[bauaw] Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, February 18, 2024

  • From: bonnieweinstein <giobon@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: BAUAW <bauaw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2024 10:02:05 -0800

 

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Saturday, February 24, 2024, 12:00 Noon

ILWU Local 10

400 North Point St., San Francisco

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Gaza Strip Access Restrictions.pdf since 2007

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gaza_Strip_Access_Restrictions.pdf
Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:As of February 18, 2024, the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 30,000,* (at least 12,000 are children), 68,883+ wounded, and more than 492 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.  The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) and the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission released a new tally of Palestinians detained by "Israel", revealing that the number of Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank has risen to more than 6,115.


*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health and other sources including the New YorkTimes. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 36,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.


FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA  PALESTINE WILL BE FREE!END ALL U.S. AID TO ISRAEL!FOR A DEMOCRATIC, SECULAR PALESTINE!

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Free Speech Teach-In: Drop the Charges Against the Uhuru 3! Free Leonard Peltier!

Fight for Free Speech: Anti-Colonial Teach-In

Saturday, February 17th, 2024, 2 to 4pm

Tamarack, 1501 Harrison Street, Oakland, 94612

Uhuru Solidarity Movement

(510) 603-6150, oakland@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

“Fight for Free Speech,” teach-in features Mwezi Odom, chair of the Hands-Off Uhuru Fight-Back Coalition, Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee and Dawn Lawson of the Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Defense Committee.

·      Hess is one of the “Uhuru 3” facing 10 years in prison under a bogus DOJ indictment attacking her free speech rights to support black liberation.

·      Lawson will speak on the campaign to free Leonard Peltier, an Indigenous leader unjustly imprisoned for 46 years.

·      Odom leads the Hands Off Uhuru Fight-back Coalition to fight the US government’s attempt to silence the anti-colonial freedom struggles. 

 

“No More Genocide in Our Name” Uhuru Solidarity National Conference

March 9-10, 2024,  9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Akwaaba Hall, 4101 W. Florissant Ave., St. Louis, MO. 63115 and online

NoMoreGenocide.eventbee.com

 

White people: go beyond protest and build the movement of anti-colonial solidarity with the African Revolution, under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party.  

Oppose U.S.-backed genocidal wars in Occupied Palestine, Africa, Haiti, Latin America and within the colonial borders of the U.S. 

Take action to demand the U.S. government drop the bogus charges against the Uhuru 3 - Uhuru Movement founder/leader Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Uhuru Solidarity leaders Penny Hess and Jesse Nevel - who face 15 years in prison for fighting for reparations to African people. 

Defend anti-colonial free speech!  

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We are all Palestinian

Listen and view this beautiful, powerful, song by Mistahi Corkill on YouTube at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQwuhbLczgI

Greetings,

Here is my new song and music video, We are all Palestinian, linked below. If you find it inspiring, please feel free to share with others. All the best!

Mistahi

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Thousands at stadium sing, "You'll Never Walk Alone," and wave Palestinian flags in Scotland.


We are all Palestinian

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQwuhbLczgI


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Labor for Palestine

Thousands of labor representatives marched Saturday, December 16, in Oakland, California. —Photo by Leon Kunstenaar

Video of December 16th Labor rally for Palestine.

 

Bay Area Unions and Workers Rally and March For Palestine In Oaklandhttps://youtu.be/L9k79honqIA


For More Information:bayarealabor4palestine@xxxxxxxxxProduction of Labor Video Project

www.labormedia.net

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0ad3mEylwY

Just Like The Nazis Did

By David Rovics

 

After so many decades of patronage

By the world’s greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

After crushing so many uprisings

Now they’re making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their Final Solution

Just like the Nazis did

 

They forced refugees into ghettos

Then set the ghettos aflame

Murdering writers and poets

And so no one remember their names

Killing their entire families

The grandparents, women and kids

The uncles and cousins and babies

Just like the Nazis did

 

They’re bombing all means of sustaining

Human life at all

See the few shelters remaining

Watch as the tower blocks fall

They’re bombing museums and libraries

In order to get rid

Of any memory of the people who lived here

Just like the Nazis did

 

They’re saying these people are animals

And they should all end up dead

They’re sending soldiers into schools

And shooting children in the head

The rhetoric is identical

And with Gaza off the grid

They’ve already said what happens next

Just like the Nazis did

 

Words of war for domestic consumption

And lies for all the rest

To try to distract our attention

Among their enablers in the West

Because Israel needs their imports

To keep those pallets on the skids

They need fuel and they need missiles

Just like the Nazis did

 

They’re using food as a weapon

They’re using water that way, too

They’re trying to kill everyone in Gaza

Or make them flee, it’s true

As the pundits talk of “after the war”

Like with the Fall of Madrid

The victors are preparing for more

Just like the Nazis did

 

But it’s after the conquest’s complete

If history is any guide

When the occupying army

Is positioned to decide

When disease and famine kills

Whoever may have hid

Behind the ghetto walls

Just like the Nazis did

 

All around the world

People are trying to tell

There's a genocide unfolding

Ringing alarm bells

But with such a powerful axis

And so many lucrative bids

They know who wants their money

Just like the Nazis did

 

There's so many decades of patronage

For the world's greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

They're crushing so many uprisings

Now they're making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their final solution

Just like the Nazis did

  Just like the Nazis did

    Just like the Nazis did


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Free Julian Assange


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Immediate Repeated Action Needed to Free Assange

 

Please call your Congressional Representatives, the White House, and the DOJ. Calls are tallied—they do count.  We are to believe we are represented in this country.  This is a political case, so our efforts can change things politically as well.  Please take this action as often as you can:

 

Find your representatives:

https://www.congress.gov/members/find-your-member

 

Leave each of your representatives a message individually to: 

·      Drop the charges against Julian Assange

·      Speak out publicly against the indictment and

·      Sign on to Rashida Tlaib's letter to the DOJ to drop the charges: 

           202-224-3121—Capitol Main Switchboard 

 

Leave a message on the White House comment line to Demand Julian Assange be pardoned: 

             202-456-1111

             Tuesday–Thursday, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. EST

 

Call the DOJ and demand they drop the charges against Julian Assange:

             202-353-1555—DOJ Comment Line

             202-514-2000 Main Switchboard 



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Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!

