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HeadlinesOctober 12, 2023

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Gaza Death Toll Tops 1,350 as Relentless Israeli Assault Worsens Humanitarian Crisis

Oct 12, 2023

Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is deepening as Israel continues to pummel the besieged Palestinian territory with air and artillery attacks for a sixth straight day, reducing whole neighborhoods to rubble. Gaza’s Ministry of Health says Israel’s attacks have killed more than 1,350 Palestinians and wounded more than 6,000. More than 320 children are among the dead. Survivors have been seen searching the rubble of their homes for lost possessions — and food.

Azaam Shamiya: “We left our homes thinking we would return in an hour. We left our belongings, money, food and everything we owned. Now there are 50 people left homeless without food, drink, water or electricity. I do not know how we will provide food for our children. I am searching here under the rubble for even the remains of lentils and rice, even a little for my children.”

Israel’s energy minister said no basic resources or humanitarian aid, including water, will be allowed into Gaza until Hamas releases hostages. His warning came after Gaza’s only power station ran out of fuel, plunging the territory into darkness. The International Committee of the Red Cross warned in a statement, “As Gaza loses power, hospitals lose power, putting newborns in incubators and elderly patients on oxygen at risk. Kidney dialysis stops, and X-rays can’t be taken. Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues.”

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, reports at least 340,000 Palestinians have been displaced across the Gaza Strip. UNRWA also reports Israeli strikes have killed nine U.N. staffers since Saturday, with bombs damaging 18 schools being used as makeshift shelters. UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza City was also damaged by an Israeli strike.

Israel Death Toll Tops 1,300 as Newly Formed War Cabinet Vows to Wipe Hamas Off Face of Earth

Oct 12, 2023

In Israel, the death toll from Hamas’s surprise assault has climbed to 1,300, with 3,300 Israelis injured. An estimated 150 Israelis are being held by Hamas as hostages. Israel’s former defense minister, the opposition party leader and retired general Benny Gantz, said he would join an emergency wartime government and a war cabinet led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and current Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. On Wednesday, Netanyahu said every Hamas member was “a dead man,” while Gallant said he would wipe Hamas off the face of the Earth. The remarks came amid widespread reports Israeli troops are massing for a ground invasion of Gaza.

Settlers Backed by Israeli Army Kill Palestinians in Occupied West Bank

Oct 12, 2023

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers killed at least two Palestinians today in an attack on a funeral procession for four Palestinians killed one day earlier by masked settlers and Israeli soldiers. Israeli troops have placed the entire West Bank on lockdown and have killed at least 27 Palestinians since Saturday. Meanwhile, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said his ministry purchased 10,000 assault rifles, plus helmets and body armor, to arm settler militias. Ben-Gvir was previously convicted of racist incitement against Arabs and supporting a terrorist group.

Israel Bombs Syrian Airports, Says Air Raid Alert Near Lebanon Border Was False Alarm

Oct 12, 2023

Israel’s army has blamed “human error” for a false alarm Wednesday that triggered air raid sirens in northern Israel and sent residents scrambling for bomb shelters. Israel’s army initially reported a suspected “infiltration from Lebanon into Israeli airspace.” The alert came as armed groups continued to trade fire with Israel’s army across Lebanon’s border. Meanwhile, in breaking news, Syrian state television reports an Israeli attack has disabled the main airports in the capital Damascus and the city of Aleppo in northern Syria.

Netanyahu Thanks Blinken for U.S. Support in Fight Against “Barbarians of Hamas”

Oct 12, 2023

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Tel Aviv for emergency talks with Israeli officials. Blinken was greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked the U.S. for its support against the “barbarians of Hamas.” Blinken said 25 U.S. citizens are among those killed by Hamas. The U.S. has vowed to keep supporting Israel with aid and military equipment and warned Iran to “be careful.” Some reports have linked Iran to Hamas’s attacks in Israel.

Jewish Voice for Peace Calls for Restraint After Sen. Lindsey Graham Urges Israel to “Level” Gaza

Oct 12, 2023

Some Republicans are calling for an all-out annihilation of Gaza. This is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “We’re in a religious war here. I am with Israel. Do whatever the hell you have to do to defend yourself. Level the place.”

