Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 19, 2024


Leonard Peltier self portrait

Free Leonard Peltier This Week

The U.S. Parole Commission is considering his parole right now.

He is the longest-held political prisoner in the United States, unjustly kept behind bars for decades.


Click here to email the parole commission:





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This is our message:


I write to you today in support of parole for Leonard Peltier, who is almost 80 years old and uses a walker to move about within the walls of a maximum-security prison.

He is imprisoned for his alleged role in the deaths of two FBI agents during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota in 1975. Imprisoned at the age of 31, Mr. Peltier was sentenced for aiding and abetting in a case where his co-defendants, principally charged with the murders, were found not guilty on grounds of self-defense. In fact, the prosecutors have admitted they do not know who killed the agents and could not prove Mr. Peltier committed a crime that day. 

A former FBI agent familiar with his case has called publicly for Peltier’s release. A former federal prosecutor who oversaw Peltier’s post-trial sentencing and appeals has also called for his release, saying: “I have realized that the prosecution and continued incarceration of Mr. Peltier was and is unjust. We were not able to prove that Mr. Peltier personally committed any offense on the Pine Ridge Reservation.”

Please grant Leonard Peltier his freedom after nearly a half century of incarceration.


Click here to send it:



Sign here:



After doing this action, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.


This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $5 now:




Thank you!


—The RootsAction.org team




                          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 255:


The total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 37,347, with 85,372 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 1,140—662 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 3,664 wounded***

Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on June 17, 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 13, 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) 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.



2) Israel announces a daily pause in its fighting near a key Gaza border crossing.

By Vivek Shankar and Isabel Kershner, June 16, 2024


Soldiers walking in a sandy area.

Israeli soldiers patrolling along Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip, on Thursday. Credit...Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Israeli military said on Sunday it would suspend daytime military operations near a border crossing in southern Gaza every day “until further notice” in order to allow more humanitarian aid to enter the enclave, as aid groups make increasingly urgent warnings about the lack of food and other basic goods.


Israel said that it would halt military activity daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. along the route that connects the Kerem Shalom crossing to Salah al-Din Road in Gaza and then runs north. Kerem Shalom sits at the intersection of Gaza, Egypt and Israel, which controls the gateway.


The Israeli military later clarified that the pause would be limited and that there would be “no cessation of fighting” in southern Gaza overall. “The fighting in Rafah is continuing,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, said on social media.


It was not immediately clear what effect the pause would have on the volume of aid entering Gaza. To coincide with the pause, Israel said on Sunday that more than 1,000 aid trucks inspected by the Israeli authorities had crossed into Gaza from Kerem Shalom and were waiting to be unloaded. Distributing that aid, Israeli officials said, would be contingent on relief agencies.


A spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian office, Jens Laerke, said that he welcomed the Israeli announcement, but that it “has yet to translate to more aid reaching people in need.” He called on Israel to take additional steps, including expediting the passage of aid trucks through checkpoints in Gaza and allowing in more fuel and communications equipment to speed relief deliveries.


“We hope this leads to further concrete measures by Israel to address longstanding issues preventing a meaningful humanitarian response in Gaza,” Mr. Laerke said. “The U.N. and our humanitarian partners are ready to engage with all parties to ensure lifesaving assistance reaches those in need across Gaza.”


The announcement of the pause, made on the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, comes amid a flurry of negotiations, mediated by the United States, Qatar and Egypt, to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. One sticking point in those talks is a disagreement between Hamas and Israel over the permanence of any cessation of hostilities. Israel maintains that it will continue fighting Hamas.


But by initiating the limited pause, Israel appeared to be responding to months of international criticism that its military campaign has left Gazans desperately short of food, water, medicines, fuel and other supplies.


The United Nations has said that hunger is widespread in the enclave and that more than 50,000 children need to be treated for acute malnutrition. Aid groups have said that the Israeli military’s activity in southern Gaza has made distributing aid nearly impossible.


COGAT, the Israeli agency that oversees policy for the Palestinian territories and that liaises with international relief organizations, said the passage of aid trucks was now being prioritized to get more food into Gaza.


Last month, Israeli troops moved on the southern Gaza city of Rafah and closed the Kerem Shalom border crossing after Hamas launched a deadly rocket attack on Israeli forces in the area. Aid shipments into the territory — already well below levels needed to sustain Gazans — plummeted further. Within days, Israel reopened the crossing at Kerem Shalom, but another border gate at Rafah, on the Egyptian border, remains closed.


Data compiled by the United Nations shows that the number of aid trucks entering southern Gaza remains well below the levels before the incursion in Rafah.


Israel has described Rafah as the last holdout for Hamas and ordered hundreds of thousands of people who had sought shelter there to flee for what it has described as humanitarian “safe zones” that it would not attack. But officials in Gaza have reported civilian deaths even in some of those zones.


It remains clear, aid groups say, that Gazans need much more assistance.


“Hospitals in ruin, restrictions on humanitarian access and scarce medical supplies and fuel across #Gaza are pushing the health situation beyond crisis level,” the main U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said on social media on Saturday.


Matthew Mpoke Bigg contributed reporting.



3) ‘There won’t be any Eid’: On a major Muslim holiday, Gazans find little to celebrate.

By Raja Abdulrahim, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad and Abu Bakr Bashir, June 16, 2024


A large group of men and boys bowing their heads in prayer in a courtyard strewn with rubble.

Palestinians performing the Eid al-Adha morning prayer on the first day of the Muslim holiday in the courtyard of Gaza City’s Omari Mosque, which was heavily damaged in Israel’s military offensive. Credit...Omar Al-Qattaa/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

After eight devastating months of war, Muslims in Gaza on Sunday will mark a somber Eid al-Adha, a major religious holiday usually celebrated by sharing meat among friends, family and the needy.


Adha means sacrifice, and the ritual killing of a sheep, goat or cow on the day is meant as a symbol of the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. But this year, nearly everyone in Gaza is needy. Hunger has gripped the Palestinian territory as Israel has unleashed an eight-month military offensive on the enclave and severely restricted what is allowed to enter, including humanitarian aid.


Many do not feel like celebrating.


“There won’t be any Eid, nor any Eid atmosphere,” said Zaina Kamuni, who was living with her family in a tent on a sandy expanse of land in southern Gaza called Al-Mawasi. “I haven’t eaten any meat in five months.”


“It will be a day like any other day, just like Eid al-Fitr,” she added, referring to the other major Muslim holiday, which Gazans observed more than two months ago under the same conditions.


Since the war began on Oct. 7 after the Hamas-led attack on Israel that Israel estimates killed 1,200 people, Gazans have endured intense regular bombardments and deprivation. More than 37,000 people have been killed, according to Gazan health authorities, and hunger is rampant.


“With continued restrictions to humanitarian access, people in #Gaza continue to face desperate levels of hunger,” UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, posted on social media on Saturday, adding that more than 50,000 children require treatment for acute malnutrition.


On Sunday, the Israeli military announced a daily pause in military operations near a southern Gaza border crossing in order to allow more aid to enter the territory, although it was not immediately clear whether many more supplies would get in. The U.N. World Food Program warned this past week that southern Gaza could soon see the catastrophic levels of hunger previously experienced by Gazans in the north of the territory.


Many Gazans have clung to hope amid reports of negotiations and proposed cease-fire deals between Israel and Hamas. But the passing of each holiday — including Christmas and Easter for Gaza’s small Christian population — is a reminder of how entrenched this war has become.


In past years, Adnan Abdul Aziz, 53, who is living in Deir al Balah, in central Gaza, had been able to buy a lamb and slaughter it on Eid. On the morning of Eid, he and his family would eat lamb liver for breakfast and for lunch would make a traditional Palestinian dish with the meat. They would give the rest to family and friends and to the needy.


Now, because of the lack of electricity and higher costs at markets, Mr. Abdul Aziz must buy food daily, depending on what is available and what he can afford. But the feasting is not the only thing he will miss this year, he said.


“There are the family visits and gatherings, giving money to the kids, buying new clothes for everyone, making sweets, doing Eid prayers,” he said. “None of this is doable this year. Everyone is sad and has lost someone or something.”


Aya Ali Adwan, 26, got engaged to be married before the war began. Her wedding, which had been set for February, was postponed, another celebration disrupted by the conflict.


Originally from northern Gaza, she and her family have been forced to flee eight times during the war. They are now sheltering in a cramped tent in Deir al Balah, where the heat has been approaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit, making the tent unbearably hot.


“My spirits are shattered,” she said. “We should be busy with preparations for Eid, like baking cookies and the usual tasks, such as cleaning the house and buying clothes, like any Palestinian family before Eid. But this year, there is nothing.”


Many relatives who would have visited their home during Eid have been killed in the war, she said.


“Right now, the only thing we need is to feel safe, even though we lack everything,” she said. “The only thing we need is for the war to stop and for us to return to our homes.”


