University of Haifa, a uniquely mixed institution where more than 40 percent of students are Arabs, those anxieties are amplified by what is among the school’s proudest achievements — its diversity.


For the first time since the outbreak of the war, Jewish students, some of whom had spent the past months fighting in Gaza or lost friends and family in the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7, rubbed shoulders with Arab students. And some of those Arab students had relatives killed in Gaza or had been targeted and silenced on social media because of their views on the war.


While the fighting in Gaza is almost 100 miles away from the university, thoughts of the war are inescapable. About 1,500 military reservists attend the University of Haifa, and as long as they’re called up, the student-soldiers, including Mr. Cohen, are required to keep their weapons on them at all times. As a result, the newly armed students are bringing semiautomatic rifles to class.


“We’re doing everything possible to connect to our students and allay fears that people have,” said Ron Robin, the university’s president. That included focus groups intended to gauge students’ feelings before the start of the semester; Arab and Jewish professors talking with students and each other about the importance of diversity and inclusion; and holding many more meetings via Zoom.


Still, fears persist. More than 50 percent of Jewish and Arab students across the country are afraid of sitting in a classroom with one another, and nearly one in two Arabs have considered not returning to campus at all, according to a November survey by the aChord Center, a nonprofit that focuses on ethnic relations in Israel.


Situated on a hill overlooking the port city of Haifa, the university is dedicated to a mission of encouraging students to embrace a shared society, Mr. Robin said. On a windy December day, two female students wearing army uniforms, M16s slung over their shoulders, carried plastic bags filled with dorm-room supplies, while a first-year student wandered the corridors looking for his classroom. A few women wearing hijabs gathered around a picnic table.


Nicole Rashed, 21, a Christian Arab citizen of Israel, said that a key concern among Arab students returning to campus was whether their freedom of speech would be curtailed. Since the Oct. 7 attack, in which nearly 1,200 people were killed, according to the Israeli authorities, the University of Haifa has temporarily suspended nine students who administrators said had made pro-Hamas posts on social media. Mr. Robin said that the students were still under disciplinary review and that the university was trying to reach a compromise to drop the charges.


In light of the suspensions, some Arab students said they worried that if they made comments condemning the war, it could end their academic careers.


“Arab students think that if I post about a dead baby in Gaza on my story, they will stop my studies,” Ms. Rashed said. She does not believe the university plans to be so draconian, she added, but she is wary of making posts about the war on social media.


Ms. Rashed noted that she strongly condemned Hamas’s atrocities on Oct. 7 and understood Israel’s need to defend itself. But she is equally critical of the mounting death toll in Gaza, where, according to health officials there, more than 22,000 people have been killed.


“Speaking about the conflict is very complicated because you have to speak perfectly,” Ms. Rashed said. But, she added, the perfect sentence does not exist, “so I would rather not say anything.”


What most frustrates Ms. Rashed is the feeling that she always has to go above and beyond to prove that she does not support terrorism just because she is an Arab. “It sucks,” she said.


Asad Ghanem, a political science professor at the university and a Palestinian citizen of Israel, said he felt that, even before the war, the university took few “measures to let Arab students feel at home.” Oct. 7 and its aftermath, he said, have exacerbated those feelings.


He said he worried about being attacked by students who did not agree with his views, which are critical of both Israel and Hamas. In October, he said, several students threatened him with violence.


“I have to be more careful,” Dr. Ghanem said, explaining that he planned to set strict guidelines for his seminar this semester on the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is prepared to cut short debates to ensure heated discussions do not escalate.


The Israeli students have their own fears. Daniel Sakhnovich, 24, a freshman planning to study economics and Asian studies, said he was worried that some of his classmates supported Hamas and believed the wanton nature of the Oct. 7 atrocities was justified.


“You don’t know what’s going on in other people’s minds,” he said.


And like many students starting at the university, he was concerned that tensions on and off campus would make for an especially difficult first year.


“Everyone always says, ‘Oh, I met my best friends in college,’” Mr. Sakhnovich said. “I’m worried I won’t have that.”


Mr. Cohen, the reservist finishing his law degree, said he was aware that maintaining his social and academic life this year would most likely come second to protecting his peers’ actual lives. As the war in Gaza persists and tensions flare up along the Lebanese borders and in the West Bank, he said he felt an added responsibility to protect his classmates should there be an attack on campus.


Even so, “It’s not much fun to come to class with this gun,” Mr. Cohen said about the assault rifle on his lap. “It’s heavy.”


As he sat in the back of a lecture hall surrounded by classmates, the war for a moment felt very far away.


“I think the best treatment for the shock and post-trauma is a return to normal,” he said.


But then, in the middle of the orientation lecture, he received an urgent call from his commander: “Return to base, now.”


Mr. Cohen shouldered his rifle and left campus.


His return to normalcy would have to wait a bit longer.



4) Eight Palestinians and an Israeli officer are killed in West Bank violence.

By Isabel Kershner reporting from Jerusalem, Jan. 7, 2024


A crowd of mourners, some carrying stretchers with the bodies of the dead, is seen from above.

Mourners carrying the bodies of Palestinians during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin on Sunday. Credit...Majdi Mohammed/Associated Press

An uptick in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank early Sunday left at least eight Palestinians, an Israeli officer and a resident of Jerusalem dead, officials said, adding to tensions in the territory even as fighting continued in Gaza.


An Israeli drone strike killed seven Palestinian men when clashes broke out during a pre-dawn Israeli military incursion into Jenin, a hotbed of Palestinian militancy in the northern West Bank, and an eighth man was killed by Israeli soldiers in the central West Bank, according to Palestinian health officials.


An Israeli border police officer was killed during the Jenin raid when a bomb planted under a road blew up the military vehicle in which she was riding, Israeli officials said. Several other officers were injured.


Later Sunday morning, armed assailants shot and killed a man from East Jerusalem who was driving along a road in the central West Bank. Israeli news media identified him as an Arab resident of a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and said that a woman was also wounded in the shooting. The gunmen are presumed to have targeted the car because of its Israeli license plates.


A Palestinian-registered car apparently used by the gunmen was found abandoned nearby, according to Israeli officials.


Four of the seven Palestinians killed in the Jenin raid were brothers ranging in age from 22 to 29, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, Wafa. The Israeli military said those killed had been throwing explosive devices at Israeli forces.


