Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 15, 2024


                          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 251:


The total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 37,202, with 84,932 wounded.*  

More than 544 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—650 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 3,664 wounded***

Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on June 6,2024. 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 June 5, 2024—this is the latest figure.

*** These figures are released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded, according to declarations by the head of the Israeli army’s wounded association to Israel’s Channel 12, exceeds 20,000, including at least 8,000 permanently handicapped as of June 1.

Source: mondoweiss.net




Beneath The Mountain: An Anti-Prison Reader (City Lights, 2024) is a collection of revolutionary essays, written by those who have been detained inside prison walls. Composed by the most structurally dispossessed people on earth, the prisoner class, these words illuminate the steps towards freedom. 


Beneath the Mountain documents the struggle — beginning with slavery, genocide, and colonization up to our present day — and imagines a collective, anti-carceral future. These essays were handwritten first on scraps of paper, magazine covers, envelopes, toilet paper, or pages of bibles, scratched down with contraband pencils or the stubby cartridge of a ball-point pen; kites, careworn, copied and shared across tiers and now preserved in this collection for this and future generations. If they were dropped in the prison-controlled mail they were cloaked in prayers, navigating censorship and dustbins. They were very often smuggled out. These words mark resistance, fierce clarity, and speak to the hope of building the world we all deserve to live in.  

"Beneath the Mountain reminds us that ancestors and rebels have resisted conquest and enslavement, building marronage against colonialism and genocide."

—Joy James, author of New Bones Abolition: Captive Maternal Agency


Who stands beneath the mountain but prisoners of war? Mumia Abu-Jamal and Jennifer Black have assembled a book of fire, each voice a flame in captivity...Whether writing from a place of fugivity, the prison camp, the city jail, the modern gulag or death row, these are our revolutionary thinkers, our critics and dreamers, our people. The people who move mountains. —Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination


Filled with insight and energy, this extraordinary book gifts us the opportunity to encounter people’s understanding of the fight for freedom from the inside out.  —Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Golden Gulag and Abolition Geography


These are the words each writer dreamed as they sought freedom and they need to be studied by people inside and read in every control unit/hole in every prison in America. We can send this book for you to anyone who you know who is currently living, struggling, and fighting 


Who better to tell these stories than those who have lived them? Don’t be surprised with what you find within these pages: hope, solidarity, full faith towards the future, and most importantly, love. 


Excerpt from the book:

"Revolutionary love speaks to the ways we protect, respect, and empower each other while standing up to state terror. Its presence is affirmed through these texts as a necessary component to help chase away fear and to encourage the solidarity and unity essential for organizing in dangerous times and places. Its absence portends tragedy. Revolutionary love does not stop the state from wanting to kill us, nor is it effective without strategy and tactics, but it is the might that fuels us to stand shoulder to shoulder with others regardless. Perhaps it can move mountains."  —Jennifer Black & Mumia Abu-Jamal from the introduction to Beneath The Mountain: An Anti Prison Reader


Get the book at:




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:

Kevin Cooper #C65304
Cell 107, Unit E1C
California Health Care Facility, Stockton (CHCF)
P.O. Box 213040
Stockton, CA 95213




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) The last functioning hospitals in Gaza may soon be out of service, the health ministry warns.

By Raja Abdulrahim, June 8, 2024


A medic bends to help a child who is on the floor at a hospital.

A wounded girl at a hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza, on Friday. Credit...Bashar Taleb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The few overwhelmed hospitals still functioning across the Gaza Strip could be completely out of service if diesel generators needed to keep lights on and to run lifesaving medical equipment are not replaced or maintained soon, the Gaza Health Ministry warned on Saturday.


The ministry said it expected a number of generators at the hospitals to fail soon because Israel, as part of its siege of the territory, was preventing the entry of necessary spare parts.


“This means certain death for the sick and injured and the complete end of the health service,” the ministry said in a statement.


One of the main generators at Al-Aqsa Hospital in the central Gazan city of Deir al Balah recently broke down, leaving the medical facility with only one still functioning.


That hospital has been overwhelmed with victims of Israeli airstrikes as central Gaza has come under sustained bombardment in recent days, killing dozens of civilians and wounding many more, according to the ministry and Palestinian news media.


On Saturday, large numbers of wounded — including many children — were taken to Al-Aqsa Hospital, which is not only operating with a sole generator but is also facing a severe shortage of medicine and equipment, a health ministry spokesman said.


Gaza’s hospitals have been hit by Israeli strikes repeatedly since the beginning of the war, now in its ninth month, leaving many no longer functioning. The World Health Organization said this week that, since the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, there have been 464 Israeli attacks on Gaza’s health care system, affecting 101 health facilities.


Israel has long accused Hamas of using hospitals in Gaza for military purposes, but it has struggled to prove its early claim that the militant group maintained a command and control center beneath Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Evidence provided by he Israeli miliary and examined by The New York Times suggests that Hamas has used the hospital for cover, stored weapons inside it and maintained a tunnel beneath the complex that was supplied with water, power and air-conditioning.


The Israeli military has not yet presented similar evidence about other health care centers it has attacked.


Hamas and hospital administrators have denied the Israeli accusations.


With Israel also blocking most of Gaza’s supply of electricity, hospitals have had to rely almost entirely on generators to continue treating patients, many of them the victims of Israel’s military assault on the territory.


Even before the war, Israel and Egypt, which also shares a border with Gaza, had imposed a crippling land, air and sea blockade on the territory for many years.


Once the war began, Israel said it was imposing a “complete siege” on Gaza, creating a dire shortage of food, water and medicines. Israel has also blocked items such as sanitation equipment.


Israel’s civil administration, an arm of its military administration in Gaza and the West Bank, did not respond to questions about the hospital generators. It has previously said that the restriction on goods entering Gaza was meant to prevent the entry of items that could be used for military purposes.



2) A Small American Bomb Killing Palestinians by the Dozen in Gaza

The GBU-39 is increasingly the weapon of choice for the Israeli military and was used in two recent mass-casualty events.

By Lara Jakes, Lara Jakes writes about weapons and military aid to conflict zones, June 8, 2024


People stand or crouch around bodies inside white bags inside a morgue.

Palestinians mourning the dead last month in a Rafah morgue following an Israeli airstrike that killed at least 45 people and wounded hundreds more. Credit...Jehad Alshrafi/Associated Press

An American-made, precision guided bomb that homes in on specific targets and, ideally, limits civilian casualties, was used in airstrikes in Gaza that killed dozens of Palestinians, including women and children.


The weapon, the GBU-39, or small-diameter bomb, was used in an attack at a former United Nations school on Thursday and in a May 26 strike in Rafah. In both cases, the Israeli military defended its actions, saying the strikes were aimed at militants using civilians as human shields. The Gaza health authorities said that civilians had also been killed, and there were videos and pictures of women and children among the dead.


Two weapons experts told The New York Times that Israel has appeared to increase the use of the bombs since the start of this year, compared with the war’s earliest days, when it launched them in only 10 percent of airstrikes against Gaza. As a recent spate of Israeli strikes demonstrates, even a relatively diminutive bomb can inflict severe civilian casualties.


“The thing is, even using a smaller weapon, or using a precision guided weapon, doesn’t mean you don’t kill civilians, and it doesn’t mean that all of your strikes are suddenly lawful,” said Brian Castner, a weapons expert at Amnesty International.


Early in the war, the Israeli military mounted full-scale invasions of Gazan cities with tanks, artillery and 2,000-pound bombs, earning it international condemnation for heavy civilian casualties.


Under prodding from the Biden administration, analysts said, Israel has shifted its fighting strategy toward low-intensity operations and targeted raids, and it is now relying more heavily on the GBU-39. The bomb weighs 250 pounds, including 37 pounds of explosives, and is fired from warplanes.


Ryan Brobst, a military analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the shift appeared to start in January or February and “likely explains the change in munitions used.”


Last month, an unexploded GBU-39 was found at a school in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, and the distinctive rear tail fin of the same kind of bomb turned up at the scene of a May 13 strike farther south on a family home and school in Nuseirat that killed as many as 30.


And remnants of GBU-39s showed up outside residential homes that were hit by deadly Israeli airstrikes in Rafah in April, at an unidentified location in Gaza in March and in Tal-Al Sultan in January, analysts said.


These examples of Israel’s use of the GBU-39s represent only a fraction of what experts estimate have, overall, been at least tens of thousands of airstrikes with a variety of weapons. But wreckage found in the aftermath of airstrikes and requests to replenish Israel’s stockpiles signal that Israel clearly has stepped up its use of the GBU-39s, several analysts said.


“We’ve been seeing a lot more GBU-39 scrap in the last few months,” Mr. Castner said. “The trend has been from bigger to smaller.” (However, he said, investigators for Amnesty continue to see evidence of large munitions like the Mark-80 series, which weigh up to 2,000 pounds and were launched into densely populated areas early in the war.)


Only the Israeli military has a precise list of how often, and where, it has used GBU-39s since the war began in October, after Hamas militants killed 1,200 Israelis and took 250 hostages, Israel says. Israeli military officials did not answer questions about the weapon in Gaza, but said in a written statement to The New York Times on Thursday that “when the type of target and the operational circumstances allow, the I.D.F. prefers to use lighter munitions.”


The statement went on to say, “The munitions chosen by the I.D.F. are chosen in a way that match the type of munition to the specific target, with the intention of accomplishing the military goal while taking the environment into account and mitigating the harm to the civilian population as much as possible.”


During the first six weeks of the war, Israel routinely dropped 2,000-pound bombs in southern Gaza, where civilians had been told to move for their safety. The strikes reduced apartment buildings to huge craters and killed thousands of people, an investigation by The Times concluded in December.


In November, U.S. officials urged Israel to use smaller bombs to better protect civilians. Just a month earlier, the manufacturer of the GBU-39, Boeing Corp., had expedited delivery of 1,000 of the weapons from a 2021 order that had not yet been completed.


By December, President Biden was warning Israel that it was losing global support in the war because of “the indiscriminate bombing that takes place.”


“We have made it clear to the Israelis, and they’re aware, that the safety of innocent Palestinians is still of great concern,” Mr. Biden said on Dec. 12. “And so the actions they’re taking must be consistent with attempting to do everything possible to prevent innocent Palestinian civilians from being hurt, murdered, killed, lost.”


But even the smaller bombs have caused collateral damage.


The first known use of GBU-39s in the current war was on Oct. 24 in Khan Younis, where two family homes were struck with four of the bombs, one expert said.


In January, Israel struck the top two floors of a five-story residential building in Rafah shortly before 11 p.m. It killed 18 civilians, including four women and 10 children, according to an Amnesty International investigation that concluded that the bomb used in the strike was a GBU-39. It was among examples compiled in April by Amnesty International of potentially unlawful use of American-made weapons in Israel, going back to January 2023.