Ameera Harouda and Bilal Shbair contributed reporting.



4) Anti-government protesters fill the streets in Tel Aviv.

By Anjana Sankar, June 16, 2024


Protesters sit in front of three tents with a tightly packed crowd behind them. Many hold up signs in Hebrew.

Protesters holding signs in Hebrew; one compares Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the former Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Credit...Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Protesters filled the streets Saturday in Tel Aviv to demand early elections and the return of the remaining hostages taken during the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack.


The latest round of protests came as the Israeli military lost eight soldiers to an explosion in southern Gaza, one of the single biggest setbacks for the military during the war.


Chanting slogans and waving Israeli flags, protesters called for an immediate cease-fire to bring the hostages home and end the war. Others called for the ouster of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Saturday that Israel must press on with the war to destroy Hamas despite “the heavy and agonizing price.”


The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents the families of the captives, dedicated Saturday’s protests, on the eve of Father’s Day, to the fathers currently held hostage by Hamas and those whose children are still in captivity.


Weekly protests in front of Israel’s Parliament, the Israeli military headquarters and in Hostages Square in Tel Aviv have become a regular feature in Israel, especially as frustrations and anger grow over the war in Gaza.


Some 120 hostages still remain in Gaza, though it is unclear how many are still alive. Last week, the Israeli army freed four hostages in a daring rescue operation that Hamas said killed more than 200 Palestinians.



5) For Campus Protesters in Brussels, Familiar Methods, but Different Outcomes

Pro-Palestinian student activists at one Belgian university have borrowed from the U.S. playbook of encampments and slogans. The results, however, have been starkly different.

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Reporting from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel campus in Brussels, June 16, 2024


A female student wearing a black and white scarf around her shoulders speaks into a large bullhorn during a street protest.

A meeting last month at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, or V.U.B., where student protests related to the war in Gaza have played out more calmly than those on U.S. campuses. Credit...Gael Turine for The New York Times

On the leafy campus of a Dutch-speaking university, students have for months been demanding that their institution break ties with Israeli academia over the war in Gaza.


Their campaign borrows extensively from the U.S. campus protest playbook. The students have set up an encampment. They have staged daily demonstrations. And they have sometimes used slogans that many Jews view as a call for the elimination of Israel, like, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”


In the United States, the protests have taken place amid a hyper-polarized political environment, contentious relations between students and administrators, and acrimonious hearings in Congress. But in Belgium’s capital, the protest at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, or V.U.B., has been far more peaceful because of a unique combination of factors: a supportive political environment (Belgium is a vocal critic of Israel); a proactive rector; strict protest rules; and, crucially, a tiny campus Jewish community that has chosen not to confront protesters despite discomfort over some of the protests.


As a result, and as like-minded protests incited by the war have brought disorder and violence to campuses in the United States as well as in Europe, the students on the Brussels campus have taken pride not only in the success of their protest, but also in its vibe.


“It’s really crazy to look at the United States and see what’s happening there,” Ruaa Khatib, a protester who has Palestinian roots, said as she woke up on a recent rainy morning after a late-night security shift at the encampment.


The contrast between her campus’s setup and the protests the students have seen online and on social media has been stark, she said. In the United States, pro-Palestinian campaigns on college campuses have been amplified by widespread media coverage and a presidential election. There, campus confrontations have opened up a new line of attack for Republicans and forced President Biden to directly address an issue that has divided his party.


The difference in Brussels, Ms. Khatib said, was a reflection of the political context in Belgium. The Belgian government has been among the most outspoken critics of Israel’s conduct of its war in Gaza, and was among the first in the European Union to call for a cease-fire.


That has not spared it from the sometimes fierce debate about the war. Belgium is home to a substantial Jewish population, as well as a significant Muslim minority of primarily North African descent. Both antisemitism and Islamophobia are rife, groups focused on both trends report, and have gotten worse since the Oct. 7 attacks.


At V.U.B., students are tasked with safeguarding their encampment by enforcing a set of rules plastered on walls. Drugs and alcohol are prohibited, as are outsiders, violence, antisemitism and hate speech.


Ms. Khatib credited the university’s leadership for engaging with the protesters from the start. Several pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel students at V.U.B. said that Jan Danckaert, the university’s rector, had started a listening tour of the campus soon after Hamas led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7. About 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage in those attacks, according to the Israeli authorities, setting off an aggressive Israeli military response that has killed more than 37,000 Gazans, according to health officials there.


Pro-Palestinian students express frustration that Mr. Danckaert is not doing enough to support their cause. Pro-Israel students counter that he should do more to keep the campus neutral and free of graffiti and slogans. But both sides concede that he is being attentive to their concerns.


Mr. Danckaert authorized the encampment, but he designated a small space for it on the edge of the campus and insisted on stringent rules for the protesters. He has also pushed back on demands and slogans from the pro-Palestinian protesters, sometimes at the behest of Jewish students.


In an interview, Mr. Danckaert said he was firmly pro free speech but strictly anti-hate. “As long as the actions are peaceful and respectful toward the rest of the university community,” he said, “we believe that the protest falls under the freedom of expression and societal engagement of our students.”


In the United States, university presidents who have tried to stay above the fray, or appeared to evade questions at congressional hearings, have sometimes paid with their jobs.


And then there is the important issue of money. In the United States, students have been pushing their colleges to divest from endowments or investments that are linked to Israel or defense companies. In Europe,  universities are largely state-funded.


That has allowed the pro-Palestinian student activists at V.U.B. to focus more narrowly on the idea of academic boycotts, and on scrutinizing their university’s partnership with Israeli institutions.


Responding to students’ demands, the university said its ethics committee was reviewing seven projects with Israeli partners and has already said it would pull out of one of them.


Jouke Huijzer, a doctoral student who teaches at V.U.B., said suspending that partnership on ethical grounds was a “courageous step.” But Mr. Huijzer, Ms. Khatib and other students who are part of the pro-Palestinian  movement, were adamant that there needed to be a broader suspension of ties to Israeli academic institutions — a demand that Mr. Danckaert, the rector, has rejected.


“V.U.B. does not advocate a general academic boycott, as we believe it is better to engage in dialogue with critical voices within Israel,” the university said in a statement last month. “Universities are often places of resistance, or at least offer a critical perspective towards authorities.”


In interviews with The New York Times, three Jewish students who asked not to be identified because of safety concerns said that there were only a handful of Jewish students at V.U.B. but that they did not have an organized representative group. Instead, some of the Jewish students have spoken to Mr. Daeckert directly.


The university is a staunchly secular institution, which is why, according to one of the students, many practicing Jews choose other schools. The small campus Jewish community also reflects the fact that most Brussels-based Jews are French-speaking and prefer to attend Francophone universities like the Université Libre de Bruxelles, or U.L.B., which is down the road from V.U.B. in Brussels.


The three Jewish students disagreed on politics, expressing views ranging from mostly pro-Palestinian to largely siding with the Israeli government line. But all said that slogans like “Give us back ’48” and calls for a “global intifada” were menacing.


Some said that, while they felt safe — if at times awkward — on campus, they felt the tenor of the student protests was having its biggest effect outside V.U.B., contributing to a broader atmosphere that tolerates antisemitism.


At the Francophone U.L.B. nearby, where there is a larger Jewish student body, some pro-Israel students have directly confronted pro-Palestinian protesters, and in at least one instance, there were altercations that led the authorities to intervene.


All three of the Jewish students interviewed by The Times for this article said they had experienced antisemitism on campus both before Oct. 7 and since, including on student forums and WhatsApp groups.


Organizers at the V.U.B. protest said they were determined to ensure that their pro-Palestinian message was not confused with antisemitism. They also rejected suggestions that slogans they have used were anti-Jewish, pointing out that pro-Palestinian Jewish speakers had spoken at their protests.


“Antisemitism is a real thing, and Jewish people have faced a lot of hate throughout the years and right now,” Ms. Khatib said.


The V.U.B. protesters’ main goal, she said, is to end their university’s “complicity” in what they label a genocide, a charge that Israel strongly denies. It is not, she added, “to spread hate against anyone.”


Koba Ryckewaert contributed reporting from Brussels, and Johnatan Reiss from Tel Aviv.



6) Pregnant in Gaza With Nowhere to Go

As war killed all hope around her, Nevin Muhaisen fought to bring a new life into the world.

By Nicholas Casey, a staff writer for the magazine, followed the pregnancy of Nevin since her second trimester in Gaza last year, June 17, 2024

Nevin looks out over the water.
Nevin in March, 2024. Credit...Rehab Eldalil for The New York Times

Before the leaflets fell from the sky telling her to evacuate, before all that was left of her home was its western wall, before the food shortages left her baking her own bread, before her daughters slept under a chalkboard in an abandoned kindergarten, before a sniper killed an in-law who was bringing back blankets because it was getting cold — that is, before the war came to Gaza and obliterated most of what she remembered of life there — Nevin Muhaisen, a middle-school teacher and mother of four, was listening to her doctor give her some good news. Nevin, he said, was pregnant.


