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HeadlinesOctober 20, 2023

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Gaza Death Toll from Israeli Attacks Tops 4,100 as Blast Kills Civilians Sheltering in Church

Oct 20, 2023

Palestinian health officials in the Gaza Strip say the death toll from two weeks of unrelenting Israeli attacks has topped 4,100, with over 13,000 wounded. More than a thousand Gaza residents remain missing — many of them under the rubble of collapsed homes. In one overnight incident, the Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City, which was sheltering hundreds of displaced Palestinians, was struck by an apparent Israeli airstrike. Gaza officials say 18 Christian Palestinians were killed. Part of the 12th century structure — one of the oldest churches in the world — was reduced to rubble. This is a survivor.

Survivor: “They came here to escape the airstrikes and the destruction. They thought they were safe here. The destruction followed them. The destruction followed them, Biden. Biden, you are giving all your support to Israel to kill the civilians.”

Nearly One-Third of Palestinian Homes Have Been Damaged or Destroyed

Oct 20, 2023

Gaza’s hospitals are on the brink of collapse, with shortages of fuel, electricity and critical medical supplies. Doctors at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis have resorted to using vinegar to treat infected wounds. According to Gaza’s Ministry of Housing, at least 30% of the territory’s housing units have been destroyed, rendered uninhabitable, or damaged. This is Asmaa Sabah, whose family has been forced to move to a makeshift tent city in Khan Younis.

Asmaa Sabah: “We now live like our ancestors in 1948. We are displaced from our homes. Just like their reality, we live in tents. We left our homes to stay in tents, just like our ancestors. We never expected to be here. O world, have mercy on us. We want a truce. We are tired. What does Israel want from us? We are displaced from our homes. What more do they want?”

U.N. Urges Distribution of Lifesaving Aid to Gaza as Rafah Crossing Remains Closed

Oct 20, 2023

Earlier today, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres arrived at the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing to Gaza, where a humanitarian aid convoy remained stuck Friday despite a deal to allow the passage of the first 20 trucks. Guterres urged Israeli and Egyptian officials to open the crossing as soon as possible to allow food, water, medicine and fuel to be delivered at scale, calling it the “difference between life and death for so many people.”

Israeli Raid and Airstrike on West Bank Refugee Camp Kills 13 Palestinians, Including Children

Oct 20, 2023

In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry says 13 people were killed Thursday as Israeli forces bombed and raided the Nur Shams refugee camp. Seven of those killed were children — two of them just 10 years old. Meanwhile, human rights groups report heavily armed Israelis from illegal settlements — sometimes backed by Israeli soldiers — have increasingly forced Palestinian Bedouin villagers from their West Bank homes, seizing the properties.

Israeli Defense Minister Rallies Soldiers for Ground Invasion of Gaza

Oct 20, 2023

On Thursday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told soldiers massed near the Gaza border they would soon see the territory “from the inside,” suggesting a ground invasion is imminent.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant: “There can be no forgiveness, only total annihilation of the Hamas organization, its terror infrastructures, everything that has to do with terrorists and whoever sent them. It will take a week, it will take a month, it will take two months, until we eliminate them. You are not alone in battle.”

“An Inflection Point in History”: President Biden Urges Support for Massive Foreign Aid Package

Oct 20, 2023

President Biden is set to deliver a request to Congress for an additional $100 billion in funding to aid U.S. allies and to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border. Reuters reports the request includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $7 billion for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region and another $14 billion for so-called border security. Biden made the case for the extraordinary foreign aid package during a primetime address from the Oval Office Thursday.

President Joe Biden: “We’re facing an inflection point in history, one of those moments where the decisions we make today are going to determine the future for decades to come.”

Biden’s remarks came after more than 400 congressional staffers signed a joint letter urging Congress to back a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The staffers write, “We have appreciated seeing nearly every Member of Congress express quick and unequivocal solidarity with the Israeli people, but we are profoundly disturbed that such shows of humanity have barely been extended to the Palestinian people.”

China’s Xi Jinping Calls for Gaza Ceasefire

Oct 20, 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a ceasefire in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged Palestinian territory. His first public remarks on the conflict came as he met Egypt’s prime minister in Beijing on Thursday.

Drone Attacks on U.S. Forces in Iraq & Syria Increase Fears of Wider Middle East War

Oct 20, 2023

The Pentagon says it has thwarted a series of drone attacks aimed at bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. A Pentagon spokesperson said Thursday the U.S. will respond to the attacks “at a time and manner of its choosing,” after several troops were injured. The Pentagon also said a U.S. Navy warship in the Red Sea intercepted missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen toward Israel.

On Thursday, the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Germany advised their citizens to leave Lebanon immediately, as fears grow that Israel’s assault on Gaza will lead to a wider war across the Middle East.

