Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, April 5, 2024






Family housing in Rafa.

See Gaza Strip Access Restrictions.pdf since 2007 at:


Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of April 5, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 33,091,* 75,750 wounded, and more than 456 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 1,139—600 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 3,302 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) Seven Aid Workers Killed in Gaza Were Known for a Passion for Helping Others

Gaza has been the deadliest place for aid workers since the Oct. 7 attacks.

By Gaya Gupta, Published April 2, 2024, Updated April 3, 2024


Two men embrace, and the one facing the camera appears to be crying. A third man looks on; he’s wearing a black T-shirt with “World Central Kitchen” on it.

Relatives and friends mourn the death of Saif Abutaha, one of the seven workers with World Central Kitchen who was killed in Gaza when an aid convoy was fired on Monday night. Credit...Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

To those who knew them, the World Central Kitchen workers who were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Monday were described as devoted humanitarians who would do anything they could to help those in need.


Six of them came from around the world to help deliver and distribute food throughout the enclave, joining the dozens of Gazans already dedicated to relief work. One was a local Palestinian who was excited about having a job that involved helping others. They had just left a food warehouse in Deir al Balah, a city in central Gaza, when Israeli airstrikes hit their convoy, despite the World Central Kitchen coordinating with the Israeli military. All seven of them were killed.


They are the latest casualties in the growing toll of aid workers killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, and they are among more than a dozen workers who have been killed while doing their jobs.


Gaza has been the deadliest place for aid workers since the Oct. 7 attacks. According to the Aid Worker Security Database, a compilation of data on attacks funded by the United States Agency for International Development, 203 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since the war started. All were Palestinian, except for six of the World Central Kitchen workers most recently killed, who were citizens of Australia, the United States, Canada, Poland and Britain. As of Monday, 176 workers from UNRWA, the U.N. agency dedicated to Palestinians, have been killed, according to the group.


After Oct. 7, 161 aid workers were killed in Gaza in the last weeks of 2023. That total is larger than all aid worker deaths worldwide in every year since 1997, when the aid worker database started collecting figures.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel “deeply regrets” the attack on the World Central Kitchen convoy, a rare acknowledgment of an attack that killed aid workers, and the Israeli military said it was investigating the incident. Humanitarian personnel are protected by international law.


Saif Abutaha, the sole Palestinian traveling with the convoy, had volunteered with World Central Kitchen when it set up operations in Gaza, said his older brother Shadi; the group said it later hired him. At 25, Saif was an enterprising young man who “wanted to do something for others,” his brother said, adding that he worked in their father’s business and spoke good English.


Shadi recalled seeing his brother depart on Monday for work with other members of the World Central Kitchen team. The workers “were so excited, like they were going to a wedding,” he said, intending to go to the jetty in northern Gaza and unload the desperately needed food aid.


He never saw his brother again, he said.


Lalzawmi Frankcom, 43, who was known as Zomi, was the Australian worker who was killed on Monday. She began volunteering for the World Central Kitchen in 2018 and was hired the next year, according to her former partner, Josh Phelps.


Their last text exchange was on Sunday, just before she and the aid convoy set out from central Gaza. He sent her some photos from their time together delivering food on a reservation in South Dakota. She sent back a heart emoji.


A day later, he found out that she had been killed.


“Anywhere she needed to go, she was willing to go,” he said. “She was following her dreams to make a life around the world.”


Damian Sobol of Poland was described as “the Michael Jordan of humanitarian work” by a former colleague, Noah Sims, a chef in North Georgia who has been at the site of several World Central Kitchen disaster relief efforts.


They first met while feeding refugees in the southeastern Polish city of Przemysl, Mr. Sobol’s hometown and where he had been studying hospitality.


“Anything I ever needed, Damian could get it done,” Mr. Sims said.


According to the World Central Kitchen, three British citizens were also killed in the attack: John Chapman, 57; James Henderson, 33; and James Kirby, 47. All three of the men were part of the organization’s security team. Local British media outlets described Mr. Chapman and Mr. Henderson as former Royal Marines who later turned to volunteer work.


In a statement, Mr. Chapman’s family called him an “incredible father, husband, son and brother.”


“He was loved by many and will forever be a hero,” it said.


The seventh worker, Jacob Flickinger, was a 33-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Canada, according to the World Central Kitchen, and worked on the group’s relief team.


Kim Severson and Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.



2) Attack on Workers Slows Flow of Aid to Gazans

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, April 3, 2024


A small ship painted red and white, with the words “Open Arms” on its side, sits in calm waters, with a stone breakwater behind it, and beyond that a large cargo ship.

The Open Arms, the first ship dispatched to Gaza by the World Central Kitchen, in Larnaca, Cyprus, on Wednesday. Credit...Petros Karadjias/Associated Press

A deadly Israeli strike on an aid convoy run by World Central Kitchen in Gaza is already setting back attempts to address a hunger crisis in the territory, with aid groups saying they are being more cautious about making deliveries and at least two suspending operations.


In the wake of the attack that killed seven of its workers, World Central Kitchen stopped its work in Gaza and sent three ships with hundreds of tons of food back to port in Cyprus. The food was meant to be unloaded at a makeshift jetty in northern Gaza that was built by the group, which says it has provided 43 million meals to Gazans since the start of the war.


Gaza faces what United Nations officials say is a man-made humanitarian crisis, as the war and Israeli restrictions on aid have caused severe hunger that experts say is approaching famine. The most dire shortages are in northern Gaza, and aid groups say that, in the short term at least, the killing of the aid workers will make things worse there.


“Humanitarian aid organizations are unable to carry out their work safely,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday.


Another aid group, American Near East Refugee Aid, or Anera, which said it had operated in the Palestinian territories for more than 55 years, also announced that it was suspending its work in Gaza. But groups that are continuing to work there, including the World Food Program and UNRWA, the main U.N. agency that supports Palestinians, have long said that they face unacceptable hurdles in delivering aid, including Israeli restrictions on deliveries and lawlessness in northern Gaza.


“Our staff have guided our work, and they, themselves, feel like there’s a target on their backs,” Sandra Rasheed, Anera’s country director in Gaza and the West Bank, told the Al Jazeera network.


Michael Capponi, the founder of Global Empowerment Mission, a nonprofit aid group, said he was reconsidering his plans to travel to Gaza next week. Some staff members “basically want to pack up and go home now,” he said.


Gaza has faced an Israeli blockade for more than a decade, backed by Egypt, but since the war started in October, residents said the amount of food available has fallen  dramatically.


“No aid or anything comes down to us,” Rawan al-Khoudary, who lives in northern Gaza, said in an interview. She said in an interview that her baby, Anwar, had died a few weeks ago, in part because of a lack of nutrition. Another resident of northern Gaza, Ezzeldine al-Dali, 22, said that his family had only received one bag of flour in aid, which had lasted a few days.


In recent weeks, the United States, other countries and aid groups have increased pressure on Israel to allow more aid to enter Gaza, a territory of more than two million people. Israel, which announced a siege of Gaza at the start of the war, says it places no limits on the amount of aid that can go into the territory, but wants to prevent food or other supplies from falling into the hands of Hamas.


