Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 27, 2024






Pita bread made from animal feed.

See Gaza Strip Access Restrictions.pdf since 2007 at:


Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of March 27, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 32,333,* 74,694 wounded, and more than 435 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—594 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 17, this is the latest figure.

Source: mondoweiss.net




Boris Kagarlitsky is in Prison!

On February 13, the court overturned the previous decision on release and sent Boris Kagarlitsky to prison for five years.

Petition in Support of Boris Kagarlitsky

We, the undersigned, were deeply shocked to learn that on February 13 the leading Russian socialist intellectual and antiwar activist Dr. Boris Kagarlitsky (65) was sentenced to five years in prison.

Dr. Kagarlitsky was arrested on the absurd charge of 'justifying terrorism' in July last year. After a global campaign reflecting his worldwide reputation as a writer and critic of capitalism and imperialism, his trial ended on December 12 with a guilty verdict and a fine of 609,000 roubles.

The prosecution then appealed against the fine as 'unjust due to its excessive leniency' and claimed falsely that Dr. Kagarlitsky was unable to pay the fine and had failed to cooperate with the court. In fact, he had paid the fine in full and provided the court with everything it requested.

On February 13 a military court of appeal sent him to prison for five years and banned him from running a website for two years after his release.

The reversal of the original court decision is a deliberate insult to the many thousands of activists, academics, and artists around the world who respect Dr. Kagarlitsky and took part in the global campaign for his release. The section of Russian law used against Dr. Kagarlitsky effectively prohibits free expression. The decision to replace the fine with imprisonment was made under a completely trumped-up pretext. Undoubtedly, the court's action represents an attempt to silence criticism in the Russian Federation of the government's war in Ukraine, which is turning the country into a prison.

The sham trial of Dr. Kagarlitsky is the latest in a wave of brutal repression against the left-wing movements in Russia. Organizations that have consistently criticized imperialism, Western and otherwise, are now under direct attack, many of them banned. Dozens of activists are already serving long terms simply because they disagree with the policies of the Russian government and have the courage to speak up. Many of them are tortured and subjected to life-threatening conditions in Russian penal colonies, deprived of basic medical care. Left-wing politicians are forced to flee Russia, facing criminal charges. International trade unions such as IndustriALL and the International Transport Federation are banned and any contact with them will result in long prison sentences.

There is a clear reason for this crackdown on the Russian left. The heavy toll of the war gives rise to growing discontent among the mass of working people. The poor pay for this massacre with their lives and wellbeing, and opposition to war is consistently highest among the poorest. The left has the message and resolve to expose the connection between imperialist war and human suffering.

Dr. Kagarlitsky has responded to the court's outrageous decision with calm and dignity: “We just need to live a little longer and survive this dark period for our country,” he said. Russia is nearing a period of radical change and upheaval, and freedom for Dr. Kagarlitsky and other activists is a condition for these changes to take a progressive course.

We demand that Boris Kagarlitsky and all other antiwar prisoners be released immediately and unconditionally.

We also call on the authorities of the Russian Federation to reverse their growing repression of dissent and respect their citizens' freedom of speech and right to protest.

Sign to Demand the Release of Boris Kagarlitsky


The petition is also available on Change.org



*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 “Why?” (Henry CrowDog)

Leonard Peltier Update—Experiencing the Onset of Blindness


Greetings Relatives,

Leonard is in trouble, physically. He is experiencing the onset of blindness. He is losing strength in his limbs. His blood sugar is testing erratically. This, on top of already severe conditions that have become dire. Leonard has not seen a dentist in ten years. His few remaining teeth are infected. He is locked down, in pain.

As always, Leonard’s fortitude remains astonishing. He is not scared of dying. He does not want to die in lockdown.

Our legal team has an emergency transfer underway. They are going to extraordinary lengths. We must get a top ophthalmologist to him. Thanks to your calls, the BOP did see him. They told him a specialist would be 8 - 10 weeks out.

Leonard does not have eight to ten weeks. He needs emergency care immediately.

If you can, please donate to this GoFundMe. Every penny matters. If you cannot, please share. If you are so inclined, go to www.freeleonardpeltiernow.org and contact the officials listed.


As always, thank you for your support.


Dawn Lawson

Personal Assistant Leonard Peltier

Executive Assistant Jenipher Jones, Esq.

Secretary Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee




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) Gaza’s Shadow Death Toll: Bodies Buried Beneath the Rubble

With hand tools and bare hands, families and rescuers continue to search broken buildings for missing friends and relatives.

By Vivian Yee, Iyad Abuheweila, Abu Bakr Bashir and Ameera Harouda, Vivian Yee reported from Cairo, Iyad Abuheweila from Istanbul, Abu Bakr Bashir from London and Ameera Harouda from Doha, Qatar, March 23, 2024


A cloud of smoke or dust rises as people are seen inspecting the remains of a destroyed building.

Palestinian rescuers at the scene of a destroyed building after an airstrike in Gaza City in October. Credit...Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

A curly-haired young man shakes as he bends over the mound of smashed concrete that used to be his friend’s home. He clutches his rain-spotted iPhone in his trembling hands, but there is no answer. “Please God, Ahmed,” he sobs in a video posted on social media. “Please God.”


A father crawls over a mountain of gray concrete shards, his right ear pressed to the dust. “I can’t hear you, love,” he tells his absent children in a different video shared on Instagram and verified by The New York Times. He scrabbles over a few yards to try again. “Salma! Said!” he yells, hitting his dusty hammer against the mute concrete over and over, before breaking down. “Said,” he cries, “didn’t I tell you to take care of your sister?”


Another man on another rubble heap is looking for his wife and his children, Rahaf, 6, and Aboud, 4. “Rahaf,” he cries, leaning forward to scan the twisted pile of gray before him. “What has she done to deserve this?”


Gaza has become a 140-square-mile graveyard, each destroyed building another jagged tomb for those still buried within.


The most recent health ministry estimate for the number of people missing in Gaza is about 7,000. But that figure has not been updated since November. Gaza and aid officials say thousands more have most likely been added to that toll in the weeks and months since then.


Some were buried too hastily to be counted. Others lie decomposing in the open, in places too dangerous to be reached, or have simply disappeared amid the fighting, the chaos and ongoing Israeli detentions.


The rest, in all likelihood, remain trapped under the rubble.


The piles of debris have been multiplying ever since Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, killing about 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials. Israel launched its retaliatory war, and the number of search-and-rescue operations — both professional and, increasingly, amateur — also soared.


After airstrikes, a small crowd of would-be rescuers gathers. In Instagram videos like the ones described above, the searchers — a mix of professional civil defense workers, family members and neighbors — can be seen clambering over and onto the dusty wreckage of homes and buildings to dig.


But hopes dwindle quickly. The people they are looking for are usually found dead beneath the wreckage — days, weeks or even months later.


The buried make up a shadow death toll in Gaza, a leaden asterisk to the health ministry’s official tally of more than 31,000 dead, and an open wound for families who hope against hope for a miracle.


Most families have accepted that their missing are dead, and it is unclear how much of the estimate of those unaccounted for is already reflected in the official death toll. The continuing shelling, crossfire and airstrikes often make it too dangerous to sift through the wreckage for the bodies. Other times, relatives are too far away to do so, having separated from the rest of their families in the search for somewhere safer to go.


Photographs that have emerged of Gaza’s rubble heaps testify to families’ intention to recover the dead someday: “Omar Al Riyati and Osama Badawi are under the rubble,” reads the spray paint on a tarp draped across the door of one blown-out building.


“Forty days my family has been under the rubble, and we can’t reach them,” Salem Qassem said in November. He had fled Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza for nearby Jabalia early in the war, four days before he heard that his father was dead.


He rushed back to Beit Hanoun as soon as he could, he said, to find his father’s three-story house had been reduced to rubble. The people who had been there — his father, his father’s wife, his sisters and his brother — were nowhere to be found.


He tried to dig, he said, but fled when the neighborhood came under renewed attack. Now, even if he could get past the Israeli military still operating in the area, he said, “I won’t find bodies. I’ll find ashes.”


When a multistory building collapses, it is impossible to comb the hill of debris without heavy machines or fuel to power them. Often, neither is available.


Gaza has been under a debilitating blockade jointly enforced by Israel and Egypt since Hamas took control of the strip in 2007, and the types of equipment typically used to rescue people after earthquakes and other events of mass destruction are largely forbidden from entering the territory.


Across all of Gaza, Ahmed Abu Shehab, a civil defense worker in the territory, is aware of only two excavators available for the task. Without them, rescuers rely on shovels, drills and their own hands: a grimly monotonous mission, undertaken mostly by men running on anger and grief but little food, water or rest.


Last fall, Mr. Abu Shehab said he was part of a team that used bulldozers and an excavator to pull dozens of people from the ruins of a three-story house — a lengthy job, given the size of the building. It took 48 hours to reach the people inside. By then, all of them had died, he said.


