Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 15, 2024



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 15, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 31,490,* 73,439 wounded, and more than 427 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, 590 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.”

*** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on March 6, this is the latest figure.

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) Which Side Are You On?

By Bonnie Weinstein, March/April 2024


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



2) 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.



3) Some Gaza aid was blocked for carrying scissors, a U.N. official said. Israel said he was lying.

By Victoria Kim, March 13, 2024


A white truck with “UN” on it in blue lettering and a blue tarp covering the back is seen on a road below a blue sky full of white clouds.

A U.N. truck carrying aid to Deir al Balah in southern Gaza last week. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

A U.N. official said a truck carrying aid was turned around in Gaza this week because it contained scissors included in medical kits for children, calling attention to what aid groups have said is a laborious Israeli inspection process that is slowing down crucial humanitarian assistance.


Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, the main U.N. agency providing support for Palestinians in Gaza, said the truckload had been refused because medical scissors had been added to a list of items the Israeli authorities consider to be “dual use,” or having both civilian and military purposes.


COGAT, the Israeli agency overseeing aid deliveries into Gaza, accused Mr. Lazzarini of lying, saying that it was in constant contact with the United Nations and had not been notified of the denial. The agency said 1.5 percent of aid trucks trying to enter the territory had been turned away.


Mr. Lazzarini is the latest official to say that the Israeli military’s inspections are keeping aid from getting to Gaza’s 2.2 million people. Last week, Britain’s foreign minister, David Cameron, said during a parliamentary debate that “too many” goods were being turned away for being dual use, including items that are medically necessary.


A member of the British Parliament said this month that Israel had turned away 1,350 water filters and 2,560 solar lights provided by the British government because they were considered a threat.


Miriam Marmur, director of public advocacy at Gisha, an Israeli nonprofit that works to protect the free movement of Palestinians, said Israel’s list included broad categories that can encompass thousands of items, making it difficult to know what is prohibited. Many items that have been turned away are not explicitly listed, she said.


“This uncertainty follows years of obfuscation on what exactly qualifies as dual use from Israel’s perspective, as well as when and how those items can be brought into Gaza,” she said.


Mr. Lazzarini said it was critical that supplies for Gaza be cleared faster. “The lives of 2 million people depend on that, there is no time to waste,” he wrote on social media.


Israel has maintained a list of dual-use items that require special permission to be brought into Gaza as a part of its blockade of the enclave, which began years before the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 prompted the current war. For many years, the list and approval process were shrouded from public view. The Israeli authorities disclosed the list only after a legal battle, according to Gisha, which petitioned the court to require that it be released.


Aid groups have said that a single item determined to be of dual use can get an entire truck turned away, and that groups are at times not told what the item was or why it was rejected.


COGAT has said that many of the trucks that are turned away are repacked and enter later, and that any bottleneck is a result of the aid groups’ capacity to handle distribution, rather than Israeli limitations.


In January, two U.S. senators who visited a border crossing between Egypt and Gaza said they saw a warehouse near the crossing filled with rejected items, including tents, oxygen concentrators, water-testing kits, water filters, solar-powered refrigerators and medical kits used for delivering babies.


Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, said after the trip that Israel’s inspections were necessary but that the delays they caused had unacceptable consequences.


“If it takes a week when aid is desperately needed, that means people are shorted food, clean water and medical supplies,” he said on the Senate floor at the time.



4) Ramadan starts with ‘no joy’ for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

By Hiba Yazbek reporting from Jerusalem, March 13, 2024


People around a cooking fire next to a tent made of plastic sheeting.

Displaced Palestinians preparing the iftar meal outside a tent in Rafah, Gaza, on Monday. Credit...Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are welcoming Ramadan with little of the usual cheer. Amid Israel’s continuing attacks in Gaza and rising violence in the West Bank, the holy month’s festive decorations and celebratory mood are being replaced by feelings of helplessness and despair.


“There’s no joy,” said Hana Karameh, a mother of five from the city of Hebron.


Ramadan this year will be “incomplete,” she said. Usually, on the night before the first fast of Ramadan begins, they would pray together with their neighbors and gather for suhoor — the pre-dawn meal — while children shot off fireworks.


On Sunday night, as the holy month dawned, she said, “there was none of that.”


Even before Ramadan, Ms. Karameh said she had a hard time sitting down for meals knowing that many people in Gaza were starving. “I keep asking myself, did they eat? Did they drink? ” she said.


Ms. Karameh said that her husband would usually take their youngest children to the market to buy sweets and stock up on food the night before Ramadan began. Later he would take them to the mosque to pray Taraweeh, a daily Ramadan nighttime prayer. But this year, she said, the family could not do those things.


“We would usually be seven people at our iftar table,” she said, referring to the evening meal that breaks the fast. “But this year we will be five.”


Ms. Karameh’s husband, Jamal, 55, and her daughter Baraah, 19, were detained more than three months ago by Israeli forces and are being held in administrative detention, without charge or trial. They are among the more than 7,500 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem who have been detained by Israeli forces since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks, according to the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited control over the West Bank.


Palestinians in the West Bank are also less likely to host lavish iftar meals this year because their economic situation has worsened over the last five months. Israeli restrictions and closures across the West Bank have left businesses struggling since Oct. 7.


“It’s a very different feeling compared to past years,” said Bassam Abu al-Rub, a journalist from the West Bank town of Jenin, who lives in Nablus. “I went to the supermarket and only bought basic ingredients because when we sit at the table to eat after seeing the scenes in Gaza, we feel heartbroken.”


Worsening violence and regular Israeli raids in the West Bank have killed more than 425 people there since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah — and the toll continues to climb. The ministry said on Wednesday that Israeli forces had killed two people overnight near the town of Al Jib. The Israeli military has said that the raids are a part of their counterterrorism efforts against members of Hamas in the West Bank.


“On top of the war in Gaza, the West Bank has been living a war since 2021,” Mr. Abu al-Rub said, referring to the year when Israeli raids, detentions and settler violence began to rise sharply in the occupied territory. “Imagine when you are living this emotional state of daily incursions, sounds of gunfire and gas bombs and regular detentions,” Mr. Abu al-Rub said in a phone call. “Of course you will fear further escalation” during the holy month, he added.


Mr. Abu al-Rub said that every year he would look forward to Israel granting him a permit to visit Jerusalem and pray at Al Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam. But this year, he did not have much hope that he would get to go.


Al Aqsa, which is on a site revered by Jews as the location of two ancient temples, has long been a point of contention, and in recent years Israel has exerted tighter control over it. On Monday, Israel’s agency overseeing policy for the Palestinian territories posted on Facebook that only men over the age of 55, women over the age of 50 and children under the age of 10 would be allowed to enter Israel from the West Bank to pray at Al Aqsa during Ramadan.


Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.



5) The White House says Biden has set no ‘red lines’ on Israel’s Gaza offensive but repeats warnings on Rafah.

By Peter Baker and Alan Yuhas reporting from Washington and New York, March 13, 2024


A person dressed all in black traverses rubble at the base of a bombed-out high rise building.

A destroyed building in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, on Sunday. Credit...Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The White House denied on Tuesday that President Biden had set any “red lines” for Israel in its campaign against Hamas in Gaza but warned again that Israel should not attack the city of Rafah, the southernmost city in the enclave, without protections for more than a million people sheltering there.


“The president didn’t make any declarations or pronouncements or announcements,” said Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, referring to an interview Mr. Biden gave over the weekend in which he was asked whether he had a “red line” Israel should not cross in its prosecution of the war.


In the interview, with MSNBC, Mr. Biden rebuked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel over the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, saying that “he must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost” and that “he’s hurting Israel more than helping Israel.”


Mr. Netanyahu later dismissed that contention as “wrong,” and on Tuesday he again defended Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties. Speaking by video to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group based in Washington that is usually referred to as AIPAC, he said that Israel’s allies “cannot say you support Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas and then oppose Israel when it takes the actions necessary to achieve that goal.”


Mr. Biden, while trying to increase the pressure on Mr. Netanyahu, has insisted that U.S. support for Israel will remain steadfast. Mr. Sullivan, who met on Tuesday with Israel’s ambassador, Michael Herzog, declined to discuss reports that Mr. Biden, if Israel proceeded with the Rafah operation, might impose restrictions on how Israel can use the arms the United States is supplying it.


“We’re not going to engage in hypotheticals about what comes down the line, and the reports that purport to describe the president’s thinking are uninformed speculation,” Mr. Sullivan said.


But he repeated Mr. Biden’s view that Israel should not attack Rafah without explaining how it would protect the civilians who have taken refuge there.


The president believes there is a long-term path to stability and security for Israel, Mr. Sullivan said, but “that path does not lie in smashing into Rafah, where there are 1.3 million people, in the absence of a credible plan to deal with the population there. And again, as things stand today, we have not seen what that plan is.”


For his part, Mr. Netanyahu again vowed on Tuesday to attack Hamas in Rafah, despite warnings from the United States and other nations that a ground offensive there would have disastrous consequences for civilians in the city.


“To win this war, we must destroy the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “If not, Hamas will regroup, rearm and reconquer Gaza, and then we’re back to square one. And that’s an intolerable threat that we cannot accept.”


More than a million Palestinians who have fled from fighting in other parts of the Gaza Strip — many of them obeying Israeli directives to move south for their safety — have crammed into temporary, often squalid shelters in Rafah, which is on the border with Egypt. People there and aid workers have described worsening crises of hunger, disease and desperate conditions, and Israel’s allies have increasingly urged the country to scale back its military campaign and allow more aid into Gaza.


Israeli officials have said they are developing a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah, and Mr. Netanyahu said on Tuesday, “We will finish the job in Rafah while enabling the civilian population to get out of harm’s way.”


Divisions over invading Rafah have also added to strains in Israel’s wartime emergency government. On Tuesday, the hawkish New Hope party announced that it would leave the fragile two-party alliance led by Benny Gantz, a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s war cabinet.


The leader of the New Hope party, Gideon Sa’ar, has argued that Israel should already have invaded Rafah, while senior members of Mr. Gantz’s faction have prioritized reaching a temporary cease-fire deal with Hamas to release hostages.


Although tensions between Mr. Biden and Mr. Netanyahu have increasingly emerged in public, analysts have questioned for months whether Israel can accomplish its objective of eradicating Hamas. In a report released Monday but written before the most recent tensions between U.S. and Israeli officials, American intelligence analysts raised doubts about the feasibility of that goal.


“Israel probably will face lingering armed resistance from Hamas for years to come, and the military will struggle to neutralize Hamas’s underground infrastructure, which allows insurgents to hide, regain strength and surprise Israeli forces,” the report said.


Adam Sella and Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.



6) These Workers Are Risking Their Lives to Restore Gaza’s Phone Network

Telecommunications infrastructure has been devastated in the territory, largely preventing Palestinians from calling for help, coordinating the delivery of aid and communicating with family abroad.

By Adam Rasgon, March 13, 2024

Adam Rasgon reported from Jerusalem and Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, and spoke to engineers and technicians in the Gaza Strip via video.


Smoke can be seen over the horizon of a city. A cellphone tower is in the foreground.

A cellphone tower in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, this month. Credit...Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When Mohammed Sweirky prepared to leave for a work trip in January to repair telecommunications infrastructure that had been destroyed in northern Gaza, his wife and children pleaded with him not to go.


Fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas members was still raging in the area, said Mr. Sweirky, who is a technician for Paltel, the largest telecommunications company in Gaza, and his family worried he might not return. But he said he felt he had no choice given that residents there desperately needed their phone services restored.


“It was painful to say bye,” said Mr. Sweirky, 50, who fled Gaza City at the beginning of the war and is now sheltering with six family members in a garage in Rafah, the territory’s southernmost city. “They were crying, but I couldn’t abandon our mission.”


Since the start of the war, Mr. Sweirky’s job has become among the most dangerous in Gaza and also one of the most important. Israel’s bombing campaign against Hamas has pummeled telecommunications infrastructure in Gaza, destroying subterranean fiber cables, damaging data centers and blowing up cell towers.


Since the war began, some 50 engineers and technicians at Paltel, one of two Palestinian cell service providers in Gaza, have crisscrossed the enclave to reinstate service in neighborhoods that have been plunged into blackouts for days and even weeks.


Paltel — which is dependent on three telecommunication lines that pass through Israel — operates infrastructure in Gaza. Trying to repair that infrastructure has entailed enormous risks for Paltel technicians, who often have to work near battles and who say they have also come under fire.


At least two Paltel employees have been killed on the job, according to the company and the Palestinian Authority’s telecommunications ministry. A total of 16 have died since the war began, Paltel said.


Blackouts across Gaza have severely hampered the ability of Palestinians to call for help, report on unfolding events, coordinate the delivery of aid and communicate with friends and family abroad. Calls routinely go straight to voice mail, and when they connect, the connection is often weak.


Some Palestinians in Gaza have found ways to bypass the blackouts by using cards compatible with Israeli or Egyptian networks and by connecting to backup infrastructure known as microwave link.


“During a war, the difference between life and death can be one phone call,” said Tariq Bakhit, 33, an emergency medical worker. “We can barely do anything without the ability to communicate.”


