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HeadlinesFebruary 08, 2024

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Truce Talks Continue in Egypt, Humanitarian Catastrophe Continues in Gaza as Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire Proposal

Feb 08, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a proposal by Hamas for a three-phase ceasefire where Hamas would release all hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Hamas is seeking an end to the Israeli assault and for all Israeli troops to leave Gaza. On Wednesday, Netanyahu said the war on Gaza would continue, and ordered Israeli forces to prepare to attack the southern city of Rafah.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I would like to emphasize again that there is no solution other than total victory.”

At a news conference yesterday, released hostages pleaded with Netanyahu to prioritize the release of remaining captives in Gaza. This is Adina Moshe, a 72-year-old grandmother who had been held hostage in Gaza for 49 days.

Adina Moshe: “I am very afraid that if you continue on this path, to dismantle Hamas, there will be no more hostages to release.”

Despite Netanyahu’s vow to continue the assault on Gaza, truce negotiations are continuing. A Hamas delegation is in Cairo today for talks with mediators from Egypt and Qatar. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has wrapped up his Middle East trip after visiting Israel and the occupied West Bank, where he was met by Palestinian protesters.

Health officials in Gaza say Israeli attacks since October 7 have now brought the death toll to nearly 28,000. This comes as the U.N. is warning the risk of famine in Gaza is “increasing by the day.”

6-Year-Old Gazan Girl and 2 Rescue Workers Remain Missing 10 Days After Last Signs of Life

Feb 08, 2024

The Palestine Red Crescent Society says they still have no news about 6-year-old Hind and two of the group’s rescue workers who disappeared 10 days ago while attempting to reach her. The child was last heard from while in a car that came under attack by Israeli fire. Six of her relatives were killed while in the vehicle. Hind’s mother spoke out this week, imploring international actors to help locate her missing child.

Wissam Hamadah: “Every second, every second, I wait for my daughter. If we hear an ambulance, we think it’s Hind. If we hear people coming over, we think it’s Hind. Every crash, every gunshot, every bombing, every missile I hear, I think if it’s happening next to my daughter or directly to her or to the medics that went to her.”

Earlier today, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said another member of its rescue team, Mohammed al-Omari, was killed, bringing the total number of its aid workers killed by Israel’s attacks to 12.


Palestinian American Woman Samaher Esmail Missing After Being Taken by IDF

Feb 08, 2024

Meanwhile, the family of a Palestinian American woman is calling on U.S. officials to help free Samaher Esmail, after she was forcibly taken from her home by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank in the middle of the night Monday. Esmail is a resident of Louisiana. Her congressmember, Troy Carter, said Tuesday he has contacted the U.S. Embassy and the State Department in hopes of securing her release.

U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Senior Figure of Kata’ib Hezbollah

Feb 08, 2024

In news from Iraq, the United States has assassinated a senior commander of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia. A U.S. drone attack in Baghdad reportedly killed Abu Baqir al-Saadi and two other members of the Iran-aligned group, which the U.S. believes was involved in the recent drone strike on a base in Jordan that killed three American troops. The government of Iraq condemned the U.S. drone strike as a “clear aggression and violation of Iraqi sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, Israel attacked the Syrian city of Homs on Tuesday. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attack killed 10 people, including at least six civilians.

In other news from the region, Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed it will not establish diplomatic relations with Israel until an independent Palestinian state is recognized.

Hundreds Protest Biden in NYC, Arms and Military Sites in Chicago and California

Feb 08, 2024

Protests against the war are continuing throughout the U.S. Here in New York, at least 100 Jewish American activists and their allies were arrested Wednesday as they blockaded a road on President Biden’s motorcade route as he attended fundraisers.

In Chicago, 33 people were arrested as they blocked entrances to the Woodward manufacturing plant, which makes military equipment that has been used by Israel in Palestine. In California, CodePink and other activists blocked an entrance to the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield.

CodePink activist: “It’s our responsibility, when our government is so horrendously breaking international laws, to step up and say, 'No. Not in our name. Not with our tax dollars. No weapons to Israel.'”

