Category Archives: FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Update on UN response to Israeli destruction of Palestine

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

Synopsis of data as of November 29 from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency

Situation in Gaza

As of 29 November, nearly 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) were sheltering in 156 UNRWA installations across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip, including in the North and Gaza City.  The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters is 9,500, more than four times their capacity. Around 1.8 million people (or over 80 per cent of the population) have been displaced across the Gaza Strip since 7 October.

(Editor’s note: The definition contained in Article II of the UN Convention describes genocide as a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part.)


Palestinians moving within the Gaza Strip during the humanitarian pause, 27 November 2023. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

In the Gaza Strip, on 27 and 28 November, 160 bodies were recovered from the rubble, according to the Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza. The office reported that, since the start of hostilities, more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including about 6,150 children and 4,000 women.

As of 29 November, 111 UNRWA colleagues have been killed since the beginning of the war

As of 29 November, UNRWA was able to verify that 104 incidents have occurred at 82 UNRWA premises since the beginning of the war. Thirty installations were hit directly and 52 sustained collateral damage. In addition, UNRWA received reports of the military use of its facilities on at least five occasions

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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Since the beginning of the conflict, at least 218 internally displaced people sheltering in UNRWA schools have reportedly been killed and at least 894 have been injured.

Situation in West Bank

In the West Bank, According to OCHA, since 7 October, 238 Palestinians, including 63 children, have been killed by the Israeli Forces in the West Bank. In addition, eight people, including one child, have been killed by Israeli settlers. 

Medical and psychological emergency in Gaza

On 29 November, nine (out of 22) UNRWA health centres were still operational in the Middle and Southern areas, recording 10,312 patients visits, including Palestine Refugees and non-refugees.

UNRWA teams, including 196 social workers in the shelters, provided psychosocial first aid and other specialized protection services to IDPs. Since 7 October, 81,102 people (over 60 per cent of whom are females) have been reached. UNRWA school counsellors in collaboration with other organizations reached around 375,000 children with recreational activities.

Lack of food, drinking water and sanitation in Gaza

UNRWA distribution of flour outside of shelters continued on 29 November in the southern governorates. A total of 30,222 families have been reached so far.

UNRWA continues to operate eight water wells pumping about 9,000 cubic metres to provide potable and domestic water supply. Potable water trucking operations to the shelters in Rafah and Khan Younis areas continue.

Provision of potable water through tankers of Coast Municipalities Water Utility started to have the shelters provided with potable water in Rafah.

Solid waste collection from the camps, emergency shelters and transfer to landfills continues in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas. About 45 loadings were transferred to temporary dumping sites on 29 November.  There is an urgent need for additional sanitation trucks and vehicles.

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Are we being duped to focus only on Gaza suffering?

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

A blog by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Israel’s genocide of Gaza is intentional, planned and ongoing with no sign of slowing down. The contrary, with no water, food and medicine it is accelerating. Israel leaders boast openly that they do not care about what the UN says or what world leaders say. Israeli fascist leaders say they do not care what statements are issued by governments of Muslim and Arab countries. Nor do they care if public pressure causes some western leaders to moderate their language from unconditional support for Israel to show concern for the “humanitarian catastrophe” unfolding in Gaza (without naming the perpetrator). Israel actually can use the humanitarian catastrophe (as if it is an act of God not their agency) as bargaining chips. Israel can offer pauses in the slaughter in exchange for further weapons from Western governments and for release of Israeli prisoners. Maybe even a temporary ceasefire and fuel to any remaining hospitals in exchange for additional support to continue the genocidal occupation and for impunity from facing tribunals for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Israeli leaders are crystal clear about their crimes and they get their way by genocide and total state terrorism against populations. If you have any doubt, listen to them (see below).


Extreme nationalism leads to genocide: Nazis and Zionists
(click on image to enlarge)

They even  say openly that if Hizbollah continues its resistance in South Lebanon, then all of Lebanon will pay a devastating price and Beirut will be like Gaza (i.e. totally devastated). Israeli military spokesemen gave the same threats to cities in the West Bank like Jenin and Tulkarem and even Ramallah. These are not idle threats. If the world is not willing to to stop Israel from devastating cities in Gaza strip and is even giving it more weapons to commit its genocide there, why would it not also devastate Lebanon or the West Bank. If you get away with one genocide you get away with others.  After all International law cannot be enforced in this case. According to Israeli leaders global public opinion and “diplomatic” pressure will not end its carnage. Many human rights advocates are at a loss as to how to end the carnage.

Israel is the only country on earth that did not set any border for itself. It is also the first colonial power whose base is not a geographic area away from the area it colonized (e.g. France was the base for colonizing Algeria). The Zionist base is wherever Zionists occur in positions of power in Western Countries(originally France and England but now the US and other countries). The original Zionist plan is setting up an Eretz Yisrael is in the area between the Nile of Egypt to the Euphrates. But this is changing where Israel dominion as Netanyahu showed in a map at the UN includes the Arabian Peninsula and the gulf states. But the Zionist plans are far more than about geography. Geography is negotiable if there are guarantees of economic and colonial hegemony. Gaza is needed because of the gas fields there worth hundreds of billions but that is a small part of a wider plan for which 2.3 million people are dispensible.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are already colonized economically and are run by easily contolled leaders who will do the US/Israel bidding.  Zionist grip on the US system is visible everywhere from Hollywood to mainstream media to congress that allocates more mone to Israel than South America and Africa combined. In many western countries, the Zionist lobby succeeded in even silencing free speech so asking for freedom in Palestine is persecuted. There is a war on truth.

