Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, May 21, 2024

Worldwide Prayer/Good Energy Day for Leonard Peltier


Sunday, June 9, 2024, the day before Leonard's parole hearing, we ask people everywhere to do prayers, good energy, reiki, healing, gatherings, vigils, poems, songs – to help Leonard feel good, get the care he needs, and get out of prison.  


Please invite your networks, faith communities, families, comrades, children, and elders to participate on June 9th!  

Consider praying and supporting Leonard now, too. 


Leonard Peltier (Chippewa and Dakota/Lakota) is an Indigenous Political Prisoner of War. Targeted for his work in the American Indian Movement, he has been in prison for 48+years. His 80th birthday is Sept 12, 2024. Leonard has many serious and painful ailments which are not being treated in federal prison.  


“I would like to go home to spend what years I have left with my great-grandkids and my people.” Leonard Peltier


More info: freeleonardpeltiernow.org and 707-442-7465




Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org



9:00 A.M. 

Location: MECA office, 1101 8th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Join us Sunday, July 21 for our Third Annual Ride for Palestine, a day of solidarity along the 14-mile scenic San Francisco Bay. The ride is designed to be enjoyable for cyclists of all skill levels and the post-Ride event, Gather for Gaza will include delicious Palestinian food, music, dancing, and more.


All funds raised this year will support MECA’s emergency work in Gaza–where the situation is dire and your support is more important than ever. Thanks to the efforts of our community, MECA’s 2022 and 2023 Rides for Palestine were a huge success, together raising more than $125,000 in support of our ongoing work in Palestine.


Help us reach our 2024 Ride for Palestine goal of $150,000 by registering today:



With your support, we can deliver food and other necessities and send a powerful message of solidarity to Gaza.


Ride for Palestinian children. Ride for solidarity. Ride for Gaza.


If you're not in the Bay Area or are not available July 21 but would like to participate you can register at a discounted rate as a Virtual Participant and ride, walk, swim, or even bake cookies for Palestine–you can decide what your fundraising activity looks like. Check out our Ride from Anywhere page to learn more.


Ride from anywhere:



Get involved in this year’s event at RideforPalestine.com and feel free to reach out to the MECA team by emailing us at info@rideforpalestine.com. 


#GatherforGaza #RideforPalestine #MECAforPeace



Greetings to U.S. students from Gaza: "Thank you students in Solidarity with Gaza, your message has reached.” May 1, 2024 (Screenshot)

‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 227:


The total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 35,456, with 79,476 wounded.*  

More than 506 Palestinians have been killed and 4,600 wounded by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**  

—Israel lowers its estimated October 7 death toll from 1,400 to 1,139—628 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 6,800 wounded***

Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on May 19,2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on May 19, 2024—this is the latest figure.

*** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded, according to Israeli media reports, exceeds 6,800 as of April 1.

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




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)

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



Daniel Hale UPDATE:  


In February Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale was transferred from the oppressive maximum-security prison in Marion, Illinois to house confinement.  We celebrate his release from Marion.  He is laying low right now, recovering from nearly 3 years in prison.  Thank goodness he is now being held under much more humane conditions and expected to complete his sentence in July of this year.     www.StandWithDaniel Hale.org


More Info about Daniel:


“Drone Whistleblower Subjected To Harsh Confinement Finally Released From Prison” 



“I was punished under the Espionage Act. Why wasn’t Joe Biden?”  by Daniel Hale




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) Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide

Why the world’s working class must organize a bold defense of our lives if we are to survive

By Bonnie Weinstein


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

“Never was it so clear as it is today that the salvation of the Jewish people is bound up inseparably with the overthrow of the capitalist system.” —Leon Trotsky, 1940.1


April 18, 2024—Over 34 thousand Palestinians have been killed by the U.S./Israel genocidal war on Palestine—not counting those still missing and buried under the rubble. And the killing goes on with the unconditional U.S. financial and military support to Israel paid for by the taxes collected from us, the working class.


We have no say in how much money is taken from our paycheck, or at the checkout counter, or how our taxes are spent. We have no say on whether to go to war, or how much money our schools get, or how much we must pay for healthcare, or how much we should be paid for our labor.


The capitalist system allows us no control over these issues that affect us so profoundly.


Our only effective option is to organize ourselves into unions and an independent, unified, democratically-functioning organization devoted to fighting for our right to life, liberty, social and economic equality—and finally, an end to capitalism and its perpetual wars for wealth and power.


The war on Gaza—a microcosm of capitalist aggression around the world

With over 34,000 Palestinians killed so far, the ratio between Palestinian and Israeli deaths is 20:1— approximately 34,000 Palestinians to 1700 Israelis2—and the U.S./Israeli genocide is far from over. Biden has promised his unconditional support to Israel because it is, in essence, a strategic U.S. military base in the region.


There are people who believe that Israel controls the U.S. but that cannot be further from the truth. Without U.S. support—both financially (at least $3.8 billion annually) and militarily. The U.S. has massive amounts of U.S. weapons, equipment, and supplies, under their sole command and control, inside Israel. The U.S. has made sure that Israel is the most powerful military force in the region—a region full of oil and other natural resources crucial to U.S. industry—and it is nuclear-armed.


While Biden has cried crocodile tears over the ten’s-of-thousands of Palestinian deaths—including over 14,000 children—he does not waver on his devotion to the apartheid state of Israel, and neither do the Republicans.


The problem with capitalism and the parties that represent them, is that the war and the brutality war brings is felt both by those who do the fighting and those who are their targets—but not to the capitalist class who commands the wars.


They, and their sons and daughters, do not fight and die in war. They command and profit from war and death, and the destruction of their enemies.


Anyone who challenges their power and rule anywhere in the world will not be met with reason and generosity, but with the finality of not just death, but the destruction of the infrastructures of life-support itself—of schools, hospitals, roads, buildings, farms, industry, transportation, water, power—the total ruin of the means of survival.


This is what’s happening to Gaza right now. If the war stopped right now the people of Palestine would still have nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide.


And make no mistake about it, it is a warning to the entire world of what the commanders of capital are willing to do to maintain their control of the wealth they have stolen from the masses of working people everywhere.


The plight of the dispossessed

In a March 28, 2024, New York Times article by Emily Baumgaertner, titled, “Health Concerns Mount for Migrant Children at Outdoor Holding Sites,3” I was stunned by a photograph from the article showing a makeshift tent filled with women and children sheltering on a dirt floor. It could have been a photo from Rafa!


The article centers on “…an open-air holding site in San Diego’s rural Mountain Empire, to provide volunteer medical care to asylum seekers who had breached the United States-Mexico border wall and were waiting to be apprehended by American authorities.”


According to the article:


“With the capacity at immigration processing centers strained, migrants, including unaccompanied children, are waiting for hours—sometimes days—in outdoor holding areas, where a lack of shelter, food, and sanitation infrastructure has triggered an array of public health concerns for the most vulnerable.”


The difference between the people in Gaza and the occupied territories, and the people held in San Diego, is that the people in Gaza have no more homes to go to, while the people in San Diego had to flee their homeland to avoid death and brutality. In the end, neither have anywhere else to go.


Tens-of-millions of people across the globe are suffering conditions of war and poverty causing them to flee their homelands.


And, in the countries where they flee to, they suffer, not only from the high cost of living—the high price of food, housing, healthcare and education—but they are also the targets of police violence and racism. They soon find out they only have access to the lowest paying jobs, the most underfunded schools, and the most run-down housing—if they are fortunate enough to have jobs, schools or housing at all.


These are the conditions of the working class, not only in the poorest countries in the world, but in the richest.


These conditions exist everywhere because it is endemic to capitalism—a system based on the economic exploitation of masses of humanity for the benefit of the capitalist class—the elite few who are the owners of the means of production.


They own the land, the factories, farms, and the natural resources needed to operate them. And they own the labor power of the masses of workers who create that wealth with their skill, intelligence, blood, sweat, and tears.


Capitalism depends on antisemitism and bigotry

When a small child asks why there is so much greed, violence, and injustice in the world, they are told that those qualities are part of human nature—they have always been with us and always will be.


But these traits are not natural to humans, they are the direct product of class society.


By blaming these traits on human nature, they are blaming the masses for the crimes against humanity the ruling class has been committing for centuries.


The following quote from the book, The Radical Jewish Tradition: Revolutionaries, Resistance Fighters and Firebrands, By Donny Gluckstein and Janey Stone, sums this up well:


“These were forces of evil that mankind has feared and has tried to rein in with civilization since the dawn of time. Blaming any oppressed group or human nature for oppression itself exonerates the social system from any responsibility.”4


The capitalist class serves itself by pitting workers against each other—getting us to blame others of our own class who suffer the same or worse economic hardships—instead of blaming capitalism’s tyrannical system of economic exploitation and expropriation of wealth from the working masses who create it.


The power of solidarity

A majority of Americans are opposed to Israel’s military actions in Gaza according to a new Gallup poll released March 27, 2024:


“In a survey conducted from March 1-20, 55 percent of U.S. adults said they disapproved of Israel’s military actions—a jump of ten percentage points from four months earlier, Gallup found. Americans’ approval of Israel’s conduct in the war dropped by an even starker margin, from 50 percent in November, a month after the war began, to 36 percent in March…”5


Massive demonstrations here in the U.S. and all over the world show that the U.S./Israel genocide of the people of Palestine is exposing to masses of people the extent to which capitalism—the most powerful dictatorship of the wealthy over the poor that has ever existed—will go to maintain its dominance over land and resources anywhere their economic interests lie, regardless of the mayhem it brings to masses of people, their land, infrastructure, or their well-being, in general.


It’s a class thing

The Democratic and Republican parties are the parties of the ruling class—they do not represent the working class—the overwhelming majority of the people.


Their very existence depends upon convincing us that our only choice is to choose between them—between two capitalist parties whose only interest is to maintain the status quo—keeping us voting for a “lesser evil,” either from the right or the left of the political spectrum.


Then they tell us to believe that this is how it’s always been in America and that this system, whose leaders rule through the threat of death and destruction of the planet itself, is the greatest democracy in the world.


More importantly, they want us to believe human society can’t exist without a ruling class—that because of “human nature,” workers are incapable of democratically controlling the means of production in a way that benefits everyone because war and greed are in our nature.


The opposite is true. And the masses rising up in opposition the U.S./Israeli genocide against the people of Palestine proves that repulsion to war, greed and mass destruction is the natural human condition.


The collective fight against war, racism, sexism, and bigotry of all kinds is dependent upon the creation of independent workers’ organizations dedicated to ending the tyranny of capitalism everywhere it exists in the world.


If we do not end capitalism, it will end us. A socialist transformation of the world is our only hope for building a future for all of us.


1 On the Jewish Question, Paperback, December 31, 1970, by Leon Trotsky, Pathfinder Press, Out of Print




2 As of April 18, 2024, By Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau: Over 34,438 Palestinians (including in the West Bank and all occupied territories)/1,743 Israelis (including those killed on October 7, 2023=19.757887.)




3 https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/28/health/children-migrants-border-health.html


4 The Radical Jewish Tradition: Revolutionaries, Resistance Fighters and Firebrands, Paperback—January 25, 2024, Page 17




by Donny Gluckstein (Author), Janey Stone (Author)


5 “A majority of Americans disapprove of Israel’s actions in Gaza, a new poll shows,” By Anushka Patil, March 28, 2024





2) Palestinians Deserve to Survive. The Zionist State—Never

By Chris Kinder


Two tanks kick up dust.

Israeli tanks near the border with Gaza in southern Israel on Monday. Credit...Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

April 8, 2024—The U.S./Israel war on Gaza rages on, now in its sixth month, and shows no sign of abatement. Israel is pursuing its long-held goal, by any means necessary, of forcing the indigenous Palestinians out of what they view is their land including forced evacuation, starvation, and outright mass murder. And the U.S. government is in this up to its eyeballs, which is why it is a U.S./Israel war. The U.S. doesn’t have “boots on the ground,” but without the funding and supplies of weapons and ammunition and the U.S., there would be no war.