It was early August last year. Nevin had dressed that morning, put on some makeup and gotten her daughters — Zaina, Lina, Maise and Doa’a — ready for the day. Her husband, Mahmoud, flagged a taxi, and the couple set out from the warren of buildings in her neighborhood in eastern Gaza City to a leafy street near the center of the capital. She looked up at the clinic. The doctor worked most days in Al-Shifa Hospital and had come highly recommended. There was a long wait to see him; the high demand must have been a good sign, Nevin thought. And now, 90 minutes later, she was there with Mahmoud hearing the news. Nevin had been aware she was having another child. But the doctor knew something that even the mother did not. “You’re carrying twins,” he said.


The couple walked down a boulevard in front of the clinic, past the men playing backgammon in the park and the hookah bars where smoke hung heavy in the summer afternoon. She was 36. Mahmoud was 39. Theirs hadn’t been a love story in the romantic sense: Nevin’s two aunts married Mahmoud’s uncles years before, and their families arranged for Nevin and her sister to marry Mahmoud and his brother. But even at their first meeting, she laughed and felt relaxed with Mahmoud. Their life together began in a tiny bedroom in her in-laws’ apartment where the couple lived for two years before they moved into their own home in Shajaiye, the neighborhood where both their families lived. Zaina and Lina, now 14 and 13, came into their lives first, the two girls growing close because just a year separated them. Next came Maise, now 11, who loved order and memorizing the Quran; and then Doa’a, who, though the youngest at 7, was the most stubborn and strong of the sisters.


The couple stopped for some lemonade in a cafe and thought about the new life they would now be bringing into Gaza. Yes, there had been wars after the births of each of her last three children. But it had been close to 10 years since they had needed to evacuate. And what if one of the twins was a son? Or both? They had never had a son. But they were struggling financially, Mahmoud pointed out, especially because of the home they just built. Nevin was about to start work at a new school, and there would be more income, she replied. As one partner expressed doubts, the other resolved them. Nevin assured her husband that she had been a mother four times before and knew everything would be fine. “When God sends a baby, He will handle the rest,” she said. They took a taxi home.


The good news, however, was followed by bad. After several checkups, the doctor told Nevin that he could no longer find a heartbeat on one of the twins. It was the first trimester of the pregnancy, when miscarriages weren’t uncommon. The other fetus was still growing, the doctor said. It was Oct. 2.


On the warm morning that followed just five days later, she would have rather stayed asleep. “It’s time to wake up!” her daughter Maise said. Not during any of her pregnancies had the mornings been so difficult; she thought of the two flights of stairs at her school, the stairs that had felt impossible to climb because of her exhaustion each day. Now Maise, who had gotten up before the rest of the family to do her morning prayers, was gently shaking each of her sisters awake, starting with Doa’a, who still slept next to her mother. Nevin lifted her head from the pillow and wiped the sleep from her eyes.


Suddenly, a boom. Maise was back in the bedroom, screaming and flinging open the windows. There was no mistaking the noise now — rocket fire — first a crack, like thunder, and then a long hiss that petered out into the sky. They had been startled before this year by that sound. Hamas had called them “test rockets,” new weapons for its next war against Israel, they said. But there were too many this time to be a test. All of the children were screaming now, looking at their mother for what to do.


At the moment when this family needed answers, there were none — only the morning programming on television, continuing on as if nothing had happened. The rockets kept hissing into the air. Finally the newscaster from Al Jazeera was talking about the attack. But it wasn’t just about the rockets now; it was about an incursion into Israel.


Immediately her thoughts turned to the practical. There would be no school that day. The children would stay home, and she and Mahmoud would walk the length of their crowded neighborhood in search of sugar, flour, feta cheese — anything that was for sale, at whatever quantity they could carry. There had been some luck, she thought: Nevin had just gone to the pharmacy and picked up a month’s worth of folic acid and vitamins for her pregnancy. No war had lasted much longer than the prescription, she thought. Maybe they would just close the door and wait out whatever happened.


Yet when she returned, Nevin could see little safety in her surroundings. She now saw windows that could shatter into a thousand tiny knives and blind her daughters. Walls that might crumble in an airstrike and bury all of them. This had been her dream home, one they spent two years completing before moving in just the year before. Their final purchase had been the curtains in April. That night, the children slept in their living room as Mahmoud stayed up, listening to the news.


Nevin awoke the next morning to a Facebook post that was circulating from an Israeli lieutenant colonel. The message was in Arabic, and the tiny red boxes on the map below it showed the blocks that Gazans were now ordered to evacuate. One was theirs.


The thought of leaving Shajaiye was impossible for her. How could she abandon her home over a Facebook post? Nevin and the adults of the family — Mahmoud, his parents, Nevin’s brothers-in-law and her sister — deliberated over what to do next, and finally made the decision to leave. The parents would depart first, then Nevin’s sister-in-law, whose home was closest to Israel. The attack would come soon, they knew.


Nevin looked up. “Leave me here and you go,” she said.


“You’re pregnant!” someone shouted back.


Nevin, trying to buy time, refused to leave until she could make something to eat. She took her daughters with her to the kitchen. No one interrupted her at first. She cooked the green beans and rice slowly; she ate them and packed the leftovers. Mahmoud took her by the arm. They flagged a taxi for the next neighborhood, Zeitoun, with only a few things packed in the girls’ school bags, hoping to be back for more when the attack was over.


In an abandoned kindergarten, they moved the tiny desks and chairs and laid down their blankets. Another room was their kitchen. As they slept, explosions poured down in the area of the evacuation map and began to level it.


For days, Nevin begged her family to come with her back to their home in Shajaiye, and finally they relented. She breathed a sigh when they saw the building was still intact. Nevin’s body was exhausted from the pregnancy again. She took a nap on the sofa and woke up to the sound of artillery in the distance. She needed to go, but first she needed to sit on each of the beds of her children. She needed to look at every piece of furniture again. This was the last time she would see her house during the war. Nevin knew she was saying farewell to it.


On Saturday around 2 a.m., all their phones rang at the same time. The message, recorded in broken Arabic, called for another evacuation, a much larger one this time. Everyone in Gaza’s north was ordered to move south immediately, more than a million people. A day later, the ground outside the school was covered in Israeli leaflets telling them to flee. Still, Nevin did not want to go. Then her mother, Halima, who had already left for southern Gaza, called. “You need to come to Rafah, think of your daughters,” she said. “You’re pregnant.” It was Nevin’s 13th week.


Getting to Rafah meant driving nearly the entire length of the Gaza Strip, more than an hour’s car journey across a war zone. It took Mahmoud three hours to find a taxi driver willing to go to Rafah. He wanted six times the normal price, and he wanted to leave right away.


They raced down mostly empty roads, Nevin bracing her stomach with both hands to cushion her belly whenever they sailed over a speed bump. One roundabout was filled with the charred remains of cars and trucks, smoke still rising from a recent bombing. “Why were they hit?” Maise asked.


In Rafah, Nevin’s fear abated only at the sight of her father, Jamal. His embrace was warm, and the house, though not theirs, almost felt like home. More relatives kept arriving; in all three dozen family members packed themselves into a living room and two bedrooms. Mahmoud went to a less-crowded house — just 14 people. The couple slept apart for the first time since they were married.


Nevin’s life before the war had been largely confined to Gaza City, but as the days went by she felt little sense of liberation in Rafah, with its strange accents and unfamiliar streets. Approaching the fifth month of her pregnancy, she saw a doctor for the first time since the war began. There was backup power that day, and the ultrasound machine was working. Her baby was a boy, the doctor said.


“His name will be Sobhy,” said Mahmoud, Arabic for “bright like the morning.”


One day when the airstrikes sounded far away, Nevin pushed herself to venture outside into the market. A faint blue feeling of longing grew in her for her neighborhood, which was still being bombed. She wanted her son to be born back home in Shajaiye, she thought. She was someone who grew attached to things and places. Her pillow, her sofa. Her land. She wondered: Do places feel nostalgia for the people who have left them as people do for the places they have left? After a month in Rafah, the apartment now too crowded, Nevin and her family left for another city called Deir al Balah.


She began to bleed near the end of November. A temporary cease-fire was announced, and for days, the world watched to see if the war might be ending. Nevin, well into her second trimester, kept bleeding. She thought: I am losing the other child now.


That any hospital could take Nevin was itself a miracle. Al-Shifa, where her first doctor had practiced, had been wrecked by a near two-week siege. Al-Nasr Hospital in the south would be next. At the strained emergency room that accepted Nevin, strangers were looking for outlets to charge their phones and begging nurses for clean water. The doctor told her that Sobhy would be fine. But she needed to stay in bed for at least a month.