In late October, when an airstrike brought down a multistory building in Al Nuseirat, there was so much wreckage that a bulldozer first had to come and clear the road, said Ahmed Ismael, 30. The two families in the building next door were not spared: More than a dozen people died there, including several children, said Mr. Ismael, a nurse whose cousin’s family was among the dead.


The extended family had sought refuge there after leaving their own home in Sheikh Radwan, in Gaza City, early in the war, Mr. Ismael said. They had chosen to split up between several locations, so that if a group sheltering in one place was killed, the others might survive.


That was what happened. Searchers had managed to pull some bodies from the second floor by digging with their hands, but Mr. Ismael said his cousin, Salwa, one of her sons and her brother, Mahmoud, were still buried. So were five members of the family hosting them.


The bulldozer was no help. The buildings had been too massive, and after clearing the road, the driver told the diggers that he did not have enough fuel in any case, Mr. Ismael said.


Calling 101, the Gaza equivalent of 911, is of little use: Communications networks are weak, erratic or nonfunctional. Instead, many people have taken to braving the heavy fighting and rubble-choked streets to request help in person at civil defense headquarters.


Even if they do get through, the lack of fuel, along with continuing attacks, means ambulances and rescue workers are hard-pressed to move around Gaza to answer their pleas.


Since mid-November, after the Israeli military occupied most of northern Gaza and Gaza City, Palestinian Red Crescent Society teams have been unable to enter that part of the strip freely, said Nebal Fesakh, a spokeswoman for the group. There is nothing they can do to respond to desperate calls on the 101 line from people trapped there, or to treat the wounded, to take away a body, to dig for the missing.


“Unfortunately, we just felt helpless because we were completely denied access to those areas,” Ms. Fesakh said. “Thousands of people are still stuck under the rubble, and now they’ve most probably died because it’s been so long.”


Nevin Almadhoun, 40, was on the other end of Gaza, in a school turned shelter in the southern city of Rafah, when she was told that an Israeli airstrike had hit the building where her brother, Majed, and his family had been staying in the north.


She felt an impulse to get up and go back, to help dig for them with her bare hands. But there was no way to get around the Israeli forces that had cut off the northern part of the strip from the south.


Other relatives went to the site and began heaving the stones and shards of concrete away by hand, she said. She begged them to try to find at least one person alive. Anyone.


They said there was no hope, Ms. Almadhoun recalled. Majed and his family had been staying in the basement. The entire building had fallen in on them.


After days of searching, the diggers managed to recover them, one by one: her brother, his wife, two sons and two daughters.


It took longest to find Siwar, 14, a high school basketball player who hoped to become a trainer. Her uncle, who was among the searchers, said he dreamed one night that Siwar was calling him from a particular spot. He found her body there the next morning.


“When I heard that they were killed, I started to cry, to shout, but no one can hear you — you’re alone in a strange place,” Ms. Almadhoun said. “But when they told me they got them out, I took some comfort. Because lots of people are not.”


All of them were buried in the family plot in Beit Lahia. After she returns to northern Gaza, Ms. Almadhoun said, “we want to visit their graves, to find a place to cry for them.”


She does not know when that will be.


Nada Rashwan contributed reporting from Cairo.



2) In Hezbollah’s Sights, a Stretch of Northern Israel Becomes a No-Go Zone

For the few Israelis remaining in the evacuated zone along the northern border with Lebanon, the simmering conflict there has become intensely personal.

By Isabel KershnerPhotographs by Sergey Ponomarev, March 24, 2024

To report this article, Isabel Kershner and the photographer Sergey Ponomarev spent several days visiting the mostly evacuated towns and communities in the northern reaches of Israel, along the volatile border with Lebanon.


Two soldiers wearing camouflage are seen outside next to large light-colored brick walls. A dummy of a soldier is in the foreground.

Israeli soldiers, along with a dummy of a soldier, at the checkpoint outside Kibbutz She’ar Yashuv.

More than 60,000 Israelis who live far from Gaza but close to the front line of another spiraling conflict have in recent months been ordered from their homes along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon — the first mass evacuation of the area in Israeli history.


In one Israeli border town, antitank missiles fired from Lebanon have damaged scores of homes. In another village, holdouts who refuse to evacuate said they avoided turning lights on at night to keep from becoming visible targets. And in a sign of the proximity of the fighters across the border and how personal the simmering hostilities have become, a farmer said he had received a text message claiming to be from Hezbollah and threatening him with death.


The evacuations and an effort in Lebanon to move thousands of civilians away from the border are the result of an intensifying conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia and political organization.


The skirmish along Israel’s northern border is being fought in parallel with the more intense war in Gaza, which Israel launched after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack. Now also in its sixth month, the battle with Hezbollah has implications both for the prospects of a wider regional conflict and for the thousands of civilians who live along the frontier.


Israel has responded forcefully to Hezbollah’s attacks: Above the hills and valleys of Israel’s border with Lebanon, Israeli warplanes rumble overhead. In the recent fighting, at least eight civilians in Israel and 51 in Lebanon have been killed, according to the Israeli and Lebanese authorities, as have combatants on both sides.


A recent two-day trip through the Galilee Panhandle — a finger of Israeli territory that juts into Lebanon — and west toward the Mediterranean coast revealed a mostly abandoned landscape stalked by fear and overtaken by nature. This stretch of Israel has become a virtual no-go zone, even to families who have lived in the area for generations. Military checkpoints block access to communities within a mile or so of the frontier, and daily life is frozen in a state of anxious suspension.


Residents of the region are split over whether the government was right to order an evacuation. Some say it showed weakness and effectively handed Hezbollah a victory. Others say it has saved countless lives.


Chaim Amedi, 82, a resident of Kfar Yuval, a now mostly deserted village barely a mile from Lebanon, has refused to abandon the town his parents founded in the 1950s and evacuate to a hotel. “You don’t leave a home,” he said, adding that “hotels are for vacations.”


Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite group that is better armed and organized than its Hamas allies in Gaza, began firing across the border after Oct. 7. The attacks have been big enough to demonstrate the group’s solidarity with Hamas, but measured enough so far to prevent provoking an all-out conflict with Israel.


Some days, Hezbollah has fired up to 100 short-range rockets. Israel, in turn, has struck targets up to 60 miles inside Lebanon.


In Kiryat Shmona, normally an Israeli city of about 24,000, about 1,500 inhabitants remain. Many residents, now scattered among 220 hotels across Israel, did not even wait for the government’s order on Oct. 20 to evacuate.


The town’s banks and malls are closed. The start-up companies at the city’s burgeoning food-technology hub have left. Only one eatery is open — a modest shawarma and falafel joint catering mainly to soldiers.


Toby Abutbul, 22, the son of the owner, showed reporters video footage of what he said were two anti-tank missiles landing in front of him in February as he drove along on the city’s main road. An air-raid siren sounded only after the missiles struck. A nearby woman and her teenage son were severely wounded, according to the local authorities.


Israel’s Iron Dome system can intercept many types of rockets, which fly in high arcs and are difficult to aim, but nowadays, Hezbollah also fires rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. Israel has no immediate answer for such weapons, which allow for more precise line-of-sight targeting, fly low to the ground and hit targets in seconds and without warning.


Hezbollah’s use of those weapons means there is no time to run to a shelter. If anything happens, the instructions are to hit the ground wherever you are.


Itay and Niv Tamir, a couple in their 30s, returned home in late January with their sons, ages 1 and 4, to the border community of Kibbutz HaGoshrim.


They risked returning, they said, in part because their house is not in the direct line of sight from Lebanon. Nevertheless, the boys sleep in a bombproof safe room.


“We try not to let the fear control us,” Ms. Tamir said. But, she added, the family rarely ventures far outdoors given that much of the kibbutz is within view of villages in Lebanon.


An anti-tank missile in December crashed through an auditorium in Kibbutz Sasa, according to the military and local officials. Hezbollah has also employed exploding drones, with which they have struck an army base, according to the group and the military.


Israeli government and military officials say they are considering military action to push Hezbollah back from the border unless a diplomatic effort can achieve the same result first. In the meantime, the death toll on both sides is rising.


This month, the Israeli military said that its air and ground forces had struck more than 4,500 Hezbollah targets in both Lebanon and neighboring Syria since Oct. 7, and that they had killed more than 300 Hezbollah operatives. Hezbollah’s official website and spokesman said that “more than 200” of its fighters had been killed to date.


Fourteen Israeli soldiers have been killed in the north so far, according to the Israeli authorities.


For decades, Israel’s northern towns and villages were targets for militants based in Lebanon. Armed Palestinian groups infiltrated the border in the 1970s and 1980s, entering homes, hijacking buses and taking schoolchildren hostage. The city of Kiryat Shmona, in the Galilee Panhandle, was plagued by Katyusha rocket fire and was long a symbol of Israeli resilience.


Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and left in 2000. During Israel’s long occupation, Lebanese villagers crossed the border daily to work on Israeli farms and in the towns of the Galilee.


Even during the worst battles of the past, including a devastating, monthlong war with Hezbollah in 2006, Israel never formally evacuated the border towns.


Since that war ended, residents say they have seen fighters who appear to be from Hezbollah’s elite Radwan forces monitoring them through the border fence, violating a U.N.-backed cease-fire that ended the war and was meant to establish a demilitarized zone.


“They studied each community, studied us personally, our routines, our places of employment, waiting for an opportunity,” said Eitan Davidi, 53, a farmer from Margaliot, a small village abutting the border. “They know when I come, when I go. They know my kids.”


In January, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s spokesman, said at a news conference that Radwan fighters were operating along the border.


Mr. Davidi, who produces chicken eggs and owns fruit orchards, said the war became particularly personal after he gave interviews to the Israeli news media in which he said Lebanese border villages harboring Hezbollah fighters should be razed — “Not on their heads,” he said, clarifying that he was referring only to the buildings.


First, he said, he received a threatening WhatsApp message reminding him in Hebrew that his chicken coops had already been hit twice. “We won’t miss the target a third time,” the message read. It was signed Hezbollah. The New York Times, which viewed the message, could not independently confirm its origin.


Next came a social media post from a correspondent for Al Manar, Hezbollah’s television channel, calling Mr. Davidi the “mule” of Margaliot. The post included images of gunmen on the Lebanese side of the border with Mr. Davidi’s village, his chicken coops and home visible in the background.


Missiles and rockets have since incinerated most of his coops. One exploded in his backyard. An anti-tank missile fired into Margaliot on March 4 killed a farm laborer from India and injured seven more foreign workers, according to the Israeli military.


Hezbollah and Lebanese officials have also blamed Israel for targeting civilians across the border. Last month, after a family was killed in an Israeli strike, Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, accused Israel of “killing and targeting of innocent children, women, and older adults.” After the same attack, Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, vowed Israel would “pay the price of spilling their blood.”


A sixth-generation farmer from Metula, Tal Levit, 45, who now serves in the military reserves as a member of the town’s emergency response team, said his home had also been struck by Hezbollah.


Speaking at a rest stop south of Metula, he said he had seen people on the Lebanese side of the fence monitoring the town. “Some were half in uniform, or were dressed as shepherds,” he said. “They were photographing, preparing.”


In the summer months, he said, the leaves of a pecan tree obscure his house from prying eyes, but the winter left it exposed. Generally, Mr. Levit has been careful not to go home wearing his military uniform. But one day last month, he entered his house to do laundry and have a cup of coffee. An hour after he left, a missile penetrated the roof and exploded inside, he said.


On the approach to Kfar Yuval, a faded road sign reads, “Border Ahead.” A mother and her son, who was a member of the village’s armed response team, were killed in January when an anti-tank rocket struck their home on the edge of the village, according to the Israeli military.


Along the village pathways, orange trees are heavy with unpicked fruit. The top half of a children’s plastic slide emerges from the green sea of an overgrown lawn. Most of the houses are shuttered.


The silence one recent afternoon was broken by a long series of booms.


It was hard to tell who was firing on whom.



3) Witnesses Describe Fear and Deprivation at Besieged Hospital in Gaza

More than a dozen patients have died as a result of the prolonged Israeli military assault against the Al-Shifa hospital complex, the Gazan authorities say.

By Raja Abdulrahim and Ameera Harouda, Raja Abdulrahim reported from Jerusalem and Ameera Harouda reported from Doha, Qatar, March 24, 2024


A young man lies on a dirty hospital floor. He is wearing one shoe.

A young Palestinian man awaiting medical attention at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City this month. Israel’s assault on the complex has been one of the longest hospital raids of the war. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Seven days after Israel’s military began a raid on the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, a picture of the sustained assault on the complex and its surrounding neighborhood emerges in fragments.


Residents nearby described a relentless daily soundtrack of gunshots, airstrikes and explosions. A surgeon spoke of doctors and patients corralled in the emergency ward while Israeli forces took control of the complex outside. A Palestinian teenager who spent four days sheltering in the hospital described the bodies she saw piled up outside the entrance.


“They had put the bodies on the side and thrown blankets over them,” said Alaa Abu Al-Kaaf, 18, who said she and her family were at Al-Shifa for days before leaving on Thursday. It was not immediately clear when or how the bodies were brought there.


Interviews with other witnesses in the hospital, residents in or near the facility and the Gazan authorities in recent days, as well as with others who have left the complex over the past week, described a situation of fear and deprivation, interrogations and detentions of Palestinian men by Israeli forces, and a persistent lack of food and water.


The assault on Al-Shifa, one of Israel’s longest hospital raids of the war in Gaza, began on Monday with tanks, bulldozers and airstrikes. The military said it was aimed at senior officials of Hamas, the armed group that led an attack into southern Israel on Oct. 7. Israel began a war on Gaza in response to that assault, with intense aerial bombardments and a ground offensive.


A week after the raid on Al-Shifa began, communications with those living in and around the sprawling hospital complex have been almost entirely cut off. Many of the 30,000 Palestinians whom the Gaza Health Ministry said had been sheltering at Al-Shifa were displaced once again by the raid.


The Gazan authorities said that at least 13 patients had died as a result of the raid because they were deprived of medicine and treatment, or when their ventilators stopped working after the Israelis cut the electricity. Those claims could not be verified.


The Gaza Health Ministry said on Saturday that patients still in Al-Shifa were in critical condition, with maggots beginning to infect wounds.


The director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, posted a report on social media on Friday from a doctor in Al-Shifa, as relayed by a colleague from the United Nations.


Two patients on life support died because of a lack of electricity, and there were no medicines or basic medical supplies, he wrote. Many patients in critical condition were lying on the floor.


In one building, 50 medical workers and more than 140 patients have been kept since the second day of the raid, with extremely limited food, water and one nonfunctional toilet, Dr. Tedros wrote.


“Health workers are worried about their own and their patients’ safety,” Dr. Tedros wrote. “These conditions are utterly inhumane. We call for an immediate end to the siege and appeal for safe access to ensure patients get the care they need.”


Dr. Tayseer al-Tanna, 54, a vascular surgeon, said he finally fled the Al-Shifa complex on Thursday after days of hearing gunfire outside the ward where he was positioned. Dr. Al-Tanna said Israeli forces had gathered doctors and patients in the complex’s emergency room while they swept the grounds outside.


“The Israeli military didn’t treat us violently,” Dr. Al-Tanna said. “But we had almost no food and water” during the incursion, he added.


He declined to comment on whether Palestinian fighters had fortified themselves in the medical complex.


The media office for the territory’s government, which is run by Hamas, said in a statement on Saturday that the Israeli military was threatening the medical staff and people sheltering inside to either leave the hospital — and risk being interrogated, tortured or executed — or the military would bomb and destroy the buildings over their heads. The media office said it was in touch with people inside the complex.


The Israeli military did not address specific questions about whether it had threatened people inside the medical complex. But on Saturday it said it was operating in the area of the hospital “while avoiding harm to civilians, patients, medical teams and medical equipment.”


The military said it had killed more than 170 fighters in the area of the hospital and detained and questioned more than 800 people.


The New York Times could not verify either the Hamas or Israeli military accounts.


Israel has long accused Hamas of using Al-Shifa and other hospitals in Gaza as command centers and of concealing weapons in underground tunnels beneath them, a claim that the armed Palestinian group and hospital administrators have previously denied.


In a statement on Sunday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that Israeli forces were “besieging” two more hospitals in the southern city of Khan Younis, Al-Amal and Nasser.


The Israeli military was targeting Al-Amal with smoke bombs, and military vehicles were barricading the entrances of the compound, the Red Crescent said.


The Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry said an Israeli assault on Nasser Hospital had been “violent and bloody” and accused the military of trying to incapacitate all the hospitals in Gaza.


The Israeli military said in a statement on Sunday that it had started an operation in the Al-Amal neighborhood of Khan Younis overnight. An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment further when asked whether Israeli troops were currently encircling Al-Amal and Nasser Hospitals.


In statements regarding the Al-Shifa raid, Hamas confirmed that its fighters were engaged in clashes with Israeli forces near the hospital. In one statement on Saturday, Hamas said members of its Qassam Brigades had fired mortar shells at Israeli forces near Al-Shifa.


Ms. Al-Kaaf and other Palestinians who have left the complex over the past week also described scenes in which groups of men were detained, stripped and questioned by Israeli soldiers. Women and children were separated from the men, Ms. Al-Kaaf said, and others — including members of the hospital’s medical staff, doctors and nurses — were kept in a large pit, sitting on the ground. Some were blindfolded and handcuffed.


