Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, July 5, 2024


Demonstration and Press Conference


SF Federal Building


Tuesday, July 9, 2024 5:00 P.M.

Protest the New Invasion of Haiti by U.S.-backed Kenyan Police


Protest the Murderous Repression in Kenya by the Same Police


Haiti Action Committee
PO Box 2040
Berkeley,CA 94702





Washington, D.C.



                          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 272:


The total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 38,011 with 87,445 wounded. Among the killed, 28,200 have been fully identified. These include 7,779 children, 5466 women, and 2418 elderly. In addition, around 10,000 more are estimated to be under the rubble.*  

More than 561 Palestinians have been killed and 4,600 wounded by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. These include 136 children.**  

—Israel lowers its estimated October 7 death toll from 1,400 to 1,140—677 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 4,021 wounded***

Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on July 4, 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 July 3, 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 8,663 permanently handicapped as of June 18.

Source: mondoweiss.net




Leave a message at the Whitehouse:

My Whitehouse message:
"Leonard Peltier should have been granted parole but, again, his parole has been denied. Leonard was convicted even though there was no actual proof of his guilt. And, anyway, he was not sentenced to life without possibility of parole. He has been incarcerated for over 49 years and he's almost 80 years old and in poor health. His release would pose no danger or threat whatsoever to the public. He deserves to spend his last years with family and loved ones. Please grant clemency to him now—today." —Bonnie Weinstein 
[I was going to add "before you forget" but I controlled myself.]

U.S. Parole Commission Denies Leonard Peltier’s Request for Freedom; President Biden Should Grant Clemency


In response to the U.S. Parole Commission denying Leonard Peltier’s request for parole after a hearing on June 10, Paul O’Brien, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:


“Continuing to keep Leonard Peltier locked behind bars is a human rights travesty. President Biden should grant him clemency and release him immediately. Not only are there ongoing, unresolved concerns about the fairness of his trial, he has spent nearly 50 years in prison, is approaching 80 years old, and suffers from several chronic health problems.  


“Leonard Peltier has been incarcerated for far too long. The parole commission should have granted him the freedom to spend his remaining years in his community and surrounded by loved ones.  


“No one should be imprisoned after a trial riddled with uncertainty about its fairness. We are now calling on President Biden, once again, to grant Leonard Peltier clemency on humanitarian grounds and as a matter of mercy and justice.”




·      Leonard Peltier, Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), was convicted of the murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He has always maintained his innocence. Amnesty International joins Tribal Nations, Tribal Leaders, Members of Congress, former FBI agents, Nobel Peace Prize winners and former U.S. Attorney James Reynolds, whose office handled Peltier’s prosecution and appeal, in urging his release.  

·      Parole was also rejected at Peltier’s last hearing in 2009. Due to his age, this was likely the last opportunity for parole.  

·      A clemency request is pending before President Joe Biden. President Biden hascommitted opens in a new tabto grant clemency/commutation of sentences on a rolling basis rather than at the end of his term, following a review of requests by the White House Counsel’s Office and the Department of Justice.

Amnesty International has examined Peltier’s case extensively for many years, sent observers to his trial in 1977, and long campaigned on his behalf. Most recently, Amnesty International USA sent a letter to the U.S. Parole Commission urging the commission to grant him parole.



Leonard Peltier’s Bail Denied July 2, 2024

Leonard Peltier June 26, 2024 statement on pending bail decision

Greetings my Friends, Family, Loved Ones, and Supporters,

Hope is a hard thing here. But I always hold hope in you, My People. Pay attention. The parole decision on July 11th may show you what justice truly means to this nation and to whom it is meant for.

Living in lockdown, time has twisted into something that has nothing to do with minutes, hours, or years. They have taken what little freedom I have outside this box. Art—gone. Ceremony—gone.

Yet they will never take the Spirit of a Sundancer. I have never given them my integrity. I remain undestroyed.

I will not pretend my body is sound. The lockdowns have been tough on all of us, in ways I cannot begin to explain and those on the outside cannot begin to imagine.

I am counting on you if this decision does not go my way. I always need your prayers. I need you to demand that this country finally commit one act of Justice.

My attorney assures me the battle is not over until it is over—she will not back down. I am counting on you not to back down. My time is running out here, with no medical care. I do not fear death, returning to Mother Earth’s womb, but I do not want to die in lockdown.

In my solitude, my mind often returns to Raymond Yellow Thunder. The profound tragedy of Raymond’s murder sparked change in our people and showed them who the American Indian Movement is.

Raymond was a hard-working man. When he came into town to give money to his sisters, it was not enough for the Raye brothers to humiliate Raymond, strip him, and parade him around an American Legion Dance.

Raymond was shoved into the trunk of a car and died the next day. The Raye brothers were charged with 2nd- degree manslaughter and released with no bail.

Raymond’s sisters were distraught that even that small charge may not stick. The authorities would not release the autopsy report. They would not allow Raymand’s sisters to see his body. The sisters sought help from the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs), the Tribal government, and private attorneys. In desperation, they turned to the American Indian Movement.

AIM members are Spirit Warriors, not merciless savages. We organized 200 carloads of people and demanded justice.

With dignity, we demanded justice.

Sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, and FBI agents agreed that serious charges should be filed against the Hares and that the local police chief should be dismissed.

Indigenous people started holding their heads up after that victory. They started speaking out against abuses by the BIA and Tribal government, and white ranchers profiting off their land.

We must not allow Raymond’s fate to befall others. My mother used to ask with dismay, “Why is it so bad to be Indian?” I find myself wondering why they hate us so.

We will triumph over the misguided hate of others. Never, ever, forget who you are. We are the First People. Mother Earth herself fires the blood that runs through our veins.

Protect each other, protect Mother Earth for future generations, and stand with oppressed peoples everywhere.

Remember that true strength does not reside in holding power over others. Strength comes from living out of a place of humility and integrity, inspiring others to find their unique strengths.

Oppression is rising, running like black mold through every facet of society. We must stand together and let society know that Indigenous lives are not cheap. The lives of our oppressed brothers and sisters are not cheap. All people are worthy of basic human dignity.

Colonialism has all but destroyed us. We must do nothing less than transform society into a place where human beings are not disposable.

Do not weep if I am not granted parole. Cry freedom. Coalesce yourselves, galvanize your relationships, establish alliances. In the power of our people, we find strength. Hold your head up high. It is not over, until it is over.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. Doksha,

Leonard Peltier






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




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) Mr. President, Your Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card Is Ready

By Jamelle Bouie, July 2, 2024


With his eyes closed, Donald Trump stands in front of a group of well-wishers snapping photos.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

In 1977, nearly three years after leaving office in disgrace, President Richard Nixon gave a series of interviews to David Frost, a British journalist. Of their hourslong conversations, only one part would enter history.


“When the president does it,” Nixon told Frost, defending the conduct that ended his presidency, “that means that it is not illegal.” He went on to add that if “the president approves an action because of the national security — or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude — then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out to carry it out without violating a law.” Otherwise, Nixon concluded, “they’re in an impossible position.”


Yesterday, in a 6-3 decision along partisan lines, the Supreme Court affirmed Nixon’s bold assertion of presidential immunity. Ruling on the federal prosecution of Donald Trump for his role in the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Chief Justice John Roberts explained that the president has “absolute immunity” for “official acts” when those acts relate to the core powers of the office.


“We conclude that under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of presidential power requires that a former president have some immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during his tenure in office,” Roberts writes. “At least with respect to the president’s exercise of his core constitutional powers, this immunity must be absolute. As for his remaining official actions, he is also entitled to immunity.”