The State Department concluded in May that Israel had most likely violated humanitarian standards for failing to protect civilians in Gaza but said it had not found specific instances that would justify withholding American military aid.


Current and former U.S. officials said Israel generally does not share information on its use of GBU-39s with Washington, and a State Department system created in August to track civilian deaths by American-made weapons in foreign conflicts has struggled to compile a comprehensive list. One U.S. official said the May 26 airstrike in Rafah was being investigated as part of the new process to determine whether humanitarian laws are violated with the use of Americans arms.


Israel has been deploying the GBU-39s since 2008, using them in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon. The bombs have a range of at least 40 miles and are guided by GPS with coordinates for specific targets set before the weapons are launched. Experts say the GBU-39 is so precise that it can hit specific rooms within buildings.


The United States has delivered at least 9,550 GBU-39s to Israel since 2012, including the 1,000 shipped last fall under the expedited order, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms transfers. Mr. Brobst, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said more had probably been shipped since.


Most strike aircraft can carry eight GBU-39s at a time, and each can be independently guided to various targets. That makes them an efficient weapon for Israel’s army, said N.R. Jenzen-Jones, director of Armament Research Services.


In terms of limiting civilian casualties, however, “it’s not a panacea,” Mr. Jenzen-Jones said. “It may be small relative to other aerial bombs, but the small-diameter bomb still packs a significant punch.”



3) Gazans Speak of Devastation After Israeli Hostage Rescue

By Aaron Boxerman and Adam Rasgon reporting from Jerusalem, June 9, 2024


Children searching through the rubble on Sunday in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip. Credit...Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Doctors and nurses at the last major medical center in central Gaza on Sunday were dealing with an overwhelming number of wounded Palestinians, a day after an Israeli mission to rescue four hostages wrought devastation in the area.


The corridors and hallways of the facility, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al Balah, remained “densely crowded” with new patients, after more than 100 bodies were brought there on Saturday, said Khalil Daqran, a hospital official. Most of the bodies had since been buried or claimed by relatives, he added.


The medical facility — already packed before the Israeli assault in nearby Nuseirat — overflowed, said Abdelkarim al-Harazin, 28, a physician working there.


“The bombing was unimaginably intense,” said Dr. al-Harazin. “The whole hospital became one giant emergency room, even as people came looking for their dead relatives.”


Residents of Nuseirat reported some of the most intense bombardment of the war during the raid. Scores of Palestinians were killed and many more wounded in what the Israeli military called an effort to ensure the safe extraction of the hostages and special forces.


Israeli troops entered two residential buildings in which the hostages were being held, according to Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman. Admiral Hagari said there were families living in the apartments as well as armed Hamas militants.


The precise death toll remained unclear as health officials sought to gather statistics amid chaotic scenes at hospitals. Gazan health officials reported that more than 200 people were killed in the raid; the Israeli military said it was aware of fewer than 100 casualties, without specifying whether these were dead or wounded or both. Neither side provided a breakdown of combatants versus civilians.


When Al-Aqsa became overwhelmed, many of the wounded were sent to a nearby field hospital operated by the International Medical Corps, according to Javed Ali, an official with the aid group.


Abd Al-Rahman Basem Al-Masri, 25, who lives on the northern edge of Deir al-Balah, said Saturday had been the worst day he’d witnessed since the start of the war, a terrifying experience punctuated by roaring explosions.


Mr. al-Masri said he, his mother and his younger brother had driven back from his uncle’s house and were approaching their home when an airstrike pounded into the ground beside it.


In a video shot by the brother, an expanding cloud of smoke can be seen rising behind the building. “It was horrific,” Mr. al-Masri said. “In that moment, I lost hope that we can continue to live here.”


Another Gazan who lives in Nuseirat, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said he and more than 10 family members hid inside for hours as heavy airstrikes rattled the neighborhood. He said he had no idea hostages had been held in the area.


After the bombing subsided, he headed out into the devastated market area, where he said he saw the street covered in blood and bodies. Gazans there were cursing not just Israel, but Hamas as well, he said, blaming them for bringing this disaster upon them.


He said neither Israel nor Hamas cared about the destruction as they sought to attack one another. Everyday people, he added, were the victims.

A member of Israel’s war cabinet who threatened to resign will speak, and other news:


·      Benny Gantz, a top member of Israel’s wartime leadership, will give a speech on Sunday evening, his office announced in a statement. It did not provide further details. Mr. Gantz had threatened to resign from the wartime cabinet and set a deadline of Saturday for doing so, but postponed a scheduled news conference that night amid news that four hostages had been rescued in Gaza.


·      Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, said “it was a fair question” whether the rescue mission in Gaza would impede the effort to get Hamas to agree to a hostage-release and cease-fire plan that President Biden endorsed nine days ago. In a prerecorded interview that will air Sunday on CBS, Mr. Sullivan said he could not “put myself in the head of Hamas terrorists” but that “the whole world is looking to Hamas to say yes.” Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Qatar this week to press for a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.


·      The U.S. military said on Saturday that aid deliveries to Gaza through a temporary pier had resumed. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command said on Friday that the pier had been repaired, more than a week after it broke apart in high seas.


·      Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters in Washington converged around the White House on Saturday, urging President Biden to stop all military aid to Israel and calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.



4) Protest Against Gaza War Draws Thousands to the White House

The demonstration included ringing the White House grounds with a red banner showing the names of the more than 36,000 Palestinians killed during the war.

By Minho Kim, Reporting from Washington, June 8, 2024


Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally outside the White House in Washington, DC, on Saturday to protest against Israel's actions in Gaza.

Demonstrators carrying effigy of Biden with blood dripping from his hands at rally outside the gates of the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2024, in protest of U.S./Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters in Washington converged around the White House on Saturday, urging President Biden to stop all military aid to Israel and calling for an immediate cease-fire in Israel’s war in Gaza.


Holding signs calling Mr. Biden a liar, the protesters, mostly clad in red and bearing Palestinian flags, marched around the block of parkland where the White House sits. They spilled across two six-lane boulevards, pushing out tourists, whose faces showed variations of confusion, anger or intrigue. The police presence was heavy, and the U.S. Park Police used pepper spray against a protester at least once.


Mr. Biden was not at the White House, but in France, where he joined President Emmanuel Macron for a state dinner in Paris on Saturday night. But the dissenting voices in the American capital highlighted the challenges he faces domestically as he tries to carve out a narrow position that both supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas and calls for a quick cessation of hostilities.


The pro-Palestinian activists outside the White House, who were highly critical of the Biden administration’s response to the war, encouraged a key portion of Mr. Biden’s base — young and nonwhite voters — to reconsider their support for the president ahead of the election this fall.


“There is no world in which I can confidently vote for” Mr. Biden, said Nas Issa, a spokeswoman for the Palestinian Youth Movement, one of the left-leaning groups that organized Saturday’s protest. If Mr. Biden “doesn’t change course and hold Netanyahu and the Israeli government at large to account, under what circumstances would it be acceptable to any person of conscience to vote for him?” she added, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.


On Saturday afternoon, some protesters created a ring along the mile-long White House perimeter, unspooling consecutive lengths of red paper on which names of the more than 36,000 Palestinians who had been killed during the war were written. The others marched along the perimeter. The format was intended to evoke a red line that, if crossed by the Israeli military in Gaza, would cause Mr. Biden to withhold weapons shipments to Israel.


But Mr. Biden and his administration have said recent strikes that killed dozens of Palestinians in the Gazan city of Rafah did not amount to his red line for Israel. John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, has said the United States would need to see “a major ground operation” — not airstrikes — to step up its pressure on Israel.


“Biden’s red line was a lie!” read one of the pickets frequently used by the protesters.


The protesters who gathered on Saturday to apply political pressure to Mr. Biden said their biggest demand was the freezing of all weapons shipments to Israel until the war stops. The United States has committed $38 billion in military aid to Israel over 10 years.


“We’re funding it,” said Alexia Samano, a protester who traveled to Washington from Orlando, Fla. “Stop funding this.”


No arrests had been made by late Saturday afternoon, when tens of thousands of protesters finished marching around the perimeter, according to law enforcement. But statues in Lafayette Square, on the northern side of the White House, were vandalized with handwritten scribbles that read “free Palestine.” Two statues of cherubs were also covered in a red, gooey substance that seemed to represent blood.


And many protesters chanted slogans that some Jewish groups have said incite violence against Jews, such as “there is only one solution: intifada, revolution,” as well as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”


But according to one protester, such slogans were not a call for violence against Jewish people, but for a broader resistance against the status quo.


“We don’t have anything against Jews,” said Adam Kattom, a founding member of Peoria for Palestine, who had traveled 12 hours from Peoria, Ill., to join the demonstration.



5) The U.N. Security Council will vote on a U.S.-backed cease-fire resolution.

By Mike Ives, June 10, 2024


A woman in distress is helped out of a van by two men.

A Palestinian woman arriving at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday. Credit...Ramadan Abed/Reuters

The United Nations Security Council was expected to vote on Monday on a resolution brought by the United States calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, as Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken traveled to the Middle East in another push for a pause in fighting.


The U.S.-led proposal “would bring about a full and immediate cease-fire with the release of hostages,” Nate Evans, a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, said in a statement on Sunday. President Biden last month endorsed the proposal, which he said had been offered by Israel, “and the Security Council has an opportunity to speak with one voice and call on Hamas to do the same,” Mr. Evans added.


A vote was scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern. Even if the resolution passes, there was no indication that it would persuade Israel or Hamas to move forward with the cease-fire proposal.


The three-phase plan would begin with an immediate, temporary cease-fire and work toward a permanent end to the war and the reconstruction of Gaza. Mr. Biden said Israel had put forward the plan, and Hamas has signaled it is open to the terms he laid out, but neither side has said definitively that it would accept or reject the plan.


One major sticking point is whether a deal would allow Hamas to remain in control of Gaza — a scenario that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has described as a red line.


Another issue concerns the precise timing and logistics of a cease-fire. Mr. Netanyahu has said that Israel will fight until Hamas’s governing and military capabilities are destroyed. But Hamas has made any progress on a hostage deal conditional on an Israeli commitment for a permanent cease-fire and the full withdrawal of its troops from Gaza.


On Sunday, a new development in Israel’s domestic politics — the departure of a centrist party from Mr. Netanyahu’s emergency wartime cabinet — seemed likely to complicate the cease-fire negotiations.


The centrist party’s leader, Benny Gantz, has boosted the international credibility of Mr. Netanyahu’s government. Mr. Gantz has called for a cease-fire deal and pushed for an administrative body — backed by Americans, Europeans, Palestinians and other Arabs — to oversee civilian affairs in postwar Gaza. Analysts say Mr. Gantz’s departure could embolden far-right partners in Mr. Netanyahu’s governing coalition who have threatened to bring down the government if he moves forward with the latest proposal.


The U.S. mission’s statement on Sunday alluded to Gaza’s postwar future by saying that the cease-fire deal would lead to “a road map for ending the crisis altogether and a multiyear internationally backed reconstruction plan.” The statement did not provide further details or explain how Mr. Blinken plans to sell the plan to Israel and other parties in the region during his three-day trip to the Middle East, which began on Monday.


The politics of hammering out a realistic cease-fire deal are extraordinarily complex. One major obstacle has been the United States, a permanent member of the Security Council. It has vetoed three cease-fire resolutions since the war in Gaza began last October.


Last month, a U.S. official said that the United States also planned to block a draft resolution from Algeria that described Israel as an “occupying power” in Gaza and called for an immediate stop to the Israeli military offensive in the city of Rafah.


Edward Wong and Michael Crowley contributed reporting.



6) Israel says that the cease-fire plan ‘enables’ its war goals.

By Michael Crowley, Adam Rasgon and Aaron Boxerman, June 11, 2024



A day after the United Nations Security Council unanimously endorsed a U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal for Gaza, both Israel and Hamas emphasized on Tuesday that they were open to the plan, even as it remained unclear whether either would formally embrace it.


An Israeli government official said in a statement that the proposal “enables Israel to achieve” its war goals, including destroying Hamas’s capabilities and freeing all the hostages in Gaza. But the official, who could be quoted on condition that their name and office be withheld, stopped short of saying whether Israel would accept the agreement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly declined to take a firm stand on the plan.


A senior Hamas official, Husam Badran, said the group had “dealt positively” with the proposal despite “no clear and public stance” from the Israeli government. Earlier on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken had said that the fate of the deal rested with Hamas’s top leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, who has not said whether he supports it.


“All parties involved and following the negotiations know: Netanyahu is the sole obstacle to reaching an agreement that would end the war,” Mr. Badran said in a text message.


The statements offered little clarity to the fate of a cease-fire proposal that President Biden made public a week and a half ago in an effort to speed an end to the fighting. The 14-0 vote in the U.N. Security Council supporting the proposal came as Mr. Blinken met with Israeli leaders on his eighth wartime visit to the Middle East to press Hamas and Israel to agree to a cease-fire.


Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Mr. Blinken sought to put the onus directly on Mr. Sinwar, Hamas’s top official in Gaza, asking whether the group would act in the best interests of the Palestinian people by accepting the deal. At least, he said, it would pause the fighting and allow more humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza.


Alternatively, he said, Hamas could be “looking after one guy,” Mr. Sinwar, who is thought to be hiding underground in Gaza, “while the people that he purports to represent continue to suffer in the crossfire of his own making.”


Mr. Blinken said he had received explicit assurances from Mr. Netanyahu in their meeting on Monday that he supported the proposal. The Israeli leader sowed doubts last week when he called the idea of a negotiated permanent cease-fire — which Hamas has called essential — a “nonstarter.”


Mr. Netanyahu has said he will not accept any deal that ends the war before Israel is ready, even as experts cast doubt on whether its war goals can be achieved. The Israeli government official who released the statement on Tuesday doubled down on that view, saying: “Israel will not end the war before achieving all its war objectives: destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, freeing all the hostages and ensuring Gaza doesn’t pose a threat to Israel in the future. The proposal presented enables Israel to achieve these goals and Israel will indeed do so.”


But at the Security Council on Monday, Israel’s representative pointedly did not say whether her country backed the cease-fire proposal endorsed in the resolution.


The resolution adopted by the Security Council calls for an immediate cease-fire and negotiations on reaching a permanent end to fighting, and says that if those talks take longer than six weeks, the temporary truce would be extended. That appears to open the door to a longer pause in the war, one that some Israeli leaders have been loath to accept.


Mr. Blinken emphasized that “the commitment in agreeing to the proposal is to seek that enduring cease-fire,” adding: “But that has to be negotiated.”


Along with the immediate cease-fire, the first phase of the three-phase agreement calls for the release of all hostages being held in Gaza in exchange for a larger number of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, the return of displaced Gazans to their homes and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.


The second phase calls for a permanent cease-fire with the agreement of both parties. The third phase would consist of a multiyear reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of deceased hostages.


Mr. Blinken called the Security Council vote a sign that Hamas would be isolated if it does not agree to the proposed deal. The resolution “made it as clear as it possibly could be that this is what the world is looking for,” Mr. Blinken said.


Adam Rasgon and Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.



7) Torture Accusations Could Lead to Civil Rights Case in Mississippi

Federal authorities investigating the “Goon Squad” in a suburban sheriff’s office have widened their investigation, seeking out more victims of brutality.

By Brian Howey and Nate Rosenfield, Brian Howey and Nate Rosenfield are examining the power of sheriffs’ offices in Mississippi as part of The Times’s Local Investigations Fellowship, June 11, 2024


Christopher Mack, wearing a black-and-gray beanie and a gray sweatshirt with the words State M.S.U. on the front. He has two black eyes and red splotches on his forehead and nose.

A photo of Christopher Mack in front of the Rankin County jail that he said was taken after he was beaten by officers. Credit...Courtesy of Trent Walker

More than two months after deputies were sentenced for torturing two Black men in central Mississippi, federal prosecutors have widened their investigation and may sue the Rankin County sheriff’s department for civil rights violations, a serious escalation that could lead to federal monitoring.


Todd Gee, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, talked about the possibility at a meeting last month, where he urged local residents who attended to come forward if they had experienced violence or discrimination at the hands of deputies.


More than 50 people, including defense attorneys and civil rights advocates, packed into a library outside Jackson, Miss. Some shared stories of being harassed or falsely accused of crimes by deputies, according to several people who attended the meeting, which was closed to the press.


“Information from people like you can make a difference,” Mr. Gee told the crowd, according to video of the meeting obtained by reporters.


He explained that if deputies’ misconduct had been going on for years it could be evidence of a pattern of civil rights violations that could lead to a case against the department.


Rather than focusing on individual acts of misconduct, “pattern or practice” investigations determine whether civil rights violations have become part of an agency’s overall culture. Prosecutors can sue a department and seek a consent decree, a legally binding agreement that would force the department to implement reforms.


Rankin County came to national attention last year after deputies, some from a unit that called itself the Goon Squad, tortured two Black men in their home and shot one of them in the face, nearly killing him. Six officers pleaded guilty and were sentenced to federal prison in March.


An investigation by The New York Times and Mississippi Today last fall revealed that nearly two dozen residents experienced similar brutality when Rankin deputies burst into their homes looking for illegal drugs.


Sheriff Bryan Bailey of Rankin County, who has led the department since 2012, has vowed to remain in office despite calls for his resignation from the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. and others in the community.


Department officials did not respond to requests for comment on the federal investigation. Sheriff Bailey has denied knowledge of his deputies’ decades-long reputation for violence.


At the community meeting, some residents expressed concern that the sheriff had not been held accountable.


“You could sense the frustration,” said Dr. Ava Harvey, a local pastor who attended the meeting. “Something needs to be done because the trust is broken.”


Federal prosecutors held meetings like these in other cities across the nation as they were preparing lawsuits against police departments for civil rights violations — in Minneapolis after a police officer killed George Floyd and in Ferguson, Mo., after an officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager.


The consent decree in Minneapolis requires officers to use de-escalation tactics whenever possible, limits the use of tear gas during protests and prohibits officers from stopping drivers for broken taillights. In Ferguson, the police department is now required to limit when officers use force and end discriminatory policing.


Representatives from the Justice Department declined to comment on their investigation in Mississippi or on the community meeting.


Angela English, the president of the Rankin County chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., who helped coordinate the meeting, said prosecutors asked people who did not want to detail their stories publicly to speak privately with investigators. The U.S. attorney’s office plans to host more meetings, she said, noting that the prosecutors are still in the process of gaining the trust of the community.


“A lot of people are still afraid of what may happen to their families as a result of them talking,” she said. “As long as people like Bryan Bailey are still in charge — and this happened on his watch — then there’s still going to be that level of mistrust.”


In a statement to The Times and Mississippi Today two weeks ago, the Rankin County sheriff’s department said it had conducted an internal review of its deputies.


The review came after the news organizations reported that, for a generation, Rankin County deputies had terrorized local residents accused of drug possession. More than 20 people said deputies had beaten, strangled, waterboarded or burned them during home raids and traffic stops.


In multiple cases, people said they had filed complaints about their experiences — or told Sheriff Bailey personally about the abuse — only to be ignored.


Beyond the deputies who were sentenced, at least four others who were present when someone was allegedly tortured by officers have left the department in recent months. Three were fired for refusing to cooperate with an internal investigation, and another resigned in good standing, according to Mississippi Department of Public Safety records. In December, another deputy resigned to avoid being terminated after violating department policy and procedures, records show. Sheriff’s department officials did not respond to requests for comment on why the deputies left.


The department conducted another review in late May after The Times and Mississippi Today unearthed a private text thread where deputies discussed beating criminal suspects, traded memes about rape and posted pictures of rotting human corpses they had found on the job.


Department representatives said Sheriff Bailey was not aware of the private group chat.


“We are confident that the actions of our current employees are and will remain proper as they serve the citizens of Rankin County,” department officials said in a statement.


In recent months, more local residents have come forward to the press claiming they had been abused by deputies, and at least three people have filed federal lawsuits against the department accusing deputies of using excessive force against them in jail or during arrests.


In a lawsuit filed against the department two weeks ago, Christopher Mack said that in 2021 deputies beat him for 45 minutes at the county jail after he refused to share information about drugs and gangs with deputies.


Several jail inmates assisted the deputies during the beating, Mr. Mack said in an interview. Pictures he said were taken just after the beating show his eyes blackened and his back bruised. Red splotches on his forehead and nose show the imprint from a deputy’s boot, he said, and he was hospitalized and treated for a broken rib.


“It mentally messes with me every day,” Mr. Mack said, adding that since the incident he has been diagnosed with an anger disorder that can result from trauma and that he now takes epilepsy medication to treat seizures. “I stay angry. I just stay angry all the time.”


After the attack, Mr. Mack said, Sheriff Bailey asked him who had beaten him. Mr. Mack said that when he told the sheriff it was his own deputies, Sheriff Bailey cursed and walked away.


The department did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.


Residents have come to the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. before with complaints about the conduct of deputies, according to Ms. English. Until recently, many were too frightened to take action, but as more come forward, Ms. English said, their neighbors become more emboldened to speak out.


“People are tired of it,” she said. “They are not going to allow it to happen anymore.”



8) At U.C.L.A., Police Arrest More Than 20 Pro-Palestinian Protesters

Protesters marched through campus, pitched tents and occupied various quads in demonstrations that became confrontational at times.

By Jonathan Wolfe and Jill Cowan, Reporting from Los Angeles, June 11, 2024


Security forces on Monday. U.C.L.A officials were far quicker to bring in a police response than they were in late April, after a pro-Palestinian encampment formed on campus. Credit...Mark Abramson for The New York Times

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the University of California, Los Angeles, clashed with law enforcement officers on Monday, sometimes physically, as they attempted to occupy outdoor areas and re-establish a protest encampment in the last days of the spring quarter.


More than 20 of the protesters were arrested on Monday night and were released after being given misdemeanor citations for disrupting the campus.


The demonstration began earlier Monday in the form of a funeral procession, winding its way through campus as protesters read the names of Palestinians killed during the Israel-Hamas war. It was the latest indication that protesters intended to remain vocal, ahead of commencement ceremonies later this week and a Wednesday decision from the University of California regents about who U.C.L.A.’s next chancellor will be.


The university has experienced a tumultuous spring. Violent attacks by supporters of Israel began on the night of April 30, followed about a day later by the dismantlement of a pro-Palestinian encampment, involving hundreds of arrests.


Administrators had allowed that encampment to stand for days, but on Monday, scores of police officers and private security guards moved in swiftly. In one instance, they rushed in to confront protesters who tried to barricade themselves in a courtyard. In another instance, two officers pointed nonlethal weapons toward protesters as another demonstrator was being arrested and taken into a campus building.


At about 8 p.m., following a dispersal order earlier in the evening, police officers in riot gear from several agencies began detaining people. About 100 protesters remained, chanting at officers.


The U.C.L.A. Police Department said, in a statement, that approximately 25 protesters were arrested, cited for willful disruption and released. The protesters were given orders to stay away from the campus for 14 days. An additional protester was arrested earlier on Monday on suspicion of interfering with a police officer and then released.


“Our Student Affairs and Campus Safety teams are on site to help ensure the well-being and safety of our community,” Mary Osako, the university’s vice chancellor for strategic communications, said in a statement on Monday night.


In April, administrators initially took a hands-off approach to the pro-Palestinian encampment that assembled on a signature quad on campus, because they said University of California policies gave wide latitude to peaceful free speech.


But tensions subsequently rose as supporters of Israel established their own space nearby and confronted pro-Palestinian demonstrators. At the same time, pro-Palestinian activists had tried to prevent some students from accessing campus buildings and walkways, according to university officials.


Several days after the encampment was established, counterprotesters attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators, a night of violence that was widely condemned. Campus security guards and law enforcement officers stood by for hours as protesters were beaten and subjected to pepper spray.


In April, administrators initially took a hands-off approach to the pro-Palestinian encampment that assembled on a signature quad on campus, because they said University of California policies gave wide latitude to peaceful free speech.


But tensions subsequently rose as supporters of Israel established their own space nearby and confronted pro-Palestinian demonstrators. At the same time, pro-Palestinian activists had tried to prevent some students from accessing campus buildings and walkways, according to university officials.


Several days after the encampment was established, counterprotesters attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators, a night of violence that was widely condemned. Campus security guards and law enforcement officers stood by for hours as protesters were beaten and subjected to pepper spray.


Chancellor Gene Block, who was already set to step down in July, narrowly avoided censure and a vote of no confidence by members of the Academic Senate who were frustrated by his handling of the protest.


The University of California’s biggest employee union, representing about 48,000 academic workers, voted in May to strike over what they said was discrimination against pro-Palestinian speech, based on the response to the encampment. A judge in Orange County Superior Court on Friday put a temporary halt to the strike after the University of California argued it was too disruptive to students.


The protest on Monday came two days before the University of California regents are expected to choose Mr. Block’s successor.



9) A Palestinian Professor Spoke Out Against the Gaza War. Israel Detained Her.

The investigation of Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian of Hebrew University has prompted a debate inside Israel about the repression of free speech and academic freedoms since the war began.

By Damien Cave and Rawan Sheikh Ahmad, Damien Cave reported from Jerusalem and Rawan Sheikh Ahmad reported from Haifa, Israel, June 12, 2024


A woman protester wearing a light colored bucket hat holds up her hand with the words “Free Nadera” on it.

A protester with “Free Nadera” written on her hand, at a demonstration calling for a cease-fire, in Jerusalem in April. Credit...Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a Palestinian professor at a prominent Israeli university, first waded into the debate over the Gaza war by joining academics worldwide in signing a letter that called for a cease-fire. It branded Israel’s assault on the territory a “genocide” and the leaders of her university responded by urging her to resign.


That was soon after the war began on Oct. 7. Months later, the professor drew even more scrutiny for saying it was time to “abolish Zionism” and accusing Israel of politicizing rape. She was briefly suspended in March by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she has taught law and social work for nearly three decades. But right-wing Israeli politicians demanded more severe punishment and in April, the police detained her overnight.


“I have been persecuted and defamed, my academic production of knowledge flattened and my home and even my own bedroom invaded,” Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 64, told The New York Times.


The professor is now under investigation for incitement to terrorism — a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. And though she has not been charged, her case has prompted a profound debate inside Israel about the repression of free speech and academic freedom since the war began more than eight months ago.


The professor’s lawyers say she is being punished for her political views. And some other Israeli professors and students worry that the country’s universities — which had long defended the values of relative diversity and open-mindedness — have contributed to the suppression of dissent.


While universities argue they are simply trying to keep campuses calm, critics say there is a clear double standard across Israeli society: Violent rhetoric toward Palestinians from Jewish Israelis is often brushed aside while Palestinian citizens of Israel who express support for Palestinians in Gaza or criticize the conduct of the war face discipline or even criminal investigation.


As of May, police records show, 162 indictments for incitement to terrorism had been filed since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Nearly every case, according to Adalah, a legal center for the rights of the Arab minority in Israel, involved Arab citizens of Israel or Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, who mostly declined offers of citizenship after Israel annexed the area.


Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian is among about 500 Arab-Israeli citizens who have faced police investigations for incitement. Dozens of students have also been caught up in disciplinary proceedings by universities for vague expressions of religious belief or statistics and images that counter Israel’s narrative of the war, according to Adalah.


Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s case has drawn more attention than most because she is a globally recognized scholar under criminal investigation for statements related to subjects she has studied for decades.


“Violent extremism has been allowed to overtake and politicize the criminal justice and academic systems, and has reached new levels in my case,” she said. “This violent extremism has served to demonize Palestinians.”


A Palestinian of Armenian origin, the professor was born in the Israeli city of Haifa and educated at Hebrew University, where she received her Ph.D. in law in 1994. Her work has focused on trauma, state crimes, gender violence, law and society and genocide studies.


She has lectured worldwide over the past two decades, with visiting professorships at universities including Georgetown in Washington, and she tends to speak with a mix of outrage and academic jargon.


Abeer Otman, who studied for her Ph.D. with Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian, said she was also the kind of professor who was quick to hold a person’s hands during conversations about traumatic experiences, or line up a lawyer for someone in need.


But even before Oct. 7, Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s lectures and interviews, especially in the United States, were a focus for pro-Israel watchdog groups. The attention intensified when, after signing the letter mentioning genocide, she continued to speak out.


During a podcast interview recorded March 6 with American academics, she said it was time to “abolish Zionism,” calling it criminal. She also questioned the veracity of the Israeli government’s accounts of rape during the October attack.


“If it didn’t happen,” she said, “it’s shame on the state to use women’s bodies and sexuality to promote political agendas, to promote further dispossession of land, to promote further killing.”


A new report on Wednesday by a U.N. commission investigating the Oct. 7 attack documented cases indicating sexual violence against women and men during the attack and against some of those who were abducted.


After reviewing testimonies obtained by journalists and the Israeli police concerning rape, however, the commission said it had not been able to independently verify the rape allegations, “due to a lack of access to victims, witnesses and crime sites and the obstruction of its investigations by the Israeli authorities.”


The report said Israel did not cooperate with the investigation. Hamas has denied that its members sexually abused people in captivity or during the attack.


In the swirl of these competing claims, in mid-March, a right-wing Israeli news channel edited a video version of the professor’s podcast interview in a way that cut out caveats and context and a clip of the edit went viral.


Hebrew University suspended the professor, explaining in a March 14 letter to students and faculty that “one of the most important values​​ of the social work profession is that you always believe and side with the victims so it is not possible to teach social work while declaring that rape didn’t happen.”


After Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian met with university leaders on March 27 and told them that as a feminist researcher, she believes all victims, and that she did not deny there were rapes on Oct. 7, she was allowed to return to teaching.


In early April, right-wing members of Israel’s Parliament called for her to be fired and for the police to investigate her for incitement. They urged economic sanctions against Hebrew University to increase the pressure to oust her.


Then on April 18, the police detained the professor at her home in East Jerusalem. Her lawyers said she was ill at the time, but had to spend the night in a cold jail cell with cockroaches even though she had not been charged with any crime.


The next day, the police and prosecutors asked to extend her detention, but a judge rejected the request and freed her.


Over the next few weeks, the Israeli authorities questioned Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian for more than 17 hours in several lengthy sessions, delving into her books and views on a variety of subjects, according to her lawyers.


“The police have already exceeded the authority given to them by asking her about other statements and things that are her opinions,” said Mazen Masri, senior lecturer of law at City University of London and a member of the professor’s legal team.


Alaa Mahajna, her lead lawyer in Jerusalem, said: “The message is clear — no dissent from the Zionist consensus is allowed.”


The Israeli police and national security ministry did not respond to requests for comment.


Days after Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s arrest, members of the criminology faculty at Hebrew University condemned her on television, arguing her body of work was tainted by politics. Hebrew University’s leaders responded by saying that while some of her research papers and books “may appear to be fundamentally unfounded, they underwent a professional peer review process.”


In interviews, several Jewish Israeli professors of law and other subjects said that while they disagreed with some or all of the professor’s views, they felt betrayed not just by the police, but also by the leaders of many universities for failing to come out more strongly in favor of free expression.


Ariel Porat, a law professor and president of Tel Aviv University, said this was the first time he could recall that a professor had been detained in Israel for speech.


“I think it was a terrible thing to arrest her,” he said.


Hebrew University also issued a statement the day after the professor’s detention calling for her speedy release. But some faculty members said that the university has not done enough to defend free speech, and that her suspension started the cycle of persecution.


Shlomi Segall, a political philosophy professor at Hebrew University, joined a small demonstration in late April outside a police station where Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian was being questioned. He wore a white T-shirt that said in Hebrew: “They are taking away our democracy. Are you fine with it?”


“We see every citadel of democracy crumbling,” he said.


A few days later, after Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian was called back for more interrogation, she said the case would not keep her quiet.


“I am a strong woman,” she told The Times. “We should also remember that this horrible ordeal pales in comparison with what women, children, doctors, academics, and practically everyone in Gaza is going through,” she added. “We should not lose our focus on their suffering.”



10) The W.H.O. says Gazans are facing ‘catastrophic hunger.’

By Ephrat Livni, June 13, 2024


A crowd of men holding pots and pans as they try to collect food.

Palestinians gathered for food in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, in February. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The leader of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that much of Gaza was facing “catastrophic hunger” and that “famine-like conditions” have spread through the besieged territory after eight months of war that have made delivering food exceedingly challenging.


“Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the W.H.O., an arm of the United Nations.


The warning from the global health authority came as Israel was facing mounting international pressure over its conduct of the war, and soon after a United Nations commission released a report on Wednesday accusing both Israel and Hamas of war crimes. The report said that Israel, during its monthslong campaign to oust Hamas, was using starvation as a weapon of war through a blockade that restricts what supplies can enter Gaza.


Mr. Tedros said that 1,600 children in Gaza under 5 years old have been diagnosed with and treated for severe acute malnutrition, and that 8,000 had been diagnosed with acute malnutrition. He also attributed 32 deaths to malnutrition, including 28 among children under 5 years old.


The W.H.O. and its partners have “scaled up” nutrition services in Gaza, he said, but only two facilities in the enclave are set up to serve patients who were severely malnourished. Mr. Tedros added that the dire and dangerous conditions in Gaza have complicated the ability of aid groups to provide aid, and that they have been increasingly imperiling children’s lives.


“Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increase the risks for malnourished children,” he said.


Aid groups and the U.N. have blamed the hunger crisis in Gaza on Israel’s restrictions on aid entering the enclave, while Israel has insisted that more than enough food is entering Gaza, but that Hamas has been stealing and hoarding supplies.


The Israeli agency that coordinates aid deliveries into Gaza, known as COGAT, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. The agency’s latest online update, on Tuesday, said that 193 aid trucks entered Gaza via Egypt and two entry points in Israel on Monday, noting that 16 aid truck deliveries went to northern Gaza.


In a statement on social media, Hamas accused Israel of escalating “a brutal war of starvation” and aggravating “the humanitarian catastrophe and manifestations of famine in the Gaza Strip.” Hamas called on Arab and Muslim countries to exert pressure on Israel to allow more aid to be delivered.


For much of the war, one of the crucial entry points for aid has been a border crossing at Rafah between Egypt and Gaza. As a result, Rafah, the territory’s southernmost city, was one of the few places where desperate Gazans could find food and other supplies.


But after Israel seized the Rafah crossing in early May when it began its offensive there, Egypt responded by closing its side of the crossing. Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian officials have since wrangled over how to reopen the crossing to aid.


Though international aid agencies cannot officially declare whether Gaza meets the technical threshold for famine until more data is collected, the head of the U.N. World Food Program said in May that famine had arrived in parts of Gaza.


Even if the gates open to aid tomorrow, malnutrition experts say many more people will die from starvation, or from diseases like diarrhea, because their bodies are so weak and medical care is so scant.


And by the time famine is finally declared, “it’s already very, very late, and there’s already going to be widespread death,” Kiersten Johnson, who directs the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a U.S. government program that tracks hunger in global crises, said in May.



11)  Carnage and Contradiction: Examining a Deadly Strike in Rafah

Israel said it took care to avoid harming civilians when it targeted two Hamas fighters. An investigation shows civilian casualties were almost inevitable.

By Bilal Shbair, Iyad Abuheweila, Neil Collier, Cassandra Vinograd, Christiaan Triebert and Lauren Leatherby, June 14, 2024


People mourning around bodies covered in white sheets.

Mourning those who were killed in the strike, at a morgue in Rafah on May 27. Credit...Jehad Alshrafi/Associated Press

Fear plagued Saleh Mohammed al-Hila, 37, on that Sunday.


“I was lying on the ground of the tent and told my son, ‘May God save us from this night,’” he recalled.


Hamas had launched rockets at central Israel hours earlier, setting off air-raid sirens in the Tel Aviv area for the first time in months. Israel’s military said the barrage had been fired from Rafah — the city in southern Gaza where Israeli forces were advancing and Mr. al-Hila was sheltering with his family in a camp for displaced people.


Israel was sure to retaliate, he thought. And it did — Israel’s military fired back and said it had destroyed the launcher used in the rocket volley, which was not near the camp.


But a few hours later, Israel struck again, dropping two 250-pound bombs on temporary structures in the camp. Lethal shrapnel hurtled in every direction, and soon a fire was raging. By morning, dozens of Palestinians had been killed, including four of Mr. al-Hila’s relatives.


International outrage followed the second May 26 attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who usually rejects criticism of Israel’s warfare, called the killing of civilians a “tragic accident.” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, said there were “no tents in the immediate vicinity” of the targets. Israel said that it had taken great care to avoid civilian harm, despite Hamas militants’ practice of operating among civilian centers, and that it would open an investigation into the strike.


The New York Times spoke with multiple witnesses and munitions experts, reviewed videos of the scene and analyzed satellite imagery to piece together a clearer picture of the strike.


Maj. Nir Dinar, an Israeli military spokesman, told The Times that Israeli forces were not aware that the compound targeted was in a place serving displaced people.


But the Times investigation found that Israel bombed targets inside a camp that had existed for months, sheltering hundreds of people displaced by the war. The analysis raises questions about an assessment the Israeli military said it made before launching the strike that it was unlikely to harm civilians.


Against the Backdrop of a Military Offensive


Ahead of Israel’s operation in Rafah, which began on May 6, the military had issued evacuation orders for neighborhoods east of the city center, but not the area that included this camp, which had housed up to 350 families.


The camp, Kuwaiti Al-Salam Camp 1, was created several months ago, near the Tal al-Sultan area of northwestern Rafah. It eventually grew to include dozens of tents and about 40 long metal sheds with wooden frames, videos and satellite imagery show. Each shed typically housed five to seven people, according to one of the charities that built the camp, though it is unclear how many people were in any of the sheds during the Israeli strike.


Mr. al-Hila got a tent there for his family in March. His mother and sister settled into another. By that point, the family had been displaced four times.


On May 26, Mr. al-Hila and his 6-year-old daughter, Rehab, had been in his mother’s tent, but he went back to his own for evening prayers. His mother had asked him to return with her other grandchild, 2-year-old Mostafa. Her walker was broken; she was waiting for a new one.


Around that time, Israeli jets were closing in. Their targets, the Israeli military later said, were Khaled al-Najjar and Yassin Rabia, Hamas officials accused of orchestrating attacks against Israelis. The Israeli military said the two were holding meetings in two of the camp’s sheds.


The jets released two American-made GBU-39 “small diameter” bombs, each weighing about 250 pounds and carrying 37 pounds of explosive. The GPS-guided bombs have wings and tail fins that pop out once they are dropped, allowing them to glide long distances and steer to their targets. The maker, Boeing, bills the GBU-39 as a “low collateral damage” precision weapon.


Israel had come under intense criticism for using heavy munitions in populated areas, accused of causing indiscriminate casualties and destruction. After extensively using 2,000-pound bombs, each with 945 pounds of explosive, the Israeli military shifted to smaller, more targeted attacks.


Using bombs the size of the GBU-39 would be “certainly indicative of an effort to be discreet and targeted and precise,” said John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman.


But in this strike, the combination of weapon, location and timing caused destruction well beyond the target. The explosions blasted the bombs’ steel casing into shards that could cause death and injury up to around 570 feet away. And they detonated in corrugated metal structures with the potential to create far more shrapnel.


The sheds that were targeted stood within a few yards of several others, as well as parked vehicles. Israeli military drone video analyzed by The Times appears to show at least four people walking nearby when the bombs exploded.


Two videos posted to social media captured the moment of the strike, with metadata from the videos suggesting it occurred at 8:47 p.m.


Two minutes later, footage filmed from afar revealed large flames. Billowing clouds of smoke rose into the orange-tinged night sky within minutes, as the sound of Israeli drones hummed in the air.


The two targeted sheds and the two closest to them were obliterated, an analysis of satellite imagery from the next day shows. Where a row of 11 sheds had stood, seven remained, next to about 6,000 square feet of blackened earth.


Farther away, several other sheds appear to show blast damage, with pieces apparently missing that were there a day earlier.


Chaos and Carnage


Video shot by witnesses immediately after the strike captured the chaos: people running and screaming, pulling charred bodies from flaming wreckage, clambering over twisted metal as they tried to save the living. A man held up the headless body of a small child.


Witnesses said tents near the area of the blast were no match for the shrapnel that rocketed outward.


Mohammed Khalil Qannan and his family were finishing dinner when his wife, Nedaa, grabbed a yellow jug to fetch water for tea. As she reached the entrance to their tent, he said, “I just heard two heavy strikes and saw a giant red light with smoke up over the whole dark area.”


Ms. Qannan screamed, “My leg! My leg!” and collapsed, unconscious, her legs shredded by shrapnel, as cries from tents around them filled the air. Their eldest son, Khalil, rushed to help her, Mr. Qannan said, but he, himself, panicked.


“I just went out of the tent screaming unconsciously asking relatives and people around to come and save my wife,” he said.


Gravely wounded, Ms. Qannan was eventually loaded into a small yellow bus, along with other broken bodies, living and dead, Mr. Qannan said.


Mohammed Abu Helal, a doctor at the European Gaza Hospital, was at home preparing a dinner of canned tuna and beans when he saw a flash “that lit up the entire area” and heard booms. He rushed to the scene, about 100 yards away, where he treated the wounded as the smell of “burned flesh” filled his nose.


“There were critical conditions, charred bodies, dismembered bodies and amputation injuries and wounds,” he explained.


At first, the raging fire provided the only light. Rescue workers and ambulances arrived within about 15 minutes, according to footage verified by The Times. Their red and blue flashing lights cut through the darkness, and Dr. Abu Helal said they did as much as they could with what supplies they had.


The ambulances were low on bandages, he said, so they used torn clothing in some cases and tried to triage the patients.


“This guy is alive, hurry up, bring an oxygen tank,” he recalled telling the medics. Or, “This guy has no hope of surviving, leave him and move to the next.”


The Palestine Red Crescent said at 10:01 p.m. that its ambulance crews were transporting “a large number” of dead and wounded from an Israeli strike in Rafah.


At 10:48 p.m., Gaza’s health ministry said only that a “large number” of deaths and injuries had been reported.


What Israel Said


As grisly images from the strike spread on news sites and social media, there was no comment for hours from the Israeli military. When a statement came, it did little to clear up the initial fog of war.


Around midnight, the military said that it had struck a Hamas compound using “precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas’ use of the area.” It was “aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited several civilians in the area were harmed,” its statement added, saying that the “incident is under review.”


An hour later, a new statement named the two dead Hamas commanders and detailed the accusations against them.


As morning came, families searched for their loved ones in clinics, hospitals and the wreckage. Video showed flattened structures and burned-out cars at the scene. Children dug through the debris, searching for anything salvageable: scattered pasta, burned dates, tiles and bent metal.


And the toll climbed: 45 killed and 249 injured, Gaza’s health ministry said that afternoon.


Mr. al-Hila was struggling to sleep — or even speak.


His mother, who had asked him to return with her grandson, was dead. So were his sister, his 15-year-old niece and his 1-year-old nephew. The boy’s body was unrecognizable; a brother helped identify him from the gray of his trousers.


“I feel I am dying and having a nightmare I cannot forget or get out of,” he said.


Mr. Netanyahu offered his first comments on the attack around 6:30 p.m. on Monday — nearly 22 hours after the strike and blaze. He told the Israeli Parliament that “despite our supreme effort not to harm uninvolved civilians, a tragic accident occurred to our regret last night.” And he said, as he often has, that Hamas embeds in the civilian population to ensure innocent casualties.


Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, has said that the group tries to keep Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way. But Hamas has taken advantage of the urban areas in Gaza to provide its fighters and weapons infrastructure with an extra layer of protection, running tunnels under neighborhoods, launching rockets near civilian homes and holding hostages in city centers.


With international calls for accountability growing, Admiral Hagari said on Tuesday that the bombs were “the smallest munition that our jets can use.” That is true, though some Israeli drones can carry smaller explosives.


Though he said there were “no tents in the immediate vicinity” of the targets, satellite imagery from the same day shows more than 60 tents and other makeshift structures within 500 feet, inside the range given by U.S. military reference guides for risk of death or serious injury.


Admiral Hagari also stressed that the strike did not hit either a nearby U.N. compound or an Israeli-designated “humanitarian area” for people fleeing the city, as some initial reports had claimed, without acknowledging the displaced persons’ camp.


The Times’s analysis shows that the site targeted was within the borders of the camp, and suggested Israel had failed to take adequate care to safeguard civilians. The camp was well-known, the metal sheds were spaced just over a meter apart, and there were tents in the area.


Satellite imagery and videos show the first of the metal shelters, roughly 48 feet long, including those that were bombed, had been erected nearly five months earlier. One of the organizations that ran the facility, Al-Salam Association for Humanitarian and Charitable Works, confirmed that the structures were part of the camp.


The association said that Israeli authorities were aware of the camp, and had been consulted in choosing its site. Major Dinar said the Al-Salam organization had not coordinated the establishment of its camp via the Rafah municipality. He denied the area was “defined” as a displaced persons’ camp or a humanitarian zone.


Admiral Hagari has said that Israel engaged in aerial surveillance to avoid civilian casualties, and even delayed the strike on that basis. But Major Dinar said that if people were there, “it is because Hamas took them there and hid behind them.” And he declined to discuss the decision-making process behind the strike in detail, saying it was being probed by a military commission charged with looking into allegations of wartime misconduct.


The Israeli military also referred questions to COGAT, an Israeli agency dealing with the Palestinian territories, which did not respond.


To support the contention that Hamas operated in the area, Admiral Hagari showed surveillance imagery of a battery of rocket launching tubes, partly embedded in the earth, about 140 feet from the target. Hamas had fired toward Israel from there on Oct. 7, he said. The tubes were still there, intact, when The Times visited the site after the strike on May 26.


The Israeli military’s top legal official, Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, called the strike in Rafah “very serious” and told a conference that it would be investigated “to the fullest extent.” The military, she added, “regrets all harm to noncombatants during the war.”


The Cause and Effect of the Fire


Among the biggest unanswered questions are how people were killed and injured — by the blast or by the fire — and what set fire to the sheds.


Admiral Hagari appeared to blame the deaths on the blaze alone.


“We are investigating what caused the fire that resulted in this tragic loss of life,” he said, stating that Israel’s weapons alone could not have ignited such a large blaze.


One possibility, he said, was that weapons “which we did not know of” might have been stored nearby and detonated. The Israeli military, he said, was assessing social media videos “which appear to show secondary explosions.”


It is not clear what videos he meant. The Times has reviewed dozens of videos and has been unable to find any that suggest a significant secondary explosion.


Admiral Hagari called the fire “unexpected and unintended,” but aid workers and others note that displaced people in a camp have cooking fires, and often have camp stoves with tanks of flammable — potentially explosive — cooking gas.


At least two gas canisters are visible in footage recorded at the scene the day after the strike, a detail first reported by the French newspaper Le Monde and confirmed by The Times.


Admiral Hagari said that the military’s review was examining every possibility. By that point, the camp had already been dismantled with the help of volunteers from the Al-Salam Association, which lost two of its own in the strike.


For Mr. Qannan and his family, another painful chapter with a lot of unknowns awaits.


“I am not feeling any safer in this place,” he said. “I will pack everything and leave this area.”


Reporting was contributed by Yasmena Almulla, Abu Bakr Bashir, John Ismay, Johnatan Reiss, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad, Arijeta Lajka, Hiba Yazbek, Anushka Patil, Patrick Kingsley, Haley Willis, Robin Stein and Aaron Boxerman. Ainara Tiefenthäler contributed video production.



12) In Picture-Postcard English Villages, a Seismic Political Shift Is Underway

As chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt also represents a district where his Conservative Party traditionally counts on rock-solid support. Not anymore.

By Stephen Castle, Photographs by Andrew Testa, Reporting from Shere, in southern England, where Jeremy Hunt was raised, and from Chiddingfold, another nearby village, where he met with local voters, June 14, 2024


A cyclist with a child in a rear seat and another in a trailer talks to a man on a park bench, as cricket is played in the distance.

A cricket club in Cranleigh, England, part of Mr. Hunt’s newly reshaped parliamentary district. He has won election to Parliament five times.

With picture-postcard villages, country pubs and an unmistakable air of affluence, there are few greater strongholds for Britain’s Conservative Party than Surrey, where voters have chosen Jeremy Hunt, the current chancellor of the Exchequer, as a lawmaker in five consecutive elections.


But even he admits that he may be out of Parliament after July 4.


“I’m very well known locally, I’m knocking on doors, I’m talking to people and I’ve got a certain following from my 19 years as a member of Parliament,” Mr. Hunt told The New York Times last week as he prepared to appeal for votes in Chiddingfold, 50 miles southwest of London. “But this is definitely the toughest it’s ever been.”


The fact that the second most powerful man in the government now sees himself as the underdog is testament to the scale of the threat facing the Conservatives at next month’s general election.


Angry at economic stagnation, the impact of Brexit and a crisis in public services after years of government austerity, traditional Tory voters are deserting the party in the prosperous English districts that have long provided its most reliable support.


Several opinion polls predict a landslide victory for the opposition Labour Party that would sweep many longstanding Conservative lawmakers from Parliament. Although Mr. Hunt, who was raised in the area and still lives there, may yet beat the odds, analysts say he is vulnerable.


“I would be really surprised if Jeremy Hunt survives, frankly,” said Robert Ford, a professor of political science at the University of Manchester, adding that even if Mr. Hunt’s local connections, moderate politics and high profile won him a strong personal vote, “it’s not much of a life raft when you are facing a tsunami.”


In leafy places like Chiddingfold, where the village pub dates from the 14th century, the most potent threat comes not from Labour but from the centrist Liberal Democrats, or Lib Dems, whose poll ratings have risen recently. The party’s more moderate brand of politics is more palatable to conservative-leaning voters unwilling to switch to Labour.


Godalming and Ash, which Mr. Hunt hopes to win, is a new constituency created after local boundaries were redrawn, but it includes much of the area he has represented since 2005. And this part of Surrey has many commuters who work in high-paying finance jobs in London, as well as those who moved out of the capital to raise families.


In areas where they are best placed to beat the Conservatives, the Lib Dems also hope to persuade centrist or left-wing voters who might usually favor Labour or the Green Party to switch their support, a process known as tactical voting.


In Shere, the village where Mr. Hunt first went to school, a Lib Dem sign stands outside the home of Bob Jarrett, who worked for the European Commission before retiring to the village more than two decades ago. “I am a member of the Labour Party,” admitted Mr. Jarrett with a grin, “but voting Labour here is a waste of a vote, so I vote Liberal Democrat.”


Critics say the Conservatives have only themselves to blame for the mutiny in their backyard. Former Prime Minister Liz Truss sacrificed the party’s reputation for economic competence by spooking financial markets with a plan for unfunded tax cuts. Her scandal-prone predecessor, Boris Johnson, alienated moderate college-educated Conservatives in the South with his bombastic pro-Brexit rhetoric, disdain for business and breaking of lockdown rules during the Covid pandemic.


Many Tories stuck with the party at the last election because Labour was then led by Jeremy Corbyn, a hard-left lawmaker. But his successor, Keir Starmer, has moved the party firmly into the center and is a much less scary prospect.


“These are voters who don’t share the worldview of the post-Brexit Conservative Party — on Brexit, on immigration, on social values, on the nationalist drum-banging stuff,” Professor Ford said.


The beneficiary here could be the Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Follows.


“I don’t think there has been some paradigm shift away from the Conservatives, I think the Conservatives have shifted away from people,” Mr. Follows said as he sipped coffee in a cafe in Godalming. As for Mr. Hunt, he added, “He’s been a cabinet minister four times — if he’s here thinking he’s the underdog I think things have gone a little astray in the world.”


As Mr. Hunt headed into Chiddingfold’s village hall in jeans, jacket and an open neck shirt, he blamed global headwinds for the troubles facing his party and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.


“I think it’s similar to the way that President Biden is struggling in the U.S. after a period where voters have been really bruised by the pandemic and inflation,” he told The Times. “Incumbent governments have suffered.” But, he conceded, “We haven’t done everything right ourselves.”


Inside, the questioning for Mr. Hunt from about 40 villagers was polite but often critical. The ice broke early when the chancellor’s cellphone rang and he killed the call, declaring, “It’s not Rishi.” Then it was onto questions about tax, the economy, health care, lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street and Brexit, which Mr. Hunt opposed during a 2016 referendum but now supports.


Complicating matters, Mr. Hunt faces a challenge on his right from Reform U.K., the populist successor to the Brexit Party. Reform’s candidate in the area, Graham Drage, said that the decision of the Trump ally Nigel Farage to lead the party had increased his support, albeit in an area which voted to stay in the European Union.


A proponent of deregulation and tax cuts, Mr. Drage, a self-employed consultant, is unperturbed when asked if, by taking votes from the Conservatives, he will be helping the Lib Dems oust Mr. Hunt.


“I would have absolutely no concern about that at all,” said Mr. Drage. “There is no point in re-electing the Tories so they can betray everyone for another four or five years.”


Jane Austin, who works in Mr. Hunt’s parliamentary team, said that he had always treated the area like a marginal seat but that this time, “There are probably one thousand, two thousand votes in it — that’s where I genuinely think we are.”


Were he to lose, Mr. Hunt could be the most high-profile Tory election casualty since Michael Portillo, a former cabinet minister, in 1997, the year Tony Blair brought Labour to power in a landslide. But Mr. Hunt, 57, is popular in this area and particularly in Shere, the village where he was raised and where his younger brother, Charlie, lived until his death last year from cancer at 53.


Outside Hilly’s Tea Shop in Shere, Craig Burke, who owns a health software company, recalled how he recently ran a marathon with Mr. Hunt to raise money for a cancer charity.


“The thing about Jeremy was that he made his money in business before getting into politics, so it was never a money thing,” said Mr. Burke. “He went into it with the right intentions.”


So strong is the tide running against the Conservatives, however, that even friends are thinking carefully how to vote.


“If I didn’t know Jeremy, I would be in the mind-set of the country,” said Mr. Burke. “To have a change.”



13) The story of the U.S. ‘floating dock’ built from the rubble of Gaza’s homes

By Tareq S. Hajjaj

—Mondoweiss, June 14, 2024


Trucks transporting heavy equipment and large cement blocks for use in constructing the Trident, A U.S. army floating dock off Gaza’s coast, March 15, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)

The Trident, a U.S.-built “floating pier” off Gaza’s coast that is expected to deliver over 150 trucks’ worth of humanitarian aid into Gaza once fully operational, has been out of service for weeks. The port has received damage to its infrastructure in unclear weather-related circumstances, and on June 15 U.S. Central Command released a statement saying that “the temporary pier will be removed from its anchored position in Gaza and towed back to Ashdod, Israel” due to expected high seas.


“The decision to temporarily relocate the pier is not made lightly but is necessary to ensure the temporary pier can continue to deliver aid in the future,” the statement read.


Despite this, the floating pier appears to have served as a joint command center for both Israeli and U.S. forces during the invasion and massacre at Nuseirat refugee camp on June 8, which saw the retrieval of four Israeli captives.


The damage that rendered the Trident unusable ostensibly resulted from heavy waves that affected parts of the port and four U.S. Navy ships, according to U.S. Central Command. On the ground, Palestinians believe that resistance groups have targeted the U.S. port with mortar shells, but no resistance faction in Gaza has claimed responsibility for any attack against the port. No other news has emerged to corroborate the speculation either. 


But one thing is becoming clearer. The Trident appears to be used to facilitate the Israeli army’s invasions throughout Gaza. Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine, said that Israel “perfidiously” used aid trucks as cover during the Nuseirat invasion, calling it “‘humanitarian camouflage’ at another level.”


Under international law, perfidy, or the “feigning of civilian or non-combatant status,” is considered a war crime.


Several Palestinian factions rejected the presence of the American port on Gaza’s shores, while at the popular level, activists mocked the port and circulated pictures of armored U.S. Hummer-type vehicles at the pier. Some sarcastically commented that these armored Jeeps must be there to protect canned beans, sauce, and food supplies.


The government media office in the Gaza Strip issued a press statement about the American port, which officially entered operation on May 17 before the weather rendered it unusable. The statement said that the U.S. administration was trying to beautify its ugly face and appear civilized by establishing a pier for the delivery of humanitarian aid. 


“The U.S. says the goal is to bring humanitarian aid and food to our Palestinian people in the Strip, who are exposed to policies of starvation, forced displacement, and genocide carried out by the Israeli army with the participation, involvement, and blessings of the American administration,” the statement said. 


The statement questioned the intentions of the American administration, asserting that the Trident does not come close to covering the need of the Palestinian people for food in Gaza.


“The port will not break the famine,” it said. “Instead, it will allow the Israeli occupation to prolong this war, which has devoured everything.”


When the construction of the port was first announced back in March, the U.S. promised that American forces would not enter the Gaza Strip. Biden said there would be “no boots on the ground,” and the U.S. military’s presence would only be to facilitate delivery. The aid would reach Cyprus by air or by sea, where it would be strictly inspected by Cypriot customs officials, Israeli and American crews, and United Nations representatives, before being loaded onto commercial ships and sailing 320 kilometers to the Trident.


United Nations relief organizations would then receive and distribute the aid to their facilities near the Gaza coast. After the first batch of food was delivered through the American port in May, the United Nations World Food Program assumed responsibility for distributing aid inside the Strip. The WFP’s activities, however, have not been suspended due to concerns for the safety of its teams.


This costly and complex logistical operation was conceived by the U.S. administration as a workaround for Israel’s policy of starvation and systematic blocking of aid through Gaza’s usual land crossings, which are far more efficient and cost-effective.


The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Gaza should not depend on a costly floating dock that is easily damaged by sea conditions. OCHA stressed that land routes remained the most feasible means of delivering aid to the people of Gaza.


A port soaked in blood


During the ongoing genocidal war, the Israeli army destroyed entire cities. Over 80% of Gaza City was leveled. Other parts of northern Gaza and Khan Younis were also heavily hit, and continue to be. With over 13,000 missing people in Gaza, still stuck under the rubble, Palestinians say the floating port, which the Israeli army filled with the ruins of destroyed houses in the Gaza Strip, means that the humanitarian aid passes over a port drenched in blood.


When Biden first announced the pier, the Israeli army began collecting the rubble of homes in the Gaza Strip and placing it in the port construction area so that the ruins would be a bridge for the arrival of American aid trucks.


Political analyst and writer Nasser Eliwa raises an essential question regarding the American port: what is America’s endgame? 


“Gaza today represents a high concentration [of interests] for the American administration in the context of the future conflict over power,” Eliwa told Mondoweiss. “The U.S. sees Gaza as the last stage in a line of communication that stretches between India, Asia, and the Arabian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. It is a port and a place to collect, re-export, and rehabilitate gas for Europe. It is also a reserve port for its fleets and aircraft carriers.”


“This is what the U.S. wants,” Eliwa maintains. “It wants a permanent base on the eastern Mediterranean.”


Eliwa explains that three primary goals animate America’s policy toward Gaza. First, it wants to allow Gaza to function as a base for the naval fleets that feed and finance from the port of Haifa, or as an alternative base in the event of a political shift in Israel. 


Second, Gaza constitutes a meeting point for gas, whether in the Mediterranean Sea or from what comes from the Gulf to the Mediterranean coast. 


“In the gas trade, the security of the gas flowing to Europe is essential,” Eliwa explains. “America will therefore be a guardian of Europe.” 


Third, Gaza will be downstream of the Red Sea Canal, which is the route of the Gaza Valley.


“Gaza today is the new land that America occupies openly and clearly, and this port is only the first step in this plan,” Eliwa said.


The American port can therefore be seen as a first milestone in a process of transforming the political geography of the Gaza Strip. Eliwa explains that the floating pier will soon become a giant port, and that it is not unlikely that Arab countries will supervise it in exchange for the reconstruction of Gaza. He explains that the presence of the port would facilitate closing all of Gaza’s crossings, eliminating the civilian population’s reliance on other land crossings.


“Today, aid enters,” Eliwa says. “And some of it may bring in commercial materials, then reconstruction materials, and there may be travel for individuals. These are speculations, but they may seem closest to reality.”


He adds that Gaza now has an independent entry point for the U.S., which can land marine forces, relief, food, and commercial materials into the Gaza Strip.


Earlier this week, Mondoweiss published a report quoting an intelligence source from within the Gaza resistance, which believes that the Trident will eventually be used to facilitate the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza based on humanitarian grounds.


These are fears that are echoed by people in Gaza. Many expect that the port will facilitate the process of displacing people from the Gaza Strip across the sea, which is expected if the war continues and the American port serves as a means of transportation. “If this port provides people with freedom of movement, thousands of people from the Gaza Strip will want to travel and return to trade, study, or visit,” Eliwa said. “If this port continues to exist, it will redefine the Gaza Strip in the geostrategic sense.”



14) As War Drags On, Gazans More Willing to Speak Out Against Hamas

Ordinary Gazans are bearing the brunt of the 8-month Israeli military onslaught on the territory and many blame the Palestinian armed faction for starting the war.

By Raja Abdulrahim and Iyad Abuheweila, Raja Abdulrahim reported from Jerusalem, and Iyad Abuheweila from Istanbul, June 15, 2024


Two women in long black dresses and head scarves, one of them carrying a child, walk on a road lined with tall piles of rubble.

Palestinians walking past destroyed buildings in central Gaza on Wednesday. Credit...Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On Oct. 7, as the Hamas-led attack on Israel was unfolding, many Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza to celebrate what they likened to a prison break and saw as the sudden humiliation of an occupier.


But it was just a temporary boost for Hamas, whose support among Gazans has been low for some time. And as the Israeli onslaught has brought widespread devastation and tens of thousands of deaths, the group and its leaders have remained broadly unpopular in the enclave. More Gazans have even been willing to speak out against Hamas, risking retribution.


In interviews with nearly a dozen Gaza residents in recent months, a number of them said they held Hamas responsible for starting the war and helping to bring death and destruction upon them, even as they blame Israel first and foremost.


One Gazan, Raed al-Kelani, 47, said Hamas always acts in its own interests.


“It started Oct. 7, and it wants to end it on its own terms,” said Mr. al-Kelani, who worked as a civil servant for the former Palestinian Authority government in Gaza, which was run by a rival faction to Hamas before Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.


“But time is ticking with no potential hope of ending this,” he added. Mr. al-Kelani now makes meals and distributes food aid in shelters for displaced Gazans. “Hamas is still seeking its slice of power,” he said. “Hamas does not know how to get down from the tree it climbed.”


Some of the Gazans who spoke to The New York Times said that Hamas knew it would be starting a devastating war with Israel that would cause heavy civilian casualties, but that it did not provide any food, water or shelter to help people survive it. Hamas leaders have said they wanted to ignite a permanent state of war with Israel on all fronts as a way to revive the Palestinian cause and knew that the Israeli response would be big.


Throughout the war, hints of dissent have broken through, sometimes even as Gazans were mourning loved ones killed by Israeli attacks. Others waited until they left the enclave to condemn Hamas — and even then were at times reluctant in case the group survives the war and continues to govern Gaza.


In March, the well-known Gaza photojournalist Motaz Azaiza caused a brief social media firestorm when he obliquely criticized Hamas after he left the territory. He was one of a handful of young local journalists who rose to international prominence early in the war for documenting the death and destruction on social media.


“If the death and hunger of their people do not make any difference to them,” he wrote in an apparent reference to Hamas, “they do not need to make any difference to us. Cursed be everyone who trafficked in our blood, burned our hearts and homes, and ruined our lives.”


Some Palestinians attacked him over the comments, and Mr. Azaiza felt compelled to defend himself publicly. But inside Gaza, many agreed that he was giving voice to a sentiment that had grown over the course of the war.


Gauging public opinion in Gaza was difficult even before the war began. For one, Hamas, which long controlled territory, perpetuated a culture of fear with its oppressive system of governance and exacted retribution against those who criticized it.


Now, polling has become even more difficult, with most of the 2.2 million Gazans displaced multiple times by the war, constant breakdowns in communications and constant Israeli military offensives.


Still, some recent surveys reflect the weak or mixed support in Gaza for Hamas and its leaders. In some cases, contradictory results underline the complications in surveying a transient population during the fog of war.


In March, a survey by the West Bank-based Institute for Social and Economic Progress asked Gazans how they felt about Hamas leaders. About three-quarters opposed Yahya Sinwar, the group’s Gaza-based leader, and a similar share opposed Ismail Haniyeh, the movement’s political leader in exile.


“When you realize six months in or seven months in that Gaza is completely destroyed, your life as a Gazan is completely destroyed, that’s where people are coming from when they are not supportive of Sinwar or Haniyeh,” said Obada Shtaya, a Palestinian and a founder of the Institute for Social and Economic Progress.


Other polls painted a more mixed picture. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Gaza and published this past week showed that support in Gaza for Hamas leaders is slightly higher, and that the share who are satisfied with Hamas leadership in the territory has risen since December.


But it also showed that support for Hamas continuing to govern the territory had declined slightly in the past three months.


Basem Naim, a Hamas spokesman, said that public support for Hamas in Gaza was no less than 50 percent. That includes Hamas members in Gaza — which he said numbered more than 100,000 — and their families.


“Are there people in Gaza who blame Hamas? Of course,” he told The Times. “We aren’t saying that 100 percent of Gaza residents are Hamas supporters or are happy with what happened,” he added.


“In the end,” he said, “this is a natural thing in societies that some people are for and some people are against. And we welcome this position.”


Some of the nearly one dozen Gazans The Times spoke to about Hamas say this war has lasted longer than any previous conflict between Israel and an armed Palestinian faction in Gaza in part because Hamas seeks not only to survive, but to cling to power. And if it does, there is no guarantee that future wars with Israel will not plunge Gazans back into the same misery.


Hamas says it will not agree to any cease-fire deal with Israel that leads only to a temporary truce, wary that the war would restart once the Israeli hostages are freed. The group says it wants a permanent cease-fire.


Mr. Naim said that if Hamas had such low popularity numbers as a result of the war, then it should be left to elections that allow Palestinians to choose their representatives. But over the past decades, Palestinians in both Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank have had few opportunities to express their voice in democratic elections.


The two territories are separated geographically, and while Hamas has governed Gaza for more than a decade, the more moderate Palestinian Authority administers some parts of the West Bank.


The Fatah party, a rival to Hamas, lost a legislative election to Hamas in 2006. The next year, Hamas fighters routed Fatah forces from Gaza and forcibly seized control of the territory. The political chasm between Hamas and Fatah has, in large part, hindered elections since then.


In 2021, Palestinian parliamentary elections were delayed indefinitely after Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, the president of the Palestinian Authority, raised concerns about possible Israeli government constraints on the voting. However, there were also suggestions at the time that Mr. Abbas may have delayed because he was worried about Fatah losing ground.


Mr. Naim blamed Israel and the United States for disrupting past Palestinian elections.


One Gaza resident who in recent months fled to Egypt with her family said that she hears regularly from friends and family that they do not want the war to end before Hamas is defeated in Gaza. She said Hamas had prioritized its own aims over the well-being of the Palestinians they purport to defend and represent.


“They could have surrendered a long time ago and saved us from all this suffering,” said the woman, who asked not to be named for fear of possible retribution if her criticism were made public.


Even for Palestinians who chafed under Hamas’s iron grip on Gaza for more than a decade, Oct. 7 gave them a feeling, at least initially, that this was a battle of liberation from Israeli occupation. Much of Gaza’s population are either refugees or descendants of refugees who fled their homes in present-day Israel after they were expelled or forced to flee during the war surrounding the establishment of the Israeli state. They have never been allowed to return.


When Hamas attacked Israel, most Gazans supported that “form of resistance,” said a 26-year-old lawyer from Gaza who also asked not to be named.


“But what we don’t support is them continuing with this war when they have not accomplished any of the goals they set out to accomplish,” the lawyer said. “This isn’t resistance. This is insanity.”


Hamas’s stated goals for the attack touched mostly on broader Palestinian aspirations beyond Gaza’s borders. And some residents of the territory have long felt that during each new round of war between Hamas and Israel, the group is seeking to raise its global profile and champion more universal Palestinian causes at the expense of ordinary Gazans.


One of Hamas’s aims was to free Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, some of them from Gaza, but others from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It also wanted to stop Israel from exerting increased control over Al Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem — one of Islam’s holiest sites — and to stop the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.


The more that Hamas pushed those objectives rather than ending the war quickly, Gazans said they felt other Palestinians were winning their freedom at their expense.


“I do not want to sacrifice my life, my home and house for anyone,” Ameen Abed, a resident of Jabaliya in northern Gaza, said at the time of one of the prisoner releases.


“Who are you to impose this kind of life on me? My home has gone because someone’s imprisonment will end after four months, why?” he said. “What did I benefit from?”


While Hamas and even the Israeli hostages were in the underground tunnels, he said, Gazans were above ground with no protection from Israeli and U.S.-made bombs dropped over their heads every day. That is an oft-heard complaint by Hamas’s critics in Gaza.


“There is uncontrolled anger against Hamas,” he said. “It threw the Palestinian people into the bottom of the well.”



15) Mountains of Trash Create New Perils in Gaza, U.N. Agency Says

By Raja Abdulrahim and Abu Bakr Bashir, June 15, 2024


Huge piles of garbage on the site of a dirt road where people walk. Tents line the other side of the road.

Garbage piles in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, in May. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mountains of trash have accumulated across the Gaza Strip, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, warned this week, deepening the wartime perils for the vast number of displaced Palestinians sheltering in often squalid encampments or in the crowded homes of relatives.


UNRWA said on social media on Thursday that more than 330,000 tons of solid waste had accumulated in or near populated areas throughout Gaza, which it said posed “catastrophic environmental & health risks.” Many displaced people do not have access to clean water, working toilets or reliable medical care


Among the dangers the agency has highlighted is hepatitis A, a virus, often transmitted through person-to-person contact or contaminated food, that may cause liver disease. More immediately, those infected can suffer debilitating fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice and other problems.


Malak Nassar, 21, who fled the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya months ago, was recently diagnosed with hepatitis A at a clinic in the central Gazan town of Deir al Balah. She had been unwell: pale and lethargic. Her mother, Fadia Nassar, 42, initially thought she might have the flu.


“I didn’t expect her to get hepatitis at all,” the elder Ms. Nassar said. “I knew it was spreading already, but I did not want to believe Malak had it.”


Less than a month ago, Ms. Nassar’s sister-in-law, a doctor, died of hepatitis, she said, adding, “I was very worried when I heard Malak had it.”


Lack of fuel for waste-removal vehicles has compounded sanitation problems, and UNRWA accuses the Israeli military of blocking UNRWA members from accessing landfills.In addition, many of the agency’s sanitation centers, machinery and trucks for removing trash have been destroyed.


UNRWA has said that for the sake of public health, access to the enclave’s two main landfills must be ensured, upgrades must be made to temporary dump sites and additional funding is needed to maintain waste-removal vehicles and supplies of containers.


The Nassar family has been sheltering in a crowded apartment with relatives in Deir al Balah and buying drinking water from local shops. Recently, the elder Ms. Nassar found worms in the water. Her daughter became ill soon after.


“At the clinic, I saw dozens of people who were told by doctors that they had hepatitis,” Ms. Nassar said. “I felt somewhat relieved that Malak did not look as sickly pale as they did.”


Now, the family members are trying to protect themselves by paying much higher prices to buy bottled water that comes from outside Gaza, and good quality food and vegetables.


But Ms. Nassar said their options to try to stay healthy were limited “in such miserable conditions.”


The U.N. says two-thirds of Gaza’s roads have been damaged, and other news:

·      Two-thirds of the roads in Gaza had been damaged or destroyed as of the end of May, the United Nations said, based on a satellite image analysis. About 680 miles of roads have been destroyed, 220 miles have been severely affected and more than 900 miles have been moderately affected, according to a report from the U.N. Satellite Center released Friday. Aid groups trying to distribute humanitarian assistance in Gaza and civilians trying to flee to safer areas have said they have been hampered by the extent of damage.


·      Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister, will head to Washington for meetings with U.S. officials later this month, the Pentagon said in a statement on Saturday. Neither Israel nor the United States explicitly outlined the purpose of the visit. The Biden administration has voiced concern over Israel’s plans — or lack thereof — for postwar Gaza, as well as escalating cross-border strikes between Israel and the politically powerful Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.


·      The search for a Filipino sailor missing from a cargo ship that was damaged in an attack by an Iran-backed Yemeni militia stretched into Saturday after the rest of the 22-member crew, was evacuated Friday, the Philippines’ migrant workers ministry said. The Greek-owned ship, the Tutor, was abandoned after the attack by the Houthi militia on Wednesday and was drifting in the Red Sea, according to a British maritime agency run by the country’s navy. The U.S. military said late Friday that it had destroyed seven Houthi radars in Yemen, the latest in a wave of strikes targeting the rebels.


·      The United Nations this week released its annual report on children and armed conflict. The international body for the first time put the Israeli military on the list for attacks on schools and hospitals that killed children. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were also added to the list for the first time for killing, wounding and abducting children. The U.N. said that conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory “presents an unprecedented scale and intensity of grave violations against children, with hostilities leading to an increase in grave violations of 155 percent” in 2023. It said it had verified more than 8,000 grave violations against 4,360 children, of which more than 4,000 were Palestinian and more than 100 were Israeli.


·      Southern Gaza could soon face “catastrophic levels of hunger” similar to the crisis in the enclave’s north, the World Food Program warned on Friday, saying that food supplies were running low amid escalating fighting. Carl Skau, a top W.F.P. official, said the situation in the south was “quickly deteriorating.” Israel’s ground offensive in Rafah has shut down the flow of aid through the border crossing there for more than a month, and supplies stockpiled by the W.F.P., an arm of the United Nations, are dwindling. “The progress we have made is being reversed,” he said. More than a million people have now been pushed out of Rafah into a zone along the coast, where he said they face dire conditions.