So what is to be done? First please note that while many media like Al-Jazeera show Palestinian suffering, they do not provide coverage of Israeli/Zionist statements or intent. The genocidal statements are rarely seen in either Western but also in Eastern media. This is important because humanitarian suffering elicits sympathy from those with peope who care about fellow human beings. But most people and certainly most leaders are willing to ACT only if they see direct impact on them. Unfortunately, the statements of Zionist leaders and their direct actions including suppression of free speech in supposed “democratic countries” if exposed would be more likely to get results than pleading to save Palestinian children (as important as that is). Thus, we must spend at least as much time in publicizing the Zionist plans and words . Documenting slaughter must be accompanied by documenting the intent and plans for slaughter. We must expose why this is not merely about Palestine but about an evil tribal ideology called Zionism that is not content with Palestine but subverts and hurts people around the world. For example, it is critical to show how Israel is hurting US public interest and destroying the US and even got away with killing US citizens like the sailors of the USS Liberty.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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Millions of people are mobilizing. You do make a difference. All individual efforts count.  Below are materials you can use and publicize. Telling the truth is a revolutionary act. The pen can be mightier than the sword sometimes.

Anyway, please do take the time to look over this material and use them extensively:

Middle East Monitor

Huffington Post

 The Wire : Israeli President says there are no innocent civilains in Gaza and that they are responsible

Youtube video : “The only solution is the complete destruction of Gaza” Moshe Feiglin 

facebook page : Zionist thought about Churches and mosques 

facebook page : Zionist thought about civilians

“When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.” – Amnon Sofer, Israeli demographer in 2004

“There will be no food, no electricity, no food, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting animal people, and we are acting accordingly” – Yoav Galant, Israeli Defense Minister on 9 October 2023

“We will turn Gaza into an island of ruins” – Benjamin Netanyahu 8 October 2023

”We are dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on Gaza. The focus is on destruction, not accuracy” – Daniel Hagari, Israeli army spokesperson 10 October in Haaretz

“Animal Humans will be treated accordingly, you wanted hell and you’ll get hell” Ghassan Major General of the Israeli army October 9 Social media post

“There is an entire nation who are responsible. This rhetoric about civilians supposedly not being involved is absolutely untrue (…) We will fight until we break their backs” – Yitzhak Herzon, Israeli President Press conference

“Jericho missile! Doomsday weapon! That is my opinion. Powerful rockets to be fired without limits/borders. Gaza to be smashed and razed to the ground. Without mercy” – Tally Gotliv Likud Partly, 9 October on X/Twitter

“Wipe out their families, their mothers and their children. These animals must not be allowed to live any longer” – Ezra Yachin, Israeli Veteran who participated in the ethnic cleansing of 1948 (Nakba)

“Now there is only one goal: Nakba. A Nakba in Gaza that will dwarf the Nakba of 1948” – Ariel Kellet, :Likud Party Politician 7 October on X/Twitter

“The only thing that needs to enter Gaza are hundreds of tons of explosives, not one ounce of humanitarian relief” – Itamar Ben Gvir (Israeli minister in Charge of Police and arming setters)

“They should go, as well as the physical homes in which they raised the snakes in. Otherwise more little snakes will be raised there” – Ayelet Shakid
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children ” – Golda Meir (old but shows the racist ideology)

“I am here today not only as the US Secretary of State but also as a Jew … as long as the US exists, you will never have to do this [alone] because we will always be with you” – US Secretary of State Blinken 12 October (already hundreds of special US Delta force boots are on the ground).

Michael Ben-Ari, ex-member of the Knesset: “There are no innocents in Gaza. Mow them down … Kill the Gazans without thought or mercy.”

Israel Katz, Minister of Transportation: “Gaza should be bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt.”

Avi Dichter, Current Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Former Shin Bet director and Minister of Internal Security: “Gaza should be wiped clean with bombs.”

Israeli military Rabbi and Israeli soldiers

And here on this link  you can find more damning statements from Zionist leaders.

UNESCO: How can young people become actors of peace?

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An article from UNESCO

On the celebration of the UNESCO Associated School Networks’ 70th anniversary, more than 10.000 students from 68 countries were gathered for a series of three digital Campuses in three languages.

Peace, intercultural dialogue and understanding, sustainable development, and quality education. These are the foundations of the UNESCO Associated School Network (ASPnet), who is commemorating its 70th anniversary.

With many regions of the world facing war and armed conflict, actions on how to build lasting peace remain crucial more than ever. To this end, UNESCO Campus  organized a series of campuses, in three different languages, to reach English, French and Spanish-speaking students and teachers. A unique opportunity to celebrate the first day of the 42nd UNESCO General Conference.  

The dialogues between the experts, students, and teachers led to a list of actions and activities that not only promote peace but enrich our understating on how to be multi-level active global citizens. 
 
Starting from an international point of view, cooperation of different actors, such as international organizations and civil society groups, is essential. Firmin Edouard Matoko, Special Advisor Africa for the Director-General at UNESCO emphasised on cultivating a culture of peace. Historically, peace was defined as the absence of armed conflict and hostilities. However, peace is composed of values, attitudes, and behaviours, which we can all learn from a young age. Peace is a continuous action, in which everyone can contribute to. 

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(Click here for a French version of this article.)

Question(s) related to this article:

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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Peace is not only the absence of war. All situations of personal or collective conflict, social or economic insecurity and environmental instability contribute to the absence of peace. Each generation has a mission to accomplish: to guarantee peace for the generations to follow.

– Firmin Edouard Matoko, Special Advisor Africa, Director-General, UNESCO

Important goals can also be achieved at the national and community level. Actions for peace are essential in conflict and post-conflict zones. In this kind of situation an operation of mediation is vital to settle the situation.

To inspire students and to enlighten them about the sheer of mediation, Saurea Didry Stancioff, West Africa Program Manager at Promediation, shared her experience. Mediation is a key tool to establish trust and dialogue between the contending parties of a conflict. The mediation process can help build the first blocks to establish lasting peace, through creating a bridge of dialogue to find innovative solutions. 
 
Talking about the local point of action, Panji Haryo Purnomo, Teacher of Pradita Dirgantara High School, School leader of Fostering Global Citizens through the Memory of the World, provided students and teachers with an example of a successful local peace initiative. His commitment to education and his unwavering dedication to nurturing the youth through knowledge and culture have fostered a sense of peace among his community in Boyolali, Indonesia. Through conflict resolution, the empowerment of youth and the preservation of a shared cultural heritage is fundamental. 