The majority divides official conduct from “unofficial conduct,” which is still liable for prosecution. But it doesn’t define the scope of “unofficial conduct” and places strict limits on how courts and prosecutors might try to prove the illegality of a president’s unofficial acts. “In dividing official from unofficial conduct, courts may not inquire into the president’s motives,” Roberts writes. “Such an inquiry would risk exposing even the most obvious instances of official conduct to judicial examination on the mere allegation of improper purpose, thereby intruding on the Article II interests that immunity seeks to protest.” In other words, the why of a president’s actions cannot be held as evidence against him, even if they’re plainly illegitimate.


Roberts tries to apply this new, seemingly extra-constitutional standard to the facts of the case against the former president. He says that the president “has ‘exclusive authority and absolute discretion’ to decide which crimes to investigate and prosecute, including with respect to allegations of election crime” and may “discuss potential investigations and prosecutions” with Justice Department officials, effectively neutering the idea of independent federal law enforcement. Turning to Trump’s attempt to pressure Mike Pence into delaying certification of the Electoral College, Roberts says that this too was an official act.


Having made this distinction between “official” and “unofficial” conduct, Roberts remands the case back to a Federal District Court so that it can re-examine the facts and decide whether any conduct described in the indictment against Trump is prosecutable.


The upshot of this decision is that it will delay the former president’s trial past the election. And if Trump wins he can quash the case, rendering it moot. The conservative majority on the Supreme Court has, in other words, successfully kept the American people from learning in a court of law the truth of Trump’s involvement on Jan. 6.


But more troubling than the court’s interference in the democratic process are the disturbing implications of the majority’s decision, which undermines the foundations of republican government at the same time that it purports to be a strike in defense of the constitutional order.


Presidential immunity from criminal prosecution does not exist in the Constitution, Justice Sonia Sotomayor observes in her dissent. The historical evidence, she writes, “cuts decisively against it.” By definition, the president was bound by law. He was, first and foremost, not a king. He was a servant of the public, and like any other servant, the framers believed he was subject to criminal prosecution if he broke the law.


And while the majority might say here that the president is still subject to criminal prosecution for “unofficial acts,” Sotomayor aptly notes that the chief justice has created a standard that effectively renders nearly every act official if it can be tied in some way, however tenuously, to the president’s core powers.


If the president takes official action whenever he acts in ways that are “not manifestly or palpably beyond his authority” and if “in dividing official from unofficial conduct, courts may not inquire into the president’s motives,” then, Sotomayor writes, “Under that rule, any use of official power for any purpose, even the most corrupt purpose indicated by objective evidence of the most corrupt motives and intent, remains official and immune.”


A president who sells cabinet positions to the highest bidder is immune. A president who directs his I.R.S. to harass and investigate his political rivals is immune. A president who gives his military illegal orders to suppress protesters is immune.


These examples only scratch the surface of allowable conduct under the majority’s decision. “The court,” Sotomayor writes, “effectively creates a law-free zone around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding.” When he uses his official powers in any way, she continues, “he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution. Orders the Navy’s SEAL team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune.”


The bottom line, Sotomayor concludes, is that “the relationship between the president and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law.”


If the president is a king, then we are subjects, whose lives and livelihoods are only safe insofar as we don’t incur the wrath of the executive. And if we find ourselves outside the light of his favor, then we find ourselves, in effect, outside the protection of the law.


Roberts says that presidential immunity from criminal prosecution is necessary to preserve the separation of powers and protect the “energy” of the executive. But the aim of the separation of powers was not merely to create exclusive spheres of action for each branch — if this were true, the Senate, which ratifies treaties and confirms executive branch appointments, would not exist in its current form — but to prevent the emergence of unchecked authority. Roberts has reversed this. Now separation of powers requires the absolute power of the executive to act without checks, without balances and without limits.


In their relentless drive to protect a Republican president and secure his power for a future administration, the conservative majority has issued a fundamentally anti-republican opinion. In doing so, it has made a mockery of the American constitutional tradition.


By the end of his time in the White House, Nixon was a disgrace. But to the conservative movement, he was something of a hero — hounded out of office by a merciless liberal establishment. One way to tell the story of the Republican Party after Nixon is as the struggle to build a world in which a future Nixon could act unimpeded by law.


Roberts has done more than score a victory for Trump. He has scored a victory for the conservative legal project of a unitary executive of immense power. Besides Trump, he has vindicated the lawlessness of Republican presidents from Nixon to George W. Bush. The Nixonian theory of presidential power is now enshrined as constitutional law.


This time when the president does it, it really won’t be illegal.



2) Britain’s Next Prime Minister Has Shown Us Who He Is, and It’s Not Good

By Oliver Eagleton, July 3, 2024

Mr. Eagleton is a journalist and the author of “The Starmer Project.” He wrote from London.


A black-and-white photograph of Keir Starmer, seen from below and surrounded by people holding phones to record him.

Phil Noble/Reuters

The outcome seems predestined. The British Conservative Party, moribund after 14 years in office and struggling to defend its record of routine corruption and economic mismanagement, is heading into Thursday’s general election with the backing of just 20 percent of the electorate. The opposition Labour Party, having run a colorless campaign whose main aim was to channel frustration with the government, is projected to win a huge parliamentary majority. That means that Labour’s leader, Keir Starmer, will be the country’s next prime minister.


How is he likely to govern? A former lawyer with a bland rhetorical style and a tendency to modify his policies, Mr. Starmer is accused by critics on the left and right alike of lacking conviction. He is labeled an enigma, a man who stands for nothing, with no plans and no principles. His election manifesto, which The Telegraph hailed as “the dullest on record,” appears to confirm the sense that he is a void and that the character of his administration defies prediction.


But a closer look at Mr. Starmer’s back story belies this narrative. His politics are, in fact, relatively coherent and consistent. Their cardinal feature is loyalty to the British state. In practice, this often means coming down hard on those who threaten it. Throughout his legal and political career, Mr. Starmer has displayed a deeply authoritarian impulse, acting on behalf of the powerful. He is now set to carry that instinct into government. The implications for Britain, a country in need of renewal not retrenchment, are dire.


Mr. Starmer has seldom dwelt on the specifics of his legal career, and his personal motives are of course unknowable. But it seems clear, based on his track record, that Mr. Starmer’s outlook began to take shape around the turn of the millennium. By that time, he had gained a reputation as a progressive barrister who worked pro bono for trade unionists and environmentalists. But in 1999 he surprised many of his colleagues by agreeing to defend a British soldier who had shot and killed a Catholic teenager in Belfast. Four years later, he was hired as a human rights adviser to the Northern Irish Policing Board — a role in which he reportedly helped police officers justify the use of guns, water cannons and plastic bullets.


Feted by the judicial establishment, Mr. Starmer was hired to run the Crown Prosecution Service in 2008, putting him in charge of criminal prosecutions in England and Wales. Professional success brought him closer to the state, which he repeatedly sought to shield from scrutiny. He did not bring charges against the police officers who killed Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian migrant who was mistaken for a terrorist suspect and shot seven times in the head. Nor did Mr. Starmer prosecute MI5 and MI6 agents who faced credible accusations of complicity in torture. Nor were so-called spy cops — undercover officers who infiltrated left-wing activist groups and manipulated some of their members into long-term sexual relationships — held accountable.


