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HeadlinesOctober 18, 2023

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Biden Sides with Israel After Airstrikes Level Gazan Hospital, Killing Hundreds of Palestinians

Oct 18, 2023

President Biden is in Israel, hours after Palestinian officials accused Israel of killing at least 500 people at Gaza’s Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in an airstrike. In addition to treating sick and wounded patients, the hospital was acting as a refuge for displaced Gazans fleeing Israeli’s unrelenting attacks. This is Mohammad Al-Naqa, a doctor at Al-Ahli Hospital.

Dr. Mohammad Al-Naqa: “There was no warning before the hospital was targeted. There were about 3,000 people who were taking shelter here. While we were working at the hospital, and without any warning, around 6:30 p.m., the hospital was targeted by shelling. We didn’t know what it was, but we found out what it can do, after it targeted children who were cut into pieces.”

Gaza’s Health Ministry said Israel told the hospital it had sent “warning strikes” one day before the deadly explosion. The U.N. has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. Amid international condemnation over the attack, Israel has denied responsibility, blaming a Palestinian rocket. Israeli officials appeared to have deleted a video posted on social media showing Palestinian rockets being fired, after realizing the timestamp on the footage did not match up with the hospital attack. Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas canceled a planned summit in Jordan with Biden in the wake of the hospital bombing. Biden said he was “outraged” by the attack, which constitutes a war crime, but sided with Israel as he made remarks alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier today.

President Joe Biden: “I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday. And based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.”

Many have pointed out that militant groups in Palestine do not have the firepower to level a massive building. Israel has a history of lying about its responsibility in crimes against Palestinians, including its murder of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last year, which it initially blamed on Palestinians. Israel apologized one year after her death.

As Biden meets with Israeli officials, Palestinians condemned U.S. support for Israel’s genocide. This is a resident of Khan Younis in Gaza.

Mansour Chuman: “To President Biden and his administration: Generations will not forget, and history will be recorded, that it was your administration, your billions of dollars, your support with weapons of mass destruction to the Israeli Defense Forces, which has caused what has been happening right now in Gaza.”

On Tuesday, Israeli strikes hit other civilian targets in Gaza, including a U.N. school where thousands were taking refuge. At least 24 U.N. installations have been hit in the past week, killing at least 14 U.N. staffers.

Israeli forces have killed at least 3,300 Palestinians over the last 12 days. Around a third of those killed were children. Gazans continue to suffer from a lack of all basic necessities, including water.

Iran Warns of Possible Attacks Against Israel Amid Cross-Border Skirmishes Between Israel and Lebanon

Oct 18, 2023

Turkey has said it is in talks with Hamas to release hostages taken by the group in its deadly October 7 attack in Israel. Meanwhile, Iran has warned of potential “preemptive” action against Israel as it prepares for a possible ground invasion of Gaza. Israel and Hezbollah, a Lebanese group backed by Iran, have been exchanging fire on the Israel-Lebanon border.

Reports: Israel to Ban Al Jazeera for Reporting on Gaza War

Oct 18, 2023

Israel is reportedly set to ban Al Jazeera’s operations in the country over its coverage of the war. Al Jazeera is one of the few global media networks that has reporters on the ground in Gaza.
In related news, the Committee to Protect Journalists said at least 17 media workers have been killed since the start of the war. Thirteen of them were Palestinian, three Israeli and one Lebanese

Major Jewish-Led Protest in Capital Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza

Oct 18, 2023

Here in the U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace and other groups are rallying in Washington, D.C., today to demand an immediate ceasefire. Two dozen rabbis are leading prayers and mass civil disobedience.

Meanwhile, inside the White House and other government buildings, staffers have shared with reporters the challenges in calling out Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. Government employees say they fear possible retaliation for even raising the issue of humanitarian protections or restraining Israel.

U.N. Warns of “Humanitarian Nightmare” in Sudan; Press Groups Condemn Killing of Reporter

Oct 18, 2023

Six months of war in Sudan have plunged the country into “one of the worst humanitarian nightmares in recent history,” killing up to 9,000 people and displacing over 5 million. That was the stark warning issued by the United Nations, which said at least 25 million people in Sudan are also in need of urgent humanitarian relief. Humanitarian aid relief has been hindered by violence between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces since fighting broke out in April. The healthcare situation is also dire, as many medical facilities in conflict areas have been shuttered. Human rights groups have condemned the ongoing targeting and killing of civilians and journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is demanding an investigation into the October 10 killing of Sudanese journalist Halima Idris Salim, who died after RSF fighters reportedly ran over her with a vehicle while she covered the conflict in the city of Omdurman.

Venezuelan Gov’t and Opposition Sign Election Deal That Could Ease U.S. Sanctions

Oct 18, 2023

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leaders have agreed to new rules ahead of next year’s presidential election. The move is expected to clear the way for the United States to ease its harsh sanctions on Venezuela which have wrecked the economy, forcing millions to flee. As part of the agreement, the Venezuelan government will allow all political parties to choose their candidates; grant permission to delegations from the U.N. and the European Union to observe elections; and give equal media access to all campaigns.

Amazon River Reaches Record Low Amid Drought and Wildfires

Oct 18, 2023

In climate news, the Amazon River has dipped to its lowest levels in over a century amid a protracted regional drought and wildfires. Sixty of the 62 cities in Brazil’s northern Amazonas state have declared a state of emergency as communities struggle to meet their basic needs.

Valcléia Solidade: “It’s challenging for the communities, because what they don’t produce, which is food, is what they need most at the moment, as well as medicines. We’ve just heard from people in the community about the fear of getting ill, the fear of needing medical care and finding it difficult to travel to the hospital.”

Greta Thunberg Arrested During London Oil and Gas Conference Protest

Oct 18, 2023

In the U.K., Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was detained by London police Tuesday at a protest outside the Energy Intelligence Forum, a major oil and gas industry conference.

Greta Thunberg: “Behind these closed doors at the oil and money conference, spineless politicians are making deals and compromises with lobbyists from destructive industries, the fossil fuel industry. People all over the world are suffering and dying from the consequences of the climate crisis caused by these industries, who we allow to meet with our politicians and have privileged access to.”

A Black Man Who Was Wrongfully Imprisoned for 16 Years Shot Dead by Georgia Officer

Oct 18, 2023

Back in the U.S., in Georgia, a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years for a crime he did not commit was killed by police Monday. Leonard Allan Cure, a Black man, was driving on a highway in Camden County, near the Georgia-Florida state line, when a sheriff’s deputy pulled him over, reportedly for speeding. The officer notified Cure he’d be arrested, before shocking Cure with a Taser at least twice, beating him with a baton and then fatally shooting him. The 53-year-old was released from a Florida prison in 2020 after he was exonerated for an armed robbery conviction from 2004. Since his release, he often gave inspirational talks to high school students and had plans to go to college.

Jim Jordan Fails in First Vote to Become House Speaker

Oct 18, 2023

Far-right Ohio Congressmember Jim Jordan failed Tuesday to reach the 217-vote threshold needed to become the next House speaker. Twenty of his fellow Republicans voted against him. All 212 Democrats voted for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Jim Jordan is a close Trump ally and was involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Congressmembers are voting again today. The House has been without a speaker for two weeks, following the ouster of Kevin McCarthy. Meanwhile, a bipartisan move to empower Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry to oversee legislative business is being discussed as a way out of the current quagmire.

SCOTUS Reinstates Regulations on Ghost Guns in Blow to Gun Makers

Oct 18, 2023

The Supreme Court reinstated for a second time the Biden administration’s regulations on “ghost guns” — unassembled, unmarked gun kits that can be purchased online. In 2022, the federal government imposed similar regulations on the DIY guns to standard guns, including mandating serial numbers and background checks for purchasers. A federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction on the Biden rule, but Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling will allow the regulations to stand while a legal challenge plays out.

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