Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 3, 2024



Worldwide Prayer/Good Energy Day for Leonard Peltier


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


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

Consider praying and supporting Leonard now, too. 


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


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


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




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



9:00 A.M. 

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

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


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


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



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


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


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


Ride from anywhere:



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


#GatherforGaza #RideforPalestine #MECAforPeace



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

‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 237:


The total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 36,224, with 81,777 wounded.*  

More than 520 Palestinians have been killed and 4,600 wounded by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**  

—Israel lowers its estimated October 7 death toll from 1,400 to 1,139—636 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 3,568 wounded***

Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on May 26,2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on May 26, 2024—this is the latest figure.

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

Source: mondoweiss.net




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) Gaza Offensive Will Last at Least Through End of Year, Israeli Official Says

By Aaron Boxerman and Gabby Sobelman, May 29, 2024


A red beam of light appears over an grim scene of destroyed buildings.

Destruction inside northern Gaza near the Israel-Gaza border. Credit...Amir Cohen/Reuters

Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, said Wednesday that he expected Israel’s military operations in Gaza to continue through at least the end of the year, appearing to dismiss the idea that the war could come to an end after the military offensive against Hamas in Rafah.


“We expect another seven months of combat in order to shore up our achievement and realize what we define as the destruction of Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s military and governing capabilities,” Mr. Hanegbi said in a radio interview with Kan, the Israeli public broadcaster.


Israeli officials have told the public to expect a protracted campaign that would progress in phases toward lower-intensity fighting. Mr. Hanegbi’s assessment, however, appeared to be at odds with earlier projections by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said in April that the country was “on the brink of victory” in its war against Hamas. In recent weeks, Israeli troops have repeatedly returned to areas of northern Gaza in an attempt to tamp down a renewed insurgency there by Hamas militants.


Israel faces rising pressure to wind down its campaign and reach a cease-fire deal with Hamas that would include the release of hostages held in Gaza. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has requested arrest warrants for Israel’s prime minister and defense minister; the World Court has ordered Israel to rein in its offensive in Rafah; and the Biden administration has expressed frustration with the lack of a clear Israeli endgame for postwar Gaza.


The outcry has only sharpened in recent days, after an Israeli bombardment — which sparked a conflagration in an area where displaced Palestinians were sheltering — killed at least 45 people in western Rafah, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The Israeli military said the airstrike had targeted two Hamas commanders and that it was looking into what could have caused the blaze.


At least 290 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza and over 3,600 wounded since the ground invasion began in late October, according to military statistics. The military said another three soldiers were killed and three more seriously wounded on Tuesday in Rafah, where Israeli forces have been advancing in a long-anticipated assault.


Over one million Gazans have fled the city in the face of the onslaught, according to the United Nations. Israel has called the operation essential to take out Hamas forces arrayed in the city, while the Biden administration and human rights groups have voiced concern over the plight of the civilians who had sought shelter there.


Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that his government sees it as critical to seize control of a buffer strip along the southern edge of Gaza, from Israel’s border to the Mediterranean, a roughly 9-mile-long zone between Gaza and Egypt known in Israel as the Philadelphi Corridor.


Israel’s military now controls around 75 percent of the corridor, Mr. Hanegbi said. He said that Israeli control of the area was critical to prevent cross-border smuggling that would allow Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups to rearm.


Over 36,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Hamas-led surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, according to Gazan health officials. Roughly 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel during the attack, according to the Israeli authorities, and Palestinian militants took around 250 people back to Gaza as hostages.


Since the Israeli operation in the Rafah area began in early May, ground forces have slowly advanced toward the coast, with firefights generally confined to neighborhoods in eastern Rafah. But deadly strikes over the past few days appear to have targeted western Rafah and nearby areas where Israel has not formally ordered an evacuation. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed over the past few days in Rafah alone.


Two days after the strike in western Rafah that killed dozens, Gazan health officials said another bombardment had taken place, killing at least 21. The Israeli military denied striking within the borders of the Israeli-designated humanitarian zone for evacuees in al-Mawasi, which is northwest of the city of Rafah.



2) Israel used U.S. made bombs in the strike that killed dozens near Rafah.

By Robin Stein, Christiaan Triebert and Haley Willis, May 29, 2024

“Video shot by witnesses after the attack shows the scale of suffering. People scream as they pull charred bodies from rubble while flames rage behind them. One man holds up the body of a headless child.”


People look at an area of charred debris.

The damage after Israeli airstrikes on an area near Rafah in a camp for displaced people on Sunday. Credit...Jehad Alshrafi/Associated Press

The bombs used in the Israeli strike that killed dozens of Palestinians in a camp for displaced people near Rafah on Sunday were made in the United States, according to weapons experts and visual evidence reviewed by The New York Times.


Munition debris filmed at the strike location the next day was remnants from a GBU-39, a bomb designed and manufactured in the United States, The Times found. U.S. officials have been pushing Israel to use more of this type of bomb, which they say can reduce civilian casualties.


The key detail in the weapon debris was the tail actuation system, which controls the fins that guide the GBU-39 to a target, according to Trevor Ball, a former U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal technician, who earlier identified the weapon on X. The weapon’s unique bolt pattern and slot where the folding fins are stowed were clearly visible in the debris, Mr. Ball said.


The munition fragments, filmed by Alam Sadeq, a Palestinian journalist, are also marked by a series of numbers beginning with “81873.” This is the unique identifier code assigned by the U.S. government to Woodward, an aerospace manufacturer based in Colorado that supplies parts for bombs including the GBU-39.


At least 45 people in Kuwaiti Al-Salam Camp 1, which was built in early January, were killed by the blast and subsequent fires, according to the Gazan health ministry. More than 240 were wounded.


U.S. officials have been encouraging the Israeli military for months to increase the use of GBU-39 bombs in Gaza because they are generally more precise and better suited to urban environments than larger bombs, including U.S.-made 2,000-pound bombs that Israel routinely uses. President Biden said earlier this month that the U.S. was pausing a delivery of the larger bombs.


“The strike was conducted using two munitions with small warheads suited for this targeted strike,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, said during a news conference on Tuesday. The bombs contained 17 kilograms of explosive material, he said. “This is the smallest munition that our jets can use.”


In response to questions from The Times, the Israeli military declined to specify the munition used. The GBU-39 has a net explosive weight of about 17 kilograms, or 37 pounds.


Admiral Hagari said the military had taken steps to narrowly target two Hamas leaders, who he said were killed in the strike, and did not expect the munitions to harm nearby civilians. The bombs were dropped on sheds inside a camp for internally displaced people, and many tents were visible close by. Footage shows that the bombing set off deadly fires.


Admiral Hagari said the Israeli military’s investigation was continuing. He suggested the fire might have been sparked by a secondary explosion, which he said indicated there may have been weapons stored in the area.


“Our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size,” Admiral Hagari said.


Frederic Gras, a French consultant on munitions, questioned the Israeli military’s reasoning. “Any explosion or detonation starts a fire as soon as flammable products are in the vicinity,” he said, noting that there are often many gas cylinders and lamps in such camps.


Video shot by witnesses after the attack shows the scale of suffering. People scream as they pull charred bodies from rubble while flames rage behind them. One man holds up the body of a headless child.


“The Israelis have said they used 37-pound bombs,” John Kirby, a White House spokesman said at a briefing on Tuesday. “If it is in fact what they used, it is certainly indicative of an effort to be discreet and targeted and precise.”


Larry Lewis, a former Pentagon and State Department adviser who has written several federal reports on civilian harm, said it seemed as though the Israeli military had in this case taken steps to mitigate danger to civilians.


“Secondary explosions can be hard to anticipate,” Mr. Lewis said.


But he said he was troubled that in surveillance footage released by the military, four people appeared to be outside the targeted buildings before the strike. Mr. Lewis said the decision to strike at that time raises questions about whether the Israeli military “knew and accepted a possible civilian toll” or failed to notice the people, suggesting potential problems in their precautionary measures.


Wes J. Bryant, a retired American Air Force master sergeant who served on a task force critical of Israel’s use of weapons in Gaza, told The Times that he had dropped many GBU-39 bombs during his military service and that this strike was problematic.


“It indicates continued targeting negligence — either an unwillingness or inability to effectively safeguard civilians,” Mr. Bryant said. “When you use a weapon that’s intended as precision and low collateral damage in an area where civilians are saturated, it really negates that intended use.”


Neil Collier, Eric Schmitt and Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting. Additional production by Ainara Tiefenthäler and Shawn Paik.



3) Thousands around the world protest after the deadly Israeli strike in Rafah.

By Aurelien Breeden, May 29, 2024



Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied in cities around the world on Tuesday days after an Israeli strike that killed dozens of Palestinians in a tent camp in Rafah, southern Gaza.


In Britain, a large protest gathered in central London chanting, “Blood on your hands” and, “Stop arming Israel” not far from Downing Street and the prime minister’s residence. Most of the demonstrators left peacefully but officers arrested 40 people at a breakaway protest that obstructed a highway, according to the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday, and three officers were injured.


In France, thousands of demonstrators converged on the Place de la République, in the heart of Paris, where they waved Palestinian flags and shouted, “We are all children of Gaza,” before spreading out through the city. Some of the protesters briefly blocked the ring road around the French capital. Others scuffled with riot police officers who fired tear gas to prevent demonstrators from approaching the Israeli Embassy.


In Mexico, clashes broke out between small groups of protesters hurling rocks and other objects at police officers outside the Israeli Embassy in Mexico City. Six police officers were injured, according to local news reports citing the capital’s authorities.


In Italy, protesters briefly blocked a train station in Bologna by descending on the tracks. Demonstrators also gathered in Karachi, Pakistan, to protest the Israeli strikes and to express solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.


Mark A. Walsh contributed reporting.



4) ‘All eyes on Rafah’ surges on social media after a deadly Israeli strike.

By Ali Watkins, May 29, 2024


Three people, one holding a device spewing pink smoke, stand in front of a banner held up by several people that says “All Eyes on Rafah.”

The phrase “All Eyes on Rafah” was on display at a protest in Naples, Italy, earlier this month. Credit...Ciro Fusco/EPA, via Shutterstock

The slogan “All Eyes on Rafah” has ricocheted across social media this week following an Israeli strike in the Gazan city that killed dozens of civilians and provoked international outrage.


For months, the phrase has been a touchstone in the social and cultural dialogue around Israel’s war against Hamas in the region. It has periodically trended on social media, particularly as Israeli military attacks in the city — located in the southern Gaza Strip, along the Egyptian border — have escalated.


On Wednesday, the saying was once again trending, this time through what appears to be an A.I.-generated image showing a field of refugee tents spelling out “All Eyes on Rafah.” One version of the graphic has been shared more than 38 million times on Instagram.


The phrase may have originated in comments made in February by Rik Peeperkorn, who heads the World Health Organization’s office for Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Mr. Peeperkorn was speaking at a news conference as the Israeli military intensified its campaign in the southern Gaza strip.


“All eyes are on Rafah,” Mr. Peeperkorn said at the time.


