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HeadlinesMay 23, 2024

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Israel Continues to Decimate Gaza’s Hospitals, Storming Al-Awda and Bombing Kamal Adwan

May 23, 2024

Israel is intensifying its ground and aerial attacks on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where until recently more than 1.4 million Palestinians had sought refuge. According to the United Nations, over 800,000 Palestinians have fled the city despite having no safe place to go.

In Gaza City, Israel bombed a mosque and a school housing displaced Palestinians. Al Jazeera reports the bombing killed 10 people, including five children. Dozens were wounded. The overall official death toll in Gaza has now topped 35,700.

Israel is also continuing to target medical facilities in Gaza. Israeli forces have stormed Al-Awda Hospital in the Jabaliya refugee camp, forcing medical staff to abandon the hospital. The World Health Organization has issued an urgent appeal for Israel to protect the hospital’s medical staff and patients. On Tuesday, Israeli missiles struck the emergency department at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza. Dr. Hussam Abu Safia described the attack.

Dr. Hussam Abu Safia: “What happened a short while ago — and we never imagined that one day we would be targeted directly — the emergency department was targeted by more than three missiles. The first missile, when it hit, it hit the entrance of the emergency department. We tried to enter, and then a second missile hit, and then the third. And the building nearby was hit. We do not know what their fate is.”

Mike Johnson Pressures Schumer to Endorse Netanyahu Invitation to Congress Amid Democratic Objections

May 23, 2024

On Capitol Hill, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is moving ahead with a plan to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. Johnson is urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to sign on to the invitation despite strong pushback from many Democrats. This comes just days after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced he is seeking an arrest warrant for Netanyahu for war crimes in Gaza.

U.S., Israel Condemn Recognition of Palestinian State, as Colombia Announces Embassy in Ramallah

May 23, 2024

Meanwhile, Israel and the U.S. are criticizing a move by Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognize Palestine as an independent state on May 28, bringing the total number of countries recognizing Palestine to 146. National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke Wednesday.

Jake Sullivan: “President Biden, as I just said, has been on the record supporting a two-state solution. He has been equally emphatic on the record that that two-state solution should be brought about through direct negotiations through the parties, not through unilateral recognition.”

In Colombia, President Gustavo Petro has ordered the opening of a Colombian Embassy in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. This comes weeks after Petro broke diplomatic relations with Israel after he accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. This is Colombia’s foreign minister, Luis Gilberto Murillo.

Luis Gilberto Murillo: “So, we believe — we are sure that more and more countries are going to recognize Palestine. And this is nothing against Israel or the people of Israel or Jewish people. The United Nations agreed, in the context of the Oslo Accords, that a two-state solution should be created. And so, if you need two states, then obviously that requires Palestine to be recognized as a state.”

Two Progressive Dems Lose Oregon Primaries After AIPAC-Tied Group Funds Opponents

May 23, 2024

Back in the U.S., two progressive Democrats lost their primary races in Oregon Tuesday after they were vastly outspent by more right-leaning candidates. Susheela Jayapal, the older sister of Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal, lost to Maxine Dexter, who received around 30 times more money than Jayapal, including over $2 million from the pro-Israel, AIPAC-affiliated 314 Action Fund. Susheela Jayapal called for urgent campaign finance reform after the vote. Elsewhere in Oregon, progressive candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner was defeated by Janelle Bynum, who received nearly half a million dollars from 314 Action Fund.

China Starts Major Military Drills Around Taiwan After Inauguration of New President

May 23, 2024

China has launched two days of military drills around Taiwan, just days after the self-governing territory inaugurated its new president. Chinese state media said the military exercises will “serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces.” Taiwanese President William Lai Ching-te responded to the news by saying he will strengthen Taiwan’s army and “continue to defend the values of democracy, protecting regional peace and stability.”

U.K. Prime Minister Calls Surprise July Election

May 23, 2024

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise snap election on July 4, taking a major gamble as he seeks reelection even as his Conservative Party is trailing far behind the opposition Labour Party in the polls. Conservatives have been in power in Britain since 2010.

