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HeadlinesFebruary 13, 2024

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Biden Says Israel Should Not Attack Rafah by Land, Refuses to Set Any Consequences If It Does

Feb 13, 2024

International pressure is mounting against Israel’s planned ground invasion of Rafah, which now hosts more than a million displaced Gazans who were once told the southern area was a “safe zone.” President Biden spoke on Monday after meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah at the White House.

President Joe Biden: “The king and I also discussed the situation in Rafah. As I said yesterday, our military operation in Rafah — the major military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible plan, a credible plan for ensuring the safety and support of more than 1 million people sheltering there.”

Biden quickly corrected himself after describing Israel’s operation in Rafah as “our operation.” Biden also said his administration is working on a six-week ceasefire in Gaza. CIA Director William Burns is in Cairo for more truce talks. Despite Biden’s comments, he has refused to impose any conditions on the billions of dollars the U.S. continues to send in military aid to Israel. This is National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby being questioned by a reporter.

Trevor Hunnicutt: “Has the president ever threatened to strip military assistance from Israel if they move ahead with a Rafah operation that does not take into consequence what happens with civilians?”

John Kirby: “We’re going to continue to support Israel. They have a right to defend themselves against Hamas, and we’re going to continue to make sure they have the tools and the capabilities to do that.”

Gazan Child Describes Seeing Her Father Die After Israeli Airstrikes Kill Over 100 People in Rafah

Feb 13, 2024

Israel airstrikes in Rafah already killed at least 100 people overnight into Monday as the IDF carried out a rescue operation to free two Israeli Argentine hostages. This is a young Palestinian girl who was injured and lost her father in the Israeli strikes.

Mai Al-Najjar: “We were in the tent, me and all my family, when the bullets came at us. My father went to see what’s happening and said there were strikes, and a strike happened while he was talking. We all fled. … My father was martyred. While in the car, he kept saying, 'I bear witness that there is one god,' and he died.”

Amnesty International says Rafah’s population has seen a fivefold increase since the Israeli assault started on October 7. In a new report, Amnesty is calling for a war crimes investigation into Israeli strikes in Rafah in December and January that killed nearly 100 civilians, almost half of them children. This comes as Palestinian health officials say Israeli forces have killed over 12,300 children in the Gaza Strip in just over four months.

West Bank Arrests Top 7,000 Since Oct. 7; U.N. Experts Say Ibn Sina Attack Was a War Crime

Feb 13, 2024

Israeli violence in the occupied West Bank continues to intensify. At least 22 people, including a child, were arrested in overnight raids in Jenin and other areas. There have been over 7,000 arrests in the occupied West Bank since October 7. Detained Palestinians say they are being violently attacked in prison.

Meanwhile, a group of U.N. special rapporteurs says Israel’s undercover killings of three Palestinian men at the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin last month may amount to extrajudicial killings and violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The U.N. experts said, “By disguising themselves as seemingly harmless, protected medical personnel and civilians, the Israeli forces also prima facie committed the war crime of perfidy.” Perfidy describes a deception involving an abuse of good faith.

“We Cannot Sit By Idly”: Protests Erupt Across the U.S. over Planned Invasion of Rafah

Feb 13, 2024

Protesters took to the streets around the country Monday as fear mounts over an all-out attack on Rafah. Rallies took place outside the White House in Washington, D.C., in Los Angeles and other major cities. Around 20 activists with Sunrise Movement were arrested as they occupied Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, campaign headquarters, warning he’s at risk of losing millions of youth votes in November. Here in New York, protesters blocked cars around Grand Central. Activists led by Jewish American groups rallied outside Senator Chuck Schumer’s office. Earlier in the day, protesters gathered for an emergency protest at Union Square led by the group Within Our Lifetime. Democracy Now! was there.

Nerdeen Kiswani: “My name is Nerdeen Kiswani. … We cannot sit by idly and watch our people be massacred, and we will do whatever it takes to stop it. We will continue to protest. They shut down our Instagram page. The police are starting to be more brutal, more horrific with their arrests and attacks on the movement to free Palestine in an effort to shut us down, because public opinion shows, these protests show, that the people of New York City and the people of the United States stand with Palestine.”

Senate Passes $95B Funding Package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

Feb 13, 2024

The Senate passed a $95 billion military funding package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan in the pre-dawn hours this morning. But the bill’s fate remains unclear after House Speaker Mike Johnson dismissed the measure over its failure to include hard-line immigration restrictions. This comes after Johnson and other Republicans rejected an earlier version of the bill which did contain the border crackdown they had demanded. Johnson has told Republican congressmembers he will call a House vote on a stand-alone funding bill for Israel.

Trump Asks SCOTUS to Intervene in Immunity Case as Federal Election Subversion Case Looms

Feb 13, 2024

Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to intervene and halt a D.C. appeals court ruling that rejected Trump’s claims of total immunity for his actions following his 2020 election loss. Special counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump on four counts over his efforts to overturn the election. Two lower courts have already rejected Trump’s presidential immunity argument. Trump’s lawyers are also asking the D.C. court to reconsider his claim with its full panel of judges.

In related news, the judge overseeing Georgia’s election subversion case against Trump said Monday District Attorney Fani Willis could be disqualified over her past romantic relationship with the lead prosecutor on the case, if she benefited financially. A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Thursday.

Police Attack Indian Farmers Marching Toward New Delhi for Fair Crop Prices

Feb 13, 2024

In India, police fired tear gas at thousands of farmers marching toward New Delhi protesting for better working protections and to be paid a higher value for their crops. Police sealed several entry points into New Delhi with barricades of barbed wire, cement blocks and spikes. Some of the protesters were arrested. This is a leader with the Punjab farmers’ union.

Sarvan Singh Pandher: “See how peacefully the farmers are marching, yet the police are dropping tear gas shells from drones hovering in the sky!”

Trinidad and Tobago Faces National Emergency After Capsized Vessel Causes Major Oil Spill

Feb 13, 2024

In Trinidad and Tobago, officials declared a national emergency Sunday after a massive oil spill, caused by an overturned vessel, blackened several miles of Tobago’s southern shores, covering beaches with thick oil. It’s still unclear how much oil has spilled, while the government has yet to identify the owner of the largely submerged vessel found off the coast last week.

Protesters Call Out U.S., Western Complicity in DRC Violence

Feb 13, 2024

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, protests broke out Monday near U.N. offices and Western embassies in the capital Kinshasa as anger mounts over the worsening violence and humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo. Demonstrators burned U.S. and other flags, denouncing Western nations’ support of Rwanda, which is accused of backing the M23 militia, and their complicity in the conflict.

Protester: “We are claiming our rights. France and the United States are fostering the war in the eastern DRC by supporting the rebellion. A country like Rwanda cannot fight against the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are marching; we are not breaking or destroying people’s property. But the head of the police is sending his officers to chase us away.”

This comes as thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as M23 advanced toward Goma, a key city in eastern Congo.

New York’s 3rd Congressional District Votes to Fill George Santos’s House Seat

Feb 13, 2024

Back here in New York, voters in Long Island and a small section of Queens are casting ballots today to fill the open seat left by disgraced Republican Congressmember George Santos. The U.S. House voted to expel Santos in December over campaign finance violations and his many lies about his personal and work history. On the ballot is former Democratic Congressmember Tom Suozzi, who previously held the seat and is pitching himself as a centrist. The Republican candidate is Mazi Pilip, a Nassau County legislator who is actually a registered Democrat. She was born in Ethiopia and airlifted to Israel as part of Operation Solomon, where she fought in the IDF before moving to the U.S. Republicans control 219 seats in the U.S. House, compared to 212 for Democrats. Four House seats are currently vacant.

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