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HeadlinesApril 18, 2024

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Israel Continues to Pound the Gaza Strip Amid Reports U.S. Approves of Rafah Land Invasion

Apr 18, 2024

Israeli forces have killed at least 11 people, including five children, in strikes on the southern city of Rafah. Israel has repeatedly attacked the city ahead of an expected ground invasion. There are new reports the Biden administration has approved Israel’s plan to attack Rafah in exchange for Israel not launching counterstrikes on Iran.

Palestinian Boy Who Narrowly Escaped Death in Nov. Israeli Airstrike Is Killed in Aid Airdrop

Apr 18, 2024

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy who survived an Israeli airstrike on his home in November has now died after being hit in the head with a package that was being dropped from the sky. Zein Oroq died on Sunday. The airstrike in November had killed 17 members of his extended family. This is Zein’s grandfather, Ali Oroq.

Ali Oroq: “The first time, when the house was hit by a strike, he came out from under the rubble with wounds in his head, hand and leg. God saved him. Then, like the rest of the youth and children, because of hunger and frustration, he went to get a meal, a can of fava beans, a kilogram of rice or flour. … The worst catastrophe is the one that makes you laugh. They kill my family and send meals for those who are left, and the one who followed the meal died, as a child.”

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ProPublica: Blinken Ignored His Agency’s Recommendation to Disqualify Some Israeli Units from Aid

Apr 18, 2024

ProPublica has revealed a special State Department panel has urged the Biden administration to disqualify multiple Israeli military and police units from receiving U.S. aid over serious human rights abuses including rape and torture. Secretary of State Antony Blinken received the recommendation in December but has not taken any action.

Detained U.N. Workers Accuse Israel of Obtaining False Confessions Through Torture

Apr 18, 2024

The U.N. refugee agency UNRWA has accused Israeli security forces of torturing imprisoned U.N. workers in an effort to extract false confessions about the agency’s ties to Hamas. The accusations are part of a new UNRWA report that documents how Palestinians detained in Israel have been attacked by dogs, deprived of food, forced into cages, beaten with metal bars and tortured with nail guns and electric batons. One Palestinian child released from Israeli prison had dog bite wounds on their body.

Journalist Attempts Citizen’s Arrest of EU Leader Ursula von der Leyen for Enabling Gaza Genocide

Apr 18, 2024

In Brussels, a speech by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was interrupted when a member of the audience attempted to make a citizen’s arrest.

David Cronin: “Mrs. von der Leyen, this is a citizen’s arrest! You are charged with aiding genocide in Gaza. You expressed total support for Israel at the beginning of this genocide. The blood of Palestinian children is on your hands. You are a criminal, Mrs. von der Leyen. You should be in The Hague. You should not be here. You should not be running for a second term. You are a war — you are a criminal! Free Palestine! Free Palestine!”

The person speaking was David Cronin, an editor at The Electronic Intifada news site. He laid out his arguments against Ursula von der Leyen in a piece on the website which details ongoing efforts to support Israel even as evidence of genocide and war crimes pile up.

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“McCarthyism Is Alive and Well”: Google Fires Employees for Protesting Contract with Israeli Military

Apr 18, 2024

Google has fired 28 employees who protested its $1.2 billion contract with Israel. Project Nimbus provides computing services to the Israeli military. This comes after peaceful sit-ins this week by Google workers at their New York City and Sunnyvale, California, offices, which resulted in nine arrests. Kate Sim, a child safety policy adviser and one of the terminated workers, said, “Listen when employers tell you exactly who they are. McCarthyism is alive and well. Look how terrified they are of worker power.” Two of the Google workers who were fired — Mohammad Khatami and Ray Westrick — appeared on Democracy Now! on Wednesday hours before they were dismissed.

29 Writers Withdraw from PEN Prizes to Protest “Complicity in Normalizing Genocide”

Apr 18, 2024

In more protest news, 29 authors and translators have withdrawn from consideration for PEN America’s prestigious literary prizes to protest the organization’s leadership and silencing of Palestinian voices. In a letter, some of the authors wrote, “We refuse to be honored by an organization that acts as a cultural front for American exceptionalism. We refuse to gild the reputation of an organization that runs interference for an administration aiding and abetting genocide with our tax dollars. And we refuse to take part in celebrations that will serve to overshadow PEN’s complicity in normalizing genocide.”

“Stop Killing Palestinian Children!”: Activists Disrupt Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin Hearing

Apr 18, 2024

On Capitol Hill, activists disrupted Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as he spoke at a House Armed Services Committee meeting Wednesday. Among the protesters was Naseebah Hajjaj, a Palestinian American woman who has lost some 20 relatives in Gaza since October 7. She held up her 16-month-old son Hamza during the hearing.

Naseebah Hajjaj: “My child is human. Stop killing Palestinian children!”

Speaker Johnson Unveils 3 Separate Bills to Fund Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan

Apr 18, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson has released the text of three bills to provide $95 billion to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. A vote could come on Saturday. Johnson’s speakership may also be on the line as two Republican lawmakers have backed his ouster in part over his support for sending money to Ukraine.

Senate Democrats Dismiss GOP-Led Impeachment Against Alejandro Mayorkas

Apr 18, 2024

In other news from Capitol Hill, the Democratic-controlled Senate has dismissed impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This ends a Republican effort to remove him from office. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “It is beneath the dignity of the Senate to entertain this nakedly partisan exercise,” noting a cabinet leader cannot be removed for implementing the policies of the administration in power.

Major Rains Lead to Death and Displacement Across the Gulf, in Kenya

Apr 18, 2024

Record rainfall soaked large parts of Oman and the United Arab Emirates this week, killing at least 19 people and submerging major cities. Some areas received a year’s worth of rain in just one day. Though heavy rains are expected this time of year, scientists say they are becoming more intense and more deadly because of climate change.

Meanwhile, major flooding in Kenya has killed dozens of people and displaced thousands of others.

Police Evict Hundreds from France’s Largest Squat Ahead of Paris Olympics

Apr 18, 2024

French police forcibly evicted some 450 people, mostly migrants and asylum seekers, from France’s largest squat, located in a Parisian suburb. Housing and immigrant rights advocates say it’s part of a plan to remove unhoused people and refugees from Paris ahead of the Summer Olympics. Buses were waiting to bring residents of the squat to other cities, even though many of them have jobs in the Paris area and some families have children attending local schools.

“This Is a Criminal Cover-Up”: Boeing Whistleblowers Slam Leadership for Ignoring Safety Issues

Apr 18, 2024

On Capitol Hill, two Boeing whistleblowers did not hold back as they described to a Senate panel the “chaotic manufacturing” and “dysfunctional safety culture” at the embattled company. Sam Salehpour, a quality engineer at Boeing, detailed the suppression and threats faced by employees who try to warn Boeing about its planes.

Sam Salehpour: “I want to make clear that I have raised these issues over three years. I was ignored. I was told not to create delays. I was told, frankly, to shut up. At one point, Boeing management got sick of me raising these issues and moved me out of the 787 program into the 777 program.”

But Salehpour says the 777 program he was reassigned to also had serious issues.

Sam Salehpour: “I literally saw people jumping on the pieces of the airplane to get them to align — I call it the Tarzan effect — among other improper methods. Again I raised concerns internally. I was sidelined. I was told to shut up. I received physical threats.”

Ed Pierson, a former manager at Boeing, also told lawmakers both Boeing leadership and federal regulators failed for years to heed internal warnings, even after the Lion Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed all 346 people on board the jets. This is Ed Pierson.

Ed Pierson: “The world is shocked to learn about Boeing’s current production quality issues. I’m not surprised, because nothing changed after the two crashes. There was no accountability. Not a single person from Boeing went to jail. Hundreds of people died, and there’s been no justice. Unless action is taken and leaders are held accountable, every person stepping aboard a Boeing airplane is at risk.”

Pierson also called out the investigation into January’s Alaska Airlines door blowout, revealing Boeing deliberately withheld data related to work on the aircraft. Pierson told lawmakers, “I’m not going to sugarcoat this: This is a criminal cover-up.” Click here to see our interview with Ed Pierson.

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