Violence continues to flare in the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip as a ceasefire remains out of reach. In breaking news, around 21 people have been wounded in a bus bombing near military headquarters in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Israeli police say two suspects threw a bomb onto the bus before fleeing the scene. The attack marks one of the worst inside Israel in several years. Tuesday saw an unrelenting wave of Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, with the Palestinian toll climbing to at least 139 dead and more than 1,000 wounded. Palestinian rocket fire also continues to hit Israel from Gaza. Two Israelis — a civilian and a soldier — were killed on Tuesday, bringing the Israeli death toll to five over the past week. The violence follows rumors of an imminent ceasefire announcement with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s arrival in the region Tuesday night. A truce was reportedly agreed to through the Egyptian government in Cairo, but Hamas and Egyptian officials say Israel requested a delay at the last second. Shortly after her arrival, Clinton spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a brief joint appearance.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. But if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “In the days ahead, the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive
peace for all people of the region.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is meeting with Palestinian officials in the West Bank today but will not be going to Gaza. On Tuesday, the Obama administration blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution on the Gaza conflict, saying it failed to address the root cause of Palestinian rocket fire.
Among the latest Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks Tuesday were three Palestinian journalists killed in their vehicle in Gaza. After the attack, a Hamas government spokesperson condemned the killings of Palestinian journalists.
Ihab al-Ghussein: “These Israelis are going insane. They did everything. They lost their minds, actually. After killing our children, killing our civilians, targeting everything, today they are targeting journalists. They tried all kinds of war crime, actually. We need the world to move.”
Tuesday marked the third consecutive day of Israeli attacks on Palestinian media. In separate incidents, Israeli strikes also damaged Gaza buildings housing offices of the media outlets Agence France-Presse and Al Jazeera.
In other violence inside Gaza, six men accused of being spies for Israel were publicly executed in Gaza City on Tuesday. One of the bodies was dragged through the streets.
At least one young child was among the 31 Palestinians reportedly killed on Tuesday. According to UNICEF, Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed at least 22 Palestinian children and left another 280 wounded, including 88 less than five years old. The Palestinian health ministry has given an even higher toll of 34 Palestinian children dead. At least 11 Israeli children, meanwhile, have been wounded in rocket attacks in Israel. At the United Nations, relief officials expressed alarm at the deaths of Palestinian children.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for U.N. high commissioner for human rights: “Attacks affecting schools and religious sites, as well as the reported targeting of homes and media outlets during the past 48 hours, raise serious concerns about Israel’s commitment to its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.”
Marixie Mercado, UNICEF spokesperson: “Children are increasingly showing signs of severe psychosocial distress. This includes an inability to sleep, being afraid to go out in public, clinging to parents, bed wetting, nightmares and withdrawal. The children are surrounded by images of death and destruction. There are constant funerals going on in the streets, a lot of chaos and panic, and distressed adolescents in particular.”
Syrian warplanes are continuing to bomb a suburb of the capital Damascus for a second day in a bid to strike rebel-held areas. Opposition activists say Syrian government attacks have killed at least 23 people in Darayya since Monday.
New figures show greenhouse gas emissions have reached an all-time high. On Tuesday, the United Nations said global emissions broke all previous records in 2011. Unveiling an annual report on emissions, Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization warned the increase will likely assure a global temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius.
Michel Jarraud: “The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has reached once again a record — a record level in 2011. The current concentration of the major anthropogenic greenhouse gases, like CO2, like methane, like nitrous oxide, are now such that the target of remaining within a two degrees termperature increase is getting increasingly unlikely.”
Jarraud added that the increase includes record levels of gases most responsible for global warming — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — which will remain in the atmosphere for centuries.
Michel Jarraud: “Between 1990 and 2011, so over the last essentially 20 years, there has been a 30 percent increase in radiative forcing. An increase in radiative forcing means an increase in the temperature. It’s what causes the warming effect on our climate. Some of these gases, in particular CO2, once it’s released in the atmosphere, will stay there for very, very long times, centuries even, even longer. So even if we were able to stop new emission tomorrow, and we know it’s not feasible, but even if we were able to do that, these greenhouse gases, which have already been sent in the atmosphere, will continue to have an effect for actually centuries.”
