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HeadlinesMay 15, 2024

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Biden to Send Another $1 Billion in Arms to Israel as Palestinians Mark 76th Nakba Anniversary

May 15, 2024

The Biden administration has notified Congress of plans to send another $1 billion in arms to Israel, including tank ammunition, mortars and tactical vehicles. The move comes as President Biden faces criticism from Israel and Republican lawmakers for pausing a single shipment of large bombs to Israel last week. The new $1 billion arms package is being advanced as Israel is widening its assault on Rafah and other areas of Gaza. More than 550,000 Palestinians have been displaced in recent days, and the death toll has topped 35,100. The Palestinian Authority says 80% of Gaza’s health centers are out of service due to Israeli attacks.

This all comes as Palestinians across the globe are marking the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, which means “catastrophe” in Arabic, when some 700,000 Palestinians were violently expelled from their homes upon Israel’s founding. Many Palestinians say they are facing a second Nakba today. This is Hussein Junaid, who had to flee the Jabaliya refugee camp.

Hussein Junaid: “They deported us from the north of Gaza Strip. Here we are thrown on the streets. They destroyed our houses. They killed four children. They were martyred, among them a doctor and a head of department. My four older children died. They were martyred. Our homes were destroyed. They shook us, and they threw us on the streets. Who is looking for us? Which organization, which area and which government? Let them see that we are thrown on the streets with our children and small ones who don’t have milk and want food.”

Palestinian Truck Drivers Face New Risks After Settlers Attacked Aid Convoy in West Bank

May 15, 2024

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian truck drivers say they fear for their lives after Jewish settlers attacked a convoy of 98 Gaza-bound aid trucks on Monday.

Adel Amer: “We went to the checkpoint, and after the check, we were surprised to see settlers on the roundabout of the checkpoint. They damaged the cars. They tore the tires off the trucks. They threw the contents of the truck on the ground. We gathered some of the products and sent some of those products on to a bulldozer and sent them to sheep farms. Around 15 trucks were damaged. Their haul was damaged. Windows of the trucks were broken. Some drivers were beaten. Some of the products were thrown away, and the whole loss for Hebron is around $2 million.”

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir Joins March Calling for Resettlement of Gaza

May 15, 2024

While Palestinians are marking the Nakba, Israelis have been celebrating their Independence Day. On Tuesday, a group of far-right Israelis, including a number of government ministers, marched in Sderot calling for the resettlement of Gaza and the expulsion of Palestinians living there. Speakers included Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who said, “We must return to Gaza now.” He also backed what he called the “voluntary migration” of Palestinians from Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Disrupt Google Conference over Israel Contract

May 15, 2024
Image Credit: Instagram / @cunygs

Protests over Israel’s war on Gaza are continuing across the country. In Mountain View, California, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters blocked the entrances to a Google conference for software developers. Ariel Koren is a former Google worker.

Ariel Koren: “We are sending a message that Google is the company that is providing the cloud infrastructure for Israel’s violent crimes against humanity, and so we will hold the company accountable for this behavior. And you know what? This could all go away. We could be quieted down if Google would do the bare minimum and heed our calls and cancel this contract. Google does not need to profit off of genocide. There is no reason, there is no need for Google to profit off of genocide. And so, our demands, they’re not radical, they’re not difficult. It’s really simple: Drop Project Nimbus, and drop business with the government and the military of Israel that is guilty of genocide.”

Here in New York, students at CUNY, the City University of New York, briefly took over a library at the Graduate Center Tuesday night and renamed it “Al Aqsa University Library” to honor Gaza’s oldest public university, which was destroyed by Israel.

Harvard Students End Encampment as Officials Agree to Discuss Divestment Demand

May 15, 2024

At Harvard University, students have ended their three-week Gaza encampment after school officials agreed to meet to discuss divesting from Israel. Israa Alzamli is a student organizer at Harvard.

