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HeadlinesFebruary 27, 2024

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Biden Says He Is Hoping for New Ceasefire Deal by Monday as Talks in Qatar Continue

Feb 27, 2024

As the official Palestinian death toll in Israel’s war on Gaza nears 30,000, President Biden said Monday he hopes a ceasefire can be achieved by Monday of next week.

President Joe Biden: “Well, I hope by the beginning of the weekend — I mean, the end of the weekend. At least my national security adviser tells me that we’re close. We’re close. It’s not done yet. And my hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire.”

Biden made the comment in a New York City ice cream shop with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, whose show he appeared on Monday evening. Qatar, which is hosting negotiations, said it was “optimistic” that a deal could be reached before Ramadan next month. Meanwhile, Reuters reports Hamas called Biden’s remarks “premature.”

Israel Targets Gazans Seeking Food Aid as Besieged Strip Continues to Face Severe Food Shortages

Feb 27, 2024

Meanwhile, on the ground in Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire again on people waiting for aid in Gaza City. A Palestinian man who was waiting for a delivery of flour pleaded with the world to take mercy on hungry Palestinians.

Abu Sanad: “Look at us through the eyes of mercy, people. For the sake of Islam, look with mercy. Film so that people can see the starvation, how people are coming. They’re carrying the martyrs on a donkey cart, on a bicycle. We don’t have any value anymore. We don’t have any value. No one is looking at us.”

On Monday, Jordan and France conducted a joint operation to air drop food to central and southern Gaza. Palestinians used rowboats to retrieve aid packages dropped at sea. Gazans continue to face starvation, affecting even its youngest babies, who do not have access to milk or formula.

Warda Mattar: “My son is supposed to have milk as a newborn, be it natural milk or formula milk. But I wasn’t able to get him milk, because there is no milk in Gaza. … I had to give him a date, because I can’t provide milk for him, because there is no food, there’s no fruits. As a mother who just gave birth, there’s no fruits or vegetables. There is nothing in Gaza.”

Palestinian Artist Fathi Ghaben Dies After Israel Denies Permission to Leave Gaza for Treatment

Feb 27, 2024

In other news from Gaza, acclaimed artist Fathi Ghaben has died after Israeli authorities denied him permission to travel for medical treatment. The 77-year-old artist suffered from severe chest and lung conditions and was unable to get care in Gaza due to the lack of oxygen and other crucial health resources in the besieged territory. His paintings immortalized the Palestinian struggle and their right of return.

World Court Concludes Hearings on Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territories

Feb 27, 2024

The International Court of Justice on Monday concluded its six-day hearing on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Representatives from over 50 nations and international organizations presented oral statements at The Hague, most arguing Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem is a violation of international law and calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. This is Abdel Hakim El-Rifai with the League of Arab States.

Abdel Hakim El-Rifai: “This prolonged occupation is an affront to international justice. The failure to bring it to an end has led to the current horrors perpetrated against the Palestinian people, amounting to genocide. There can be no moral or juridical justification for occupying lands, killing, terrorizing and displacing their populations.”

Rights Groups Say Israel Has Failed to Comply with ICJ Order to Prevent Genocide in Gaza

Feb 27, 2024

Human rights groups say Israel has completely ignored the World Court’s order to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide in Gaza. One month after the ruling, Israel has continued to block most delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid — food, medicines and fuel — to Gaza. Since January’s ruling, Israeli forces have killed over 3,400 Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli government is expected to soon deliver its own 30-day assessment of “compliance” with the ICJ decision. In response, Omar Shakir with Human Rights Watch said, “Israel’s blatant disregard for the World Court’s order poses a direct challenge to the rules-based international order. Failure to ensure Israel’s compliance puts the lives of millions of Palestinians at risk and threatens to undermine the institutions charged with ensuring respect for international law and the system that ensures civilian protection worldwide.”

