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HeadlinesOctober 13, 2023

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U.N. Warns of “Devastating Humanitarian Consequences” as Israel Orders 1.1 Million to Evacuate Gaza

Oct 13, 2023

Israel’s army has ordered 1.1 million civilians in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate “southwards” within just 24 hours — an order the United Nations called “impossible” without “devastating humanitarian consequences.” The ultimatum came as Israel massed troops, tanks and armored vehicles in southern Israel for a widely anticipated ground invasion of Gaza. On Friday, Israel dropped thousands of leaflets across the Gaza Strip warning Palestinians to leave their homes or risk death. The Norwegian Refugee Council condemned what it called “the collective punishment of countless civilians, among them children, women, and the elderly,” which it said “would amount to the war crime of forcible transfer.”

Israel’s ultimatum came as its unrelenting bombardment of Gaza continued for a seventh day. This is 14-year-old Jinan al-Attar, whose uncle was killed and whose family was left homeless by Israeli airstrikes.

Jinan al-Attar: “It was my sister’s wedding, and we were making sweets when the airstrike started. So we left the house. We were packed on top of each other in the car, and we drove directly to the school here. But living in the school is not nice, and my uncle went back to the house. And they bombed it while he was there, and he was killed.”

Health officials in Gaza say at least 1,537 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes, including 500 children. Israel reports it dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza during the first six days of its assault. Hospitals are overwhelmed with the wounded and dead, and increasingly rationing fuel to operate life-saving medical equipment.

Israel Fires White Phosphorus in Lebanon and Gaza

Oct 13, 2023

Human Rights Watch has confirmed reports of Israel firing white phosphorus munitions during attacks on Gaza and along its border with Lebanon. White phosphorus poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering, and its use as an incendiary weapon in civilian areas is a war crime. Israel denies using white phosphorus. Israel previously used white phosphorus in attacks on the Gaza Strip, including in 2009.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Meets Lebanese Leaders, Warns Israel Could Face “Other Fronts”

Oct 13, 2023

Thousands of residents of southern Lebanon have fled their homes near Israel’s border amid fears that cross-border skirmishes between Israel and Lebanese militants could escalate into a war. The exodus continued Thursday as Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, traveled to Beirut, where he met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Iran has warned the war risks spreading to “other fronts” if Israel keeps bombing Gaza.

Hamas Says 13 Hostages Captured in Israel Have Died in Gaza Airstrikes

Oct 13, 2023

Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, says 13 of the hostages it took during its weekend attack in southern Israel were killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza over the past day. Meanwhile, Israeli relatives of those slain and kidnapped by Hamas are reeling from the ongoing tragedies. This is Anat Moshe Shoshany, whose grandfather was killed and grandmother taken hostage by Hamas during a raid on their home at the Nir Oz kibbutz.

Anat Moshe Shoshany: “She’s a 72-years-old woman. She’s sick. She has heart issues. She watched her husband die right in front of her. And right after, they got her on the motorcycle, and she had to hold the terrorist that just murdered her husband. They were together for over 50 years. They built the kibbutz with their own hands.”

Hamas has killed over 1,300 Israelis and taken an estimated 150 hostages.

Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin Says U.S. Won’t Place Conditions on Weapons to Israel

Oct 13, 2023

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Jordan today for talks with King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Blinken will also visit Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt over the weekend as he looks to secure the immediate release of hostages held by Hamas. His trip came after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon was not placing any conditions on its weapons shipments to Israel.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “This is a professional military led by professional leadership. And we would hope and expect that they would do the right things in the prosecution of their campaign.”

Austin spoke Thursday from NATO headquarters in Brussels. Today Austin is in Tel Aviv, where he pledged “ironclad” U.S. support for Israel during a meeting with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Western Governments Ban Palestinian Solidarity Demonstrations

Oct 13, 2023

The French government has banned all rallies in response to the Israeli bombardment and total blockade of Gaza. On Thursday, police in Paris used tear gas and water cannons against pro-Palestine protesters who gathered despite the prohibition.

Ryan: “Unfortunately, we were not able to protest properly because the demonstration was banned, while those in favor of the Israeli cause were authorized. This is not normal under the rule of law.”

In the United Kingdom, activists have vowed to take legal action if officials ban the Palestinian flag. British Home Secretary Suella Braverman has urged police forces to use the “full force of the law” against protesters waving the Palestinian flag, which she said “may not be legitimate” if it’s found to be a sign in support of “terrorism.”

In Australia, human rights defenders are warning of the government’s escalating repression against actions in support of Palestine. New South Wales acting Police Commissioner Dave Hudson said officers won’t need a reasonable cause to search protesters who attend marches planned in Sydney this weekend.

Commissioner Dave Hudson: “I urge people considering entering the city on Sunday to reconsider. There are a number of peaceful alternatives for people to voice their opinion in relation to the conflict that’s currently going on in Israel and Gaza.”

Competing Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine Demonstrations Raise Tensions on College Campuses

Oct 13, 2023

Here in New York, Columbia University closed its campus to the public Thursday in response to two separate demonstrations led by pro-Palestine and pro-Israel student groups. In Massachusetts, the names and photos of several Harvard students who signed a pro-Palestinian letter were displayed on a billboard truck on campus Wednesday with a banner that read “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.” Some of their names and personal information were also posted online. That action was organized by the ultraconservative nonprofit Accuracy in Media.

Rep. Scalise Drops Bid to Become House Speaker Amid Republican Infighting

Oct 13, 2023

The U.S. House of Representatives remains without a speaker. On Thursday, Republican Congressmember Steve Scalise dropped out of the running to replace the ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after 16 Republicans said they would not vote for Scalise. Supporters of Jim Jordan are rallying to shift their party’s support to the Ohio congressmember, who founded the far-right House Freedom Caucus and currently chairs the Judiciary Committee. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the congressional turmoil Thursday.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “What we’re seeing is certainly shambolic chaos that we’re seeing over there on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, and they need to get their act together. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on behalf of the American people.”

House legislative business is at a standstill until a new speaker is elected. This includes a bill to keep the government open beyond November 17 and military funding for Israel and Ukraine.


Sen. Bob Menendez Faces Fresh Charge of Acting as Unregistered Foreign Agent of Egypt

Oct 13, 2023

Prosecutors have announced an additional corruption charge against New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez. The superseding indictment accuses the couple of conspiring to have the senator act as an unregistered agent of the Egyptian government while Menendez was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The indictments allege Menendez worked to aid Egyptian officials by ghostwriting a letter to fellow senators urging them to lift a hold on $300 million of U.S. military aid to Egypt. Menendez is also accused of passing along classified information to Egyptian officials, including details about employees at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

One Officer Convicted of Homicide, Another Acquitted, in 2019 Killing of Elijah McClain

Oct 13, 2023

In Colorado, a jury convicted Aurora police officer Randy Roedema of criminally negligent homicide, while acquitting officer Jason Rosenblatt in the 2019 killing of Elijah McClain. Twenty-three-year-old McClain, a Black man, was walking home from the store when he was tackled by police, placed in a carotid hold and later injected with the powerful sedative ketamine. Elijah’s outraged mother, Sheneen McClain, told reporters as she left the courtroom, “This is the divided states of America, and that’s what happens.” Sentencing for Roedema is scheduled for January; he faces up to three years in prison. A third officer and two paramedics have also been charged and are awaiting trial.

Actors Vow to Continue Strike as SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood Studios Suspend Talks

Oct 13, 2023

Talks between striking actors and Hollywood studios have been suspended as the two parties remain at loggerheads. SAG-AFTRA said it was presented with an offer that was “shockingly, worth less than they proposed before the strike began.” Unionized actors said they will continue fighting for a fair contract despite the setback. This is negotiating committee member Jason George.

Jason George: “Look, we’re storytellers. So this is the part of the movie where the hero gets knocked down and you think they’re out. And this is the part where you double down and you come back and win the day. We all know that, and we all believe that in our hearts. So, look, we’re actors. We get rejected multiple times a day. We get rejected for stuff we didn’t even know we were up for. So our ability to withstand rejection, to withstand adversity and to stay resilient is more than, I would say, virtually anybody else in this town.”

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