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HeadlinesApril 15, 2024

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“The Middle East Is on the Brink”: U.N. Calls for Maximum Restraint After Iran Directly Attacks Israel for First Time

Apr 15, 2024

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for maximum restraint after Iran launched 300 drones and missiles at Israel in retaliation for Israel’s recent bombing of the Iranian Consulate in Damascus. The Iranian attack caused little damage after Israel intercepted nearly all of the drones and missiles, with help from the United States, Britain, France and Jordan. One 7-year-old Bedouin girl in Israel was seriously injured in the attack after she was hit by shrapnel. While Iran and Israel have been engaged in a shadow war for years, this marked the first time Iran has directly targeted Israel from Iranian soil. The U.N. secretary-general spoke Sunday at an emergency Security Council meeting.

Secretary-General Antónion Guterres: “The Middle East is on the brink. The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating, full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and deescalate. Now is the time for maximum restraint.”

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz has vowed Israel will retaliate against Iran.

Benny Gantz: “In the face of the Iranian threat, we will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us.”

President Biden has reiterated his “ironclad” support for Israel, but he reportedly told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States will not participate in any retaliatory strikes against Iran.

At the United Nations on Sunday, Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Saeid Iravani defended the missile and drone attack on Israel, saying it was done in self-defense.

Saeid Iravani: “These countries, especially the United States, have shielded Israel from any responsibility for the Gaza massacre. While they have denied Iran’s inherent right to self-defense against the Israeli armed attack on our diplomatic premises, at the same time they shamefully justify the Israeli massacre and genocide against the defenseless Palestinian people under the pretext of self-defense.”


Death Toll from Israel’s War on Gaza Reaches 33,800 as Nuseirat Camp Comes Under Intense Fire

Apr 15, 2024

Israel is continuing its assault on Gaza, where the official death toll has reached 33,800. On Sunday, Israeli forces opened fire on displaced Palestinians who were attempting to return to their homes in northern Gaza. Israel also bombed the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, killing at least five people and injuring dozens.

Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Villages in Occupied West Bank, Burning Homes, Killing at Least 1

Apr 15, 2024

In the occupied West Bank, armed settlers attacked the Palestinian village of al-Mughayyir and at least 10 other villages over the weekend in what’s been described as the largest settler rampage against Palestinians in the West Bank since October 7. The violence in the West Bank began after the disappearance of an Israeli teenager who was later found dead after being killed in what Israel called a “terrorist attack.” Palestinian authorities say the settlers burned down dozens of homes and structures. One Palestinian was killed and dozens were injured. Residents of al-Mughayyir condemned the settler violence.

Abdullatif Abu Alia: “My son was injured. My nephew was injured. Most of the people here were injured. They burned the cars. They tried to open the houses to burn them. They could not, so they damaged everything they could, the water tanks, not leaving anything unharmed. It lasted between two to three hours. Then they started moving to the other houses, heading west. They burned houses, vehicles, and they took sheep. They went on until the end of the village, not leaving one house unharmed, with no reason, claiming that there is a settler that has gone missing.”

Trump’s Criminal Hush Money Trial Kicks Off in New York

Apr 15, 2024

The first-ever criminal trial of a U.S. president starts today in New York City as jury selection gets underway in Donald Trump’s hush money case. The former president is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide $130,000 paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 election. On Friday. Trump told reporters he intends to testify during the trial. We’ll have more on the trial later in the show.

War in Sudan Marks 1 Year: 15,000 Killed, 8.6M Displaced, 25M in Need of Immediate Aid

Apr 15, 2024

Today marks one year since the devastating war in Sudan erupted. An estimated 15,000 people have been killed, and another 8.6 million forcibly displaced, in what the U.N. calls “one of the worst displacement and humanitarian crises in the world — and one of the most ignored.” The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, have both been accused of war crimes as the conflict shows no signs of abating. Widespread sexual violence, indiscriminate attacks, targeting of health facilities and the restriction of aid have left communities across Sudan shattered with dwindling resources to support them. Safa Abdulmutalleb is now in South Sudan after her family was forced to flee Khartoum.