The group Jewish Voice for Peace has called for the U.S. to restrain Israel, writing, “The U.S. must work to immediately de-escalate to prevent the further loss of life, and not fuel and exacerbate the violence by sending more weapons to Israel. There is only one way to end violence: to address its root cause, 75 years of Israeli military occupation and apartheid. We must end U.S. complicity in this systemic oppression.”

Turkish President Condemns Israeli “Massacre” in Gaza

Oct 12, 2023

In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned Israel’s blockade of Gaza and its relentless bombing campaign as a “massacre.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “Cutting off a city’s water, electricity, entry and exits, collapsing its infrastructure, destroying all of its centers of worship, from mosques to churches, as well as their schools, preventing people from getting the most fundamental needs, and bombing housing units where civilians reside — in other words, managing a conflict using every sort of embarrassing method — this is not a war, it is a massacre.”


Europe Shows Support for Israel While Cracking Down on Pro-Palestinian Protests

Oct 12, 2023

On Wednesday, the Arab League convened an emergency meeting in Cairo, where it called on Israel to immediately halt its attacks on Gaza, and for a return to negotiations with Palestinians.

In Brussels, Belgium, leaders of the European Commission and European Parliament led a moment of silence Wednesday for victims of Hamas. The EU leaders did not mention Palestinian civilians killed by Israel. Landmarks across Europe were lit up in the blue-and-white colors of the Israeli flag — the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Bulgarian parliament and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where on Wednesday several hundred protesters defied a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Several protesters were arrested. Elsewhere, hundreds in Vienna, Austria, defied a ban on protests to call for an end to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

World Food Programme Can Only Support 1 in 5 Afghans as Humanitarian Crisis Spirals

Oct 12, 2023

The World Food Programme is appealing for the international community to do more to help Afghanistan after it suffered two major earthquakes in recent days, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis.

Philippe Kropf: “This is a disaster on top of a disaster on top of a disaster on top of a disaster. Currently we have 15 million people who do not know where their next meal will come from. And the World Food Programme is only able to support 3 million people due to a massive funding shortfall. So we’re really calling on the international community to support the Afghan people, stand in solidarity and also support the World Food Programme.”

International funding has steadily dropped after the Taliban takeover two years ago. The U.S. has frozen billions of dollars in Afghan assets in New York. The U.N. and other groups have also been restricted by the Taliban’s ban on women aid workers.

Steve Scalise Receives GOP Nomination for House Speaker But Lacks Votes to Clinch the Job

Oct 12, 2023

Here in the United States, House Republicans have nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise to be the next speaker of the House, following Kevin McCarthy’s ouster last week. But Scalise doesn’t appear to have enough support to win the 217 floor votes needed to secure the position. A number of Republicans have said they will vote for Ohio Congressmember Jim Jordan, who was also vying for the leadership position, or for Kevin McCarthy. During his time as a state lawmaker in Louisiana, Scalise spoke as a guest at a white supremacist group. He once told a reporter he was like “David Duke without the baggage” — a reference to the Louisiana politician and Klu Klux Klan leader. The House will not be able to resume legislative business until a new speaker is elected, including work on a bill to keep the government funded beyond November 17.

UAW Workers at Ford’s Kentucky Plant Join “Stand-Up” Strike Against Big 3

Oct 12, 2023

In labor news, United Auto Workers in Kentucky shut down Ford’s largest plant, as the union escalates its “stand-up” strike against the Big Three automakers, which also includes GM and Stellantis. The plant employs nearly 9,000 union workers who make some of the company’s most profitable vehicles, including pickup trucks and SUVs. Meanwhile, in Canada, autoworkers for General Motors ended their strike less than a day after it started, after reaching a tentative deal over pay and pensions.

Arundhati Roy Faces Possible Prosecution over Kashmir Comments Made in 2010

Oct 12, 2023

Acclaimed Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy could be prosecuted in India over a speech she made in 2010 about the disputed and militarily occupied Kashmir region. A criminal complaint was first filed against Roy that year, accusing her of advocating for the secession of Kashmir from India. The territory is partially governed by India and Pakistan, but both countries claim Kashmir in full. After 13 years, a top New Delhi official has reportedly approved the case to proceed. Roy’s two other co-defendants have since died. Many around the world have come to Roy’s defense, condemning her targeting as an attempt to silence Roy and others who are critical of far-right Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Roy recently attended a protest in New Delhi in response to the coordinated police raids on the homes and offices of dozens of prominent Indian journalists.

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