Peacebuilding is not abstract; it’s made of actions and conversations. Let’s be ambassadors of peace, champions of dialogue, and preservers of heritage. Together, we can turn the dream of peace into a tangible reality.

– Panji Haryo Purnomo, Teacher of Pradita Dirgantara High School, School leader of “Fostering Global Citizens through the Memory of the World”

The multiple questions by students and teachers led to a lively discussion on how each one of us can act for peace. Within our day-to-day lives, the experts left the participants with the inspiration on how each one of us can act for peace. For Firmin Edouard Matoko, it is to embrace diversity and seeing it as a strength. For Saurea Didry Stancioff, each of us can start by active listening. Lastly, for Panji Haryo Purnomo, it starts with respect for everyone and everybody. 
 
Fostering peace exists and can be done at multiple levels. All it takes is the courage to start.
 
This event has made possible thanks to TECH4ALL and with the support of France. 

The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”

. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A media advisory from the African Union

INVITATION TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

What:  The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda   THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”

When: 22-24 November 2023, Luanda, Angola.

Who: The event is organized by the African Union and the Government of the Republic of Angola (the National Biennale Management Office) in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Why: The Biennale of Luanda – “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace” aims to promote the prevention of violence and conflict resolution, by encouraging cultural exchanges in Africa and dialogue between generations. It is held every two years in Luanda, the capital city of Angola.

The 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, 6 & 7 February 2021, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, underlined the Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace in Africa – Biennale of Luanda, as a privileged space for the promotion of cultural diversity and African unity, provides a unique platform for governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community, the private sector and international organisations to discuss and define strategies for the prevention of violence and conflict with a view to building lasting peace in Africa.

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Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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Objectives:

The aim of the Biennale of Luanda for the Culture of Peace in Africa is to work towards a daily and sustainable individual and collective appropriation and implementation, on the continent, of the concept of a culture of peace. 

This initiative reinforces the implementation of Goals 16 and 17 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 7 Aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, in particular its ”Silencing the Guns by 2030″ initiative. 

Background:

The first edition of the Biennale of Luanda, “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace” was held from 18 to 22 September 2019 in Luanda, which was a celebration of various African values, beliefs, forms of spirituality, knowledge and traditions that contribute to the respect of human rights, cultural diversity, the rejection of violence and the development of democratic societies. 

The second edition of the Biennale of Luanda took place from 27 November to 2 December 2021 and was celebrated under the African Union’s 2021 theme, “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.

For more information, visit the Biennale of Luanda webpage.

Journalists are invited to cover the 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda.

For further inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Ebba Kalondo | Spokesperson to the Chairperson, African Union Commission | E-mail: kalondoe@africa-union.org
Mrs Christiane Yanrou-Matondo | Principal Communication Officer, Cabinet of the Chairperson | E-mail: Yanrouc@africa-union.org
Ms. Limi Mohammed | Web Administrator, African Union Commission, Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate E-mail: shashlm@africa-union.org
Mr. Gamal Eldin Ahmed A. Karrar | Senior Communication Officer | Information and Communication Directorate (ICD), African Union Commission | E-mail: GamalK@africa-union.org

Information and Communication Directorate, African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@africa-union.org


Web: www.au.int | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

In memoriam: Betty Reardon (1929-2023)

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education

Betty A. Reardon, internationally celebrated as a founder of the field of peace education and feminist peace scholar, passed away on November 3, 2023. She was the co-founder of the Global Campaign for Peace Education.

The child of Julia Florence Reardon (Burke) and Michael Augustus Reardon, she was born on June 12, 1929 and brought up in Rye, New York where she attended Rye Grammar School and then Rye High School. She spent her adult life as a resident of New York City.  She held a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, a master’s degree in history from New York University, and a B.A. in history from Wheaton College, Norton, MA.  She is survived by nieces Noël Menadier, Christie Menadier, Coley Menadier-Fisher and husband Rick Fisher, great nephew Adam Fisher and wife Whitney Timmons, great nephew Grayson Fisher, nephew Mark Menadier and great nephew Burke Menadier and great niece Kalani Menadier, niece Dani Menadier Thorn and great nieces Sabrina Thorn and Savannah Thorn.

She began her teaching career at Rye Country Day School, and then in 1963 she began her work in peace education as Director of the Schools Program with the Institute of World Order. What intrigued and drove her was an interest in war, not as an isolated eruption in human affairs, but as a social system justified by particular ways of thinking. She had a hunch that not only the structures of society, but the structures of consciousness as well, could, and should be, transformed through a comprehensive education for and about peace. Betty Reardon’s life-long endeavor has been informed and shaped by this perspective and these formative experiences.

She held prominent roles in the establishment and work of key institutions that define the field of peace studies and peace education, including the founder and long-time director of the Peace Education Center and Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, the founder and director of the International Institute on Peace Education, the General Coordinator, of the Feminist Scholar Activist Network on Demilitarization, Coordinator International Network of Peace Education Centers, the founding Academic Coordinator of the Hague Appeal for Peace Global Campaign for Peace Education,  the Director of the Peacemaking in Education Program, United Ministries in Education, Executive Secretary of the World Council for Curriculum and Instruction, the School Program Director, Institute for World Order, New York, NY, the Associate Director of Leadership and World Society (LAWS), and a founder of the Peace Education Commission of the International Peace Research Association.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How can we carry forward the work of the great peace and justice activists who went before us?

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Dr. Reardon also held a number of prestigious visiting professorships, including the Savage Chair, Distinguished Visiting professor of International Relations and Peace, University of Oregon, the A. Lindsay O’Connor Chair in American Institutions, Colgate University, Visiting Professor of Peace, Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Visiting Professor, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Japan, Visiting Professor, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan, Visiting Professor, Department of International Relations, Ritsumeikan Unviersity, Kyoto, Japan.