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have captured the country’s largest eastern city, Goma, in their ongoing fight with government troops. Aid groups say they have temporarily suspended operations in several areas following violence that’s caused the displacement of thousands of people. At the United Nations, aid officials warned the conflict between the DRC government and M23 rebels is endangering civilians.
Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: ”OCHA and the humanitarian community working there in the Kivu provinces in eastern Congo are extremely concerned about the impact of the escalating fighting is having on the protection of civilians and their displacement. We’re also concerned that humanitarian operations are increasingly difficult to carry out.”
Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees: “The M23 rebel advance has prompted many people to flee towards Goma and Rwanda, and a major IDP camp at Kanyaruchinya has been virtually emptied. Previously there were around 60,000 people there.”
The United Nations has disclosed the number of new AIDS infections has declined by half in 25 of the world’s poorest countries. UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibé said the eradication of AIDS is within reach.
Michel Sidibé: “We are already achieving the Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic. New HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are declining. We used to have only three countries in the world — Thailand, Uganda and Senegal — as a model. Today 25 countries have reduced new infection by more than 50 percent.”
Despite the progress made, some 2.4 million people were infected with AIDS last year, while only 1.4 million received life-saving treatment for the first time.
The U.S. government has joined with some of its biggest foreign rivals in opposing an international moratorium on capital punishment. The U.N. General Assembly voted against the death penalty earlier this week by a vote of 110 to 39, with the United States joined in opposition by countries including Iran, North Korea, Syria and China.
British prosecutors have charged two former top executives at Rupert Murdoch’s News International with bribing public officials for information. Rebekah Brooks, a former editor and one-time head of News International, is accused of conspiring to pay $160,000 in bribes to a British Defense Ministry official over a seven-year period. Brooks has been a close confidante of Murdoch’s, as well as a friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron. In a separate incident, Andy Coulson, a former editor who once served as Cameron’s spokesperson, is also facing bribery charges. Coulson and Brooks already face criminal charges stemming from the scandal that led to the shutdown of Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid last year amidst revelations executives and reporters conspired to hack phones and intercept communications.
Four people — two U.S. citizens and two permanent residents — have been arrested on charges of plotting to join al-Qaeda and kill Americans overseas. The FBI says three of the suspects were detained in California last week while the fourth was seized in Afghanistan. They are accused of planning to meet with al-Qaeda militants to carry out attacks in Afghanistan or Yemen.
Dozens of undocumented college students marched Tuesday to the office of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to demand that he focus on his state-level job instead of anti-immigrant crackdowns across the nation. Kobach is credited with helping draft the controversial anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and Alabama and has continued to litigate issues related to immigration in other states. On his website, Kobach refers to himself as a “defender of cities and states that fight illegal immigration.” Kobach has also filed a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s deferred action program that provides temporary relief to some undocumented young people. On Tuesday, students from Kansas and Arizona delivered a letter calling on the secretary of state to focus on his state job or resign.
A 13-year-old girl was shot and killed in Miami on Tuesday while riding on a private bus to school. The shooting occurred in front of the victim’s younger sister and seven other students. A male student has been arrested for the shooting and remains in custody.
A federal judge has rejected a request by lawyers for accused hacker Jeremy Hammond to release the imprisoned activist into house arrest. Hammond is accused of being a member of the hacker group “Anonymous” and has been charged with hacking into the computers of the private intelligence firm Stratfor. The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has continued to release the Stratfor documents, which number in the millions. Hammond’s supporters say the documents shed light on how the private intelligence firm monitors activists and spies for corporate clients. Jeremy Hammond has been held without bail or trial for more than eight months. His lawyers argued Tuesday the accused hacker would be unable to review the troves of digitized evidence related to the case from jail, but their request for his release was denied. Jeremy Hammond supporter Sue Crabtree defended his alleged actions.
Sue Crabtree: “The media calls Jeremy a hacker and a member of Anonymous. The courts and those pursuing his prosecution call him a criminal. But we call Jeremy a hero. And we ask, what crimes has Jeremy committed that haven’t equally exposed the crimes committed by the very state prosecuting him? And again we say, exposing the crimes of the state is not a crime.”