The Israeli military said “individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activity” were being detained and questioned in accordance with international law and released if “found not to be taking part in terrorist activities.” It added: “It is often necessary for terror suspects to hand over their clothes such that their clothes can be searched and to ensure that they are not concealing explosive vests or other weaponry.”


For those in the al-Rimal neighborhood, which surrounds Al-Shifa, the siege on the hospital has trapped residents in their homes. Several said snipers had been shooting into the surrounding streets; residents were fearful they could be dragged from their homes by Israeli forces, stripped and interrogated, as they said dozens had been over the past week.


“The situation is really bad,” said Mohammed Haddad, 25, who lives about a half-mile from the hospital. “For more than five days, we haven’t been able to go out and move around. We haven’t been able to get water, get food. And it’s Ramadan,” he said, referring to the Muslim holy month of fasting.


Airstrikes and random cannon fire have hit multiple homes in the immediate neighborhood, demolishing them, Mr. Haddad said.


“There are snipers, shelling, surveillance drones and armed drones,” he added, the buzzing of a drone audible as he spoke on the phone.


Israeli forces appeared to be destroying the entire area, he said, “not just the hospital.”


Rawan Sheikh Ahmad and Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.



4) U.N. Security Council Passes Resolution for Immediate Cease-Fire

The United States, after vetoing earlier resolutions, abstained.

By Farnaz Fassihi and Aaron Boxerman, March 25, 2024


People around large piles of rubble at night.

Searching for missing people under rubble following an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, in central Gaza, late Sunday. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

The United Nations Security Council on Monday passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza for the month of Ramadan, breaking a five-month impasse during which the U.S. vetoed several calls for ending the war, even as the humanitarian toll climbed higher.


The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor. The U.S. abstained, allowing the resolution to pass. The chamber broke into applause after the vote.


The breakthrough resolution, which is legally binding and was put forth by the 10 nonpermanent members of the Council, was negotiated intensely until the last minute. The U.S. asked for a change in the text that removed “permanent cease-fire” and replaced it with “lasting cease-fire,” according to diplomats, language that would leave room for Israel to defend itself and called for both sides to create conditions where the halt in fighting could be sustained.



5) Here’s how a disaster relief group built a jetty to get aid into Gaza.

By Adam Sella, March 25, 2024


The arm of a crane lifts an aid pallet to load it onto a truck.

In a photo provided by World Central Kitchen, a crane unloads pallets of food aid from a barge at a makeshift jetty in Gaza earlier this month. Credit...World Central Kitchen, via Associated Press

Just a few hours before sunset in mid-March, World Central Kitchen workers scrambled to put the final touches on a makeshift jetty built out of rubble, as the ship carrying the first aid to reach the Gaza Strip by sea in nearly two decades backed toward the shore.


The crew from the disaster relief nonprofit still had to cover the jetty’s sharp edges and poking rebar, reminders that the rubble used to build the structure in northern Gaza came from bombed buildings. Using square pieces of debris, they created a vertical concrete wall to meet the ship.


“Running any sort of construction project in Gaza at this current time has got a ridiculous amount of challenges,” said Sam Bloch, the director of emergency response for World Central Kitchen, which was founded by the renowned Spanish chef José Andrés. Mr. Bloch, who oversaw the building of the jetty and the arrival of the shipment, described the scene by phone from Oakland, Calif., after leaving Gaza.


The arrival of the ship, which had sailed from Cyprus after the aid was inspected there, marked a milestone in a venture that Western officials hope will play a part in easing the enclave’s food deprivation. The operation has been described as a pilot project for the broader opening of a maritime corridor to supply the territory.


Once the food was unloaded, it was distributed in Gaza by truck — including in the north, where experts say famine is imminent. International aid agencies have largely stopped operations in the area, citing Israeli restrictions, security issues and poor road conditions.


At least two attempts to deliver food aid to desperate Palestinians in northern Gaza have ended in bloodshed in recent weeks, with Palestinian and Israeli officials blaming each other for the deadly scenes.


The Israeli military helped World Central Kitchen’s operation, providing security and coordination, according to an Israeli official who requested anonymity to speak about a sensitive matter. Every step was carried out with permission from the Israeli military, Mr. Bloch said.


“It was a lot of stop and go,” he said, and progress “was definitely not consistent or predictable.”


The construction of the World Central Kitchen jetty took six days, with the job site sometimes running around the clock as the jetty slowly extended into the sea, one rubble-filled truck at a time. “Using rubble was a big challenge,” Mr. Bloch said, “but it is the only resource that is plentiful enough in Gaza at the moment.”


The rubble was brought mostly from southern Gaza, but also from around the work site. The head contractor, who had lost two of his homes to bombings about one mile away from the jetty, went with his dump trucks and heavy machinery to collect what remained of his destroyed homes, Mr. Bloch said.


Most of the construction equipment, including front-end loaders, dump trucks, flatbed trucks, cranes and a fuel truck, came from southern Gaza, Mr. Bloch said. But one piece of equipment, a movable light tower that allowed construction to continue through the night, had to be retrieved from a bombed-out warehouse in the north.


In coordination with the Israeli military, a small convoy, accompanied by heavy machinery to clear the roads, was sent to a warehouse in Gaza City, where local contractors had identified what they believed was the only light tower left in Gaza, Mr. Bloch said.


To unload the ship, which contained just under half a million meals, a large crane at the end of the jetty transferred food pallets onto eighteen-wheeler trucks that had been carefully backed down the jetty.


By the time the shipment was unloaded, it was nearing midnight. World Central Kitchen decided to send the trucks to a warehouse in Deir al Balah, a few miles south of the jetty, and distribute the aid during daylight hours.


A few days later, the trucks moved up Salah al-Din road, the main artery through central Gaza, to the southern edge of Gaza City, where hungry families collected food directly off the trucks. Nobody was hurt during the distribution, according to Mr. Bloch.


In the future, World Central Kitchen hopes to speed up the process by sending food directly from the jetty to communities in northern Gaza, Mr. Bloch said. The organization is also working to develop community kitchens that will serve as distribution points.


Building community kitchens is the bread and butter of World Central Kitchen. The group already has 68 in southern Gaza that provide most of the hot meals to civilians there, Mr. Bloch said.


World Central Kitchen has loaded a larger ship in Cyprus that, as of Monday, was still waiting for the right weather conditions before departing for Gaza.



6) The First Flight of Their Lives: An Airlift After Agony in Gaza

Photographs by Nariman El-MoftyText by Nariman El-Mofty and Alan Yuhas, March 25, 2024

Nariman El-Mofty spent eight days with a group of Gazan children and their caretakers and joined them on an Italian military flight from Cairo to Rome, then to Pisa, Italy. She traveled with two families in ambulances to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, where the children are receiving treatment.


A girl lies on an operating table with doctors in blue medical scrubs around her. A light shines over her leg, where her foot was amputated.

Shaymaa in the operating room at Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute in Bologna, Italy, for her second amputation last month. Her foot was amputated at a hospital in Gaza that had run out of anesthesia or alcohol to treat wounds.

Each of the children survived horrors. Each lost relatives in the strikes that injured them. All have struggled with the emotions of what they went through and what they face ahead.


The evacuees make up only a tiny fraction of the thousands of civilians, including many children, who have suffered grievous injuries over the course of Israel’s monthslong campaign against Hamas and its bombardment of Gaza. Health officials in the territory say that more than 31,000 Gazans have been killed since the war began on Oct. 7, in response to the attack that Hamas led against Israel. Experts say that children are particularly vulnerable to burns and serious injuries from high-intensity attacks, especially in a crowded, urban environment like Gaza.


The explosion that injured Shaymaa, 5, in the southern Gazan village of Al Mawasi in January, killed her grandmother, badly injured her grandfather and mangled the girl’s foot, according to Lina Gamal, Shaymaa’s aunt.


Shaymaa was rushed to Nasser Hospital, where doctors quickly decided to amputate. They no longer had anesthesia, alcohol or other means to clean the wound, forcing the doctors to rinse it with murky water. They performed a rapid surgery and hurried to help other wounded people crowding the halls, Ms. Gamal said.


For three days, Ms. Gamal said, Shaymaa was “always screaming.”


Ms. Gamal stayed at her niece’s side through sleepless nights. Like many others, she registered the injured child for a chance to evacuate, through aid groups and several governments, to a hospital abroad — maybe Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey or Italy. Ms. Gamal offered herself as a caretaker, as Shaymaa’s parents needed to look after her siblings.


It was not until February, after lengthy background checks and negotiations — between officials of those countries and Egypt and Israel, as well as aid groups — that Shaymaa learned she was in the small group selected to evacuate, Ms. Gamal said. From around Gaza, the children and their caretakers journeyed toward the border city of Rafah, facing Israeli shelling and desperate competition for food, Ms. Gamal said. From there they crossed into Egypt, where they were airlifted to Italy, on what for all of them was the first flight of their lives.


