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HeadlinesApril 03, 2024

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U.N. Chief: Israeli Attack on World Central Kitchen Aid Workers Is “Unconscionable”

Apr 03, 2024

Israel is continuing to face global condemnation over the killing of seven aid workers from Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, which had brought food into Gaza by ship to feed starving Palestinians. The aid workers were killed when an Israeli drone fired three missiles at the group’s clearly marked convoy. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the drone initially hit one car in the convoy. Then the drone attacked again after survivors from the first attack got into the second vehicle, which kept driving. After the second strike, the injured passengers were taken to the third car in the convoy, which was then also bombed as it attempted to escape. The attack occurred over a 1.5-mile stretch on a coastal road in Gaza. On Tuesday, Israel admitted to carrying out the airstrike and vowed to investigate.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the Israeli attack.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “The devastating Israeli airstrikes that killed World Central Kitchen personnel yesterday bring the number of aid workers killed in this conflict to 196, including more than 175 members of our own U.N. staff. This is unconscionable, but it is an inevitable result of the way the war is being conducted.”

The killed aid workers included three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, an American-Canadian dual citizen and one Palestinian.

Biden “Outraged” over Aid Attack, But U.S. Claims Israel Hasn’t Violated International Law

Apr 03, 2024

President Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” over the deaths, but at a White House press briefing, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby refused to say if Israel had broken international law.

Niall Stanage: “Is firing a missile at people delivering food and killing them not a violation of international humanitarian law?”

John Kirby: “Well, the Israelis have already admitted that this was a mistake that they made. They’re doing an investigation. They’ll get to the bottom of this. Let’s not get ahead of that. … The State Department has a process in place. And to date, as you and I are speaking, they have not found any incidents where the Israelis have violated international humanitarian law.”

On Tuesday, World Central Kitchen and at least two other groups said they would halt or pause operations in Gaza after the attack. A World Central Kitchen boat that still held 240 tons of aid on board left Gaza on Tuesday.

USAID Officials Privately Warn Biden That Gaza Famine Is “Unprecedented in Modern History”

Apr 03, 2024

A group of U.S. officials at USAID have privately warned the Biden administration that the spread of hunger and malnutrition in Gaza is “unprecedented in modern history” and that parts of Gaza are already experiencing famine. HuffPost reports the cable states, “An immediate and substantial flow of food, health, nutrition and assistance; expanded humanitarian access; and safe unimpeded passage for humanitarian workers is paramount to addressing Famine conditions in Gaza.”

Israeli Police Fire Water Cannons at Anti-Netanyahu Protesters

Apr 03, 2024

In Israel, mass protests are continuing against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday night, Israeli police fired water cannons at protesters who had gathered outside of Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. Thousands also protested outside the Knesset.

Namma Mol: “For six months, we’re fighting a war and losing it. And I think the only way we can win the war is to have elections and to give the people the opportunity to choose again and to bring the hostages home and to bring the soldiers home. And that’s why I’m here.”

Iran Urges U.N. to Take Action After Israeli Bombing of Iranian Consulate in Syria

Apr 03, 2024

At the United Nations, Iran has called on the Security Council to take action against Israel for bombing the Iranian Consulate in Damascus on Monday. The Israeli attack killed seven Iranian officers, including three generals.

“Uncommitted” Vote Movement Grows as Democratic Voters Voice Dismay over Biden’s Gaza Policy

Apr 03, 2024

Primary elections were held Tuesday in Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. On the Democratic side, a sizable number of voters refused to back Joe Biden to protest his support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, more than 10% of Democrats voted “uncommitted.” In Wisconsin, over 8% voted “uninstructed.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump won every Republican race on Tuesday, but Nikki Haley still received about 13% of the vote in Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin, even though she has suspended her campaign.

Palestinian American Doctor Walks Out of White House Ramadan Meeting with Biden

Apr 03, 2024

The White House was forced to cancel its planned Ramadan dinner after many Muslim American leaders refused to go to protest Biden’s Gaza policy. Instead of a dinner, Biden held a scaled-back meeting Tuesday with Muslim American community figures — but that, too, was met with protests. The Palestinian American doctor Thaer Ahmad, who recently volunteered in Gaza, walked out of the White House meeting after giving President Biden a letter from an 8-year-old orphaned Palestinian girl named Hadeel that read, “I beg you, President Biden, stop them from entering Rafah.” Dr. Thaer Ahmad spoke to Middle East Eye after walking out of the White House.

Dr. Thaer Ahmad: “You cannot engage and try to get us to come out and show up in the primaries or in November, at the same time approving billions of dollars of 2,000-pound bombs, that I personally saw devastate Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah and all the areas in Gaza. That sort of cognitive dissonance is not something that just our community glosses over.”

Senegal: Bassirou Diomaye Faye Inaugurated as President Weeks After Being Freed from Jail

Apr 03, 2024

Senegal’s new president, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, has named Ousmane Sonko to be his prime minister, capping a remarkable three-week period that saw the two opposition figures go from prison to ruling Senegal. Faye and Sonko were released from prison in mid-March, just days before Faye won Senegal’s election to replace President Macky Sall, who had attempted to delay the vote. On Tuesday, Faye was officially inaugurated as Senegal’s new president.

President Bassirou Diomaye Faye: “Under my leadership, Senegal will be a country of hope, a country at peace, with an independent justice system and a strengthened democracy. This is my promise, based on the oath I have just taken before God and the nation, in your presence. … I am aware that the results of the ballot box express a profound desire for systemic change. Through my election, the Senegalese people have committed themselves to building a fair Senegal, a prosperous Senegal, a progressing Africa.”

Mayoral Candidate in Mexico Assassinated While Campaigning in Celaya

Apr 03, 2024

A mayoral candidate in Mexico was assassinated Monday at a campaign event in the city of Celaya in the state of Guanajuato. Bertha Gisela Gaytán was shot dead shortly after she outlined her plans to increase security in the city.

Bertha Gisela Gaytán: “The citizens are with us and look after us. Of course, we will have security protocols, which the legal department of the party in the state is reviewing.”

Gisela Gaytán was a member of the ruling Morena party. The Associated Press reports at least 15 political candidates have been killed in Mexico since January ahead of nationwide elections on June 2.

Taiwan Hit by Largest Earthquake in 25 Years

Apr 03, 2024

Taiwan has been hit by its largest earthquake in 25 years. At least nine people have died, and over 800 were injured. The 7.4-magnitude quake toppled dozens of buildings and trapped at least 77 people.

In other news from the region, President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on Tuesday for one hour and 45 minutes. It was their first call since a summit in November.

John Eastman Disbarred in California over Advising Trump on 2020 Coup Attempt

Apr 03, 2024

Donald Trump’s former lawyer John Eastman has been disbarred in California for his role in trying to help Trump overturn the 2020 election. A California judge wrote in her ruling, “Eastman’s wrongdoing constitutes exceptionally serious ethical violations warranting severe professional discipline.” Eastman is a former law school dean at Chapman University School of Law.

In BDS Victory, Pitzer College Ends Study Abroad Program with Israeli School

Apr 03, 2024

Pitzer College in Claremont, California, has closed its study abroad program with the University of Haifa in Israel in what’s being viewed as a major victory for the BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — movement. The move comes after years of student organizing and a vote in February by Pitzer’s Student Senate to suspend all institutional ties with Israeli universities. According to the national chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, Pitzer has become the first U.S. school to impose an institution-wide boycott of an Israel study abroad program.

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