Countries including the United States, France, Jordan and Egypt have increased their use of airdrops to get aid into Gaza, and the World Central Kitchen ships were part of a multinational plan to create a maritime route that would deliver aid from Cyprus. As part of the effort to increase maritime shipments, the United States military is building a temporary pier on Gaza’s coast, but that will take weeks.


The United Nations says that the only effective way to ramp up aid sufficiently is by truck.


Figures from the United Nations show that the number of aid trucks entering Gaza through the two main crossing points, Kerem Shalom and Rafah, which are both in the southern part of the enclave, increased in March by nearly 75 percent compared with February.


Overall, however, an average of around 117 aid trucks have entered Gaza each day since Oct. 7, down roughly 75 percent from prewar figures, the U.N. data show. The World Food Program estimates that 300 trucks of food are needed daily to begin to meet people’s basic food needs.


Despite the short-term difficulty, the strike could galvanize a push for a cease-fire, said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council and a former U.N. emergency relief coordinator.


He said it could also push governments to intensify efforts to protect aid workers, press for more entry points for aid and speak out more strongly against Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than a million people have gathered in an attempt to escape the fighting.


The aid workers were part of a growing number killed in Israel’s bombardment, with 203 killed since the war began, most of them Palestinian, according to the Aid Worker Security Database.


“The international aid workers have gotten more attention than the previous 200 Palestinian aid workers killed, which is of course tragic,” Mr. Egeland said. “But this could provide the watershed moment we have been hoping for.”


Hiba Yazbek contributed reporting



3) Back-to-Back Israeli Strikes Show Tragic Gaps in Choosing Targets

In an airstrike on Monday in Damascus, Israel’s military displayed pinpoint precision. Hours later in Gaza, that same military killed seven aid workers.

By Mark Landler and Adam Rasgon, Reporting from London and Jerusalem, April 4, 2024


A building in rubble, with the adjoining buildings perfectly intact.

An airstrike by the Israeli military on an Iranian embassy complex in Damascus killed Iranian intelligence officers and Palestinian militants but not a single civilian, Iranian officials said. Credit...Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

About 5 p.m. on Monday, Israeli warplanes streaked across the Syrian border, striking an embassy building in Damascus and killing a cadre of senior Iranian military commanders with the kind of pinpoint accuracy that has earned Israel’s military fear and respect across the Middle East.


Several hours later, the same Israeli military rained missiles on an aid convoy on a coastal road in the Gaza Strip, a botched operation that left seven foreign aid workers dead and Israel’s reputation in tatters. Its leaders were forced to admit to a string of lethal mistakes and misjudgments.


How one of the world’s best-equipped, best-trained militaries could pull off a dangerous strike on foreign soil and then stumble with such tragic consequences in Gaza raises a raft of hard questions — not least how the Israeli military enforces the rules of engagement in its war against Hamas.


Israeli officials attribute the strike on the aid group, World Central Kitchen, to factors common in war: a complex battlefield, where combatants mix with civilians; reduced visibility because it was nighttime; and a moving target, which gave the commanders only minutes to make decisions.


The Damascus raid was the mirror image: a meticulously planned, precisely timed operation against a stationary target, most likely approved at the highest levels of the Israeli military and government.


Details provided by members of Iran’s own Revolutionary Guards Corps suggest Israel had intelligence up to the minute of the strike, including when the ambassador and other civilians had left the building and that key Iranian commanders were there to meet Palestinian militants to discuss the war in Gaza.


In contrast, military analysts in Israel and the United States said Israeli’s explanations do not fully account for what happened along the Gazan coast on Monday night. The accidental killing of the aid workers, several said, was the predictable result of a shoot-first style of engagement Israeli troops have used in their military campaign since the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7.


“It was not a question of accuracy because it was highly accurate,” said Yagil Levy, a professor and expert on the Israel Defense Forces at the Open University of Israel. “It was not a question of negligence, because the action was taken after close consideration of the circumstances.”


“In Gaza,” he continued, “the I.D.F. is committed to killing as many Hamas fighters as possible. In many cases, targeting Hamas combatants is at odds with the principle of respecting the immunity of civilians.”


Professor Levy said aid convoys in Hamas-controlled Gaza were often guided by armed locals with ties to the militants to prevent their supplies from being damaged or stolen. For the Israeli military, which uses drones to monitor the convoys, that raises the prospect that some of the passengers constitute legitimate combat targets.


The Israelis struck the World Central Kitchen convoy after it had delivered supplies from a jetty to a warehouse. The three vehicles were traveling back when the I.D.F. launched three strikes. Two of the vehicles were destroyed, and a third had a gaping hole in its roof next to the seal that identified it as belonging to World Central Kitchen, the charity founded by the chef José Andrés.


Mr. Andrés said the military would have known his workers’ locations because it was in communication with them. “This was not just a bad-luck situation where, ‘oops,’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” he said to Reuters.


“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification, at night during the war in a very complex condition,” the Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed, “We will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”


Some likened the episode to an errant American drone strike in Afghanistan in 2022 that killed 10 innocent people, including seven children. As in Gaza, that strike was based on aerial video imagery. It came after a suicide bombing killed at least 182 people, including 13 American troops, during the frantic American withdrawal from the country.


Under acute pressure to avert another attack, the U.S. military believed it was tracking a terrorist who might imminently detonate another bomb. Instead, it killed an Afghan aid worker and nine members of his family.


“We had just lost troops to a bomb, and there was fear of another bomb,” said John Nagl, a professor of war-fighting studies at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. “The Israelis felt their troops were in danger. The desire to protect the troops overrode the decision to protect civilians.”


By contrast, Professor Nagl said, the strike on the embassy in Damascus was “flawlessly executed.” The Israelis, he said, “controlled the time and place of the action, and it was on a fixed site. The hard part of that mission was the intelligence gathering, not the military operation.”


Israel still faces international repercussions from the strike, which inflicted serious damage on Iran’s Quds Force, the external military and intelligence service of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Syria and Iran both expressed outrage, while American officials voiced fears that it could prompt retaliatory strikes against Israel or its ally, the United States.


The botched raid in Gaza, however, has brought a global wave of opprobrium on Israel, which was already becoming more diplomatically isolated. In Britain, the family of one of the killed aid workers, John Chapman, said in a statement, “He died trying to help people and was subject to an inhumane act.”


This is not the first time Israeli soldiers have accidentally hit civilians. In December, they mistakenly shot dead three Israeli hostages in Gaza City, causing outrage in Israel. In January, an Israeli tank opened fire on a convoy for Paltel, the largest telecommunications company in Gaza, killing two technicians, according to the company. The Israeli army said it was investigating the incident but has not announced any conclusions.


Those accidents only add to the pressure facing Israel in light of the spiraling death toll in Gaza. According to health officials in the Hamas-controlled enclave, more than 32,000 people have been killed in six months of war, many of them children. The Gazan health ministry’s tally includes both civilians and combatants.


Professor Nagl said he believed the Israeli military should tighten its rules of engagement — the conditions under which soldiers are permitted to open fire — particularly because the number of Hamas fighters in the civilian population had declined since the fighting began in October. Israeli experts said the I.D.F. should learn how to better identify targets.


