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HeadlinesDecember 11, 2023

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Displacement, Disease and Death Plague Gazans as Israel Continues Its Genocidal Assault

Dec 11, 2023

Israel’s unrelenting assault on the Gaza Strip continues as the death toll has reached 18,000 Palestinians killed in just over two months. Airstrikes rocked the Nuseirat and Maghazi refugee camps in central Gaza overnight. At least 23 people were killed in Maghazi. Airstrikes also struck at least two residential homes in Rafah. Meanwhile, the ground battle is pushing ahead in Khan Younis, which is under heavy bombardment.

Gazan women say Israeli soldiers forced them to leave their husbands and sons behind and flee their Gaza City homes. They spoke from the Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Deir al-Balah where they were taking refuge.

Amnah Abu Zor: “They made us go to the south. They did not let us wait for our husbands. They said, 'Go to the south from here, and that is it,' and they made us leave. They lied to us, saying the road is safe, but they were shooting us throughout the way.”

Dina Abu Zor: “We asked the Israeli interrogator, 'Where are our male relatives?' He said, 'They are gone. No one is left.' We asked about the children. He said all of them are gone. Palestine is gone. Gaza is gone.”

The mass displacement and war on the besieged territory has led to a public health disaster. The U.N.'s World Food Programme warns half of Gaza's population of over 2 million people is starving and that nine out of 10 people are not able to eat every day. As clean water becomes more scarce, diarrhea, skin infections, acute viral hepatitis, scabies and measles are multiplying. Earlier today, the World Health Organization passed a resolution calling for immediate humanitarian aid access and an end to fighting in Gaza.

In the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, usually busy streets and commercial areas are empty today in observance of a general strike for Gaza. Global actions are also taking place today, including marches and calls to refrain from buying anything.

Meanwhile, a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon is warning the likelihood of a “wider conflict” is increasing amid escalating cross-border violence between Israel and Hezbollah.

UNGA to Convene on Gaza Ceasefire After U.S. Vetoes Security Council Resolution

Dec 11, 2023

The U.N. General Assembly will hold a special session Tuesday after Egypt and Mauritania invoked Resolution 377, known as “Uniting for Peace.” The move came in response to the U.S. on Friday again vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza. Resolution 377 is designed to be deployed when the Security Council fails to “exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for the U.N. body to be reformed Saturday following the U.S. veto.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “With the torment in Gaza, we believe that this helpless and dysfunctional structure of the United Nations will be questioned all over the world. Look, I am saying very openly: Nothing can continue as business as usual after Gaza.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department bypassed congressional review to approve the emergency sale of over $100 million in tank ammunition to Israel.

UPenn President Steps Down Amid Right-Wing Firestorm over Pro-Palestinian Movement on Campuses

Dec 11, 2023

The president of the University of Pennsylvania has stepped down following intense Republican-led backlash over her handling of antisemitism on campus and her contentious testimony before Congress last week. Liz Magill’s resignation Saturday, followed by that of UPenn Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok, came amid a mounting attack on students calling for Palestinian rights on campus. Right-wing Congressmember Elise Stefanik, who grilled Magill during her congressional testimony, wrote on social media, “One down. Two to go,” as Stefanik also seeks the ouster of Harvard President Claudine Gay and MIT President Sally Kornbluth, who also testified.

COP28 Seeks Agreement on Fossil Fuel Phaseout Amid OPEC Pushback

Dec 11, 2023

In Dubai, members of the oil producer alliance OPEC+ have been blocking progress toward a global agreement to phase out the use of fossil fuels as the U.N.’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai barrels toward its conclusion on Tuesday. Led by Saudi Arabia, delegates from OPEC countries backed by coal, oil and gas lobbyists have rejected any draft text that even mentions fossil fuels. This is Democratic U.S. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts speaking from the sidelines of the COP28 talks on Sunday.

Sen. Ed Markey: ”COP should conclude with a final statement that says that the world wants to end this addiction, it wants to phase out fossil fuels. OPEC does not want to phase out fossil fuels. They made that very clear yesterday.”

On Saturday, hundreds marched within the conference site calling for an end of the burning of fossil fuels, as well as a ceasefire in Gaza.

Daniela Marques: “We’re here to say how megacorporations and fossil fuels industry is melting the planet. We’re here to defend a phaseout of fossil fuels.”

Demonstrations at COP28 were met with heavy censorship. Protesters saw their movements sharply restricted, were barred from displaying national flags and were given strict limits on what their signs could say and what slogans they were allowed to chant. Another group that rallied to demand the release of pro-democracy activists detained in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt were not allowed to hold up signs bearing the names of the political prisoners. A Human Rights Watch researcher called the crackdown a “shocking level of censorship in a space that had been guaranteed to have basic freedoms protected like freedom of expression, assembly and association.”

TX Supreme Court Blocks Emergency Abortion; Kentucky Patient Challenges Abortion Ban

Dec 11, 2023

The Texas Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that would have allowed a 20-week-pregnant woman to get an abortion. Ken Paxton, Texas’s Republican attorney general, intervened to stop the emergency procedure and threatened to prosecute any providers involved in giving 31-year-old Kate Cox an abortion. Doctors have told Cox that carrying the nonviable pregnancy to term could make it impossible for her to have more children. Cox’s lawyer at the Center for Reproductive Rights says that even if the Texas Supreme Court allows the lower court order to stay in place, the delay in treatment could mean “justice delayed will be justice denied.”

Meanwhile, a pregnant woman in Kentucky is suing over her state’s near-total ban on abortions. The lawsuit argues the ban violates Kentucky’s Constitution. The plaintiff is also seeking class-action status so that any positive outcome can be applied to all pregnant people in Kentucky who need or want an abortion. This is Rebecca Gibron, head of Planned Parenthood Kentucky, which is also a plaintiff in the case.

Rebecca Gibron: “In America, every eight hours a woman dies from pregnancy complications. And evidence is correlating abortion bans as a key factor driving increasing maternal and infant death rates. Tragically, Kentucky has one of the highest maternal death rates in this country.”

Oxford High School Shooter Sentenced to a Life Behind Bars

Dec 11, 2023

A judge in Michigan has sentenced the Oxford High School mass shooter to multiple life sentences without parole. Ethan Crumbley was just 15 when he opened fire on the school in November 2021, killing four people and injuring seven others. This is a former student and survivor speaking at the sentencing hearing.

Riley Franz: “I, Riley Franz, am a survivor of gun violence. I, Riley Franz, am a survivor of a terrible epidemic caused by a broken system. But I refuse to be known as a victim at the hands of an individual with no regard for others. His selfishness will not consume my identity. I am so much more than a victim.”

“There Is No Alternative to Shock”: Far-Right Javier Milei Sworn In as President of Argentina

Dec 11, 2023

In Argentina, far-right libertarian Javier Milei has been sworn in as president. He delivered an inaugural speech Sunday from Buenos Aires.

President Javier Milei: “There is no alternative to adjustment, and there is no other alternative to shock. Naturally, this will have a negative impact on the level of activity, employment, real wages and the number of poor.”

Javier Milei is a climate crisis denier who has proposed banning abortion and easing restrictions on guns. He has also vowed to shut down Argentina’s central bank and replace the nation’s currency with the U.S. dollar.

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Children of Jailed Iranian Activist Narges Mohammadi Accept Nobel Peace Prize for Their Mother

Dec 11, 2023

The children of jailed Iranian human rights leader Narges Mohammadi accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of their mother at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, Sunday. Seventeen-year-old twins Kiana and Ali Rahmani, who live in France, read their mother’s speech, which was smuggled out of Tehran’s Evin Prison. This is Ali.

Ali Rahmani: “The reality is that the regime of the Islamic Republic is at its lowest level of legitimacy and popular support, situated in a position of unstable equlibrium, and the emergence of any element as a catalyst for change will mark the final form of opposition policies and the transition from religious tyranny.”

Narges Mohammadi started a new hunger strike the day of the Nobel ceremony in solidarity with the persecuted Baha’i religious minority in Iran.

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