A Paltel executive and the Palestinian Authority’s telecommunications ministry blame most of the poor connectivity on airstrikes and on bulldozed roads, causing damage to infrastructure above and below ground.


But the executive, Mamoon Fares, the head of Paltel’s Gaza emergency committee, said Israel had also shut down communications in Gaza three times. He said Paltel had come to that conclusion because the network was later restored without its intervention on those occasions. The Israeli military declined to comment.


Mr. Fares said that dozens of miles of Paltel’s fiber cables had been destroyed, two of its four major data centers put offline and more than 100 of its cell towers wrecked in the fighting.


Before Paltel employees enter Israeli-controlled areas, the company says it sends the names, ID numbers and license plate information of technicians to international organizations or Palestinian officials, who transfer the data to Israeli security officials. After receiving Israel’s permission to embark on a project, employees adhere to instructions from Israeli officials, including specific routes they outline on maps, the company said.


But there have still been several close calls and one deadly incident, according to Paltel.


In mid-December, members of a Paltel team found themselves in the middle of the fighting. They were trying to reconnect a cable submerged in a water-filled crater in the southern city of Khan Younis when clashes between the Israeli military and militants erupted, said Kamel Amsy, 52, an engineer on the team. Overcome with fear, they laid flat on the ground as bullets flew overhead.


“The tanks nearby went crazy,” he said. “The situation was petrifying.”


When Mr. Fares called Palestinian officials to request they inform their Israeli counterparts that his employees were in the line of fire, according to established protocol, the Israelis said that the technicians should stay put, the Paltel executive recalled.


A half-hour later, a soldier emerged from a tank and told the technicians to evacuate eastward, but there was no way for their cars to pass through the crater, Mr. Amsy said. Worried for their lives, they drove westward until they escaped the fighting, he said.


The next day, the technicians completed the job, which was aimed at bringing connectivity back to southern Gaza after a multiday blackout.


Asked later about the event, the Israeli Army said it had given Paltel technicians permission to work in the area, but later told them not to come because of “operational activity” there. It said that the army was not aware of tank fire directed at the technicians, who it said were not a target.


In another incident in December, Nader Abu Hajjaj, 49, a technician from Khan Younis, was fixing cables and replacing batteries on a building in his hometown, when he said it was hit by airstrikes. “It was a disaster,” Mr. Abu Hajjaj said during an interview in January. “We coordinated our movements, but they still fired at us.”


The Israeli military said that it was targeting an anti-tank launching position on the roof of the building and that fire was halted once it was informed that Paltel employees were present.


Two weeks later, Mr. Abu Hajjaj was less fortunate. While returning from a project in Khan Younis, his car was struck by tank fire, killing him and Bahaa al-Rayes, his colleague, according to Paltel. Mr. Fares said an employee who was injured in the episode reported that it was caused by a tank opening fire.


The Israeli army said it is investigating the incident. COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for liaising with the Palestinians, confirmed that Paltel had coordinated the movements of Mr. Abu Hajjaj and Mr. Rayes with it. The agency said that it has coordinated dozens of missions to repair telecommunications infrastructure without incident.


While Paltel still does not know the exact extent of the damage to its assets in Gaza, Mr. Fares said that 80 percent of its network was offline, including a considerable portion that needed to be replaced. He predicted that it would take years to fix the full network and that the repair would depend on the pace of the broader reconstruction process.


A major challenge to rebuilding the network, Mr. Fares said, was Israel’s blocking of equipment into Gaza like antennas, fiber cables and microwave dishes.


Eyhab Esbaih, a senior official in the telecommunications ministry, said discussions were continuing with Israel through international interlocutors about bringing equipment into Gaza. Like Mr. Fares, he said Israel had not yet allowed such items in.


COGAT said it was permitting the entry into Gaza of spare parts for communications infrastructure, but declined to specify what had been allowed in. Israeli officials have long been reluctant to allow what they consider dual-use items into Gaza — equipment that can be used for both military and civilian purposes.


Technicians say they have also been frustrated by run-ins with Israeli forces. In December, Mr. Amsy and Mr. Sweirky said they and several technicians were held at gunpoint during a trip to northern Gaza to fix damaged cables.


Mr. Amsy said soldiers had blindfolded him and zip-tied his wrists before accusing him and other technicians of taking footage of the area. He said they were released only after he convinced them that they were on a repair mission approved by the military.


“It was incredibly demeaning,” Mr. Amsy said. “You’re trying to do your job, but you receive no respect.”


Asked about the episode, the Israeli Army did not specifically comment on Mr. Amsy’s description of the soldiers’ actions or confirm the incident. Instead, it said that all detainees should “be treated with respect and dignity.”


After being freed, most of the technicians wanted to call off the project, but Mr. Amsy said they needed to do everything possible to improve communications in the north and kept going.


But as they came close to their destination, a tank began firing nearby, they said. “At that point, we realized we were on an impossible mission,” Mr. Amsy said. “We were left with no choice but to head home.” Mr. Fares, the Paltel official, said he was on the phone with the technicians when the episode occurred and heard firing.


The Israeli military said the incident could not be identified using the details provided.



7) Why Everything Changed in Haiti: The Gangs United

“The situation totally changed now, because the gangs are now working together,” a Haitian consultant said. Their unity forced the prime minister to resign.

By Maria Abi-Habib, Natalie Kitroeff and Frances Robles, March 14, 2024

“‘Those young girls, those young boys, they have no other opportunity — to die starving or to take weapons,’ Mr. Philippe told The Times. ‘They chose to take weapons.’”


Guy Philippe standing on a step and listening to villagers, who are looking up at him.

Guy Philippe with villagers in his hometown, Pestel, in 2016. He is the most prominent political ally of Haiti’s gangs. Credit...Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Even as gangs terrorized Haiti, kidnapped civilians en masse and killed at will, the country’s embattled prime minister held on to power for years.


Then, in a matter of days, everything changed.


In the midst of political upheaval not seen since the country’s president was assassinated in 2021, Haiti’s prime minister, Ariel Henry, agreed to step down. Now, neighboring countries are scrambling to create a transitional council to run the country and plot a course for elections, which once seemed a distant possibility.


What made this moment different, experts say: The gangs united, forcing the country’s leader to relinquish power.


“Prime Minister Ariel resigned not because of politics, not because of the massive street demonstrations against him over the years, but because of the violence gangs have carried out,” said Judes Jonathas, a Haitian consultant who has worked for years in aid delivery. “The situation totally changed now, because the gangs are now working together.”


It is unclear how strong the alliance is or whether it will last. What is apparent is that the gangs are trying to capitalize on their control of Port-au-Prince, the capital, to become a legitimate political force in the negotiations being brokered by foreign governments including the United States, France and Caribbean nations.


