Saturday, April 13, 2024

Debra Winger

A nice Saturday.  Got the house clean before nine, kids went over to my mom's at noon and are spending the night with her.  Got to be lazy.

Watched Everybody Wins.  

That's not what I wanted to watch.  I wanted to watch Mike's Murder.

I was in the mood for a Debra Winger film.  I love Mike's Murder and Paul Winfield is also in it (and very good in it).  But I couldn't find it anywhere -- not HBO, not Starz, not Showtime, not MGM, not Amazon . . . Finally, saw it was at Fandango but didn't feel like creating an account.

So I went with Everybody Wins -- a film where none of the characters win -- least of all Debra Winger's Angela.  She is at the center of a mystery that Nick Notle is trying to unravel.  It's a good movie and everyone -- including Jack Warden and Judith Ivey -- delivers strong performances.

It's one of Debra's under-rated films -- like Mike's Murder or A Dangerous Woman (Barbara Hershey may be the only actress whose shared the screen with Debra and matched her intensity).

 My top ten favorite Debra Winger films:

10) An Officer and A Gentleman

9) Shadowlands

8) A Dangerous Woman

7) The Lovers

6) Urban Cowboy

5) Mike's Murder

4) The Sheltering Sky

3)  Terms of Endearment

2) Betrayed

1) Black Widow


ADDED 11:28 pm, 4/13/24:  Kylie e-mailed wondering if I was on a Debra Winger film kick because of Betty's recent post "Science post: When humans first spoke, first started raising poultry, the Taino"?  I probably was.  I'd forgotten that Betty wrote about Black Widow earlier this month:

Have you seen the film BLACK WIDOW?  Not the superhero movie.  I'm talking about the 1987 film starring Debra Winger and Theresa Russell.  It's a great movie, probably the best noir film of the 80s (yes, I've seen BLOOD SIMPLE -- BLACK WIDOW is better). So Debra Winger's with the FBI and she stumbles across a woman (Theresa Russell) who marries wealthy men and then kills them, over and over.  I like it when Theresa's Margaret (she changes her identity after each kill) and pursuing William in Seattle by pretending to be interested in Pacific Northwest native culture.  She studies up on each man she targets.  It's a really great movie.  

It's a game of cat and mouse and Debra has to invent a fake persona to go after Theresa.  At one point, Theresa believes she's won and bested Debra and says, "The truth is, I'm sorry it's over."  Debra responds, "The truth is, it's not over yet."  Theresa is amazing in the film and Debra Winger truly is one of the country's best actresses. 

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


Friday, April 12, 2024.  The government of Israel attacks journalists this morning (with one survivor having to get his leg amputated), they also bomb houses and refugee camps this morning, the US government finally admits famine is taking place in Gaza, and much more.

This exchange between US House Rep Joaquin Castro and US AID's Samantha Power took place Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Samantha Power, the head of the US humanitarian and development agency, USAID, became the first American official to confirm publicly that famine had already got a grip in at least some parts of Gaza.

Power told a congressional committee that her officials had analysed an assessment by food insecurity experts in mid-March that a famine could set in between later the same month and mid-May, and had found that judgment to be “credible”.

“So famine is already occurring there?” Democratic congressman, Joaquin Castro, asked her.

“That is – yes,” she replied.

The independent assessment, known as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), used three main criteria: the number of households facing extreme lack of food, the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition, and the number of adult deaths due to starvation or the combination of disease and starvation. The IPC report in March found two of the three benchmarks had already been reached or exceeded.

In other news from Gaza, a top U.S. official has acknowledged a majority, if not all, Palestinians are facing starvation in Gaza. David Satterfield, the U.S. humanitarian envoy in the Middle East, made the remark during an online forum hosted by the American Jewish Committee.

David Satterfield: “There is an imminent risk of starvation for the majority, if not all, the 2.2 million population of Gaza. This is not a point in debate. It is an established fact, which the United States, its experts, the international community, its experts, assess and believe is real.”

Easily over 200 aid workers have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces since October 7th -- the most famous being the attack on the World Central Kitchen workers which left 7 dead.  As we noted in yesterday's snapshot, UNICEF was shot at this week.  Georgia Roberts and Chantelle Al-Khouri (Australia's ABC) report this morning on that attack:

An Australian aid worker has recounted the moment her convoy, which had informed both parties in the Israel-Gaza conflict of its movements, was hit by bullets while delivering aid in Gaza.  

Tess Ingram, a former journalist, had been working with UNICEF to deliver fuel, food and medicine to hospitals and health centres in Gaza on April 9. 

Ms Ingram, in a video supplied by UNICEF, said she was going on a "coordinated mission", which meant both parties in the conflict knew where they were going and at what time, so "they could meet their obligations under international humanitarian law so that they can keep us both safe".

The aid workers were stopped at a checkpoint in Gaza, after there was a problem with the convoy truck that was carrying some of the aid supplies, when shots broke out. 

She said the car she was in was then hit with bullets. She pointed to a number of what she said were bullet holes in the doors and bonnet of the car. 

She said it was just another example of "how unsafe it is for humanitarian aid workers, and how missions like these are made impossible". 
"Safety is not guaranteed, even when we take all of the required steps, as we saw with the tragic World Central Kitchen incident," she said.
UNICEF has raised the incident with the relevant Israeli authorities.

Emma Young (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD) quotes UNICEF, "Sadly, humanitarians continue to face risks in delivering lifesaving aid. Unless humanitarian aid workers are protected, in accordance with [international humanitarian law], humanitarian aid cannot reach people in need."

When aid is ready to be delivered, not all items are allowed into Gaza.  Niha Masih (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

Here are some of the items the United Nations and other aid agencies say Israeli authorities have blocked from entering Gaza at least once since Oct. 7:

  • anesthetics
  • animal feed
  • cardiac catheters
  • chocolate croissants
  • crutches
  • flak jackets and helmets for aid workers
  • generators for hospitals
  • green tents and sleeping bags
  • maternity kits
  • medical scissors in children’s aid kits
  • microbiological water-testing kits
  • mobile desalination units with solar system and generators
  • nail clippers in hygiene kits
  • power supply equipment
  • prefabricated shelters
  • satellite communication kits
  • scissors and scalpels in midwifery kits
  • sleeping bags with zippers
  • solar-powered lamps and flashlights
  • stone fruits
  • surgical tools for doctors
  • toys in wooden boxes
  • ultrasound equipment
  • ventilators
  • water filters and purification tablets
  • X-ray machines

  Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote Thursday that the Biden administration must fundamentally alter the United States' relationship with the Israeli government as it continues to bomb and starve children in the Gaza Strip, often with the help of American weaponry and diplomatic support on the world stage.

"The United States has offered Israel unconditional financial support for many years," Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in an op-ed for The Boston Globe. "That relationship must now change. Instead of begging [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's extremist government to protect innocent lives and obey U.S. and international law, our new position must be simple and straightforward: Not another nickel for the Netanyahu government if its present policies continue."

The senator noted that the U.S. public opposition to Israel's catastrophic war on Gaza has surged in recent months, with a majority of American voters saying in response to one survey that they want the Biden administration to halt weapons shipments to Israel.

