Thursday, October 19, 2023

Will the real shady Menendez please stand up, please stand up

Time to garner a look at Shady, the crook New Jersey put in the US Senate. Ted Sherman (NJ.Com) reports:

His colleagues want him to step down.

The governor has called upon him to leave.

And seven in 10 New Jersey residents say it’s time for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez to go.

A new FDU Poll, taking the temperature of voters in the wake of the recent federal bribery and conspiracy charges against Menendez, found 70% of those surveyed want the once-powerful Democrat to resign rather than serve out his term. Just 16% said he should serve out the remainder of that six-year term.

Menendez, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the charges, says he has no plans to resign. He faces re-election in November 2024.

He may not be able to garner votes but Shady can still rake in the cash:

Indicted Sen. Bob Menendez raked in $274,500 for his legal defense fund through the end of last month — leaning on donations from key New Jersey powerbrokers, a recent filing shows.

Over 30 donations were made to the fund in the third quarter of 2023 — including four totaling $22,000 that came after the veteran Democrat and his wife Nadine were indicted on federal bribery charges on Sept. 22, according to the filing with the Senate Office of Public Records obtained by The Post.

CBS reminds

Last week, Menendez and his wife were indicted on new charges that they conspired to act as foreign agents for Egypt. 

Menendez was charged with one count of conspiracy for a public official to act as an agent of a foreign principal, the Egyptian government and its officials. 

Prosecutors said the senator "further promised to take and took a series of acts on behalf of Egypt, including on behalf of Egyptian military and intelligence officials, and conspired to do so with" Wael Hana, a New Jersey businessman from Egypt, and his wife.

Shady needs to go.  And take his child bride with him.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, October 19, 2023.  Joe Biden backs the slaughter in Gaza, a State Dept official resigns over the assault, efforts on the part of the Israeli government to lie about a bombing a hospital fall apart, and much more.

Yesterday, there was a protest in front of Congress with activists calling for a cease-fire.

US House Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene took time off from Tweeting praise for racists who reveal state secrets online and called the peaceful protest "an insurrection."  Yes, she is that crazy.

Let's note Chelsea Handler again (no, I can never get enough of this clip).

Marjorie Taylor Greene: I have people come up to me and say crazy things to me out of the blue in public places that they believe because they read it on the internet.

Chelsea Handler:  Well if that's not the pot calling the kettle QAnon.  This woman thought 9/11 was a hoax, that the Clintons killed JFK Jr. and that Jews are in charge of space lasers.  But please, don't come at her with some crazy ideas -- she might believe them. 

Hundreds of Jewish Americans and allies were arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a protest demanding members of Congress push Israel for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, where nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed over 12 days of relentless Israeli bombardment.

Thousands of protesters led by members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), IfNotNow, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and other groups rallied on the Capitol grounds and inside the building, where hundreds of people took part in a sit-in.

Their chanted slogans—including "not in our name" and "cease-fire now"—resounded thunderously under the Capitol Rotunda, while at other times they clapped their hands and sang with solemn determination in Hebrew.

"We're here to say: not in our names, and never again," JVP declared. "And we'll continue our civil disobedience until Congress calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, or until they force us to leave."

"Cease-fire is the first step to stop the ongoing genocide by the Israeli military of the over 2 million Palestinians in besieged Gaza, unable to leave," the group continued. "In the past week, over 3,000 Palestinians, including 1,000 children, were murdered by Israeli and U.S. bombs. Over 1 million people are displaced. We have the power to stop this violence."

"What we know from past Israeli state atrocities against Palestinians is that the bombs only stop once there is a sufficient mass outcry from the international community," JVP added. "It's on us to build that outcry—as fast as we possibly can." 

Earlier this week on Monday, a similar event took place in front of the White House, with hundreds of demonstrators engaged in acts of civil disobedience (including blocking entrances to the White House grounds), carrying signs and chanting demands to end war, apartheid and genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Around 30 individuals were arrested during the protest.

Protests against the assault on Gaza having been taking place around the United States and WSWS has an ongoing thread about the protests here.

Yesterday, US President Joe Biden embarrassed himself, the truth and justice with statements he made in Tel Aviv.  Andre Damon (WSWS) breaks down Joe's remarks:

Biden spent the vast majority of his speech recounting alleged Palestinian atrocities, or praising the Israeli government, or describing how he would arm Israel. Just six lines mentioned the Palestinians, and those were focused on blaming them for being massacred by the Israelis.

He began his speech with the declaration: “I come to Israel with a single message: You are not alone. ... As long as the United States stands … we’re going to stand by your side.”