At the Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute in Bologna, though, doctors concluded that Shaymaa would need a second amputation to repair the damage from where her foot was removed and to stop an infection from spreading, Ms. Gamal said.


When Ms. Gamal heard the news, she collapsed to the floor, sobbing. She had watched Shaymaa become withdrawn and fearful after the first amputation, rarely laughing and often crying at a glimpse of her leg.


“When they change her dressing, she doesn’t like to see it. She starts to scream,” Ms. Gamal said. “Every time she sees her leg, she screams, ‘Cover me! Cover me!’ — not for people, for herself. She doesn’t want to see it.”


Shaymaa found some comfort with another evacuee, Sarah Yusuf, and her caretaker, Niveen Foad. Sarah, 5, had been badly injured in November in a strike that hit her family’s home, in Zawaida near Deir al Balah in central Gaza. The attack left her pregnant mother partly paralyzed, her father missing and her 2-year-old brother killed, said Ms. Foad, a cousin of Sarah’s father.


She said she had found the girl with widespread burns and a broken pelvis at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.


“When I saw her, Sarah was in a terrible state,” said Ms. Foad, 44. “The marks are still there. Her legs were all wrapped up. I decided from that moment that I will foster this child.”


By then, Ms. Foad had fled with her own family from Gaza City, seeking refuge from fighting and Israeli strikes. She instructed her children to walk at a distance from one another, as she said armies did.


“I told my children, let’s not walk next to each other, we should not walk side by side,” Ms. Foad said. “We will walk like the military — one here, one there, one there — so that if a bomb falls, we will all not die.”


Her children resisted, saying they would rather hold hands and stay close, she said.


After Sarah took shelter with them, Ms. Foad’s husband registered the girl for evacuation. Ms. Foad agreed to be her caretaker — it was unclear who else could — on the condition that she could bring her three daughters, ages 3, 9 and 13. Officials agreed, and they eventually crossed into Egypt, she said.


Ms. Gamal said she had been to Egypt before the war, but no one else in the group said they had ever left Gaza. None had ever boarded a plane, let alone flown. The pilots invited the children to see the cockpit of the military plane, and Italian medics brought toys.


Some of the women asked whether all planes looked like this on the inside — they had seen pictures of commercial flights, not cavernous military carriers — and the children stared out the windows in wonder at the waves and landscapes below.


Anxiety about the future followed. Most of the women had hoped to reach Qatar, where they might find relatives or friends. The evacuees knew little to nothing about Italy, its language or its culture. Nor did they know, on arrival, whether they would have to seek asylum, be allowed to bring family or be forced to leave.


And despite the warm welcome from Italian officials and doctors, the children could not shed memories of Gaza. One morning in Monza, Italy, the sight of a plane over the hospital room of Abdel Rahman Al Naasan, 5, filled him with fear.

“He thought it would bomb us,” said his grandmother, Rehab Al Naasan. “He closed his eyes. He put his hands on his ears and leaned on the ground. He’s terrified. This whole generation of children is terrified.”


When his family’s neighborhood in northern Gaza was bombarded in early December, three pieces of shrapnel struck Abdel Rahman, fracturing his skull. His 8-year-old brother was killed, Ms. Al Naasan said.


The survivors raced Abdel Rahman to a hospital, where displaced people thronged and the injured screamed on the floor, she said. There was no clean water or food, and Ms. Al Naasan said they had to search for a doctor to stitch the boy’s wound and bandage his head. That was all they could do.


By the time he and his grandmother reached Egypt, small things terrified him. At night in Gaza, he would urge his grandmother to turn off a flashlight, fearing it would lead to an airstrike, Ms. Al Naasan said. When Italian officials welcomed him in Egypt, he clutched his grandmother’s hand, frightened they were actually Israelis. When he was told about the plan to go to Italy, Abdel Rahman said, “What if there will be bombing there? I don’t want to go,” according to Ms. Al Naasan.


Italian doctors at San Gerardo Hospital in Monza, who evaluated the boy, said they were astounded by his condition: They feared he would be doing far worse with three pieces of shrapnel still in his skull. He would need intensive surgery and a lengthy recovery.


Shaymaa, too, would have a long period of convalescence, growing close to Sarah at the facility in Bologna, where staff members tried to comfort them. Many of the evacuated Gazans exchanged WhatsApp numbers, checking in on one another as they learned how to navigate Italy and as they weighed whether to apply for asylum — a decision that could keep them there indefinitely.


Ms. Gamal said she remained conflicted about seeking asylum, torn between hope to someday return to Gaza and the reality of what she saw. “Honestly, Gaza is destroyed,” she said. “If people want to return to their homes, there are no homes.”


Ms. Al Naasan, on the other hand, was inclined to stay. “There is nothing to go back to,” she said. “Our children can’t eat, they keep crying. No food, no flour. The rest of my family would die to come here. I hope I am able to bring them, because look at it and what it has become. It is not a place to live at all.”


For now, Abdel Rahman remains at the hospital with his grandmother. With Sarah awaiting surgery, Ms. Foad and her children moved into an apartment for refugees in Bologna. Ms. Gamal and Shaymaa are at a women’s home, alongside refugees from Ukraine and Somalia, waiting for a prosthetic and making hospital visits for therapy.


They all feel relief to be out of Gaza and worry about everyone else still there.



7) Domestic Politics Drive Divisions Between Biden and Netanyahu

By Steven Erlanger, March 26, 2024


President Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel sit in chairs with the flags of both countries behind them.

President Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Tel Aviv in October. Credit...Kenny Holston/The New York Times

Relations between President Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel appear to have sunk to a new low, with both men pressed hard by domestic politics and looming elections.


Mr. Biden is facing outrage from his own supporters and global allies about the toll of civilian deaths in the war against Hamas and Israel’s seeming reluctance to allow into Gaza adequate amounts of food and medicine. On Monday, Mr. Biden chose to allow a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza to pass, abstaining from the vote rather than vetoing the measure as the United States had done in the past.


In response, Mr. Netanyahu, who is trying to keep his own far-right coalition government in power, called off a planned high-level delegation to Washington for meetings with U.S. officials to discuss alternatives to a planned Israeli offensive into Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than a million people have sought refuge.


Mr. Netanyahu, however, allowed his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, to remain in Washington for talks.


Mr. Netanyahu is also facing sharp criticism from his far-right coalition partners, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, over any indication that he is hesitating in the war against Hamas or in the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. They are also deeply divided over proposed legislation that could end up drafting more ultra-Orthodox Israelis, known as haredim, into the military.


Nadav Shtrauchler, a political strategist who previously worked with Mr. Netanyahu, said the prime minister was seeking to embody a central narrative: “We must stand strong, even against the United States, and I am the man with the backbone to do that.”


Mr. Netanyahu and his far-right partners have made increasingly bellicose remarks criticizing the Biden administration. In a recent interview, Mr. Ben-Gvir, the national security minister, accused Mr. Biden of tacitly supporting Israel’s enemies.


“Presently, Biden prefers the line of Rashida Tlaib and Sinwar to the line of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir,” said Mr. Ben-Gvir, referring to the progressive Palestinian American member of the U.S. Congress and to Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. “I would have expected the president of the United States not to take their line, but rather to take ours,” he added.


By seeking to pressure Israel, President Biden was “enormously mistaken,” Mr. Ben-Gvir said, adding that Biden “constantly sought to impose restrictions on Israel and talks about the rights of the other side, who include, I remind you, many terrorists who want to destroy us.”


Should Mr. Ben-Gvir and Mr. Smotrich leave the government, it would force early Israeli elections. That is precisely what Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, called for in a recent speech, in which he said Mr. Netanyahu was an impediment to peace. Mr. Biden called it “a good speech” without endorsing the call for new elections.


Mr. Biden’s action on the Security Council resolution appears to be more political than substantive, and his own officials insist that American policy has not changed. The U.N. abstention does not alter American support for Israel, nor does it reduce the supply of American weapons going to Israel. It does not amount to an American veto of Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Rafah, though it does underscore American and allied concern that Israel first come up with a detailed plan to spare the civilians hunkering down there.


The United States also is continuing to work with Israel and Arab allies in an attempt to broker a temporary cease-fire in Gaza in return for the release by Hamas of Israeli hostages, an Israeli goal.


Washington hopes to turn a temporary truce into a longer-term cessation of hostilities that could allow serious talks on how Gaza can be governed and rebuilt while protecting Israeli security. But that is a battle yet to be fought, especially as talks on a temporary cease-fire drag on.


Mr. Netanyahu has a history of using his arguments with American presidents — including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — to bolster his own domestic political standing, seeking to show that he is Israel’s best defense against outside pressure for concessions on relations with the Palestinians, or even on a now-faded deal to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions.