Maritime Tribunal Issues Ruling Holding Governments Responsible for Ocean Pollution

May 23, 2024

In environmental news, an international maritime tribunal issued a ruling that says greenhouse gases are pollutants that can cause irreversible harm to the marine environment and that governments must “adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce, and control” them. Though the ruling is nonbinding, small island nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis hailed it as a “groundbreaking victory,” and it’s likely to lead to more cases against the largest polluters. The decision affects 165 countries that ratified the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea — the United States is not one of them.

Judge Blocks Part of Florida Anti-Immigrant Law; Arizona GOP Advances Anti-Immigrant Ballot Measure

May 23, 2024

In Florida, a federal judge temporarily blocked part of a new law that would make it a felony to transport undocumented migrants into the state. The measure was pushed as part of Governor Ron DeSantis’s attacks on immigrants.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, the state Senate advanced a Republican-led ballot measure for the November election which would allow local and state agencies to detain undocumented people crossing the southern border, and allow state judges to order their removal from the U.S. Arizona Democrats and immigrant justice advocates have condemned the measure for further criminalizing migrants. This is José Patiño of the group Aliento.

José Patiño: “Myself, my dad was deported when I was 11 years old. I remember to this day how I felt scared in a corner asking for help and how the people who were supposed to protect us — aka police officers — were the ones who were taking my dad away.”

Justice Alito Flew Another Right-Wing Flag Used by Trump Supporters Outside Holiday Home

May 23, 2024

Another flag favored by die-hard Trump supporters was seen on display outside another one of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s homes. The New York Times reports the “An Appeal to Heaven” flag — a symbol carried by insurrectionists on January 6 — was photographed flying in front of Alito’s New Jersey vacation house last summer. The flag, featuring a pine tree, is found in far-right Christian circles.

This comes just a week after The New York Times reported Alito flew an upside-down U.S. flag outside his Virginia home in January 2021, a symbol used by election deniers. Even before Wednesday’s latest revelation, some 50 House Democrats wrote a letter calling on Alito to recuse himself from January 6-related cases, including Trump’s claim to presidential immunity in his election subversion cases. The “An Appeal to Heaven” flag also hangs outside the office of House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Senate Confirms Biden’s 201st Federal Judge

May 23, 2024

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Biden’s 201st federal judge nominee. At this point in Trump’s presidency, Republicans had secured 196 judges. Democrats hope to exceed Trump’s total of 234 judicial confirmations during his term, which would represent about one-quarter of the federal judiciary.


Uvalde Families Settle with City, Announce New Lawsuit Ahead of 2nd Anniversary of Massacre

May 23, 2024

In Uvalde, Texas, families of the victims of the massacre at Robb Elementary School announced they have settled a lawsuit with the city for $2 million, as they launched a lawsuit against 92 officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the school district and individual employees. This is Javier Cazares, father of killed 9-year-old Jackie Cazares, speaking at a press conference yesterday.

Javier Cazares: “No amount of money is worth the children’s — our lives of our children. Justice and accountability has always been my main concern. We’ve been let down so many times. The time has come to do the right thing. Thank you.”

The news Wednesday came just two days ahead of the second anniversary of the Uvalde massacre, which killed 19 children and two teachers. Three hundred seventy-six law enforcement officers responded to the mass shooting, but it took 77 minutes for anyone to enter the classroom where the gunman was slaughtering children. Earlier this week, the new Uvalde school district police chief resigned just a year after taking up the job. His predecessor was fired over the botched response to the shooting.

Biden Cancels Another $7.7B in Student Debt; Debt Collective Protesters Arrested in D.C.

May 23, 2024

President Biden has canceled another $7.7 billion in student loans for 160,000 borrowers. The funds will benefit those enrolled in certain repayment plans such as public service loans and income-driven plans. This latest move brings the overall student debt relief issued by the Biden administration to $167 billion, after the Supreme Court struck down a more comprehensive plan last year that would have provided relief for some 40 million people.

In related news, a dozen members of the Debt Collective group were arrested Wednesday after 100 protesters marched from the Education Department to the Capitol demanding Biden “Fund Education, Not Genocide.”

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