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HeadlinesMay 08, 2024

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U.N. Warns Gaza Could Run Out of Fuel & Drinking Water After Israel Seized Rafah Crossing

May 08, 2024

The United Nations is warning Gaza could run out of fuel and drinking water today, following Israel’s seizure of the Rafah border crossing. Israel is facing mounting global pressure not to launch a broader ground invasion of Rafah, where more than 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have sought refuge. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned there is no safe place for people in Rafah to go.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “Even the best friends of Israel are clear: An assault on Rafah would be a strategic mistake, a political calamity and a humanitarian nightmare. I appeal to all those with influence over Israel to do everything in their power to help avert even more tragedy.”

Doctors in Rafah are warning Israel’s seizing of the border crossing and its intensifying attacks on eastern Rafah could lead to thousands of more deaths. Marwan al-Hams is the director of Abu Youssef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, which was forced to close and evacuate its patients on Tuesday due to Israeli military operations.

Dr. Marwan al-Hams: “The closure of the Rafah crossing means the death of thousands of patients. Thousands of injured will be martyred. Nutritional resources, medical resources and humanitarian aid won’t enter the Gaza Strip, which means more diseases, more patients needing treatment that isn’t available, more patients with chronic diseases, new diseases we won’t find medication for, and therefore, the number of patients will pile up.”

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports Israel is planning to hand control of the Rafah border crossing to a private U.S. security company. The paper did not name the firm but said it was made up of veterans of elite U.S. Army units.

Biden Withholds 3,500 Bombs from Israel, But U.S. Approves Another $827M for Israel

May 08, 2024

The New York Times has confirmed reports that the Biden administration withheld sending 3,500 bombs to Israel last week out of fear the bombs could be used to attack Rafah. But the administration has gone ahead with approving another $827 million for other weapons and equipment for the Israeli military. This comes as Politico reports the Biden administration has indefinitely delayed issuing a report to determine whether Israel has violated U.S. and international law in its war on Gaza.

Families of Israeli Hostages Urge Netanyahu to End War on Gaza

May 08, 2024

Negotiations are continuing in Cairo two days after Hamas agreed to a ceasefire proposal mediated by Egypt and Qatar. On Tuesday, family members of hostages held in Gaza rallied in Tel Aviv. This is Shahar Mor Zahiro, whose uncle Avraham Munder is being held hostage.

Shahar Mor Zahiro: “We heard from sources involved in the negotiations that the one thing preventing this deal from happening, the one thing separating us from the return of our loved ones, was and remains an Israeli guarantee of an end to this war. To Netanyahu and the government of Israel, we clearly say from this stage, if the only way to get the hostages back is by providing an Israeli guarantee to end this war, then end this war. Bring them back, and save their lives.”

Police Raid Encampments at U. of Illinois & Fashion Institute of Technology

May 08, 2024

The police crackdown on peaceful student protesters continues across the country. In Illinois, police cleared an encampment at the University of Chicago. Here in New York, police forces raided a protest camp at the Fashion Institute of Technology and arrested dozens of protesters Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Europe, police arrested more than 100 activists at the University of Amsterdam. Police also dismantled an encampment at Berlin’s Free University.

Despite the police repression, new encampments continue to form. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, students at MIT restarted a Gaza solidarity encampment.

RISD Students Occupy Campus Building

May 08, 2024

At the Rhode Island School of Design, students barricaded themselves inside a campus building which they renamed Fathi Ghaben Hall, after the acclaimed Palestinian artist who died after being unable to get care in Gaza. This is Santiago Alvarado of RISD Students for Justice in Palestine.

Santiago Alvarado: “Fathi Ghaben is a Palestinian artist who was martyred after being unable to receive treatment because of the Israeli occupation. And as artists, I believe that it is our moral duty to call for an end to genocide.”

