• 12 Israeli sensor technologies that will rock your world
    No more canaries in mines: Today’s sensors provide key information on everything from digital health to airport safety.

    By Brian Blum
    Sensors translate physical phenomena to a measurable signal. Photo courtesy of Consumer Physics/SCiO
    Sensors are the hidden brain in everything from precision agriculture to connected cars, home appliances to security systems, smart cities to digital health.

    “A sensor is anything that translates a physical phenomenon to a measurable signal or other information. For example, in the past they used canaries as sensors for poisonous gas in mines,” explains Amichai Yifrach, an Israeli expert in military and civilian sensor development and currently the CTO of ag-tech startup Flux.

    “Using that definition, Israel is on the cutting edge of technology in all aspects of sensors,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “A lot of it is related to our capabilities in sensing things that others cannot, especially in relation to border security and airport control.”

    Historically, Israel’s edge in sensor technology comes from defense needs and much of the sector is still focused on military applications, with companies such as Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Seraphim Optronics in the lead.

    YOU CAN GET ISRAEL21c NEWS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX.

    But as in many other fields, knowhow from the military gave a huge boost to Israel’s civilian sensor industry. “On the consumer side, we’re strong in image processing and algorithms. We have very good chemists, too,” says Yifrach.

    “Sensors will be more and more important in water quality, air quality and even food quality, like for makers of wine, beer or balsamic vinegar,” Yifrach predicts. “Processes that follow chemical or physical properties need sensing to deduct valuable information for future quality or efficiency of the process. It all comes down to monitoring and controlling processes for quality.”

    ISRAEL21c chose a dozen Israeli sensor pioneers to illustrate the country’s strength in this powerful sector.

    Sensifree
    Sensifree specializes in low-power, contact-free, electromagnetic sensors that accurately collect a range of continuous biometric data without the need to touch the human body. Its first product, a contactless heartrate sensor for wearable devices such as watches, fitness trackers and smart clothing, will be followed by a cuff-free blood-pressure sensor.

    Based in California with R&D in Petah Tikva, Sensifree recently won $5 million in Series A financing, bringing its total funding since launching its revolutionary RF-based biometric sensor technology to $7 million.

    MS Technologies
    Based in Herzliya Pituah, MS Tech designs and manufactures nanotechnology detection and diagnostic sensors. Major airlines use its hand-held, non-radioactive explosives and narcotics detectors for carry-on baggage inspection, air-cargo screening and passenger security checks in several airports. Other industries that use MS Tech sensor technologies include food safety and product inspection, biomedical diagnostics, fire and smoke detection, water and air monitoring and aerospace.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id4Q4SIYmRs

    ContinUse Biometrics
    ContinUse of Tel Aviv received a strategic investment from the multinational corporation Tyco to develop nanotechnology sensors that will be embedded into a range of construction and smart-home solutions.

    ContinUse Biometrics’ biometric no-contact sensor — based on technology developed over a decade by Bar-Ilan and Valencia universities — can detect heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing pace, glucose level, oxygen saturation and alcohol levels in the blood of a fully dressed person without touching the person. This data can be used to authenticate identity and manage access for security and smart-home applications, workplaces and sensitive facilities.

    Vayyar
    Vayyar sensors could make every cellphone or tablet a full 3D imaging system. Based in Yehud, Vayyar uses low-power radio transmissions to scan objects in a fraction of a second and create an enhanced imaging experience. One of the applications is better detection of irregularities in an object being examined, for example to detect tumors on mammograms or bacteria in milk bottling. The company recently won the Fast Pitch Contest sponsored by the Global Electronics Industry Association in Tel Aviv.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLjUK-teB8o

    Elfi-Tech
    Elfi-Tech of Rehovot has introduced several sensor products for noninvasive measurements of physiological and blood parameters for use in fitness, wellness and first-line diagnostics apps. Its proprietary mDLS sensor module was integrated into Samsung’s Simband wearable open platform, and now the company is collaborating with pharma and medical-device industry to integrate mDLS into patient-monitoring devices. Elfi-Tech also is working with companies in the big-data analytics space on its new Data Logger device, which collects and analyzes mass amounts of cardiovascular health data from a single wearable.



    Accurate Sensors Technologies
    Started in 1994 as 3T, Accurate Sensors Technologies manufactures no-contact temperature-measurement solutions for extreme conditions, such as digital infrared thermometers. Headquartered in Misgav, the company also makes plug-and-play pyrometers — instruments for measuring high temperatures in furnaces and kilns – for the aluminum industry.



    Neteera Technologies
    Founded in January 2015 in partnership with Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Neteera is developing novel Terahertz imaging and sensing devices, of unprecedented resolution, size, cost-effectiveness and reliability.

    Neteera’s technology is revolutionary as it allows for multiple applications such as all-weather and night imaging for automotive and surveillance applications; weapons, explosives and contraband detection; medical imaging; manufacturing and quality control; monitoring of human physiological and biometric indicators and more.

    Occipital
    Occipital’s Structure Sensor is touted as the world’s first 3D sensor for mobile devices, adding 3D scanning, large-scale reconstruction and augmented-reality (AR) capabilities to new or existing iOS devices.

    Named a Popular Science “Best of What’s New” gadget for 2013, and recognized with a 2014 CES Innovations award, the Structure Sensor hardware platform gives developers the ability to easily create applications such as 3D mapping of indoor spaces, AR games, body scanning for fitness tracking and virtual clothes fitting, and 3D object scanning for easy 3D content creation.

    Occipital’s Structure Sensor can be used for object and body scans. Photo: courtesy
    Occipital’s Structure Sensor can be used for object and body scans. Photo: courtesy
    Consumer Physics
    Consumer Physics’ soon-to-be-released SCiO device uses optical sensors to read the chemical makeup of just about anything without touching it: for example, the fat in a piece of cake, the ripeness of fruit, the ingredients in medicines, the properties of cosmetics and precious stones.



    Nexense
    Ramat Gan-based Nexense makes a sensor system worn as a chest strap or wristwatch to monitor various physical parameters during sleep for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. The product, already approved in Europe and Israel, counts GE Healthcare among its investors and is expected to go public in 2017.

    EarlySense
    EarlySense uses an under-bed sensor system for continuous monitoring of patient vital signs and movement in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Without ever touching the patient, EarlySense helps the clinical team manage early detection of patient deterioration, fall prevention and prevention of bedsores.

    EarlySense goes under the patient’s bed. Photo: courtesy
    EarlySense goes under the patient’s bed. Photo: courtesy
    Saturas
    Saturas, founded in 2013 in the Trendlines incubator program, has developed a system of miniature implanted sensors and wireless transponders for determining the water status of fruit trees easily and inexpensively. According to CEO Anat Halgoa Solomon, the system (to be available in 2018) could save farmers up to 20 percent on water usage.

    Among many other sensor-based ag-tech companies in Israel are Phytech, AutoAgronom, CropX, GreenIQ and Flux.


    ISRAEL'S CIVILIAN BIOSENSOR INDUSTRY

    "Sensors are the hidden brain in everything from precision agriculture to connected cars, home appliances to security systems, smart cities to digital health."

    “Sensors will be more and more important in water quality, air quality and even food quality, like for makers of wine, beer or balsamic vinegar"

    https://www.israel21c.org/12-israeli-sensor-technologies-that-will-rock-your-world/

    https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/02/12-israeli-sensor-technologies-that.html
    12 Israeli sensor technologies that will rock your world No more canaries in mines: Today’s sensors provide key information on everything from digital health to airport safety. By Brian Blum Sensors translate physical phenomena to a measurable signal. Photo courtesy of Consumer Physics/SCiO Sensors are the hidden brain in everything from precision agriculture to connected cars, home appliances to security systems, smart cities to digital health. “A sensor is anything that translates a physical phenomenon to a measurable signal or other information. For example, in the past they used canaries as sensors for poisonous gas in mines,” explains Amichai Yifrach, an Israeli expert in military and civilian sensor development and currently the CTO of ag-tech startup Flux. “Using that definition, Israel is on the cutting edge of technology in all aspects of sensors,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “A lot of it is related to our capabilities in sensing things that others cannot, especially in relation to border security and airport control.” Historically, Israel’s edge in sensor technology comes from defense needs and much of the sector is still focused on military applications, with companies such as Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Seraphim Optronics in the lead. YOU CAN GET ISRAEL21c NEWS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX. But as in many other fields, knowhow from the military gave a huge boost to Israel’s civilian sensor industry. “On the consumer side, we’re strong in image processing and algorithms. We have very good chemists, too,” says Yifrach. “Sensors will be more and more important in water quality, air quality and even food quality, like for makers of wine, beer or balsamic vinegar,” Yifrach predicts. “Processes that follow chemical or physical properties need sensing to deduct valuable information for future quality or efficiency of the process. It all comes down to monitoring and controlling processes for quality.” ISRAEL21c chose a dozen Israeli sensor pioneers to illustrate the country’s strength in this powerful sector. Sensifree Sensifree specializes in low-power, contact-free, electromagnetic sensors that accurately collect a range of continuous biometric data without the need to touch the human body. Its first product, a contactless heartrate sensor for wearable devices such as watches, fitness trackers and smart clothing, will be followed by a cuff-free blood-pressure sensor. Based in California with R&D in Petah Tikva, Sensifree recently won $5 million in Series A financing, bringing its total funding since launching its revolutionary RF-based biometric sensor technology to $7 million. MS Technologies Based in Herzliya Pituah, MS Tech designs and manufactures nanotechnology detection and diagnostic sensors. Major airlines use its hand-held, non-radioactive explosives and narcotics detectors for carry-on baggage inspection, air-cargo screening and passenger security checks in several airports. Other industries that use MS Tech sensor technologies include food safety and product inspection, biomedical diagnostics, fire and smoke detection, water and air monitoring and aerospace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id4Q4SIYmRs ContinUse Biometrics ContinUse of Tel Aviv received a strategic investment from the multinational corporation Tyco to develop nanotechnology sensors that will be embedded into a range of construction and smart-home solutions. ContinUse Biometrics’ biometric no-contact sensor — based on technology developed over a decade by Bar-Ilan and Valencia universities — can detect heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing pace, glucose level, oxygen saturation and alcohol levels in the blood of a fully dressed person without touching the person. This data can be used to authenticate identity and manage access for security and smart-home applications, workplaces and sensitive facilities. Vayyar Vayyar sensors could make every cellphone or tablet a full 3D imaging system. Based in Yehud, Vayyar uses low-power radio transmissions to scan objects in a fraction of a second and create an enhanced imaging experience. One of the applications is better detection of irregularities in an object being examined, for example to detect tumors on mammograms or bacteria in milk bottling. The company recently won the Fast Pitch Contest sponsored by the Global Electronics Industry Association in Tel Aviv. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLjUK-teB8o Elfi-Tech Elfi-Tech of Rehovot has introduced several sensor products for noninvasive measurements of physiological and blood parameters for use in fitness, wellness and first-line diagnostics apps. Its proprietary mDLS sensor module was integrated into Samsung’s Simband wearable open platform, and now the company is collaborating with pharma and medical-device industry to integrate mDLS into patient-monitoring devices. Elfi-Tech also is working with companies in the big-data analytics space on its new Data Logger device, which collects and analyzes mass amounts of cardiovascular health data from a single wearable. Accurate Sensors Technologies Started in 1994 as 3T, Accurate Sensors Technologies manufactures no-contact temperature-measurement solutions for extreme conditions, such as digital infrared thermometers. Headquartered in Misgav, the company also makes plug-and-play pyrometers — instruments for measuring high temperatures in furnaces and kilns – for the aluminum industry. Neteera Technologies Founded in January 2015 in partnership with Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Neteera is developing novel Terahertz imaging and sensing devices, of unprecedented resolution, size, cost-effectiveness and reliability. Neteera’s technology is revolutionary as it allows for multiple applications such as all-weather and night imaging for automotive and surveillance applications; weapons, explosives and contraband detection; medical imaging; manufacturing and quality control; monitoring of human physiological and biometric indicators and more. Occipital Occipital’s Structure Sensor is touted as the world’s first 3D sensor for mobile devices, adding 3D scanning, large-scale reconstruction and augmented-reality (AR) capabilities to new or existing iOS devices. Named a Popular Science “Best of What’s New” gadget for 2013, and recognized with a 2014 CES Innovations award, the Structure Sensor hardware platform gives developers the ability to easily create applications such as 3D mapping of indoor spaces, AR games, body scanning for fitness tracking and virtual clothes fitting, and 3D object scanning for easy 3D content creation. Occipital’s Structure Sensor can be used for object and body scans. Photo: courtesy Occipital’s Structure Sensor can be used for object and body scans. Photo: courtesy Consumer Physics Consumer Physics’ soon-to-be-released SCiO device uses optical sensors to read the chemical makeup of just about anything without touching it: for example, the fat in a piece of cake, the ripeness of fruit, the ingredients in medicines, the properties of cosmetics and precious stones. Nexense Ramat Gan-based Nexense makes a sensor system worn as a chest strap or wristwatch to monitor various physical parameters during sleep for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. The product, already approved in Europe and Israel, counts GE Healthcare among its investors and is expected to go public in 2017. EarlySense EarlySense uses an under-bed sensor system for continuous monitoring of patient vital signs and movement in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Without ever touching the patient, EarlySense helps the clinical team manage early detection of patient deterioration, fall prevention and prevention of bedsores. EarlySense goes under the patient’s bed. Photo: courtesy EarlySense goes under the patient’s bed. Photo: courtesy Saturas Saturas, founded in 2013 in the Trendlines incubator program, has developed a system of miniature implanted sensors and wireless transponders for determining the water status of fruit trees easily and inexpensively. According to CEO Anat Halgoa Solomon, the system (to be available in 2018) could save farmers up to 20 percent on water usage. Among many other sensor-based ag-tech companies in Israel are Phytech, AutoAgronom, CropX, GreenIQ and Flux. ISRAEL'S CIVILIAN BIOSENSOR INDUSTRY "Sensors are the hidden brain in everything from precision agriculture to connected cars, home appliances to security systems, smart cities to digital health." “Sensors will be more and more important in water quality, air quality and even food quality, like for makers of wine, beer or balsamic vinegar" https://www.israel21c.org/12-israeli-sensor-technologies-that-will-rock-your-world/ https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/02/12-israeli-sensor-technologies-that.html
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    12 Israeli sensor technologies that will rock your world - ISRAEL21c
    No more canaries in mines: Today's sensors provide key information on everything from digital health to airport safety.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 84: Gaza at ‘catastrophic threshold’ of famine, West Bank marks ‘deadliest year on record’ for Palestinian children
    Israel faces growing tensions between the war cabinet and the far-right coalition government as Egypt presents a ceasefire proposal. Meanwhile, Israeli forces kill at least three Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

    Mondoweiss Palestine BureauDecember 29, 2023
    People struggle to recover bodies and survivors from under the rubble of a building hit by an Israeli airstrike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 28, 2023. (Photo: by Bashar Taleb/APA Images)
    People struggle to recover bodies and survivors from under the rubble of a building hit by an Israeli airstrike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 28, 2023. (Photo: by Bashar Taleb/APA Images)
    Casualties:

    21,507 killed* and at least 55,915 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    316 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
    *This figure is the latest confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health as of December 29. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has been unable to regularly and accurately update its tolls since mid-November. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 30,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

    Key Developments

    Deadly airstrikes pummel several areas across Gaza, killing 187 people in 24 hours.
    Fighting continues to rage on between Israeli ground troops and Palestinian armed groups, as Israeli army announces an expansion of operations in Khan Younis.
    U.N. says hunger in Gaza has passed “catastrophic threshold,” as UNRWA estimates 40 percent of the population is at risk of famine while aid barely trickles in.
    Health and human rights groups denounce Israel’s continued targeting of Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis and Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia amid systematic attacks on the health care system in Gaza.
    Palestinians who were detained in northern Gaza report threats, violence, and humiliation at the hands of Israeli forces.
    Hamas delegation heads to Cairo on Friday to discuss Egyptian proposal for ceasefire, reiterates call for complete cessation of Israeli aggression in Gaza, and for Palestinians to determine the shape of their own political future.
    Israeli leadership torn between war cabinet and far-right elements of coalition government, who refuse to consider possibility of Palestinian Authority involvement in Gaza.
    Leaked Israeli High Court draft ruling indicates one of most contested clauses of Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul could be struck down, reigniting internal Israeli disputes.
    Thousands of demonstrators call for release of hostages in Jerusalem i culmination of five days of protests, Israeli army releases probe into killing of three Israeli hostages by own soldiers.
    Israel continues to shell southern Lebanon and Syria, armed groups in neighboring countries respond.
    U.S. forces intercept Yemeni drone and missile in Red Sea.
    Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian man allegedly responsible for stabbing attack at checkpoint near Jerusalem on Thursday, raids home and detains relatives.
    Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in southern occupied West Bank on Friday following alleged car-ramming attack.
    Israeli forces detain more than 15 Palestinians during violent overnight raids, as U.N. raises the alarm about the rising violence in the occupied West Bank.
    Peace Now warns Israel is expanding illegal settlements in northern and southern West Bank “in the shadow of war.”
    Hundreds of protesters in Times Square hold mock funeral procession on Thursday to denounce killing of thousands of Palestinian children by Israeli forces in Gaza.
    Gaza continues to suffer

    Twelve weeks into the Israeli rampage in the Gaza Strip, airstrikes continue to flatten the small Palestinian territory, killing dozens as fighting rages on between Israeli ground forces and Palestinian resistance fighters.

    Deadly Israeli airstrikes were reported since Thursday afternoon in Rafah and Khan Younis in southern Gaza, as well as in the Nuseirat, al-Bureij, and al-Maghazi refugee camps in central Gaza, and in Beit Hanoun and the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan in northern Gaza.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported at midday on Friday that at least 187 people had been killed and 312 wounded in the span of 24 hours, raising the total toll to at least 21,507 killed and at least 55,915 wounded in the Gaza Strip since October 7.

    Meanwhile, Palestinian groups reported ongoing fighting in the area of Khan Younis, Khuza’a, al-Bureij, Tal al-Zaatar, and various areas in Gaza City – contradicting Israeli claims that the northern Gaza Strip is under full army control.

    The Israeli army has meanwhile announced its plans to expand its operations in Khan Younis, where tens of thousands of internally displaced civilians have fled since October. More than 1.9 million internally displaced Palestinians in what was already one of the most densely populated areas on earth continue to be squeezed into ever tinier slivers of land, with an estimated 100,000 people fleeing to Rafah in recent days alone.

    Israel confirmed the death of one Israeli soldier on Thursday, bringing the official toll of the ground invasion in Gaza to 168 soldiers — although a government gag order prevents Israeli media from reporting on the full scope of military casualties.

    The humanitarian catastrophe Israel has deliberately inflicted on Gaza through its refusal to allow in sufficient aid and its destruction of essential infrastructure has begun to affect its own troops as well. At least one soldier has died as a result of a fungal infection likely due to exposure to sewage leaks, with Israeli media reporting that more soldiers could also suffer from similar infections.

    The impact on Israeli troops pales in comparison to the devastation wrought on Palestinians, who are starving and suffering from a host of injuries and preventable illnesses amid a complete collapse of the medical system.

    The Gaza Ministry of Health announced that 20 patients were scheduled to leave Gaza on Friday to receive medical treatment in Egypt, but noted that many more were in dire need of care they were unable to receive in the bombarded enclave. “Our urgent priority is to evacuate for treatment abroad 5,000 wounded with serious and complex cases to save their lives,” Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said.

    The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that only 76 trucks of aid were allowed into the Gaza Strip on Thursday, far below the pre-October 7 average of 500 trucks a day.

    “You think getting aid into Gaza is easy? Think again,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths posted on X on Friday, listing stringent inspections, bombardments, damaged roads, and desperate civilians crammed into smaller and smaller areas as only some of the obstacles making the delivery of these small amounts of food, medicine, and other essential items even more difficult.

    On Friday morning, an UNRWA official reported that Israeli forces fired at an aid convoy in northern Gaza, even as it was driving on “a route designated by the Israeli army,” damaging one vehicle.

    According to UNRWA, 40 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants are “at risk of famine.” The U.N. has meanwhile activated a Famine Review Committee for Gaza “due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5,” described as the “catastrophic threshold.”

    Israel has meanwhile continued to target Palestinian health facilities and workers, notably the Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis and Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, prompting condemnation from Palestinian human rights organizations.

    A Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) paramedic who was detained by Israeli forces in Jabalia said soldiers held him and other paramedics for hours with their hands tied behind their backs, and heavily beat them, including on their heads and “sensitive areas,” and that one of his colleagues was repeatedly hit with rocks. He added that Israeli bulldozers ran over ambulances, destroying them completely. PRCS says at least eight of its staff members are still detained by Israeli forces.