"Let's be clear: This is a monumental tragedy for the Palestinian people," Sanders wrote. "But from a moral perspective, it is also a defining moment for Americans, because the United States is directly complicit in this horrific war. No, the U.S. military is not dropping 2,000-pound bombs on civilian apartment buildings, but the United States is supplying those bombs. No, the United States is not blocking the borders and preventing food, water, and medical supplies from getting to desperate people, but we have supplied billions of dollars to the Netanyahu government, which is doing just that." 

Elaine notes in last night's "Morbidly obese defector Tara Reade attacks Bernie Sanders" that the response to Bernie from Russia was an attack.  Maybe former US citizen Tara Reade was just feeling hangry?  Or maybe she arrived 30 minutes after the all-you-can-eat buffet closed?  And Tara is a former citizen -- when you describe yourself as a "defector" as she did, that's what you are.  Tara's not found peace in Russia but it's doubtful that someone with her issues could ever find peace . . . or happiness . . . or love.  

Which is why remarks by Bernie that should find most of nodding in agreement only results in anger and spittle from Tara.

This morning, THE NATIONAL reports:

At least 29 civilians were killed and dozens injured in an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza city on Friday, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

The air strike targeted the home of the Tabatibi family in the Sidra area of the Daraj neighbourhood, Wafa said.

The Israeli military also launched air strikes on the northern areas of the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza while its troops blew up a number of buildings north of the camp.

Israeli warships shelled a primary school in the camp, killing one civilian and injuring dozens, Wafa said.

The attacks follow an air strike on the popular Firas Market in Gaza city on Thursday that killed at least six people and injured 20 others.

ALJAZEERA adds, "At least 70 people injured in Israeli attacks on Nuseirat camp in central Gaza have been brought to the camp’s al-Awda Hospital since Friday morning, our colleagues on the ground are reporting."

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We begin today’s show in Gaza, where Palestinians marked the end of Ramadan as Israel’s six-month assault continues. In a minute, we’ll speak with two doctors just back from volunteering at the European Hospital in Gaza who co-authored a new piece for Common Dreams headlined “We Have Never Seen Cruelty Like Israel’s Genocide in Gaza.”

In it, they wrote, quote, “As humanitarian trauma surgeons we have both seen incredible suffering. Collectively, we were present at Ground Zero on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti on the first day of these disasters. We have worked in the deprivation of southern Zimbabwe and the horrors of … the war in Ukraine and attended primary trauma services to those injured in the Boston Marathon. Together we have worked on more than 40 surgical missions in developing countries on three continents in our combined 57 years of volunteering. This long experience taught us that there was no greater pain as a humanitarian surgeon than being unable to provide needed care to a patient.

“But that was before coming to Gaza. Now we know the pain of being unable to properly treat a child who will slowly die, but also alone, because she is the only surviving member of an entire extended family. We have not had the heart to tell these children how their families died: burned until they resembled blistered hotdogs more than human beings, shredded to pieces such that they can only be buried in mass graves, or simply entombed in their former apartment buildings to die slowly of asphyxia and sepsis.”

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by the two surgeons who wrote that piece. In Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Dr. Mark Perlmutter is with us. He’s an orthopedic hand surgery specialist who just returned Monday from volunteering at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza. He worked with the Palestinian American Medical Association in collaboration with the World Health Organization. He’s currently president of the World Surgical Foundation, immediate past president of the International College of Surgeons. And in Salt Lake City, Utah, we’re joined by Dr. Feroze Sidhwa, a trauma surgeon who’s also just returned from European Hospital. He also worked with the Palestinian American Medical Association in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! I mean, those words that you wrote in this piece — and we thank you so much for joining us on the day after you finally both got back to the United States. I wanted to just read one more part from your piece and get Dr. Feroze Sidhwa to respond.

As you talked about European Hospital, you said, “We walked through the wards and immediately found evidence of horrifying violence deliberately directed at civilians and even children. A three-year-old boy shot in the head, a 12-year-old girl shot through the chest, an ICU nurse shot through the abdomen, all by some of the best-trained marksmen in the world.”

Dr. Sidhwa, describe your two weeks there in European Hospital and what this meant, how it compares to other work you’ve done around the world.

DR. FEROZE SIDHWA: Sure. Thanks for having me.

The things that struck me about working at Gaza European Hospital were — there were a few. One was the actual state of the hospital. The infrastructure of the hospital is completely overwhelmed, because the — not only the massive casualties that it’s receiving, and also having to deal with the normal medical problems that this hugely displaced population has coming down from the north, but also the infrastructure is just completely overwhelmed by this humongous displaced persons camp that’s not only outside of the hospital, but actually inside. Every square inch of the hospital, the hallways, even the wards, is taken up with tents that people have constructed from the detritus of their house. And so, it’s just — it’s completely overwhelmed. Sanitation is impossible. Even basic cleanliness is impossible. And the hospital is just barely hanging on by a thread in terms of functionality.

And the other thing that was really causing the hospital major problems is that the staff themselves is extremely not only traumatized, but they haven’t even been paid since October 7th. A hundred percent of the staff are just working on a voluntary basis. And that’s in the middle of still having to provide for their own family’s safety, their own family’s food provisions, sanitation, things that normally are just happening automatically. The medical students displaced from the north all came down and just spontaneously decided to volunteer at Gaza European Hospital. They’re kind of running the emergency room as best they can, while other physicians have been displaced. They’ve been — some of them have been killed. Some of them have been threatened by the Israelis and have left because of that. So it’s a very difficult situation.

The second thing that really struck me was the degree of violence that was being utilized. The magnitude of injury that’s caused by the bombs that — the U.S. bombs that Israel is using is really dramatic. These weapons are — the blast effect is incredible. They throw the environment itself through these patients. And I don’t even just mean large pieces of shrapnel like from the tile floor and the wall, or whatever, being ripped up and thrown into people, which that happens, too, but literally just the dust, the debris, everything is just embedded in the patient’s skin. And again, it makes clean surgical operations just simply impossible. You’d have to rip the person’s — all of their skin off to make them — to sanitize anything.

And then, the third thing was the evidence, like you mentioned, that we wrote, the evidence of the directed violence specifically at children. I mean, you can maybe argue that a bomb went off and a kid just happened to be nearby, but it’s not believable that the best-trained marksmen in the world accidentally shot a 3-year-old boy in the head, accidentally shot a 2-year-old girl twice in the head, accidentally shot — you know, it just goes on and on. And that was — I knew about it before I went, but to see it in person was really pretty shocking.

And I think the last thing that I would say that struck me was the attempt of the Palestinians to maintain their dignity and their humanity even in such really horrifying circumstances. They stayed in family units as much as they could. They tried to continue their traditions of Ramadan. Even though they’re all desperately hungry and thirsty, they would still fast during the day. And it was the maintaining of their culture, maintaining their family units, maintaining their belief that the future can be better. That was really quite dignified, in my opinion, and it was very, very impressive to see.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Dr. Mark Perlmutter, you know, you and Dr. Sidhwa sent us a number of extremely graphic videos and photos, some of which we are showing for our television viewers. If you could explain why you think it’s important for American audiences to see these graphic images, and then also explain why you, as an orthopedic hand surgery specialist, why you made the decision to go to Gaza?