Over the past 11 days, Israel has killed 3,478 people in the Gaza Strip. In this period, there were over 136 attacks on healthcare workers and facilities throughout Palestine, the World Health Organization reported. Gaza’s public health system is on the brink of collapse, with food, fuel and water all running critically low.

Biden did not condemn any of the hundreds of targeted attacks on civilians, hospitals, medical workers and critical infrastructure by Israel. He did not condemn the displacement of the Palestinians from Northern Gaza. He did not call for a ceasefire, and he did not call for de-escalation.

His speech was a deliberate statement that Israel’s genocide is taking place with the support of, and at the behest of, the United States, making Biden fully culpable in the war crimes committed by the Netanyahu government. 

He is deeply out of touch with events and with the region.  Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

Palestinian officials are accusing Israel of killing over 500 people in an airstrike on a hospital in Gaza City, where thousands of civilians had sought refuge. Israel is denying responsibility, claiming the explosion was caused by a failed rocket fired by the militant group Islamic Jihad. Palestinian officials have blasted Israel’s claim, pointing out Israel, the military, had already hit the hospital just days before.

As we continue to look at Israel’s war on Gaza, we’re joined by Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, a renowned Palestinian American scholar. He’s the author of a number of books, including his latest, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine. Professor Khalidi’s new piece for The New York Times is headlined “The U.S. Should Think Twice About Israel’s Plans for Gaza.”

We’re going to go to that in just a minute, Rashid, what the U.S. should be thinking about right now. But if you can begin by responding to these developments of the last 24 hours, with the explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital, and the significance of this?

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, it’s obviously had an enormous significance. It led to the cancellation of a summit that was planned for Amman with President Biden. The Arab participants all pulled out after this atrocity.

I think it’s also led to increased anger all over the Arab world. There are demonstrations in at least eight or nine Arab capitals as a result of this. There was already rage at American — blanket American support for Israel. And I think this has increased that.

I think that it is very hard to believe, given that Israel has threatened hospitals and schools in the past, and it’s hit hospitals and schools in the past, and that the kinds of weapons used by Islamic Jihad and Hamas have very limited warheads, that this could have been, as the Israelis claim, a misfire. As you reported, a piece of video that they put up turns out to have been dated from a period after the attack on this hospital. In any case, whoever was responsible, the result will be enormous, enormous anger at the United States for its support of Israel, as well as a further increase in this enormous death toll inside Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, the Palestinian legislator and medical doctor himself, said they actually had, in a very short period of time, a number of explanations of what happened. At first they didn’t say this. They said that Hamas was operating underneath the hospital. Then they said they were using Palestinians as human shields, sort of to explain what had happened. Then they came up with this. Now, I wanted to ask you — you know, we had on Sharif Abdel Kouddous, whose award-winning documentary, The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, won the George Polk Award for that, documenting what Israel said about the murder of this Palestinian American journalist. They first said she was killed by a Palestinian gunman —


AMY GOODMAN: — then said evidence was inconclusive. Then, after enormous pressure and multiple investigations by many news outlets and human rights groups, they said they likely killed her, but not intentional and caught in crossfire — something that was disproven by human rights group after a forensic architecture study of the whole thing — 


AMY GOODMAN: — showing it was an Israeli sniper, Professor Khalidi.

RASHID KHALIDI: I mean, Israel has an enormously successful public relations machine. It took them, I think, 45 minutes to put out this specific cover story on this one, and it was immediately knocked down, as I think you already reported, when it turned out that the piece of film that they produced actually dated 40 minutes after the attack on the hospital.

AMY GOODMAN: The New York Times pointed that out, the timestamp.


AMY GOODMAN: And then they actually retracted the video from X, from Twitter.

RASHID KHALIDI: Precisely, precisely. I mean, they have a well-oiled machine to manufacture cover stories for everything they do. They have been warning hospitals that they are targets since just after this attack, the initial attack out of Gaza on the 7th of October. They hit this hospital the other day, as you just reported. They hit a school today. If you read the Israeli press, you have senior Israeli generals and retired generals talking about places like hospitals and schools as targets, because they claim there are Hamas bunkers beneath them. So it’s hard not to accept that this was an Israeli airstrike or an Israeli bombardment.

And in any case, I think here perception is reality. Given that Israel has dropped 6,000 bombs, at least, on the Gaza Strip in the last 11 days, it’s very hard to believe that — it will be very hard at least for people in the Middle East, who know how Israel systematically lies about what it does in military operations, to believe that this was anybody else than Israel. And I think that’s the important fact to retain. People in Palestine, people in the Arab world, people in everywhere except in the American, Western European media bubble are going to chalk this up to Israel’s attack on Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about your piece, “The U.S. Should Think Twice About Israel’s Plans for Gaza.” Explain what you see unfolding now, and respond to President Biden sitting down with the prime minister, Netanyahu, today and saying the other team did it, attacking the hospital, and go on from there.

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, I mean, the president has bonded the United States to Israel at the hip, since very soon after this horrible escalation started. And in so doing, he has made the United States responsible, in the eyes of the world, for everything. And this is the latest example of that. He’s basically read from an Israeli teleprompter, as he seems to do routinely when anything relating to the Middle East comes up. It’s almost as if his lines are scripted in Tel Aviv at the Israeli Defense Ministry, where their disinformation headquarters are located.

And he has, I think, put the United States in a position that I am not entirely sure anybody in his administration realizes. The United States is going to be vilified not just in the Middle East as a result of its unlimited support for Israel. What we are seeing now is only the beginning. The munitions that are being sent, the aircraft carriers that have been sent to the eastern Mediterranean, the huge bill that they’re going to put before Congress for — I’ve seen a figure of $100 billion — is going to cement in people’s minds the idea that the United States and Israel are one, which means that whatever happens in Gaza, going forward, in terms of people being killed, innocent civilians being killed, in terms of population being expelled — basically, we’re talking about ethnic cleansing of northern Gaza — and, heaven forbid, people actually being forced out of Gaza into Egypt, which is still a possibility, even though the Egyptians have resisted — all of these things will be put down not just to Israel, but to the United States. And I don’t think they fully realize — or if they do, they haven’t anything about it — that this is what the president has — this is where the president has put the United States, for whatever reason. Electoral reasons, his own personal sympathy for Israel, it really doesn’t matter. We are now in a situation where the United States, in my view, has put itself in a more precarious position in the Middle East than it has any time since the 1967 War.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what’s happening on the northern border, on the Israel-Lebanon border, and Hezbollah and the back-and-forth rocket fire that’s going on there and what this could signify.

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, I mean, the most apocalyptic scenario, which I hope and pray does not come about, would be a full-scale war on the northern border between Hezbollah and Israel. That has the potential to draw many other actors in and turn into an even wider war than that, possibly, heaven forbid, involving Syria and Iran, and then, indeed, perhaps the United States. That would be a real apocalyptic scenario. I have a sense that the United States, Iran and Hezbollah and Israel are all reluctant to go too far down that path. Any one of them might do something that could provoke that kind of escalation.

But the real problem is unintended consequences of actions that are out of control. Whatever Israel or Hezbollah or Iran or the United States may want, there may be actions that will precipitate a rapid escalation. And that would — I mean, the situation is appalling as it is. It really would be infinitely worse, the devastation of Lebanon that would follow, the involvement of — communities in northern Israel would be devastated, as well. But the possibility of that growing even wider is, to me, terrifying.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about who Biden hears. I mean, on the one hand, you have Jordan canceling the summit. He was going to meet with the king, with the Egyptian President Sisi and with Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, who turned around as soon as the bombing happened, and said he wouldn’t participate. Then Jordan canceled. Now the U.S. is saying they canceled it mutually. But what exactly this means? So, the only image is President Biden hugging Israeli President Herzog and the prime minister, Netanyahu, at the airport when he arrived. But even at home, State Department officials afraid to raise the issue of Palestinian deaths. HuffPo had a very interesting piece, “'On Thin Ice': Some Biden Administration Staffers Feel Stifled Discussing Horrors in Gaza.” And they talk about a call made by — made by the head — let me see if I can find this — a call with Muslim staffers where they were told to talk about their concerns. And they talked about being afraid of being fired, of being blacklisted, if they dared raise the actual concern they have about what’s happening and what the death toll could be and the position that President Biden is taking right now.

RASHID KHALIDI: We are moving into a McCarthyite era where expression of sympathy for Palestinians is equated with terrorism, and maybe met with police state tactics. Students are being visited by the FBI. I’m not in the least surprised that the government is sending the FBI to talk to student activists, is clamping down on its own employees who dare to express humanitarian sentiments. You are required now to utter a mantra in which you exclusively talk about Israeli suffering. And if you do not do that, you are branded and doxed, and so on and so forth. That’s happening in the academic — in academia, in universities. It’s happening in companies. And it’s, I am sure, happening within the federal government. I have no information about that.