At least four people were arrested. Fourteen CodePink activists who were arrested during a previous action at the Travis base will be arraigned later this month.

Senate Delays Border Measure After GOP U-Turn; Schumer Calls for Vote on Israel, Ukraine Funding

Feb 08, 2024

The Senate adjourned Wednesday after failing to advance the contentious $118 billion border package. Republicans, who had demanded the hard-line immigration measure in exchange for funding for Ukraine and Israel, U-turned on the bill after Donald Trump directed them to reject it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed Republicans and Trump for sowing chaos in legislative business.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “If there’s one other person besides Donald Trump who is rooting for chaos in the Senate, it is Vladimir Putin. If we fail in this moment, if we abandon our friends in Ukraine to Vladimir Putin, history will cast a shameful and permanent shadow on senators who blocked funding. It is a matter of the highest national urgency that we get this right.”

Schumer said he would call a separate vote today on military funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, without any border provisions. As the $118 billion border bill failed Wednesday, more than 800 faith leaders and groups called on Congress to pivot to a more humane immigration package “that respects the sacred dignity of all people.”

Biden Officials Meet with Arab American Leaders in Michigan as Group Urges Voters to Reject Biden

Feb 08, 2024

President Biden is sending a delegation to the swing state of Michigan today to meet with Arab and Muslim leaders amid growing opposition to U.S. support for Israel’s war on Gaza — and to Biden’s candidacy. Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud, who previously refused to meet with Biden’s campaign manager, announced Wednesday he is joining over 30 other Michigan officials who are vowing to cast an “uncommitted” vote in the state’s primary on February 27. The effort is being led by the group Listen to Michigan, which is headed by Congressmember Rashida Tlaib’s sister Layla Elabed.

In other election news, Democrat Marianne Williamson has suspended her presidential campaign against Joe Biden.

Pakistan Cuts Mobile Service as Contentious Election Gets Underway

Feb 08, 2024

Pakistan cut off cellphone and internet service earlier today just as voting began in a national election marred by controversy. Opposition candidates say the telecommunications cutoff is just the latest move by Pakistan’s military-backed interim government to rig the election. Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said the move was needed to “mitigate potential security threats.” On Wednesday, a pair of bombings outside campaign offices in the province of Balochistan killed 30 people.


Deadly Fighting Displaces Thousands in Eastern DRC as M23 Approaches Goma

Feb 08, 2024

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tens of thousands of people continue to flee violence in the east of the country as M23 rebels advance toward Goma, the capital of North Kivu. M23, which is accused of having ties with Rwanda, reportedly surrounded the city of Sake, considered the last line of defense before reaching Goma. Many in eastern Congo have been forced to flee multiple times amid mounting violence from some 120 armed groups that operate in the region. This is an internally displaced person.

Elisabeth Rebecca: “There was a lot of gunfire at home. The M23 had arrived, burning the houses. They made us give them all the money. Some of us even lost our children. There were many dead and wounded. When they entered a house, they took everything, killed people and took away livestock. That’s what made us flee from our home to here in Sake. At the beginning of last week, we fled from Shonga to Kirotshe, and it was on Sunday that we left Kirotshe to come here.”

During a soccer match this week at the Africa Cup of Nations, the DRC’s national team sought to bring attention to the largely ignored humanitarian disaster back home. Players held one hand in front of their mouths while pointing two fingers to their temples during Congo’s national anthem.

EPA Tightens Rules on Allowable Soot Pollution

Feb 08, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it is tightening regulations on soot. Breathing in excess fine particulate matter can lead to asthma attacks, cancer, and heart and lung disease. It’s been linked to anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in the U.S. per year. The new rule will lower the amount of allowed fine particulate matter in the air from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 micrograms.

2023’s 12-Month Average Global Temperature Topped 1.5°C Climate Milestone for First Time

Feb 08, 2024

Scientists from the European Union say average global temperatures over the past 12 months exceeded 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for the first time, marking a grim new milestone in the climate crisis. Scientists say last month was the hottest January ever recorded. Temperature records have now been broken for eight months in a row.

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