Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 12, 2024

Thursday, March 14, 2024 at 5:30 P.M.

Jack Adams Hall

San Francisco State University



March and Rally, Saturday, March 2, 2024, San Francisco

See Gaza Strip Access Restrictions.pdf since 2007 at:


Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of March 12, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 31,184,* 72,889 wounded, and more than 423 Palestinians have been killed and 4,600 wounded by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.  The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) and the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission released a new tally of Palestinians detained by "Israel", revealing that the number of Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank has risen to more than 6,115.

Israel lowers its estimated October 7 death toll from 1,400 to 1,147, 589 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 3,221 wounded**

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 40,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

Source: mondoweiss.net




*Major Announcement*

Claudia De la Cruz wins

Peace and Freedom Party primary in California!

We have an exciting announcement. The votes are still being counted in California, but the Claudia-Karina “Vote Socialist” campaign has achieved a clear and irreversible lead in the Peace and Freedom Party primary. Based on the current count, Claudia has 46% of the vote compared to 40% for Cornel West. A significant majority of PFP’s newly elected Central Committee, which will formally choose the nominee at its August convention, have also pledged their support to the Claudia-Karina campaign.


We are excited to campaign in California now and expect Claudia De la Cruz to be the candidate on the ballot of the Peace and Freedom Party in November.


We achieved another big accomplishment this week - we’re officially on the ballot in Hawai’i! This comes after also petitioning to successfully gain ballot access in Utah. We are already petitioning in many other states. Each of these achievements is powered by the tremendous effort of our volunteers and grassroots organizers across the country. When we’re organized, people power can move mountains!


We need your help to keep the momentum going. Building a campaign like this takes time, energy, and money. We know that our class enemies — the billionaires, bankers, and CEO’s — put huge sums toward loyal politicians and other henchmen who defend their interests. They will use all the money and power at their disposal to stop movements like ours. As an independent, socialist party, our campaign is relying on contributions from the working class and people like you.


We call on each and every one of our supporters to set up a monthly or one-time donation to support this campaign to help it keep growing and reaching more people. A new socialist movement, independent of the Democrats and Republicans, is being built but it will only happen when we all pitch in.


The Claudia-Karina campaign calls to end all U.S. aid to Israel. End this government’s endless wars. We want jobs for all, with union representation and wages that let us live with dignity. Housing, healthcare, and education for all - without the lifelong debt. End the ruthless attacks on women, Black people, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. These are just some of the demands that are resonating across the country. Help us take the next step: 


Volunteer: https://votesocialist2024.com/volunteer


Donate: https://votesocialist2024.com/donate


See you in the streets,


Claudia & Karina


Don't Forget! Join our telegram channel for regular updates: https://t.me/+KtYBAKgX51JhNjMx



We are all Palestinian

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



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


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

We are all Palestinian



Labor for Palestine

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

Video of December 16th Labor rally for Palestine.


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


For More Information:


Production of Labor Video Project





Just Like The Nazis Did

By David Rovics


After so many decades of patronage

By the world’s greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

After crushing so many uprisings

Now they’re making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their Final Solution

Just like the Nazis did


They forced refugees into ghettos

Then set the ghettos aflame

Murdering writers and poets

And so no one remember their names

Killing their entire families

The grandparents, women and kids

The uncles and cousins and babies

Just like the Nazis did


They’re bombing all means of sustaining

Human life at all

See the few shelters remaining

Watch as the tower blocks fall

They’re bombing museums and libraries

In order to get rid

Of any memory of the people who lived here

Just like the Nazis did


They’re saying these people are animals

And they should all end up dead

They’re sending soldiers into schools

And shooting children in the head

The rhetoric is identical

And with Gaza off the grid

They’ve already said what happens next

Just like the Nazis did


Words of war for domestic consumption

And lies for all the rest

To try to distract our attention

Among their enablers in the West

Because Israel needs their imports

To keep those pallets on the skids

They need fuel and they need missiles

Just like the Nazis did


They’re using food as a weapon

They’re using water that way, too

They’re trying to kill everyone in Gaza

Or make them flee, it’s true

As the pundits talk of “after the war”

Like with the Fall of Madrid

The victors are preparing for more

Just like the Nazis did


But it’s after the conquest’s complete

If history is any guide

When the occupying army

Is positioned to decide

When disease and famine kills

Whoever may have hid

Behind the ghetto walls

Just like the Nazis did


All around the world

People are trying to tell

There's a genocide unfolding

Ringing alarm bells

But with such a powerful axis

And so many lucrative bids

They know who wants their money

Just like the Nazis did


There's so many decades of patronage

For the world's greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

They're crushing so many uprisings

Now they're making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their final solution

Just like the Nazis did

  Just like the Nazis did

    Just like the Nazis did



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 

Sign the petition:




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

Join the Fight for Mumia's Life

Since September, Mumia Abu-Jamal's health has been declining at a concerning rate. He has lost weight, is anemic, has high blood pressure and an extreme flair up of his psoriasis, and his hair has fallen out. In April 2021 Mumia underwent open heart surgery. Since then, he has been denied cardiac rehabilitation care including a healthy diet and exercise.

Donate to Mumia Abu-Jamal's Emergency Legal and Medical Defense Fund, Official 2024

Mumia has instructed PrisonRadio to set up this fund. Gifts donated here are designated for the Mumia Abu-Jamal Medical and Legal Defense Fund. If you are writing a check or making a donation in another way, note this in the memo line.

Send to:

 Mumia Medical and Legal Fund c/o Prison Radio

P.O. Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94103

Prison Radio is a project of the Redwood Justice Fund (RJF), which is a California 501c3 (Tax ID no. 680334309) not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the defense of the environment and of civil and human rights secured by law.  Prison Radio/Redwood Justice Fund PO Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94141



Leonard Peltier Update - Not One More Year


Coleman 1 has gone on permanent lockdown.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fight for Free Speech – YouTube:



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


Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier

Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

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

Video at:


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




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

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



Updates From Kevin Cooper 

A Never-ending Constitutional Violation

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974


Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

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




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

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


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



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) A Showcase for Israeli Property Creates Rancor in a Diverse Town

A synagogue in Teaneck, N.J., hosted a show promoting real estate in Israel. Pro-Palestinian groups organized angry demonstrations outside.

By John Leland and Arvind Dilawar, March 11, 2024


Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators confront each other, waving flags.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered to protest an event promoting property in Israel. A smaller group of pro-Israel demonstrators confronted them. Credit...Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

Hundreds of demonstrators protested on Sunday outside an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Teaneck, N.J., where 35 Israeli real estate companies were promoting their properties to potential American buyers.


The demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and signs denouncing Israel. Some brought prayer rugs and paused their chants to pray. Cars honked in support, or drivers and passengers flung vitriol at the demonstrators.


The demonstrators traded profanities and taunts with a much smaller group of pro-Israel counter-demonstrators, and police had to break up a few potential fights, but overall they kept the two groups separated.


The real estate show, at Congregation Keter Torah, is one of several in the area this month that have sparked heated protests. And just before the local events, at a sales event outside Toronto last weekend, a man was arrested on charges of attacking pro-Palestinian demonstrators with a nail gun.


Two Israeli companies, called Home in Israel and My Home in Israel, are holding shows in New York and New Jersey within a few days of each other, sometimes in the same Orthodox synagogue. Both companies say the events are promotional, with no actual sales.


Opponents say that the shows violate United States fair housing laws because most of the properties are available only to Jews, and that the Teaneck real estate fair, because it includes properties in the West Bank, also violates international law.


The United Nations and much of the international community, including the United States, say that the West Bank settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention’s proscriptions against moving population into an occupied territory or forcing out people who are there. Israel disputes this contention.


Juda Engelmayer, a spokesman for Keter Torah in Teaneck, said the synagogue merely rented its space to the organizers.


Both companies say that the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and subsequent war have spurred some Jewish Americans’ interest in buying Israeli real estate. In Teaneck, several attendees said they were interested in buying property both because they want to support Israel, and because of rising antisemitism in the United States, especially since the war’s start.


“We are victims of psychological terrorism,” said Emma Horowitz, citing extreme security measures taken at her children’s Jewish school since Oct. 7.