    Al-Qidra said on Thursday that Israel was detaining at least 99 health personnel in “harsh conditions of torture, starvation, and exposure to extreme cold.”

    The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) meanwhile shared the testimony of one of its researchers, Ayman Lubbad, who was detained by Israeli forces for a week earlier this month.

    “Men and boys as young as 14 were instructed to strip and kneel in the street […] They inappropriately photographed us while we were half-naked and forced some of us to dance,” Lubbad said. “Upon learning that I work for a human rights organization, the interrogator threateningly said: ‘I will teach you your rights very well in prison.’”

    Egyptian proposal to be discussed amid internal Israeli turmoil

    Amid the carnage, Egypt reiterated on Thursday that it was awaiting responses to its framework proposal to obtain a ceasefire in Gaza, a hostage swap agreement, and map out future Palestinian governance after the war.

    A Hamas delegation was due in Cairo on Friday to discuss the proposal. In a press conference on Thursday, the Palestinian group said it was open “to any ideas or proposals to stop the aggression completely and finally on our people in the Gaza Strip,” but that there would be no deal to release Israeli hostages until Israeli pummeling of Gaza ceased.

    It nonetheless stressed that “the management of Palestinian affairs is a Palestinian internal decision, and it is the decision of the Palestinian people alone, and our people will not accept a leadership that comes to them on the back of a Zionist or American tank.”

    “Our people today want a national leadership that carries the project of liberation and commits to resistance in all its forms to achieve national goals,” Hamas added.

    Meanwhile, Israeli Finance Minister and far-right extremist settler Bezalel Smotrich dug in his heels on Friday following reports that the U.S. was pressuring Tel Aviv to release Palestinian Authority tax revenue it has been withholding since October 7.

    Because Israel controls all international borders with the occupied Palestinian territories, it collects customs and other forms of revenue on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, the nominal political body operating in the occupied West Bank. However, Israel has repeatedly withheld these taxes over the years as a punitive tactic, regardless of whether the P.A. is involved.

    “As long as I am Finance Minister, not a single shekel will go to the Nazi terrorists in Gaza,” Smotrich wrote on X.

    Smotrich is involved in growing tensions within Israeli leadership, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been facing pressure from the war cabinet — which includes himself, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and opposition leader Benny Gantz — and his far-right coalition government. A war cabinet meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday to discuss scenarios for “the day after” the war was postponed after Smotrich opposed its discussion of any future in which the PA might play a role.

    Netanyahu was facing a slew of corruption charges and internal dissent due to his attempt to hijack the judicial system before the war.

    The Israeli High Court is reportedly set to strike down a key part of the prime minister’s controversial judicial overhaul, according to a draft ruling leaked on Thursday, bringing back to the fore a national debate that had been effectively silenced since October 7.

    Netanyahu is now also facing pressure for his handling of the hostage situation. Thousands of protesters rallied in Jerusalem on Thursday night, calling for the release of hostages.

    An estimated 130 people are still believed to be held by Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza as bargaining chips to obtain the release of thousands of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. While 105 hostages were released during a six-day truce in November, Israel has since failed to release more hostages through combat operations.

    The Israeli army released on Thursday the results of its internal investigation into the killing of three Israeli hostages by Israeli forces earlier this month while they were waving a white flag. The probe found that soldiers shot at the hostages who were calling for help, despite their commander having ordered them not to shoot. The Times of Israel nevertheless reported that “the soldiers involved in the incident were not expected to be dismissed or to stand trial due to their actions.”

    ‘Deadliest year on record’ for children in the West Bank

    At least three Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since Thursday, as confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians were reported in several areas during military raids.

    A Palestinian man identified as Ahmad Alyan was killed after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack at the Israeli military checkpoint of Mizmoria between Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Thursday night, reportedly injuring two Israeli police officers. Israeli forces later raided his family’s home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber, detaining his parents and sister.

    An alleged car-ramming attack took place near the illegal Israeli settlement of Otniel on Friday afternoon, with the driver killed on the spot by Israeli forces. The P.A. Ministry of Health identified the driver as Amr Abdel Fattah Abu Hussein, and said he was killed east of the Palestinian town of Dura.

    Another Palestinian, identified as 38-year-old Muhammad Sayel Al-Jundi from the town of Yatta, was shot and killed by Israeli forces at a checkpoint between Hebron and Bethlehem on Thursday night. WAFA news agency did not provide more detail on the circumstances surrounding his death.

    Israeli forces have continued to violently raid Palestinian towns and villages across the West Bank, provoking clashes in al-Faraa refugee camp, Balata refugee camp, Qalqilya, Rafat, Kafr Aqab, and Ain al-Sultan refugee camp.

    At least three Palestinians were wounded during the Israeli raid in al-Faraa, and another five were detained, in addition to 14 other Palestinians detained overnight across the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces also seized children’s toys in a raid in the southern city of Hebron, WAFA reported.

    In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces once again fired rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas, and skunk water at worshippers seeking to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday.

    The spike in violent Israeli repression in the West Bank since October 7 has led the UN to raise the alarm in a report released on Thursday.

    “The use of military tactics means and weapons in law enforcement contexts, the use of unnecessary or disproportionate force, and the enforcement of broad, arbitrary and discriminatory movement restrictions that affect Palestinians are extremely troubling,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said. “The violations documented in this report repeat the pattern and nature of violations reported in the past in the context of the long-standing Israeli occupation of the West Bank. However, the intensity of the violence and repression is something that has not been seen in years.”

    UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Adele Khodr meanwhile said on Thursday that 2023 was the “deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” with 83 children killed since October 7 alone.

    “Children living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been experiencing grinding violence for many years, yet the intensity of that violence has dramatically increased,” Khodr said. “The suffering of children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, must not fade into the background of the current conflict — it is part of it.”

    As Israeli state violence rages on, the settler colonial enterprise continues advancing in violation of international law. Israeli settlers expanded a road in the World Heritage site of Battir near Bethlehem on Thursday, seeking to further entrench a settler outpost built in the area in recent years.

    Peace Now released a new report on Thursday on the expansion of the Battir outpost, as well as the expansion of the Homesh settlement in the northern West Bank “in the shadow of war.”

    “While Israel is at war, Smotrich and his colleagues are asserting facts on the ground that may open up another front in the West Bank,” Peace Now wrote. “If we don’t stop the dream of settlement in the northern West Bank and in Battir, we will wake up to the nightmare of settlements in the Gaza Strip.”

    Before you go - We need your help. Mainstream media’s wilful complicity in the genocide of Palestinian people is a reminder of just how vital our work at Mondoweiss is. This article and our extensive coverage since October 7 have been made possible by readers like you who donate to keep our reporting free and independent.

    With your support, we will continue covering the ongoing events in Gaza and across Palestine, as well as amplifying the Palestine movement worldwide. Together, we will make sure to keep reporting Palestinian stories, even when the rest of the world looks away.

    Support our critical work with a donation today.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2023/12/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-84-gaza-at-catastrophic-threshold-of-famine-west-bank-marks-deadliest-year-on-record-for-palestinian-children/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 84: Gaza at ‘catastrophic threshold’ of famine, West Bank marks ‘deadliest year on record’ for Palestinian children Israel faces growing tensions between the war cabinet and the far-right coalition government as Egypt presents a ceasefire proposal. Meanwhile, Israeli forces kill at least three Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Mondoweiss Palestine BureauDecember 29, 2023 People struggle to recover bodies and survivors from under the rubble of a building hit by an Israeli airstrike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 28, 2023. (Photo: by Bashar Taleb/APA Images) People struggle to recover bodies and survivors from under the rubble of a building hit by an Israeli airstrike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 28, 2023. (Photo: by Bashar Taleb/APA Images) Casualties: 21,507 killed* and at least 55,915 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 316 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. *This figure is the latest confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health as of December 29. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has been unable to regularly and accurately update its tolls since mid-November. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 30,000 when accounting for those presumed dead. Key Developments Deadly airstrikes pummel several areas across Gaza, killing 187 people in 24 hours. Fighting continues to rage on between Israeli ground troops and Palestinian armed groups, as Israeli army announces an expansion of operations in Khan Younis. U.N. says hunger in Gaza has passed “catastrophic threshold,” as UNRWA estimates 40 percent of the population is at risk of famine while aid barely trickles in. Health and human rights groups denounce Israel’s continued targeting of Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis and Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia amid systematic attacks on the health care system in Gaza. Palestinians who were detained in northern Gaza report threats, violence, and humiliation at the hands of Israeli forces. Hamas delegation heads to Cairo on Friday to discuss Egyptian proposal for ceasefire, reiterates call for complete cessation of Israeli aggression in Gaza, and for Palestinians to determine the shape of their own political future. Israeli leadership torn between war cabinet and far-right elements of coalition government, who refuse to consider possibility of Palestinian Authority involvement in Gaza. Leaked Israeli High Court draft ruling indicates one of most contested clauses of Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul could be struck down, reigniting internal Israeli disputes. Thousands of demonstrators call for release of hostages in Jerusalem i culmination of five days of protests, Israeli army releases probe into killing of three Israeli hostages by own soldiers. Israel continues to shell southern Lebanon and Syria, armed groups in neighboring countries respond. U.S. forces intercept Yemeni drone and missile in Red Sea. Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian man allegedly responsible for stabbing attack at checkpoint near Jerusalem on Thursday, raids home and detains relatives. Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in southern occupied West Bank on Friday following alleged car-ramming attack. Israeli forces detain more than 15 Palestinians during violent overnight raids, as U.N. raises the alarm about the rising violence in the occupied West Bank. Peace Now warns Israel is expanding illegal settlements in northern and southern West Bank “in the shadow of war.” Hundreds of protesters in Times Square hold mock funeral procession on Thursday to denounce killing of thousands of Palestinian children by Israeli forces in Gaza. Gaza continues to suffer Twelve weeks into the Israeli rampage in the Gaza Strip, airstrikes continue to flatten the small Palestinian territory, killing dozens as fighting rages on between Israeli ground forces and Palestinian resistance fighters. Deadly Israeli airstrikes were reported since Thursday afternoon in Rafah and Khan Younis in southern Gaza, as well as in the Nuseirat, al-Bureij, and al-Maghazi refugee camps in central Gaza, and in Beit Hanoun and the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan in northern Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported at midday on Friday that at least 187 people had been killed and 312 wounded in the span of 24 hours, raising the total toll to at least 21,507 killed and at least 55,915 wounded in the Gaza Strip since October 7. Meanwhile, Palestinian groups reported ongoing fighting in the area of Khan Younis, Khuza’a, al-Bureij, Tal al-Zaatar, and various areas in Gaza City – contradicting Israeli claims that the northern Gaza Strip is under full army control. The Israeli army has meanwhile announced its plans to expand its operations in Khan Younis, where tens of thousands of internally displaced civilians have fled since October. More than 1.9 million internally displaced Palestinians in what was already one of the most densely populated areas on earth continue to be squeezed into ever tinier slivers of land, with an estimated 100,000 people fleeing to Rafah in recent days alone. Israel confirmed the death of one Israeli soldier on Thursday, bringing the official toll of the ground invasion in Gaza to 168 soldiers — although a government gag order prevents Israeli media from reporting on the full scope of military casualties. The humanitarian catastrophe Israel has deliberately inflicted on Gaza through its refusal to allow in sufficient aid and its destruction of essential infrastructure has begun to affect its own troops as well. At least one soldier has died as a result of a fungal infection likely due to exposure to sewage leaks, with Israeli media reporting that more soldiers could also suffer from similar infections. The impact on Israeli troops pales in comparison to the devastation wrought on Palestinians, who are starving and suffering from a host of injuries and preventable illnesses amid a complete collapse of the medical system. The Gaza Ministry of Health announced that 20 patients were scheduled to leave Gaza on Friday to receive medical treatment in Egypt, but noted that many more were in dire need of care they were unable to receive in the bombarded enclave. “Our urgent priority is to evacuate for treatment abroad 5,000 wounded with serious and complex cases to save their lives,” Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that only 76 trucks of aid were allowed into the Gaza Strip on Thursday, far below the pre-October 7 average of 500 trucks a day. “You think getting aid into Gaza is easy? Think again,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths posted on X on Friday, listing stringent inspections, bombardments, damaged roads, and desperate civilians crammed into smaller and smaller areas as only some of the obstacles making the delivery of these small amounts of food, medicine, and other essential items even more difficult. On Friday morning, an UNRWA official reported that Israeli forces fired at an aid convoy in northern Gaza, even as it was driving on “a route designated by the Israeli army,” damaging one vehicle. According to UNRWA, 40 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants are “at risk of famine.” The U.N. has meanwhile activated a Famine Review Committee for Gaza “due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5,” described as the “catastrophic threshold.” Israel has meanwhile continued to target Palestinian health facilities and workers, notably the Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis and Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, prompting condemnation from Palestinian human rights organizations. A Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) paramedic who was detained by Israeli forces in Jabalia said soldiers held him and other paramedics for hours with their hands tied behind their backs, and heavily beat them, including on their heads and “sensitive areas,” and that one of his colleagues was repeatedly hit with rocks. He added that Israeli bulldozers ran over ambulances, destroying them completely. PRCS says at least eight of its staff members are still detained by Israeli forces. Al-Qidra said on Thursday that Israel was detaining at least 99 health personnel in “harsh conditions of torture, starvation, and exposure to extreme cold.” The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) meanwhile shared the testimony of one of its researchers, Ayman Lubbad, who was detained by Israeli forces for a week earlier this month. “Men and boys as young as 14 were instructed to strip and kneel in the street […] They inappropriately photographed us while we were half-naked and forced some of us to dance,” Lubbad said. “Upon learning that I work for a human rights organization, the interrogator threateningly said: ‘I will teach you your rights very well in prison.’” Egyptian proposal to be discussed amid internal Israeli turmoil Amid the carnage, Egypt reiterated on Thursday that it was awaiting responses to its framework proposal to obtain a ceasefire in Gaza, a hostage swap agreement, and map out future Palestinian governance after the war. A Hamas delegation was due in Cairo on Friday to discuss the proposal. In a press conference on Thursday, the Palestinian group said it was open “to any ideas or proposals to stop the aggression completely and finally on our people in the Gaza Strip,” but that there would be no deal to release Israeli hostages until Israeli pummeling of Gaza ceased. It nonetheless stressed that “the management of Palestinian affairs is a Palestinian internal decision, and it is the decision of the Palestinian people alone, and our people will not accept a leadership that comes to them on the back of a Zionist or American tank.” “Our people today want a national leadership that carries the project of liberation and commits to resistance in all its forms to achieve national goals,” Hamas added. Meanwhile, Israeli Finance Minister and far-right extremist settler Bezalel Smotrich dug in his heels on Friday following reports that the U.S. was pressuring Tel Aviv to release Palestinian Authority tax revenue it has been withholding since October 7. Because Israel controls all international borders with the occupied Palestinian territories, it collects customs and other forms of revenue on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, the nominal political body operating in the occupied West Bank. However, Israel has repeatedly withheld these taxes over the years as a punitive tactic, regardless of whether the P.A. is involved. “As long as I am Finance Minister, not a single shekel will go to the Nazi terrorists in Gaza,” Smotrich wrote on X. Smotrich is involved in growing tensions within Israeli leadership, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been facing pressure from the war cabinet — which includes himself, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and opposition leader Benny Gantz — and his far-right coalition government. A war cabinet meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday to discuss scenarios for “the day after” the war was postponed after Smotrich opposed its discussion of any future in which the PA might play a role. Netanyahu was facing a slew of corruption charges and internal dissent due to his attempt to hijack the judicial system before the war. The Israeli High Court is reportedly set to strike down a key part of the prime minister’s controversial judicial overhaul, according to a draft ruling leaked on Thursday, bringing back to the fore a national debate that had been effectively silenced since October 7. Netanyahu is now also facing pressure for his handling of the hostage situation. Thousands of protesters rallied in Jerusalem on Thursday night, calling for the release of hostages. An estimated 130 people are still believed to be held by Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza as bargaining chips to obtain the release of thousands of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. While 105 hostages were released during a six-day truce in November, Israel has since failed to release more hostages through combat operations. The Israeli army released on Thursday the results of its internal investigation into the killing of three Israeli hostages by Israeli forces earlier this month while they were waving a white flag. The probe found that soldiers shot at the hostages who were calling for help, despite their commander having ordered them not to shoot. The Times of Israel nevertheless reported that “the soldiers involved in the incident were not expected to be dismissed or to stand trial due to their actions.” ‘Deadliest year on record’ for children in the West Bank At least three Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since Thursday, as confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians were reported in several areas during military raids. A Palestinian man identified as Ahmad Alyan was killed after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack at the Israeli military checkpoint of Mizmoria between Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Thursday night, reportedly injuring two Israeli police officers. Israeli forces later raided his family’s home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber, detaining his parents and sister. An alleged car-ramming attack took place near the illegal Israeli settlement of Otniel on Friday afternoon, with the driver killed on the spot by Israeli forces. The P.A. Ministry of Health identified the driver as Amr Abdel Fattah Abu Hussein, and said he was killed east of the Palestinian town of Dura. Another Palestinian, identified as 38-year-old Muhammad Sayel Al-Jundi from the town of Yatta, was shot and killed by Israeli forces at a checkpoint between Hebron and Bethlehem on Thursday night. WAFA news agency did not provide more detail on the circumstances surrounding his death. Israeli forces have continued to violently raid Palestinian towns and villages across the West Bank, provoking clashes in al-Faraa refugee camp, Balata refugee camp, Qalqilya, Rafat, Kafr Aqab, and Ain al-Sultan refugee camp. At least three Palestinians were wounded during the Israeli raid in al-Faraa, and another five were detained, in addition to 14 other Palestinians detained overnight across the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces also seized children’s toys in a raid in the southern city of Hebron, WAFA reported. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces once again fired rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas, and skunk water at worshippers seeking to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday. The spike in violent Israeli repression in the West Bank since October 7 has led the UN to raise the alarm in a report released on Thursday. “The use of military tactics means and weapons in law enforcement contexts, the use of unnecessary or disproportionate force, and the enforcement of broad, arbitrary and discriminatory movement restrictions that affect Palestinians are extremely troubling,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said. “The violations documented in this report repeat the pattern and nature of violations reported in the past in the context of the long-standing Israeli occupation of the West Bank. However, the intensity of the violence and repression is something that has not been seen in years.” UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Adele Khodr meanwhile said on Thursday that 2023 was the “deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” with 83 children killed since October 7 alone. “Children living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been experiencing grinding violence for many years, yet the intensity of that violence has dramatically increased,” Khodr said. “The suffering of children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, must not fade into the background of the current conflict — it is part of it.” As Israeli state violence rages on, the settler colonial enterprise continues advancing in violation of international law. Israeli settlers expanded a road in the World Heritage site of Battir near Bethlehem on Thursday, seeking to further entrench a settler outpost built in the area in recent years. Peace Now released a new report on Thursday on the expansion of the Battir outpost, as well as the expansion of the Homesh settlement in the northern West Bank “in the shadow of war.” “While Israel is at war, Smotrich and his colleagues are asserting facts on the ground that may open up another front in the West Bank,” Peace Now wrote. “If we don’t stop the dream of settlement in the northern West Bank and in Battir, we will wake up to the nightmare of settlements in the Gaza Strip.” Before you go - We need your help. Mainstream media’s wilful complicity in the genocide of Palestinian people is a reminder of just how vital our work at Mondoweiss is. This article and our extensive coverage since October 7 have been made possible by readers like you who donate to keep our reporting free and independent. With your support, we will continue covering the ongoing events in Gaza and across Palestine, as well as amplifying the Palestine movement worldwide. Together, we will make sure to keep reporting Palestinian stories, even when the rest of the world looks away. Support our critical work with a donation today. https://mondoweiss.net/2023/12/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-84-gaza-at-catastrophic-threshold-of-famine-west-bank-marks-deadliest-year-on-record-for-palestinian-children/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 84: Gaza at ‘catastrophic threshold’ of famine, West Bank marks ‘deadliest year on record’ for Palestinian children
    Israel faces growing tensions between the war cabinet and the far-right coalition government as Egypt presents a ceasefire proposal. Meanwhile, Israeli forces kill at least three Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
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  • Bayer’s shares drop 20% to lowest level since 2009 due to drug development and Roundup trial setback
    yeeloon22 November 2023

    UNITED STATES: Bayer AG (ETR:BAYGN), a prominent German company in the pharmaceutical and agriculture sectors, experienced its largest-ever drop in market value, a staggering loss of approximately €7.6 billion (US$8.3 billion).

    This downturn follows substantial legal issues and setbacks in drug development, intensifying the pressure on the company’s new leadership to articulate a comprehensive turnaround strategy.

    The company’s shares, traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, plummeted by 20%, reaching their lowest point since 2009.

    This decline marks a 30% decrease in share value over the course of this year.



    One of the setbacks occurred when Bayer announced on Sunday (19 Nov) that the late-stage testing of a drug named asundexian, intended for heart disease treatment, would be halted due to its apparent lack of effectiveness.

    Initially projected in January to potentially yield sales surpassing US$5 billion, asundexian was anticipated to be a cornerstone in Bayer’s pharmaceutical portfolio for driving growth.

    Bayer’s Monsanto faces second wave of lawsuit

    Simultaneously, a significant legal blow struck Bayer when a Missouri Circuit Court, in a landmark ruling late on a Friday, mandated that Bayer AG’s subsidiary, Monsanto, must pay a combined sum exceeding US$1.5 billion to three former users of the company’s weed killing product, Roundup.

    These individuals attributed their cancers to the controversial product in what became one of the company’s most substantial trial losses related to the herbicide.

    This verdict adds to a series of recent legal challenges against Monsanto, citing carcinogenic properties in Roundup.

    Notably, the sum of over US$1.5 billion stands as one of the largest damage awards imposed on a US corporate defendant this year.

    Bayer has indicated its intention to contest the verdicts and maintains its stance that the product, Roundup, is safe.

    According to Fortune, these recent developments intensify the challenges for Bill Anderson, who assumed the role of chief executive in June.

    Anderson revealed this month that he’s considering a potential split of the conglomerate into separate entities focused on pharmaceuticals and agriculture.

    Anderson steps into leadership at Bayer during a period fraught with difficulties, particularly stemming from the US$63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, which has soured.

    Additionally, the pharmaceutical unit grapples with patent expirations affecting critical treatments.

    Currently, Bayer is embroiled in another Roundup trial, this time before a state court jury in Philadelphia, involving a plaintiff attributing his cancer to the weed killer.

    The trial is ongoing, and closing arguments are anticipated later this month or in early December, as per lawyers involved in the case.

    Furthermore, another case is scheduled to commence in California in December, while at least three additional cases are slated to begin in Philadelphia in the upcoming months.

    Singapore sovereign fund Temasek invested in Bayer in 2018

    In April 2018, Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek Holdings decided to invest in Bayer. It bought 3.6 per cent stake for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share at the time.

    The money is used as part of Bayer’s plan to takeover Monsanto. Together with its existing holding in Bayer, Temasek would then own about 4 per cent in Bayer after the transaction.

    By June 2018, with Temasek’s help, Bayer successfully acquired Monsanto to become the biggest seed and agricultural chemical maker in the world.

    However, since the acquisition, lawsuits have been mounting in the US whether Monsanto’s “Roundup” causes cancer.

    Two months after Temasek helped Bayer to acquire Monsanto, in a landmark verdict in August 2018, Monsanto was ordered by a San Francisco court to pay US$289 million in punitive damages and compensatory damages. Bayer’s subsidiary, Monsanto, appealed several times, but lost.

    So far, since the acquisition of Monsanto 5 years ago, Bayer agreed to settle much of that litigation for US$10.9 billion in 2020. As of February this year, about 100,000 claims had been settled or deemed ineligible. Nevertheless, some 40,000 cases are still pending.

    In June, Bayer’s share price was around 52.33 euros, but now it plummetted to merely 33.99 euros as of Wednesday (22 Nov).

    A quick check online shows Temasek is still largely holding on to Bayer’s share. It is the largest shareholder of Bayer with 3.5% of holdings.

    Since Temasek bought 3 billion euros worth of shares at 96.77 euros in 2018, five years ago, that means it has lost 62.78 euros per share or approximately 64% of the original 3 billion euros investment.

    This amounts to about 1.9 billion euros or approximately S$2.7 billion of losses.




    https://gutzy.asia/2023/11/22/bayers-shares-drop-20-to-lowest-level-since-2009-due-to-drug-development-and-roundup-trial-setback
    Bayer’s shares drop 20% to lowest level since 2009 due to drug development and Roundup trial setback yeeloon22 November 2023 UNITED STATES: Bayer AG (ETR:BAYGN), a prominent German company in the pharmaceutical and agriculture sectors, experienced its largest-ever drop in market value, a staggering loss of approximately €7.6 billion (US$8.3 billion). This downturn follows substantial legal issues and setbacks in drug development, intensifying the pressure on the company’s new leadership to articulate a comprehensive turnaround strategy. The company’s shares, traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, plummeted by 20%, reaching their lowest point since 2009. This decline marks a 30% decrease in share value over the course of this year. One of the setbacks occurred when Bayer announced on Sunday (19 Nov) that the late-stage testing of a drug named asundexian, intended for heart disease treatment, would be halted due to its apparent lack of effectiveness. Initially projected in January to potentially yield sales surpassing US$5 billion, asundexian was anticipated to be a cornerstone in Bayer’s pharmaceutical portfolio for driving growth. Bayer’s Monsanto faces second wave of lawsuit Simultaneously, a significant legal blow struck Bayer when a Missouri Circuit Court, in a landmark ruling late on a Friday, mandated that Bayer AG’s subsidiary, Monsanto, must pay a combined sum exceeding US$1.5 billion to three former users of the company’s weed killing product, Roundup. These individuals attributed their cancers to the controversial product in what became one of the company’s most substantial trial losses related to the herbicide. This verdict adds to a series of recent legal challenges against Monsanto, citing carcinogenic properties in Roundup. Notably, the sum of over US$1.5 billion stands as one of the largest damage awards imposed on a US corporate defendant this year. Bayer has indicated its intention to contest the verdicts and maintains its stance that the product, Roundup, is safe. According to Fortune, these recent developments intensify the challenges for Bill Anderson, who assumed the role of chief executive in June. Anderson revealed this month that he’s considering a potential split of the conglomerate into separate entities focused on pharmaceuticals and agriculture. Anderson steps into leadership at Bayer during a period fraught with difficulties, particularly stemming from the US$63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, which has soured. Additionally, the pharmaceutical unit grapples with patent expirations affecting critical treatments. Currently, Bayer is embroiled in another Roundup trial, this time before a state court jury in Philadelphia, involving a plaintiff attributing his cancer to the weed killer. The trial is ongoing, and closing arguments are anticipated later this month or in early December, as per lawyers involved in the case. Furthermore, another case is scheduled to commence in California in December, while at least three additional cases are slated to begin in Philadelphia in the upcoming months. Singapore sovereign fund Temasek invested in Bayer in 2018 In April 2018, Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek Holdings decided to invest in Bayer. It bought 3.6 per cent stake for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share at the time. The money is used as part of Bayer’s plan to takeover Monsanto. Together with its existing holding in Bayer, Temasek would then own about 4 per cent in Bayer after the transaction. By June 2018, with Temasek’s help, Bayer successfully acquired Monsanto to become the biggest seed and agricultural chemical maker in the world. However, since the acquisition, lawsuits have been mounting in the US whether Monsanto’s “Roundup” causes cancer. Two months after Temasek helped Bayer to acquire Monsanto, in a landmark verdict in August 2018, Monsanto was ordered by a San Francisco court to pay US$289 million in punitive damages and compensatory damages. Bayer’s subsidiary, Monsanto, appealed several times, but lost. So far, since the acquisition of Monsanto 5 years ago, Bayer agreed to settle much of that litigation for US$10.9 billion in 2020. As of February this year, about 100,000 claims had been settled or deemed ineligible. Nevertheless, some 40,000 cases are still pending. In June, Bayer’s share price was around 52.33 euros, but now it plummetted to merely 33.99 euros as of Wednesday (22 Nov). A quick check online shows Temasek is still largely holding on to Bayer’s share. It is the largest shareholder of Bayer with 3.5% of holdings. Since Temasek bought 3 billion euros worth of shares at 96.77 euros in 2018, five years ago, that means it has lost 62.78 euros per share or approximately 64% of the original 3 billion euros investment. This amounts to about 1.9 billion euros or approximately S$2.7 billion of losses. https://gutzy.asia/2023/11/22/bayers-shares-drop-20-to-lowest-level-since-2009-due-to-drug-development-and-roundup-trial-setback
    GUTZY.ASIA
    Bayer's shares drop 20% to lowest level since 2009 due to drug development and Roundup trial setback
    In a severe blow, Bayer AG suffered its largest market value drop due to setbacks with a new anti-clotting drug and a hefty $1.5 billion fine against its subsidiary, Monsanto, in a recent Roundup trial. Bayer's shares plunged by 20%, reaching their lowest point since 2009. Singapore's Temasek Holdings, which invested 3 billion euros in Bayer in 2018, is now facing a significant 64% loss per share.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 43: Israeli forces order evacuation of Al-Shifa’ hospital, bomb schools in Gaza
    Civilians flee Al-Shifa’ Hospital carrying people in wheelchairs and gurneys as Israeli forces order an immediate evacuation on Saturday morning. Only 120 patients in a critical state reportedly left, with five doctors to care for them.

    Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau
    November 18, 2023
    Israeli forces outside Al-Shifa' hospital (Screenshot: Al Jazeera)
    Israeli forces outside Al-Shifa’ hospital, published November 18, 2023 (Screenshot: Al Jazeera)
    Casualties

    11,470 killed*, including 4,707 children, and more than 29,000 wounded in Gaza
    More than 200 Palestinians killed and 2,750 injured in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,200
    *This figure covers the casualties from October 7 to November 16. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip (particularly in northern Gaza), the Gaza Ministry of Health has not been able to regularly update its tolls.

    Key Developments

    Israeli forces ordered the immediate evacuation of Al-Shifa’ hospital on Saturday morning — leaving only 120 patients in critical state and five doctors on the premises.
    Civilians flee Al-Shifa’ carrying people in wheelchairs and gurneys, amid reports that Israeli forces barred men from entering southern Gaza.
    Israeli forces reportedly took the bodies of 18 Palestinians from Al-Shifa’, with no information on their whereabouts.
    An Israeli airstrike on al-Fakhura school in Jabalia refugee camp on Saturday has killed at least 50 people.
    Scores of deadly Israeli airstrikes pummel Gaza schools, mosques, and homes, killing at least 26 in the southern town of Khan Younis.
    Israel decides to allow two trucks’ worth of fuel a day into Gaza — a paltry amount that has nonetheless angered the government’s most extreme members.
    Forty-eight Democrats send letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on the White House to pressure Israel to let more fuel into Gaza.
    The WHO says Gaza’s health system is “on its knees”.
    Israeli media reports that Israeli army killed Vice President of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmed Bahr.
    Fighting continues between Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli ground forces in northern Gaza and Gaza City.
    In the West Bank, Israeli forces bombed the Fatah party headquarters in Balata refugee camp, killing five.
    At least two other Palestinians die in the West Bank after being shot by Israeli forces, while armed confrontations continue in several areas of the occupied territory.
    Palestinians raise the alarm about growing Israeli settler threat of takeover of Palestinian homes in the Old City’s Armenian Quarter in occupied East Jerusalem.
    Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon continue to trade fire with Israeli forces, as Lebanese media reports several wounded and an aluminum factory hit in southern Lebanon.
    The International Criminal Court said on Friday that five countries had sent referrals requesting it investigate whether Israel’s actions in the wake of October 7 constituted crimes.
    Israel’s Channel 12 says Hamas fighters who staged Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7 most likely weren’t aware that a music festival was taking place in Reim.
    Saturday marks the first anniversary of the adoption of the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. U.N.’s Martin Griffiths says “there is no greater reminder of the importance of its universal endorsement and implementation” than the current situation in Palestine.
    U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation calls on Israel to “stop using water as a weapon of war.”
    Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tells conference in Bahrain: “Israel says it wants to wipe out Hamas. There’s a lot of military people here, I just don’t understand how this objective can be realised.”
    Thousands of Israelis, including opposition leader Yair Lapid, march to prime minister’s office in Jerusalem calling for the return of hostages held by Hamas.
    Biden’s Middle East adviser Brett McGurk says humanitarian relief to Gaza hinges on release of Israeli hostages, as Qatari mediators were reportedly negotiating this week for the release of around 50 civilian hostages held by Palestinian resistance groups in exchange for a three-day ceasefire.
    Despite numerous reports of Washington applying more pressure onto Israel in private, an Israeli official tells The Times of Israel that Tel Aviv doesn’t feel that the U.S. is closing its “window of support”.
    Israeli army generals express concern over behavior of a number of soldiers in Gaza, including playing soccer and racing military vehicles.
    Al-Shifa’ hospital evacuated, Israeli forces reportedly stop Palestinians from fleeing south

    Staff at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa’ hospital said that the Israeli army had called for the medical complex — which has been occupied by Israeli forces since Wednesday after days of siege — to be evacuated “within the hour” on Saturday morning, causing widespread panic among the estimated 7,000 medical staff, patients, and civilians who have taken refuge in the biggest medical complex of the Gaza Strip.

    While the Israeli army Arabic spokesperson Avichay Adraee denied the report, Israeli forces have repeatedly called for Al-Shifa’ to be evacuated in past weeks, amid its unconvincing claims that the hospital sits above a Hamas command center.

    “I categorically deny these false allegations [from the Israeli army] … I am telling you we were forced to leave by gunpoint,” Director-General of hospitals in Gaza Mohammed Zaqout told Al Jazeera. An AFP journalist at Al-Shifa’ meanwhile reported that Israeli forces issued the call for evacuation over loudspeaker.

    WAFA news agency reported that hundreds of people waving white flags, pushing wounded in wheelchairs and gurneys, left the hospital on foot towards southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee over the past 43 days.

    But medical sources on the ground have said it is “impossible” to evacuate everyone from the hospital, and that 120 critically wounded or particularly fragile patients were left in the hospital, along with five doctors.

    The hospital had notably been caring for 39 premature babies, whose incubators ran out of power last week. Munir al-Barsh, the general-director of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said a fourth infant had died Friday, and that five of the remaining 35 babies were severely ill, amid lack of access to electricity, medical supplies, food, and safe drinking water. At least 24 patients at Al-Shifa’ have died in the past 24 hours.

    Al-Bursh also accused Israeli forces on Friday of taking the bodies of at least 18 Palestinians — who had been left in the hospital courtyard for days as Israeli snipers prevented people from burying them — and took them to an unknown location

    As of midday on Saturday, Al-Shifa’ director Mohammed Abu Salmiya told Al Jazeera that the hospital was almost completely deserted, with Israeli soldiers in “total control” of the medical complex.

    Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces had set up a checkpoint on Salah el-Din Street, one of the two main roads used by Palestinians fleeing northern Gaza, and detained men, only allowing women and children to head south.

    Deadly bombings hit Gaza schools, Israel allows tiny amounts of fuel in

    As has been the case for more than 42 days, Israeli airstrikes have continued to pummel the tiny Gaza Strip — both in the north, where Israel has also been carrying out a ground invasion, but also in the south, where Israeli officials have repeatedly called on Palestinian civilians to evacuate for their “safety”.

    The director of Al-Wafa hospital and elderly care home, was among those killed in an airstrike in the al-Zahra neighborhood of Gaza City.

    In northern and central Gaza, including Gaza City, deadly airstrikes were reported in al-Qasasib, the UNRWA-run al-Fakhura and al-Falah schools, Beit Lahia, Deir al-Balah, Jabalia refugee camp, Nuseirat refugee camp, the Grand Mosque in al-Maghazi refugee camp, and in the vicinity of the Indonesian hospital.

    Initial reports by Al Jazeera estimated that 50 people had been killed by the bombing of al-Fakhura school in Jabalia refugee camp. Another strike in Jabalia reportedly killed 32 people.

    In southern Gaza, at least 26 people, many of them children, were killed by Israeli airstrikes on residential buildings in Khan Younis. A cultural center was also reported bombed in Rafah.

    Due to the breakdown of communication services, particularly in northern Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health says it has been facing “significant difficulties” in updating its data regarding death tolls for the past week. Numbers issued cannot take into account the full scope of devastation, as untold numbers of dead are unable to be retrieved from the rubble, whether due to the presence of Israeli ground forces in northern Gaza, or the lack of fuel and communication services affecting rescue teams’ ability to be on the scene quickly and with all necessary materiel.

    Meanwhile, Israeli forces are now dropping their pretense of maintaining a “safe zone” in southern Gaza. “We are determined to keep moving forward. This will happen wherever Hamas is, which includes the southern Gaza Strip,” Army spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Friday. “It will happen at a time, place, and under conditions that are favorable to us.” The Financial Times quoted Israeli army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi on Friday as saying that “as far as we are concerned, more and more regions [will be targeted].”

    FT further reported that the Israeli army had dropped thousands of leaflets over some neighborhoods on Khan Younis telling people to evacuate their homes, claiming that it would set up a “safe zone” in a 14-square-kilometer area in southwest Gaza — a unilateral move that has already been rejected by the heads of all major U.N. humanitarian agencies.

    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said on Friday that “the current Israeli proposal for a so-called ‘safe zone’ is untenable: the zone is neither safe nor feasible for the number of people in need.”

    Türk also hinted at the need for an international investigation against Israel, as the International Criminal Court said on Friday that five countries had sent referrals requesting it investigate whether Israel’s actions in the wake of October 7 constituted crimes.

    “No-one is above the law. Breaches of international humanitarian law – even war crimes – committed by one party do not, ever, absolve the other from compliance with the principles of the law of war and their human rights obligations,” Türk said. “All serious allegations of multiple and profound breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law – whoever commits them – demand rigorous investigation and full accountability.”

    “Where national authorities prove unwilling or unable to carry out such investigations, and where there are contested narratives on particularly significant incidents, international investigation is called for.”

    The Gaza Strip was already one of the most densely populated places on earth before the mass displacement of 1.5 million of its 2.3 million inhabitants in the past 43 days. A number of Israeli officials have not hidden their desire to expel Palestinians from parts or all of Gaza altogether. A senior U.N. official told FT that they had warned the United States of “a Nakba 2”, in reference to the 750,000 Palestinians who were forcibly displaced in 1948.

    “We do not believe the Israelis will allow those displaced from the north to go back,” the official said.

    Telecommunications had partially returned to Gaza on Friday, after a limited amount of fuel was allowed in the Strip, the Palestinian Authority minister of telecommunications and information technology said. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that this was the fourth communications blackout in Gaza since October 7, but the first caused by a lack of fuel.

    Israel’s war cabinet decided on Friday to begin allowing two trucks of fuel a day into the besieged Gaza Strip starting on Saturday — only 2 to 4 percent of the amount that entered Gaza daily before the war, The Times of Israel reported.

    The cabinet said the move would “enable the minimal maintenance necessary for water, sewer and sanitary systems to prevent pandemics that could spread to the entire area, hurting residents of the Strip as well as our own forces and potentially spreading into Israel as well.”

    Mentioning pressure from the U.S. government, the statement added that the limited entry of fuel would also “offer Israel the necessary diplomatic maneuvering room to eliminate Hamas.”

    Despite the self-interested reasoning put forward by the war cabinet, which includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister without portfolio Benny Gantz, the decision has sparked outrage from among the most extreme members of Netanyahu’s far-right government.

    “So long as our hostages don’t even get a visit from the Red Cross, there is no sense in giving the enemy humanitarian gifts,” the Times of Israel quoted National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir as saying.

    These statements come as World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Richard Peeperkorn said on Friday that Gaza’s health system was “on its knees” while faced with “endless need”. According to the WHO, 75 percent of hospitals in Gaza were non-functional as of Friday. The remaining 11 hospitals were only “partially operational and admitting patients with extremely limited services”.

    Seven Palestinians killed in West Bank, East Jerusalem under threat

    While most international attention has been focused on Gaza, violence continued to rage on in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with Türk saying on Friday that he was “ringing the loudest possible alarm bell about the West Bank.”

    An Israeli drone bombed the Fatah party headquarters in Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank on Friday night, killing five Palestinians, identified at Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades commander Mohammed Zuhd, Mohammed al-Musaimi, Mohammed Hashash, Mohammed Mustafa, and Ali Faraj.

    WAFA news agency reported that, following the airstrike, Israeli forces went on to blow up a home and destroy roads with a bulldozer in Balata.

    At least one other Palestinian was killed in the occupied West Bank on Saturday morning, identified as Omar Shahrouri during an Israeli army raid in Tubas during which two other Palestinians were wounded.

    Meanwhile, 21-year-old Jamal Mahmoud Masharqa from Jenin refugee camp succumbed on Friday to wounds he had sustained during an Israeli raid on November 9.

    Confrontations between armed Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli forces were reported overnight in Balata, Tubas, Yabad, and Jericho.

    Meanwhile, Palestinians were reported wounded by Israeli forces or Israeli settlers in Kafr Dan, Khirbet Tana, Dhahariya, Masafer Yatta, Burin, and Hebron. At least 38 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces overnight across the West Bank

    Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas into a school in occupied East Jerusalem’s Issawiya neighborhood on Friday, attacking teachers and students and leaving at least three students with broken bones.

    Israeli forces and settlers have meanwhile been escalating threats and violence against Palestinian residents of the Old City’s Armenian Quarter, in what has been described as an “existential threat” following a deal that could reportedly see 25 percent of the quarter sold to settlers, in violation of international law.

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    https://mondoweiss.net/2023/11/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-43-israeli-forces-order-evacuation-of-al-shifa-hospital-bomb-schools-in-gaza/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 43: Israeli forces order evacuation of Al-Shifa’ hospital, bomb schools in Gaza Civilians flee Al-Shifa’ Hospital carrying people in wheelchairs and gurneys as Israeli forces order an immediate evacuation on Saturday morning. Only 120 patients in a critical state reportedly left, with five doctors to care for them. Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau November 18, 2023 Israeli forces outside Al-Shifa' hospital (Screenshot: Al Jazeera) Israeli forces outside Al-Shifa’ hospital, published November 18, 2023 (Screenshot: Al Jazeera) Casualties 11,470 killed*, including 4,707 children, and more than 29,000 wounded in Gaza More than 200 Palestinians killed and 2,750 injured in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,200 *This figure covers the casualties from October 7 to November 16. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip (particularly in northern Gaza), the Gaza Ministry of Health has not been able to regularly update its tolls. Key Developments Israeli forces ordered the immediate evacuation of Al-Shifa’ hospital on Saturday morning — leaving only 120 patients in critical state and five doctors on the premises. Civilians flee Al-Shifa’ carrying people in wheelchairs and gurneys, amid reports that Israeli forces barred men from entering southern Gaza. Israeli forces reportedly took the bodies of 18 Palestinians from Al-Shifa’, with no information on their whereabouts. An Israeli airstrike on al-Fakhura school in Jabalia refugee camp on Saturday has killed at least 50 people. Scores of deadly Israeli airstrikes pummel Gaza schools, mosques, and homes, killing at least 26 in the southern town of Khan Younis. Israel decides to allow two trucks’ worth of fuel a day into Gaza — a paltry amount that has nonetheless angered the government’s most extreme members. Forty-eight Democrats send letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on the White House to pressure Israel to let more fuel into Gaza. The WHO says Gaza’s health system is “on its knees”. Israeli media reports that Israeli army killed Vice President of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmed Bahr. Fighting continues between Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli ground forces in northern Gaza and Gaza City. In the West Bank, Israeli forces bombed the Fatah party headquarters in Balata refugee camp, killing five. At least two other Palestinians die in the West Bank after being shot by Israeli forces, while armed confrontations continue in several areas of the occupied territory. Palestinians raise the alarm about growing Israeli settler threat of takeover of Palestinian homes in the Old City’s Armenian Quarter in occupied East Jerusalem. Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon continue to trade fire with Israeli forces, as Lebanese media reports several wounded and an aluminum factory hit in southern Lebanon. The International Criminal Court said on Friday that five countries had sent referrals requesting it investigate whether Israel’s actions in the wake of October 7 constituted crimes. Israel’s Channel 12 says Hamas fighters who staged Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7 most likely weren’t aware that a music festival was taking place in Reim. Saturday marks the first anniversary of the adoption of the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. U.N.’s Martin Griffiths says “there is no greater reminder of the importance of its universal endorsement and implementation” than the current situation in Palestine. U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation calls on Israel to “stop using water as a weapon of war.” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tells conference in Bahrain: “Israel says it wants to wipe out Hamas. There’s a lot of military people here, I just don’t understand how this objective can be realised.” Thousands of Israelis, including opposition leader Yair Lapid, march to prime minister’s office in Jerusalem calling for the return of hostages held by Hamas. Biden’s Middle East adviser Brett McGurk says humanitarian relief to Gaza hinges on release of Israeli hostages, as Qatari mediators were reportedly negotiating this week for the release of around 50 civilian hostages held by Palestinian resistance groups in exchange for a three-day ceasefire. Despite numerous reports of Washington applying more pressure onto Israel in private, an Israeli official tells The Times of Israel that Tel Aviv doesn’t feel that the U.S. is closing its “window of support”. Israeli army generals express concern over behavior of a number of soldiers in Gaza, including playing soccer and racing military vehicles. Al-Shifa’ hospital evacuated, Israeli forces reportedly stop Palestinians from fleeing south Staff at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa’ hospital said that the Israeli army had called for the medical complex — which has been occupied by Israeli forces since Wednesday after days of siege — to be evacuated “within the hour” on Saturday morning, causing widespread panic among the estimated 7,000 medical staff, patients, and civilians who have taken refuge in the biggest medical complex of the Gaza Strip. While the Israeli army Arabic spokesperson Avichay Adraee denied the report, Israeli forces have repeatedly called for Al-Shifa’ to be evacuated in past weeks, amid its unconvincing claims that the hospital sits above a Hamas command center. “I categorically deny these false allegations [from the Israeli army] … I am telling you we were forced to leave by gunpoint,” Director-General of hospitals in Gaza Mohammed Zaqout told Al Jazeera. An AFP journalist at Al-Shifa’ meanwhile reported that Israeli forces issued the call for evacuation over loudspeaker. WAFA news agency reported that hundreds of people waving white flags, pushing wounded in wheelchairs and gurneys, left the hospital on foot towards southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee over the past 43 days. But medical sources on the ground have said it is “impossible” to evacuate everyone from the hospital, and that 120 critically wounded or particularly fragile patients were left in the hospital, along with five doctors. The hospital had notably been caring for 39 premature babies, whose incubators ran out of power last week. Munir al-Barsh, the general-director of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said a fourth infant had died Friday, and that five of the remaining 35 babies were severely ill, amid lack of access to electricity, medical supplies, food, and safe drinking water. At least 24 patients at Al-Shifa’ have died in the past 24 hours. Al-Bursh also accused Israeli forces on Friday of taking the bodies of at least 18 Palestinians — who had been left in the hospital courtyard for days as Israeli snipers prevented people from burying them — and took them to an unknown location As of midday on Saturday, Al-Shifa’ director Mohammed Abu Salmiya told Al Jazeera that the hospital was almost completely deserted, with Israeli soldiers in “total control” of the medical complex. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces had set up a checkpoint on Salah el-Din Street, one of the two main roads used by Palestinians fleeing northern Gaza, and detained men, only allowing women and children to head south. Deadly bombings hit Gaza schools, Israel allows tiny amounts of fuel in As has been the case for more than 42 days, Israeli airstrikes have continued to pummel the tiny Gaza Strip — both in the north, where Israel has also been carrying out a ground invasion, but also in the south, where Israeli officials have repeatedly called on Palestinian civilians to evacuate for their “safety”. The director of Al-Wafa hospital and elderly care home, was among those killed in an airstrike in the al-Zahra neighborhood of Gaza City. In northern and central Gaza, including Gaza City, deadly airstrikes were reported in al-Qasasib, the UNRWA-run al-Fakhura and al-Falah schools, Beit Lahia, Deir al-Balah, Jabalia refugee camp, Nuseirat refugee camp, the Grand Mosque in al-Maghazi refugee camp, and in the vicinity of the Indonesian hospital. Initial reports by Al Jazeera estimated that 50 people had been killed by the bombing of al-Fakhura school in Jabalia refugee camp. Another strike in Jabalia reportedly killed 32 people. In southern Gaza, at least 26 people, many of them children, were killed by Israeli airstrikes on residential buildings in Khan Younis. A cultural center was also reported bombed in Rafah. Due to the breakdown of communication services, particularly in northern Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health says it has been facing “significant difficulties” in updating its data regarding death tolls for the past week. Numbers issued cannot take into account the full scope of devastation, as untold numbers of dead are unable to be retrieved from the rubble, whether due to the presence of Israeli ground forces in northern Gaza, or the lack of fuel and communication services affecting rescue teams’ ability to be on the scene quickly and with all necessary materiel. Meanwhile, Israeli forces are now dropping their pretense of maintaining a “safe zone” in southern Gaza. “We are determined to keep moving forward. This will happen wherever Hamas is, which includes the southern Gaza Strip,” Army spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Friday. “It will happen at a time, place, and under conditions that are favorable to us.” The Financial Times quoted Israeli army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi on Friday as saying that “as far as we are concerned, more and more regions [will be targeted].” FT further reported that the Israeli army had dropped thousands of leaflets over some neighborhoods on Khan Younis telling people to evacuate their homes, claiming that it would set up a “safe zone” in a 14-square-kilometer area in southwest Gaza — a unilateral move that has already been rejected by the heads of all major U.N. humanitarian agencies. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said on Friday that “the current Israeli proposal for a so-called ‘safe zone’ is untenable: the zone is neither safe nor feasible for the number of people in need.” Türk also hinted at the need for an international investigation against Israel, as the International Criminal Court said on Friday that five countries had sent referrals requesting it investigate whether Israel’s actions in the wake of October 7 constituted crimes. “No-one is above the law. Breaches of international humanitarian law – even war crimes – committed by one party do not, ever, absolve the other from compliance with the principles of the law of war and their human rights obligations,” Türk said. “All serious allegations of multiple and profound breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law – whoever commits them – demand rigorous investigation and full accountability.” “Where national authorities prove unwilling or unable to carry out such investigations, and where there are contested narratives on particularly significant incidents, international investigation is called for.” The Gaza Strip was already one of the most densely populated places on earth before the mass displacement of 1.5 million of its 2.3 million inhabitants in the past 43 days. A number of Israeli officials have not hidden their desire to expel Palestinians from parts or all of Gaza altogether. A senior U.N. official told FT that they had warned the United States of “a Nakba 2”, in reference to the 750,000 Palestinians who were forcibly displaced in 1948. “We do not believe the Israelis will allow those displaced from the north to go back,” the official said. Telecommunications had partially returned to Gaza on Friday, after a limited amount of fuel was allowed in the Strip, the Palestinian Authority minister of telecommunications and information technology said. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that this was the fourth communications blackout in Gaza since October 7, but the first caused by a lack of fuel. Israel’s war cabinet decided on Friday to begin allowing two trucks of fuel a day into the besieged Gaza Strip starting on Saturday — only 2 to 4 percent of the amount that entered Gaza daily before the war, The Times of Israel reported. The cabinet said the move would “enable the minimal maintenance necessary for water, sewer and sanitary systems to prevent pandemics that could spread to the entire area, hurting residents of the Strip as well as our own forces and potentially spreading into Israel as well.” Mentioning pressure from the U.S. government, the statement added that the limited entry of fuel would also “offer Israel the necessary diplomatic maneuvering room to eliminate Hamas.” Despite the self-interested reasoning put forward by the war cabinet, which includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister without portfolio Benny Gantz, the decision has sparked outrage from among the most extreme members of Netanyahu’s far-right government. “So long as our hostages don’t even get a visit from the Red Cross, there is no sense in giving the enemy humanitarian gifts,” the Times of Israel quoted National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir as saying. These statements come as World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Richard Peeperkorn said on Friday that Gaza’s health system was “on its knees” while faced with “endless need”. According to the WHO, 75 percent of hospitals in Gaza were non-functional as of Friday. The remaining 11 hospitals were only “partially operational and admitting patients with extremely limited services”. Seven Palestinians killed in West Bank, East Jerusalem under threat While most international attention has been focused on Gaza, violence continued to rage on in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with Türk saying on Friday that he was “ringing the loudest possible alarm bell about the West Bank.” An Israeli drone bombed the Fatah party headquarters in Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank on Friday night, killing five Palestinians, identified at Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades commander Mohammed Zuhd, Mohammed al-Musaimi, Mohammed Hashash, Mohammed Mustafa, and Ali Faraj. WAFA news agency reported that, following the airstrike, Israeli forces went on to blow up a home and destroy roads with a bulldozer in Balata. At least one other Palestinian was killed in the occupied West Bank on Saturday morning, identified as Omar Shahrouri during an Israeli army raid in Tubas during which two other Palestinians were wounded. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Jamal Mahmoud Masharqa from Jenin refugee camp succumbed on Friday to wounds he had sustained during an Israeli raid on November 9. Confrontations between armed Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli forces were reported overnight in Balata, Tubas, Yabad, and Jericho. Meanwhile, Palestinians were reported wounded by Israeli forces or Israeli settlers in Kafr Dan, Khirbet Tana, Dhahariya, Masafer Yatta, Burin, and Hebron. At least 38 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces overnight across the West Bank Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas into a school in occupied East Jerusalem’s Issawiya neighborhood on Friday, attacking teachers and students and leaving at least three students with broken bones. Israeli forces and settlers have meanwhile been escalating threats and violence against Palestinian residents of the Old City’s Armenian Quarter, in what has been described as an “existential threat” following a deal that could reportedly see 25 percent of the quarter sold to settlers, in violation of international law. Before you go – we need your support At Mondoweiss, we understand the power of telling Palestinian stories. For 17 years, we have pushed back when the mainstream media published lies or echoed politicians’ hateful rhetoric. Now, Palestinian voices are more important than ever. Our traffic has increased ten times since October 7, and we need your help to cover our increased expenses. Support our journalists with a donation today. https://mondoweiss.net/2023/11/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-43-israeli-forces-order-evacuation-of-al-shifa-hospital-bomb-schools-in-gaza/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 43: Israeli forces order evacuation of Al-Shifa’ hospital, bomb schools in Gaza
    Civilians flee Al-Shifa’ Hospital carrying people in wheelchairs and gurneys as Israeli forces order an immediate evacuation on Saturday morning. Only 120 patients in a critical state reportedly left, with five doctors to care for them.
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  • Have you ever thought about turning a small investment into $500, $1K, or even more overnight? Well, guess what? You can, and the opportunity is right here, right now!

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    Have you ever thought about turning a small investment into $500, $1K, or even more overnight? Well, guess what? You can, and the opportunity is right here, right now! If you’re wondering where to put your energy, getting into the law niche is a smart move for your online adventure. It’s a niche with lots of demand, which is awesome for your online business. But starting something new can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. That’s where Attorney Marketing Suite Vol.1 comes in as your savior. Think of it like a secret weapon to guide you through all the marketing stuff in this niche. Attorney Marketing Suite Vol.1 gives you a simpler and more successful marketing journey, even if you’re just starting and don’t know all the details yet. Don’t miss this chance to embark on an exciting journey with Bongoinfo, as I have prepared a wide range of handy bonuses + extra resources for you at the end of the post as well. Let’s get started! Read Details Here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/attorney-marketing-suite-vol1-review-bongoinfo-pqj7c #LegalMarketingSuccess #AttorneyMarketingSuite #LegalIndustryRevolution #DigitalMarketingforLawyers #LawFirmBoost #LegalVisibility #MarketingMagic #ClientGettingStrategies #LegalNicheDominance #WebAgencyFortune #DawnVuCreators #LawFirmOnlinePresence #SocialMediaForAttorneys #SEOforLawyers #LegalMarketingMaterials #LawyerWebDesign #BankruptcyAttorney #FamilyLawMarketing #AttorneyVideos #MarketingSuiteSuccess #LegalServicesElevated #DFYMarketing #LegalContentStrategies #LawFirmGrowth #ClientEngagementTips #ProfitableLegalMarketing #AttorneyBusinessSuccess #WebAgencyFortuneProducts #LegalMarketingAgency #DigitalMarketingMastery #WebMagic #BoostYourTraffic #SEOforSuccess #SearchEngineMagic #GoogenieLaunch #SEORevolution #DigitalDreams #WishGrantedSEO #AffiliateMagic #SEOTools #GoogenieContest #WinWithGoogenie #SaturdayMagicLaunch #innovation #management #digitalmarketing #technology #creativity #futurism #startups #marketing #socialmedia #socialnetworking #motivation #personaldevelopment #jobinterviews #sustainability #personalbranding #education #productivity #travel #sales #socialentrepreneurship #fundraising #law #strategy #culture #fashion #business #networking #hiring #health #inspiration
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    Attorney Marketing Suite Vol.1 Review
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  • French senators propose CRIMINALIZING anyone who criticizes Israel

    Sixteen French senators submitted a bill last week, aiming to penalize anti-Zionism in France. For analysts, this is a seemingly suppressive move in cracking down on pro-Palestinian protests.
    Article 25 of the bill specified that those who contest the existence of the State of Israel by one of the means set out in Article 23 shall be punished by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros. "Insult committed against the State of Israel, by any of the means set out in Article 23, shall be punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros. Those who, by the same means, have directly provoked hatred or violence against the State of Israel shall be punished by five years imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 euros," the bill stated.

    Moreover, Article 23 of the bill covered the transmission of offensive words as follows: by speeches, shouts, or threats made in public places or meetings, or by writings, prints, drawings, engravings, paintings, emblems, images, or any other written medium, speech or image, sold or distributed, offered for sale or exhibited in public places or meetings.


    Senator Stephane Le Rudulier of the LR party (the Republicans) announced via a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had submitted the text with 15 other politicians. The bill represents "anti-Zionism as prohibited and condemned as anti-Semitism," the politician said. He also likened anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, arguing that "the rise of anti-Semitism is fueled by the hatred of Israel, a disguised form of hatred towards Jews."

    In a letter addressed to France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne last month, he deplored the "existence of a fifth column of Palestinian terrorism in France" and called for the dissolution of pro-Palestine parties such as La France Insoumise (LFI), the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) and the Jeune Garde, which he alleged are promoting terrorism.

    Brighteon.TV


    Earlier in October France's interior minister ordered local authorities to ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations. French President Emmanuel Macron urged French people not to allow the war in the Mideast to erupt into tensions at home. Right after Macron spoke on TV about the Mideast conflict, Paris police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse pro-Palestinian protesters who had defied a ban and demonstrated Thursday against the Israeli government. "Let us not bring ideological adventures here (to France) by imitation or by projection. Let us not add national fractures ... to international fractures," Macron said. "Let us stay united."

    France's Jewish population, estimated at more than half a million, is the largest in Europe and the third-biggest in the world, after Israel and the United States.

    Paris protesters chant: "Israel, assassin," "Macron, accomplice"

    Thousands of protesters marched through the rain-dampened streets of Paris on November 4, with some shouting "Israel, assassin."

    They were loudly denouncing Macron, chanting "Macron, accomplice" and showing support for Palestine while shouting "Palestine will live, Palestine will win," as they carried Palestinian flags. Some had placards that read "Immediate ceasefire," a cry also recited repeatedly by the crowd. Banners on a sound system truck at the center of the march read "Stop the massacre in Gaza."

    Paris’s police chief authorized the march, which ran between two large public squares in eastern Paris, Republique and Nation, but vowed that any behavior deemed "antisemitic or sympathetic toward terrorism will not be tolerated by police officers mobilized to keep order." It was one of the first, big gatherings in support of Palestinians to be legally allowed in Paris since the Hamas attack on October 7.

    Ultimately, the rallyists are calling for peace between the two conflicting nations. "We came here today to show the people of France's solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support for peace, for a peace solution with two states, an Israeli state and a Palestinian state," said Antoine Guerreiro, a 30-year-old civil servant. Meanwhile, Wahid Barek, a 66-year-old retiree, lamented the deaths of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. "I deplore civilian deaths on both sides. Civilians have nothing to do with these actions. It really is shameful," he said. (Related: Days after saying 'every Jewish person is a Zionist,' ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says anti-Zionist Jews are a 'hate group.')

    Catch the latest news about the Israel-Gaza conflict on WWIII.news.

    Sources for this article include:

    HarapanDaily.com

    MoroccoWorldNews.com

    APNews.com

    TimesOfIsrael.com

    VOANews.com


    https://www.naturalnews.com/2023-11-14-french-senators-propose-to-criminalize-israel-critics.html
    French senators propose CRIMINALIZING anyone who criticizes Israel Sixteen French senators submitted a bill last week, aiming to penalize anti-Zionism in France. For analysts, this is a seemingly suppressive move in cracking down on pro-Palestinian protests. Article 25 of the bill specified that those who contest the existence of the State of Israel by one of the means set out in Article 23 shall be punished by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros. "Insult committed against the State of Israel, by any of the means set out in Article 23, shall be punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros. Those who, by the same means, have directly provoked hatred or violence against the State of Israel shall be punished by five years imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 euros," the bill stated. Moreover, Article 23 of the bill covered the transmission of offensive words as follows: by speeches, shouts, or threats made in public places or meetings, or by writings, prints, drawings, engravings, paintings, emblems, images, or any other written medium, speech or image, sold or distributed, offered for sale or exhibited in public places or meetings. Senator Stephane Le Rudulier of the LR party (the Republicans) announced via a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had submitted the text with 15 other politicians. The bill represents "anti-Zionism as prohibited and condemned as anti-Semitism," the politician said. He also likened anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, arguing that "the rise of anti-Semitism is fueled by the hatred of Israel, a disguised form of hatred towards Jews." In a letter addressed to France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne last month, he deplored the "existence of a fifth column of Palestinian terrorism in France" and called for the dissolution of pro-Palestine parties such as La France Insoumise (LFI), the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) and the Jeune Garde, which he alleged are promoting terrorism. Brighteon.TV Earlier in October France's interior minister ordered local authorities to ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations. French President Emmanuel Macron urged French people not to allow the war in the Mideast to erupt into tensions at home. Right after Macron spoke on TV about the Mideast conflict, Paris police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse pro-Palestinian protesters who had defied a ban and demonstrated Thursday against the Israeli government. "Let us not bring ideological adventures here (to France) by imitation or by projection. Let us not add national fractures ... to international fractures," Macron said. "Let us stay united." France's Jewish population, estimated at more than half a million, is the largest in Europe and the third-biggest in the world, after Israel and the United States. Paris protesters chant: "Israel, assassin," "Macron, accomplice" Thousands of protesters marched through the rain-dampened streets of Paris on November 4, with some shouting "Israel, assassin." They were loudly denouncing Macron, chanting "Macron, accomplice" and showing support for Palestine while shouting "Palestine will live, Palestine will win," as they carried Palestinian flags. Some had placards that read "Immediate ceasefire," a cry also recited repeatedly by the crowd. Banners on a sound system truck at the center of the march read "Stop the massacre in Gaza." Paris’s police chief authorized the march, which ran between two large public squares in eastern Paris, Republique and Nation, but vowed that any behavior deemed "antisemitic or sympathetic toward terrorism will not be tolerated by police officers mobilized to keep order." It was one of the first, big gatherings in support of Palestinians to be legally allowed in Paris since the Hamas attack on October 7. Ultimately, the rallyists are calling for peace between the two conflicting nations. "We came here today to show the people of France's solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support for peace, for a peace solution with two states, an Israeli state and a Palestinian state," said Antoine Guerreiro, a 30-year-old civil servant. Meanwhile, Wahid Barek, a 66-year-old retiree, lamented the deaths of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. "I deplore civilian deaths on both sides. Civilians have nothing to do with these actions. It really is shameful," he said. (Related: Days after saying 'every Jewish person is a Zionist,' ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says anti-Zionist Jews are a 'hate group.') Catch the latest news about the Israel-Gaza conflict on WWIII.news. Sources for this article include: HarapanDaily.com MoroccoWorldNews.com APNews.com TimesOfIsrael.com VOANews.com https://www.naturalnews.com/2023-11-14-french-senators-propose-to-criminalize-israel-critics.html
    WWW.NATURALNEWS.COM
    French senators propose CRIMINALIZING anyone who criticizes Israel – NaturalNews.com
    Sixteen French senators submitted a bill last week, aiming to penalize anti-Zionism in France. For analysts, this is a seemingly suppressive move in cracking down on pro-Palestinian protests. Article 25 of the bill specified that those who contest the existence of the State of Israel by one of the means set out in Article 23 […]
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  • What media reports fail to tell you about October 7
    Alison Weir November 13, 2023 bbc, Gaza, hamas
    What media reports fail to tell you about October 7
    BBC's Lucy Williamson is taken by the Israeli military to view kibbutz damage.regurgitating Israeli claims. (photo)
    It is journalistic malpractice for the media to still be repeating so credulously the Israeli military’s account of that day, including alleged Hamas atrocities that turned out to be fiction

    Media neglected to report much key information, e.g. Israeli military commanders had ordered the shelling of kibbutz houses in order to eliminate the “terrorists along with the hostages”… once Israeli special forces arrived: “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages”

    Are the images of charred bodies evidence that Israeli civilians and Hamas fighters burned alongside each other, after they were engulfed in flames caused by Israeli shelling of the houses?

    While this article focuses on BBC coverage, it’s analysis applies equally to US media. Some news coverage, in fact, has been considerably worse

    By Jonathan Cook, reposted from Jonathan Cook Substack, Nov 2, 2023.

    The BBC’s Lucy Williamson was taken once again this week to view the terrible destruction at a kibbutz community just outside Gaza attacked on October 7. As we have been shown so many times before, the Israeli homes were riddled with automatic fire, both inside and out. Sections of concrete wall had holes in them, or had collapsed entirely. And parts of the buildings that were still standing were deeply charred. It looked like a small snapshot of the current horrors in Gaza.

    There is a possible reason for those similarities – one that the BBC is studiously failing to report, despite mounting evidence from a variety of sources, including the Israeli media. Instead the BBC is sticking resolutely to a narrative crafted for them, and the rest of the western media, by the Israeli military: that Hamas alone caused all this destruction.

    Simply repeating that narrative without any caveats has by now reached the level of journalistic malpractice. And yet that is precisely what the BBC does night after night.

    Just a cursory look at the wreckage in the various kibbutz communities that were attacked that day should raise questions in the mind of any good reporter. Were Palestinian militants in a position to actually inflict physical damage to that degree and extent with the kind of light weapons they carried?

    And if not, who else was in a position to wreak such havoc other than Israel?

    A separate question that good journalists ought to be asking is this: What was the purpose of such damage? What did the Palestinian militants hope to achieve by it?

    The implicit answer the media is supplying is also the answer the Israeli military wants western publics to hear: that Hamas engaged in an orgy of gratuitious killing and savagery because … well, let’s say the quiet part out loud: because Palestinians are inherently savage.

    With that as the implicit narrative, western politicians have been handed a licence to cheerlead Israel as it murders a Palestinian child in Gaza every few minutes. Savages only understand the language of savagery, after all.

    Brutal tango

    For this reason alone, any journalist who wishes to avoid colluding in the genocide unfolding in Gaza ought to be increasingly wary of simply repeating the Israeli military’s claims about what happened on October 7. Certainly, they should not credulously regurgitate the latest agitprop from the IDF press office, as the BBC is so evidently doing.

    What we know from a growing body of evidence gleaned from the Israeli media and Israeli eyewitnesses – carefully laid out, for example, in this report from Max Blumenthal – is that the Israeli military was completely blindsided by that day’s events. Heavy artillery, including tanks and attack helicopters, was called in to deal with Hamas. That appears to have been a straightforward decision in regard to the military bases Hamas had overrun.

    Israel has a long-standing policy of seeking to prevent Israeli soldiers from being taken captive – chiefly, because of the high price Israeli society insists on paying to ensure soldiers are returned. For decades, the military’s so-called “Hannibal procedure” has directed Israeli troops to kill fellow soldiers rather than allow them to be taken captive. For the same reason, Hamas expends a great deal of energy in trying to find innovative ways to seize soldiers.

    The two sides are essentially engaged in a brutal tango in which each understands the other’s dance moves.

    Given Hamas’ situation, effectively managing the Israeli-controlled concentration camp of Gaza, it has limited resistance strategies available to it. Capturing Israeli soldiers maximises its leverage. They can be traded for the release of many of the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners held in jails inside Israel, in breach of international law. In addition, in the negotiations, Hamas usually hopes to win an easing of Israel’s 16-year siege of Gaza.

    To avert this scenario, Israeli commanders reportedly called in the attack helicopters on the military bases overwhelmed by Hamas on October 7. The helicopters appear to have fired indiscriminately, despite the risk posed to the Israeli soldiers in the base who were still alive. Israel’s was a scorched-earth policy to stop Hamas achieving its aims. That may, in part, explain the very large proportion of Israeli soldiers among the 1,300 killed that day.

    Charred bodies

    But what about the situation in the kibbutz communities? By the time the army arrived and was in position, Hamas was well dug in. It had taken the inhabitants as hostages inside their own homes. Israeli eyewitness testimony and media reports suggest Hamas was almost certainly trying to negotiate safe passage back into Gaza, using the Israeli civilians as human shields. The civilians were the Hamas fighters’ only ticket out, and they could be converted later into bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

    [YouTube and others are suppressing the video below – see this]

    The evidence – from Israeli media reports and eyewitnesses, as well as a host of visual clues from the crime scene itself – tell a far more complex story than the one presented nightly on the BBC.

    Did the Israeli military fire into the Hamas-controlled civilian homes in the same fashion as it had fired into its own military bases, and with the same disregard for the safety of Israelis inside? Was the goal in each case to prevent at all costs Hamas taking hostages whose release would require a very high price from Israel?

    Kibbutz Be’eri has been a favoured destination for BBC reporters keen to illustrate Hamas’ barbarity. It is where Lucy Williamson headed again this week. And yet none of her reporting highlighted comments made to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper by Tuval Escapa, the kibbutz’s security coordinator. He said Israeli military commanders had ordered the “shelling [of] houses on their occupants in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages”.

    That echoed the testimony of Yasmin Porat, who sought shelter in Be’eri from the nearby Nova music festival. She told Israeli Radio that once Israeli special forces arrived: “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages because there was very, very heavy crossfire.”

    Are the images of charred bodies presented by Williamson, accompanied by a warning of their graphic, upsetting nature, incontrovertible proof that Hamas behaved like monsters, bent on the most twisted kind of vengeance? Or might those blackened remains be evidence that Israeli civilians and Hamas fighters burned alongside each other, after they were engulfed in flames caused by Israeli shelling of the houses?

    Israel will not agree to an independent investigation so a definitive answer will never be forthcoming. But that does not absolve the media of their professional and moral duty to be cautious.

    Consider for a moment the stark contrast in the western media’s treatment of events on October 7 and its treatment of the strike on the car park at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in northern Gaza on October 17, in which hundreds of Palestinians were reported killed.
    In the case of Al-Ahli, the media were only too ready to cast aside all the evidence that the hospital had been hit by an Israeli strike immediately Israel contested the claim. Instead journalists hurriedly amplified Israel’s counter-allegation that a Palestinian rocket had fallen on the hospital. Most of the media moved on after concluding “The truth may never be clear”, or even less credibly, that Palestinian militants were the most likely culprits.

    In telling contrast, the western media have not been willing to raise even a single question about what happened on October 7. They have enthusiastically attributed every horror that day to Hamas. They have ignored the reality of utter chaos that reigned for many hours and the potential for poor, desperate and morally dubious decision-making by the Israeli military.

    In fact, the media have gone much further. In advancing the narrative of “Hamas as savages”, they have promoted obvious fictions, such as the story that “Hamas beheaded 40 babies”. That piece of fake news was even taken up briefly by US President Joe Biden, before it was quietly walked back by his officials.


    Similarly, it is still a popular throwaway line among the western commentariat that “Hamas carried out rapes”, though once again the allegation is evidence-free so far.

    We should be clear. If Israel had serious evidence for either of these claims, it would be aggressively promoting it. Instead, it is doing the next best thing: letting innuendo gently sink into the audience’s subconscious, settling there as a prejudice that cannot be interrogated.

    Hamas undoubtedly committed war crimes on October 7 – not least, by taking civilians as human shields. But that kind of crime is one we are familiar with, one “ordinary” enough that the Israel military has been regularly documented carrying it out too. The practice of Israeli soldiers taking Palestinians as human shields goes under various names, such as the “neighbour procedure” and the “early warning procedure”.

    Worse atrocities may have happened too, especially given the unexpected scale of Hamas’ success in breaking out of Gaza. Large numbers of Palestinians escaped the enclave, some of them doubtless armed civilians with no connection to the operation. In such circumstances, it would be surprising if there were no examples of the headline-grabbing atrocities being committed.

    The issue is whether such atrocities were planned and systematic, as Israel claims and the western media repeats, or examples of rogue actions by individuals or groups. If the latter, Israel would be in no position to judge. Israel’s own history is littered with examples of such crimes, including the documented case of an Israeli army unit taking captive a Bedouin girl in 1949 and repeatedly gang-raping her.

    Savagery would certainly not be a uniquely Hamas trait. Following the October 7 attack, videos have been emerging of systematic abuses of any Hamas fighters captured, whether alive or dead. Images show them being beaten and tortured in public for the gratification of onlookers, when there is clearly not even the pretence of information gathering. Others show the bodies of Hamas fighters being defiled and mutilated.

    No one can claim the moral high ground here.

    What the media’s uncritical promotion of Israel’s “Hamas as savages” narrative has achieved is something sinister – and all too familiar from the West’s long colonial history. It has been used to demonise a whole people, presenting them either as barbarians or as the willing protectors and enablers of barbarism.

    The “savages” narrative is being weaponised by Israel to justify its mounting campaign of atrocities in Gaza. Which is why it is so important that journalists don’t simply allow themselves to be spoonfed. Far too much is at stake.

    Hamas committed war crimes on October 7 on a scale that is unprecedented for any Palestinian group. But there is little more than Israeli narrative spin so far to suggest that there was an unparalleled depravity to Hamas’ actions. Certainly from what we know, it is hard to see that anything Hamas did that day was worse, or more savage, than what Israel has been doing daily in Gaza for weeks.

    And Israel’s actions – from bombing Palestinian families to starving them of food and water – has the blessing of every major western politician.

    Jonathan Cook is an independent British journalist who has covered the Israel-Palestine beat for 20+ years. He is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. He was formerly with the Guardian and Observer newspapers.

    RELATED:

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    Gaza-Israel: Latest news and statistics (the first 25 days)
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    Israeli communities near Gaza are on stolen land, former owners consigned to the Gaza ghetto
    The Israeli strike on Al Ahli Hospital days BEFORE the famous blast
    WATCH: What was happening in Gaza BEFORE the Hamas attack that the media didn’t tell you?
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    Palestinians inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli air strikes on October 13, 2023, in Gaza City
    Palestinians inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli air strikes on October 13, 2023, in Gaza City (photo)


    https://israelpalestinenews.org/what-media-reports-fail-to-tell-you-about-october-7/
    What media reports fail to tell you about October 7 Alison Weir November 13, 2023 bbc, Gaza, hamas What media reports fail to tell you about October 7 BBC's Lucy Williamson is taken by the Israeli military to view kibbutz damage.regurgitating Israeli claims. (photo) It is journalistic malpractice for the media to still be repeating so credulously the Israeli military’s account of that day, including alleged Hamas atrocities that turned out to be fiction Media neglected to report much key information, e.g. Israeli military commanders had ordered the shelling of kibbutz houses in order to eliminate the “terrorists along with the hostages”… once Israeli special forces arrived: “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages” Are the images of charred bodies evidence that Israeli civilians and Hamas fighters burned alongside each other, after they were engulfed in flames caused by Israeli shelling of the houses? While this article focuses on BBC coverage, it’s analysis applies equally to US media. Some news coverage, in fact, has been considerably worse By Jonathan Cook, reposted from Jonathan Cook Substack, Nov 2, 2023. The BBC’s Lucy Williamson was taken once again this week to view the terrible destruction at a kibbutz community just outside Gaza attacked on October 7. As we have been shown so many times before, the Israeli homes were riddled with automatic fire, both inside and out. Sections of concrete wall had holes in them, or had collapsed entirely. And parts of the buildings that were still standing were deeply charred. It looked like a small snapshot of the current horrors in Gaza. There is a possible reason for those similarities – one that the BBC is studiously failing to report, despite mounting evidence from a variety of sources, including the Israeli media. Instead the BBC is sticking resolutely to a narrative crafted for them, and the rest of the western media, by the Israeli military: that Hamas alone caused all this destruction. Simply repeating that narrative without any caveats has by now reached the level of journalistic malpractice. And yet that is precisely what the BBC does night after night. Just a cursory look at the wreckage in the various kibbutz communities that were attacked that day should raise questions in the mind of any good reporter. Were Palestinian militants in a position to actually inflict physical damage to that degree and extent with the kind of light weapons they carried? And if not, who else was in a position to wreak such havoc other than Israel? A separate question that good journalists ought to be asking is this: What was the purpose of such damage? What did the Palestinian militants hope to achieve by it? The implicit answer the media is supplying is also the answer the Israeli military wants western publics to hear: that Hamas engaged in an orgy of gratuitious killing and savagery because … well, let’s say the quiet part out loud: because Palestinians are inherently savage. With that as the implicit narrative, western politicians have been handed a licence to cheerlead Israel as it murders a Palestinian child in Gaza every few minutes. Savages only understand the language of savagery, after all. Brutal tango For this reason alone, any journalist who wishes to avoid colluding in the genocide unfolding in Gaza ought to be increasingly wary of simply repeating the Israeli military’s claims about what happened on October 7. Certainly, they should not credulously regurgitate the latest agitprop from the IDF press office, as the BBC is so evidently doing. What we know from a growing body of evidence gleaned from the Israeli media and Israeli eyewitnesses – carefully laid out, for example, in this report from Max Blumenthal – is that the Israeli military was completely blindsided by that day’s events. Heavy artillery, including tanks and attack helicopters, was called in to deal with Hamas. That appears to have been a straightforward decision in regard to the military bases Hamas had overrun. Israel has a long-standing policy of seeking to prevent Israeli soldiers from being taken captive – chiefly, because of the high price Israeli society insists on paying to ensure soldiers are returned. For decades, the military’s so-called “Hannibal procedure” has directed Israeli troops to kill fellow soldiers rather than allow them to be taken captive. For the same reason, Hamas expends a great deal of energy in trying to find innovative ways to seize soldiers. The two sides are essentially engaged in a brutal tango in which each understands the other’s dance moves. Given Hamas’ situation, effectively managing the Israeli-controlled concentration camp of Gaza, it has limited resistance strategies available to it. Capturing Israeli soldiers maximises its leverage. They can be traded for the release of many of the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners held in jails inside Israel, in breach of international law. In addition, in the negotiations, Hamas usually hopes to win an easing of Israel’s 16-year siege of Gaza. To avert this scenario, Israeli commanders reportedly called in the attack helicopters on the military bases overwhelmed by Hamas on October 7. The helicopters appear to have fired indiscriminately, despite the risk posed to the Israeli soldiers in the base who were still alive. Israel’s was a scorched-earth policy to stop Hamas achieving its aims. That may, in part, explain the very large proportion of Israeli soldiers among the 1,300 killed that day. Charred bodies But what about the situation in the kibbutz communities? By the time the army arrived and was in position, Hamas was well dug in. It had taken the inhabitants as hostages inside their own homes. Israeli eyewitness testimony and media reports suggest Hamas was almost certainly trying to negotiate safe passage back into Gaza, using the Israeli civilians as human shields. The civilians were the Hamas fighters’ only ticket out, and they could be converted later into bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners. [YouTube and others are suppressing the video below – see this] The evidence – from Israeli media reports and eyewitnesses, as well as a host of visual clues from the crime scene itself – tell a far more complex story than the one presented nightly on the BBC. Did the Israeli military fire into the Hamas-controlled civilian homes in the same fashion as it had fired into its own military bases, and with the same disregard for the safety of Israelis inside? Was the goal in each case to prevent at all costs Hamas taking hostages whose release would require a very high price from Israel? Kibbutz Be’eri has been a favoured destination for BBC reporters keen to illustrate Hamas’ barbarity. It is where Lucy Williamson headed again this week. And yet none of her reporting highlighted comments made to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper by Tuval Escapa, the kibbutz’s security coordinator. He said Israeli military commanders had ordered the “shelling [of] houses on their occupants in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages”. That echoed the testimony of Yasmin Porat, who sought shelter in Be’eri from the nearby Nova music festival. She told Israeli Radio that once Israeli special forces arrived: “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages because there was very, very heavy crossfire.” Are the images of charred bodies presented by Williamson, accompanied by a warning of their graphic, upsetting nature, incontrovertible proof that Hamas behaved like monsters, bent on the most twisted kind of vengeance? Or might those blackened remains be evidence that Israeli civilians and Hamas fighters burned alongside each other, after they were engulfed in flames caused by Israeli shelling of the houses? Israel will not agree to an independent investigation so a definitive answer will never be forthcoming. But that does not absolve the media of their professional and moral duty to be cautious. Consider for a moment the stark contrast in the western media’s treatment of events on October 7 and its treatment of the strike on the car park at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in northern Gaza on October 17, in which hundreds of Palestinians were reported killed. In the case of Al-Ahli, the media were only too ready to cast aside all the evidence that the hospital had been hit by an Israeli strike immediately Israel contested the claim. Instead journalists hurriedly amplified Israel’s counter-allegation that a Palestinian rocket had fallen on the hospital. Most of the media moved on after concluding “The truth may never be clear”, or even less credibly, that Palestinian militants were the most likely culprits. In telling contrast, the western media have not been willing to raise even a single question about what happened on October 7. They have enthusiastically attributed every horror that day to Hamas. They have ignored the reality of utter chaos that reigned for many hours and the potential for poor, desperate and morally dubious decision-making by the Israeli military. In fact, the media have gone much further. In advancing the narrative of “Hamas as savages”, they have promoted obvious fictions, such as the story that “Hamas beheaded 40 babies”. That piece of fake news was even taken up briefly by US President Joe Biden, before it was quietly walked back by his officials. Similarly, it is still a popular throwaway line among the western commentariat that “Hamas carried out rapes”, though once again the allegation is evidence-free so far. We should be clear. If Israel had serious evidence for either of these claims, it would be aggressively promoting it. Instead, it is doing the next best thing: letting innuendo gently sink into the audience’s subconscious, settling there as a prejudice that cannot be interrogated. Hamas undoubtedly committed war crimes on October 7 – not least, by taking civilians as human shields. But that kind of crime is one we are familiar with, one “ordinary” enough that the Israel military has been regularly documented carrying it out too. The practice of Israeli soldiers taking Palestinians as human shields goes under various names, such as the “neighbour procedure” and the “early warning procedure”. Worse atrocities may have happened too, especially given the unexpected scale of Hamas’ success in breaking out of Gaza. Large numbers of Palestinians escaped the enclave, some of them doubtless armed civilians with no connection to the operation. In such circumstances, it would be surprising if there were no examples of the headline-grabbing atrocities being committed. The issue is whether such atrocities were planned and systematic, as Israel claims and the western media repeats, or examples of rogue actions by individuals or groups. If the latter, Israel would be in no position to judge. Israel’s own history is littered with examples of such crimes, including the documented case of an Israeli army unit taking captive a Bedouin girl in 1949 and repeatedly gang-raping her. Savagery would certainly not be a uniquely Hamas trait. Following the October 7 attack, videos have been emerging of systematic abuses of any Hamas fighters captured, whether alive or dead. Images show them being beaten and tortured in public for the gratification of onlookers, when there is clearly not even the pretence of information gathering. Others show the bodies of Hamas fighters being defiled and mutilated. No one can claim the moral high ground here. What the media’s uncritical promotion of Israel’s “Hamas as savages” narrative has achieved is something sinister – and all too familiar from the West’s long colonial history. It has been used to demonise a whole people, presenting them either as barbarians or as the willing protectors and enablers of barbarism. The “savages” narrative is being weaponised by Israel to justify its mounting campaign of atrocities in Gaza. Which is why it is so important that journalists don’t simply allow themselves to be spoonfed. Far too much is at stake. Hamas committed war crimes on October 7 on a scale that is unprecedented for any Palestinian group. But there is little more than Israeli narrative spin so far to suggest that there was an unparalleled depravity to Hamas’ actions. Certainly from what we know, it is hard to see that anything Hamas did that day was worse, or more savage, than what Israel has been doing daily in Gaza for weeks. And Israel’s actions – from bombing Palestinian families to starving them of food and water – has the blessing of every major western politician. Jonathan Cook is an independent British journalist who has covered the Israel-Palestine beat for 20+ years. He is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. He was formerly with the Guardian and Observer newspapers. RELATED: More Palestinians killed in past 34 days than in the past 22 years combined A Synopsis of the Israel/Palestine Conflict Gaza-Israel: Latest news and statistics (the first 25 days) It’s not just Gaza – Israel is also killing scores in the West Bank Israeli communities near Gaza are on stolen land, former owners consigned to the Gaza ghetto The Israeli strike on Al Ahli Hospital days BEFORE the famous blast WATCH: What was happening in Gaza BEFORE the Hamas attack that the media didn’t tell you? Gideon Levy: Israel Can’t Imprison Two Million Gazans Without Paying a Cruel Price Palestinians inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli air strikes on October 13, 2023, in Gaza City Palestinians inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli air strikes on October 13, 2023, in Gaza City (photo) https://israelpalestinenews.org/what-media-reports-fail-to-tell-you-about-october-7/
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    What media reports fail to tell you about October 7
    It's journalistic malpractice for media to repeat the Israeli military's accounts, including alleged atrocities that turned out to be fiction
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  • Microsoft and Meta Detail Plans To Combat “Election Disinformation” Which Includes Meme Stamp-Style Watermarks and Reliance on “Fact Checkers”

    And so it begins. In fact, it hardly ever stops – another election cycle in well on its way in the US. But what has emerged these last few years, and what continues to crop up the closer the election day gets, is the role of the most influential social platforms/tech companies.

    Pressure on them is sometimes public, but mostly not, as the Twitter Files have taught us; and it is with this in mind that various announcements about combating “election disinformation” coming from Big Tech should be viewed.

    Although, one can never discount the possibility that some – say, Microsoft – are doing it quite voluntarily. That company has now come out with what it calls “new steps to protect elections,” and is framing this concern for election integrity more broadly than just the goings-on in the US.

    From the EU to India and many, many places in between, elections will be held over the next year or so, says Microsoft, however, these democratic processes are at peril.

    “While voters exercise this right, another force is also at work to influence and possibly interfere with the outcomes of these consequential contests,” said a blog post co-authored by Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith.

    By “another force,” could Smith possibly mean, Big Tech? No. It’s “multiple authoritarian nation states” he’s talking about, and Microsoft’s “Election Protection Commitments” seek to counter that threat in a 5-step plan to be deployed in the US, and elsewhere where “critical” elections are to be held.

    Critical more than others why, and what is Microsoft seeking to protect – it’s all very unclear.

    But one of the measures is the Content Credentials digital metadata scheme, similar to meme stamp watermarking. However, considering that the most widely used browser, Chrome, is not signed up to the group (C2PA) that spawned Content Credentials, the question remains how helpful it will be to political campaigns using this tech in their images or videos, “to show how, when, and by whom the content was created or edited, including if it was generated by AI.”

    Meta (Facebook) also announced its own effort in the same vein, seeking to combat altered content such as deepfakes – in case they “merge, combine, replace, and/or superimpose content onto a video, creating a video that appears authentic (… and) would likely mislead an average person.”

    🔗SOURCE Òž‘️ ReclaimTheNet (https://reclaimthenet.org/microsoft-and-meta-detail-plans-to-combat-election-disinformation)
    Microsoft and Meta Detail Plans To Combat “Election Disinformation” Which Includes Meme Stamp-Style Watermarks and Reliance on “Fact Checkers” And so it begins. In fact, it hardly ever stops – another election cycle in well on its way in the US. But what has emerged these last few years, and what continues to crop up the closer the election day gets, is the role of the most influential social platforms/tech companies. Pressure on them is sometimes public, but mostly not, as the Twitter Files have taught us; and it is with this in mind that various announcements about combating “election disinformation” coming from Big Tech should be viewed. Although, one can never discount the possibility that some – say, Microsoft – are doing it quite voluntarily. That company has now come out with what it calls “new steps to protect elections,” and is framing this concern for election integrity more broadly than just the goings-on in the US. From the EU to India and many, many places in between, elections will be held over the next year or so, says Microsoft, however, these democratic processes are at peril. “While voters exercise this right, another force is also at work to influence and possibly interfere with the outcomes of these consequential contests,” said a blog post co-authored by Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith. By “another force,” could Smith possibly mean, Big Tech? No. It’s “multiple authoritarian nation states” he’s talking about, and Microsoft’s “Election Protection Commitments” seek to counter that threat in a 5-step plan to be deployed in the US, and elsewhere where “critical” elections are to be held. Critical more than others why, and what is Microsoft seeking to protect – it’s all very unclear. But one of the measures is the Content Credentials digital metadata scheme, similar to meme stamp watermarking. However, considering that the most widely used browser, Chrome, is not signed up to the group (C2PA) that spawned Content Credentials, the question remains how helpful it will be to political campaigns using this tech in their images or videos, “to show how, when, and by whom the content was created or edited, including if it was generated by AI.” Meta (Facebook) also announced its own effort in the same vein, seeking to combat altered content such as deepfakes – in case they “merge, combine, replace, and/or superimpose content onto a video, creating a video that appears authentic (… and) would likely mislead an average person.” 🔗SOURCE Òž‘️ ReclaimTheNet (https://reclaimthenet.org/microsoft-and-meta-detail-plans-to-combat-election-disinformation)
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  • The 'Hamas human shield' justification for Israeli war crimes
    Zionist projection is the default Hasbara strategy

    vanessa beeley

    What separates Israel, the United States and other democracies when it comes to incredibly difficult situations like this is our respect for international law and, as appropriate, the laws of war. We do everything we can, in these situations, to avoid civilian casualties.

    That is in direct contrast with Hamas which uses people as human shields. It [Hamas] actually seeks to put Palestinian civilians in situations where they could be harmed. This is very much part of the game plan. We know Israel will take all the precautions it can, just as we would, again that is what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that engage in the most heinous kind of activities

    US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

    If you actually listen to the clip of Blinken justifying Israeli brutality you will hear how he stumbles over his words. He knows he is lying in my opinion. The 4000 plus dead children, 10,328 dead civilians, 26000 injured and 2300 missing believed buried under the rubble of Israeli bombs does not substantiate Blinken’s claims of adherence to international law.

    The Israeli bombing of humanitarian convoys, ambulances, paramedics, Civil Defence headquarters, journalists - 50 killed so far, hospitals, makeshift refugee centres, places of worship - mosques and churches, schools, UNWRA facilities, humanitarian aid supplies including essential bottled water supplies, sewage treatment plants, bridges, solar panels, electricity and internet, media buildings, fisherman’s boats, flour stores, burning of food crops - all these targets are in direct violation of any rule of war or human rights conventions.

    The deliberate policy of starvation and the cutting off of water, food, fuel and electricity supplies is a genocidal policy:

    According to Euro-Med Monitor, the Israeli war of starvation has taken very dangerous turns, including cutting off all food supplies to the Northern half and bombing and destroying factories, bakeries, food stores, water stations, and tanks throughout the entire enclave.

    Soaring malnutrition cases especially among pregnant women and children. A Euromed report confirms that “women and children in Gaza are disproportionately suffering from the effects of Israel's war. Approximately 52,500 infants in Gaza are currently at risk of starvation, death, dehydration, and other health hazards due to overcrowding, in addition to 55,000 pregnant women, of whom 5,500 are expected to give birth this month.”

    “According to Euro-Med Monitor, getting bread in the Gaza Strip has become an existential challenge, since Gaza’s sole mill there is still unable to grind wheat because of a shortage of fuel and electricity. Since October 7, 11 bakeries have been bombed and destroyed, while the ones that are still operating face tremendous difficulties due to fuel and flour shortages.”

    Israel has been blatant about its genocidal policies. Blinken disappears the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from West Bank and Gaza in his statement. Israeli Heritage Minister, Amichai Eliyahu, has not only described the bombing of Gaza as “amazing”, he has recommended nuking Gaza and sending Palestinians to Ireland or the desert. According to a Times of Israel article:

    Eliyahu also voices his objection during the interview to allowing any humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying “we wouldn’t hand the Nazis humanitarian aid,” and charging that “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.”

    “They can go to Ireland or deserts, the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves.”

    He says the northern Strip has no right to exist, adding that anyone waving a Palestinian or Hamas flag “shouldn’t continue living on the face of the earth.”

    Corpses rotting under rubble, shallow and hastily dug mass graves. Chemicals believed to be used by Israel in the bombing campaigns including White Phosphorous - all these factors spell disaster when the rains come.

    Gaza is a strip of land the size of the Isle of Wight ( 40km X 12km) with a population of 2.2 million civilians. With the forced evacuation by Israel from the north to the south - you will have 2.2 million civilians living in an area half its original size.

    Israel has destroyed Gaza’s ability to desalinate water to provide clean drinking water or to effectively pump sewage out of the strip. When the rains come, disease will be rife with sewage, decaying bodies, chemicals, disease flooding the enclave.

    Even in so-called peace time children are used to wading through sewage to get to school. Children are forced to swim in raw sewage in the sea off the Gaza coast. This pollution will be exponentially increased by the latest Israeli aggression.

    Added to this, the targeting of hospitals and health centers will result in chronic illness patients dying from lack of available treatment. Euromed - “more than 2,000 cancer patients, more than 1,000 patients in need of dialysis to survive, 50,000 cardiovascular patients, and over 60,000 diabetics—urgently need access to basic healthcare services considering the severe shortage of medications, medical supplies, fuel, food, and clean water.” These patients are not given priority because of the massive influx of emergency cases from the Israeli bombing raids. As Euromed Monitor reports:

    Eighteen out of 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have stopped operating so far, according to local health officials there. Overall, 120 health institutions have been targeted, while more than 48 primary care centres (70%) are now out of service due to the ongoing Israeli raids and the fuel crisis.

    The Hamas Human Shield trope

    The claim that Hamas or as I prefer to call it, the Palestinian Resistance coalition, use Palestinian civilians as human shields is consistently used to justify the Israeli bombing of civilian targets as mentioned above. The bombing of an ambulance carrying wounded for evacuation at the Egyptian Rafah border was justified by the Israeli claim that Hamas fighters were on board. Claims that are never substantiated or investigated.

    In my experience in both Gaza during Israeli aggression 2012 and in Syria on various frontlines - it is normal for the injured or civilian evacuees to be escorted for their safety by military, in Syria by the Syrian Arab Army. I do not know if this was the case in Gaza but it is a legitimate reason for military escort. The civilian bodies that were brought from the ambulance into hospital however contradict Israeli claims. Israel has, so far, failed to provide evidence of its claims that resulted in the deaths of civilians including children.

    Gaza is a strip of land 40km by 12km. It is a densely populated enclave with buildings arranged in close proximity, schools, hospitals, residential areas all on top of each other. Israel claims that the Palestinian Resistance is using their own families, children and civilians as “human shields” while carpet bombing entire residential areas to allegedly wipe out ‘Hamas’.

    The denials of Hamas using human shields

    2014 - BBC’s Jeremy Bowen wrote for the New Statesman - ‘I saw no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields’. Bowen described his experience in Gaza:

    I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. I saw men from Hamas on street corners, keeping an eye on what was happening. They were local people and everyone knew them, even the young boys.

    Also in 2014 a Truthout article was published - ‘Congress utilizes myth of human shields to justify [Israeli] war crimes’

    According to the report ‘no Gaza eyewitness found evidence of Hamas using human shields’ during the 2014 Israeli aggression against the Gaza strip which followed a similar pattern to the ongoing 2023 mass bombing of civilian infrastructure - a war crime in itself. From the report:

    Human Rights Watch cited evidence of Israel “blatantly violating the laws of war designed to spare civilians,” including attacks on heavily-populated neighborhoods and shooting at fleeing civilians. Similarly, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem challenged its government’s claims that they had “no intention of harming civilians,” noting how after “weeks of lethal bombardments by Israel in the Gaza Strip which have killed hundreds of civilians and wiped out dozens of families, this claim has become meaningless.” United Nations officials in the Gaza Strip also charged Israeli forces with engaging in serious violations of international law, following a series of attacks against six UN schools where Palestinians were seeking refuge, and where no Hamas weaponry or fighters were present, killing 46 civilians.

    None of the claims by the US State Department or individual Representatives that Hamas used civilians as human shields have been evidenced according to the Truthout report.

    Again in 2014 the Belfast Telegraph correspondent, Kem Sengupta, based in Khan Younis, southern Gaza reported on the ‘myth of Hamas’ human shields’ - Gazans deny being put in the line of fire. Sengupta writes:

    What used to be a three-storey house had been turned into debris sunk into a deep crater with twisted steel rods jutting out. Twenty-six people were killed in the mostly deadly air-strike so far in this bloody conflict. Twenty-four of them were from one family, the Abu Jamaa.

    Around the same time that attack was taking place on Sunday evening, Benjamin Netanyahu was charging Hamas on TV with using “human shields” to gather “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause”.

    Amnesty International, following an extensive investigation after the 2014 war, found no evidence that “Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to ‘shield’ specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks.”

    In 2018 the Independent ran a headline - ‘Israeli army edits video of Palestinian medic its troops shot dead to misleadingly show she was 'human shield for Hamas'

    The edited clip was condemned by Palestinians and rights activists as attempt to ‘justify’ 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar’s death - an IOF sniper shot her in the chest during protests on the Gaza-Israel border on 1st June 2018 as she attended to wounded and unarmed protestors also targeted by IOF snipers.

    Israeli government and military officials tweeted out a video labelled ‘Hamas use of human shields must stop’ showing an excerpt of an interview with Al Najjar. The reality is that the young nurse does not mention Hamas and states clearly that she was there to save the wounded at the front lines.

    “The IDF always accuses Palestinians and Israeli human rights orgs of editing documentation of it human rights abuses. But it edited this video of Razan al Najjar to discredit her after murdering her. Absolutely despicable and hypocritical,” Israeli-American writer Mairav Zonszein said on Twitter.

    From personal experience, Hamas officials have always been very against civilians protesting at the border areas because of the high risk of injury and sniping by the IOF.

    In 2013 I went with protestors to Beit Hanoun, north-east Gaza, to confront the IOF prison guards who encircle the Gaza strip with apartheid walls and barbed wire - converting the enclave into an open air concentration camp.

    The automatic gun turrets that are found along the walls are set to fire at a varying distance. Israel changes the distance without ever informing Gazan farmers -so one day the safe distance is 4 meters, some days it is 6 meters - when farmers cross the red line, they are fired upon by the automatic machine gun turrets.

    We stood on high ground next to the wall. We could see the IOF vehicles and guns trained on us. After about an hour of protests, Hamas cars arrived and asked us to leave the area for our own safety.

    Razan Al Najjar was shot in the chest deliberately by the IOF. She presented no danger to the IOF. She was attending to the wounded during the Great March of Return that began in March 2018. The peaceful march demanded the end of the blockade on Gaza and the right to return for Palestinian refugees.

    The IOF responded to these unarmed civilian demonstrations with the use of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition. ‘Among the casualties of the first year are 227 UNRWA students who were injured and 13 who were killed.’

    Watch this video - Great March of Return, a mother’s perspective:



    6 months after the start of the Great March protests, Amnesty International reported:

    According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, since the start of the protests, over 150 Palestinians have been killed in the demonstrations. At least 10,000 others have been injured, including 1,849 children, 424 women, 115 paramedics and 115 journalists. Of those injured, 5,814 were hit by live ammunition. According to Israeli media, one soldier was moderately injured due to shrapnel from a grenade thrown by a Palestinian from inside Gaza and one Israeli soldier was killed by Palestinian sniper fire near the fence that separates Gaza and Israel outside of the context of the protests.

    Legitimate calls for Israeli authorities to lift their 11-year illegal blockade on Gaza and to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their villages and towns have not been met.

    The claim that Al Najjar was a Hamas human shield is a cynical ploy by the Zionist forces to provide justification for their targeting of unarmed civilians who have a legally justified cause to protest under international law. Those that so often call for Palestinians to protest peacefully should understand that there is no effective ‘peaceful’ protest against the IOF.

    In 2021 Law4Palestine - ‘Under Scrutiny: Allegations of Use of Human Shields by Palestinian Armed Groups and the International Criminal Court Investigation’

    What is certain, so far, is that the allegation that the armed groups are using human shields is unsubstantiated, and even the Prosecutor’s Office does not seem to have evidence on this regard, because the evidence at our disposal is the same as that which was available to the Prosecutor’s Office at this stage of the investigation.

    Israel will try to defend itself – whether through the Court or through its political discourse – regarding the commission of war crimes by claiming that the PAGs are terrorist groups and that the war on Gaza was a war on terror where terrorists do not shy away from using civilians as human shields. However, it will face obstacles relating to the characteristics of the Palestinian situation in the Gaza strip and the possibilities of taking “all the possible limits of necessary measures and precautions” to protect civilians and spare them from military attacks.

    Detailed investigations following the 2008-2009 and 2014 conflicts by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and others have failed to find a single documented case of any civilian deaths caused by Hamas using human shields.

    Not one.

    The following video by journalist Abby Martin demonstrates the hypocrisy of ‘human shield’ claims by Washington and Tel-Aviv:

    Now let’s look at Israel’s proven use of Palestinian children and civilians as human shields

    So not only is the Palestinian use of human shields a myth lacking any evidence, it is in fact Israel who is infamous for using human shields in its oppression of the Palestinians. Examples of this are incredibly easy to find even with the most rudimentary of research. Like much Israeli propaganda, it seeks to turn reality upside down and accuse the Palestinians of the crimes that Israel so often commits. This is a prime example of baseless dehumanization that many eagerly embrace because they have come to internalize a demonized image of Palestinians based on Israeli propaganda.

    Decolonize Palestine

    The evidence of Israel using Palestinians as human shields is voluminous, I will cite a number of cases and then offer links to additional reports.

    May 2023 in Ramallah - a report by Defence for Children (DCI) claims that Israeli forces have used at least five Palestinian children as human shields so far this year, including two toddlers.

    Israeli forces then threatened his sons Nidal, 9, and Karam, 11, in addition to his twin nephews, Ahmad and Mohammad, both two years old, and forced them to stand in front of Israeli military vehicles while Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and live ammunition at Palestinians confronting the group of soldiers.

    Israeli special forces forced Anas to stand and walk in front of them for several minutes while handcuffed as they confronted two Palestinian men and fired live ammunition. Before killing the two Palestinian men, Israeli forces forced Anas to sit on the floor of a house next door, blindfolded.

    “International law is explicit and absolutely prohibits the use of children as human shields by armed forces or armed groups," said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces intentionally putting a child in grave danger in order to shield themselves constitutes a war crime.”

    While Israeli forces used the Shalloun family as human shields in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp, one soldier ordered mother Samia to put her two-year-old nephew Mohammad on the ground and raise her hands. Mohammad cried as an Israeli military dog approached him, and as Samia lowered her hands to move him away from the dog, the Israeli soldier put his gun to Mohammad’s head, saying, “Move again and I’ll shoot him.”

    Since 2000, DCIP has documented at least 31 cases involving Palestinian children being used as human shields by the Israeli army. Last year, Israeli soldiers forced 16-year-old Ahed Mohammad Rida Mereb to stand in front of an Israeli military vehicle in Jenin as armed Palestinians fired heavily in their direction.

    A 2013 report by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child describes a litany of abuses of children by the IOF and security forces including their use as human shields:

    Almost all those using children as human shields and informants have remained unpunished and the soldiers convicted for having forced at gunpoint a nine-year-old child to search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended sentence of three months and were demoted.

    Further details of this case can be found in this Guardian report.

    Two Israeli soldiers who used a nine-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield were given suspended sentences and demoted after being convicted of "inappropriate conduct".

    The unnamed soldiers, from the Givati Brigade, ordered Majeh Rabah, from the Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza City, to check bags for explosives in January 2009, towards the end of Israel's three-week offensive.

    Also in the report from Human Rights Watch.

    2014 - a report from ReliefWeb based on the original report by DCI Palestine:

    Ramallah, August 21, 2014—Israeli soldiers repeatedly used Ahmad Abu Raida, 17, as a human shield for five days while he was held hostage during Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

    Ahmad, from Khuza'a, near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, was just 16 years old when he was taken from his family on July 23. He was forced at gunpoint to search for tunnels for five days, during which time he was interrogated, verbally and physically abused, and deprived of food and sleep. Ahmad told DCI-Palestine in a sworn testimony that Israeli soldiers attempted both to extract information from him regarding Hamas members, and recruit him as an informant, before releasing him on July 27.

    "The Israeli military has consistently accused Hamas of using civilians - particularly children - as human shields, but this incident represents a clear case of their soldiers forcing a child to directly assist in military operations," said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. "Israeli officials make generalized accusations while Israeli soldiers engage in conduct that amounts to war crimes."

    A report in Mondoweiss at the same time records accounts of Israeli forces using civilians as human shields:

    Ayman Abu Toaimah, 32, a resident of Khuza’a recalls, “As Israeli invading troops advanced to the village they besieged it and used residents as human shields. When the Israeli army arrested people and then released some of them, they were told they are free to go back to the village, but as they were fleeing they came under fire and some of them shot dead. These people were used as human shields.”

    Abu Saleem, 56, a resident of Khuza’a echoed Abu Toaimah, “Israelis claim that Hamas is using us as human shields– how? This is a lie, we do not see fighters in the streets. It’s them, the Israelis who used us as human shields in Khuza’a and Shuja’iyeh. They turned our houses into military posts, terrified residents in the houses. They attacked innocent civilians with their bombs, and missiles, they attacked chicken farms, they burned our crops, they have no mercy.”

    May 2022 a Palestinian teenage girl was used by the IOF as a human shield during a military raid in Jenin:

    According to DCIP, during a raid on the morning of May 13th, Israeli soldiers forced 16-year-old Ahed Mohammad Rida Mereb, to stand in front of an Israeli military vehicle for two hours as the vehicle came under fire from Palestinian gunmen, while Israeli soldiers sat inside the vehicle.

    Breaking the Silence documents abuses of Palestinians by the IOF based on accounts from former IOF soldiers. A ‘moving human shield’ is one such report:

    Apparently, that captain had gone to Takua, which is a pretty hostile village—they were throwing stones at the jeep. So he just stopped a Palestinian guy who was passing, forty-something years old, and tied him to the hood of the jeep, a guy just lying on the hood, and they drove into the village. No one threw any more rocks. A human shield. Yes. But not just a human shield—first of all, a human shield is bad enough—this was a moving human shield. Tied to the hood of the jeep and they drove with him tied there. Drove with him through the village, it’s horrific.


    22nd April 2004, a 13 year old boy called Mohammed Said Essa Badwan/Badran was used as a human shield. Mohammed was peacefully taking part in spontaneous demonstration in Biddo against the building of the Annexation Wall. Around noon, following the launch of sound bombs and teargas canisters by the soldiers, some nearby youth started throwing stones. At this point, two Israeli Border Guards arrested Mohammed, beat him and forced him to sit on the hood of their jeep, tying his arm to the windshield screen and then using him as a human shield.

    Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who heads the organisation Rabbis for Human Rights, was present and tried to intervene for the release of the child but was instead arrested and beaten. Mohammed was reported to have been repeatedly hit by the soldiers while he was tied to the vehicle. Although he begged them to release him because he was scared and in pain, they would not. He also reportedly suffered from exposure to the teargas used by the soldiers, since he could not move nor was he given any protection. After about four hours, Mohammed was untied, forced into the jeep and taken first to Al-Sahl, an area in which the Annexation Wall is being constructed. He was then questioned by a military officer. Finally the child was released in the neighbouring village of Al-Kalaileh where he had to wait, alone and in the dark, for a relative to come and pick him up.

    Ramallah June 4th 2013 - ‘Israeli soldiers proudly paraded the handcuffed teen up and down the street, making a public spectacle of him in the occupied West Bank town of Abu Dis.’

    Armed with live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas, on Friday, April 19, at least 10 Israeli soldiers confronted the crowd of protesters using 17-year-old Muhammad Rabea as a human shield. They forced him to walk at gunpoint with his hands raised in the air as they approached the protesters.

    Prior to being abused as a human shield, Muhammad had been savagely beaten by the IOF forces that had grabbed him from the streets. He was hit on the forehead with a rifle stock, kicked repeatedly on the legs, hit at the base of his neck by steel helmets. He was bundled in the back of the military jeep, verbally and physically abused, his hands tied by plastic cords. He was forced to sit in a revolving chair while IOF soldiers kicked him as the chair spun in the back of the jeep.

    “One of the soldiers sprayed the keffiyeh (scarf) I was wearing with pepper spray before tying it tightly over my eyes, burning them,” he says. “Each time I coughed, he told me to shut up and kicked me. I wasn’t allowed to cough.”

    At the military camp, soldiers forced him to stand facing a metal pole. Muhammad said the soldiers ripped his jacket and searched him, while an army dog clawed his back and calves. Following the search, soldiers knocked him down on the ground where he laid for two hours in pain as they continued to kick him in his legs, back and stomach. One of the soldiers removed the keffiyeh over his eyes and poured gasoline on it, burning it in front of him. The soldiers re-blindfolded him with a black piece of cloth and continued to hit him on the head with their helmets.

    Btselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) 2017:

    Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, Israeli security forces have repeatedly used Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip as human shields, ordering them to perform military tasks that risked their lives. As part of this policy, soldiers have ordered Palestinian civilians to remove suspicious objects from roads, to tell people to come out of their homes so the military can arrest them, to stand in front of soldiers while the latter shoot from behind them, and more. The Palestinian civilians were chosen at random for these tasks, and could not refuse the demand placed on them by armed soldiers.

    Using civilians to get wanted persons out of a house is known as “neighbor procedure.” This procedure does not differ significantly from other ways in which the military has used Palestinian civilian. It, too, too, constitutes illegal exploitation of civilians to perform military tasks and places them in real danger. This was made irrefutably clear in an incident that took place in 2002. On 14 August, soldiers sent Nidal Abu Mukhsan, a 19-year-old from the village of Tubas, to the home of Nasser Jarar, a Hamas activist, and ordered him to get Jarar out of the house. When Abu Mukhsan approached the house, Jarar, apparently thinking that the person knocking at the door was a soldier, shot and killed him.

    2012 report from the Institute for Middle East Understanding:

    In 2007, B'Tselem releases a report documenting 14 cases in which Israeli soldiers have used Palestinian civilians - including boys and girls as young as 11-years-old - as human shields to protect themselves in dangerous situations. In one case, a 14-year-old girl in Gaza is shot in the stomach and leg after soldiers used her as a human shield during an incursion.

    In May 2011, two dozen former Israeli soldiers come forward to provide eyewitness accounts of the abuse of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military, including their use as human shields.

    2021 - Human Rights Watch - A Threshold Crossed, Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.

    When Palestinians Became Human Shields: Counterinsurgency, Racialization, and the Great Revolt (1936–1939) - Cambridge University Press

    Using Palestinians as human shields began under the British Mandate in Palestine that ended in 1947. In frustration at the relative success of Palestinian rebels who rejected the influx of European Jews to dispossess Palestinians of their land, the British turned to the use of human shields to defuse Palestinian guerilla military campaigns from 1936-38.

    The regularization of human shielding served as proof of “the dark path of repression” foreseen and warned against by the Peel Commission. Footnote125 It was also elemental to an ongoing process of colonial racialization that robbed the Palestinians of their humanity, stripped them of any figment of legal rights or protections, and denuded them of the most basic security of life. Indeed, with the systematic use of human shields, the colonial regime veered towards the “negation of all law” so feared by top civilian officials and took Palestinian society with it into the ensuing abyss.

    Conclusions

    US law requires Biden to impose sanctions on Hamas for using human shields.

    The Hill

    According to a report in The Hill, the “Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act” passed both houses of Congress unanimously in 2018. The Shields Act, as it is known, specifically requires the president to submit to Congress a list of persons he determines to be involved in the use of human shields.

    Biden should move swiftly to impose the sanctions already required by his determination that Hamas is using human shields.

    There is no evidence of Hamas using civilians as human shields - there is a plethora of evidence that Israel has historically exploited Palestinians as human shields putting the lives of children at risk on multiple occasions, torturing and traumatising them in the process. This is completely ignored by Washington. No sanctions on Israel?

    It can be argued that Israel has deliberately put its own civilians in danger as human shields by facilitating settlement in contested zones beyond the green line - as for example in the case of the Kibbutz Be’eri when it is now proven that Israeli civilians were not only killed by the IOF gunfire during battles with Palestinian Resistance factions but were also shelled by Israeli tanks two days after the 7th October when the IOF took a decision to eliminate their own civilians alongside Resistance militants.

    They [Israelis] are directly put in danger as a sacrifice to Israel’s expansionist colonial designs, which they can then blame on Palestinians to further accelerate this same project.

    Decolonize Palestine

    ‘Israel justifies its violent attacks by continuously accusing Hamas of using human shields, desperately hoping to stir moral indignation while also trying to muster a legal defence for the indefensible.’

    The subtext is that civilised people protect their children while Palestinians sacrifice them.

    Under this pretext all Palestinians become legitimate targets and Israel can be exonerated of all blame. It is a criminal manipulation of reality to enable justification of genocide and the US and UK are upholding it - thus they are complicit in genocide.

    The director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhiber, resigned on Tuesday, writing:

    “As a human rights lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the field, I know well that the concept of genocide has often been subject to political abuse. But the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs, and coupled with explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt or debate. In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units. Across the land, Apartheid rules.

    “This is a text-book case of genocide. The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine. What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault. Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations ‘to ensure respect’ for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.”

    See full letter, news report and interview from Wednesday morning with Mokhiber.


    Journalist Sam Husseini wrote on X - I asked the State Dept on Tuesday about the recent DAWN MENA report documenting the Biden administration's efforts to pay for Israeli plans to "ethnically cleanse" Palestinians to Gaza. The spokesperson refused to comment on the funding request:

    If you really want to understand Washington’s defence of Israeli war crimes and human rights abuses including a de facto genocide of the Palestinian people, you need look no further than this extraordinary admission by Robert F. Kennedy Jr:

    Palestinian life is expendable if it ensures US unipolar supremacy. Heck, even the lives of Israelis are superfluous when faced with US protection of its global hegemony. If it is not yet clear that tropes such as “Hamas atrocities” and “Hamas human shields” are nothing more than fig leaves for US proxy war crimes in defence of US global military adventurism - then we are headed for a very ominous future.

    Thank you for reading.

    ***

    Please do consider subscribing to my substack. Every little amount does help me to keep pushing back against the lies that threaten us all.
    The 'Hamas human shield' justification for Israeli war crimes Zionist projection is the default Hasbara strategy vanessa beeley What separates Israel, the United States and other democracies when it comes to incredibly difficult situations like this is our respect for international law and, as appropriate, the laws of war. We do everything we can, in these situations, to avoid civilian casualties. That is in direct contrast with Hamas which uses people as human shields. It [Hamas] actually seeks to put Palestinian civilians in situations where they could be harmed. This is very much part of the game plan. We know Israel will take all the precautions it can, just as we would, again that is what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that engage in the most heinous kind of activities US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken If you actually listen to the clip of Blinken justifying Israeli brutality you will hear how he stumbles over his words. He knows he is lying in my opinion. The 4000 plus dead children, 10,328 dead civilians, 26000 injured and 2300 missing believed buried under the rubble of Israeli bombs does not substantiate Blinken’s claims of adherence to international law. The Israeli bombing of humanitarian convoys, ambulances, paramedics, Civil Defence headquarters, journalists - 50 killed so far, hospitals, makeshift refugee centres, places of worship - mosques and churches, schools, UNWRA facilities, humanitarian aid supplies including essential bottled water supplies, sewage treatment plants, bridges, solar panels, electricity and internet, media buildings, fisherman’s boats, flour stores, burning of food crops - all these targets are in direct violation of any rule of war or human rights conventions. The deliberate policy of starvation and the cutting off of water, food, fuel and electricity supplies is a genocidal policy: According to Euro-Med Monitor, the Israeli war of starvation has taken very dangerous turns, including cutting off all food supplies to the Northern half and bombing and destroying factories, bakeries, food stores, water stations, and tanks throughout the entire enclave. Soaring malnutrition cases especially among pregnant women and children. A Euromed report confirms that “women and children in Gaza are disproportionately suffering from the effects of Israel's war. Approximately 52,500 infants in Gaza are currently at risk of starvation, death, dehydration, and other health hazards due to overcrowding, in addition to 55,000 pregnant women, of whom 5,500 are expected to give birth this month.” “According to Euro-Med Monitor, getting bread in the Gaza Strip has become an existential challenge, since Gaza’s sole mill there is still unable to grind wheat because of a shortage of fuel and electricity. Since October 7, 11 bakeries have been bombed and destroyed, while the ones that are still operating face tremendous difficulties due to fuel and flour shortages.” Israel has been blatant about its genocidal policies. Blinken disappears the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from West Bank and Gaza in his statement. Israeli Heritage Minister, Amichai Eliyahu, has not only described the bombing of Gaza as “amazing”, he has recommended nuking Gaza and sending Palestinians to Ireland or the desert. According to a Times of Israel article: Eliyahu also voices his objection during the interview to allowing any humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying “we wouldn’t hand the Nazis humanitarian aid,” and charging that “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.” “They can go to Ireland or deserts, the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves.” He says the northern Strip has no right to exist, adding that anyone waving a Palestinian or Hamas flag “shouldn’t continue living on the face of the earth.” Corpses rotting under rubble, shallow and hastily dug mass graves. Chemicals believed to be used by Israel in the bombing campaigns including White Phosphorous - all these factors spell disaster when the rains come. Gaza is a strip of land the size of the Isle of Wight ( 40km X 12km) with a population of 2.2 million civilians. With the forced evacuation by Israel from the north to the south - you will have 2.2 million civilians living in an area half its original size. Israel has destroyed Gaza’s ability to desalinate water to provide clean drinking water or to effectively pump sewage out of the strip. When the rains come, disease will be rife with sewage, decaying bodies, chemicals, disease flooding the enclave. Even in so-called peace time children are used to wading through sewage to get to school. Children are forced to swim in raw sewage in the sea off the Gaza coast. This pollution will be exponentially increased by the latest Israeli aggression. Added to this, the targeting of hospitals and health centers will result in chronic illness patients dying from lack of available treatment. Euromed - “more than 2,000 cancer patients, more than 1,000 patients in need of dialysis to survive, 50,000 cardiovascular patients, and over 60,000 diabetics—urgently need access to basic healthcare services considering the severe shortage of medications, medical supplies, fuel, food, and clean water.” These patients are not given priority because of the massive influx of emergency cases from the Israeli bombing raids. As Euromed Monitor reports: Eighteen out of 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have stopped operating so far, according to local health officials there. Overall, 120 health institutions have been targeted, while more than 48 primary care centres (70%) are now out of service due to the ongoing Israeli raids and the fuel crisis. The Hamas Human Shield trope The claim that Hamas or as I prefer to call it, the Palestinian Resistance coalition, use Palestinian civilians as human shields is consistently used to justify the Israeli bombing of civilian targets as mentioned above. The bombing of an ambulance carrying wounded for evacuation at the Egyptian Rafah border was justified by the Israeli claim that Hamas fighters were on board. Claims that are never substantiated or investigated. In my experience in both Gaza during Israeli aggression 2012 and in Syria on various frontlines - it is normal for the injured or civilian evacuees to be escorted for their safety by military, in Syria by the Syrian Arab Army. I do not know if this was the case in Gaza but it is a legitimate reason for military escort. The civilian bodies that were brought from the ambulance into hospital however contradict Israeli claims. Israel has, so far, failed to provide evidence of its claims that resulted in the deaths of civilians including children. Gaza is a strip of land 40km by 12km. It is a densely populated enclave with buildings arranged in close proximity, schools, hospitals, residential areas all on top of each other. Israel claims that the Palestinian Resistance is using their own families, children and civilians as “human shields” while carpet bombing entire residential areas to allegedly wipe out ‘Hamas’. The denials of Hamas using human shields 2014 - BBC’s Jeremy Bowen wrote for the New Statesman - ‘I saw no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields’. Bowen described his experience in Gaza: I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. I saw men from Hamas on street corners, keeping an eye on what was happening. They were local people and everyone knew them, even the young boys. Also in 2014 a Truthout article was published - ‘Congress utilizes myth of human shields to justify [Israeli] war crimes’ According to the report ‘no Gaza eyewitness found evidence of Hamas using human shields’ during the 2014 Israeli aggression against the Gaza strip which followed a similar pattern to the ongoing 2023 mass bombing of civilian infrastructure - a war crime in itself. From the report: Human Rights Watch cited evidence of Israel “blatantly violating the laws of war designed to spare civilians,” including attacks on heavily-populated neighborhoods and shooting at fleeing civilians. Similarly, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem challenged its government’s claims that they had “no intention of harming civilians,” noting how after “weeks of lethal bombardments by Israel in the Gaza Strip which have killed hundreds of civilians and wiped out dozens of families, this claim has become meaningless.” United Nations officials in the Gaza Strip also charged Israeli forces with engaging in serious violations of international law, following a series of attacks against six UN schools where Palestinians were seeking refuge, and where no Hamas weaponry or fighters were present, killing 46 civilians. None of the claims by the US State Department or individual Representatives that Hamas used civilians as human shields have been evidenced according to the Truthout report. Again in 2014 the Belfast Telegraph correspondent, Kem Sengupta, based in Khan Younis, southern Gaza reported on the ‘myth of Hamas’ human shields’ - Gazans deny being put in the line of fire. Sengupta writes: What used to be a three-storey house had been turned into debris sunk into a deep crater with twisted steel rods jutting out. Twenty-six people were killed in the mostly deadly air-strike so far in this bloody conflict. Twenty-four of them were from one family, the Abu Jamaa. Around the same time that attack was taking place on Sunday evening, Benjamin Netanyahu was charging Hamas on TV with using “human shields” to gather “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause”. Amnesty International, following an extensive investigation after the 2014 war, found no evidence that “Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to ‘shield’ specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks.” In 2018 the Independent ran a headline - ‘Israeli army edits video of Palestinian medic its troops shot dead to misleadingly show she was 'human shield for Hamas' The edited clip was condemned by Palestinians and rights activists as attempt to ‘justify’ 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar’s death - an IOF sniper shot her in the chest during protests on the Gaza-Israel border on 1st June 2018 as she attended to wounded and unarmed protestors also targeted by IOF snipers. Israeli government and military officials tweeted out a video labelled ‘Hamas use of human shields must stop’ showing an excerpt of an interview with Al Najjar. The reality is that the young nurse does not mention Hamas and states clearly that she was there to save the wounded at the front lines. “The IDF always accuses Palestinians and Israeli human rights orgs of editing documentation of it human rights abuses. But it edited this video of Razan al Najjar to discredit her after murdering her. Absolutely despicable and hypocritical,” Israeli-American writer Mairav Zonszein said on Twitter. From personal experience, Hamas officials have always been very against civilians protesting at the border areas because of the high risk of injury and sniping by the IOF. In 2013 I went with protestors to Beit Hanoun, north-east Gaza, to confront the IOF prison guards who encircle the Gaza strip with apartheid walls and barbed wire - converting the enclave into an open air concentration camp. The automatic gun turrets that are found along the walls are set to fire at a varying distance. Israel changes the distance without ever informing Gazan farmers -so one day the safe distance is 4 meters, some days it is 6 meters - when farmers cross the red line, they are fired upon by the automatic machine gun turrets. We stood on high ground next to the wall. We could see the IOF vehicles and guns trained on us. After about an hour of protests, Hamas cars arrived and asked us to leave the area for our own safety. Razan Al Najjar was shot in the chest deliberately by the IOF. She presented no danger to the IOF. She was attending to the wounded during the Great March of Return that began in March 2018. The peaceful march demanded the end of the blockade on Gaza and the right to return for Palestinian refugees. The IOF responded to these unarmed civilian demonstrations with the use of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition. ‘Among the casualties of the first year are 227 UNRWA students who were injured and 13 who were killed.’ Watch this video - Great March of Return, a mother’s perspective: 6 months after the start of the Great March protests, Amnesty International reported: According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, since the start of the protests, over 150 Palestinians have been killed in the demonstrations. At least 10,000 others have been injured, including 1,849 children, 424 women, 115 paramedics and 115 journalists. Of those injured, 5,814 were hit by live ammunition. According to Israeli media, one soldier was moderately injured due to shrapnel from a grenade thrown by a Palestinian from inside Gaza and one Israeli soldier was killed by Palestinian sniper fire near the fence that separates Gaza and Israel outside of the context of the protests. Legitimate calls for Israeli authorities to lift their 11-year illegal blockade on Gaza and to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their villages and towns have not been met. The claim that Al Najjar was a Hamas human shield is a cynical ploy by the Zionist forces to provide justification for their targeting of unarmed civilians who have a legally justified cause to protest under international law. Those that so often call for Palestinians to protest peacefully should understand that there is no effective ‘peaceful’ protest against the IOF. In 2021 Law4Palestine - ‘Under Scrutiny: Allegations of Use of Human Shields by Palestinian Armed Groups and the International Criminal Court Investigation’ What is certain, so far, is that the allegation that the armed groups are using human shields is unsubstantiated, and even the Prosecutor’s Office does not seem to have evidence on this regard, because the evidence at our disposal is the same as that which was available to the Prosecutor’s Office at this stage of the investigation. Israel will try to defend itself – whether through the Court or through its political discourse – regarding the commission of war crimes by claiming that the PAGs are terrorist groups and that the war on Gaza was a war on terror where terrorists do not shy away from using civilians as human shields. However, it will face obstacles relating to the characteristics of the Palestinian situation in the Gaza strip and the possibilities of taking “all the possible limits of necessary measures and precautions” to protect civilians and spare them from military attacks. Detailed investigations following the 2008-2009 and 2014 conflicts by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and others have failed to find a single documented case of any civilian deaths caused by Hamas using human shields. Not one. The following video by journalist Abby Martin demonstrates the hypocrisy of ‘human shield’ claims by Washington and Tel-Aviv: Now let’s look at Israel’s proven use of Palestinian children and civilians as human shields So not only is the Palestinian use of human shields a myth lacking any evidence, it is in fact Israel who is infamous for using human shields in its oppression of the Palestinians. Examples of this are incredibly easy to find even with the most rudimentary of research. Like much Israeli propaganda, it seeks to turn reality upside down and accuse the Palestinians of the crimes that Israel so often commits. This is a prime example of baseless dehumanization that many eagerly embrace because they have come to internalize a demonized image of Palestinians based on Israeli propaganda. Decolonize Palestine The evidence of Israel using Palestinians as human shields is voluminous, I will cite a number of cases and then offer links to additional reports. May 2023 in Ramallah - a report by Defence for Children (DCI) claims that Israeli forces have used at least five Palestinian children as human shields so far this year, including two toddlers. Israeli forces then threatened his sons Nidal, 9, and Karam, 11, in addition to his twin nephews, Ahmad and Mohammad, both two years old, and forced them to stand in front of Israeli military vehicles while Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and live ammunition at Palestinians confronting the group of soldiers. Israeli special forces forced Anas to stand and walk in front of them for several minutes while handcuffed as they confronted two Palestinian men and fired live ammunition. Before killing the two Palestinian men, Israeli forces forced Anas to sit on the floor of a house next door, blindfolded. “International law is explicit and absolutely prohibits the use of children as human shields by armed forces or armed groups," said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces intentionally putting a child in grave danger in order to shield themselves constitutes a war crime.” While Israeli forces used the Shalloun family as human shields in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp, one soldier ordered mother Samia to put her two-year-old nephew Mohammad on the ground and raise her hands. Mohammad cried as an Israeli military dog approached him, and as Samia lowered her hands to move him away from the dog, the Israeli soldier put his gun to Mohammad’s head, saying, “Move again and I’ll shoot him.” Since 2000, DCIP has documented at least 31 cases involving Palestinian children being used as human shields by the Israeli army. Last year, Israeli soldiers forced 16-year-old Ahed Mohammad Rida Mereb to stand in front of an Israeli military vehicle in Jenin as armed Palestinians fired heavily in their direction. A 2013 report by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child describes a litany of abuses of children by the IOF and security forces including their use as human shields: Almost all those using children as human shields and informants have remained unpunished and the soldiers convicted for having forced at gunpoint a nine-year-old child to search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended sentence of three months and were demoted. Further details of this case can be found in this Guardian report. Two Israeli soldiers who used a nine-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield were given suspended sentences and demoted after being convicted of "inappropriate conduct". The unnamed soldiers, from the Givati Brigade, ordered Majeh Rabah, from the Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza City, to check bags for explosives in January 2009, towards the end of Israel's three-week offensive. Also in the report from Human Rights Watch. 2014 - a report from ReliefWeb based on the original report by DCI Palestine: Ramallah, August 21, 2014—Israeli soldiers repeatedly used Ahmad Abu Raida, 17, as a human shield for five days while he was held hostage during Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Ahmad, from Khuza'a, near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, was just 16 years old when he was taken from his family on July 23. He was forced at gunpoint to search for tunnels for five days, during which time he was interrogated, verbally and physically abused, and deprived of food and sleep. Ahmad told DCI-Palestine in a sworn testimony that Israeli soldiers attempted both to extract information from him regarding Hamas members, and recruit him as an informant, before releasing him on July 27. "The Israeli military has consistently accused Hamas of using civilians - particularly children - as human shields, but this incident represents a clear case of their soldiers forcing a child to directly assist in military operations," said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. "Israeli officials make generalized accusations while Israeli soldiers engage in conduct that amounts to war crimes." A report in Mondoweiss at the same time records accounts of Israeli forces using civilians as human shields: Ayman Abu Toaimah, 32, a resident of Khuza’a recalls, “As Israeli invading troops advanced to the village they besieged it and used residents as human shields. When the Israeli army arrested people and then released some of them, they were told they are free to go back to the village, but as they were fleeing they came under fire and some of them shot dead. These people were used as human shields.” Abu Saleem, 56, a resident of Khuza’a echoed Abu Toaimah, “Israelis claim that Hamas is using us as human shields– how? This is a lie, we do not see fighters in the streets. It’s them, the Israelis who used us as human shields in Khuza’a and Shuja’iyeh. They turned our houses into military posts, terrified residents in the houses. They attacked innocent civilians with their bombs, and missiles, they attacked chicken farms, they burned our crops, they have no mercy.” May 2022 a Palestinian teenage girl was used by the IOF as a human shield during a military raid in Jenin: According to DCIP, during a raid on the morning of May 13th, Israeli soldiers forced 16-year-old Ahed Mohammad Rida Mereb, to stand in front of an Israeli military vehicle for two hours as the vehicle came under fire from Palestinian gunmen, while Israeli soldiers sat inside the vehicle. Breaking the Silence documents abuses of Palestinians by the IOF based on accounts from former IOF soldiers. A ‘moving human shield’ is one such report: Apparently, that captain had gone to Takua, which is a pretty hostile village—they were throwing stones at the jeep. So he just stopped a Palestinian guy who was passing, forty-something years old, and tied him to the hood of the jeep, a guy just lying on the hood, and they drove into the village. No one threw any more rocks. A human shield. Yes. But not just a human shield—first of all, a human shield is bad enough—this was a moving human shield. Tied to the hood of the jeep and they drove with him tied there. Drove with him through the village, it’s horrific. 22nd April 2004, a 13 year old boy called Mohammed Said Essa Badwan/Badran was used as a human shield. Mohammed was peacefully taking part in spontaneous demonstration in Biddo against the building of the Annexation Wall. Around noon, following the launch of sound bombs and teargas canisters by the soldiers, some nearby youth started throwing stones. At this point, two Israeli Border Guards arrested Mohammed, beat him and forced him to sit on the hood of their jeep, tying his arm to the windshield screen and then using him as a human shield. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who heads the organisation Rabbis for Human Rights, was present and tried to intervene for the release of the child but was instead arrested and beaten. Mohammed was reported to have been repeatedly hit by the soldiers while he was tied to the vehicle. Although he begged them to release him because he was scared and in pain, they would not. He also reportedly suffered from exposure to the teargas used by the soldiers, since he could not move nor was he given any protection. After about four hours, Mohammed was untied, forced into the jeep and taken first to Al-Sahl, an area in which the Annexation Wall is being constructed. He was then questioned by a military officer. Finally the child was released in the neighbouring village of Al-Kalaileh where he had to wait, alone and in the dark, for a relative to come and pick him up. Ramallah June 4th 2013 - ‘Israeli soldiers proudly paraded the handcuffed teen up and down the street, making a public spectacle of him in the occupied West Bank town of Abu Dis.’ Armed with live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas, on Friday, April 19, at least 10 Israeli soldiers confronted the crowd of protesters using 17-year-old Muhammad Rabea as a human shield. They forced him to walk at gunpoint with his hands raised in the air as they approached the protesters. Prior to being abused as a human shield, Muhammad had been savagely beaten by the IOF forces that had grabbed him from the streets. He was hit on the forehead with a rifle stock, kicked repeatedly on the legs, hit at the base of his neck by steel helmets. He was bundled in the back of the military jeep, verbally and physically abused, his hands tied by plastic cords. He was forced to sit in a revolving chair while IOF soldiers kicked him as the chair spun in the back of the jeep. “One of the soldiers sprayed the keffiyeh (scarf) I was wearing with pepper spray before tying it tightly over my eyes, burning them,” he says. “Each time I coughed, he told me to shut up and kicked me. I wasn’t allowed to cough.” At the military camp, soldiers forced him to stand facing a metal pole. Muhammad said the soldiers ripped his jacket and searched him, while an army dog clawed his back and calves. Following the search, soldiers knocked him down on the ground where he laid for two hours in pain as they continued to kick him in his legs, back and stomach. One of the soldiers removed the keffiyeh over his eyes and poured gasoline on it, burning it in front of him. The soldiers re-blindfolded him with a black piece of cloth and continued to hit him on the head with their helmets. Btselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) 2017: Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, Israeli security forces have repeatedly used Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip as human shields, ordering them to perform military tasks that risked their lives. As part of this policy, soldiers have ordered Palestinian civilians to remove suspicious objects from roads, to tell people to come out of their homes so the military can arrest them, to stand in front of soldiers while the latter shoot from behind them, and more. The Palestinian civilians were chosen at random for these tasks, and could not refuse the demand placed on them by armed soldiers. Using civilians to get wanted persons out of a house is known as “neighbor procedure.” This procedure does not differ significantly from other ways in which the military has used Palestinian civilian. It, too, too, constitutes illegal exploitation of civilians to perform military tasks and places them in real danger. This was made irrefutably clear in an incident that took place in 2002. On 14 August, soldiers sent Nidal Abu Mukhsan, a 19-year-old from the village of Tubas, to the home of Nasser Jarar, a Hamas activist, and ordered him to get Jarar out of the house. When Abu Mukhsan approached the house, Jarar, apparently thinking that the person knocking at the door was a soldier, shot and killed him. 2012 report from the Institute for Middle East Understanding: In 2007, B'Tselem releases a report documenting 14 cases in which Israeli soldiers have used Palestinian civilians - including boys and girls as young as 11-years-old - as human shields to protect themselves in dangerous situations. In one case, a 14-year-old girl in Gaza is shot in the stomach and leg after soldiers used her as a human shield during an incursion. In May 2011, two dozen former Israeli soldiers come forward to provide eyewitness accounts of the abuse of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military, including their use as human shields. 2021 - Human Rights Watch - A Threshold Crossed, Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution. When Palestinians Became Human Shields: Counterinsurgency, Racialization, and the Great Revolt (1936–1939) - Cambridge University Press Using Palestinians as human shields began under the British Mandate in Palestine that ended in 1947. In frustration at the relative success of Palestinian rebels who rejected the influx of European Jews to dispossess Palestinians of their land, the British turned to the use of human shields to defuse Palestinian guerilla military campaigns from 1936-38. The regularization of human shielding served as proof of “the dark path of repression” foreseen and warned against by the Peel Commission. Footnote125 It was also elemental to an ongoing process of colonial racialization that robbed the Palestinians of their humanity, stripped them of any figment of legal rights or protections, and denuded them of the most basic security of life. Indeed, with the systematic use of human shields, the colonial regime veered towards the “negation of all law” so feared by top civilian officials and took Palestinian society with it into the ensuing abyss. Conclusions US law requires Biden to impose sanctions on Hamas for using human shields. The Hill According to a report in The Hill, the “Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act” passed both houses of Congress unanimously in 2018. The Shields Act, as it is known, specifically requires the president to submit to Congress a list of persons he determines to be involved in the use of human shields. Biden should move swiftly to impose the sanctions already required by his determination that Hamas is using human shields. There is no evidence of Hamas using civilians as human shields - there is a plethora of evidence that Israel has historically exploited Palestinians as human shields putting the lives of children at risk on multiple occasions, torturing and traumatising them in the process. This is completely ignored by Washington. No sanctions on Israel? It can be argued that Israel has deliberately put its own civilians in danger as human shields by facilitating settlement in contested zones beyond the green line - as for example in the case of the Kibbutz Be’eri when it is now proven that Israeli civilians were not only killed by the IOF gunfire during battles with Palestinian Resistance factions but were also shelled by Israeli tanks two days after the 7th October when the IOF took a decision to eliminate their own civilians alongside Resistance militants. They [Israelis] are directly put in danger as a sacrifice to Israel’s expansionist colonial designs, which they can then blame on Palestinians to further accelerate this same project. Decolonize Palestine ‘Israel justifies its violent attacks by continuously accusing Hamas of using human shields, desperately hoping to stir moral indignation while also trying to muster a legal defence for the indefensible.’ The subtext is that civilised people protect their children while Palestinians sacrifice them. Under this pretext all Palestinians become legitimate targets and Israel can be exonerated of all blame. It is a criminal manipulation of reality to enable justification of genocide and the US and UK are upholding it - thus they are complicit in genocide. The director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhiber, resigned on Tuesday, writing: “As a human rights lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the field, I know well that the concept of genocide has often been subject to political abuse. But the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs, and coupled with explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt or debate. In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units. Across the land, Apartheid rules. “This is a text-book case of genocide. The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine. What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault. Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations ‘to ensure respect’ for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.” See full letter, news report and interview from Wednesday morning with Mokhiber. Journalist Sam Husseini wrote on X - I asked the State Dept on Tuesday about the recent DAWN MENA report documenting the Biden administration's efforts to pay for Israeli plans to "ethnically cleanse" Palestinians to Gaza. The spokesperson refused to comment on the funding request: If you really want to understand Washington’s defence of Israeli war crimes and human rights abuses including a de facto genocide of the Palestinian people, you need look no further than this extraordinary admission by Robert F. Kennedy Jr: Palestinian life is expendable if it ensures US unipolar supremacy. Heck, even the lives of Israelis are superfluous when faced with US protection of its global hegemony. If it is not yet clear that tropes such as “Hamas atrocities” and “Hamas human shields” are nothing more than fig leaves for US proxy war crimes in defence of US global military adventurism - then we are headed for a very ominous future. Thank you for reading. *** Please do consider subscribing to my substack. Every little amount does help me to keep pushing back against the lies that threaten us all.
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  • The Age of Megathreats
    Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022
    op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images
    NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be.

    Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.”

    Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies.

    Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries.

    Goodbye to All That

    Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII.

    There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb.


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    With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea.

    Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any.

    Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy.

    There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia.

    Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.”

    But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate.

    Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind.

    Hard Choices, Hard Landings

    The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks.

    While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession).

    What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant).

    History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies.

    Sticky Stagflation

    In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral.

    Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction.

    This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth.

    Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc.

    Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade.

    On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable.

    The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods.

    Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise.

    The Worst of All Possible Economies

    When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing.

    Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis.

    While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent.

    The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture.

    Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate.

    With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates.

    How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates.

    For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage.

    The Moment of Truth

    In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one).

    And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters.

    How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust.

    In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix.

    Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse.

    Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
    The Age of Megathreats Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022 op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be. Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.” Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies. Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries. Goodbye to All That Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII. There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb. Subscribe to PS Digital now to read all the latest insights from Nouriel Roubini. Digital subscribers enjoy access to every PS commentary, including those by Nouriel Roubini, plus our entire On Point suite of subscriber-exclusive content, including Longer Reads, Insider Interviews, Big Picture/Big Question, and Say More. For a limited time, save $15 with the code ROUBINI15. Subscribe Now With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea. Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any. Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy. There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia. Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.” But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate. Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind. Hard Choices, Hard Landings The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks. While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession). What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant). History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies. Sticky Stagflation In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral. Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction. This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth. Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc. Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade. On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable. The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods. Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise. The Worst of All Possible Economies When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing. Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis. While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent. The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture. Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate. With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates. How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates. For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage. The Moment of Truth In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one). And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters. How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust. In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix. Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
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  • The Age of Megathreats
    Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022
    op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images
    NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be.

    Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.”

    Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies.

    Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries.

    Goodbye to All That

    Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII.

    There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb.


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    With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea.

    Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any.

    Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy.

    There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia.

    Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.”

    But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate.

    Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind.

    Hard Choices, Hard Landings

    The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks.

    While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession).

    What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant).

    History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies.

    Sticky Stagflation

    In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral.

    Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction.

    This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth.

    Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc.

    Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade.

    On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable.

    The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods.

    Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise.

    The Worst of All Possible Economies

    When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing.

    Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis.

    While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent.

    The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture.

    Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate.

    With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates.

    How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates.

    For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage.

    The Moment of Truth

    In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one).

    And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters.

    How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust.

    In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix.

    Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse.

    Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
    The Age of Megathreats Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022 op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be. Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.” Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies. Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries. Goodbye to All That Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII. There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb. Subscribe to PS Digital now to read all the latest insights from Nouriel Roubini. Digital subscribers enjoy access to every PS commentary, including those by Nouriel Roubini, plus our entire On Point suite of subscriber-exclusive content, including Longer Reads, Insider Interviews, Big Picture/Big Question, and Say More. For a limited time, save $15 with the code ROUBINI15. Subscribe Now With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea. Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any. Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy. There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia. Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.” But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate. Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind. Hard Choices, Hard Landings The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks. While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession). What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant). History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies. Sticky Stagflation In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral. Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction. This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth. Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc. Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade. On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable. The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods. Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise. The Worst of All Possible Economies When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing. Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis. While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent. The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture. Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate. With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates. How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates. For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage. The Moment of Truth In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one). And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters. How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust. In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix. Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
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