In addition, Dr. Reardon was an accomplished scholar of peace studies and peace education.  She published numerous articles, books, book chapters, and reports, and has presented scholarly papers at numerous scholarly meetings. Her essential works include:

° Comprehensive Peace Education (Teachers College Press, 1988);
° Educating for Global Responsibility (Teachers College Press, 1988);
° Women and Peace: Feminist Visions of Global Security (State University of New York Press, 1993);
° Educating for Human Dignity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994);
° Sexism and the War System (Syracuse University Press, 1996);
° Tolerance: The Threshold of Peace (UNESCO,1998);
° Passport to Dignity: The Human Rights of Women (PDHRE, 2001); and
Education for a Culture of Peace in a Gender Perspective (UNESCO, 2001).
° The Gender Imperative: Human Security vs. State Security. (Routledge, 2010).
Betty A. Reardon: A Pioneer in Education for Peace and Human Rights. (Springer Press, 2015)
° Betty A. Reardon: Key Texts in Gender and Peace. (Springer Press, 2015)

Her many prestigious awards include:
° the Pomerance Award for contributions to disarmament efforts within the UN system,
° Nomination and honorable mention for UNESCO Peace Education Prize by ICAE, IPRA, WCCI,
° the American Association of University Women (AAUW) New York State Peace Award,
° Golden Balloon Award for Peace Education from World Children’s Association (presented at the United Nations),
° the 1986 Book of the Year Award from the American Journal of Nursing for Sexism and the War System,
° the 1994 Peace Studies Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association,
° the 2000 Jane Adams Peace Activist Award,
° Distinguished Alumna Award from Teachers College Columbia University, 2004,
° Volvo Heroes nomination 2006,
° Nomination for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize (among 1000 women nominated as a group).
° Nomination for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau (Norway).
° The 2010 Sean McBride Peace (International Peace Bureau).
° The 2013 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize (The El-Hibri Foundation)

World War II, and then later, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and the Feminist movement were formative in the development of her worldview. In the face of the horrors of world war, she believed, as early as the fifth grade, that there must be an alternative to war, and in the face of racism and sexism she pondered early on the limits and possibilities of justice.  In these formative experiences were the seeds of her fundamental approach to peace, as both the elimination of violence and the establishment of justice.  She chose to be a teacher, believing that education was the key to a peaceful and just world.
Betty Reardon was a tireless student, exponent, and advocate of peace, justice, and peace education. She mentored and inspired generations of educators, scholars, and activists through her teaching and scholarship.

RSF launches global “Collateral Damage” campaign highlighting the danger of the Assange prosecution to media and the public’s right to know

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from Reporters without Borders

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has launched a new global communications campaign as part of its longstanding efforts for the release of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Starting on 18 October, media supporters around the world will run RSF content, in print and online, highlighting the danger posed to all media and to the public’s right to know by the US government’s prosecution of Assange.

Developed in partnership with the French advertising agency BETC, RSF’s new communications campaign features a depiction of Assange with his facial features made up of the logos of dozens of media organisations from around the world. These media are among those that initially ran stories based on the leaked classified documents published by WikiLeaks in 2010.

“As Julian Assange’s fate hangs in the balance, it is more crucial than ever for media organisations and journalists around the world to speak out in support of the principles at stake. If the US government succeeds in extraditing Assange and prosecuting him under the Espionage Act, anyone who publishes stories based on leaked classified information could be next – and the resulting impact will ultimately be on all of our right to know. It’s time for global solidarity in support of journalism and press freedom, before it’s too late.”

Rebecca Vincent
RSF’s Director of Campaigns

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(Click here for the French version of this article or here for the Spanish version)

Question related to this article:
 
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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The campaign tagline “Collateral Damage” refers to the danger that the US government’s prosecution of Assange poses to media around the world, as well as the public’s right to information. It is also a reminder of the “Collateral Murder” video  that was among the leaked materials published by WikiLeaks in 2010, exposing an air-to-ground attack by a US military Apache helicopter in a Baghdad suburb, which killed at least a dozen civilians, including two Reuters journalists.

The campaign is supported by Le Monde (France) and The Guardian (UK), who were among the original media partners that worked with WikiLeaks in 2010 on the “Cablegate” documents – a tranche of more than 250,000 leaked diplomatic cables. The campaign has also been supported by other media around the world.

RSF has launched this campaign less than a week before Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s state visit to Washington DC, from 23 to 26 October, where he will be hosted by US President Joe Biden. The two leaders have been urged to use this opportunity to find a diplomatic solution  to the Assange case. RSF will also be launching a global tweetstorm targeting President Biden and Prime Minister Albanese the weekend leading up to the state visit, from 20 to 22 October.

The campaign launch also takes place in the run-up to the final stage of legal proceedings in the UK, where a hearing is expected to be called  at any point – a date being referred to as “Day X.” This hearing will mark the final stage of domestic proceedings, leaving only the possibility of an application to the European Court of Human Rights if the UK court rejects Assange’s appeal against the extradition order.

The US and UK are respectively ranked 45th and 26th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.

Notes to editors:

For media organisations that would like to support this communications campaign by running the content in print or online, please contact RSF’s Director of Communications and Engagement Emilie Poirrier on epoirrier@rsf.org.

For interviews on the case of Julian Assange, please contact RSF’s Director of Campaigns Rebecca Vincent on rvincent@rsf.org. 

Calls for ceasefire in Gaza

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A survey by CPNN

Already we have published two articles this week calling for a ceasefire:

Amnesty International describes war crimes committed by Israel and demands that Israel “Immediately end unlawful attacks and abide by international humanitarian law; including by ensuring they take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects and refraining from direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.”

Demonstrations in over 40 countries, involving more than a million people, have demonstrated for peace in Israel and Palestine, and, in effect, for a ceasefire.

Putting “ceasefire,” “Gaza” and “Israel” in a search engine, we find many more calls for a ceasefire.

UN chief António Guterres called on Wednesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Middle East to ease the “epic human suffering” in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Five UN agencies, including the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, the UN Development Programme, the UN Population Fund, and UNICEF called for a humanitarian ceasefire, describing th situation in Gaza as “catastrophic.”

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can International Pressure Stop the War in Gaza?