Vigils Held for Aaron Bushnell After Self-Immolation Death to Protest Gaza Genocide

Feb 27, 2024

Vigils were held in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere Monday for Aaron Bushnell, an active-duty U.S. Air Force member who died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington to protest the genocide in Gaza. The 25-year-old, who live-streamed his self-immolation, yelled “Free Palestine!” as he was consumed by the flames. Marione Ingram, an 88-year old artist, activist and Holocaust survivor, was at the D.C. vigil Monday.

Marione Ingram: “I urge you, Mr. President, I urge you, Congress, start defunding Israel. Start making peace. It is time we stop killing children. I do not wish that people burn themselves to bring the point home. Mr. Biden, you should stop supporting the genocide in Gaza.”

She was carrying a sign that said, “Survivor says peace not wars in our name.” Click here to see our interviews with Marione Ingram.

In response to Aaron Bushnell’s act of protest, Palestinian poet and journalist Mohammed El-Kurd said, “If you are a soldier sacrificing yourself to protect U.S. interests, you are a rational, noble hero. But if you sacrifice yourself to protest the genocide your country is funding, you are mentally ill.”

Pentagon Skirts Question About Military Members’ Sentiments on U.S. Complicity in Gaza War

Feb 27, 2024

Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder dodged a question from reporter Tara Copp about how military members feel about the U.S.’s role in Gaza.

Tara Copp: “But is the secretary concerned that this might indicate that there’s a deeper issue, maybe U.S. military being — military personnel being concerned about how weapons and support for Israel is being used on civilians in Gaza?”

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder: “Well, look, from a Department of Defense standpoint, since Hamas’s brutal attacks on October 7th, we’ve been focused on the four key areas that the secretary set out from the onset. That’s protecting U.S. forces and citizens in the region, supporting Israel’s inherent right to defend itself from terrorist attacks, working closely with Israel to support and secure the release of hostages from Hamas.”

JVP Leads Protest Against Biden at 30 Rock Ahead of “Late Night” Appearance

Feb 27, 2024

In New York, hundreds of Jewish American activists and allies descended on 30 Rockefeller Center, headquarters of NBC, to disrupt President Biden’s surprise appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Around 50 activists were arrested, according to organizers.

Elsewhere, the faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago overwhelmingly voted to call for a ceasefire in Gaza in a referendum last week.

Irish Senate Votes to Impose Sanctions on Israel, Prevent U.S. Arms from Crossing Its Airspace

Feb 27, 2024

Outside of the U.S., Ireland’s senate unanimously voted last week to impose sanctions against Israel, prevent the passage of U.S. weapons to Israel via Irish airspace and advocate for an international arms embargo against Israel. This is Irish Senator Frances Black, who helped put forward the motion.

Frances Black: “I think back when I visited Gaza back in 2018 and the amazing people I met there and the spirit of the people and how amazing — and I don’t know if they’re dead. I don’t know if they’re alive. I remember one woman saying to me when I was in Gaza back then, she said that she was a human rights — from a human rights organization, a wonderful women’s group. And she said, 'Why have the international community abandoned us?' And those words stay with me.”

Israeli Airstrikes Kill 2 in Lebanon; U.S. Launches Preemptive Strikes in Yemen

Feb 27, 2024

Israeli airstrikes in eastern Lebanon Monday killed at least two people believed to be members of Hezbollah. Israel’s attacks on Baalbek came after Hezbollah confirmed it had shot down an Israeli drone in southern Lebanon. Later on Monday, Hezbollah said it fired dozens of rockets at an Israeli military base in retaliation.

Elsewhere, U.S. forces says it carried out preemptive strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen, destroying missiles, unmanned vessels and a drone.

