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HeadlinesOctober 19, 2023

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Gaza Death Toll Nears 3,800 as Israel’s Siege and Bombardment Enters 13th Day

Oct 19, 2023

Dozens of Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza as Israel bombs the besieged Palestinian territory for a 13th consecutive day. The Palestinian Health Ministry reports nearly 3,800 Gazans have been killed in Israeli strikes since Hamas’s October 7 surprise attack on southern Israel, which killed more than 1,400 people. The human rights group Defense for Children International–Palestine reports Israeli strikes have, on average, killed one child every 15 minutes in Gaza since fighting escalated. This is Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a surgeon in Gaza City who narrowly survived Tuesday’s explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital, a blast Palestinians blame on Israel. 

Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah: “Forty percent of all the cases that I’ve seen have been children. A lot of them have been like this. They’ve lost one or two parents. And unfortunately, these kids have a long, long recovery road in front of them.”

British PM Rishi Sunak Visits Israel, Voices Support for Siege and Bombardment of Gaza

Oct 19, 2023

Earlier today, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Tel Aviv, where he was greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Sunak said he believed Israel’s military was “taking every precaution to avoid harming civilians.” He made no mention of Israel’s decision to cut off food, water, fuel and medicine to Gaza — a siege that’s widely considered a breach of international law. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said Egypt and Israel had agreed to allow 20 humanitarian aid trucks through the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. The trucks aren’t expected to arrive until Friday. A spokesperson for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said, “We’re talking about two million people who are in need of everything, so 20 trucks will be a drop in the ocean.”

Israeli Troops and Settlers Attack Palestinians in Occupied West Bank, Push Death Toll to 69

Oct 19, 2023

In the occupied West Bank, health officials say at least seven Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and armed settlers over the past day amid mounting military raids and arrests. Sixty-nine Palestinians have been killed in similar attacks since October 7. Major protests across the West Bank have also taken aim at the ruling Palestinian Authority, which has launched a violent crackdown on demonstrations. A 12-year-old Palestinian girl named Razan Nasrallah was shot and killed by PA security forces Tuesday during protests in Jenin following the deadly bombing of Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital.

U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling for “Humanitarian Pause” of Gaza Assault

Oct 19, 2023

The United States has vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian pause to Israel’s relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip and its 2.3 million inhabitants. The resolution, sponsored by Brazil, called for full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for U.N. agencies to deliver lifesaving aid to the besieged territory. It included a condemnation of Hamas’s attacks on Israel and demanded “the immediate and unconditional release” of hostages. On Wednesday, 12 of the Security Council’s 15 members voted in favor of a humanitarian pause in Gaza; Russia and the U.K. abstained; while the United States used its privilege as a permanent member of the Security Council to exercise its veto. This is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield: “The United States is disappointed this resolution made no mention of Israel’s rights of self-defense.”

The U.S.'s veto of a humanitarian pause in Gaza came two days after the U.S., France, Japan and the United Kingdom rejected a Gaza ceasefire resolution proposed by Russia. Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour spoke after Wednesday's vote.

Riyad Mansour: “It is beyond belief that some still speak of a right to self-defense of an occupying power that has made clear it is seeking blind vengeance, forced transfer and annihilation of our people.”

Knesset Suspends Lawmaker Ofer Cassif for Criticizing Israel’s War on Gaza

Oct 19, 2023

An Israeli parliament ethics committee has suspended Knesset member Ofer Cassif for 45 days after Cassif criticized Israel’s assault on Gaza. His suspension comes as Israeli authorities have arrested more than 100 Israeli citizens over social media posts supporting Palestinians in Gaza. At least 70 Israeli university students face suspension or other disciplinary action for posting pro-Palestinian sentiments online. Click here to see our interview with Ofer Cassif.

Bernie Sanders Blocks Ban on U.S. Aid to Gaza as Pentagon Sends More Materiel to Middle East

Oct 19, 2023

In Washington, D.C., Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders has blocked legislation that would have effectively barred U.S. humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza. On Wednesday, Sanders objected when Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott tried to pass the so-called Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act by unanimous consent.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Right now there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Gaza who have lost their homes. They’ve been thrown out of their homes. They have no food. They have no water. They have no fuel. And I remind my colleagues that half of those people are children.”

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin has ordered an additional 2,000 U.S. troops to deploy to the Middle East in support of Israel. The order builds on a rapid response force of 2,000 U.S. Marines sailing for the eastern Mediterranean, along with two U.S. Navy carrier strike groups.

This evening, President Biden is giving a primetime address where he’s expected to ask Congress for $100 billion in emergency funds to ship more weapons to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, and to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border.

State Department Official Quits to Protest Biden Administration’s “Blind Support” of Israel

Oct 19, 2023

A high-ranking State Department official has resigned in protest of the Biden administration’s policies on Israel and Palestine. For 11 years, Josh Paul oversaw arms transfers to U.S. allies while serving as the congressional and public affairs director of the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. In a letter explaining his resignation, Paul condemned what he called U.S. “blind support” for Israel as “an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.” Paul wrote that his greatest desire was to see both Israelis and Palestinians flourish, adding, “Collective punishment is an enemy to that desire, whether it involves demolishing one home, or one thousand; as too is ethnic cleansing; as too is occupation; as too is apartheid.” 

Hundreds Arrested on Capitol Hill at Jewish-Led Protests Against Gaza War 

Oct 19, 2023

On Capitol Hill, police arrested at least 300 activists Wednesday as they held a nonviolent sit-in protest in the congressional Cannon Rotunda to demand lawmakers press for a ceasefire in Gaza. The arrests came as thousands of people rallied on the National Mall for a demonstration organized by the groups IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace. Organizers called it the largest-ever protest of Jews in support of Palestinians. Among those addressing the crowd was award-winning author Naomi Klein.

Naomi Klein: “Friends, these are the darkest days that I have ever experienced. The Israeli government, with the full support of every Western power in the world, announced an intent to commit genocide, using Jewish fears of another genocide as the excuse. And now it is in the process of making good on that threat. That is what we must stop. That is what we are here to stop. That is what we will stop. There are so many more lives to save.”

Later in the broadcast, we’ll hear more voices from the Jewish Voice for Peace rally in D.C. We’ll speak with the Israeli journalist Amira Hass, among those who were covering the rally.

Protests from The Hague to Cape Town Condemn Israeli “Genocide” in Gaza

Oct 19, 2023

Thousands of protesters took to the streets around the world following Tuesday’s attack on the Al-Ahli Hospital. In the Middle East and North Africa, major protests were seen in Ramallah, Beirut and across cities in Tunisia, Iraq and Iran, among others. Large actions against what protesters are calling Israel’s genocide in Gaza have also been seen across Europe. In The Hague, demonstrators rallied outside the headquarters of the International Criminal Court to demand Israel be held accountable for its war crimes.

Diana Alashraf: “World leaders don’t have to stay silent. They are only talking on social media, but they are not taking actions. So, what do we have to do? Do we have to stay forever silent and wait until everybody there is dead? Or when are they going to take action?”

Last week, South African lawmaker and grandson of Nelson Mandela, Nkosi Mandela, joined a Palestinian solidarity protest in Cape Town.

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela: “Palestinians are counting on each and every one of us to stand and be counted, like they stood side by side with us in the trenches when we fought to liberate our country.”

Colombia and Spain Anger Israel by Condemning War Crimes in Gaza

Oct 19, 2023

In Colombia, President Gustavo Petro triggered a diplomatic row with Israel after comparing its assault on Palestinians to Nazis during World War II — a comparison that has also been drawn by progressive Jews who have spoken out against Israel’s actions.

Meanwhile, Spain has rejected Israeli claims that two of its lawmakers are aligned “with ISIS-style terrorism” because they called for Benjamin Netanyahu to be brought before the International Criminal Court for committing war crimes in Gaza.

Ukraine Fires U.S.-Supplied Long-Range Missiles at Russian Targets  

Oct 19, 2023

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says his military has successfully deployed U.S.-supplied long-range missiles known as ATACMS for the first time, targeting Russian warplanes and ammunition depots. The Washington Post reports the missiles were armed with cluster bomblets rather than single warheads. Such weapons are banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which has been adopted by more than 100 countries, though not by Russia, Ukraine or the United States. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Biden administration’s decision to arm Ukraine with ATACMS “reckless” and “a grave mistake” but predicted the weapons wouldn’t change the course of the war.

President Vladimir Putin: “For Ukraine, nothing good will come of this. It just prolongs the agony. A while ago, they started the highly anticipated and highly advertised counteroffensive in Kherson right now. It has had no success. There have been losses, but no success.”

Putin made the remarks from Beijing following lengthy talks Wednesday with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who greeted Putin warmly as an “old friend.” The pair discussed the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and growing trade between Russia and China — estimated at nearly $200 billion annually. 

Russian American Journalist Alsu Kurmasheva Detained in Russia

Oct 19, 2023

Russia has detained a Russian American journalist and charged her with failing to register as a foreign agent. Alsu Kurmasheva is an editor with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a U.S. government-funded news service. The Committee to Protect Journalists demanded her immediate release, adding in a statement, “Journalism is not a crime and Kurmasheva’s detention is yet more proof that Russia is determined to stifle independent reporting.” She’s the second U.S. journalist detained by Russia this year, after Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in March on what the newspaper called trumped-up espionage charges.

Jim Jordan Loses Second Vote for House Speaker, Receiving Fewer Votes Than First Round

Oct 19, 2023

Back in the U.S., far-right Republican Jim Jordan lost his second floor vote to become House speaker Wednesday, receiving just 199 votes, one fewer than the first round of voting a day earlier. It was the first time in 100 years that the majority nominee received less than 200 votes. Jordan is a close ally of Trump and was involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. He has been accused of ignoring accusations of sexual abuse against an Ohio State University physician by members of the wrestling team when Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at the school in the 1980s and ’90s. Congressmembers are voting again today, as Jordan vowed to “keep going.” The House has been at a legislative standstill since Kevin McCarthy was ousted over two weeks ago.

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