And so Nevin lay on her mattress on the floor in Deir al Balah, listening to the news of the temporary cease-fire on an Israeli radio broadcast in Arabic — they told their side of the war, but it was the only signal that reached her bed. Prisoners were exchanged for hostages; an extension was announced, the broadcast said. But Nevin’s hope fell when a deadline passed and she could hear the airstrikes again. She now knew this war would not be over by the time Sobhy was born. Doubts filled the dark bedroom where a dozen other family members slept. She didn’t want to think about the premature babies who died in their incubators at Al-Shifa after the generators ran out of fuel.


In December, there was no bread in the bakeries. There were three dozen relatives living in the apartment now, all of them hungry, more always coming as their neighborhoods were demolished by soldiers who controlled them. The electric stove was useless — there had been no electricity since she arrived — and so someone started ripping the wires out of it; where the motors and coils had been, they added coal and a match. The stove was ruined, but at least it was heating up. Nevin could feel the baby kicking as she kneaded dough. They spent five hours baking, trying not to breathe in smoke.


The weeks went by, and the war ground on. Nevin hated this life. She hated the people who took the bags of aid and resold them at prices higher than before the war. Salt and sugar were 10 times more expensive now. They no longer could afford potatoes. She hated the parachutes landing with boxes of supplies; it was humiliating. She had taught her daughters to be strong women, yet here they were, living like caged animals awaiting death.


One morning in February, as Nevin was tidying the room, she could see that her daughter Zaina had scrawled some numbers on the wall in pencil. “What’s this?” Nevin asked, looking at the arithmetic.


Zaina, the eldest daughter, had inherited her mother’s eyes but not her attachment to places. Zaina wanted out of Gaza. She wanted to be a surgeon one day and study in Germany; she didn’t want her life spent saving children her age from bombs. Her mother, Zaina knew, could get on a list to leave Gaza to give birth in Egypt. The numbers on the wall, Zaina told Nevin, were her calculation for how much it might cost. It was thousands of U.S. dollars, an impossible sum.


One night when there was finally a phone signal, Nevin called a Palestinian friend in Romania. The women didn’t know each other well — they had only met on Facebook, where they had common friends — but it helped Nevin to talk to someone outside Gaza.


“Let me help you get out,” the woman said.


Nevin knew the sentiment was genuine, as it always was with Palestinians abroad. But a divide separated the women, like the pane of glass that separates a visitor from an inmate at a prison. Only one woman was sitting in a war. The two said good night to each other, and Nevin tried to sleep, jammed on the floor with her daughters and more relatives seeking shelter.


There were now 38 people in a fourth-floor apartment meant for a single family, without running water or electricity. The war had left Nevin no privacy: just the buzz of a drone watching her from above or a child of a cousin stumbling through the door when she needed a moment alone in the bathroom. The kindergarten floor had been better than this — they had space in that classroom. The children told Nevin they were bored, that they wanted to go home.


Something started to snap in their mother. She looked over at her husband. “I need to see the beach,” she told Mahmoud.


Nevin had always loved the sea in Gaza. No matter how trapped she felt there, when she walked to the shore, when she saw the Mediterranean carrying on endlessly to the horizon, she felt as if she was looking at infinity, and for a moment, Nevin felt free. Before they reached the beach, Mahmoud and Nevin stopped at a tent camp to check in on a relative there. The couple then set off again and Nevin could feel her body relaxing as she approached the shore.


Yet when they reached the top of the bluff, there was only silence. There were no waves that day, no seabirds and no families like before. There were just Israeli warships.


Below, a child was fishing, alone. He couldn’t have been 12. What was he doing there? Some instinct told Nevin to climb down and warn the boy that the warships could kill him at any moment. But that same instinct told her that she was a mother of four — of five, soon — and that the ships could kill her too if she got any closer. “Let’s go,” she told Mahmoud.


It was now Nevin’s eighth month of pregnancy. Sobhy moved so much that she could no longer sleep many nights. The boy was telling her that he was almost ready for the world. But the world was not ready for this boy.


There was no doctor. Nevin pictured going into labor at night. No taxi would dare to drive her then. If the phone lines were disconnected, there would be no calling an ambulance. Zaina’s hope of passage for her mother to give birth in Egypt seemed to fade with each day; Israel was preparing to invade Rafah, the very city they would need to reach to escape. Besides, there was no money to leave. “I am now chasing a mirage,” she said. “The nightmare of me giving birth here is now going to happen.”


Nevin looked at the figure in the bank account. Then she looked at her daughters who were playing a game beside her. She looked at the numbers again. This was no mirage. This was the money they needed to leave Gaza.


The war had brought tanks and airstrikes to Nevin’s life, but it had also brought her a guardian angel. After her late-night call with Nevin weeks earlier, the Palestinian woman in Romania started collecting funds to pay an agency to arrange for passage for Nevin so that she could give birth in Egypt with her family. The friend had pushed donation links to Palestinian contacts throughout Europe. Now the money was there, enough to move Nevin and her children from Gaza for good.


A week passed as the agency made arrangements to put them on the humanitarian list. Nevin only told Mahmoud and her daughter Zaina, fearing she might jinx their luck. Finally at midnight the phone rang. Nevin took the call out of earshot. Everything is in order, the caller said. It was time to go. The agency made no promises about Mahmoud, but other Gazans assured Nevin that wasn’t unusual; he would likely be waved in with his family at the border. The next morning Nevin told her sister there was something she needed to say. Mahmoud was standing in a corner, near her sister’s husband. Nevin tried not to cry. She tried not to think of the years the four had spent together, two brothers and two sisters, two families that had lived through peacetime and conflict. She tried not to think she was abandoning them now.


She just tried to get one phrase out, to start. “We are leaving,” Nevin said.


On a Wednesday in March, Nevin got into the taxi with her four daughters and Mahmoud, one hand on her belly above her unborn son as they headed to Rafah. The road was a graveyard to Palestinians, only traversed by Israeli tanks. Rubble sat where there had been towns. A vast tent camp stretched out to the south, eventually to be bombed in an airstrike. Nevin had spent so much time in hiding during the war, she had no idea until now just how little remained of the place that she was leaving.


In Rafah, they stopped to see her father and mother. Jamal, the strong man who raised her, was more gaunt than she had ever seen him; he had lost 30 pounds in the war and was now about to lose his daughter as well. Nevin and Jamal had always had a tradition when she said goodbye after visits. They would embrace, kiss and then her father would give her 15 shekels. “That’s for you to get some sweets,” Jamal said this time. “I am praying for the child to come healthy.”


Fifteen minutes later, they were at the border: a Palestinian checkpoint, a no man’s land and then Egyptian officials standing before a vast desert. One Palestinian lugged a mattress. A large number were wounded. Just 500 people had papers to cross south that day — 500 of two million people who were trapped in Gaza. An official started collecting passports.


“He can’t pass,” the official said. He was pointing at Mahmoud.


Nevin had spent the entire war worrying about her unborn son. But it was her husband who was facing problems that day. She pleaded with the border guard: She was pregnant, she needed the father beside her when she gave birth, she said. Was this a question of a bribe? The Palestinian guard grew angry, pushing the family back in the direction of Gaza. He threatened to cancel all their papers. “Enough!” Mahmoud yelled. “You’ll go without me.”


She couldn’t believe what was happening; they were within sight of their freedom. The war had taken her home from her, her mother and father, her sister, her privacy, her beach, her life — she was giving them all up, willingly now. But she could not, in this instant, give up her husband too.


The next moments moved by quickly. They approached the no man’s land where a bus was to take them to the Egyptian side; Nevin and the girls went above with the passengers, their bags of belongings in the hold. Mahmoud talked to the daughters, trying to calm their panic.


“Don’t cry, I’ll be coming soon,” he said.


It was Mahmoud who she saw crying when Nevin looked out the window as the bus pulled away. She had never seen her husband cry like that.


Sobhy Muhaisen was born just after 4 p.m. on March 24 at El Fayrouz Hospital in Ismailia, Egypt. He weighed six pounds and 10 ounces, a bit less than his sisters when they were born, but he was healthy, a nurse assured her; there had been no complications. Nevin had gone into labor just 15 days after arriving in Egypt.


The anesthesia still hadn’t worn off when Nevin asked her family for the phone. She wanted to speak to Mahmoud.


“Did you name him Sobhy?” was the first thing he asked from Rafah. Yes, that’s what she had named him, “bright like the morning.”


In early May, Mahmoud got permission to join his family, as Israel prepared to seize its border with Egypt making the crossing impossible for Gazans. They met him at the bus station in Ismailia on a brutally hot afternoon, and Nevin showed Mahmoud their son for the first time.


Sobhy had made it from her womb and into the world outside, just as her family had escaped Gaza and into the world outside. Nevin realized this was as close to a happy ending as this war would ever provide her family: Sobhy was now lying in Nevin’s lap, with any possible future before him. His mother wanted him to learn English. She wanted him to be an important person one day.