Safa Abdulmutalleb: “It was very, very difficult. For a long period, we were hiding under our beds — no food, no water, no help. The bombs came from all sides. Especially where we lived, it was extremely difficult, as we were surrounded by army bases and military-industrial complexes.”

The RSF has also been accused of ethnic cleansing and the targeting of non-Arab groups, including the ethnic Masalit community.

The U.N. is calling on countries to step up funding for Sudan, where some 25 million people are in dire need of assistance. France is hosting a conference in Paris today with the goal of securing aid pledges from European countries.


Australian Police Say Mass Stabber at Sydney Mall Was Targeting Women

Apr 15, 2024

In Australia, police say the man who went on a deadly stabbing rampage at a Sydney shopping center on Saturday was likely targeting women. Five of the six fatal victims were women. The one man killed by the assailant was a security guard who attempted to stop the attack. The stabber was eventually shot and killed by police. Some 20 people overall were stabbed, including a 9-month-old baby girl. The baby survived, but her mother did not. The mass killing at the Westfield Bondi Junction has rattled Australia, where mass casualty events are rare.


House Reauthorizes FISA Clause Which Has Been Used to Spy on U.S. Citizens

Apr 15, 2024

On Capitol Hill, the House voted Friday to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has been used by federal agencies to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans. The House vote came just days after a group of Republicans temporarily blocked a move to extend the law after Donald Trump urged lawmakers to kill the bill. Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon denounced the House bill, saying it “represents one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history.”

Kamala Harris Tells Arizona Voters Trump Is to Blame for State’s Draconian Abortion Ban

Apr 15, 2024

Vice President Kamala Harris told voters in Tucson Donald Trump is responsible for Arizona’s recent revival of an 1864 abortion ban.

Vice President Kamala Harris: “And we all must understand who is to blame. Former President Donald Trump did this. During his campaign in 2016, Donald Trump said women should be punished for seeking an abortion. Don’t forget that. He said women should be punished.”

Vice President Harris made the remarks in her second visit this year to the key battleground state.

In related news, organizers in Colorado say they have collected enough signatures to add a measure to the November ballot calling for enshrining abortion access in Colorado’s Constitution. Arizona activists also plan to add an amendment on abortion rights to their state’s ballot.

German Police Shut Down Palestine Congress After Barring Prominent Speakers

Apr 15, 2024

Police in Germany raided and shut down a pro-Palestinian conference in Berlin on Friday. The Palestine Congress was scheduled to be held for three days, but the event was shut down as the first panelist spoke. In addition, Germany’s Interior Ministry banned some conference speakers from even entering the country or addressing it remotely, including former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and the Palestinian British surgeon Ghassan Abu-Sittah, who worked in Gaza. Dr. Abu-Sittah spoke to Middle East Eye after he was barred entry.

Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah: “Upon arrival, I was stopped at the passport office. I was then escorted down to the basement of the airport, where I was questioned for around three-and-a-half hours. At the end of three-and-a-half hours, I was told that I will not be allowed to enter German soil.”

Click here to see our interview with the doctor after he came out of Gaza. German authorities defended the decision to shut down down the pro-Palestinian conference, citing German laws against so-called hate speech.

“​​McCarthyism Is Real”: Hobart and William Smith Colleges Suspend Prof. for Defending Palestinians

Apr 15, 2024

Here in the United States, the political theorist Jodi Dean has been relieved of teaching duties while officials at Hobart and William Smith Colleges investigate her writings on Gaza. Dean recently wrote a blog post on the Verso website in defense of Palestinian resistance. On Saturday, Dean wrote a message on social media saying, “McCarthyism is real. I’ve been relieved of teaching responsibilities. Don’t stop talking about Palestine.”

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