He took a different tack with those he saw as threatening law and order. After the 2010 student demonstrations over a rise in tuition fees, he drew up legal guidelines that made it easier to prosecute peaceful protesters. The following year, when riots erupted in response to the police killing of Mark Duggan, Mr. Starmer organized all-night court sittings and worked to increase the severity of sentencing for people accused of participating. During his tenure, state prosecutors fought to extradite Gary McKinnon, an I.T. expert with autism who had embarrassed the U.S. military by gaining access to its databases, and worked to drag out the case against the WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.


For his service, Mr. Starmer was knighted in 2014; the year after that, he entered Parliament. After biding his time there, he played a central role in kiboshing his own party’s position on the European Union, maneuvering to secure Labour’s support for a second referendum rather than accepting the vote to leave the bloc. This stance alienated many Brexit voters and helped ensure his party’s defeat in the 2019 election. It then fell to Mr. Starmer to recapture Labour from the left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and cleanse it of radicalism, using the same repressive repertoire that he developed as chief prosecutor.


Mr. Starmer more than met the brief. Since becoming leader, he has begun a merciless crackdown on the mildest forms of internal dissent. He expelled his predecessor, blocked left-wing candidates from standing for Parliament, proscribed various socialist groups, barred politicians from joining picket lines and introduced antidemocratic rules for leadership elections. He has also demanded a stifling level of ideological conformity. Lawmakers who criticize NATO face instant expulsion, and members who oppose Israel’s actions are cynically accused of antisemitism.


This purge has turned Labour into a mirror image of the Conservatives: obsequious toward big business, advocating austerity at home and militarism abroad. It has also foreshadowed how Mr. Starmer would operate in Downing Street. He has said he intends to retain the Public Order Act, which places unprecedented restrictions on protests and makes it easier to lock up activists. He has described climate campaigners as “contemptible” and “pathetic,” pledging to impose harsh sentences on them. He has even backed a proposal to punish protesters who vandalize monuments with 10 years in prison.


Some say such hawkishness is merely good sense or excuse it as the necessary cost of credibility. But the repressive reflex reveals a fundamental truth about Mr. Starmer: At every turn, he seeks to protect the regnant order from disruption. The Labour Party’s offering, which promises to alter things so little that it is enthusiastically backed by prominent business leaders, can be seen as an extension of that principle to the country as a whole. Mr. Starmer’s nebulous invocation of growth and change, without any clear route to secure either, is a feature not a bug. A Labour Party made in his image can be expected to do little to upset the status quo.


Fortune has often smiled on Mr. Starmer. The government praised his performance at the Crown Prosecution Service. The media celebrated his remaking of the Labour Party. Now, thanks to the Conservatives’ implosion, he is set to inherit the country. Yet contemporary Britain is not well. It is afflicted by stagnant growth and gutted public services, its work force is shrinking, its prisons are overcrowded, and more than a fifth of its population lives in poverty.


Solving such problems requires more than reverence for established institutions and small-minded attempts to silence their critics. But this, seemingly, is all the incoming prime minister has to offer.



3) Qatar sent a new suggested cease-fire proposal to Hamas last week, officials say.

By Ronen Bergman and Aaron Boxerman reporting from Jerusalem, July 3, 2024


Rubble and dust fill a street lined with destroyed buildings.

A view of the destruction in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza. Indirect talks on a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas have been largely at a standstill since mid-June. Credit...Hatem Khaled/Reuters

Mediators are working to revive indirect talks  on a cease-fire in Gaza that collapsed last month, focusing on terms based on a proposal backed by the United Nations and the United States, officials said on Wednesday.


For months, Israel and Hamas, alongside mediators including Qatar, Egypt and the United States, were in negotiations over a potential deal for a three-stage truce in Gaza and the release of the remaining 120 living and dead hostages held there. However, wide gaps remained on key issues, and the talks have been largely at a standstill since June.


Last Tuesday, Qatar sent Hamas new potential amendments to the proposed deal in an effort to win over its support, according to two senior officials from different countries involved in the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks.


The main stumbling blocks remain: Hamas wants an end to the war and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces, while Israel has vowed to keep fighting until Hamas is destroyed and seeks control over postwar security in Gaza.


According to the two senior officials, the disagreements now largely center on two points, both related to talks on a permanent cease-fire outlined in the three-phase U.S.- and U.N.-backed deal. Those talks would take place during the first phase, a proposed six-week truce, during which some hostages would be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners.


Hamas wants to limit those talks to the number and identity of Palestinian prisoners to be released for each remaining hostage, while Israel wants to leave it open-ended, so more topics could be added into the discussions, according to the two senior officials.


Hamas fears Israel might torpedo the talks by expanding them to deal with other, effectively irresolvable issues, which would allow Israel to continue the war, the officials said. The latest Qatari proposal negotiators offers Hamas three potential alternatives for the talks, according to the two senior officials, though they did not give further details.   


The  U.S.- and U.N.-backed proposal stipulates that if Israel and Hamas cannot reach a deal on a permanent cease-fire before the six-week truce expires, negotiations will continue until they do. The two senior officials said Hamas wanted language that guaranteed Israel could not unilaterally declare that the talks had collapsed and return to battle.


In recent weeks, the United States has pushed Qatar — which hosts Hamas’s political leadership — to pressure Hamas to reach a deal with Israel, according to one of the two officials and a senior Israeli official. Qatar has now begun exerting more pressure on Hamas, said the two senior officials involved in the talks.


For months, Hamas’s and Israel’s demands have appeared irreconcilable, each reflecting their desire to shape the future of postwar Gaza. Hamas officials say they will only agree to a hostage-release deal if Israel commits to ending the war and totally withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, allowing Hamas to maintain its rule of the Palestinian enclave.


For its part, Israel has vowed to end Hamas’s rule in Gaza and destroy its military and governing capabilities. Israeli leaders have said military operations there will likely continue for months while Israeli forces chase down the remnants of Hamas’s forces across the Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers have fortified a major corridor in central Gaza, appearing to prepare for a protracted struggle.


After President Biden publicly backed the agreement in late May, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel neither rejected the proposed agreement nor issued a full-throated endorsement. Two senior members of Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right government publicly suggested they could break with his coalition if he went ahead with the deal.


But in mid-June, Hamas demanded revisions, and Israel quickly declared that Hamas had rejected the deal, while the Biden administration agreed that some of Hamas’s demands were unworkable.


Last month, Mr. Netanyahu also said in a television interview that he would only accept a “partial deal” with Hamas to release some hostages but would not countenance a premature end to the war. After fierce criticism from the families of Israeli hostages, Mr. Netanyahu publicly endorsed the deal the following day.



A senior Hezbollah commander is killed in an Israeli airstrike, an official says, and other news.

·      A senior Hezbollah field commander was killed in an Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon on Wednesday, according to a senior Lebanese intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue. Hezbollah confirmed the death of the commander, Mohammad Naameh Nasser, also known as Abu Naameh, without saying how he died. In an apparent nod to his seniority, Hezbollah provided his rank when announcing his death — only the third time it has done so for a slain commander since the start of the Gaza war. The killing appeared to be the latest in a string of Israeli assassinations of Hezbollah commanders in Lebanon, one of which led to an escalation in the fighting last month that has since sent international diplomats scrambling to prevent an all-out war. The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


·      Israel last week approved the largest seizure of land in the occupied West Bank in three decades, according to Peace Now, an Israeli group that monitors settler activity in the territory. On June 25, the Israeli authorities announced the appropriation of around five square miles of land in the Jordan Valley; Peace Now said it was the largest such seizure since the Oslo Accords in 1993. Israel has now seized roughly nine square miles of the territory this year, making 2024 by far the peak year for appropriations, according to Peace Now. Building or expanding Israeli settlements in the seized areas is a key aim of far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition. Bezalel Smotrich, a longtime settler activist and influential government minister, announced Wednesday that around 5,000 housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank would be advanced in coming days.