Cousin of Rabbi Meir Kahane Arrested After Driving Into Pro-Palestinian Protest in NYC

May 08, 2024

Here in New York, a local real estate developer was arrested after driving his car into a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters who had gathered outside the home of a Columbia University trustee. The driver has been identified as Reuven Kahane. He is a cousin of the late extremist Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane, who publicly advocated for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Meir Kahane served one term in Israel’s Knesset before he was convicted of acts of terrorism.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, a research scholar at Arizona State University named Jonathan Yudelman has been placed on leave after he was filmed harassing a woman in a hijab in Tempe.

Jewish Voice for Peace Criticizes Biden’s Antisemitism Speech at U.S. Holocaust Museum

May 08, 2024

On Tuesday, President Biden spoke at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance. He condemned what he called a “ferocious surge” of antisemitism in the United States.

President Joe Biden: “And my commitment to the safety of the Jewish people, the security of Israel and its right to exist as an independent Jewish state is ironclad, even when we disagree.”

The group Jewish Voice for Peace criticized Biden’s speech, saying he “disgraced the memory of the Holocaust by using our history of persecution to justify the Israeli military’s genocide of Palestinians.”

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Senator Bernie Sanders announced plans to introduce a resolution to condemn bigotry in all forms.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “No to antisemitism. No to Islamophobia. No to all forms of racism and bigotry.”

Judge Rejects Mistrial Motion After Stormy Daniels Testifies in Trump Trial

May 08, 2024

Adult film star Stormy Daniels testified Tuesday about her brief affair with Donald Trump that is at the center of the criminal hush money case against the former president. Daniels’s testimony prompted Trump’s legal team to request a mistrial, but Judge Juan Merchan rejected the motion. The judge also ordered Trump to stop audibly cursing during the trial. Meanwhile, in a major development in another Trump case, federal Judge Aileen Cannon has indefinitely postponed Trump’s trial over his mishandling of classified documents. Cannon, who is a Trump appointee, said there are too many pretrial issues to resolve before a trial date could be set.

Death Toll in Brazil Tops 90 After Catastrophic Flooding

May 08, 2024

In Brazil, search and evacuation efforts continue for survivors of catastrophic floods in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul as the death toll has reached at least 90 people. Over 130 people are still missing. The city of Porto Alegre has been almost entirely cut off by the flooding — the airport and bus stations are closed, while main roads are blocked. Tens of thousands have been left without a home, forced to sleep in the street, while others are fleeing to other regions on foot. Survivors are also struggling to find food and other basic necessities.

Xi Jinping Visits Belgrade on 25th Anniversary of NATO Bombing of Chinese Embassy

May 08, 2024

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Serbia after visiting France, where he began his first European trip in five years. Xi arrived in Belgrade on the 25th anniversary of NATO’s deadly bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999, during the war in Kosovo. The attack killed three Chinese nationals.

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Florida Sues Biden Administration over Transgender Protections

May 08, 2024

The state of Florida and the Catholic Medical Association have sued the Biden administration over a new federal rule protecting transgender people from discrimination in healthcare access. The policy was published by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department Monday and draws from an anti-discrimination provision in the Affordable Care Act. Florida law bans gender-affirming care for trans children and youth.

Tennessee Company Fined $649,000 for Employing Children to Clean Slaughterhouses

May 08, 2024

A cleaning company based in Tennessee has been fined over $649,000 after a U.S. Labor Department investigation found it was employing at least two dozen children, some as young as 13 years old, to clean slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. Fayette Janitorial Service was found to have hired children to work overnight cleaning shifts, at times using corrosive materials to clean “dangerous kill floor equipment” at facilities in Sioux City, Iowa, and Accomac, Virginia. On Monday, New York Times reporter Hannah Dreier won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing how thousands of migrant children, most of them from Mexico and Central America, risk their lives working at meatpacking plants and factories. Go to democracynow.org to see our interviews with Hannah Dreier, as well as other Pulitzer winners this year, including Nathan Thrall, Justin Elliott and Jonathan Eig.

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