Palestine
Gaza

Gaza humanitarian response: ‘convenient illusion’

In a message delivered to the UN Security Council, the head of MĂ©decins Sans Frontières, Christopher Lockyear, said that the “illusion” of a humanitarian response in Gaza “perpetuates a narrative that this war is being waged in line with international laws.” The already low volume of aid being delivered to Gaza has collapsed in recent weeks, despite Israel having been ordered by the World Court to enable the provision of humanitarian aid. The World Food Program announced that it has suspended aid deliveries to northern Gaza—where the humanitarian suffering is most extreme—because of the dissolution of public order. A new report from the Gaza Health Impact Projections Working Group estimates that, even in the best-case scenario of an immediate permanent ceasefire, there will be more than 6,500 excess deaths in Gaza over the next six months due to the catastrophic food, shelter, sanitation, and healthcare situation in the enclave. If the status quo of ongoing bombardment continues, the projections rise to more than 74,000 deaths. Reports are beginning to emergeof children dying of hunger. (Photo: Maan News Agency)

Palestine
Uighur

Podcast: for Palestinian-Uyghur solidarity

In Episode 213 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes how divergent responses to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and mass internment of the Uyghurs reveal the West’s shifting definition of genocide. Tragically, elements of the Palestinian leadership merely reverse the double standard, causing elements of the exiled Uyghur leadership to balk at supporting the Palestinians. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Illustrating the irony, the same corporate nexus is involved in putting in place the surveillance state that monitors the Uyghurs for China and the Palestinians for Israel. Fortunately, principled voices of dissent among both the Palestinians and the Uyghurs are calling for Palestinian-Uyghur solidarity. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Hasbi Sahin & Tatohra/Shutterstock via Islam21c)

Palestine
Rafah

Netanyahu orders ‘evacuation’ of southern Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military to draw up plans for the “evacuation” of Palestinians from Rafah in southern Gaza as it prepares to launch a full-scale assault on the area. Where people would be evacuated to—and how—remains unclear. Over one million Palestinians forcibly displaced by Israel’s military campaign—now entering its fifth month—have been pushed into Rafah. Aid groups warn that there is nowhere left for people to flee to. People in Rafah are already experiencing disease and starvation, and aid operations are struggling to meet even basic needs. A ground invasion would “exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare,” UN Secretary-General AntĂłnio Guterres said. (Photo: Yousef Hammash/NRC)

Greater Middle East
syria

Podcast: Iraq, Palestine, escalation and errata

In Episode 212 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the latest escalation in the Middle East—and continues to note discrepancies in the reportage. US air-strikes on Iraq are said to have targeted the self-declared Islamic Resistance in Iraq, and its constituent militias such as Kataib Hezbollah. But some reports indicate the actual target has often been the Popular Mobilization Forces, a paramilitary network integrated into Iraq’s official security services. Meanwhile, insufficiently noted media accounts report “no evidence” to back up Israeli claims of Hamas co-optation of UNWRA, which has led to a devastating cut-off of funds to the UN agency by the Western powers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Pixabay)

Palestine
Gaza

What UNRWA funding suspensions mean for Gaza

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, was plunged into crisis when Israel accused12 of its Gaza employees of involvement in Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel. In response to the Israeli allegations, the US, UK, Germany, and other top donor countries suspended funding to UNRWA. In a statement, nearly two dozen aid organizations said they are “deeply concerned and outraged” by the suspension of funding, as some 2.3 million people in Gaza face “starvation, looming famine and an outbreak of disease under Israel’s continued indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate deprivation of aid.” (Photo: Maan News Agency)

Greater Middle East
syria

Was drone strike on US forces in Jordan or Syria?