FREE HIM NOW!

Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733


Join the Fight for Mumia's Life

Since September, Mumia Abu-Jamal's health has been declining at a concerning rate. He has lost weight, is anemic, has high blood pressure and an extreme flair up of his psoriasis, and his hair has fallen out. In April 2021 Mumia underwent open heart surgery. Since then, he has been denied cardiac rehabilitation care including a healthy diet and exercise.

Donate to Mumia Abu-Jamal's Emergency Legal and Medical Defense Fund, Official 2024

Mumia has instructed PrisonRadio to set up this fund. Gifts donated here are designated for the Mumia Abu-Jamal Medical and Legal Defense Fund. If you are writing a check or making a donation in another way, note this in the memo line.

Send to:

 Mumia Medical and Legal Fund c/o Prison Radio

P.O. Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94103

Prison Radio is a project of the Redwood Justice Fund (RJF), which is a California 501c3 (Tax ID no. 680334309) not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the defense of the environment and of civil and human rights secured by law.  Prison Radio/Redwood Justice Fund PO Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94141

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We are saddened to announce the passing of Leonard Peltier’s sister, Linda.

 

Leonard is humbly requesting help with funeral expenses.

 

Even a dollar or two would be greatly appreciated.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-leonard-peltier-family-bury-his-sister-linda?utm_campaign=p_cp+fundraiser-sidebar&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer

 

Respect,

Dawn Lawson

Personal Assistant Leonard Peltier

Executive Assistant Jenipher Jones, Esq.

Secretary Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee

800-901-4413

dawn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

www.freeleonardpeltiernow.org




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Leonard Peltier Update - Not One More Year

 

Coleman 1 has gone on permanent lockdown.

The inmates are supposed to be allowed out two hours a day. I have not heard from Leonard since the 18th. 

The last time I talked to Leonard, he asked where his supporters were. He asked me if anyone cared about these lockdowns.

Leonard lives in a filthy, cold cell 22 to 24 hours a day. He has not seen a dentist in ten years. I asked him, “On a scale of 1 to 10, is your pain level at 13?” He said, “Something like that.” Leonard is a relentless truth-teller. He does not like it when I say things that do not make sense mathematically. 

That is why Leonard remains imprisoned. He will not lie. He will not beg, grovel, or denounce his beliefs. 

Please raise your voice. Ask your representatives why they have abdicated their responsibility to oversee the Bureau of Prisons and ensure they adhere to Constitutional law.

Uhuru, The African People’s Socialist Party, has stepped up for Leonard. NOT ONE MORE YEAR.

 

Fight for Free Speech – YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM8GDeGv90E

 

Leonard should not have spent a day in prison. Click “LEARN” on our website to find out what really happened on that reservation: 

www.freeleonardpeltiernow.org


A Plea for the Compassionate Release of Leonard Peltier

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Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier


Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

Video at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWdJdODKO6M&feature=youtu.be
Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.

 

https://www.freeleonardpeltier.com/petition

 

Email: contact@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


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Updates From Kevin Cooper 

A Never-ending Constitutional Violation

A summary of the current status of Kevin Cooper’s case by the Kevin Cooper Defense Committee

 

      On October 26, 2023, the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP wrote a rebuttal in response to the Special Counsel's January 13, 2023 report upholding the conviction of their client Kevin Cooper. A focus of the rebuttal was that all law enforcement files were not turned over to the Special Counsel during their investigation, despite a request for them to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.

      On October 29, 2023, Law Professors Lara Bazelon and Charlie Nelson Keever, who run the six member panel that reviews wrongful convictions for the San Francisco County District Attorney's office, published an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle calling the "Innocence Investigation” done by the Special Counsel in the Cooper case a “Sham Investigation” largely because Cooper has unsuccessfully fought for years to obtain the police and prosecutor files in his case. This is a Brady claim, named for the U.S. Supreme court’s 1963 case establishing the Constitutional rule that defendants are entitled to any information in police and prosecutor's possession that could weaken the state's case or point to innocence. Brady violations are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. The Special Counsel's report faults Cooper for not offering up evidence of his own despite the fact that the best evidence to prove or disprove Brady violations or other misconduct claims are in those files that the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office will not turn over to the Special Counsel or to Cooper's attorneys.

      On December 14, 2023, the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), Mary Smith, sent Governor Gavin Newsom a three page letter on behalf of the ABA stating in part that Mr.Cooper's counsel objected to the state's failure to provide Special Counsel all documents in their possession relating to Mr.Cooper's conviction, and that concerns about missing information are not new. For nearly 40 years Mr.Cooper's attorneys have sought this same information from the state.

      On December 19, 2023, Bob Egelko, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the ABA letter to the Governor that the prosecutors apparently withheld evidence from the Governor's legal team in the Cooper case.

      These are just a few recent examples concerning the ongoing failure of the San Bernardino County District Attorney to turn over to Cooper's attorney's the files that have been requested, even though under the law and especially the U.S. Constitution, the District Attorney of San Bernardino county is required to turn over to the defendant any and all material and or exculpatory evidence that they have in their files. Apparently, they must have something in their files because they refuse to turn them over to anyone.

      The last time Cooper's attorney's received files from the state, in 2004, it wasn't from the D.A. but a Deputy Attorney General named Holly Wilkens in Judge Huff's courtroom. Cooper's attorneys discovered a never before revealed police report showing that a shirt was discovered that had blood on it and was connected to the murders for which Cooper was convicted, and that the shirt had disappeared. It had never been tested for blood. It was never turned over to Cooper's trial attorney, and no one knows where it is or what happened to it. Cooper's attorneys located the woman who found that shirt on the side of the road and reported it to the Sheriff's Department. She was called to Judge Huff's court to testify about finding and reporting that shirt to law enforcement. That shirt was the second shirt found that had blood on it that was not the victims’ blood. This was in 2004, 19 years after Cooper's conviction.

