Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 7, 2024


National Mobilization:  Surround the White House for Gaza


June 8, 2024, 4:00 P.M.


Lafayette Park

1600 H St NW

Washington, DC 20004

United States




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 244:


The total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 36,654, with 83,309 wounded.*  

More than 527 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—646 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 3,657 wounded***

Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on June 6,2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on June 5, 2024—this is the latest figure.

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

Source: mondoweiss.net




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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


Excerpt from the book:

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


Get the book at:




Boris Kagarlitsky is in Prison!

On February 13, the court overturned the previous decision on release and sent Boris Kagarlitsky to prison for five years.

Petition in Support of Boris Kagarlitsky

We, the undersigned, were deeply shocked to learn that on February 13 the leading Russian socialist intellectual and antiwar activist Dr. Boris Kagarlitsky (65) was sentenced to five years in prison.

Dr. Kagarlitsky was arrested on the absurd charge of 'justifying terrorism' in July last year. After a global campaign reflecting his worldwide reputation as a writer and critic of capitalism and imperialism, his trial ended on December 12 with a guilty verdict and a fine of 609,000 roubles.

The prosecution then appealed against the fine as 'unjust due to its excessive leniency' and claimed falsely that Dr. Kagarlitsky was unable to pay the fine and had failed to cooperate with the court. In fact, he had paid the fine in full and provided the court with everything it requested.

On February 13 a military court of appeal sent him to prison for five years and banned him from running a website for two years after his release.

The reversal of the original court decision is a deliberate insult to the many thousands of activists, academics, and artists around the world who respect Dr. Kagarlitsky and took part in the global campaign for his release. The section of Russian law used against Dr. Kagarlitsky effectively prohibits free expression. The decision to replace the fine with imprisonment was made under a completely trumped-up pretext. Undoubtedly, the court's action represents an attempt to silence criticism in the Russian Federation of the government's war in Ukraine, which is turning the country into a prison.

The sham trial of Dr. Kagarlitsky is the latest in a wave of brutal repression against the left-wing movements in Russia. Organizations that have consistently criticized imperialism, Western and otherwise, are now under direct attack, many of them banned. Dozens of activists are already serving long terms simply because they disagree with the policies of the Russian government and have the courage to speak up. Many of them are tortured and subjected to life-threatening conditions in Russian penal colonies, deprived of basic medical care. Left-wing politicians are forced to flee Russia, facing criminal charges. International trade unions such as IndustriALL and the International Transport Federation are banned and any contact with them will result in long prison sentences.

There is a clear reason for this crackdown on the Russian left. The heavy toll of the war gives rise to growing discontent among the mass of working people. The poor pay for this massacre with their lives and wellbeing, and opposition to war is consistently highest among the poorest. The left has the message and resolve to expose the connection between imperialist war and human suffering.

Dr. Kagarlitsky has responded to the court's outrageous decision with calm and dignity: “We just need to live a little longer and survive this dark period for our country,” he said. Russia is nearing a period of radical change and upheaval, and freedom for Dr. Kagarlitsky and other activists is a condition for these changes to take a progressive course.

We demand that Boris Kagarlitsky and all other antiwar prisoners be released immediately and unconditionally.

We also call on the authorities of the Russian Federation to reverse their growing repression of dissent and respect their citizens' freedom of speech and right to protest.

Sign to Demand the Release of Boris Kagarlitsky


The petition is also available on Change.org



*Major Announcement*

Claudia De la Cruz wins

Peace and Freedom Party primary in California!

We have an exciting announcement. The votes are still being counted in California, but the Claudia-Karina “Vote Socialist” campaign has achieved a clear and irreversible lead in the Peace and Freedom Party primary. Based on the current count, Claudia has 46% of the vote compared to 40% for Cornel West. A significant majority of PFP’s newly elected Central Committee, which will formally choose the nominee at its August convention, have also pledged their support to the Claudia-Karina campaign.


We are excited to campaign in California now and expect Claudia De la Cruz to be the candidate on the ballot of the Peace and Freedom Party in November.


We achieved another big accomplishment this week - we’re officially on the ballot in Hawai’i! This comes after also petitioning to successfully gain ballot access in Utah. We are already petitioning in many other states. Each of these achievements is powered by the tremendous effort of our volunteers and grassroots organizers across the country. When we’re organized, people power can move mountains!


We need your help to keep the momentum going. Building a campaign like this takes time, energy, and money. We know that our class enemies — the billionaires, bankers, and CEO’s — put huge sums toward loyal politicians and other henchmen who defend their interests. They will use all the money and power at their disposal to stop movements like ours. As an independent, socialist party, our campaign is relying on contributions from the working class and people like you.


We call on each and every one of our supporters to set up a monthly or one-time donation to support this campaign to help it keep growing and reaching more people. A new socialist movement, independent of the Democrats and Republicans, is being built but it will only happen when we all pitch in.


The Claudia-Karina campaign calls to end all U.S. aid to Israel. End this government’s endless wars. We want jobs for all, with union representation and wages that let us live with dignity. Housing, healthcare, and education for all - without the lifelong debt. End the ruthless attacks on women, Black people, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. These are just some of the demands that are resonating across the country. Help us take the next step: 


Volunteer: https://votesocialist2024.com/volunteer


Donate: https://votesocialist2024.com/donate


See you in the streets,


Claudia & Karina


Don't Forget! Join our telegram channel for regular updates: https://t.me/+KtYBAKgX51JhNjMx




Free Julian Assange

Immediate Repeated Action Needed to Free Assange


Please call your Congressional Representatives, the White House, and the DOJ. Calls are tallied—they do count.  We are to believe we are represented in this country.  This is a political case, so our efforts can change things politically as well.  Please take this action as often as you can:


Find your representatives:



Leave each of your representatives a message individually to: 

·      Drop the charges against Julian Assange

·      Speak out publicly against the indictment and

·      Sign on to Rashida Tlaib's letter to the DOJ to drop the charges: 

           202-224-3121—Capitol Main Switchboard 


Leave a message on the White House comment line to 

Demand Julian Assange be pardoned: 


             Tuesday–Thursday, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. EST


Call the DOJ and demand they drop the charges against Julian Assange:

             202-353-1555—DOJ Comment Line

             202-514-2000 Main Switchboard 

Sign the petition:




Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!


Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Join the Fight for Mumia's Life

Since September, Mumia Abu-Jamal's health has been declining at a concerning rate. He has lost weight, is anemic, has high blood pressure and an extreme flair up of his psoriasis, and his hair has fallen out. In April 2021 Mumia underwent open heart surgery. Since then, he has been denied cardiac rehabilitation care including a healthy diet and exercise.

Donate to Mumia Abu-Jamal's Emergency Legal and Medical Defense Fund, Official 2024

Mumia has instructed PrisonRadio to set up this fund. Gifts donated here are designated for the Mumia Abu-Jamal Medical and Legal Defense Fund. If you are writing a check or making a donation in another way, note this in the memo line.

Send to:

 Mumia Medical and Legal Fund c/o Prison Radio

P.O. Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94103

Prison Radio is a project of the Redwood Justice Fund (RJF), which is a California 501c3 (Tax ID no. 680334309) not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the defense of the environment and of civil and human rights secured by law.  Prison Radio/Redwood Justice Fund PO Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94141



Leonard Peltier “Why?” (Henry CrowDog)

Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

Video at:


Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier:




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603



Updates From Kevin Cooper 

A Never-ending Constitutional Violation

A summary of the current status of Kevin Cooper’s case by the Kevin Cooper Defense Committee


      On October 26, 2023, the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP wrote a rebuttal in response to the Special Counsel's January 13, 2023 report upholding the conviction of their client Kevin Cooper. A focus of the rebuttal was that all law enforcement files were not turned over to the Special Counsel during their investigation, despite a request for them to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.

      On October 29, 2023, Law Professors Lara Bazelon and Charlie Nelson Keever, who run the six member panel that reviews wrongful convictions for the San Francisco County District Attorney's office, published an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle calling the "Innocence Investigation” done by the Special Counsel in the Cooper case a “Sham Investigation” largely because Cooper has unsuccessfully fought for years to obtain the police and prosecutor files in his case. This is a Brady claim, named for the U.S. Supreme court’s 1963 case establishing the Constitutional rule that defendants are entitled to any information in police and prosecutor's possession that could weaken the state's case or point to innocence. Brady violations are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. The Special Counsel's report faults Cooper for not offering up evidence of his own despite the fact that the best evidence to prove or disprove Brady violations or other misconduct claims are in those files that the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office will not turn over to the Special Counsel or to Cooper's attorneys.

      On December 14, 2023, the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), Mary Smith, sent Governor Gavin Newsom a three page letter on behalf of the ABA stating in part that Mr.Cooper's counsel objected to the state's failure to provide Special Counsel all documents in their possession relating to Mr.Cooper's conviction, and that concerns about missing information are not new. For nearly 40 years Mr.Cooper's attorneys have sought this same information from the state.

      On December 19, 2023, Bob Egelko, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the ABA letter to the Governor that the prosecutors apparently withheld evidence from the Governor's legal team in the Cooper case.

      These are just a few recent examples concerning the ongoing failure of the San Bernardino County District Attorney to turn over to Cooper's attorney's the files that have been requested, even though under the law and especially the U.S. Constitution, the District Attorney of San Bernardino county is required to turn over to the defendant any and all material and or exculpatory evidence that they have in their files. Apparently, they must have something in their files because they refuse to turn them over to anyone.

      The last time Cooper's attorney's received files from the state, in 2004, it wasn't from the D.A. but a Deputy Attorney General named Holly Wilkens in Judge Huff's courtroom. Cooper's attorneys discovered a never before revealed police report showing that a shirt was discovered that had blood on it and was connected to the murders for which Cooper was convicted, and that the shirt had disappeared. It had never been tested for blood. It was never turned over to Cooper's trial attorney, and no one knows where it is or what happened to it. Cooper's attorneys located the woman who found that shirt on the side of the road and reported it to the Sheriff's Department. She was called to Judge Huff's court to testify about finding and reporting that shirt to law enforcement. That shirt was the second shirt found that had blood on it that was not the victims’ blood. This was in 2004, 19 years after Cooper's conviction.

      It appears that this ongoing constitutional violation that everyone—from the Special Counsel to the Governor's legal team to the Governor himself—seems to know about, but won't do anything about, is acceptable in order to uphold Cooper's conviction.

But this type of thing is supposed to be unacceptable in the United States of America where the Constitution is supposed to stand for something other than a piece of paper with writing on it. How can a Governor, his legal team, people who support and believe in him ignore a United States citizen’s Constitutional Rights being violated for 40 years in order to uphold a conviction?

      This silence is betrayal of the Constitution. This permission and complicity by the Governor and his team is against everything that he and they claim to stand for as progressive politicians. They have accepted the Special Counsel's report even though the Special Counsel did not receive the files from the district attorney that may not only prove that Cooper is innocent, but that he was indeed framed by the Sheriff’s Department; and that evidence was purposely destroyed and tampered with, that certain witnesses were tampered with, or ignored if they had information that would have helped Cooper at trial, that evidence that the missing shirt was withheld from Cooper's trial attorney, and so much more.

      Is the Governor going to get away with turning a blind eye to this injustice under his watch?

      Are progressive people going to stay silent and turn their eyes blind in order to hopefully get him to end the death penalty for some while using Cooper as a sacrificial lamb?

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

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




Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)




The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



Daniel Hale UPDATE:  


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


More Info about Daniel:


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



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




Resources for Resisting Federal Repression



Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 


The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 


Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.


Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement, you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 


State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 


Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:


National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811






1) 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.”



2) 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.



3) 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.



4) 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.



5) Group Documents Israel's Starvation of 2 Palestinian Children in Past Week

"Al Mezan reiterates its urgent call for an immediate cease-fire, which must be coupled with the immediate lifting of the siege and closure imposed on Gaza."

By Robert Wilkins, June 3, 2024



The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights said Monday that two more children died of malnutrition last week at a hospital in the embattled Gaza Strip, where Israel stands accused in a World Court genocide case of blocking food and other lifesaving aid from reaching starving Palestinians.


Al Mezan said 5-month-old Fayez Attaya died on May 30 and 13-year-old Abdulqader Al-Serhi died on June 1 at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza. Both children died from malnutrition and lack of adequate healthcare due to the 241-day Israeli bombardment, invasion, and siege of Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas-led October 7 attack on Israel.


The Gaza-based rights group said that the two children "died as a result of a multifaceted pattern of genocidal acts perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian population of Gaza."


"These acts include the total siege imposed on Gaza since October 9, 2023, the utilization of starvation as a genocidal weapon of war, the deliberate targeting and destruction of Gaza's healthcare system, and the recurrent forced displacement of millions of Palestinians," Al Mezan added.


According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 30 people—mostly children—have died from malnutrition and dehydration during the war. Almost all of the victims are from northern Gaza, where United Nations World Food Program Executive Director Cindy McCain said last month that "full-blown famine" had taken hold and was spreading south.


"The escalating risks of starvation pose a grave and imminent threat to the lives of our population, particularly children, patients, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities," Al Mezan researcher Basem Abu Jray said in a statement Monday.


"Living conditions have plummeted to their lowest ebb, exacerbated by the destruction of vital life and economic sectors, which has resulted in a stark increase in poverty and unemployment," he added. "Moreover, the closure of the Rafah border crossing and the impediment of humanitarian aid and fuel entry have profoundly impacted the civilian population."


Attaya was born on December 6 and spent his short life in the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza before the Israeli invasion forcibly displaced his family, who moved to the Al-Mawasi area in western Khan Younis. He was healthy at birth, weighing 7.7 pounds. However he soon developed breathing difficulties, which his father says were exacerbated "by my inability to provide adequate food for my wife to breastfeed him properly." Attaya weighed just 3.3 pounds when he died.


Al-Serhi suffered from poor health since he was born in 2010. He was being regularly monitored at Al-Rantisi Children's Hospital in Gaza City until Israel's invasion forced its closure in November. The child's condition had been stable before the war but he lost access to lifesaving treatment and nutritious food.


According to his father:


“I only had two bottles of the necessary medication for Abdulqader, but as time passed, the prescribed treatment ran out. I tried to buy it but couldn't find it anywhere. I also tried to look for it in Egypt, but the closure of the Rafah crossing prevented that. All of this coincided with shortages in food, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Abdulqader's health deteriorated significantly, especially given the tent conditions and the high temperatures, which were unsuitable for his health.”


Palestinian and international agencies say that since October over 15,000 Palestinian minors have died in Gaza, which the United Nations Children's Fund calls the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Overall, Israel's assault on Gaza has left more than 130,000 Palestinians dead, maimed, or missing and around 2 million of Gaza's 2.3 million people forcibly displaced.


"Al Mezan reiterates its urgent call for an immediate cease-fire, which must be coupled with the immediate lifting of the siege and closure imposed on Gaza," the group said.


"Famine must be formally declared across the entirety of Gaza," Al Mezan continued. "Should Israel persist in controlling and keeping the Rafah crossing and the other crossings closed, and if patients in need of urgent medical care are not allowed to seek treatment outside Gaza, the deaths of Fayez and Abdulqader will serve as a grim prelude to many more casualties."


"Gaza's genocidal humanitarian catastrophe resulting from deliberately imposed Israeli policies will inevitably worsen, leading to additional preventable deaths," the group added. "Urgent and resolute action is imperative."



6) Israel Secretly Targets U.S. Lawmakers With Influence Campaign on Gaza War

Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs ordered the operation, which used fake social media accounts urging U.S. lawmakers to fund Israel’s military, according to officials and documents about the effort.

By Sheera Frenkel, Reporting from Tel Aviv, June 5, 2024

"The secretive campaign signals the lengths Israel was willing to go to sway American opinion on the war in Gaza. The United States has long been one of Israel’s staunchest allies, with President Biden recently signing a $15 billion military aid package for the country. But the conflict has been unpopular with many Americans, who have called for Mr. Biden to withdraw support for Israel in the face of mounting civilian deaths in Gaza."


Smoke rises around buildings in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on Monday. The secretive influence campaign signals the lengths Israel was willing to go to sway American opinion on the war in Gaza. Credit...Ramadan Abed/Reuters

Israel organized and paid for an influence campaign last year targeting U.S. lawmakers and the American public with pro-Israel messaging, as it aimed to foster support for its actions in the war with Gaza, according to officials involved in the effort and documents related to the operation.


The covert campaign was commissioned by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, a government body that connects Jews around the world with the State of Israel, four Israeli officials said. The ministry allocated about $2 million to the operation and hired Stoic, a political marketing firm in Tel Aviv, to carry it out, according to the officials and the documents.


The campaign began in October and remains active on the platform X. At its peak, it used hundreds of fake accounts that posed as real Americans on X, Facebook and Instagram to post pro-Israel comments. The accounts focused on U.S. lawmakers, particularly ones who are Black and Democrats, such as Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader from New York, and Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, with posts urging them to continue funding Israel’s military.


ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, was used to generate many of the posts. The campaign also created three fake English-language news sites featuring pro-Israel articles.


The Israeli government’s connection to the influence operation, which The New York Times verified with four current and former members of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and documents about the campaign, has not previously been reported. FakeReporter, an Israeli misinformation watchdog, identified the effort in March. Last week, Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, and OpenAI, which makes ChatGPT, said they had also found and disrupted the operation.


The secretive campaign signals the lengths Israel was willing to go to sway American opinion on the war in Gaza. The United States has long been one of Israel’s staunchest allies, with President Biden recently signing a $15 billion military aid package for the country. But the conflict has been unpopular with many Americans, who have called for Mr. Biden to withdraw support for Israel in the face of mounting civilian deaths in Gaza.


The operation is the first documented case of the Israeli government’s organizing a campaign to influence the U.S. government, social media experts said. While coordinated government-backed campaigns are not uncommon, they are typically difficult to prove. Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and the United States are widely believed to back similar efforts around the world, but often mask their involvement by outsourcing the work to private companies or running them through a third country.


“Israel’s role in this is reckless and probably ineffective,” said Achiya Schatz, the executive director of FakeReporter. That Israel “ran an operation that interferes in U.S. politics is extremely irresponsible.”


Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs denied involvement in the campaign and said it had no connection to Stoic. Stoic didn’t respond to requests for comment.


The campaign didn’t have a widespread impact, Meta and OpenAI said last week. The fake accounts accumulated more than 40,000 followers across X, Facebook and Instagram, FakeReporter found. But many of those followers may have been bots and didn’t generate a large audience, Meta said.


The operation began just weeks into the war in October, according to Israeli officials and the documents on the effort. Dozens of Israeli tech start-ups received emails and WhatsApp messages that month inviting them to join urgent meetings to become “digital soldiers” for Israel during the war, according to messages viewed by The Times. Some of the emails and messages were sent from Israeli government officials, while others came from tech start-ups and incubators.


The first meeting was held in Tel Aviv in mid-October. It appeared to be an informal gathering where Israelis could volunteer their technical skills to help the country’s war effort, three attendees said. Members of several government ministries also took part, they said.


Participants were told that they could be “warriors for Israel” and that “digital campaigns” could be run on behalf of the country, according to recordings of the meetings.


The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs commissioned a campaign aimed at the United States, the Israeli officials said. A budget of about $2 million was set, according to one message viewed by The Times.


Stoic was hired to run the campaign. On its website and on LinkedIn, Stoic says it was founded in 2017 by a team of political and business strategists and calls itself a political marketing and business intelligence firm. Other companies may have been hired to run additional campaigns, one Israeli official said.


Many of the campaign’s fake accounts on X, Instagram and Facebook posed as fictional American students, concerned citizens and local constituents. The accounts shared articles and statistics that backed Israel’s position in the war.


The operation focused on more than a dozen members of Congress, many of whom are Black and Democrats, according to an analysis by FakeReporter. Representative Ritchie Torres, a Democrat from New York who is outspoken about his pro-Israel views, was targeted in addition to Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Warnock.


Some of the fake accounts responded to posts by Mr. Torres on X by commenting on antisemitism on college campuses and in major U.S. cities. In response to a Dec. 8 post on X by Mr. Torres about fire safety, one fake account replied, “Hamas is perpetrating the conflict,” referring to the Islamist militant group. The post included a hashtag that said Jews were being persecuted.


On Facebook, the fake accounts posted on Mr. Jeffries’s public page by asking if he had seen a report about the United Nations’ employing members of Hamas in Gaza.


Mr. Torres, Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Warnock didn’t respond to requests for comment.


The campaign also created three fake news sites with names like Non-Agenda and UnFold Magazine, which stole and rewrote material from outlets including CNN and The Wall Street Journal to promote Israel’s stance during the war, according to FakeReporter’s analysis. Fake accounts on Reddit then linked to the articles on the so-called news sites to help promote them.


The effort was sloppy. Profile pictures used in some accounts sometimes didn’t match the fictional personas they cultivated, and the language used in posts was stilted.


In at least two instances, accounts with profile photos of Black men posted about being a “middle-aged Jewish woman.” On 118 posts in which the fake accounts shared pro-Israel articles, the same sentence appeared: “I gotta reevaluate my opinions due to this new information.”


Last week, Meta and OpenAI published reports attributing the influence campaign to Stoic. Meta said it had removed 510 Facebook accounts, 11 Facebook pages, 32 Instagram accounts and one Facebook group tied to the operation. OpenAI said Stoic had created fictional personas and biographies meant to stand in for real people on social media services used in Israel, Canada and the United States to post anti-Islamic messages. Many of the posts remain on X.


X didn’t respond to a request for comment.


On its LinkedIn page, Stoic has promoted its ability to run campaigns backed by A.I. “As we look ahead, it’s clear that A.I.’s role in political campaigns is set for a transformative leap, reshaping the way campaigns are strategized, executed and evaluated,” it wrote.


By Friday, Stoic had removed those posts from LinkedIn.



Israel wants to extend its Al Jazeera ban, and other news.


·      An Israeli court upheld a government ban on Al Jazeera that ends on Saturday, the country’s Ministry of Communications said, adding in a statement on Wednesday that it was working to renew the shutdown for another 45 days. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the network a “mouthpiece” for Hamas, but critics have denounced the decision to shut it down inside Israel as antidemocratic and part of a broader crackdown on criticism of the war in Gaza.


·      Human Rights Watch said Israel was putting civilians at risk by using white phosphorus munitions in southern Lebanon, saying in a report on Wednesday that it had verified 17 such uses, including five in residential areas. White phosphorus is an incendiary toxic substance used to generate light and smoke screens during combat. Deploying it deliberately against civilians or in a civilian setting violates the laws of war. The Israeli military told The Associated Press that it follows international law and uses white phosphorus only as a smoke screen.


·      Israel has signed an agreement with the United States to buy another squadron of F-35 fighter jets, using American military aid, in a roughly $3 billion deal, the Israeli defense ministry said on Tuesday. Delivery of the jets, some of the most advanced and expensive weapons in America’s arsenal, will begin in 2028 and bring the number of F-35s in Israel’s air fleet to 75. In February, a Dutch court ordered the Netherlands to stop exporting F-35 parts to Israel after finding a “clear risk” that the jets were being used in “serious violations of international humanitarian law.”


·      The Israeli military said it was carrying out a new wave of airstrikes and ground raids around Bureij in central Gaza on Tuesday, hitting, among other targets, a U.N. school building where it claimed Hamas fighters were “embedded.” Palestinian news outlets reported that at least five people had been killed in the strikes on Bureij, and three more in strikes in nearby Maghazi.



7) Here’s a closer look at what is standing in the way of a cease-fire deal.

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, June 5, 2024


A military vehicle drives down a dirt road with a cloud of dust around it.

An Israeli tank near the Israel-Gaza border on Tuesday. Credit...Amir Cohen/Reuters

President Biden raised hopes last week when he endorsed a plan that he said could lead to a “cessation of hostilities permanently.” He said Israel had put forward the plan, but neither Israel nor Hamas has said definitively that they would accept or reject the proposal, and they appear to still be locked in disagreement over fundamental issues.


Here’s a look at what is known about the cease-fire deal, which key points still must be negotiated, and the hurdles still ahead:


What’s in the plan?


Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire in November that lasted for a week. But the proposal now on the table — as laid out by Mr. Biden, a senior U.S. administration official and Israeli officials — is more ambitious. Major issues remain unresolved, including whether Hamas would remain in control of the Gaza Strip.


The proposal would unfold in three phases.


In phase one, among other things, Israel would withdraw from population centers in Gaza during a six-week cease-fire, and dozens of women and elderly hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and its allies would be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.


During that time, talks over a permanent cease-fire would continue, and if successful, the deal would enter phase two, with the full withdrawal of Israel’s military from the enclave. All hostages and more Palestinian prisoners would be freed. Under phase three, Hamas would return the bodies of hostages who had died, and a three- to five-year reconstruction period, backed by the United States, European countries and international institutions, would begin.


What are Israel’s concerns?


One of the key gaps between Hamas and Israel over the plan is the length of the cease-fire and the future role of Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said on Monday that he was open to a six-week cease-fire, according to a person who attended a closed-door meeting he held with Israeli lawmakers. But publicly he has said that Israel will fight until Hamas’s governing and military capabilities are destroyed.


As the proposal has been laid out, it appears that Hamas would conduct talks over phases two and three with Israel, which suggests that it would retain some measure of control of Gaza. Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that this is a red line and has also ruled out a governing role for the Palestinian Authority, a fierce rival to Hamas that has limited governing powers in the Israel-occupied West Bank.


The Israeli prime minister is facing competing pressures from the United States and other allies to end the war and, on the other side, from two far-right partners in his governing coalition that have threatened to bring down his government should Israel agree to a deal that would end the war without eliminating Hamas.


In a sign of that pressure, one of them, Israel’s far-right security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said on Wednesday that his party would continue to disrupt Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition until he published details of the proposal. Two Israeli officials confirmed this week 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.


What about Hamas?


Hamas has said it was responding “positively” to the plan, but at a news conference on Tuesday, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman, said that Hamas had informed mediators that the group could not approve an agreement that doesn’t provide for a permanent cease-fire, a total withdrawal of Israeli troops and a “serious and real deal” to exchange Palestinian prisoners for hostages.


The same day, Sami Abu Zuhri, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, accused Israel of not being serious about a deal and said the White House was putting pressure on Hamas despite “knowing that the problem lies” with the Israelis.


Many residents of Gaza say they are desperate for an end to the war but analysts note that Hamas, an armed group, is not responsive to the wishes of the enclave’s civilians. Political experts say that the group’s leaders, including its most senior official in the territory, Yahya Sinwar, may be in no hurry to end the conflict, perceiving in part that Hamas’ leverage will diminish once it agrees to release the hostages.


Mr. Sinwar, the presumed mastermind of the Oct. 7 attack, still have to weigh in on the proposal, a person briefed on the negotiations said.


Adam Rasgon contributed reporting.



8) Israeli Strike Kills Dozens at Former School Where Civilians Were Sheltering

The Israeli military said it had targeted Hamas operatives at a U.N.-run school complex. Palestinian officials said the dead included women, children and older people.

By Aaron Boxerman, Erika Solomon and Victoria Kim, June 6, 2024


Emad Abu Shawiesh/Reuters

Here are the latest developments.


An Israeli airstrike early Thursday hit a United Nations school complex in central Gaza that had become a shelter for thousands of displaced Palestinians, killing dozens of people. Israel’s military said the attack had targeted Hamas operatives. Palestinian officials said it had killed civilians.


The strike, in Nuseirat, was the latest in a deadly surge in fighting in central Gaza, where Israeli forces have announced an offensive against what they describe as a renewed insurgency by Hamas militants.


The bodies of more than 40 people killed in the attack were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza city of Deir al Balah, a hospital spokesman said. The Gazan Health Ministry said that of 40 deaths in the strike that it had registered, 14 were children and nine were women.


Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said he was “not aware of any civilian casualties” as a result of the strike. “We conducted a precise strike against the terrorists where they were,” he added.


Here is what else to know:


·      The Israeli military said its fighter jets had targeted three classrooms in a school building that held 20 to 30 Palestinian militants affiliated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a smaller militia also backed by Iran. He said the militants had used the compound to plan attacks on Israeli forces, although he did not provide specific examples.


·      At least 140 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in recent days during the Israeli offensive in central Gaza, according to the spokesman at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, Khalil Daqran. His hospital is the last one still functioning in central Gaza, and he said wounded people were “lying on the ground in the hallways and in tents outside.”


·      Israel’s offensive in central Gaza comes as cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas remain stuck, with senior officials on both sides expressing deep concerns over a proposal endorsed by President Biden to pause the fighting in exchange for the release of hostages held in Gaza. Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have signaled they are not ready to wind down the war, which Gazan health officials say has killed more than 36,000 people.



9) Palestinian officials say civilians were killed in a strike that Israel says targeted Hamas.

By Aaron Boxerman and Victoria Kim, June 6, 2024

People standing in the courtyard of a damaged building. A man stands on an upper floor looking at rubble.
A U.N. school complex in central Gaza that was hit in an Israeli airstrike had become shelter for thousands of displaced Palestinians. Credit...Bashar Taleb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An Israeli airstrike hit a United Nations school complex in central Gaza that had become a shelter for thousands of displaced Palestinians, killing dozens of people, officials said early Thursday.


Israel’s military said the attack had targeted Hamas operatives. Palestinian officials said it had killed civilians.


The bodies of more than 40 people killed in the attack were brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza city of Deir al Balah, a spokesman for the medical facility, Khalil Daqran, said on Thursday morning. At least some of the victims were women, children and older people, he added, although he declined to provide a precise figure.


Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said he was “not aware of any civilian casualties” as a result of the strike. “We conducted a precise strike against the terrorists where they were,” he added.


At least 140 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in recent days during the Israeli offensive in central Gaza, Dr. Daqran said, severely taxing the hospital’s already depleted resources.


“Wounded patients are lying on the ground in the hallways and in tents outside,” he said. “And our capability to treat them at this point is extremely limited.”


The Israeli military said its fighter jets had targeted three classrooms in a school building that held 20 to 30 Palestinian militants affiliated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a smaller militia also backed by Iran. Israeli forces had twice postponed the strike so as to reduce civilian casualties, the military said.


Lt. Col. Lerner, the Israeli military spokesman, said the militants were “effectively operating under the U.N. flag” in an attempt to avoid Israeli fire, in what he said was the fifth such incident in the past month. He said the militants had used the compound to plan attacks on Israeli forces, although he did not provide specific examples.


