Thursday, January 04, 2024

Doo-Doo DeSantis and Monkey Fetterman

Monkey Fetterman is back in the news.  Andrew Jones (SALON) reports:

Amongst Democratic and progressive voting circles, there arguably has been no politician more popular over the last two years than John Fetterman. 

The statuesque 6’8 figure has catapulted himself from mayor of the small town of Baddock, Pennsylvania, and a vocal fan of Bernie Sanders' presidential candidacy in 2016, to a competent lieutenant governor under Tom Wolf’s leadership in the Keystone State. And of course, Fetterman’s rising star status reached its zenith when he defeated the clown show that was TV personality Dr.Oz. Fetterman's focused yet funny campaign offered an effective template for Democratic candidates to use against Republicans: tell casual voters of politics, in direct and creative ways, about their conservative opponents’ hypocrisy. 

[. . .]

But as the tragic war on Gaza continues to unfold, Fetterman finds himself as the latest in a long list of Democratic politicians sadly punching left. 

As calls for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel to adhere to a ceasefire against not only Hamas but Palestinian lives have grown louder and louder from progressive and the left online populace, only to fall on deaf ears, Fetterman has been proud to fully back any militaristic decision from the Israel Defensive Force (IDF). 11 days into the war, the 54-year-old announced his unwavering “no” perspective to any ceasefire. The many progressive supporters of Fetterman in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, who were the backbone reason he was elected, and gave him their impassioned support through the conservative echo chamber’s hatred of him, were alarmed at his tweet and urged him to reconsider his hawkish take, most notably 16 former staffers on his Senate campaign. He refused to relent on that position and decided to anger his core backers even more by wavering the Israel flag while they protested in front of him outside of New York’s junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office. That same day, he told a pro-Palestine U.S. veteran protester that she “should be protesting Hamas” instead. When 411 anonymous Congressional staffers signed a letter advocating for their bosses to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza, Fetterman’s chief of staff Adam Jentleson sent a letter that stated staffers were prohibited from making public statements everywhere. That letter angered the Congressional Progressive Staff Association, who fired off a response on Twitter/X saying, “Not-so-gentle reminder — no office can prohibit you from signing onto an anonymous letter or survey if you do so using personal time and resources, no matter what they tell you.” 

As the days have gone by, Fetterman has only increased his dismissive approach toward anti-war progressives over this literal life-and-death crisis. He called a Philadelphia group of pro-Palestine supporters “pathetic” for protesting in front of an IDF-supporting restaurant whose former employee alleged she was fired by the owner for her contrasting views. And he went on CNN last week to blame those on TikTok for producing “warped” views of the war and feeling “they aren’t reflective of history and actually the way things absolutely are.” 

Crazy bald man asked AIPAC what he had to do to avoid being primaried.  It's clear he's heeding their command. 

Now for Doo-Doo DeSantis news.  Kimberly Leonard (POLITICO) reports:

Donald Trump trounced Ron DeSantis in the Florida governor’s home state. Again.

Miami-Dade County Republicans overwhelmingly chose Trump over DeSantis to be their presidential nominee in a straw poll the party’s executive committee held this week.

Of 65 party members who met in Miami Wednesday night, 53 votes went for Trump. Only five voted for DeSantis.

[. . .]

The results show a stunning defeat for DeSantis, who was the first Republican in 20 years to flip Miami-Dade County from Democrat to Republican during his 2022 gubernatorial reelection victory. Ever since DeSantis entered the presidential race, polling shows the broad support he’d seen among certain key constituencies in Florida — Hispanics, women and independents — has fallen.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, January 4, 2024.  Donald Trump's violation of the Constitution (not just the 14th Amendment but also Article II Section 1 and the 12th Amendment) calls for consequences, attacking the Iraqi 'militias' is the same thing as attacking the Iraqi military, Israel's plan to deport Palestinians is called out worldwide and the assault on Gaza continues.

We've got a lot to cover but we have to start with one topic.  First off, Donald Trump.  January 6, 2021.  A number of e-mails insist that I'm supposed to defend him and that various people are wrong to argue that he's be removed from the ballot.

Our position on insurrection was: This is a serious charge and based on what was known in the immediate aftermath, I was comfortable -- as someone who studied poli sci as an undergraduate and a graduate and who, as a graduate, emphasized especially revolutions and rebellions -- was comfortable with a rebellion.  At that time.  Little provided by Congress' nonsense (so-called investigation) persuaded me to change my mind.  One periodical that we highlight from time to time jumped the gun.  They may have had a 'feeling' but the evidence was not there for the immediate call.  We didn't highlight any articles from them in the first three months after January 6th that dealt with what happened for that reason.

We have since had many of Trump's cohorts flip on him.  And much more has been uncovered.

I am comfortable with the term "insurrection" being applied now.  This was a plot.  It was an effort to avoid a duly elected official from being sworn in.  The loser (Donald) plotted and lied and put the country at risk -- he put democracy at risk.  

Anyone grabbing the vapors, so sorry. Here's Ken Block at USA TODAY yesterday:

In November 2020, former President Donald Trump asserted that voter fraud had altered the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The day after the election, his campaign hired an expert in voter data to attempt to prove Trump’s allegations and put him back in the White House.

I am the expert who was hired by the Trump campaign.

The findings of my company’s in-depth analysis are detailed in the depositions taken by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. The transcripts show that the campaign found no evidence of voter fraud sufficient to change the outcome of any election. That message was communicated directly to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Our findings have also been subpoenaed by special counsel Jack Smith’s federal investigation and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation in Georgia. Those emails and documents show that the voter data available to the campaign contained no evidence of large-scale voter fraud based on data mining and fraud analytics.

More important, claims of voter fraud made by others were verified as false, including proof of why those claims were disproven.

Donald lied repeatedly.  He attempted to steal the election.  He wanted a riot because that could provide a delay.  Go back to the archives, I stated repeatedly that once the electoral college voted, it was over.  Whether it was stolen or not, a presidential election ended with the electoral college vote.  There is no direct vote for president.  