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As president of the UN Security council, Brazil proposed a resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza. The resolution would have passed except that it was vetoed by the United States, saying that “it did not mention Israel’s right of self defence.”

In the UK, over 70 INGOs urge the UK government to secure an urgent ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestinian Territories. They include UK NGOs of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Oxfam and Save the Children.

The World Organization of the Scout Movement announced “we stand in solidarity with the international community calling for an immediate end to hostilities and violence” and have contacted the national scout organizations in Israel and Palestine.

The World Council of Churches joined a statement of the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem, appealing urgently for a immediate cessation of violence.

A petition published by Relief Web, calling for “an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel to prevent a humanitarian Catastrophe” carries the signature of hundreds of organizations from around the world, including, for example, the American Friends Service Committee, Avaaz, Care International, Christian Aid, Church World Service, CIVICUS, Fundacion Cultura de Paz, Handicap International, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Mennonite Central Committee, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Oxfam, Pax Christi International, Peace Boat, Save the Children, Search for Common Ground and The Episcopal Church.

Among church leaders, calls for a ceasefire come from Pope Francis and from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Among heads of state, calls for ceasefire come from Chinese President Xi Jinping and from Brazil President Lula da Silva

Among regional organizations, calls for a ceasefire come from the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Assocition of Southeast Asian Nations in their first joint summit since the two regional blocs established relations in 1990.

US State Department Official Resigns Over ‘Destructive, Unjust’ Arms Transfers to Israel

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by Jake Johnson from Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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


Photo from Josh Paul Linked-in

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

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

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

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

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Questions related to this article:
 
The courage of Mordecai Vanunu and other whistle-blowers, How can we emulate it in our lives?

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The U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel, said in a report  released earlier this week that “the damage and casualties caused by Israeli attacks” on Gaza “were not proportionate to the military advantage and so the actions constitute a war crime.”

The commission added that “the prevention of entry of food and medical supplies into Gaza is a violation of international humanitarian law.”

While the Biden administration helped negotiate a deal to allow limited humanitarian aid to enter Gaza through its border with Egypt, U.S. leaders have thus far refused to call for a cease-fire and pledged to continue arming the Israeli military as it prepares for a ground invasion.

HuffPost reported  last week that the U.S. State Department has instructed American diplomats not to use the word “cease-fire” in press materials, and some administration staffers have expressed concern  about retaliation if they question U.S. support for Israel’s attack on Gaza.

In recent days, U.S. shipments of ammunition, so-called “smart bombs,” and other weaponry have arrived in Israel, which was already the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance. The Biden administration is reportedly preparing to ask Congress to approve a new $100 billion military aid package  for Israel and Ukraine.

The Associated Press reported  that the Biden administration is “also getting U.S. defense companies to expedite weapons orders by Israel that were already on the books.” Without imposing restrictions on the use of American weaponry, U.S. officials are at risk of being complicit in Israeli war crimes, human rights advocates have warned.

In his resignation letter, Paul argued that the administration’s response to the deadly violence in Israel and Gaza “is an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.”

“Decades of the same approach have shown that security for peace leads to neither security, nor to peace,” Paul wrote. “The fact is, blind support for one side is destructive in the long-term to the interest of the people on both sides. I fear we are repeating the same mistakes we have made these past decades, and I decline to be a part of it for longer.”

Damning evidence of war crimes as Israeli attacks wipe out entire families in Gaza

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from Amnesty International

As Israeli forces continue to intensify their cataclysmic assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, Amnesty International has documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes.


© Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

The organization spoke to survivors and eyewitnesses, analysed satellite imagery, and verified photos and videos to investigate air bombardments carried out by Israeli forces between 7 and 12 October, which caused horrific destruction, and in some cases wiped out entire families. Here the organization presents an in-depth analysis of its findings in five of these unlawful attacks. In each of these cases, Israeli attacks violated international humanitarian law, including by failing to take feasible precautions to spare civilians, or by carrying out indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between civilians and military objectives, or by carrying out attacks that may have been directed against civilian objects.

“In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure, while new restrictions mean Gaza is fast running out of water, medicine, fuel and electricity. Testimonies from eyewitness and survivors highlighted, again and again, how Israeli attacks decimated Palestinian families, causing such destruction that surviving relatives have little but rubble to remember their loved ones by,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“The five cases presented barely scratch the surface of the horror that Amnesty has documented and illustrate the devastating impact that Israel’s aerial bombardments are having on people in Gaza. For 16 years, Israel’s illegal blockade has made Gaza the world’s biggest open-air prison – the international community must act now to prevent it becoming a giant graveyard. We are calling on Israeli forces to immediately end unlawful attacks in Gaza and ensure that they take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects. Israel’s allies must immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo given that serious violations under international law are being committed.”

Since 7 October Israeli forces have launched thousands of air bombardments in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 3,793 people, mostly civilians, including more than 1,500 children, according  to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. Approximately 12,500 have been injured and more than 1,000 bodies are still trapped beneath the rubble.

In Israel, more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, have been killed and some 3,300 others were injured, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health after armed groups from the Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented attack against Israel on 7 October. They fired indiscriminate rockets and sent fighters into southern Israel who committed war crimes including deliberately killing civilians and hostage-taking. The Israeli military says that fighters also took more than 200 civilian hostages and military captives back to the Gaza Strip.

“Amnesty International is calling on Hamas and other armed groups to urgently release all civilian hostages, and to immediately stop firing indiscriminate rockets. There can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians under any circumstances,” said Agnès Callamard.

Hours after the attacks began, Israeli forces started their massive bombardment of Gaza. Since then, Hamas and other armed groups have also continued to fire indiscriminate rockets into civilian areas in Israel in attacks that must also be investigated as war crimes. Meanwhile in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, at least 79 Palestinians, including 20 children, have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers amid a spike in excessive use of force by the Israeli army and an escalation in state-backed settler violence, which Amnesty International is also investigating.