·      A senior White House official was expected to meet with French officials in Paris on Wednesday to discuss ways to defuse the escalating border fire between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, a conflict that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said this week had caused Israel to lose sovereignty in its north. The trip by the official, Amos Hochstein, the special presidential coordinator for global energy and infrastructure, was confirmed by a person close to the talks, who spoke on the condition on anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomacy.


·      Israeli forces killed at least four Palestinians in a drone strike in the West Bank late Tuesday, according to the Israeli military and the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Israeli military said in a statement that the dead were militants who were planting an explosive device in Nur Shams, a densely populated residential area. Once rare, Israel drone strikes in the West Bank have become increasingly common. A drone strike on Sunday killed a local Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander identified as Saeed Jaber, whom Israel blamed for attacks on troops and civilians.



4) Repeated evacuation orders take a toll on already weakened Gazans.

By Raja Abdulrahim reporting from Jerusalem, July 3, 2024

"A 9-year-old girl was killed and three others wounded on Saturday by unexploded ordnance south of Khan Younis, the organization reported. And six children were injured in the city last month in a similar explosion."


A group of cars and other vehicles loaded down with possessions drive through a dusty road with heavily damaged buildings on either side.

The evacuation order issued for parts of the Gaza Strip this week was the largest since October, according to the United Nations. Credit...Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An evacuation order by the Israeli military this week covering roughly a third of the Gaza Strip came as people there are less and less equipped to handle repeated forced displacements, after nearly nine months of war that have left tens of thousands dead and injured and put the territory at risk of famine.


The order, which the United Nations has estimated affects about 250,000 people, was the largest since October, when about a million residents of northern Gaza were told to flee their homes, the organization said on Tuesday.


“It’s an endless cycle of death and displacement,” said Louise Wateridge, a spokeswoman for the main U.N. agency that aids Palestinians, UNRWA, in voice messages from central Gaza on Wednesday. “People express here that they are losing hope, they are losing the willpower, faced with another forced displacement and absolutely no certainty of safety.”


On Monday the Israeli military issued the warning to leave large parts of the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah, and by Tuesday thousands of people had begun to flee. The order was followed by a night of heavy bombardment in areas of southern and central Gaza. The order came after the Israeli military said Palestinian armed groups fired a barrage of roughly 20 rockets from Gaza toward Israeli cities on Monday.


The spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Stéphane Dujarric, said Tuesday that his colleagues were “deeply concerned” about the impact of the order.


“People are left with the impossible choice of having to relocate — some most likely for the second or even the third time — to areas that have barely any spaces or services, or staying in areas where they know heavy fighting will take place,” he said.


The order covers more than 90 school buildings, many of which have turned into overcrowded shelters as people run out of places to stay, along with four medical facilities, Mr. Dujarric said.


Among them is the European Hospital in Khan Younis, where many were sheltering and hundreds of patients were being treated. After medical staff, patients and displaced people fled the hospital, the Israeli military said on Tuesday that it was not necessary for people to leave it.


The International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that the hospital was no longer functioning because so many staff members had left.


Though many people in the evacuation zone have made the decision to flee fonce again, relocating becomes harder and harder as the war drags on.


“In terms of people’s ability to move, it’s been eight months of war, people are extremely fatigued, they’re exhausted, they’re malnourished,” Ms. Wateridge said. Health-wise, she said, “people are a lot weaker, there are more injuries, there’s been less medicine available, less fresh fruit, less water.”


More people are also fleeing on foot, she said, and so are taking fewer belongings with them.


Heba Usrof, 29, a singer who is living in Khan Younis, said she only knew of the evacuation order when she saw hundreds of people passing by outside. A few were carrying mattresses, while others had only backpacks, she said.


“They were not carrying much stuff this time,” Ms. Usrof said. “I believe they were too tired to keep carrying stuff from one place to another, and they no longer have money to pay for trucks.”


Ms. Usrof said she was living with her family of five in what was left of their two-story home, in a part of the city that is not under the evacuation order. If tanks approach their home and they have to flee again, she said, she might take only her ID, cellphone and a change of clothes.


Among the dangers facing people as they flee are unexploded bombs and other munitions, according to the United Nations. These are a particular risk for children.


A 9-year-old girl was killed and three others wounded on Saturday by unexploded ordnance south of Khan Younis, the organization reported. And six children were injured in the city last month in a similar explosion.


Abu Bakr Bashir contributed reporting from London.



5) An Israeli air base is a source of GPS ‘spoofing’ attacks, researchers say.

By Selam Gebrekidan, July 3, 2024


A graphic showing a high level of spoofing activity in the Middle East.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that one major source of spoofing is an Israeli air base. Spoofing can disrupt missiles but affects commercial flights too. Credit...The New York Times

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have identified an Israeli air base as a key source of GPS attacks that have disrupted civilian airline navigation in the Middle East.


The attacks, known as spoofing, send out manipulated GPS signals that make airplane instruments misread their location.


The researchers, Todd Humphreys and Zach Clements, said they are “highly confident” that the spoofing attacks originated from Ein Shemer Airfield in northern Israel. The Israeli military declined to comment on Tuesday.


The researchers used data that was emitted by the spoofer and picked up by satellites in low-Earth orbit to determine its location. They then confirmed their calculations using data they collected on the ground in Israel.


Spoofing, along with GPS jamming, has sharply risen over the last three years, particularly near war zones in Ukraine and Gaza, where militaries interfere with navigation signals to thwart missile and drone attacks.


The Middle East has emerged as a spoofing hot spot. The University of Texas researchers did not say how many spoofing attacks they had linked to the military base, but a separate analysis estimated that more than 50,000 flights have been spoofed in the region this year.


The attacks have made pilots think that they were above airports in Beirut or Cairo when they were not, according to researchers at SkAI Data Services and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, who analyzed data from the OpenSky Network.


Swiss International Air Lines say their flights are spoofed almost every day over the Middle East.


Separately, Estonia and other Baltic nations have blamed Russia for disrupting signals in their airspaces. In April, Finnair temporarily suspended flights to an Estonian airport after turning back two flights because of severe GPS jamming.


The attacks now cover large swaths of the globe far from any battlefield.


In addition to causing navigation confusion, spoofing can trigger false alerts that airplanes are too close to the ground. But the attacks have not yet made flying dangerous because pilots can use alternative navigation methods.


“Losing GPS is not going to cause airplanes to fall out of the sky,” said Jeremy Benington, vice president of Spirent Communications, which provides testing for global navigation systems. “But I also don’t want to deny the fact that we are removing layers of safety.”



6) Hezbollah Fired 200 Rockets at Israel. Here’s What to Know About the Escalating Tensions.

A Hezbollah-Israel war could metastasize into a larger regional conflict that could dwarf the current fighting and draw in Iran and the United States.

By Vivian Yee, July 4, 2024


A dense crowed of men, some in white turbans, stand with flags near a coffin draped in a yellow fabric and topped by a large wreath.

Mourning a member of Hezbollah in Baalbeck, Lebanon, in May, after he was killed in an Israeli attack. Credit...Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

“Hezbollah has opposed Israel since the group’s very beginnings. It was founded in the 1980s, after Israel, responding to attacks, invaded and occupied southern Lebanon, intending to root out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was then based in the country. But Israel soon ran into a new foe, one whose guerrilla fighters quickly grew effective at bedeviling the far-better-equipped Israeli forces: Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim popular movement that made driving Israel out of Lebanon a major goal. By 2000, Israel had withdrawn from Lebanon, making Hezbollah a hero to many Lebanese. …‘The predicament the Israelis find themselves in is that Hezbollah seems to have reached a level of capability at which it’s arguably not worth it for the Israelis to open up a larger conflict,’ said Sam Heller, a Beirut-based analyst at Century International.”



For months, concerns have grown that the war in Gaza might ignite a second conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, the well-armed militia that is loosely allied with Hamas and based just across Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.


On Thursday, Hezbollah launched 200 rockets and mortars and more than 20 drones into northern Israel, according to the Israeli military. The attack set off air-raid sirens across the area for over an hour, the military said.


There were no immediate reports of casualties, but the barrage, which Hezbollah said was in part a response to Israel’s assassination of a senior military commander the previous day in southern Lebanon, was larger in scope than previous attacks.


The two sides have repeatedly traded strikes since the Gaza war began in October, killing civilians and combatants in Lebanon and Israel, with most of the civilian casualties in Lebanon. The hostilities have also forced more than 150,000 people on both sides of the border to leave their homes for temporary shelters. That has put pressure on the Israeli government to make the north of the country safe for residents again by pushing Hezbollah back from the border region.


Here’s a look at Hezbollah as it stands on the brink of a new fight, and why that could still be averted.


What is Hezbollah?


Hezbollah has opposed Israel since the group’s very beginnings. It was founded in the 1980s, after Israel, responding to attacks, invaded and occupied southern Lebanon, intending to root out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was then based in the country.


But Israel soon ran into a new foe, one whose guerrilla fighters quickly grew effective at bedeviling the far-better-equipped Israeli forces: Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim popular movement that made driving Israel out of Lebanon a major goal.


By 2000, Israel had withdrawn from Lebanon, making Hezbollah a hero to many Lebanese. It fought Israel again in 2006, launching a military operation into its southern neighbor that led to a fierce counterattack. In that war, Israel rained bombs on southern Lebanon and Beirut, the capital; the fighting killed more than 1,000 Lebanese.


Yet, the Israeli military never managed to overwhelm Hezbollah in 34 days of war, allowing the group and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, to emerge as stars in an Arab world wearily accustomed to being defeated by Israel.


Hezbollah soon allied with Iran, and they became close partners.


Though the group retains a large and loyal following among Shiite Muslims because of the social services and political power it offers them — as well as the authoritarian tactics it uses to quell any dissent — many Lebanese see the group as an obstacle to progress that keeps threatening to drag the country into an unwanted war.


Hezbollah, considered a terrorist group by the United States and other countries, has evolved from a fighting force into a dominant political one, accruing significant influence in Lebanon’s government.


Today, Lebanon is politically deadlocked, but few major changes can occur without Hezbollah’s approval.


What would a wider war mean for Lebanon?


Lebanon can hardly afford a new conflict with Israel.


The country is reeling from years of an economic crisis that has left countless Lebanese in poverty and a political one that has stripped citizens of many basic services. The strikes at the border have displaced about 100,000 Lebanese civilians, depriving many of their income and their homes, and have cost the country billions of dollars in lost tourism and agricultural revenue, Lebanese officials say.


Lebanon can also count on less international support, with its former colonial power, France, distracted by internal politics, said Emile Hokayem, who specializes in Middle East security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Other Arab states and Iran, which pumped money into rebuilding Lebanon after 2006, are less willing or able to help.


“It was already difficult in 2006, when the economic situation and Lebanon’s international position were considerably better,” Mr. Hokayem said. “The country is not in a position to deal with this conflict.”


Even some of Hezbollah’s traditionally loyal Shiite Muslim constituents in southern Lebanon are questioning the price of the current fighting. As a result, analysts say, Mr. Nasrallah knows he has to step carefully. He has said that Hezbollah does not want a broader conflict, while warning that his fighters are prepared for one — and that Israel will face serious consequences if it comes.


“If war is imposed, the resistance will fight without constraints, rules or limits,” Mr. Nasrallah said in a speech two weeks ago.


A Hezbollah-Israel war could also metastasize into a larger regional war that would dwarf the ongoing fighting. Such a conflict could draw in Iran, as well as the United States, which has been working to avert further escalation.


Though jitters have grown with the frequency and deadliness of each side’s strikes, Israel, Hezbollah and Iran do not want a full-fledged war, analysts and U.S. officials say. Yet, the only near-certain way to avoid one, they say, is to end the fighting in Gaza with a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas, whose Oct. 7 attack led to the war in the enclave.


How strong is Hezbollah?


Through propaganda videos and calibrated strikes, Hezbollah has repeatedly displayed signs of a bulked-up arsenal that analysts say is capable of inflicting heavy damage on Israeli cities. Its forces are also battle-tested after years of fighting against rebels in Syria, where Hezbollah sent thousands of fighters during that country’s civil war to help prop up the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Iran and Hezbollah.


Iran-backed militia fighters in Iraq could also join the fight if Israel attacks Lebanon, said Mr. Hokayem, the Middle East expert.


Estimates vary about just how many missiles Hezbollah has and just how sophisticated its systems are. The Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook says the group may have more than 150,000 missiles and rockets of various types and ranges. It also estimates that the group has up to 45,000 fighters, though Mr. Nasrallah has claimed to have 100,000.


But analysts and Israeli officials say Hezbollah’s arsenal is considerably more dangerous than Hamas’s because of its precision-guided missiles, which could target critical Israeli infrastructure and military assets.


Hezbollah has also displayed exploding drones that can elude Israel’s Iron Dome, the detect-and-shoot-down system designed to protect the country from incoming rockets and missiles. The group also appears to have anti-tank missiles that fly too fast and too low for the Iron Dome to intercept.


Mr. Nasrallah warned in his speech two weeks ago that Hezbollah had so far used just a small fraction of its weapons. If necessary, he said, Hezbollah could launch them on “a bank of targets” in precision strikes.


“The enemy knows it must expect us on land, in the air and at sea,” he said.


Some in Israel are wary of exposing their country to such an arsenal. But others argue that Israel must do something before Hezbollah grows stronger.


“The predicament the Israelis find themselves in is that Hezbollah seems to have reached a level of capability at which it’s arguably not worth it for the Israelis to open up a larger conflict,” said Sam Heller, a Beirut-based analyst at Century International.


Euan Ward contributed reporting.



7) Vandal shatters windows that displayed support for Palestine at Freedom Socialist Party offices

A Palestinian flag and a poster that reads "End U.S. military aid to Israel" were in the windows that had bricks thrown through them.

By Cornelius Hocker, June 25, 2024


Vandal shatters windows that displayed support for Palestine at Freedom Socialist Party offices

Shattered window with Palestinian flag at Freedom Socialist Party office in Seattle. 

SEATTLE — The Freedom Socialist Party is facing a $2,000 repair bill after a vandal threw bricks through two of their windows last Friday. The windows displayed support for Palestine. 


It is unclear if it was one person acting alone or a group.


"When we came in Friday morning, this whole window was shattered," Doug Barnes, the party's national secretary, said. "I was really shocked to see that, but in some ways, not surprised. People had been writing graffiti on the display whenever we had something about Palestine over the last six months."


Freedom Socialist Party shares offices with the Radical Women Seattle branch. Anne Bauer is a member of both.


"Acts like throwing bricks through the window, anonymously, with people you disagree with is very cowardly," Bauer said.


She believes the same hate that led someone to throw a brick through their office windows is cut from the same cloth that leads people to attack minority groups.


"Verbal and physical attacks on LGBTQ+ people, trans people especially, Jewish people, synagogues as well as on Mosques and supporters of Palestine," she said. 


Barnes and Bauer both said this attack on their office has only strengthened their resolve and beliefs.


"What people need to do is decide which side they're on. Are they going to stand up for human rights, civil rights and occupied people like Palestine or look the other way?" Bauer said.


"Somebody's trying to intimidate us, but we aren't going to be intimidated. We're going to keep on doing the work," Barnes said. 


They did not file a police report. Barnes said he did not think the police would be able to find whoever was responsible for the damage.



8) Live Updates: Starmer Becomes U.K. Prime Minister After Labour Party Landslide

Labour’s resounding election victory ended 14 years of Conservative government. But a fragmented vote and low turnout pointed to a deeply unhappy Britain.

By Mark Landler, Megan Specia and Stephen Castle Reporting from London, July 5, 2024


A close-up view of the front door of 10 Downing Street, photographed looking upward from its base.

The famed address has been home to prime ministers since 1735. And it’s much larger than it seems from the street. Credit...Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock

Prime Minister Keir Starmer took office in Britain on Friday and promised a “national renewal” after his center-left Labour Party won a landslide election victory that decisively swept the Conservatives out of power but pointed to a dissatisfied and fragmented nation.


While Labour’s more than 410 seats in Parliament ensured the party a robust majority, the breakdown of votes, and the lowest turnout in years, indicated the challenges ahead for Mr. Starmer. The BBC estimated that Labour had garnered only 35 percent of the votes nationwide, which John Curtice, a prominent polling expert, said would be “the lowest share of the vote won by any single-party majority government.”


Just 60 percent of voters were forecast to have participated, close to a record low and a possible sign that some voters had checked out after years of political dysfunction. Smaller parties and independent candidates saw their support surge, and Reform U.K., the new anti-immigration party led by the Trump ally Nigel Farage, became Britain’s third biggest party by vote share, winning 14 percent of the vote.


After meeting with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace, Mr. Starmer seemed to acknowledge the pressure on Labour to act fast, saying in a speech outside No. 10 Downing Street: “Our work is urgent and we begin it today.” He added that Britons had “voted decisively for change” and called on the country “to move forward together.”


Hours earlier, the departing prime minister, Rishi Sunak, gave brief, conciliatory remarks in Downing Street, congratulating Mr. Starmer, accepting responsibility for his party’s resounding defeat and saying to voters that he had “heard your anger.” With almost all 650 races declared, the Conservatives were on course for fewer than 130 seats, the worst defeat for the party in its nearly 200-year history.


Here’s what else to know:


·      Labour’s makeover: For Mr. Starmer, a low-key lawyer who only entered Parliament in 2015, it was a remarkable vindication of his four-year project to pull the Labour Party away from the left-wing policies of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, and rebrand it as a plausible alternative to the increasingly erratic rule of the Conservatives.


·      Sunak’s future: Mr. Sunak said he would resign as party leader, “not immediately” but once arrangements to choose his successor were in place. He offered a robust case for his achievements in less than two years in office: cutting inflation, resolving a trade dispute with the European Union and steadying Britain’s economy.


·      Right-wing ferment: Reform U.K.’s strong showing was a victory for Mr. Farage, the party’s leader and a veteran political disrupter who won a seat after failing in seven previous bids to get into Parliament. From his new perch, Mr. Farage could try to poach the remnants of the debilitated Conservatives.


·      Other parties: Frustration with the two main parties was apparent in the strong showing by others. The centrist Liberal Democrats earned 71 seats, their best result in a century. And Reform U.K. was not the only smaller party to do well: the Green Party and a number of pro-Palestinian independent candidates won formerly safe Labour seats.



9) Political Unrest Worldwide Is Fueled by High Prices and Huge Debts

Economic turmoil is spreading across the globe, and the response has been protests, attempted coups and elections of far-right politicians.

By Patricia Cohen and Jack Nicas, July 5, 2024

Patricia Cohen reported from Paris and Jack Nicas reported from Rio de Janeiro.


A crowd of protesters in the street, with some in the front carrying a banner and others waving flags.

Protests in Bolivia in June. Residents have lined up for gas because of shortages and a military general led a failed coup attempt. Credit...Juan Karita/Associated Press

Like a globe-spanning tornado that touches down with little predictability, deep economic anxieties are leaving a trail of political turmoil and violence across poor and rich countries alike.


In Kenya, a nation buckling under debt, protests over a proposed tax increase last week resulted in dozens of deaths, abductions of demonstrators and a partially scorched Parliament.


At the same time in Bolivia, where residents have lined up for gas because of shortages, a military general led a failed coup attempt, saying the president, a former economist, must “stop impoverishing our country,” just before an armored truck rammed into the presidential palace.


And in France, after months of road blockades by farmers angry over low wages and rising costs, the far-right party surged in support in the first round of snap parliamentary elections on Sunday, bringing its long-taboo brand of nationalist and anti-immigrant politics to the threshold of power.


The causes, context and conditions underlying these disruptions vary widely from country to country. But a common thread is clear: rising inequality, diminished purchasing power and growing anxiety that the next generation will be worse off than this one.


The result is that citizens in many countries who face a grim economic outlook have lost faith in the ability of their governments to cope — and are striking back.


The backlash has often targeted liberal democracy and democratic capitalism, with populist movements springing up on both the left and right. “An economic malaise and a political malaise are feeding each other,” said Nouriel Roubini, an economist at New York University.


In recent months, economic fears have set off protests around the world that have sometimes turned violent, including in high-income countries with stable economies like Poland and Belgium, as well as those struggling with out-of-control debt, like Argentina, Pakistan, Tunisia, Angola and Sri Lanka.


On Friday, Sri Lanka’s president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, pointed to Kenya and warned: “If we do not establish economic stability in Sri Lanka, we could face similar unrest.”


Even in the United States, where the economy has proved resilient, economic anxieties are partly behind the potential return of Donald J. Trump, who has frequently adopted authoritarian rhetoric. In a recent poll, the largest share of American voters said that the economy was the election’s most important issue.


National elections in more than 60 countries this year have focused attention on the political process, inviting citizens to express their discontent.


Economic problems always have political consequences. Yet economists and analysts say that a chain of events set off by the Covid-19 pandemic created an acute economic crisis in many parts of the planet, laying the groundwork for the civil unrest that is blooming now.


The pandemic halted commerce, erased incomes and created supply chain chaos that caused shortages of everything from semiconductors to sneakers. Later, as life returned to normal, factories and retailers were unable to match the pent-up demand, boosting prices.


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added another jolt, sending oil, gas, fertilizer and food prices into the stratosphere.


Central banks tried to rein in inflation by increasing interest rates, which in turn squeezed businesses and families even more.


While inflation has eased, the damage has been done. Prices remain high and in some places, the cost of bread, eggs, cooking oil and home heating is two, three or even four times higher than a few years ago.


As usual, the poorest and most vulnerable countries were slammed the hardest. Governments already strangled by loans they couldn’t afford saw the cost of that debt balloon with the rise in interest rates. In Africa, half of the population lives in nations that spend more on interest payments than they do on health or education.


That has left many countries desperate for solutions. Indermit Gill, chief economist at the World Bank, said that nations unable to borrow because of a debt crisis have essentially two ways to pay their bills: printing money or raising taxes. “One leads to inflation,” he said, “the other leads to unrest.”


After paying off a $2 billion bond in June, Kenya sought to raise taxes. Then things boiled over.


Thousands of protesters swarmed the Parliament in Nairobi. At least 39 people were killed and 300 injured in clashes with police, according to rights groups. The next day, President William Ruto withdrew the proposed bill that included tax increases.


In Sri Lanka, stuck under $37 billion in debt, “the people are just broken,” said Jayati Ghosh, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, after a recent visit to the capital city of Colombo. Families are skipping meals, parents cannot afford school fees or medical coverage, and a million people have lost access to electricity over the past year because of unaffordable price and tax increases, she said. The police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protests.


In Pakistan, the rising costs of flour and electricity set off a wave of demonstrations that started in Kashmir and spread this week to nearly every major city. Traders closed their shops on Monday, blocking roads and burning electricity bills.


“We cannot bear the burden of these inflated electricity bills and the hike in taxes any longer,” said Ahmad Chauhan, a pharmaceuticals seller in Lahore. “Our businesses are suffering and we have no choice but to protest.”


Pakistan is deep in debt to a string of international creditors, and it wants to increase tax revenues by 40 percent to try to win a bailout of up to $8 billion from the International Monetary Fund — its lender of last resort — to avoid defaulting.


No country has a bigger I.M.F. loan program than Argentina: $44 billion. Decades of economic mismanagement by a succession of Argentine leaders, including printing money to pay bills, has made inflation a constant struggle. Prices have nearly quadrupled this year compared with 2023. Argentines now use U.S. dollars instead of Argentine pesos for big purchases like houses, stashing stacks of $100 bills in jackets or bras.


The economic turmoil led voters in November to elect Javier Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” who promised to slash government spending, as president. He has cut thousands of jobs, chopped wages and frozen infrastructure projects, imposing austerity measures that exceed even those the I.M.F. has sought in its attempts to help the country fix its finances. In his first six months, poverty rates have soared.


Many Argentines are fighting back. Nationwide strikes have closed businesses and canceled flights, and protests have clogged plazas in Buenos Aires. Last month, at a demonstration outside Argentina’s Congress, some protesters threw rocks or lit cars on fire. Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Several opposition lawmakers were injured in the clashes.


Martin Guzmán, a former economy minister of Argentina, said that when national leaders restructure crushing government debt, the agreements fall most heavily on the people whose pensions are reduced and whose taxes are increased. That is why he pushed for a law in 2022 that required Argentina’s elected Congress to approve any future deals with the I.M.F.


“There is a problem of representation and discontent,” Mr. Guzmán said. “That is a combination that leads to social unrest.”


Even the world’s wealthiest countries are bubbling with frustration. European farmers, worried about their prospects, are angry that the cost of new environmental regulations intended to ward off climate change is threatening their livelihoods.


Overall, Europeans have felt that their wages are not going as far as they used to. Inflation reached nearly 11 percent at one point in 2022, chipping away at incomes. Roughly a third of people in the European Union believe their standards of living will decline over the next five years, according to a recent survey.


Protests have erupted in Greece, Portugal, Belgium and Germany this year. Outside Berlin in March, farmers spread manure on a highway that caused several crashes. In France, they burned hay, dumped manure in Nice’s City Hall and hung the carcass of a wild boar outside a labor inspection office in Agen.


As the head of France’s farmers union told The New York Times: “It’s the end of the world versus the end of the month.”


The economic anxieties are adding to divisions between rural and urban dwellers, unskilled and college educated workers, religious traditionalists and secularists. In France, Italy, Germany and Sweden, far-right politicians have seized on this dissatisfaction to promote nationalist, anti-immigrant agendas.


And growth is slowing worldwide, making it harder to find solutions.


“Terrible things are happening even in countries where there aren’t protests,” said Ms. Ghosh, the University of Massachusetts Amherst economist, “but protests kind of make everybody wake up.”


Zia ur-Rehman contributed reporting from Karachi, Pakistan.



10) Talks on Gaza Cease-Fire Revive After Weeks of Deadlock

The negotiations had been stalled for weeks until Hamas announced on Wednesday that it had exchanged some ideas with mediators on a new way forward.

By Aaron Boxerman, Reporting from Jerusalem, July 5, 2024


A man hugs a young girl with a crowd of people in the background.

A Palestinian man greets family and friends in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza on Monday after being released from Israeli detention. Credit...Bashar Taleb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Israeli negotiators traveled to the Gulf nation of Qatar on Friday for the first time in weeks to restart talks over a cease-fire deal that would end the war in Gaza and free the hostages held there, following weeks of deadlock in the negotiations.


David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence service, led the Israeli delegation to Doha, the Qatari capital, where he was set to meet with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatari prime minister.


Cease-fire negotiations had been stalled for weeks until Wednesday, when Hamas announced that it had exchanged some ideas with mediators on a new way forward. Both U.S. and Israeli officials said the revised Hamas position could allow for an agreement, but cautioned that a protracted and difficult series of deliberations lay ahead nonetheless.


An Israeli official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity, described the meeting as a preliminary discussion with more substantive talks to follow.


Both sides would have to sort out the identity, number and conditions for the release of Palestinian prisoners who would be freed in exchange for the 120 living and dead hostages held by Hamas and its allies. They also would have to determine a sequence of steps for Israeli military withdrawal and how much control Israeli forces would have at different phases in the agreement.


Most critically, Israel and Hamas would have to agree on a formula to resolve the major sticking point that has thwarted talks for months: Hamas wants nothing less a complete cease-fire and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces, while Israel has vowed to topple Hamas’s rule in Gaza and maintain postwar security control of the territory.


Israel and Hamas have been negotiating on the basis of a three-stage cease-fire framework publicized by President Biden in late May. The two sides refuse to talk directly, requiring Qatari and Egyptian mediators to conduct shuttle diplomacy between them.


Under the terms of the proposed deal, they would first observe a six-week truce during which hostages would be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. During those six weeks, officials would negotiate an end to the war and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas’s “military and governing capabilities” in Gaza and still says the war will not end until that goal is achieved. But Israel’s military establishment — worn down by the ongoing war in Gaza and weighing the possibility of a large-scale fight with Hezbollah in Lebanon — now backs a cease-fire deal even at the cost of leaving Hamas in power.


Michael Milshtein, a former senior Israeli intelligence officer, said Israel was not going to successfully topple Hamas, leaving a cease-fire deal to bring home the remaining hostages as the least bad outcome.


“It is an extremely difficult pill to swallow,” said Mr. Milshtein, who oversaw the Palestinian affairs division in Israeli military intelligence. “But there are no good alternatives here.”


Israel’s political leaders, however, are deeply divided on the proposed deal, which some argue would effectively leave Hamas in power in Gaza. Although the top Israeli leadership has given a green light to the proposal, two senior members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition have vowed to oppose it, threatening to bolt from the government, potentially forcing him to choose between a cease-fire and his political survival.


On Friday, Benny Gantz, an opposition leader who recently quit Mr. Netanyahu’s war cabinet, reiterated that he would back the prime minister if he decided to advance a cease-fire deal to release hostages. In that case, Mr. Netanyahu would be forced to rely on his rivals for support, a combustible situation that would almost certainly force him to eventually call elections.


Mr. Netanyahu did not unequivocally endorse the proposal for weeks. In a television interview last month, he appeared to walk back his support for it, saying he would not countenance an end to the war against Hamas. After an outcry from the families of hostages, Mr. Netanyahu zigzagged and publicly backed the proposal in late June.


Hamas faces a similarly complex calculus.


In a statement on Friday, Hamas called on all Arab and Muslim countries to pressure Israel into ending the “Zionist genocide against our Palestinian people.”


The group also reiterated its rejection of any plans or proposals that would bring foreign forces into the Gaza Strip. The ideas of an Arab peacekeeping force and more recently, a U.N. peacekeeping force, have been floated as possible solutions to help bring an end to the war and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory.


“The administration of the Gaza Strip,” Hamas said in its statement, “is a purely Palestinian matter, agreed upon by our Palestinian people in all their diversity.”


Some Gazans increasingly criticize the armed group for launching the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which triggered the war, without doing enough to protect Gazan civilians. And any agreement would need the blessing of the Hamas leader inside Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, whom Israel has vowed to kill for his role in the surprise assault.


Ahmed Yousef, a veteran Hamas member, blamed Israel’s hard-line government for the delay in achieving a cease-fire deal in Gaza. But he said many would likely argue the war had not been worth the heavy price paid in Gaza, even should an agreement see Israel release thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the remaining hostages.


“Even if many prisoners are freed, no one is going to say that there was any achievement,” said Mr. Yousef, himself now displaced in southern Gaza.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists on Friday that Western countries needed to exert collective pressure on Israel to achieve a definitive cease-fire. He added that he hoped President Joe Biden’s intervention and Qatar’s mediation efforts would lead to a lasting truce.


While leaders on both sides weigh the path forward, Israel’s war in Gaza neared the end of its ninth month. The vast majority of the population has been displaced at least once, with many living in tents, and finding enough food and water to survive has become a daily struggle.


On Friday, Israeli forces continued to fight in Shajaiye, a neighborhood near Gaza City in the north of the territory, in an attempt to crack down on Palestinian militants there. The Israeli military has increasingly doubled back to areas of Gaza that its forces first swept through months ago, as it battles renewed insurgencies by Hamas and other armed groups.


“The military can talk all it wants about having dismantled battalions — but at the end of the day, Hamas has survived,” said Mr. Milshtein. “We can tell ourselves stories all day long, but this is not even close to the so-called total victory over Hamas.”


Raja Abdulrahim contributed reporting from Jerusalem.



11) Britain’s Election Is Not the Centrist Triumph It Appears to Be

By Rory Stewart, July 5, 2024

Mr. Stewart is a former British government minister, the Brady-Johnson professor of grand strategy at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs and the author, most recently, of “How Not to Be a Politician.” He wrote from London.


A man, Keir Starmer, smiling in the foreground, British flags around him.

Keir Starmer, the newly elected prime minister of Britain. Credit...Toby Melville/Reuters

The British Labour Party has won its largest majority since the founding of the party over a century ago, securing at least 412 of the House of Commons’s 650 seats. And in an age of populism and polarization, it has done so on a moderate, centrist platform.


The new version of Labour — led by Keir Starmer, a former human rights lawyer who served as the head of the Crown Prosecution Service — may seem reassuringly reminiscent of the consensus of the 1990s and early 2000s, when moderate progressives like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were committed to liberal economics, liberal democracy and a liberal global order.


But it is too early to celebrate this election as a triumph of the center. There is no clear sign that British voters are any more enthusiastic than voters anywhere else for the socially liberal, fiscally conservative politics that this incarnation of the Labour Party represents. Voter turnout was near a record low, and while Labour won a remarkable margin of seats, it secured a very low share of the vote in what one commentator dubbed a “loveless landslide.”


At its heart, this election was an emphatic rejection of a chaotic incumbent. The Conservative Party has been reduced to 121 seats, with two seats left to declare, the worst defeat in its 190-year history. It lost vote share not only to Labour and the centrist, pro-European Liberal Democrats, but also to the hard-right, anti-immigrant Reform U.K., led by Nigel Farage, an ally of Donald Trump.


With the far right ascendant and the Conservative Party battered, Britain has entered new political territory. What centrist forces in Britain have earned is not so much a victory as a brief reprieve; how long it lasts depends on how well they use it.


The Conservatives deserved the rebuke they got. They were in power for 14 years, with little to show for it other than a damaging exit from the European Union. After winning by a landslide in 2019, the party burned through three prime ministers, lurching from the feckless populism of Boris Johnson to the reckless 49-day libertarianism of Liz Truss to the uninspiring technocracy of Rishi Sunak.


After its own disastrous showing in the 2019 election, Labour embarked on a transformation. Mr. Starmer took over from Jeremy Corbyn — a veteran of the party’s left, a critic of liberal economics, free markets and Israel, and a passionate opponent of the U.S.-led global order — and committed the party to reduced public spending and lower debt, no increases to income taxes and backing President Biden’s position on the Israel-Gaza conflict. Mr. Corbyn, who was suspended from the party in 2020, was blocked from standing as a Labour candidate in this election.


Squint at these results and you can just about see a picture of a moderate landslide. But there are two things to bear in mind about Labour’s win. First, British voters had a limited sense of Labour’s platform — in part because Labour, so far ahead in the polls going into the election and determined to avoid unforced errors, has presented them with very few policies. The second is that Britain’s “first past the post” electoral system, which, like America’s, awards parliamentary seats to the candidate who wins the most votes in each individual race, rewards parties with concentrated voter bases. Labour, which secured 33.8 percent of the popular vote, has 412 seats, while the far-right Reform, with its base spread thinly across the country, has won four seats and received about 14 percent of the vote.


For a decade at least, the world has seemed to be tilting from democracy to strongmen, free trade to protectionism, intervention to isolation. The liberal global order is in retreat. The American and European response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was initially impressive, but the decade is better defined by the failures in Syria, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the conflict in Israel and Gaza and the nine military coups in Africa since 2020.


There have been recent examples in Poland, Greece and Spain (and to a lesser extent, Turkey and India) of voters turning away from populism. But it has made significant advances elsewhere: Far-right populists won the most votes in the most recent Italian and Dutch elections, pulled ahead of the governing party in Germany and are on track for a resounding victory in France after the nation’s first round of voting. Trump’s current polling suggests this may not be a purely European phenomenon.


The governing classes in the West have been discredited by the humiliations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 financial crisis and a perception that they are unable to manage immigration or improve ordinary people’s living standards, while social media has intensified polarization. A majority of voters sense that liberal democracies are no longer delivering and believe that future generations will be worse off.


Britons have given Mr. Starmer’s Labour Party a chance. He has promised to finance government by securing “the highest sustained growth” in the Group of 7, but the odds are against him. Britain is troubled by poor productivity, creaking public services, a cost of living crisis, unaffordable housing and an aging population. And Mr. Starmer has limited his options by ruling out additional borrowing, tax increases, higher immigration and rejoining the E.U. single market.


If voters sour on him and this centrist vision of Labour, the next election will almost certainly draw them back to the extremes. The Reform party is already betting on this, with Mr. Farage’s vow to “reshape the center right, whatever that means.”


Labour must demonstrate that it can improve people’s lives and transform public services — and soon — or we may look back at the British election of 2024 as merely a pause on the journey to polarization and the fantasies of populism.