He allowed a riot to take place, he did nothing to stop it.  He wanted it to take place and was to slide in his slate of fake electors.

A majority of Americans believe the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot was an “assault on democracy that must not be forgotten,” as per a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released this week. The poll was conducted Dec. 14-18 and included 1,024 respondents. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

The poll indicates that 55 percent believe the riot was a stark assault on democratic principles, while 43 percent said “too much is being made” of the riot and that it is “time to move on.”

The ramifications of the riot have permeated political discourse and action, as seen in the bold move by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D), who decided to remove former President Trump from the state’s ballot, citing the 14th Amendment. Bellows said she had concluded the former president “over several months and culminating on January 6, 2021, used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent certification of the 2020 election and the peaceful transfer of power.”

What he did was outrageous and illegal.  And it was a direct threat to democracy.  Yes, he is legally liable for trying to steal the election.  If he wasn't, then nothing stops the next president who doesn't want to leave office from doing the same.

I'm taking Shenna Bellows at her word.  I believe her.  If she's telling the truth, she did her duty.

"Oh! It's going to hurt us!"


Since when are we too chicken to enforce the law.

This is nothing minor.  This is huge.  A loser refuses to accept the outcome of an election, he plots to install a separate set of electors to vote in the electoral college, he stirs up his supporters with massive lies about his votes not being counted and the election being stolen, he encourages a crowd to come to DC to 'stop the steal,' he stirs them up with a speech and sends them off to Congress, a riot takes place.

In what damn world is that acceptable?

It's not an it was an insurrection and is it is violation of the Constitution -- and not just the 14th Amendment.  He violated Article II Section 1 as well as The Constitution's 12th Amendment (the sections on the electors which does not have the president lobbying for an alternate slate.) 

Again, some people rushed to conclusions based on the gut.  They may have been right, they may have been wrong.  We now know a lot more than we did in January of 2021.  Donald Trump violated the Constitution in numerous ways.  

You break the law, you need to suffer the consequences.  That's especially true when you committed a fraud upon the nation in an attempt to hold on to an office that you lost.  

He conspired to steal the presidency from the rightful winner, that's a serious crime.  

So all the ones wringing their hands now about what effect pulling him from a state's ballot might have?  I'm more concerned with the laws that were broken and how ignoring them normalizes Donald Trump's actions for future losers who don't want to leave the White House.  That is actually the more serious issue and the one that the government needs to address.  

I don't care about the hand wringers.  I also don't care about the liars like Jonathan Turley who keep claiming some bad precedent is being set via accountability.

No.  When you break the law you should be punished.  That's the rule of law.  He can lie and distort all he wants but that is how it works and, again, failure to do so would actually set a precedent -- a very bad one.  Jonathan's sick in the head and sick in the heart, don't let him deceive you.

As for his and his supporters nonsense of 'double jeopardy' or the issue having been addressed in Congress.  The House impeachment was seeking removal from office.  That's it.  He can face -- and should -- criminal charges and, no, this is  not double jeopardy.  And, please note, I thought both impeachments were nonsense.  I stand by that.  But that has nothing to do with facing charges in a criminal court.  

Had Nixon not resigned and been impeached that would only have removed from office.  Grasp that.  Grasp that he resigned to avoid impeachment and he would have faced -- and should have faced -- criminal charges but Gerald Ford pardoned him.  

Numerous GOP nominees currently say they will pardon him.  That's another reason not to vote for them.  That's another reason for me to vote for the Democratic Party nominee whomever it is.  (I'm really hoping we'll have a March 31st LBJ repeat but I'm voting Democratic regardless.  I've explained why.  I'm not telling you how to vote, I'm telling you how I'm voting.)

Donald Trump is not an anomaly and, believe it or not, when it comes to that crazed MAGA crowd, he's actually one of the milder ones.  Consequences have to be delivered to send a message to the Marjorie Taylor Greenes and other insane crazies who have their own presidential aspirations. 

The sound of two explosions echoed through central Baghdad on Thursday morning, signaling what appeared to be the second attack in three days on Iran-linked militia officials.

The Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba group said that a deputy commander of operations in the Baghdad belt area, Mushtaq Talib Al-Saidi, was killed in a strike at a logistical support headquarters on Palestine Street. Major strikes on such a central location in Iraq’s capital have been exceedingly rare in recent years.

Washington’s support for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has presented local militia groups with fresh incentive to try to dislodge U.S.-led coalition troops from Iraq and Syria, where they are stationed as part of a mission aimed at ensuring the lasting defeat of Islamic State forces.

I believe THE POST's pompous slogan is "Democracy Dies In Darkness."  And apparently "Truth Dies In The Bullpen."  Was that where their article died?  The truth init?

They go on to whine about attacks on US troops.  Whine.  And some may say, "How can these attacks happen!" These attacks happen in part because the US military is not attacking "local militia groups" -- they are attacking the Iraqi military.  I don't know why people want to lie and whore.  I don't know why you want to deceive the American public.  Day after day, we had to waste our time explaining what the deal Bully Boy Bush pushed through with Iraq on Thanksgiving Day of 2008.  That's because there were a lot liars in the press and it was a legal contract which many people don't know how to read.  We did that over and over starting that Thanksgiving Day in 2008.  And who was right?  Not the media outlets.  Not the partisans for Barack either.  We were right.  

Now this issue right here should not be as complicated. December 19, 2016, the law making the militias part of the Iraqi army was approved by Fuad Masum.  This is not in dispute and it wasn't done in private.  You can add on "linked to Iran" all you want.  It does not change the reality that the militias legally became part of the Iraqi military on that day and remain part of it to this day.  Maybe if you'd bothered to pay attention you'd be aware of that.