Jenin, and particularly its refugee camp, now a crowded neighborhood within the city, has been a focus of Israeli military raids for months, even before the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks from Gaza prompted a surge in West Bank violence.


A two-day Israeli assault in early July was one of the largest military incursions in the West Bank in years. Twelve Palestinians were killed in that raid, which Israeli officials said was aimed at rooting out Palestinian armed groups after a year of escalating violence, including a surge in shooting attacks on Israeli targets and efforts by Palestinian militants to fire crude rockets toward Israel. During the operation, Israeli forces carried out their first airstrikes in the West Bank in nearly two decades.


Israeli military officials said at the time that the Jenin camp had become a refuge for gunmen, as the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, the body that nominally administers parts of the West Bank, rarely set foot there.


In that raid, military bulldozers churned up roads and alleys in what officials said was an effort to expose bombs and tripwires planted beneath the asphalt. Those types of explosives appeared to be what killed the border police officer on Sunday. The so-called Jenin Battalion of Islamic Jihad, a local armed group, released video footage appearing to show the explosion that killed the Israeli officer. Islamic Jihad sometimes rivals the larger Hamas and sometimes cooperates with it.


Leaders of Hamas have been exhorting its armed supporters in the West Bank to join the larger battle against Israel since the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people. The attacks touched off a devastating war in Gaza in which more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gazan health officials.



5) Two journalists are killed in Gaza, including the son of a well-known Al Jazeera reporter.

By Vivian Yee and Ameera Harouda, Jan. 7, 2024


A man in a vest that says PRESS holds the hand of a corpse under a plastic sheet and puts his arm around a young girl. They are surrounded by mourners.

Wael al-Dahdouh, an Al Jazeera correspondent, holding the hand of his deceased son Hamza during his funeral in Rafah, Gaza, on Sunday.Credit...Hatem Ali/Associated Press

Wael al-Dahdouh, a well-known Palestinian correspondent for Al Jazeera TV who has spent his career covering Gaza, had already lost his wife, a son, a daughter and an infant grandson in an Israeli airstrike in October.


On Sunday, he lost another member of his family to the war: his eldest son, Hamza, was killed in an Israeli airstrike that left two journalists dead and wounded two others, according to the authorities in Gaza.


The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that an Israeli drone strike hit the car Hamza al-Dahdouh was traveling in west of the southern city of Khan Younis. He was killed along with another journalist, Mustafa Thuraya. Two others, Ahmed Al-Burash and Amer Abu Amr, were injured.


Wael al-Dahdouh said his son was working for Al Jazeera at the time of his death. Wafa reported that the two injured men worked for Palestine Today, a TV channel.


Photos from news agencies of the attack’s aftermath showed a burned-out sedan that was missing its windshield and most of its roof and hood. In a video apparently taken shortly after Sunday’s airstrike and shared with journalists on WhatsApp, a crowd gathers around the car. Someone throws a blanket over a body in the driver’s seat, while others carry another person from the passenger side.


“Nothing is harder than the pain of loss. And when you experience this pain time after time, it becomes harder and more severe,” Wael al-Dahdouh told Al Jazeera after his son’s death. He added: “I wish that the blood of my son Hamza will be the last from journalists and the last from people here in Gaza, and for this massacre to stop.”


The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Military officials have said it does not target journalists and takes measures to protect them and other civilians.


As of Saturday, at least 70 Palestinian journalists and media workers had been killed in Gaza, some while covering the conflict, some when they were at home or sheltering with their families, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which said it was also investigating “numerous” other reports of journalists being killed.


Their deaths have made it difficult to obtain information about the scale and destructiveness of the fighting, a problem worsened by degraded communications networks and the lack of permission from Israel and Egypt for foreign journalists to enter Gaza.


The government media office in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, called the killings of Mr. al-Dahdouh and Mr. Thuraya another attempt to “intimidate journalists” and “obscure the truth” in a statement on Sunday.


The family of Wael al-Dahdouh, the Gaza bureau chief for Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language service, had taken shelter at the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza in late October after evacuating from their home in Gaza City. That was where they were hit by the Israeli airstrike, Al Jazeera reported at the time. He was reporting live when he found out.


Last month, Wael al-Dahdouh was injured, and the camera operator he was working with was killed, after what Al Jazeera said was a drone strike on a school-turned-shelter in Khan Younis where they were working. Al Jazeera reported that strike, too, was an Israeli attack.


Hamza al-Dahdouh was covering the airstrikes, too. Hours before his death, Hamza, who described himself on Instagram as a photographer, journalist, cameraman and producer, appeared to be behind the camera, posting photos of destroyed buildings in Gaza and of a colleague in a bulletproof vest marked “Press” broadcasting from a rubble-strewn street.


On Saturday, Hamza had posted a photo of his father. “Do not despair of recovery and do not despair of God’s mercy,” he wrote, “and be certain that God will reward you well for being patient.”


His father responded in a post of his own, “May God protect you.”



6) What Will Happen to Gaza’s People?

By Peter Beinart, Jan. 7, 2024


White and gray smoke rises from a bombed-out area. The sea is visible in the background.

Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Conventional wisdom has generally held that Israel’s government lacks a strategy for the Gaza Strip beyond toppling Hamas.


“Israel has no plan for Gaza after war ends, experts warn,” the BBC reported in October. In November The Washington Post observed that “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under criticism for not offering a clear plan for what happens in Gaza if Israel succeeds in its goal of deposing Hamas.” A headline in Foreign Affairs in December lamented “Israel’s Muddled Strategy in Gaza.”


But there are signs that some members of the Israeli government do indeed have a strategy, or at least a preference, for what happens next. It’s implicit in the kind of war Israel has waged, which has made Gaza largely unlivable. And a growing number of Israeli officials are saying it out loud: They don’t want to force just Hamas out of Gaza. They want many of Gaza’s people to leave, too.


The calls for population transfers started long before Gaza was reduced to the ruins that it is today. Six days after Hamas’s massacre of Israelis on Oct. 7, the Intelligence Ministry proposed permanently relocating Gazans to the Sinai region of Egypt. On Nov. 14, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said he supported “the voluntary emigration of Gaza Arabs to countries around the world.” Five days later, Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel endorsed “the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip.”


The Israel Hayom newspaper reported on Nov. 30 that Mr. Netanyahu had asked Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, one of his closest confidants, to develop a plan to “thin” the population in Gaza “to a minimum” by prying open Egypt’s doors and opening up sea routes to other countries. Mr. Netanyahu also reportedly urged President Biden and the leaders of Britain and France to push Egypt to admit hundreds of thousands of Gazan refugees.