Similar sales events have gone on for decades, sometimes with protests outside. But this year, amid the anger over Israel’s war in Gaza, demonstrations have been more robust. “For us, it’s just pretty outrageous,” said Wassim Kanaan, chair of American Muslims for Palestine-New Jersey, one of the groups that organized against the Teaneck event.


“This has nothing to do with the Jewish faith,” he said. “It has everything to do with the policies of the state of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. But there’s a weaponization of antisemitism allegations to silence advocates for Palestine.”


Further events by My Home in Israel, which organized the Teaneck show,  are slated for synagogues in Cedarhurst, on Long Island, on Tuesday, and in Flatbush, Brooklyn, on Wednesday.


At least two complaints have been filed with state and federal civil rights offices against the events.


Tara Oliver, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey attorney general’s office, declined to discuss the Teaneck event, citing “potential or pending enforcement matters.” But she said that the state’s Law Against Discrimination “generally prohibits entities from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ancestry, and other protected characteristics in housing,” though it allows some exceptions for religious entities. The office will have to determine how or whether the law applies to land sales in Israel and the West Bank, where restrictive covenants are legal.


Teaneck, which once touted itself as a model of religious harmony, with a Muslim mayor and an Orthodox Jewish deputy mayor, has become a seat of conflict over the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities. The township, with a population of almost 42,000, has the second-largest Jewish community in the state, accounting for more than a third of the residents, and at least 15 synagogues. But it is also a diverse township, and since the start of the war, residents say, it has become increasingly polarized.


“A lot of this stuff is raw on both sides,” said Rayed Hassan, who runs the Al-Ummah Cultural Center, a mosque and nonsectarian gym about four miles from Keter Torah synagogue. “Eventually, something’s got to break. And it’s not just Palestinians that are involved. You have African Americans, you have the Hispanic community involved. It’s just brewing.” He recently increased security at the center in response to threats.


In November, when about 75 students at Teaneck High School held a walkout over U.S. support of Israel’s war in Gaza, it drew scathing condemnation from local Jewish leaders and elected officials, who accused the school of fomenting antisemitism. School officials now face a federal discrimination investigation over their handling of the walkout.


Since then, tensions — and fears — have only escalated, said Hillary Goldberg, a member of the township council, who has been a vocal supporter of Israel and critic of the walkout. “I have been threatened; I had a box truck with my picture on it and the words ‘liar liar’ driven around town; my house has been broken into; I have received antisemitic messages,” she said in an email. She added, “I have never felt so afraid to be Jewish as now,” she said.


Because of the elevated potential for conflict, Home in Israel did not advertise the time or location of its events. People had to register in advance, and were screened for anti-Israel comments on social media, said Julian Shapiro, who runs Home in Israel. Both companies said that they welcome non-Jews at the events. Opponents say they have been denied entry, or required to name their synagogue and rabbi to get in.


Mr. Shapiro did explain that some of the properties shown by Home in Israel are reserved for Jews only, per Israeli law. “When there’s an area where only Jewish people can buy, Arabs don’t want to buy,” he said. “When there’s an area where Arab people live, their villages, their towns, their cities, Jewish people don’t want to live.”


Home in Israel is an affiliate of U.S.-based Keller Williams Realty and is working with Keller Williams agents licensed in New York and New Jersey. Home in Israel would not let The Times enter its events.


Mr. Shapiro stressed that Home in Israel, unlike My Home in Israel — which held the Teaneck show and upcoming shows in Long Island and Brooklyn — does not offer properties in the West Bank, though this has not stopped demonstrators from leveling this charge.


In Teaneck on Sunday, roughly 400 people attended the sales event, despite the loud protest outside. By midafternoon, as a cool drizzle thinned the crowd, protesters hurled red liquid at a car leaving the sales event. The demonstration ended peacefully, despite extremely high levels of anger.



2) Ramadan Begins as Hunger and Fear Stalk Gaza

By Raja Abdulrahim and Rawan Sheikh Ahmad, March 11, 2024


Marking Ramadan in Deir al Balah and Rafah in southern Gaza on Sunday. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock; Fatima Shbair/Associated Press; Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is usually a time of religious devotion, dawn-to-dusk fasting, charity, family gatherings and nightly feasts.


All that seems far away this year in Gaza, now in the sixth month of an Israeli military offensive and near-total blockade. More than 31,000 people have been killed in Israel’s bombardments and ground invasion, severe hunger is spreading and the coastal strip has been devastated. The war has erased how Palestinians here used to live and observe Ramadan.


In peaceful times, the streets of Gaza’s cities would be packed with families buying Ramadan decorations and supplies — colorful lamps, food and sweets — and preparing for days of fasting, evenings of eating with family and nights of prayer at mosques.


“I remember the festivities of the month while walking through the market streets, with chants and praises everywhere,” said Ahmad Shbat, a 24-year-old street vendor. “Everything was available, and the mosques played a vital role.”


Now families have been separated and dispersed as most of Gaza’s 2.2 million residents have been forced to flee their homes. Many live in crowded tent encampments. Mosques that Israel claimed were used by Hamas fighters have been bombed to rubble. Gazans had hoped that a cease-fire deal would be reached before Ramadan began, but that didn’t happen.


Muslims can be exempt from fasting for many reasons, and some in Gaza have said that the hardships of war will make it difficult to observe daylong fasts. Others say that with starvation threatening Gaza, most are eating only one meal a day in any case and fasting will be no different from the hunger they have been forced to endure for months.


The enclave is nearing a famine, United Nations officials say. Almost no aid has reached northern Gaza for weeks. Gazan health officials say at least 20 Palestinian children have died from malnutrition and dehydration.


People are so hungry that some have resorted to eating leaves and animal feed. Many have been subsisting on a native wild plant known as Egyptian mallow, commonly eaten by Palestinians.


Mr. Shbat, who was displaced from his home, is sheltering with four members of his family in a school classroom in Jabaliya, in northern Gaza. He said that Ramadan this year “won’t be pleasant, especially because we will be away from our houses and loved ones.”


“There is no meaning to the month without gathering around the table with the family,” he said in a phone interview. And with the destruction of mosques, he added, it feels like “we lost the joy of Ramadan.”


Still, people are doing what they can to observe the holiday. At the school where Mr. Shbat is living, he said, people have prepared the courtyard for the nightly Ramadan prayers called taraweeh.


Iman Ali, a 42-year-old mother of four whose husband was killed in the war, said in a telephone interview from Jabaliya that she would spend her days going out to look for food for her children, two of whom are injured. But she can’t find anything in the markets to buy, she said. For more than a month she and her children have had barely anything to eat.


“Even without Ramadan, we are fasting,” she said.


Normally in the lead-up to Ramadan, Ms. Ali would be at her home in northern Gaza preparing the house for a month of worship and festivities. Instead, she spends her days walking the streets looking for food and praying for an aid airdrop from the sky.


Despite the daily struggles and uncertainty they are living through, they hold on to their faith and religious practices.


“We can’t not fast,” Ms. Ali said. “It’s Ramadan.”


Ameera Harouda contributed reporting.



3) Navigating Israeli Restrictions, Many Palestinians Find It Hard to Reach Al Aqsa

Muslim access to the mosque compound has long been a point of contention as Israel has exerted tighter control.

By Raja Abdulrahim, Reporting from Jerusalem’s Old City, March 11, 2024


A line of men faces left behind a man dressed in black before an unfurled prayer rug, in an open city space with a stone domed edifice in the background.

Muslims who were prevented from entering Al Aqsa Mosque on Friday prayed instead on a sidewalk outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Credit...Afif Amireh for The New York Times

As the sermon about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan sounded over the speakers from Al Aqsa Mosque, 13-year-old Yousef al-Sideeq sat on a bench outside the compound’s gates.


“Most Fridays they prevent me from getting in, for no reason,” the young Jerusalem resident said, referring to the Israeli police.


Every Friday, Yousef visits Jerusalem’s Old City to pray at Al Aqsa, the third holiest site for Muslims and part of the compound sacred to Jewish people, who call it the Temple Mount. But since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks and Israel’s ensuing bombardment of Gaza, heavily armed Israeli police forces who guard many of the Old City’s gates have stopped him from entering the compound, he said.


