• https://top10moviesbest.blogspot.com/2024/04/water-monster-full-adventure-hindi.html
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    Water Monster Full Adventure Hindi Dubbed Movie | Hollywood New Release Superhit Chines Action Film
    A film-also called a top10 movie,motion picture,moving picture,or flick is a work of visual art that simulates exper All movies will be found here.
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  • https://writinganessay.org/2024/04/09/water-management-in-south-africa-essay/
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  • Los Angeles, a city with a blend of iconic architecture and a commitment to sustainability, has instituted a significant ordinance named the Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency (EBEWE) Program. As Los Angeles strides towards a greener future, understanding EBEWE, particularly its extension, is crucial for property owners.
    Click here to read more: https://www.hituponviews.com/ebewe-extension-checklist-what-do-i-need-to-prepare-in-los-angeles/
    Los Angeles, a city with a blend of iconic architecture and a commitment to sustainability, has instituted a significant ordinance named the Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency (EBEWE) Program. As Los Angeles strides towards a greener future, understanding EBEWE, particularly its extension, is crucial for property owners. Click here to read more: https://www.hituponviews.com/ebewe-extension-checklist-what-do-i-need-to-prepare-in-los-angeles/
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    EBEWE Checklist for LA Buildings: Get Compliant
    Master EBEWE compliance in LA with our expert checklist. Ensure your building meets all energy and water efficiency standards.
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  • Drinking Boiled Tap Water Reduces Human Intake of Nanoplastics and Microplastics
    Ana Maria Mihalcea, MD, PhD

    Morphology and composition of incrustants in different conditions. (a) Scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images of bare-polystyrene (PS, 1 μm, 1 mg L–1) and incrustant coprecipitates formed in tap water at different temperatures (180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 40 mL, 25–100 oC); (b) SEM images of bare-PS (1 μm, 1 mg L–1) and incrustant coprecipitates in different water hardness upon boiling (60–300 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC); (c) SEM images of bare-PS and incrustant coprecipitates in different PS concentrations (1 μm, 0–5 mg L–1) upon boiling of tap water (180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC); and (d) SEM images and (e) X-ray diffraction patterns of bare-, carboxyl-, and amino-PS and incrustant coprecipitates upon boiling of tap water (1 and 0.1 μm, 1 mg L–1, 180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC).

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    This is a hopeful article explaining the methodology to decontaminate drinking water. This is very important because we do know that all bottled water is contaminated. You can read that study here:

    Study Shows A Quarter Million Nanoparticle Polymers Per Liter In Water Bottles - Same Polymers Found As In Moderna Patent For Covid 19 Shots, Morgellons Filaments, Blood & Rubbery Clots

    The abstract states:

    Tap water nano/microplastics (NMPs) escaping from centralized water treatment systems are of increasing global concern, because they pose potential health risk to humans via water consumption. Drinking boiled water, an ancient tradition in some Asian countries, is supposedly beneficial for human health, as boiling can remove some chemicals and most biological substances. However, it remains unclear whether boiling is effective in removing NMPs in tap water. Herein we present evidence that polystyrene, polyethylene, and polypropylene NMPs can coprecipitate with calcium carbonate (CaCO3) incrustants in tap water upon boiling. Boiling hard water (>120 mg L–1 of CaCO3) can remove at least 80% of polystyrene, polyethylene, and polypropylene NMPs size between 0.1 and 150 μm. Elevated temperatures promote CaCO3 nucleation on NMPs, resulting in the encapsulation and aggregation of NMPs within CaCO3 incrustants. This simple boiling-water strategy can “decontaminate” NMPs from household tap water and has the potential for harmlessly alleviating human intake of NMPs through water consumption.


    Here is the ACS article:

    Drinking Boiled Tap Water Reduces Human Intake of Nanoplastics and Microplastics

    Here is the sciencedaily write up:

    Want fewer microplastics in your tap water? Try boiling it first

    Contamination of water supplies with nano- and microplastics (NMPs), which can be as small as one thousandth of a millimeter in diameter or as large as 5 millimeters, has become increasingly common. The effects of these particles on human health are still under investigation, though current studies suggest that ingesting them could affect the gut microbiome. Some advanced drinking water filtration systems capture NMPs, but simple, inexpensive methods are needed to substantially help reduce human plastic consumption. So, Zhanjun Li, Eddy Zeng and colleagues wanted to see whether boiling could be an effective method to help remove NMPs from both hard and soft tap water.

    The researchers collected samples of hard tap water from Guangzhou, China, and spiked them with different amounts of NMPs. Samples were boiled for five minutes and allowed to cool. Then, the team measured the free-floating plastic content. Boiling hard water, which is rich in minerals, will naturally form a chalky substance known as limescale, or calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Results from these experiments indicated that as the water temperature increased, CaCO3 formed incrustants, or crystalline structures, which encapsulated the plastic particles. Zeng says that over time, these incrustants would build up like typical limescale, at which point they could be scrubbed away to remove the NMPs. He suggests any remaining incrustants floating in the water could be removed by pouring it through a simple filter such as a coffee filter.

    In the tests, the encapsulation effect was more pronounced in harder water -- in a sample containing 300 milligrams of CaCO3 per liter of water, up to 90% of free-floating MNPs were removed after boiling. However, even in soft water samples (less than 60 milligrams CaCO3 per liter), boiling still removed around 25% of NMPs. The researchers say that this work could provide a simple, yet effective, method to reduce NMP consumption.

    From the paper supplemental information

    Results. Boiling hard water can remove most PS, PE, and PP MPs, and PS, PE, and PP MPs precipitation efficiencies were 95 ± 4%, 81 ± 3%, and 90 ± 3%, respectively, at 100 oC. Increasing temperature accelerated the formation of incrustants on spherical, fragmented, and fibrous MP surfaces. MPs continued to be encapsulated by newly formed incrustants (Figure S2) and finally precipitated under gravity, confirming that spherical PS, fragmented PE, and fibrous PP MPs are able to coprecipitate with incrustants in tap water upon boiling. In concluding, the results with NPs in the main text were also applicable to MPs.

    Here are the polymer plastics found in drinking water throughout the world:



    Thank you to Karen Kingston, who brought this article to my attention.

    https://anamihalceamdphd.substack.com/p/drinking-boiled-tap-water-reduces

    https://telegra.ph/Drinking-Boiled-Tap-Water-Reduces-Human-Intake-of-Nanoplastics-and-Microplastics-04-02
    Drinking Boiled Tap Water Reduces Human Intake of Nanoplastics and Microplastics Ana Maria Mihalcea, MD, PhD Morphology and composition of incrustants in different conditions. (a) Scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images of bare-polystyrene (PS, 1 μm, 1 mg L–1) and incrustant coprecipitates formed in tap water at different temperatures (180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 40 mL, 25–100 oC); (b) SEM images of bare-PS (1 μm, 1 mg L–1) and incrustant coprecipitates in different water hardness upon boiling (60–300 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC); (c) SEM images of bare-PS and incrustant coprecipitates in different PS concentrations (1 μm, 0–5 mg L–1) upon boiling of tap water (180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC); and (d) SEM images and (e) X-ray diffraction patterns of bare-, carboxyl-, and amino-PS and incrustant coprecipitates upon boiling of tap water (1 and 0.1 μm, 1 mg L–1, 180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC). ____________________________________________________________________________ This is a hopeful article explaining the methodology to decontaminate drinking water. This is very important because we do know that all bottled water is contaminated. You can read that study here: Study Shows A Quarter Million Nanoparticle Polymers Per Liter In Water Bottles - Same Polymers Found As In Moderna Patent For Covid 19 Shots, Morgellons Filaments, Blood & Rubbery Clots The abstract states: Tap water nano/microplastics (NMPs) escaping from centralized water treatment systems are of increasing global concern, because they pose potential health risk to humans via water consumption. Drinking boiled water, an ancient tradition in some Asian countries, is supposedly beneficial for human health, as boiling can remove some chemicals and most biological substances. However, it remains unclear whether boiling is effective in removing NMPs in tap water. Herein we present evidence that polystyrene, polyethylene, and polypropylene NMPs can coprecipitate with calcium carbonate (CaCO3) incrustants in tap water upon boiling. Boiling hard water (>120 mg L–1 of CaCO3) can remove at least 80% of polystyrene, polyethylene, and polypropylene NMPs size between 0.1 and 150 μm. Elevated temperatures promote CaCO3 nucleation on NMPs, resulting in the encapsulation and aggregation of NMPs within CaCO3 incrustants. This simple boiling-water strategy can “decontaminate” NMPs from household tap water and has the potential for harmlessly alleviating human intake of NMPs through water consumption. Here is the ACS article: Drinking Boiled Tap Water Reduces Human Intake of Nanoplastics and Microplastics Here is the sciencedaily write up: Want fewer microplastics in your tap water? Try boiling it first Contamination of water supplies with nano- and microplastics (NMPs), which can be as small as one thousandth of a millimeter in diameter or as large as 5 millimeters, has become increasingly common. The effects of these particles on human health are still under investigation, though current studies suggest that ingesting them could affect the gut microbiome. Some advanced drinking water filtration systems capture NMPs, but simple, inexpensive methods are needed to substantially help reduce human plastic consumption. So, Zhanjun Li, Eddy Zeng and colleagues wanted to see whether boiling could be an effective method to help remove NMPs from both hard and soft tap water. The researchers collected samples of hard tap water from Guangzhou, China, and spiked them with different amounts of NMPs. Samples were boiled for five minutes and allowed to cool. Then, the team measured the free-floating plastic content. Boiling hard water, which is rich in minerals, will naturally form a chalky substance known as limescale, or calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Results from these experiments indicated that as the water temperature increased, CaCO3 formed incrustants, or crystalline structures, which encapsulated the plastic particles. Zeng says that over time, these incrustants would build up like typical limescale, at which point they could be scrubbed away to remove the NMPs. He suggests any remaining incrustants floating in the water could be removed by pouring it through a simple filter such as a coffee filter. In the tests, the encapsulation effect was more pronounced in harder water -- in a sample containing 300 milligrams of CaCO3 per liter of water, up to 90% of free-floating MNPs were removed after boiling. However, even in soft water samples (less than 60 milligrams CaCO3 per liter), boiling still removed around 25% of NMPs. The researchers say that this work could provide a simple, yet effective, method to reduce NMP consumption. From the paper supplemental information Results. Boiling hard water can remove most PS, PE, and PP MPs, and PS, PE, and PP MPs precipitation efficiencies were 95 ± 4%, 81 ± 3%, and 90 ± 3%, respectively, at 100 oC. Increasing temperature accelerated the formation of incrustants on spherical, fragmented, and fibrous MP surfaces. MPs continued to be encapsulated by newly formed incrustants (Figure S2) and finally precipitated under gravity, confirming that spherical PS, fragmented PE, and fibrous PP MPs are able to coprecipitate with incrustants in tap water upon boiling. In concluding, the results with NPs in the main text were also applicable to MPs. Here are the polymer plastics found in drinking water throughout the world: Thank you to Karen Kingston, who brought this article to my attention. https://anamihalceamdphd.substack.com/p/drinking-boiled-tap-water-reduces https://telegra.ph/Drinking-Boiled-Tap-Water-Reduces-Human-Intake-of-Nanoplastics-and-Microplastics-04-02
    ANAMIHALCEAMDPHD.SUBSTACK.COM
    Drinking Boiled Tap Water Reduces Human Intake of Nanoplastics and Microplastics
    Morphology and composition of incrustants in different conditions. (a) Scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images of bare-polystyrene (PS, 1 μm, 1 mg L–1) and incrustant coprecipitates formed in tap water at different temperatures (180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 40 mL, 25–100 oC); (b) SEM images of bare-PS (1 μm, 1 mg L–1) and incrustant coprecipitates in different water hardness upon boiling (60–300 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC); (c) SEM images of bare-PS and incrustant coprecipitates in different PS concentrations (1 μm, 0–5 mg L–1) upon boiling of tap water (180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC); and (d) SEM images and (e) X-ray diffraction patterns of bare-, carboxyl-, and amino-PS and incrustant coprecipitates upon boiling of tap water (1 and 0.1 μm, 1 mg L–1, 180 mg L–1 of CaCO3, 100 oC).
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  • ‘We are the masters of the house’: Israeli channels air snuff videos featuring systematic torture of Palestinians
    Israeli TV channels aired a number of reports showing the torture and humiliation of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. The videos are consumed by the Israeli public as entertainment, revealing the sadism of Israeli society.