President Biden is pledging undefined retaliation after three US troops were killed and dozens injured in a drone strike being blamed on one of the Iran-backed militias that have been harassing US-led coalition forces in Iraq and Syria. It is widely reported that the target was a site in Jordan known as Tower 22, which provides logistical support for the US outpost across the border at al-Tanf, Syria—near where the borders of Jordan, Syria and Iraq intersect. However, a communique from the umbrella group for Iran-backed factions known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq did not mention Tower 22, but claimed responsibility for drone strikes on three sites within Syria. These are al-Tanf, the nearby border outpost of Rukban, and Shaddadi—over 200 kilometers away in Hasakah governorate, in Syria’s northeast corner, near oil fields that are under the control of US-backed Kurdish forces. (Image: Pixabay)

Palestine
ICJ

ICJ issues interim ruling in Gaza genocide case

The International Court of Justice ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power” to prevent breaches of the Genocide Convention in the Gaza Strip, but declined to order a ceasefire, following proceedings instituted by South Africa. The court also directed Israel to punish calls for genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, to enable the provision of “basic services and humanitarian assistance” to residents of Gaza, to preserve evidence relating to potential Genocide Convention breaches, and to submit a report regarding its compliance with the court’s order within one month. In its interim ruling, the court stressed that it is not yet determining whether Israel breached the Genocide Convention but is acting to protect the rights of Palestinians ahead of a final decision. (Photo: ICJ)

Palestine
Gaza

Cultural heritage under attack in Gaza

The genocide case brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice charges that “Israel has damaged and destroyed numerous centres of Palestinian learning and culture” in the Gaza Strip, including schools, libraries, religious sites and places of historical importance. The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reports that in the two-and-a-half months of bombardment, more than 200 schools have been damaged—around 40% of the total number in the Strip, about 40 of them seriously. UNESCO is also attempting to monitor damage to heritage sites using satellite data and sources on the ground. The agency has especially expressed concern over the ruins of fourth-century Saint Hilarion Monastery, which has been placed under “provisional enhanced protection.” (Photo: The oldest mosque in Gaza, the Omari Mosque, severely damaged in Israeli bombardment, Jan. 2. Credit: Mohammed al-Hajjar/Middle East Eye. Published with permission.)

Palestine
Gaza

Urgent action needed to prevent starvation in Gaza

After more than 100 days of war and Israeli siege, every single person in Gaza is hungry, and a quarter of the population—or around 500,000 people—is starving, UN experts warned. The aid response is falling short of what is needed to prevent a deadly combination of hunger, malnutrition, and disease, four UN agencies said, calling for a “fundamental step change in the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.” Without it, deaths from starvation and disease could soon surpass the already staggering toll from bombardment and combat, which has reached nearly 25,000 people, according to health authorities in Gaza. (Photo: Maan News Agency)

Greater Middle East
Gaza

Podcast: Gaza, Guernica and the Great Game

In Episode 209 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the frightening international escalation set off by the Gaza cataclysm, with Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan all coming under aerial bombardment over the past week, in a cascading regional crisis. The 1937 aerial bombardment of the Spanish town of Guernica by Nazi warplanes shocked the world. Today, what happened there is a near-daily occurrence in countries around the world. And the media (“mainstream,” “alternative” and “social”) are more concerned with how the various actors line up in the Great Power game than the horrific realities on the ground. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: WAFA via WikimediaCommons)

Watching the Shadows
computer smash

Podcast: for a meme moratorium

Meta has tweaked the Facebook algorithm to sideline links to news articles and boost “memes“—precisely the format most subject to the fabrications and distortions being aggressively peddled by both sides (yes) in the Gaza conflict. Such propaganda has already been implicated in genocide in Burma and Ethiopia. But even apart from such egregious abuses, memes are dumbing down discourse and entrenching groupthink and dogmatism—and are being pushed by Meta as part of its sinister corporate design to enclose the internet. In Episode 207 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls for a total moratorium on posting or sharing memes as a means of pressure on Meta to re-emphasize actual news articles, and deep-six the war propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Earth First! Newswire)

Palestine
Gaza

Israeli youth refuses mobilization to Gaza

Eighteen-year-old Tal Mitnick from Tel Aviv has become the first Israeli to refuse mandatory military service since Israel launched its assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. Mitnick was summoned to Tel Hashomer recruitment center, where he declared himself to be a conscientious objector, and was sentenced to 30 days in military prison. Mitnick is one of 230 Israeli youth who signed an open letter in early September, prior to the war, announcing their intention to refuse their draft orders as part of a protest against efforts by Israel’s far-right government to restrict the power of the judiciary. Connecting the judicial coup to Israel’s long-standing military rule over Palestinians, the signatories—under the banner of “Youth Against Dictatorship”— declared that they would not serve in the army “until democracy is secured for all who live within the jurisdiction of the Israeli government.” (Photo: Maan News Agency)