In early March, Mr. Henry traveled to Nairobi to finalize a deal for a Kenyan-led security force to deploy to Haiti. Criminal groups seized on the absence of Mr. Henry, who is highly unpopular. Within days, the gangs shut down the airport, looted seaports, attacked about a dozen police stations and released about 4,600 prisoners from jail.


They demanded that Mr. Henry resign, threatening to worsen the violence if he refused. Since he agreed to step down, the gangs seem to be largely focused on securing immunity from criminal prosecution and staying out of jail, analysts said.


“Their biggest objective is amnesty,” Mr. Jonathas said.


The criminals’ most prominent political ally is Guy Philippe, a former police commander and coup leader who served six years in U.S. federal prison for laundering drug money before being deported back to Haiti late last year. He has led the push for Mr. Henry to resign.


Now Mr. Philippe is openly calling for the gangs to receive amnesty.


“We have to tell them, ‘You will put down the weapons or you will face big consequences,’” Mr. Philippe told The New York Times in an interview in January, referring to the gangs. “If you put down the weapons,” he said, “you will have a second chance. You will have some kind of amnesty.”


Mr. Philippe does not have a seat on the transitional council appointed to lead Haiti. But he is using his connections to the Pitit Desalin political party to bring those demands to the negotiating table in Jamaica, where Caribbean and international officials are meeting to forge a solution to the crisis in Haiti, according to three people familiar with the discussions.


Gang leaders’ decision to unite was most likely motivated by a desire to consolidate power after Mr. Henry signed the agreement with Kenya to bring 1,000 police officers to Port-au-Prince, said William O’Neill, the United Nations expert on human rights in Haiti.


Many gang members in Haiti are teenagers, he said, who are looking to be paid but who probably have little interest in going to war with a well-armed police force.


The gangs respect “fear and force,” Mr. O’Neill said. “They fear a force stronger than they are.”


While many doubt that the Kenyan force will bring lasting stability, its arrival would represent the biggest challenge to the gang’s territorial control in years.


“The gangs have been hearing about this Kenyan-led force,” for years, said Louis-Henri Mars, the executive director of Lakou Lapè, an organization that works with Haitian gangs. “Then they saw that it was finally coming, so they launched a pre-emptive strike.”


The violence unleashed by the gangs shut down much of the capital and prevented Mr. Henry from being able to return to his country.


This was the tipping point: The United States and Caribbean leaders viewed Haiti’s situation as “untenable.” U.S. officials concluded Mr. Henry was no longer a viable partner and sharpened their calls for him to move quickly toward a transition of power, officials involved in the political negotiations said.


Since then, gang leaders have been speaking to journalists, holding news conferences, promising peace and demanding a seat at the table.


Jimmy Chérizier, a powerful gang leader also known as Barbecue, has become one of the best-known faces of the new gang alliance, known as Living Together.


A former police officer known for his ruthlessness, Mr. Chérizier’s gang, the G-9, commands downtown Port-au-Prince and has been accused of attacking neighborhoods allied with opposition political parties, looting homes, raping women and killing people at random.


Yet in his news conferences, Mr. Chérizier has apologized for the violence and blamed Haiti’s economic and political systems for country’s destitution and inequality. Mr. Philippe has echoed that thinking.


“Those young girls, those young boys, they have no other opportunity — to die starving or to take weapons,” Mr. Philippe told The Times. “They chose to take weapons.”



8) ‘Everything Is Difficult’: The Struggle for Life’s Basics in Rafah

Most of Gaza’s population fled to the southern territory of Rafah, hoping to escape the war. As they hunt for food and shelter, a potential Israeli invasion has added to their fears.

By Bilal Shbair and Ben Hubbard, March 14, 2024

Bilal Shbair reported from Rafah, Gaza, and Ben Hubbard from Istanbul.


A standing woman holds a bag attached by a long tube to the arm of a man who is sitting on the ground, leaning against her legs.

A woman takes care of a wounded man outside Rafah’s largest hospital. Medics say supplies are low and many types of medical care have stopped. Credit...Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The fear has been building for weeks.


More than one million Palestinians fled into Rafah, the southernmost region of Gaza, hoping to escape the war. Now, Israel has threatened to extend its invasion there, too.


Amid days filled with struggles to secure food, water and shelter, uncertainty has dominated people’s conversations, said Khalid Shurrab, a charity worker staying with his family in a leaky tent in Rafah.


“We have two options, either to stay as we are or face our destiny — death,” said Mr. Shurrab, 36. “People literally have no other safe place to go.”


Rafah, which so far had been spared the brunt of Israel’s onslaught, has become a new focal point of a war now in its sixth month. It is where most of Gaza’s 2.2 million people have ended up, multiplying the area’s population and exhausting its limited resources.


And now, with Israel signaling its intent to go after Hamas militants in Rafah, and Egypt blocking most Gazans from crossing its border to the south, families fear they are trapped.


In Rafah Governorate, home to fewer than 300,000 people before the war, space has become a rare commodity. Displaced families pack schools, tent camps sprawl across empty lots and pedestrians crowd streets.


Cooking gas is so scarce that the air is acrid with smoke from fires burning salvaged wood and chopped-up furniture. Fuel is expensive, so people walk, ride bicycles or take carts drawn by donkeys and horses. Since Rafah sits along the Egyptian border, where most of the aid enters from, it receives more supplies than other parts of Gaza.


Still, many residents are so desperate that they throw rocks at aid trucks to try to make them stop or swarm them to try to grab whatever they can.  Hundreds of people were killed and injured amid a stampede and Israeli gunfire when a convoy of trucks tried to deliver aid in Gaza City, in the territory’s north, last month.


Most people taking shelter in Rafah spend their days trying to secure basic needs: finding clean water for drinking and bathing, getting enough food and calming their children when Israeli strikes hit nearby.


“Everything is difficult here,” said Hadeel Abu Sharek, 24, who is staying with her 3-year-old daughter and other relatives in a shuttered restaurant in Rafah. “Our dreams have been smashed. Our life has become a nightmare.”


Her family usually only manages to find enough food for one meal per day, she said, and while they boil water before drinking it, many of them have been sick, including her daughter. They have no easy place to obtain medicine.


“The bombing is terrifying, especially for the children,” she said, adding that everyone clustered in a corner when they heard Israeli strikes, fearing the roof would fall on them.


The restaurant was their second stop since leaving their homes in northern Gaza during the start of the war. They now have to move again, she said. The restaurant is kicking them out, but gave them some metal bars and waterproof cloth to build a makeshift tent.