At times, Israeli officials have downplayed or denied these reports. Mr. Netanyahu’s office called the Intelligence Ministry’s transfer plan a mere “concept paper” and Israel’s embassy in Washington clarified that the intelligence minister was speaking only for herself. Other influential government ministers — like Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, a Netanyahu rival and former chief of staff of the Israeli military who joined the government after Oct. 7 — oppose moving Gaza’s population outside the Strip, according to Israel Hayom. Mr. Gallant, it emerged last week, has floated a proposal that would have Palestinians unconnected to Hamas or the Palestinian Authority administering the territory, with other countries overseeing reconstruction.


But in recent days the talk of Palestinian departures from Gaza has grown louder. At a meeting of his Likud party on Dec. 25, Mr. Netanyahu was urged by a legislator to put into place a team to facilitate the “voluntary” departure of Palestinians from Gaza. The prime minister reportedly replied that the government was “working on” finding countries willing to take them.


Similar comments from Israel’s national security minister followed, with The Times of Israel asserting on Wednesday that voluntary resettlement from Gaza is gradually becoming “a key official policy of the government.”


Some might dismiss this talk of population transfer as wartime bluster. But on the ground, it is already well underway: Gaza is becoming uninhabitable. According to the United Nations, an estimated 85 percent of Gaza’s people are now displaced. Even if they could return to their homes, many would have little to go back to since, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, nearly 70 percent of Gaza’s housing is damaged or destroyed.


More than 22,000 Gazans have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, and many more are in acute danger. According to the Gaza director of affairs for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, 40 percent of the Strip’s residents are at risk of famine. Given the collapse of Gaza’s sanitation and medical systems, as much as a quarter of Gaza’s people could die within the year, mostly from disease or lack of access to medical care, according to a recent estimate by Prof. Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh.


If the fighting in Gaza ends soon, this cataclysm could ease. But in late December, Mr. Netanyahu suggested that Israel’s war in Gaza would “last for many more months,” albeit with fewer troops. Defense Minister Gallant has said it could take years. And as long as hostilities in Gaza continue, Israel will not allow most of Gaza’s displaced to go back to their homes for safety’s sake, the Israeli journalist Nadav Eyal recently reported. They may not return for “at least a year,” he suggested.


The humanitarian catastrophe, in other words, is likely to persist. And the longer it does, the more pressure Egypt will feel to alleviate it by letting Gaza’s residents in. Israeli officials would most likely continue to depict such a migration as voluntary, despite having created the conditions that precipitated it.


So far, both Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and the Biden administration have said they adamantly oppose relocating Gaza’s people. The U.S. State Department last week  said the Israeli government has repeatedly told American officials that resettlement outside Gaza is not its official policy.


But some members of Israel’s government reportedly believe that Egypt — which owes creditors a whopping $28 billion in debt payments next year — is vulnerable to pressure. And U.S. politics could always change: Asked last month what should happen to Gaza’s Palestinians, the Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley replied, “They should go to pro-Hamas countries.”


There’s a chilling historical backdrop to all this. Palestinians in Gaza know that if they leave, Israel is unlikely to let them to return. They know this because most of them are descendants of the expulsion and flight that occurred around Israel’s founding in 1948, which Palestinians call the nakba. They live in Gaza because Israel didn’t let their families return to the places that then became part of Israel. Hundreds of thousands more Palestinians were displaced when Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967. It didn’t let many of those refugees return either.


Israel’s leaders rarely express regret for these mass displacements. Sometimes, they even invoke them as precedent. Addressing Palestinians on Facebook after three Israelis were murdered in the West Bank in 2017, Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s current national security adviser, warned, “This is how a ‘nakba’ begins. Just like this. Remember ’48. Remember ’67.”


He ended his post with the words, “You’ve been warned!”


The world has been warned too.



7) Israel Says Its Military Is Starting to Shift to a More Targeted Gaza Campaign

Israeli officials privately say that they hope to complete the transition by the end of January but that the timeline could change.

By Patrick Kingsley, Adam Entous and Edward Wong, Jan. 8, 2024


Three Israeli soldiers wearing green uniforms in front of a tank.

An Israeli official said the country would continue to reduce the number of troops in Gaza, a process that began this month. Credit...Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Israel said its military is starting to shift from a large-scale ground and air campaign in the Gaza Strip to a more targeted phase in its war against Hamas, and Israeli officials have privately told their American counterparts that they hoped the transition would be completed by the end of January, U.S. officials said.


Israel’s disclosure came as Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken was expected in Israel to press officials there to curtail their campaign in Gaza and to prevent the war from spreading across the region, particularly in the aftermath of an Israeli strike last week that killed senior Hamas leaders in Lebanon and as Hezbollah said one of its commanders was killed in a strike in the country.


Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israeli military, said the new phase of the campaign involved fewer troops and airstrikes. U.S. officials said they expected the transition to rely more on surgical missions by smaller groups of elite Israeli forces that would move in and out of population centers in the Gaza Strip to find and kill Hamas leaders, rescue hostages and destroy tunnels.


“The war shifted a stage,” Admiral Hagari said Monday in an interview. “But the transition will be with no ceremony,” he added. “It’s not about dramatic announcements.”


He said Israel would continue to reduce the number of troops in Gaza, a process that began this month. The intensity of operations in northern Gaza has already begun to ebb, he added, as the military shifts toward conducting one-off raids there instead of maintaining wide-scale maneuvers.


Israel will now focus instead on Hamas’s southern and central strongholds, particularly around Khan Younis and Deir al Balah, said Admiral Hagari, adding that he expected more aid and tents to be let into Gaza.


U.S. officials say they believe the number of Israeli troops in the northern part of Gaza has dropped to less than half of the some 50,000 soldiers that had been present as recently as last month during the height of the campaign. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue.


Still, Israeli officials have made clear to U.S. officials that, while they hope to complete the transition by the end of the month, the timeline is not fixed. If Israeli forces encounter Hamas resistance that is stiffer than expected, or discover threats that they did not anticipate, the size and pace of the withdrawal could slow, and intensive airstrikes could continue, they said.


President Biden has strongly supported Israel’s war in Gaza, in which the Israeli military, armed with American weapons, has killed about 23,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, according to the Gaza health ministry.