Israel’s many attacks on Palestinians

Although Israel has mounted many attacks including invasions against Gaza which have slaughtered thousands of civilians along with military in the past, this war is for the first time killing more civilians by far than it has fighters. This genocide is a challenge to the whole world: will this mass murder of a whole people, tens-of-thousands killed so far—as you read this going into its seventh month—be allowed to continue unabated?


This would be much harder to do without U.S. heavy weapons sent to Israel soon after the October 7th attack by Hamas, which included 2,000 pound “bunker buster” bombs designed to blow up fortified infrastructure. The U.S. gladly continues to send these bombs, which Israel is using to turn neighborhoods into huge piles of rubble with dead humans buried in them. Meanwhile, Israel has targeted over 60 percent of homes and residential buildings in the Strip. The bombing of the Al-Taj tower in Gaza City on October 25th killed 101, mostly women and children, and injured hundreds, and it doesn’t avoid refugee camps either, such as its attack on the Jabaliya refugee camp on October.


Israel says its enemies are “human animals”

Israel’s war is a little like prison guards murdering prisoners by shooting them through the bars, because the Gaza Strip—the most densely populated place on Earth—is an open-air prison with no escape route.


So far, Israel has obliterated about 80 percent of medical facilities, 68 percent of telecommunication infrastructure, as well as half of the roads and commercial, industrial, and agricultural centers throughout the Gaza Strip. Most of these facilities were occupied by civilians and had no military value. The municipal and governmental facilities destroyed undoubtedly contained Hamas operatives, but most of them would be government officials, not fighters, as Hamas was duly elected to govern. This fact is ignored in almost all U.S. media reports, many of which refer to Hamas’ rule as the result of a “coup.”


Who do you believe?

The question of Hamas coming to power legally or through a coup d’état is just one more reason to beware of lies told in wars. So, what is the evidence in this case? In 2006, elections were held in Palestine on local levels and for seats in the Legislative Council (PAL), the ruling body of the Palestinian National Authority (PAN). Although Hamas had boycotted the previous election, it entered this one as the “Change and Reform” list against Fatah and five others. Hamas won 74 out of 132 seats as against 45 for Fatah. Independents won four, and most others none. The election was overseen by over 17 thousand domestic observers, complemented by 900 credentialed international monitors.


An exit poll of voters showed that large majorities of those asked said that corruption would decrease under Hamas. Large majorities said that there should be a national unity government, and rejected Fatah’s refusal to support unity, the majority also said yes to “under Hamas, internal security will improve.” Interestingly, majorities said yes to support for a peace agreement with Israel, which is a stark shot away from Hamas’ position that Israel has no right to exist.1


The 2006 election was deemed to be honest by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in partnership with the Carter Center, and a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report to Congress which concluded that the election was free and fair.


A worsening of genocide

As I write this, several events are thought to represent a turning point in this genocidal war. First is Israel’s second invasion of Al Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, a complex of buildings located in Gaza City in the north. The first invasion of this essential institution happened back in November, which was deadly and horrible, but left the hospital functioning despite the lack medicines, anesthetics, vaccines, and other necessities due to Israel’s prevention of essential aid supplies.


This time it was much worse. Israeli troops stormed at dawn on March 18th, and after two weeks of terror, every single building in this large complex was bombed, burned, and rendered unusable. About 400 were killed—medics and wounded and sick were killed—and 300 arrested. After the abrupt withdrawal of the IDF on April 1st, people from the surrounding area where many live and others have sought shelter went to the complex to check on the damage.


“We did not expect this”

“We did not expect to see all of this…It is crystal clear that the Israeli army is the most unethical army in the world,” said a local journalist on the scene.2 Another said, “The occupation has violated everything in the Gaza Strip, and nobody in the world seems to be determined to stop them. Rather, major global powers are complicit and partners in massacring our Palestinian people.”


“The Al Shifa Medical Complex is the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, and it is the lifeline of the health sector in Gaza,” said one local journalist. He should have said “was,” because now, “everything in the complex is destroyed. All the buildings of the hospital were bombed and are no longer useable. …now, it is destroyed, and the occupation has completely taken it out of service.”3


Three days later, the Electronic Intifada released more eyewitness reports. “Salem Baraka has seen the kind of horror no parent should ever have to endure: The Israeli military killed his son Karim right in front of him.” Like many others, Salem and his son Karim had fled from his home in Jabaliya refugee camp and taken shelter in Al Shifa hospital. They were inside the hospital when it was stormed by Israeli forces on March 18. He said he had spent the following week “waiting to die.” The situation was “worse than hell.”


“Quadcopter drones were firing wildly striking anything that moved,” he said. “The Israelis smashed the glass in the windows and destroyed the walls in the department where we were hiding. A shell fell on us and killed my son in front of my eyes,” he added. “I could not save him. He bled to death.”


Tanks against unarmed victims and their bodies

The Electronic Intifada report goes on: “Among the terrible scenes he witnessed were Israeli tanks driving over the bodies of people who had been killed in the hospital’s courtyard. Because the hospital could not function, infections soared among people who were wounded. In many cases, injured people were devoured by parasites due to the lack of treatment.


After the hospital had been under siege for approximately a week, the Israeli forces used loudspeakers to summon everyone into the courtyard. The Palestinian men were ordered to strip. Then they were beaten. Women were subjected to both verbal and physical abuse, according to Salem.


Salem recalled that he “trembled in horror when one of the soldiers called my name.” He was interrogated for around 48 hours. “I was not allowed to sit down or turn to the left or right,” he said. “My hands were tied behind my back. I was blindfolded and completely naked.” Salem added that he repeatedly heard gunfire and that his interrogator “threatened to kill my wife, who is ill and lives with her family in northern Gaza, if I did not cooperate.”


“Throughout the interrogation, I was thinking about where the soldier would shoot me. In the head, chest, or heart? I did not believe him when he said the interrogation was over. I realized that I had miraculously survived death.” Salem was given a choice of evacuating to southern Gaza or being killed. Salem had to walk to southern Gaza, but he was not allowed to see his son’s body for a final goodbye.


Three strikes kill seven

aid workers

The same day that the Israeli military pulled out from the wreckage of Al Shifa, another earthshattering event happened—seven workers with the World Central Kitchen aid group were leaving after delivering 100 tons of food to a warehouse in central Gaza when multiple Israeli air strikes hit all three of their well-marked cars, killing them. They had communicated with Israeli officials about their mission beforehand and had permission to go.


Another seven dead in six months of fighting that has left hundreds-of-thousands of Palestinians dead and tens-of-thousands more wounded: why is that earth shattering? It’s because six of them were from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, and an American/Canadian dual citizen; and all of whom, except for Poland, were from countries supporting Israel in this war. (The seventh person killed was a Palestinian driver.)


Suddenly, it’s “Houston, we have a problem!” Killing the aid workers was “unacceptable” said Biden. “If we don’t see the changes that we need to see, there’ll be changes in our own policy,” (Blinken); and an “outrage” said U.S. defense Secretary Austin, as he was sending more two-thousand-pound bombs and 50 fighter jets (a first) over to “Bibi” Netanyahu in the largest and most expensive military shipment to Israel to date in this one-sided war.


Biden’s administration had plenty of time in the past six months of Israel’s genocidal war to become even more outraged than it was over a targeted murder of seven aid deliverers, but it only managed to mumble something about Israel going “over the top.”


Bunker buster bombs slaughter civilians

The bunker-buster bombs, supposedly used to penetrate to the tunnels below ground allegedly being used by Hamas, are killing everyone in homes and apartments in order to target just a few or even just one Hamas member living there, for which their “human shield” civilians are considered expendable. But except for Israel’s chief backers—mainly the U.S. and German administrations—most of the world knows that this war is a genocidal campaign to kill and/or drive out all Palestinians from their homeland and turn it into a Jewish-Zionist-state.


As Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said just two days into this war, “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.” To this declaration of the war crime that is this conflict, Gallant might well have added that destruction of all of Palestine’s essential infrastructure, apartment buildings, medical facilities, schools, mosques, are going to be included.


The sight of children digging through the rubble that was once their homes to find food sums it up.


“Why should Israel be allowed to exist?” asks Hamas

The question now is, as Hamas says, why should Israel even be allowed to exist? Nazi Germany created sights of starving children wasting away in concentration camps, and it was abolished, albeit in an unsupportable inter-imperialist war. The Confederate States of America was abolished in a revolutionary war, which was the real revolution in the U.S. that 1776 was not. The monarchial state of Russia was abolished in a two-stage revolution which overthrew the centuries old Czarist state, then smashed capitalism in the first successful socialist revolution—the Bolshevik revolution—in 1917.


Now, we need to see the Palestinians defeat apartheid Israel. We need a socialist revolution in the Middle East and the world, and we need to replace the Zionist state with a revolutionary socialist state of Palestine. But we also must understand how this barbarism by a state dedicated to, and populated largely by a people who were the victims of the Nazi holocaust just nine decades ago, came about. To understand how this incredible crime happened in 2024, we must breakdown the history.


It started before Israel actually existed. A journalist from Vienna named Theodor Herzl came up with a plan in the 1890s to save the Jewish people by moving them from the antisemitism in Europe and around the world, to Palestine. It sounded like a plan to some, but it had a major catch—Herzl wanted to make Palestine a Jewish-only state.


Though he had visited Palestine once (and only once,) Herzl knew very well that Palestine was already occupied. Herzl was known as the author of a book, Der Judenstaat, published in 1896, which made his plan clear, including directions for how to get rid of the native population:


“We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our own country.” For the elite property owners, Herzl, says that they “will come over to our side,” or be “expropriated.” To make clear that this was to be exclusively Jewish, he insisted his state have the “sovereign right” to control immigration. The Jewish state, Herzl wrote, would “form a part of a wall of defense for Europe in Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism.”


Herzl gets an answer,

and ignores it

While Herzl was founding the Zionist organization in the late 1890s, he received a letter from a prominent Palestinian who was an acquaintance of Herzl’s, named Yusuf Diya al-Din Pasha al-Khalidi. Yusuf Diya was conscious of the pervasive Western, and especially Christian, antisemitism, and his letter seemed to appreciate Herzl’s plan, but he insisted that Herzl recognize the fact that Palestine “is already inhabited by others.” He asserted that it was “pure folly” for Zionism to plan to take over Palestine, and that “the unhappy Jewish nation” needed to find refuge elsewhere. He concluded with, “In the name of god, let Palestine be left alone.” Herzl’s reply was no reply at all. He didn’t address Yusuf Diya’s argument, and instead established a pattern of dismissing the interests, and even the existence of the indigenous population of Palestine. 4


The violent imposition of the state of Israel on Palestine was still decades away, but capitalist imperialism was an essential element in making it happen from the very beginning. Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire, which was an old, multi-national entity, that was only beginning to break up, with national interests in sectors of it emerging. Most of these nationalities were targeted by the European imperialist countries seeking to spread their spheres of interest for exploitation. After lengthy negotiations, the Sykes–Picot treaty5 was agreed to among the powers, chiefly Britain, and France. This agreement was kept secret to prevent the Ottomans, which all these powers knew was going to be completely divided up by them in the “Great War”—World War I—that they all knew was coming. It was officially ratified during the war.


The Palestine region, with a smaller area than the later “Mandate” for Palestine, was to fall under an “international administration,” which effectively meant Britain (which also grabbed Jordan and others, while France got control of Syria, Turkey and more.) Most of the divided up Arab territories became nations, but Palestine remained under British domination.


A solution is difficult,

but necessary

Given what they have had to go through, Palestinians are amazing. They survived British occupation and have survived six wars/invasions counting the 1948 war, in which Israel killed and drove out almost all the Palestinians from their newly formed “mandate.” Israel is now trying to kill or drive out everyone from Palestine. Palestinians deserve to live, while its attacker, Israel, needs to be abolished.


Palestinians and Jews have lived side by side in the past and could do so again. The Jews then were a small minority in the Ottoman Arab state, but they were welcome there, as were Christians and other minorities, and that is true today in Palestine. Israel is the exact opposite, with 1.6 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel (total population of 9.5 million) but who are treated as second-class citizens. What is needed now is a united and free socialist Palestine!