Amnesty International is continuing to investigate dozens of attacks in Gaza. This output focuses on five unlawful attacks which struck residential buildings, a refugee camp, a family home and a public market. The Israeli army claims it only attacks military targets, but in a number of cases Amnesty International found no evidence of the presence of fighters or other military objectives in the vicinity at the time of the attacks. Amnesty International also found that the Israeli military failed to take all feasible precautions ahead of attacks including by not giving Palestinian civilians effective prior warnings – in some cases they did not warn civilians at all and in others they issued inadequate warnings.

“Our research points to damning evidence of war crimes in Israel’s bombing campaign that must be urgently investigated. Decades of impunity and injustice and the unprecedented level of death and destruction of the current offensive will only result in further violence and instability in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” said Agnès Callamard.

“It is vital that the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urgently expedites its ongoing investigation into evidence of war crimes and other crimes under international law by all parties. Without justice and the dismantlement of Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians, there can be no end to the horrifying civilian suffering we are witnessing.”

The relentless bombardment of Gaza has brought unimaginable suffering to people who are already facing a dire humanitarian crisis. After 16 years under Israel’s illegal blockade, Gaza’s healthcare system is already close to ruin, and its economy is in tatters. Hospitals are collapsing, unable to cope with the sheer number of wounded people and desperately lacking in life-saving medication and equipment.

Amnesty International is calling on the international community to urge Israel to end its total siege, which has cut Gazans off from food, water, electricity and fuel and urgently allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. They must also press Israel to lift  its longstanding blockade on Gaza which amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, is a war crime and is a key aspect of Israel’s system of apartheid. Finally, the Israeli authorities must rescind  their “evacuation order” which may amount to forced displacement of the population.

Gaza’s civilians pay the price

Amnesty International investigated five Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which took place between 7 and 12 October. Between 2012 and 2022, the Israeli authorities have denied, or failed to respond to, all of Amnesty International’s requests to gain access to Gaza. For this reason, the organization worked with a Gaza-based fieldworker who visited attack sites and collected testimony and other evidence. Amnesty International researchers interviewed 17 survivors and other eyewitnesses, as well as six relatives of victims over the phone, for the five cases included in this report. The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab analysed satellite imagery and verified photos and videos of attack sites.

In the five cases described below Amnesty International found that Israeli forces carried out attacks that violated international humanitarian law, including by failing to take feasible precautions to spare civilians, or by carrying out indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between civilians and military objectives, or by carrying out attacks that may have been directed against civilian objects.

Under international humanitarian law, all parties to the conflict must, at all times, distinguish between civilians and civilian objects and fighters and military objectives and direct their attacks only at fighters and military objectives. Direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects are prohibited and are war crimes. Indiscriminate attacks – those which fail to distinguish as required – are also prohibited. Where an indiscriminate attack kills or injuries civilians, it amounts to a war crime.

Disproportionate attacks, those where the expected harm to civilians and civilian objects is excessive in comparison with the “concrete and direct military advantage anticipated,” also are prohibited. Knowingly launching a disproportionate attack is a war crime. 

Whole families wiped out

At around 8:20pm on 7 October, Israeli forces struck a three-storey residential building in the al-Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, where three generations of the al-Dos family were staying. Fifteen family members were killed in the attack, seven of them children. The victims include Awni and Ibtissam al-Dos, and their grandchildren and namesakes Awni, 12, and Ibtissam, 17; and Adel and Ilham al-Dos and all five of their children. Baby Adam, just 18 months old, was the youngest victim.

Mohammad al-Dos, whose five-year-old son Rakan was killed in the attack, told Amnesty International:

“Two bombs fell suddenly on top of the building and destroyed it. My wife and I were lucky to survive because we were staying on the top floor. She was nine-months pregnant and gave birth at al-Shifa hospital a day after the attack. Our entire family has been destroyed.”

Amnesty International interviewed a neighbour whose home had been damaged in the attack. Like Mohammad al-Dos, he said that he had not received warning from Israeli forces, and nor had anyone in his family.

“It was sudden, boom, nobody told us anything,” he said.

The fact that the building was full of civilians at the time of the air strike further supports the testimony of survivors who said Israeli forces did not issue any warnings. It took relatives, neighbours and rescue teams more than six hours to remove the bodies from beneath the rubble.

Amnesty International’s research has found no evidence of military targets in the area at the time of the attack. If Israeli forces attacked this residential building knowing that there were only civilians present at the time of the attack, this would be a direct attack on a civilian object or on civilians, which are prohibited and constitute war crimes. Israel offered no explanation on the incident. It is incumbent on the attacker to prove the legitimacy of their military conduct. Even if Israeli forces targeted what they considered a military objective, attacking a residential building, at a time when it was full of civilians, in the heart of a densely populated civilian neighbourhood, in a manner that caused this number of civilian casualties and degree of destruction would be indiscriminate. Indiscriminate attacks that kill and injure civilians are war crimes.

On 10 October, an Israeli air strike on a family home killed 12 members of the Hijazi family and four of their neighbours, in Gaza City’s al-Sahaba Street. Three children were among those killed. The Israeli military stated that they struck Hamas targets in the area but gave no further information and did not provide any evidence of the presence of military targets.

Amnesty International’s research has found no evidence of military targets in the area at the time of the attack.

Amnesty International spoke to Kamal Hijazi, who lost his sister, his two brothers and their wives, five nieces and nephews, and two cousins in the attack. He said:

“Our family home, a three-storey house, was bombed at 5:15 pm. It was sudden, without any warning; that is why everyone was at home.”

Ahmad Khalid Al-Sik, one of the Hijazi family’s neighbours, was also killed. He was 37 years old and had three young children, who were all injured in the attack. Ahmad’s father described what happened:

“I was at home in our apartment and Ahmad was downstairs when the house opposite [belonging to the Hijazi family] was bombed, and he was killed. He was going to have his hair cut at the barber, which is next to the entrance of our building. When Ahmad left to go get a haircut, I could not imagine that I would not see him again. The bombing was sudden, unexpected. There was no warning; people were busy with their daily tasks.”

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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The barber who was going to cut Ahmad’s hair was also killed.

According to Amnesty International’s findings there were no military objectives in the house or its immediate vicinity, this indicates that this may be a direct attack on civilians or on a civilian object which is prohibited and a war crime.