But Mr. Biden has come under pressure internationally, and from within his own administration, to rein in Israel’s campaign, launched after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on southern Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and 240 hostages were seized.


Mr. Biden told aides last month that he wanted the Israelis to make the transition around Jan. 1. The Israelis presented the Americans with their own transition timeline. Upon hearing it, Mr. Biden’s aides urged the Israelis to move more quickly


With the transition now underway, there is a growing sense of urgency among Israeli and American officials to come up with plans to restore and maintain public order in the Gaza Strip as Israeli troops accelerate their withdrawal.


Israeli officials have told their American counterparts that they envision a loose network of local mayors, security officials and leaders from prominent Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip stepping in to provide basic security in the near term in the areas where they live. These local leaders, according to Israeli officials, could oversee the distribution of humanitarian aid and enforce day-to-day order.


Though many of these local leaders will most likely have some ties to Hamas, which took control of the territory in 2007, Israeli officials see the district-by-district approach, in conjunction with aid groups on the ground, as their best option to allow for the distribution of humanitarian aid and to provide a measure of security for civilians.


Israeli officials have floated a wide range of other ideas. Some of them have held out hope that Arab states would agree to send in a peacekeeping force. Others have promoted the idea of a multinational force led by the United States, but with Israeli oversight for security of the strip. But U.S. officials say that their Israeli counterparts have not formally asked them to pursue the idea of an international force because they know it is unlikely to happen.


Israel’s plans have generally lacked detail, amid public disagreement among members of the government about how much control Israel should retain over Gaza after the war. Some have called for Israeli civilians to resettle the territory, while others, like the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, have ruled out an Israeli civilian presence.


To provide security in the Gaza Strip in the medium and long term, U.S. officials have proposed retraining members of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. U.S. officials said they believed that there are at least 6,000 members of these forces in the Gaza Strip but retraining them will take many months, and it is unclear whether Israel will accept their deployment or how the local population will receive them.


The Biden administration has called for a “revamped and revitalized” Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza after the war, viewing it as a path toward a two-state solution that would create a Palestinian state consisting of Gaza and the West Bank, a proposal that many Israelis on the right oppose. So far, Israeli leaders have all but ruled out the idea of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority administering the Gaza Strip, and many Palestinians see it as corrupt and as an extension of Israel.


The Palestinian Authority has said it will help with postwar governance only if it is part of a wider process toward the creation of a Palestinian state.


On Jan. 1, the Israeli military announced that it would begin withdrawing several thousand troops from the Gaza Strip, at least temporarily. Israeli officials told their American counterparts in private that this was the start of the transition.


Mr. Blinken has visited a half-dozen countries in the region since landing in Turkey on Friday and has spoken to leaders in each of them about how they might help in a postwar Gaza. He expects to speak with Israeli leaders about the ramping down of the war and how the strip might function in the coming months, a State Department official on the trip said.



8) The death of a Hezbollah commander stokes fears of a widening war.

By Euan Ward, Isabel Kershner and Andrés R. Martínez, Jan. 8, 2024


A head and shoulders shot of two men.

An undated photograph released by Hezbollah’s press office on social media showed Wissam Hassan al-Tawil, left, with the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Credit...Hezbollah Military Media Office, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hezbollah said on Monday that one of its commanders had been killed in a strike in southern Lebanon, adding to concerns about a wider regional war as Israel battles Hamas in Gaza.


The killing of the commander, identified by Hezbollah as Wissam Hassan al-Tawil, came amid Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s Middle East trip aimed at preventing the Israel-Hamas war from spreading to other fronts.


Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, and Israel have traded increasingly intense and deadly cross-border fire since the Israel-Hamas war began three months ago, eliciting Israeli warnings of a full-scale war. Six days ago, a strike in Beirut — attributed, like the one on Monday, to Israel — killed a top Hamas official who was a liaison to Hezbollah and to the two groups’ mutual patron, Iran.


A Lebanese security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said that Mr. al-Tawil was a commander in Hezbollah’s Radwan unit, which Israel says aims to infiltrate its northern border. The official said that Mr. al-Tawil had been killed in an Israeli strike in Khirbet Selm, a village in southern Lebanon that is about nine miles from the Israeli border.


The Israeli military did not directly comment on the attack. In a statement, it said that an Israeli fighter jet had carried out “a series of strikes,” hitting a Hezbollah military site, without giving further details.


Mr. al-Tawil’s role in Hezbollah was not immediately clear. But in an apparent effort to signal his seniority, Al Manar, a Hezbollah-owned Lebanese broadcaster, posted images of him alongside various high-ranking Hezbollah officials including the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, as well as with Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian general who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2020.


A day earlier, the Israeli military said that it had killed at least seven members of Hezbollah in strikes aimed at destroying the Radwan unit and that it was ready to attack more of Hezbollah’s positions. The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi, said that its forces were determined to keep pressure on Hezbollah and that if those efforts fell short, Israel was ready to fight “another war.”


“We will create a completely different reality, or we will get to another war,” he said on Sunday.


Hezbollah attacks damaged an Israeli military base on Saturday, one of the group’s biggest assaults against Israel in months of back-and-forth strikes across the border. The powerful Lebanese militia has pledged support for Hamas, and in recent days, it has stepped up assaults on Israel in response to the killing last week of Saleh al-Arouri a senior Hamas leader, outside of Beirut.


The rocket fire on the base, the Northern Air Control Unit on Mount Meron, left it with significant damage, according to accounts in the Israeli news media, but the facility is still operating “and has been reinforced with additional systems,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, said on Sunday.


The clashes have added to concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could grow into a wider regional conflict, and have forced tens of thousands of people on each side of the Israel-Lebanon border to evacuate their communities. In solidarity with Hamas, the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen has attacked ships in the Red Sea and launched missiles at Israel. The United States has struck targets in Iraq, while Israel is presumed to have carried out targeted assassinations in Syria and Lebanon.


Israeli leaders have repeatedly declared in recent weeks that there are only two options for restoring calm in the conflict with Hezbollah: a diplomatic solution that would move the Radwan forces farther from the border, north of the Litani River; or, failing that, a major Israeli military offensive aimed at achieving the same goal.


Calm, they say, is a prerequisite for about 80,000 Israelis who have been evacuated from the area to be able to return to their homes. A similar number of Lebanese have fled their homes on the other side of the border.


“Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into a totally unnecessary war,” Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, told reporters on Monday.


“We are now at a fork in the road,” he added. “Either Hezbollah backs off, hopefully as part of a diplomatic solution, or we will push it away.”


The Biden administration has been calling for an agreement that would move Hezbollah forces away from the border, but with little apparent progress. Although Israeli officials have said that time for a diplomatic deal is running out, analysts say that Israel is wary of significantly expanding the conflict with Hezbollah while the military is still engaged in intensive fighting in Gaza.



9) A crucial hospital in central Gaza empties out as Israeli forces move closer.

By Hiba Yazbek and Ameera Harouda, Jan. 8, 2024


People lying on cots, standing and sitting in a crowded hospital area.

A crowded room in Al-Aqsa Hospital last week, filled with the wounded as well as displaced people seeking shelter. Credit...Mohammed Al-Masri/Reuters

The area around the last functioning hospital in central Gaza has come under heavy fire in recent days as Israeli forces have moved closer, forcing hundreds of patients and most of the hospital’s medical staff to flee, according to staff members, health officials and the United Nations’ World Health Organization.


The W.H.O.’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Sunday that his agency had received “troubling reports of increasing hostilities and ongoing evacuation orders” near the facility, Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah. He said United Nations workers who visited the hospital had seen “sickening scenes of people of all ages being treated on blood-streaked floors and in chaotic corridors.”


The challenges facing Al-Aqsa grew on Monday with strikes in central Gaza that the Gazan health ministry said had killed dozens of people and injured scores more, all of whom would have been brought to the hospital. On Sunday, the ministry said that Israeli drones were “firing extensively” at the hospital, causing patients and staff to flee.


The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the reports. Israel has said that the militant group Hamas, which it aims to eliminate in Gaza, uses hospitals and other civilian facilities to hide fighters and weapons.


In a video of the W.H.O. visit on Sunday, Sean Casey, the agency’s emergency medical team coordinator, said, “There are patients coming in every few minutes,” adding: “It’s really a chaotic scene.” He said that the hospital was operating with 30 percent of the staff it had just a few days earlier and that hundreds of injured people were arriving for treatment every day.


Anas Azara, a nurse in the emergency department at Al-Aqsa, said in an interview on Monday that the hospital had been surrounded by Israeli tanks as the military advanced further into the area. Most staff members and displaced people who were sheltering there had evacuated over the last four days, he said.


He added that the Israeli military had not ordered the evacuation of the hospital, and that an Israeli drone shot directly at its entrance on Sunday. It was not possible to independently verify his account.


Al-Aqsa Hospital is one of only 13 hospitals that are still partially functioning in Gaza, according to the United Nations, and is facing a severe lack of medical equipment, according to staff members and health officials. Still, it is the only hospital taking in the mounting casualties amid an escalation of Israel’s offensive in central Gaza.


Two humanitarian groups, Medical Aid for Palestinians and the International Rescue Committee, said in a joint statement on Monday that their medical teams had ceased their work at the hospital as a result of the increasing Israeli military activity.


Those who have remained at the hospital were in a “state of panic and extreme fear,” Mr. Azara said. “The sound of shooting from drones and tanks is very close by,” he said. He added that some displaced families who remained at the hospital were preparing to flee to Rafah, an already overcrowded area in southern Gaza near the border with Egypt.


Mr. Azara said that he was among three nurses and two doctors still working in the hospital’s emergency department on Monday. Another doctor and nurse were working in the operation rooms, he said.


“The current situation could cause the hospital to cease its operations, which will lead to very catastrophic consequences,” Mr. Azara said. “Dead bodies will pile up in the streets.”


Nader Ibrahim contributed reporting.



10) Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators Block N.Y. Bridge and Tunnel Traffic

Demonstrators protesting Israel’s bombardment of Gaza blocked the Manhattan entrance to the Holland Tunnel and disrupted traffic on three major bridges.

By Andrew Keh and Liset Cruz, Jan. 8, 2024


Protesters wearing masks and some draped with keffiyehs sit cross-legged and hold hands on a road with the Brooklyn Bridge behind them.

Pro-Palestinian protesters blocked the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday morning. Credit...Alex Kent for The New York Times

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators on Monday morning blocked off entrances to the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, as well as the Holland Tunnel, disrupting rush-hour traffic in Manhattan as they protested Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip and called for a cease-fire.


Protesters at the Holland Tunnel held aloft a Palestinian flag and banners that read “Lift the siege on Gaza” and “End the occupation.” Nearby, a group of demonstrators in fluorescent vests and masks linked arms and redirected cars away from the outbound ramp.


The participants gathered at City Hall Park early Monday, the police said, before dispersing in smaller groups and traveling to the bridges and the tunnel.


Such protests have become an almost daily feature of life in New York City since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing roughly 1,200 people. Israel has since killed more than 22,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children, in airstrikes and a ground invasion, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, with thousands more missing.


The demonstrations have sparked debates about the effectiveness of public protests that disrupt daily life in American cities.


“In Gaza, of course, people have limited mobility, no freedom of movement, they cannot leave, even if they want to, they move place to place then those places are bombed,” Rachel Himes, one of the demonstrators, said shortly before she was arrested at the Holland Tunnel, explaining why protesters had chosen to block traffic. “We wanted to create that condition temporarily in Manhattan.”


Shortly before 10 a.m., police officers at the Holland Tunnel told the protesters that they had two minutes to clear the area. Moments later, they began arresting some of them, binding their hands with zip ties, as onlookers chanted, “Let Gaza live!” Traffic resumed through the tunnel just after 10:30.


Those arrested at the Brooklyn Bridge were shepherded onto an out-of-service city bus.


The police did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how many people were arrested in all.


Julian Roberts-Grmela and Claire Fahy contributed reporting.



11) A Glimpse Inside a Devastated Gaza

In the ruins of two Gazan towns, New York Times journalists witnessed the sheer destruction that Israel’s war has wrought and the devastation of Hamas’s operations.

By Patrick KingsleyPhotographs by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv, Jan. 9, 2024

Patrick Kingsley, a reporter, and Avishag Shaar-Yashuv, a photographer, traveled with Israeli troops to document the effects of the war in Gaza.


Soldiers and military vehicles dot a terrain of damaged buildings and dusty roads under a grayish sky.

Israeli soldiers in central Gaza on Monday.

