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HeadlinesOctober 17, 2023

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Gaza Water and Health Crisis Deepens as Israel’s Bombardment Stretches into 11th Day

Oct 17, 2023

Gaza’s humanitarian crisis has deepened after an 11th consecutive day of unrelenting attacks by Israel on the besieged Palestinian territory. Health officials say the latest Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire killed at least 71 people, including attacks on Rafah and three homes in Khan Younis. The strikes in southern Gaza killed and wounded civilians who had heeded Israel’s order to evacuate the northern half of the territory.

Since October 7, Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed 2,800 people — over a third of them children — a figure that does not include an estimated 1,000 additional Palestinians trapped under rubble of homes and businesses. With no water allowed into Gaza, and no fuel for desalination plants, residents have been forced to tap Gaza’s only aquifer, which is contaminated with sewage and seawater. Fears are growing over the spread of disease as garbage piles up and sewage goes untreated.

The U.N reports 20 of 23 hospitals in Gaza are only partially operational, with critical shortages of fuel needed to run generators for life-saving medical devices. Painkillers have run out, and blood banks are running low. The World Health Organization says among those most at risk are 84,000 pregnant women in Gaza.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the sole crossing point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in Rafah remains closed, with Israel continuing to deny entry to a caravan of aid trucks lined up on the Egyptian side. This is Mariam, a British Palestinian girl whose family has spent days trying to escape Gaza.

Mariam: “I’m like really in fear. And like every time I just have the thought of me dying in a bomb in Gaza, like, it’s not a good thing. Like, every place I go, I go run away, and I just find bombs, and I find dead people. And, like, maybe one day I’ll end up like them. But it’s a really scary thing for me.”

IDF Says Hamas Took 199 Hostages; Families Hold Vigil Outside Israeli Defense Ministry

Oct 17, 2023

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian militants — most of them killed on October 7, when Hamas launched its surprise attack. On Monday, Israeli officials said 199 people were being held hostage by Hamas — about 50 more than previously reported. Over the weekend, hundreds of protesters gathered outside Israel’s Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv demanding an end to the violence and the safe return of hostages.

U.S. and Allies Reject U.N. Security Council Resolution on Gaza Ceasefire

Oct 17, 2023

The United Nations Security Council has rejected a draft resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The resolution was introduced Monday by Russia and won the support of Gabon, Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates and China. Six countries abstained, while France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States voted against the ceasefire resolution. This is Russia’s Ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia.

Vassily Nebenzia: “Today the entire world waited with bated breath for the Security Council to take steps in order to put an end to the bloodletting. But the delegations of the Western countries have basically stomped on those expectations.”

This week Russian President Vladimir Putin is traveling to Beijing for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Over the weekend, China’s foreign minister said Israel’s war on Gaza had gone “beyond the scope of self-defense” and amounted to collective punishment, which is a war crime.

White House Says Biden Will Visit Israel Wednesday in Show of Solidarity

Oct 17, 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to Israel Monday to continue talks with Israeli leaders, capping a weekend whirlwind tour of Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Blinken said President Biden will depart for Israel today in a show of solidarity, as Israel’s military prepares for a ground offensive in Gaza.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “President Biden will again make clear, as he’s done unequivocally since Hamas’s slaughter of more than 1,400 people, including at least 30 Americans, that Israel has the right, and indeed the duty, to defend its people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks.”

Blinken said Biden would later visit Jordan for talks with Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Biden’s trip comes after the U.S. Navy said it is dispatching a second aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, to the eastern Mediterranean in support of Israel.

Jewish American Activists Arrested at White House Protest Demanding Gaza Ceasefire

Oct 17, 2023

On Monday, thousands of Jewish Americans and allies marched on the White House to demand President Biden press for a ceasefire in Gaza; more than 50 people were arrested for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience. This is Eva Borgwardt, a leader of the group IfNotNow.

Eva Borgwardt: “Everyone here is going through unimaginable pain. And through that grief, we are determined to stop this genocide, because we know the warning signs. And so, we are blocking every entrance to the White House, or as many as we can stay there for, because President Biden has not been listening to the voices of American Jews and Palestinians and allies who are saying we cannot try the same thing that has not worked for decades here.”

13 House Democrats Call on Biden to Press for Immediate Gaza Ceasefire

Oct 17, 2023

On Capitol Hill, a group of House progressives has introduced a resolution calling on President Biden to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Missouri Democratic Congressmember Cori Bush, who co-authored the resolution, said, “The United States bears a unique responsibility to exhaust every diplomatic tool at our disposal to prevent mass atrocities and save lives. We can’t bomb our way to peace, equality, and freedom.”

6-Year-Old Palestinian American Killed in Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Laid to Rest in Illinois

Oct 17, 2023

In Bridgeview, Illinois, mourners on Monday laid to rest Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy who was stabbed to death in an anti-Muslim hate crime. The boy’s mother, Hanaan Shahin, was left hospitalized with serious injuries after Saturday’s assault by the family’s landlord, who reportedly shouted “You Muslims must die” during the attack. The landlord appeared in court Monday to face murder charges. This is Deanna Othman, a Palestinian American high school teacher and community member who attended the funeral.

Deanna Othman: “We’re seeing the repercussions of the rhetoric that our government has been spouting and that, you know, a lot of media has been spouting regarding Palestinians, painting them as, you know, less than human. And so, unfortunately, this young boy has paid the ultimate price for that.”

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan’s Bid to Become House Speaker Heads to Uncertain Floor Vote

Oct 17, 2023

Ohio Republican Congressmember Jim Jordan says he believes he has the 217 votes needed to become the next speaker of the House when representatives gather for a floor vote today. With all 212 House Democrats united behind New York Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries, Jordan can only afford to lose four Republicans. Jordan founded the far-right House Freedom Caucus. He currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee. The House remains at an unprecedented standstill while Republicans are unable to agree on a new speaker.

U.S. Reaches Settlement in Class-Action Suit Brought by Families Separated at Border

Oct 17, 2023

The Biden administration has reached a long-awaited settlement in a landmark class-action lawsuit brought by the ACLU and migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under former President Trump. If approved, the settlement will bar the federal government from enforcing a blanket policy to separate migrant families for at least the next eight years — only allowing the practice under limited circumstances. The deal also includes relief for migrants affected by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, including permission to remain in the United States, access to legal services and work permits, medical and mental healthcare for families dealing with trauma, and housing benefits.

The ACLU said at least 4,500 children and their families will be impacted by the settlement. ACLU lead attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement, “While no one would ever claim that this settlement can wholly fix the harm intentionally caused to these little children, it is an essential beginning.” President Biden has himself faced backlash over harsh border and immigration policies which have also led to the separation of asylum-seeking families. Click here to see our coverage.

Guinean Asylum Seeker Dies in Open-Air Detention Site Near San Diego

Oct 17, 2023

In California, a 29-year-old asylum seeker from Guinea has reportedly died while being held by U.S. immigration officials in an open-air detention camp along the San Diego border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection provided few details of what happened, and a cause of death has not been determined. Immigration and human rights groups had repeatedly warned of heat waves and other dangers faced by thousands of asylum seekers — including babies and toddlers — detained in the outdoor Border Patrol desert camps near Jacumba Springs. The agency has been accused of failing to provide adequate food, water, hygiene products and medical care. Erika Pinheiro of Al Otro Lado said in a statement, “This is the first death, but will not be the last if Border Patrol continues to use these camps in a futile and inhumane attempt to deter migrants rather than process them expeditiously.”

Protesters Take Nonviolent Direct Action Against Mountain Valley Pipeline

Oct 17, 2023

In Virginia, at least three environmental activists were arrested Monday after locking themselves to equipment, temporarily shutting down the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Dozens of protesters descended on the site yesterday for the peaceful action.

Water protectors: “For the water we drink! For the water we drink! For the place that we call home! For the place that we call home! For the air we breathe! For the air we breathe! For the water we drink! For the water we drink! For the place that we call home! For the place that we call home!”

Among those arrested Monday was Indigenous lawyer and activist Tara Houska. The controversial $6.6 billion pipeline would go through Virginia and West Virginia and carry 2 billion cubic feet of fracked gas across more than 1,000 streams and wetlands in Appalachia. The project has long had the backing of powerful West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who is the biggest recipient of fossil fuel money in Congress.

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