The comment was almost immediately repurposed by pro-Palestinian and humanitarian groups to draw attention to Gaza and Rafah, which was one of the last remaining destinations for displaced Palestinians from other parts of the territory. Among them were Save the Children International, Oxfam and, later, pro-Palestinian lobbying groups like Jewish Voice for Peace.


The saying was also heard at pro-Palestinian protests that swept across Western universities earlier this month.


The deadly strike in Rafah on Sunday was quickly denounced by world leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said the attack had killed two Hamas officials, and he called the civilian deaths a “tragic accident.”



5) Top U.S. officials say the deadly airstrike in Rafah, while tragic, did not cross Biden’s red line.

By Zolan Kanno-Youngs reporting from Washington, May 29, 2024

“U.S. officials said on Tuesday that the Israeli strike that killed dozens of Palestinians in southern Gaza was a tragedy but that it did not violate President Biden’s red line for withholding weapons shipments to Israel.”


From left to right, President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III walking beside a wreath of flowers.

Vice President Kamala Harris, center, said “the word tragic doesn’t even begin to describe” the deaths from an Israeli strike in Rafah. Credit...Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

U.S. officials said on Tuesday that the Israeli strike that killed dozens of Palestinians in southern Gaza was a tragedy but that it did not violate President Biden’s red line for withholding weapons shipments to Israel.


The bloodshed came after Mr. Biden warned earlier this month that the United States would block certain arms transfers if Israel targeted heavily populated areas in Rafah — a warning that has been tested regularly as the war has ground on.


John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, said the deaths were “devastating” but that the scale of the attack was not enough to change U.S. policy. “We don’t want to see a major ground operation,” Mr. Kirby told reporters. “We haven’t seen that.”


Israeli tanks were on the outskirts of the city “to try to put pressure on Hamas,” Mr. Kirby said. He also offered a measure of specificity about Mr. Biden’s warning to Israel, which critics have said was too vague.


“We have not seen them go in with large units and large numbers of troops in columns and formations in some sort of coordinated maneuver against multiple targets on the ground,” Mr. Kirby said. “Everything that we can see tells us that they are not moving in in a major ground operation in population centers in the city of Rafah.”


Mr. Biden has faced pressure from advocates and members of his own party to use his power to curtail arms to Israel as a way to influence its conduct in the war. The United States is by far the biggest supplier of weapons to Israel, which raises questions about American responsibility as the death toll mounts.


The strike in Rafah on Sunday ignited a deadly fire and killed at least 45 people, including children, and wounded 249, according to the Gazan health ministry. It has prompted international outrage, including from leaders in the European Union, the United Nations, Egypt and China.


Vice President Kamala Harris, asked about Rafah on Tuesday, said “the word tragic doesn’t even begin to describe” the deaths. She did not answer a follow-up question about whether the strike crossed a red line for Mr. Biden.


Still, the Israeli military’s conduct was similar to what Mr. Biden said he would not tolerate when he warned, in an interview on CNN earlier this month, that the United States would not supply Israel with weapons to attack Rafah.


“I have made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet they’re not going to get our support if, in fact, they’re going into these population centers,” Mr. Biden said in the interview.


In that interview, Mr. Biden emphasized that the United States would still ensure Israel’s security, citing the Iron Dome missile defense system and his support for Israel’s “ability to respond to attacks.” But he said he would block the delivery of weapons that could be fired into densely populated areas of Rafah.


The area that was hit on Sunday was not included in evacuation orders that Israel issued in early May, and some Palestinians sheltering in the camp said they had believed it was a safe zone.


The Israeli military said that the target of Sunday’s strike was a Hamas compound, and that “precise munitions” had been used to target a commander and another senior official there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a “tragic accident” that civilians were killed.


Around one million people have fled Rafah during Israel’s assault on the city, according to the United Nations, including many in the western part of the city and in the area around the camp that was struck on Sunday.


A State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, said the United States was watching Israel’s investigation of the incident closely.


“Israel has said that it might have been that there was a Hamas ammo dump near the area where they took the strike,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s a very important factual question that needs to be answered.”


The Israeli military’s spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, told a news conference that Israeli jets had fired the “smallest munitions” that they could use and added that “our munitions alone could not have ignited a fire of this size.”


Israel invaded Gaza after the Hamas-led attacks of Oct. 7 killed some 1,200 people in Israel. Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 36,000 people, many of them women and children, according to health officials in Gaza.


World leaders, including Mr. Biden, have warned of the dangers of a major military operation in Rafah without a proper plan for evacuating the displaced Gazans taking refuge there.


Mr. Miller was able to provide little detail on hundreds of thousands of people who have fled Rafah in recent weeks.


“Some of them have gone back to Khan Younis,” he said. “Some of them have pushed into western Rafah. Some of them have gone to Mawasi. I don’t think there’s any one answer.” Mr. Miller said he did not know if Israel was assisting those people.


Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and an adviser to Palestinian leaders during past peace negotiations, said the White House was benefiting from its ambiguous descriptions on Mr. Biden’s “red line” for Israel’s military operation in Rafah.


“It’s definitely blurry and by design,” Mr. Elgindy said. “They don’t want to be pinned down. They don’t want to pin themselves down by identifying an exact point or line that gets across because Israel will absolutely cross that line. We’ve seen that over and over again.”


Erica L. Green contributed reporting from Washington, and Michael Crowley from New York.



6) U.S.-built pier for delivering aid to Gaza breaks apart in rough seas.

By Helene Cooper Reporting from Washington, May 29, 2024


A platform sits in shallow water alongside a beached military vessel.

Rough seas over the weekend broke four U.S. Army ships free of their moorings and damaged the temporary pier the Army had built to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. Credit...Oren Ziv/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The temporary pier that the U.S. military constructed and put in place to provide much-needed humanitarian aid for Gaza has broken apart in rough seas, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.


The latest calamity to befall the pier endeavor punctuated a particularly grim several days in Gaza, where Israeli forces have ramped up attacks on the city of Rafah just two days after carrying out a deadly strike that killed dozens of people.


“Unfortunately, we had a perfect storm of high sea states, and then, as I mentioned, this North African weather system also came in at the same time, creating not an optimal environment to operate,” Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon deputy press secretary, said at a news conference.


Army engineers are working to put the pier back together and Defense Department officials hope that it “will be fully operational in just a little over a week,” she said.


In early March, President Biden surprised the Pentagon by announcing that the U.S. military would build a pier for Gaza. Defense officials immediately predicted that there would be logistical and security issues.


In the days after the pier became operational on May 17, trucks were looted as they made their way to a warehouse, forcing the U.N. World Food Program to suspend operations. After officials beefed up security, the weather turned bad. American officials had been hoping that the sea surges would not start until later in the summer.


On Saturday, heavy seas forced two small American military vessels that were part of the pier operation to beach in Israel. On Sunday, part of the pier broke off completely, including a wider parking area for dropping off supplies transported by ship, officials said. That part will have to be reconnected.


The pier is now being removed from the coast of Gaza to be repaired after getting damaged in the rough seas, Ms. Singh said. Over the next two days, it will be pulled out and taken to Ashdod, in southern Israel, for repairs.


She said that the fact that the pier, which cost $320 million, was able to get 1,000 metric tons of aid into Gaza before it broke apart demonstrates that it can work.


White House policy does not allow U.S. troops on the ground in Gaza, so the Pentagon was able to start but not finish the mission.


And as the pier project struggles, the situation in Gaza remains dire. Even before Sunday’s deadly Israeli strikes, more than 34,000 people had died and more than 77,000 people had been wounded, according to health officials in the territory.



7) Israel’s Claim of Control Over Border Zone Risks Raising Tensions With Egypt

By Aaron Boxerman reporting from Jerusalem, May 30, 2024


Military vehicles and personnel in a dusty area.

Israeli armored personnel carriers moving along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on Wednesday. Credit...Amir Levy/Getty Images

The Israeli military’s announcement that it had seized “tactical control” of a sensitive border strip between Gaza and Egypt comes after weeks of rising tensions between Egypt and Israel over Israel’s advance into Rafah.


Israeli forces advanced into the roughly nine-mile-long area — known as the Philadelphi Corridor — in an attempt to crack down on Hamas’s ability to rearm itself by smuggling munitions into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt, according to the Israeli military. The move was part of the Israeli offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which has prompted more than one million Palestinians to flee, according to the United Nations.


Egypt and Israel have repeatedly butted heads over the push into Rafah. After Israel captured the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt in early May, the gateway effectively shut down, with each side blaming the other for the impasse. On Monday, at least one Egyptian soldier was killed in a shooting incident with Israeli forces near the Rafah crossing; both sides say they are investigating the matter.


Earlier this year, Egypt warned that if Israeli forces occupied the Philadelphi Corridor, it would pose a “serious threat” to relations between the two countries. But Egyptian officials have yet to publicly comment in the wake of the Israeli announcement.


On Wednesday night, in response to Israel’s announcement about the corridor, Egypt’s state-run Al-Qahera News channel quoted an unnamed senior official saying “there is no truth” to claims of tunnels under the border.


Egyptian and Israeli authorities coordinate closely on security, with defense officials regularly meeting in Cairo and Tel Aviv. Although Egypt and Israel fought at least three major wars before a 1979 peace treaty, they now have a cold peace: Their publics remain largely at odds, but their security establishments have close and continuing contact.


Israeli military officials have generally shied away from accusing Egypt of failing to crack down on cross-border smuggling, which some analysts called an attempt to avoid damaging the sensitive and important ties between the two countries.


The Israeli military official said “tactical control” did not mean that Israeli forces were present at every point along the Philadelphi Corridor. But he said it meant that Israel could effectively disrupt Hamas’s supply lines, which pass through the border zone.


On Wednesday night, Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, declined to explicitly confirm that Israeli forces had uncovered cross-border tunnels in the corridor. But an Israeli military official, who briefed reporters Wednesday on condition of anonymity to comply with military protocol, said that troops had identified at least 20 tunnels running from Gaza into Egypt.


Egyptian officials were likely most concerned by the prospect that the war could prompt Gazans to flood across the border into the Sinai Peninsula, said Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo. As long as that prospect remained distant, whatever discontent Israel’s operation had stirred could be contained, he added.


“Both Israel and Egypt understand their true interests,” said Mr. Shaked. “There’s tension, disappointment and frustrations on both sides — but they are trying to keep those under the table.”



8) A new cease-fire proposal circulates at the U.N., driven by outrage over Israel’s strike on a tent camp.

By Farnaz Fassihi, May 30, 024


Adults and children walk around the site of an Israeli strike, with some wreckage still on fire.

Palestinians inspecting some of the damage a day after an Israeli strike near a camp for displaced people in Rafah on Sunday set off a fire that killed at least 45 people. Credit...Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Seeking to harness the outrage over an Israeli strike on Sunday that set fire to an encampment and killed at least 45 displaced Palestinians, including children, many diplomats at the United Nations Security Council are backing a new resolution this week that would demand an immediate cease-fire and a halt to Israel’s military operations in the city of Rafah.


But they will have to overcome the objections of the United States, which has veto power on the Council and has signaled it will not support the resolution in its current form.