He has managed to get in only twice.


Muslim access to the mosque has long been a point of contention as Israel has exerted tighter control in recent years over the compound, one of many restrictions Palestinians living under decades of Israeli occupation have had to endure.


As Ramadan begins, many also fear what, if any, additional constraints Israel may impose on the religious site, which can draw 200,000 people in one day from not just Jerusalem but the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Israel as a whole.


The Israeli police said that people were “entering after enhanced security checks that are conducted due to the current reality, alongside efforts to prevent any disturbances.” But they did not answer specific questions about whether there was a policy preventing certain worshipers, especially young men, from entering the mosque on Friday.


They said they were “maintaining a balance between the freedom of worship and the imperative of ensuring security.”


Late on Sunday, Palestinian and Israeli news media reported that police officers prevented many Palestinians from entering Al Aqsa to perform prayers for the start of Ramadan. Both media cited a video that showed officers with batons chasing and beating some Palestinians.


Israel has said there has been no change to the status quo, which allows only Muslims to worship at the compound. The site is revered by Jews as the location of two ancient temples, and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the compound containing Al Aqsa Mosque and other important Islamic prayer spaces. The compound includes the Dome of the Rock, a gold-domed prayer hall.


Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Aqsa compound, from Jordan in 1967 and later annexed it. Much of the world considers it occupied territory and does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem.


Many Palestinians say their access to Al Aqsa compound has become increasingly restricted in favor of Jews, who consider the Temple Mount the most sacred place in Judaism.


Incidents at the compound have at times been the spark for broader conflicts. The second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, was set off in 2000 when Ariel Sharon, who later became Israel’s prime minister, visited Al Aqsa surrounded by hundreds of police officers. Confrontations at the compound in May 2021 contributed to the outbreak of an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.


Hamas, the Palestinian armed group which has been in control of Gaza for years, called its Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel Al Aqsa Flood, saying it was in part a response to “Judaization plans” at the mosque.


The attack killed about 1,200 people, and some 200 people were taken hostage, according to the Israeli authorities. Israel’s assault on Gaza in its war against Hamas has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, according to Gazan health officials.


In recent years, Jewish worshipers have prayed inside the Aqsa compound. The most extreme seek to build a third Jewish temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock.


Some of the most provocative episodes have been raids into the Aqsa compound by baton-wielding police forces firing tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets who have clashed with Palestinians throwing stones and setting off fireworks.


“Al Aqsa Flood came as a response to the settlers’ violations against Al Aqsa,” said Walid Kilani, a Hamas spokesman in Lebanon, referring to Jewish worshipers.


Israeli police officers “stormed the mosque and insulted the Muslim prayers there,” he added. “We had to retaliate, as Al Aqsa is our holy site and is mentioned in the Quran.”


In the initial weeks of the war, only Muslims ages 60 and older were allowed in, said Mohammad al-Ashhab, a spokesman for the Waqf — an Islamic trust that administers the mosque and that is financed and overseen by Jordan.


Attendance at Friday Prayer, a Muslim holy day, dropped to just 1,000 from 50,000, he said.


Though the situation has improved since then, he said, many Muslims are still prevented from attending.


Many Palestinians fear for the future of Al Aqsa, especially while Israel’s most right-wing government ever is in power.


Last week, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it had decided against putting new restrictions on Al Aqsa during Ramadan and would allow a similar number of worshipers as in previous years.


In addition to longstanding Israeli restrictions on Muslims coming from the occupied West Bank, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right national security minister, had called on the government to impose limits this year on Palestinian citizens of Israel.


Still, the ambiguous language of the Israeli government’s decision has some concerned. Human rights groups fear that freedom of worship could be curtailed under the guise of security and safety.


“Netanyahu’s statement does not actually guarantee full freedom of access for Muslims to Al Aqsa, but rather conditions it on security and safety needs,” Ir Amim, an Israeli rights group that focuses on Jerusalem, said in a statement following the decision. “This in turn may lead to a decision to ultimately apply collective entry restrictions during Ramadan.”


“Our freedom of worship has gone backwards,” Mr. al-Ashhab said.


To reach Al Aqsa Mosque compound, Muslim worshipers on Friday had to get through at least three layers of police barricades, where the authorities prevented people from entering, checked IDs or searched bags. Many arrived with prayer rugs in hand.


AbdulAziz Sbeitan, 30, was rushing through a Muslim cemetery on the edge of the Old City, having been turned away from Lion’s Gate, one of seven entrances to the historic district. He was on the phone with friends who were trying to enter from other gates.


The Jerusalem native has always attended Friday Prayer at Al Aqsa, but since Oct. 7 he hasn’t been able to get in once. Each Friday he tries multiple gates.


Sometimes he accompanies an older woman or young girls in an effort to get through, but each time the police have pushed him back, he said.


“It is a house of God and the house of our ancestors,” Mr. Sbeitan said as he walked quickly toward Herod’s Gate. “As Muslims, it is important; Al Aqsa is for Muslims.”


As he arrived at Herod’s Gate, he saw many young men being turned away, in some cases violently shoved by the police.


Mr. Sbeitan cursed under his breath as he lit a cigarette, watching. Around him other young men offered advice and, in some cases, discouragement.


“Come, let’s try another gate,” one said to his friend.


“Guys, we tried all the gates, they won’t let you in,” another man told them. “They let us in once, and then once we were inside the gate they pushed us back out.”


He said the Israeli police told him that young men were not allowed to enter. Like many others, the man, a 28-year-old Jerusalemite, didn’t want to give his name for fear of retribution by the police.


It wasn’t just young single men being barred. Fathers with little children and some women were turned away as well.


“It’s all according to their whims,” one woman said as she walked away after being prevented from entering through Lion’s Gate.


As the call to prayer sounded inside Al Aqsa, Yousef, the 13-year-old, joined an impromptu gathering of dozens of young men who couldn’t get in.


In past weeks those prevented from praying inside Al Aqsa would gather in the streets and conduct their own sermon and prayer. But on Friday it seemed even harder as the Israeli police shoved them away from Lion’s Gate and farther outside the walls of the Old City.


Undeterred, one man began the call to prayer, at times barely audible over the sound of sirens and horns along the street, buses trundling past and the police shouting.


Soon, another man stepped on top of a sidewalk stone barrier and began to give an off-the-cuff sermon.


“Will we not liberate Palestine?” said the man, who gave his name only as Yousef, fearing retribution despite the risk he had already taken in leading a sermon.


As he finished, more heavily armed police officers piled out of two vehicles.


The man appeared unfazed. He then led dozens — mostly teenagers and men in their 20s and 30s — in prayer on a crowded Jerusalem sidewalk surrounded by two churches and the Tomb of the Virgin. The gold Dome of the Rock, the center of the Aqsa compound, was barely visible over the Old City walls.


Abu Bakr Bashir contributed reporting from London.



4) A shipment of rice, flour and other food departs Cyprus for Gaza.

By Monika Pronczuk, March 12, 2024


The World Central Kitchen aid group said the barge was carrying food including rice, flour, beans and meat. Credit...By Reuters

The first sea shipment of food for Gaza left the Mediterranean island of Cyprus on Tuesday morning, officials said, the start of an untested maritime corridor to bring aid to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who the United Nations says are on the brink of starvation.


The ship was pulling a barge loaded with about 200 tons of rice, flour and other food from World Central Kitchen, a charity group. The ship, provided by the Spanish aid group Open Arms, is the first authorized to deliver supplies to Gaza by sea since 2005, according to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive arm, which has supported the effort.


“It is a lifeline to civilians,” Nikos Christodoulides, the president of Cyprus, said on social media.


With Gaza under a near-total blockade and more than five months of Israeli bombardment, much of the enclave is at risk of famine, the United Nations has warned. Hunger is especially dire in the north, where U.N. agencies have mostly suspended their aid operations, citing Israeli restrictions on convoys, security issues and poor road conditions.


Aid groups say that too little aid is getting into Gaza by land. That is prompting multinational efforts to deliver food and necessities by sea and air. The United States, Britain, the European Union and other governments said last week that they would establish a maritime corridor to bring aid to Gaza from Cyprus, and the U.S. military has announced plans to build a floating pier to facilitate the deliveries because Gaza does not have a functioning port.