For a few fleeting moments, the two-story house on the edge of Bureij, a ruined town in central Gaza, still felt like a Palestinian home.


Bottles of nail polish, perfume and hair gel stood untouched on a shelf. A collection of fridge magnets decorated the frame of a mirror. Through a window, one could see laundry, hanging from a neighbor’s washing line, swaying in the gentle breeze.


But despite the trappings of home, the house now has a new function — as a makeshift Israeli military barracks.


Since Israeli ground forces recently fought their way into this part of central Gaza, a unit from the military’s 188th Brigade has taken over the building, using it as a dormitory, storeroom and lookout point.


On Monday, some soldiers were awaiting orders in the ground-floor living room, or standing watch on the terrace above. One bedroom was crowded with the soldiers’ backpacks and equipment.


The house's walls were marred with Hebrew graffiti. “The people of Israel,” read one message, written in black spray paint.


The people of Gaza were nowhere in sight.


The house was emblematic of the ruined wasteland that two journalists for The New York Times witnessed on a three-hour journey with Israeli soldiers through Gaza on Monday morning.


Since Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people, according to officials, Israel has pummeled Gaza from the air and captured large parts of it on the ground, leading to widespread death and destruction.


About 23,000 Gazans have been killed in the Israeli campaign, according to Gazan officials — approximately 1 percent of the population. More than 80 percent of the enclave’s residents have been displaced, according to the United Nations. Some 60 percent of the buildings have been damaged, the U.N. has also said.


As we traveled through central Gaza on Monday, every village bore the marks of war. Some buildings had collapsed entirely, their floors stacked on top of the other like piles of books. Tower blocks, missing whole sections, stood precariously. The house in Bureij was missing an outer wall. A grove of trees next door had been leveled, the plants ripped from their roots and the land churned into mud.


Ultimately, all the buildings near the house would most likely be destroyed, a senior commander said, once the army exploded a Hamas tunnel network that he said lay beneath them.


“They destroyed everything — the buildings, the infrastructure, the farmlands,” Hazem al-Madhoun, 35, an aid worker who was sheltering nearby with his family on Monday morning, said of the Israeli military.


“We lived a very bad experience,” Mr. al-Madhoun said in a phone interview conducted after his family fled to a less dangerous part of Gaza on Monday evening.


The soldiers leading the tour said that the damage had predominantly been the fault of Hamas, both because the Oct. 7 raid forced Israel’s hand and because the group’s fighters had embedded in residential areas, using civilians as human shields.


The Israeli army brought the journalists to Bureij and the neighboring town of Maghazi to try to emphasize that point. They highlighted the proximity of Hamas’s military facilities — including a rocket storehouse and a building that soldiers said was a weapons plant — and the nearby civilian infrastructure.


Maj. Gen. Itai Veruv, a commander at the front, pointed out residential apartment blocks from which, he said, Hamas fighters had fired on the Israeli army and soldiers were forced to fire back at the buildings.


“I try to avoid hitting those towers, but we have no choice,” General Veruv said. “The damage is not the goal. It is a side effect.”


The troops showed off a stockpile of rockets, each roughly three yards long, contained in a shed close to a major civilian highway, a telecommunications depot and a clothing warehouse. A Hamas logo had been stuck to the wall.


The soldiers also took reporters to a civilian steelworks, in which, they said, Hamas had made munitions. Both locations contained large shafts that the soldiers said connected to a vast tunnel network, hundreds of miles long. Much of the damage visible above ground, the soldiers said, was in aid of destroying what could not immediately be seen beneath the surface — a warren of passageways from which, they said, Hamas conducts it military operations, stores weapons and holds some of the surviving 240 hostages captured on Oct. 7.


A third tunnel opening was found in a one-story farmhouse. The military did not allow journalists to enter the shafts to verify how they were used, citing the possible presence of explosives and dangerous chemicals.


Soldiers had torn down the walls of houses in Bureij, like the one where the 188th Brigade was quartering, because it was too dangerous to enter through the front door, General Veruv said. Hamas, he added, often booby-trapped entrances. A grove of trees beside the village may have been filled with land mines, prompting the army to level it, one of his subordinates said.


“I don’t come for revenge,” General Veruv said. “I come because it’s necessary.”


To accompany the soldiers, Times journalists agreed not to photograph a digital map within the Israeli military vehicle or the faces of some special forces fighters. The Times did not allow the Israeli military to screen its coverage before publication.


The Times accepted those conditions to secure rare access to wartime Gaza, which has been off-limits to foreign journalists except when embedded with the Israeli military or, in one case, an Emirati aid group.


Reporting in Gaza has otherwise been profoundly challenging: Scores of Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli strikes; Hamas has placed restrictions on the news media; and telecommunications networks have frequently failed, sometimes because of direct Israeli intervention, according to U.S. officials.


Bureij is a place maimed by war — roads ground into dust, plumes of smoke rising from rubble, living rooms naked to the wind. Occasionally, there were moments of fleeting beauty: a bright yellow parakeet, perhaps escaped from an abandoned home, darting past an Israeli tank; a break in the gunfire punctuated by birdsong.


All morning, fighting could be heard throughout the area, most of it machine-gun fire and shelling, as Israeli troops advancing deeper into Gaza clashed with Hamas fighters.


Mr. al-Madhoun, the aid worker, said members of his extended family had almost been caught in the crossfire as they began their journey south on Monday morning, helped by an aid group that coordinated their safe passage with the Israeli army, sharing the family’s coordinates and license plates with the soldiers.


“We were evacuated under the bullets,” Mr. al-Madhoun said.


The death toll in Gaza has prompted accusations that Israel is committing genocide, an allegation that will be brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Thursday.


But, according to the Israeli government and General Veruv, the military is doing its best to preserve civilian life in a battle against an enemy untrammeled by such concerns.


“For me, it’s not a revenge war,” he said. “I have a lot of sympathy for the people here.”


Among the military’s rank-and-file, though, there were signs of a less benign attitude. Self-shot videos have emerged of Israeli soldiers destroying or rifling through belongings found in Gazan homes, or writing disrespectful graffiti on the walls.


In the house in Bureij, one soldier had written a message in Hebrew that appeared to mock another soldier for failing to kill anyone.


“Sapir doesn’t have an X,” the graffiti read.


In military slang, an X refers to the notch that some soldiers inscribe on their rifle after shooting someone dead.


