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HeadlinesFebruary 01, 2024

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Mass Grave in Gaza Points to “Execution-Style” Killings by Israeli Forces

Feb 01, 2024

Palestinian officials are accusing Israeli forces of carrying out “execution-style” killings in Gaza after the discovery of a mass grave containing at least 30 decomposing bodies. Some of the victims were blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs with zip ties. The bodies were found on the grounds of a school in Beit Lahia. Al Jazeera spoke to one man who helped discover the bodies.

Palestinian man: “Inside the schoolyard, we were shocked to find the dead bodies. Those are Palestinian civilians, blindfolded and handcuffed at the back. The dead bodies were kept inside black plastic bags.”

The discovery of the mass grave comes as the death toll in Gaza has topped 27,000. At least another 66,000 have been injured. The group Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor is now estimating that more than 25,000 Palestinian children have lost one or both parents in Gaza over the past four months.

Gaza Health Providers Confront Monumental Challenges to Save Lives Despite Destroyed Medical System

Feb 01, 2024

In central Gaza, the two largest hospitals in Khan Younis have run out of food amid Israel’s assault on the city. Dr. Nassim Hassan, the head of the emergency unit at Nasser Hospital, denounced Israel’s attacks on medical institutions.

Dr. Nassim Hassan: “We are talking about war and genocide against everyone. What’s happening now in Gaza, since the beginning of the war until now, is a war against hospitals, a war against the healthcare system. Yes, hospitals have been destroyed, medical storehouses, as well. Many ambulance vehicles were destroyed. Many EMS officers were martyred. There have been direct and indirect targeting of paramedics.”

On the diplomatic front, Hamas’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, is reportedly in Cairo today as negotiations continue over a possible pause in the fighting and a new hostage deal. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also headed back to Israel in the coming days.

South Africa Urges Nations to Halt Military Support for Israel Following ICJ Genocide Case

Feb 01, 2024

In more news on Gaza, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has called on all nations to halt military support to Israel after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel last week to prevent genocide in Gaza. Pandor spoke in Pretoria, South Africa.

Naledi Pandor: “This necessarily imposes an obligation on all states to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions, which, as the court has indicated, are plausibly genocidal.”

U.S. Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Biden But Does Not Rule Out Israel Is Committing Genocide

Feb 01, 2024

In related news, a U.S. federal court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of Palestinian Americans against President Biden and other officials for failing to prevent genocide in Gaza. The court dismissed the suit on jurisdictional grounds but ruled that it is plausible that Israel is engaging in genocide. In its ruling, the court wrote the evidence and testimony presented “indicate that the ongoing military siege in Gaza is intended to eradicate a whole people and therefore plausibly falls within the international prohibition against genocide.” The lawsuit had been brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Click here to see our coverage of the case.

U.S. Strikes Houthi Targets in Yemen; Kata’ib Hezbollah to Suspend Attacks on U.S. Forces

Feb 01, 2024

U.S. forces have bombed Yemen again. U.S. Central Command said the attack targeted 10 Houthi drones and a ground control center. The Houthis have vowed to continue targeting ships linked to Israel and the United States until Israel halts its assault on Gaza.

Meanwhile, NBC News is reporting President Biden is considering launching a weekslong retaliatory campaign against Iran-backed militant groups following Sunday’s deadly drone strike on a secret U.S. airbase in Jordan. On Wednesday, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Tehran was “not looking for war.” One powerful Iraq-based militia group, Kata’ib Hezbollah, has announced it will halt operations targeting the United States in the region, saying it wanted to “prevent embarrassment” to the Iraqi government. The Biden administration had accused the group of being involved in the Jordan drone attack.

Chicago Becomes Largest U.S. City to Pass Gaza Ceasefire Resolution

Feb 01, 2024

The Chicago City Council narrowly voted Wednesday to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire. Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson cast the tie-breaking vote, which was met with an eruption of cheers from activists who had gathered in the hundreds at City Hall to support the measure. Rev. Jesse Jackson was also present to show his support. At least 47 U.S. cities have passed resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, another Democratic mayor, Jacob Frey, vetoed a City Council resolution calling for a ceasefire that was passed last week. Frey said the measure was too “one-sided” in favor of Palestinians and that he is open to signing a ceasefire resolution that is more “unifying.” The resolution was passed with a veto-proof majority, so councilmembers could still decide to override Mayor Frey’s veto.

Protesters Target Biden Administration over U.S. Backing of Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Feb 01, 2024

Protests against the U.S.-funded war in Gaza continue across the country. Activists have been camped outside the Virginia home of Secretary of State Antony Blinken for a week, loudly chanting slogans through megaphones like “Secretary of genocide” and encouraging passing cars to honk.

On Capitol Hill, five activists with CodePink were arrested earlier this week as the group disrupted a House hearing on the U.S.’s decision to suspend funding for UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

Yesterday, members of the Arab American community in Dearborn, Michigan, gathered to protest against Biden ahead of his visit today to the key swing state, and just weeks ahead of Michigan’s February 27 presidential primary.

Samraa Luqman: “I voted for Bernie Sanders, which tells you where I was on the spectrum. And to have a person like me to go from that extreme to say that I’m now willing to vote for Trump in order to oust Genocide Joe, it’s really a testament to how Biden has lost big time within my community.”

Kenya’s Ruto Vows to Send Forces to Haiti, Despite Court Order, as Gang Violence, Incl. Rape, Soars

Feb 01, 2024

Kenyan President William Ruto is vowing to proceed with a plan to send 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti despite a court ruling that the deployment would be unconstitutional. The U.N. Security Council approved the mission last year as part of an effort to help combat gang violence, which has grown under Haiti’s unelected leader, U.S.-backed Ariel Henry, who has ruled since the 2021 assassination of Jovenel Moïse.

Meanwhile, the U.N. and aid groups are warning about a surge in sexual assaults and collective rapes in Haiti as gangs fight to expand their power.
On Wednesday, protesters in Port-au-Prince burned barricades to protest Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s rule.

Protester: “The people can’t take it anymore, because Ariel Henry is building gangs to plunder and destroy these people. Well, today we say that the battle for the revolution is possible. The final fight for justice is possible. We must disrupt this Ariel with all his team, to give this country another direction.”

European Farmers Gather in Brussels to Put Pressure on EU Lawmakers After Weeks of Protests

Feb 01, 2024

In Belgium, farmers from across Europe have converged in the capital Brussels, calling on EU leaders to end free trade agreements that allow cheaper goods to dominate the market, and ease environmental regulations. Hundreds of tractors have taken over Luxembourg Square, near the European Parliament. Farmers clashed with police, who hosed some of the protesters with water. This is an Italian farmer.

Enrico Parisi: “First of all, we decided to come here to join with other kind of European young farmers to create a unique voice, not against, but with the cooperation of the European Parliament and the other kind of politicians, because we’d like to safeguard our tradition, our farmers’ moods, our quality of food, but to safeguard the majority part of this kind of situation, the dignified — a dignified income.”

The farmer protests, which started in France but soon spread across the EU, have disrupted traffic and led to confrontations with police in recent weeks amid rising tensions ahead of today’s EU summit. Some far-right, nationalist leaders have seized on the movement to gain traction and foment anti-EU sentiment, including France’s Marine Le Pen and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who met with farmers in Brussels earlier today.

“You Have Blood on Your Hands”: Senators Go After Social Media CEOs in Fiery Senate Hearing

Feb 01, 2024

On Capitol Hill, senators on the Judiciary Committee grilled the CEOs of Meta, TikTok, X, Snapchat and Discord Wednesday, arguing social media companies must be held accountable for the sexual exploitation of children that their apps facilitate and the harmful effects of their products on the mental health of young people. This is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham addressing Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “You and the companies before us, I know you don’t mean it to be so, but you have blood on your hands. You have a product — you have a product that’s killing people. When we had cigarettes killing people, we did something about it, maybe not enough. You’re going to talk about guns; we have the ATF. Nothing here. There’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it. You can’t be sued.”

In one of the session’s most sensational moments, Mark Zuckerberg stood up and apologized to the families who were present at the hearing, after being pressured by Republican Senator Josh Hawley.

Mark Zuckerberg: “I’m sorry for everything that you have all gone through. It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered. And this is why we invest so much and are going to continue doing industry-leading efforts to make sure that no one has to go through the types of things that your families have had to suffer.”

Many families held up photos of their children, who died or were harmed by social media. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel also directly apologized to families after prompting from California Democrat Laphonza Butler.

Tom Cotton Uses Senate Tech Hearing to Redbait TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew

Feb 01, 2024

Republican Tom Cotton hounded TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, who is Singaporean, over his citizenship and ties to the Chinese government.

Sen. Tom Cotton: “Have you ever been a member of the Chinese Communist Party?”

Shou Zi Chew: “Senator, I’m Singaporean. No.”

Sen. Tom Cotton: “Have you ever been associated or affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party?”

Shou Zi Chew: “No, Senator. Again, I’m Singaporean.”

Cotton and Republican colleagues have called for TikTok to be banned, claiming it is a “spy app for the Chinese Communist Party.”

Progressives Vote “No” on $78B Bill That Trades Corporate Tax Breaks for Reduced Child Tax Credit

Feb 01, 2024

On Capitol Hill, the House on Wednesday passed a $78 billion bill that would expand the child tax credit while reviving some corporate tax breaks. While hailed as a bipartisan victory by centrist lawmakers, around two dozen Democrats voted against it. Progressive Texas Congressmember Greg Casar was one of them, arguing, “In exchange for a partial return of the child tax credit, Republicans got HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars in corporate tax cuts. For every dollar going to kids in this bill, five dollars goes to corporations. We have the money to pull every child in America out of poverty. We just need to say No to accepting crumbs while corporations get a full steak dinner.”

Judge Voids Elon Musk $56B Pay; Sanders’s Bill to Raise Corporate Taxes Could Generate Billions

Feb 01, 2024

A Delaware judge has voided the $56 billion compensation package of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The judge noted the astronomical 2018 pay package was the largest ever in public corporate history and that Tesla’s board failed to prove the “compensation plan was fair.”

In more related news, Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic lawmakers are pushing a union-backed bill that would raise taxes on companies where CEOs make more than 50 times above the salary of an average worker. The measure could raise $150 billion in revenue over a decade.

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