But U.S. officials have said it could take 30 to 60 days to set up the floating pier, and aid groups and Gazan officials have said that sea shipments and airdrops are both cumbersome and cannot come close to supplying as much as trucks. Only about 100 relief trucks entered Gaza each day in February, on average, through the two open land routes, a fraction of what was going in before the war began in October.


Israel has insisted on inspecting shipments into Gaza, arguing that they could be diverted by Hamas, but says it does not restrict how much aid gets in. The Israeli government has said it supports the maritime corridor as long as shipments were inspected in Cyprus “in accordance with Israeli standards.”


Ms. von der Leyen told reporters in the Cypriot port of Larnaca last week that the first sea shipment was “a pilot project,” and that others would soon follow.


It remained unclear how the World Central Kitchen shipment would be unloaded and distributed once the ship reaches the shores of Gaza, a journey of about 240 miles from Cyprus. The group’s founder, José Andrés, the renowned Spanish American chef, said over the weekend that it had started to build a jetty in Gaza to receive the aid, but the group would not specify where the jetty was located.


Construction of the jetty was “well underway,” Mr. Andrés said Tuesday on social media. “We may fail, but the biggest failure will be not trying!”


The usual sailing time between Cyprus and Gaza is 15 to 17 hours, officials and aid groups said, but it could take longer because of the ship’s load and depending on weather conditions.


The ship that left Tuesday was carrying rice, flour, lentils, dry beans, canned beans, canned tuna, canned beef and canned chicken, the group said. The United Arab Emirates was providing financing and logistical support for the operation, Mr. Andrés said.


Since October, organizers and Palestinian cooks working with World Central Kitchen have served more than 34 million meals in Gaza, the group has said. The organization has established 65 community kitchens in the territory that are managed by Palestinians and has plans for at least 35 more, Mr. Andrés said. About 350,000 meals are being served every day, but Mr. Andrés said he would like to distribute more than a million meals a day.


European officials welcomed the news of the ship’s departure.


“We have worked hand in hand not only with Cyprus, but with the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and the United Kingdom,” Ms. von der Leyen told European lawmakers on Tuesday. “When fully operational, this maritime corridor could guarantee a sustained, regulated and robust flow of aid to Gaza.”


Niki Kitsantonis contributed reporting.



5) Israel says it struck an area used by a high-ranking Hamas leader in Gaza.

By Adam Rasgon, March 12, 2024


BoyAmongRubbleofHouseSouthernGazsMar8 2024.jpeg

A Palestinian boy stands among rubble of a destroyed house in southern Gaza March 8, 2024.

Israel attacked an underground space used by Marwan Issa, the deputy commander of Hamas’s military wing, an Israeli military spokesman said Monday, adding that investigators were still analyzing the outcome of the strike.


Hamas, which has revealed little information about its senior military leaders since the war began, did not immediately comment.


The Israeli spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, emphasized that Israel had not finished verifying the results of the attack by Israeli warplanes, which he said had hit a location that has been used by Mr. Issa and another senior Hamas military official responsible for the group’s weapons.


If Mr. Issa were killed in the strike, he would be the highest-ranking Hamas commander to have been slain since the war began. His death would represent a victory for Israel, whose leaders have vowed to wipe out the Hamas leadership in Gaza — although Israel has killed many senior Hamas members in past decades, and the group has swiftly replaced them.


One of the most senior Hamas officials to have been confirmed dead since the start of the war is Saleh al-Arouri, a founder of the group’s armed wing who Hamas said was killed in an Israeli attack in Lebanon on Jan. 2. Although Israel’s campaign has battered Hamas over the last five months, its leader in Gaza and the presumed mastermind of the Oct. 7 attack, Yahya Sinwar, has eluded Israeli forces. Mohammed Deif, the top commander of the military wing, is also believed to be alive.


Admiral Hagari said the strike had been carried out on Nuseirat, in central Gaza, overnight between Saturday and Sunday. Israel conducted a particularly large number of strikes there that night, according to Arabic news media.


Admiral Hagari said that Mr. Issa helped plan the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack and was a part of “the main triangle of terror” in Gaza, alongside Mr. Sinwar and Mr. Deif.



6) Israel’s military lightly rebukes a general for a demolition at a university in Gaza.

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Adam Rasgon, March 12, 2024

"Survivors of the attack said that, during the battle, an Israeli tank fired on a house where Hamas fighters were holding hostages. General Hiram later told The New York Times that he had authorized tank fire to end the standoff “even at the cost of civilian casualties.”


A video verified by The New York Times shows the main building at Israa University, south of Gaza City, being blown up. (Screenshot)

Israel’s military has issued what amounts to a mild administrative sanction to one of its generals for ordering his troops to blow up a university building in Gaza without permission, adding to the complicated war record of a commander who has received praise and criticism for his role in the response to the Oct. 7 attack.


The reprimand of Brig. Gen. Barak Hiram over the demolition of a building at Israa University came in the form of a command note entered into his personnel file.


“The investigation found that the Hamas terrorist organization used the building and its surroundings for military activity against our forces, but the demolition of the building was done without the required approvals,” said an Israeli Defense Forces statement on Monday.


A command note carries relatively little weight as a form of sanction within Israel’s military, according to former military officials. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the military, later said that General Hiram was slated for a promotion.


Video that circulated online in January showed a multistory structure disappear in a cloud of smoke. Israa University, which posted the video on its Facebook page, said the demolished building housed graduate studies and undergraduate colleges. Other university buildings have been damaged or destroyed since the beginning of the war, including its training hospital, medical and engineering laboratories and cafeteria, the university said.


U.S. officials and others criticized Israel over the damage and the Israeli military said both the demolition and the approval process that led to it were “under review.” It also said that a preliminary investigation indicated that Hamas “used the compound and its surrounding area for military purposes.”


Israa University, near Gaza City, is one of several in the territory that have been devastated during Israel’s campaign against Hamas. The military campaign — which has included controlled demolitions by Israeli forces — has destroyed or damaged more than half of the buildings in Gaza, razing whole neighborhoods.


The Israeli military declined to make General Hiram available for comment.


General Hiram led Israeli troops in a battle to retake the village of Be’eri after Hamas and its allies surged across the border on Oct. 7, killing many civilians, abducting others and setting fire to homes.


Survivors of the attack said that, during the battle, an Israeli tank fired on a house where Hamas fighters were holding hostages. General Hiram later told The New York Times that he had authorized tank fire to end the standoff “even at the cost of civilian casualties.”


Since then, some people in Israel have praised him for bravery, while others have said that he recklessly endangered civilians. Only two of the 14 hostages in the house survived, although it was not clear how many had died because of tank fire.



7) Police Officers Used Stun Gun on Migrant Holding Toddler, Video Shows

The altercation occurred at a migrant shelter in Queens following a dispute between the man and a shelter employee. New York City officials are investigating.

By Luis Ferré-Sadurní, March 12, 2024


A grainy still from an image of the confrontation at the shelter.

The police restrained Yanny Cordero, a migrant from Venezuela, in a shelter lobby on Friday night while he held his 1-year-old son.

New York City officials are investigating a confrontation at a city-run shelter in Queens where police officers struck and used a stun gun on a Venezuelan migrant while he was holding his 1-year-old son.


Video footage obtained by The New York Times shows two police officers, who had been called to the shelter over a dispute on Friday night, trying to restrain the man, Yanny Cordero, 47, while he is backed against a closed elevator door at the shelter, his child held tightly in his arms.


One of the officers pulls out a yellow stun gun and appears to stun Mr. Cordero before throwing a punch at his head, the video shows.


The officers continue to restrain Mr. Cordero after they separate him from his son, pinning his head against a desk as they try to wrestle him to the floor. A third officer gets involved and punches Mr. Cordero twice in the face before the officers subdue and arrest him.


“This is abuse, brother!” a man who recorded the video with his phone is heard shouting in Spanish. “Don’t hit him! Don’t hit him! Don’t hit him, brother! That’s an abuse! Where are the human rights?”