Outside, a lone white-haired goat wandered through the rutted landscape. Its Gazan owners had fled, leaving it to sniff at the tracks of an Israeli tank.



12) As Israel shifts its war tempo, it offers different messages at home and abroad.

By Patrick Kingsley and Johnatan Reiss reporting from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Jan. 9, 2024


Two soldiers standing in dirt next to a military vehicle.

Israeli soldiers near a military vehicle in central Gaza on Monday, during an escorted tour with the Israeli military. Credit...Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times

As gaps widen between Israeli and international perceptions of the war against Hamas in Gaza, the Israeli leadership is employing different rhetoric when addressing the two audiences about how the war will be conducted in 2024.


Israeli officials have begun to tell the international news media that its forces are shifting to a less intense phase of operations, particularly in northern Gaza, amid growing international alarm at the scale of destruction and civilian casualties in the territory.


But after those comments were published on Monday, Israeli leaders sought to reassure the Israeli public that Israel remained committed to a long-term war in Gaza to destroy Hamas, even as its military tactics were shifting.


Analysts said the messages are not incompatible: The pace of a war can ebb without the conflict ending entirely. But they said they reflected the Israeli government’s effort to placate an international audience in the short term in order to pursue its goals over the long term.


On Monday, the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in an interview with The New York Times that the war had entered a new phase, with Israel drawing down its troops, focusing on southern regions of Gaza and decreasing the number of airstrikes. Hours earlier, Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, had told The Wall Street Journal that Israel would soon transition from “intense maneuvering” toward “different types of special operations.”


Then, in his daily Hebrew-language press briefing on Monday night, Admiral Hagari responded to a question about his interview with The Times by saying that the goal of dismantling Hamas remained in place, and that the “semantics” of whether the war had entered a new phase “doesn’t serve the Israeli public.”


Separately, the Israeli news media reported that Mr. Gallant had told fellow right-wing lawmakers, in a closed-door meeting, that the war would continue “for many more months,” and for that to happen, Israel needed a “margin for international maneuver.” Mr. Gallant’s office confirmed the remarks.


The comments to international news media also appeared to be an effort to address calls from the United States, Israel’s strongest ally, to ease the fighting, and they came hours before the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, landed in Tel Aviv for discussions about the war. The Biden administration has been under pressure to scale back its support for Israel, and Mr. Blinken has previously called on Israel to use more precision in its strikes on Gaza.


Writing in Israel Hayom, a right-wing daily newspaper, Yoav Limor, a military commentator, said: “The Israeli government locked itself into conflicting commitments: the commitments that it made to the Israeli public, saying there would be no time limit and the war would continue for as long as necessary until victory; and the commitments it made to the world, first and foremost to the administration in Washington, saying that the war was now transitioning to a new, lower-intensity stage of the war.”


While a majority of Israelis want to see Hamas destroyed after its brutal Oct. 7 raid on Israel, international public opinion has been turning against Israel. More than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its offensive, according to the Gazan health ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants.


Adding to pressure on Israel is a hearing scheduled for this week at the International Court of Justice in a case, brought by South Africa, that accuses Israel of attempting a genocide against Palestinians. Israeli officials have strongly denied the allegation.


“With all these put together, Israel wants to put on an image of, ‘OK, we’ve taken the criticism, we’ve integrated and incorporated the remarks,’” Alon Pinkas, Israel’s former consul-general in New York and a political commentator, said in an interview.


By contrast, he said, the Israeli mainstream does not want to hear that the war is winding down while Hamas remains active in much of Gaza. Israelis, he added, “understand that very little has been achieved, if the idea was to eliminate or eradicate or obliterate or annihilate or topple Hamas.”



13) For Gaza’s Pregnant Women and Newborns, the War Will Never Be Over

By Alice Rothchild, Jan. 9, 2024

Dr. Rothchild is a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, an author, a filmmaker and a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

"Doctors are rarely allowed permits to leave Gaza to update their skills, and Israeli authorities restrict the kinds of medications and equipment that are allowed in."


Three people, one carrying a baby, another displaying a white flag, walk under a bright sky.

Leaving Gaza City in November. Credit...Mohammed Dahman/Associated Press

After Israel began its invasion of Gaza shortly after Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7, Aya Khrais — a pregnant 26-year-old dentist, wife of a doctor and mother of a 2-year-old girl living in Gaza City — lost contact with the doctors and health services she needed for prenatal care and for managing her diabetes.


She and her family were forced to leave home and move five times to flee the constant bombings, sometimes trekking several miles on foot. When we spoke in early December, she was staying at her sister-in-law’s home in southern Gaza. Dr. Khrais was 32 weeks pregnant and sleeping on a thin mattress directly on the ground, sharing a house with 74 people from 11 families. They lacked water, adequate food, medications, electricity and the tools for basic hygiene.


For the past two months she has had no prenatal care and no vitamins and has not gained any weight. She found a private obstetrician on Dec. 10 who informed her that she had excess amniotic fluid and needed an immediate C-section. She found a private hospital with an opening on Jan. 16. The estimated cost will be $4,000; the family has lost all of its savings as well as its bombed-out home. She has no baby clothes, diapers or formula and no proper place for postpartum recovery. “I am really frightened,” she told me over WhatsApp.


Dr. Khrais’s account is far from uncommon. There are approximately 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, all struggling with a lack of stable shelter, inadequate nutrition and polluted, salty water. Prenatal, postnatal and pediatric care are difficult to obtain. U.N. agencies have dispatched lifesaving medicines and equipment to Gaza but it’s not enough to meet the needs of the population. Extreme shortages of pain medications, antibiotics, seizure and diabetic medications and blood are common. According to the World Health Organization, of the more than 180 women delivering babies each day, 15 percent are likely to encounter complications and be unable to obtain appropriate obstetric and pediatric emergency services. All the while, the threat of injury or death from bombings and military action looms, as does unimaginable emotional trauma.


If these mothers and their children manage to survive the war, they will grapple with its effects for the rest of their lives. Health research into multiple areas of armed conflict (such as Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Kosovo) reveals that these kinds of conditions are linked to an increase in miscarriages, congenital abnormalities, stillbirths, preterm labor and maternal mortality. Other studies of armed conflict from 1945 to 2017 show that children exposed to war are more likely to suffer from poor living conditions and sanitation, and multigenerational poverty caused by the loss of educational and economic infrastructure.