DR. MARK PERLMUTTER: Absolutely. First, happy birthday to you again.

I’d like to echo what my newfound best friend Feroze had said. And realistically, what impressed me the most was the overt genocide that I was suspecting was going on. That’s what brought me there. I was involved into a telehealth network providing advice to young orthopedic surgeons providing surgery in Gaza. And when I realized, based on direct feedback, that these very misplaced pins and screws were being performed by trainees without guidance because their attending orthopedic surgeons were killed or captured and imprisoned inside of Israel, and that they were flying without instruction, that I’d make a commitment to go. When I got there, echoing what Feroze had said, genocide was the overwhelming impression that I got.

There are distinct signs of genocide. First of all, the bombs are cluster bombs. We’ve taken small pieces of shrapnel, dozens of pieces of shrapnel, out of toddlers, infants and teenagers. The country is 50% children, if not more. Overwhelmingly, our victims were children. I would say 70-75% of the people that we operated on were elementary school age or younger. The injuries were devastating. As Dr. Sidhwa said, the world’s best marksmen are not going to shoot a kid in the forehead twice and in the abdomen. These are midline shots directly aimed, and that doesn’t happen by accident.

Secondly, the bombing was concentrated at the time of evening prayers. It happened all day long, but it was distinctly, purposefully concentrated when the Muslims were gathered together in tight units, shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee, praying to God, while they’re being bombed. And the cluster bombs are infinitely more effective when the intended target is concentrated into a smaller location. That defines genocide. The cluster bombs are illegal. The snipers, aimed distinctly at children, are unethical and illegal.

And then, of course, the way that you dehumanize a population is to kill the humans. You deprive them of their medical schools, their clinics, their ambulances. Sure, there was a big American and worldwide — justified — outcry when the World Central Kitchen vans were distinctly and purposely bombed right through the center of their hoods, but prior to that, 200 ambulances were targeted by the red cross — in this case, it’s a red crescent — very prominently displayed on top of an ambulance. They have very modern ambulances. There was no mistaking that they were ambulances that were bombed. Two hundred were destroyed, along with the paramedics. Doctors were distinctly shot. An orthopedic surgeon was shot in his knee while he’s operating on a patient, because the soldier commanded him to leave the operating room and he refused to abandon his patient, quite ethically. He had his knee blown out across the room. He was immediately fixed by his trainees. And two days later, he was imprisoned by Israel for 45 days, according to him, a juice box every other day, blindfolded the entire time, dropped off at a nonroad prison — border to crawl for three kilometers until somebody rescued him, blind in one eye because a rifle butt exploded his right eye. This is dehumanization. This is the — the purpose of this is to kill a population.

Food delivery. When we left, there was tens of miles of incoming food trucks, four lines. The entrance into Gaza and the exit road into Gaza were all lined on both shoulders of the road with tens of miles of food trucks parked bumper to bumper to bumper, trying to get into the country, of course which is limited by the IDF or the Israeli government. Why aren’t they letting the food in, if not for to deprive the population of the substance that they need to survive? This is another definition of genocide. There’s no reason why they can’t let even inspected food trucks in. The product can be inspected. I’m sure it should be inspected. But this is life-sustaining materials. The hospitals, if we didn’t bring our orthopedic implants, if we didn’t bring our dressings, if we didn’t bring medicines, they would be devoid of all of this — another definition of genocide.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Dr. Perlmutter, explain about the photos, the photos and the videos, why you think those are so important for American audiences to see, the ones that you and Dr. Sidhwa sent.

DR. MARK PERLMUTTER: Well, because the American public, and I’m sure the German public, the two societies that are most responsible for sustaining this genocide, their media is being sterilized. If they saw pictures of babies with 10 pieces of shrapnel in its 1-year-old forehead and throughout its face, if they saw a 12-year-old missing all of their limbs and burnt, like we said in our letter, like an ignored hotdog on a grill, if they actually saw the dehumanization, the degree of it, the ubiquitous, widespread nature of it, then they would open their eyes and realize that we’re responsible for this. The big reason why I went is mea culpa. My tax dollars are paying for the bombs that are killing children, and that’s horrible.

You know, we have a lot of school shootings in the United States. If a gunman goes into a school and starts killing children, the American response, the world given response is, a sniper team goes in and tries to take out the offending gunman, regardless of their age. The Israeli response is to drop a bomb on the school to kill the gunman, but also incinerate the hundreds and hundreds of children, perhaps thousands, that could be living in that school, and incinerate them all just to get the single gunman. What America doesn’t understand is that the Hamas soldiers comprise less than one-tenth of 1% of the population of Palestine, of Gaza. The analogy of killing innocent children in a school just to kill the single gunman holds. If an orphanage had an infected rat sneak into it, you don’t incinerate the entire orphanage to get rid of the rat that snuck into the orphanage. But that’s exactly what we’re doing, except that we’re giving the bombs to Israel to bomb the orphanage. We’re buying the bullets and the gun for the gunman who’s going into the school and killing innocent children. We’re responsible.

And we have to open our eyes as a society and realize that it’s not just seven aid workers that unfortunately died, but there were 17,000, 18,000 children that are shredded like paper. They just don’t happen to be white children. And we have to open our eyes and care about them as much as we care about the seven aid workers that very unfortunately died.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to ask both of you a question, starting with Dr. Perlmutter. I mean, your credentials, you are an orthopedic surgeon. You are head of the World Surgical Foundation, past president of the International College of Surgeons. You’re both American. Dr. Perlmutter, you’re from a Jewish American family. Your twin is an Orthodox Jewish woman. Dr. Feroze Sidhwa is Zoroastrian. I wanted to ask you, Dr. Perlmutter — you wrote two emails to the U.S. Embassy in Israel when you went, pleading with them not to attack European Gaza Hospital, saying, “We’re deathly afraid of being bombed again as we were this morning.” What happened to you? And did the U.S. Embassy respond to you?

DR. MARK PERLMUTTER: I sent them two letters, one when the bombs were shaking in the — they were shaking the fillings out of our teeth. It is as if lightning struck inches away from you. That’s how much vibration the hospital ground sustained. The bombs did not actually enter into the walls of the hospital. They completely surrounded the hospital. The entire event occurred specifically to destroy the population outside the hospital. We were in fear of our lives. We were particularly in fear of our lives right after the bombing of the U.N. — I’m sorry, the World Central Kitchen convoy. While we were in full knowledge that doctors were being kidnapped and targeted, almost a hundred journalists were killed, the destruction of multiple ambulances, we felt targeted from the beginning. So, as we were approaching the end of our trip and after we’ve heard that all other hospitals were being thoroughly destroyed and their surgeons being kidnapped, we were in fear of our own lives. More importantly, we were in fear of the tens of thousands of people that sought refuge in that hospital compound, hoping that a hospital would not be targeted.

And so I wrote the American Embassy, to both the Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv offices. They sent me a return email acknowledging receipt of my first email. I’ve received no response from them. I got acknowledgment from the first email that I sent. I sent a second email saying, “This is the day we’re leaving. Could you please inform the IDF that our convoy, just like the World Central Kitchen’s convoy, is leaving at this time, on this date. This is the vans — this is what the vans look like. This is the timing that we’re going to leave.” And I received no response from them, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: You are talking to us from the hospital — you’re in your scrubs — in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. And, Dr. Feroze Sidhwa, you’re in Salt Lake City, on your way back to Stockton, California, where you work. I’m looking at your piece again in Common Dreams, Dr. Sidhwa. You write, “No amount of medical care could ever compensate for the damage being inflicted here. … Israel has dropped so much American ordinance on Gaza that it now exceeds the explosive force of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.” Can you talk about what you would say if you got to speak to President Biden? We interviewed Dr. Thaer Ahmad, who had just returned from Gaza. We believe he’s the first doctor on the ground in Gaza to actually directly address the president. He handed him a letter from an 8-year-old Palestinian orphan and then walked out of the White House. He said, “What can be said about what is happening here right now?” It was the day after the attack on the World Central Kitchen. What is your message, and not only to the president, but around the world, Dr. Sidhwa?

DR. FEROZE SIDHWA: I don’t think I would say much to Joe Biden. I think he knows exactly what’s going on, and I don’t think it’s important to him. I don’t think he cares if Palestinians are murdered like roaches and ants. But to the rest of Americans who have normal human values, they do care.

And, you know, one of the other things that Mark and I wrote in that piece is that the blood on the trauma bay floor and the operating room floor was dripping from our hands. And that’s — I think that’s accurate. Again, we provide the crucial military, economic and diplomatic support. Your viewers are no surprise to that. And that makes us responsible. If our support stops, the attacks stop. If our support stops, the occupation stops. It’s instant. It’s been proven a hundred times. It’s not hard to see.

And so, that’s what I would say to people, is if you want to stop participating unwittingly in these — in some of the worst crimes that I’ve ever seen in my life, then you need to organize, and you need to raise the cost to people like Joe Biden, because that is the only thing they care about. The U.S. is attempting to manage the Middle East with the system that it put in place since the Arab Spring. And the Palestinians are just kind of an annoyance to that system. They don’t want to — the U.S. doesn’t want Saudi Arabia to have its ruling family shaken, the Jordanian ruling family shaken. These are the — but we have to raise the domestic cost for these policies, which, like Mark said, are really, truly and genuinely genocidal in nature, that it’s dramatic.

So, I would say to people that, you know, you know what’s going on, so stop thinking about it all that much and just start acting. Go to your houses of worship, go to your community centers, go wherever it is that you go, and talk to people and say, “Look, let’s go talk to our congressman in person. Let’s demand a meeting.” If you’re a veteran, put your uniform on and go — I’ve had several veterans reach out to me — put your uniform on and go talk to your congressperson. Film it. Put it online. Do anything you can to embarrass these people and to make it obvious to the world that they are not acting with normal human decency in mind. They’re acting with purely cold, almost Mafia-like political calculations. And the only way that we are going to stop this is by raising the cost to them of doing so. That’s what I would say to people, I think.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Dr. Sidhwa, of course, the justification, the continued justification, for Israel’s assault is the fact that they’re targeting Hamas militants. You treated — we’ve just heard from both of you about the number of children you treated, mostly, as you said, elementary school children or below the age of elementary school. You dealt with numerous mass casualty events while you were at the European Hospital in Khan Younis. How many military-age males did you treat?

DR. FEROZE SIDHWA: I can count them on one hand. I think it was probably four or five. And not one of them — you know, obviously, like Mark said, the people who are actually in Hamas or the other Palestinian militant organizations is an extremely small number, even of military-age men, in the Gaza Strip. But we treated a hand — literally a handful, five at the very most, that I can remember, military-age men, while we were there, for any injury at all. And the overwhelming consensus in the hospital was that if actual militants were to come in, they would actually come in with their — I don’t know the technical terms, but with their unit and with their commander, and they would be spirited away from the hospital as soon as they were well, well enough to be taken out of the hospital. That never happened once to anybody, so I seriously doubt that I encountered a single combatant while I was there. It was a 100% civilian — I think the people I cared for were 100% civilians, even including the military-age men that I took care of.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Finally, Dr. Perlmutter, if you could say, you know, what you think the medical needs there are now? I mean, there are no fully functional hospitals left at all. You’ve said that you could operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for years, and not make a dent, because the needs are so great. So, what can be done for people in Gaza suffering in this way as this war goes on?

DR. MARK PERLMUTTER: All right, two points. First, I’ve seen more orthopedic injuries in my two weeks there than I have seen in my entire 30-plus years of practicing and the additional 10 years of training before that. If I operated 12 hours a day, seven days a week, it would take me 20 years for me to make a notable dent, a minuscule dent, in the amount of orthopedic-alone pathology that’s there. The extent of damage, of carnage is that widespread.

In order to make a difference, it’s not by supplying supplies. It’s by eliminating the genocide. It’s eliminating — it’s imposing controls on Israel. It’s by reaching out, as Dr. Sidhwa said, to our senators. That letter that you read, I sent a copy of that to every single sitting U.S. senator. I called Chuck Schumer’s office from Gaza while I’m being bombed, and spoke to his secretary and said, “The noises in the background are American bombs being dropped by American warplanes, gifted, essentially, to Israel. And I’m in fear that they’re going to kill me. I’m in bigger fear that it’s going to keep me up all night with another dozen shredded children and women.” As Dr. Sidhwa said, I don’t think I saw one person who would qualify as a military combatant. The victims were civilian, virtually 100%.

I would echo his plea to please contact your state senator and House of Representative and the federal ones, as well. Share with them the knowledge that the sterilized history that they’ve been receiving and the sterilized facts that they have been receiving are, in fact, inaccurate, that there’s true bloodshed that’s going on, at our hands, that we’re paying for. And they need to wake up and realize that it’s not the payoff from the Israeli political action committee that really matters to keep their jobs moving forward and their reelection occurring. What really should matter is the ethical basis of what they’re charged to do, and that’s to maintain the viability of the United States’s image and our leader as a democratic nation supporting perfect ideals, and not advancing their own personal agenda by supporting a state that’s recklessly killing innocent women and children, something that every American should stand against.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mark Perlmutter, we want to thank you so much for joining us, orthopedics hand surgery specialist, president of the World Surgical Foundation, immediate past president of the International College of Surgeons, speaking to us from now his hospital in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in his scrubs, and Dr. Feroze Sidhwa, trauma surgeon, speaking to us from Salt Lake City, heading back to Stockton, California, where he works. They just returned Monday from volunteering at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza. We’ll link to the piece they co-authored in Common Dreams, “We Have Never Seen Cruelty Like Israel’s Genocide in Gaza.”

When we come back, we go to Arizona for an update on how Republicans blocked efforts to repeal a 160-year-old near-total abortion ban. Back in 20 seconds.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 189 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "At least 33,634 Palestinians have been killed and 76,214 injured in Israel's military offensive in Gaza, the enclave's Health Ministry said on Friday.  In the past 24 hours, 89 Palestinians have been killed and 120 injured, the ministry added."   Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "n addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

This morning, THE NATIONAL reports:

Several journalists have been seriously injured in an Israeli attack on Gaza's Nuseirat refugee camp, according to reports on Friday.

Employees of TRT's Arabic service were reportedly targeted by a strike on the camp, about 5km north-east of the city of Deir Al Balah in central Gaza.