The police said they were responding to a call about a dispute involving an intoxicated man who was threatening staff members. They said that officers on the scene gave Mr. Cordero multiple warnings and commands to hand the child to someone else.


Mr. Cordero said he had not been drinking that night because he had to work the next day. He said the dispute began when he returned to the shelter, in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, with dinner for his family. A shelter employee struck him in the face by the elevators as he struggled to communicate in English, he said.


Mr. Cordero was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and violent behavior, obstructing government administration and acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17. The police also arrested and charged his wife, Andrea Parra, 23, who is seen in the video throwing her body between her husband and the police officers.

The couple said that when they were arrested, their 1-year-old son, Yusneide, and their two other boys, ages 3 and 5, were taken by the city’s child welfare agency, the Administration for Children’s Services.


Mr. Cordero and Ms. Parra were released on Saturday night, nearly 24 hours after the altercation, and were reunited with their children on Monday night. The family has been moved to a shelter in Brooklyn.


“We are aware of an incident involving a family in our care at an emergency shelter in Jamaica, Queens, Friday night,” a spokeswoman for City Hall said in a statement. “The health and safety of all migrants and longtime New Yorkers in our care — especially young children — is always a top priority, and this matter is currently under investigation.”


The police said Yusneide was unharmed, but Mr. Cordero said he believed the altercation had affected him.


“He was trembling and he pooped and peed himself,” Mr. Cordero said in an interview.


The Police Department did not respond to questions about whether it believed the officers handled the situation correctly, and did not provide footage from their body-worn cameras.


It is unclear from the two-and-a-half-minute video what happened immediately leading up to the clash at the shelter, which is one of the dozens of city-run shelters housing the nearly 65,000 migrants in the city’s care.


As the number of migrants being housed by the city has ballooned, city officials have begun to impose more restrictions on the hotels, shelters and tent dormitories where they are staying.


The city has imposed curfews at a handful of shelters following neighborhood complaints and several high-profile crimes involving migrants. Last month, the police arrested a migrant for disorderly conduct at a giant tent shelter on Randall’s Island following a confrontation with the police.


Mr. Cordero, an electrician in his home country who has been working odd construction jobs since arriving in New York, said that he left the shelter around 10 p.m. on Friday night to buy food because his family did not like what was served at the shelter.


He said his wife stayed behind with the three children in their room at the shelter, where they had been staying since December.


Mr. Cordero, who does not speak English, said that when he returned to the lobby with the food, a shelter employee by the elevators seemed to tell him in English that he could not bring the food up to the room, an unwritten shelter policy to reduce infestation, according to city officials. (Some migrants at the shelter said in interviews that staff members routinely threw out food and beverages discovered in rooms.)


Mr. Cordero said he used a translation app on his phone to try to tell the employee that he was going to the cafeteria to eat the meat over rice he had bought and that his family would come down to join him.


Mr. Cordero said that the employee called over a colleague, who he said appeared to become hostile as Mr. Cordero struggled to communicate with the phone app. The second shelter employee, Mr. Cordero said, suddenly struck him in the face.


Mr. Cordero said he did not strike back and instead put his hands behind his back and began taunting the employee in Spanish to hit him again while he was defenseless, challenging him to a fight outside.


Andry Barreto, the Venezuelan migrant who recorded the video, corroborated Mr. Cordero’s account, saying in an interview that he was outside looking into the shelter lobby through a window and saw the employee strike Mr. Cordero.


City officials did not immediately respond to questions about the shelter employees’ conduct.


Mr. Barreto, who is also the children’s godfather, said he went inside and began recording with his phone as the situation began to escalate.


The employees called the police, Mr. Cordero and Mr. Barreto said. Mr. Cordero’s wife, Ms. Parra, showed up with the three children around the time the police arrived, and she gave Yusneide to Mr. Cordero to hold.


At one point, Mr. Cordero is heard screaming in the video as he clings to Yusneide, and as other migrants shout “The baby! The baby!” in Spanish.


Mr. Cordero said that the police stunned him several times, but he said he did not feel much.


“I never lifted my hand,” Mr. Cordero said. “I never told the police anything except not to touch my child.”

Mr. Cordero and Ms. Parra said that after they were released from custody, they were only allowed to talk to their children through a video call. The couple spent Sunday visiting different city offices trying to retrieve them.


On Tuesday, Mr. Cordero said he was happy to have his children back, but dismayed they had been put in harm’s way.


“I feel very sad because my children went through something they should have never gone through,” Mr. Cordero said. “We’re poor, but we’ve raised them right to try to avoid these types of spectacles.”



8) Is This What Happens When You Build a Real Social Safety Net, Then Take It Away?

By Bryce Covert, March 12, 2024

Ms. Covert is a journalist who focuses on the economy, with an emphasis on policies that affect workers and families.


An illustration of a turkey on a platter, an overflowing bowl of fruit, a glass of wine and a carafe, with a table setting that features a plate with a crater where food would normally go.

Andrey Kasay

It’s a riddle that economists have struggled to decipher. The U.S. economy seems robust on paper, yet Americans are dissatisfied with it. But hardly anyone seems to have paid much attention to the whirlwind experience we just lived through: We built a real social safety net in the United States and then abruptly ripped it apart.


Take unemployment insurance. The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, included the largest increase in benefits and eligibility in American history. It offered people “a sense of relief,” said Francisco Díez, senior policy strategist for economic justice with the Center for Popular Democracy, which organized unemployed people in the pandemic. “A feeling like they could breathe and figure out what they could do.”


LaShondra White was one of them. When she was furloughed from her job at a Kohl’s department store in Detroit in March 2020, she started receiving more than $600 a week. It was “my chance to get out of this situation,” she told me last year, a situation in which her pay was “horrible.” She had always wanted to own her own business, so with the extra money she fixed her credit score, rented out a commercial space and opened an eyelash studio. Her studio is still open and largely booked.


In 2019, unemployment insurance kept 500,000 people out of poverty; in 2020, that figure was 5.5 million. Yes, the program was riddled with problems, particularly technological ones, that made it difficult for many people to get enrolled quickly. But once they were covered, “They saw something close to the actual level of benefits that they deserve,” Mr. Díez said.


It was short-lived. By July 2020, the extra $600 in benefits had lapsed, and it wasn’t until December 2020 that Congress approved $300 payments with new restrictions. By May, some states started opting out, leaving their residents with the paltry benefits they would have gotten prepandemic.


In those states, “There was a real sense of terror and concern and fear and abandonment from the politicians who chose to cut the benefits off early,” Mr. Díez said. “It really harms whatever faith they had in the nature of government as an institution that can actually see their struggle.”


Unemployment has been below 4 percent for more than two years, wage growth is outpacing inflation (which has fallen considerably), and economic output is booming. And yet consumer sentiment has been depressed, and even though it rose recently, it’s still about 20 percent lower than before the pandemic began. It’s at levels typically seen at the end of a recession.


Why are the economic vibes off? There are most likely many answers. Obtaining the basics, like housing or child care, has become more difficult. Falling inflation is great, but prices have remained uncomfortably high. Republican voters may just not like an economy run by a Democratic president. Americans may feel OK about today’s economy but wary of the future.


All of this can be true simultaneously, but let me add another reason Americans may be doing well but feeling financially insecure: In the pandemic, the country created the most robust safety net we had seen in decades, buffering people against eviction, poverty, hunger and other suffering. Americans’ lives were materially and appreciably improved. Then we took it all away.


The message received is that the government could have done these things all along but had chosen not to — and has chosen once again to withdraw that kind of security. Before March 2020, Americans were used to piecing a living together without much government help, but now they’ve seen that it doesn’t have to be that way. They’ve tried to create their own individual safety nets, but they’ve spent down the savings they were able to squirrel away when pandemic-era public programs were in place.


So even if people are more likely to have a job and even have gotten a raise that outpaces increased costs, they can still look down and see that there’s nothing to catch them if they fall. That puts us in a perpetual state of exhausting hustle. One wrong step, one misfortune, one layoff can mean catastrophe without supports to get you back on your feet. No wonder so many Americans don’t feel very confident.