Call are growing -- even from Iraq's prime minister -- for US troops to leave Iraq.  Great.  They should have left years ago (actually never should have been sent in).  And tensions are high because the Iraqi government does know the history and rightly sees these attacks as attacks on their military, as violations of their national sovereignty.  

I don't know why US outlets need to lie about reality.  Every attack on the Iraqi 'militias' is an attack on the Iraqi military because they were folded into it over seven years ago.   This is not hard to understand but the US press is working overtime to distort reality.


A senior Education Department official resigned Wednesday, citing President Biden's response to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Why it matters: Biden administration appointee Tariq Habash is at least the second official, and the first who's known to be of Palestinian origin, to resign in protest over the U.S. response to the war.

Driving the news: "As a Palestinian-American — in fact, the only Palestinian-American political appointee at the Department of Education — I bring a critical and underrepresented perspective to the ongoing work on equity and justice," said Habash, who worked as a volunteer on Biden's 2020 presidential campaign, in his resignation letter that he shared with media outlets.

  • "But now, the actions of the Biden-Harris Administration have put millions of innocent lives in danger, most immediately for the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians living in Gaza who remain under continuous assault and ethnic cleansing by the Israeli government," added Habash, whose work focused on student loan issues.
  • "I cannot stay silent as this administration turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives, in what leading human rights experts have called a genocidal campaign by the Israeli government."

 His resignation is the latest sign of unease within the ranks of the Biden administration over the president's handling of a war that broke out Oct. 7 when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on the Jewish state. In November, more than 400 Biden administration officials wrote an open letter calling on Biden to insist on a cease-fire. The letter did not give their names.

The November letter?  There's now a new letter.  "17 Biden for President Staffers" is the signature to the letter that was posted yesterday on MEDIUM and which opens:

We write to you as the current staff of your re-election campaign. As we work to mobilize voters to cast their ballots for you in 2024, we must take a moment to acknowledge our tremendous grief, and the grief shared by countless other Americans, toward the violence occurring in Gaza.

We joined this campaign because the values that you — and we — share are ones worth fighting for. Justice, empathy, and our belief in the dignity of human life is the backbone of not only the Democratic Party, but of the country. However, your administration’s response to Israel’s indiscriminate bombing in Gaza has been fundamentally antithetical to those values — and we believe it could cost you the 2024 election. Therefore, we join your 2020 campaign alumni in imploring you to:

  1. Publicly call for — and use financial and diplomatic leverage to bring about — an immediate, permanent ceasefire;
  2. Advocate for de-escalation in the region, including demanding that Hamas release all hostages and that Israel release the over 2,000 Palestinians in administrative detention being held without charge;
  3. End unconditional military aid to Israel;
  4. Investigate whether Israel’s actions in Gaza violate the Leahy Law, prohibiting U.S. military aid from funding foreign military units implicated in the commission of gross violations of human rights;
  5. Take concrete steps to end the conditions of apartheid, occupation, and ethnic cleansing that are the root causes of this conflict.

His campaign and his support is cratering.  It's LBJ all over again in January of 1968.  If Joe doesn't want to make the March 31st speech about not seeking election, he better stop dithering.  Ramzy Baroud (COUNTERPUNCH) notes that "the vast majority of Gaza’s victims are civilians and, according to UNICEF, over 70 percent of all of those killed and wounded are women and children.  Moreover, due to the inhumane Israeli practices, Gaza survivors are now dealing with an actual famine, an unprecedented event in the modern history of Palestine."

Gaza remains under assault.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is now well over  20,000. NBC NEWS notes, "The vast majority of its 2.2 million people are displaced, and an estimated half face starvation amid an unfolding humanitarian crisis."   THE GUARDIAN notes, "A total of 22,313 Palestinians have been killed and 57,296 have been injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

ALJAZEERA reports, "A growing chorus of international condemnation – including from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Netherlands – has been directed at Israeli ministers calling for Palestinians to leave Gaza to make room for Israeli settlers."  Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: Mouin Rabbani, I want to ask you about your new piece for Mondoweiss headlined “The long history of Zionist proposals to ethnically cleanse the Gaza Strip.” Israeli news outlets report that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told a group of Israeli lawmakers last week, quote, “Regarding voluntary immigration … this is the direction we are going in,” Netanyahu said. Israel’s minister of national security, the man who’s been convicted of terrorism, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has made similar comments.

ITAMAR BEN-GVIR: [translated] The solution of encouraging the residents of Gaza to emigrate is one that we must advance. It’s the right, just, moral and humane solution. I call on the prime minister and the new foreign minister, who I congratulate on his appointment: Now is the time to coordinate an emigration project, a project to encourage the residents of Gaza to emigrate to the countries of the world. Let’s be clear: We have partners around the world whose help we can use. There are people around the world with whom we can advance this idea. Encouraging their emigration will allow us to bring home the residents of the communities near the Gaza border and the residents of the Gush Katif settlements.

AMY GOODMAN: Those were the words of Israel’s minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir. On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement rejecting Ben-Gvir’s comment, as well as those made by Bezalel Smotrich. Meanwhile, The Times of London reports Israeli officials have held secret talks with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and several other countries to take in Palestinians from Gaza. If you can talk about the history of this, Mouin? And also talk about when they refer to “voluntary migration” in Gaza. And also talk about Egypt and the pressure that’s being brought to bear on Egypt to open its borders to the Palestinians of Gaza.

MOUIN RABBANI: Yes, and voluntary immigration is now, referencing that article you mentioned, being marketed as humanitarian emigration. In other words, we’re doing these people a favor by ethnically cleansing them.

I think the problem here is that many people associate the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians with the Israeli extreme right, with people like Ben-Gvir, Smotrich, Netanyahu and so on. But the point I was seeking to make in that article, which is actually a lengthy Twitter thread that I then posted on Mondoweiss, is that ethnic cleansing, or what Zionists would call transfer, is intrinsic to Zionist and later Israeli policy towards the Palestinians from the very outset.

So, as early as 1895, Theodor Herzl, the founder of the contemporary political Zionist movement, wrote that we need to “spirit the penniless population across the borders” and find employment for it in other lands. If you go to the period between the British Mandate and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, you find that the Zionist movement set up a Transfer Committee, with very clear terms of reference, to ensure that refugees who were expelled would not be able to return to Palestine, to destroy their villages, and things of that sort. And the Gaza Strip, in fact, with a population that consists of more than three-quarters of Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed in 1948, has, since the 1950s, been a key target for depopulation by Israel, because it doesn’t want all these refugees living within sight, so to speak, of their former homes on its borders. And it has produced a number of proposals and initiatives over the years to achieve that goal, including even one in the late 1960s to send over some 60,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Paraguay, in return for which the Mossad would discover that it no longer had the resources to hunt Nazi fugitives being sheltered by the Stroessner regime.

So, my point was really to demonstrate that this is not a recent policy proposal by the extreme fringes of the Israeli political spectrum, but has been intrinsic to mainstream Zionism and later Israeli policy from the very outset.

AMY GOODMAN: You say at the end of your piece, Mouin Rabbani, “As importantly, the 1948 Nakba did not defeat the Palestinians, who initiated their struggle from the camps of exile, those in the Gaza Strip most prominently among them. It would take a Blinken level of foolishness to assume the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip would produce a different outcome.” Talk about Netanyahu’s goal to de-Hamasify Gaza, and what exactly that means, and the effect of the killing, at this point, of over 22,000 Palestinians.

MOUIN RABBANI: Yes. Well, that takes me back to the second part of your previous question, which I had neglected to answer, which is that at the outset of the current war, Israel saw that it had unqualified, unconditional Western support from its U.S. and European sponsors, and resurrected this long-standing ambition to cleanse the Gaza Strip of Palestinians.

And the proposal that was put front and center, literally on October 7th and onwards, was to move the population of the Gaza Strip to the Sinai Desert, to Egypt. And this was an idea that was very enthusiastically embraced by the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. And on his first trip to the region, he actually sought to market this to Washington’s Arab allies. And I think, you know, he is somewhat of a clueless airhead when it comes to the Middle East. And I think he was expecting to hear from U.S. allies, Arab allies, you know, “How can we help you help our Israeli friends?” And instead he was met with categorical refusal and rejection for this proposal, first and foremost by Egypt.

And the U.S. and European governments later came out with a position that they would oppose forced displacement from the Gaza Strip, leaving open the possibility of what we’re seeing now, an Israeli military campaign, a primary objective of which is to make the Gaza Strip unfit for human habitation, and then the encouragement of voluntary, or what is now even being called humanitarian, emigration in order to achieve the ethnic cleansing. And I think the genocide that we’re now seeing in the Gaza Strip — and this is something, of course, that’s going to be adjudicated by the International Court of Justice in The Hague after South Africa recently made an application under the Genocide Convention — you know, all these things put together making the Gaza Strip unfit for human habitation.

AMY GOODMAN: Mouin Rabbani, we’re going to have to leave it there. I thank you so much for being with us, Middle East analyst, co-editor of Jadaliyya. We’ll link to your piece, “The long history of Zionist proposals to ethnically cleanse the Gaza Strip.”

Happy belated birthday to Dennis McCormick! I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

Volker Turk, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, says he is “very disturbed” by statements made by Israeli ministers on transferring the population of Gaza to other countries.

“Eighty-five percent of people in Gaza are already internally displaced. They have the right to return to their homes,” Turk said in a post on X.

He also pointed out that international law bans “the forcible transfer of protected persons within or deportation from occupied territory”.


    Fourteen people were killed Thursday morning in a strike on Al-Mawasi on the coast of Gaza, west of Khan Younis, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has said.

    The ministry said that nine children were among those killed by an Israeli air strike on a house in the area.

    CNN is unable to confirm details of what happened in the neighborhood and has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for comment.

    Thousands of displaced people have moved to the area over the last few weeks as the conflict in Gaza has moved to central areas and Khan Younis.

    Separately, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PCRS) said at least one person was killed and six wounded in an Israeli strike that hit the fifth floor of its headquarters in Khan Younis.


    The following sites updated:

    Little Doo-Doo DeSantis

    Doo-Doo DeSantis, he always steps in it.   We told you -- that's Wally, that's C.I., that's me -- over and over that he was ruining Florida and leaving them in debt for these lawsuits.  We warned you.  Now read this:

    Florida lawmakers are preparing to return to Tallahassee, where they will decide how much money will be spent defending lawsuits challenging some laws they passed last legislative session.
    News 6 counted 14 lawsuits that have been filed since the last legislative session asking the courts to decide whether new laws are constitutional.
    [. . .]
    News 6 investigated Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget proposal, entitled Focus on Florida’s Future, and found his office is asking the legislature for roughly $19 million to fight these lawsuits, and possibly others.

    That is a 36 percent increase over last year’s request, according to the budget proposal.

    Specifically, DeSantis is asking for a 285 percent increase in litigation spending for the Department of State -- $5 million total – to fight lawsuits over voter rights.

    “The Governor’s Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2024-25 includes $5,000,000 in nonrecurring General Revenue for litigation expenses to acquire legal representation for lawsuits related to elections and other department litigation,” the proposal read.

    He is also asking that his office – the Executive Office of the Governor – receive $4 million to fight lawsuits he is specifically named in.

    “The department has legal staff and resources to handle ongoing lawsuits. However, in recent years, the department has been involved in a large number of time-sensitive, short-deadline cases, and the resources required to effectively handle the litigation duties have necessitated hiring outside counsel,” the proposal read.

    These legal bills are only going to get higher and higher.  You put an idiot in charge of your state and now he's costing you even more money as a result.  

    Tonight, he got exposed again as a little s**t.  ABC NEWS reports:

    Gov. Ron DeSantis was confronted by one of his own supporters Wednesday, demanding to know why he hasn't gone after former President Donald Trump more directly.