The compound that was hit, in the central Gaza city of Nuseirat, had been operated by UNRWA, the main U.N. body that aids Palestinians in Gaza. Philippe Lazzarini, the director of UNRWA, called Israel’s claim that Hamas had used the school’s premises for military purposes “shocking” but said the agency could not verify it.


Lauren Leatherby contributed reporting.



10) Inside the Base Where Israel Has Detained Thousands of Gazans

Since Israel invaded Gaza, the Sde Teiman military base has filled with blindfolded, handcuffed detainees, held without charge or legal representation.

By Patrick Kingsley and Bilal Shbair, Patrick Kingsley, from Israel, and Bilal Shbair, from Gaza, spent three months interviewing Israeli soldiers who worked at Sde Teiman and Palestinians held there. Patrick Kingsley visited the site, June 6, 2024


A blindfolded figure stands next to a fence looped with razor wire. Other blindfolded figures sit behind.

A photo of detained Palestinians in Sde Teiman shared with The New York Times.

The men sat in rows, handcuffed and blindfolded, unable to see the Israeli soldiers who stood watch over them from the other side of a mesh fence.


They were barred from talking more loudly than a murmur, and forbidden to stand or sleep except when authorized.


A few knelt in prayer. One was being inspected by a paramedic. Another was briefly allowed to remove his handcuffs to wash himself. The hundreds of other Gazan detainees sat in silence. They were all cut off from the outside world, prevented for weeks from contacting lawyers or relatives.


This was the scene one afternoon in late May at a military hangar inside Sde Teiman, an army base in southern Israel that has become synonymous with the detention of Gazan Palestinians. Most Gazans captured since the start of the war on Oct. 7 have been brought to the site for initial interrogation, according to the Israeli military.


The military, which has not previously granted access to the media, allowed The New York Times to briefly see part of the detention facility as well as to interview its commanders and other officials, on condition of preserving their anonymity.


Once an obscure barracks, Sde Teiman is now a makeshift interrogation site and a major focus of accusations that the Israeli military has mistreated detainees, including people later determined to have no ties to Hamas or other armed groups. In interviews, former detainees described beatings and other abuse in the facility.


By late May, roughly 4,000 Gazan detainees had spent up to three months in limbo at Sde Teiman, including several dozen people captured during the Hamas-led terrorist attacks on Israel in October, according to the site commanders who spoke to The Times.


After interrogation, around 70 percent of detainees had been sent to purpose-built prisons for further investigation and prosecution, the commanders said. The rest, at least 1,200 people, had been found to be civilians and returned to Gaza, without charge, apology or compensation.


“My colleagues didn’t know whether I was dead or alive,” said Muhammad al-Kurdi, 38, an ambulance driver whom the military has confirmed was held at Sde Teiman late last year.


“I was imprisoned for 32 days,” said Mr. al-Kurdi. He said he had been captured in November after his convoy of ambulances attempted to pass through an Israeli military checkpoint south of Gaza City.


“It felt like 32 years,” he added.


A three-month investigation by The New York Times — based on interviews with former detainees and with Israeli military officers, doctors and soldiers who served at the site; the visit to the base; and data about released detainees provided by the military — found those 1,200 Palestinian civilians have been held at Sde Teiman in demeaning conditions without the ability to plead their cases to a judge for up to 75 days. Detainees are also denied access to lawyers for up to 90 days and their location is withheld from rights groups as well as from the International Committee of the Red Cross, in what some legal experts say is a contravention of international law.


Eight former detainees, all of whom the military has confirmed were held at the site and who spoke on the record, variously said they had been punched, kicked and beaten with batons, rifle butts and a hand-held metal detector while in custody. One said his ribs were broken after he was kneed in the chest and a second detainee said his ribs broke after he was kicked and beaten with a rifle, an assault that a third detainee said he had witnessed. Seven said they had been forced to wear only a diaper while being interrogated. Three said they had received electric shocks during their interrogations.


Most of these allegations were echoed in interviews conducted by officials from UNRWA, the main U.N. agency for Palestinians, an institution that Israel says has been infiltrated by Hamas, a charge the agency denies. The agency conducted interviews with hundreds of returning detainees who reported widespread abuse at Sde Teiman and other Israeli detention facilities, including beatings and the use of an electric probe.


An Israeli soldier who served at the site said that fellow soldiers had regularly boasted of beating detainees and saw signs that several people had been subjected to such treatment. Speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid prosecution, he said a detainee had been taken for treatment at the site’s makeshift field hospital with a bone that had been broken during his detention, while another was briefly taken out of sight and returned with bleeding around his rib cage. The soldier said that one person had died at Sde Teiman from trauma injuries to his chest, though it was unclear whether his injury was sustained before or after reaching the base.


Of the 4,000 detainees housed at Sde Teiman since October, 35 have died either at the site or after being brought to nearby civilian hospitals, according to officers at the base who spoke to The Times during the May visit. The officers said some of them had died because of wounds or illnesses contracted before their incarceration and denied any of them had died from abuse. Military prosecutors are investigating the deaths.


During the visit, senior military doctors said they had never observed any signs of torture and commanders said they tried to treat detainees as humanely as possible. They confirmed that at least 12 soldiers had been dismissed from their roles at the site, some of them for excessive use of force.


In recent weeks, the base has attracted growing scrutiny from the media, including a CNN report later cited by the White House, as well as from Israel’s Supreme Court, which on Wednesday began to hear a petition from rights groups to close the site. In response to the petition, the Israeli government said that it was reducing the number of detainees at Sde Teiman and improving conditions there; the Israeli military has already set up a panel to investigate the treatment of detainees at the site.


In a lengthy statement for this article, the Israel Defense Forces denied that “systematic abuse” had taken place at Sde Teiman. Presented with individual allegations of abuse, the military said the claims were “evidently inaccurate or completely unfounded,” and might have been invented under pressure from Hamas. It did not give further details.


“Any abuse of detainees, whether during their detention or during interrogation, violates the law and the directives of the I.D.F. and as such is strictly prohibited,” the military statement said. “The I.D.F. takes any acts of this kind, which are contrary to its values, with utmost seriousness, and thoroughly examines concrete allegations concerning the abuse of detainees.” The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, which conducts some of the interrogations at the base, said in a brief statement that all of its interrogations were “conducted in accordance with the law.”


Yoel Donchin, a military doctor serving at the site, said it was unclear why Israeli soldiers had captured many of the people he treated there, some of whom were highly unlikely to have been combatants involved in the war. One was paraplegic, another weighed roughly 300 pounds and a third had breathed since childhood through a tube inserted into his neck, he said.


“Why they brought him — I don’t know,” Dr. Donchin said.


“They take everyone,” he added.


How Detainees Are Captured


Fadi Bakr, a law student from Gaza City, said he was captured on Jan. 5 by Israeli soldiers near his family home. Displaced by fighting earlier in the war, Mr. Bakr, 25, had returned to his neighborhood to search for flour, only to get caught in the middle of a firefight and wounded, he said.


The Israelis found him bleeding after the fighting stopped, he said. They stripped him naked, confiscated his phone and savings, beat him repeatedly and accused him of being a militant who had survived the battle, he said.


“Confess now or I will shoot you,” Mr. Bakr remembered being told.


“I am a civilian,” Mr. Bakr recalled replying, to no avail.


The circumstances of Mr. Bakr’s arrest mirror those of other former detainees interviewed by The Times.


Several said they had been suspected of militant activity because soldiers had encountered them in areas the military thought were harboring Hamas fighters, including hospitals, U.N. schools or depopulated neighborhoods like Mr. Bakr’s.


Younis al-Hamlawi, 39, a senior nurse, said he was arrested in November after leaving Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City during an Israeli raid on the site, which Israel considered a Hamas command center. Israeli soldiers accused him of having ties to Hamas.