      It appears that this ongoing constitutional violation that everyone—from the Special Counsel to the Governor's legal team to the Governor himself—seems to know about, but won't do anything about, is acceptable in order to uphold Cooper's conviction.

But this type of thing is supposed to be unacceptable in the United States of America where the Constitution is supposed to stand for something other than a piece of paper with writing on it. How can a Governor, his legal team, people who support and believe in him ignore a United States citizen’s Constitutional Rights being violated for 40 years in order to uphold a conviction?

      This silence is betrayal of the Constitution. This permission and complicity by the Governor and his team is against everything that he and they claim to stand for as progressive politicians. They have accepted the Special Counsel's report even though the Special Counsel did not receive the files from the district attorney that may not only prove that Cooper is innocent, but that he was indeed framed by the Sheriff’s Department; and that evidence was purposely destroyed and tampered with, that certain witnesses were tampered with, or ignored if they had information that would have helped Cooper at trial, that evidence that the missing shirt was withheld from Cooper's trial attorney, and so much more.

      Is the Governor going to get away with turning a blind eye to this injustice under his watch?

      Are progressive people going to stay silent and turn their eyes blind in order to hopefully get him to end the death penalty for some while using Cooper as a sacrificial lamb?


An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974

 

Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)


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The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 


See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Reports-Within-Belly-Beast-Department-ebook/dp/B084656JDZ/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings


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Sign the petition:

https://dontextraditeassange.com/petition/


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Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale

 

I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”


We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!

Jesselyn Radack
Director
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)
ExposeFacts

Twitter: @JesselynRadack

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Resources for Resisting Federal Repressionhttps://www.nlg.org/federalrepressionresources/

 

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

 

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement, you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

 

Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@xxxxxxxxx

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

 

National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811


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Articles

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1) The U.S. designates the Houthis a terrorist group.

By Michael Crowley Reporting from Washington, Fwb. 17, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/17/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news?name=styln-israel-gaza&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_hub_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection

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Houthi supporters during a protest against the U.S. terrorist designation of Houthis, in Sana, Yemen, on Friday. Credit...Yahya Arhab/EPA, via Shutterstock


The State Department on Friday designated the Houthis as a terrorist organization, following through on a mid-January warning to crack down on the Yemen-based militant group.

 

The action officially labels the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, a step that gives the United States new powers to crack down on the Iran-backed Houthis’ access to the global financial system.

 

It restores a designation given to the group late in the Trump administration, which Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken reversed soon after taking office in 2021, partly to facilitate peace talks for Yemen’s civil war.

 

Last month, Mr. Blinken announced the State Department’s intent to return the Houthis to its terrorism list, but delayed the action for 30 days. The pause was intended in part to give humanitarian aid groups working in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen time to ensure that their work does not run afoul of new sanctions from the United States that will punish anyone who provides support to the militant group. Some aid groups have warned that their work will inevitably be constrained in a country with dire humanitarian needs.

 

Mr. Blinken said in January that the implementation delay was also meant to give the Houthis — who are the de facto government in northern Yemen and are backed by Iran — a chance to cease their attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, which have disrupted global trade causing delays and higher prices. Those attacks have recently prompted dozens of U.S. airstrikes in response. But neither American military action nor the threat of a terrorist designation have deterred the Houthis.

 

A State Department spokesman noted that just this morning, a missile launched from Yemen struck an India-bound, Panamanian-flagged ship carrying crude oil. The official said the ship is continuing south under its own power.

 

Some Republicans hawks have criticized President Biden for not placing the Houthis in a different official category, known as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which they say would allow for harsher U.S. penalties and greater ability to prosecute the group’s financial supporters. The Trump administration designated the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization as well a Specially Designated Global Terrorist; Mr. Blinken reversed both designations.

 

The newly restored designation of Specially Designated Global Terrorist group can be removed again if the Houthis stop their aggressive behavior, Mr. Blinken said last month.


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2) Aleksei Navalny’s Allies Confirm His Death as Russia Detains Mourners

A spokeswoman for the team that has continued Mr. Navalny’s work said his mother had received the official notification. Hundreds of his mourners have been detained after his death.

By Ivan Nechepurenko, Feb. 17, 2024

"Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said in a post on X that they were told in the penal colony that he died because of the 'sudden death syndrome.'”https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/17/world/europe/aleksei-navalny-dead.html

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Police officers detaining a man on Saturday during a gathering in Moscow in memory of Mr. Navalny near a monument to the victims of political repression. Credit...Reuters


Aleksei A. Navalny’s political allies on Saturday confirmed his death, saying that his mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, had received an official notification that her son died on Friday afternoon. The confirmation came as Russian officials detained hundreds of people mourning his death.

 

Mr. Navalny’s family was still waiting for officials to release the body. Kira Yarmysh, Mr. Navalny’s spokeswoman, said in a statement on X that Russian investigators had transferred Mr. Navalny’s body from a penal colony in the Arctic to the town of Salekhard, where it was being examined.

 

“We demand for Aleksei Navalny’s body to be released to his family immediately,” Ms. Yarmysh said in her statement.

 

The detentions of Mr. Navalny’s mourners signaled that the Kremlin wanted to prevent his death from turning into a political event. At least 340 people in 30 cities had been detained since the death was announced on Friday, according to OVD Info, a rights group that tracks such arrests.

 

In Moscow, hundreds of Russians came to the Wall of Grief monument honoring victims of political repression in Russia. They were met with a heavy police presence. Overnight, Moscow city authorities removed piles of flowers that people had left to commemorate Mr. Navalny.

 

Mr. Navalny’s mother and one of his lawyers arrived on Saturday morning at the penal colony in the Kharp settlement, Ms. Yarmysh said in a video statement. She and others had to wait for two hours before a prison official came out to say that Mr. Navalny’s body had been transferred to Salekhard.

