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HeadlinesDecember 06, 2023

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Israeli Forces Intensify Assault on Khan Younis as U.N. Official Decries “Apocalyptic” Situation

Dec 06, 2023

In Gaza, Israeli tanks are pushing further into the southern city of Khan Younis as its deadly ground assault continues and Palestinian casualties rise. The few functioning hospitals remain completely swamped with an influx of injured people, many of them children. The WHO called the assault on Gaza “humanity’s darkest hour.” At least 16,200 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since October 7. The U.N.'s top humanitarian relief coordinator said Israel's attack in southern Gaza has been as devastating as in the north, with the “apocalyptic” conditions preventing the delivery of aid. Some 85% of the population has now been displaced.

Ibrahim Mahram: “We suffered from the war of cannons and escaped it to arrive at the war of starvation. Now we cannot find food. We make the food by ourselves. We divide one tomato between all of us. … There is no safe place. They finish off one place at a time, and only God knows where we will end up. Are we going to be alive? Are we going to be martyrs? We do not know what our destiny is. Today I eat, but I do not know if I’m going to eat tomorrow.”

IDF Spokesperson Lauds Reported Ratio of 2 Civilians Killed for Death of Every Hamas Fighter

Dec 06, 2023

An Israeli military spokesperson appeared on CNN Tuesday and touted a report released this week which said the IDF killed some 5,000 Hamas fighters, which would equal roughly two civilians killed for every Hamas member.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus: “You will find that that ratio is tremendous, tremendously positive, and perhaps unique in the world.”

The comments were swiftly condemned, and the accuracy of the figures have apparently not been verified outside of the Israeli military.

U.S. Bans Visas for Settlers Involved in Violence; Divided Senate Votes on Israeli, Ukraine Funding

Dec 06, 2023

The Biden administration announced Tuesday it would ban visas for Israeli settlers involved in surging West Bank violence. Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed at least 260 Palestinians and wounded over 3,000 in the occupied West Bank since October 7.

The U.S. government’s rare rebuke of Israel comes as the Senate is voting today on a $106 billion spending package which would send more military funding to Ukraine and Israel. Senate Republicans vowed to block the package over its lack of funding for so-called border security. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke out against the bill on the Senate floor Monday.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “I do not believe we should be appropriating over $10 billion for the right-wing extremist Netanyahu government to continue its current military approach. What the Netanyahu government is doing is immoral. It is in violation of international law. And the United States should not be complicit.”

Despite his condemnation of Israeli violence, Sanders has refused to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

14 Congressmembers Vote Against House Resolution Conflating Anti-Zionism with Antisemitism

Dec 06, 2023

Thirteen House Democrats and one Republican, Congressmember Thomas Massie, voted against a new resolution explicitly equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism Tuesday. Ninety-two Democrats voted “present.” The resolution also states the phrase “from the river to the sea” — a popular slogan at protests for Palestinian rights — is a call for the “eradication of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.” Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American congressmember, wrote, “Opposing the policies of the government of Israel and Netanyahu’s extremism is not antisemitic. Speaking up for human rights and a ceasefire to save lives should never be condemned.”

AIPAC Throws Millions at Possible Insurgent Campaigns to Unseat Progressive Democrats

Dec 06, 2023

In a mounting offensive by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to unseat progressives who speak up for Palestinian rights, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, who has been courted by AIPAC, announced earlier today he is launching a primary challenge against New York Congressmember Jamaal Bowman.

Last month, two Michigan Democrats running for the U.S. Senate revealed AIPAC offered them $20 million to instead primary Congressmember Rashida Tlaib for her House seat. Nasser Beydoun, a Lebanese American businessman, and Hill Harper, a Hollywood actor-turned-politician, both turned AIPAC down.

Meanwhile, a new book by journalist Ryan Grim reports an AIPAC representative approached Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with an offer to raise $100,000 after her stunning 2018 win. The fundraising was presented as an opening salvo to “start the conversation” about AOC’s position on Israel.

Advocates Condemn Lack of Attention to Sexual Assault Accusations Against Hamas

Dec 06, 2023

The U.N. on Monday heard accounts of sexual assaults during Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel. Speakers criticized the U.N. and others for failing to promptly investigate and condemn sexual crimes. Former Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who helped organize the event, was a key speaker. Hillary Clinton sent in videotaped remarks. President Biden on Tuesday condemned Hamas for the alleged attacks, which the group has denied. The nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights–Israel last month released a report detailing survivor accounts of sexual assaults, which it said were “widespread” on October 7. This is Orit Soliciano, head of Israel’s Association of Rape Crisis Centers.

Orit Soliciano: “Most of the people, I assume, that have passed this kind of terror are dead, because they were shot. There are — there is information from people who saw what happened, but everybody should understand: There should not be any anticipation that the survivors will come and speak out loud with their face. It’s not like #MeToo. This is a horrible and different thing.”

Senate Confirms 400+ Military Nominees After Sen. Tuberville Ends 10-Month Blockade

Dec 06, 2023

Four hundred military nominees were swiftly confirmed by the Senate Tuesday, just hours after Alabama Republican Tommy Tuberville lifted his 10-month blockade on the majority of appointments. Tuberville had been protesting a completely unrelated Pentagon policy that pays out-of-state travel costs for its staff to receive abortion care. He finally relented after mounting pressure from fellow Republicans and threats from Democrats to temporarily change Senate rules in order to bypass the blockade.

In related news, the military’s top sexual assault prosecutor has been fired after an email surfaced in which he undermined assault allegations of survivors. Brigadier General Warren Wells sent the email to staff in 2013, which read, in part, “Expect no commander to be able to make objective decisions involving allegations as long [as] Congress and our political masters are dancing by the fire of misleading statistics and one-sided, repetitive misinformation by those with an agenda.”

Woman Sues Texas After She Was Denied an Abortion for Nonviable Pregnancy

Dec 06, 2023

In Texas, a pregnant woman has filed an emergency lawsuit seeking to terminate her nonviable pregnancy. Thirty-one-year-old Kate Cox is 20 weeks pregnant with a fetus that has been diagnosed with trisomy 18, a fatal condition, but is unable to get the abortion she needs due to Texas’s sweeping ban. It’s the first legal complaint filed in Texas since the ban was enacted, and reads, “Ms. Cox’s physicians have informed her that their 'hands are tied' and she will have to wait until her baby dies inside her or carry the pregnancy to term, at which point she will be forced to have a third C-section, only to watch her baby suffer until death.”

Drone Attack in Nigeria’s Kaduna State Kills 85 Civilians Celebrating Religious Holiday

Dec 06, 2023

In Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu ordered an investigation following a miscalculated military drone strike that killed at least 85 civilians Sunday in the village of Tudun Biri in northwest Kaduna state. The victims were gathering for a religious celebration, marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. This is a survivor recounting the tragic attack.

Hauwa Yakuba: “We were celebrating Maulud when the airplane came and dropped the bomb. Some died, some got injured, and we all ran into the house. When the men in the village heard what happened, they came out to check. And that was when they dropped the second one, and more people died.”

Drones are estimated to have erroneously killed some 400 civilians since 2017, in attacks that were targeting armed groups in the north of Nigeria.

Honduras Issues Arrest Warrant for Suspected Mastermind in Berta Cáceres Assassination

Dec 06, 2023

Honduran authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the suspected mastermind of the 2016 murder of Indigenous environmental leader Berta Cáceres. Daniel Atala Midence is the former financial manager of the hydroelectric company DESA. Berta Cáceres was assassinated as she led the fight against DESA’s massive hydroelectric dam on a river in southwestern Honduras that’s sacred to the Lenca people. Last year, David Castillo, a former U.S.-trained Honduran military officer and businessman, was sentenced to over 22 years for his role in ordering and planning the assassination.

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