Israel’s assault on Gaza has entered its second week, with air raids pounding the besieged territory overnight. Sunday marked the deadliest day so far, with at least 42 people killed. The Palestinian death toll has reached nearly 200, more than a quarter of those children. Over 1,300 have been wounded, and 40,000 Gazans have lost their homes. Gatherings for Eid al-Fitr over the weekend turned into a tragedy for some families.
Mohammad Al-Hadidi: “They targeted the house they were in. There were no rockets there, just women and children; no rockets, just peaceful children celebrating Eid. What have they done to deserve this? A rocket hit their house, over their heads, without warning or communication. Three whole floors fell over them, and we had to recover their body parts.”
The executive editor of the Associated Press is calling for an independent investigation after Israeli strikes flattened a building in Gaza City Saturday which housed the offices of Al Jazeera and the AP, but which Israel said also housed members of Hamas. Rights groups are asking the International Criminal Court to investigate the likely war crime. The Israeli army also is targeting underground tunnels they say are used by Hamas. Rockets fired into Israel have killed at least 10 civilians. One Israeli soldier has also been killed.
As the U.N. and others are calling for an immediate ceasefire, massive protests took place around the globe this weekend, including in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Palestinian families are fighting Israeli attempts to expel them from their homes, protesters marked al-Nakba — the 1948 expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homes.
Muna Jurd: “There is another wall where they will draw Palestine’s map, and inside of it is Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where, from it, the fire started in all of Palestine. Today, on Nakba’s 73rd anniversary, we do not want to say that Nakba is still ongoing. But we want to say today, on Nakba’s anniversary, that it is time for this Nakba to stop, after this popular outburst, after this revolution that Palestine is going through from sea to river.”
India is approaching 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with another 4,000 deaths recorded over the past day, though experts say the true toll is far higher. In neighboring Nepal, COVID-19 cases continue to surge, overwhelming hospitals, which are having to turn away patients due to a lack of oxygen. Thousands of migrant workers returned home to Nepal following lockdowns in India. The government has imposed a nationwide shutdown, banned international flights and limited public gatherings. Nepal’s prime minister lost a parliamentary vote of confidence last week and has been forced to step down amid growing public anger over his response to the second COVID wave.
In Taiwan, officials have imposed its strictest measures yet, limiting gatherings and shutting down entertainment venues, to combat a spike in cases. Singapore is moving all schools to at-home learning. Thailand reported its highest-ever daily toll today at nearly 10,000 infections, with over two-thirds of those cases recorded among prisoners.
Here in the U.S., a number of retail and entertainment businesses are doing away with mask requirements following new guidance issued by the CDC last week. Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Publix and Starbucks are some of the chains that will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear masks. The largest U.S. nurses’ union, National Nurses United, blasted the new recommendations, saying they put health workers and others at increased risk.
In housing news, the federal judge who threw out the national eviction moratorium earlier this month issued a stay of her own decision Friday, allowing the moratorium to continue while the Justice Department appeals her ruling. Lawmakers and the Biden administration have moved to extend the eviction ban, which is set to expire at the end of June.
In Afghanistan, a bomb blast inside a mosque outside the capital Kabul killed at least 12 people Friday as worshipers were gathered for the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The massacre, claimed by the Islamic State, came despite a three-day ceasefire for the religious holiday. This is a witness to the explosion.
Mir Aqaa: “The whole nation is witnessing the situation. It is the same all over Afghanistan, not only here. These traitors, the government officials, do not pursue these incidents at all. How long should the situation be like this? If they cannot govern, then they must step down.”
Meanwhile, fighting between the Taliban and government forces continues to escalate in southern Helmand province as the U.S. troop withdrawal continues.
In Chile, voters have elected 155 delegates charged with drafting a new constitution to replace the current document, which was created under the U.S.-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet. By law, half of the delegates must be women. Independent candidates received the highest number of votes, dealing a blow to the center-right ruling coalition and increasing the chances the new constitution will contain major reforms. This comes a year and a half after mass protests rocked Chile, with demands for expanded access to education, Indigenous sovereignty, a reversal to growing social and economic inequalities, and an end to police brutality.
In Colombia, at least one person was killed and dozens more injured in the city of Popayán Friday as police battled protesters demanding an end to police brutality. The demonstration followed the suicide of a 17-year-old girl after she was sexually abused by police officers. On Saturday, a massive protest march flooded the streets of Colombia’s capital Bogotá as nationwide anti-government demonstrations entered their third week. The protests were sparked by a since-withdrawn tax reform and are also calling for an end to militarized policing and other reforms.
Nicolas: “We have a clear agenda from the streets: a police reform, for the health law to be done away with. How does the government respond? Raping our sisters, killing us. And this is a clear example of social discontent. This is no longer about political parties. People are tired of being killed, of killing us. That’s why we’re here today.”
House Republicans have elected New York Congressmember Elise Stefanik as their new conference chair. This comes two days after Republicans ousted Wyoming’s Liz Cheney from the leadership role, after she voted to impeach former President Trump for inciting the deadly January 6 Capitol insurrection. Stefanik is a Trump loyalist and has called him “a critical part of our Republican team.”
On Friday, lawmakers reached a deal to set up a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection.
Texas lawmakers have approved a bill that would ban all abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy, while making anyone in Texas eligible to sue patients, medical workers, or even a patient’s family or friends who “aid and abet” in an abortion. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the so-called fetal heartbeat bill, which will face immediate court challenges by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
In Ohio, the city of Columbus has reached a $10 million settlement with the family of Andre Hill, a 47-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in December. The officer, Adam Coy, has been charged with murder. This is Andre Hill’s daughter Karissa Hill.
Karissa Hill: “He died on a 311 call, nonemergency. He was shot four times. And after the four times, he was laying on the floor. There were 22 officers on scene. Nobody helped my father. The money is not even enough to help how — the pain or anything with my dad laying on that floor.”
In the wake of Andre Hill’s killing, the Columbus City Council also passed Andre’s Law, mandating the use of body cameras and requiring police officers to give and call for aid if they cause any injuries.
The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, and a state senator representing the city have apologized for the massacre of students at Jackson State College 51 years ago. On May 15, 1970, local and state police opened fire on a group of students at the predominantly Black college, shooting hundreds of rounds in a 28-second barrage. Two were killed and a dozen injured. On Saturday, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and state Senator Hillman Frazier formally apologized at a special commencement ceremony for members of the class of 1970.
Philadelphia’s mayor says the city has now located the partial remains of victims of the 1985 police bombing of the home of the radical, Black liberation, anti-police-brutality group MOVE. Mayor Jim Kenney’s announcement came just one day after he compelled Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley to resign after Farley revealed he had ordered the cremation of some of the bombing victims’ remains in 2017 without the knowledge or consent of the families. A subordinate of Farley’s apparently disobeyed the order to dispose of the remains. The 1985 MOVE bombing killed six adults and five children and destroyed over 60 homes. Click here for all of our interviews about the bombing and its aftermath.