1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Palestinian_legislative_election for all the information on the 2006 election. Israel’s wars have prevented elections since then.


2 Abdallah Aljamal,”‘Most Unethical Army in the World’—Palestine Chronicle Assesses the Damage at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital,” Palestine Chronicle, April 1, 2024.


3 The Electronic Intifada credits Doaa Shaheen, a journalist from Gaza, for this report, at: electronicintifada.net. April 2, 2024.


4 These quotes come from Herzl’s diary in 1895, and other writings as reported by Rashid Khalidi, in The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine, A History of settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917—2017. As a descendant in a prominent Palestinian family that goes back to this time, Khalidi has produced here a very informative and essential history of Palestine and its terrifying occupation by the Zionist state.


5 The Sykes–Picot Agreement was a 1916 secret treaty between the United Kingdom and France, with assent from the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy, to define their mutually agreed spheres of influence and control in an eventual partition of the Ottoman Empire.





3) Aid Starts Entering Gaza Through U.S.-Built Pier, but Officials Say It Isn’t Enough

By Victoria Kim, May 17, 2024


A ship sits in a body of water near a city. Smoke stacks can been seen in the background.

A ship near a temporary floating pier set up by the U.S. military, seen from central Gaza on Thursday. Credit...Abdel Kareem Hana/Associated Press

As trucks began bringing aid into Gaza from a temporary pier, relief groups said sea shipments could not supplant deliveries by land.

Trucks of humanitarian aid began moving ashore into Gaza early Friday through a temporary pier built by the U.S. military, the first supplies of aid to be sent into the enclave by sea in two months, but well short of what humanitarian groups say is needed to meet the staggering levels of hunger and deprivation in Gaza.


A day earlier, the U.S. military said it had anchored the floating pier and causeway to the beach in Gaza, a key step in completing a maritime aid corridor that the Pentagon announced in March. But U.S. officials and international aid groups have said sea shipments can only supplement deliveries through land crossings, not replace them.


No U.S. troops entered Gaza on Friday, the U.S. military said, emphasizing that it was providing only logistical support for delivery of the supplies, which were donated by a number of countries and organizations.


The territory of 2.2 million civilians is more reliant than ever on humanitarian aid. The devastation after seven months of Israeli bombardment, strict Israeli inspections and restrictions on crossing points had already severely limited what can enter. And over the past week and a half, the flow of aid through the main land crossings in southern Gaza has been reduced nearly to a trickle since Israel began a military assault around the city of Rafah.


Israel has come under pressure from the Biden administration and other allies to do more to to ease the entry of aid, with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken warning this week that recent improvements in relief delivery were being undercut by the fighting in southern Gaza.


The supplies included in the initial deliveries were a fraction of the need in Gaza: food bars for 11,000 people, therapeutic food for 7,200 malnourished children and hygiene kits for 30,000 people, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The British government said it had sent 8,400 temporary shelters made up of plastic sheeting.


“More aid will follow in the coming weeks, but we know the maritime route is not the only answer,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain said in a statement.


It was not immediately clear where in the enclave the aid would be delivered or when. The U.N. World Food Program said in a statement that it would handle logistics in Gaza for aid coming through the pier, including coordinating trucks, overseeing the loading of supplies, dispatching them to warehouses and handing them over to “humanitarian partners.”


Pentagon officials said they were initially aiming to deliver about 90 trucks of aid each day, increasing that to about 150 trucks when the operation reaches capacity. Some 500 trucks of commercial goods and aid arrived in Gaza each day before the war began last October.


Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III spoke about the maritime corridor in a call with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, on Thursday, according to the Pentagon. Mr. Austin stressed the need to “surge” humanitarian assistance to Gaza, through land border crossings in addition to the pier, according to the department.


Israel’s military said it had been working with the U.S. military to support the project as a “top priority.”


Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, deputy commander of the Central Command, said the pier would only complement the flow of aid through land crossings, which he emphasized were “the most efficient and effective pathway to move the necessary volume of assistance.”


One of Gaza’s two main crossings for aid, in Rafah on the border with Egypt, has been closed since Israel began its military operation against Hamas fighters there. Israel shut down the second major crossing, at Kerem Shalom, after a Hamas rocket attack nearby killed four Israeli soldiers last week. That crossing has since reopened, Israel says, but little aid has passed through in recent days.


An aid group, World Central Kitchen, built a makeshift jetty in mid-March to deliver aid by sea to Gaza for the first time in nearly two decades. But those efforts came to an abrupt stop in early April after seven of the group’s workers were killed in an Israeli strike.


Raja Abdulrahim and Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.



4) Israel defends its Rafah operation at a U.N. court.

By Aaron Boxerman reporting from Jerusalem, May 17, 2024


Dark smoke billows over an area of densely packed buildings.

Smoke rises following an airstrike in Gaza, as seen from southern Israel, on Friday. Credit...Tsafrir Abayov/Associated Press

Lawyers representing Israel on Friday defended the military operation in Rafah as “limited and localized,” arguing at the United Nations’ top court that the judges should not seek to restrict Israel’s actions in Gaza.


At a hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Israel responded to a South African petition for the court to order an immediate halt to its ground assault in Rafah.


Israeli forces have advanced into the outskirts of Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, over the past week and a half, ordering mass evacuations and intensifying their bombardment ahead of a long-anticipated invasion of the city. More than 630,000 people have fled the area, many of them already displaced from elsewhere in Gaza, according to the United Nations.


The hearings are part of South Africa’s case accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, which it filed in December. In late January, the court ordered Israel to do more to prevent acts of genocide, but is not expected to hear the main case over whether genocide is being committed until next year.


Last week, South Africa asked the judges to issue an emergency order aiming to prevent wide-scale civilian harm in Rafah. Lawyers for South Africa argued at the court on Thursday that Israel’s Rafah operation was “the last step in the destruction of Gaza and its Palestinian people.”


The court has no means of enforcing its orders, but the South Africa case has contributed to the international pressure on Israel to rein in its campaign in Gaza. It was not clear when the court would issue a decision on South Africa’s request for an emergency order.


On Friday, Gilad Noam, the Israeli deputy attorney general for international law, repeated Israel’s fierce rejection that it was committing genocide in Gaza. He said the Israeli authorities were working to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid and to protect civilians amid fierce combat across the enclave, including in Rafah.


“Israel is taking steps to try and contend with the massive complexity that such a situation presents,” Mr. Noam told the judges. “That is why there has not been a large-scale assault on Rafah, but rather specific limited and localized operations prefaced with evacuation efforts and support for humanitarian activities.”


Israeli leaders have said that invading Rafah is necessary to topple Hamas’s rule in Gaza. Four battalions of Hamas fighters are in the city, according to the Israeli military, as well as at least some of the over 130 living and dead hostages still held by Palestinian armed groups since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel that set off the war in Gaza.


But the prospect of a major ground invasion of Rafah amid hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians has provoked sharp criticism internationally, including from the Biden administration. After Israel began its advance into the area, President Biden said Washington would withhold some weapons if Israel launched a full-fledged assault into densely populated areas.


Mr. Noam argued that the court ran the risk of engaging in “micromanagement of operational aspects of an armed conflict.” He said that demanding a cease-fire would only tie Israel’s hands because Hamas — an armed group rather than a state — was not subject to the court’s jurisdiction.


South Africa on Thursday also asked the court to order Israel to ensure greater access for aid workers, investigators and journalists in Gaza. Mr. Noam said that Israel’s justice system was working to crack down on alleged wartime misconduct, and that military prosecutors had opened 55 criminal investigations into possible violations by Israeli forces since the beginning of the war.


Human rights groups argue the Israeli military cannot credibly investigate itself and that soldiers who kill Palestinians under contested circumstances rarely face substantial penalties. B’Tselem, a leading Israeli human rights monitor, has dismissed previous inquiries by the Israeli authorities into potential violations of the laws of war as a whitewash.


Israeli officials have accused South Africa, by filing the case, of acting as a “legal arm” of Hamas, which led the deadly Oct. 7 attack. Last week, Hamas said that a delegation of its officials had attended a conference in Johannesburg. Hamas posted a photo of Basem Naim, a group spokesman, speaking with Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister, on social media.



5) Texas Governor Pardons Man in Fatal Shooting of Protester in 2020

The man, Daniel S. Perry, was convicted of killing a protester during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Austin.

By J. David Goodman, Reporting from Houston, May 16, 2024


Daniel S. Perry was convicted last year of killing Garrett Foster at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020. Credit...Jay Janner/American-Statesman, via USA Today Network

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Thursday pardoned a man who was convicted of fatally shooting a protester during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the summer of 2020, fulfilling a promise he made last year amid pressure from conservatives.


The decision immediately followed a pardon recommendation from the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles, whose members are appointed by the governor. Lawyers for the man, Daniel S. Perry, argued that he had acted in self-defense against the protester, who was carrying an AK-47-style rifle.


Mr. Perry was sentenced to 25 years in prison in an emotional hearing last year in which prosecutors presented evidence of racist online comments he had made and said that psychological experts had found him to be “basically a loaded gun.” As the pardons board considered the case, lawyers with the Travis County district attorney, José Garza, met with the board to argue against a pardon.


Under Texas law, a recommendation from the board is necessary before the governor can grant a pardon.


“Texas has one of the strongest ‘stand your ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive district attorney,” Mr. Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement on Thursday. “I thank the board for its thorough investigation, and I approve their pardon recommendation.”


The family of the protester, Garrett Foster, a 28-year-old former mechanic in the U.S. Air Force, expressed disbelief at the decision and saw a political motivation. Republicans, including the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, and the political pundit Tucker Carlson, had called for Mr. Perry’s pardon.


“It doesn’t make sense. I feel like I’m in a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode. This doesn’t happen,” Mr. Foster’s mother, Sheila, said in a telephone interview. “It seems like this is some kind of a political circus and it’s costing me my life.”


Her son was a supporter of the Second Amendment, she said, who advocated free speech and had been attending the racial justice protests in 2020 day after day. “He deserved so much better,” Ms. Foster said. “He was an Air Force veteran. He was out there protecting people from people like Perry.”


She recalled being worried for her son during the protests, but he had reassured her. “He said, ‘Mom, I’m fine, I’m not in danger,’” she recalled.


The case landed at the intersection of some of the most contentious issues facing the nation, including the protests over the killing of George Floyd, the proliferation of military-style rifles in the hands of civilians, and the legal rights of those who choose to stand their ground and open fire, rather than retreat, when they perceive themselves to be under threat.


Mr. Perry was an active-duty U.S. Army sergeant on the night of July 25, 2020, when he was working as an Uber driver in downtown Austin and drove toward a crowd of demonstrators.


It was there that a group of people that included Mr. Foster approached Mr. Perry’s car. Mr. Foster — who, like Mr. Perry, was white — wore a bandanna on his face and carried an AK-47-style rifle on a strap in front of him. Mr. Perry’s lawyers said Mr. Foster had begun pointing his weapon and it was then that Mr. Perry opened fire.


During the trial, prosecutors showed evidence before the shooting of Mr. Perry’s animosity toward protesters on social media.


The jury reviewed video of the July 25 confrontation during their deliberations, according to an alternate juror, and considered the self-defense argument. But jurors ultimately voted to convict.


Lawyers for Mr. Perry had asked for a new trial, saying that information had been improperly introduced into the deliberations by at least one juror. But the judge in the case, Cliff Brown of the 147th Criminal District Court in Travis County, ruled that those actions did not undermine the verdict.


The governor used his official pardon proclamation to attack the district attorney, writing that Mr. Garza had not sought to see justice done but instead “demonstrated unethical and biased misuse of his office in prosecuting Daniel Scott Perry.”


“District Attorney Garza directed the lead detective investigating Daniel Scott Perry to withhold exculpatory evidence from the grand jury considering whether to report an indictment,” Mr. Abbott wrote.


An Austin police detective who had worked on the case accused Mr. Garza of withholding evidence that could have helped Mr. Perry.


Mr. Garza, a Democrat, is currently facing a proceeding that could remove him from office under a new law signed by the governor aimed at limiting the discretion of local prosecutors.