Yet Nevin also knew this was unlikely to happen here in Ismailia. In May, Sobhy’s doctor found a small hernia in his digestive tract, and Nevin had to pay for his surgery in a private clinic because the public ones did not take Palestinians. The same laws barred her daughters from attending Egypt’s public schools so they were taking online classes organized by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Israel had never welcomed Gazans, but Egypt, in its own way, didn’t either. As Nevin sat in a rented apartment in a strange neighborhood, she looked at other countries, equally unfamiliar, where they might finally settle: France, Italy, the Netherlands.


The life of the Muhaisen family as refugees had now begun.


In Nevin’s dreams, she traveled back to her home in Shajaiye; in her nightmares, she could see an Israeli settlement built on its ruins.


Nevin had wanted to stay in Gaza. But in the end, she chose motherhood over land. She chose Sobhy.



7) Israeli Protesters Mass in Jerusalem to Call for Elections

The protesters demanded an end to the war and the release of hostages from Gaza, and also called for elections that many hoped would oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Ephrat Livni and Aaron Boxerman, June 17, 2024

A densely packed crowd holds up signs in Hebrew and Israeli flags.
Protesters gathered in front of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, on Monday, calling for elections and the immediate return of hostages captured in the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7. Credit...Abir Sultan/EPA, via Shutterstock

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on Monday to call for elections and the immediate return of hostages held in Gaza in a demonstration that followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent decision to dissolve his war cabinet.


The protest outside the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, highlighted the competing pressures the Israeli prime minister is under from conflicting elements of Israeli society.


Last week, two relatively moderate members resigned from the emergency war cabinet Mr. Netanyahu formed in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas-led assault on Israel, citing differences over the conduct of the war against Hamas in Gaza. Far-right members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition called on him to appoint them to the war cabinet, but on Sunday, according to Israeli officials, the prime minister communicated to ministers at a wider cabinet meeting that he was dissolving the body instead.  


In the crowd in front of the Knesset on Monday was Yair Lapid, the opposition leader in Parliament, video posted on social media showed. Some of the marchers carried a banner stating that they were “leading the nation to the day after,” a reference to the end of the war in Gaza.


An Israeli police statement said that the police had helped facilitate the rally near the Knesset, and no arrests were immediately reported there.


However, confrontations appear to have been more intense when some protesters broke off to march to Mr. Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, breaching a police roadblock.  Anti-government activists have regularly gathered there throughout the war.


The activists chanted, “You are the chief, you are to blame” in front of the prime minister’s residence. Photographs showed some of them gathered around an open fire. Water cannons were fired, and at least nine people were arrested. The Israeli police said in a statement that some of the protesters had attacked officers, slightly injuring some of them.


The Israel Police said it would “continue to allow legal freedom of expression and protest but will not allow violations of public order and riots,” noting the fire.


The protests this week by anti-government activists are not connected to Saturday night rallies held weekly in Tel-Aviv and organized by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents the relatives of hostages held in Gaza.  That group held a separate conference in Sderot on Monday on their efforts to bring the hostages home.


The anti-government activists are planning another protest in front of the Knesset on Tuesday.



8) After Delay, Top Democrats in Congress Sign Off on Sale of F-15 Jets to Israel

Senior Democrats who had taken the unusual step of holding out relented to pressure from the Biden administration and allowed a multibillion-dollar sale of weapons to move ahead.

By Robert Jimison, Reporting from Washington, Published June 17, 2024, Updated June 18, 2024


Representative Gregory W. Meeks, wearing a gray pinstripe suit and paisley tie, sitting before microphones.

Representative Gregory W. Meeks, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, had been outspoken about his opposition to the deal but has lifted his hold. Credit...Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

A Biden administration plan to sell $18 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Israel is moving forward after two top Democratic holdouts in Congress signed off on the deal, according to multiple people familiar with the sale.


Representative Gregory W. Meeks of New York, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, who had publicly opposed the transfer by citing Israel’s tactics during its campaign in Gaza, has lifted his hold on the deal, one of the largest U.S. arms sales to Israel in years. Mr. Meeks said that the sale would take years to deliver and that he supported the Biden administration’s plans to hold up the sale of other munitions.


“I have been in close touch with the White House and National Security Council about this and other arms cases for Israel, and have repeatedly urged the administration to continue pushing Israel to make significant and concrete improvements on all fronts when it comes to humanitarian efforts and limiting civilian casualties,” Mr. Meeks said in a statement.


Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who had delayed signing off but never publicly said he was blocking the deal, also agreed to allow it to go forward, joining top Republicans who had agreed to the plan months ago. The decision by Mr. Cardin and Mr. Meeks to approve the sale was reported earlier by The Washington Post.


Closing out the informal consultation process with Congress allows the State Department to move forward on officially notifying Congress of the sale, the final step before sealing the deal. The department declined to comment on the arms orders, including on whether it would soon give that formal notification.


Congressional sign-off on arms sales has almost always been a foregone conclusion when it comes to Israel. That changed in recent months amid mounting concern in the United States about Israel’s conduct of the war against Hamas, and as Democrats in Congress have increasingly hinted that they might use their leverage over weapons transfers to demand that Israel change its tactics.


The decision to relent to pressure from the Biden administration was a stark reversal for Mr. Meeks, who had been outspoken about his opposition to the deal, signaling his frustration with Israel’s actions in the war, which have led to tens of thousands of Palestinian casualties and helped to create a hunger crisis in Gaza.


“I don’t want the kinds of weapons that Israel has to be utilized, to have more death,” Mr. Meeks said in an interview with CNN in April. “I want to make sure that humanitarian aid gets in. I don’t want people starving to death. And I want Hamas to release the hostages.”


When asked whether he would hold up the sale of the jets, he said, “I will make that determination once I see what those assurances are.”


Mr. Meeks did not make clear on Monday whether he had received those assurances.


The order, which would include up to 50 of the planes and would take several years to be delivered, still faces potential hurdles from a number of outspoken lawmakers who will have the opportunity to register their opposition to the sale before it can be finalized and approved.


The State Department gave two congressional committees, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, informal notification of the F-15 order in January. In the informal review process, those committees can ask the department questions about how the recipient country intends to use the weapons. Both of the top Republicans on those panels, Senator Jim Risch of Idaho and Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, immediately approved.


A spokesman for Mr. Cardin said that the review for the order had gone through the regular process of deliberation and that all concerns had been addressed by the administration.


Edward Wong contributed reporting.



9) End Legal Slavery in the United States

By Andrew Ross, Tommaso Bardelli and Aiyuba Thomas, The writers, members of the New York University Prison Education Program Research Lab, are the co-authors of “Abolition Labor: The Fight to End Prison Slavery,” June 19, 2024


An illustration showing people in orange jumpsuits performing physical labor in a labyrinth of enormous chains.

Félix Decombat

Today we celebrate Juneteenth, the day when word of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the farthest outpost in America. Many people do not realize that Emancipation did not legally end slavery in the United States, however. The 13th Amendment — the culmination of centuries of resistance by enslaved people, a lifetime of abolitionist campaigning and a bloody civil war — prohibited involuntary servitude “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”


In the North, that so-called Exception Clause was interpreted as allowing the private contracting of forced prison labor, which was already underway, and in the ex-Confederacy it gave rise to the much more brutal system by which freed men and women were routinely arrested under false charges and then leased out to plantation owners and industrialists to work off their sentence. Some historians have described this convict leasing system as “worse than slavery,” because there was no incentive to avoid working those people to death.


Over time, courts accepted that all people who are incarcerated lose the protection against slavery or involuntary servitude. The legacy of that legal deference is a grim one. Today, a majority of the 1.2 million Americans locked up in state and federal prisons work under duress in jobs that cover the entire spectrum, from cellblock cleaning to skilled manufacturing, for wages as low as a few cents per hour or, in several states, for nothing at all. And though members of Congress denounce imported goods made with prison labor in places like China’s Xinjiang province, the offices of many government agencies in Washington and elsewhere are stocked with furniture and supplies made by prisoners in this country. In fact, federal agencies are mandated to purchase goods from federal prisons, just as state or municipal agencies, including public schools and universities, often must consider sourcing from state penitentiaries. In many states, prison-made goods are freely available on the open market and shipped overseas.


Labor that people have no meaningful right to refuse and that is enforced under conditions of total control is, unquestionably, slavery. It’s a different model from the chattel slavery over which the Civil War was fought, but by all norms of international law it is a violation of fundamental human rights.


The nation that deigns to teach the rest of the world lessons in liberty should ban this practice on its own shores rather than integrating its products into the economy. For those who want to work while serving their sentence, we should guarantee fair pay for their labor.