“Gaza has simply become uninhabitable,” Martin Griffiths, the under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and the emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has said. Women and children have experienced the brunt of this tragedy. The only chance they have at living healthy lives free from lifelong consequences is for the fighting to stop now, and for health services to be restored and rebuilt immediately — a prospect that becomes more challenging and elusive the longer the war is waged.


Pregnancy and childbirth occur in a sociopolitical context; repeated military assaults, the collapse of the health care system and food supply, the absence of adequate shelter and general safety, have lasting impacts on mothers and babies — well after the fighting is quelled.


Before the war, life for pregnant women in Gaza was very challenging. Women there are expected to have large families, and are cared for by overworked doctors and midwives with an unreliable supply of electricity and oxygen. There was already little time for each patient. Despite efforts by the Gaza Health Ministry and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, obstetric practices tend to be a blend of the developed and the developing world. Doctors are rarely allowed permits to leave Gaza to update their skills, and Israeli authorities restrict the kinds of medications and equipment that are allowed in. Infant mortality rates are about seven times higher than they are in Israel. For mothers, hemorrhage, infection, thromboembolic disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension, obstructed labor and unsafe pregnancy terminations have been the leading causes of maternal mortality. Those complications are largely preventable or manageable in the developed world.


Those dangers have worsened during the war as hospitals and health services deteriorate. Some women are giving birth in cars, on the street and in overcrowded shelters at a time when there are increasing infectious diseases such as respiratory illness, hepatitis A and meningitis. Some hospitals, including Al-Nasr Medical Center in Gaza City, and Kamal Adwan in northern Gaza, have reported direct hits on neonatal and maternity departments with deaths to babies and injuries and death to mothers. There are reports of women having C-sections without anesthesia and mothers being discharged as quickly as three hours after birth. The trauma of war can also directly affect newborns: During the 2014 conflict in Gaza, mothers with high exposure to war trauma gave birth to infants who suffered negative sensorimotor, cognitive and emotional development.


Rising food scarcity and malnutrition in Gaza resulting from the current assault will likely lead to its own complications. According to UNICEF, pregnant women suffering from poor diet and nutrition see an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, hemorrhage, anemia and death. Stillbirths can occur, and children may be affected by low birth weight, wasting and developmental delays.


Though Israel says it is scaling back some of its fighting in Gaza, there is unfortunately still no end in sight. Medical resources and food are trickling in, but aid groups in southern Gaza report that they can meet only 25 percent of the needs for two months for malnourished children and their vulnerable mothers.


Dr. Khrais and the estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza are desperate for an end to the fighting so they can safely give birth. But they are just as desperate for an end to the devastation affecting every generation born and raised there.



14) The Hard Truth of Israel’s Endgame in Gaza

By Peter Beinart, Jan. 9.2024

Peter Beinart warns that the country is committing a sin that “cannot be atoned for.” 


Illustration by Akshita Chandra/The New York Times; Photograph by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images

There is a concept in Judaism called “Chillul Hashem.” It’s one of the greatest sins that a human being can commit. And it is to do something that would bring God’s name itself into disrepute. It seems to me that forcing Palestinians in Gaza into a situation where their choices are either death or expulsion is Chillul Hashem, a sin for which there, actually, in Jewish law, cannot be atoned for.


In a more historical vein, it strikes me as a profound and deeply disturbing irony that a people whose own history has been marked by mass expulsion now has a state that is speaking in our name and enacting policies that are very likely going to create mass expulsion of other people.


My name is Peter Beinart. I’m the author of “The Beinart Notebook” on Substack. I’m also editor-at-large of Jewish currents. And I’ve been writing for The Times about the war in Israel and Gaza. The conventional wisdom in the United States is that Israel doesn’t have a plan for what it wants to do in Gaza after it succeeds in toppling Hamas from power.


But if you listen to Israeli government officials and you look at the consequences of this war on the ground, you can see that at least some in Israel’s government do, indeed, have a strategy, or at least a preference. That strategy is not only to depose Hamas from power, but it is to force many Palestinians in Gaza to leave the territory themselves. Israel’s conduct of the war since Hamas’s massacre on October 7 has virtually made the Gaza Strip unlivable.


85 percent of people have been forced from their homes. Close to 70 percent of the homes themselves have been damaged or destroyed. And a very large percentage of people are now at risk of famine. So Gaza has become a place that’s extraordinarily difficult to live in.


Within six days of Hamas’s attack on October 7, there was a paper that was issued by Israel’s intelligence ministry that suggested that Israel should try to force Gazans out of the Gaza Strip into the Sinai region of Egypt. Egypt has not opened its borders so that people from the Gaza Strip in any significant number can leave the Gaza Strip, but Egypt faces a massive international debt that it needs to pay this year. It owes $28 billion to international creditors. And that economic weakness, according to some reports, makes Israeli leaders believe that Egypt is vulnerable to international pressure to open its border.


These population transfers would mean that Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are already from the families of refugees that were expelled or who fled in fear in 1948, that their descendants or even they themselves would be forced to become refugees a second time. Palestinians know in their bones that they could be expelled because they were expelled at least once before. Israel was created through the expulsion of more than half of the Palestinians who were then living in the territory that became Israel.


That’s why the Gaza Strip is so overcrowded, because most of the people who live there, their families are not originally from Gaza. They’re from what’s now parts of Israel, and their parents or grandparents or great-grandparents were expelled to what is now the Gaza Strip. And Israel has continued expulsion since then. There was another large scale expulsion when Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967. There are expulsions taking place in the West Bank to this day.


Palestinians know because of their family and national history, that Israel has tried to solve its Palestinian problem by forcing Palestinians out. And the Biden administration has said, clearly, that it does not want this to happen. But there is a contradiction between the Biden administration’s rhetoric and its actions, because its policy is actually giving Israel the green light, which is to say that the massive US military aid to Israel, which has been ongoing through this war, and diplomatic support at the United Nations, has been unconditional.


I would like to see the United States go beyond mere words of condemnation and make it clear that the United States will not fund the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza. I want US diplomats to understand that the forced expulsion of a population or part of a population is a war crime. It is the kind of thing that will stain the conscience of every nation that is complicit in it and stain the legacy of every US government official who is complicit in it.


I want US government officials to fear that this will be their legacy and to ensure that it’s not. And I would like Jews in Israel and the United States to think about how our ancestors who endured the kinds of things that Palestinians in Gaza are enduring now might think about what we are doing today.