The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip has passed 815 as new attacks kill more civilians and spark the largest West Bank protests in decades. On Thursday, at least 16 civilians died and more than 200 were wounded when a United Nations shelter was bombed in the Gazan area of Beit Hanoun. Palestinian officials have blamed Israeli tank shelling, while Israel has suggested militant rockets were at fault. The United Nations has declined to accuse Israel directly, but UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness strongly suggested Israeli shelling was responsible.
Christopher Gunness: “These are people who had taken shelter in a U.N.-designated area. The warring parties, particularly the Israelis, were given the precise GPS coordinates. They knew exactly what was going on there, and in spite of that, this has happened. We again say, 'Enough civilians, enough women, enough children.' They have suffered quite enough in this appalling conflict.”
Overall, at least 119 people were killed Thursday in Israeli strikes on Gaza.
The attack in Beit Hanoun helped trigger the largest West Bank protest in years. More than 15,000 people were said to have marched from Ramallah toward Jerusalem. Two Palestinians were killed and more than 200 were wounded when Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition. More protests are happening in the West Bank today.
Secretary of State John Kerry remains in Egypt, where ceasefire talks are underway. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports Kerry has drafted a new ceasefire proposal and is waiting to hear back from Hamas via the Qatari and Turkish governments. Hamas has demanded the lifting of the seven-year blockade of Gaza as a condition for a ceasefire.
Protests continue around the world in opposition to the Israeli assault on Gaza. In New York City, more than 1,000 people held a march Thursday to call for a suspension of U.S military aid to Israel.
Protester: “I’m really saddened that we, as Americans, are not able to stop the war machine. We’re not able to stop the money that’s being fueled into the state of Israel to commit all of these acts of genocide, all of these war crimes. And I’m also here as a Jewish person saying not in my name. We need to do a lot more action here in New York, because we here have a lot of power, actually, and we’re not doing enough to stop what’s going on.”
An Air Algérie flight has crashed in Mali, killing all 116 passengers on board. The plane reportedly lost contact with ground control after pilots reported several storms.
Arizona says it will not carry out new executions pending an investigation into the botched lethal injection of a death row prisoner. Joseph Wood died Wednesday after a two-hour ordeal that saw him gasping for air, choking and snorting. He had been injected with a relatively untested two-drug combination. At a hearing on Thursday, state officials claimed Wood was never in pain. Wood’s attorneys have asked for an independent probe of what they call “the most prolonged bungled execution in recent history.”
Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center said the U.S. prison system is experimenting with its death row prisoners.
Richard Dieter: “They’re experimenting with new drugs. Every state is varying the dosage, the mix. (The) first four executions this year were by four different drugs.”
A federal judge has struck down Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban, ruling it is unconstitutional. It is the latest in a series of marriage equality rulings at the state level since last year’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. The ruling has been stayed pending an appeal.
Iran has detained four journalists, including three of U.S.-Iranian nationality. The group includes Jason Rezaian, Tehran correspondent for The Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a reporter for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National. The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling for their immediate release.
A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit against the produce giant Chiquita brought by thousands of Colombians for the murders of their loved ones at the hands of paramilitaries. Chiquita pleaded guilty in 2007 to giving funds to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known as the AUC, a right-wing paramilitary alliance supported by top leaders and blamed for killing tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, beginning in the late 1990s. Chiquita sought protection from the lawsuits in part by citing the 2012 Supreme Court decision limiting the ability of people outside the United States to sue corporations for human rights abuses in U.S. courts. The judge in the case sided with Chiquita, but victims say they plan to continue legal action through the Torture Victim Protection Act and Colombian law.
Activists from Canada have delivered a convoy of water to Detroit in a show of protest against the shutoff of water for thousands of residents. More than 14,000 households have seen their taps turned off over unpaid bills since April. The group Council of Canadians delivered trucks carrying hundreds of gallons of water to a protest in Detroit Thursday afternoon. Local officials recently approved a temporary 15-day moratorium on the shutoffs for residents to catch up on their bills. A group of activists have set up the website DetroitWaterProject.org that lets anonymous donors cover the bills of residents who cannot afford to pay.
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