    Jonathan OfirMarch 6, 2024
    Screenshot from Channel 13 report on Palestinian prisoners. (Photo: Jonathan Ofir Youtube Channel)
    Screenshot from Channel 13 report on Palestinian prisoners. (Photo: Jonathan Ofir Youtube Channel)
    Over the past month, mainstream Israeli television channels have aired what can only be described as snuff films. They depict the systematic torture of Palestinians from Gaza in Israeli jails. Such videos have aired on at least three occasions — twice on Channel 14, and once on the public broadcaster, Channel 13. While Channel 14 is considered right-wing, so is about two-thirds of the Israeli public, and the more “mainstream” Channel 13 has shown no qualms about airing similar footage.

    The broadcasts follow prison officials into detention centers to document the mistreatment of prisoners, which seems to be something that the officials — and apparently the viewers — find satisfying rather than revolting. The airing of these snuff films is a demonstration of societal sadism.

    As Yumna Patel has recently reported, several rights groups have sounded the alarm over the widespread and systemic abuse that Palestinian prisoners face at the hands of the Israeli authorities. These groups’ calls have been unintentionally buttressed by Israeli soldiers’ unapologetic videos of themselves torturing or demeaning Palestinian detainees, which they boastfully post on social media. Now, it seems that the phenomenon has expanded to mainstream Israeli television.

    The two aforementioned reports on Channel 14 (threads with subtitles can be found here and here) contained footage of actual interrogation sessions during which torture was used. The Channel 13 report did not, but it exposed some of the worst prison conditions to be broadcast to the public. These conditions include forcing prisoners to live in inhumane conditions and subjecting them to torture and harassment. Here’s the 11-minute video with translated subtitles.

    Israel Channel 13 prison tour 18.2.2024
    ‘The feeling is one of pride’

    “Here, we see the cells in which the Nukhba terrorists are held,” the narrator says.

    The “Nukhba” refers to elite Hamas-led fighters who carried out the October 7 attack. In the cell, viewers notice metal bunkbeds without mattresses, and instead of a toilet, there is just a hole in the floor. The room is almost completely dark throughout the day, and prisoners have their hands and legs chained together.

    We hear attack dogs barking constantly as prisoners are made to kneel while bound and blindfolded, their heads touching the floor.

    “This is how it should be,” a guard says. “This is how a Nukhba prisoner should be…what happened on October 7 will never return.”

    In another scene, a guard shouts at prisoners as dogs continue to bark incessantly. “Heads down! Heads on the floor!” he yells.

    “There are many prisoners here that I personally saw at the [October 7] events,” a prison official says, taking pride in humiliating them. “The difference is that this time, he is afraid, shaking, with his head on the floor…no Allahu Akbar, nothing. You won’t hear a squeak from him.”

    “They have no mattresses,” says a warden shift commander. “They have nothing…we control them 100% — their food, their shackling, their sleep…[we] show them we are the masters of the house.” Even without knowing the background to that phrase, to hear him say it is chilling.

    “Masters of the house” was the election slogan of Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Jewish Power leader and current Minister of National Security. Ben-Gvir declared war on Palestinian prisoners long before October 7, and this has included shutting down bakeries that supply bread to prisoners — described by Ben-Gvir as an “indulgence” — and drastically limiting prisoners’ water use. So now it’s become much worse.

    While one is tempted to believe that all prisoners here are “Nukhba” members, it turns out that many of them aren’t even suspected of that. Rather, they were rounded up in Gaza after October 7, during mass arrests in which hundreds of Gazan men were stripped and paraded in a most sadistic demonstration of power. The mass arrests also included hundreds of women, including pregnant women detained with their babies. Israeli security officials told Haaretz that by their own estimate, “only 10 to 15 percent of the hundreds of the semi-naked and bound Gazan men arrested in the Strip during the recent days are Hamas members or those who identified with the organization.”

    Back to the Channel 13 coverage, viewers can hear the nonstop blasting of the Zionist anthem, Am Israel Hai (“the people of Israel live”).

    “The prison authorities claim that it is meant to boost the morale of the staff,” the narrator declares. “But it is clear that this is another part of the psychological warfare against the prisoners.”

    Torture, in other words.

    It’s hard to imagine the depths to which Israeli society has sunk. The official tells the Channel 13 reporter that “the feeling is one of pride.”

    The reason such sadism has become formalized as a matter of policy is because this is what the Israeli public demands. The Israeli Democracy Institute released a survey last week showing that two-thirds of Jewish Israelis oppose “the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza residents at this time,” even if “via international bodies that are not linked to Hamas or to UNRWA.” For right-wing voters, the opposition to aid jumps from 68% to 80%.

    This is not Israel’s Abu Ghraib moment, because when Abu Ghraib was revealed, most Americans were revolted. Israeli society, on the other hand, is thirsting for genocide. No wonder they consume such videos as entertainment on mainstream TV.

    Thanks to Tali Shapiro, B.M.@ireallyhatyou, Hilel Biton-Rosen, and Dave Reed.


    ‘We are the masters of the house’: Israeli channels air snuff videos featuring systematic torture of Palestinians

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/we-are-the-masters-of-the-house-israeli-channels-air-snuff-videos-featuring-systematic-torture-of-palestinians/?utm_content=buffer5ce81&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=buffer
    ‘We are the masters of the house’: Israeli channels air snuff videos featuring systematic torture of Palestinians Israeli TV channels aired a number of reports showing the torture and humiliation of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. The videos are consumed by the Israeli public as entertainment, revealing the sadism of Israeli society. Jonathan OfirMarch 6, 2024 Screenshot from Channel 13 report on Palestinian prisoners. (Photo: Jonathan Ofir Youtube Channel) Screenshot from Channel 13 report on Palestinian prisoners. (Photo: Jonathan Ofir Youtube Channel) Over the past month, mainstream Israeli television channels have aired what can only be described as snuff films. They depict the systematic torture of Palestinians from Gaza in Israeli jails. Such videos have aired on at least three occasions — twice on Channel 14, and once on the public broadcaster, Channel 13. While Channel 14 is considered right-wing, so is about two-thirds of the Israeli public, and the more “mainstream” Channel 13 has shown no qualms about airing similar footage. The broadcasts follow prison officials into detention centers to document the mistreatment of prisoners, which seems to be something that the officials — and apparently the viewers — find satisfying rather than revolting. The airing of these snuff films is a demonstration of societal sadism. As Yumna Patel has recently reported, several rights groups have sounded the alarm over the widespread and systemic abuse that Palestinian prisoners face at the hands of the Israeli authorities. These groups’ calls have been unintentionally buttressed by Israeli soldiers’ unapologetic videos of themselves torturing or demeaning Palestinian detainees, which they boastfully post on social media. Now, it seems that the phenomenon has expanded to mainstream Israeli television. The two aforementioned reports on Channel 14 (threads with subtitles can be found here and here) contained footage of actual interrogation sessions during which torture was used. The Channel 13 report did not, but it exposed some of the worst prison conditions to be broadcast to the public. These conditions include forcing prisoners to live in inhumane conditions and subjecting them to torture and harassment. Here’s the 11-minute video with translated subtitles. Israel Channel 13 prison tour 18.2.2024 ‘The feeling is one of pride’ “Here, we see the cells in which the Nukhba terrorists are held,” the narrator says. The “Nukhba” refers to elite Hamas-led fighters who carried out the October 7 attack. In the cell, viewers notice metal bunkbeds without mattresses, and instead of a toilet, there is just a hole in the floor. The room is almost completely dark throughout the day, and prisoners have their hands and legs chained together. We hear attack dogs barking constantly as prisoners are made to kneel while bound and blindfolded, their heads touching the floor. “This is how it should be,” a guard says. “This is how a Nukhba prisoner should be…what happened on October 7 will never return.” In another scene, a guard shouts at prisoners as dogs continue to bark incessantly. “Heads down! Heads on the floor!” he yells. “There are many prisoners here that I personally saw at the [October 7] events,” a prison official says, taking pride in humiliating them. “The difference is that this time, he is afraid, shaking, with his head on the floor…no Allahu Akbar, nothing. You won’t hear a squeak from him.” “They have no mattresses,” says a warden shift commander. “They have nothing…we control them 100% — their food, their shackling, their sleep…[we] show them we are the masters of the house.” Even without knowing the background to that phrase, to hear him say it is chilling. “Masters of the house” was the election slogan of Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Jewish Power leader and current Minister of National Security. Ben-Gvir declared war on Palestinian prisoners long before October 7, and this has included shutting down bakeries that supply bread to prisoners — described by Ben-Gvir as an “indulgence” — and drastically limiting prisoners’ water use. So now it’s become much worse. While one is tempted to believe that all prisoners here are “Nukhba” members, it turns out that many of them aren’t even suspected of that. Rather, they were rounded up in Gaza after October 7, during mass arrests in which hundreds of Gazan men were stripped and paraded in a most sadistic demonstration of power. The mass arrests also included hundreds of women, including pregnant women detained with their babies. Israeli security officials told Haaretz that by their own estimate, “only 10 to 15 percent of the hundreds of the semi-naked and bound Gazan men arrested in the Strip during the recent days are Hamas members or those who identified with the organization.” Back to the Channel 13 coverage, viewers can hear the nonstop blasting of the Zionist anthem, Am Israel Hai (“the people of Israel live”). “The prison authorities claim that it is meant to boost the morale of the staff,” the narrator declares. “But it is clear that this is another part of the psychological warfare against the prisoners.” Torture, in other words. It’s hard to imagine the depths to which Israeli society has sunk. The official tells the Channel 13 reporter that “the feeling is one of pride.” The reason such sadism has become formalized as a matter of policy is because this is what the Israeli public demands. The Israeli Democracy Institute released a survey last week showing that two-thirds of Jewish Israelis oppose “the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza residents at this time,” even if “via international bodies that are not linked to Hamas or to UNRWA.” For right-wing voters, the opposition to aid jumps from 68% to 80%. This is not Israel’s Abu Ghraib moment, because when Abu Ghraib was revealed, most Americans were revolted. Israeli society, on the other hand, is thirsting for genocide. No wonder they consume such videos as entertainment on mainstream TV. Thanks to Tali Shapiro, B.M.@ireallyhatyou, Hilel Biton-Rosen, and Dave Reed. ‘We are the masters of the house’: Israeli channels air snuff videos featuring systematic torture of Palestinians https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/we-are-the-masters-of-the-house-israeli-channels-air-snuff-videos-featuring-systematic-torture-of-palestinians/?utm_content=buffer5ce81&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=buffer
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘We are the masters of the house’: Israeli channels air snuff videos featuring systematic torture of Palestinians
    Israeli TV channels aired a number of reports showing the torture and humiliation of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. The videos are consumed by the Israeli public as entertainment, revealing the sadism of Israeli society.
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  • The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide
    By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read
    The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed.