British PM Rishi Sunak Discusses Gaza War with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Oct 20, 2023

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak traveled to Saudi Arabia Thursday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other top Saudi officials. Sunak’s office said the leaders agreed to work to prevent any further escalation of the war in Gaza. Sunak’s visit to Riyadh came a day after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where Sunak pledged U.K. support for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. Sunak is traveling to Egypt today for talks with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Protests from Paris to Pakistan Demand Gaza Ceasefire, End to Israel’s Occupation

Oct 20, 2023

Thousands of protesters rallied in Paris Thursday to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The protest came only after officials granted permission following a weeklong ban on pro-Palestine protests in France. These two protesters spoke with France 24 television.

Protester 1: “We’re here to show our support for the Palestinian people. It’s been 75 years of colonization, and they’re fighting for their right to independence and self-determination. We’re here to show them that we haven’t forgotten them.”

Protester 2: “We see pro-Israeli demonstrations going on without any problems, with political leaders at their head. But when you try to defend Palestine, that’s forbidden.”

In Pakistan, hundreds of protesters rallied in the capital Islamabad Thursday for a Palestinian solidarity march. This is Pakistani gender equality and human rights activist Tahira Abdullah.

Tahira Abdullah: “Instead of a two-state solution, we are now going towards a one-state solution, and that one state is only Israel. Where is Palestine? Should the Palestinians jump into the sea? Where should they go? There is nowhere for them. Gaza was a tiny little strip, and Israel has kicked them out of Gaza, and they want them to go into Egypt so that Israel can occupy Gaza also. We absolutely protest against this. We demand that the United Nations should do something finally after 75 years of absolutely useless resolutions.”

Pro-Palestine demonstrations have also continued in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria and across the Middle East and North Africa.

Police Arrest Joseph Félix Badio, Key Suspect in 2021 Assassination of President Jovenel Moïse

Oct 20, 2023

In Haiti, a former Justice Ministry official and key suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse two years ago was arrested Thursday. Joseph Félix Badio emerged as a prime suspect after a team of Colombian hitmen, arrested just hours after Moïse’s killing, told Haitian authorities they had received the order from Badio.


Jim Jordan Faces Third Vote in Bid to Become House Speaker Amid GOP Disarray

Oct 20, 2023

Far-right Ohio Congressmember Jim Jordan said Thursday he would suspend his bid to become speaker of the House — only to reverse course after emerging from a tense, hourslong meeting with the Republican conference.

Rep. Jim Jordan: “I’m still running for speaker, and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race. But I want to go talk with a few of my colleagues. Particularly I want to talk with the 20 individuals who voted against me, so that we can move forward and begin to work for the American people.”

Jordan’s U-turn came after Republicans failed to agree to a plan that would have empowered Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry to perform all the functions of House speaker until January. The House remains at a legislative standstill more than 16 days after far-right Florida Republican Matt Gaetz led a successful effort to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Former Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell Pleads Guilty in Georgia Racketeering Case

Oct 20, 2023

Sidney Powell, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and one of his 18 co-defendants in Georgia’s sweeping racketeering case, has pleaded guilty to attempting to overturn the 2020 election results.

Judge Scott McAfee: “And are you pleading guilty today because you agree that there is a sufficient factual basis, that there are enough facts that support this plea of guilty?”

Sidney Powell: “I do.”

Powell was sentenced to six years of probation and fined $6,000. Powell will also pay $2,700 in restitution to the state of Georgia and write an apology letter to Georgia residents. As part of her deal, Sidney Powell has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and could become a key witness against Trump. In 2020, Powell famously vowed to “release the Kraken” — a mythical sea monster — to help overturn Trump’s election loss, and filed a litany of baseless lawsuits.

Sen. Laphonza Butler Will Not Seek Full Term as U.S. Senator in 2024

Oct 20, 2023

In California, interim Senator Laphonza Butler said Thursday she will not run for the U.S. Senate next year. Governor Gavin Newsom selected Butler, then-president of EMILY’s List, to fill the seat left open after the passing of Dianne Feinstein last month. The high-profile Senate race includes Congressmembers Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.

Hotel Cancels CAIR Event Amid Death Threats

Oct 20, 2023

In Virginia, the hotel hosting Saturday’s annual banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, canceled the event after receiving violent threats. CAIR said anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian extremists issued death and bomb threats against the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel. The event is being relocated with additional security. CAIR said in a statement, “We will not allow the threats of anti-Palestinian racists and anti-Muslim bigots who seek to dehumanize the Palestinian people and silence American Muslims to stop us from pursuing justice for all.”

California Judge Rules Against Law Banning Assault Weapons for 2nd Time

Oct 20, 2023

In San Diego, a federal judge again ruled a California law banning assault weapons such as AR-15 rifles was unconstitutional. In 2021, the same judge, Roger Benitez, overturned California’s 32-year-old ban on assault weapons. California’s Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta vowed to appeal the “dangerous and misguided” ruling. Bonta added, “Weapons of war have no place on California’s streets.”

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