 

Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said in a post on X that they were told in the penal colony that he died because of the “sudden death syndrome.”

 

In Salekhard, a regional center close to the penal colony, Mr. Navalny’s mother and his lawyer found the local morgue closed. When they called, the officials said that Mr. Navalny’s body was not there, Ms. Yarmysh said. Another lawyer was told, she said, that an “additional histology” had been performed to determine the cause of Mr. Navalny’s death, and that its results should be ready next week.

 

“They lie and they do everything not to give out the body,” Ms. Yarmysh said.

 

In a separate video address, Ms. Yarmysh accused Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, of killing Mr. Navalny.

 

“Three and a half years ago Putin tried to kill Aleksei,” Ms. Yarmysh said, referring to Mr. Navalny’s poisoning with a nerve agent in 2020. “Yesterday, he killed him.”

 

Ms. Yarmysh is a member of a team of Mr. Navalny’s allies. Working from outside Russia, they have continued to carry out his work after his poisoning and his subsequent imprisonment, publishing his statements and organizing political events.

 

Prison authorities said Mr. Navalny fell unconscious and died after a walk at the penal colony, where he had been transferred at the end of December.

 

In their statement about his death, the prison authorities said that its causes were “being determined.” Local investigators said that they had begun a “procedural check” into Mr. Navalny’s death. They said “a set of investigative and operative measures is being carried out aimed at establishing all circumstances of the incident.”

 

Yevgeny Smirnov, a Russian lawyer, said that means a forensic medical examination is probably being conducted on Mr. Navalny’s body. Relatives can retrieve the body for burial only after the cause of death is officially determined, Mr. Smirnov said.

 

According to Public Verdict, a Russian rights group, such medical examinations usually give only very general causes of death.

 

“Such investigations absolutely cannot be trusted,” the group said in a statement.

 

Upon retrieving the body, relatives can bury it at a cemetery, the group said. Mr. Navalny’s family members have not commented on the possible burial arrangements.


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3) UAW Arab Caucus: UAW must move from ceasefire declaration to stopping weapons for Israel

UAW Arab Caucus to union president Shawn Fain: The union must take action to translate the UAW’s ceasefire declaration to practical interruption of the weapons our UAW siblings are making, sending to Israel, and are being used to kill our families.

By UAW Arab Caucus, February 14, 2024

https://mondoweiss.net/2024/02/uaw-arab-caucus-uaw-must-move-from-ceasefire-declaration-to-stopping-weapons-for-israel/

JPEG image



























Photo dated November 28, 1973, of Arab auto workers and their supporters in Detroit protest, published in Revolution, January 1974.” (Photo via the University of Michigan Library Digital Collections)


February 12, 2024

Shawn Fain

President, United Auto Workers

 

Dear Shawn,

 

We write to you as an Arab caucus in the UAW on day 129 of the U.S.-funded Israeli genocide of Gaza’s Palestinians to ask you meet with us this week.

 

Yesterday, Americans watched the Superbowl, including vicious Israeli propaganda ads that lawyers have said violate FDC regulations. Thinking that people who have been steadfastly resisting our complicity as taxpayers in this genocide would be distracted by the Superbowl (as they did during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas), Israel aerial bombed Palestinian homes, mosques, and hospitals in the “Safe Zone” region of Rafah– the last place that Palestinian civilians can go. As you know, the weapons Israel is using are paid for by U.S. taxpayer money – 14.5 billion dollars was sent since October 2023 in addition to the 3.8 billion dollars the U.S. sends every year. On this same Super Bowl Sunday massacre, the U.S. Senate met in a secret session and advanced another 14.1 billion dollar package to Israel. On top of it all, many of the weapons being supplied are made in UAW unionized shops. It is abundantly clear how central our role as U.S. residents, laborers, and American voters is to Israel’s U.S.-supported ethnic cleansing campaign – and it’s never been more clear to us the role that the UAW can play in putting an end to it.  

 

As Arab members of the UAW, we have been asking for a meeting with you since late October. In addition to emailing you ourselves, our fellow UAW members sent hundreds of emails on our behalf, and people who see you regularly have asked directly for this meeting. We’ve been given a wide range of excuses as to why this meeting hasn’t yet happened. All the while we are grieving the loss of dozens of family members, livelihoods, witnessing direct violence and incitement to violence against Arabs in the US – including those of us who are members of Local 600 in Dearborn which a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed just called the “jihad capital of America”. We are terrified that this war is intended to expand to the entire Middle East region, and harm more and more of us here in the U.S. (Americans have already been killed in Gaza and the West Bank, and Palestinians targeted in the U.S.).

 

We need you to meet with us now – you must take action to translate the UAW’s ceasefire declaration to practical interruption of the weapons which our UAW siblings are making, sending to Israel, and which are being used to kill our families. We have lots of ideas of what that can look like, but we need the support of our reform leadership. You must show your accountability to your rank-and-file workers by sitting down with us, coming up with a plan of action for Palestine, and then following through on it.

 

We aim to realize the dream of the original UAW Arab caucus, which undertook a wildcat strike in November 1973 in Dearborn, demanding the UAW divest from Israeli bonds. Fifty years later, nearly to the date this November, we celebrated as you and our elected leadership passed a ceasefire resolution and created a committee to look into Divestment and a Just Transition– fulfilling the Arab caucus’s demands. We are grateful for your leadership on calling for an end to the genocide and as our Arab caucus before us, we urge you to do much more. 

 

The question of Palestine has moved U.S. residents in sustained resistance for months in ways unprecedented in decades. If UAWD and the reform leadership is going to stay in power and continue to push the labor agenda in this country, we will need to move beyond the supposed priorities of the traditional and often white male labor activists. We will need to work on campaigns and in ways that touch a wider range of diverse younger workers – Palestinian liberation is one such campaign, and we, as Arab unionists, know also that our liberation is interconnected. That is, we are already and will continue to work to connect with our more marginalized union siblings to bring all of our pressing issues to the forefront of the union.

