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HeadlinesNovember 20, 2023

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IDF Attacks Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital After Forcing Al-Shifa to Shutter, U.N. Helps Evacuate Babies

Nov 20, 2023

Israeli tanks have surrounded Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital as Israel’s military continues its relentless assault on the Gaza Strip’s health infrastructure. Earlier today Israeli artillery fire killed at least 12 people inside the medical complex, where about 700 others, including medical staff and injured people, remain besieged.

Egyptian television showed ambulances carrying sick and premature babies passing through the Rafah border crossing to Egypt, after the U.N. assisted in moving 31 premature babies from Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital to Rafah on Sunday. UNICEF warned the babies’ conditions were incredibly fragile after the multiple moves in “extremely dangerous conditions.” Other babies died as medical services collapsed at Al-Shifa. Doctors say babies had to drink formula prepared with contaminated water, further endangering their survival. A World Health Organization team visited the Al-Shifa Hospital, which it called a “death zone,” and lauded the “heroic” healthcare workers sacrificing everything to treat patients.

WHO assessment crew member: “As healthcare professionals, I am absolutely humbled by the work of you and your teams, the heroic efforts that you’ve made. I mean, I have no words.”

Israel has claimed it uncovered a Hamas tunnel at the Al-Shifa Hospital. The claim was rejected by Hamas and medical workers and has not been verified by independent parties. Israel also said hostages are being held at Al-Shifa. Hamas has previously said it took several hostages to hospitals for treatment.

Israeli Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Gazans Sheltering at U.N. School as Death Toll Soars Above 13,000

Nov 20, 2023

On Saturday, an Israeli airstrike killed at least 50 Palestinian civilians at the U.N.-run al-Fakhoura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, though some estimates put the number as high as 200. A separate attack on the Tal al-Zaatar school also resulted in civilian casualties. Other parts of Jabaliya were also hit, including a large residential complex. This is a Gaza ambulance worker.

Gaza ambulance worker: “We are trying to focus on pulling out survivors. As you can see, we are working with our own two hands. There is no equipment. The only excavator is in northern Gaza, and it stopped working. The bulldozer stopped working. A large number of civil service and ambulance cars stopped working because of fuel running out.”

Israel has killed at least 13,000 Palestinians and injured another 30,000 since the start of its assault. The death toll includes at least 5,500 children, or one out of every 200 children in Gaza. Another 1,800 children are missing under the rubble, most of them presumed dead.

Families of Hostages Complete March to Jerusalem as Int’l Talks Indicate Possible Progress

Nov 20, 2023

Over the weekend, reports emerged that talks between Israel, the U.S. and Qatari mediators for Hamas were closing in on a deal to release dozens of women and children hostages and pause fighting for five days.

In Israel, thousands completed a march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Saturday, where they demanded the government do more to release their loved ones who were taken hostage by Hamas on October 7.

Stevie Kerem: “They have to talk to the families. It’s impossible that there are 240 kidnapped people, and the government, our government, isn’t talking to them, isn’t telling them what’s going on, what’s on the table.”

Houthi Fighters Seize Israeli-Linked Japanese Ship in Red Sea

Nov 20, 2023
Image Credit: Owen Foley

Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they seized a Japanese cargo ship in the Red Sea. The vessel, named Galaxy Leader, is reportedly partially owned by an Israeli businessman. Around 25 people are believed to be on board the India-bound ship, though Israel said none of their citizens are among the crew. A Houthi spokesperson warned the international community regional security is at stake unless it helps put an end to the war on Gaza.

Yahya Sarea: “The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm the continuation of carrying out military operations against the Israeli enemy until the aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and the ongoing heinous crimes against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank cease.”

Israeli Forces Continue Deadly Raids in West Bank; Residents of Hebron’s H2 Under Harsh Lockdown

Nov 20, 2023

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces killed at least two Palestinians during multiple raids Sunday. Israeli military and settler attacks have killed some 206 Palestinians in the West Bank since October 7.

Meanwhile, Palestinians living in the West Bank’s heavily fortified and monitored H2 district in Hebron have been under one of its longest and strictest lockdowns ever since the start of the conflict. Some 39,000 Palestinians and around 900 extremist Israeli settlers live in H2. Palestinians have largely been barred from leaving their homes, except during very brief windows, with Israeli soldiers forcing them back inside at gunpoint.

President Biden warned violence against Palestinians in the West Bank could result in a visa ban against Israeli perpetrators. In a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday, Biden also continued to reject a ceasefire in Gaza and called for a two-state solution.

Protesters Call for Gaza Ceasefire at Harvard-Yale Football Game

Nov 20, 2023
Image Credit: Dylan Antonioli

In New Haven, Connecticut, hundreds of students and alumni from Yale and Harvard held a peaceful protest during a football game between the two universities calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Protesters waved Palestinian flags and banners that read “End the Occupation; End the Genocide” and “Free Palestine.” They also demanded Yale and Harvard divest from weapons manufacturers that supply Israel’s military.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this headline inaccurately said the protesters halted the game.

Activists Shut Down Event for California Candidates to U.S. Senate

Nov 20, 2023
Image Credit: Sunrise Movement Sacramento

Palestinian rights advocates shut down a convention organized by the California Democratic Party in Sacramento Saturday. Several protesters held a sit-in, while others marched through the convention hall chanting “Ceasefire now.” Demonstrators also disrupted speeches by U.S. Senate candidates, Congressmembers Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee. Outside the convention, protesters placed 500 pairs of children’s shoes to represent the over 5,000 Palestinian children killed in Gaza.

American Public Health Association Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza

Nov 20, 2023

The American Public Health Association’s governing council is calling on President Biden and Congress to press for a ceasefire in Gaza. A resolution approved last week by 90% of members also calls for the “de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the hostages and those detained; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.” Recently, delegates to the American Medical Association voted against debating a similar resolution calling for a ceasefire in order to protect civilian lives and healthcare personnel. The group Healthcare Workers for Palestine said in response, “The AMA has a responsibility to uphold the well-being of healthcare workers and minimize human suffering, and it is clear that these values are not being upheld by some of the most influential physicians in the country.”

Far-Right Libertarian Javier Milei Elected as Argentina’s Next President

Nov 20, 2023

In Argentina, far-right libertarian Javier Milei has been elected president. Official results Sunday showed Milei, who’s been compared to Donald Trump, with 56% of votes, defeating centrist Peronist candidate Sergio Massa, who conceded defeat. Milei is a climate crisis denier who has proposed banning abortion, easing restrictions on guns, and has vowed to shut down Argentina’s central bank and replace the nation’s currency with the U.S. dollar. Milei has also questioned the tally of murders committed by the Argentine military dictatorship during Argentina’s Dirty War from 1976 to 1983. Milei spoke from Buenos Aires Sunday night.

President-elect Javier Milei: “Argentina’s situation is critical. The changes our country needs are drastic. There’s no room for gradualism. There’s no room for tepidity. There’s no room for half-measures.”

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Joseph Boakai Elected President of Liberia

Nov 20, 2023

In Liberia, incumbent President George Weah conceded a tight race to Joseph Boakai Friday. Voters say Weah was not able to fulfill his promises of reducing poverty, increasing employment and stemming corruption. Boakai, a former vice president under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had lost to Weah in the 2017 presidential election. In a post-election interview, Boakai vowed to redistribute wealth from the exploitation of Liberian resources to its citizens.

President-elect Joseph Boakai: “The mining sector is going to be within our very, very watch. We’re going to know what is happening with our resources, what are the people getting for them and how do — what do we see after they are no longer there.”

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Texas GOP Bills Turn Police into Immigration Enforcers, Criminalize Asylum Seekers

Nov 20, 2023

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign into law a bill approved by lawmakers last week allowing local law enforcement to arrest immigrants and asylum seekers and charge them with a new state crime for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill would also give Texas judges the authority to issue removal orders to Mexico. Meanwhile, other legislation passed by the Republican-majority Texas House last week would appropriate $1.5 billion to build a border wall. The ACLU has condemned the measures, calling them “some of the most radical anti-immigrant bills ever passed by any state.”

U.K. Supreme Court Rejects PM Sunak’s Plan to Deport Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

Nov 20, 2023

In British immigration news, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful. The proposal was first announced last April and met with swift legal challenges and condemnation from rights groups. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would instead seek a formal treaty with Rwanda and introduce “emergency legislation” in hopes of pushing through the plan.

Average Global Temperature Rises 2°C Above Pre-Industrial Levels for First Time on Record

Nov 20, 2023

In climate news, global average surface temperatures on Friday reached more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels. It’s the first time on record that Earth’s daily average temperature has exceeded the 2-degree benchmark. The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement set just 1.5 degrees as the maximum allowable global temperature rise.

Flooding Kills at Least 130 Across Horn of Africa with 770,000 Displaced

Nov 20, 2023

In the Horn of Africa, at least 130 people have been killed after unrelenting heavy rains triggered once-in-a-century flooding in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. More than three-quarters of a million people have been displaced, with the death toll expected to rise. The flooding follows the region’s worst drought in 40 years which pushed millions of people into extreme hunger.

Climate Crisis and Slash-and-Burn Agriculture Drive Record Wildfires in Bolivia

Nov 20, 2023

Bolivia’s Environment Ministry reports a severe drought combined with slash-and-burn farming practices have driven an unprecedented number of wildfires. The fires have scorched nature reserves and Indigenous communities in Bolivia’s Amazon and into neighboring Brazil, killing wildlife and triggering air quality alerts that have forced thousands of schools to cancel classes. On Friday, environmentalists rallied in the capital La Paz to demand government action.

Nataly Zamora: “Millions of animals are dying. Our Mother Earth is dying. Our vegetation, fauna and flora are disappearing. There are thousands of animals. The firemen who are there still cannot put out the fire. We want a national emergency to be declared, because we want our land to be safe.”

Colorado Judge Won’t Bar Donald Trump from 2024 Ballot

Nov 20, 2023

Back in the U.S., a Colorado judge has ruled that Donald Trump “engaged in an insurrection” but that it does not bar him from appearing on the presidential ballot in 2024. The judge ruled the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding office does not apply to presidents. Friday’s ruling comes after courts in Michigan and Minnesota also shot down attempts to keep Trump off those states’ primary ballots.

In related news, new House Speaker Mike Johnson announced he’ll release 44,000 hours of footage from the January 6 Capitol insurrection to the public. With the move, Johnson fulfills a pledge he made to the far-right members of his party, whom he circumvented last week in order to pass a stopgap government funding bill. Extremist conspiracy theories alleging federal agents participated in the attack have already started recirculating since the first 90 hours of footage were released Friday. Democrats and other critics are warning the videos, which show in detail how rioters entered the Capitol complex and how lawmakers escaped, could endanger the safety of staff and congressmembers.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Dies at 96

Nov 20, 2023

Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, has died at the age of 96. Carter served as a longtime political adviser and strategist as Jimmy Carter went from a rural state senator to governor of Georgia in 1970 and president of the United States in 1976. As first lady, Rosalynn Carter joined White House Cabinet meetings and served as an envoy to Latin America. Time magazine in 1979 declared her to be “second most powerful person in the United States.” After leaving the White House, she campaigned to expand U.S. mental healthcare services. She and Jimmy Carter also worked with the charity Habitat for Humanity. Jimmy Carter, who turned 99 in October, entered home hospice care in February. They had just celebrated their 77th anniversary.

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