Shelter is so scarce that rents have skyrocketed, schools have become de facto refugee camps and many families sleep in tents or string up plastic sheeting to protect themselves from the rain and cold.


Not long after the invasion began, Ismail al-Afify, a tailor from northern Gaza, set up camp with his family under a concrete stairwell in a school. The building has since filled with many other refugees, with four families sometimes sharing a single classroom.


To meet their needs, Mr. al-Afify’s sons keep an eye out for aid and water trucks so they can rush over and try to get supplies or fill their buckets with water. When they have flour, his daughter-in-law bakes flatbread with other women in a makeshift clay oven in the street.


He often goes to bed hungry, said Mr. al-Afify, 62.


Shortages of fuel and other supplies have nearly crippled the local medical facilities.


In an interview, Marwan al-Hams, the director of Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital, Rafah’s largest, listed the services it could no longer provide: intensive care, complex surgeries, CT scans or M.R.I.s and cancer treatments. The doctors lack painkillers and medicines for diabetes and high blood pressure. Their ability to provide dialysis is so reduced that patients with kidney diseases have died.


The hospital itself is crowded, with displaced families sheltering on the grounds and in the hallways. There are only 63 beds for about 300 patients, he said.


“Most cases are dealt with on the floor,” he said.


In the early months of the war, the Israeli military repeatedly ordered people in Gaza to evacuate toward the south for their own safety. But Israel has often struck in Rafah, too, killing people and damaging buildings. On Wednesday, Israeli forces hit an aid warehouse in Rafah that killed a U.N. worker, according to UNRWA, the largest aid group on the ground in Gaza.


Aid groups and United Nations officials have warned that a Rafah invasion would be catastrophic for civilians in Gaza, and President Biden called such a move a “red line,” though he added that helping Israel defend itself remained “critical.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel responded with his own red line: “That Oct. 7 doesn’t happen again,” he said, referring to the Hamas-led attack on Israel that started the war. Israeli officials say about 1,200 people were killed and some 240 taken to Gaza as captives.


Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched a bombing campaign and invasion that the Gaza health authorities say has killed more than 31,000 people, a toll that does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.


In mid-February, an Israeli strike hit the al-Hoda Mosque in Rafah, collapsing its roof and heavily damaging the building, according to the Palestinian news media and Aaed Abu Hasanein, the facility’s prayer leader. It was unclear why the building was struck. Israel has accused Hamas of using civilian buildings like schools and mosques for terrorist activities, a charge Hamas denies.


The strike rendered most of the building unusable, Mr. Abu Hasanein said.


“As you see, there is nothing left,” he said. “Everything is gone.”


But people still pray in the mosque, he added. About 150 people can fit in the hallway where visitors once left their shoes, the least damaged part of the building.


“This is the safest, unburned place,” Mr. Abu Hasanein said.



9) Questions persist as Israel signals it will help more aid get into Gaza.

By Cassandra Vinograd, March 14, 2024


A truck carrying plastic-wrapped cargo passing through concrete blast walls.

A truck carrying humanitarian aid bound for Gaza, at the inspection area at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, on Thursday. Credit...Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Israel’s military on Thursday heralded new initiatives to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza by land, air and sea, hours after a senior official said it was trying to “flood” the enclave with sorely needed aid.


Israel has announced support for three new aid efforts over the past week — a ship carrying food approaching the coast off Gaza; airdrops by foreign countries; and an initial convoy of six trucks crossing directly from Israel into northern Gaza, where aid agencies say hunger is severest, for the first time since Oct. 7.


The public signaling follows increasingly urgent calls for Israel to do more to alleviate the humanitarian crisis wrought by its invasion and United Nations warnings that parts of Gaza are on the brink of famine. But aid organizations have said the high-profile new efforts are inefficient and won’t meet Gazans needs — arguing that it would be better for Israel to ease entry restrictions at established crossing points into the enclave, and do more to facilitate the delivery of goods inside Gaza.


Airdrops are ineffective and largely symbolic, these groups say, able to deliver just a fraction of the food that a truck convoy can haul. Setting up the infrastructure for aid deliveries by sea will be expensive and take time: U.S. officials have said that it could be weeks before a floating pier for maritime aid is up and running.


“Air and sea is not a substitute for land and nobody says otherwise,” Sigrid Kaag, the U.N. humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, said last week.


But even deliveries by land face challenges that critics say Israel needs to address.


Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has damaged the roads that aid trucks travel on. Desperate Gazans have looted and pulled food from trucks. Convoys have come under fire. And humanitarian agencies say that stringent Israeli inspections have created bottlenecks for aid trucks at the two open crossings into the enclave.


Israel has insisted throughout the war that it is committed to allowing as much aid into Gaza as possible, blaming U.N. staffing and logistics for delays in deliveries.


“The issue isn’t the scanning and delivery of aid to Gaza, it’s how much the U.N. can collect and deliver within Gaza,” Col. Elad Goren, the head of the Israeli agency that oversees policy for the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, told reporters on Thursday.


The new aid efforts are not immune to some of the same logistical challenges. Israel has said it will continue to conduct strict inspections of supplies entering Gaza, arguing that Hamas could divert items for its use. Food coming by air or sea must still be distributed on the ground.


But Israel has appeared increasingly eager to demonstrate support for the initiatives. On Wednesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited northern Gaza and viewed preparations for a new maritime humanitarian route, calling aid “a central issue,” according to a statement from the defense ministry. Then, the chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, told reporters that Israel plans to “flood” northern Gaza with aid and scale up entry points, The Associated Press reported.


On Thursday, the Israeli military posted videos and photos of airdrops and trucks entering northern Gaza, saying it “continues to expand its efforts to enable the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.”



10) Road, sea and air: How is aid entering Gaza?

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, March 14, 2024


A truck is seen from behind as it moves through a border checkpoint.

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid drive toward the Gaza Strip as they leave the inspection area at the Kerem Shalom crossing on the border with Israel on Thursday. Credit...Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

The amount of aid reaching Gaza has fallen sharply since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas, leading to what humanitarian officials say is a catastrophe for the territory’s population of more than two million people. Gaza was subject to a blockade before the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, but around 500 trucks of food and other supplies a day were still crossing into the territory. That number has since fallen by around 75 percent, according to United Nations data.


Here is a look at the ways aid is getting into Gaza:




Roads are by far the most important delivery route: More than 15,000 trucks of aid have entered the territory since Oct. 7 at two entry points in the enclave’s south. Most enter through Rafah, on Gaza’s border with Egypt. The other point is at Kerem Shalom, an Israeli crossing. Since January, protesters have sometimes blocked the Kerem Shalom crossing, arguing that Gaza should receive no aid while armed groups still hold captives taken on Oct. 7. Aid groups have called for more crossings to be opened.


Israel subjects all aid for Gaza to rigorous checks, saying that it is attempting to block items that could potentially be used by Hamas. Britain’s foreign minister, David Cameron, said this week that too many goods were being turned away on those grounds, echoing the stance of officials at aid agencies and the United Nations.


Israeli officials say that there is no limit to the amount of aid that can enter Gaza by road, and that responsibility for bottlenecks lies with aid agencies. They say that they can inspect more aid deliveries than humanitarian organizations can process and distribute.


Even after supplies get into Gaza, aid groups have struggled to make deliveries because of security challenges — and particularly to transport goods to northern Gaza from entry points in the south. The north of the territory is on the brink of famine, according to the United Nations’ World Food Program. This week, Israel allowed the agency to send an aid convoy with food for 25,000 people directly into northern Gaza through a crossing point that had not previously been used for aid during the war. The agency said it was the first time since Feb. 20 that it had delivered food in the north.




The United States, Britain, the European Union and other governments announced last week that they would establish a sea route for aid to Gaza from Cyprus, and the U.S. military has announced plans to build a floating pier to facilitate deliveries because Gaza does not have a functioning port.


A ship carrying 200 metric tons of aid from the charity group World Central Kitchen departed Cyprus for Gaza on Tuesday in what European officials called a pilot project for the new route. The group is building a makeshift jetty in Gaza to unload the aid, which had not yet arrived as of Thursday.


A second ship was being loaded in Cyprus on Thursday with 300 metric tons of aid, the World Central Kitchen said, but it was not clear when it would set sail.


U.S. officials have said it could take 30 to 60 days to build the floating pier. Aid groups and Gazan officials have said that sea shipments and airdrops are both slow and cannot come close to supplying as much as trucks.




This week Germany became the latest country to announce plans to airdrop aid to Gaza, after the United States, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France. The Israeli military said Thursday that 1,000 aid packages had been airdropped into Gaza Strip over the past week. The drops could ease delivery to parts of Gaza out of reach of aid trucks. But aid officials say it is costly and ineffective as a means of delivering large quantities of supplies.


It is also risky for civilians on the ground. Local authorities said last week that at least five Palestinians were killed after airdropped aid packages fell on them in Gaza City.


Adam Sella contributed reporting from Kerem Shalom, Israel.



11) Israeli forces make a lethal strike on a U.N. aid warehouse in Rafah.

By Anushka Patil, March 14, 2024


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said the attack killed at least one of their workers and injured several others. Credit...Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The Israeli military confirmed that it had bombed an aid warehouse in Rafah in southern Gaza on Wednesday, saying it had “precisely targeted” and killed a Hamas commander in an attack that the United Nations said also killed at least one aid worker and injured 22 others.


The Israeli military said the Hamas commander, whom it identified as Muhammad Abu Hasna, was “involved in taking control of humanitarian aid” and coordinating “the activities of various Hamas units.”


UNRWA, the U.N. agency that supports Palestinians, said the strike in Gaza’s southernmost city hit one of its facilities that serves as both an aid warehouse and a food distribution center.


The agency, formally the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, is the largest provider of aid on the ground in Gaza and the chief lifeline for the enclave’s 2.2 million residents, more than half of whom have been forced by Israeli military orders or fighting to cram into Rafah.


The UNRWA facility was not distributing food to civilians on Wednesday, but more than 50 staff members were working at the facility when it was hit by Israeli forces around noon, according to Juliette Touma, UNRWA’s director of communications. Physical damage to the facility appeared to be minimal, but the human toll was “quite high” and some of the 22 wounded aid workers were “severely injured,” she said.


Photos and video taken by Reuters photographers at the scene showed blood splashed in several locations around the facility: smeared on a warehouse floor surrounded by stacks of aid, soaked into the side of a box of baby supplies and pooled on the ground outdoors. At the nearby Al-Najjar Hospital, where many of the injured were taken, U.N. workers grieved over the body of their dead colleague, who lay on a stretcher still wearing the organization’s signature blue jacket, photos taken by other news agencies showed.


WAFA, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, reported that at least four other people were killed in the strike alongside Mr. Abu Hasna and the UNRWA worker.


Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the agency, said in a statement that the “attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centers in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out, hunger is widespread and, in some areas, turning into famine.”


At least 165 UNRWA staff members have been killed while working in Gaza since the start of the war, according to the agency. It also said that more than 400 people had been killed while sheltering at UNRWA facilities that had collectively been hit more than 150 times during the war.


Mr. Lazzarini said that UNRWA shared the coordinates of all of its facilities in Gaza on a daily basis with the “parties to the conflict,” and that the Israeli military had received the coordinates of the food distribution center on Tuesday, a day before it was hit.


“Attacks against U.N. facilities, convoys and personnel have become commonplace, in blatant disregard to international humanitarian law,” Mr. Lazzarini said.


Martin Griffiths, the top humanitarian chief at the United Nations, condemned the strike on the warehouse on social media, calling it “devastating” for both aid workers and “for the families they were trying to help.”


“They must be protected,” he said. “This war has to stop.”



12) New U.K. Extremism Policy Raises Concerns Over Free Speech

The government said it would use a new legal definition of extremism to blacklist certain groups from public funding or engagement.

By Stephen Castle, Reporting from London, March 14, 2024


People waving Palestinian flags and holding protest signs with slogans like “End Israeli apartheid.”

A pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in November. The head of the Church of England said the government’s new definition of extremism “risks disproportionately targeting Muslim communities.” Credit...Hollie Adams/Reuters

Britain’s government published a new definition of extremism on Thursday that it intends to use to cut ties or funding to groups deemed to have crossed the line, but which critics fear could curtail campaigners’ rights and curb free speech.


Michael Gove, a senior cabinet minister, said in a statement that the move was intended to “protect democratic values” by being “clear and precise in identifying the dangers posed by extremism.”


Some advocacy groups and legal experts greeted the announcement with concern, warning that it could affect the rights of those deemed by the government to meet the definition. The only way to challenge such a decision is likely to be through the courts.


The initiative has also stirred a wider debate about how, before a general election that must be held by early next year, British politicians choose to deal with domestic tensions that have risen since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip.


Even before the details of the new extremism proposals were made public, they had provoked criticism from rights groups and concern from three former Conservative Party home secretaries, whose remit included national security, who warned against using the issue of extremism for political advantage.


Leaders from the Church of England also weighed in. The archbishop of Canterbury — Justin Welby, who is the head of the church and a peer in the House of Lords — and the archbishop of York said in a statement issued on Tuesday that the new definition “not only inadvertently threatens freedom of speech, but also the right to worship and peaceful protest, things that have been hard won and form the fabric of a civilized society.”


They added: “Crucially, it risks disproportionately targeting Muslim communities, who are already experiencing rising levels of hate and abuse.”


Under the new plan, extremism will be defined as “the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance” that aims to “negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or undermine, overturn or replace the U.K.’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights,” or intentionally create a “permissive environment” for others to do so.


In its statement, the government said that its new definition was not statutory and would have no effect on existing criminal law. But it added that, after publication of the new definition, “the government will undertake a robust process to assess groups for extremism against the definition, which will then inform decisions around government engagement and funding.”


Critics said it was that element — the idea that whichever government is in power could blacklist groups it considers extremist, and ban them from meeting with any government bodies or officials, or receiving taxpayer funding — that could threaten free speech and civil liberties.


David Anderson, a senior lawyer and former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation for the government, told the BBC that there were many questions that still needed to be answered about the policy.


“The definition remains extremely broad,” he said. “For example, it catches people who advance an ideology which negates the fundamental rights of others. One can imagine both sides of the trans debate leaping on that one.”


Mr. Anderson, who is also a member of the House of Lords, said he did not take much comfort from reassurances that the definition related only to interactions with government. “I think you are also affecting a lot of people potentially by branding them as extremists,” he said, adding that it “affects potentially the freedoms and reputations of an awful lot of people.”


Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International’s chief executive, described the plan as a “dangerously sweeping approach to labeling groups and individuals ‘extremist’” adding in a statement that it was “another smash and grab” on human rights.


“This attempt to stigmatize legitimate, peaceful political activity is taking us further down the road toward authoritarianism,” he added.


Some Conservative lawmakers also warned against any measures that could threaten free speech. Miriam Cates, a Conservative Party lawmaker, told The Times of London that she believed radical Islamism to be the most significant threat to Britain’s national security, but that it should be addressed “by properly upholding our existing laws and proscribing groups that have links to terrorism.”


“In a pluralistic democracy, there are, of course, a wide range of opinions that many of us would consider extreme,” she added. “But the state should only intervene if there is an actual threat of physical harm. Otherwise, we erode our fundamental freedoms of speech, association, expression and religion.”


The government tried to address such concerns in its statement on Thursday, saying that the plan was “not about silencing those with private and peaceful beliefs — not will it affect free speech, which will always be protected.”


The announcement did not include a list of groups deemed to have fallen foul of the new definition, although the government is expected to announce one in the coming weeks.


The initiative follows a speech by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this month in which he spoke of “a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality” in Britain since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack in Israel. Mr. Sunak appealed to people in Britain to come together “to combat the forces of division and beat this poison.”


Mr. Sunak had previously given an outspoken warning at a meeting of senior police officers that “mob rule is replacing democratic rule.”


Mr. Gove said in his statement that “the pervasiveness of extremist ideologies has become increasingly clear in the aftermath of the 7 October attacks and poses a real risk to the security of our citizens and our democracy.” He added, “This is the work of extreme right-wing and Islamist extremists who are seeking to separate Muslims from the rest of society and create division within Muslim communities.”


The new definition updates one outlined in a government anti-extremism strategy known as Prevent. It defined extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” Calling for the death of members of the armed forces was also included in the definition.



13) Israeli and Gazan officials offer diverging accounts of deadly chaos around another aid convoy.

By The New York Times, March 15, 2024


Another convoy bringing aid to hunger-stricken northern Gaza resulted in disaster late Thursday when Palestinians were killed and wounded in an attack surrounding the trucks, according to Gazan health officials and the Israeli military, which offered divergent accounts of the bloodshed.


The Gazan Health Ministry said that at least 20 people had been killed and more than 100 injured, and accused Israeli forces of carrying out a “targeted” attack against “a gathering of civilians waiting for humanitarian aid” near the Kuwait traffic circle in Gaza City.


The Israeli military denied the allegation in a statement on Friday, blaming Palestinian gunmen and saying that an “intensive preliminary review” had determined “that no tank fire, airstrike or gunfire was carried out toward the Gazan civilians at the aid convoy.”


It was not immediately possible to verify either the Israeli or Gazan Health Ministry’s accounts.


Israel has bombarded Gaza since Hamas launched an attack from the territory on southern Israel on Oct. 7. Food aid has been slow to enter the enclave amid disagreements over inspection protocols and increased lawlessness.


As people have grown increasingly desperate, and as United Nations officials warn that many in northern Gaza are at risk of starvation and eating animal feed and wild plants to survive, large crowds have massed in anticipation of aid convoys. Those gatherings have occasionally turned deadly.


The Israeli statement said that its forces had facilitated the passage of 31 trucks bringing food and supplies to a “humanitarian corridor” in northern Gaza. About an hour before the convoy arrived, while civilians were waiting for the trucks, “armed Palestinians opened fire,” the Israeli military said.


“As aid trucks were entering, the Palestinian gunmen continued to shoot as the crowd of Gazans began looting the trucks,” the military statement went on. “Additionally, a number of Gazan civilians were run over by the trucks.”


Videos posted to social media, which could not be immediately verified, show bodies lying on the ground in the aftermath. The cause of the deaths was not immediately clear.


The Gazan Health Ministry said that some wounded people had been taken to hospitals, but there was little information about their conditions. “Medical teams are unable to deal with the extent and type of injuries that are arriving at hospitals in northern Gaza due to the poor medical and human resources,” the ministry said.


Hamas, in a statement, accused Israeli forces of carrying out a “new massacre.”


On Feb. 29, hundreds of people were killed or injured amid a stampede and Israeli gunfire when a convoy of trucks tried to deliver aid in Gaza City. That convoy was one of the first organized by Israel as it sought to demonstrate that it was doing more to bring aid into northern Gaza.


Israel’s involvement in the convoy that arrived in Gaza City on Thursday was not immediately clear. The Israeli military statement said only that its forces had “facilitated the passage” of the trucks, but did not say who had organized and operated the convoy, and that it “continues its humanitarian effort to supply food and humanitarian aid to the civilians of the Gaza Strip.”


The U.N. organization that aids Palestinians, known as UNRWA, said it was not involved in the convoy.



14) The first ship bringing food to Gaza arrives.

By Anushka Patil, March 15, 2924


A ship towing a barge filled with cargo.

The Open Arms, a rescue vessel owned by a Spanish aid group, on Tuesday. Credit...Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

A humanitarian aid ship arrived on Friday in Gaza for the first time since the start of the war, a first step in a fledgling maritime operation to bring more aid to hungry Palestinians as aid groups say that Israel is restricting more efficient deliveries by road.