 

This kind of work will bring more active members into the reform caucus and actually ensure the expansion of the UAW reform program. In fact, issues like the genocide in Palestine have already proven to be one of the most powerful activating and mobilizing forces for the labor movement. Fear, on the other hand, that taking an active stance on Palestine will alienate rank and file or leadership members of the Admin Caucus, will get us nowhere. Instead, it will just reproduce the same dynamic that UAWD is supposedly trying to shift. If our union’s power is to continue into the future in a diverse America, we must grow and become more committed to the cause of workers everywhere.

 

We need you to take action on Palestine, starting by meeting with us now. We, as Arab unionists, in turn, commit to helping to transform the UAW into a truly democratic and more powerful union that can fight the fascist turn in this country, and improve the conditions of all workers in the U.S. and everywhere. 

 

In solidarity,

 

Mary Jirmanus Saba, UAW Local 2865

Alia ElKattan, UAW Local 2110

Shahinaz Geneid, GENU-UAW & HAW-UAW

Ignacia Lolas, UAW Local 2325

Mafaz Al-Suwaidan, HGSU-UAW Local 5118

On behalf of the UAW Arab Caucus


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4) The U.N. says dozens of patients remain at the hospital after an Israeli raid.

By Vivek Shankar, Feb. 18, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/18/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news?name=styln-israel-gaza&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_hub_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection#israel-palestinian-state

Displaced Palestinians sheltering at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, last week. Credit...Ahmed Zakot/Reuters


The World Health Organization said on Sunday that one of the last functioning hospitals in the Gaza Strip was no longer capable of serving the dozens of patients who remain there amid an ongoing raid by the Israeli military.

 

About 20 of the 200 patients still sheltering at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis urgently need to be moved to other hospitals, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, said on social media. A team from the U.N. agency was not allowed to enter the hospital on Friday or Saturday, he said.

 

“Nasser hospital in #Gaza is not functional anymore, after a weeklong siege followed by the ongoing raid,” Mr. Tedros said. “The cost of delays will be paid by patients’ lives. Access to the patients and hospital should be facilitated.”

 

Nasser had been the largest functioning hospital left in Gaza. The Israeli military last week ordered an evacuation of the thousands of displaced people who were sheltering at the hospital, saying Hamas was conducting military activities there and may have held hostages on its grounds. Hamas has repeatedly denied Israeli accusations that it routinely operates within and beneath places like Nasser hospital, using civilians as human shields.

 

Israeli forces raided the hospital on Thursday, forcing Gazans sheltering there to flee. It was a repetition of a vicious cycle of the war: Palestinian civilians in Gaza had turned to the hospital after being ordered by Israeli forces to leave their homes. Even before the raid, doctors and health officials had said that some people who tried to leave the complex were killed.

 

The Israeli military said that it had detained about 100 people at Nasser hospital. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the military’s chief spokesman, said late last week that it had captured three Hamas fighters who had taken part in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, including one, an ambulance driver, who confessed to transporting a hostage from Israel to Gaza.

 

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, said on Sunday that Israeli forces had detained 70 medical personnel and “dozens of patients.” Only 25 staff members were left in the complex, he said in a statement, adding that the hospital could no longer tend to patients needing intensive care and was further hobbled by water and electricity cuts.

 

In response to questions about the W.H.O. statement, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said in a briefing that work was being done to fix a broken generator at the hospital and that a temporary generator was in use. “It’s in our best interest that the hospital keeps functioning,” he said.

 

On Sunday, the Israeli military also said its troops were continuing to operate in Nasser hospital and in nearby areas, where they had found more weapons.

 

It was not immediately possible to independently verify either claim about the situation there.

 

Israeli forces earlier this month raided another medical facility in Khan Younis, Al-Amal hospital. On Sunday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that Israeli shelling had struck Al-Amal, causing severe damage.

 

Vivian Nereim, Nada Rashwan, Isabel Kershner and Ephrat Livni contributed reporting.


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5) The U.S. says it will not support a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

By Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Feb. 18, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/18/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news?name=styln-israel-gaza&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_hub_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection#israel-palestinian-state

Mourners praying next to the bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes at Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, Gaza, on Sunday. Credit...Mohammed Salem/Reuters


The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said the United States would not support an upcoming Security Council resolution that calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, arguing that it could jeopardize talks on the return of hostages held in the territory.

 

Algeria will put forward the resolution on Tuesday for a vote by the U.N. Security Council, the country’s national press agency reported. The United States, one of the five permanent members of the Council, vetoed a separate resolution in December that called for a cease-fire, saying Israel had the right to defend itself against attacks by Hamas.

 

In a statement, the U.S. ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that President Biden has held multiple calls over the past week with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as well as leaders in Qatar and Egypt to press for a deal to free the hostages still being held in Gaza.

 

The deal would “bring an immediate and sustained period of calm to Gaza for at least six weeks,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the U.N. resolution may run counter to those outcomes. “For that reason, the United States does not support action on this draft resolution. Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted,” she said.

 

The expected resolution comes as Mr. Netanyahu is resisting pressure from the United States and other governments, as well as the United Nations, to call off a planned ground invasion of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, where more than one million people have taken refuge after being displaced from their homes by Israel’s invasion.

 

At the same time, Mr. Netanyahu has played down the chances of a quick breakthrough in talks to release the hostages, who were seized during a devastating attack led by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7.


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6) Israel’s government formally rejects the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

By Isabel Kershner reporting from Jerusalem, Feb. 18, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/18/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news?name=styln-israel-gaza&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_hub_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection#israel-palestinian-state

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, center, during a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv last month. Credit...Pool photo by Ronen Zvulun


The Israeli government on Sunday approved a resolution rejecting any international attempts to impose a Palestinian state on Israel, saying that Israel would have to directly negotiate any “permanent" arrangement with the Palestinians.