Here’s an incomplete accounting of the safety net that was built nearly overnight to combat the aftershocks the pandemic sent through the economy. During the public health emergency, the federal government required states to keep anyone already on Medicaid or who signed up for it enrolled. That meant people were spared the difficulty of regularly recertifying that they were eligible, and it also meant their life circumstances could shift — they could earn slightly more or marry, for example — and they wouldn’t lose health insurance. More than 21 million people were added to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program between February 2020 and December 2022.


Congress increased food stamps by raising benefits by 15 percent and bringing every household up to the maximum benefit for its size. It also allowed all students to get free school meals. Despite millions of people losing their jobs, hunger actually held steady in 2020 and 2021.


Congress approved $46.5 billion in rental assistance to prevent people from being evicted. For the first time in history, the federal government offered people who fell behind on rent help to get caught up. The money not only kept people more current on their rent but it also made it less likely they would experience “frequent debilitating anxiety,” according to a 2023 study of renters in Philadelphia.


In 2021 Congress expanded child tax credit payments, which were in place from July 2021 through the end of that year, by increasing the benefit to up to $300 a month for children under age 6 and $250 for older ones and expanding eligibility. These payments became an important part of households’ income and reduced hardships and hunger. They were responsible for nearly the entire halving of the child poverty rate in 2021.


Last year, Jamila Michener, a political scientist at Cornell, and Margaret Brower, a political scientist at the University of Washington, began a study asking people about the benefits they received during the pandemic.


“People can talk us through every benefit they got, what it meant to them, what they did with it,” Dr. Michener told me about the unpublished research. People became emotional as they described being able to feed their families. One woman told Dr. Michener how hard it was to have to constantly tell her children no, even to small snacks or healthy foods like fruit. But in the early part of the pandemic, she could buy them what they needed.


Crucially, Americans received multiple benefits at once — they were able to stay on Medicaid while also getting monthly child tax credit payments and making use of rental assistance. Most Americans aren’t usually tuned into various policy changes, but the magnitude and scope was different this time. They noticed and they were deeply grateful.


“People are able to breathe without as much pressure or stress,” Dr. Michener said.


After these overlapping supports were taken away, child poverty more than doubled, and family hunger spiked. So did evictions. Now that states are allowed to force people to complete paperwork to stay on Medicaid and kick them off if they fail, 17.8 million people have lost coverage.


It’s hit individuals and families hard. In Kentucky, a state that opted out of extra food stamp benefits in 2021, the damage started early. Residents told Dr. Michener they had to frequent food pantries to eat. One woman told her that when she wasn’t able to make it to pantries — because of a broken-down car, for instance — she would eat noodles even though she can’t eat gluten.


Many told Dr. Michener about having to hustle harder for work, and she told me that the word “struggle” comes up over and over again in the researchers’ interviews. Americans have less sense of security, she said, “that you’re going to be OK and you’re going to be taken care of should the worst-case scenario befall you.”


The disillusionment this creates is incredibly harmful. Yes, if people feel pessimistic about the economy, it may very well swing the election away from President Biden. But it’s bigger than just this election. Even if somehow the experience of losing benefits doesn’t diminish political participation, it’s a lost opportunity for the government to continue demonstrating to Americans that it can make their lives better. That draws people into democracy and strengthens it. The worst — and more likely — case is that it turns them off.


“There were a lot of things across many programs that changed and made people’s lives better, and so many of those things have been pulled back,” Dr. Michener said. “We’d have to think people are idiots not to notice that.”



9) Which Side Are You On?

By Bonnie Weinstein, March/April 2024


BoyAmongRubbleofHouseSouthernGazsMar8 2024.jpeg

A Palestinian boy stands among rubble of a destroyed house in southern Gaza March 8, 2024.

“No matter what Biden does in whatever number of days, or years left for him on this earth, his fate has been sealed: He shall be remembered as the man who has enabled one of the worst genocides in modern history. Shame on anyone who supports or defends this brute.” —Ramzy Baroud, December 24, 20231


February 12, 2024—We have been witnessing the horror of Israel’s genocide against the people of Palestine since October 11, 2023, and it has not ended yet. The death toll in Gaza is more than 30,000—with at least 12,000 children among the dead. Tens-of-thousands more have been wounded. According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNWRA, nearly 1.9 million people—more than 85 percent of the population in Gaza—have been displaced across the Strip since October 7.2 “On the internationally recognized 5-phase scale used to classify food crises, more than half-a-million people in Gaza—a quarter of the entire population—are now believed to be at the most severe Phase-5 ‘catastrophic’ level, meaning a high risk of mass starvation and death. More than 80 percent of all people currently classified as being in Phase-5 worldwide are in Gaza.”3


Israel has been forcing Palestinians to move to the southern end of Gaza “to stay safe.” Over 1.4 million Palestinians have relocated to the city of Rafa, closest to the southern, Egyptian border. But Israel is not satisfied with this—now they want to “evacuate” Palestinians from Rafa completely while they bomb it to rubble—but there is no place else for them to go.


Tens-of-millions of people around the world have been protesting the U.S./Israeli war of genocide in Gaza and the West Bank, but the genocide still rages on.


The protests must continue to build—to reach out to more and more community and labor organizations in support of Palestine and against Israel’s murderous invasion of Gaza and against U.S. aid to Israel—to build participation in protests, to pass resolutions in favor of a permanent ceasefire, and to reach out to other communities that have not spoken out yet and ask them to join the protests. This is basic and essential. But we must also know what we are up against and what the stakes really are.


Capitalism’s downfall

On November 23, 2023, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said about Israel on X, “Israel is a stronghold for us... It’s almost like having an aircraft carrier in the Middle East. This is our oldest ally.”4


This is why billions of our tax dollars are going to arm Israel—because it bolsters the strategic military power U.S. capitalism needs to maintain their hegemony in that region, and as a warning to the world.


Understanding capitalism

on class terms

To really understand what’s going on in the world we must look at the basic nature of capitalism.


The economic system of capitalism is made up of two diametrically opposed economic classes. The “ruling class,” are the commanders of capitalism who own and control the means of production—the land, natural resources, and industry of society—which is made valuable only by the labor of the working class. The ruling class contributes nothing to this value.


The working class own only their own labor power. Workers sell their labor power to the capitalist class in exchange for wages that barely cover the necessities of life. Wages amount to a tiny percentage of the wealth our labor creates.


But the capitalist economy is based upon the working class getting only a small fraction of that wealth. All that extra value and wealth after wages are paid is called surplus value and all of it belongs to the capitalist class. Under capitalism’s laws, owning the means of production gives the capitalist class the right to all of the surplus value we workers create—and there’s no limit to how much wealth any one capitalist can accumulate.


There was a meme circulating on Facebook, “It’s 80,000 BC. You are immortal. The world is still frozen in an ice age. You decide to save $10,000 every day, never spending a cent. 82,021 years later, it’s 2021. You still don’t have as much money as Elon Musk.” That’s an example of how much surplus value they are allowed to accumulate on an individual basis.


Under capitalism

might makes right

The United States is the single most powerful capitalist country in the world. The U.S. is the political and military leader of all the allied countries of the Western world. The U.S. military budget per year is $816 billion. In comparison, Russia’s military budget is $213 billion, and China’s is $69.5 billion, per year.5


Every single dollar the U.S. government spends on war, cops and jails are paid for out of the taxes that workers pay. Even the cost of social services—schools, public housing and hospitals, parks, etc.—come out of the pockets of the working class.


The death agony of capitalism and the tasks of the working class

While the military might of the capitalist world may seem unstoppable, the truth is, the capitalist system is in its death agony. It is on its last legs.


The only chance for the world’s survival is to take the power out of the hands of capitalists—to dismantle the entire capitalist world’s military industrial complex and render it useless.


To achieve this, we workers must stop producing weapons on the assembly lines, and take the control of industry and the vast amount of surplus value we create into our own hands for the benefit of all workers everywhere.


We have the ultimate power to do it. We do the work, and we are the majority of humanity. In solidarity with each other and in the interests of all workers, we are vastly more powerful than the capitalists because without our labor they are nothing.


The expansion of the war by the U.S., Israel, and their Western allies

What the death agony of capitalism means is that capitalism can’t expand and increase their rate of profit anymore without the use of force. And the war in the Middle East/Southwest Asia is a war over who controls the resources in that part of the world and, ultimately, the whole planet.