But Mr. Biden is far more popular in Israel than Mr. Obama was and a serious break with Washington would deeply undermine Israel’s security and its future.


Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.



8) Israel presses on with strikes in Gaza after the U.N. cease-fire resolution.

By Hiba Yazbek reporting from Jerusalem, March 26, 2024


Body bags and a white-shrouded body in the foreground, with several people standing in the background.

Palestinians at a hospital morgue in Rafah on Tuesday. Credit...Fatima Shbair/Associated Press

The Israeli military pressed on with its bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, signaling that the passing of a United Nations resolution calling for a cease-fire for the holy month of Ramadan the day before had not shaken Israel’s determination to keep fighting.


The military said its fighter jets had struck “over 60 targets” in Gaza over the previous day. It added that its forces were also operating in central Gaza, where it said they had killed “a number of terrorists.” Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s news agency, said Tuesday that the Israeli military had struck residential homes and buildings and that dozens of people were killed.


In a statement, the Israeli military added that it was continuing its “operational activity” around Al-Amal Hospital and the town of Al-Qarara, in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza, adding that its forces were “eliminating terrorists and carrying out targeted raids on terrorist infrastructure.”


Al-Amal Hospital went out of service on Monday night after Israeli forces besieged it a day earlier and forced everyone inside to leave before closing off its entrances with earthen barriers, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, which runs the hospital. The organization said on Monday that two people had been killed and three others wounded when Israeli forces opened fire as they were being evacuated.


The Israeli military also said on Tuesday that it was pressing on with its assault on Al-Shifa Hospital in the north for a ninth day. It said its forces there had “located weapons, and engaged with and eliminated several terrorists in the hospital area.” Witnesses have described days of fear at the complex, with several patients dying as a result of the assault.


Ezzeldine al-Dali, who lives less than a mile from Al-Shifa, said airstrikes and gunfire had intensified in the area on Monday night, before calming down on Tuesday morning, which residents took as a sign that Israeli forces had concluded their raid.


He said people he knew went to the hospital thinking the raid was over, but “they were wrong,” and people were shot and wounded. His account could not be independently verified. The Israeli military said it was checking into it.


Israel has long accused Hamas, the armed group that led an attack into southern Israel on Oct. 7, of using hospitals in Gaza for military purposes, a claim that Hamas and hospital administrators have denied.


An analysis by The New York Times found that Hamas had used the Shifa complex for military purposes. The Israeli military, however, has struggled to prove its claim that Hamas maintained a command-and-control center under it.


Mr. al-Dali, 22, said that the passage of the U.N. resolution did not give him or those around him any hope that the Israeli bombardment would stop soon. “We have lost hope in every way,” he said in a phone call on Tuesday.


“The International Court of Justice, Biden and all the Arab and Western countries could not stop Israel,” said Mr. al-Dali. “So why would the United Nations be able to stop them?”


The International Court of Justice in late January ordered Israel to ensure that its actions would not lead to genocide, and to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza. But the court did not order a halt to fighting in the Gaza Strip.


Wafa reported on Tuesday that dozens of Palestinians had been killed in an Israeli strike on a family home near Al-Shifa, citing medical sources. It did not specify the timing. The agency also reported that the Israeli military had struck other residential homes and buildings around Al-Shifa and fired on people moving on the roads around the hospital, killing and wounding dozens.


The Palestinian news agency also reported Israeli strikes in the northwest of Gaza City, the northern community of Beit Lahia and the southern city of Rafah, where it reported that a home where displaced families were living was struck, killing more than a dozen Palestinians and wounding dozens more.


These reports could not be independently verified, and the Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on them.



9) Israeli Soldier’s Video Undercuts Medic’s Account of Sexual Assault

Kibbutz residents concluded that two sisters killed on Oct. 7 were not victims of sexual violence.

By Adam Rasgon and Natan Odenheimer Reporting from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, March 25, 2024


A burned car in front of a security gate on a road.

At least 97 civilians were killed in Be’eri, a small community just east of Gaza that was one of the hardest hit by the Hamas-led attack. Credit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

New video has surfaced that undercuts the account of an Israeli military paramedic who said two teenagers killed in the Hamas-led terrorist attack on Oct. 7 were sexually assaulted.


The unnamed paramedic, from an Israeli commando unit, was among dozens of people interviewed for a Dec. 28 article by The New York Times that examined sexual violence on Oct. 7. He said he discovered the bodies of two partially clothed teenage girls in a home in Kibbutz Be’eri that bore signs of sexual violence.


The Associated Press, CNN and The Washington Post reported similar accounts from a military paramedic who spoke on condition of anonymity.


But footage taken by an Israeli soldier who was in Be’eri on Oct. 7, which was viewed by leading community members in February and by The Times this month, shows the bodies of three female victims, fully clothed and with no apparent signs of sexual violence, at a home where many residents had believed the assaults occurred.


Though it is unclear if the medic was referring to the same scene, residents said that in no other home in Be’eri were two teenage girls killed, and they concluded from the video that the girls had not been sexually assaulted.


Nili Bar Sinai, a member of a group from the kibbutz that looked into claims of sexual assault at the house, said, “This story is false.”


Reached by The Times, the medic declined to say whether he still stood by the account, saying he would like to put the attacks behind him.


Later, an Israeli military spokesman said that the medic stood by his testimony but might have misremembered the place where he saw the teenage girls. The spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the attacks on Oct. 7 are the subject of an active police investigation, said the medic operated in several villages that weekend and might have seen the teenagers in a different kibbutz. The spokesman did not specify which one. There is no complete public record of how every victim of the Oct. 7 attack was killed.


The paramedic’s account was a prominent example in international news reports describing sexual violence on Oct. 7, and The Times reported that Be’eri was one of at least seven locations where Israeli women and girls appeared to have been sexually assaulted or mutilated.


A United Nations report that was released this month said there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, was committed in multiple locations, and “clear and convincing information” that some hostages being held in Gaza had also been subjected to rape and sexual torture.


The report said the U.N. team was unable to establish whether sexual violence occurred in Be’eri and that at least two Be’eri cases reported in the news media were determined to be “unfounded,” but it did not explicitly specify a military paramedic’s account.


The report added that the team “received credible information” about bodies found naked, tied or gagged in Be’eri and that “circumstantial evidence — notably the pattern of female victims found undressed and bound — may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence.”


Beyond Be’eri, while detailing the daunting challenges the team faced in trying to determine what happened on Oct. 7, the report said there were “reasonable grounds to believe that multiple incidents of sexual violence took place” at or around the Nova music festival and “credible information” of two rapes on a main road from the festival as well as a “verified” case in Kibbutz Re’im.


Hamas leaders have denied the accusations of sexual violence, and the U.N. report, noting the array of fighters who took part in the Oct. 7 attacks, said the experts’ mission was not to determine who was responsible.


The paramedic, a reservist in a special-operations rescue unit within the Air Force, had described finding one of the girls lying on her side, boxer shorts torn and bruises by her groin. The other, he said, had her face flat on the ground, with pajamas pulled to her knees, her bottom exposed and semen smeared on her back.


The Israeli military had allowed the paramedic to speak with reporters on the condition that he not be identified because he serves in an elite unit.


The new video that the community members have seen shows the bodies of two female victims in a corridor outside a safe room, with blood stains on their clothing and the floor. In a nearby room, a third person was filmed on the floor in a pool of blood, wearing pajama pants and a sweatshirt.


A reporter for the Times who viewed the video confirmed the identities of the victims with Ms. Bar Sinai and three members of the kibbutz who knew the family. They identified them as two sisters and their mother. The three kibbutz members asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.


The video first became known to the kibbutz on Feb. 12, when soldiers in the unit that had found the sisters’ remains returned to Be’eri for a tour led by kibbutz members, according to those four members.


While visiting the home, kibbutz members discussed the allegations of sexual assault. Taken aback, the troops shared the eight-second video clip, the four Be’eri members said.


“What happened to them was horrifying, but it was a great relief to find out they weren’t sexually assaulted,” Ms. Bar Sinai said.


At least 97 civilians were killed in Be’eri, a small community just east of Gaza that was one of the hardest hit by the Hamas-led attack.


The military paramedic was not the only person who had described evidence of sexual assault in Be’eri. Many community members had come to believe that the teenage sisters were victims of sexual violence because of other accounts, including from emergency response volunteers who spoke about this incident publicly.


“Until recently, we all thought it was true,” said Amit Solvy, a neighbor.


Patrick Kingsley contributed reporting from Jerusalem.



10) Assange Extradition On Hold Until U.S. Gives More Assurances

British judges asked the United States, which wants to try the WikiLeaks founder on espionage charges, for more guarantees about his treatment.

