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HeadlinesOctober 10, 2023

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Gaza Death Toll Tops 770 as Israeli Strikes Hit Schools, Hospitals and a Market

Oct 10, 2023

Israeli airstrikes continue to rain down across the Gaza Strip, where the death toll has climbed to more than 770 people and is expected to rise rapidly as Israel masses troops for a possible ground invasion. Among the dead are dozens of Palestinians killed Monday as Israel bombed a packed marketplace in Jabaliya, Gaza’s largest refugee camp. Also struck were hospitals, a university and two U.N.-run schools sheltering families displaced by the fighting. More than 4,000 Palestinians have been injured. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees says violence has displaced nearly 200,000 people across the Gaza Strip, with that number expected to grow. Humanitarian aid workers report hospitals are overwhelmed, with critical shortages of medicine, food and fuel. This is Salah Hanouneh, a 73-year-old grandfather whose Gaza neighborhood came under attack.

Salah Hanouneh: “We were at home when we got information saying we have to leave immediately, to leave because our neighborhood is under attack. We took ourselves, our children and grandchildren and daughters-in-law, and we ran away. I can say that we became refugees. We don’t have safety or security. What’s this life? This is not a life.”

Israel Says Death Toll from Hamas Attack Has Climbed to 900

Oct 10, 2023

Israel’s government says the death toll from Hamas’s weekend incursion into southern Israel has climbed to 900. On Monday, an Israeli volunteer rescue organization said it had discovered more than 100 bodies in the Be’eri kibbutz near the Gaza border. Among those missing after the massacre is 74-year-old Canadian Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver, who co-founded the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation and was a member of Women Wage Peace. Her son fears she has been taken hostage by Hamas.

“No Electricity, No Food, No Fuel”: U.N. Condemns Israel’s “Complete Siege” of Gaza Strip

Oct 10, 2023

Israel’s military says it has retaken control of the Gaza separation barrier breached by Hamas and is laying landmines in the area. On Monday, an Israeli airstrike hit the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza, temporarily closing the territory’s only link with Egypt. The crossing was reportedly struck again on Tuesday, injuring two people and leaving a crater obstructing the movement of people and supplies across the border. This comes after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed to completely cut off the Gaza Strip and its 2 million inhabitants from the outside world.

Yoav Gallant: “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we will act accordingly.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “deeply distressed” by Israel’s siege of Gaza. The U.N.’s top human rights official wrote in response, “The imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law.”

Cross-Border Fighting Between Israel and Hezbollah Sparks Fears of Wider War

Oct 10, 2023

In southern Lebanon, armed fighters with the Hezbollah movement fired a barrage of rockets at Israeli military positions Monday, after Israeli shelling killed at least three Hezbollah fighters. An Israeli deputy commander was killed during the cross-border fighting, which followed a similar exchange of fire one day earlier that had no casualties. The fighting has prompted fears of a wider war across the Middle East. On Sunday, a senior Hezbollah official pledged solidarity with the Palestinians who carried out attacks on Israel.

Hashem Safieddine: “The nation is with you. Our hearts, minds, souls, our history and guns and rockets and all that we have is with you.”

A senior Hamas official on Monday denied reports that Iran and Hezbollah helped plan the incursion into Israel from Gaza, but said Hamas’s allies stood ready to join the battle.

Biden and Western Leaders Pledge “Steadfast and United” Support to Israel

Oct 10, 2023

The Pentagon says it’s moving ships and warplanes to the eastern Mediterranean, including the USS Gerald Ford, the Navy’s most advanced aircraft carrier, along with its accompanying battle group. Meanwhile, the White House says it’s rushing military aid to Israel, including air defense missiles, small-diameter bombs and machine gun ammunition. Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign aid and is due to receive $3.8 billion in military aid this year.

Today, President Biden is delivering a major address on the crisis in Israel and Palestine. Ahead of his speech, Biden signed a joint letter with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, who wrote to “express our steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.” The leaders added, “All of us recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.” The letter makes no mention of Palestinian civilians killed and wounded by Israeli strikes on Gaza.

Protesters Rally to Demand End to U.S. Military Aid to Israel

Oct 10, 2023

Here in New York, hundreds of protesters rallied outside Israel’s Consulate in Manhattan Monday. This is Nerdeen Kiswani‎, a Palestinian American activist who co-founded the group Within Our Lifetimes.

Nerdeen Kiswani: “We demand an end to the siege and blockade of Gaza. We demand an end to the occupation. We demand an end to the colonization of Palestine and all Arab lands, including Syrian lands like the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms in Lebanon, which are also occupied by Israel. … The funding that this government provides to this state that is killing our people, that is using your tax dollars to do so — $3 billion a year is $10 million every single day, and this is just to the military, it’s not just to the Israeli state.”