In a statement, Mr. Garza said that the governor and the pardons board had “made a mockery of our legal system” and that they “should be ashamed of themselves.”


“They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner and to our community that his life does not matter,” Mr. Garza wrote. “They have sent the message that the service of the Travis County community members who served on the grand jury and trial jury does not matter.”


Doug O’Connell, a lawyer for Mr. Perry, thanked the governor and pardons board. “He is thrilled and elated to be free,” Mr. O’Connell said of his client. “He wishes that this tragic event never happened and wishes he never had to defend himself against Mr. Foster’s unlawful actions.” He said Mr. Perry had lost his military career but would seek to have his discharge upgraded to “honorable.”


The governor’s pardon of Mr. Perry contrasted with his stance after the pardons board recommended a posthumous pardon for Mr. Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020 and had a minor drug conviction while living in Houston. The governor took no action in Mr. Floyd’s case, and months later the board rescinded its recommendation.


Mr. Abbott, in explaining Mr. Perry’s pardon, said that Mr. Perry had feared for his life after his car was “immediately surrounded by aggressive protesters who rushed to obstruct, strike, pound, smash and kick his vehicle” and that Mr. Foster “brandished a Kalashnikov-style rifle in the low-ready firing position.”


The pardon left those close to Mr. Foster reeling.


“I loved Garrett Foster. I thought we were going to grow old together,” said Whitney Mitchell, who referred to him as her husband though they were not legally married. “I am heartbroken by this lawlessness. Governor Abbott has shown that, to him, only certain lives matter. He has made us all less safe.”


Mr. Foster’s mother said she saw Mr. Abbott’s pardon as an attack on the Second Amendment rights of Texans. “This is an open-carry state and my son wasn’t breaking the law,” she said.


She said that she planned to move out of the state. “I will not live here. I will not live somewhere where they say that is OK,” she said.


The pardon comes as Texas has been in the midst of another round of public protests, this time on college campuses in opposition to Israel’s actions in the Gaza war.


Mr. Abbott has forcefully denounced the pro-Palestinian protesters who tried to take over a campus at the state’s flagship university campus in Austin and sent in state police officers, some of them on horseback, to make arrests. But there have been no deaths or serious injuries associated with the latest demonstrations.



6) Under Israeli Bombs, a Wartime Economy Emerges in Gaza

Amid the destruction, a marketplace of survival has arisen focused on the basics: food, shelter and money.

By Raja Abdulrahim and Bilal Shbair, Raja Abdulrahim reported from Jerusalem, and Bilal Shbair from Deir al Balah, Gaza, May 18, 2024

“The majority of Palestinians in Gaza now face poverty on multiple levels, going beyond a lack of income and including limited access to health care, education, and housing, according to a recent report from the World Bank, European Union and United Nations. Around 74 percent of people are unemployed, the report said. Before the war, the unemployment rate, while high by many standards, was 45 percent.”


Vendors lining a sidewalk as people mill about. Destroyed buildings can be seen in the background.

A boy helping a vendor arrange merchandise last month in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Credit...Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On tables and desks from schools turned shelters, wartime vendors lined a street, selling used clothes, baby formula, canned food and the rare batch of homemade cookies.


In some cases, entire aid parcels — still emblazoned with the flags of their donating countries and meant to be distributed for free — were stacked on sidewalks and sold for prices few could afford.


Issam Hamouda, 51, stood next to his paltry commercial offering: an array of canned vegetables and beans from an aid carton his family had received.


“Most of the goods found in the markets are labeled, ‘Not for sale,’” he said.


Before the Israel-Hamas war devastated Gaza’s economy, he was a driving instructor. Now, Mr. Hamouda supports his family of eight the only way he can — by reselling some of the food aid they receive every few weeks.


“Once I got four kilos of dried dates and sold a kilo for 8 shekels,” he said, referring to the Israeli currency amounting to roughly $2.


In the seven months since Israel started bombarding Gaza and imposed a siege in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack, the enclave’s economy has been crushed. People have been forced to flee their homes and jobs. Markets, factories and infrastructure have been bombed and flattened. Farmland has been scorched by airstrikes or occupied by Israeli forces.


In its place, a war economy has arisen. It is a marketplace of survival focused on the basics: food, shelter and money.


Humanitarian aid labeled “Not for resale” and looted items end up in makeshift markets. People can earn a few dollars a day evacuating displaced people on the backs of trucks and donkey carts, while others dig toilets or make tents from plastic sheeting and salvaged wood.


Given the growing humanitarian crisis and deep desperation, standing in line is now full-time work, whether at aid distribution sites, at the few open bakeries, or at the handful of A.T.M.s or money exchange shops.


It is a “subsistence economy,” said Raja Khalidi, a Palestinian economist based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.


“It’s not like any war we’ve seen before, where a certain area is targeted and other zones are less touched and they can quickly re-engage in economic conditions,” he said. “From Month 1, the economy was put out of commission.”


In the years before the war, the economy in Gaza — even under a suffocating air, land and sea blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt — was beginning to improve, according to economists and Gazan businesspeople. Beachside hotels and restaurants were opening. More Palestinians got permits to work in Israel and earned good salaries.


All of those gains — and more — have been lost.


The majority of Palestinians in Gaza now face poverty on multiple levels, going beyond a lack of income and including limited access to health care, education and housing, according to a recent report from the World Bank, European Union and United Nations. Around 74 percent of people are unemployed, the report said. Before the war, the unemployment rate, while high by many standards, was 45 percent.


The shock to Gaza’s economy is one of the largest in recent history, the report said. Gaza’s gross domestic product dropped by 86 percent in the last quarter of 2023.


Israel’s Defense Ministry said its strikes on Gaza were not aimed at degrading the enclave’s economy and were targeting Hamas “terrorist infrastructure.”


The economy is now largely driven by the restricted supply and desperate demand for aid. Before the war, some 500 trucks carrying humanitarian aid, fuel and commercial goods entered the Gaza Strip each day.


After the war began and new Israeli restrictions were imposed, that number fell significantly to 113 a day on average, though it has increased modestly in recent months. Even with the improvements, it is far below what aid agencies say is necessary to feed Gazans.


Now, the flow of aid and goods has nearly stopped, following Israel’s attack on the southern city of Rafah and the near complete closure of two main border crossings.


Hunger is spreading across the enclave, in what human rights and aid groups have called a weaponization of starvation by Israel. Israel has denied the accusations.


Against the backdrop of conflict, chaos and lawlessness, prices have skyrocketed. Since the Rafah incursion, goods in the market have gotten even more expensive. And for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing Israel’s offensive, transportation away from the airstrikes is costing hundreds of dollars.


Even before the situation in Rafah deteriorated, aid deliveries were inconsistent and chaotic because of Israeli military restrictions, resulting in desperation and an opportunity for armed gangs or individuals to loot, according to residents.


“The food aid is dropped or brought in and stolen by armed people like gangs,” said Majeda Abu Eisha, 49, a mother of 10.


While trying to get aid, she said her son and nephew were shot and injured by Israeli soldiers. They did not manage to get any aid.


“The winner in this battle is the armed one who can get whatever he wants from the aid,” Ms. Abu Eisha said. “Anyone who is not armed or strong enough to fight and push in goes home empty-handed.”


The Israeli military said it would “never deliberately target aid convoys and workers.” It added that it would continue to counter threats “while persisting to mitigate harm to civilians.”


Without sufficient aid deliveries, residents must turn to the makeshift markets. Goods there can be sold for whatever the sellers choose. Prices often follow the escalations of the conflict.


Sugar was recently being sold in Rafah markets for 7 shekels — less than $2. Then the next day, Hamas fired more than a dozen rockets at Israeli forces near the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Gaza and Israel, leading to its closure. In the hours after, the price went up to 25 shekels. The following day, the price of sugar went down to 20 shekels.


“The same item can be sold for different prices in the same market,” said Sabah Abu Ghanem, 25, a mother of one and former surfer. “When the police are there, traders will sell things for the prices the police decide. When the police leave, prices go up immediately.”


Residents say that officials and ministries associated with the Hamas-run government are present in some capacity, especially in the south.


While some Gazans say the police have tried to force war profiteers from selling goods at inflationary prices, others have accused Hamas of benefiting from looted aid.


Mr. Hamouda said that the aid his family occasionally received came from the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Development, which oversees welfare programs.


He said packages were often missing a few items — especially foods like sugar, dates or cooking oil. Other times, he said, they received only a few canned vegetables in black plastic bags. The food items that go missing from aid parcels eventually end up in markets sold at high prices, he said.


Ismael Thawabteh, the deputy head of the Hamas government media office, said the ministry received about a quarter of the aid brought into Gaza, which it then distributes. “The allegations that the government in Gaza is stealing aid are absolutely false and incorrect,” he said.


Looting of aid is carried out by a small number of people who have been forced into desperation by Israel, Mr. Thawabteh said. He said the Hamas government had tried to clamp down on such looting, but its police and security personnel had been targeted by Israeli airstrikes.


The Israeli military has said it has targeted police officers and commanders, as well as stations and vehicles, as it tries to “dismantle Hamas military and administrative capabilities.”


With the disappearance of most jobs, people have found new ways of earning a few dollars as the war has given rise to new needs.


Many of Gaza’s displaced residents are living in tents, so the making of temporary shelters and bathrooms has become a cottage industry.


Tents made of thin plastic sheeting and planks of wood can be sold upward of 3,000 shekels, or $800, people in the city of Rafah have said. Unable to pay, others have cobbled together their own tents from tarps and salvaged wood.


“I bought those covers at a costly price,” said Mr. Hamouda, referring to the tarps he used to make his family’s shelter. “We bought a secondhand toilet for 250 shekels and paid 50 shekels for the plumber who installed it.”


The cost, he said, was more than twice what it was before the war.


Even getting access to one’s own money to pay for the war’s inflated prices has allowed some to take advantage of the crisis.


Few A.T.M.s are still operating across Gaza, and those that are functioning are usually crowded by people trying to get their money out. Often, someone armed watches over an A.T.M., charging a fee to use it. Money changers offer people access to their own money in exchange for high commissions.


“I could only get my salary from some people who took a percentage of 17 of the total amount of money,” said Ekrami Osama al-Nims, a father of seven displaced to the south, who is a civil servant.


He tried multiple times to get a bag of flour from aid trucks — despite the risk of being shot by Israeli soldiers, he said — in order to avoid having to buy it from the black market. But he never had any success.


“My salary used to cover us for an entire month of food and other basic needs,” he said. “Now my salary doesn’t even buy half of a bag of flour.”


Abu Bakr Bashir, Aaron Boxerman and Iyad Abuheweila contributed reporting.



7) As Hundreds of Thousands Flee Rafah, a Family Returns to the Ruins of Home

By Raja Abdulrahim and Bilal Shbair, May 18, 2024


A woman sitting and folding clothing on a balcony partly covered by a maroon patterned rug.

A displaced Palestinian woman folding clothing on the balcony of a damaged building in Khan Younis where she took refuge. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When Mohammed al-Lahham and his family returned last week to Khan Younis, their hometown in Gaza, they went back to a city and home scarred by Israeli bombardment. They hoped they would not be forced to flee again.


“The situation here in my city is unbearable, but at least it is better than living in a tent,” said Mr. al-Lahham, a 41-year-old plumber and father of five. “I am finally back in Khan Younis, my hometown, where I know its people and places and streets.”


Those streets, many of them bulldozed, are now rimmed with the rubble of entire buildings after a ground invasion by Israeli forces left the city nearly unrecognizable. The forces withdrew from Khan Younis last month.


Much of Mr. al-Lahham’s home in the center of the city was destroyed, but the family has been trying to re-establish its life in the one room that remained mostly intact.


“I live in a room in which walls were blown off,” he said. “I put up some blankets I got from the U.N. as curtains to protect us inside.”


More than 630,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes and shelters in and around the southern city of Rafah since Israel began a military offensive on May 6, UNRWA, the primary U.N. agency  for Palestinians said on Friday. Before May 6, Rafah, on the border with Egypt, had become home to more than one million Palestinians who fled their homes elsewhere in Gaza seeking a modicum of safety, even as the Israeli military continued to carry out airstrikes on the city. It was one of the last places that had not been invaded by Israeli soldiers.


Now, many Palestinians are seeking shelter in places like the central city of Deir al Balah and Al-Mawasi, a coastal area west of Khan Younis. Both are overcrowded and facing dire conditions, U.N. and aid groups have said.


Israel continues to characterize its offensive in and around Rafah as a “limited operation” against Hamas, the armed group that led the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The seizure of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, intensified airstrikes and artillery, and an expanding ground invasion into parts of Rafah have forced about half the Palestinians living and seeking shelter there to flee.


Satellite imagery suggested that a significant incursion was already underway.


On Thursday, Israel said it would send more forces to Rafah, signaling that it intended to attack deeper into Rafah despite international concerns about the threat to civilians posed by a full-scale invasion of the city.


In the north, Israeli attacks and new military evacuation orders displaced more than 160,000 people from several areas around Gaza City, according to UNRWA.


“Forced displacement continues in the #GazaStrip,” UNRWA posted on social media this week, adding that “about 20% of #Gaza’s population have been displaced again in the past week Families keep fleeing where they can — including to rubble & sand dunes — in search of safety. But there’s no such thing in Gaza.”


Beyond the displacement, the Israeli offensive and fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas have prevented nearly all aid from entering Gaza through the two main border crossings, and has impeded the little aid that has reached Gaza from being distributed, according to the U.N. and other aid groups.


That has forced families like the al-Lahhams to fend almost entirely for themselves.


On Thursday, Mr. al-Lahham stood in line with two of his sons to fill cans with water from a large tank brought in by a charity.


Even though Mr. al-Lahham said he was shot in his right shoulder by an Israeli armed drone, a wound that has yet to heal because the bullet is still inside, he knew he needed to get drinking water for his family.


“I sometimes try to carry heavy things with my left arm, like gallons of water,” he said. “You can see how I move it painfully, and this will affect my work as a plumber.”


While the water on Thursday was free, nothing else in the battered city was.


Even charging his cellphone at a street vendor cost him a few shekels. And with nearly no aid and limited commercial goods coming into Gaza, prices in the markets have increased more.


Mr. al-Lahham and his family are terrified they might be forced to flee again if the Israeli Army re-invades their city. If it does, they plan to go to al-Mawasi. He just didn’t know how they would get there.


He had to borrow nearly $100 to pay for a van to bring his family to Khan Younis from Rafah.


“I don’t know where I could get any money to take us and our belongings if anything bad happened,” he said. “Why is all of this suffering still going on?”



8) Aid to Gaza has been limited since the Rafah incursion, the U.N. says.

By Victoria Kim, May 18, 2024


Trucks line either side of a road.

Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for Gaza waiting to move toward the Rafah border crossing from Egypt this month. Credit...EPA, via Shutterstock

As trucks loaded with humanitarian aid began rolling onto the shores of Gaza through a temporary pier this week, U.S. officials and aid groups emphasized that the new sea corridor could not replace the most efficient way of getting supplies to the territory’s civilians: land border crossings.


The United Nations gave an indication on Friday of how much the flow of aid through those crossings has dried up. Just 310 aid trucks entered Gaza in the 10 days after Israel began its military incursion in the southern city of Rafah, U.N. officials said.


That is far shy of what aid organizations say is needed in the territory. Humanitarian workers have repeatedly warned that famine is looming amid severe shortages of basic goods among civilians, many of whom have been displaced multiple times.


Before May 6, most aid reaching Gaza was delivered through two southern border crossings, at Rafah and Kerem Shalom.


As Israel entered Rafah, it seized and closed the border crossing with Egypt there, in what its military said was a limited operation against Hamas. Israel temporarily shut the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel after a Hamas rocket attack in the area killed four Israeli soldiers. The flow of goods has remained severely limited even after it was reopened.


From May 6 to Wednesday, 33 trucks entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, Farhan Haq, a U.N. spokesman, said on Friday. In the same period, 277 trucks entered through two crossings in northern Gaza, he said. The trucks were carrying flour and other food aid, according to the United Nations.


U.S. and Israeli officials have previously said one of the reasons for the stoppage is that Egypt is trying to pressure Israel to pull back from Rafah by not allowing trucks at that crossing to redirect to Kerem Shalom.


More than 2,000 trucks of aid were stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing as of Thursday, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


COGAT, the Israeli agency that oversees aid delivery in Gaza, said on Friday that 365 trucks of aid had entered Gaza in the past day. It did not specify whether the figure included deliveries from the temporary pier. Israel and the United Nations use different methods to track truck deliveries.



9) American medical volunteers leave Gaza after being trapped by the Rafah incursion.

By Gaya Gupta, May 18, 2024


A dark-haired man with dark glasses and wearing a vest and a stethoscope around his neck standing beside a young man in a hospital bed who is partly covered by a blanket.

Dr. Ammar Ghanem, left, an intensive care unit specialist from Detroit, had volunteered in Khan Younis in one of the last functioning hospitals in Gaza. Credit...Ammar Ghanem, via Associated Press

A group of American medical volunteers who had become trapped in the Gaza Strip were evacuated from the enclave on Friday, according to the State Department and humanitarian medical groups. It had been nearly a week since Israel began its offensive in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, preventing the medical workers from leaving.


A physician, Dr. Ammar Ghanem, who had been volunteering for more than two weeks, described the uncertainty as he made his way out of Gaza after days of not knowing what would happen. He had arrived as part of an international group of 18 doctors, nurses and pharmacists at the beginning of May. They had intended to leave together on Monday, but the escalating violence in Gaza and the border closing made that impossible.


By Friday afternoon, 17 American medical workers were met at the Kerem Shalom border crossing by a team from the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, according to an American official familiar with the events. Among them were Dr. Ghanem and four of his colleagues who were volunteering with the Palestinian American Medical Association at the European General Hospital in Khan Younis. The others were there with F.A.J.R. Scientific, a U.S.-based nonprofit.


Three American doctors with the Palestinian American Medical Association stayed behind to keep working, according to Dr. Mustafa Musleh, president of the group. Other volunteers with the organization remained because only those with American citizenship had been granted permission to leave.


“We are happy for the volunteers who made it back,” Dr. Musleh said, but he expressed frustration with the process and with the fact that new volunteers had not been allowed in, adding that a team of 11 doctors was waiting in Cairo for permission to enter. “The emergency is not only to get the volunteers out, but to help the people who are suffering.”


Last week, Israeli forces launched an attack on Rafah, where more than a million displaced people had been sheltering.They closed the Rafah crossing with Egypt, a vital entry point for humanitarian aid.


Additionally, Israel shut down the Kerem Shalom crossing but reopened it on Wednesday.


The Rafah attack has also prevented dozens of wounded and ill Palestinians from reaching Egypt to receive medical treatment, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.


On Friday morning at the European General Hospital, the group of volunteers met in front of the emergency room for an emotional goodbye before the Americans left for Kerem Shalom, Dr. Ghanem said.


He had arrived with the team in Gaza on May 1, expecting to stay until May 13. Another team was scheduled to replace them two days later.


But about a week into his time in Gaza, as Israel ordered evacuations in parts of Rafah, he began to worry. Their group leaders convened the team to discuss the possibility of evacuation and began drawing up a list of which doctors should leave first based on family or work obligations.


Meanwhile, it sounded like the explosions were getting closer, Dr. Ghanem said. The borders remained closed, and two days after they were supposed to leave, there had been no new confirmation that anyone could leave, he said.


On Thursday, the group leaders told the team that they had heard from the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem that only Americans would be allowed to evacuate.


Deciding to leave was difficult, Dr. Ghanem said, complicated by the fact that colleagues from countries including Saudi Arabia, Australia and Jordan were not allowed to.


“We felt that we had to evacuate because we need to go back home,” he said. “We need to take care of our broken families and support them.”


The journey from the European General Hospital, near Khan Younis, to the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel was coordinated by COGAT, the Israeli agency that oversees policy for the Palestinian territories and works with international organizations, and the American Embassy, said Dr. Musleh, of the Palestinian American Medical Association.


The 12-mile trip took almost five hours, Dr. Ghanem said, because the roads that they had been told to take for safety reasons had been damaged by bombardment. They also had car trouble.


After crossing into Israel, the U.S. Embassy team that met them drove them to Jerusalem. After a few hours’ sleep, Dr. Ghanem started the even longer journey back to Michigan, where he lives with his wife and three children.


Edward Wong contributed reporting.



10) ‘We’re still afraid’: Gazans flee Jabaliya as Israel’s military launches a new offensive.

By Raja Abdulrahim, May 19, 2024


People gather around a crater in brown earth.

A crater caused by an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in southern Gaza, on Saturday. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The northern town of Jabaliya had already come under fierce attacks from the Israeli military earlier in the war, killing many civilians and demolishing large parts of the suburb. So, as Israeli ground forces moved to other parts of the Gaza Strip and military strikes focused elsewhere, residents thought they had experienced their worst days.


But last week, the Israeli military dropped leaflets again over Jabaliya, where tens of thousands of people are living, ordering them to leave as it prepared to launch a renewed offensive.


“When the Israelis dropped the leaflets, people were terrified, especially given what they experienced previously,” said Iman Abu Jalhum, 23, who graduated from medical school two months before the war began and has been volunteering in hospitals treating the wounded. “We thought given that we have already been attacked that we were safe; the Israelis have already been here.”


Soon after the leaflets dropped, so too did the bombs, she said. Ms. Abu Jalhum, her 16-year-old sister and her parents fled their home under bombardment. She only had time to throw a few items of clothing into a bag and put on her prayer shawl.


Her father, who has back issues, struggled to walk along the road. Eventually, they found a donkey cart to take him the rest of the way, a few miles south.


Israel said it had renewed the offensive in Jabaliya on May 11 because Hamas was trying to reassemble its infrastructure and operatives in the area. Hamas accused Israel of “escalating its aggression against civilians all across Gaza” and vowed to continue fighting.


At least 15 civilians were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Saturday in Jabaliya and 30 others wounded, according to Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency. Ambulance and emergency crews have been unable to reach the area to rescue the injured and retrieve the bodies, it reported.


The Israeli military on Saturday said it had “engaged and eliminated” Hamas fighters in Jabaliya in a number of battles and located several tunnel shafts. Hamas said that its fighters destroyed an Israeli tank south of Jabaliya.


Ms. Abu Jalhum and her family are among at least 64,000 people who were displaced from Jabaliya and a neighboring town in the past week, according to the main U.N. agency aiding Palestinians, UNRWA.


They are now sheltering a few miles south in a bombed-out building, where the smell of dead bodies that have not yet been recovered hangs in the air. Strikes still hit nearby, she says, but there are fewer explosions and no clashes between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters.


On Thursday, Ms. Abu Jalhum tried to go back to Jabaliya to check on her home, walking for 45 minutes along streets covered in debris. But as she neared her neighborhood, explosions were hitting too close to continue, she said.


“Yes, we have some courage, but we’re still afraid,” she said. “You might see martyrs killed in the street that no one can reach. You’re afraid there could be a sniper. The drones might target anyone there walking in the streets.”


Her family has had to flee several times during the course of the seven-month war, and they have always gone to stay with relatives in the same area. This time, the offensive is more expansive and intense, she said.


“We just want to go home,” she said, adding, “We’re so exhausted. You see it in our faces. We want to cry at times, but we’re unable to.”



11) At Chaotic Rally in Brooklyn, Police Violently Confront Protesters

Officers were filmed punching several people at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Bay Ridge.

By Christopher Maag, May 19, 2024


A woman wearing a keffiyeh yells as she is surrounded by several police officers.

Officers attempted to move protesters off the street. Credit...Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

A large protest in Brooklyn against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza erupted into a chaotic scene on Saturday, as the police arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators and at times confronted them violently.


In videos posted on social media, officers can be seen punching at least three people who were prone on the ground at the demonstration in the Bay Ridge neighborhood. The aggression was corroborated by witnesses. Another protester who was filming the police was tackled and arrested. A police spokesman declined to comment on the officers using force on protesters.


At least 34 people were arrested, according to a senior law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a developing situation. The police had not released details on the charges the protesters face as of early Sunday.


“I saw police indiscriminately grabbing people off the street and the sidewalk,” said Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of Within Our Lifetime, an activist group led by Palestinians that organized the demonstration. “They were grabbing people at random.”


In recent years, Within Our Lifetime has put on an annual mid-May rally in Bay Ridge, a neighborhood with a large Arab population, to commemorate what Palestinians call the Nakba, or “catastrophe” — when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel’s founding in 1948.


Given the war in Gaza and months of protests in New York, this year’s protest was charged from the start. It started at 2 p.m. at the intersection of Fifth and Bay Ridge Avenues. Within about 25 minutes, a large group of officers arrived and warned protesters to get onto the sidewalk. Those who remained in the street would be arrested, the police told them.


From there, the event alternated between protest marches and standoffs with the police. In one video taken by Katie Smith, an independent journalist, a police commander in a white shirt delivers at least three punches to a person lying on the pavement. In another video she recorded, an officer punches a man who is on the ground at least six times and a white-shirted commander aims a kick at the man, though it is not possible to see if it landed.


In a separate instance filmed by another independent journalist, Talia Jane, an officer flings a protester against a signpost and then hurls him to the pavement, where he is pinned by two officers as he is punched by a third.


The footage of the police, including at least one commander, pummeling protesters recalled some of the N.Y.P.D. conduct caught on video at the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020. The city ended up paying $13 million to settle a class-action suit brought by those protesters.


In a video of the Saturday protest posted on Twitch, half a dozen people could be seen filming a group of police officers and commanders walking on Bay Ridge Avenue. A police commander grabbed the nearest one, followed by two more commanders and a scrum of blue-shirted officers.


The protester was shoved to the ground, handcuffed and arrested. Other people in the crowd continued recording the event.


Those arrested were led to police vans and driven to the headquarters in Manhattan. A light rain began to fall, and by 8 p.m. the protest had dispersed.


Sabir Hasko contributed reporting.



12) Assange Can Appeal U.S. Extradition, English Court Rules

The WikiLeaks founder won his bid to appeal his extradition on espionage charges, opening a new chapter in a prolonged legal battle.

By Megan Specia, Reporting from London, May 20, 2024


A crowd of people filled a street at a protest for Julian Assange, with several people holding signs to show their support.

Supporters of Julian Assange, the embattled WikiLeaks founder, marched along a London street in February. Credit...Carl Court/Getty Images

A London court ruled on Monday that Julian Assange, the embattled WikiLeaks founder, could appeal his extradition to the United States, a move that opens a new chapter in his prolonged fight against the order in Britain’s courts.


Two High Court judges said they would allow an appeal to be heard on a limited number of issues.


In March, the judges said that the court would grant a request to appeal unless the American government gave “a satisfactory assurance” that Mr. Assange would be afforded protections under the U.S. Constitution, would not be “prejudiced by reason of his nationality,” and that “the death penalty is not imposed.”


The U.S. Embassy in Britain provided assurances on those issues in a letter sent in April, but Mr. Assange’s legal team had argued in court that they did not all go far enough to meet the court’s request.


Mr. Assange, 52, has been held in Belmarsh, one of Britain’s highest-security prisons, in southeastern London since 2019 as his fight against the extradition order has proceeded through the courts.


He faces charges in the United States under the Espionage Act related to WikiLeaks’ publication of tens of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents leaked to the site by Chelsea Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, in 2010.


In June 2012, Mr. Assange entered the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he stayed for the next seven years over fears that he could be arrested. He was eventually evicted from the embassy in 2019 and was promptly arrested.


The U.S. Justice Department had charged Mr. Assange with 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act by participating in a criminal hacking conspiracy and by encouraging hackers to steal secret material. In 2021, the extradition order for Mr. Assange was denied by a British judge, who ruled that he would be at risk of suicide if sent to a U.S. prison, but the High Court later reversed that decision. In 2022, Priti Patel, Britain’s home secretary at the time, approved the extradition request.


An earlier request from Mr. Assange’s legal team for an appeal was rejected by a judge, before the two judges who made Monday’s decision decided that his appeal could go ahead.


Since his arrest in 2019, Mr. Assange has rarely been seen, and in his final hearing on Monday he decided not to attend the hearing for undisclosed health reasons, according to his legal team. Throughout his time in prison, his lawyers and his wife, Stella Assange, have warned about his diminishing physical and mental health. In 2021, Ms. Assange had a small stroke. Speaking ahead of the final hearing, Ms. Assange said her concerns for his mental health were “very serious.”


Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor in chief of WikiLeaks, said at a news briefing last week that Mr. Assange’s legal team had been focusing its efforts on a political resolution, which he said “has been bearing fruit.”


“More and more political leaders are coming to the side of Julian,” Mr. Hrafnsson said, “They see the absurdity in this case. And how serious the implications this would have for press freedom worldwide.”


The Australian government has put its support behind Mr. Assange, an Australian citizen, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said he hopes the case can be “resolved amicably.”


Last month, President Biden said that the administration was considering a request from Australia that Mr. Assange be allowed to return there and not face prison, prompting speculation that Washington could be rethinking the case. The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment at the time.


Supporters have long argued that Mr. Assange’s life could be at risk if he were sent to the United States for trial. While Mr. Assange’s lawyers say that he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted, lawyers for the U.S. government have said that he would be more likely to be sentenced to four to six years.


In the court on Monday, Mr. Assange’s legal team said that the assurances offered by the U.S. side that it would not seek the death penalty were sufficient, but raised issues with the promise that if Mr. Assange were extradited, he would “have the ability to raise and seek” the rights and protections given under the First Amendment.”


“We say this is a blatantly inadequate assurance,” Edward Fitzgerald, one of Mr. Assange’s lawyers said, arguing that, “There is no guarantee that he will be even permitted to rely on the First Amendment.”


James Lewis, a lawyer for the U.S., reiterated throughout the hearing that assurances provided by their side did make it clear that Mr. Assange would have ample protections to abide by Britain’s extradition law.


The prolonged nature of Mr. Assange’s case is not unheard-of, in part because of Britain’s extradition rules, which allow for appeals on a variety of issues, said Nick Vamos, former head of extradition for the British Crown Prosecution Service.


“The courts will entertain lots of different kinds of arguments about fairness and prison conditions and human rights and political motivations and all of those things,” Mr. Vamos said, adding that, ultimately, this may have allowed Mr. Assange to “buy time” for a political solution.



13) Occupation Has Corrupted the Humanity of Israel’s Military

By Avner Gvaryahu, May 20, 2024

Mr. Gvaryahu is the director of Breaking the Silence, an organization of veterans opposed to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

“Two unarmed women walking in an orchard, talking on their phones, were suspected of scouting Israeli forces — and were killed, one soldier told us. After a commander ordered their bodies to be checked, the conclusion was, ‘They were fired at — so of course, they must have been terrorists,’ said the soldier whose identity like that of many of our witnesses we have kept anonymous to protect his safety. Israel’s conduct in the current war demonstrates this viewpoint even more. A reservist officer recently told a journalist: ‘De facto, a terrorist is anyone the military kills inside the zone of combat.’”


An illustration of a couch and next to it, a silhouette of a person wearing a soldier’s helmet and vest and holding a gun.

Joanna Blémont

Israel’s military has brought utter devastation to the Palestinians of Gaza after the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7. But the extreme response is not only a reaction to the horrors of that day. It is also a product of the decades-long role the military has played in enforcing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.


The occupation has cultivated a longstanding disregard among Israeli soldiers for Palestinian lives, and similar impulses in the words and actions of commanders can be seen to lie behind the horrors of what we are witnessing today.


Israel has governed a people denied basic human rights and the rule of law through constant coercion, threats and intimidation. The idea that the only answer to Palestinian resistance, both violent and nonviolent, is greater — and more indiscriminate — force has shown signs of becoming entrenched in the Israel Defense Forces and in Israeli politics.


I know this through the numerous testimonies collected by my organization, Breaking the Silence, which was formed in 2004 by a group of Israeli veterans to expose the reality of Israel’s military occupation. We know firsthand and from thousands of soldiers that military occupation is imposed on civilians through fear, which is instilled by the growing and often arbitrary use of force.


For 20 years, we have heard these soldiers speak of the gradual erosion of principles that, even if never fully upheld, were once seen as fundamental to the moral character of the Israel Defense Forces. We have continued our work despite criticism from the military and the government.


I also know this because I myself have undergone this moral corruption. I, like many Israeli soldiers, went into the military thinking I knew the difference between right and wrong, and had a clear sense of the boundaries on legitimate use of force. But every boundary is destined to be redrawn in a military occupation, whose very existence relies on terrorizing a civilian population into submission.


I clearly remember one of the first times I entered the home of a Palestinian family, as a sergeant, in a village near Nablus in the West Bank in 2007. It was in the middle of the night and we were told that the house would make a good observation point. As we approached, we heard an elderly woman next door screaming in fear. We broke the window of her home and shone a flashlight. She was terrified, speaking unintelligibly. Her family was looking in from the other room, too scared to enter and calm her down. These people weren’t suspects. They just lived next door to the house we needed.


I was horrified, but I soon grew accustomed to such scenes. As soldiers, we used people’s houses for our purposes. We used people’s things. We used people. From home invasions to checkpoints, patrols to arrests, we eventually stopped seeing Palestinian civilians as real, living people. I quit asking myself: What do they feel? What do they think? How would I feel if soldiers barged into my house in the middle of the night? These questions, so crucial for morality and humanity, lost their meaning.


Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel in which 1,200 people were killed and 240 kidnapped, over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, some 1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced and 1.1 million Palestinians are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity, according to the United Nations.


And so, as the war grinds on, we Israelis are not who we think we are. We may think we know our boundaries and principles, we may think we are on the side of right, we may think we are in control. Yet what was once unthinkable soon becomes the norm. The innocent, we say, must be protected. But we have lived for too long as an occupying power; two many among us see no one as innocent anymore. We see threats everywhere and in anyone, threats that, we feel, justify almost anything.


That may include using suffering to achieve military goals. “The international community warns of a humanitarian disaster in Gaza and of severe epidemics,” Giora Eiland, a retired major general and former head of the Israel National Security Council, wrote in November. “We must not shy away from this, as difficult as that may be,” he said, adding, “This is not about cruelty for cruelty’s sake, since we don’t support the suffering of the other side as a goal, but as a means.”


Israel has repeatedly maintained that it is doing all that it can to protect civilians. But the heart of this pattern of moral deterioration is in the military’s determination of who is a combatant.


The shifting sense of who is an enemy combatant and who isn’t, both in military procedures and soldiers’ attitudes, is especially clear in Israel’s periodic wars in Gaza, where the withdrawal of Israeli settlements and ground forces in 2005 cleared the way for harsher and less discriminate methods of war.


Take Operation Cast Lead, in 2008 and 2009, which began with an aerial attack on police stations in Gaza City and ultimately killed more than 240 policemen and injured around 750. After the fact, Israel claimed it did not violate the laws of war by targeting policemen since the “collective role of the Gaza ‘police’” was “an integral part of Hamas armed forces” and as such, they were effectively considered enemy combatants. But according to a United Nations fact-finding mission, the policemen killed in the attacks “cannot be said to have been taking a direct part in hostilities.”


Operation Protective Edge, in the summer of 2014, was the deadliest Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip since 1967 until the current war. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, 1,391 of them civilians, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Many soldiers who took part in the operation have told Breaking the Silence that very little was required by their commanders to label a person an enemy combatant. Two unarmed women walking in an orchard, talking on their phones, were suspected of scouting Israeli forces — and were killed, one soldier told us. After a commander ordered their bodies to be checked, the conclusion was, “They were fired at — so of course, they must have been terrorists,” said the soldier whose identity like that of many of our witnesses we have kept anonymous to protect his safety.


Israel’s conduct in the current war demonstrates this viewpoint even more. A reservist officer recently told a journalist: “De facto, a terrorist is anyone the military kills inside the zone of combat.” This reckless interpretation of the rules of war has resulted in meaningless loss for Palestinians and Israelis alike. In December, the Israeli military mistakenly killed three Israeli hostages in Gaza who had been shirtless, unarmed and bearing a makeshift white flag.


The military said the shooting of the three men had violated its rules of engagement. But soldiers who participated in previous wars in Gaza reported being instructed, upon entering areas where civilians had been warned to evacuate, to shoot anything that moves because anyone who stayed was considered a threat and a legitimate target. Similar reports are surfacing now.


In contrast to these attitudes, consider the 2002 Israeli bombing of the home of a top Hamas commander in Gaza City that killed him and 14 others, including eight children. A government committee concluded that faulty intelligence led to the high civilian death toll, and implied that had it been known there were many civilians on site, the attack would have been aborted.


The shocking numbers of civilian casualties in the current war — nearly 13,000 women and children, according to Gazan authorities — may be the result, to some degree, of other changes in Israel’s targeting policies, too. According to intelligence sources that +972 Magazine and Local Call spoke with, on previous operations senior military operatives were defined as “human targets” who could be killed in their homes even if civilians were around. In the current war, the sources reportedly said, the term “human target” covers all Hamas fighters.


This has clearly led to a sharp increase in the number of targets, which has probably meant that the lengthy process of justifying operations has had to speed up. The military has employed artificial intelligence to help. According to the intelligence sources who spoke with +972 and Local Call, A.I. marked some 37,000 Palestinians in Gaza in the early days of the war for targeting as suspected Hamas militants, most of them of junior rank. It is unclear how many of that group have been killed. The Israeli military has disputed some of these allegations.


A military that controls civilians by force for decades is bound to lose its ethical compass. So does a society that sends its military on such a mission. The horrors of Oct. 7 have accelerated and intensified this process. The death and destruction that have been brought upon Gaza will shape the future of Palestinians and Israelis for generations to come. There will have to be a profound moral reckoning.



14) Cartoon of Palestinian Boy Inspires, Years After Creator’s Murder

The character known as Handala, created by Naji Al-Ali in 1969, is making an imprint on art and as a protest symbol.

By Aruna D’Souza, Published May 17, 2024, Updated May 19, 2024


A large, black-and-white mural that features multiple scenes.

“No Words,” 2024, by Malak Mattar, a Palestinian artist from Gaza City with a solo show at Roberto Ferruzzi Gallery in Venice, Italy. Credit...Malak Mattar 

When pro-Palestinian student protesters took over Hamilton Hall at Columbia University last month and renamed it “Hind’s Hall,” the banner they unfurled contained images of a cartoon character created over 50 years ago that symbolizes the resilience of Palestinians.


On either side of the text were two images of a barefoot boy with tattered clothes and spiky hair, his back turned to us.


The character is called Handala (variously transliterated as Hanzala or Handzala), a name derived from a native plant that is deep-rooted, persistent and bears bitter fruit, and has become a potent symbol of the Palestinian struggle. The image was created by the Palestinian political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali in 1969, one of the most widely read cartoonists in the Arab world, who was murdered in London in 1987. (The case remains unsolved.)


Handala is 10 years old, the same age that Ali was when he became a refugee in 1948.


After the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, also known as the Yom Kippur War, Ali exclusively depicted Handala with his back turned, a gesture that transformed him into a silent witness of the horrors and outrages going on around him. The stance, according to the cartoonist, represented a rejection of the political machinations of foreign nations when it came to the fate of ordinary Palestinians.


Margaret Olin, a religious studies scholar at the Yale Divinity School and co-author of “The Bitter Landscapes of Palestine,” has been photographing Handala’s appearance in murals and as graffiti during her visits to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank over the past decade. “It’s become a symbol of the whole Palestinian movement to return to their former homes,” she said in a telephone interview.


Handala, she explained, “has the resonance of Paul Klee’s “Angelus Novus,” which Walter Benjamin described as the angel of history. “He’s facing the ravages of time and disaster, but he’s turned around so that you see the disasters too.” She added that the character “also has a tinge of Günter Grass’s Oskar in ‘The Tin Drum,’ a child who also refused to grow while the disasters of Germany took place around him. He’s the child as witness, the child who’s stuck witnessing, just waiting for the disasters to pass.”


The figure of Handala, she observed, is “plastered on houses in East Jerusalem, where residents are being forced out by illegal settlements. He’s carried into protests. He’s everywhere.”


The image has appeared in the United States — “my son’s in-laws are Iraqi, and they have a bumper sticker on their car,” Olin added. “One of the reasons the character is so ubiquitous is that Ali made him very easy to draw.” She said that children in West Bank refugee camps have drawn smiling faces on the back of Handala’s head when they encounter him in murals, turning his suffering into joy.


Ali was known to be an equal opportunity critic, as likely to take aim at the failure of Arab countries in the region to support Palestinians as Israel and the U.S. He even took aim at the Palestine Liberation Organization at times in his Handala images.


Peace activists in Israel have also adopted the figure of Handala over the years, showing him embracing another cartoon boy — Srulik, created by the Israeli cartoonist Kariel Gardosh, which became an embodiment of Israel. But Handala is not common there. Nizan Shaked, a professor of cultural studies at California State University at Long Beach, grew up in Haifa, Israel. She said in an email interview that she only encountered the character in 1998, when she moved to the U.S.


The character has been re-embraced by activists and artists alike in the last seven months. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, a grass roots solidarity movement that works “to end the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza,” according to its website, has christened one of its ships Handala. A publishing house in Italy and an artist’s group in Japan have created posters in which the character has been reinterpreted for today.


And Handala has even made it to Venice, in a solo exhibition not affiliated with the Biennale. At the Roberto Ferruzzi Gallery in Dorsoduro, the Palestinian artist Malak Mattar’s paintings are on view until June 14. The show features “No Words” (2024), which the artist describes on Instagram as “the largest documentation of the unfolding genocide on Gaza.” The canvas, the largest she has ever attempted, at over 16 by 7 feet, is a nod to Palestinian mural culture. Handala appears near the top of the painting, looking at a wall. Unlike Mattar’s earlier paintings, which are intensely colorful, this work is rendered in somber gray, black, white and brown.


Mattar, who was born and raised in Gaza City, was living there until Oct. 5, when she left to pursue a master’s degree in London, she said in a telephone interview. Her painting focuses on the people who have been forced to evacuate to escape the Israeli military bombings of Gaza, where, she said, many of her friends, family members and colleagues have been killed.


“When I was much younger as an artist, Handala was very significant in my work,” Mattar said. “Growing up in Gaza, he was a very emotional symbol — he is a boy we all related to, he’s a boy that spoke for all of us and our feelings.”


“He is a child who was displaced, who the entire world failed.”


Last month, Hadi Eldebek, a Lebanese American musician and educator and member of Silkroad Ensemble, worked with his collaborators in the Brooklyn Nomads to create a multimedia concert at Roulette in Brooklyn dedicated to Naji Al-Ali and his ubiquitous character of resistance. Musicians and dancers performed while animations of Ali’s cartoons were projected above them. “To me — as a Lebanese, as an Arab, as a Muslim, as a human being — Hanzala represents me,” Eldebek said.


What seems to unite the artists who are re-embracing Handala is a sense of his enduring relevance.


“Some members of the audience at the show asked me if we had commissioned a contemporary cartoonist to make the images we showed, since they seemed to represent all the horrors we’ve seen on the news since Oct. 7,” Eldebek said. “But they are images made in the 1970s and 1980s, when Ali was looking back already on decades of suffering.”



15) Two Weeks Inside Gaza’s Ruined Hospitals

By Samer Attar, May 21, 2024

Video by Alexander Stockton and Amanda Su

Dr. Attar is a surgeon at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. He volunteered in Gaza three times, with Rahma Worldwide, IDEALS and Palestinian American Bridge. Mr. Stockton is a producer with Opinion Video. Ms. Su is an Opinion Video reporting fellow.

[There are no words. But sometimes, while in the comfort of our homes, we have to witness the truth of the horror of war. After all, we are paying for it. We should know what we are getting for our money. —Bonnie Weinstein]



In the Opinion video above, Dr. Samer Attar, an American surgeon from Chicago, shows us the unfathomable brutality of the war in Gaza. He was a member of the first delegation of international doctors to embed in the northern part of the territory this spring.


Over two weeks, Dr. Attar volunteered at local hospitals and filmed what he saw. Al-Awda Hospital — one of the locations where he worked — has been under siege since Sunday and recently ran out of drinking water, with staff members and patients trapped inside.


Dr. Attar’s video diaries capture the war’s toll on civilians and the struggle among Palestinian medical workers to save lives amid extreme shortages of critical medicine, blood and basic supplies in Gaza’s shattered health care sector. As pressure for a cease-fire mounts, Dr. Attar argues in this video that any agreement must include three concrete terms to save thousands of innocent lives in Gaza.


Viewer discretion is advised: The video includes graphic images of severe injuries and suffering.



16) For Gazans Relocating Once Again, Conditions Are ‘Horrific’

By Adam Rasgon and Victoria Kim, May 21, 2024


A large number of people stand on a sandy field with water containers around them. In the background are makeshift tents.

Waiting for water at a camp west of Deir al Balah in Gaza on Tuesday. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As Israel’s invasion of Rafah stretches into its third week, hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the southern Gaza city have encountered miserable conditions in their new encampments and shelters.


Shortages of food, clean water and bathrooms have made the experience of relocating particularly dreadful, Gazans say, and price gouging has made the trip unaffordable for those who need transportation, including older and disabled people.


“We’re dealing with horrific circumstances,” said Khalil el-Halabi, a retired U.N. official in his 70s who left Rafah last week for Al-Mawasi, a beachside area that Israel has designated as a “humanitarian zone.”


“We don’t have what we need,” Mr. Halabi said. “We can barely even find water.”


More than 800,000 people have left Rafah in the past two weeks, a United Nations official said on Monday. Israel’s military said the same day that more than 950,000 civilians in the city had relocated since it gave expanded evacuation orders. A military spokesman said about 300,000 to 400,000 civilians remain there.


The latest wave of displacement in Gaza began on May 6 when Israel sent out evacuation notices and launched military operations in eastern Rafah, which is along the border with Egypt. More than half of the enclave’s civilians had been seeking refuge in the city — most of them after fleeing fighting elsewhere in Gaza multiple times.


Ali Jebril, 27, a wheelchair-bound basketball player, said he and his family paid $600 to have 35 people taken from eastern Rafah to Khan Younis by bus earlier this month.


Mr. Jebril, who said his wheelchair can’t navigate in the sandy beachside areas where many have resettled, has moved to a tent on the grounds of a hospital in Khan Younis.


“We’re not living a dignified life,” he said. “We’re confronting a catastrophe.”


The war, he said, has made him feel that he has become a burden on society, frequently asking others to help him.


Since Israel’s incursions into Rafah, the once overcrowded shelters and tent villages in the city have largely emptied out, Edem Wosornu, an official with the United Nations’ office for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council on Monday. People have moved to areas near Khan Younis and Deir al Balah and set up makeshift camps that lack sanitation, water, drainage or shelter, she said.


“We have described it as a catastrophe, a nightmare, as hell on earth,” Ms. Wosornu said. “It is all of these, and worse.”


Since the beginning of the war in October, three-quarters of Gaza’s population has been displaced, with many people moving four or five times, she said.


Israel has cast the orders as a humanitarian step to protect civilians ahead of further military action, which they say is necessary to root out Hamas fighters in southern Gaza. But aid groups said the additional displacement is worsening an already catastrophic humanitarian situation.


In its latest update, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs described people living in clusters of 500 to 700 tents, many of them fashioned out of blankets, nylon or whatever other materials were available. Some tents were set up on an unstable beach slope, with waste from higher areas rolling downhill past the dwellings into the sea, according to the report.


Mr. Halabi said that food was available in markets, but that his family was so low on money that paying for it was hard.


“After seven months of war, we barely have anything,” he said.


While an increasing number of commercial trucks have entered Gaza recently, aid coming to the south through the Kerem Shalom and Rafah crossings has come to a near halt. UNRWA, the primary U.N. agency for Palestinian aid, said that in a 16-day period through Tuesday, just 69 aid trucks entered through the two crossings — the lowest rate since the first weeks of the war.


Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the chief U.N. agency that aids Palestinians, wrote in a social media post that each relocation comes with risks and takes a heavy toll.


“Every time, they are forced to leave behind the few belongings they have: mattresses, tents, cooking utensils and basic supplies that they cannot carry or pay to transport,” he wrote. “Every time, they have to start from scratch, all over again.



17) The Israeli authorities seize camera equipment belonging to The Associated Press.

By Adam Rasgon Reporting from Jerusalem, May 21, 2024


A grainy view of empty land, with a populated area in the distance.

A screenshot of The Associated Press’s broadcast from northern Gaza. The news organization said on Tuesday that Israeli officials had seized some of its broadcasting equipment and cut its video feed. Credit...Associated Press

Israel’s Communications Ministry confiscated camera equipment from The Associated Press on Tuesday, claiming the agency had violated a new broadcasting law by providing images of northern Gaza to Al Jazeera.


The seizure was an escalation in Israel’s efforts to punish Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab broadcaster that the Israeli government voted to shut down two weeks ago. It raised questions about how far Israeli authorities would go to cut off the Qatari-funded channel, which has provided extensive coverage of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.


Lauren Easton, The A.P.’s vice president of corporate communications, denounced the Israeli government’s action, calling it “an abusive use” of a new law that provides the authorities with tools to crack down on foreign news media organizations.


In a statement, the Communications Ministry said inspectors had gone to a location in southern Israel used by The A.P. to broadcast live footage of the border with northern Gaza, which is several miles away. The ministry claimed that the feed was illegally being carried by Al Jazeera and asserted that it was showing the activities of Israeli soldiers and threatening their lives.


The A.P. reported that it adheres to Israel’s military censorship rules, including restrictions on broadcasting troop movements that could put soldiers at risk, and that the feed largely showed smoke rising over Gaza.


It also reported that Israeli authorities had conveyed a verbal order last week to shut down the live feed, but it did not comply.


As a prominent wire service, The A.P. makes its content available to subscribers around the world.


Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel’s parliamentary opposition, blasted the Communications Ministry for confiscating The A.P.’s equipment, calling the move “insanity.”


“This is not Al Jazeera. This is an American media outlet that has won” dozens of Pulitzer Prizes, he said. “This government is acting as if it decided to ensure at all costs that Israel will be ostracized all around the world.”


Ms. Easton said Israeli authorities should return The A.P.’s equipment so that it could restore the live feed and “continue to provide this important visual journalism to thousands of media outlets around the world.”


The Communications Ministry said it would continue to undertake “enforcement measures as needed to limit broadcasts that harm the security of the state.”


In Israel, Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language coverage has frequently come under criticism for amplifying Hamas’s perspective.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and other Israeli officials have called the network a “mouthpiece” for Hamas, which led the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel from Gaza that set off the war. That day, Al Jazeera repeatedly reported statements from Hamas officials calling for a violent uprising in the West Bank.


Al Jazeera has said that Israel’s decision to shutter its operations in the country violated “the basic right to access of information.” It has asserted that it hadn’t violated professional news media standards.


The Foreign Press Association, which represents Israeli and Palestinian journalists working for international news organizations, called the seizure of The A.P.’s equipment an “outrageous” decision that prevents The A.P. from “providing crucial images of northern Gaza to all other media outlets around the world.”


“Israel’s move today is a slippery slope,” it said in a statement on Tuesday. “Israel could block other international news agencies from providing live footage of Gaza. It also could allow Israel to block media coverage of virtually any news event on vague security grounds.”


Under the new foreign news media law, if the prime minister deems a foreign news media outlet to “concretely undermine” Israel’s national security, the government can temporarily close its offices, confiscate its equipment, remove it from Israeli cable and satellite television providers and block access to any of the channel’s online platforms hosted on servers in Israel or owned by Israeli entities.


Johnatan Reiss contributed reporting to this article.



18) Gazans say the I.C.C. prosecutor’s pursuit of Hamas leaders is misguided.

By Hiba Yazbek, Ameera Harouda and Iyad Abuheweila, May 21, 2024



Palestinians in Gaza expressed mixed feelings after the chief prosecutor at the world’s top criminal court said he was seeking arrest warrants for leaders of both Israel and Hamas on war crimes charges, a move that many said equated victim with perpetrator.


“We deplore, denounce and are surprised by the decision of the International Criminal Court which places the accused, the victim, and the executioner in one cage,” said Zahir Essam, a 55-year-old living in Gaza City.


Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, announced on Monday his decision to apply for arrest warrants for Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza; Muhammad Deif, Hamas’s military chief; and Ismail Haniyeh, the movement’s Qatar-based top political official. He also said he would seek warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of Israel.


The announcement in effect treated Israeli officials and Hamas leaders in the same way, despite what Mr. Essam sees as a power imbalance between the two sides in the conflict in Gaza, which began when Hamas led an attack on Israel on Oct. 7.


That attack killed about 1,200 people, and about 240 others were taken hostage, Israeli officials say. Israel’s retaliatory war in Gaza has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gazan health authorities, though their figures do not distinguish between civilians and combatants.


Many Palestinians view the Oct. 7 attack as a justified response to Israeli violations during the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.


“The Palestinian people are defending their most basic human rights and fighting against an occupation and the harshest form of abuse,” Mr. Essam said in a phone interview. He added that he was surprised that the prosecutor would consider “those who defend their rights and their homeland” as equal to “those fighting them with an array of weapons and aircrafts.”


In Israel, the warrants drew the reverse response, with Mr. Netanyahu denouncing the prosecutor’s decision as a “distortion of reality” and defending the war in Gaza as one of self-defense. For now, the announcement is largely symbolic. Israel does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, and judges can take months to uphold requests for arrest warrants.


Jaber Yahia, a 50-year-old teacher from central Gaza, said that he was relieved by the naming of Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gallant. “I was thinking, finally they will be brought to justice,” he said. But after hearing that warrants would also be sought for leaders of Hamas, his relief was muddied.


“We are under occupation and resistance is a legal right for us,” he said.


Nidal Kuhail, a 30-year-old waiter from Gaza City who was displaced to Rafah, said that he had hoped that the international community and its legal bodies, such as the court, would have first ordered a cease-fire to end the deadly Israeli bombardment.


“The first step was supposed to be a mandatory and immediate stop of the war,” Mr. Kuhail said in a phone interview. “And then bring Gallant and Netanyahu to trial because they committed war crimes documented with evidence,” he added.


Seeking warrants for Hamas leaders, by contrast, was “a wrong decision,” he said.


Abu Bakr Bashir contributed reporting from London. 



19) After Anti-Israel Speeches, a Law School Curtails Graduation Traditions

CUNY Law School is known for its diversity and activism, and lately for strongly worded pro-Palestinian commencement addresses. This year, the administration canceled its annual student speech.

By Maia Coleman, May 21, 2024


The words CUNY School of Law are visible above the doors of a gray building. A person walks by with a blue umbrella.

At the law school, pro-Palestinian activism goes back years. Credit...Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

For the past two years, commencement speakers at the City University of New York School of Law have made support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel a focus of their speeches.


The backlash was intense.


So this year, well before other campuses across the United States faced upheaval over pro-Palestinian student demonstrations, the CUNY law school administration took a new tack. In September, before the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7, the school announced that there would be no student speaker at all at this year’s commencement ceremony.


The choice is now drawing its own backlash and has brought more controversy to the event.


This spring, several students at the school sued university officials, saying that the school was suppressing speech and infringing on their First Amendment rights by not allowing a student-elected speaker to give an address. Two guests who had been scheduled to speak — Deborah N. Archer, a civil rights lawyer and president of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Muhammad U. Faridi, a litigator — recently withdrew from the event.


The ceremony will now have no outside speakers and no keynote address, the law school said.


The school also announced in April that it would host its May 23 ceremony off-campus, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, in a departure from the ceremonies of the past two years, which have been held at CUNY facilities. The Apollo requires guests to have tickets and has a smaller capacity than the school’s previous venues, the law school said.


In an email to CUNY students announcing her decision to withdraw, Ms. Archer said she felt compelled to decline “under the circumstances.”


“I cannot, as a leader of the nation’s oldest guardian of free expression, participate in an event in which students believe that their voices are being excluded,” Ms. Archer wrote.


The fervor over CUNY’s graduation comes as many colleges have in recent weeks adjusted — or altogether canceled — their commencement ceremonies after weeks of student protests.


But the New York City public law school, which is the most diverse in the country and has a reputation for fostering lawyers who go on to work in the interest of the common good, has long been a hot spot for pro-Palestinian activism.


The lawsuit represents the culmination of a simmering conflict over politics related to Israel that has been building for almost two years.


The complaint, which was filed in Manhattan federal court at the end of last month, was brought by eight plaintiffs, all of whom are current law students or soon-to-be graduates of CUNY. It claims that the school engaged in viewpoint discrimination and retaliation when it decided to bar students from nominating a peer to speak at graduation and from recording or livestreaming the event, breaking with tradition.


These decisions were made in response to the commencement speeches of the two prior speakers and reflect a “repression of speech related to Palestine,” the complaint says.


“I think for these plaintiffs and their peers, to speak out about the injustices, the catastrophic state violence that Palestinians in Gaza are facing is critical,” said Golnaz Fakhimi, the legal director of Muslim Advocates, the main organization representing the students.


Each year, the graduating law students select a member of their class to give a speech, a custom since at least 2016, according to the lawsuit. In 2022, they selected a Palestinian student, who is not named in the lawsuit. Her speech included statements criticizing Israel and drew the ire of some public officials, who called it antisemitic. Around that time, one City Council member withdrew a small amount of funding to the law school over the faculty’s support for a boycott movement against Israel, the lawsuit notes.


Last spring, students chose Fatima Mousa Mohammed, a Yemeni immigrant and an activist devoted to the Palestinian cause, as their speaker. Ms. Mohammed’s speech, like the one before it, denounced “Israeli settler colonialism,” but it ignited a firestorm of criticism, making Ms. Mohammed the subject of months of international tabloid coverage.


Lawmakers criticized Ms. Mohammed’s positions, and at least one advocacy group called for Sudha Setty, the law school’s dean, to resign. A couple of weeks after the speech, Mayor Eric Adams, who had spoken at the graduation, condemned the speech’s “divisiveness.” Later, the CUNY chancellor and board of trustees disavowed the speech in a statement, calling it “hate speech.”


In September, Ms. Setty said that the 2024 graduation would not include a student speaker, according to notes taken by a student government representative who attended a faculty meeting. In April, students learned that the ceremony would not be livestreamed.


The school has held commencement ceremonies that did not include student-selected speakers in the past, the law school said.


In a statement, Ms. Setty said that the law school was “working hard” to hold a commencement that both honors its students’ achievements and “meets the needs of our entire community.”


“The public controversy surrounding graduations and the protests we are seeing across the country should not overshadow their amazing accomplishments — the world needs more lawyers who serve the public interest — and we are looking forward to giving them a joyful send-off,” the statement said.


The plaintiffs have said that the school made the changes to its usual commencement plan because of the content of the previous two speeches, and their claim of a First Amendment violation hinges on this point. But one legal expert said that such an argument was shaky and unlikely to succeed.


“I don’t think it’s a strong free speech claim, legally,” said Burt Neuborne, a professor of civil liberties and the founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice. “I think that students don’t have the right to choose their commencement speakers any more than they have the right to choose their teachers or other participants in the academic life.”


Since the fall, some law students have asked administrators to reconsider the removal of the speaking slot, including in public letters, but those attempts have been unsuccessful. The plaintiffs also say that the pro-Palestinian activism on campus in the months since Oct. 7 has caused administrators to dig in their heels further.


“I really think this lawsuit is an opportunity for CUNY to stand on the right side of history,” Nusayba Hammad, a third-year Palestinian American student at CUNY and one of the plaintiffs, said. “So far, they have just chosen the wrong side over and over again.”