 

The largely symbolic move followed recent comments from some of Israel’s allies suggesting that they might consider simply recognizing a Palestinian state ahead of any agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who brought the resolution to his cabinet, described its approval as a “declarative decision” that was needed “in light of remarks that have been heard recently in the international community.”

 

The resolution — which bolsters a position Mr. Netanyahu has already staked out several times in recent days — comes as the Biden administration has been trying to broker a deal for the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. U.S. and Saudi officials have said that the prospect of that happening hinges on Israel agreeing to work toward a two-state solution — meaning the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

 

Mr. Netanyahu has rebuffed recent pressure from President Biden to agree to that path after the war in Gaza is over and in recent weeks doubled down on his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state.

 

The final wording of the Israeli government resolution appeared to have been carefully crafted with the aim of accommodating both ultranationalist members of Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing government, who oppose the very notion of negotiations with the Palestinians, and the centrists who joined the government to help oversee the war in Gaza after the Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7.

 

It did not explicitly rule out the possibility of Palestinian statehood, focusing instead on the process.

 

“Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians,” the resolution read, adding, “A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.”

 

David Cameron, Britain’s foreign secretary, said last month that a top priority was to give the Palestinian people “a political horizon so that they can see that there is going to be irreversible progress to a two-state solution and crucially the establishment of a Palestinian state.” That led to speculation that Britain might be willing to move up conversations about formal recognition of Palestinian statehood.

 

After a meeting on Friday with King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Macron of France said, “Recognition of a Palestinian state is not a taboo for France.” It was unclear if Mr. Macron was referring to France’s longstanding support for a two-state solution in general, or to the idea of giving early recognition before any negotiated agreement is reached between the Israelis and Palestinians.

 

The Israeli government decision concluded that the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks “would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would prevent any future peace settlement.”

 

Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist party that joined Mr. Netanyahu’s government in October, said on Sunday that the normalization process with Saudi Arabia was an important effort that he was working to promote. But in a speech at a conference in Jerusalem, Mr. Gantz added that he would like “to emphasize to our friends around the world — after Oct. 7, the pathway to regional stability and peace is not through one-sided actions like recognition of a Palestinian state not agreed beforehand with the state of Israel.”

 

Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.


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7) Netanyahu suggests cease-fire talks are at a dead end as a Rafah invasion looms.

By Aaron Boxerman and Adam Sella, Feb. 18, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/18/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news?name=styln-israel-gaza&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_hub_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection#israel-palestinian-state

Israeli soldiers near the Gaza Strip this week. Credit...Menahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Saturday that talks to reach a cease-fire and hostage-release deal were at an impasse and that his government was pushing ahead with plans for a ground offensive in Rafah in Gaza despite mounting international warnings over the possible humanitarian cost.

 

At a news conference in Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu said Hamas had refused to budge on what he called its “ludicrous demands” at a recent round of indirect talks in Cairo mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the United States. Those demands included leaving Hamas in power in Gaza, a full Israeli withdrawal and the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, he said.

 

Both Hamas and Israeli delegations visited Cairo this week to discuss advancing a possible deal. Neither side sits down with the other during the indirect talks; instead, mediators like Qatar and Egypt act as middlemen, passing messages back and forth. Mr. Netanyahu said the Israeli delegation had been instructed to “sit down and listen” to see if Hamas had retreated from its position.

 

“There was no change — I mean, not even a millimeter, a nanometer,” Mr. Netanyahu said, adding: “There’s no reason to go back there until we see a change.”

 

Nor will Israel compromise on its intention to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Mr. Netanyahu said, where roughly 1.4 million people are now sheltering in crowded homes, schools and tent camps close to the Egyptian border. Israel has battered the city with airstrikes since the beginning of the war but has yet to deploy ground troops there in force.

 

Mr. Netanyahu reiterated his pledge that any civilians would first be evacuated to safe zones, suggesting that there was plenty of space north of Rafah to which they could evacuate. He also conceded that the plan had evoked “a lot of opposition abroad.”

 

“Those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are essentially telling us: ‘Lose the war,’” Mr. Netanyahu insisted. “We will not bow to any pressure. We will not bow, because we are a nation of heroes,” he added.

 

U.S. officials have repeatedly urged Israel not to operate in Rafah without a “credible and executable plan” to ensure the safety of the Palestinian civilians sheltering there. Intensified military action there could also pose a risk to the lives of the over 100 remaining hostages in Gaza, an unknown number of whom are in Rafah.

 

On Friday, President Biden said he hoped Israel would not send ground forces into Rafah before there was a deal on a cease-fire and the release of hostages. The remaining hostages include both American citizens and other foreign nationals, according to the U.S. and Israeli authorities.

 

“I’m still hopeful that can be done,” said Mr. Biden, referring to a deal securing the release of the remaining hostages. “And in the meantime, I don’t anticipate — I’m hoping — that the Israelis will not make any massive land invasion.”

 

About 250 Israelis and foreign nationals were abducted by Hamas-led fighters during the Oct. 7 attack. Roughly 112 hostages have been released so far,  the vast majority during a short truce that began in late November. Israeli troops have also found the corpses of at least eight others, and the bodies of at least 30 are believed to still be held by their captors, according to Israeli officials. That would leave around 100 alive, most of them men who are Israeli citizens.

 

Mr. Netanyahu’s hard-line stance on negotiations is not shared by all Israelis.

 

Two Israeli hostages rescued earlier this week in an Israeli raid into Rafah called on the Israeli government to return to the talks. The men — Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70 — had been abducted from Nir Yitzhak, a kibbutz near the Gaza border.

 

“It is not possible to return the remaining 134 hostages through heroic operations,” the two men said in a statement with three former hostages. “Only through a deal can everyone be brought home.”


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8) A large antigovernment protest returns to Tel Aviv, as criticism of Netanyahu mounts.