    At a town hall event in Waukee, Iowa, Wednesday, 75-year-old Christopher Garcia asked DeSantis pointedly why he hasn't "gone directly" after Trump

    "I mean, you're -- in my viewpoint, you're going pretty soft on him," Garcia, a voter, said.

    DeSantis pushed back, arguing he's "articulated all the differences time and time again on the campaign trail."

    But his supporter fired back.

    Garcia: If Trump had kept his mouth shut for the four years that he was president, he would have won in a landslide. Is that true?

    DeSantis: Look, I –

    Garcia: Let me finish –

    DeSantis: He's been his own worst enemy. There's no question about that.

    Here's the video of little Doo-Doo being corrected by the voter.

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Wednesday, January 3, 2024.  The Israeli government expands the war to Beirut, announces that the intent is to force Palestinians out of the region, whines that they aren't just a star on the American flag (they're not a star on the flag) and continues to assault Gaza.

    As the assault on Gaza continues, the aims of the Israeli government becomes more clear -- so clear that even Joe Biden can't continue to ignore everything.  THE TIMES OF ISRAEL reports:

    The “voluntary” resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza is slowly becoming a key official policy of the government, with a senior official saying that Israel has held talks with several countries for their potential absorption.

    Zman Israel, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site, has learned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is conducting secret contacts for accepting thousands of immigrants from Gaza with Congo, in addition to other nations.

    “Congo will be willing to take in migrants, and we’re in talks with others,” a senior source in the security cabinet said.

    Long feared, long anticipated, the land grab is now no longer in question.  REUTERS notes, "The U.S. State Department on Tuesday slammed recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir that advocated for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza, calling the rhetoric 'inflammatory and irresponsible'."  The US State Dept issued the following:

    The United States rejects recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir advocating for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza. This rhetoric is inflammatory and irresponsible. We have been told repeatedly and consistently by the Government of Israel, including by the Prime Minister, that such statements do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government. They should stop immediately.

    We have been clear, consistent, and unequivocal that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and with no terror groups able to threaten Israel. That is the future we seek, in the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, the surrounding region, and the world.

    The Hindustan Times notes the response of the Israeli government:

    Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir slammed ally United States over its criticism of his push for the transfer of Gazans out of the Palestinian territory amid Hamas war. The Israeli national security minister posted on X (formerly Twitter), “The United States is our best friend, but first of all we will do what is best for the State of Israel: the migration of hundreds of thousands from Gaza will allow the (Israeli) residents of th envelope to return home and live in security and will protect the IDF (Israeli) soldiers.”

    "I deeply appreciate the United States of America, but with all due respect, we are not just another star on the American flag," he added.

    First off, you're not any star on the American flag. 

    Second, spoken like a cheap whore.  Is there a reason that they have steal the hard earned American taxpayers' money?  How pathetic are they that each year they beg for over 2 billion annually?  They put on their little g-string and dance begging the US to slip some cash in there.  No wonder that government's ended up where it is now.  How can you pretend to have self-respect on the world stage when the whole world knows you're just a whore.  

    Two billion a year (at least) since 1999.  Do you know what the US would be like if the country invested that money into its own citizens?

    Gaza remains under assault.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is now well over  20,000. NBC NEWS notes, "The vast majority of its 2.2 million people are displaced, and an estimated half face starvation amid an unfolding humanitarian crisis."   THE GUARDIAN notes, "A total of 22,313 Palestinians have been killed and 57,296 have been injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

    Yesterday, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (DEMOCRACY NOW!) spoke with Francis Boyle about a new development.

    AMY GOODMAN: As the death toll from Israel’s bombardment of Gaza since the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel now exceeds 22,000, South Africa has filed a case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague accusing Israel of genocide and trying to, quote, “destroy Palestinians in Gaza.” This comes as the separate International Criminal Court is already investigating alleged war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas.

    In its filing to the ICJ, the main judicial body for the United Nations, South Africa says, quote, “The acts and omissions by Israel complained of by South Africa are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group,” unquote. South Africa accused Israel of violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which Israel has signed on to.

    Israel responded by calling the charge, quote, “without legal merit.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry accused South Africa of, quote, “collaborating with a terrorist group that calls for Israel’s annihilation,” unquote.

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to racist system of apartheid in his own country which ended in 1994 after nearly half a century. In November, Ramaphosa responded to Israel’s assault on Gaza by recalling South Africa’s diplomats from Israel.

    PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA: The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the unlawful use of force by Israel is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide.

    AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, in October, South African lawmaker and the grandson of Nelson Mandela, Nkosi Mandela, joined a Palestinian solidarity protest in Cape Town.

    NKOSI ZWELIVELILE MANDELA: Palestinians are counting on each and every one of us to stand and be counted, like they stood side by side with us in the trenches when we fought to liberate our country.

    AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He previously applied the Genocide Convention for Bosnia and won two requests for provisional protection from the ICJ against Yugoslavia, and thinks the same could apply here. His books include The Bosnian People Charge Genocide, as well as Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law and World Politics, Human Rights, and International Law.

    Professor Boyle, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s good to have you with us in this new year, but under very serious circumstances. If you can explain why it’s South Africa that’s bringing this charge, and what exactly is the International Court of Justice, where it fits into the world justice system? And talk about the charge of genocide.

    FRANCIS BOYLE: Well, thank you very much for having me on, Amy. My best to your listening audience.

    Not to toot my own horn here, but I was the first lawyers to win anything under the Genocide Convention from the International Court of Justice, that goes back to 1921. I single-handedly won two World Court orders for the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina against Yugoslavia to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide.

    And based on my careful review of all the documents so far submitted by the Republic of South Africa, I believe South Africa will win an order against Israel to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Palestinians. And then we will have an official determination by the International Court of Justice itself, the highest legal authority in the United Nations system, that genocide is going on. And under Article I of the Genocide Convention, all contracting parties, 153 states, will then be obliged, quote, “to prevent,” unquote, the genocide by Israel against the Palestinians.

    Second, when the World Court gives this cease-and-desist order against Israel, the Biden administration will stand condemned under Article III, paragraph (e), of the Genocide Convention, that criminalizes complicity in genocide. And clearly we know that the Biden administration has been aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinians here for quite some time. This has also been raised by my friends in the Center for Constitutional Rights and in the National Lawyers Guild in a lawsuit against Biden, Blinken and Austin.

    So, I believe we will be able to use the World Court order. Right now my sources tell me the hearing will be January 11, January 12. Based on my experience with the Bosnians, we can expect an order within a week.

    I would also say, with respect to the Biden administration, they are currently in violation of the Genocide Convention Implementation Act, that makes genocide a crime under United States law. And again, once we — South Africa wins this order, the Biden administration also will stand in violation of the Genocide Convention Implementation Act.

    So, I believe this is where we will be going between now, I would say, and the end of this month. And it is up to all of us, as American citizens, to figure out and support what South Africa is doing at the International Court of Justice here.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Francis Boyle, what’s the difference between the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, which is already considering allegations of war crimes by both Israel as well as the Palestinian militant groups?

    FRANCIS BOYLE: Right, Juan. The International Court of Justice was originally established back in 1921, its predecessor, legal predecessor, in law. And that is where I filed the genocide case. I was the first lawyer ever to win two orders in one such case since the World Court was founded in 1921, and it was on the basis of the Genocide Convention. The International Criminal Court is a separate international organization, set up in 2000.

    The problem, Juan, is this. Back in 2009, after Operation Cast Lead, I advised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court — of the International Criminal Court for Palestine, which he did. I regret to report that the International Criminal Court has not done one darn thing to help the Palestinians since 2009. The International Criminal Court has all the blood of the Palestinian people on its hands since 2009. And, Juan, that is why we set up a campaign to find a state willing to file a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice, the World Court.

    The ICC basically operates at the behest of its funders and founders and masters, which is the U.S., the NATO states, the European states, etc. Until their expedited indictment of President Putin as U.S.-NATO lawfare against Russia, the International Criminal Court had not indicted one American, one European, one Brit, one NATO citizen and one Israeli, and one white person.

    So, we’ve gone — we have a campaign now to support the Republic of South Africa at the International Court of Justice. And we are asking — we’re starting this campaign today. I’m part of a coalition. We’re starting this campaign today to get members of the Genocide Convention to file declarations of intervention at the World Court in support and solidarity with South Africa against Israel and in support of the Palestinians. That material hopefully will go out today.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Francis, I wanted to ask you, though — Joan Donoghue is the president of the International Court of Justice. She previously worked in the U.S. State Department. How do you think she will approach South Africa’s application? What power does she have to shape the proceedings?

    FRANCIS BOYLE: That’s a good question, Juan. Yes, Donoghue is a lifelong, careerlong U.S. State Department legal apparatchik, which is how she got the job. And I am sure she’s in contact right now today with the U.S. State Department, giving them a heads-up on everything going on over there at The Hague behind the scenes. She will toe the State Department party line in these proceedings. I regret to report the president does have a lot of power there to shape these proceedings. I suspect she will use that power to shape the proceedings in favor of Israel.

    However, I have also been advised that the Republic of South Africa is, as of now, nominating a judge ad hoc. That is their right under the statute of the International Court of Justice. I don’t have a name yet, but I would hope the South African judge ad hoc will do his or her best to try to keep Donoghue straight.

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to South Africa, who has done this genocide filing. In 2008, I had the opportunity to speak with the South African anti-apartheid icon, the Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I caught up with him at the South African vice consul’s apartment in New York right before Archbishop Tutu received the Global Citizens Circle award. I asked him about Palestine.

    AMY GOODMAN: Would you compare the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank to apartheid South Africa?

    ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: I have to speak about what I know. I mean, most people — a Jew will usually speak about their experiences and maybe compare whatever it is that is happening with what happened in the days of the Holocaust. For me, coming from South Africa and going — I mean, and looking at the checkpoints and the arrogance of those young soldiers, probably scared, maybe covering up their apprehension, there’s no way in which I couldn’t say — of course, that is a truth. It reminds me — it reminds me of the kind of experiences that we underwent.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Francis Boyle, talk about the significance of it being South Africa and what it means for one state to bring a charge against another state. Who are signatories here? And how binding is this? Explain what happened, for example, in Bosnia.

    FRANCIS BOYLE: Sure. Well, first, the connection there with the late, great Archbishop Tutu, the current lead counsel now in the lawsuit for South Africa is professor John Dugard, a longtime friend of mine. Professor Dugard was one of the very few courageous white professors of international law who internationally opposed the criminal apartheid system in South Africa, at risk to his life. Second, later on, Professor Dugard became U.N. special rapporteur for Palestine. I read all of his reports. They are excellent. Professor Dugard’s heart and head are in the right place with the Palestinians, and he is one of the top professors of international law in the world.

    So, there is a direct comparison between the Israeli apartheid system on all the Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, and what happened in apartheid South Africa. Indeed, Professor Dugard has written that the Israeli system of apartheid against the Palestinians is worse than the apartheid that the Afrikaners applied to the Black people in South Africa.

    I was involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and that is my assessment, too. Indeed, the parallels here then led me, in November 2000, to call for the establishment, in a speech — the establishment of the divestment/disinvestment campaign against Israel, for the exact same reasons we had a divestment/disinvestment campaign against the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. And then, in 2005, Palestinian civil society contacted me to go in with them on establishing the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, against apartheid Israel, for the exact same reason we had a BDS campaign against the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa.

    So, Tutu, Dugard, I and, I would — Ramaphosa, the foreign minister in South Africa, who’s made very compelling speeches, they all understand what’s going on here and what’s at stake.

    AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of genocide in Bosnia, if you could explain, for people who are not familiar with what happened? And then what came of the charges at the International Court of Justice?

    FRANCIS BOYLE: Yes. Well, Yugoslavia exterminated about 200,000 Bosnians, raped about 40,000 Bosnian women. I was the lawyer for all of them, arguing their case at the International Court of Justice. And I won these two orders on 8 April, 1993, and 13 September, 1993. Until I won that order, 8 April, 1993, everyone was denying that genocide was going on. And once I won that order, that was massive and overwhelming in favor of the Bosnians, no one could deny anymore that genocide was going on.

    As for the effectiveness, when I walked out of the World Court on 8 April, 1993, and won that order, I walked into the foyer there outside the grand courtroom. The whole world news media were there. And I said at the time, “The World Court has just determined that genocide is going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Under Article I, every state party to the Genocide Convention has an obligation to prevent genocide in Bosnia. And I hereby request direct military intervention by the United States and the NATO states to save the Bosnians from genocide.” Later that day, the United States and NATO announced that they were instituting a no-fly zone, enforcing a no-fly zone over Bosnia. So these orders by the World Court can have consequences.

    And it will be up to us here in the United States to devise the strategy for consequences for the Biden administration, because we have to pressure the Biden administration to order Israel to stop the genocide. They will do what we Americans tell them to do. In Operation Cast Lead, that had been going on for a period of time under President Bush Jr., Obama — the Obama people were coming into power. Obama was about to be inaugurated. And in order not to spoil Obama’s inauguration, the United States government told Israel to stop Operation Cast Lead. So we have to understand we here in the United States of America have the power to stop this. But we have to figure out how to use the order that South Africa will win here in the United States of America.

    This is exactly what happened in Nicaragua. You’ll remember, Amy, I was involved in advising almost every peace NGO and lawyer here in the United States on the legal issues with respect to Reagan’s war against Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala. My teacher, mentor and friend, the late, great Abe Chayes at Harvard Law School, won a World Court order against the Reagan administration in 1984, and then also a final judgment on the merits in 1986. We here in the United States used that World Court order and the final judgment to stop Reagan’s war against Nicaragua. Regretfully, 16,000 —

    AMY GOODMAN: We have 20 seconds.

    FRANCIS BOYLE: Regretfully, 16,000 Nicaraguans were killed, including U.S. citizen Ben Linder, but we did stop that. And I believe that with this World Court order that South Africa will win, we can stop what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.

    AMY GOODMAN: Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include The Bosnian People Charge Genocide, Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law, as well as World Politics, Human Rights, and International Law.

    When we come back, as this pivotal election year gets underway, we speak with Ryan Grim about how the powerful lobby group AIPAC is set to spend more than $100 million against progressive congressmembers who are critical of Israeli human rights violations in Palestine. His new book, The Squad. Stay with us.


    AMY GOODMAN: “EZLN… Para tod@s, todo,” “For everyone, everything,” by Manu Chao. This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas.

    Yesterday, the Israeli government expanded the war to Beirut.  Leo Sands, Sarah Dadouch and Claire Parker (WASHINGTON POST) report:

    Regional and global leaders warned against escalating violence after the killing of a top Hamas official, Saleh Arouri, in Beirut, amid fears that tensions could boil over on the Israel-Lebanese border and across the region.

    • In France, President Emmanuel Macron told Israeli Minister Benny Gantz that it was “essential to avoid any escalatory attitude, particularly in Lebanon,” according to a readout of a call Tuesday provided by French officials, AFP reported. Macron also reportedly offered for France to play an intermediary role to keep lines of communication open between all parties.

    The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, condemned strikes on the Palestine Red Crescent Society headquarters in Khan Younis in a statement on Tuesday.

    “I deplore today’s strikes on the @PalestineRCS-run Al-Amal hospital in the southern #Gaza city of Khan Younis, which severely damaged the Palestine Red Crescent Society training centre located within the hospital complex,” he said.

    Calling the bombardment “unconscionable,” Ghebreyesus said hospitals, ambulances, health workers and people seeking care must be protected under international humanitarian law and added that WHO’s movements, as well as those of its partner organizations like the Red Crescent, had been severely impeded by the ongoing violence across Gaza.

    Ghebreyesus reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire to ensure “the accelerated and unimpeded flow of food, medical supplies, water and other essential items to millions of civilians forced to live in unspeakable conditions.”

    Pointing to “widespread deaths, suffering and decimation of homes, roads and other infrastructure,” the WHO chief wrote “If the conditions for a cease-fire in hostilities have not been met by now, I do not know what it will take.”

    This morning, Human Rights Watch released information on the conditions in which Gaza workers have been detained/imprisoned by the Israeli government:

    Israeli authorities held thousands of workers from Gaza in incommunicado detention for several weeks following the October 7 attacks, subjecting at least some of them to inhumane and degrading conditions, Human Rights Watch said. Thousands more remain stranded in the occupied West Bank without valid legal status and vulnerable to arrest.

    Those detained after October 7 were held by Israeli authorities in Israel and the West Bank, some of whom were reportedly interrogated on alleged links to, or knowledge of, the attacks. On November 3, over 3,000 Palestinian workers were released from detention and transferred to Gaza. Israeli authorities have yet to state the total numbers of workers from Gaza in Israel on October 7, or the number of workers who were detained or remain detained. Israeli authorities have not disclosed if any workers from Gaza were charged with any crime.

    “Israeli authorities detained thousands of workers for weeks without charge in incommunicado detention, subjecting at least some to humiliating ill-treatment,” said Michelle Randhawa, senior refugee and migrant rights officer at Human Rights Watch. “The search for perpetrators and abettors of the October 7 attacks does not justify abusing workers who had been granted permits to work in Israel.”

    The October 7 Hamas-led attacks killed an estimated 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities. More than 21,600 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 8,500 children, during the hostilities, according to Gaza authorities.

    An estimated 18,500 workers from Gaza had permits to work in Israel on October 7, though it is unclear how many were in Israel that day. To get permits, applicants from Gaza underwent stringent security evaluations.

    On December 19 and 21, Human Rights Watch wrote to the Israeli military and Israel Prison Service with its findings asking for comment, but received no response, as of writing.

    Human Rights Watch spoke to four workers from Gaza detained by Israeli authorities after October 7. Three workers were part of a small group released to the West Bank before November 3, and one was released on November 3 to Gaza.

    One man attempted to go to the West Bank after he realized his work permit was cancelled and deleted from Al Munasiq, the phone app where work permits are stored. He said he was stopped at a checkpoint on the way to the West Bank, blindfolded, hands tightly bound with zip ties, and taken first to Ofer prison, and then to an unknown second location. There, he said, “They [forced me to take] off all my clothes…and they took pictures of me.…They beat me intensely, I was naked during this, it was humiliating. The worst part was when the dogs were attacking [me]. I was blindfolded and cuffed with metal shackles, I didn’t know if the dogs were controlled by someone or just left to attack me, I was terrified.”

    He was interrogated and asked to identify his home on an aerial map of Gaza and was also asked about specific people. He was then released on November 3 at the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza.

    Another man said Israeli police in Rahat, a city in southern Israel, arrested him and other workers from Gaza after the October 7 attacks and took them to an army base in Ofakim, Israel.

    [The Israeli forces] “made us undress,” he said. “[We were] completely naked. They handed us Pampers to wear and thin white overalls…. We stayed blindfolded and cuffed [with zip ties on our hands and feet] for 10 days... We kept asking why we are detained. We never got an answer, only verbal assaults and death threats.”

    He said he was beaten for hours, then dragged on gravel face down and attached to a wall or fence by his cuffed hands, and then beaten again: “Every time I fell on the ground I was forced to stand up, and again more beatings and I fell on the ground. With every beating and fall the plastic zip ties on my hands became tighter and more painful.”

    He was then transferred to Ofer prison where he spent another four or five days until he was released into the West Bank.

    Another man who worked in Rahat said he and other workers were arrested and taken to the Rahat police station on or around October 9. While blindfolded with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, “Israeli forces constantly cursed at us…and threatened to kill us.... We were held for 12 hours. We were not allowed water or [to use] the bathroom.”

    Israeli forces also transferred him to Ofer prison, where he said he was interrogated about Hamas in Gaza. On October 22, Israeli authorities released him to Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics, who took him by ambulance to the Ramallah Public Hospital, where staff treated his zip tie wounds. Human Rights Watch saw the scars on his wrists.

    The Israeli military spokesperson confirmed to Haaretz two Gaza workers, one with cancer, one with diabetes, died in Israeli custody, saying, “The two died due to […]complex medical condition[s] contracted before they arrived at the facilities. An investigation is being conducted into the circumstances of their death.” Both men were arrested after October 7. One of the men Human Rights Watch interviewed said there was a cancer patient with him in Ofer who died after a few days in pain.

    The Israeli human rights groups Gisha and HaMoked told Human Rights Watch that families in Gaza contacted them after October 7 when they stopped hearing from relatives with work permits in Israel. Both organizations requested permission to visit the detainees, speak to them by phone, and receive information on their judicial status, yet to no avail.

    “We had no contact with the Gaza workers while they were detained,” said Nadya Daqqah, a lawyer from HaMoked. “It can’t get any more incommunicado than this.”

    On October 23, six human rights organizations in Israel filed an urgent petition with Israel’s High Court, which stated Israeli authorities had refused to provide any information about where workers were being detained, under what law, and for how long.

    On November 2, Gisha and HaMoked submitted a second urgent petition to Israel’s High Court stating that “the detainees were being held…without access to legal representation” and allegedly subjected to “physical violence and psychological abuse, as well as…inhumane conditions.”

    On November 2, the Israeli cabinet voted to return “Gaza workers who were in Israel on the day the war broke out” to Gaza. The next day, Israeli authorities released 3,026 Palestinian workers to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. On November 13, the Court rejected the petition, given the release of workers on November 3.

    The released Palestinian workers gave media interviews, describing abuses and degrading conditions in detention, including being subjected to electric shocks, urinated on, attacked by dogs, as well as held for several days without food or water. Human Rights Watch was not able to verify these accounts. Gisha interviewed two brothers who had similar accounts of being blindfolded, beaten, and held without any communication with either their families or lawyers.

    On November 9, the Israeli government published an emergency regulation on the “detention and deportation of unlawful residents of [Gaza].” The regulation states that Gaza workers no longer have a legal basis for being in Israel – since Israeli authorities canceled their work permits – and will be held in custody until removal. While the regulation sets time limits on detention, it also allows for extensions based on security needs.

    The situation of the thousands of workers from Gaza who fled or were released to the West Bank remains unclear. Many are living in temporary shelters provided by the Palestinian Authority and nongovernmental organizations. There are reports from late November that Israeli Defense Forces have arrested workers from Gaza who had been sheltering in private homes.

    On November 10, Israel, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority, transferred another group of 982 workers from Gaza who had been sheltering in the West Bank to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

    On November 28, Israeli authorities released 300 Palestinian workers to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. According to Osnat Cohen-Lifshitz, the head of Gisha’s legal department, these workers were released from the Anatot military base.

    “Israeli authorities should disclose how many workers from Gaza were in Israel on October 7, how many were detained, whether any remain in detention and the basis for their detention,” Randhawa said. “They should investigate reports of abuse in detention and ensure the humane treatment of all detainees.”

    At THE GUARDIAN, V notes, "We are watching now, millions of us and we must keep watching. They know how powerful our watching is and that is why they are doing everything they can to censor what we are watching. They want us to turn away. They are betting that they will outlast us and exhaust our attention with their atrocities. We must keep watching because it is only in this pain and through this pain that we will charge our resolve and our power and force America and Israel to end this bloody war. We can and we must."

    New content at THIRD:

    The following sites updated: