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HeadlinesOctober 16, 2023

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“This Is a Genocide”: Gazans Face Constant Israeli Attacks, a Closed Border as Essentials Run Out

Oct 16, 2023

In Gaza, another half a million people, or one-quarter of its population, have fled their homes in the past few days, as Israel bombards the besieged enclave for the 10th straight day and amid an anticipated ground invasion. Last week, Israel ordered 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to evacuate to the south of the territory, a virtually impossible task which would also constitute the war crime of forcible transfer. On Friday, Hamas officials said 70 people, mostly women and children, were killed when Israeli airstrikes hit convoys that were attempting to flee Gaza City. Over 2,800 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s assault began, and over 10,000 have been wounded. Palestinian health officials say 47 families have been entirely removed from the Gaza civil registry, meaning those families no longer have any remaining members. This is a resident of Khan Younis whose home was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike.

Mohammad Sadeq: “This is a genocide, not a war. It’s a genocide. And it’s an attempt to displace the people of the Gaza Strip. But this will not happen.”

At least 1,400 Israelis have been killed in Hamas attacks. Israel says 200 of its citizens are being held captive by Hamas.

A growing crowd is massing at Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt amid reports the border would open today. Humanitarian groups are also relying on the border crossing to open to allow severely needed aid into Gaza, where residents are dealing with dwindling supplies of food, fuel, medicine and water.

Mahmoud Abu Samra: “We don’t have any water. We’ve reached a disastrous situation, below zero. The situation is catastrophic by all standards, with the food crisis, water and electricity. I mean, people can’t do anything in the current conditions.”

China has called on Israel to stop its “collective punishment of the people in Gaza,” saying Israel has “gone beyond self-defense.” Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken swept through seven countries in the Middle East over the weekend, asserting Israel has the right to defend itself.

At Least 12 Reporters Killed Covering Israel-Gaza War Amid Reports of Harassment and Attacks

Oct 16, 2023

The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 12 media workers have been killed since the war started. On Friday, Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah died in an Israeli artillery strike near the Israel-Lebanon border while filming a live stream. At least two of his colleagues were injured in the attack. This is Abdallah’s mother.

Fatma Kanso: “They don’t want the truth to come out. They don’t want their crimes to come out. They were sitting where there was no shelling, nothing. They were filming the shelling from afar. Why would they bomb them?”

Elsewhere, journalists from BBC Arabic say they were pulled from their vehicle by Israeli police in Tel Aviv and held at gunpoint. And on Sunday night, a right-wing mob attacked the home of Israeli left-wing and ultra-Orthodox journalist Israel Frey. The mob accused him of being a “traitor” for speaking out against the killing of Palestinian civilians. Meanwhile, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi is pushing emergency measures that would allow police to arrest citizens and journalists whose content “harms national morale.”

State Dept. Reportedly Bans Officials from Publicly Using Terms “De-escalation,” “Ceasefire”

Oct 16, 2023

Here in the U.S., HuffPost reports the State Department instructed officials not to use certain terms when speaking in public about the war, including “de-escalation,” “ceasefire,” “end to violence” and “restoring calm.”

Protests Across the U.S. Call for Israel to End Its Siege and Genocide in Gaza

Oct 16, 2023

Across the U.S. and around the world, protests calling for an end to the genocide of Palestinians continued over the weekend. This is Palestinian American writer Laila El-Haddad speaking in front of the White House.

Laila El-Haddad: “We’re just here for them, mainly, and for all Palestinians in Gaza, to show them that they have a voice here, through us, to amplify their voices and the humanitarian situation right now, in addition to this completely disproportionate collective punishment against an innocent civilian population.”

Here in New York, a protest in Brooklyn organized by Jewish Voice for Peace led to the arrests of dozens of people, including two New York State Assembly members, as well as rabbis and descendants of Holocaust survivors. The group If Not Now is calling on American Jews and allies to protest in front of the White House today. More protests by Jewish groups calling for an end to violence and the Israeli occupation of Palestine are planned throughout the week.

6-Year-Old Illinois Boy Killed, Mother Injured, in Anti-Muslim Hate Crime

Oct 16, 2023

In Plainfield, Illinois, a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was stabbed to death Saturday in his own home in an anti-Muslim hate crime. The boy’s name was Wadea Al-Fayoume. His mother Hanaan Shahin was also stabbed in the attack but is expected to survive. Police have charged Joseph Czuba, who is believed to be the victims’ landlord, with murder and hate crimes. Illinois state Representative Abdelnasser Rashid spoke at a Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, press conference in Chicago, warning leaders and media that Muslims and Arabs in the U.S. could face more violence due to the handling of the conflict in Gaza and Israel.

Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid: “This was directly connected to the dehumanizing of Palestinians that has been allowed over the last week by our media, by elected officials, who have lacked the moral compass and lacked the courage to call for something as simple as deescalation, as peace.”

More Earthquakes Strike Western Afghanistan, Compounding Humanitarian Crisis

Oct 16, 2023

In Afghanistan, another 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the western city of Herat Sunday, compounding a worsening humanitarian disaster. Thousands of people have died due to repeated earthquakes in the region since October 7. The World Food Programme says the situation is dire following Sunday’s quake.

Philippe Kropf: “Two more earthquakes have struck Afghanistan this morning, bringing it to a total of seven earthquakes and multiple aftershocks over the past eight days. Dozens of villages are affected, some entirely flattened. Those who have survived have lost everything. They are left with no shelter or food.”

Donald Tusk Poised to Lead Poland as High Voter Turnout Drives Opposition Parties to Victory

Oct 16, 2023

In Poland, an opposition coalition led by former European Council President Donald Tusk has won weekend parliamentary elections, propelled by record voter turnout of more than 70%. It was an unexpected defeat for the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, whose popularity never recovered after it sharply restricted access to abortions, sparking the largest protests since the Solidarity movement of the 1980s. Tusk has promised to reverse a crackdown on the rights of women and LGBTQIA people. He’s also pledged stronger ties with the EU and continued support for Ukraine against Russia.

Donald Tusk: “I have been a politician and a sportsman for many years. I have never been so happy in my life with this second place. Poland has won. Democracy has won. We removed the Law and Justice party from power.”

35-Year-Old Banana Baron Daniel Noboa Elected New President of Ecuador

Oct 16, 2023

In Ecuador, wealthy businessman Daniel Noboa has been declared the winner of Sunday’s snap presidential election. The 35-year-old heir to a banana industry fortune is the youngest person ever elected president of Ecuador. Noboa received about 52% of the vote against 47% for leftist Luisa González, a member of former President Rafael Correa’s Citizen Revolution Movement party.

Noboa’s win comes as Ecuador faces worsening violence and an economic crisis that’s forced thousands of Ecuadorians to flee to the U.S.-Mexico border. The presidential campaign was marred by unprecedented violence, including the assassination of anti-corruption candidate Fernando Villavicencio in August.


New Zealand Conservatives Set to Form New Government as Labour Party Falters

Oct 16, 2023

In New Zealand, a coalition of two conservative parties has emerged as the winner of Saturday’s election. The National Party, led by New Zealand’s next prime minister, Christopher Luxon, won 39% of the vote. It’s poised to take power in a right-wing coalition with the populist anti-immigrant New Zealand First party. The Labour Party of former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won just 27% of the vote. Voters cited the cost of living as their major concern.

Australian Voters Reject Referendum to Recognize Indigenous Peoples in Constitution

Oct 16, 2023

In Australia, voters have rejected a historic referendum that would have recognized Indigenous peoples in the Constitution and established an Indigenous “Voice to Parliament” committee. In a joint statement, groups representing Australia’s Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders called for a “Week of Silence.” They wrote, “That people who have only been on this continent for 235 years would refuse to recognize those whose home this land has been for 60,000 and more years, is beyond reason.” This is Dean Parkin, who led the campaign in support of the referendum.

Dean Parkin: “I want to speak very directly to those Australians who voted 'no' with hardness in your hearts. Please understand that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have never wanted to take anything from you. We have never and will never mean you no harm. All we have wanted was to join with you our Indigenous story, our Indigenous culture, and not to take away or diminish what it is that you have, but to add to it, to strengthen it, to enrich it.”

U.N. Suspends 8 Peacekeepers in DRC over Allegations of Sexual Violence

Oct 16, 2023

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at least eight United Nations peacekeepers have been suspended and detained over allegations of sexual assault. The workers were based in eastern Congo, which has seen violence soar in recent years due to conflict among armed groups. There are over 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers in the Congo. Many have protested their presence in the country, while DRC President Félix Tshisekedi has called on their withdrawal, saying the U.N. peacekeeping mission has failed to prevent escalating violence. The eight U.N. peacekeepers have been repatriated to South Africa. This is U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Stéphane Dujarric: “There is also evidence indicating a serious failure in the exercise of command and control by senior military officials belonging to that same contingent. The relevant authorities are being informed of the allegations, including a request to deploy a national investigation officer.”

While the U.N. can investigate suspected crimes, it has no power to prosecute. U.N. peacekeeping missions have previously faced sexual abuse reports in Congo, as well as Haiti and Central African Republic.

Jeff Landry Elected Governor of Louisiana, Bolstering Republican Supermajority

Oct 16, 2023

In Louisiana, hard-line Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry has won the governor’s race, flipping the seat red after two terms under Democrat John Bel Edwards. Landry will rule alongside a GOP-controlled Legislature, which had been stymied by Governor Edwards, who vetoed over 300 bills during his time in office. Landry has defended anti-trans laws, censorship in schools, Louisiana’s abortion ban and racist voting maps.

Healthcare Workers at Kaiser Win Safer Staffing Levels and Pay Raises After Historic Strike

Oct 16, 2023

Healthcare workers have reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser Permanente, a week after some 75,000 employees walked off their jobs for three days, the largest-ever healthcare strike in U.S. history. The proposed agreement reached Friday includes pay raises, with a minimum of $25 an hour in California and $23 an hour in other states. Kaiser also committed to speed up the hiring of new employees to help address ongoing staff shortages.

Separately, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to raise the minimum wage of healthcare workers to $25 per hour over the next decade.

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