Mr. al-Kurdi, the ambulance driver, said he had been captured while he attempted to bring patients through an Israeli checkpoint. Israeli officials say that Hamas fighters routinely use ambulances.


All of the eight former detainees described their capture in similar ways: They were generally blindfolded, handcuffed with zip ties and stripped naked except for their underwear, so that Israeli soldiers could be sure they were unarmed.


Most said they were interrogated, punched and kicked while still in Gaza, and some said they were beaten with rifle butts. Later, they said, they were crammed with other half-naked detainees into military trucks and driven to Sde Teiman.


Some said they had later spent time in the official Israeli prison system, while others said they were brought straight back to Gaza.


During his month at the site, Mr. Bakr spent four days, on and off, under interrogation, he said.


“I consider them the worst four days of my entire life,” said Mr. Bakr.


How the Site Developed


During previous wars with Hamas, including the 50-day conflict in 2014, the Sde Teiman military base intermittently held small numbers of captured Gazans. A command center and warehouse for military vehicles, the base was selected because it is close to Gaza and houses an outpost of the military police, who oversee military detention facilities.


In October, Israel started using the site to detain people captured in Israel during the Hamas-led attack, housing them in an empty tank hangar, according to the site commanders. Once Israel invaded Gaza at the end of that month, Sde Teiman began receiving so many people that the military refitted three other hangars to detain them and converted a military police office to create more space for interrogations, they said.


By late May, they said, the base included three detention sites: the hangars where detainees are guarded by military police; nearby tents, where detainees are treated by military doctors; and an interrogation facility in a separate part of the base that is staffed by intelligence officers from Israel’s military intelligence directorate and the Shin Bet.


Classified as “unlawful combatants” under Israeli legislation, detainees at Sde Teiman can be held for up to 75 days without judicial permission and 90 days without access to a lawyer, let alone a trial.


The Israeli military says these arrangements are permitted by the Geneva Conventions that govern international conflict, which allow the internment of civilians for security reasons. The commanders at the site said that it was essential to delay access to lawyers in order to prevent Hamas fighters from conveying messages to their leaders in Gaza, hindering Israel’s war effort.


After an initial interrogation at Sde Teiman, detainees still suspected of having militant ties are usually transferred to another military site or a civilian prison. In the civilian system, they are supposed to be formally charged; in May, the government said in a submission to Israel’s Supreme Court that it had started criminal proceedings against “hundreds” of people captured since Oct. 7, without giving further details about the exact number of cases or their status. There have been no known trials of Gazans captured since October.


Experts on international law say Israel’s system around initial detention is more restrictive than many Western counterparts in terms of the time it takes for judges to review each case, as well as in the lack of access for Red Cross staff.


Early in its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the United States also delayed independent review of a detainee’s case for 75 days, said Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne, a law professor who wrote an overview of the laws governing detention of nonstate combatants. The U.S. shortened that delay in 2009 to 60 days, while in Iraq cases were reviewed within a week, the professor said.


Israel’s decision to delay judicial review of a case for 75 days without providing access to lawyers or the Red Cross “looks to me like a form of incommunicado detention, which itself is a violation of international law,” Professor Hill-Cawthorne said.


After Mr. Bakr disappeared suddenly in January, he said, his family had no way of finding out where he was. They assumed he was dead.


Where the Detainees Live


Inside Sde Teiman, Mr. Bakr was held in an open-sided hangar where he said he was forced, with hundreds of others, to sit handcuffed in silence on a mat for up to 18 hours a day. The hangar had no external wall, leaving it open to the rain and the cold, and guards watched him from the other side of a mesh fence.


All the detainees wore blindfolds — except for one, known by the Arabic word “shawish,” which means sergeant. The shawish acted as a go-between the soldiers and the prisoners, doling out food and escorting fellow prisoners to a block of portable toilets in the corner of the hangar.


Weeks later, Mr. Bakr said, he was appointed as a shawish, allowing him to see his surroundings properly.


His account broadly matches that of other detainees and is consistent with what The Times was shown at the site in late May.


The commanders at the site said detainees were allowed to stand up every two hours to stretch, sleep between roughly 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and pray at any time. For a brief period in October, they said, detainees were allowed to take off their blindfolds and move around freely within the hangars. But that arrangement ended after some detainees became unruly or tried to unlock their handcuffs, the commanders said.


Exhausted after the journey to Sde Teiman, Mr. Bakr fell asleep soon after his arrival — prompting an officer to summon him to a nearby command room, he said.


The officer began beating him, Mr. Bakr said. “This is the punishment for anyone who sleeps,” he recalled the officer saying.


Others described similar responses to minor infractions. Rafiq Yassin, 55, a builder detained in December, said he was beaten repeatedly in his abdomen after trying to peek from underneath his blindfold. He said he began vomiting blood and was treated at a civilian hospital in the nearby city of Beersheba. Asked about the claim, the hospital referred The Times to the health ministry, which declined to comment.


The Israeli soldier who witnessed abuses at a hangar said one detainee was beaten so hard that his ribs bled after he was accused of peeking beneath his blindfold, while another was beaten after talking too loudly too often.

The Times did not witness any beatings during the visit to the hangar, where some detainees were seen praying while others were assessed by paramedics or brought by the shawish to wash in a sink at the back of the hangar. One man could be seen peeking beneath his blindfold without immediate punishment.


Like the other former detainees, Mr. Bakr recalled receiving three meager snacks on most days — typically bread served with small quantities of either cheese, jam or tuna, and occasionally cucumbers and tomatoes. The military said that the food provisions had been “approved by an authorized nutritionist in order to maintain their health.”


According to several former detainees, it was not enough. Three said they lost more than 40 pounds during their detention.


Some medical treatment is available on site. The commanders brought The Times to an office where they said medics screened every detainee on arrival, in addition to monitoring them every day in the hangars. Serious cases are treated in a nearby cluster of tents that form a makeshift field hospital.


Inside those tents, patients are blindfolded and handcuffed to their beds, in accordance with a health ministry document outlining policies for the site, which was reviewed by The Times.

During the visit, four medics at the hospital said those measures were necessary to prevent attacks on the medical staff. They said that at least two prisoners had tried to assault medics during their treatment.


But others, including Dr. Donchin, said that in many cases the handcuffs were unnecessary and made it harder to treat people properly.


Two Israelis who were at the hospital last year said that its staff members were much less experienced and more poorly equipped during earlier phases of the war. One of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid prosecution, said that at the time patients were not given enough painkillers during painful procedures.


Physicians for Human Rights, a rights group in Israel, said in a report in April that the field hospital was “a low point for medical ethics and professionalism.”

The hospital’s current leadership acknowledged that it had not always been as well-equipped as it has become, but said its staff was always highly experienced.


Dr. Donchin said in some respects the treatment at the field clinic was now “a little better” than in Israeli civilian hospitals, mainly because it was staffed by some of the best doctors in Israel. Dr. Donchin, a lieutenant colonel in the military reserve, was a long-serving anesthesiologist at a major hospital in Jerusalem and now teaches at a leading medical school.


The facilities and equipment seen by The Times included an anesthesia machine, an ultrasound monitor, X-ray equipment, a device for analyzing blood samples, a small operating theater and a storeroom containing hundreds of medicines.


Doctors serving at Sde Teiman who spoke to The Times said they were also told not to write their names on any official documentation and not to address each other by name in front of the patients.


Dr. Donchin said that officials feared they could be identified and charged with war crimes at the International Criminal Court.


During The Times’s visit, three doctors said they did not fear prosecution but sought anonymity to prevent Hamas and their allies from attacking them or their families.


How the Interrogations Work


Roughly four days after his arrival, Mr. Bakr said he was called in for interrogation.