Michigan Voters Head to Polls as Activists Urge Dems to Vote “Uncommitted” to Protest Gaza Genocide

Feb 27, 2024

In election news, voters in the battleground state of Michigan are casting their primary ballots today. The group Listen to Michigan has been urging Democrats to vote “uncommitted” to show their opposition to President Biden’s refusal to stop Israel’s assault on Gaza. Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has been campaigning for Biden, predicted during an interview Monday “there will be a sizable number of votes for 'uncommitted.'” Members of the 300,000-strong Arab American community in Michigan and others gathered on Sunday ahead of the vote.

Mahmouda Chowdhuri: “We need to show President Biden and all the other candidates that we support Palestine. We don’t support our U.S. tax dollars going towards Israel to ethnically cleanse Palestine. And this is a human cause, and so we’re all showing up.”

Activists in Minnesota recently launched their own “uncommitted” campaign ahead of the state’s presidential primary on March 5th.

Denmark Finds “Deliberate Sabotage” in Nord Stream Blasts But Drops Probe

Feb 27, 2024

Denmark has closed its investigation into the 2022 blasts on the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe. Danish authorities concluded there was “deliberate sabotage” of the pipelines but insufficient evidence to pursue the case. Sweden dropped its own probe into the matter earlier this month. Moscow has blamed the U.S., the U.K. and Ukraine for the explosions.

Macron Does Not Rule Out Deploying Troops to Ukraine as He Rallies Support for Kyiv

Feb 27, 2024

French President Emmanuel Macron is leading a European effort to send more arms to Ukraine. These will include more middle- and long-range missiles. Macron also did not rule out eventually sending French or other Western troops to Ukraine. He spoke Monday at a Paris conference of 20 European leaders.

President Emmanuel Macron: “Everything was discussed in a free and direct manner tonight. There was no consensus today to send troops onto the ground in a manner that’s official, assumed and endorsed. But on the dynamic, nothing should be excluded. We will do everything so that Russia cannot win this war.”

Hungary Ratifies Sweden’s NATO Bid, Ending 200 Years of Swedish Neutrality

Feb 27, 2024

Sweden has cleared its final obstacle to joining NATO after Hungary’s parliament ratified Stockholm’s bid Monday. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson hailed the historic step.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson: “Sweden is leaving behind 200 years of neutrality and military nonalignment. … As far as Russia is concerned, the only thing we can safely expect is that they do not like Sweden becoming a NATO member. They didn’t like Finland becoming a NATO member, either. The whole purpose was to emphasize that a country like Ukraine would not be allowed to choose its own path.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had blocked Sweden’s bid for membership for over 18 months, but finally relented following last week’s deal for Sweden to sell Hungary four fighter jets.

Attack on Mosque in Burkina Faso Kills Dozens, Within Hours of Deadly Church Attack

Feb 27, 2024

In Burkina Faso, dozens of people were killed after an attack Sunday on a mosque in Natiaboani, in the east of the country. Armed individuals reportedly entered the mosque and opened fire as people gathered for morning prayer. On the same day, at least 15 people were killed in a separate attack on a Catholic church during Sunday Mass in northern Burkina Faso.

Former Professor Donates $1 Billion to Albert Einstein College to Cover All Future Med School Tuition

Feb 27, 2024

Back here in New York, a former professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx has donated $1 billion to cover tuition payments of all students for the foreseeable future. Ruth Gottesman’s donation is one of the largest ever made to an educational institution in the U.S. The 93-year-old, who studied learning disabilities and created an adult literacy program, was married to a Wall Street financier, who left her the money when he died in 2022. She made the announcement to a crowd of students who erupted in cheers. Dr. Oni Blackstock, physician and founder of Health Justice, said on social media, “Hoping there is positive impact on the health of Bronxites, home to the poorest congressional district in the US. … I also hope this helps to recruit more Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, groups that are woefully underrepresented in medicine and that do not have same level of generational wealth as their white counterparts.” Gottesman insisted a condition of the gift was the school does not use her name, telling The New York Times, “We’ve got the gosh darn name — we’ve got Albert Einstein.”

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