“Tens of thousands of targets have been successfully identified,” said Michael B. Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States who once served as a spokesman for the I.D.F. “The W.C.K. workers, tragically, weren’t. The I.D.F. will investigate, conclude how and why the error occurred and draw lessons that will help prevent similar errors in the future.”


But Mr. Oren and other Israelis pushed back on the suggestion that the Damascus raid was a useful comparison.


“Outside of Gaza — in Syria, for example — Israel faces far fewer complexities,” he said. “Targets are much more easily identified and eliminated, with far less scope for human error.”


Uzi Arad, a former national security adviser to Mr. Netanyahu who is now a critic, also rejected the comparison, saying the “sheer intensity” of the fighting in Gaza had even led Israeli soldiers to open fire on each other. “Mistakes happen,” he said. “The situation is changing all the time; it’s not static. It’s very dynamic.”


Mr. Arad, who is also a former official in Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, said everything should be done to prevent such errors, but he suggested that they were inescapable on a battlefield like Gaza.


Amos Harel, a military affairs columnist for the Israeli paper Haaretz, acknowledged the challenges of fighting a war in Gaza, but he said the deadly strikes on the convoy were also simply a result of attrition.


“After fighting for such a long time, you get more of these mistakes and problems,” Mr. Harel said. “It’s not justified in any way, but it’s the price of ongoing war under these extreme circumstances.”



4) World Central Kitchen demands an independent investigation into Israel’s deadly strike.

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, April 4, 2024


A man wearing a vest that says “UN” inspects the inside of a damaged car.

United Nations staff members inspecting one of the destroyed vehicles used by World Central Kitchen. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

World Central Kitchen on Thursday called for an independent investigation into the killing by Israeli forces of seven of its staff members this week as they worked to deliver aid in Gaza.


Governments around the world have condemned the killing of the workers. They included a man from Gaza and citizens of Australia, Britain and Poland, as well as a dual citizen of Canada and the United States.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has said that Israel “deeply regrets” the strikes, in which the military fired upon three vehicles carrying the aid workers on a coastal road in Gaza on Monday night. He said that Israel would make sure it did not happen again.


Israel’s military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, said on Tuesday that the attack followed a misidentification, and the Israel Defense Forces started an investigation. But World Central Kitchen, the disaster relief organization founded by the Spanish chef José Andrés, issued a statement Thursday saying that was not enough.


“We have asked the governments of Australia, Canada, the United States of America, Poland and the United Kingdom to join us in demanding an independent, third-party investigation into these attacks, including whether they were carried out intentionally or otherwise violated international law,” the group said.


Other Israeli actions in Gaza have prompted similar calls. In one example, António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, said in February that there needed to be an independent investigation of an incident in which dozens of people died while trying to collect aid, after Israeli forces opened fire and there was a stampede. To date, no such investigation has begun.


World Central Kitchen also called on Israel to preserve any documentation related to the strikes, and pushed back on Mr. Netanyahu’s assertion that the mistake was something that “happens in war.”


“This was a military attack that involved multiple strikes and targeted three W.C.K. vehicles,” the statement said. “All three vehicles were carrying civilians; they were marked as W.C.K. vehicles; and their movements were in full compliance with Israeli authorities.”



5) More than 600 lawyers and retired judges call on the U.K. government to end arms sales to Israel.

By Mark Landler reporting from London, April 4, 2024


A crowd in a square. Some hold Palestinian flags.

A pro-Palestinian protest in Trafalgar Square in London last week. Credit...Benjamin Cremel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The British government is coming under escalating pressure to suspend arms sales to Israel after the strike on a convoy in Gaza that killed seven aid workers, including three Britons. More than 600 lawyers and retired judges sent a letter to the government, arguing that the sales violated international law.


Citing the risk of famine among Palestinians, a potential Israeli military assault on the city of Rafah and a finding of the U.N.’s top court that there was a “plausible risk” of genocide in Gaza, the lawyers urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “suspend the provision of weapons and weapons systems” to Israel.


“Serious action,” the 17-page letter sent on Wednesday concluded, “is moreover needed to avoid U.K. complicity in grave breaches of international law, including potential violations of the Genocide Convention.”


Among the signatories are Brenda Hale, a former president of Britain’s Supreme Court; Jonathan Sumption and Nicholas Wilson, former justices on the court; and dozens of the country’s most prominent lawyers.


Mr. Sunak has hardened his criticism of Israel’s conduct of the war in recent weeks, while stopping short of punitive measures. On Tuesday, he told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that the strike on the World Central Kitchen convoy, in which the three Britons were killed, was “appalling.”


But Mr. Sunak has not signaled he is considering a halt to arms sales. Speaking to The Sun, a London tabloid, on Wednesday, he said, “We’ve always had a very careful export licensing regime that we adhere to. There are a set of rules, regulations and procedures that we’ll always follow.”


Britain’s arms trade with Israel is nowhere near that of the United States. Grant Shapps, the defense secretary, told Parliament that British exports to Israel totaled 42 million pounds ($53 million) in 2022, a figure he described as “relatively small.” It sells parts for military aircraft, assault rifles and explosive devices. Under a 10-year agreement reached in 2016, the United States provides $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel.


But the strike on the aid convoy has provoked fury across Britain, dominating the front pages of newspapers and TV news broadcasts. The family of one of the three British victims, John Chapman, said in a statement, “He died trying to help people and was subject to an inhumane act.”


Britain summoned Israel’s ambassador to lodge a formal objection and demanded an investigation into the strike, which Mr. Netanyahu characterized as a tragic accident in the fog of war.


That explanation is unlikely to quiet the growing chorus of condemnation. Several members of Parliament from Mr. Sunak’s Conservative Party have also demanded that arms sales be halted, as has Peter Ricketts, who was national security adviser to David Cameron, the current foreign secretary, when he was prime minister.


“Sometimes in conflict you get a moment where there is such global outrage that it crystallizes a sense that things can’t go on like this,” Mr. Ricketts said to the BBC on Wednesday. “I hope that this awful incident will serve that purpose.”


Mr. Cameron, who was in Brussels on Thursday for a second day of meetings of NATO foreign ministers, said Israel needed not only to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza, but also to make sure that the convoys were able to transport it throughout the enclave without further lethal incidents.


“Britain will be watching very closely to make sure that that happens,” Mr. Cameron said to reporters on Wednesday.


The Labour Party, which holds a double-digit lead over the Conservatives in opinion polls, said Britain should suspend arms sales if Israel is found to have violated international law. “I must say that I do have very serious concerns,” David Lammy, the party’s shadow foreign secretary, told reporters.



6) The killing of aid workers will not affect U.S. plans to build a pier in Gaza, the State Department said.

By The New York Times, April 4, 2024

“José Andrés, the Spanish chef who founded World Central Kitchen, spoke to news organizations on Wednesday, voicing anger and grief. The Israeli strike, he told Reuters, targeted his colleagues ‘systematically, car by car.’”


A jetty extending into the sea, with a few people standing on and around it.

A pier in southern Gaza that could be used to deliver humanitarian aid, last month. Credit...Fatima Shbair/Associated Press

The killing by Israel of seven relief workers in the Gaza Strip will not interfere with the American project of building a pier to deliver aid to the embattled enclave, a State Department spokesman said on Wednesday.