The U.S., Israel and England have escalated the war on Gaza to involve scores of targets throughout the region:


“Friday: [February 2, 2024] the United States carried out airstrikes on more than 85 targets in Syria and Iraq, aiming at Iranian-backed forces including the group it said was responsible for the Jordan strike. … Saturday: [February 3, 2024] American and British warplanes, with support from six allies, launched strikes at dozens of sites in Yemen controlled by Houthi militants.”6


“Israel has launched attacks on positions in Syria and Lebanon, as part of its ongoing campaign against opposing militaries and armed forces in the Middle East. …[Israeli military] fighter jets also struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon,’ it added, promising it would ‘continue to operate against any threat to Israel’s sovereignty.’ Israel’s military has been engaged in cross-border fighting with Hezbollah and has launched repeated air raids on Syria since its war on Gaza began on October 7, raising fears of the conflict spilling over into the wider region.”7


Israel’s continued

blockade of Gaza

The Gaza Strip stretches 25 miles along the Mediterranean Sea. No Palestinian vessels are allowed further out than nine nautical miles. Its width varies from 3.7 to around 8 miles wide—a total area of 141 square miles.


It’s a small, narrow strip, separated from Israel on the east by a 30-foot-tall, 37-mile concrete, militarized separation wall, along the south by the eight-mile-wide armed border with Egypt, and on the militarized northern border with Israel, which is six miles wide.


Gaza has one of the world’s highest population densities with around 2.3 million people.8 For comparison, the city of Detroit is 139 square miles with 632,464 people—about a quarter of the population of Gaza. There is nowhere for anyone to be in Gaza that is not in the close vicinity of masses of people—and that includes those in active resistance to Israel’s occupation. There is no such thing as “military outposts” in Gaza because there simply isn’t any land that could become military outposts.


In addition to basic construction materials such as cement and steel, which Israel claims can be used to build tunnels and weapons, Israel has blocked civilian goods such as school supplies, diapers, feminine hygiene products, light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee, chocolate, nuts, shampoo and conditioner, paper, soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy from entering Gaza since 2007.9 The complete list is not publicly available and fluctuates at the whim of Israel.


Since October 7, 2023, Israel has blocked everything—food, water, electricity, medical supplies. Nothing comes in unless Israel inspects it and lets it in—including humanitarian aid. And Gaza itself has been bombed back into the stone age.10


Israel’s wars on Gaza since 1948

The whole of what is now Israel—from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea—was Palestinian territory. That territory was captured with the help of England since WWI, and its western allies–including the United States over the years—and became Israel in 1948.


The Palestinian population was, en masse, militarily expelled or had to flee from their homes, and were forced into the Gaza Strip as refugees. Israel has repeatedly carried out wars against the occupied people of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem:


“Israel has fought 15 wars against the Gaza Strip. …Israel fought four wars against Egyptian-administered Gaza Strip: 1948 Palestine War; border attacks of 1949-1956; first occupation of Gaza during the Suez Crisis; and the capture of Gaza in 1967. During the first occupation, one percent of Gaza Strip’s population was either killed, tortured, or imprisoned by Israel. Following two periods of low-level insurgencies, a major conflict between Israelis and Palestinians erupted in the First Intifada (523 Gazans killed.) The 1993 Oslo Accords brought a period of calm. But, in 2000 the Second Intifada erupted killing 3,000 Gazans. Towards the end of the Second Intifada, Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas won the 2006 election and took control of Gaza in 2007.”11


Israel wants all the territory devoid of Palestinians so they can claim it for their own, giving the U.S. commanders of capital an even more powerful base in the Middle East/Southwest Asia.


Israel is surrounded and outnumbered by the rest of the Arab world. Without U.S. support Israel would be overwhelmed and defeated leaving the U.S. without any armed base of support in that region.


Israel is dropping 2000-pound bombs on the people of Gaza—supplied by the U.S. government—with the full approval of the U.S. commanders of capitalism. These are the stakes at issue today.


What we can do to stop them

The world’s capitalist class, in league with the commanders of U.S. capital, are doing all they can to convince us that we have no power of our own and that the best we can hope for—to put it in terms of Gaza—is to get a few more aid trucks through to the homeless, wounded, and starving while they continue to bomb and destroy the entire territory, its people and infrastructure. We can’t let them get away with this.


Solidarity among the world’s working class has the potential to be the most powerful social force that ever existed—a force with the strength to change the balance of power between we, the masses, and the commanders of capital—who are a tiny portion of the human population who, but for the mis-informed cooperation and support of the masses of the working class —would be powerless.


What’s happening in Gaza will eventually happen to us

No one is safe from capitalism’s wars. Anywhere the capitalists feel their wealth or power is being threatened they are striking out with military action and supplying military aid to other capitalist commanders to stop any resistance to their rule anywhere.


There is nothing stopping them from using force here in the U.S.—especially if workers stop supporting them—stop voting for them, stop signing up for the military and police, stop allowing our unions to support and contribute our dues to the capitalist parties.


But we have the ultimate power in our hands to stop them in their tracks by withholding our labor—rendering them helpless.


We must build and support our own workers’ party democratically controlled and run by the working class and dedicated to fighting for our interests—a party against war, environmental destruction, police repression, racism, and sexism. A party that stands for turning the ownership and control of the means of production and the surplus value our labor creates over to the world’s working class.


We have the means right now to build a Labor Party of our own that supports socialism and opposes all capitalist parties—a party that can win freedom, democracy, economic and social equality, and justice—a socialist world under the democratic control of the masses of working people.




1 https://twitter.com/RamzyBaroud/status/1739040192005300387


2 https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/12/1144387#:~:text=8%20in%2010%20Gazans%20now,the%20Strip%20since%207%20October.


3 https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/gaza-now-worlds-worst-hunger-crisis-and-verge-famine#:~:text=On%20the%20internationally%20recognised%205,of%20mass%20starvation%20and%20death.


4 https://twitter.com/dimitrilascaris/status/1722585943935254770?lang=en


5 https://armedforces.eu/compare/country_Russia_vs_China


6 https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/04/world/us-strikes-israel-hamas-news


7 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/1/2/israeli-army-launches-attacks-on-targets-in-syria-and-lebanon


8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip


9 https://www.huffpost.com/entry/israels-blockade-of-gaza_b_605780


10 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza–Israel_conflict


11 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza–Israel_conflict



10) As Israeli’s Mass Murder Continues, U.S. Makes it Worse

By Chris Kinder, March/April 2024



Father not wanting to let go of his child killed in an Israeli strike February 21, 2024.

February 5, 2024—The world is riveted, as it should be, on Israel’s horrifying war on Gaza. The fact that Israel, critically supported by the most powerful imperialist state in the world, is committing the worst crime of genocide the world has seen since World War II, has sunk in, even in the U.S.


Most Americans, especially the young adults, are disgusted by what Israel is doing, and showing it, by conducting numerous demonstrations demanding “Cease Fire Now!,” and dropping President Biden’s approval rating into the toilet.


At this writing, in today’s news, there are reports of 8,000 displaced people having to be evacuated from Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis following a two-week siege by Israeli forces, and reports that people in South Gaza are afraid of a looming Israeli assault on Rafa, the city near the border with Egypt. Displaced people are the vast majority in a country where nearly everyone has had their homes destroyed and their living space made unlivable. Making Gaza unlivable is precisely what Israel wants.1


Starvation and expulsion is Israel’s plan

From the very beginning of this phase in the hundred years’ war on Palestine, Israel’s intent of starving Palestinians to death is a major part of its plan, and it is enabled in this by the fact—too often left out of news reporting—that Gaza has been an open-air prison since 2017, when Israeli settlers moved out.2 Israel tightly controls who can go in and out, and how much food, drinkable water and medicines Gaza’s people can receive, and even how many entry and exit points there are in Gaza.


And tightening those supply shipments leading to starvation and disease-causing limits was Israel’s first act (along with the bombing) after October 7th.