Like others who spoke to The Times, he remembered being brought to a separate enclosure that the detainees called the “disco room” — because, they said, they were forced to listen to extremely loud music that prevented them from sleeping. Mr. Bakr considered it a form of torture, saying it was so painful that blood began to trickle from inside his ear.


The Israeli military said that the music was “not high and not harmful,” played within earshot of Israelis and Palestinians alike, and was meant to prevent the detainees from easily conferring with each other before interrogation. The Times was not shown any part of the interrogation complex, including the area where music was played.


Wearing nothing but a diaper, Mr. Bakr said, he was then brought to a separate room to be questioned.


The interrogators accused him of Hamas membership and showed him photographs of militants to see if he could identify them. They also asked him about the whereabouts of hostages, as well as a senior Hamas leader who lived near Mr. Bakr’s family home. When Mr. Bakr denied any connection to the group or knowledge of the pictured men, he was beaten repeatedly, he said.

Mr. al-Hamlawi, the senior nurse, said a female officer had ordered two soldiers to lift him up and press his rectum against a metal stick that was fixed to the ground. Mr. al-Hamlawi said the stick penetrated his rectum for roughly five seconds, causing it to bleed and leaving him with “unbearable pain.”


A leaked draft of the UNRWA report detailed an interview that gave a similar account. It cited a 41-year-old detainee who said that interrogators “made me sit on something like a hot metal stick and it felt like fire,” and also said that another detainee “died after they put the electric stick up” his anus.


Mr. al-Hamlawi recalled being forced to sit in a chair wired with electricity. He said he was shocked so often that, after initially urinating uncontrollably, he then stopped urinating for several days. Mr. al-Hamlawi said he, too, had been forced to wear nothing but a diaper, to stop him from soiling the floor.


Ibrahim Shaheen, 38, a truck driver detained in early December for nearly three months, said he was shocked roughly half a dozen times while sitting in a chair. Officers accused him of concealing information about the location of dead hostages, Mr. Shaheen said.


Mr. Bakr also said he was forced to sit in chair wired with electricity, sending a current pulsing through his body that made him pass out.

Released Without Charge


After more than a month in detention, Mr. Bakr said, the officers seemed to accept his innocence.


Early one morning in February, Mr. Bakr was put on a bus heading to Israel’s border with southern Gaza: After a month of detention, he was about to be released.


He said he asked for his phone and the 7,200 shekels (roughly $2,000) that had been confiscated from him during his arrest in Gaza, before he reached Sde Teiman.


In response, a soldier hit and shouted at him, Mr. Bakr said. “No one should ask about his phone or his money,” the soldier said, according to Mr. Bakr.


The military said all personal belongings were documented and placed in sealed bags after detainees arrived at Sde Teiman, and returned on their release.


Around dawn, the bus arrived at the Kerem Shalom crossing point, near the southern tip of Gaza.


Like other returned detainees, Mr. Bakr walked for roughly a mile before being greeted by aid workers from the Red Cross. They fed him and briefly checked his medical condition. Then they brought him to a nearby terminal where, he said, he was briefly interrogated by Hamas security officials about his time in Israel.


Borrowing a phone, he called his family, who were still 20 miles away in Gaza City.


It was the first time that they had heard from him in more than a month, Mr. Bakr said.


“They asked me, ‘Are you alive?’”



11) Israel Presses Offensive in Central Gaza After Deadly Strike on Shelter

By Bilal Shbair and Aaron Boxerman reporting from Gaza and Jerusalem, June 7, 2024


People, one of whom is wearing a blue vest that says “U.N.” in white, are seen in a heavily damaged room through a destroyed wall.

The aftermath of a strike on a U.N. school complex in central Gaza on Thursday. Credit...Bashar Taleb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Israeli military pushed ahead with its offensive in central Gaza on Friday, a day after a strike on a United Nations school complex-turned-shelter killed dozens, including women and children, according to Gazan health officials.


The military has offered a full-throated defense of the Thursday strike, saying that its forces had targeted 20 to 30 militants using three classrooms as a base. But international criticism has focused on the civilian toll.


The number and identities of those killed in the strike, in the central Gaza neighborhood of Nuseirat, remained unclear. Gazan health officials have given counts ranging from 41 to 46 people killed. Yasser Khattab, an official overseeing the morgue at Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital in Deir al Balah — where many of those killed were brought — said 18 were children and nine were women.


The Israeli military has released the names of nine militants it said were killed, and said it was not aware of any civilian deaths in the attack.


Neither Israel’s accounts, nor those of Gazan health officials, could be independently confirmed.


On Friday, the Israeli military said its forces were continuing to operate in other areas of central Gaza, including al-Bureij and Deir al Balah, and had killed dozens of militants and destroyed tunnel shafts built by Palestinian armed groups.


Since the war began in October, Hamas and other Palestinian militants in Gaza have used an extensive warren of underground tunnels to fight a guerrilla war, ambushing Israeli forces with booby traps. Israeli troops have returned to areas like al-Bureij, where they had already operated, in an effort to crack down on what the military says is a renewed Hamas insurgency there.


“We’re seeing that Hamas still exists and they still have capabilities above and beneath ground,” Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters on Thursday, describing ongoing attacks by “smaller cells" of militants using rocket-propelled grenades, small arms and booby traps.


Early Thursday morning, Israeli aircraft struck the school compound in Nuseirat. Schools have been closed in the enclave since the beginning of the war, and the building had been converted into a makeshift shelter that was housing roughly 6,000 displaced Palestinians, according to UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, which operated the school.


The Israeli military said it had targeted a group of militants affiliated with Hamas and another Iranian-backed armed group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who it claimed had holed up in the complex. In an effort to back up its account, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, late Thursday listed the names of nine militants he said had been killed in the attack and said the Israeli authorities would soon verify the identities of more.


Amid conflicting information over the death toll and the identities of the victims, Mr. Khattab, the morgue official, said Al-Aqsa hospital had a system designed to document mass casualty events as accurately as possible despite the severe challenges of the war.


As soon as word of a major strike reached the facility, a designated official prepared to receive ambulances arriving from the area and began registering the dead and wounded, he said. “We look for any marker that would help us identify the person,” said Mr. Khattab, adding that officials often had to collect multiple body parts into a single bag.


Gazan hospitals have often been overwhelmed by the numbers of dead and wounded, as well as occasional telecommunications blackouts. A New York Times reporter who visited Al-Aqsa hospital on Thursday after the strike saw medics pushing through crowds of people to reach operating rooms. Karin Huster, a medical coordinator with the aid group Doctors Without Borders who has been working at the hospital, said that most of the patients she had seen in the past few days were women and children.



12) Pleas for help echo through a hospital after a deadly Israeli attack.

By Bilal Shbair and Erika Solomon Bilal Shbair reported from central Gaza., June 7, 2024


One hand clasping another that is protruding out of a protective covering,

A Palestinian woman at the hospital holding the hand of a boy said to have been killed in the strike. Credit...Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A room filled with people milling around bodies.

Gazans mourning the dead after an Israeli airstrike Thursday in Nuseirat. Credit...Bashar Taleb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A man with a shovel clearing debris.

Clearing rubble at the school complex after the strike. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

As dawn broke on Thursday, Haitham Abu Ammar combed through the rubble of the school that had become a shelter to him and thousands of other displaced Gazans. For hours, he helped people piece together the limbs of the ones they loved.


“The most painful thing I have ever experienced was picking up those pieces of flesh with my hands,” said Mr. Abu Ammar, a 27-year-old construction worker. “I never thought I would have to do such a thing.”


Early on Thursday, Israeli airstrikes hit the school complex, killing dozens of people — among them at least nine militants, the Israeli military said.


Over the course of the day, corpses and mangled limbs recovered from the rubble were wrapped in blankets, stacked in truck beds and driven to Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, the last major medical facility still operating in central Gaza.


Israel’s military described the airstrike as painstakingly planned. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters that Israeli forces had tracked the militants in the school-turned-shelter for three days before opening fire.


“The Israeli military and the Shin Bet found a solution to separate the terrorists from those seeking shelter,” he said.


But accounts from both local and foreign medics, and a visit to the hospital by The New York Times on Thursday afternoon, made clear that civilians died, too.


Outside the hospital morgue, crowds gathered to weep and pray over the dead. Hospital corridors were crowded with people pleading for help, or at least a little comfort.


A young girl with a bloodied leg screamed, “Mama! Mama!”, as her sobbing mother followed her through the hospital corridors.


The precise toll could not be verified, but the Gaza Health Ministry said that of the roughly 40 people killed in the attack, 14 were children and nine were women. Later in the day, The Associated Press reported different numbers, saying at least 33 people died, including three women and nine children, citing the hospital morgue.


Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital has become a symbol not just of the heavy loss of life in central Gaza, but also of the increasing sense of desperation among Gazans struggling to find a place there that is still safe.


In the past few weeks, the region has swelled with people fleeing another Israeli offensive, this one in the southern city of Rafah. Before that offensive began, Rafah was the main place of refuge for civilians, at one point holding more than half the population of the Gaza Strip.


Then on Wednesday, Israel announced that it had started a new operation against Hamas militants in central Gaza — the very place where many Gazans who had fled Rafah had ended up.


The strike on the school complex came early the next day, around 2 a.m. It hit a building at a complex run by UNRWA, the main U.N. Palestinian aid agency in Gaza.


Since the Israeli offensive in Gaza began in October, in retaliation for a Hamas-led attack on Israel, such schools have been used to shelter Gazans forced from their homes by the fighting. Israel says Hamas hides its forces in civilian settings like schools or hospitals, an accusation the group denies.


In the past two days of the new military campaign, Al Aqsa took in 140 dead and hundreds of wounded, health workers said.


“It’s complete chaos, because we have mass casualty after mass casualty, but less and less medical supplies to treat them,” said Karin Huster, a nurse with the international aid group Doctors Without Borders who has been working as a medical coordinator at the hospital.


During the visit to Al Aqsa by The Times, medics could be seen pushing through crowds of panicked people to try to reach operating rooms, delayed by the sheer mass of people. Amid the confusion, Ms. Huster said, medics sometimes brought mortally wounded people into operating rooms, wasting vital time for those who still had a chance at survival.


Ms. Huster said that the majority of people she had seen in the past few days were women and children.


By early afternoon Thursday, after burying a friend he pulled from the rubble of the school complex, Mr. Abu Ammar found himself once again at the hospital.


This time, he was accompanied by the friend’s brother, whom he was trying to cram into a hallway near the entrance. The brother’s face was cut by shrapnel, and he had a deep gash in his right leg.


But he was not the only one desperate for help.


All around them were wounded people, some lying in their own blood on the floor, others on beds calling for help. A man whose face was blackened with burns and dust from the explosion that morning begged two relatives who were with him to fan his face with a piece of cardboard they were waving over him.


The scenes among the dead in the morgue were almost as chaotic as those among the living. Bodies lay everywhere, as relatives crowded in, weeping and screaming over them. The stench of blood was overpowering.


Crowds outside the morgue ebbed and flowed as bodies wrapped in blankets — shrouds were in short supply — were lifted onto pickup trucks to be taken for burial. Relatives and friends lined up to pray before the dead were driven away. Even passers-by on the street stopped to join in.


“When is it too much?” Ms. Huster said. “I don’t know anymore how I can phrase this so that it shocks people. Where has humanity gone wrong?”



13) Video analysis shows Israel’s strike used a bomb that appeared to be U.S.-made.

By Christiaan Triebert and Neil Collier, June 7, 2024

“'While they’re using smaller bombs, they’re still deliberately targeting where they know there are civilians,' Mr. Bryant said. 'The only thing they’ve done in going down from 2,000-pound bombs to 250-pound bombs is killing a few less civilians.'”


A Palestinian man surveys the extensive damage inside a destroyed building, with a hole in the ceiling and walls collapsed. Visible through the broken structure are other parts of the U.N. school with laundry hanging on balconies.

A hole can be seen in the ceiling of a classroom in a U.N. school complex in central Gaza that housed thousands of displaced Palestinians, after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Thursday. The hole is consistent with the use of a smaller precision-guided munition made by the United States. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

At least one bomb used in the Israeli strike that killed dozens of people, including women and children, in a United Nations school building on Thursday appeared to have been made in the United States, according to a weapons expert and videos reviewed by The New York Times.


The school, located in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, was being used as a shelter for thousands of displaced Palestinians. The Israeli military said it had targeted classrooms that were occupied by Palestinian militants, though it did not provide evidence for this claim.


A video of munitions debris, filmed by the Palestinian journalist Emad Abu Shawiesh, shows remnants of a GBU-39 bomb, which is designed and manufactured by Boeing. The use of this weapon in the strike was first reported by CNN.


The footage was uploaded to Instagram shortly after 4 a.m. in Gaza on Thursday, about two and a half hours after the strike was reported on Telegram, a messaging app. The Times, using details seen in videos, confirmed the weapon debris was filmed at the U.N. school.


Trevor Ball, a former U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal technician, identified the part of the weapon seen in the footage as the nose of a GBU-39. “This distinct nose is unique to the GBU-39 munition series, and, due to its solid construction, it can survive the blast intact,” he said.


The holes visible across several floors of the U.N. compound also suggest the use of a smaller precision-guided munition like the GBU-39, Mr. Ball added.


The school was previously attacked on May 14, when Israel said that it had killed 15 militants there; it is possible that some of the damage or even the GBU-39 nose tip seen on Thursday could have been left by that strike. But multiple videos filmed in the aftermath of the strike showed mattresses, clothes and cans of food covered in rubble near the strike zone in one of the classrooms, indicating the damage was new. In one of these videos, a man can be seen recovering body parts of those who were killed and holding up a severed finger to the camera.


The Israeli military said its fighter jets had targeted three classrooms in a school building that held 20 to 30 Palestinian militants affiliated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a smaller militia also backed by Iran. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, claimed the militants had used the compound to plan attacks on Israeli forces, although he did not provide specific examples.


The compound that was hit had been operated by UNRWA, the main U.N. body that aids Palestinians in Gaza. Philippe Lazzarini, the director of UNRWA, wrote on social media that 6,000 Palestinians had been sheltering in the school complex.


Khalil Daqran, a spokesman for Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza city of Deir al Balah, said the bodies of at least 40 people killed in the attack had been brought to the hospital. At least some of the victims were women, children and older people, he added, although he declined to provide a precise figure.


Colonel Lerner, the Israeli military spokesman, said he was “not aware of any civilian casualties” as a result of the strike.


U.S. officials have been encouraging the Israeli military for months to use GBU-39s, which weigh at least 250 pounds, rather than larger 2,000-pound bombs because they are generally more precise. But this is the second time in less than two weeks that dozens of Palestinians have been killed by this specific type of bomb. On May 26, 45 people were killed in another camp for displaced people, also by GBU-39 bombs.


Wes Bryant, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant and targeting expert who served on a task force critical of Israel’s use of weapons in Gaza, told The Times that the precision and low-collateral intent of these bombs were undermined if not used correctly.


“While they’re using smaller bombs, they’re still deliberately targeting where they know there are civilians,” Mr. Bryant said. “The only thing they’ve done in going down from 2,000-pound bombs to 250-pound bombs is killing a few less civilians.”


Nader Ibrahim contributed reporting. Ainara Tiefenthäler contributed video production.