But that is in line with the administration’s position, which is that this is a one-sided affair, in which on the one side is absolute evil, something which, according to administration spokesmen, is worse than ISIS, [. . .]. And with that kind of Manichaean point of view, clearly, anyone who expresses any dissent, you know, you are supporting absolute evil if you talk about anything but the unlimited suffering of Israelis. Now, the suffering of Israelis is unquestionable, but that that should be the only obsession of the president and his men and women puts the United States in a position where, maybe in the sound bubble of the United States, the so-called Western world, it’s comfortable, but with the rest of the world, that will not wash, including countries that are not particularly supportive of Palestine, countries like India, China and so forth. Those are countries that — and other parts of the world, I think — see things in the very same way. So, I don’t know that these people understand the degree to which they are harming this country by this kind of blind, one-sided, Israel-first approach.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Rashid Khalidi, if you were president, if you were President Biden, what would you do right now?

RASHID KHALIDI: What would I do right now? I would immediately call for a ceasefire. I would make sure that the hostages were released immediately. It is unconscionable that they be held. That would require a negotiation between Israel and Hamas about what the terms for that release would be. I would insist on that. It is absolutely urgent those people be gotten out. Most of those are innocent civilians, certainly the civilians amongst them, or many of them are innocent civilians.

The second thing I would do would be to say to Israel, “Look, there is this Palestine question. It’s been the problem for 75 years. If you don’t address it, the United States will not be willing to offer unlimited support.” And addressing it means talking about the Palestinian self-determination, talking about ending the occupation, talking about rolling back settlements, not limiting the unlimited expansion of settlements. I mean, there’s a whole set of things without which you will never have a resolution of this. And so I would work towards a lasting resolution of a struggle that’s been going on, as I say in the book, for more than a hundred years, instead of yet another Band-Aid, yet another attempt to stabilize the status quo, which is massively unfavorable to the Palestinians and which will only lead to more suffering for everybody concerned. That is an idealistic position perhaps, but I don’t think that anybody who has any sense of how this is likely to develop would say anything different, frankly.

AMY GOODMAN: Rashid Khalidi, we want to thank you for being with us, Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, author of a number of books, including The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine. We’ll link to your New York Times op-ed, “The U.S. Should Think Twice About Israel’s Plans for Gaza.”

Coming up, we speak with the United Nations special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Back in 30 seconds.

While Joe Biden embarrasses himself in Israel and enflames the situation, there is pushback in the US government. 

And it's not just talk on a phone call for one State Dept official,  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

  A U.S. State Department official announced his resignation Wednesday over the Biden administration's decision to send more arms to Israel as it carries out a massive assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, killing more than 3,400 people, decimating the enclave's civilian infrastructure, and strangling the population with an unlawful blockade.

"I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict, that I believe to be shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse, and which I wholeheartedly endorse: a world built around a rules-based order, a world that advances both equality and equity, and a world whose arc of history bends towards the promise of liberty, and of justice, for all," Josh Paul, who spent 11 years as director of congressional and public affairs for the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, wrote in his resignation letter.

Paul helped oversee the transfer of U.S. weaponry to allies, a position that he acknowledged "was not without its moral complexity and moral compromises."

"I made myself a promise that I would stay for as long as I felt the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do," Paul wrote. "In my 11 years I have made more moral compromises than I can recall, each heavily, but each with my promise to myself in mind, and intact. I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued—indeed, expanded and expedited—provision of lethal arms to Israel—I have reached the end of that bargain."

Paul's resignation came hours after U.S. President Joe Biden embraced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv and "reiterated his steadfast support for Israel" even as United Nations experts, human rights organizations, and international law scholars accuse the country of committing egregious war crimes—including genocide. 

Three members of Congress are pressing the State Dept for answers.  Jake Johnson reports:

   A trio of House progressives on Wednesday criticized the U.S. State Department for failing to provide members of Congress with a substantive update on its efforts to protect civilians in Gaza, including the hundreds of Palestinian Americans who are trapped in the enclave as it faces a massive assault from Israeli forces.

In a letter, Democratic Reps. Delia Ramirez (Ill.), Summer Lee (Pa.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) called on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to brief members of Congress on the status of civilians in Gaza and provide specific information about efforts to evacuate Palestinian Americans, attempts to free hostages, and negotiations to allow humanitarian aid to enter the occupied territory.

The lawmakers wrote that while they attended a classified briefing provided last week, they remain "concerned about the lack of meaningful information provided by the department on the status of civilians, particularly those in Gaza and the West Bank, and the status of American citizens in Palestine."

Ramirez said in a statement Wednesday that she is "disappointed we still don't have clear information on what our government is doing to protect civilians in Gaza."

"That is why I've formally requested the Department of State to provide a clear response on the situation in Gaza and the status of Palestinian-Americans in Gaza," said the Illinois Democrat. 

Nora Barrows-Friedman has been reporting on these issues for decades.  Yesterday, she spoke with PROJECT CENSORED.