Now, at least a quarter of the population of Gaza is starving to death as we speak, and famine threatens everyone there. Diseases from lack of medical supplies are out of control. All this is adding numbers to the tally of victims. Based on statistics from Gaza’s Ministry of Health, over 100,000 Gazan’s have been either killed, wounded, or declared missing—no doubt many are buried under the rubble left by Israel’s terrifying bombing campaign, and what is left of working hospitals are overwhelmed.


Israel’s war strategy is frighteningly similar to how the Jews were kept in concentration camps and poorly fed before being killed in the Nazi Holocaust during the war.


U.S. complicit in this genocide, and spread of war

The U.S. is the main off-theater culprit in this genocide. The immediate response to Israel’s declaration of war was Biden announcing, “We support Israel.” This was a giant understatement, as the U.S. is by far the biggest financier and supplier of weapons that Israel has. The war could not be going on without U.S. support.


Behind U.S. complicity is also hypocrisy of the first order. After howling out loud for weeks that this war must not spread, the U.S. is the chief spreader. When the Houthies of Yemen began attacking ships in the Red Sea that were headed for Israel, in order to prevent the reinforcement or aid they carried from reaching Israeli ports, the U.S. started bombing Houthies’ sites and who knows what else in Yemen.


The Houthie action was an attempt to interrupt or slow down the war, but the U.S. spread the war. Also, Iranian, and allied entities in the Mid-East started attacking U.S. bases which are all over the region, without killing U.S. personnel until just recently, I believe, and so the U.S. bombed 85 Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria. But the U.S. spreading of the war pales before enabling it to exist in the first place with its funding and weapons!


UN/U.S. sabotage

UNRWA’s aid to Gaza

The latest piece of this starvation strategy is Israel’s move to banish UNRWA, the UN’s Relief and Works Agency, from Gaza. UNRWA is the major supplier of life-saving aid in Gaza, like food, medicines, etc., with over 13,000 workers in Gaza. Israel’s fascist government slashed the amount of aid UNRWA can bring into Gaza after October 7th, but it was pleasantly surprised to learn—directly from UNRWA top officials, according to a New York Times report—that a handful of UNRWA workers had been onsite and aided the Hamas operators on that attack.


The international reaction was immediate: withdraw funding! UNWRA’s biggest financier, the U.S., was the first, and a few others also suspended their funding. UNWRA officials said that with this, they would be unable to continue their work in a few weeks. Thirteen-thousand lifeline workers in Gaza were, in effect, tried, convicted, and sent to purgatory so Israel could starve more Palestinians into submission on the basis of an assertion that a handful had helped the fight against an occupying power. Biden has the same blood on his hands that Netanyahu is swimming in.


This report is on a fast-moving situation, and it is time-limited by its date, so big changes will be in place by the time you read this. One example is a recent report in Haaretz—an Israeli news outlet—stating that Israel is now pleading with the U.S. and allies to resume some funding to UNRWA, probably because famine threatens to get too far beyond its control.


Palestinians in Palestine? Can’t have that!

Whatever the story is behind that report, Israel’s drive to force Palestinians out of Palestine is never ending. A Haaretz Today issue dated February 1st reports on the “astonishing path Israel is…forging for the future,” as laid out by its fascistic government. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, one of the hard-right members of Netanyahu’s inner circle, said in a TV interview that “We must not let the aid in through UNRWA … we will get aid in and distribute it by ourselves.” The Haaretz report goes on, “When the hosts argued how dangerous it would be, he [Smotrich] said, ‘Listen to what I am saying: There. Will. Be. a military government in Gaza. because everyone agrees that we need to stay in Gaza and control it militarily, and there is no military control without civilian control.’”3


Smotrich is thus trying to leverage the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza as a launchpad for the future occupation-annexation of Gaza, in connection with the expulsion of the majority of Palestinians, and doing all this in apparent compliance with international law and the International Court of Justice. What he is really doing is implementing the founding program of the state of Israel, which is that Palestine must become dominated by an explicitly Jewish state which claims all the land of Palestine as its own. That in turn takes us back to the origin point of Zionism in the late 1800s.


Enter an upper-class racist from Vienna

The story begins with the Viennese journalist, Theodor Herzl. Herzl was the author of a book, Judenstaat, and the founder of the Zionist project in the waning days of the 19th Century. In the congresses of this new organization, held in Basel Switzerland in 1897 and ’98, Herzl dominated the debates among the various elites with an explicit call for a state for the Jews in Palestine, with the sovereign right to control immigration—and, by the way, no mention of the existing people of Palestine. Later, he did mention them, in the context of getting rid of the unwanted.


Herzl visited Palestine once during this time, but already he had a detailed plan for a complete take-over, writing in his diary that “We must gently expropriate” certain estates, and “spirit the penniless across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our own country.” He goes on to say, “the property owners will come over to our side.”


Note that this upper-class snob refers to the poor population as “it” and that he safely asserts that the upper class will welcome this take-over and accept the banishment of the poor, no doubt with a hearty “good riddance!” Nevertheless, most Palestinians stayed right where they were. But Zionists persisted, and soon became adopted by the British Empire.


Palestinians come from the Ottoman Empire

Palestine at this time was part of the Ottoman Empire, which was beginning to shift out of feudalism toward a capitalist economy. Along with this, the Empire was beginning to divide into nationalist entities, led largely by the area of Anatolia, which soon became Turkey. Although it was still mostly rural, and largely dominated by a landed autocracy, capitalist entities were developing. Palestine was involved with all of this, with the exception that it never was able to develop into a recognized nation.


It is important at this point to recognize that the culture of the Ottomans, even as capitalism and nations developed within it, lacked militarism and the endless wars and cultural conflicts that dominated Europe as it moved from feudalism to capitalism. It always seemed to have a sense of tolerance for differing cultures that Europe lacked. The Ottomans gave refuge to ethnic and national groups that were driven out of Europe’s purges and mass expulsions, such the Jews in Spain who were banished to the last person by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.


Culture clash, and a world war

Culture clash was a part of the story for the Palestinians who hadn’t faced national oppression for generations, but now faced it as WWI—the world’s first inter-imperialist war —invaded their lands. Palestinians were caught in the middle, and as the Ottoman Empire broke up in defeat, and the British and French imperialists chopped it up. Palestinians were stuck with the British “Mandate,” which allied with and promoted the Zionists.


Palestinians negotiated with the British, held half-a-dozen conferences promoting the idea of a Palestinian state, all of which was for naught. The British treated the Zionists as if they were an allied country of theirs, which they might as well have been since they did wind up being one. Only problem, they were stealing the land of an ancient and proud people who had been there for too many centuries to count, and who were the overwhelming majority in the land. The Palestinians were more welcoming and generous as a people than the Brits and Zionists, due to their long history as part of the Ottomans, and lack of background as a feudal-then-capitalist nation. This is not to say that the Palestinian society was not a class society, it was, but the big landowners were equally victimized, except some who sold out to the imperialists.


What’s the plan?

Now comes the question of what is the plan for saving this persecuted and terrorized people? It’s certainly not killing off the Jews, which no one wants, but which some imperialist/terrorists assert is the case. And it is certainly not a “two state solution,” which is a ridiculous folly. Two people—one more powerful and murderous than the other—living side by side with the same paper border that they have now? Really?


First, we must note, that these two peoples lived side by side in peace in the same area for centuries before feudal-capitalist cultures screwed everything up.


Second, the boundaries and inequalities of nationalism and capitalism must be scrapped by scrapping nationalism and capitalism and replacing them with equality and socialism. This means that the state of Israel—along with any entity that equates a political entity with a religion—must be demolished. The Palestinians have never been a recognized state.


Last and most important, a secular, united, and socialist Palestine, uniting all ethnicities and based primarily on none, and linked in with a socialist federation of Mid-East socialist states, must be the goal. It will, of course, be necessary for nationalism and capitalism to be abolished first, in a revolution of the working-class masses.


I won’t live long enough to see this, but I hope you will!


1 Aljazeera is one of the best sources for day-to-day news on this war. aljazeera.com.


2 The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine is the title of a very useful book, by Rashid Khalidi, which details the long history behind this war.


3 “Netanyahu allies want to use Gaza Aid as Launchpad for Occupation-annexation of the strip,” Haaretz Today, February 1, 2024. haaretz.com.