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HeadlinesMay 21, 2024

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Israeli Airstrikes Kill Dozens Across Gaza as Genocide Continues in Wake of ICC Arrest Warrant News

May 21, 2024

In Gaza, Israeli air attacks in the north of the Strip have killed at least 18 Palestinians in Jabaliya and Beit Lahia. Airstrikes also killed at least five people today in the southern city of Rafah. The Gaza Health Ministry says at least 85 Palestinians have been killed over the past day, with another 228 wounded. The continued Israeli attacks come a day after the International Criminal Court announced it is seeking arrest warrants for alleged war crimes committed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and three leaders of Hamas. President Biden condemned the move by the ICC Monday as he spoke at a White House event for Jewish American Heritage Month.

President Joe Biden: “Let me be clear: We reject the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders. Whatever these warrants may imply, there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. And it’s clear Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection.”

Republicans say they are considering sanctions against the ICC. Meanwhile, independent Senator Bernie Sanders backed the actions by the international court, saying, “it is imperative that the global community uphold international law. Without these standards of decency and morality, this planet may rapidly descend into anarchy, never-ending wars, and barbarism.”

International reactions to the news have been mixed. France, a close ally of Israel, said it supported the ICC’s “independence, and the fight against impunity in all situations.” Palestinian officials have welcomed the possible arrest warrants while condemning the double standards against Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation. Displaced Palestinians in Rafah weighed in on the decision.

Yasser al-Satari: “My opinion about the ICC decision is that they’ve equated the victim with the executioner. They made victim and executioner equal — the criminal, Netanyahu and Gantz, who have killed the people of Palestine for more than 75 years, equal to the Palestinians, who have resisted and demanded their rights. The homeland is our right, and we must demand our right.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian is reporting Israeli soldiers have been tipping off extremist settlers on the location of aid trucks headed to Gaza, allowing far-right groups to block and vandalize the humanitarian convoys.

Israel Kills 7 Palestinians in Jenin Raid, Incl. a Student, Teacher and Doctor

May 21, 2024

Deadly Israeli raids continue in the occupied West Bank. At least seven Palestinians were killed today after Israeli soldiers stormed the city of Jenin early in the morning. Among the victims were a teacher and a doctor, who were on their way to work, and at least one young student, who was shot while riding his bike to school. About a dozen others have been reported injured, including a journalist. Schools in Jenin have been evacuated. Israeli forces also made 15 arrests across Ramallah, Nablus and Tubas, as well as in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel has detained over 8,800 Palestinians since October 7.

AOC Lends Her Clout to New York Bill Which Would Sanction Charities Funding Israel

May 21, 2024

A group of New York lawmakers have reintroduced a measure that would ban New York nonprofits from using tax-deductible donations to fund Israeli settlers and Israeli military units in Gaza and the West Bank. The Not On Our Dime! Act would also prohibit organizations from “aiding and abetting” the resettling of Gaza or supporting Israeli military actions that violate international law. The legislation was first introduced last year by New York Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani and state Senator Jabari Brisport. U.S. Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke in favor of the bill at a rally Monday.

Yale Students Walk Out of Graduation; The New School and Bard Make Progress in Their Demands

May 21, 2024

Over 150 Yale students staged a walkout Monday during their graduation ceremony. Some students wore red gloves to symbolize blood as they demand the Ivy League school divest from Israel. Students and faculty also carried signs with the words “Drop the charges” and “Protect free speech” in defense of the 45 protesters arrested during the police crackdown on Yale.

Meanwhile, here in New York, The New School Gaza Solidarity Encampment announced it reached a deal with the university’s Board of Trustees to hold a vote on divestment by June 14. The New School has been home to the country’s first faculty encampment. In New York state, students at Bard announced all of their demands around investments and transparency have been met, days after escalating their protest. The activists said that despite the victory, “there is no such thing as 'winning' in the midst of a genocide.”

Funeral Proceedings Begin in Iran for Pres. Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

May 21, 2024

In Iran, funeral ceremonies have begun for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several other Iranian officials and crew. Thousands of mourners gathered today in the city of Tabriz for a procession. Other ceremonies are planned in the coming days, including tomorrow in Tehran. Raisi’s burial is set to take place Thursday in his home city of Mashhad. Iranian state media said the crash was caused by a “technical failure.”