Inadequate warnings

In the cases documented by Amnesty International, the organization repeatedly found that the Israeli military had either not warned civilians at all, or issued warnings which were inadequate. In some instances, they informed a single person about a strike which affected whole buildings or streets full of people or issued unclear “evacuation” orders which left residents confused about the timeframe. In no cases did Israeli forces ensure civilians had a safe place to evacuate to. In one attack on Jabalia market attack, people had left their homes in response to an “evacuation” order, only to be killed in the place to which they had fled. 

On 8 October, an Israeli air strike struck the Nuseirat refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip, killing Mohammed and Shuruq al-Naqla, and two of their children, Omar, three, and Yousef, five, and injuring their two-year-old daughter Mariam and their three-year-old nephew Abdel Karim. Around 20 other people were also injured in the strike.

Ismail al-Naqla, Mohammed’s brother and the father of Abdel Karim, told Amnesty International that their next-door neighbour received a call from the Israeli military at around 10:30am, warning that his building was about to be bombed. Ismail and Mohammed and their families left the building immediately, as did their neighbours. By 3:30pm, there had been no attack, so the al-Naqlas and others went home to collect necessities. Ismail explained that they had thought it would be safe to do so as five hours had elapsed since the warning, though they planned to leave again very quickly.

But as they were returning to their apartments, a bomb struck the building next door, destroying the al-Naqlas’ home and damaging others nearby. Mohammed and his family were still in the courtyard of their building when they were killed. Ismail described seeing part of his five-year-old nephew Yousef’s brain “outside of his head” and said that three-year-old Omar’s body could not be recovered from under the rubble until the next day. He told Amnesty International that Mariam and Abdel Karim, the two surviving children, were released from hospital quickly as Gaza’s hospitals are overwhelmed with the volume of casualties.

Giving a warning does not free armed forces from their other obligations under international humanitarian law. Particularly given the time that had elapsed since the warning was issued, those carrying out the attack should have checked whether civilians were present before proceeding with the attack. Furthermore, if, as appears, this was a direct attack on a civilian object, this would constitute a war crime.

‘Everyone was looking for their children’

At around 10:30am on 9 October, Israeli air strikes hit a market in Jabalia refugee camp, located a few kilometres north of Gaza City, killing at least 69 people. The market street is known to be one of the busiest commercial areas in northern Gaza. That day it was even more crowded than usual, as it was filled with thousands of people from nearby areas who had fled their homes empty-handed earlier that morning after receiving text messages from the Israeli army.

Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab reviewed six videos showing the aftermath of the airstrike on Jabalia camp market. The images show a densely populated area with multi-storey buildings. Videos of the aftermath and satellite imagery show at least three multi-storey buildings completely destroyed and several structures in the surroundings heavily damaged. Numerous deceased bodies are also seen under the rubble in the graphic footage.

According to the Israeli military, they were targeting “a mosque in which Hamas members had been present” when they struck Jabalia market, but they have provided no evidence to substantiate their claim. Regardless, membership in a political group does not in itself make an individual targetable. Satellite imagery analysed by Amnesty International showed no mosque in the immediate vicinity of the market street.

Based on witness testimony, satellite imagery, and verified videos, the attack, which resulted in high civilian casualties was indiscriminate and must be investigated as a war crime.

Imad Hamad, aged 19, was killed in the strike on the Jabalia market while he was on his way to buy bread and mattresses for the family. His father, Ziyad Hamad, described to Amnesty International how a day earlier their family had left their home in Beit Hanoun after receiving a warning message from the Israeli army, and had walked almost five kilometres to a UNRWA-run school, which was operating as a shelter, in Jabalia camp.

On the walk, his son, Imad, had carried his toddler brother on his shoulders. The next day, Ziyad told Amnesty International, he was carrying Imad’s dead body on his own shoulders, taking his son to be buried.

Ziyad described the hellish scenes he encountered at the morgue where he found his son’s body, along with many others.

“The bodies were burned, I was scared of looking. I didn’t want to look, I was scared of looking at Imad’s face. The bodies were scattered on the floor. Everyone was looking for their children in these piles. I recognized my son only by his trousers. I wanted to bury him immediately, so I carried my son and got him out. I carried him.”

When Amnesty International spoke to Ziyad and his displaced family, they were at a UNRWA-run school which was sheltering displaced people. He said there were no basic services or sanitation, and that they had no mattresses.

Ziyad’s despair at the injustices he has suffered is palpable.

“What did I do to deserve this?” he asked.

“To lose my son, to lose my house, to sleep on the floor of a classroom? My children are wetting themselves, of panic, of fear, of cold. We have nothing to do with this. What fault did we commit? I raised my child, my entire life, for what? To see him die while buying bread.”

While Amnesty’s researcher was talking to Ziyad over the phone, another air strike hit
nearby.

Since Amnesty researchers interviewed Ziyad on 10 October, conditions for internally displaced people have deteriorated further, due to the scale of the displacement and the extent of the destruction and the devastating effects of the total blockade imposed since 9 October. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of internally displaced people in Gaza had reached 1 million by 19 October, including over 527,500 people who are staying in UNRWA emergency shelters in central and southern Gaza.

‘We cannot even count our dead’

On 10 October an Israeli air strike hit a six-storey building in Sheikh Radwan, a district of Gaza City, at 4:30pm. The strike completely destroyed the building and killed at least 40 civilians.

Satellite imagery suggests damage to buildings on this street sometime between 12:11UTC on 10 October and 7:30UTC on 11 October. The Crisis Evidence Lab geolocated two videos posted to social media that corroborate the destruction of homes in Sheikh Radwan. One of the videos, which was posted online on 10 October, shows people pulling the body of a dead infant from the rubble.

Amnesty International spoke to Mahmoud Ashour whose daughter, Iman, and her four children, Hamza, six months, Ahmad, two years, Abdelhamid six, and Rihab, eight, were all killed in the attack.  