The deaths of the seven workers, from the charity World Central Kitchen on Monday night, prompted the group to halt operations in Gaza, and has spurred other aid groups to curtail or reassess their own efforts, at a time when people there are facing starvation.


“It will not affect our efforts to stand up the pier to deliver aid through sea,” a State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, told reporters. “That effort is ongoing.”


With airdrops by several countries supplying only a small fraction of the need, and an insufficient number of deliveries entering Gaza by truck, the Biden administration has ordered the U.S. military to build a pier so that ships could dock off Gaza’s Mediterranean shore and unload supplies in bulk. The coastal waters are too shallow for large vessels, so a long pier is needed.


Israel has taken responsibility for the attack on three World Central Kitchen vehicles, calling it a mistake and vowing to conduct a thorough investigation. But Mr. Miller noted that the deaths of the aid workers were not isolated. More than 200 aid workers have been killed in Gaza during nearly six months of war, most of them local Palestinian employees of relief groups.


World Central Kitchen has said it had complied with the travel procedures laid out by the Israeli authorities, communicating with them where its convoy would be going on Monday and when.


Mr. Miller said the Biden administration has repeatedly told Israel that it must do better in working with aid groups.


“They don’t have to wait for the outcome of this investigation to do it,” he said. “They need to put in place better de-confliction and better coordination measures to protect humanitarian workers and to protect all the civilians on the ground.”


José Andrés, the Spanish chef who founded World Central Kitchen, spoke to news organizations on Wednesday, voicing anger and grief. The Israeli strike, he told Reuters, targeted his colleagues “systematically, car by car.”


He told Channel 12 in Israel, “I believe, obviously, Israel has all the right to defend their people, but defending your people is not killing everybody else around.”



7) Judge Orders Timely Housing for Migrant Children Waiting at Border

The decision established that minors at open-air sites were in legal custody of the Department of Homeland Security and thus must receive safe shelter, even if they had not yet been formally processed.

By Emily Baumgaertner, April 4, 2024

Emily Baumgaertner recently reported along the border in Southern California, where migrant children were waiting outdoors to be processed.


A 10-year-old migrant boy walks on some large rocks next to a trio of tents pitched on some dirt on a cloudy day.

A makeshift camp for migrants waiting to be apprehended by Border Patrol in Campo, Calif., last month. Credit...Ariana Drehsler for The New York Times

The federal government is required to “expeditiously” house migrant children who cross into the United States unlawfully, rather than allow them to remain in unsafe open-air sites along the border, a Federal District Court judge ruled Wednesday night.


The decision, handed down by Judge Dolly M. Gee of the United States District Court of Central California, sided mostly with the lawyers representing the children in a class-action lawsuit. It established that minors at the sites were in legal custody of the Department of Homeland Security and thus were entitled to certain rights and protections, such as a safe and sanitary environment, even if they had not yet been formally processed.


The court order, which takes effect immediately, is expected to impact thousands of children and potentially many more. It will likely force U.S. Customs and Border Protection to devote additional resources to keeping up with the flow of migrants. The agency said it had already more than tripled the capacity at processing centers in San Diego and that it had increased the number of transport buses and personnel in order to expedite apprehensions.


The ruling comes amid a fierce political and cultural debate over the rights of migrants — including children — who enter the United States without permission. Because of an influx in crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration processing centers in southern San Diego County are strained, and migrants have waited for hours or sometimes days at makeshift camps to be taken into custody.


So far the open air encampments are only in California but the language in the order was not limited to the state, so if similar camps arise in other border states, the ruling would likely apply.


The outdoor areas lack shelter, food and sanitation, which has given way to an array of public health concerns for the most vulnerable. Unaccompanied children and young families sometimes arrive in poor health, according to aid workers and medical volunteers at the sites, suffering from traumatic injuries or chronic health conditions that require medications that have long since run out.


During the hot desert days, dehydration and heat stroke have become common problems, according to aid groups, and nighttime temperatures, wind and rain are creating conditions ripe for hypothermia. Doctors are particularly concerned about those elements for children, since many have lower body fat than adults and may be malnourished from their journeys.


The government had argued that the children were not yet in U.S. custody so it had no obligation to provide services. The judge cited Border Patrol agents’ control over the minors’ ability to leave the sites — and their power to affect whether the children have access to aid and medical treatment — as the rationale for her ruling.


“The ability to exercise discretion over, and make decisions affecting, a child’s health and welfare is indicative of maintaining legal custody of the child, regardless of whether that decision is to provide or withhold care,” the 12-page order read. “Juveniles, unlike adults, are always in some form of custody.”


Judge Gee denied the lawyers’ request for a specific time limit for how long minors could be held at the sites, but said the Department of Homeland Security needed to process all children “expeditiously” and place them in facilities that are safe, sanitary and “consistent with D.H.S.’s concern for the particular vulnerability of minors.”


She said that Border Patrol officers must stop directing minors to the sites or holding them in the sites “except for the amount of time D.H.S. reasonably requires to prepare the minor and/or actively arrange for transport of the minor to a more suitable facility.”


The lawyers who represented the children had argued that they should be given housing and services under a 1997 consent decree known as the Flores settlement agreement. That agreement established the standards of treatment for immigrant children in government custody, requiring that they be given access to basic provisions like toilets, food and drinking water, and that they generally be held in facilities that are licensed by the state to care for children in the child welfare system. The lawyers filed a motion in February seeking to enforce those terms for children at open-air sites.


The issue was whether children who crossed the southern border, alone or with their families, were the responsibility of the federal government while they remained in the outdoor areas waiting to surrender to U.S. border authorities.


In the motion, the lawyers argued that children who have not yet been formally apprehended deserve the same safe and sanitary housing as those already in official custody, since they are forbidden from moving from the camps and have no way of going back over the border.


In response, lawyers for the Department of Justice argued that because the children had not yet been formally taken into custody by American customs officials, they were not obligated to provide such service. They did not dispute that the conditions in the encampments were poor.


“C.B.P. has been apprehending and transporting minors to safe and sanitary U.S. Border Patrol facilities in a prompt manner,” the defense lawyers wrote. “But until that occurs, plaintiffs are not in D.H.S. custody,” they said.


A senior official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection said he could not comment on the legal matter, but emphasized that the current immigration system was not equipped to handle the influx of migrants arriving at the border. He noted that court rulings did not come with additional resources to make the orders more achievable.


The latest ruling from the court acknowledged those “practical difficulties” but said the agency “has not been processing class members as expeditiously as possible,” citing evidence that it “finds the ability to process children more efficiently in times of scrutiny.”



8) A Reversal Cannot Undo the Damage Caused by This Voting Fraud Case

By Gregory Nolan, April 4, 2024

Mr. Nolan is a senior counsel at Brown White & Osborn and a former federal prosecutor and counsel at States United Democracy Center.


A photo of Crystal Mason holding a grandchild.

Desiree Rios/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press

When a Texas appeals court reversed itself last week and acquitted Crystal Mason, a mother of three, in a voting fraud case, it ended almost a decade in which Ms. Mason lived in fear of being torn away from her family and imprisoned.


In 2018, she was sentenced to a five-year prison term for illegally casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 election.


While the prosecution of Ms. Mason may have failed, it still could have broader consequences in chilling people’s willingness to exercise their right to vote. Few would want to vote if it means going through what Ms. Mason did. As such, the reversal in her case cannot undo much of the damage that irresponsible Texas prosecutors wrought.


As the federal circuit court of appeals that oversees Texas recognized decades ago, “short of physical violence,” nothing has “a more chilling effect” on voting than “baseless arrests and prosecutions.” Unfortunately, that may be the point of bringing cases like Ms. Mason’s, as they suggest apparent racial disparities at work in voting-fraud prosecutions.


In November 2016, Ms. Mason went to vote in the presidential election. She was on the fence about voting, but her mother convinced her: “If you can vote, go vote, you have to have your voice heard,” Ms. Mason recalled her saying.


But when she arrived at her precinct, she was surprised to learn that her name wasn’t on the rolls, so she cast a provisional ballot. In return for trying to do her civic duty, Texas prosecutors tried to put her in prison.


When Ms. Mason voted, she was on federal supervised release, which is like a term of probation that federal criminal defendants serve after leaving prison. Those on release must obey certain court-ordered conditions but are otherwise free to live their life as they see fit. Under Texas law, such individuals are ineligible to vote, which Ms. Mason did not know. Prosecutors charged her anyway, convicting her on a theory that they did not have to prove that she knew she was ineligible; they just had to prove that she was ineligible.


An appellate court agreed with prosecutors’ theory and upheld her conviction, while noting: “The evidence does not show that she voted for any fraudulent purpose.”


Texas’ highest criminal court ruled that the state’s voter fraud statute requires proof that a defendant knew she was ineligible and sent the case back to the lower appellate court, where Ms. Mason’s conviction was overturned.


Last year, I represented a bipartisan group of former state attorneys general, U.S. attorneys and Justice Department officials who argued as amici curiae in Ms. Mason’s appeal that “if eligible voters believe that a mistake about their eligibility could lead to prosecution and conviction, they will understandably think twice before voting.”


Other unjust voter fraud cases, like a number of those following the enactment of an election police unit by Gov. Ron DeSantis, unleashed havoc in those defendants’ lives, even though a large proportion of the cases were dismissed. And anecdotal evidence indicates that the chilling effect from these Florida cases is very real, not theoretical. As a voting rights attorney with the N.A.A.C.P.’s Legal Defense Fund recounted, “We’ve heard stories about voters who are eligible to vote but have a criminal conviction in their past, and they are now scared to register and vote.”


To avoid such misguided prosecutions, prosecutors need to adopt the maxim that when a potentially criminal act has a close relationship to a constitutional right, only cases with robust evidence of criminal intent should be prosecuted.


Prosecutorial restraint is especially critical in the context of former felons who impermissibly try to cast a ballot, like Ms. Mason. As a Brennan Center report explains: “The laws concerning eligibility vary from state to state and can be confusing: Different voters are disenfranchised for different convictions for different lengths of time.”


The same report even provides survey data showing that election officials often do not know the correct law in their state for felon re-enfranchisement. Commenting on Ms. Mason’s case in 2021, a Republican legislator in Texas said, “I would not have known that being on supervised release would have made you ineligible” to vote.


Notably, felon-disenfranchisement laws do not affect racial groups equally. A 2022 report from the Sentencing Project shows that “one in 19 African Americans of voting age is disenfranchised, a rate 3.5 times that of non-African Americans,” with more than 1 in 10 being disenfranchised in seven, mostly Southern states. So when prosecutions under these laws chill votes, it is Black votes that they are disproportionately chilling. Indeed, approximately two-thirds of those rounded up in the first wave of Governor DeSantis’s election unit’s arrests were Black.


Sentencing can add another layer to the racial aspect, which should be no surprise, given the disproportionately harsher sentences that Black defendants generally endure. Facing similar charges, Ms. Mason and well-heeled white offenders received strikingly divergent sentences — a five-year prison sentence for her, a slap on the wrist for them. In Ms. Mason’s home county, for example, a justice of the peace who falsified names to get on a primary ballot was sentenced to probation. In Georgia, a state Republican official just last week received a $5,000 fine for illegally voting nine times.


The problem with prosecuting marginal voter fraud cases goes beyond its chilling concerns. If the goal is truly to ensure that only eligible voters vote, it is actually an ineffective tool in a state’s arsenal. Texas, for instance, has numerous safeguards in place that are designed to permit only lawful votes to be counted. In the context of felons improperly voting, these safeguards exist at the local, state and federal levels. Indeed, in Ms. Mason’s case, such safeguards worked: The provisional vote that almost cost her five years of her life was never counted.


It is injustice for all those who do not vote because reckless prosecutors in cases like Ms. Mason’s intimidated them. As Ms. Mason’s own case demonstrates, courts cannot stop these injustices from happening; only ethical prosecutors with a firm commitment to safeguarding constitutional rights can do that.



9) After 6 Months of War, Some Israelis Ask: Is Netanyahu Dragging It Out?

Despite growing pressure from President Biden, the Israeli prime minister appears in no rush to end the war in Gaza. Some think he has political reasons for extending the stasis.

By Patrick Kingsley, Reporting from Jerusalem, April 5, 2024


Several people hold their hands to their faces in grief inside a room.

Family members mourn their relatives killed in Rafah, Gaza, on April 4, 2024. Credit...Fatima Shbair/Associated Press

Nearly six months since it began, Israel’s war in Gaza is dragging on. So, too, is the tenure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In Israel, some are now asking: Are the two linked?


To his allies, Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal to agree to a cease-fire in Gaza is a necessary one, made in the national interest and backed by many Israelis. The thinking goes that Israel must cripple Hamas to weaken its hand at cease-fire negotiations.


To his critics, the prime minister is dragging out the war to prevent the collapse of his fragile right-wing coalition and extend his time in office. By this analysis, he has made a domestic calculus that ignores both the growing global anger about the bloodshed — including from Israel’s most powerful ally, President Biden, which erupted into full view on Thursday — and the rising anger from the families of Israeli hostages who seek their relatives’ immediate release.


Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu has long been portrayed as a vacillator who prefers to delay decisions for as long as possible so that he can keep all of his options open.


His strategy is attracting renewed scrutiny because of the scale of what is at stake: Israel’s war in Gaza, which began in response to a Hamas-led raid on Israel on Oct. 7, has since killed more than 32,000 people, according to Gazan health authorities. It has led experts to warn of a looming famine and has stigmatized Israel on the global stage, amid accusations, strongly denied by Israel, that it has pursued a genocide against Gazans.


The debate over Mr. Netanyahu’s intentions has been imbued with still more urgency by an Israeli strike this week that killed seven aid workers in Gaza, escalating international alarm over Israeli military tactics. The Israeli military took responsibility for the strike and said it was a case of misidentification.


The attack prompted President Biden’s strongest response yet since the start of the six-month war. In a tense call with Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday, he threatened to condition future support for Israel on how it addresses American concerns about civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.


A summary of the phone call released by the White House said that American policy “will be determined” by Mr. Netanyahu’s response to Mr. Biden’s concerns, although it stopped short of directly saying the president would halt arms supplies or impose conditions for their use.


Within Israel, Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to keep on fighting is also contentious for the effect it may have on the Israelis captured by Hamas on Oct. 7, up to 100 of whom are still thought to be alive. A growing protest movement in Israel wants Mr. Netanyahu to swiftly agree to a hostage deal and cease-fire, even if it means accepting conditions that would give Hamas a greater chance of surviving the war.


Mr. Netanyahu’s allies say that his approach is ultimately in the interests of those hostages: A stronger position on the battlefield gives Israel a stronger hand during hostage negotiations.


The captives are “in our hearts and constantly on our minds,” Ophir Falk, an adviser to Mr. Netanyahu, said in a written response to questions from The New York Times. “Destroying Hamas and freeing the hostages are not mutually exclusive goals. On the contrary, these missions complement one another.”


Mr. Netanyahu’s critics believe he is avoiding a hostage deal because some right-wing factions in his coalition have threatened to quit, thus forcing early elections, if the war ends without Hamas’s destruction. For months, polling has suggested that Mr. Netanyahu’s bloc would lose power in an election, even as a large majority of Israelis support his policy of continuing the war, standing up to American pressure and opposing the creation of a Palestinian state.


“He’s fallen back on his tried-and-true playbook, which is: Don’t make any decisions,” said Michael Koplow, an analyst at Israel Policy Forum, a research group based in New York. “He doesn’t want to spark elections, and making decisions in any direction is likelier to spark elections.”


The stasis is not all down to Mr. Netanyahu. It has been prolonged by Hamas’s determination to hold onto Rafah, the group’s last major stronghold in southern Gaza, and by Hamas’s reluctance to release hostages except after a permanent truce or at least a temporary one that allows people to return to northern Gaza, which could allow it to regroup.


Publicly, Mr. Netanyahu has said he is intent on invading Rafah. But some analysts say that he is in no rush to capture the city, which would signal the end of the war, heightening calls for early elections as well as state inquiries into the Israeli government’s culpability for the Oct. 7 attack.


They also say that Mr. Netanyahu’s political considerations have contributed to the chaos and lack of civil order in the parts of Gaza that Israel has wrested from Hamas control. Although the fighting has slowed in much of the territory, the war is being drawn out by Israel’s reluctance to either hold ground it has captured or transfer its control to an alternative Palestinian leadership, creating a power vacuum.


In some places, that vacuum has allowed remnants of Hamas to regroup, prompting Israeli troops to raid parts of northern Gaza that it had already conquered and vacated, like Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City last month. Elsewhere, a breakdown in civil order and restrictions by Israel have made it harder to safely distribute aid, leading to unrest around aid convoys in which scores of Palestinians have been killed amid Israeli fire and chaos.


“All I see is darkness,” said Shibley Telhami, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the University of Maryland. “I see darkness in the short term. And I see even more darkness ahead.”


Foreign allies, including the United States, have pushed Mr. Netanyahu to create order by transferring power in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, the administration that runs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in a move that American officials hope could be the start of a renewed push for a Palestinian state.


Facing resistance to that plan from his far-right allies, Mr. Netanyahu has publicly dismissed the idea. The far right hopes instead to settle Gaza with Israeli civilians who would replace much of the Gazan population.


“In an uncynical reading, he believes he needs the maximum possible time for the military to continue with its campaign to incapacitate Hamas,” said Dahlia Scheindlin, an Israeli political analyst and pollster. “In a more cynical reading, he wants the war to go on, because that keeps his coalition together and delays any decision about handing over power in Gaza to anyone else.”


By dragging on for so long, the war is now the longest involving Israel in more than four decades, with ramifications far beyond the Gazan border. The war has derailed U.S.-led efforts to normalize diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia; prompted protests and unrest in Arab states allied to the United States, like Jordan; strained Israel’s international legitimacy; and threatened to evolve into a regional conflict.


It has also heightened domestic pressure on Mr. Biden, who has continued to supply arms to Israel even as he expresses greater alarm over its actions.


Mr. Biden’s criticism appeared to have a mixed effect on Mr. Netanyahu. After the call with Mr. Biden on Thursday, the Israeli government said it would increase aid deliveries to Gaza, including through a checkpoint between Israel and northern Gaza that Hamas attacked on Oct. 7 and Israel had refused to reopen ever since.


But Mr. Netanyahu also made comments on Thursday that appeared to implicitly criticize Mr. Biden.


“Give us the tools faster and we’ll finish the job faster,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a separate meeting with Republican lawmakers on Thursday, in what appeared to be a comment directed at Mr. Biden.


“There is a contrary move, an attempt to force, ram down our throats, a Palestinian state, which will be another terror haven,” Mr. Netanyahu added, in another comment aimed at Mr. Biden. “That is opposed by Israelis, overwhelmingly.”


The deadlock extends to the Israel-Lebanon border, where Israel continues to exchange missile fire with Hezbollah. The group joined the fighting in solidarity with Hamas after the Gazan group raided Israel in an attack on Oct. 7 in which roughly 1,200 were killed and some 250 abducted, according to Israeli officials.


Israel says it will not stop striking Lebanon unless Hezbollah withdraws from the border, and Hezbollah is not expected to do so while Israel’s army is itself massed along the same boundary. To pressure Hezbollah, Israel is striking leaders from the group’s benefactor, Iran — most recently in Syria, where an Israeli strike on Monday killed several senior Iranian military officials.


“We will know how to defend ourselves,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a video statement on Thursday, referring to Iran and its proxies. “And we will operate according to the simple principle by which those who attack us or plan to attack us — we will attack them.”


Analysts say such a strategy could easily backfire, prompting bigger retaliations from Hezbollah and Iran that could in turn lead Israel to invade Lebanon. Many of the obstacles to any exit ramp need to be removed simultaneously, rather than in a piecemeal fashion, said Mr. Koplow, the Israel Policy Forum analyst.


“Hezbollah won’t stop firing rockets or negotiate a cease-fire while Israel is fighting in Gaza,” Mr. Koplow said. “Israel won’t stop fighting while hostages are still held by Hamas, but can’t advance in the face of U.S. opposition.”


President Biden’s role in the deadlock has also drawn criticism, for conflicting reasons.


Some analysts say that his growing frustration with Israeli actions has made Mr. Netanyahu less likely to end the war: The prime minister does not want his right-wing base to conclude that he has folded under foreign pressure.


Others like Professor Telhami say that Mr. Biden has not gone far enough, arguing that Israel has been emboldened by U.S. willingness to supply Israel with more weapons and its reluctance to condemn Israel more forcefully.


The president has handed a “blank check to a very far-right Israeli government,” Mr. Telhami said. “When there is no accountability and no consequences, what’s the incentive for the Israeli government not to do what it’s doing?”



10) Israel disciplines officers for their roles in the drone attack that killed seven aid workers.

By Patrick Kingsley reporting from Jerusalem, April 5, 2024


Several adults and children stand around the charred wreckage of a white vehicle, with palm trees rising in the background behind a fence.

One of the World Central Kitchen vehicles destroyed in the drone strikes. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

The Israeli military announced Friday that two officers had been removed from their posts and three senior commanders reprimanded for their role in the drone strikes that killed seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip this week.


In line with military protocol, the army’s findings will also be sent to the military prosecutors for them to assess over the coming weeks whether anyone should face criminal charges for their role in the attacks on Monday. In the meantime, the military is assessing whether to move the two officers — a reserve colonel and a major — who were stripped of their posts to other roles or to fire them from the military.


A military spokesman, Peter Lerner, said the decision showed the army’s “humility to acknowledge errors, the courage to make amends, and the resolve to learn from them.”


But rights activists said they did not expect any further accountability because the military prosecution system has historically been slow to charge, let alone convict, soldiers accused of crimes.


In the five years between 2017 and 2021, the military prosecution system was made aware of 1,260 instances in which Israeli soldiers were accused of crimes against Palestinians, according to Yesh Din, an Israeli rights group that cited military statistics procured through a freedom of information request. The group said that about a fifth resulted in investigations, but only 11 in criminal indictments, less than 1 percent of the total.


No soldier has been charged for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist who the Israeli army acknowledged was highly likely to have been accidentally killed in May 2022 by an Israeli soldier. An investigation by The New York Times concluded she was hit by a bullet fired from the approximate location of an Israeli military jeep.


In another high-profile case, an Israeli soldier who was jailed after fatally shooting a Palestinian assailant, who was already severely wounded and lying on the ground, was released in 2018 after serving just nine months of an 18-month prison sentence for manslaughter.


A military investigation “virtually never leads to actual criminal accountability, and in the extremely rare cases where it does, it leads to extremely lenient punishment,” said Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for B’Tselem, another Israeli rights group that has analyzed the Israeli military justice system.


Even if that happens in this case, “the real questions are not going to be asked,” Ms. Michaeli said.


The people killed in the drone strikes worked for World Central Kitchen, a charity that has been providing food to people in Gaza, where famine looms. They were traveling in three vehicles marked with the emblem and name of the group, which said it had coordinated their movements with the Israeli authorities specifically to avoid such an attack.


The military said that the soldiers who authorized the strikes mistakenly believed that the aid workers were traveling with an armed militant.


In response, Ms. Michaeli asked: “How did we reach a situation where some soldiers or officers considered it reasonable to kill seven people in order to hypothetically kill one Hamas operative?”



11) Israeli helicopter fire probably killed a hostage grandmother on Oct. 7, military says.

By Cassandra Vinograd Reporting from Jerusalem, April 5, 2024


People stand in a row holding up posters.

During a protest last year in Prague, Czech Republic, people held posters, some showing Efrat Katz. She was among those seen being kidnapped on Oct. 7. Credit...Michal Cizek/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A grandmother taken captive during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel probably was killed when an Israeli helicopter, responding to the Hamas-led assault, fired on the vehicle in which she was being held, Israel’s military said on Friday.


The revelation about the abduction of the grandmother, Efrat Katz, 67, came on the same day that Israeli military officials detailed failures that led to deadly airstrikes this week on a convoy of aid workers in Gaza.


Ms. Katz’s kidnapping from Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7 was captured on video that showed her squashed in the back of a pickup truck along with her daughter and two grandchildren.


The military said Friday that an inquiry into air force actions on Oct. 7 as it responded to the attack found that “one of the combat helicopters that took part in the fighting fired at a vehicle that had terrorists in it” — and which, “in retrospect,” also carried hostages.


“As a result of the fire, most of the terrorists manning the vehicle were killed, and most likely, Efrat Katz was killed as well,” it said in a statement summarizing the inquiry’s findings.


The helicopter crew was not found to be at fault, the statement added, because hostages in the vehicle would have been indistinguishable from the terrorists.


“This is a tragic and unfortunate event that took place in the midst of fighting and conditions of uncertainty,” the air force’s commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, said.


Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups took more than 200 people captive during the Oct. 7 attack. About 100 hostages, most of them women and children, were released during a cease-fire in November, and at least 30 others are believed to have died in captivity, according to Israeli officials.


In December, the Israeli military said its forces had mistakenly killed three hostages in Gaza. The incident caused deep anguish in Israel, prompting calls for another temporary truce and a deal to allow more hostages to be released. But diplomatic efforts to secure another pause in the fighting have been stalled for months, even as calls for a cease-fire have mounted.



12) U.N. rights body calls for a halt to arms transfers to Israel.

By Nick Cumming-Bruce reporting from Geneva, April 5, 2024


A camouflaged fighter jet taking off.

In recent days, the Biden administration authorized delivery of an arms package that included thousands of bombs to Israel, and it is pressing Congress to allow the sale of $18 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets. Credit...Amir Cohen/Reuters

The United Nations’ top human rights body adopted a resolution on Friday that calls for all countries to stop supplying arms to Israel and puts its key allies under international scrutiny for possible violations of international humanitarian law.


The resolution adopted by the body, the U.N. Human Rights Council, in Geneva on Friday called on countries to halt supplies of arms and munitions to Israel “in order to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.”


The Human Rights Council approved the resolution by a vote of 28 to 6, with 13 states abstaining. The United States and Germany, Israel’s two biggest arms suppliers, voted against the measure.


The resolution has no immediate practical consequences, but its adds significant diplomatic weight to international demands to curb the supply of weapons being used in Gaza. It also lends weight to measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, which has demanded Israel comply with the Genocide Convention and to send more aid to Gaza.


Israel’s ambassador, Meirav Eilon Shahar, condemned the passage of the resolution as a “very dark day in the history of the council.” Noting the resolution had failed to denounce Hamas for attacking Israel on Oct. 7, he said the council had “turned a blind eye” to acts of violence against Israelis.


Later, the Israeli foreign ministry put out a statement noting the council had disregarded the supply of weapons to Hamas by Iran and its allies.


The United States also condemned the resolution, though the U.S. ambassador to the council, Michèle Taylor, echoed President Biden’s mounting impatience with how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has prosecuted the war.


“Israel has not done enough to mitigate civilian harm,” Ms. Taylor said before the vote, calling for an immediate cease-fire and urging Mr. Netanyahu negotiate a deal with Hamas without delay.


The resolution passed Friday also called on the United Nations’ independent commission of inquiry, which is investigating possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestinian territories and Israel, to report on the direct and indirect supply of arms to Israel and to analyze the legal consequences of those supplies.


Though the Biden administration has sharpened its criticism of Israel recently, it has not shifted its position on supplying arms to the country. In recent days, the administration authorized delivery of an arms package to Israel that included thousands of bombs. It is also pressing Congress to allow the sale of $18 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets.


On Thursday, President Biden, during a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to condition future support on how Israel addresses U.S. concerns about treatment of civilians, according to White House officials.


A spokesman for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, defended American arms sales to Israel this week, saying that the administration had “not found any incidents where Israelis have violated international humanitarian law.”


That view is contested by some legal and human rights authorities. A senior British politician said last week that the government’s lawyers had concluded that Israel had violated international humanitarian law in Gaza, and a group of 600 British lawyers and retired judges wrote to the British government on Wednesday, saying the country’s arms sales to Israel violated international law.



13) McDonald’s is to buy back 225 franchised outlets in Israel after boycotts.