The prisoner rights movement of the late 1960s and early ’70s called for raising prisoners’ hourly pay. One of the top demands during the 1971 Attica uprising was to “apply the New York State minimum wage law to all state institutions.” More radical Black nationalists saw the nation’s overcrowded penitentiaries as akin to modern slave ships and argued that even if they were to offer prevailing wages, collective bargaining and workplace protections, they would still be instruments of racial capture and control.


More recently, some prison abolitionists — encouraged by the widespread influence of Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow” and Ava DuVernay’s documentary “The 13th” and coordinated through the Abolish Slavery National Network — have focused on getting the Exception Clause repealed through state and federal amendments. Beginning in 2016, campaigns in seven states — Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Oregon, Tennessee and Alabama — succeeded in passing amendments that banned slavery without exception, not even for forced prison labor. Amendment initiatives are currently underway in as many as 20 states and also at the federal level, where a joint bill was introduced in Congress in 2020 and at every session since. These measures only outlaw forced labor. They do not stipulate that prison labor has to be paid at the prevailing wage, and so, in states such as Colorado and Alabama, incarcerated people have had to go to court to sue for higher pay. In New York, advocates have sought an additional bill that guarantees the minimum wage and the right to organize.


Resistance to the amendments has been surprisingly strong. In some cases, the opposition is from “law and order” legislators who say these measures would coddle criminals. But the overriding concern is cost. This objection became more prevalent after lawmakers punted on the California Abolition Act (which included no wage provisions) in response to a Department of Finance estimate that the cost of paying minimum wage would be $1.5 billion. Ever since then, legislators in other states have been on notice. If the amendments result in substantial wage increases, how much will their states be burdened?


That kind of question is in a direct line of descent from the complaints of slave owners about the prospect of having to compensate workers for picking their cotton and sugar cane. Then as now, there is a price to be paid for abolishing slavery, but the benefits of paying a fair wage far outweigh the fiscal costs.


We have interviewed many formerly incarcerated men and women who spoke about the difference it would have made in their lives to earn surplus income that is not swallowed up by the purchase of necessities from the prison commissary store; of being able to spare their debt-burdened families from having to support them; of saving enough money to re-enter society on a stable footing; of contributing, through a standard wage arrangement, toward future benefits such as Medicare, Social Security or unemployment insurance; and of freeing themselves from the need to participate in the risky trade in contraband goods that is a direct byproduct of ultralow pay.


For its part, the state would save on the welfare services related to health care, housing and unemployment that are currently expended on people exiting prison with empty pockets. And it would be a boost to public safety because there would be less economic need for people to resort, on re-entry, to illegal activities to support themselves. According to one estimate, paying incarcerated people a minimum wage would produce a net national benefit of up to $20.3 billion per year.


But dwelling on the cold numbers alone does not account for the moral cost of prolonging this nation’s historical tolerance of coerced labor. The basic human dignity that comes from being protected from slavery can be attained only when everyone is free to refuse work assignments, especially when they are unsafe and ill paid. More than 160 years after Lincoln’s proclamation, it is high time to take care of the unfinished business of Emancipation.



10) Little Aid Reaching Gazans Even as Israel Reduces Fighting, Officials Say

By Vivian Yee and Aaron Boxerman, June 19, 2024


Four workers wearing blue vests organize boxes atop a flatbed truck, with tall concrete blast walls behind it.

Workers loading a truck with humanitarian aid at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza on Monday. Credit...Amir Levy/Getty Images

Days after Israel announced it would reduce fighting along a key road in southern Gaza to allow more aid to get to desperate Palestinian civilians, over 1,000 truckloads of supplies remain stranded at the border area. That is the result, aid officials and others say, of the extreme anarchy that has gripped Gaza in the ninth month of Israel’s military campaign.


The threat of looting and attacks by armed gangs has forced relief groups to stop delivering assistance in southern Gaza, aid officials say. Trucks using supply routes have been riddled with bullet holes. Businesspeople sending commercial goods into the territory and aid agencies have decided they cannot risk employees’ lives on the drive.


That has meant that the Israeli military’s decision to pause fighting for hours each day along the aid route has so far produced scant humanitarian benefit. There are now thousands of tons of food, medicine and other supplies stuck on the Gaza side of a border crossing mere miles from Palestinians who need them, the officials say.


The grim scenario is part of the domino effect of the Israeli campaign in Gaza, which has toppled much of the Hamas government without providing a governing plan or offering security for aid convoys. In much of Gaza, there are no police officers to prevent chaos, few municipal workers to clean up heaping mounds of rubble and trash and only the bare minimum of public services. Into the vacuum have rushed a proliferation of organized crime groups, whose affiliation, if any — whether to Gazan tribes or armed groups such as Hamas — remains unclear.


The aid is piled up at Kerem Shalom, an Israeli-controlled border crossing into southern Gaza, according to the United Nations and the Israeli authorities. Since Israel’s military offensive in the southern city of Rafah shut down another crossing last month, Kerem Shalom has become the only conduit for aid into southern Gaza.


Manhal Shaibar, who oversees a Palestinian trucking company that works at the Kerem Shalom crossing, said some goods were spoiling in the heat on the Gazan side. Some commercial trucks were managing to make their way out under heavy guard, despite the assaults by armed Gazans, he said, but the aid was stuck.


“People in Gaza can’t find food,” Mr. Shaibar said. “But the goods are strewn around here in the crossing.”


“It’s a disaster,” he said.


Farhan Haq, a United Nations spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that the Israeli announcement of a pause “has yet to translate into more aid reaching people in need.”


A person involved in the effort to distribute aid said that armed criminal gangs were operating with near-total freedom in the Israel-Gaza border area where trucks must pass, and attacking them daily. The person described the attacks as coordinated and organized, not the spontaneous looting by desperate Gazan civilians that vexed aid convoys in earlier months of the war.


Armed attackers shoot at the trucks, force them to stop and sometimes beat the drivers before stripping the trucks of their contents, the person said.


And there is no one to call for help: The Hamas-run police force that helped secure the passage of aid earlier in the war melted away months ago after the Israeli military killed several officers. (The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was bound by confidentiality agreements.)


The “lack of any police or rule of law in the area” has rendered the roads surrounding the crossing highly dangerous, Mr. Haq said.


The number of international aid trucks reaching Palestinians in southern Gaza has plummeted since Israel’s Rafah offensive began on May 7. Only a small amount of aid has trickled through Kerem Shalom, aid officials say, including what a Western aid official said were 30 trucks sent via Jordan on Monday. Even the 1,100 truckloads stranded at the crossing — equivalent to what would have entered Gaza in just over two days before the war — represents a tiny fraction of what aid groups say is needed to stave off famine in Gaza.


Another border crossing, at Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza border, has remained closed since the Israeli operation began.


In an attempt to make up for the shortfall, the Israeli authorities began allowing more commercial goods to enter Gaza from Israel and the occupied West Bank. Unlike U.N. convoys, these trucks tend to travel with armed protection, allowing them to traverse the dangerous terrain.


Israel had paused commercial deliveries for about two weeks in an attempt to allow aid trucks to move through, according to a U.S. official working on the aid effort. But on Sunday, with no aid traveling along that road because of insecurity, Israel resumed sending the commercial trucks, 20 of which went into Gaza, the official said.


The U.S. and Western aid officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.


Saed Abu al-Ouf, a Gazan businessman who has sent about three truckloads of rice into the enclave since mid-May, said he had paused the shipments because of the armed gangs. In the past, he said, he had paid thousands of dollars in protection money to a group of Gazans to secure his trucks.


But it is now simply too dangerous on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, he said. He is holding his latest truckload of goods on the Israeli side, hoping for some kind of order to be restored.


“There’s no security or any government ruling in Gaza,” Mr. Abu al-Ouf said in a phone interview from Cairo. “Armed people can take over your goods.”


“It’s far more dangerous than it was before, and we’d need a powerful policing apparatus to protect us. We’re merchants — we can’t play the role of police at the same time,” he said.


Aid groups have said Israel must do more to open the way to aid, and that the measures it has announced over the course of the war — such as the partial pause in fighting — have done little to help Gaza avert a famine.


Only a cease-fire, they say, will enable aid to get to more people who need it. In the meantime, said Bushra Khalidi, a senior policy lead at the Oxfam aid group: “It’s Israel’s responsibility to protect access and enable access, not just at borders but also inside Gaza.”


The U.N. says Israel’s use of heavy weapons may have violated international law, and other news.

·      Israel’s use of 2,000-pound bombs and other heavy weapons in densely populated areas of Gaza may have consistently violated international law and could constitute war crimes, the United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday. In a report that focused on six attacks last year, the office said Israeli forces “took an expansive approach to targeting” that apparently considered members of Gaza’s civilian administration and Hamas political structures, who were not directly involved in hostilities, as military targets, possibly violating the laws of war. The Israeli military has said it is examining five of the attacks for possible criminal investigation, the report noted, but it said “remedies at the international level are also necessary to address the accountability gap.” Israel issued a 12-page rebuttal that said the U.N. report was legally unsound and revealed “numerous biases.”


·      A court in Paris ruled that France’s decision to bar Israeli companies from one of the world’s largest weapons shows was discriminatory and on Tuesday ordered the ban to be rescinded. Eurosatory, an exhibition for the defense and armaments industry held every two years outside Paris, opened on Monday without any Israeli representatives. The organizers had complied with a French government order to cancel Israeli exhibitors’ invitations because of the war in Gaza.


·      A commercial ship disabled in a Houthi attack last week is believed to have sunk, according to a British maritime agency, which said on Tuesday that oil and debris had been spotted at the vessel’s last location. The ship, a Greek-owned bulk carrier named the Tutor, was at least the second commercial vessel to be lost to attacks in the Red Sea by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia. The U.S. Navy rescued crew members from the Tutor, who gave a dramatic account of the attack.




11) After eight months of war, Gaza has more than 39 million tons of debris, the U.N. says

By Ephrat Livni, June 19, 2024


A boy in a bright green tank top and jeans sits on what looks like a slab of concrete. Behind him people stand on a pile of rubble near what remains of a heavily damaged building. One person is inside the building.

Searching the rubble of a destroyed home in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip, on Tuesday. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

More than eight months of fighting between Israel and Hamas has destroyed buildings and infrastructure across the Gaza Strip, leaving more than 39 million tons of debris and exacerbating an already dire health crisis there, according to a preliminary assessment of the environmental impact of the conflict released by the United Nations on Tuesday.


In the latest of a series of reports from U.N. agencies clarifying the scale of devastation in Gaza and the health dangers posed by the war there, the U.N. Environmental Program found that the millions of tons of rubble contained unexploded ordnance, asbestos and other hazardous substances, as well as human remains.


The U.N. agency also found that the war had interrupted “almost all” environmental management systems and services, and created new hazards, and said that all water sources in Gaza have been disrupted, as have wastewater treatment and disposal facilities.


The environmental report follows a post on social media last week from UNRWA, the U.N.’s main agency for Palestinians, saying that as of early June, 330,000 tons of waste had accumulated in or near populated areas across Gaza, “posing catastrophic environmental and health risks.” Also last week, the U.N. Satellite Center reported that about 65 percent of the total road network in Gaza had been damaged as of last month.


“The collapse of sewage, wastewater and solid waste management systems and facilities has had major impacts on the environment and people,” the report said. It noted an increase in the rates of acute respiratory infection, diarrhea among children under 5, scabies, lice and jaundice reported by the World Health Organization since early in the conflict.


Gazans and humanitarian groups operating in the enclave have reported rationing water supplies, forcing people “to forgo personal hygiene and sanitation needs” and to use alternative water sources for drinking, including agricultural wells with brackish water, which exposes them to pesticides and other chemicals, the report said. Water supplies have also been contaminated by military activities, the U.N. agency said, including the flooding and destruction of the tunnel system built by Hamas, which the Israeli military has targeted.


UNRWA has accused the Israeli military of impeding its efforts to address environmental and health hazards in Gaza. The agency has cited a lack of access to fuel, compounding sanitation problems, and said the Israeli military has blocked UNRWA’s access to landfills at a time when many of its sanitation centers, machinery and trash trucks have been destroyed.


Aggravating the difficulties for humanitarian agencies, Gaza has become the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers, the U.N. said on Monday, noting that at least 250 have been killed in Gaza since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel set off the conflict, including nearly 200 who worked for UNRWA.



12) Getting Aid Into Gaza

We explain why it has been such a challenge.

By German Lopez, June 19, 2024


In northern Gaza. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Humanitarian groups have thousands of tons of food, fuel and medicine ready to send to Gaza. That aid is sitting in Egypt, Jordan and Cyprus, just hours away, or less, from the people who need it. But much of it can’t get in.


Why? Some problems are typical for a war zone. Aid groups want to protect their workers from bombs and gunfire. Roads and warehouses are destroyed, making the terrain difficult to navigate.


But there have been bigger problems: Israel has enforced opaque rules that turn back trucks meant for Gaza, citing security concerns. Egypt has blocked aid to protest Israel’s military operations. Hamas has stolen, or tried to steal, aid shipments for its own use.


In other words, the people in charge of allowing aid into Gaza have prioritized their own interests over helping hungry Palestinians. In doing so, they’ve repeatedly made decisions that humanitarian groups can’t overcome. Today’s newsletter will explain what’s keeping aid out of Gaza.


Israel’s concerns


Israel typically cites two justifications for blocking aid: It wants to stop any supplies that can help Hamas, which attacked Israel on Oct. 7. And it wants to keep aid workers out of harm’s way.


The first reason is the more contentious. American officials and humanitarian groups argue that Hamas has intercepted very few shipments. Critics say that Israel has been too careful about an overblown threat — or, worse, has used the aid as a weapon against Palestinians. “They are trying to provide a plausible cover story for collective punishment,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International, a humanitarian organization.


But Hamas has intercepted some aid, and Israel says its precautions keep the group from taking more.


Other Hamas tactics have also made Israel more cautious. The group often hides behind civilians by placing its operatives in hospitals and stashing weapons in schools. Israel worries that Hamas could hide behind humanitarian groups and workers, too. So Israel requires aid groups to report their activities. For example, it signs off on specific routes in part to ensure that these really are humanitarian missions and not covert enemy operations.


Those checks can still fail. In April, Israel killed seven World Central Kitchen workers, even though the group said it coordinated its mission with the military. Israel called the strikes a mistake and apologized for the killings. It fired two of the officers involved and reprimanded others.


“That was a turning point,” said my colleague Adam Rasgon, who’s based in Jerusalem. After the killings, Israel opened more crossings to let aid into Gaza. The Israeli military also announced this week that it would stop operations in parts of southern Gaza during daytime hours; the pause in fighting could help get more aid to hungry Palestinians.


Additional hurdles


Since Israel controls what goes in and out of Gaza, it has taken a lot of the blame for the crisis there. But it is not the only country that has stopped supplies for Palestinians.


Egypt has, too. After Israel moved into the southern city of Rafah last month, Egypt protested the incursion by blocking aid shipments. It did not want to look like it accepted Israeli control of the Rafah crossing, and was upset that Israel was operating so close to the Egyptian border. (Consider: Egypt once occupied Gaza, but lost control in 1967 in a war with Israel.)


Egypt has since started allowing some aid through Kerem Shalom, a crossing on the border with Israel. Still, the amount of aid getting into Gaza has dropped by nearly two-thirds since Israel started its operation in Rafah, according to the United Nations. Despite these problems, humanitarian groups rarely criticize Egypt for its role in the crisis. “They know that Egypt is really important to their operations and also extremely unreceptive to public criticism,” Adam told me.


Separately, Palestinians have looted some shipments, out of hunger and desperation or to sell the supplies in Gaza’s black markets.


Far-right Israeli activists have also intercepted aid trucks traveling from Jordan to Gaza and smashed their supplies. The activists argue that Palestinians shouldn’t receive aid until Hamas returns Israeli hostages. The U.S. placed sanctions last week on Tsav 9, one of the groups involved in these attacks.


Humanitarian groups also face some practical problems, such as insufficient fuel to drive aid trucks deep into Gaza and back.


Some countries have sought creative solutions — with limited success. The U.S. has airdropped aid and built a floating pier off the coast of Gaza to send in supplies. But those efforts haven’t delivered much additional support. The pier, which broke apart in heavy seas, might shut down soon.


A choice


Aid workers often argue that the blame for all of these problems ultimately falls on Israel: People in Gaza are starving because Israel started its military campaign in the territory; it has the power to stop the war.


But Israel has genuine national security interests in destroying Hamas. It wants to ensure that nothing like the Oct. 7 attack can happen again. To do that, Israeli leaders believe they have to fight across Gaza. In that sense, Israel has put Israelis’ security above Gazans’ — a predictable, if controversial, choice in war.



13) What My Cancer Surgery Taught Me About Immigration

By Glenn Kramon, a lecturer at Stanford Business School, June 19, 2024


An illustration of a series of figures, all wearing surgical gowns and caps with a few wearing masks, looking down at the viewer. Several of the figures appear to be of various ethnicities.

Klara Graah

Wheeled into the operating room last January, staring up at the massive arms of the robot with which a surgeon would remove my cancerous gland, I was hit with an unusual realization: I owe a debt of gratitude to President Lyndon Johnson and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.


Why? Without that legislation, the surgeon who operated on me probably wouldn’t be here. Nor might the doctor who pioneered the procedure. Nor the philanthropist who financed the research. Nor many workers at the company that makes these robots or those at a different company that designed the chips that enable the robot.


As my ordeal with cancer shows, immigration has become critical to our health. Immigrants account for more than a quarter of physicians, surgeons and personal care aides and about a fifth of nursing assistants.