Let's wind down with Cher.  John Russell (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Cher is sounding the alarm about the unprecedented number of anti-trans bills that have been introduced by Republicans in state houses across the U.S. this year.

While promoting her first-ever holiday album, Christmas, out this Friday, the “Believe” singer seemed aghast when asked about the GOP’s anti-trans crusade ahead of the 2024 election.

“It’s something like 500 bills they’re trying to pass,” she told The Guardian.

In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking 501 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced, and in some cases passed into law, across the country during the 2023 legislative session. Those include bans on gender-affirming care for trans young people and laws restricting which bathrooms trans people can use and the sports teams on which they can compete.

“I was with two trans girls the other night – and of course my own child,” Cher continued, referring to her son, Chaz Bono, who is trans. “I was saying, ‘We’ve got to stand together.’ I don’t know what their eventual plan is for trans people. I don’t put anything past them.”

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Fake Ass Cornel and his buddy Harlan Crow

Progressive activist and independent presidential candidate Cornel West received a maximum campaign donation from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, West's latest fundraising report shows.

Crow made the $3,300 donation in August, weeks before West abandoned his bid for the Green Party nomination to run as an independent. Crow has called West, a self-proclaimed “non-Marxist socialist” and longtime professor at Princeton University, “a good friend.” 

West has defended his campaign from questions about whether it would draw support from President Joe Biden, calling the two-party system an “impediment for the flower of American democracy” during an interview with NBC News' "Meet the Press Now."

Fake ass piece of garbage.  Thank goodness we stood up to him (in the Green Party) and sent the coward running.  He has no plan and never did.  He just wants attention.  Pathetic.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, October 18, 2023.  Joe Biden goes to Tel Aviv to try to redecorate the destruction of the Gaza Strip and immediately declares the Israeli government clear in the bombing of a hospital.

Protests erupted across the Middle East following the deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital, with Israeli and Palestinian officials trading accusations over who was to blame as US President Joe Biden arrived in Tel Aviv.  
Hundreds of people were likely killed in the blast on Tuesday at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the center of Gaza City, where thousands were sheltering from Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Health Ministry sid in a statement. 

Israel's prime minister took time out from his indiscriminate killings to Tweet:

He should be thanking Joe.  No sooner did Joe land then he immediately began blaming the hospital bombing on the Palestinians -- "It appears the hospital explosion was done by the other team" -- he's also quoted stating, "Based on what I saw, it looks like it was done by another team and not by you."  The other team?  This isn't a sport.  This is a massacre.  And the US government is condoning it and supplying weapons for it.

REUTERS notes, "A strike on the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip that killed hundreds was "unprecedented in scale," the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, condemning the attack.  The strike was the bloodiest single incident in Gaza since Israel launched a bombing campaign against the densely populated Gaza Strip in retaliation for a deadly cross-border Hamas assault on Israeli communities on Oct. 7."  But, hey, with no investigation, Joe Biden just concludes that the Palestinians bombed themselves.  He's helping on one in need.  In fact, he's now a partner in the killings.

 Authorities in Gaza said Tuesday night that an Israel Defense Forces airstrike on a hospital holding thousands of patients, staff, and people seeking shelter from Israel's relentless bombardment killed at least 500 civilians, while IDF officials blamed the deaths on a botched Islamic Jihad rocket attack.

Photos and videos from al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City posted on social media showed bodies and body parts scattered about in the fiery aftermath of the blast. One video shared by senior Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem reportedly shows the moment when a rocket or missile strikes the Anglican-run hospital, causing a massive, earth-shaking explosion.

"The death toll right now is more than 500, but we believe that number will reach more than 1000," Ziad Shehadah, a medical doctor and resident of Gaza, told Al Jazeera. "It is a massacre." 

  Ghassan Abu Sittah, a physician with the international charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said on social media: "We were operating in the hospital, there was a strong explosion, and the ceiling fell on the operating room. This is a massacre."

MSF said that "nothing justifies this shocking attack on a hospital and its many patients and health workers, as well as the people who sought shelter there."

"Hospitals are not a target. This bloodshed must stop. Enough is enough," the group added.

  Many Gazans had fled to the hospital after Israeli authorities ordered 1.1 million Palestinians to flee for their lives—an alleged war crime compared to the Nakba ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine during the establishment of the modern state of Israel—amid a bombing campaign that has killed more than 3,500 people, including over 1,000 children, since October 7.

"What's s happened is terrible because those people, all of them are civilians. They fled their homes and reached a place that they believed was safe—a hospital, which according to international law, is a safe place," Shehadah said. "People left their homes thinking they were more dangerous and they move to our schools and hospitals to be safe. And in one minute, all of them have been killed at a hospital." 


Joe Biden's just another War Criminal as his Tweet makes clear.

What about the daily brutal attacks on the Palestinians?  What about the children of Palestine?  No move to stand with them, no move to defend them.  You wasted everyone's time by even going.  All you're doing is providing cover for this continued slaughter.  It's beyond disappointing, it's shameful. 

WSWS calls out the bombing:

On Tuesday, the Israeli military dropped a massive GPS-guided bomb on the Al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, killing more than 500 medical personnel, patients and refugees. The hospital, operated by the Anglican Christian Church, had been sheltering over 1,000 people who were displaced by the bombing. Doctors and medical staff at the hospital had courageously refused Israeli demands that they relocate further south, stating that there were not enough beds in southern Gaza to accommodate their critically wounded patients.

This atrocity has triggered mass protests by hundreds of thousands throughout the Middle East, Europe and America. Thousands rallied outside the White House, with banners accusing US President Joe Biden of genocide.

The Israeli government and US media have launched a campaign to promote the lie that the Palestinians bombed their own hospital. Israel denied responsibility for the bombing, claiming that the attack was caused by a rocket launched from Gaza that misfired. The entire world knows this is an absurd fabrication. This massacre was conducted by Israel, with the support of the US-NATO axis.

There is nothing accidental about the Gaza bombing. It is only the latest, and most heinous, in a string of dozens of attacks on hospitals, residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure over the past 10 days. It is entirely in keeping with Israel’s strategy for the war, which is to terrorize the population by inflicting massive casualties and deaths.

Yet Joe lands in Tel Aviv and immediately issues propaganda statements that it was "the other side."  Disgusting and humiliating.  Bethan McKernan (GUARDIAN) reports, "The Israeli military said an initial investigation suggested the explosion was caused by a failed Hamas rocket launch, before saying it was the result of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket barrage. Islamic Jihad denied the Israeli allegation, and the scale of the blast appeared to be outside either of the militant groups’ capabilities."

  As Amy Goodman noted yesterday, "Biden has so far refused to call for a ceasefire in Gaza."  At THE NATION, Abdullah Shihipar notes:

The situation in the Gaza Strip is dire. Amid an intense bombing campaign, Israel has shut off water and power and limited essential supplies such as food, medicine, and fuel, creating a massive public health crisis in a region that was already struggling due to a years-long blockade. According to latest statistics, more than 2,750 people have been killed by Israeli strikes, of whom 1,000 are children. Hospitals in Gaza have already been targeted. After repeated threats and calls to evacuate, the Ahli Arab Hospital was bombed on October 17, with early estimates of casualties reporting 500 dead. The hospital was filled with people seeking shelter from the bombings, as are hospitals across Gaza. At Shifa Hospital alone the number of people seeking shelter is estimated to be around 35,000 people. These are ideal conditions for infectious disease to spread. If there is not immediate intervention, thousands of Gazans will die of infections, malnutrition, and dehydration, in addition to the bombardment.

The shutoff of clean water is of particularly grave concern. When people no longer have access to clean, treated water, they will drink water from whatever source there is, including seawater. These sources may be contaminated with sewage, chemicals, and other contaminants, which can lead to water-borne illnesses like cholera and dysentery; outbreaks of such diseases would strain the medical system in Gaza. These diseases also require rapid rehydration, and without a source of water, they can quickly become deadly. Clean water is also necessary for providing proper medical care to people—for one thing, you can’t wash your hands without it. Water is a key component in many medical procedures, such as dialysis for kidney patients. When clean water is no longer available, medical practitioners have to spend crucial moments looking for water in a time when time can barely be spared. Meanwhile, the blockade prevents medical supplies from entering Gaza, and Médecins Sans Frontières has reported that hospitals have run out of painkillers. As people are gravely injured and arrive at the hospital with open wounds, if hospitals are lacking proper medical equipment to stabilize them and prevent infection, many people will die preventable deaths.

[. . .]

To prevent mass death and urgently address this public health crisis, Israel and Hamas must agree to a cease-fire. It is not merely enough to open up a humanitarian corridor, especially since there is evidence that the IDF bombed civilians evacuating on a promised safe route, calling into question future guarantees of safety. A cease-fire will allow vital supplies to enter Gaza and will allow rescue and medical workers time to tend to the injured and dead without the fear of being bombarded. Aid workers need to distribute badly needed food and water to a population that hasn’t had a proper supply of nutrients or hydration in days. The water and power must also be turned back on. The United States must play a crucial role in ensuring that this happens. Fellow public health professionals and our elected officials must also be vocal. Representatives Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib, and others have introduced a resolution in Congress calling for cease-fire, and we must support their efforts.

Others are also calling for a cease-fire.   Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports this morning:

  The head of the United Nations on Wednesday called for an "immediate humanitarian cease-fire" in Israel and Gaza following a deadly strike on the Palestinian territory's al-Ahli Hospital, where many displaced Palestinians had taken refuge amid relentless Israeli bombing.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said a cease-fire would "provide sufficient time and space" for humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip and hostages to be freed. 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We head now to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed at least 55 Palestinians in the West Bank since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel October 7th. Israeli authorities have also arrested over 700 Palestinians, several prominent lawmakers, including Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

To talk about the situation in the West Bank and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, we’re joined by Sari Bashi, program director at Human Rights Watch, co-founder of Gisha, the leading Israeli human rights group promoting the right to freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza.

Sari, if you can talk about the entire situation, the imminent invasion of Gaza? You just heard Raji Sourani. And also talk about what’s happening in the West Bank. In the last year, approximately — it’s a bit more, but a Palestinian a day has been killed since the beginning of the year.

SARI BASHI: Yes. Thank you.

And I’m sorry to say that since October 7th in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes have killed, on average, 100 children a day. And that’s the statistic that stays with me.

So, this latest escalation began on October 7th, when Hamas-led fighters entered Israel and committed unspeakable war crimes against Israeli civilians. They massacred partygoers at an outdoor dance party. They entered homes, in some cases burning the homes, in other cases shooting families. And they took hostage men, women, older people, children, people with disabilities. Appropriately, the U.S. government and people in the United States condemned those acts, because they were unspeakable crimes against civilians that have no justification.

So the answer cannot be for the Israeli government, with the backing of the American government, to then target and harm civilians in Gaza. I am particularly concerned about the collective punishment of civilians in Gaza. The Israeli military cut food, electricity, water and fuel supplies on October 7th, which is contributing to the humanitarian catastrophe. And the Israeli military is engaging in — is dropping explosive weapons in densely populated areas with wide area effects. So, when you do that, when you drop bombs on crowded urban centers, it is predictable that you will kill civilians. It is predictable that you will kill children. And that’s what’s happening. Gaza is the size — about the size of the U.S. city of Philadelphia. It’s 2.2 million people. Nearly half of those people are children.

And that’s something that we need to see more of the United States government addressing. We’ve heard thus far general comments about the need to respect international humanitarian law. We need very specific directives for the Israeli government to immediately restore food, fuel, electricity and water supplies and to stop dropping weapons in densely populated civilian areas.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Sari Bashi, I wanted to ask you — the prime minister, Netanyahu, has urged the Palestinians in Gaza to flee to Egypt if they want to avoid the horrors of the bombing and the invasion. Isn’t this itself a form of ethnic cleansing? After all, Israel is not telling the Palestinians, “Hey, if you want to escape the bombing and the invasion, move into Israel or be transported to the West Bank.” After all, even Putin, in his invasion of Ukraine, ended up admitting 1.2 million Ukrainians into Russia to avoid the worst impact on them of the war itself.

SARI BASHI: So, the first thing to say is that the countries that are neighboring Gaza — Israel and Egypt — have an obligation to open their borders and let people who are fleeing for their lives enter. Not to do that risks violating the principle of non-refoulement. When you have mothers with children who are trying to save their children’s lives, Israel and Egypt need to open their borders and let that happen. But the Israeli evacuation order risks forcible transfer. The Israeli military has called on half the population in Gaza in the north to go to the south, and Israeli military officials have also called on people in Gaza to flee to Egypt.

Now, for people in Gaza, Gaza is — 70% of the people living in Gaza are refugees from what is now Israel. Some of the older people who fled Friday, Saturday from northern Gaza to southern Gaza, they remember fleeing the Israeli army 75 years ago. They remember the homes they left behind in what is now Israel. And they remember that they were never allowed to come back, although international law defends the right of return for all refugees, whether they’re Ukrainians trying to resume — to return to areas that have been liberated from Russian occupation or under Russian occupation, or people from Gaza coming back after the army has left.

My concern is that while it’s acceptable, and in some cases advisable, for warring parties to issue warnings, those warnings are only effective if there are safe ways for civilians to avoid harm. So, when you tell a million people to evacuate but there’s no safe place to go to and no safe way to get there, that’s not an effective warning. And another thing that the United States government should do very clearly is to call on the Israeli government to cancel the evacuation order and to take all measures to protect civilians who remain in the north. There are many people — men, women, children, older people, people with disabilities, hospital patients — who either cannot or will not leave the northern Gaza, and they retain their protections under international law.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And could you talk to us about how Palestinians in the West Bank are being impacted as a result of the continuing conflict in Gaza?