    One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva.

    A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB).

    Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella.

    The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant.

    Historical Perspective

    These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing.

    In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others.

    The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat.

    With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations.

    As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context.

    Why May 2024?

    The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place.

    They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years..

    A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions.

    The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations.

    This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO.

    The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva.

    Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent.

    Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different.

    The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm.

    To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below.

    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement.

    REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024

    Preamble

    Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.

    This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm.

    Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

    This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed.

    Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness.

    In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes.

    Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services,

    As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations.

    These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective.

    Chapter I. Introduction

    Article 1. Use of terms

    (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern.

    This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022.

    (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality.

    This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response.

    “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

    While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people.

    Article 2. Objective

    This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern.

    Article 3. Principles

    2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation

    The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary.

    3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people.

    This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda).

    Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact.

    5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics

    As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes.

    The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity.

    Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these.

    In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events.

    Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance

    2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate:

    (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential.

    (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.]

    The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations.

    The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work.

    6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article.

    Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs.

    Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?)

    Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new).

    Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery

    2. Each Party commits…[to] :

    (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations

    (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure

    (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies

    (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems

    This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking.

    (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

    This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision.

    Article 7. Health and care workforce

    This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for:

    4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment…

    Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so.

    Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews

    1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system.

    2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels.

    Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries.

    Article 9. Research and development

    Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?).

    Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production

    Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations.

    Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how

    This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc.

    Article 12. Access and benefit sharing

    This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials.

    3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]:

    (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party;

    (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs),

    Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this.

    The article then becomes yet more concerning:

    6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer:

    (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties;

    (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, …

    It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight.

    The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment.

    8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible.

    The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit.

    10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality.

    The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine.

    The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products.

    It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity.

    Article 13. Supply chain and logistics

    The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products.

    Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it).

    For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase.

    Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions

    While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing.

    Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening

    This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort.

    Article 15. Liability and compensation management

    1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms…

    2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations.

    This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does.

    This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm.

    Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk.

    These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak.

    Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation

    A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement.

    Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches

    A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries).

    However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed).

    Article 18. Communication and public awareness

    1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation…

    2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies.

    The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss.

    As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement.

    Article 19. Implementation and support

    3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005).

    As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other.

    Article 20. Sustainable financing

    1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall:

    (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);…

    This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it.

    3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005)

    This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva.

    It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking.

    Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions

    Article 21. Conference of the Parties

    1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established.

    2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation.

    This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion.

    Articles 22 – 37

    These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues.

    Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU).

    The WHO will provide the secretariat.

    Under Article 24 is noted:

    3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns.

    These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement.

    As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.”

    Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public.

    Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time.

    Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it.

    Further reading:

    WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website:

    https://inb.who.int/

    International Health Regulations Working Group website:

    https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html

    On background to the WHO texts:

    Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide
    An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations
    On urgency and burden of pandemics:

    https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic

    Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy
    Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk
    Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement:

    Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
    For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.

    Authors

    David Bell
    David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA.

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    Thi Thuy Van Dinh
    Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings.

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    Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work.

    https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/

    https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed. One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva. A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB). Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella. The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant. Historical Perspective These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing. In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others. The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat. With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations. As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context. Why May 2024? The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place. They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years.. A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions. The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations. This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO. The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva. Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent. Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different. The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm. To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below. The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement. REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024 Preamble Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work. This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm. Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed. Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness. In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes. Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services, As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations. These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective. Chapter I. Introduction Article 1. Use of terms (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern. This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022. (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality. This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response. “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people. Article 2. Objective This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern. Article 3. Principles 2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary. 3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people. This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda). Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact. 5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes. The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity. Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these. In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events. Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance 2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate: (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential. (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.] The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations. The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work. 6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article. Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs. Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?) Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new). Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery 2. Each Party commits…[to] : (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking. (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision. Article 7. Health and care workforce This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for: 4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment… Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so. Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews 1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system. 2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels. Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries. Article 9. Research and development Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?). Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations. Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc. Article 12. Access and benefit sharing This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials. 3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]: (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party; (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs), Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this. The article then becomes yet more concerning: 6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer: (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties; (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, … It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight. The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment. 8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible. The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit. 10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality. The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine. The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products. It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity. Article 13. Supply chain and logistics The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products. Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it). For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase. Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing. Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort. Article 15. Liability and compensation management 1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms… 2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations. This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does. This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm. Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk. These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak. Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement. Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries). However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed). Article 18. Communication and public awareness 1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation… 2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies. The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss. As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement. Article 19. Implementation and support 3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005). As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other. Article 20. Sustainable financing 1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall: (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);… This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it. 3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005) This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva. It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking. Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions Article 21. Conference of the Parties 1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established. 2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation. This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion. Articles 22 – 37 These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues. Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU). The WHO will provide the secretariat. Under Article 24 is noted: 3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns. These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement. As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.” Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public. Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time. Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it. Further reading: WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website: https://inb.who.int/ International Health Regulations Working Group website: https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html On background to the WHO texts: Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations On urgency and burden of pandemics: https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement: Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author. Authors David Bell David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA. View all posts Thi Thuy Van Dinh Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings. View all posts Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work. https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/ https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
    BROWNSTONE.ORG
    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide ⋆ Brownstone Institute
    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 178: Israel withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital, leaving evidence of a massacre in its wake
    Dozens of bodies are still being recovered from the rubble of a destroyed and burnt al-Shifa Hospital, following a two-week Israeli raid and siege on the hospital.

    Qassam MuaddiApril 1, 2024
    A destroyed and bombed out hospital room in the al-Shifa Hospital in the foreground; a burned edifice of the al-Shifa Hospital complex in the background.
    Palestinians assess the damage and search the rubble in the area of the destroyed al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 1, 2024. The Israeli army said Monday that it wrapped up its military operation at the al-Shifa Hospital complex following a 14-day siege and attack that resulted in scores of casualties and hundreds of arrests. (Khaled Daoud /apaimages)
    Casualties

    32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
    600 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 6,800 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    Israel has killed 140 Palestinians and wounded 202 in the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
    Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital complex after two-week siege, leaving total destruction in its wake and dozens of dead. Israeli military sources say al-Shifa “will not come back to operation” after withdrawal.
    Gaza’s interior ministry announces the arrest of 10 intelligence officers from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, claiming that they entered Gaza in coordination with Israel to “destabilize the internal front.” Ramallah officially denies the claims.
    Gaza’s health ministry calls upon the international community to intervene to reopen Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which was put out of service by Israeli forces after sustained attacks in recent weeks.
    Israel announces killing of Hezbollah military commander in strike on southern Lebanon. Israeli strikes hit the Lebanese towns of al-Khyam and Markaba, while Hezbollah fires rockets on Israeli settlements and military bases in the Galilee.
    Israeli forces raid Jenin in the occupied West Bank amid arrest wave.
    Palestinians in Israel and West Bank march in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day protesting Gaza genocide.
    Israeli Channel 12: Over 6,800 Israeli soldiers wounded since October 7th.
    Israel kills 140 Palestinians in Gaza, including 10 journalists in targeted strike

    The Palestinian health ministry reported that Israeli forces committed 14 massacres across the Gaza Strip since Saturday, killing 140 Palestinians and wounding 202, raising the death toll of Israel’s assault since October 7 to 32,782 with more than 75,392 wounded.

    In Gaza City, medical sources reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the surroundings of al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli army withdrew from the medical complex following two weeks of raids. The health ministry said in a statement on Sunday that medical staff are unable to recover the bodies and the wounded under the rubble.

    Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid.
    Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid that claimed hundreds of casualties. The Israeli military said that the hospital will be inoperable following the withdrawal of its forces. (APA Images)
    On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes hit a residential building in the al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, killing an unspecified number of Palestinians. In western Gaza City, Israeli strikes killed at least two Palestinians and wounded 10 in al-Shati refugee camp.

    In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in a strike on a family house in al-Maghazi refugee camp. Israeli strikes also killed four Palestinians and wounded 15, including 10 journalists in a strike on a tent in the courtyard of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

    In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes continued over the weekend on Khan Younis and its surrounding villages. In Bani Suhaila, west of Khan Younis, Palestinian medical teams recovered five more bodies. Local media sources also reported that Israeli armored vehicles opened fire at Palestinian houses in Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis.

    Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital after two-week attack, leaving ‘total destruction’

    The Israeli army withdrew from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early on Monday, following 14 days of raids on Gaza’s largest medical complex. Testimonies from the ground reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the complex, while medical sources said that “hundreds of bodies” continue to be found in the hospital’s vicinity.

    Israeli media quoted the Israeli army spokesperson saying that Israeli forces have “ended their operation” at al-Shifa, killing 200 Palestinians whom it claims to be members of Palestinian resistance groups, including a senior commander of Hamas’s military wing.

