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HeadlinesDecember 08, 2023

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Israeli Soldiers Strip and Detain Palestinians in Gaza, Including Journalist and Other Civilians

Dec 08, 2023

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees warns civil order is “breaking down” in the Gaza Strip as Israel continues its unrelenting assault. In one of the latest attacks, dozens of Palestinians were killed and injured as Israeli warplanes struck near the al-Amal Hospital and the Palestinian Red Crescent’s headquarters in Khan Younis. In Gaza City, Doctors Without Borders reports 115 Palestinians were brought to the Al-Aqsa Hospital Thursday dead on arrival. The medical charity said in a statement, “The hospital is full, the morgue is full. We call on Israeli Forces to stop the indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. We need a ceasefire now.” 

Video has emerged showing Israeli soldiers in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza detaining over 100 Palestinian men at gunpoint, forcing them to strip to their underwear while lined up, kneeling on the pavement. Among those detained was Diaa Al-Kahlout, a Palestinian journalist with the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. In a statement, the newspaper condemned the mistreatment of Al-Kahlout and other civilians, saying Israeli forces “deliberately subjected the Gazans to degrading treatment, forcing them to disrobe, conducting intrusive searches, and subjecting them to humiliation upon arrest, before forcibly transporting them to undisclosed locations.” 

In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry reports at least six Palestinians were killed and many others wounded in Israeli raids overnight.

Israeli Airstrike Kills Palestinian Academic and Activist Refaat Alareer and Family Members

Dec 08, 2023

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza has killed the prominent Palestinian academic and activist Refaat Alareer, along with his brother, his sister and her four children. He authored dozens of stories and poems about life under Israeli occupation. Refaat Alareer spoke to Democracy Now! in October as Israeli strikes rattled his family’s home in Gaza City.

Refaat Alareer: “We speak about thousands, hundreds and thousands of Israeli bombs and shells targeting all areas of the Gaza Strip. The kids can’t sleep. The kids can’t eat. The kids can’t even speak. Most of the time they’re just mute, silent, shaking out of fear, sometimes whimpering because of how close the bombs are wherever you are in Gaza.”

After headlines, we’ll speak with Jehad Abusalim, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and former student of Refaat Alareer, whom Abusalim described as a teacher, mentor and friend.

Netanyahu Threatens to Reduce Beirut to Rubble If Hezbollah Increases Attacks

Dec 08, 2023

An anti-tank missile fired by Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon killed an Israeli civilian on Thursday. The cross-border attack prompted retaliatory fire from Israeli tanks and helicopter gunships. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to reduce Lebanon’s capital Beirut to rubble if Hezbollah increases its attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “If Hezbollah chooses to start an all-out war, then it will, by its own hands, turn Beirut and southern Lebanon, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Younis.”

Released Captives Confront Israeli War Cabinet over Response to Hostage Crisis

Dec 08, 2023

In Tel Aviv, friends and family of Israelis held hostage by Hamas held a candle-lighting ceremony Thursday marking the start of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. This is Daniel Lifshitz, whose 83-year-old grandfather Oded was kidnapped by Hamas and brought to the Gaza Strip on October 7.

Daniel Lifshitz: “So, we light the candles for the return of the hostages, for the release of the hostages, to make a deal for the hostages. And that’s what we are here for.”

On Tuesday, released Israeli hostages joined the loved ones of Israelis still held captive, in a meeting with Netanyahu and his war cabinet. Ha’aretz reports one woman whose release was negotiated during an exchange of captives assailed Israeli leaders for indiscriminate attacks that put hostages at risk. She said, “We slept in tunnels, and we feared not Hamas, but Israel might kill us, and then it would have been said, 'Hamas killed you.'”

Another former hostage whose husband remains a captive cited recent reports in The Wall Street Journal that Israel has drawn up plans to flood Gaza’s network of underground tunnels with seawater — a move that could foul Gaza’s supply of drinking water for decades. She said, “He was taken to the tunnels, and you talk about washing the tunnels with seawater. You prioritize politics over the hostages!”

Venezuela Orders Oil Companies to Begin Exploring Disputed Essequibo Region 

Dec 08, 2023

The United States military has launched joint flight drills with Guyana as the White House reaffirmed its “unwavering support” of Guyanese sovereignty amid mounting tensions with Venezuela over the disputed oil-rich Essequibo region. After holding a referendum on the issue last weekend, the Venezuelan government ordered its state-owned companies to start exploring oil and mineral reserves in Essequibo, which represents roughly two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. Guyana has asked the International Court of Justice to reaffirm current borders. This is Guyanese President Irfaan Ali.

President Irfaan Ali: “We will not allow our territory to be violated nor the development of our country to be stymied by this desperate threat.”

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Thursday regional groups should help find a peaceful resolution, adding, “We do not need war in South America.”

Texas Judge Intervenes to Allow Pregnant Woman to Receive Critical Abortion Care

Dec 08, 2023

In Texas, a judge granted a temporary restraining order Thursday against the state’s sweeping abortion ban, to allow a 20-week-pregnant woman with a nonviable fetus to get an abortion. Thirty-one-year-old Kate Cox filed the first-of-its-kind lawsuit last week. Travis County Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said it was “unforgivable that she was forced to go to court” to seek emergency medical care.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble: “The idea that Ms. Cox wants desperately to be a parent and this law might actually cause her to lose that ability is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice.”

Following the judge’s ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to prosecute any providers involved in Kate Cox’s abortion care.

Trump Supporters in Nevada and Wisconsin Brought to Justice Over “Fake Electors” Scheme

Dec 08, 2023

A Nevada grand jury has indicted six fake Trump electors who falsely claimed Trump won the 2020 vote in Nevada. They face felony charges with penalties that could see them sentenced to up to five years in prison.

In Wisconsin, 10 pro-Trump Republicans involved in their state’s “fake elector” scheme admitted Biden won Wisconsin in 2020, as part of a legal settlement. The agreement compels the 10 fake electors to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigations into Trump’s election fraud and the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

DOJ Indicts Hunter Biden for Tax Evasion

Dec 08, 2023

The Justice Department indicted Hunter Biden Thursday on nine counts of tax evasion. The indictment, filed in California, accuses President Biden’s son of withholding at least $1.4 million in federal taxes owed from 2016 through 2019, including income from foreign businesses in Ukraine and China. This comes as Hunter Biden is already facing federal firearms charges in Delaware.

Benjamin Zephaniah, Anti-Imperialist Poet and Activist, Dies at 65

Dec 08, 2023

Benjamin Zephaniah, a British activist and poet whose works were inspired by his Jamaican and Barbadian roots, has died at the age of 65. Zephaniah published his first collection of reggae-inspired dub poetry after he moved to London in 1979, tackling topics like racism and poverty. He was also one of the first poets to address the climate crisis. In 2003, Zephaniah refused the prestigious OBE award, which stands for Order of the British Empire. In an op-ed, he wrote, “no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.” In 2010, Zephaniah spoke to Democracy Now! just after he joined the British production of “The People Speak,” a people’s history of Britain inspired by the work of the late historian Howard Zinn.

Benjamin Zephaniah: “I didn’t know big words like 'democracy.' I didn’t know the difference between left or right or anything like that. I just knew I was suffering racism, I was suffering police brutality, our schools were run down, our houses were run down, and I wanted to speak about it. It was political, but I couldn’t spell the word 'politics.' I just wanted to talk about the conditions we lived in.”

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