By Liz Alderman, April 5, 2024


A McDonald's sign against a blue sky.

McDonald’s did not disclose terms of the deal but said that the chain’s 5,000 workers in Israel would keep their jobs. Credit...Yves Herman/Reuters

McDonalds has said that it will buy back all of its 225 franchised restaurants in Israel, weeks after the company warned that boycotts and protests over the Israel-Hamas war had hurt its business in the Middle East.


The deal, announced on Thursday, would bring all of the stores under the direct management of McDonald’s Corporation. The company did not disclose terms of the deal but said that the chain’s 5,000 workers in Israel would keep their jobs.


The move highlighted the deepening political polarization that multinational corporations face during the war, including claims and counterclaims by activists and companies about what both sides say are disinformation campaigns.


McDonald’s operations in the region slumped when the franchises in Israel, run by Alonyal Limited, began donating thousands of meals to Israeli soldiers after the deadly Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7.


The donations, described at the time by Alonyal as a show of solidarity to support the military and hospital workers, set off boycotts in neighboring countries, and prompted McDonald’s franchises in Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to issue statements distancing themselves from the Israeli franchise.


In Kuwait and Qatar, McDonald’s franchise owners also pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars for relief efforts in Gaza. A hashtag, #BoycottMcDonalds, rallied consumers in the Middle East and other majority-Muslim countries to stay away from the fast-food giant’s chains, accusing it of “supporting genocide” in Gaza.


The Israeli businessman Omri Padan, who runs Alonyal, said in a statement on Thursday that his company had grown McDonald’s franchises into Israel’s most successful restaurant chain over the course of 30 years.


U.S. companies and franchises operating in the region have seen their financial performance flounder as the war persists. Last month, Starbucks franchise operators across the Middle East and Southeast Asia said they were losing significant business because of boycotts, with some having to lay off employees.


Since the Israel-Hamas war began, Starbucks and other companies have been forced to deflect perceptions that they have supported Israel as it has retaliated against Hamas in operations that have killed large numbers of civilians in Gaza. Starbucks and McDonald’s have issued statements denouncing the claims as false, but that has not cooled the calls for boycotts.


In a post on social media in January, Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s chief executive, said, “Several markets in the Middle East and some outside the region are experiencing a meaningful business impact due to the war and associated misinformation that is affecting brands like McDonald’s.”


“This is disheartening and ill-founded,” he added.


The controversy immediately affected Mr. Padan’s Israeli franchises, which were the subject of what his company said was a disinformation campaign about whose side he was taking in the Israel-Hamas war.


On Oct. 19, after Mr. Padan pledged to provide 4,000 meals a day to the Israeli Defense Forces, McDonald’s Israel posted on social media that it was the victim of false messages suggesting that the burger chain did not support the military.


At the time, the company wrote that it had donated over 100,000 meals to security forces, hospitals and residents in the area attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7.


In other posts, McDonalds Israel said that Alonyal would open libel suits “against anyone who spreads fake news against it.”


Mr. Kempczinski said in a call with analysts in February that muted growth at international franchised restaurants at the end of last year reflected weakness in majority-Muslim countries as well as in countries with large Muslim populations, including France.


“Our outlook is, so long as this conflict, this war is going on, we’re not making any plans,” Mr. Kempczinski said. “We’re not expecting to see any significant improvement in this. It’s a human tragedy what’s going on. And I think that does weigh on brands like ours.”



14) New York to Pay $17.5 Million for Forcing Removal of Hijabs in Mug Shots

New York City reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by two women who were arrested and made to remove their head coverings by the police before being photographed.

By Hurubie Meko, April 5, 2024


Two women wearing hijabs stand with United States flags waving in the air behind them on a sunny day.

Jamilla Clark, left, and Arwa Aziz, who are both Muslim, said they suffered the same embarrassing ordeal after being arrested. Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

New York City has agreed to pay $17.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by two women who said their rights were violated when they were forced to remove their hijabs before the police took their arrest photographs.


The financial settlement filed on Friday, which still requires approval by Judge Analisa Torres of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is the latest development in the class-action lawsuit filed in 2018 by Jamilla Clark and Arwa Aziz, two Muslim women who said they felt shamed and exposed by the police officers’ actions.


“When they forced me to take off my hijab, I felt as if I were naked; I’m not sure if words can capture how exposed and violated I felt,” Ms. Clark said in a statement. “I’m so proud today to have played a part in getting justice for thousands of New Yorkers.”


In response to the lawsuit, the Police Department in 2020 changed its policy to allow religious people to be photographed wearing head coverings, as long as the coverings were not obstructing their faces.


In a statement on Friday, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department said the lawsuit had “resulted in a positive reform for the N.Y.P.D.”


“The agreement carefully balances the department’s respect for firmly held religious beliefs with the important law enforcement need to take arrest photos,” said the spokesman, Nicholas Paolucci. “This resolution was in the best interest of all parties.”


Damages from the settlement, which total just over $13 million once administrative costs and lawyers’ fees are deducted, will be split among the thousands of people who are expected to file eligible claims.


Ms. Clark, who was arrested on a violation of an order of protection  in Manhattan in 2017, said she “wept and begged to put her hijab back on” while standing in Police Headquarters at One Police Plaza with the head scarf around her shoulders, according to the complaint.


Ms. Aziz, who was also arrested on a violation of an order of protection, said she had a similar experience eight months later when she was arrested in Brooklyn. She sobbed as she “stood with her back to the wall, in full view of approximately one dozen male N.Y.P.D. officers and more than 30 male inmates,” the complaint said.


“Forcing someone to remove their religious clothing is like a strip search,” said Andrew F. Wilson, a lawyer with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, who is representing the women.


Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a civil rights group, and a lawyer for the plaintiffs, called the settlement “a milestone for New Yorkers’ privacy and religious rights.”


“The N.Y.P.D. should never have stripped these religious New Yorkers of their head coverings and dignity,” he said.


The Police Department had previously issued interim orders that people who were arrested could be photographed with religious head coverings at precincts or taken to a private area to be photographed at One Police Plaza.


In 2018, the city reached a $60,000 settlement with each of three Muslim women who had been forced to remove their hijabs for arrest photographs and said that their religious rights had been violated.


In response to Ms. Clark and Ms. Aziz’s lawsuit, the Police Department said it would change its patrol guide and begin training officers to “take all possible steps, when consistent with personal safety,” to allow people who are arrested to keep their headwear on in order to respect their “privacy, rights and religious beliefs.”


There are a few exceptions to the policy, including for distinguishing features that could be hidden by a head covering.


The patrol guide now instructs officers that if an uncovered photo must be taken, “the prisoner must be transported to the appropriate borough court section, where the photograph will be taken in a private area by a member of the service of the same gender.”


The policy change was one of a series of adjustments the Police Department has made in recent years related to religious head coverings. In 2016, the department said it would allow officers who wore beards or turbans for religious reasons to keep them.


Lawyers for Ms. Clark and Ms. Aziz estimated that at least 3,600 people could qualify for compensation of $7,000 to $13,000 though the settlement. According to the terms reached with the city, people who were forced to remove their religious head coverings between March 16, 2014, and Aug. 23, 2021, could qualify.