    The Israeli army repeated throughout the two-week-long raid that it took “precautions” to avoid harming civilians and civilian infrastructure. However, testimonies from journalists and civilians of executions and torture inside the hospital and photos of a completely burnt hospital indicate otherwise.

    Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid.
    Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid. April 1, 2024 (APA Images)
    Palestinians rushed into al-Shifa following the withdrawal of Israeli forces, with reports from local media sources describing the “total destruction” of the hospital’s facilities.

    According to medical sources at al-Shifa, Israeli troops completely destroyed the specialized surgeries building and set fire to the rest of the building. Sources also indicated that Israeli soldiers also torched the reception and emergency buildings, destroying dozens of rooms and all of its equipment.

    Local sources added that Israeli forces destroyed or torched several residential buildings surrounding al-Shifa and that residents have recovered dozens of dead bodies in the streets surrounding the complex.

    On Monday, the Haboush family told news outlet Arab 48 as they evacuated the area that they had spent nine days with very little water at their home in al-Shifa’s vicinity. The family said that their eldest son was killed by an Israeli quadcopter drone and was left to bleed to death and then decompose before their eyes, as they couldn’t risk recovering his body under Israeli fire.

    On the second day of the Israeli raid, Palestinian Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan reported through her X account that Israeli forces killed her brother in the surroundings of al-Shifa.

    Palestinian medical sources said in the aftermath of Israel’s withdrawal from al-Shifa that the medical complex was completely inoperational and that it will be “very difficult to resume work in al-Shifa in the current stage.”

    Hours prior to Israeli forces’ withdrawal, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhom Ghebreyesus, called upon opening a humanitarian corridor to al-Shifa.

    Ghebreyesus added that 21 Palestinian patients have died inside al-Shifa during the Israeli raid since March 19 and that 107 more patients are still inside the hospital in inappropriate medical conditions, including four children and 28 in critical condition. Ghebreyesus indicated that the patients include some with wound inflammation, due to the lack of clean water.

    Israeli army sources also said through the Israeli army radio that al-Shifa Hospital “will not come back to work” after the destruction it suffered during the Israeli military raid.

    Israeli forces had raided al-Shifa in November and forced Palestinians, including patients and medical staff, to exit, leaving behind several newborn babies without functioning incubators.

    Palestinians returned to al-Shifa following the first Israeli withdrawal from the hospital in December, where journalists reported finding the left-behind-babies decomposing.

    Gaza interior ministry accuses PA intelligence of ‘infiltrating Gaza in coordination with Israel


    The Gaza-based Palestinian interior ministry, which is administered by Hamas, said on Monday that an intelligence force belonging to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, led by Hamas’ political rival Fatah, entered the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

    The ministry announced arresting the force’s members, whom it claimed were on a mission to “sabotage the internal front” in Gaza. A Palestinian Authority senior official denied accusations on Monday in statements to the PA-affiliated Wafa agency.

    According to Gaza authorities, the intelligence force entered on Saturday in Egyptian Red Crescent trucks that were allegedly allowed into the Strip by Israel. Gaza officials added that Egyptian authorities denied having any knowledge of the alleged infiltration.

    An official in the Gaza interior ministry said that the force entered by direct orders of the Ramallah-based Palestinian general intelligence apparatus chief, Majed Faraj, with the mission of “spreading chaos,” and in coordination with the Israeli army and the Israeli internal security intelligence – the Shin Bet, or as it’s known locally, the Shabak.

    The official noted that the Gaza security forces received instructions from the ‘Palestinian resistance factions joint operation group,’ the coordinating body of a dozen Palestinian armed factions in the Strip. The instructions, according to the official, were to intercept the alleged force “and any security force that enters Gaza other than through the resistance.”

    On Monday, the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency quoted a senior PA official calling the Gaza interior ministry statement “an enraged media campaign to cover up the suffering of our people in Gaza.”

    The Israeli Kan channel had reported earlier that Israel’s war minister Yoav Gallant had proposed Majed Faraj take charge of running the Strip after the war in cooperation with local figures who wouldn’t include members of Hamas.

    Last week, The White House spokesperson Mathew Miller said that one of the U.S. administration’s orders for a post-war Gaza is that the PA must run both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Miller added that the U.S. is discussing with the PA and other countries in the region all the issues concerning the administration of the Strip after the war, without giving further details.

    600 Israeli soldiers killed, 6,800 wounded as fighting with Palestinian resistance continues

    The Israeli army announced on Monday that a soldier from its 77th brigade was killed in combat with the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli media outlets reported that 600 Israeli soldiers and officers have been killed since October 7, and 6,800 have been wounded.

    The Israeli army, which delays the announcement of its losses under strict military censorship, has so far admitted the loss of 264 soldiers and officers since the beginning of its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in November.

    Meanwhile, the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced that its fighters targeted an Israeli tank in Khan Younis with an armor-piercing explosive device and that Israeli military helicopters rushed to evacuate casualties.

    Al-Qassam also announced that its fighters engaged Israeli soldiers with an anti-fortification projectile inside a house near the Nasser Hospital, west of Khan Younis. Al-Qassam added that it targeted Israeli troops in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City with mortar rounds.

    Simultaneously, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad -PIJ announced that its fighters engaged Israeli forces in the al-Qarara neighborhood in Khan Younis.

    For its part, the Israeli army announced that it continues to fight Palestinian factions in al-Qarara and that 81 soldiers were wounded in the southern Gaza Strip in the past week.

    Qassam Muaddi
    Qassam Muaddi is the Palestine Staff Writer for Mondoweiss.



    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-178-israel-withdraws-from-al-shifa-hospital-leaving-evidence-of-a-massacre-in-its-wake/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 178: Israel withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital, leaving evidence of a massacre in its wake Dozens of bodies are still being recovered from the rubble of a destroyed and burnt al-Shifa Hospital, following a two-week Israeli raid and siege on the hospital. Qassam MuaddiApril 1, 2024 A destroyed and bombed out hospital room in the al-Shifa Hospital in the foreground; a burned edifice of the al-Shifa Hospital complex in the background. Palestinians assess the damage and search the rubble in the area of the destroyed al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 1, 2024. The Israeli army said Monday that it wrapped up its military operation at the al-Shifa Hospital complex following a 14-day siege and attack that resulted in scores of casualties and hundreds of arrests. (Khaled Daoud /apaimages) Casualties 32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139. 600 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 6,800 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments Israel has killed 140 Palestinians and wounded 202 in the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital complex after two-week siege, leaving total destruction in its wake and dozens of dead. Israeli military sources say al-Shifa “will not come back to operation” after withdrawal. Gaza’s interior ministry announces the arrest of 10 intelligence officers from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, claiming that they entered Gaza in coordination with Israel to “destabilize the internal front.” Ramallah officially denies the claims. Gaza’s health ministry calls upon the international community to intervene to reopen Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which was put out of service by Israeli forces after sustained attacks in recent weeks. Israel announces killing of Hezbollah military commander in strike on southern Lebanon. Israeli strikes hit the Lebanese towns of al-Khyam and Markaba, while Hezbollah fires rockets on Israeli settlements and military bases in the Galilee. Israeli forces raid Jenin in the occupied West Bank amid arrest wave. Palestinians in Israel and West Bank march in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day protesting Gaza genocide. Israeli Channel 12: Over 6,800 Israeli soldiers wounded since October 7th. Israel kills 140 Palestinians in Gaza, including 10 journalists in targeted strike The Palestinian health ministry reported that Israeli forces committed 14 massacres across the Gaza Strip since Saturday, killing 140 Palestinians and wounding 202, raising the death toll of Israel’s assault since October 7 to 32,782 with more than 75,392 wounded. In Gaza City, medical sources reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the surroundings of al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli army withdrew from the medical complex following two weeks of raids. The health ministry said in a statement on Sunday that medical staff are unable to recover the bodies and the wounded under the rubble. Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid. Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed and burned buildings of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following a two-week Israeli raid that claimed hundreds of casualties. The Israeli military said that the hospital will be inoperable following the withdrawal of its forces. (APA Images) On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes hit a residential building in the al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, killing an unspecified number of Palestinians. In western Gaza City, Israeli strikes killed at least two Palestinians and wounded 10 in al-Shati refugee camp. In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in a strike on a family house in al-Maghazi refugee camp. Israeli strikes also killed four Palestinians and wounded 15, including 10 journalists in a strike on a tent in the courtyard of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah. In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes continued over the weekend on Khan Younis and its surrounding villages. In Bani Suhaila, west of Khan Younis, Palestinian medical teams recovered five more bodies. Local media sources also reported that Israeli armored vehicles opened fire at Palestinian houses in Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis. Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital after two-week attack, leaving ‘total destruction’ The Israeli army withdrew from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early on Monday, following 14 days of raids on Gaza’s largest medical complex. Testimonies from the ground reported finding at least 50 dead bodies in the complex, while medical sources said that “hundreds of bodies” continue to be found in the hospital’s vicinity. Israeli media quoted the Israeli army spokesperson saying that Israeli forces have “ended their operation” at al-Shifa, killing 200 Palestinians whom it claims to be members of Palestinian resistance groups, including a senior commander of Hamas’s military wing. The Israeli army repeated throughout the two-week-long raid that it took “precautions” to avoid harming civilians and civilian infrastructure. However, testimonies from journalists and civilians of executions and torture inside the hospital and photos of a completely burnt hospital indicate otherwise. Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid. Palestinians look on at the damaged and burned remaining edifice of al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in a deadly two-week raid. April 1, 2024 (APA Images) Palestinians rushed into al-Shifa following the withdrawal of Israeli forces, with reports from local media sources describing the “total destruction” of the hospital’s facilities. According to medical sources at al-Shifa, Israeli troops completely destroyed the specialized surgeries building and set fire to the rest of the building. Sources also indicated that Israeli soldiers also torched the reception and emergency buildings, destroying dozens of rooms and all of its equipment. Local sources added that Israeli forces destroyed or torched several residential buildings surrounding al-Shifa and that residents have recovered dozens of dead bodies in the streets surrounding the complex. On Monday, the Haboush family told news outlet Arab 48 as they evacuated the area that they had spent nine days with very little water at their home in al-Shifa’s vicinity. The family said that their eldest son was killed by an Israeli quadcopter drone and was left to bleed to death and then decompose before their eyes, as they couldn’t risk recovering his body under Israeli fire. On the second day of the Israeli raid, Palestinian Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan reported through her X account that Israeli forces killed her brother in the surroundings of al-Shifa. Palestinian medical sources said in the aftermath of Israel’s withdrawal from al-Shifa that the medical complex was completely inoperational and that it will be “very difficult to resume work in al-Shifa in the current stage.” Hours prior to Israeli forces’ withdrawal, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhom Ghebreyesus, called upon opening a humanitarian corridor to al-Shifa. Ghebreyesus added that 21 Palestinian patients have died inside al-Shifa during the Israeli raid since March 19 and that 107 more patients are still inside the hospital in inappropriate medical conditions, including four children and 28 in critical condition. Ghebreyesus indicated that the patients include some with wound inflammation, due to the lack of clean water. Israeli army sources also said through the Israeli army radio that al-Shifa Hospital “will not come back to work” after the destruction it suffered during the Israeli military raid. Israeli forces had raided al-Shifa in November and forced Palestinians, including patients and medical staff, to exit, leaving behind several newborn babies without functioning incubators. Palestinians returned to al-Shifa following the first Israeli withdrawal from the hospital in December, where journalists reported finding the left-behind-babies decomposing. Gaza interior ministry accuses PA intelligence of ‘infiltrating Gaza in coordination with Israel The Gaza-based Palestinian interior ministry, which is administered by Hamas, said on Monday that an intelligence force belonging to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, led by Hamas’ political rival Fatah, entered the Gaza Strip on Saturday. The ministry announced arresting the force’s members, whom it claimed were on a mission to “sabotage the internal front” in Gaza. A Palestinian Authority senior official denied accusations on Monday in statements to the PA-affiliated Wafa agency. According to Gaza authorities, the intelligence force entered on Saturday in Egyptian Red Crescent trucks that were allegedly allowed into the Strip by Israel. Gaza officials added that Egyptian authorities denied having any knowledge of the alleged infiltration. An official in the Gaza interior ministry said that the force entered by direct orders of the Ramallah-based Palestinian general intelligence apparatus chief, Majed Faraj, with the mission of “spreading chaos,” and in coordination with the Israeli army and the Israeli internal security intelligence – the Shin Bet, or as it’s known locally, the Shabak. The official noted that the Gaza security forces received instructions from the ‘Palestinian resistance factions joint operation group,’ the coordinating body of a dozen Palestinian armed factions in the Strip. The instructions, according to the official, were to intercept the alleged force “and any security force that enters Gaza other than through the resistance.” On Monday, the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency quoted a senior PA official calling the Gaza interior ministry statement “an enraged media campaign to cover up the suffering of our people in Gaza.” The Israeli Kan channel had reported earlier that Israel’s war minister Yoav Gallant had proposed Majed Faraj take charge of running the Strip after the war in cooperation with local figures who wouldn’t include members of Hamas. Last week, The White House spokesperson Mathew Miller said that one of the U.S. administration’s orders for a post-war Gaza is that the PA must run both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Miller added that the U.S. is discussing with the PA and other countries in the region all the issues concerning the administration of the Strip after the war, without giving further details. 600 Israeli soldiers killed, 6,800 wounded as fighting with Palestinian resistance continues The Israeli army announced on Monday that a soldier from its 77th brigade was killed in combat with the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli media outlets reported that 600 Israeli soldiers and officers have been killed since October 7, and 6,800 have been wounded. The Israeli army, which delays the announcement of its losses under strict military censorship, has so far admitted the loss of 264 soldiers and officers since the beginning of its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in November. Meanwhile, the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced that its fighters targeted an Israeli tank in Khan Younis with an armor-piercing explosive device and that Israeli military helicopters rushed to evacuate casualties. Al-Qassam also announced that its fighters engaged Israeli soldiers with an anti-fortification projectile inside a house near the Nasser Hospital, west of Khan Younis. Al-Qassam added that it targeted Israeli troops in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City with mortar rounds. Simultaneously, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad -PIJ announced that its fighters engaged Israeli forces in the al-Qarara neighborhood in Khan Younis. For its part, the Israeli army announced that it continues to fight Palestinian factions in al-Qarara and that 81 soldiers were wounded in the southern Gaza Strip in the past week. Qassam Muaddi Qassam Muaddi is the Palestine Staff Writer for Mondoweiss. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-178-israel-withdraws-from-al-shifa-hospital-leaving-evidence-of-a-massacre-in-its-wake/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 178: Israel withdraws from al-Shifa Hospital, leaving evidence of a massacre in its wake
    Dozens of bodies are still being recovered from the rubble of a destroyed and burnt al-Shifa Hospital, following a two-week Israeli raid and siege on the hospital.
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  • Satellite analysis of Gaza "shows farms devastated and nearly half of the territory’s trees razed. Alongside mounting air and water pollution, experts says Israel’s onslaught on Gaza’s ecosystems has made the area unlivable," which is Netanyahu's aim.

    ‘Ecocide in Gaza’: does scale of environmental destruction amount to a war crime?

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/mar/29/gaza-israel-palestinian-war-ecocide-environmental-destruction-pollution-rome-statute-war-crimes-aoe?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
    Satellite analysis of Gaza "shows farms devastated and nearly half of the territory’s trees razed. Alongside mounting air and water pollution, experts says Israel’s onslaught on Gaza’s ecosystems has made the area unlivable," which is Netanyahu's aim. ‘Ecocide in Gaza’: does scale of environmental destruction amount to a war crime? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/mar/29/gaza-israel-palestinian-war-ecocide-environmental-destruction-pollution-rome-statute-war-crimes-aoe?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
    WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM
    ‘Ecocide in Gaza’: does scale of environmental destruction amount to a war crime?
    Exclusive: Satellite analysis revealed to the Guardian shows farms devastated and nearly half of the territory’s trees razed. Alongside mounting air and water pollution, experts says Israel’s onslaught on Gaza’s ecosystems has made the area unlivable
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  • The IDF’s war crimes are a perfect reflection of Israeli society
    Miko Peled, author and former member of IDF Special Forces, explains how Israel indoctrinates its citizens in anti-Palestinian racism from the cradle to the grave.


    Three months into Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, the atrocities the IDF has committed against Palestinians are too numerous to name. Israel is staging a prolonged assault on the Palestinian people’s very means of existence—destroying homes, hospitals, sanitation infrastructure, food and water sources, schools, and more. To understand the genocidal campaign unfolding before our eyes, we must examine the roots of Israeli society. Israel is a settler colonial state whose existence depends on the elimination of Palestinians. Accordingly, Israel is a deeply militarized society whose citizens are raised in an environment of historical revisionism and indoctrination that whitewashes Israel’s crimes while cultivating a deep-seated racism against Palestinians. Miko Peled, former IDF Special Forces and author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, joins The Chris Hedges Report for a frank conversation on the distortions of history and reality at the foundations of Israeli identity.

    Studio Production: David Hebden, Adam Coley, Cameron Granadino
    Post-Production: Adam Coley

    Transcript

    Chris Hedges: The Israeli army, known as the Israel Defense Force or IDF, is integral to understanding Israeli society. Nearly all Israelis do three years of military service, most continue to serve in the reserves until middle age. Its generals often retire to occupy senior positions in government and industry. The dominance of the military in Israeli society helps explain why war, militaristic nationalism, and violence are so deeply embedded in Zionist ideology.

    Israel is the outgrowth of a militarized settler colonial movement that seeks its legitimacy in biblical myth. It has always sought to solve nearly every conflict; The ethnic cleansing and massacres against Palestinians known as the Nakba or catastrophe in the years between 1947 and 1949, the Suez War of 1956, the 1967 and 1973 wars with Arab neighbors, the two invasions of Lebanon, the Palestinian intifadas, and the series of military strikes on Gaza, including the most recent, with violence. The long campaign to occupy Palestinian land and ethnically cleanse Palestinians is rooted in the Zionist paramilitaries that formed the Israeli state and continue within the IDF.

    The overriding goal of settler colonialism is the total conquest of Palestinian land. The few Israeli leaders who have sought to reign in the military, such as Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, have been pushed aside by the generals. The military setbacks suffered by Israel in the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria, and during Israel’s invasions of Lebanon only fuel the extreme nationalists who have abandoned all pretense of a liberal democracy. They speak in the open language of apartheid and genocide. These extremists were behind the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel’s failure to live up to the Oslo Accords.

    This extremism has now been exacerbated by the attack of October 7, which killed about 1,200 Israelis. The few Israelis who oppose this militaristic nationalism, especially after October 7, have been silenced and persecuted in Israel. Genocidal violence is almost exclusively the language Israeli leaders, and now Israeli citizens, use to speak to the Palestinians and the Arab world.

    Joining me to discuss the role of the military in Israeli society is Miko Peled. Miko’s father was a general in the Israeli army. Miko was a member of Israel’s special forces and, although disillusioned with the military, moved from his role as a combatant to that of a medic. After the 1982 war in Lebanon, he buried his service pin. He is the author of, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.

    You grew up, you were a child when your father was a general in the IDF. This inculcation of that military ethos has begun very young and begun in the schools. Can you talk about that?

    Miko Peled: Sure, thanks for having me, Chris. It’s good to be with you again and talk to you. So it begins before the military. It begins in preschool. It begins as soon as kids are able to talk and walk. I always say I knew the order of the ranks in the military before I knew my alphabet and this is true for many Israeli kids. The Israeli education system is such that it leads young Israelis to become soldiers, to serve the apartheid state, and to serve in this genocidal state, which is the state of Israel. It’s an enormous part of that. And with me, it came with mega-doses of that because when your father’s a general, and particularly of that generation of the 1967 generals, they were like gods of Olympus. Everybody knew their names.

    On Independence Day, I remember in the schools you would have little flags, not just flags of Israel, but flags of the IDF with pictures of IDF generals, pictures of the military, all kinds of military symbols, and so on. It’s everywhere. When I was a kid they still had a military parade. It’s everywhere and it’s inescapable. And you hear it when you walk down the street, you hear it in the news, you hear it in conversations, you hear it in schools, you read it in the textbooks, and there’s no place to develop dissent. There’s no place to develop a sense that dissent is okay, that dissent is possible. And the few cases where people do become dissenters, it’s either because their families have a tradition of being communist or more progressive and somehow it’s part of their tradition but this is a minority of a minority. By and large, Israel stands with the army, and Israel is the army. You can’t separate Israel from its army, from its military.

    Chris Hedges: Let’s juxtapose the myth that you were taught in school about the IDF with the reality.

    Miko Peled: The myth that I was… Again, this was given to me in larger doses at home because my father and his comrades were all part of the 1948 mythology. We were small and we were resourceful, and we were clever, and therefore, in 1948, we were able to defeat these Arab armies and these Arab killers who came to try to kill us and so on and destroy our fledgling little Jewish state. And because of our heroism – And you talked about the biblical connection – Because we are the descendants of King David, and we are the descendants of the Maccabees, and we have this resourcefulness and strength in our genes, we were able to create a state and then every time they attacked, we were there. We were able to defend ourselves and prevail and so on. It’s everywhere. Then again, in my case, it’s every time the larger, more extended family got together or my parents got together with their friends. And in many cases, the fathers were also comrades in arms.