I’m not sure we realize that immigrants help keep us alive: Just look at West Virginia, a state hostile to immigration where aging residents have died before getting off the wait list for home health aides.


While many Americans — including politicians this election year — dwell on stories like the Venezuelan migrant accused of killing a Georgia nursing student, they often forget the critical ways immigration has historically benefited us. A century ago this spring, the United States slammed the door on large sections of the world, and we could be on the verge of doing so again.


That I am so cognizant of the importance of immigrants is the result of two coincidences. The first is that I teach a class on practical writing at Stanford Business School. Frustrated by the cynicism that has pervaded my 3,000 students, many of whom were only teenagers when Donald Trump was elected and are skeptical of the government, I began showing a slide documenting the benefits they enjoy from legislation that originated in the 1960s. For one, many Stanford Business School students — I would guess roughly a quarter — come from families that would not be in this country if not for Mr. Johnson’s Immigration and Nationality Act.


Before that act, America’s immigration policy explicitly favored white immigrants from Canada and Northern and Western Europe while keeping those from South Asia, East Asia, Africa and Eastern and Southern Europe at bay. The goal, in the words of the State Department in the 1920s and echoed many times afterward: “to preserve the ideal of U.S. homogeneity.”


Over time, many Americans grew ashamed of a system that was explicitly based more on prejudice than fairness. So in 1965 Mr. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act. It didn’t throw the doors wide open, but it gave priority to immigrants with family in this country and to refugees. It also favored skilled workers. Since then, the number of immigrants in the United States has more than quadrupled. Immigrants account for 15 percent of the population, the largest share in history.


The second coincidence: For two years I’ve worked on a book about Intuitive, the Sunnyvale, Calif., maker of the robot that would be used for my procedure. In doing so, I came to know immigrants with remarkable skills, like Dr. Mani Menon, who pioneered the robotic removal of the prostate that is now used in hundreds of thousands of surgeries worldwide annually. He emigrated from southern India in 1972 in part because his wife was Muslim and he was Hindu “and it was uncomfortable for us socially, so we decided to go somewhere where we could be comfortable,” he told me.


Dr. Menon could not have pioneered the robotic prostatectomy without someone to finance his research: another Indian immigrant, Raj Vattikuti. A decade after the 1965 act, Mr. Vattikuti went to Detroit as a computer engineering student. After building a successful business, he, with his wife, Padma, donated $40 million for research on prostate cancer and breast cancer. The Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit is where Dr. Menon pioneered the use of robots in urologic procedures.


And the urologist who performed my surgery, Dr. Vipul Patel, told me he is the grandson of Indians, was raised in Britain and moved to Los Angeles in 1984 for high school and college.


Many workers I interviewed from Silicon Valley told stories of ancestors fleeing persecution, much like many of today’s immigrants. One is the son of refugees from the Khmer Rouge internment camps in Cambodia; another escaped Vietnam as a child in an exodus known as the boat people. One’s family fled Cuba after Fidel Castro seized their property. A top executive is the grandson of Eastern European immigrants, including a maternal grandmother who escaped with one sister but lost the rest of her family to ethnic cleansing in Ukraine early in World War II.


As at most Silicon Valley companies, many thousands of Intuitive’s 13,000 employees — the company doesn’t track exactly how many — are immigrants or children of immigrants from places that were out of bounds for more than half the 20th century.


Now immigrants are 19 percent of the American civilian work force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Silicon Valley, it’s almost half, estimated the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group.


Yet coinciding with the arrival of these immigrants in recent decades has been a growing hostility. In April Mr. Trump wished for more immigrants from “nice countries,” citing Denmark, Switzerland and Norway. After his conviction on May 30 for falsifying business records, he railed against “millions” who were “pouring in” unchallenged, mentioning China and Congo.


During his presidency Mr. Trump supported the Raise Act, an unsuccessful bill to halve legal immigration through a merit-based system that awarded points for age, education, salary and ability to speak English. But Akhila Satish, a scientist and an entrepreneur in Palo Alto, Calif., found a problem in the reasoning of the bill’s supporters: From 2000 to 2017, when the Raise Act was introduced, about 40 percent of American Nobel Prize recipients were immigrants. “And under the Raise Act the majority of these laureates would have been prevented from staying in the U.S.,” Ms. Satish wrote in a 2017 opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal.


I understand that many Americans call illegal immigration their top concern. And they think that businesses sometimes hire immigrants — in the country legally or illegally — instead of American workers because they can pay them less. I recognize the need to rationalize our immigration process. But in an election year when immigration is a partisan issue, we should also remember the profound difference immigrants have made in our lives.


At the “Many Voices, One Nation” exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, you can see a lab coat that belonged to Dr. Menon and an early surgical robot. The exhibition pays tribute not just to him but also to two of his Indian American colleagues, Mr. Vattikuti and Dr. Mahendra Bhandari. The three established the Vattikuti Urology Institute. In doing so, they helped ensure that robotic surgery would continue to evolve. And that I and many other people would thrive — and recognize the importance of immigrants.



14) What to Know About Suicides in the U.S. Army

A Times investigation reveals a crisis of the military’s own making.

By Janet Reitman, June 19, 2024


Austin Valley at the U.S. Army National Training Center in California, in a photo found on his phone. Credit...From the Valley family

Soldiers are more likely than their civilian peers to die by suicide. Many people wrongly believe this is because of combat trauma, but in fact the most vulnerable group are soldiers who have never deployed. The Army’s suicide rate has risen steadily even in peacetime, and the numbers now exceed total combat deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A Times investigation into the death of Specialist Austin Valley, stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas, found that mental-health care providers in the Army are beholden to brigade leadership and often fail to act in the best interest of soldiers.


Here’s what you need to know about the Army’s suicide crisis:


The size and psychological strength of the Army has declined.


After the Vietnam War, the Army went through a period of recalibration, a slowing-down that allowed leaders to take stock of their troops and assess their strategies. That hasn’t happened since the military pulled out of Afghanistan in 2021. For some units, in fact, the “operational tempo,” or amount of time soldiers spend away from home, is as high as it was during the peak of the war on terror, though the size of the force is smaller: The Army lowered its recruiting target in 2023, after falling thousands of people short of their goal in recent years.


The Army’s strategy is to deter nuclear rivals like China or Russia by placing troops all over the world on peacetime missions. This requires that the Army be able to deploy anywhere, at any time, for any reason. Maintaining constant “readiness” often comes at the cost of the health and well-being of soldiers, who describe feeling purposeless as they are worked as hard or harder than ever with no clear goal. “Everyone in the Army is depressed,”  one soldier says.


The Army’s mental-health care system is broken.


Soldiers struggling with their mental health are sent to the Army’s Behavioral Health department, referred to colloquially as B.H., which experts and providers call severely dysfunctional and understaffed. At Fort Riley, for example, there are only about 20 mental-health counselors tasked with caring for more than 12,000 soldiers. As a result, soldiers seeking help can wait weeks or months to get an appointment. Providers can keep spotty medical records and fail to thoroughly assess patients before prescribing medications, including antidepressants that carry black-box warnings that they might worsen suicidality in some young people.


Army leaders routinely undermine privacy and safety protocols.


Though the Army says it is trying to remove the stigma around mental-health care, it can be careless with patient confidentiality. Some unit leaders publicly display a list of their soldiers’ mental-health appointments or openly discuss their health statuses. They can also put pressure on providers to make decisions that go against the best interests of their patients.


In recent years, to exert more control over soldier care, Army leaders have integrated mental-health providers directly into their units, writing their annual evaluations and determining their promotions. Providers say they can feel pressured to change a course of treatment or allow soldiers to deploy overseas to help the Army make its personnel quotas. “You have to make a choice,” one B.H. officer says. “Your career or the lives of your soldiers.”


Easy access to guns is an ongoing problem.


Firearms are used in a majority of suicides among active duty troops. Unrestrictive gun laws in the United States make it harder for the Army to protect soldiers who have reported suicidal ideation. Federal law bars people who have been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward or institution from buying a gun, but not those who have sought help voluntarily. Even if the Army marks soldiers as “high risk” and prohibits them from handling military-issued weapons, the policy cannot apply to personally owned firearms and has no power outside the base.


The Army fails to take the advice of its own experts.


The Department of Defense has spent millions of dollars on suicide-prevention research over the past two decades, but the findings of those studies are routinely ignored. In February 2023, the most recent of the department’s independent suicide-prevention committees released a report that cited high operational tempo, lax rules around guns and poor quality of life on bases as major problems. M. David Rudd, a clinical psychologist and the director of an institute that studies military suicides at the University of Memphis, says that the committee’s report echoes many others that have been produced since 2008; he has no confidence that this time, the recommendations will be taken seriously. “My expectation is that this study will sit on a shelf just like all the others, unimplemented,” he says.