Journalist Sami Barhoum had his lower leg amputated due to his injuries, according to local media.

Last weekend, the assault on Gaza reached the six month point and AP provided a set of figures here and from that we'll note this on aid workers, health workers and journalists:

Aid workers killed in Gaza: 224, including at least 30 killed in the line of duty

Health workers killed in Gaza: 484

Journalists killed in Gaza: At least 95

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has fired a staffer after she publicly said Kennedy is running as an independent presidential candidate in part to help Donald Trump win in November. Rita Palma, who served as Kennedy’s New York state director, was recently filmed describing how President Biden could fail to reach the needed 270 electoral votes if Kennedy managed to win in a state like New York.

Rita Palma: “The Kennedy voter and the Trump voter, the enemy — our mutual enemy is Biden. Give those 28 electoral votes to Bobby rather than to Biden, thereby reducing Biden’s 270. And we all know how that works, right? Two seventy wins the election? If you don’t get to 270, if nobody gets to 270, then Congress picks the president. So, who are they going to pick? Who are they going to pick, if it’s a Republican Congress? They’ll pick Trump. So we’re rid of Biden either way.”

The following sites updated:

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Sardines, anchovies and Mediterranean cucumber salad

What am I eating, wonders Kylie?  I have not felt well this week.  I've cooked for the kids but not really feeling it for me.  Tuesday night, I just had a large avocado for dinner.  Last night?  I had sardines and crackers.  Sardines in oil.  I remember looking in the pantry where there should have been about ten tins of sardines and only seeing one.  I immediately thought, "Please let it be packed in oil."  Because I wanted to sop up the oil with the crackers.  I got lucky and that's what it was.

On sardines -- see there was a point to starting with that -- Storm Newton (Irish News) reports:

Swapping red meat for small fish such as anchovies, sardines and herring could reduce global disease levels and save up to 750,000 lives a year by 2050, according to a study.

In the UK alone, reducing red meat intake by 8% and replacing it with these fish could prevent 10% of heart disease deaths in the next 26 years, researchers suggested.

However, the benefit would be most felt in more deprived countries, the analysis found.

The small fish, known as forage fish, are rich in nutrients with a low carbon footprint, although only about 26% of those caught are consumed by humans.

The remainder, including a significant amount fished from the coasts of countries experiencing malnutrition and food insecurity, are turned into fishmeal and fish oil, which feeds more expensive farmed seafood, such as salmon and trout.

Academics explored whether swapping red meat intake for these fish could lower disease rates and save lives.

Chronic diseases accounted for about 70% of all deaths worldwide in 2019, researchers said, with heart disease, bowel cancer, diabetes and stroke causing almost half (44%) of the figure.

The team projected red meat consumption for the coming decades in 137 countries and estimated the availability of forage fish as a substitute for red meat by 2050 using historical fishing data.

They estimated the swap could prevent between 500,000 to 750,000 deaths globally by 2050, particularly when it comes to heart disease.

Sardines are good for you (especially good for diabetics and pre-diabetics) and we eat them in our family (obviously all the time if a ten tin count had dropped to one).  WebMD notes:

Oily fish is a superfood. The small sardine is a mighty nutritional powerhouse. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential fatty acids that perform a multitude of tasks inside your body, including stopping inflammation at a cellular level, breaking down fat cells, and maintaining a healthy hormonal balance. Research indicates Eskimo and Japanese people have the lowest rates of heart-related disease. Both cultures incorporate oily fish like sardines in their regular diet which provide substantial heart health benefits.  

Insulin resistance can be a dangerous symptom playing a part in the onset of diabetes. The body produces insulin that the system doesn't use (optimally), and the system fails to operate properly. Sardines contain important proteins which ease the negative consequences of insulin resistance in comparison to casein proteins. Amazingly, sardines also lower plasma insulin levels, insulin resistance, plasma fatty acids, plasma glucose, and HbA1C (which is used to measure blood sugar for long periods). Diabetic should be dining on sardines at least once a week.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the prime source of vision loss in people who are over 50 years old. Age-related macular degeneration destroys your eyesight by damaging the retinal and macular component that allows you to focus on details. Sardines are nutritional superstars ripe with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. Studies have demonstrated that women who eat foods rich in DHA and EPA twice weekly are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration. So you won't need reading glasses.

We also love anchovies.  It's not a real pizza if it doesn't have anchovies.  You can do many other things with them including put them in any pasta sauce you're whipping up.  WebMD notes:

Anchovies have many vitamins and minerals that provide major health benefits. They are best known as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain and heart health. Anchovies also have selenium, which, if eaten regularly, may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

When my stomach's back to feeling regular, I want to try this recipe for Mediterranean cucumber salad from On My Kids Plate that they were passing around at work this morning:

Mediterranean cucumber salad


For The Salad

  • 1 large English cucumber
  • ½ medium red onion
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons parsley fresh chopped, optional
  • 2 tablespoons basil fresh chopped, optional
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese optional

For The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


For The Salad

  • Slice the cucumber longways down the middle and then slice each half into moon-shaped pieces that are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Slice the onions into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick pieces. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Add the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes to a large bowl and mix.
  • Chop the parsley and basil and add them to the bowl mixing with the tomatoes, onions and tomatoes.
  • Pour half the crumbled feta cheese into the bowl as well. Set aside.

For The Dressing

  • In a small bowl add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix together with a small whisk or fork until well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the cucumber tomato salad and gently toss to coat. Gently toss half the feta into the salad. Place the remaining feta on top of the salad to garnish. Then serve and enjoy!

On recipes, don't forget that Trina serves them up regularly at her site.


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


Thursday, April 11, 2024.  We look at the various political campaigns for the US presidency, more aid workers killed in Gaza, and much more.

Yesterday, Cornel West appeared on Tavis Smiley's radio program on KBLA 1560 which also broadcasts on YOUTUBE -- live and on demand.

Cornel announced Melina Abdullah as his running mate.  She then joined Tavis and Cornel. 

Melina noted that the ticket is the first with a Muslim on it.  

Tavis Smiley: What does it mean to be identified as Muslim running for the highest office in the land at this particular moment?

Melina Abdullah: I think it's really important and really powerful, right, that when we talk about Islam we talk about people who submit to the will of God, right?  And that's who I am, I'm a follower of Good.  Now I know my mother is probably listening and she would want me to say also that I was raised at Greater Faith Baptist Church so to be Muslim doesn't mean --

Tavis Smiley: That's a great church there, Greater Faith.

Melina Abdullah: Greater Faith.

Tavis Smiley:  I love it, Greater Faith.

Melina Abdullah: Yes.   So it's important to say that Christianity and Islam, every other faith, if you you think of who we are as spiritual people, we are all aligned.  And so to be a Muslim doesn't mean to be not Christian, it means to be moving forward.  I have chosen this particular path for myself. But people of faith all want the same thing.  We want peace, we want truth, we want love.  And we want justice.  

"I wanted somebody whose heart mind and soul is committed to the empowerment of poor and working peoples of all colors," West told Tavis Smiley on Smiley's KBLA 1580 radio show.

“Melina has a history of — longevity of putting her heart, mind and soul in the struggle," West added.

Abdullah is a professor of Pan-African studies and formerly chaired the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State.


Independent presidential candidate Cornel West announced fellow academic Melina Abdullah as his vice presidential nominee in an interview Wednesday on “The Tavis Smiley Show.”

“She has a record of deep commitment and investment in ensuring that poor and working people are at the center of her vision,” West said of his running mate. “I wanted to to run with someone who would put a smile on the face of Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King Jr. from the grave.”

West’s selection of Abdullah, a Muslim Black woman and a member of the board of directors for Black Lives Matter Grassroots, could further advance his outreach to Muslim Americans and Black Americans disenchanted with President Joe Biden.     

With the announcement of Melina as a running mate, Kamala Harris as Joe's running mate, Nicole Shanahan as Robert Kennedy Junior's running mate, Karina Garcia as Claudia de la Cruz's running mate, it remains to be seen if Donald Trump will also select a female running mate.   Even without Donald, is  historically significant.  

Cornel is running (more or less) as an independent candidate.  Last year, he announced he was running for president of the United States as the People's Party candidate.  (They had no ballot access.)  The next week he was running as the Green Party's presidential candidate.  No, he was not.

He was lied to by Jill Stein and others (we've called them out plenty of times here already).  It does matter because he has stated Jill betrayed him and she did but numerous people who acted as though he were Jesus mere months ago now rush to interview Jill and applaud her.  She betrayed him, he's not lying.

Cornel hasn't had a lot of good media moments.  He was very angry over the interview he did with Jimmy Dore.  He may have reasons to be personally angry with Jimmy Dore but that was actually one of his best moments since he declared he was running.   I'm not a fan of Jimmy Dore.  But Cornel came alive in that exchange and showed real passion.  

Can he win?  I don't see how.  He's got to get on state ballots.  Since it's easier to get on in some states as the candidate for a party, he's exploring that option the same as Robert Kennedy Junior.   ABC NEWS notes, "West's campaign has said he is on the ballot in four states: Alaska, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah, either independently or associated with minor parties, though officials in each state have not yet confirmed that."

And Jill Stein?  I wasted 2012 covering that fake ass.  Not going to do it again.  I noted last year that I would not be covering fake ass campaigns.  In the past, we've covered every presidential campaign we could.  Not in the mood.  As I made clear the SEP party is a joke and it's the same old joke so I'm not wasting my damn time.  My time matters to me.  The Green Party will have to implode on their own this year if they choose Jill as their candidate -- for the third time.  I don't think Cornel has much chance of winning -- I can be wrong and often am -- but his passion when he went head to head with Jimmy Dore and his refusal to stay silent after Jill Stein betrayed him means we'll note him from time to time.  I don't know why I am so surprised that the same YOUTUBERS who lied and called him the Green Party's presidential nominee (he was led to believe he was -- misled by Jill) now bring on Jill Stein and let her lie about how she didn't betray him and she doesn't know why he thinks she did, he just doesn't understand. 

Cornel is not an idiot.  His biggest mistake was he trusted the wrong people -- something most of us have been guilty of at one time or another.  

Marianne Williamson.  I'm happy to cover her when I can.  Every video she releases has been posted since she resumed her campaign.  I support her efforts 100%.  There is not always room for her in the snapshot.  It's still called "Iraq snapshot" even though Iraq rarely pops up currently.  But we'll note Marianne whenever we can.

She is in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination to raise issues and awareness, she knows full well that Joe Biden has more than enough delegates and that the nomination is his.

While Marianne shows strength, Junior flounders with one big campaign mistake after another.  He's still attempting to recover from a campaign official declaring publicly last Friday that his campaign is about kicking Joe Biden out of the White House with the official insisting that if they could deny Joe New York, for example, they might be able to toss the race into the House where Republican control would guarantee Donald Trump wins the election -- "We're rid of Biden either way."   After letting this fester and expose him as a liar for days and days, Junior finally fired the official yesterday.

Mike covered Robert Kennedy Junior's embarrassing nonsense  in "Fake ass Junior."  He spoke to me while he wrote it asking about Paul Bond's "RFK Jr. Campaign Denounces Consultant's Anti-Biden Strategy" (NEWSWEEK).  Where, Mike wanted to know, in Bond's article did the strategy revealed -- steal votes from Joe Biden so that Donald could be elected even if the matter was decided by the House -- did Junior's campaign denounce this strategy?

No where.

Junior's  daughter-in-law said that it wasn't the campaign's strategy (no one believes you -- not even within your family).  There is no denouncing taking place.  I read it twice and told Mike that and he said he was sorry to ask for another set of eyes.  Not a problem.  But something did stand out and I offered him it if he wanted it.  We talked about it and he said I should note it here.  From Bond's article:

The Democratic National Committee has sued to derail Kennedy's signature-gathering efforts in some states on the grounds he and his campaign are relying on outside groups like the American Values 2024 super PAC to do some of the heavy lifting. American Values has said its effort is independent of the Kennedy campaign, and thus is not in violation of campaign laws.

Excuse me.  The DNC is right to object.  Outside groups are not allowed to do what American Values is doing.  They can promote a candidate.  But a candidate getting on a ballot?  That's a job for the campaign and only the campaign.  They can hire someone to help them -- the campaign can -- but what American Values is doing is illegal -- it's also unethical which says a great deal about Junior's values -- about his lack of values. 

There is no -- and can be no -- "independent" effort to get Junior on the ballot.  The DNC needs to shut that down immediately.  This meets neither the intent or wording of the law.

And it never could.  Gathering signatures for ballot access has to be coordinated with the campaign -- no matter what lie Junior and his people tell -- because otherwise your campaign and the superpac might be duplicating efforts.  His claim -- his lie -- doesn't fly on its face. 

Junior's a damn liar.  This is how he wants to go out -- as the serial adulterer who wasted his entire life and disgraced his family with his lack of ethics and his crackpot 'science.'

On a topic we also covered earlier this week, let's note Jonathan Simon (WHO WHAT WHY):

Since Ohio’s secretary of state put the Democratic Party on notice that President Joe Biden may not appear on the Buckeye State’s November ballot, a lot of news organizations and pundits have been missing the point of what that could mean.

On the surface, this is about whether Biden will be formally nominated before an August 7 deadline that has been codified in state law, which is effectively impossible since the Democratic convention won’t begin until 12 days later. 

The office of Secretary of State Frank LaRose notified the Democratic National Committee of this potential problem last week. 

The same issue arose in 2020, when both conventions were held after the deadline. But then, since Donald Trump was also affected, the GOP-led state Legislature passed a one-time exception. 

It remains to be seen whether Ohio Republicans will be as accommodating this time when only Biden is affected. 

As I said earlier this week,  the rules are the rules and it doesn't speak well for the candidate or his campaign that this is coming up for the second presidential election in a row.  Simon argues that if Joe's not on the ballot in Ohio, this could hurt Democrats who are.  That's a very good point.  And one more reason, the campaign needs to get its act together.  Mike noted last night in "Lolo and Olay, Joe Biden's campaign, Diana Ross' best songs" that there's now a chance that Joe won't be on the ballot in Alabama.

Ohio may decide to waive him through.  As it stands, if Joe's not on the ballot, he has only himself to blame and Sherrod Brown and others who will be on the ballot should feel free to blame Joe.

This morning, Brent Swails, Zeena Saifi and Lauren Izso (CNN) report, "UNICEF says one of its vehicles was hit by "live ammunition" while waiting to enter northern Gaza from the south of the territory on Wednesday." THE NATIONAL reports:

A Palestine Red Crescent employee has died of wounds sustained during an Israeli raid on Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis last month, the organisation has announced.

The death of Mohammed Abu Saeed takes the Red Crescent's death toll to 27 since the war began in October.

Seventeen staff members and volunteers have been killed while on duty, the Red Crescent said. 

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

President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies in Gaza a “mistake” and urged Israel to call for a temporary ceasefire to allow in more aid. Biden’s comments came in an interview that aired Tuesday on the Spanish-language TV network Univision. In his remarks, Biden highlighted the Israeli airstrike last week on an aid convoy that killed seven workers with the food charity World Central Kitchen, six of those aid workers international.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I think what he’s doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach. I think it’s outrageous that those four — or, three vehicles were hit by drones and taken out on a highway, where it wasn’t like it was along the shore. It wasn’t like it was a convoy moving there, etc. So, what I’m calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks a total access to all food and medicine going into the country. I’ve spoken with everyone, from the Saudis to the Jordanians to the Egyptians. They’re prepared to move in. They’re prepared to move this food in. And I think there’s no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. And it should be done now.

AMY GOODMAN: Following the airstrike on the World Central Kitchen convoy last week, Biden called Netanyahu and warned for the first time the U.S. would be forced to change its policy if Israel did not change its policies on Gaza. Israel responded by pledging to open new aid crossings. However, the U.N. said Tuesday there’s been, quote, “no significant change in the volume of humanitarian supplies entering Gaza,” unquote, and the Biden administration has not actually changed its policies or withheld any arms transfers to Israel.

This comes as Human Rights Watch is calling on governments to impose targeted sanctions on Israel and suspend arms transfers, to press the Israeli government to ensure access to humanitarian aid. The rights group has accused the Israeli government of using starvation as a weapon of war. At least 32 people, including 28 children, have died of malnutrition and dehydration in northern Gaza, where famine is setting in. In the south, at least 5% of children under age 2 were found to be acutely malnourished.

Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes continue across Gaza, including dozens of strikes in Gaza City, as well as in central Gaza, where an airstrike hit a home in the Nuseirat refugee camp today, killing at least 14 people, including five children.

For more, we’re joined by Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani. He’s an editor of Jadaliyya and host of the Connections podcast. He’s a contributor to the new book, Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm. He was previously a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us —

MOUIN RABBANI: Good to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: — here in studio in New York. I wanted to start off with a clip yesterday. Foreign minister — British Foreign Minister David Cameron stood with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a news conference. They were at the State Department. Cameron said Britain’s position on arms sales to Israel was unchanged.

DAVID CAMERON: The latest assessment leaves our position on export licenses unchanged. This is consistent with the advice that I and other ministers have received. And as ever, we will keep the position under review. Let me be clear, though: We continue to have grave concerns around the humanitarian access issue in Gaza, both for the period that was assessed and subsequently.

AMY GOODMAN: And then you have Blinken and Cameron shaking hands. Can you talk about what President Biden is saying, what’s happening on the ground in Gaza, and why what the U.S. does matters, not to mention Britain saying they’re continuing arms sales?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, President Biden referred to Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip as a “mistake.” I mean, a mistake is when you take a wrong turn at a traffic light or perhaps when a surgeon removes the wrong kidney. But when over the course of six months, half a year, you kill tens of thousands of people, with perhaps additional tens of thousands buried under the rubble and decomposing, that’s not a mistake. That’s a deliberate policy. And that’s why Israel has been hauled in front of the International Court of Justice on charges of genocide.

I think the second issue here is that words are cheap, and statements are a dime a dozen. And Israel, over the decades, has learned that it can safely ignore statements, whether by U.S. or European decision-makers, that are essentially playing to the gallery. Because what really matters is not what these people say, but what they do. And when the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union indicate that there is not going to be any consequences, that Israel will continue to be allowed to act with impunity, that there will be no consequences for Israel’s actions, then Israel’s leaders, whether Netanyahu or any of his predecessors, know that they can safely ignore statements such as the ones we’ve been hearing.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Mouin Rabbani, I wanted to ask you — the U.N. Security Council is going to make a formal decision on Palestine’s bid for full U.N. membership this month. But the U.S. will likely veto this if it is approved, and the U.S. is saying that Palestine needs to negotiate statehood with Israel before it is granted statehood by the U.N. Your response to this, since, obviously, when Israel was admitted into the U.N., the Palestinians were not asked to first negotiate Israel’s statehood?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, I think the U.S., despite several statements over the years to the contrary, has had a consistent position against Palestinian self-determination, against Palestinian statehood. It has recently voted against several resolutions in the U.N. General Assembly reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. And essentially, what the U.S. government is saying is that it will not support Palestinian statehood unless Israel does so. And Israel’s position is crystal clear on this matter. It rejects Palestinian statehood. So, in other words, the U.S. is subcontracting its position on Palestinian statehood to Israel and adopting it as its own.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I also wanted to ask you about Prime Minister Netanyahu claiming that the date is set for the attack on Rafah, but at the same time Palestinians are being allowed to return to Khan Younis after Israel basically destroyed that city. Your response to that?

MOUIN RABBANI: I think that’s a situation that is a little unclear, because both the United States and the Europeans have come out against an Israeli ground operation in Rafah. Netanyahu has claimed the date for that operation has already been set. His defense minister, Yoav Gallant, has said that no such date has been set. Netanyahu has also been saying that if Israel does not enter Rafah, it will not be able to win this war. And this may be a maneuver by Netanyahu to essentially claim that it is because of the United States and it is because of the Europeans and their opposition to an operation in Rafah that Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip has failed, and then also to use these differences with the U.S. for domestic political reasons.

AMY GOODMAN: Mouin Rabbani, can you talk about what’s going on in Cairo right now, the negotiations between Hamas and Israel? Can you talk about the prisoners and the hostages? I know that’s being debated. I mean, I think in the West Bank it’s something like 8,000 people have been taken prisoner, many of them children, since October 7th. And you have something like 130 hostages, Israeli and other foreign nationals, taken by Hamas and other groups on October 7th. And then the whole issue of a ceasefire and letting aid in?

MOUIN RABBANI: Yes, there are a number of issues that are being negotiated. One of them is an exchange of captives. Another is — and for that, formulas are being discussed about how many captives, how many Palestinian captives Israel will release in exchange for the Palestinians releasing the Israeli and other captives in the Gaza Strip.

A second concerns a ceasefire, whether it will be temporary or permanent. And Hamas and Palestinians are, of course, insisting that a temporary pause in fighting, during which there’s an exchange of captives, and then this genocidal assault resumes, doesn’t really make sense.