    The stories of the battles, the stories of the conquests; Every city in Israel has an IDF plaza. Street names after different units of different generals are all over the country, street names of battles, so it’s everywhere. It wasn’t until I was probably 40 or a little less than 40, that it was the first time that I encountered the other narrative, the Palestinian story, and it was unbelievable. Somebody was telling me the day is night and night is day, or the world is flat, or whatever the comparison you want to make, it was incredible. They are telling me that what I know to be true – ‘Cause I heard it in school and I read it in books and I heard it from my father and my mother and friends – That all of this is not true. And what you find out if you go along the path that I chose to take, this journey of an Israeli to Palestine, is that it was one horrifying crime against humanity.

    That’s what this so-called heroism was, it was no heroism at all. It was a well-trained, highly motivated, well-indoctrinated, well-armed militia that then became the IDF. But when it started, it was still a militia or today they would be called a terrorist organization, that went up against the people who had never had a military force, who never had a tank, who never had a warplane, who never prepared, even remotely, for battle or an assault. Then you have to make a choice: How do you bridge this? The differences are not nuanced, the differences are enormous. The choice that I made is to investigate for myself and find out who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. And my side was not telling the truth.

    Chris Hedges: How did they explain incidents such as the Nakba, the massacres that took place in ’48 and ’56, and the massive ethnic cleansing that took place in ’67? How was that explained to you within that mythic narrative? Many of the activities that the IDF has had to carry out are quite brutal, quite savage. The indiscriminate killing of civilians – We can talk about Gaza in a minute – What did that do to society? The people who carried out those killings, and eventually huge prisons, torture, and everything else? But let’s begin with how the myth coped with those incidents and then talk about the trauma that is carried within Israeli society for carrying out those war crimes.

    Miko Peled: My generation, we knew that there were several instances of bad apples that committed terrible crimes. And we admitted, so there was Deir Yassin, which was a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a peaceful village where a horrible massacre took place. Then we knew that Ariel Sharon was a bit of a lunatic and he took the commandos that he commanded in the ’50s and went to the West Bank and went into Gaza and committed acts of terrible massacres. He was still a hero, held in high regard by everyone, but we knew that there were certain instances… And every military, every nation makes its mistakes and then these things happen But there was never any sense that this somehow discounted or hurt the image of us being a moral army.

    There are lots of stories of how soldiers went and they decided to, out of the kindness of their hearts, they didn’t harm civilians. And those same civilians went and then warned the enemy that they were coming. And these same good Israeli soldiers would then pay the price and were killed. So it’s presented as limited cases. Nakba was not something that was ever discussed. I’m sure it’s not discussed today, certainly not in schools. In Israeli schools today, you’re not allowed to mention the Nakba. There’s a directive by the Ministry of Education that even Palestinians are not allowed to mention the Nakba. But nobody ever talked about that. And the Arabs left, what are you going to do? There was a war and all these people left and this is the way it is.

    So none of that ever hurt, in any way, the image of us being this glorious heroic army, descendants of King David, and other great traditions of Jewish heroism. None of that ever hurt itself. So there’s no trauma because we did nothing wrong. If somebody did something wrong, well, it was a case of bad apples, it was limited to a particular circumstance, a particular person, a particular unit, and you get crazy people everywhere. What are you going to do? It’s never been presented as systemic. Today, we have a history so we can look back and if we do pay attention, and if we do read the literature, and if we do listen to Palestinians – And today there’s this great NGO called Zochrot, whose mission is to maintain the memory of the towns and cities that were destroyed in 1948 and to revive the stories of what took place in 1948 – They are uncovering new massacres all the time. Because as that generation is dying off, both the Israelis who committed the crimes and the Palestinians who were still alive at the time and survived, are opening up and telling more and more stories.

    So we know of churches that were filled with civilians and were burned down. We know of a mosque in Lydd that was filled with people and a young man went and shot a Fiat missile into it. All of these horrific stories are still coming out but Israelis are not paying attention, Israelis are not listening. Whenever there’s an attack on Gaza – And as you know very well, these attacks began in the fifties with Ariel Sharon, by the way – There is always a reason. Because at first they were infiltrators, and then they were terrorists, and now they’re called Hamas, and whatever the devil’s name may be there’s always a very good reason to go in there because these are people who are raised to hate and kill and so on. So it’s a tightly-knit and tightly-orchestrated narrative that is being perpetuated and Israelis don’t seem to have a problem with that.

    Chris Hedges: And yet carrying out acts of brutality. The occupation – Huge numbers, a million Israelis are in the states. Large numbers of Israelis have left the country. I’m wondering how many of those are people who have a conscience and are repulsed by what they have seen in the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps I’m incorrect about that.

    Miko Peled: I don’t know. In the few encounters that I’ve had with Israelis in the US over the years, the vast majority support Israel, support Israel’s actions. It’s interesting that you mentioned that because I got an email from someone representing a group of alumni of Jewish Day Schools. These are Zionist schools all over countries where they indoctrinate the worst Zionism: secular Zionism. And they are now appalled by the indoctrination to serve in the IDF. A very high percentage of these students grew up, went to Israel, joined the IDF, took part in APEC events, and so on. And now they’re looking back and they’re reflecting and they’re feeling a sense of anger that they were put through this and lied through their entire lives about this.

    So that’s an interesting development. And if that grows, then that might be a game changer because these are the most loyal American Jews. The most loyal to Israel. But by and large, Israelis that I meet, with few exceptions, support Israel and they’re here for whatever reasons people come to America: They’re not unique, they’re not necessarily here because they were fed up or they were angry, or they were dissenters in any way, shape, or form. Around DC and Maryland, there are many Israelis. Sometimes you’ll sit in a coffee shop or go somewhere, you hear the conversations, and there’s no lack of support for Israel among these Israelis as far as I can see.

    Chris Hedges: Let’s talk about the armies. You were in the Special Forces elite unit. Talk about that indoctrination. I remember visiting Auschwitz a few years ago, and there were Israeli groups and people flying Israeli flags. But speak about that form of indoctrination and its link, in particular, to the Holocaust.

    Miko Peled: The myth is that Israel is a response to the Holocaust. And that the IDF is a response to the Holocaust; We must be strong, we must be willing to fight, and we must always have a gun in one hand or a weapon in one hand so that this will never happen again. And what’s interesting is, when you talk to Holocaust survivors who are not indoctrinated, who did not get pulled into Zionism – Which there are very, very many – They’ll say the notion that a militarized state is somehow the answer to the Holocaust is absurd because the answer to the Holocaust is tolerance and education and humanity, not violence and racism. But nobody wants to ruin a good myth with the facts. So that’s the story.

    The story is because of Auschwitz, we represent all those that were killed, perished by the Nazis, and so on, and therefore we need to be strong. And the Israeli flag represents them, and the Israeli military represents them. It’s absurd, it’s absolute madness. I went to serve in the army willingly, as most young Israelis do. In my environment, refusing or not going was not heard of, although there were some voices in the wilderness that were refusing and questioning morality. But I never did. Nobody around me ever did until I began the training and you began patrolling. I remember – You and I may have talked about this once – We were an infantry unit, a commando infantry unit. And suddenly we were given batons and these plastic handcuffs and were told to patrol in Ramallah.

    And I’m going, what the hell’s going on? What are we doing here? And then we’re told if anybody looks at you funny, you break every bone in their body. And I thought, everybody’s going to look at us, we’re commandos while marching through a city. Who’s not going to look at us? I was behind. I didn’t realize that everybody already understood that this is how it is, this is how it’s supposed to be. I thought, wait, this is wrong. Why are we doing this? We’re supposed to be the good guys here.

    And then there was the Lebanon invasion of ’82 and so on. So that broke that in my mind, that was a serious crack in the wall of belief and the wall of patriotism that was in me. But this whole notion that somehow being violent and militaristic and racist and being conquerors is somehow a response to the horrors of the Holocaust is absolute madness. But when you’re in it nobody around you is asking questions. You don’t ask questions either unless you’re willing to stand out and be smacked on the head.

    Chris Hedges: Within the military, within the IDF, how did they speak about Palestinians and Arabs?

    Miko Peled: The discourse, the hatred, the racism, is horrifying. First of all, they’re the animals. They’re nothing. It’s a joke, you see, it’s horrifying. They think it’s funny to stop people and ask them for their ID and to chase them and to chase kids and to shoot. It all seems like entertainment, you know? I never heard that discourse until I was in it. Then afterward, when I would meet Israelis who served, even here in the US, the way they joked around about what they did in the West Bank, the way they joked around about killing or stopping people or making them take their clothes off and dance naked, it’s entertainment.

    They think it’s funny. They don’t see that there’s a problem here because racism is so ingrained from such a young age that it’s almost organic. And I don’t think it’s surprising. When you have a racist society, and you have a racist education system that is so methodical, that’s what you get. And the racism doesn’t stop with Palestinians or with Arabs; It goes on to the Black people, it goes on to people of color, it goes to Jews or Israelis who come from other countries who are dark-skinned, for some reason. The racism crosses all these boundaries and it’s completely part of the culture.

    Chris Hedges: You have very little criticism of the IDF, almost none within the Israeli press, although there is quite a bit of criticism right now, of Netanyahu and his mismanagement and his corruption. Talk a little bit about the deification of the IDF within the public discourse and mainstream media and what that means for what’s happening in Gaza.

    Miko Peled: Well, the military is above the law. It’s above reproach, except from time to time. So after the ’73 war, there was an investigation. Earlier this week, there was, in the cabinet meeting… The cabinet meets every Sunday. And the army chief of staff was there and he was… This was leaked from the cabinet meeting. It was leaked that some of the more right-wing partners – It’s funny to say right-wing partners because they’re all this right-wing lunacy in the Israeli cabinet – But the more right-wing settlers that are in the cabinet were attacking the army, were attacking the chief of staff because he decided to start an inquiry because it was catastrophic when the Palestinian fighters came in from Gaza, there was nobody home. They took over half of their country back. They took 22 Israeli settlements and cities.

    They took over the army base of the Gaza brigade, which is supposed to defend the country from exactly this happening. And there was nobody in the… They took over the base. So he initiated an internal inquiry within the army, and they’re criticizing him and what you see in the Israeli press is two very interesting things: One is something went horribly wrong and we need to find out why, but we should wait because we shouldn’t do it during wartime. We shouldn’t criticize the army during wartime. We shouldn’t make the soldiers feel like they have to hold back because if they need to shoot, they should be allowed to shoot. And the other thing we see is that politically, everybody is eating each other up. They’re killing each other politically in the press. So everybody that’s against Netanyahu and wants to see it is attacking him.