He said:

“My daughter and her children came here to seek safety because this area was relatively safe in previous attacks. But I couldn’t protect them, I have no trace left of my daughter.” 
Mahmoud described the extent of the devastation:

“I’m talking to you now as I’m trying to remove the rubble with my hands. We cannot even count our dead.”

Fawzi Naffar, 61, said that 19 of his family members, including his wife, children and grandchildren, were all killed in the air strike. When Amnesty International spoke to Fawzi five days after the air strike, he had only been able to retrieve the remains of his daughter-in-law and his “son’s shoulder.”  

Amnesty International’s research found that a Hamas member had been residing on one of the floors of the building, but he was not there at the time of the air strike. Membership in a political group does not itself make an individual a military target.

Even if that individual was a fighter, the presence of a fighter in a civilian building does not transform that building or any of the civilians therein into a military objective. International humanitarian law requires Israeli forces to take all feasible precautions to minimise harm to civilians and civilian property, including by cancelling or postponing the attack if it becomes apparent that it would be indiscriminate or otherwise unlawful.

These precautions were not taken ahead of the air strike in Sheikh Radwan. The building was known to be full of civilian residents, including many children, and the danger to them could have been anticipated. This is an indiscriminate attack which killed and injured civilians and must be investigated as a war crime.

Amnesty International is calling on; 

The Israeli authorities to:

° Immediately end unlawful attacks and abide by international humanitarian law; including by ensuring they take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects and refraining from direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.
° Immediately allow unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians.
° Urgently lift its illegal blockade on Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment and is a war crime, in the face of the current devastation and humanitarian imperatives.
° Rescind their appalling “evacuation” order, which has left more than one million people displaced.
° Grant immediate access to the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory to carry out investigations, including collecting time sensitive evidence and testimonies.

The international community and particularly Israel’s allies, including EU member states, the US and the UK, to:

° Take concrete measures to protect Gaza’s civilian population from unlawful attacks.
° Impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict given _ that serious violations amounting to crimes under international law are being committed. States must refrain from supplying Israel with arms and military materiel, including related technologies, parts and components, technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance. They should also call on states supplying arms to Palestinian armed groups to refrain from doing so. 
° Refrain from any statement or action that would, even indirectly, legitimize Israel’s crimes and violations in Gaza.
° Pressure Israel to lift its illegal 16-year blockade of the Gaza strip which amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s population, is a war crime and is a key aspect of Israel’s apartheid system.
° Ensure the International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into the situation of Palestine receives full support and all necessary resources.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to:

Urgently expedite its ongoing investigation in the situation of Palestine, examining alleged crimes by all parties, and including the crime against humanity of apartheid against Palestinians.

Hamas and other armed groups to:

Immediately end deliberate attacks on civilians, the firing of indiscriminate rockets, and hostage-taking. They must release civilian hostages unconditionally and immediately.

Two-Thirds of American Voters Want US to Back Cease-Fire in Gaza

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article by Jake Johnson on October 20, 2023 in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Most members of the U.S. Congress have thus far refused to support a cease-fire in Gaza as Israel's siege and airstrikes inflict horrific damage on the occupied territory.

But according to a Data for Progress survey released Friday, the tiny fraction of Congress that has backed a cease-fire is more in line with the views of U.S. voters than the overwhelming majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate—and President Joe Biden.


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The poll shows that 66% of likely voters agree that "the U.S. should call for a cease-fire and deescalation of violence in Gaza" and "leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths."

IfNotNow, a Jewish-American group that has helped organize major demonstrations in support of a cease-fire this week, said in response to the survey that "it's past time for our political leaders to listen to their constituents and put a stop to this violence.

On Monday, a group of 13 House progressives led by Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) introduced a resolution urging the Biden administration to support a cease-fire in order to "save Israeli and Palestinian lives."

Several additional Democrats, including Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), have signed onto the resolution since its introduction, bringing the total number of backers to 18.

But support for a cease-fire remains marginal in Congress, something that activists and a growing number of Capitol Hill staffers are working to change. More than 400 Muslim, Jewish, and allied congressional staffers have signed an open letter calling on their bosses to "join calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas."

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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On Thursday, more than 260 former staffers from Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) 2020 presidential campaign released an open letter imploring the senator to "demand an immediate cease-fire in Palestine and the return of Israeli hostages, and take concrete steps to end Israeli occupation."

"In its attacks against Palestinians in Gaza, Israel has demonstrated a brazen disregard for human life—with some officials going as far as to make their genocidal intent public—and has broken international law repeatedly," the letter reads. "Major humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch agree: the two million people in Gaza—half of whom are children—are experiencing collective punishment, and all people of conscience must call loudly and vociferously for a ceasefire."

"Our government enabling this violence and these blatant war crimes is a failure."

As of this writing, just one U.S. senator has publicly expressed support for a cease-fire and some, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), have dismissed the idea outright. Schumer pledged Friday to "move expeditiously" to approve Biden's request for $14 billion in additional military aid for Israel.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Senate's leading progressive, has accused Israel of violating international law and urged the country's military to exercise "restraint" in Gaza. In a statement on Tuesday, Sanders said that "the bombs and missiles from both sides must end, massive humanitarian aid must be rushed to Gaza, and the hostages must be returned to their families."

Sanders also joined his Senate colleagues on Thursday in unanimously approving a resolution that affirms the chamber's readiness to "assist Israel with emergency resupply or other security, diplomatic, and intelligence support needs, both during the immediate crisis and in the near future, including by accelerating delivery of defense articles and systems."

The resolution does not mention the catastrophic impact that Israel's assault has had on civilians in Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 4,000 people in just two weeks. The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said Thursday that "over a quarter of the area of Gaza City and northern Gaza has been affected by the destruction" and "20% of the houses there are no longer fit for habitation."

In a statement to The Hill on Friday, Bush said that she is "disturbed by our government's willingness to immediately cave to calls for unconditional support and write a blank check for the Israeli military while blatantly ignoring the violence and dehumanization of Palestinian civilians"

"Our government enabling this violence and these blatant war crimes is a failure," said Bush.