By Megan Specia, Reporting from London, March 26, 2024


Stella Assange addresses a crowd from a raised platform as people film her and hold posters in support of Julian Assange.

Julian Assange’s wife, Stella Assange, speaking outside the High Court in London during a hearing in February. Credit...Carl Court/Getty Images

The High Court in London ruled on Tuesday that Julian Assange, the embattled WikiLeaks founder, cannot be immediately extradited to the United States, saying American authorities must offer assurances about his treatment first, including over his First Amendment rights and protection from the death penalty.


The decision had been highly anticipated as the moment the court would decide if Mr. Assange had exhausted his challenges within British courts. Instead, in a nuanced ruling, two judges determined that clarity on his fate would again be on hold.


The two High Court judges said that the court “will grant leave to appeal” on narrow grounds, “unless a satisfactory assurance is provided by the Government of the United States of America.”


The court has given the United States three weeks “to give satisfactory assurances” that Mr. Assange “is permitted to rely on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (which protects free speech), that he is not prejudiced at trial (including sentence) by reason of his nationality, that he is afforded the same First Amendment protections as a United States citizen and that the death penalty is not imposed.”


If those assurances are not given by April 16, then Mr. Assange will be granted a full appeal hearing. If the United States does provide the requested assurances, there will be a further hearing on May 20 to decide if they “are satisfactory, and to make a final decision on leave to appeal.”


While the United States has already provided some assurances over the treatment of Mr. Assange if he was extradited, the High Court judges asked for additional guarantees.


The United States has sought the extradition of Mr. Assange since 2019, and the British government approved an extradition order in 2022, but he has fought his removal through the courts while detained in a high-security prison in southeast London.


Mr. Assange, 52, is accused of violating the U.S. Espionage Act with WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of tens of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, an Army intelligence analyst.


Speaking outside the London court on Tuesday, Stella Assange, Mr. Assange’s wife, urged the U.S. government to drop the charges against her husband.


“The Biden administration should not offer assurances. They should drop this shameful case that should never have been brought,” she told reporters gathered outside the court. “Julian should never have been in prison for a single day. This is a shame on every democracy. Julian is a political prisoner.”


As Mr. Assange’s case has unfolded over the years, it has become highly charged politically, raising First Amendment issues and alarming advocates of media freedom. The United States, Britain, where his extradition case is being heard, and Australia — where Mr. Assange is a citizen — are all involved, and in recent months there have been calls for some political resolution to see the charges reduced or dismissed.


Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said that Tuesday’s ruling “presents the U.S. government with another opportunity to do what it should have done long ago — drop the Espionage Act charges.”


“Prosecuting Assange for the publication of classified information would have profound implications for press freedom,” Mr. Jaffer said in a statement, “Because publishing classified information is what journalists and news organizations often need to do in order to expose wrongdoing by government.”


The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment.


Here’s a brief history of the case against Julian Assange.


Mr. Assange moved to Britain in late 2010 from Sweden. The Swedish police issued an international arrest warrant for him later that year over sexual assault accusations.


In June 2012, he was granted political asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London — where he stayed for the next seven years.


Sweden dropped its case against Mr. Assange. He was thrown out of the embassy in 2019, and shortly after, the United States announced an indictment against him, charging him with 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act by participating in a criminal hacking conspiracy and by encouraging hackers to steal secret material.


He was promptly arrested, and has been seeking to halt his removal to the United States through British courts ever since.


In 2021, a British judge denied the extradition request for Mr. Assange, ruling that he was at risk of suicide if sent to an American prison. But the High Court later reversed that decision based on assurances from the Biden administration that he would not be held in the United States’ highest-security facility and that, if convicted, he could serve his sentence in Australia.


By 2022, Priti Patel, who as Britain’s home secretary was responsible for the country’s borders and security, had approved the extradition request — and Mr. Assange’s legal team fought that as well.


When a lower-court judge denied their request that he be allowed to appeal, they asked the High Court to overturn that move.


Mr. Assange’s lawyers say that he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted, although lawyers for the United States government have said that he was more likely to be sentenced to four to six years.


And here’s what happened at the most recent court hearings.


During a two-day hearing in the High Court in February, Mr. Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told the judges, Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson, that his client had been “exposing serious criminality” by publishing the leaked documents, and laid out nine grounds on which Mr. Assange hoped to appeal the extradition order.


In their ruling on Tuesday, the judges dismissed six of the nine grounds for appeal as unfounded.


But they said that Mr. Assange had a “real prospect of success” on three of the issues raised, including on the threat to his freedom of expression in the United States; that his trial might be prejudiced because as an Australian he might not be given the same rights as American citizens; and that there was nothing to prevent the death penalty from being imposed, which would violate British extradition policies.


The court decided that “unless satisfactory assurances are provided, the court will grant leave to appeal on those grounds.”


Mr. Assange did not appear in the courtroom, despite having been granted rare permission to do so for the first time since 2021. His lawyers told the court that he was not well enough to attend or even to attend via video link from prison.


At a news briefing in February, Ms. Assange had said that her husband’s legal team would “definitely and immediately file an application” with the European Court of Human Rights if blocked from further appeals in Britain, and that he would ask for an “injunction to stop the U.K. from extraditing him.”



11) A 25-year-old was killed in Israel, while 7 were killed overnight in Lebanon.

By Cassandra Vinograd and Hwaida Saad, March 27, 2024


People on a hillside covered in rubble.

An emergency center in the town of al-Habbariyeh, Lebanon, was destroyed in an overnight attack, according to Lebanon’s official news agency. Credit...Mohammad Zaatari/Associated Press

Wednesday, killing at least one person in a barrage that it said was retaliation for an Israeli strike that the authorities said killed seven medics overnight in southern Lebanon.


For months, Hezbollah and Israel’s military have traded fire across the Israel-Lebanon border, raising fears that the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas — an ally of Hezbollah — could spiral into a wider regional conflict. The violence has displaced tens of thousands of people from their homes.


The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it carried out an overnight strike targeting a “significant terrorist operative” and others who were with him near the town of al-Habbariyeh in southern Lebanon. Lebanon’s Ministry of Health said the strike hit an emergency medical center and killed seven paramedics, denouncing what it called an “unacceptable” attack on a health center.


Hezbollah’s response was swift: It launched the volley of rockets into northern Israel in retaliation against the Habbariyeh strike and to show solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, the group said.


A direct hit on a building in the Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona killed a 25-year-old, according to Magen David Adom, Israel’s nonprofit emergency medical service.


Hezbollah is a key ally of Hamas, whose Oct. 7 attacks on Israel led to the war in Gaza. Since October, Hezbollah has been firing rockets into northern Israel on a near-daily basis. The Israeli military regularly responds with strikes against Hezbollah-linked targets inside Lebanon.


Both Hezbollah and Hamas are backed by Iran, and the clashes along Israel’s border with Lebanon have raised concerns that the war in Gaza could erupt into a wider regional conflict.


Some days, Hezbollah has fired as many as 100 short-range rockets. Israel, in turn, has struck targets as far as 60 miles inside Lebanon. Hezbollah’s attacks so far have been big enough to demonstrate the group’s solidarity with Hamas but measured enough to avoid provoking a war with Israel.


Kiryat Shmona, where the 25-year-old was killed on Wednesday, used to be home to about 24,000 people but only about 1,500 inhabitants remain. Many residents, now scattered among 220 hotels across Israel, did not even wait for the government’s order on Oct. 20 to evacuate.


Rawan Sheikh Ahmad and Isabel Kershner reporting.



12) Gazan authorities say 12 people drowned trying to retrieve airdropped aid.

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, March 27, 2024


Twelve people drowned trying to retrieve aid that was airdropped into the sea, according to Gazan authorities. Credit...Reuters (Screenshot)

The authorities in Gaza said late Tuesday that a total of 12 people had drowned while trying to retrieve airdropped aid that had fallen into the Mediterranean, calling for an end to the airdrops — a last resort to get urgently needed food and other supplies into the enclave — and an increase in deliveries by land.


People waded into the water from a beach in northern Gaza on Monday afternoon to get the aid packages, according to Ahmed Abu Qamar, a Gaza-based researcher for EuroMed Rights, a human rights group, who said he had spoken to witnesses. He also said that around a dozen people had drowned, saying that at least one had become entangled in a parachute.


It was not possible to confirm the details independently and it was not clear which country was responsible for the airdrop in question.


Three of approximately 80 aid bundles dropped by the United States on Monday “were reported to have had parachute malfunctions and landed in the water,” a Pentagon spokeswoman, Sabrina Singh, said at a news conference on Tuesday. However, she said that she could not confirm the reports of the drownings.


The aid was intentionally dropped over water and intended to be carried to land by wind drift, to mitigate potential harm in the event that the parachutes failed to deploy, Ms. Singh said.


The fatalities were not the first connected to aid drops. Earlier this month, the authorities in Gaza said that at least five Palestinians had been killed and several others wounded when airdropped aid packages fell on them in Gaza City. On Tuesday, the Gaza government media office said that six other people had died during what it characterized as stampedes as they tried to get aid that was airdropped in other locations.


The United Nations and other aid organizations say that trucks, rather than planes, are the cheapest, safest and most effective means of delivering aid to Gaza, a territory whose population of more than two million faces a hunger crisis that humanitarian organizations say borders on famine.


But several governments, including those of the United States, France, Jordan and Egypt, have in recent weeks used airdrops to supplement aid that arrives by land, while also calling on Israel to allow in more trucks.


Britain airdropped aid to Gaza for the first time on Monday, delivering over 10 tons of supplies along the northern coastline as part of a mission led by Jordan, the British defense ministry said in a statement.


Governments say that the drops are necessary because of a steep fall in the amount of aid entering Gaza since Oct. 7, when Hamas led a deadly attack on Israel. The number of aid trucks entering Gaza since then has fallen by around 75 percent, according to U.N. data. One charity, World Central Kitchen, delivered a bargeload of aid to Gaza earlier this month.


Governments and aid groups say Israel has slowed aid deliveries through stringent inspections of trucks. The authorities in Israel blame UNRWA, the United Nations aid agency that supports Palestinians, arguing that Israel can inspect and process aid trucks faster than humanitarian groups can distribute the aid inside the territory.


Abu Bakr Bashir , Adam Sella and Anushka Patil reporting.



13) Israel Deploys Expansive Facial Recognition Program in Gaza

The experimental effort, which has not been disclosed, is being used to conduct mass surveillance of Palestinians in Gaza, according to military officials and others.

By Sheera Frenkel, Reporting from Tel Aviv, March 27, 2024


Displaced Palestinians arriving at a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip this month. Israel has deployed facial recognition technology at checkpoints along roads in Gaza, according to military officials. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Within minutes of walking through an Israeli military checkpoint along Gaza’s central highway on Nov. 19, the Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha was asked to step out of the crowd. He put down his 3-year-old son, whom he was carrying, and sat in front of a military jeep.


Half an hour later, Mr. Abu Toha heard his name called. Then he was blindfolded and led away for interrogation.


“I had no idea what was happening or how they could suddenly know my full legal name,” said the 31-year-old, who added that he had no ties to the militant group Hamas and had been trying to leave Gaza for Egypt.


It turned out Mr. Abu Toha had walked into the range of cameras embedded with facial recognition technology, according to three Israeli intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. After his face was scanned and he was identified, an artificial intelligence program found that the poet was on an Israeli list of wanted persons, they said.


Mr. Abu Toha is one of hundreds of Palestinians who have been picked out by a previously undisclosed Israeli facial recognition program that was started in Gaza late last year. The expansive and experimental effort is being used to conduct mass surveillance there, collecting and cataloging the faces of Palestinians without their knowledge or consent, according to Israeli intelligence officers, military officials and soldiers.


The technology was initially used in Gaza to search for Israelis who were taken hostage by Hamas during the Oct. 7 cross-border raids, the intelligence officials said. After Israel embarked on a ground offensive in Gaza, it increasingly turned to the program to root out anyone with ties to Hamas or other militant groups. At times, the technology wrongly flagged civilians as wanted Hamas militants, one officer said.


The facial recognition program, which is run by Israel’s military intelligence unit, including the cyber-intelligence division Unit 8200, relies on technology from Corsight, a private Israeli company, four intelligence officers said. It also uses Google Photos, they said. Combined, the technologies enable Israel to pick faces out of crowds and grainy drone footage.


Three of the people with knowledge of the program said they were speaking out because of concerns that it was a misuse of time and resources by Israel.


An Israeli army spokesman declined to comment on activity in Gaza, but said the military “carries out necessary security and intelligence operations, while making significant efforts to minimize harm to the uninvolved population.” He added, “Naturally, we cannot refer to operational and intelligence capabilities in this context.”

Facial recognition technology has spread across the globe in recent years, fueled by increasingly sophisticated A.I. systems. While some countries use the technology to make air travel easier, China and Russia have deployed the technology against minority groups and to suppress dissent. Israel’s use of facial recognition in Gaza stands out as an application of the technology in a war.


Matt Mahmoudi, a researcher with Amnesty International, said Israel’s use of facial recognition was a concern because it could lead to “a complete dehumanization of Palestinians” where they were not seen as individuals. He added that Israeli soldiers were unlikely to question the technology when it identified a person as being part of a militant group, even though the technology makes mistakes.


Israel previously used facial recognition in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to an Amnesty report last year, but the effort in Gaza goes further.


In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israelis have a homegrown facial recognition system called Blue Wolf, according to the Amnesty report. At checkpoints in West Bank cities such as Hebron, Palestinians are scanned by high-resolution cameras before being permitted to pass. Soldiers also use smartphone apps to scan the faces of Palestinians and add them to a database, the report said.


In Gaza, which Israel withdrew from in 2005, no facial recognition technology was present. Surveillance of Hamas in Gaza was instead conducted by tapping phone lines, interrogating Palestinian prisoners, harvesting drone footage, getting access to private social media accounts and hacking into telecommunications systems, Israeli intelligence officers said.


After Oct. 7, Israeli intelligence officers in Unit 8200 turned to that surveillance for information on the Hamas gunmen who breached Israel’s borders. The unit also combed through footage of the attacks from security cameras, as well as videos uploaded by Hamas on social media, one officer said. He said the unit had been told to create a “hit list” of Hamas members who participated in the attack.


Corsight was then brought in to create a facial recognition program in Gaza, three Israeli intelligence officers said.


The company, with headquarters in Tel Aviv, says on its website that its technology requires less than 50 percent of a face to be visible for accurate recognition. Robert Watts, Corsight’s president, posted this month on LinkedIn that the facial recognition technology could work with “extreme angles, (even from drones,) darkness, poor quality.”


Corsight declined to comment.


Unit 8200 personnel soon found that Corsight’s technology struggled if footage was grainy and faces were obscured, one officer said. When the military tried identifying the bodies of Israelis killed on Oct. 7, the technology could not always work for people whose faces had been injured. There were also false positives, or cases when a person was mistakenly identified as being connected to Hamas, the officer said.

To supplement Corsight’s technology, Israeli officers used Google Photos, the free photo sharing and storage service from Google, three intelligence officers said. By uploading a database of known persons to Google Photos, Israeli officers could use the service’s photo search function to identify people.


Google’s ability to match faces and identify people even with only a small portion of their face visible was superior to other technology, one officer said. The military continued to use Corsight because it was customizable, the officers said.


A Google spokesman said Google Photos was a free consumer product that “does not provide identities for unknown people in photographs.”


The facial recognition program in Gaza grew as Israel expanded its military offensive there. Israeli soldiers entering Gaza were given cameras equipped with the technology. Soldiers also set up checkpoints along major roads that Palestinians were using to flee areas of heavy fighting, with cameras that scanned faces.


The program’s goals were to search for Israeli hostages, as well as Hamas fighters who could be detained for questioning, the Israeli intelligence officers said.


The guidelines of whom to stop were intentionally broad, one said. Palestinian prisoners were asked to name people from their communities who they believed were part of Hamas. Israel would then search for those people, hoping they would yield more intelligence.


Mr. Abu Toha, the Palestinian poet, was named as a Hamas operative by someone in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, where he lived with his family, the Israeli intelligence officers said. The officers said there was no specific intelligence attached to his file explaining a connection to Hamas.


In an interview, Mr. Abu Toha, who wrote “Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems From Gaza,” said he has no connection to Hamas.


When he and his family were stopped at the military checkpoint on Nov. 19 as they tried leaving for Egypt, he said he had not shown any identification when he was asked to step out of the crowd.


After he was handcuffed and taken to sit under a tent with several dozen men, he heard someone say the Israeli army had used a “new technology” on the group. Within 30 minutes, Israeli soldiers called him by his full legal name.


Mr. Abu Toha said he was beaten and interrogated in an Israeli detention center for two days before being returned to Gaza with no explanation. He wrote about his experience in The New Yorker, where he is a contributor. He credited his release to a campaign led by journalists at The New Yorker and other publications.


Upon his release, Israeli soldiers told him his interrogation had been a “mistake,” he said.


In a statement at the time, the Israeli military said Mr. Abu Toha was taken for questioning because of “intelligence indicating a number of interactions between several civilians and terror organizations inside the Gaza Strip.”


Mr. Abu Toha, who is now in Cairo with his family, said he was not aware of any facial recognition program in Gaza.


“I did not know Israel was capturing or recording my face,” he said. But Israel has “been watching us for years from the sky with their drones. They have been watching us gardening and going to schools and kissing our wives. I feel like I have been watched for so long.”


Kashmir Hill contributed reporting.