    His people are attacking the others for attacking the government. It seems like there’s this paralysis as a result of this infighting that is affecting the functionality of the state as a state. Israelis are not living in the country, Israel is not the state that it was prior to October 7, it was paralyzed for several weeks, and now it’s still paralyzed in many ways. You’ve got missiles coming from the north, you’ve got missiles coming from the south. You’ve got very large numbers of Israeli soldiers being killed and thousands being injured and the war’s not ending. They’re not able to defeat the Palestinians in Gaza, the armed resistance, and so on.

    So all of this is taking place and you read the Israeli press and it’s like this cesspool that’s bubbling and bubbling and bubbling, and everybody’s attacking everybody else. And the army, it’s true, they are above reproach mostly, but this particular time the settlers are very angry. Another reason is because the the military decided to pull back some of the ground troops, understandably, since they’re being hit so hard. And I remember that happening before when the army pulled back out of Gaza, they were being attacked for stopping the killing, for not continuing these mass killings of Palestinians.

    Chris Hedges: Well, you had what? 70 fatalities in the Golani Brigade? And they were pulled back. This is a very elite unit.

    Miko Peled: Yeah, it’s very interesting because many of the casualties are high-ranking officers. You have colonels, lieutenant colonels, and very high-ranking commanders within Israeli special forces who are being killed. And they’re usually killed in big bunches because they’ll be in an armored personnel carrier or they’ll be marching together. And in Jenin a few days ago, they blew up a military vehicle and killed a bunch of soldiers. So Israelis are scratching their heads, not knowing what the hell is going on and what to do, because number one, they were not protected as they thought they were.

    And I’m sure you know this, the Israeli settlements, the kibbutzim, the cities in the south that border Gaza, [inaudible 00:25:59], they enjoy some of the highest standards of living among Israelis. It’s a beautiful lifestyle. It’s warm, it’s lovely. Agriculture is… And I don’t think it ever occurred to them that Palestinians would dare to come out of Gaza fighting and succeeding the way they did. The army was bankrupt. It was gone, the intelligence apparatus was bankrupt, and nothing worked. And it is reminiscent of what happened in 1973. This is far worse but it is reminiscent. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the October 7 attacks were exactly 50 years and one day after the 1973 October war began and the whole system collapsed. So that’s what we’re seeing right now.

    Chris Hedges: How do you read what’s happening in Gaza, militarily?

    Miko Peled: The Palestinians are able to hold on and kill many Israelis. And even though the Israelis have the firepower and they’ve got the logistics, supply chains are not a problem. Whereas Palestinians, I don’t know where they’re getting supplies. I don’t know where they’re getting food to continue fighting. They’re putting up a fierce resistance. I don’t think that militarily there’s a strategy here. This is revenge; Israel was humiliated, the army was humiliated, and they needed to take it out on somebody.

    So they found the weakest victims they could lay their hands on, and these are the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. And so they’re killing them by the tens of thousands. I don’t think anybody believes in such a thing as getting rid of Hamas. I don’t think anybody believes that that’s possible. I don’t believe anybody takes seriously or believes that you can take too many people out of Gaza and spread them around the world and into other places, even though that’s what they’re saying. But as long as Israel is allowed to kill, and as long as the supply chain isn’t interrupted, they’re going to continue to kill.

    Chris Hedges: And they’re also creating a humanitarian crisis. So it’s not just the bombs and the shells, but it’s now starvation. Diarrhea is an epidemic, sanitation is broken. I’m wondering at what point this humanitarian crisis becomes so pronounced that the choice is you leave or you die.

    Miko Peled: That’s always the big question for Palestinians. And the sad thing is that Palestinians are always being placed in these situations where they have to make that choice. It’s the worst form of injustice. And you know this, you’ve been in war zones. We don’t know how many bodies are buried under the rubble and what that’s going to bring up. And there are hundreds of thousands now who are suffering from all kinds of diseases as a result of this environmental catastrophe. And you remember, what was it? 2016 or something, 2017? The UN came out with a report that by 2020, Gaza would be uninhabitable. I don’t think the Gaza Strip has ever been inhabitable. It’s been a humanitarian disaster since it was created in the late forties and early fifties because they suddenly threw all these refugees there with no infrastructure and that was it, and then began killing them.

    I was talking to some people the other day, as Americans, as taxpayers, wouldn’t we want the Sixth Fleet, which is in the Mediterranean, the US Navy Sixth Fleet, to aid the Palestinians? To provide them support? To create a no-fly zone over these innocent people that are being massacred? As Americans, shouldn’t that be the natural ask, the natural desire to demand our politicians to use? Because American naval vessels have been used for humanitarian causes before. Why aren’t they supporting the Palestinians? Why aren’t they providing them aid? Why aren’t they helping them rebuild? Why are American tax dollars going to continue this genocide rather than stop it and aid the victims?

    These are questions Americans need to ask themselves because it makes absolutely no sense. It is absolute madness that people are allowing their government to support a genocide that’s not even done in secret. It’s not even done in hiding it. It’s on prime time. Everybody sees it. Everybody knows what’s going on. And again, for some strange reason, Americans are allowing their military and their government to aid the genocide. And there’s no question that it’s genocide. The definition of the crime of genocide is so absolutely clear, that anybody can look it up and compare it to what’s been going on in Palestine. So that to me is the greatest question: Why aren’t Americans demanding that the US support the Palestinians?

    Chris Hedges: Well, according to opinion polls, most Americans want a ceasefire. But the Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. Biden is one of the largest recipients of aid or campaign financing from the Israel lobby. This is true for both parties. Chuck Schumer was at the rally saying no ceasefire.

    Miko Peled: Which is odd. A ceasefire is a very small ask and I don’t know why we always ask for the bare minimum for Palestinians. But let’s talk about ceasefire. Israeli soldiers are being killed as well in very large numbers. How has ceasefire suddenly become an anti-Israeli demand? But it’s a very small ask. I don’t know how it was or where it was that this idea of demanding a ceasefire came up because that is not a serious demand. Ceasefire gets violated by Israel anyway, within 24-48 hours. You know that historically Israel always violated ceasefires. What is required here are severe sanctions, a no-fly zone, immediate aid to the Palestinians, and stopping this and providing guarantees for the safety and security of Palestinians forever moving forward so this can never happen again.

    That’s what needs to be asked. At this point, after having sacrificed so much, after having shown much of what I believe is immense courage, Palestinians deserve everything. We as people of conscience need to demand not to ceasefire, we need to demand a dismantling of the apartheid state and a full stop and absolute end to the genocide and guarantees put in place that Palestinian kids will be safe. I was talking to Issa Amro earlier in Hebron. It’s ridiculous when nobody even talks about what happens in the West Bank. Friends of mine who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, nobody dares to leave the house, nobody dares to text. They’re afraid to walk down the streets. Their safety is not guaranteed by anyone.

    Palestinian safety and security are left to the whims of any Israeli, and that should be the conversation right now, after such horrendous violence. That needs to be the demand. That needs to be the ask when we go to protests when we make these demands like a ceasefire. And even that, Israel is not willing. And these bouts of political supporters of Israel here in America are not willing to entertain a ceasefire. I believe it’s a crazy part of history that we’re experiencing right now and it’s a watershed moment. October 7 created an opportunity to end this for good, to end the suffering of Palestinians, the oppression, and the genocide for good. And if we being people of conscience don’t take advantage of this now and bring it to an end, we will regret this for generations.

    Chris Hedges: The Netanyahu government is talking about this assault on Gaza, this genocide continuing for months. There are strikes, and have been strikes against, now Hezbollah leaders. What concerns you? How could this all go terribly wrong?

    Miko Peled: It’s already gone terribly wrong because of the death and destruction of so many innocent lives is… I don’t even know that there’s a word for it. It’s beyond horrifying. Netanyahu is relying on the restraint of Hezbollah and the restraint of Iran and the restraint of the Arab governments has all been neutralized either through destruct, being destroyed, or through normalization. So he’s relying on that and he knows that he can keep triggering, he can keep bombing Lebanon, bombing Syria, instigating all of these things and it won’t turn into an all-out war. Because at the end of the day, even though Lebanese, Hezbollah, and Palestinian fighters have shown that they’re superior as fighters, they don’t have the supply chains, they don’t have the warplanes, they don’t have the tanks. So more and more civilians are going to be hurt.

    So I don’t think it’s going to turn into a regional war by any stretch of the imagination. And so Netanyahu is betting on that, and that’s why he’s allowing this to go on. And for him, this is a win-win. There’s no way that he can be unseated by anybody that’s around him. There’s no opposition. And as long as this goes on, as long as everybody’s in a state of crisis, he can continue to sit in the Prime Minister’s seat, which for him is the end all and be all of everything. And the world is supporting. The world, as governments of the world, I should say.

    I do interviews with African TV stations, Indian TV stations, and Europeans; Everybody is supporting Israel. Everybody listens to what I have to say, and they think I am a lunatic for supporting terrorism or whatever it is they, however, it is that they frame it. But I don’t see this ending unless there is massive pressure by people of conscience on their governments to force change, to force sanctions, to force the end of the genocide, and the end of the apartheid state.

    Chris Hedges: I want to talk about the shift within Zionism itself from the dominance of a secular leadership to – We see it in the government of Netanyahu – The rise of a religious Zionism, which is also true now within the IDF. And I wondered if you could talk about the consequences of that.

    Miko Peled: Sure. So originally, traditionally, and historically, Zionism and Judaism were at odds. And even to this day ultra-orthodox Jews reject Zionism and reject Israel by and large. But after 1967, there was this new creation of the Zionist religious movement. And these are the settlers who went to the West Bank and they became the new pioneers. And they are today, they make up a large portion of the officers and those who joined the special forces and so on. In the past, in the army, the unofficial policy was that these guys, should not be allowed to advance. The current chief of staff comes from that world, which is a huge change. There are several generals and high-ranking commanders and so on who come from that world. The reason that it was the unofficial policy that these guys should not be promoted was that it’s an incredibly toxic combination, this messianic form of Judaism, which is an aberration.

    It’s not Judaism at all, with this nationalist fanaticism. This combination is toxic and look what it created. It created some of the worst racists, some of the most violent thugs that we’ve seen, certainly in the short history of the state of Israel, although I don’t know that they’re any less violent than the generation of Zionists of my father who are secular. This was a big concern in the past but now they’re everywhere and look at its current government. They hold the finance ministry, they hold the national security ministry, certainly in the military they’re everywhere, they hold many sub-cabinets, and they’re heads of committees in the Knesset, and so on. And they’ve done their work. They worked very hard to get to where they are today, which is where they call the shots. And Netanyahu’s guaranteed to remain in power.