Israa Alzamli: “We’ve been organizing for Palestine on Harvard’s campus for years. This encampment was not the beginning or the end of our organizing. But it was a beautiful moment of showing how much student power we can build. You know, President Garber has made it very clear from the beginning they had no interest in negotiating with us. But we showed that we had the student power to actually bring him to discussions. And we’re not disillusioned to know that these meetings are actual material wins for divestment, but we are bringing divestment to the table. We are bringing material wins for students like amnesty so that we can continue organizing. What we do see the encampment as is a show of our student strength, our solidarity and our power to continue movement building and know that we have the power to come back in the fall and keep fighting for Palestine.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson Visits Trump Trial & Bashes Prosecution

May 15, 2024
Image Credit: Jane Rosenberg

Prosecutors are wrapping up their case in the criminal hush money and election interference trial of former President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen admitted that he misled the Federal Election Commission about hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Cohen said he did so in order to “demonstrate loyalty to Mr. Trump.” House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senator J.D. Vance and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum were among several Trump allies to show up at the New York courthouse on Tuesday and do what Trump can’t do — bash the prosecution and attack Michael Cohen’s testimony.

Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia Hold Primaries

May 15, 2024

Primaries were held Tuesday in Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia. In Maryland, Angela Alsobrooks won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in her bid to become the first Black senator from Maryland. She defeated three-term Democratic Congressmember David Trone. He spent 10 times as much money — over $60 million of his personal fortune — on the race to replace Ben Cardin, who is retiring. Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan won the Republican primary. In another closely watched Maryland race, state Senator Sarah Elfreth won a crowded Democratic House primary to fill the seat of John Sarbanes, who is also retiring. A super PAC funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee spent $4 million to help her campaign.

In West Virginia, Republican Governor Jim Justice and Democrat Glenn Elliott won their respective Senate primaries Tuesday, setting up a face-off in November to fill the seat of Democrat Joe Manchin.

Ukrainian Forces Withdraw from Areas of Kharkiv Amid New Russian Offensive

May 15, 2024
Image Credit: Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor's Office

Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from some areas in the northeastern region of Kharkiv as Russian forces continue a new offensive that has displaced thousands. The Ukrainian city of Vovchansk is reportedly in ruins following relentless Russian shelling. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has postponed all of his upcoming foreign travel amid the new Russian offensive. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken visited Kyiv and vowed more U.S. assistance would be coming.

Protests in Georgia After Passage of “Foreign Influence” Bill

May 15, 2024

Lawmakers in the Republic of Georgia have passed a controversial “foreign influence” bill that will require NGOs and news organizations to register as foreign agents if they receive at least 20% of their funding from abroad. Critics say the bill uses Kremlin-inspired measures to crush dissent and moves Georgia away from Europe and closer to Moscow. The bill has sparked weeks of street protests.

Biden Places 100% Tariff on Chinese Electric Cars

May 15, 2024

President Biden has announced new tariffs on $18 billion of Chinese imports, including electric vehicles and solar cells. The tariffs on electric vehicles will increase to 100% in an effort to prevent Chinese electric cars from being sold in the United States, a move that critics say contradicts Biden’s pledge to combat the climate crisis by transitioning away from gas-powered vehicles. The Chinese government condemned the new tariffs, saying the moves will “severely affect the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation.”

DOJ Says Boeing Violated Settlement, Could Face Criminal Prosecution

May 15, 2024

The U.S. Justice Department has determined Boeing has violated the terms of a 2021 deferred prosecution deal that was reached after the fatal crashes of two 737 MAX planes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people. The DOJ’s determination could reopen the door to the government prosecuting Boeing, which has been plagued by safety issues on its planes.

Eight Migrant Farmworkers Die in Bus Accident Heading to Watermelon Farm

May 15, 2024

In Florida, at least eight migrant farmworkers from Mexico died in a bus accident as they headed to work on a watermelon farm. Forty other farmworkers were injured. The accident occurred when a truck collided with the bus carrying the workers. The driver of the truck has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence-manslaughter. In a statement, the Farmworker Association of Florida said, “Farmworkers tend to be forgotten, but it’s important not to forget farmworkers, especially during such difficult times.”

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