Protests erupted in occupied East Jerusalem Tuesday after Israeli forces, equipped with bulldozers, entered the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan and demolished a local business in the al-Bustan area — claiming the butcher shop did not have a proper permit. Israeli soldiers used tear gas and beat protesters with batons. At least 13 Palestinians were injured. This is a resident of Silwan.
Silwan resident: “Here, do you see this, everybody? This has only been constructed two months ago. It cost 300,000 shekels, I swear to God. And the merchandise is still in it.”
At least 15 families in al-Bustan are at risk of being dispossessed, as Israeli forces have ordered them to destroy their own homes or pay the demolition costs. Israeli authorities have banned all new construction in the area and have earmarked the land to build a park. This comes as the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N. said Israeli occupation forces have demolished 72 buildings in the past three months, leading to the displacement of 78 Palestinians. The U.N. warns over 100,000 people in occupied East Jerusalem are at risk of displacement.
The U.S. military could be just days away from withdrawing the majority of its troops from Afghanistan, two months ahead of a September 11 deadline set by President Biden. Hundreds of troops are likely to remain in the country, though, assigned to securing the U.S. Embassy and airport in Kabul. The withdrawal comes as Taliban fighters have taken control of dozens of districts in recent weeks and as the top U.S. military general in Afghanistan says the country could be headed toward civil war.
In related news, the House voted Tuesday to expedite visas for Afghans who have worked alongside U.S. troops. Last week, former military interpreters held a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to highlight their plight.
Hassib Ahmad Khaibar: “This is our right that the United States government give us visa, because if they don’t give us the chance of visa, so it’s clear that 100% we are dying. And the enemies, every time, every day, just they want to kill us. We want to survive, and we don’t want our kids become orphans.”
Russia says it has tested its surface-to-air missile system and warplanes in occupied Crimea following the launch of Ukraine and NATO’s military drills in the Black Sea, known as Sea Breeze 2021. The joint exercise, which includes the U.S. military, will last two weeks and involves around 5,000 military personnel, 30 ships and 40 aircraft. Last week, Russia said its Navy fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship in the Black Sea that entered waters claimed by the Kremlin.
Israel’s new foreign minister, Yair Lapid, inaugurated its embassy in the United Arab Emirates Tuesday and is opening an Israeli consulate in Dubai today. It’s the first visit to the UAE by an Israeli cabinet minister since the two countries normalized relations last year.
In South Africa, former President Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after he failed to appear in court as part of a corruption inquiry. Zuma, who was forced to resign as president in 2018 amid mounting corruption scandals, is accused of helping a prominent business family obtain state contracts and influence government policy.
As the Delta variant threatens to hamper COVID-19 recovery efforts around the world, the Red Cross is warning Indonesia is “on the edge of catastrophe” as health systems struggle to keep up with the influx of patients. This is a nurse in Jakarta.
Nurlaela: “A lot of cases were dead on arrival because of a lack of beds. Patients had to wait until there are beds before they can be hospitalized.”
In Brazil, COVID-19, which has killed at least 516,000 people, caused life expectancy to decline an estimated 1.3 years in 2020 — a stark finding in the country with the second worst death toll after the U.S.
Here in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the Delta variant now represents around one-quarter of infections. L.A. County is advising fully vaccinated residents to continue masking indoors, due to concerns over the highly transmissible variant.
Al Jazeera is reporting nearly 800 workers on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota tested positive for COVID-19 since construction began in December of last year. In November, healthcare workers and Indigenous groups petitioned Governor Tim Walz to delay construction, fearing a COVID spike in rural and Native communities.
Researchers found the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna may offer protection against the coronavirus for years. Patients may still need booster shots if the virus and its variants evolve significantly.
Meanwhile, in housing news, the Supreme Court left in place a CDC-issued moratorium on evictions during the pandemic. That moratorium will expire at the end of July.
The New York City mayor’s race was thrown into disarray Tuesday evening after the elections board released an updated vote count for the Democratic primary, then hours later removed the new figures from its website, saying there was a “discrepancy.” Yesterday’s new vote count had put front-runner Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams just over 2% ahead of former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. The board later explained it accidentally counted 135,000 test ballots in its latest tally. This is the first time ranked-choice voting is being used in citywide elections in New York. The city is expected to release updated results today. One hundred twenty-four thousand absentee ballots also have yet to be added to the final result, which is expected in mid-July.
In Arizona, Maricopa County officials will replace all voting machines that were turned over to a private company hired by Republicans to conduct a fourth audit of the 2020 election. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said the equipment “could pose a risk to free and fair elections” after being handled by Cyber Ninjas, a company with no record of working in election security — and whose CEO has promoted conspiracy theories claiming the presidential election was stolen.
The House voted Tuesday to remove Confederate statues on display in the Capitol building. The bill would replace a bust of Roger Taney, who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision denying citizenship to African Americans, with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Missouri Democratic Congressmember Cori Bush introduced the People’s Response Act, which would send unarmed, trained professionals to respond to mental health and substance use crises instead of police. Congressmember Bush said the program “will transform public safety into a system of care rather than criminalization, healing rather than incarceration, and prevention rather than policing.”
The New York Times reports that far-right operatives infiltrated Democratic-affiliated groups across western states during the 2020 election cycle to try to manipulate politics and reshape the U.S. electoral map. The Times exposé reveals how a former British spy connected to the mercenary contractor Erik Prince recruited ex-operatives from the conservative group Project Veritas to gather dirt that could sabotage the reputations of people and groups considered threats to then-President Trump. Major funding for the effort came from Susan Gore, heiress of the Gore-Tex fortune. The operatives also targeted Wyoming Republican Governor Mark Gordon, whom Trump supporters considered far too moderate.
In immigration news, the Supreme Court ruled asylum seekers who were previously deported and then reentered the U.S. can be detained indefinitely. The case involved asylum seekers who were apprehended when reentering the U.S. after deportation, even though many faced violent persecution, torture and death in their home countries. The 6-3 ruling also allows the U.S. government to deprive those asylum seekers of their right to see a judge or be given a bond hearing while their cases are resolved — a process that could take months or years. This comes as BuzzFeed reports the number of imprisoned asylum seekers has skyrocketed under the Biden administration, nearly doubling from 14,000 early this year to 27,000 detained people in June.
In New Jersey, immigrant justice advocates are denouncing the transfer of a group of 30 immigrants detained in a Newark ICE jail to an unknown location early Tuesday. Among them were men who had recently started a hunger strike. The group Abolish ICE NY-NJ reports guards may have tried to end the strike by entering people’s cells and macing them. The group said some were dragged out of their cells in their underwear. The immigrants’ whereabouts is still unknown.
In the nation’s capital, climate actions continued Tuesday as activists rallied on Capitol Hill. Over 500 groups signed on to a letter to Democratic leadership calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies in any infrastructure or economic recovery bills. Democratic Congressmembers Ro Khanna, Ilhan Omar, Nanette Barragán and Earl Blumenauer spoke at the rally. This is Ebony Martin of Greenpeace USA.
Ebony Martin: “The time is now for Biden to change. The time is now for us to shift and call for an elimination of fossil fuel subsidies. So, I want you to get on the phone. I want you to call all day every day. Get on their nerves. Let them know they work for us.”
Climate actions continue today with protests at the White House.