The ship, the Open Arms, carried some 200 metric tons of rice, flour, lentils, and canned tuna, beef and chicken, supplied by the World Central Kitchen charity, across the Mediterranean from Cyprus. It is the first vessel authorized to deliver aid to Gaza since 2005, according to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive arm, who has described the operation as a pilot project for a so-called maritime corridor for supplies to the territory.


Linda Roth, a spokeswoman for World Central Kitchen, said that the Open Arms had docked at a newly built jetty on the Gaza coast and that workers were beginning to move the food onto land. It remained unclear how the food would be distributed to Palestinian civilians.


The food on the ships is desperately needed in Gaza, where officials say around two dozen children have already died from malnutrition, and hundreds of thousands of others are “one step away from famine,” according to the United Nations. But delivering aid by sea is nowhere near as efficient as delivering it by land, and humanitarian groups have called on Israel for months to open more land crossings, ease restrictions on convoys and address their operational concerns.


“For aid delivery at scale there is no meaningful substitute to the many land routes and entry points from Israel into Gaza,” two U.N. aid officials, Sigrid Kaag and Jorge Moreira da Silva, said in a statement this week. Still, they welcomed the opening of a maritime corridor, given how much more humanitarian assistance is needed in Gaza.


Israel, which tightened an already restrictive blockade on Gaza after the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack, has said throughout the war that it is committed to allowing as much aid into Gaza as possible. It has blamed delays on U.N. staffing and logistics.


This week, under growing international pressure to allow more aid in, Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, visited northern Gaza and viewed preparations for the new maritime humanitarian route. Mr. Gallant — who ordered in October that Gaza should receive “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” — called aid a “central issue” in a statement the defense ministry issued about his trip.


But safely distributing food where it is needed — amid insecurity, lawlessness and roads damaged by Israeli strikes — could face many of the same hurdles as U.N. aid groups that were forced to suspend deliveries in northern Gaza last month.


José Andrés, the renowned Spanish American chef who founded the World Central Kitchen, acknowledged the challenges in an interview with The New York Times last week, but added: “It’s worth trying the impossible to feed the people of Gaza.”


The group said a second ship with 300 tons of aid was being loaded in Cyprus on Thursday, but it was not clear when it would set sail.


Gaya Gupta, Monika Pronczuk, Michael Levenson and Christina Morales contributed reporting.



15) Why Is Congress Investigating a Union for Being Anti-Israel?

By Michelle Goldberg, March 15, 2024


An Israeli flag, blurred, flies in the foreground. The Capitol dome is in the background.

Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

Like many progressive organizations, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, a union that represents public defenders in the New York City area, has been convulsed by battles over Israel’s war in Gaza. A recent article in the right-leaning Free Press revealed the strident and sometimes ugly language that union members used during a fight over a resolution, passed in December, condemning Israel’s actions and supporting a boycott of the country. In messages from a group chat, defenders of Israel were called “fascists” and, in one case, “mentally disturbed.”


It’s easy enough to see why some union members found the environment toxic, and why many resented the way a fight about foreign policy distracted from their mission as legal aid lawyers to serve their clients. Nevertheless, it’s disturbing that Congress is now investigating the union over the resolution, an alarming degree of government intrusion into the free speech rights of a private organization.


“Unions are granted an effective monopoly under federal law, enabling them to act as the exclusive bargaining representative for the employees they represent,” Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Work Force, wrote in a letter to the union’s president. “When union bosses act in a way that is purposefully divisive and combative toward their membership, they challenge the validity of their monopoly.”


The idea that the resolution pit “union bosses” against the rank and file is a strange one, since the resolution passed by a vote of 1,067 to 570, but the framing reflects Foxx’s broader hostility toward organized labor. On Monday, she subpoenaed the union’s internal communications around the resolution’s passage.


The House Committee on Education and the Work Force is the same body behind the December hearing about antisemitism on college campuses that led to the resignation of the presidents of both Penn and Harvard. Foxx is now conducting inquiries into antisemitism at those schools as well as Columbia; next month, her committee will grill Columbia’s leadership.


But it’s not only universities that have been rived by protests over Israel’s war in Gaza; many unions have been as well. I worry that Foxx’s investigation into the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys will be just the beginning, and that her committee will use the genuine scourge of antisemitism as a pretext to target organizations seen as hostile to the right.


Republicans in Congress, said Will Creeley, legal director of the civil libertarian Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, see “blood in the water.” The December hearing was a partisan triumph, especially for Elise Stefanik, the ambitious young New York Republican whose questions led the university presidents into a public relations debacle. The Republicans “know that they’ve knocked off some powerful heads of powerful institutions that they may not like,” said Creeley. “They know that they’ve got the political wind at their back. And so they think, ‘Well, what else can we do here? Here we’ve got this big weapon. How else can we swing it?’”


Labor unions are a natural target. “I was at first surprised by the shift to labor from universities,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a member of Foxx’s committee. “But then I realized that this is just one effort to quell the growing labor movements across the country.”


Foxx is taking direct aim at the sort of language that’s become common among many unions’ younger and more militant members. She slammed the resolution passed by the lawyers’ union for referring to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel only as a “violent tragedy,” saying, “It is deplorable that this resolution fails to condemn or even acknowledge Hamas’s role in the attack in any way, shape or form.” Perhaps, but policing the way labor unions talk about Israel should not fall to a congressional committee.


Like me, Creeley hears echoes of the House Un-American Activities Committee — which hunted for Communist influence in realms including education and entertainment — in Foxx’s state-sponsored crusade against antisemitism on the left. “Asking people to come and answer for their political beliefs expressed in internal emails, no matter how repugnant to some, many, or most, is sharply at odds with our First Amendment commitment to protecting even the speech that we hate,” he said.


He pointed me toward a line from Hugo Black’s dissent in the 1959 Supreme Court case Barenblatt v. United States that crystallizes why Foxx’s subpoena is so troubling. In that case, a college professor named Lloyd Barenblatt was hauled in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, which wanted to know if he’d had Communist associations while in graduate school at the University of Michigan. Barenblatt refused to answer, citing not his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, but his First Amendment right to free speech and association. After he was held in contempt of Congress, the case made its way to the Supreme Court, where a five-justice majority ruled against him, citing the state’s interest in “self-preservation” in the face of the Communist threat.


In his dissent, Black wrote that “the people” had an interest “in being able to join organizations, advocate causes and make political ‘mistakes’ without later being subjected to governmental penalties for having dared to think for themselves.” In retrospect, it seems obvious that Black was correct. Even if you strenuously disagree with the union’s resolution, you should recognize its right to be wrong without Congress getting involved.