By Adam Sella reporting from Tel Aviv, Feb. 18, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/18/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news?name=styln-israel-gaza&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_hub_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection#israel-palestinian-state

Demonstrators expressing their anger toward the Israeli government in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Credit...Leo Correa/Associated Press


Thousands of antigovernment protesters on Saturday filled a central Tel Aviv thoroughfare, the same street where demonstrations riled the nation before the start of the Israel-Hamas war, in the largest show of anger toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in months.

 

In the immediate aftermath of the Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7, in which some 1,200 people were killed, according to Israeli officials, the nation was in shock and the antigovernment protests were put on pause. The protesters said at the time that they felt a need to be unified as a nation, and many demonstrators were called up to the military reserves or volunteered to help the war effort.

 

But as the war has passed the four-month mark, protests against the government have been strengthening. On Saturday, calls for an immediate election were heard above a deafening din of air horns. A red flare was lit in the middle of a drum circle that beat out marching tunes. Flag-wielding demonstrators stared down half a dozen police officers on horseback.

 

“The people need to rise up, and the government needs to go,” said Yuval Lerner, 57, referring to Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing governing coalition. He said that even before the war, he had lost confidence that the government had the nation’s best interest at heart.

 

Large antigovernment protests over plans to weaken the nation’s judiciary were once a routine occurrence in Israel before the outbreak of war. Then, tens of thousands of protesters gathered on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, the same street as Saturday night’s protest.

 

Karen Saar, 50, who wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “deposition now,” said that the return to Kaplan Street was symbolic. “It’s the Kaplan protests,” she said, repeating the phrase used locally. “We’ve returned the protest movement to the place where it was before the tragedy and the war.”

 

The protests against Mr. Netanyahu and the government are separate from the increasingly divisive public debate over the course of action in Gaza regarding the hostages captured by Hamas and other groups on Oct. 7. More than 130 hostages remain in the enclave, including at least 30 who are believed to be dead, according to the Israeli security services. Demonstrations demanding the government prioritize their release have also occurred regularly.

 

On Saturday, one antigovernment protester said he felt the time was right to return to the streets. Shahar Danziger, 45, who carried a flag for Brothers in Arms, a grass-roots organization made up of Israeli military veterans and reservists who shifted to help those affected by the war, said that until recently, it was hard to return to protesting when some of his colleagues were serving as reservists.

 

At first “we set up to help during wartime,” he said. “But now it’s time to demonstrate.”



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9) The U.S. special envoy says Israeli strikes on police are hindering the delivery of aid.

By Gaya Gupta, Feb. 18, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/18/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news?name=styln-israel-gaza&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_hub_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection#israel-palestinian-state

David Satterfield, the U.S. special envoy for humanitarian aid, wearing a suit, tie and rimless glasses.


David Satterfield, the U.S. special envoy for humanitarian aid, said on Friday that Israeli military strikes on Palestinian police officers were hindering the delivery of badly needed humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.

 

Mr. Satterfield said Israeli strikes in recent days had killed several police officials who were escorting United Nations aid convoys in Gaza. It was “virtually impossible,” he said, for the U.N. and its partners to distribute the aid without the help of the police.

 

“We’re working with the Israeli government, with the Israeli military, in seeing what solutions can be found here because everyone wants to see the assistance continue,” he said. “No one wants to empower Hamas.”

 

Mr. Satterfield made the comments during an interview streamed online by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He said his offices were looking into solutions to more effectively distribute aid from the hundreds of trucks that enter Gaza daily.

 

Israel has frequently accused Hamas of diverting aid going into Gaza for its own purposes.  

 

Mr. Satterfield pushed back against that claim. He said that while it was true that there was a Hamas presence among U.N. aid workers, Israel had brought forward no evidence to suggest that U.N.-delivered aid had been diverted or stolen.

 

“No Israeli official has come to me, come to the administration, with specific evidence of diversion or theft of assistance delivered by the U.N.,” he said.

 

Mr. Satterfield said the officers that escort the U.N. trucks come from two forces: the Palestinian Police, which are part of the Hamas administration in Gaza, and a second force that is part of the Palestinian Authority’s “remnant presence” in the enclave.  

 

Aid groups have repeatedly raised concerns that Israel’s offensive in Gaza has endangered their trucks and have said that only a cease-fire would allow them to distribute aid safely. Israel has denied claims that humanitarian trucks come under its fire.

 

And as hunger has spread in Gaza, desperate mobs have looted warehouses and have pulled food from trucks. Mr. Satterfield said that “criminal gangs” and “the rising value of humanitarian assistance in the black market” are impeding the distribution of aid.

 

The Hamas-run Palestinian Police said in a statement on Feb. 6 that six officers had been killed while providing security to aid trucks.

 

Israel did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Last month, Israel accused the main U.N. agency dedicated to helping Palestinians, known as UNRWA, of employing about a dozen members of Hamas.

 

Dozens of Israeli protesters have also attempted to block trucks at the Kerem Shalom crossing, one of two points of entry for aid into Gaza, claiming that the assistance would go into the hands of Hamas.

 

Top U.N. officials have repeatedly denied the allegations and warned that much more aid needs to enter Gaza to prevent humanitarian catastrophe.


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10) Against a Canvas of Despair, Gaza’s Artists Trace Their Struggle

An exhibition in the Israeli-occupied West Bank features works evoking Palestinian life and protest. But the show is as much about the art that cannot be displayed, lost forever in the war.

By Raja Abdulrahim, Reporting from Birzeit, West Bank, Feb. 18, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/18/world/middleeast/gaza-art-exhibition-west-bank.html

At the museum, along blue walls meant to evoke Gaza’s sky and sea, hang paintings that mostly evoke life before Israel’s intense bombardment and invasion. Credit...Samar Hazboun for The New York Times


The incessant buzzing of an Israeli drone fills the room.

 

On one large wall, scenes of death and desperate rescues by hand through twisted metal and crushed rock play out on a video loop. A large mound of rubble — metal rods, bricks and broken plaster — extends nearly the length of the exhibition hall.

 

Along blue walls meant to evoke Gaza’s sky and sea hang paintings that mostly evoke life before Israel’s intense bombardment and invasion: Palestinian still lifes, native cactuses, music, cats and cows, and even one Catwoman.