Afghanistan Earthquake Survivors Plead for Aid as Death Toll Nears 3,000

Oct 10, 2023

In Afghanistan, Taliban officials say the death toll is nearing 3,000 after Saturday’s massive 6.3-magnitude earthquake devastated the western Herat province. Hundreds of people are still missing. Their families have spent nights sleeping among the rubble of villages that were decimated by the quake and its aftershocks, hoping to find their loved ones as they dig through the wreckage with shovels. Bulldozers are being used to clear space for long rows of graves. These are two of the survivors.

Pari Gul: “My two grandchildren are dead. They are buried over there. I lost my whole life. Everything is under the rubble.”

Ataullah: “We want the government and other aid agencies to pay attention to us, to provide us with shelter and food so that the cold weather does not kill us. You can see our situation. They should give their full attention to everyone impacted.”

Afghanistan was already facing a spiraling humanitarian crisis — worsened by U.S.-led sanctions on the Taliban — with at least 15 million people struggling to access food and other resources. The United Nations is allocating funds for aid, while Pakistan, Iran and China have all pledged to send food, medicine, tents and more funds. Iran and Pakistan have also offered to send rescue workers.

Guatemala’s Attorney General Demands Crackdown on Pro-Democracy Protesters

Oct 10, 2023

In Guatemala, riot police clashed with protesters Monday as nationwide demonstrations grow, demanding the resignation of Guatemala’s attorney general and prosecutors who’ve launched mounting legal attacks against President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and his progressive Semilla party. Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras and her backers are accused of attempting to derail the democratic process that led to Arévalo’s historic victory in August and prevent him from taking office this January. Porras on Monday called on the Guatemalan government to repress the peaceful protesters, as Indigenous leaders and supporters continue to block dozens of roads and streets across the country. Arévalo has warned of worsening measures to attempt to quell the demonstrations, including the possibility of right-wing officials enacting a state of siege.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Breaks from Democratic Party, Announces Independent Bid for Presidency

Oct 10, 2023

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Monday he will no longer seek the Democratic Party’s nomination and will run an independent campaign for the presidency in 2024. RFK Jr. has drawn condemnation for spreading unfounded conspiracy theories about vaccines, and over racist and antisemitic remarks about COVID-19. On Monday, four of RFK Jr.'s siblings — Rory, Kerry, Joseph and Kathleen — wrote in a statement, “Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment. Today's announcement is deeply saddening for us. We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country.” CBS News reports RFK Jr. was convinced to run by Trump’s former campaign manager Steve Bannon, who believed he would be a useful chaos agent in the 2024 race.

In other campaign news, another presidential candidate, civil rights activist and professor Cornel West, says he is no longer running to be the Green Party’s presidential nominee and will instead run as an independent.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Vetoes Bill to Cap Out-of-Pocket Insulin Costs

Oct 10, 2023

California Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have capped out-of-pocket expenses for insulin at $35 for a 30-day supply. State Senator Scott Wiener, who authored the bill, slammed Newsom’s veto as a “major setback that will keep tens of thousands of diabetic Californians trapped in the terrible choice between buying insulin and buying food.” A 2019 study found one out of four U.S. diabetics skipped or reduced doses of insulin due to the high cost of the life-saving drug.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Vetoes Bill to Ban Caste Discrimination

Oct 10, 2023

In related news, California Governor Gavin Newsom has also vetoed a bill that would have banned caste discrimination. The measure was introduced by Aisha Wahab, California’s first Muslim and Afghan American state senator. Activists still celebrated the widespread support the bill received despite Newsom’s veto. Nirmal Singh of Californians for Caste Equity said, “The fact that caste-oppressed people were given a platform to stand up for our basic human rights is a huge win in and of itself. Bills like SB-403 would have allowed us to stand safely in our caste-oppressed identities.” Fresno, California, last month became the second U.S. city to ban caste discrimination, joining Seattle.

Claudia Goldin Wins Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for Research on Gender Gap

Oct 10, 2023

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Economics has been awarded to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard professor whose groundbreaking research widened the world’s understanding of the impacts women have had in the workforce and the causes of gender pay discrimination. Golding is the first woman to win the prize as an individual, rather than sharing it, and only the third woman ever to receive the economics Nobel. In 1989, Goldin became the first woman to be offered tenure in Harvard’s Economics Department. She spoke from Harvard after news of her win.

Claudia Goldin: “I work on long-term change in economic history, in particular the evolution of women’s economic role and where we are today, and the fact that there has been enormous change and yet there are still large differences between women and men in terms of what they do, how they’re remunerated and so on. And the question is: Why is this the case? And that’s what the work is about.”

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