Algeria, the only Arab representative in the current makeup of the Security Council, drafted and circulated the one-page resolution, which says that “Israel, the occupying Power, shall immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in Rafah.” It calls for “an immediate cease-fire respected by all parties, and also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”


The Council held back-to-back meetings on the war in Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday, first an emergency session behind closed doors about the strike on the encampment in Rafah and then a scheduled monthly open meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Algeria’s resolution was expected to go to a vote in the coming days.


“The human cost is self-evident and appalling,” Algeria’s ambassador, Amar Bendjama, told the Council on Wednesday. “These crimes speak for themselves.”


One U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the United States would block the current version of the resolution, which it views as unbalanced and problematic. He said that the United States had proposed a number of revisions.


In particular, the official said, the United States does not want to endorse a resolution that calls on Israel to completely halt its military offensive in Rafah, which Israeli commanders maintain is still a stronghold for the armed group Hamas. The Biden administration supports limited Israeli operations there.


As one of the five permanent members of the Council, the United States holds veto power and has wielded it against three previous cease-fire resolutions since the war started in October. In March, the United States allowed a resolution to pass that called for a humanitarian cease-fire for the month of Ramadan by abstaining from the vote.


In recent weeks, as the civilian toll in Gaza has mounted, U.S. officials have become more openly critical of Israel’s conduct of the war. At least 36,000 people have been killed in the Israeli bombardment and ground operations, according to the Gazan Ministry of Health, which does not differentiate between fighters and civilians in its count. Health officials have said a majority of the people killed are women, children and other noncombatants.


Gazan authorities say at least 45 people were killed in Sunday’s strike and its fiery aftermath as a fire tore through the Kuwait al-Salaam camp, where displaced people were living in tents. Among the casualties was a toddler whose burned and headless body was shown in a video verified by The New York Times.


“The continued pattern of significant civilian harm resulting from incidents like Sunday’s airstrikes undermines Israel’s strategic goals in Gaza,” Robert A. Wood, the U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told the Council on Wednesday. Mr. Wood added Israel had the right to defend itself but also had “obligations to protect civilians.”


On Tuesday, senior Biden administration officials expressed horror over Sunday’s strike but said that it was not a part of a major ground operation and so did not cross President Biden’s red line for withholding weapons shipments to Israel.


The Algerian resolution also cites an emergency ruling last Friday by the United Nation’s top court, the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The ruling ordered Israel to immediately halt its military operation in Rafah, though Israeli officials have argued its wording left some room for interpretation. The ruling came after arguments by South Africa, which late last year brought a case accusing Israel of genocide to the court.


Several Security Council diplomats said that they hoped to vote on the resolution soon to capture the momentum and outrage generated by the Sunday night strike and to prevent, if possible, harm to more civilians in Gaza. Drawn-out negotiations to appease the United States, the diplomats said, would send the wrong signal about the Council’s resolve to take action.


“This Council must express itself urgently on the situation in Rafah and demand an end to this offensive,” France’s ambassador, Nicolas de Rivière, said.



9) Israel Must Stop Its Campaign Against UNRWA

By Philippe Lazzarini, Mr. Lazzarini is commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, May 30, 2024


A man in a blue UNRWA vest stands facing a wall.

Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

The war in Gaza has produced a blatant disregard for the mission of the United Nations, including outrageous attacks on the employees, facilities and operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.


These attacks must stop and the world must act to hold the perpetrators accountable.


As I write this, our agency has verified that at least 192 UNRWA employees have been killed in Gaza. More than 170 UNRWA premises have been damaged or destroyed. UNRWA-run schools have been demolished; some 450 displaced people have been killed while sheltered inside UNRWA schools and other structures. Since Oct. 7, Israeli security forces have rounded up UNRWA personnel in Gaza, who have alleged torture and mistreatment while in detention in the Strip and in Israel.


UNRWA staff members are regularly harassed and humiliated at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. Agency installations are used by the Israel security forces, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups for military purposes.


UNRWA is not the only U.N. agency that faces danger. In April, gunfire hit World Food Program and UNICEF vehicles, apparently inadvertently but despite coordination with the Israeli authorities.


The assault on UNRWA has spread to East Jerusalem, where a member of the Jerusalem municipality has helped incite protests against UNRWA. Demonstrations are becoming increasingly dangerous, with at least two arson attacks on our UNRWA compound, and a crowd including Israeli children gathered outside our premises singing “Let the U.N. burn.”  At other times, demonstrators threw stones.


Israeli officials are not only threatening the work of our staff and mission, they are also delegitimizing UNRWA by effectively characterizing it as a terrorist organization that fosters extremism and labeling U.N. leaders as terrorists who collude with Hamas. By doing so, they are creating a dangerous precedent of routine targeting of U.N. staff and premises.


How can this be possible? Where is the international outrage? Its absence is a license to disregard the United Nations and opens the door to impunity and chaos. If we tolerate such attacks in the context of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, we cannot uphold humanitarian principles in other conflicts around the world. This assault on the United Nations will further diminish our tools for peace and defense against inhumanity around the world. It must not become the new norm.


While Israel has long been hostile to UNRWA, following the abhorrent attacks of Oct. 7 it unleashed a campaign to equate UNRWA with Hamas and depict the agency as promoting extremism. In a new dimension to this campaign, the Israeli government made serious allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the Hamas attack.


There is no question that individuals accused of criminal acts, including the deplorable assault on Israel, must be investigated. This is exactly what the United Nations is doing. Those individuals must be held accountable through criminal prosecution and, if found guilty, punished.


The Office of Internal Oversight Services, the top investigative body in the U.N. system, is overseeing this inquiry. It is looking into allegations against 19 out of 13,000 UNRWA staff members in Gaza. To date, one case was closed because there was no evidence. Four cases were suspended because the information was insufficient to proceed. Another 14 cases remain under investigation.


But we must distinguish the behavior of individuals from the agency’s mandate to serve Palestinian refugees. It is unjust and dishonest to attack UNRWA’s mission on the basis of these allegations.


Outside of these cases, there have been further allegations of collusion with Hamas, which I believe have rendered — in the eyes of some — U.N. humanitarian workers and assets to be legitimate targets. That’s a danger to U.N. workers everywhere. The world must act decisively against the illegitimate attacks on the United Nations, not only for Gaza and Palestinians but for all nations. The adoption last week by the U.N. Security Council of Resolution 2730 on the protection of humanitarian personnel is a welcome development.


The international community has ways to address the committing of international crimes, such as the International Criminal Court. However, the scale and scope of the attacks against U.N. personnel and premises in the occupied Palestinian territories in the last seven months merit the urgent establishment of a dedicated, independent investigative body, through a U.N. Security Council or General Assembly resolution, to ascertain the facts and identify those responsible for attacks on its agencies. Such an investigative body can ensure accountability and, crucially, help to reaffirm the inviolability of international law.


We must meaningfully defend U.N. institutions and the values they represent before the symbolic shredding of the charter establishing the United Nations. This can only be achieved through principled action by the nations of the world and a commitment by all to peace and justice.



10) Israel Pushes Into Central Rafah in Southern Gaza Offensive

By Aaron Boxerman and Lauren Leatherby, May 31, 2024


People sit or stand amid a group of destroyed tents.

Tents destroyed by an Israeli strike west of Rafah this week [Incinerating over 45 people mostly women and children]. Many Palestinians had sought refuge in the city after Israel ordered a mass evacuation of northern Gaza in late October. Credit...Jehad Alshrafi/Associated Press

The Israeli military said on Friday that its forces had advanced into central Rafah, pushing even deeper into the southern Gaza city despite an international backlash and pressure from allies to scale back the latest offensive.


Israeli commandoes backed by tanks and artillery were operating in central Rafah, the Israeli military said in a statement, without specifying precise locations. On Wednesday, the Israeli military said it had established “operational control” over the border zone with Egypt, an eight-mile-long strip known as the Philadelphi Corridor on the outskirts of Rafah.


Commercially available satellite imagery taken by Planet Labs on Thursday also showed that the Israeli military had set up positions in parts of central Rafah, while military vehicles and tanks could be spotted as far as the outskirts of the Tel al-Sultan area in western Rafah.


Despite nearly eight months of fighting, Israel has yet to accomplish its stated goals of bringing home the roughly 125 hostages held in Gaza and toppling Hamas. Israeli officials have said that shutting down Hamas’s cross-border smuggling network and rooting out militants in Rafah would be key steps toward those goals.


Another recent focal point of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza has been Jabaliya in the north, where the military said it had conducted more than 200 airstrikes over weeks of intense fighting with Hamas militants. On Friday, Israeli forces withdrew, leaving widespread devastation in their wake, according to the military and Palestinian residents. The military said it was also still conducting some combat operations in central Gaza.


Military analysts have expressed skepticism that the offensive in Rafah will deal Hamas the decisive blow that Israel craves. But it has deepened the misery of ordinary Palestinians, who are still facing widespread hunger in the enclave. And since the offensive began, the amount of international aid reaching southern Gaza has declined, although there has been a slight uptick in the arrival of commercial goods.


Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israeli national security adviser, said on Wednesday that Israel’s military operations in Gaza would likely last through the end of the year. Mr. Hanegbi, a senior aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a radio interview that the fighting would continue for months more to “shore up the achievement” against Hamas.


More than one million Palestinians in Rafah, about half the territory’s total population, have fled the Israeli offensive over the past few weeks, according to the United Nations, many of them displaced for the second or third time in this conflict. Many had sought refuge there after Israel ordered a mass evacuation of northern Gaza in late October, swelling the city’s population to 1.4 million.


Israel has followed through with its offensive in Rafah despite concerns from close allies like the United States that any major military assault would place civilians in grave danger.


On Sunday, some of those fears appeared to be realized when at least 45 people were killed in an Israeli strike and subsequent fire, according to Gazan health officials. The Israeli military said the bombardment had targeted two Hamas commanders, but unintentionally set off a blaze at a nearby area where civilians were sheltering.


Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli brigadier general, said on Friday that the offensive in Rafah would likely continue for weeks as Israeli forces destroyed tunnels in controlled demolitions and fought through parts of the city against remaining militants in an effort to “clean up” the area.


To prevent Hamas from rearming itself, Israeli forces would likely remain in the border zone near Egypt for the foreseeable future, said General Brom, who directed the military’s strategic planning division. Israeli officials, he said, have yet to move toward the only other feasible option — handing over security responsibility to a new administration.


Senior Israeli officials have expressed frustration with Mr. Netanyahu for not articulating a clear exit strategy for the war. Over the past few months, Israeli forces have repeatedly gone back to areas like Jabaliya — which they had conquered earlier in the war — to crack down on renewed Hamas insurgencies.


As long as Israel has no diplomatic endgame for Gaza, its forces will keep finding themselves bogged down in constant battles against Palestinian militants there, General Brom said.


“All kinds of operations will be launched, and they will all have military logic, but they won’t be part of any clear strategy,” General Brom said, adding that chipping away at the militant threat under an Israeli military regime in Gaza “could take years.”


Last week, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to rein in its ongoing military offensive in Rafah, warning of the risk of grave harm to civilians, although some of the judges wrote that Israel could still conduct some military operations there. The Israeli military pressed on with the operation despite that pressure, describing its Rafah campaign as limited and precise.


Much of eastern Rafah has been devastated since the offensive began in early May, particularly around the border crossing with Egypt, according to satellite photos from May 22. Israel captured the Rafah crossing in an overnight operation on May 7 that marked the beginning of their assault on the area.


The Rafah crossing has served as a vital conduit for getting humanitarian aid into Gaza amid widespread deprivation and hunger. It also served as the main gateway for sick and wounded Gaza residents to flee the fighting and receive urgent medical care.


Israeli officials say the portal was part of Hamas’s smuggling operations into the enclave, which has been subject to a crushing Israeli-Egyptian blockade since the Palestinian armed group seized control of Gaza in 2007.


The crossing has been shuttered since its capture by Israeli forces, and Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian officials have been unable to reach a deal to resume operations there.


After U.S. pressure, Egypt began diverting some aid trucks to another crossing, the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom, this week in an attempt to alleviate a sharp decline in aid entering Gaza.



11) Here is why the Philadelphi Corridor is so important to Israelis, Egyptians and Gazans alike.

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, May 31, 2024


Inside a smuggling tunnel, which connects the Gaza Strip and Egypt, in Rafah in 2013. Credit...Ali Ali/European Pressphoto Agency

Israel’s announcement on Wednesday that its forces had gained control over a strip of land that runs along the Gaza Strip's southern border suggested that it had fulfilled one of the goals of the country’s war against Hamas, but it portends further isolation for Palestinians in the enclave.


Here’s a look at the importance of the border strip to Israel, to Palestinians and to Egypt:


What is the border strip?


It is land around 100 yards wide that runs roughly eight miles from Israel’s border to the Mediterranean. The new border, which divided the city of Rafah, was set up under the Egypt-Israel peace treaty of 1979. To the northeast is Gaza, while Egypt lies to the southwest. Egyptian border guards have been policing the land under an agreement with Israel made in 2005 when Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza. The Israelis used the code name Philadelphi for the strip, while Egyptian officials call it Salah Al Din.


Why does it matter to Israel?


Senior Israeli officials had set control of the strip, which in Israel is called the Philadelphi Corridor, as a military objective. Hamas had dug tunnels beneath the strip — some wide enough for trucks, according to military experts — and used them to smuggle weapons and personnel into Gazan territory.


“This is the way they can get in and out without asking the Israelis,” said Ahron Bregman, a political scientist and expert in Middle East security issues at King’s College in London, who is a former Israeli military officer. Unless the tunnels are blocked, he said in a previous interview, Hamas could rebuild its military capacity after the war.


Why does it matter to Egypt?


During other regional conflicts, Egypt has opened its borders to refugees, but the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi fears that if Palestinian civilians crossed the border to escape the war they could destabilize the country and become a drag on its economy.


The government also sees Hamas as an adversary and does not want to give it a foothold in Egypt. Hamas began as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement that was closely linked to the government that Mr. el-Sisi overthrew in 2013. His government has suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood since taking power.


Egypt has warned Israel to avoid doing anything that might force Gazans across the border or threaten a landmark peace agreement signed by the two countries in 1979.


For decades before the war, Egypt stationed guards along the Gaza border. It reinforced those forces after the Oct. 7 Hamas-led assault on Israel that set off the current fighting in Gaza.


Why does it matter to Palestinians?


Egypt is the only country other than Israel that borders Gaza, so Israel’s control of the corridor is likely to be viewed by Palestinians as a sign of increasing isolation.


At the same time, the tunnels have been used by Egyptian and Palestinian merchants to bring food and other goods into Gaza. Israeli control of the strip will likely halt that underground trade.



12) She Made an Offer on a Condo. Then the Seller Learned She Was Black.

A Black woman claims a white homeowner tried to pull out of a sale because of her race.

By Debra Kamin, May 31, 2024


A woman in a bright pink jacket with long hair stands with her hands folded, looking off into the distance.

Dr. Raven Baxter, a molecular biologist, was in escrow on a new home when she was told the seller didn’t want to hand over the keys to a Black person. Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Perched on a hill with a view of the Atlantic Ocean, the condo in Virginia Beach was just what Dr. Raven Baxter wanted. It had a marble fireplace, a private foyer and details like crown molding and wainscoting in its three bedrooms and three bathrooms.


At $749,000, it was within her budget, too. She offered the asking price, which was accepted, and sent over a down payment. And then when she was in escrow earlier this month, her broker called her late at night on May 17, a Friday,  with some bad news.


The seller wanted to pull out of the deal.


Why? “You could hear the fear and disbelief in his voice,” Dr. Baxter said, recalling what her broker told her next. “He said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but she doesn’t want to sell the home to you, and it’s because you’re Black.’”


The seller, Jane Walker, 84, is white.


Ms. Walker did not respond to requests for comment. Bill Loftis, Dr. Baxter’s broker, said, “We have no comment on this as we can’t do anything to jeopardize our clients [sic] transaction.”


The situation spilled out into the open a few hours later, when Dr. Baxter, 30, a molecular biologist and science communicator who runs the website Dr. Raven the Science Maven, shared what happened in a post on X. Her public airing to 163,000 followers and others has drawn attention to bias that continues to plague the housing industry, and the laws that are supposed to prohibit discrimination, even as Dr. Baxter took steps to continue to ultimately buy the condo.


Two federal laws — the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the much older Civil Rights Act of 1866 — make it illegal for both home sellers and their real estate agents to discriminate during a home sale. But more than 50 years after redlining was outlawed, racial discrimination remains an issue, housing advocates say. A multiyear undercover investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance, a Washington-based nonprofit coalition of housing organizations, found that 87 percent of real estate agents participated in racial steering, opting to show their clients homes only in neighborhoods where most of the neighbors were of their same race. Agents also refused to work with Black buyers and showed Black and Latino buyers fewer homes than white buyers.


Following the recommendation of commenters on her social media post, Dr. Baxter filed a claim of discrimination with the Virginia Fair Housing Office and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also reached out to a civil rights attorney.


“Had I not gone to Twitter and received help from people who knew what they were doing, I would have been panicking the entire weekend,” Dr. Baxter said. “It was my first time buying a house. I knew my civil rights were being violated. I knew that something illegal was happening, but no one knew what to do.”


‘Fell Back in My Chair’


Dr. Baxter, who works remotely for Mt. Sinai hospital in New York, currently shares a rented apartment in Alexandria, Va., with her boyfriend, Dr. Ronald Gamble Jr., 35, a theoretical astrophysicist. After a divorce two years ago, she was eager to own a home outright, and Dr. Gamble encouraged her to find a house near the beach, which has long been a dream of hers. He promised to split his time between the new house and Washington, D.C., where he works at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.


Dr. Baxter first saw the listing for the Virginia Beach condo in early May on Zillow, and contacted the agent, Wayne Miller, who offered to visit it for her and provide a tour over FaceTime.


Dr. Baxter kept her camera off while Mr. Miller, who is white, toured the home with Ms. Walker’s agent as one of the guides. The virtual tour was enough for Dr. Baxter to jump with an offer.


“It’s a classic home with a ton of character. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you can walk to the beach. It was like a steal,” she said. “I basically put in an offer sight unseen.”


Two weeks later, with the home sale in escrow and on the same day of a home inspection, Dr. Baxter and Dr. Gamble made the three-hour drive to Virginia Beach to see the house in person for the first time. Ms. Walker arrived as the couple was leaving, and Ms. Walker’s agent, Susan Pender of Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty, introduced the seller to the buyer.


Shortly after Dr. Baxter and Dr. Gamble drove away from the home, Ms. Walker informed her agent that she was not willing to sell her home to a person who is Black and she wished to cancel the sale, according to a chronology of events compiled by Mr. Miller and shared with The New York Times by Dr. Baxter. Mr. Miller declined to comment, and Ms. Pender did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


But what followed, according to Dr. Baxter and Dr. Gamble and supported by Mr. Miller’s recounted, written timeline, was a series of frantic actions by real estate agents on both sides focused on salvaging the home deal.


Ms. Walker’s agent called Mr. Miller to say Ms. Walker wanted to back out of the home sale. Mr. Miller, in turn, called Mr. Loftis, who is the supervising broker for 757 Realty, where Mr. Miller is an agent, to ask for guidance.


As Dr. Baxter was getting ready for bed at a hotel in Virginia Beach later that evening, she got the phone call from Mr. Loftis.


She put the phone on speaker so that Dr. Gamble, who was working on his research in the hotel room at the time of the call, could hear the conversation.


“I kind of fell back in my chair,” Dr. Gamble said. “I could not believe what I was hearing. Well after the Civil Rights movement, after Covid, after George Floyd, you would think society isn’t still thinking this way. But in 2024, they still are.”


In a flurry of emails and calls over the next 24 hours, which were received and recorded by Dr. Baxter and reviewed by The New York Times, Mr. Miller and Mr. Loftis expressed shock at the turn of events and sympathy for Dr. Baxter. They also assured her the home sale would go through despite the seller’s wishes.


They did not immediately offer guidance on how Dr. Baxter could protect herself legally or file a discrimination complaint under the Fair Housing Act. Representatives with both HUD and the National Fair Housing Alliance advised that this should have been their first step.


Dr. Baxter turned to social media just after midnight on Saturday. She was defiant, ending her post with, “Baby, I’m either buying your house or buying YOUR BLOCK. CHOOSE ONE.”


‘We Handled This’


Hours later, Mr. Loftis wrote in an email to Ms. Baxter. “It was unfortunate that the seller took her position to bring Race [sic] into the process,” he wrote. “It sounds like the seller’s kids were able to turn her around. While it was an unfortunate issue, hopefully your purchase is back on track.”


Mr. Miller called Dr. Baxter, who said she was panicking that she would lose the home. In that conversation, he encouraged her to sign an inspection contingency removal addendum, releasing the seller of all obligations to make repairs on the home, despite the home’s inspection revealing an air-conditioning system that was more than 30 years old and in need of upgrade. Two days later, on the instructions of Mr. Loftis, Mr. Miller sent Dr. Baxter an email with a link to Virginia’s fair housing complaint form.


In an email, Jay Mitchell, a supervising broker at Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty, wrote that neither party had withdrawn from the transaction. “As a company, we condemn any kind of discrimination regardless of the source or the target. All of our agents and staff are fully trained on being aware of discrimination in its many forms,” he said. He declined to answer further questions.


A spokeswoman for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the residential real estate firm owned by Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy, said that RW Towne Realty was an independently owned and operated company that only licensed the Berkshire Hathaway name.


“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and its parent company, HomeServices of America, strictly adhere to The Fair Housing Act and do not tolerate discrimination of any nature,” she added.


Shortly after The New York Times contacted Mr. Mitchell, Dr. Baxter received an email from Barbara Wolcott, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty.


“In light of the actions of our horribly misguided seller, I feel compelled to send you this email,” she wrote. “Please be assured that the attitude of this individual is not something that is tolerated by Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty, Susan Pender, or anyone within our organization or area.”


When reached by phone and asked how Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty was not tolerating the actions of the seller, Ms. Wolcott said, “We handled this. All you need to know is it was corrected the next day,” and declined to answer further questions.


Dr. Baxter’s home sale remains set to close later this summer. But even if the deal goes through, her rights under the Fair Housing Act have still been potentially violated, said Brenda Castañeda, deputy director of advocacy for HOME of VA, a nonprofit that assists Virginians who believe they have experienced housing discrimination. Real estate agents are required by law to not discriminate, which means they must inform sellers who insist on acting with prejudice that they will not represent them, and extricate themselves from a sale if the seller will not acquiesce. But there are other ways discrimination can play out.


“I don’t know that you can cure discrimination just by changing your mind and going through with the deal,” Ms. Castañeda said, adding that the actions of the real estate agents on both sides could also be a violation. “There may be damages experienced by that person because they’ve experienced a loss of their civil rights and the distress of having a discriminatory statement said to them.”


She added, “Dr. Baxter has experienced harm whether the transaction goes through or not. We just want this to be a wake-up call to people.”



13) Netanyahu says that Israel’s demands for ending the war ‘have not changed.’

By Aaron Boxerman, June 1, 2024


A woman, wearing dark clothing and a head scarf, walks through rubble with a child dressed in pink. They appear small amid the shells of buildings crumbling around them.

Palestinians in Jabaliya in northern Gaza on Friday. Credit...Enas Rami/Associated Press

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel threw up a hurdle on Saturday to President Biden’s declaration a day earlier that it was “time for this war to end,” reiterating that Israel would not agree to a permanent cease-fire in Gaza before the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities.


President Biden, in an unusually detailed address at the White House on Friday, described what he said was a new Israeli proposal for a three-stage road map to a permanent cease-fire. But Israel remains deeply divided over the shape of any possible truce agreement — particularly whether to commit to an end to the war againstHamas.


As outlined by Mr. Biden, the proposal did not mention who would rule the Gaza Strip after the war. Unless other arrangements are reached, that could leave Hamas de facto in charge of the territory, which the Palestinian armed group would consider a major strategic victory after nearly eight months of an Israeli military offensive.


On Saturday, Mr. Netanyahu did not explicitly endorse or reject the proposal as outlined by Mr. Biden, which broadly conformed to previous Israeli truce plans. But the timing of his remarks, first thing the following morning, seemed to put the brakes on Mr. Biden’s hopes for a speedy resolution to the war.


“Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu’s office said in the statement released on Saturday morning.


Analysts in Israel described Mr. Biden’s address as a direct appeal to the Israeli public, bypassing Mr. Netanyahu.


“Biden is challenging Israel, saying: ‘I am expecting you to allow this arrangement to go forward. Do not sabotage it. Do not drag the rug out from underneath it for political reasons,” said Uzi Arad, a former Israeli national security adviser under Mr. Netanyahu. “Put your money where your mouth is.”


But at home, Mr. Netanyahu faces a host of competing pressures.


The families of hostages held in Gaza have rallied some public support for their call for a cease-fire deal amid rising fears over their loved ones’ fates. About 125 of the roughly 250 hostages remain in Gaza, over 30 of them presumed dead, according to the Israeli authorities.


Gil Dickmann, whose cousin Carmel Gat was abducted from Kibbutz Be’eri during the Hamas-led massacre there on Oct. 7, conceded that the deal would be difficult to swallow for parts of the Israeli public. But he said reaching an agreement was critical, and not just for the remaining hostages.


“If this deal doesn’t go through, because of either Hamas or Israel, we are heading toward a forever war, where we sink deeper and deeper into the mud, dragging down Israelis, Palestinians, and certainly the hostages,” said Mr. Dickmann.


Some of Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right coalition allies have threatened to topple his government in the event of what they would view as a premature end to the war. And even moderate Israelis would likely wonder what the offensive in Gaza had really accomplished should a truce leave Hamas in power.


Mr. Netanyahu’s emergency unity government is already under threat: Benny Gantz, a rival who united with Mr. Netanyahu as a wartime measure, has threatened to leave unless the premier articulates a plan for postwar Gaza and to bring home hostages by Jun. 8. Mr. Gantz’s departure would not topple the government, but it would deprive Mr. Netanyahu’s hard-line coalition of its most moderate politicians further straining its image abroad.


Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel’s parliamentary opposition, urged Mr. Netanyahu to take the deal as outlined by President Biden. He repeated that his party would back Mr. Netanyahu’s government if hard-liners like Itamar Ben Gvir, the national security minister, left over a hostage release deal.


Israel and Hamas first observed a weeklong truce in late November during which 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners were released. Since then, both sides have dug in to seemingly intractable positions: Hamas conditioned any further hostage releases on Israel ending the war, while Israel vowed there would be no truce until it destroyed Hamas and brought home its hostages.


Gershon Baskin, an Israeli activist who helped negotiate the 2011 release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held for years by Hamas, said the deal Mr. Biden had outlined underscored the necessity of a plan for postwar Gaza.


“The bottom line, in the absence of any coherent ‘day-after’ plan that replaces Hamas in Gaza, is that accepting the plan means giving into Hamas’s demands," said Mr. Baskin, who nonetheless supports the deal. “Hamas can only be defeated politically, not militarily.”



14) U.N. official describes ‘beyond crisis’ conditions facing people who fled Rafah.

By Victoria Kim, June 1, 2024


Children drag large white bags down a dusty road.

Palestinian children fleeing the area of Tal al-Sultan in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday. Credit...Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Several rounds of displacement have left many civilians in Gaza “at their wit’s end” and unsure of where to seek aid or refuge, as organizations are racing to address worsening hunger and health conditions, the U.N. World Food Program’s director for the Palestinian territories has said.


Describing a recent 10-day trip to the enclave, Matthew Hollingworth, the W.F.P. official, said in a briefing Friday that food and other assistance had dramatically decreased in the southern city of Rafah since Israel’s military operation began there in early May and that supplies through the border crossings in southern Gaza had largely come to a halt.


Gaza’s most vulnerable populations are “beyond exhausted, from persistent and continuous rounds of displacement, from hunger, from trauma and absolute fear of what comes next,” Mr. Hollingworth said.


Many of the estimated one million people who have been forced to flee from Rafah, where they thought they could remain for the duration of the war with relatively reliable access to aid, expressed dismay at not knowing what to do next, he said.


“Should we try and leave? Should we try to storm the border with Egypt? Should we try to go back to Gaza City? What should we do?” people in Gaza repeatedly asked, Mr. Hollingworth recounted.


The areas people have relocated to from Rafah have no aid infrastructure and are at “beyond crisis levels” in terms of public health, with not enough space for a sufficient number of pit toilets, he said. As a result, there are high rates of diarrhea among children, he said.


“The sounds and smells of everyday life are horrific and apocalyptic,” he said.


After nearly two weeks when no World Food Program trucks entered southern Gaza, a “trickle” of aid has resumed through the border crossings into Rafah but not nearly enough to meet the need, he said. The U.N. agency is supplying about 27,000 meals a day in Rafah and about 400,000 meals a day in central Gaza as it tries to scale up in the areas where people were newly sheltering, he said.


At a separate briefing Friday, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization cited a recent snapshot survey in which 85 percent of children said they had gone a full day without any food in the previous three days. She did not specify when the survey was conducted or how many people were polled.


“You ask, ‘Are the supplies getting through?’ No, children are starving,” Margaret Harris, the spokeswoman, said in Geneva.


Access to food in northern Gaza has markedly improved with the recent openings of northern border crossings, Mr. Hollingworth said. About 12,000 tons of aid entered northern Gaza through Erez and Erez West in May, he said.


“The north looks very different because of it,” he said.



15) What we know about the latest Gaza cease-fire proposal.

By Jesus Jiménez and Aaron Boxerman, June 1, 2024


Military vehicles and personnel in a dusty area.

Israeli armored personnel carriers moving along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on Wednesday. Credit...Amir Levy/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday outlined a road map put forward by Israel that would begin with an immediate, temporary cease-fire and work toward a permanent end to the war and the reconstruction of Gaza.


Here are some of the details, as described by Mr. Biden, a senior U.S. administration official who briefed reporters after the president spoke and Israeli officials who have discussed the possible deal.


First Phase


Both sides would observe a six-week cease-fire. Israel would withdraw from major population centers in Gaza, and a number of hostages would be released, including women, the elderly and the wounded. The hostages would be exchanged for the release of hundreds of Palestinian detainees. Aid would begin flowing into Gaza, working up to some 600 trucks a day. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinian civilians would also be allowed to return to their homes in northern Gaza. Most Palestinians fled the north following Israel’s mass evacuation order before the ground invasion began.


During the first phase, Israel and Hamas would continue to negotiate to reach a permanent cease-fire. If the talks take more than six weeks, the first phase of the truce will continue until they reach a deal, Mr. Biden said.


Second Phase


With a permanent cease-fire, Israel would withdraw completely from Gaza. All the remaining living Israeli hostages would be released, including male soldiers, and more Palestinian prisoners would be released in exchange.


It was also unclear who would govern the territory under the agreement. Hamas could use a cease-fire to reconstitute its rule in Gaza. In the past, the United States has said that the Palestinian Authority, which has struggled to run the West Bank, ought to be brought in to run Gaza. Israeli officials, including Mr. Netanyahu, have generally rejected either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas running Gaza.


Third Phase


Hamas would return the remains of hostages who had died. Rubble would be cleared and a three- to five-year reconstruction period would begin, backed by the United States, Europe and international institutions.



16) In the West Bank, Guns and a Locked Gate Signal a Town’s New Residents

Since the war in Gaza began, armed Israeli settlers, often accompanied by the army, have stepped up seizures of land long used by Palestinians.

By Ben HubbardPhotographs by Sergey Ponomarev, Ben Hubbard reported from two towns in the occupied West Bank, the Arab-Palestinian community of Tuqu and the Jewish-Israeli settlement of Tekoa, June 1, 2024


An orange metal gate straddles a dirt track. Graffiti painted on two concrete blocks references a biblical verse about driving someone away.

Since its installation in October, a gate has divided the Palestinian inhabitants of Tuqu from land seized by Israeli Jews from the settlement of Tekoa.

From the outskirts of his town in the West Bank, the mayor surveyed the rocky hills stretching toward the Dead Sea where Palestinians had long farmed and herded, and pointed out the new features of the landscape.


New guard posts manned by Israeli soldiers. New roads patrolled by Israeli settlers. And, most tellingly, a new metal gate blocking the town’s sole road to those areas, installed and locked by the Israeli army to keep Palestinians out.


“Anyone who goes to the gate, they either arrest him or kill him,” said the mayor, Moussa al-Shaer, of the town of Tuqu.


On the other side of the gate, atop a bald hill in the distance, stood one of the area’s new residents, Abeer Izraeli, a Jewish settler.


“With God’s help, we will stay here a long time,” Mr. Izraeli said.


The case of the two people on either side of the gate is a particularly clear example of a dynamic playing out across the Israeli-occupied West Bank. As much of the world has focused on the war in Gaza, Jewish settlers miles away in the West Bank have hastened the rate at which they are seizing land previously used by Palestinians, rights groups say.


Dror Etkes, a field researcher with Kerem Navot, an Israeli monitoring group, estimated that since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that started the war in Gaza, settlers have taken more than 37,000 acres of land from Palestinians across the West Bank. More than 550 of those acres are near Tuqu, making it the largest such expansion by a single Israeli settlement.


The gate is not much to look at — made of orange bars and similar to what one might find on a farm. But Hebrew graffiti on the concrete blocks that hold it up refer to Genesis 21:10, a verse about driving people away.


The gate is not much to look at — made of orange bars and similar to what one might find on a farm. But Hebrew graffiti on the concrete blocks that hold it up refer to Genesis 21:10, a verse about driving people away.


Both communities draw their names from where, tradition holds, the biblical prophet Amos was born. In some places, homes in one community sit 500 yards from homes in the other. When the Muslim call to prayer sounds in Tuqu, the Jews in Tekoa hear it, too.


The catalyst for the recent seizures, said Mr. Etkes, was the Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, which led to increased Israeli security measures in the West Bank that made it easier for settlers to take control of territory.


“There is a linkage between violence and settler expansion,” he said. “They are taking revenge on the Palestinians by taking more and more land.”


Israel increased its military presence in the West Bank out of concern that it could face widespread unrest or increased attacks on its forces and settlers there during the war in Gaza. Those concerns were amplified by the rise of new militant groups, an influx of weapons smuggled in by Iran and polling that suggests an increase in support for Hamas at the expense of the more moderate Palestinian Authority.


On Jan. 29, a Palestinian from Tuqu, Rani al-Shaer, 19, tried to stab an Israeli soldier and was shot dead by soldiers, the army said in a statement. The army took Mr. al-Shaer’s body and has not returned it to the family, said his brother, Nizar.


The Israeli military and the branch of the Defense Ministry that handles civilian affairs in the West Bank did not respond to requests for comment on the changes near Tuqu.


The United Nations said that 2023 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since it began keeping track in 2005. That violence rose significantly after the war in Gaza began and has continued into this year, with 489 Palestinians killed since Oct. 7 as of May 22. Ten Israelis, including four civilians, have been killed during the same period.


Since Israel occupied the West Bank, previously controlled by Jordan, in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the government has encouraged Jews to settle there, providing land, military protection, electricity, water and roads. More than 500,000 settlers now live among 2.7 million Palestinians in the territory, which is larger than Delaware but smaller than Puerto Rico.


Some Israeli Jews justify settlement on religious grounds, others on the basis of history — both ancient and modern. Many Israelis consider control of the territory necessary to prevent Palestinians from attacking Israel.


Nevertheless, most countries consider the settlements illegal. The Biden administration has criticized the settlements for undermining the United States’ goal of a two-state solution to the conflict, which would include the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.


Among Israelis, Tekoa is known for a hippy vibe, with a mixed community of secular and religious Jews that includes artists and activists. Few, if any, of the town’s residents consider their presence an impediment to peace.


“We were given this land by God,” said Shira Chernoble, 75, who moved from New Mexico to the West Bank nearly four decades ago and works in Tekoa as a massage therapist and spiritual counselor. “I believe in the Torah. It is not just a book of then. It is a book of now.”


Before the war in Gaza, the two populations had limited interactions, mostly through the Palestinian laborers who worked construction in the Jewish town. Settlers have seized land to expand their community over the decades — a process that took another leap forward after the Oct. 7 attack.


The Israeli military mobilized thousands of reservist settlers to protect the settlements and imposed wide-ranging restrictions on Palestinians, blocking the exits from their communities and barring Palestinian workers from entering Israel or the settlements.


That cut off residents of Tuqu from a major source of employment, said Mr. al-Shaer, the mayor. In addition, the gate has prevented Palestinian farmers from harvesting their olives and herders from grazing their livestock.


“They closed everything and took everything,” said Hassan al-Shaer, 24, an electrician who is not closely related to the mayor and who used to work in Tekoa. “There is no work and no money.”


In October, after the gate was erected, residents gathered to breach the barrier and the army shot at them, killing a 26-year-old car mechanic, Eissa Jibril, said his brother, Murad.


He said the Israeli police had questioned him about what happened, but nothing had come of it.


“Who can I complain to?” he said. “The settler who killed him, are they going to arrest him?”


In a statement, the Israeli military described the gathering as “a violent riot” during which “terrorists burned tires, threw stones and shot fireworks” at soldiers, threatening their lives. The soldiers fired back, the army said, adding that it was aware of the “claim” that a Palestinian had been killed.


Since then, the Palestinians have avoided the gate for fear of being shot.


During a recent drive through the area, New York Times reporters saw new roads carved into the hillsides, four new security posts and three plots where settlers had plowed or planted grapes. What had been a settler tent camp now had 10 prefab houses, with electricity, paved roads and streetlights.


Atop a tall hill, Mr. Izraeli and his friends slept in a tent next to a makeshift house inhabited by a couple with two young children. The group raised ducks and chickens and pastured their 150 sheep on the same hills the Palestinian shepherds had roamed before the war.


Mr. Izraeli, 16, had come to the West Bank after dropping out of a religious school in central Israel, he said. He and his friends had lived in a tent camp nearby before moving to the hilltop a few months ago, after the army had barred Palestinians from the area.


He hoped the army would not let them return.


“With God’s help, they will do the right thing and keep them out,” he said.


In response to written questions, Mayor Yaron Rosenthal of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, which includes Tekoa, said the Arabs from Tuqu never had a legal claim to the land. The settlers, he said, had rectified that situation.


“These aren’t their lands,” he added.


The Palestinians had few options, said Mr. al-Shaer, the mayor. Most complaints to the Israeli authorities went nowhere. He and other residents planned to file a court case in Israel, a long process that might not restore their access to the land or stop the settlers from building there.


“The settlers are working on the ground to make a new reality,” he said.



17) Netanyahu may be forced to choose between a cease-fire and his government’s survival.

By Isabel Kershner Reporting from Jerusalem, June 2, 2024


People walk past rubble and a charred building.

Internally displaced Gazans at a school in Jabaliya, Gaza, on Saturday. Credit...Omar Al-Qattaa/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has refused to offer a timeline for ending the war against Hamas in Gaza, a reticence that his critics see as a political tactic. But he has been put on the spot this weekend by President Biden’s announcement outlining a proposal for a truce.


Mr. Netanyahu, a conservative, has long juggled competing personal, political and national interests. He now appears to be facing a stark choice between the survival of his hard-line, hawkish government and bringing home hostages held in Gaza while setting himself and Israel on a new course away from growing international isolation.


Critics of the prime minister have portrayed him as indecisive and say there are two Netanyahus: one who functions pragmatically in the small war cabinet he formed with some centrist rivals, boosting its public legitimacy; and another who is effectively being held hostage himself by the far-right members of his governing coalition, who oppose any concession to Hamas and who ensure his political survival.


Mr. Biden on Friday outlined broad terms that he said were presented by Israel to the American, Qatari and Egyptian mediators who have been pushing for a deal to pause the fighting and free hostages held in Gaza. Israeli officials confirmed that the terms matched a cease-fire proposal that had been greenlit by Israel’s war cabinet but not yet presented to the Israeli public.


Now, analysts say, it is crunchtime for Mr. Netanyahu, or Bibi, as he is popularly known.


Mr. Biden “booted Netanyahu out of the closet of ambiguity and presented Netanyahu’s proposal himself,” Ben Caspit, a biographer and longtime critic of Mr. Netanyahu, wrote in Sunday’s Maariv, a Hebrew daily. “Then he asked a simple question: Does Bibi support Netanyahu’s proposal? Yes or no. No nonsense and hot air.”


The leaders of two far-right parties in the coalition — Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s minister of finance, and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the national security minister — have explicitly threatened to bring Mr. Netanyahu’s government down if the prime minister goes along with the deal outlined by Mr. Biden before Hamas is fully destroyed. Some hard-line members of Mr. Netanyahu’s own Likud party have said they will join them.


At the same time, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, two former military chiefs who joined the emergency government for the duration of the war, have threatened to withdraw the support of their centrist National Unity party by June 8 if Mr. Netanyahu fails to come up with a clear path forward. And opposition parties have begun organizing to try to topple the government.


The cease-fire proposal involves three phases. They would see tranches of hostages released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; a temporary cease-fire would turn into a permanent cessation of hostilities, with the third phase involving an internationally backed effort to rehabilitate Gaza.


More than 100 hostages were released under a more limited deal last November. An estimated 125 hostages, living and dead, are still held by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza.


Ophir Falk, the chief foreign policy adviser to Mr. Netanyahu, said in an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times that Mr. Biden’s proposal was “a deal we agreed to.” Adding that many details still had to be worked out, Mr. Falk said, “It’s not a good deal but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them.”


Israelis were left to parse the two statements following Mr. Biden’s speech that Mr. Netanyahu’s office put out, unusually, during the Sabbath. The statements neither forcefully endorsed the proposal nor denied that it had been presented to the mediators. Instead, they were conditional and open to interpretation — seemingly designed to leave Mr. Netanyahu’s options open.


The first statement said that Mr. Netanyahu had authorized Israel’s negotiating team to present a proposal that would see the release of the hostages and also “enable Israel to continue the war until all its objectives are achieved, including the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities.”


The second reiterated those conditions for ending the war and added, “The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent cease-fire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter.”


Notably absent, though, was Mr. Netanyahu’s oft-stated goal of “total victory” over Hamas in Gaza — a slogan that Mr. Biden on Friday dismissed as a vague objective that would mean indefinite war.

Two of Netanyahu’s coalition partners push back on a cease-fire proposal, and other news.


·      John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told ABC News on Sunday that the Biden administration had “every expectation” Israel would move forward with a proposed cease-fire plan laid out by President Biden if Hamas “agrees to the proposal.” Two far-right coalition partners of Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened on Saturday night to quit his government should he do so. If both of those far-right parties left the coalition, it could mark the end of Mr. Netanyahu’s government.


·      Thousands of protesters gathered in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities on Saturday evening, calling for Israeli leaders to accept the latest road map for a cease-fire and the return of hostages in Gaza. Protesters also gathered in Rome, Paris and Jakarta, Indonesia.


·      Israel’s Supreme Court was hearing petitions on Sunday to end the decades-long practice of exempting ultra-Orthodox Jewish men of draft age from military service. The mass exemptions granted to Torah students enrolled in seminaries has become one of the most polarizing social and political issues in a country where most 18-year-olds are drafted for years of obligatory service, and at a time when the military says it needs more soldiers to fight in Gaza. The court hearing comes after temporary legislation regulating the draft expired.


·      Mr. Netanyahu indicated that he planned to accept an invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, saying he wanted to “present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us.” The four top congressional leaders formally invited Mr. Netanyahu on Friday in a show of bipartisan unity that masked a fraught behind-the-scenes debate over receiving him. No date has been set.



18) Israeli, Egyptian and U.S. officials met in Cairo to discuss the Rafah crossing.

By Aaron Boxerman and Mike Ives, June 2, 2024https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/06/02/world/israel-gaza-war-hamas-rafahFour trucks on an otherwise empty stretch of road.

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing last month. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Israeli, Egyptian and U.S. officials met in Cairo on Sunday to discuss reopening the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, according to Egyptian state news media.


Details on the discussion or any outcome were not immediately available. Ahead of the talks, an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive subject had confirmed that the Rafah crossing would be the focus.


The Rafah crossing has been an important conduit for getting desperately needed humanitarian assistance into the enclave, and for allowing sick and wounded Palestinians to leave. Israel seized and closed the crossing in early May at the beginning of its military offensive in Rafah, a southern city where about a million displaced Gazans had sought relative safety.


Since then, Egypt has shuttered its side of the Rafah crossing, and Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian officials have wrangled over how to reopen the crossing to aid. Last weekend, some aid from Egypt entered the Gaza Strip through another crossing, Kerem Shalom, under a U.S.-brokered agreement.


Israel has followed through with its offensive in Rafah despite concerns from close allies like the United States that any major military assault would place civilians in grave danger. More than one million Palestinians in Rafah, about half the territory’s total population, have fled the city over the past few weeks, according to the United Nations.


On May 24 the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to “immediately” halt its offensive. It also specified a need for “unhindered provision” of humanitarian assistance and services through land crossings, particularly the one in Rafah.


The international pressure grew after an Israeli bombardment in Rafah two days later killed dozens of Palestinians in a camp for displaced people. Mr. Netanyahu called the civilian deaths a “tragic accident.”


But the Israeli military said on Wednesday that it had established “operational control” over the border zone with Egypt, an eight-mile-long strip. And on Friday, it said that its forces had advanced into central Rafah.


Israel and Egypt — former enemies that have fought at least three major wars — have clashed diplomatically over the Israeli military campaign in Gaza, and particularly over Israel’s ground offensive in Rafah. The Egyptian government faced public pressure to take a tougher stance against Israel after Israeli troops entered Rafah and seized the crossing. But there has been little Egyptian response to Israel’s announcement that it had taken “tactical control” of the zone.



19) In Gaza, a university lecturer asks of the latest cease-fire proposal: Who will govern us after the war?

By Raja Abdulrahim and Ameera Harouda, June 2, 2024https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/06/02/world/israel-gaza-war-hamas-rafah

President Biden speaks at a cluster of microphones. An American flag is behind him, off to the side.

In a speech on Friday, President Biden said, “It’s time for this war to end.” Credit...Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Palestinians in Gaza welcomed President Biden’s endorsement of a proposal aimed at ending the war in Gaza, but some were skeptical that it would be implemented anytime soon, and at least one man — a lecturer at the Palestine University in Gaza — expressed a concern on many people’s minds: Who would govern Gaza going forward?


Hamas, which led an attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and had governed Gaza before the war, reacted positively to Mr. Biden’s speech in a statement on social media. It said that it was willing to deal “constructively” with any cease-fire proposal based on a permanent truce, the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes and a “serious prisoner exchange.”


The proposal described by President Biden would be broken into three phases. The first phase would include a six-week cease-fire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the populated areas of Gaza, and the release of elderly and female hostages held by Hamas. In exchange, hundreds of Palestinian detainees would be released.


During the first phase, Israel and Hamas would continue to negotiate to reach a permanent cease-fire and kick off a second phase aimed at ending the war. If the talks take more than six weeks, the first phase of the truce would continue until they reach a deal, Mr. Biden said. The third phase would begin to tackle the enormous job of rebuilding Gaza.


Rami Shrafee, the university lecturer at the Palestine University, said it wasn’t clear who would represent Gazans in the second and third phase of the agreement. In the past, the United States has said that the Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, ought to be brought in to run Gaza, but it wasn’t clear if that was still the U.S. position.


“Who is going to sign off on this deal, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority or the Palestinian people?” Mr. Shrafee asked.


He added that Israel has been clear that it doesn’t want either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza after the conflict ends.


Mr. Shrafee sees the proposal as part of continued efforts to keep the Palestinian territories separate and undermine any prospect for a future Palestinian state.


“If there is no Palestinian unity and a Palestinian national plan, then the destructive efforts to the Palestinian existence will continue,” he said. “And Gaza will remain separate from the West Bank, and there will continue to be a division between the Palestinian Authority and whoever administers Gaza.”


Al-Qasem Saed, a lawyer and researcher with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, said Mr. Biden’s position was a victory because it reflected the “resistance of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip” and the capitulation of “the leader of a country the size of the United States, that is considered the police officer of the world.”


Others, like Rania Al Khodary, who helped promote local business on social media, were just glad to see the United States talking about ending Israel’s war in Gaza. On social media, she captured the exhaustion and frustration many felt, saying, “Assuming Hamas agrees with Biden’s proposal and Israel accepts, the war will have ended with penalty kicks … or an offside goal … just let it end.”



20) Biden Expected to Sign Executive Order Restricting Asylum

The move, expected on Tuesday, would allow the president to temporarily seal the border and suspend longtime protections for asylum seekers in the United States.

By Hamed Aleaziz and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Hamed Aleaziz and Zolan Kanno-Youngs have reported on immigration policy and border politics during the Biden and Trump administrations, June 3, 2024

Razor wire fencing on the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas.
President Biden’s expected order would represent the single most restrictive border policy instituted by him or any modern Democrat. Credit...Christopher Lee for The New York Times

President Biden is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday allowing him to temporarily seal the U.S. border with Mexico to migrants when crossings surge, a move that would suspend longtime protections for asylum seekers in the United States.


Mr. Biden’s senior aides have briefed members of Congress in recent days on the forthcoming action and told them to expect the president to sign the order alongside mayors from South Texas, according to several people familiar with the plans.


“I’ve been briefed on the pending executive order,” said Representative Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas who previously criticized Mr. Biden for not bolstering enforcement at the border earlier in his presidency. “I certainly support it because I’ve been advocating for these measures for years. While the order is yet to be released, I am supportive of the details provided to me thus far.”


The order would represent the single most restrictive border policy instituted by Mr. Biden, or any modern Democrat, and echoes a 2018 effort by President Donald J. Trump to block migration that was assailed by Democrats and blocked by federal courts.


Although the executive action is almost certain to face legal challenges, Mr. Biden is under intense political pressure to address illegal migration, a top concern of voters ahead of the presidential election this year.


The decision shows how the politics of immigration have tilted sharply to the right over the course of Mr. Biden’s presidency. Polls suggest growing support, even inside the president’s party, for border measures that once Democrats denounced and Mr. Trump championed.


The order would allow border officials to prevent migrants from claiming asylum and rapidly turn them away once border crossings exceed a certain threshold. Government officials earlier this year discussed allowing Mr. Biden to shut down the border if there were an average of 5,000 border crossings in a week, or 8,500 in a single day, but those involved in the negotiations cautioned that the threshold was not finalized and could change. White House officials have been focused on a trigger that would empower Mr. Biden to shut down the border.


On Sunday, border agents made more than 3,500 apprehensions of migrants crossing the border without authorization, according to a person with knowledge of the data. The numbers on Sunday were in line with recent trends of crossings at the southern border.


The restrictions will likely not apply to minors who cross the border alone, according to an official briefed on the order.


The executive action will likely mirror a measure in a failed bipartisan bill from earlier this year that had some of the most significant border security restrictions Congress had contemplated in years. The bill would have provided billions in funding for the border, including the hiring of thousands of asylum officers to process claims.


But Republicans thwarted the bill in February, saying it was not strong enough. Many of them, egged on by Mr. Trump, were loath to give Mr. Biden a legislative victory in an election year. Mr. Biden’s aides believe the executive order can provide Democrats another data point to cite when arguing to voters that they have sought solutions at the border while Republicans were more focused on using it as a political issue.


“While congressional Republicans chose to stand in the way of additional border enforcement, President Biden will not stop fighting to deliver the resources that border and immigration personnel need to secure our border,” Angelo Fernández Hernández, a White House spokesman, said in a statement on Monday. He did not confirm the plans but said the administration was exploring “a series of policy options and we remain committed to taking action to address our broken immigration system.”


Administration officials have said that executive action was not their preference — and that they believe any order would face a legal challenge.


“Legislation is what is needed,” Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, said last month.


“Executive action will be challenged,” he added.“ I am confident in that. And then the question will be what is the outcome of those proceedings? Legislation is a more certain delivery of solution.”


In a sign of just how much the politics on the issue have changed, Mr. Biden, as a candidate in 2019, excoriated Mr. Trump’s policies during a debate.


“This is the first president in the history of the United States of America that anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country,” Mr. Biden said at the time. “That’s never happened before.”


“You come to the United States and you make your case,” he added. “That’s how you seek asylum, based on the following premise, why I deserve it under American law.”



21) Another Milestone in Mexico: Its First Jewish President

Claudia Sheinbaum was born to Jewish parents, but she has played down her heritage on the campaign trail.

By Simon Romero and Natalie Kitroeff, Reporting from Mexico City, June 3, 2024


A woman standing by a railing in a government office building.

Claudia Sheinbaum in Mexico City in 2020. Credit...Meghan Dhaliwal for The New York Times

Mexico elected its first Jewish president over the weekend, a remarkable step in a country with one of the world’s largest Catholic populations.


Yet if it is a watershed moment for Mexico, it has been overshadowed by another one: President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum will also be the first woman to lead the country.


There is another reason there’s been relatively little discussion of her Judaism.


Ms. Sheinbaum, 61, rarely discusses her heritage. When she does, she tends to convey a more distant relationship to Judaism than many others in Mexico’s Jewish community, which stretches back to the origins of Mexico itself, and today numbers about 59,000 in a country of 130 million people.


“Of course I know where I come from, but my parents were atheists,” Ms. Sheinbaum told The New York Times in a 2020 interview. “I never belonged to the Jewish community. We grew up a little removed from that.”


Ms. Sheinbaum’s parents were both leftists and involved in the sciences, and she was raised in a secular household in Mexico City in the 1960s and 70s, a time of considerable political agitation in Mexico.


“The way she embraces her own Mexican identity, from a very young age, is rooted in science, socialism, political activism,” said Tessy Schlosser, a historian and director of the Mexican Jewish Documentation and Research Center.


Additionally, Ms. Sheinbaum’s story of migration, as the descendant of Jews who emigrated to Mexico in the 20th century, “does not give any political capital” in a political society where candidates often allude to their mestizo or Indigenous roots, Ms. Schlosser said.


Ms. Sheinbaum’s father, Carlos Sheinbaum Yoselevitz, a businessman and chemical engineer, was the son of Ashkenazi Jews who fled Lithuania in the early 20th century. Her mother, Annie Pardo Cemo, a biologist and professor emeritus at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, is the daughter of Sephardic Jews who fled Bulgaria before the Holocaust.


But while Ms. Sheinbaum (pronounced SHANE-balm) has downplayed her ties to Judaism, her origins have not gone entirely unnoticed, revealing currents of xenophobia and antisemitism persisting beneath the surface in Mexican politics.


After emerging last year as a presidential contender, Ms. Sheinbaum faced “birther” attacks questioning whether she was born in Mexico or even Mexican.


Among those leading the attacks against her was Vicente Fox, a conservative former president who called Ms. Sheinbaum a “Bulgarian Jew.” Ms. Sheinbaum responded by releasing a copy of her birth certificate detailing her place of birth as Mexico City. “I am 100 percent Mexican, the proud daughter of Mexican parents,” she said.


Still, Ms. Sheinbaum’s candidacy has cast attention on Mexico’s Jewish community, and the array of reactions to her political ascent from Mexican Jews.


While Jewish people first arrived in Mexico in 1519, at the time of the Spanish conquest, and continued arriving in colonial times to escape persecution in Europe, their numbers grew considerably in the 20th century. A large number of Jews in Mexico trace their origins to Syria, while others came from other parts of the former Ottoman Empire or Europe.


Mexico remains predominantly Christian with nearly 100 million Catholics and 14 million Protestants, according to a 2020 census. But Mexican Jews have long figured prominently into public life, including broadcast journalists such as Jacobo Zabludovsky and Leo Zuckermann; writers like Margo Glantz and Enrique Krauze; and politicians like Salomón Chertorivski, a progressive who mounted a losing bid this year for mayor of Mexico City.


Sabina Berman, a Jewish writer and journalist, is among the high-profile Mexican Jews who have sided with Ms. Sheinbaum, calling her “disciplined” and a “great candidate.”


But such endorsements have been far from unanimous, reflecting the skepticism among some in Mexico’s Jewish community about the leftist political leanings of Ms. Sheinbaum, a protégé of the combative current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.


In one example, Carlos Alazraki, a prominent advertising executive, said that Ms. Sheinbaum was “absolutely resentful” toward people of means because of being raised by parents he called “communists.”

“The envy she has toward the middle class on up is impressive,” he said. “She’s vindictive.”


More broadly, Ms. Sheinbaum also faced criticism during the campaign, accused of exploiting religious figures to connect with Catholic voters. After she met with Pope Francis, her opponents questioned her beliefs and seized on previous images of her wearing a skirt bearing the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a hugely important figure in Mexican catholicism.


“We both had a meeting with the pope,” said Xóchitl Gálvez, her top rival in the race, at a recent debate. “Did you tell His Holiness how you used a skirt with the Virgin of Guadalupe even though you don’t believe in her, or in God?”


Pressed after such attacks to say whether she believes in God, Ms. Sheinbaum said, “I am a woman of faith and of science,” and accused Ms. Gálvez of disrespecting the separation of church and state, a central tenet of Mexico’s political system.


A more nuanced picture of Ms. Sheinbaum’s identity emerges from some of her own statements in the past. “I grew up without religion, that’s how my parents raised me,” Ms. Sheinbaum told a gathering organized by a Jewish organization in Mexico City in 2018. “But obviously the culture, that’s in your blood.”


She told Arturo Cano, who wrote her biography, that she observed Yom Kippur and other Jewish holidays with her grandparents, but that “it was more cultural than religious.”


Like other secular Jews in Mexico, Ms. Sheinbaum has also said she wasn’t pushed to marry within the faith. “It wasn’t like ‘you have to marry a Jew’, which happened with my mother,” Ms. Sheinbaum told The Times.


Writing in a Mexican newspaper, Ms. Sheinbaum said her paternal grandfather left Europe because he was “Jewish and communist” and her maternal grandparents escaped “Nazi persecution.”


“Many of my relatives from that generation were exterminated in the concentration camps,” she said in a letter to the editor of La Jornada from 2009, in which she also condemned what she described as “the murder of Palestinian civilians” during an Israeli bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip.


Since the war there broke out last year, Ms. Sheinbaum has condemned attacks on civilians, called for a cease-fire and said she supports a two-state solution.


It remains to be seen how, as president, she will navigate Mexico’s position on the war, an increasingly contentious issue in the country.


Just last week, pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with the police outside the Israeli Embassy in Mexico City, and Mexico’s government moved to support South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide.


Emiliano Rodríguez Mega contributed reporting from Mexico City.



22) The Israeli military’s operation in Rafah risks upsetting a delicate peace with Egypt, a pillar of its national security for decades.

By Vivian Yee and Emad Mekay reporting from Cairo, June 3, 2024


Tents spread across a sandy coastal area, next to a fortified fence.

A makeshift camp along the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, west of Rafah, in January. Credit...Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For weeks, talk-show hosts and newspaper columnists across Egypt’s government-managed media spoke with one voice: Any Israeli “occupation” of the Philadelphi Corridor, a buffer zone on the Egypt-Gaza border, could constitute a violation of Egypt’s sovereignty and national security. That would deal a further blow to a relationship that Israel’s military offensive in southern Gaza had already brought to its lowest point in decades.


But when Israel’s military said that it had seized “tactical control” of the corridor last week, the same government mouthpieces were quick to say that the border area had nothing to do with Egypt; sovereignty went unmentioned.


It was the latest indication that Cairo remains protective of its relationship with Israel, which has generated valuable military and intelligence cooperation against Egyptian insurgents, as well as billions of dollars in American aid and natural gas imports from Israel.


For Israel, too, more than four decades of a so-called “cold peace” with Egypt has proved to be an essential pillar of national security. The alliance gave Israel a path to better relations with its Muslim neighbors, paving the way for its normalization of ties with more countries and making it an increasingly integral part of a regional, anti-Iranian axis.


Still, Israel took the risk of upsetting the delicate balance because it says it needed to take control of the Philadelphi Corridor to destroy dozens of tunnels under the border that it says have enabled Hamas to smuggle arms into the strip — despite Egypt’s avowals that it put a stop to the smuggling years ago.


The Israeli military’s push into southern Gaza and the city of Rafah in recent weeks has now put a serious strain on ties between the two countries, raising questions about how far Israel will go in insisting on complete control over the border area, and how much of a continued Israeli presence there Egypt can tolerate.


Egypt’s patience with Israel’s military moves is wearing dangerously thin, as it has repeatedly made clear. Not only is the government panicked at the prospect of Gazans fleeing the Rafah fighting over the border into Egypt, but it is also determined to show its public that it is standing up to Israel, which most Egyptians still regard as an enemy despite the 45-year-old peace treaty.


Cairo has registered to speak in support of South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. And it has warned that Israel is jeopardizing the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries, which grew out of what are known as the Camp David Accords.


Though it has denounced Israel for cutting off humanitarian aid to Gaza, Egypt itself temporarily stopped the flow of aid trucks from its own territory, where most aid accumulates before being trucked to the Palestinian strip — an attempt to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the Rafah crossing. That border point, the main conduit for aid and other supplies during the war, lies between Egypt and Gaza but was recently occupied by Israel, drawing public outrage in Egypt.


Egypt has refrained from taking more serious steps to respond to Israel’s moves, such as withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv. And the government-managed news media appears to have been helping with efforts to limit public outrage.


Egypt is “ready for all scenarios, and will never allow any encroachment on its sovereignty and its national security, either directly or indirectly,” Ahmed Moussa, a prominent talk-show host, wrote in a column for Al-Ahram, Egypt’s flagship daily newspaper, on May 17.


Yet when Israel took the corridor last Wednesday, Mr. Moussa was on the air, fulminating against social media users who said Egypt looked weak for allowing the seizure. He linked such “allegations” to the Muslim Brotherhood, the political Islamist group that Egypt has long demonized as a terrorist organization, of which Hamas is an offshoot.


“The Philadelphi Corridor is not Egyptian territory,” Mr. Moussa insisted in a nine-minute segment devoted to the issue, displaying a giant map. “It’s Palestinian territory. It doesn’t belong to us. Let me show you our borders.”


Isabel Kershner contributed reporting.

Key Developments:


·      The remains of a man who was believed to be a hostage are identified in Israel, and other news.


·      Israel’s military said on Monday that it had identified the remains of a man killed on Oct. 7 as Dolev Yehud, 35. Mr. Yehud, a paramedic, died at Kibbutz Nir Oz after he left his house and tried to save lives during the attack, the military said. Israeli news media said the military had initially believed that he had been abducted to Gaza as a hostage.


·      An Israeli strike on a house in Bureij in central Gaza killed six women and children and wounded 15 other Palestinians, according to a report on Monday by Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s news agency, which cited medical sources from the nearby Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. Other strikes in the Khan Younis area in southern Gaza killed 12 Palestinians, including children, and wounded several others, the agency said. The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


·      The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, will ban holders of Israeli passports, the office of its president, Mohamed Muizzu, said on Sunday. The office said that the cabinet had decided to amend laws to prohibit people with Israeli passports from entering the country, where Islam is the official religion.



23) Ben-Gvir again threatens to leave Israel’s government over a cease-fire deal, adding to Netanyahu’s struggles.

By Adam Rasgon reporting from Jerusalem, June 3, 2024


Mr. Ben-Gvir, wearing a dark suit and blue tie, gesturing from behind a lectern.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right member of the Israeli government, at the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem on Monday. Credit...Amir Levy/Getty Images

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, reiterated on Monday that he would act to collapse the government if Israel moved forward with a cease-fire agreement that ends the war in Gaza without toppling Hamas.


If Mr. Ben-Gvir, the minister of national security, and other right-wing lawmakers depart the government, it could force the fall of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition. Without Mr. Ben-Gvir’s party’s six parliamentary seats, Mr. Netanyahu would likely struggle to remain in office.


Earlier on Monday, an official close to Mr. Ben-Gvir said he was supposed to meet with Mr. Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s most recent cease-fire offer and review a written version. But the minister said on Monday afternoon that officials in the prime minister’s office had refused to show him the document, and he made no mention of meeting with Mr. Netanyahu.


The minister said he later received a phone call from Tzachi Hanegbi, the prime minister's national security adviser, who claimed that a written version of the proposal didn’t exist.


On Friday, President Biden outlined a new cease-fire proposal that he said Israel had endorsed, adding to pressure on both Mr. Netanyahu and Hamas to break months of deadlock and proceed with an agreement to stop the fighting.


Two Israeli officials confirmed that the offer shared by Mr. Biden generally aligned with the most recent cease-fire proposal that Israel had presented in talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt and supported by the United States.


On Saturday, Mr. Ben-Gvir said that details that had been publicized about the Israeli offer amounted to “a complete defeat” for Israel. Other senior members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, including Bezalel Smotrich, the far-right finance minister, have also threatened to leave the government if Israel moves forward with the proposal.


Mr. Netanyahu has insisted that the latest proposal would enable Israel to continue fighting Hamas until all its war aims are achieved, including destroying the military and governing capabilities of the group, which led the deadly Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel.


“The claims that we have agreed to a cease-fire without our conditions being met are incorrect,” Mr. Netanyahu said on Monday, speaking before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to a statement from his office.


The prime minister expressed openness to a 42-day pause in the fighting — part of the first phase of what U.S. officials have described as the three-phase deal proposed by Israel — but rejected a complete end to the war without Hamas’s defeat or surrender, according a person present at the committee meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share details of the closed door discussion.


Mr. Netanyahu also claimed that President Biden hadn’t presented the “whole picture” of the latest cease-fire proposal when he spoke about the issue last week, the person at the meeting said.


In a speech on Friday, Mr. Biden went into an unusual level of detail in presenting what he described as the new Israeli framework. He said it amounted to a road map to an “enduring cease-fire” and said that if Hamas abided by its terms, it would lead to the “cessation of hostilities permanently.”


Hamas, which has expressed repeated criticism of Mr. Biden, has said it “positively views” what was included in the president’s remarks. But it has not said whether it would accept the Israeli proposal.