A third issue is an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

And a fourth, and apparently the most important sticking point, is whether or not Palestinians who have been displaced, primarily from the northern Gaza Strip, many of whom are now in the Rafah region, will be allowed to return to whatever is left of their former homes. And, in fact, it is on this issue that, according to reports, Israel is proving the most obstinate. It has stated that it would allow women and children, but not military-aged men, to return to the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinians are insisting that such return be unrestricted. And there’s apparently now a proposal where Israel would withdraw from this barrier that it established to bisect the Gaza Strip and that it would be manned by Egyptian forces to ensure that no armed men would go from the southern to the northern Gaza Strip. Whether this is something that will be accepted by both parties remains to be seen. But it’s interesting that of all these issues we’ve been hearing about, it is actually Israeli opposition to the return of displaced refugees to the northern Gaza Strip that is proving to be the main sticking point.

AMY GOODMAN: What’s Israel’s goal in all of this?

MOUIN RABBANI: I believe it’s to make the Gaza Strip unfit for human habitation. Of course, Israel entered this war hoping and intending to eradicate and eliminate Hamas as a government that is an armed force, and thought it could do so within a matter of weeks, if not a few months. That has proven to be an abject failure. But I think there’s a wider objective here, that it had an almost insatiable lust for revenge after October 7th. It wanted to make an example out of the Gaza Strip in order to deter Palestinians or any of its surrounding adversaries from ever considering an attack on Israel like this again. And I think it also has a long-standing issue with the presence of so many Palestinians, particularly Palestinian refugees from 1948, on its border — this is a policy that goes back to the 1950s — and has seen in this crisis, and, more importantly, in the unconditional Western support it has received since October 7th, to resolve its Gaza problem, if you will, to either displace the Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip or to make it unfit for human habitation.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Mouin, I wanted to ask you — there’s a lead story in today’s New York Times that’s claiming that Iran has been flooding the West Bank with weapons in an effort to basically stoke an uprising of Palestinians on the West Bank. I’m wondering your sense of that, because the report doesn’t talk much about all of the repression and attacks and killings of Palestinians that have been occurring in the West Bank, especially since the October 7th attack by Hamas.

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, there’s a reason people refer to The New York Times as American Pravda. I mean, in this particular report, there’s virtually no evidence of any significant Iranian arms deliveries to the West Bank. And when you consider how limited Iranian arms deliveries to the Gaza Strip have been, it doesn’t really make sense to believe that there are significantly more weapons being delivered to a territory that is under much more intensive Israeli control.

And again, you know, there’s been this decadeslong attempt to seek to show the Palestinians as somehow not having any legitimate grievances of their own, as always acting on behalf of someone else’s agenda rather than on behalf of their own rights and interests. You know, it used to be they used to be Soviet proxies. Then they became jihadists. Now they’re Iranian proxies. Who knows what they’ll be tomorrow? But even if Iran didn’t exist, this conflict and this Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation would essentially be undiminished. And, you know, this particular article makes a lot of claims, but provides virtually no evidence to substantiate those claims.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what Israel did in Damascus, bombing the Iranian Consulate. Now they’ve reopened one there.


AMY GOODMAN: And what exactly is going on? We’re hearing all kinds of reports that Iran and the U.S. have made a deal, that if the U.S. gets its ceasefire in Gaza, that Iran won’t attack U.S., which is arming Israel. We hear GPS is turned off in Israel so that Iran can’t attack Israel.

MOUIN RABBANI: Yes. Well, in contrast to many previous Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, this one targeted the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, which is sovereign Iranian territory. And the Iranians have indicated that, from their point of view, the response would need to be direct, rather than through, for example, allied militias, and that, from their point of view, they would launch an attack directly from Iranian territory onto Israeli territory.

Apparently, according to news reports, the Iranians have made an offer to the Americans, which is that if the Americans impose a permanent ceasefire and put an end to this genocidal Israeli assault of the Gaza Strip, that will be considered a closure of the file, also because I think the Iranians and many others, for that matter, believe that it’s an Israeli ambition to further escalate this war regionally and seek to draw the Americans into a direct confrontation with Iran. It’s a little unclear. I mean, we’ve seen indications from the Americans that this is something they’re considering. But thus far, at least, we haven’t seen confirmation that they are actually going to act on this proposal and impose a ceasefire.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I wanted to get back for a moment to the negotiations over a ceasefire. We keep hearing in the U.S. press that the holdup is Hamas not agreeing to the conditions of a deal that’s already on the table. I’m wondering your thoughts about this, because it seems to me that it’s much more in the interest of Israel to continue not having a ceasefire while it continues to conduct its operations, rather than Hamas.

MOUIN RABBANI: That’s correct. And I think we also need to recognize that when we hear the term “American proposal,” what we’re really talking about is an American proposal that has been closely coordinated and approved by Israel, so it’s essentially an American-communicated Israeli proposal.

And as we were discussing previously, there are fundamental elements of this proposal that are unacceptable, not only to Hamas, but to Palestinians generally. The idea that you would have a six-to-eight-week pause in fighting, and then this genocidal assault would resume in full force, is, I think, completely nonsensical. The idea of Palestinian men not being allowed to return to their former homes in the Gaza Strip, that Israel would still continue to have control over the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip. And so, these are all issues that are under discussion.

But as we’ve seen in the aftermath of the Israeli killings of the World Central Kitchen staff, it literally takes only a phone call from the White House to resolve these issues. And so, I think it’s fair to assume that if the United States really wanted a ceasefire, it would only take another phone call. And the absence of that phone call, I think, is also a policy statement from Washington.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to that Lloyd Austin hearing in the Senate —


AMY GOODMAN: — where the conservative Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton was questioning the U.S. defense secretary, this as protesters were being taken out of the room, calling for ceasefire. I think something like 50 people were arrested in the Senate cafeteria calling for a ceasefire. This is Cotton questioning Austin.

SEN. TOM COTTON: I want to address what the protesters raised earlier. Is Israel committing genocide in Gaza?

DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN: Senator Cotton, we don’t have any evidence of genocide being created.

SEN. TOM COTTON: So, that’s a — that’s a “no,” Israel is not committing genocide in Gaza?

DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN: We don’t have evidence of that, to my knowledge, yeah.

SEN. TOM COTTON: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: “We don’t have evidence of” Israel committing genocide in Gaza. Your final response, as we begin to wrap up?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, Cotton had a similar incident with CIA Director William Burns a few weeks ago, and he failed to get a clear response from Burns. Here, of course, you have secretary of defense essentially not wanting to implicate himself and his department, so it was kind of an obvious answer for Lloyd Austin to give.

AMY GOODMAN: Mouin Rabbani, we want to thank you so much for being with us —


AMY GOODMAN: — Middle East analyst, co-editor of Jadaliyya, host of the Connections podcast, contributor to the new book, Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm. Mouin Rabbani was previously senior analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Coming up, we’ll be joined by two former Israeli soldiers, members of Breaking the Silence, an anti-occupation group led by veterans of the Israeli army. Stay with us.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 188 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "The Gaza Health Ministry has reported that 62 Palestinians were killed across the enclave over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 33,545 since the war began on October 7. Another 45 people were injured, taking the number of wounded to 76,094."   Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

THE WASHINGTON POST notes this morning, "Spain awarded Philippe Lazzarini, head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), its Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic to show it “supports this indispensable organization,” Foreign Affairs Minister José Manuel Albares said."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

The following sites updated: