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HeadlinesDecember 18, 2023

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HRW Accuses Israel of Using Starvation as a Weapon of War in Gaza as Sweeping Assault Continues

Dec 18, 2023

Israel is continuing its deadly attacks across the Gaza Strip, with mass casualties reported in densely populated areas, including the Jabaliya and Nuseirat refugee camps. As the death toll in Gaza nears 19,000, a new Human Right Watch report accuses Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war, which is a war crime. HRW says, “Israeli forces are deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, while willfully impeding humanitarian assistance, apparently razing agricultural areas, and depriving the civilian population of objects indispensable to their survival.”

The damning report comes as another road crossing into Gaza was opened this weekend. But the Karem Abu Salem, or Kerem Shalom, crossing had only allowed 24 trucks carrying medical supplies and fuel to enter as of earlier today. The trucks are required to go through an Israeli checkpoint, effectively delaying aid that used to pass much more freely through the Rafah crossing.

Pope Francis Condemns Shooting of Two Palestinian Women at Gaza’s Catholic Church

Dec 18, 2023

Pope Francis has condemned Israeli “terrorism” after an Israeli soldier shot and killed two Christian women — an elderly woman and her adult daughter who tried to save her — at a Catholic church in Gaza City Sunday. Displaced Christian families have been sheltering at the Holy Family Latin Parish in Gaza City, which came under intense Israeli bombardment over the weekend.

Gaza Hospitals Have Become a “Bloodbath” as Israel Targets Health Facilities, Residential Areas

Dec 18, 2023

Israel also continues to target hospitals across Gaza. On Sunday, an Israeli tank shelled the maternity building at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, killing a 13-year-old girl and injuring several others. In Gaza City, there are reports of continuous gunfire at Al-Shifa Hospital. A team from the World Health Organization that was able to deliver limited relief supplies to Al-Shifa Saturday described the hospital’s emergency ward as a “bloodbath.”

Sean Casey: “This largest referral hospital here in Gaza has become a trauma stabilization point. They could only provide the most basic care for people with very serious injuries and very serious illnesses. There are women delivering in these common spaces that are just absolutely packed to the brim. Most patients are on the floor. A few are in beds and stretchers behind me. The emergency department is just covered in blood, and there are very few staff. Children are being treated on the floor for serious injuries or burns or open wounds.”

Palestinian Authorities Call for Probe into Bulldozing Deaths at Kamal Adwan Hospital

Dec 18, 2023

The Palestinian Health Ministry has called for an urgent investigation into reports that Israeli forces bulldozed tents housing displaced Palestinians in the courtyard of the Kamal Adwan Hospital, crushing people to death inside their makeshift shelters. This comes just days after Israeli troops rounded up men and boys at the hospital, including medical staff. Among those detained was hospital director Dr. Ahmed al-Kahlout.

Dr. Ahmed al-Kahlout: “They raided the building, and they took all the employees for investigation. Also the injured people were being investigated. There were six bodies and a 60-year-old patient who died. They took these bodies. I don’t know what they did with them. According to the employees, they burned the bodies.”

Al Jazeera Journalist Samer Abudaqa Bleeds to Death After Israeli Drone Strike Amid Attack on Press

Dec 18, 2023

Al Jazeera is filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court over the killing of photojournalist Samer Abudaqa, who bled to death over the course of more than five hours on Friday after he was injured in an Israeli drone strike. He was hit while covering the aftermath of Israeli strikes on a U.N. school sheltering displaced people in Khan Younis. Israeli forces reportedly prevented rescue workers from reaching Abudaqa — at one point firing on an ambulance. The same attack injured Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael al-Dahdouh, who in October lost 12 members of his family in an Israeli airstrike, including his wife, son, daughter and grandson.

Elsewhere, Palestinian journalist Mohammed Balousha was shot in the thigh on Saturday in an apparent attack by an Israeli sniper. He was wearing a helmet and press badge when he was fired on. Balousha’s previous reporting about the deaths of premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of Gaza’s besieged al-Nasr Children’s Hospital drew international attention.

In occupied East Jerusalem, photojournalist Mustafa Alkharouf, who works for the Turkish Anadolu outlet, was hospitalized Friday after he was severely beaten by Israeli police officers. Alkharouf had been taking photographs outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque when officers pointed their weapons at him, then threw him to the ground and began beating and kicking him. The attack was caught live on CNN.

We’ll have more on Israel’s attacks on journalists later in the broadcast.

IDF Kills 3 Hostages as Israelis Demand Netanyahu Gov’t Make Deal to Release Remaining Captives

Dec 18, 2023

Israel’s military says it is investigating why its soldiers shot and killed three Israeli hostages on Friday as they approached troops in Gaza City asking for help. An Israeli military official said Sunday the three men were shirtless, with one of them waving a white flag, when troops opened fire on the men in violation of the Israeli military’s rules of engagement. Makeshift signs written in Hebrew reading “S.O.S.” and “help, three hostages” were hung on a building near the spot where the three men were shot dead.

News of the killings sparked protests in Tel Aviv over the weekend. On Saturday, released captives demanded the Israeli government act decisively to free the more than 100 remaining hostages held in Gaza. This is Danielle Aloni.

Danielle Aloni: “My daughter was there. Every day that passes is a danger to their lives. I was there. My daughter was there. Do not abandon the hostages. We must act now. A deal is required today. Bring them home now!”

This comes amid reports the head of the Israeli spy agency Mossad met with the Qatari prime minister in Oslo over the weekend to discuss the possibility of relaunching talks to release the remaining hostages.

U.K. and Germany Call for “Sustainable Ceasefire in Gaza”

Dec 18, 2023

In a significant shift, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for a “sustainable ceasefire” in a joint article in The Sunday Times. The pair said efforts should be focused on a two-state solution after the assault comes to an end. The U.K. and Germany had previously declined to call for a ceasefire and abstained from voting last week on the U.N. General Assembly’s ceasefire resolution.

Also on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna called for an “immediate and durable truce” while meeting with her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen in Tel Aviv, saying “too many civilians are being killed” in Gaza.

This comes as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel earlier today, where he is expected to focus talks on transitioning to a “lower intensity” war. Austin traveled to Israel from Kuwait, where he paid his respects after the death of Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, who was buried Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is voting today on a new resolution calling for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access in the Gaza Strip.”

Rudy Giuliani Ordered to Pay $148 Million to Georgia Election Workers He Defamed After Trump Loss

Dec 18, 2023

Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, has been ordered to pay $148 million in damages to two former Georgia election workers he defamed after the 2020 election. Giuliani falsely accused Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss of ballot tampering, leading to harassment and threats against the two women by Trump supporters. This is Shaye Moss speaking after the verdict Friday.

Shaye Moss: “The flame that Giuliani lit with those lies and passed to so many others to keep that flame blazing changed every aspect of our lives — our homes, our family, our work, our sense of safety, our mental health. And we’re still working to rebuild.”

It’s not clear whether Giuliani will be able to pull together the money and how much the two women would end up receiving. Giuliani has vowed to appeal.

Trump Ramps Up Violent Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric as He Campaigns for 2024

Dec 18, 2023

Donald Trump has intensified his hate speech and attacks on immigrants ahead of Iowa’s Republican presidential primary next month. Trump spoke at a rally in New Hampshire Saturday.

Donald Trump: “They’re poisoning the blood of our country. That’s what they’ve done. They’ve poisoned. Mental institutions and prisons all over the world, not just in South America, not just the three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world, they’re coming into our country, from Africa, from Asia.”

If reelected president, Trump has vowed to accelerate mass deportations and enact many of his previous anti-immigrant policies. The White House condemned Trump’s remarks as fascist and said he was “parroting Adolf Hitler.” But President Biden has also been widely criticized for perpetuating border and immigration restrictions similar to Trump’s, including asylum bans, detention and large-scale deportations.

Ohio Prosecutors Charge Black Woman with “Felony Abuse of a Corpse” After Miscarriage

Dec 18, 2023

In Ohio, prosecutors have criminally charged a woman for having a miscarriage at home, sparking widespread outrage. Brittany Watts, a Black woman, was told by her doctor that her 21-week pregnancy was nonviable. Although abortion is legal in Ohio until 22 weeks, Watts was not able to have her labor induced over hospital concerns about potential legal issues. She had a miscarriage at home in her bathroom. After the miscarriage, Watts became ill and was treated in the hospital, where a nurse called the police after Watts told her she had to dispose of the contents of her miscarriage. Brittany Watts, who was still sick and grieving the loss of her pregnancy, was questioned by a police officer in her hospital room. Two weeks later, Ohio authorities charged Watts with felony abuse of a corpse, which carries a possible sentence of a year in prison.

Opposition Parties Claim Vote Rigging as Serbia’s Ruling Party Wins Snap Elections

Dec 18, 2023

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has declared victory after his right-wing populist party appeared to be on course for an absolute majority in Serbia’s parliament after a snap election on Sunday. Opposition candidates accused Vučić’s ruling party of vote rigging and voter intimidation and said it would lodge official complaints with the state election commission.

Far-Right Argentine President Javier Milei Announces Plans to Crack Down on Protests

Dec 18, 2023

In Argentina, human rights advocates warn of a looming crackdown by the government of far-right President Javier Milei to suppress anticipated protests in response to Milei’s economic reforms and the drastic devaluation of the Argentinian currency. The plan targets the blockade of roads and major highways, while Milei’s security minister said last week protesters would be surveilled with “video, digital or manual means.” The move was condemned by leaders across Latin America. This is Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: “Don’t fall into any provocation. Nonviolence and civil peaceful resistance are politically effective. Don’t expose yourself to danger. Avoid harassment. But that does not mean not protesting.”

Chilean Voters Reject Replacing Pinochet-Era Constitution with Document Drafted by Conservatives

Dec 18, 2023

Chilean voters have rejected a new draft of the constitution proposed by conservative lawmakers to replace the Pinochet dictatorship-era charter. Sunday’s vote came over one year since Chileans also rejected a separate draft put together by progressives that would have expanded Indigenous rights, abortion access and addressed the climate crisis. The conservative proposal could have further restricted reproductive rights. Chilean President Gabriel Boric said Sunday his government won’t attempt to change the constitution for a third time.

President Gabriel Boric: “The constitutional referendum was supposed to bring hope, but it generated frustration and even weariness in a big part of the population. We cannot ignore this. Politics is so weak, and it is essential that these results have an immediate effect. Without any more delays nor excuses, we’ll focus everyone’s work to create deals and solutions Chile needs for education, security, economy and social issues.”

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