 

The work of more than 100 Gazan artists lines the walls of this exhibition, which is showing at the Palestinian Museum in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, a collection of protest that is as much about the art that is not there, lost in the war that rages in Gaza, as about the art that is on display. Most of the artists are trapped in the enclave, struggling to survive, much less to create.

 

“We resist with our colors and our canvases in order to relay our message to the world,” said Basel El Maqosui, an artist displaced from his home in northern Gaza whose work is featured.

 

“They destroyed all our civilization and destroyed our modern and ancient artifacts,” he said in an interview. “Each of which carries a memory full of love and joy and another memory full of sadness and tears.”

 

High on the wall in the hall hangs his painting of a Palestinian woman, her head, face and shoulders rimmed by layers of colorful scarves — red, yellow and blue.

 

Mr. El Maqosui said that he had been inspired by his neighbor in northern Gaza, a young Bedouin woman who had a unique style of wearing bright Palestinian clothing, layering four to five colorful scarves around her no matter the occasion or weather.

 

The work of the artists in the show, called “This Is Not an Exhibition,” attempts to reflect the texture of Palestinian life that can be both political and apolitical at a time when Israel’s stated war on Hamas has wrought a horrific human toll and vast destruction in Gaza.

 

The exhibition description says the artists are “resisting annihilation in a genocidal war” and showing how “the machine of killing and destruction” is transforming the landscape in Gaza, without mentioning Israel by name or the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 that prompted the Israeli strikes and invasion.

 

The organizers of the exhibition say they consider the show an act of solidarity with artists in Gaza, providing a way to draw attention to the cultural cost of the war. The exhibition points to a shared experience between Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who, while divided in geography and governance, are united by common aspirations for their own state, having lived under Israeli control for decades in varying forms.

 

“Killing the Palestinians, killing the artists, destroying their works, targeting the cultural institutions,” said Ehab Bseisso, a member of the museum’s board of directors, “is a primary part of the genocidal erasure of history and memory and creativity.”

 

“This is about serving the colonial narrative that Gaza did not have life, did not have art, did not have culture,” he added.

 

During the more than four months of war, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have destroyed many artists’ studios and works, as well as most museums and cultural institutions — a loss to the territory’s cultural life that experts say could take more than a generation to rebuild.

 

UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization, has expressed concern about the impact of the war on Gaza. The agency has documented damage to at least 22 heritage sites, including 10 buildings of historical or artistic interest, one museum and three archaeological sites.

 

Standing in the exhibition hall and speaking above the sound of the drone, Mr. Bseiso referred to the artworks hanging around him as “survivors” because they were sold to collectors, universities and cultural centers outside the Gaza Strip before the war began.

 

Many represent joyful aspects of Palestinian life, while others represent the struggles of what organizers call “the harshness of reality” and the “ugly cruelty of the occupation.”

 

One painting, from 1982, features a body holding its dismembered head shrouded in a black-and-white checkered scarf known as a kaffiyeh. Another, from the 1970s, shows a man with chains and a dead dove. Below it hangs a 2016 painting showing a person whose face is covered in a red bandanna holding white underwear on which is spray painted the word “return” in Arabic.

 

“This is the voice of Gaza they are trying to silence,” Mr. Bseisso said.

 

Some of those voices have been lost.

 

At least four of the artists with works in the exhibition have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, according to the organizers. Their names are marked on a wall of contributors with a black line in the corner of their nameplate.

 

Mr. El Maqosui is a long way from the days when he spent his time teaching art at a school during the day and then creating colorful art in his home studio at night. His home and his studio were flattened in an Israeli airstrike, he said.

 

More than two decades of works were destroyed. “I lost everything that I had,” he said.

 

Now he spends much of his days fetching and filtering water, lining up for food and keeping his family’s ramshackle tent of plastic sheeting intact against the cold, wind and rain in the southern city of Rafah.

 

He still makes time for art, sitting in the tent, bundled up with blankets, sketching with pen in a notebook, his colorful subjects replaced by black-and-white representations of the bleak reality in which he and more than two million others now find themselves living.

 

“In these difficult circumstances that we struggle to describe with any words, I am trying to hold on to my humanity by drawing,” he said. “Drawing doesn’t change what we are living through, but it is a way to relay to the world our suffering.”

 

When the war began, the Palestinian Museum was preparing an exhibit on music that was set to open in November. But watching the death and destruction in Gaza prompted the organizers to pivot.

 

They tore down the walls of the music exhibit and used the rubble to make a mound of debris in the center of the museum’s hall.

 

Shareef Sarhan, co-founder of Shababek, an artists’ collective and gallery in Gaza City, said the effect “makes it feel as if you are entering Gaza with all its destruction.” Mr. Sarhan, who lives in Istanbul and Paris, helped put the exhibition together from afar, suggesting the drone sounds and rubble, among other ideas.

 

Before the war, the top floor of Shababek was used for artists in residence to focus on their art. It was destroyed by an Israeli strike, said Mr. Sarhan, who was outside Gaza when the war began.

 

The bottom two floors — where some of the enclave’s most renowned artists showcased their sculptures, paintings and mixed media art installations — remain intact and for many weeks housed families who had fled their homes and sought shelter there.

 

Mr. Sarhan says he does not know what happened to many of the paintings that were there, but he believes the families used the wood and canvases to make fires to stay warm amid acute shortages of fuel resulting from Israel’s near complete siege.

 

Through the exhibition, he said, the Gazan artists can communicate with people outside despite the war, at a time when most of the population has been cut off from the rest of the world.

 

During the war, phone and internet communications have regularly been cut, either by military airstrikes, power blackouts, or according to senior U.S. officials, directly by Israel.

 

“People are losing their connection with the outside world, but the art is able to play a role that the artist cannot,” Mr. Sarhan said. “People can see their message and feel your situation. It becomes like a reflection, like an official spokesman for them.”


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