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HeadlinesOctober 24, 2023

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Israeli Strikes Kill 700 Palestinians Across Gaza as Hospitals Face Critical Fuel Shortage

Oct 24, 2023

Health officials in Gaza say Israel’s unrelenting bombardment of the besieged Palestinian territory has killed another 700 people over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll over the past 18 days to about 5,800. More than 2,000 children are among the dead. One-point-four million Gazans — or more than half of the territory’s population — have been displaced. The U.N. reports ِat least 42% of Gaza’s housing units are damaged or destroyed.

In northern Gaza, the Indonesian Hospital ran out of fuel Monday and suffered a power outage that brought life-saving medical equipment offline before officials restored power. Gaza’s Health Ministry says it will run out of fuel for electric generators at other hospitals within the next 48 hours. It reports 32 of Gaza’s health centers are out of service. Elsewhere, officials at al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza City say the building’s entrance and surrounding areas were targeted today in an Israeli airstrike.

Meanwhile a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid remains stalled on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. So far Israel has allowed fewer than 100 trucks into Gaza, which aid groups call a “drop in the ocean” of what’s needed to provide for Gaza’s 2.3 million people. A spokesperson for the World Food Programme says a critical shortage of fuel is preventing bakeries in Gaza from producing bread.

Ali Zaki: “They do not have enough power to get the machines working. And unfortunately, some were also hit. And so, with this, you know, the collapse of essential infrastructure, the lack of fuel to make sure that the machines are running, it’s really making a situation that is already catastrophic worse.”

Freed Israeli Hostage Yocheved Lifshitz Says She Was Treated Well by Hamas Captors

Oct 24, 2023

Hamas has released two Israeli civilians held hostage in Gaza. On Monday, a Hamas spokesperson said 79-year-old Nurit Cooper and 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz had been let go for “humanitarian reasons and poor health grounds.” Hamas shared video showing armed fighters releasing the elderly hostages to Red Cross officials. Just before the video ends, Lifshitz reaches back to shake the hand of one of her captors, saying “Shalom,” the Hebrew word for “peace.”

Earlier today, Lifshitz spoke to reporters in Tel Aviv, describing a harrowing scene as she was kidnapped and driven off to Gaza on a motorbike with two Hamas fighters, then forced to walk for miles through a network of underground tunnels. Once in Gaza, Lifshitz says her treatment improved. She says she was seen by a doctor, fed well, and had the opportunity to wash. Lifshitz’s daughter Sharon translated her remarks to reporters.

Sharon Lifshitz: “My mom is speaking about the time there. She’s telling us about sharing food with the people, that the people, when she first arrived, they told them that they are Muslims and they’re not going to hurt them, and that they shared — they ate the same food that the Hamas was eating.”

Israeli believes about 220 other hostages remain in Gaza, including the husbands of both women. Hamas has now released a total of four women.

Israel-Hezbollah Cross-Border Violence Displaces 20,000 in Southern Lebanon

Oct 24, 2023

The United Nations warns nearly 20,000 people across southern Lebanon have fled their homes amid escalating violence on the Lebanese-Israeli border. On Monday the Biden administration said it’s readying plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens across the broader Middle East in case Israel’s assault on Gaza provokes a wider war — including 600,000 Americans in Israel and another 86,000 in Lebanon.

French President Emmanuel Macron Visits Israel Pledging “Full Support” for Gaza Bombardment

Oct 24, 2023

French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Israel for meetings with top Israeli officials. In Jerusalem, Macron told Israeli President Isaac Herzog he stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel and pledged France’s “full support” for Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Macron urged Israel to avoid what he called “a dangerous escalation in the region.” Herzog said he also wanted to avoid a wider war, but said Israel stood ready to attack Lebanon if Hezbollah continues cross-border assaults.

President Isaac Herzog: “I want to make clear: We are not looking for a confrontation in our northern border or with anyone else. We have focused on destroying Hamas infrastructure and bringing our citizens back home. But if Hezbollah will drag us into war, it should be clear that Lebanon will pay the price.”

French media report Macron will head to Lebanon and Egypt next. His visit to Israel comes a day after some European Union foreign ministers endorsed a “humanitarian pause” of Israel’s attacks in Gaza.

In Washington, D.C., President Biden on Monday ruled out U.S. support for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza while Hamas continues to hold hostages. His remarks came as the Pentagon dispatched military advisers and high-tech air defense systems to Israel ahead of Israel’s expected ground assault on Gaza.

Ontario Legislative Assembly Censures MPP Sarah Jama After She Calls for Gaza Ceasefire

Oct 24, 2023

In Canada, a member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly has been censured and expelled from her caucus after making remarks in solidarity with Palestinians. Sarah Jama, who is Black and a disability justice advocate, addressed her colleagues Monday.

MPP Sarah Jama: “I restate my call for an immediate ceasefire by Israeli forces and for the immediate restoration of food, water, fuel and electricity in Gaza.”

Unidentified: “What about the hostages?”

MPP Sarah Jama: “And I applaud the many elected officials” —

Speaker: “Order.”

MPP Sarah Jama: — “in Canada who have joined this call in recent days, and I hope even more of you will speak out.”

Jama now sits as an independent after being removed from the Ontario New Democratic Party Caucus. Her censure would only be lifted if Jama issues a formal apology for her remarks.

New Delhi Police Arrest Protesters Near Israeli Embassy as They Demand Gaza Ceasefire

Oct 24, 2023

In India, several students were detained in New Delhi Monday as they led a protest near the Israeli Embassy demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. Police placed barriers to block protesters from reaching the building.

Samdisha: “Yet our government, yet most of the countries in the world who hold power are just ignoring the fact as if nothing is happening. Children are dying. Hospitals are being bombed. I don’t have anything new to say except for the fact that we shouldn’t be denied the basic voice that all the students should have in this country.”

Jewish Peace Activists in New Mexico Hold Protests Demanding Senators Call for Gaza Ceasefire

Oct 24, 2023

Here in the United States, pressure is mounting on more congressmembers to join calls for a Gaza ceasefire. On Monday, protesters in New Mexico, held nonviolent sit-in protests at the offices of Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, led by Jewish peace activists. Nine people were arrested. The protests came as hundreds of congressional staffers issued an open letter urging lawmakers to support a peaceful resolution to the attacks on Gaza, the return of Israeli hostages, and to grant access to humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory. Only 18 U.S. lawmakers have signed the ceasefire resolution so far, including Congressmembers Greg Casar, Pramila Jayapal and Ilhan Omar.

Russia and Ukraine Trade Deadly Artillery Fire After Russian Missile Kills Six at Kharkiv Postal Center

Oct 24, 2023

In Ukraine, the governor of Kherson says two people were killed and 14 others injured earlier today by Russian artillery fire. This follows a Russian missile strike in Kharkiv Sunday that created a massive hole in the roof of a postal distribution center, killing six people and injuring 14 others.

Serhii Nozhka: “There was a missile attack. We were working. There was an explosion. Everyone started running away. … I did what I could. As much as I managed to, I provided the necessary first aid. … Some were stable. They had shrapnel wounds, some more light, some more serious. But some people were in critical condition. Ambulances took them away.”

In eastern Ukraine, officials in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk say Ukrainian artillery fire killed one civilian and wounded another. Elsewhere, Russia’s Navy says it repelled attacks by uncrewed boats launched by Ukraine at Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and Ukraine says it shot down 14 Russian attack drones and a cruise missile.

Lubbock Becomes Largest Texas County to Ban Travel by Pregnant People Seeking Abortions

Oct 24, 2023

Back in the United States, in Texas, Lubbock County officials have approved an ordinance banning pregnant people from traveling through the region to seek an abortion in another state. Lubbock is the largest Texas county to join such efforts. At least three other rural counties have also passed similar measures. Lubbock resident Shelley Kemp denounced the move as she addressed county commissioners Monday.

Shelley Kemp: “You are going to create a culture of fear and distrust where you set neighbor against neighbor. It’s going to have a chilling effect. Just for example, the language used — 'abortion tourism' and 'trafficking' — that immediately creates fear and distrust.”

6,800 Walk Out of Stellantis Assembly Plant as United Auto Workers Expands Strike

Oct 24, 2023

The United Auto Workers has expanded its strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers. On Monday, 6,800 auto workers walked out of the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant near Detroit, Michigan. The UAW notes Stellantis made $18 billion in profits last year, as Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares earned total compensation of nearly $25 million — earning as much per day as an average Stellantis employee takes home in one year. UAW President Shawn Fain joined workers on the picket line Monday.

Shawn Fain: “They’ve made a quarter of a trillion dollars in the last decade. I mean, Stellantis alone made $12 billion in the first six months of this year. They can afford this. They can make it happen. Our workers deserve their share. I mean, while they say they can’t afford this, the next day they announced more dividends for shareholders.”

92NY Suspends Literary Events as Writers Protest Censorship of Gaza Assault Critic Viet Thanh Nguyen

Oct 24, 2023

Here in New York, the prestigious community and cultural center 92NY — formerly the 92nd Street Y — has temporarily postponed its literary reading series, as it faces growing backlash for canceling an event with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen over his criticism of Israeli violence on Palestinians and calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. In response, a number of writers scheduled to participate in the monthslong series pulled out, while several 92NY staff resigned from their jobs. Writer and critic Andrea Long Chu, who is among those who pulled out of the series, referred to 92NY as a “pro-war nonprofit.”

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