Pres. Macron Heads to New Caledonia as Death Toll from Unrest Increases to 6

May 21, 2024

French President Emmanuel Macron is heading to New Caledonia and sending in more troops as tensions continue to rise in the Pacific archipelago. Australia and New Zealand are evacuating their citizens. Six people have been killed in recent clashes. The crisis was triggered after France moved to allow French residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote in provincial elections. Some 40% of the population of New Caledonia is Kanak, but the island has been under French rule since its colonization in the 19th century. Kanak activist Viro Xulue says France is bringing civil war back to New Caledonia.

Viro Xulue: “Not only the Kanak, we have some Polynesian people, people from Vanuatu here who lives here, Fiji and some people from France, as well. They are helping Kanak people — not only the Kanak people, not only the political independence party here, everyone here. But it’s really hard, because we are really scared about the police, the French soldiers, and we are scared about the anti-Kanak militia terrorist group.”

Pylos Shipwreck Trial Opens in Athens, Raising Concerns over Criminalization of Migrants

May 21, 2024

In Greece, the trial is opening for nine Egyptian men accused of smuggling migrants in the Pylos shipwreck that killed some 600 people in June of last year. But the accused men say they are being scapegoated and are themselves victims. Human Rights Watch is warning the trial risks overlooking the criminal responsibility of Greek authorities. The majority of victims of the shipwreck were from Pakistan. Others were from Syria and Egypt. This is survivor Inzimam Maqbool speaking from Athens Monday.

Inzimam Maqbool: “I want give me justice for all people died, Pakistani 400 people, only 12 people rescued. … All the families in Pakistan of people died in sea, all, they call, in mother, father, sister and wife, call me: 'Where is my husband? Where is my brother? Where is my cousin? Tell me!' What will I tell them?”

Prosecution Rests in Trump’s NYC Trial; Defense Starts Off with Admonishment of Witness

May 21, 2024

Back in New York, prosecutors rested their case Monday in Donald Trump’s criminal hush money and 2016 election interference trial. Trump’s lawyers called witness Robert Costello, a lawyer who has accused Michael Cohen of lying, but his testimony soon devolved after he complained about prosecutors’ objections, leading Judge Juan Merchan to reprimand him and briefly clear the courtroom. At one point Judge Merchan asked Costello, “Are you staring me down right now?” Meanwhile, Cohen admitted under questioning by the defense that he stole $60,000 of Trump Organization money to make up for a cut to his annual bonus in 2016.

Judge and DA in Georgia’s Trump Election Subversion Case Up for Reelection

May 21, 2024

In other Trump news, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, two key figures in Georgia’s sweeping racketeering case against Trump, are both on the ballot today as Georgians head to the polls for the state’s primaries.

In more related news, Rudy Giuliani was served Friday with notice of his indictment in Arizona’s 2020 election subversion case. Agents from Arizona’s Attorney General’s Office served Giuliani the papers at his 80th birthday party in Palm Beach, Florida, reportedly just after guests sang him “Happy Birthday.”

Larry Bensky, Veteran KPFA Broadcaster Who Reported on Iran-Contra, Dies at 87

May 21, 2024

Larry Bensky, award-winning reporter and veteran KPFA radio broadcaster, died Sunday at the age of 87. Bensky was the national affairs correspondent for Pacifica Radio from 1987 to 1998, notably covering the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings and the 9/11 Commission hearings, among other historical events. Larry Bensky also hosted KPFA’s public affairs show “Sunday Salon” and later the classical music show “Piano.” He also wrote for various publications, including The Nation, and was a professor. In this KPFA clip, Bensky reflects on why he chose the career of journalism.

Larry Bensky: “I thought that bringing people information about things would stir things up. It’s not that bringing people the information automatically brings a cure to humanity’s ills, or we wouldn’t have so many ills. It’s that if you don’t do it, it’s certainly not going to change. So, that’s how I became what I think of as an activist journalist.”

Larry Bensky was also one of the original co-hosts of Democracy Now! in 1996.

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