SARI BASHI: So, here, people are mostly worried. There have been road closures. Workers have not been allowed to enter Israel for their jobs. There have been increased military activity in the West Bank, including incursions and arrests. You mentioned arrests of people who expressed support for the attacks on October 7th. Businesses who engaged in that have been closed at night, with the Israeli army coming in. For the most part, people are worried.

All of this is unprecedented. The attacks that Hamas-led fighters committed against Israeli civilians on October 7th are unprecedented. It was the worst massacre of civilians in Israeli history. And the level of harm, targeted harm, that the Israeli military is inflicting on civilians in Gaza is also unprecedented.

At Human Rights Watch, we’re trying to hold open a narrow space for universal basic principles of humanity. It is never OK to commit unspeakable war crimes against civilians, as was done in southern Israel on October 7th. And that in no way justifies committing war crimes against civilians in Gaza.

And for Americans who are confused by all of what’s going on, I would suggest you just remember that very basic principle that civilians need to be protected, and then encourage your elected representatives to remind the U.S. government of that principle, because the United States government is providing $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel, and it’s rushing even more weapons here right now. It has a responsibility to rein in the attacks on civilians, to call on Israel to cancel the evacuation order and protect civilians in Gaza and to immediately restore humanitarian supplies to civilians.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the difference between your experience on the West Bank, as an Israeli Jewish lawyer, and your husband’s experience, as a Palestinian professor, a resident of Ramallah, for people to understand? And also this issue — you know, Jake Sullivan recently said, just a few weeks ago, Biden’s national security adviser, that it’s been quieter in the Middle East than any time in 20 years. This is the time that at least a Palestinian a day was being killed. And talk about settlers and the army.

SARI BASHI: Yeah. I think part of the concern — and I know Raji was addressing that when he talked about root causes — is that some of the root causes of the violence, including what Human Rights Watch and many other groups have called apartheid, are invisible to U.S. policymakers. We have a situation where U.S. policymakers are very busy brokering normalization deals between the most right-wing Israeli government in history and dictatorial Arab governments, and it’s not paying attention to what’s happening on the ground.

For decades, the Israeli authorities have engaged in systemic repression of Palestinians, including not allowing people in Gaza, refugees in Gaza, to return to their homes in what is now Israel, and including a punishing closure for the last 16 years that has not allowed appropriate supplies to enter and leave Gaza and has not allowed people to travel. And that’s part of the reason why people in Gaza were so vulnerable even before this violence began.

In addition, the Israeli government is privileging Israeli Jews over Palestinians. And that’s the essence of the crime against humanity of apartheid, when you commit inhumane acts and engage in systemic repression in order to privilege one group over another. So, I’m Israeli Jewish, American, as well. My partner is Palestinian. And I can do things that he can’t do. I can travel quite freely. And even though his mother is a refugee from what is now Israel, he can’t pass areas that are off limits to Palestinians. I have excellent rights. I have health. There are cities in Israel being built for Jews only, and also in the West Bank, settlements being built for Israeli Jews only, while Palestinians are hemmed in, unable to build cities, and their homes are being demolished for lack of permits that are almost impossible to get. The Israeli authorities are engaging in forcible transfer, where they remove Palestinian communities in the West Bank to make room for settlements. All of these are part of the root causes of the violence.

And the only thing I can hope is that U.S. policymakers will realize that it’s not quiet here. There’s terrible abuses going on. You just have to listen to what people on the ground are telling you, and adjust accordingly. No U.S. policy toward Israel-Palestine will be successful if it doesn’t address the abuses on the ground, first, second and third.

AMY GOODMAN: Sari Bashi, we want to thank you for being with us, program director at Human Rights Watch, co-founder of Gisha, the leading Israeli human rights group promoting the right to freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza.

Next up, we go to a former Israeli peace negotiator. His recent interview on BBC went viral. Back in 20 seconds.

The propaganda spin is not working.  The world can see that this is collective punishment, that the government of Israel is committing War Crimes.  So what do they do next?  Try to silence the truth.  COUNTERPUNCH is under bot attackOn yesterday's THE REMIX MORNING SHOW (BLACK POWER MEDIA), Jacqueline Luqman announced that SPUTNIK had cancelled her show BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY because they did not like the anti-colonization position of the showLast week, we noted YOUTUBE restricting access to a DEMOCRACY NOW! conversation claiming it was too violent.   These are desperation tactics that come too late to stop reality from being seen.

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