    They’re his support group. That’s why you could have had, as we had earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting in the streets and it didn’t affect him because he has his block in the Knesset that will never leave him as long as he allows them to play their game. And this is what’s happening. So in terms of violence and the facts on the ground, I don’t think these guys are any worse again than my parents’ generation who were young Zionists and zealots at the time and committed the 1948 Nakba and ran the country and operated the apartheid state for the first few decades. But it’s a new form of fanaticism being that it is religious as well as fascist. So it’s very toxic. And they have more of a stomach for killing civilians than we’ve ever seen before, even for Israelis. These numbers are beyond belief, even for Israel.

    Chris Hedges: I’m wondering if this religious Zionism probably has its profoundest effect within Israel, in terms of shutting down dissidents, civil liberties, this kind of stuff.

    Miko Peled: Well, Israelis love them. Israelis love these guys because they’re religious but they dress like us. They don’t look like the old Jews with the big beards and everything; They’re cool. They wear jeans. And the reason I say this is because one of their objectives is to take over Al-Aqsa and build a Jewish temple. They’re destroying Al-Aqsa and they conduct these tours. In the old city of Jerusalem, there’s a particular path that you take from where the western wall is up to Al-Aqsa, which is open for non-Muslims. And so they hold tours and there’s several odd times throughout the day. I’ve taken some of these tours to see what it’s about, what these guys do, you know?

    These are prayer tours and hundreds of thousands of Israelis go on these tours. And these are Israelis who are not religious at all, these are secular people. I see the people that go on the tours. To give you an idea of what this is about, you go up on that bridge and then you wait until the tour starts because you have to go in a group. And there’s a massive model of the new temple, of the Jewish temple that is going to be built there. And then you have a huge group of armed police –They’re not soldiers, they’re police but dressed completely militarized. And Muslim Palestinians are not allowed – That accompany the tour all around and they stop and they pray and they stop and they pray and they stop and pray at various places. The whole thing takes maybe an hour. But the interesting thing is that the people who go on these tours are secular Israelis. And then as I was doing this, I was remembering, even as a kid growing up completely secular, we would sing songs about the day that we build a temple.

    Why did we sing songs about building a temple? Because it went beyond our religious significance and became a national significance. And there’s no question in my mind that Netanyahu and secular Israelis would love to see this idea of destroying Al-Aqsa and having a Jewish temple there. It’s a sign that we’re back, King David is back. Even though it has nothing to do with history and there’s no truth in it, the connection that we are descendants of King David is something Israelis love. That’s what this is about, the relationship between the so-called settlers. That’s what they’re called in Israeli jargon. They’re called the settlers. Regular secular Israelis are an interesting one because on the one hand, they’re looked down upon because they’re religious, but on the other hand, they’re a cool religious. So there is an affinity.

    Chris Hedges: Great. That was Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. I want to thank the Real News Network and its production team: Cameron Granandino, Adam Coley, David Hebden, and Kayla Rivara. You can find me at chrishedges.substack.com.

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    https://therealnews.com/the-idfs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-israeli-society

    https://telegra.ph/The-IDFs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-Israeli-society-04-02
    The IDF’s war crimes are a perfect reflection of Israeli society Miko Peled, author and former member of IDF Special Forces, explains how Israel indoctrinates its citizens in anti-Palestinian racism from the cradle to the grave. Three months into Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, the atrocities the IDF has committed against Palestinians are too numerous to name. Israel is staging a prolonged assault on the Palestinian people’s very means of existence—destroying homes, hospitals, sanitation infrastructure, food and water sources, schools, and more. To understand the genocidal campaign unfolding before our eyes, we must examine the roots of Israeli society. Israel is a settler colonial state whose existence depends on the elimination of Palestinians. Accordingly, Israel is a deeply militarized society whose citizens are raised in an environment of historical revisionism and indoctrination that whitewashes Israel’s crimes while cultivating a deep-seated racism against Palestinians. Miko Peled, former IDF Special Forces and author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, joins The Chris Hedges Report for a frank conversation on the distortions of history and reality at the foundations of Israeli identity. Studio Production: David Hebden, Adam Coley, Cameron Granadino Post-Production: Adam Coley Transcript Chris Hedges: The Israeli army, known as the Israel Defense Force or IDF, is integral to understanding Israeli society. Nearly all Israelis do three years of military service, most continue to serve in the reserves until middle age. Its generals often retire to occupy senior positions in government and industry. The dominance of the military in Israeli society helps explain why war, militaristic nationalism, and violence are so deeply embedded in Zionist ideology. Israel is the outgrowth of a militarized settler colonial movement that seeks its legitimacy in biblical myth. It has always sought to solve nearly every conflict; The ethnic cleansing and massacres against Palestinians known as the Nakba or catastrophe in the years between 1947 and 1949, the Suez War of 1956, the 1967 and 1973 wars with Arab neighbors, the two invasions of Lebanon, the Palestinian intifadas, and the series of military strikes on Gaza, including the most recent, with violence. The long campaign to occupy Palestinian land and ethnically cleanse Palestinians is rooted in the Zionist paramilitaries that formed the Israeli state and continue within the IDF. The overriding goal of settler colonialism is the total conquest of Palestinian land. The few Israeli leaders who have sought to reign in the military, such as Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, have been pushed aside by the generals. The military setbacks suffered by Israel in the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria, and during Israel’s invasions of Lebanon only fuel the extreme nationalists who have abandoned all pretense of a liberal democracy. They speak in the open language of apartheid and genocide. These extremists were behind the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel’s failure to live up to the Oslo Accords. This extremism has now been exacerbated by the attack of October 7, which killed about 1,200 Israelis. The few Israelis who oppose this militaristic nationalism, especially after October 7, have been silenced and persecuted in Israel. Genocidal violence is almost exclusively the language Israeli leaders, and now Israeli citizens, use to speak to the Palestinians and the Arab world. Joining me to discuss the role of the military in Israeli society is Miko Peled. Miko’s father was a general in the Israeli army. Miko was a member of Israel’s special forces and, although disillusioned with the military, moved from his role as a combatant to that of a medic. After the 1982 war in Lebanon, he buried his service pin. He is the author of, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. You grew up, you were a child when your father was a general in the IDF. This inculcation of that military ethos has begun very young and begun in the schools. Can you talk about that? Miko Peled: Sure, thanks for having me, Chris. It’s good to be with you again and talk to you. So it begins before the military. It begins in preschool. It begins as soon as kids are able to talk and walk. I always say I knew the order of the ranks in the military before I knew my alphabet and this is true for many Israeli kids. The Israeli education system is such that it leads young Israelis to become soldiers, to serve the apartheid state, and to serve in this genocidal state, which is the state of Israel. It’s an enormous part of that. And with me, it came with mega-doses of that because when your father’s a general, and particularly of that generation of the 1967 generals, they were like gods of Olympus. Everybody knew their names. On Independence Day, I remember in the schools you would have little flags, not just flags of Israel, but flags of the IDF with pictures of IDF generals, pictures of the military, all kinds of military symbols, and so on. It’s everywhere. When I was a kid they still had a military parade. It’s everywhere and it’s inescapable. And you hear it when you walk down the street, you hear it in the news, you hear it in conversations, you hear it in schools, you read it in the textbooks, and there’s no place to develop dissent. There’s no place to develop a sense that dissent is okay, that dissent is possible. And the few cases where people do become dissenters, it’s either because their families have a tradition of being communist or more progressive and somehow it’s part of their tradition but this is a minority of a minority. By and large, Israel stands with the army, and Israel is the army. You can’t separate Israel from its army, from its military. Chris Hedges: Let’s juxtapose the myth that you were taught in school about the IDF with the reality. Miko Peled: The myth that I was… Again, this was given to me in larger doses at home because my father and his comrades were all part of the 1948 mythology. We were small and we were resourceful, and we were clever, and therefore, in 1948, we were able to defeat these Arab armies and these Arab killers who came to try to kill us and so on and destroy our fledgling little Jewish state. And because of our heroism – And you talked about the biblical connection – Because we are the descendants of King David, and we are the descendants of the Maccabees, and we have this resourcefulness and strength in our genes, we were able to create a state and then every time they attacked, we were there. We were able to defend ourselves and prevail and so on. It’s everywhere. Then again, in my case, it’s every time the larger, more extended family got together or my parents got together with their friends. And in many cases, the fathers were also comrades in arms. The stories of the battles, the stories of the conquests; Every city in Israel has an IDF plaza. Street names after different units of different generals are all over the country, street names of battles, so it’s everywhere. It wasn’t until I was probably 40 or a little less than 40, that it was the first time that I encountered the other narrative, the Palestinian story, and it was unbelievable. Somebody was telling me the day is night and night is day, or the world is flat, or whatever the comparison you want to make, it was incredible. They are telling me that what I know to be true – ‘Cause I heard it in school and I read it in books and I heard it from my father and my mother and friends – That all of this is not true. And what you find out if you go along the path that I chose to take, this journey of an Israeli to Palestine, is that it was one horrifying crime against humanity. That’s what this so-called heroism was, it was no heroism at all. It was a well-trained, highly motivated, well-indoctrinated, well-armed militia that then became the IDF. But when it started, it was still a militia or today they would be called a terrorist organization, that went up against the people who had never had a military force, who never had a tank, who never had a warplane, who never prepared, even remotely, for battle or an assault. Then you have to make a choice: How do you bridge this? The differences are not nuanced, the differences are enormous. The choice that I made is to investigate for myself and find out who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. And my side was not telling the truth. Chris Hedges: How did they explain incidents such as the Nakba, the massacres that took place in ’48 and ’56, and the massive ethnic cleansing that took place in ’67? How was that explained to you within that mythic narrative? Many of the activities that the IDF has had to carry out are quite brutal, quite savage. The indiscriminate killing of civilians – We can talk about Gaza in a minute – What did that do to society? The people who carried out those killings, and eventually huge prisons, torture, and everything else? But let’s begin with how the myth coped with those incidents and then talk about the trauma that is carried within Israeli society for carrying out those war crimes. Miko Peled: My generation, we knew that there were several instances of bad apples that committed terrible crimes. And we admitted, so there was Deir Yassin, which was a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a peaceful village where a horrible massacre took place. Then we knew that Ariel Sharon was a bit of a lunatic and he took the commandos that he commanded in the ’50s and went to the West Bank and went into Gaza and committed acts of terrible massacres. He was still a hero, held in high regard by everyone, but we knew that there were certain instances… And every military, every nation makes its mistakes and then these things happen But there was never any sense that this somehow discounted or hurt the image of us being a moral army. There are lots of stories of how soldiers went and they decided to, out of the kindness of their hearts, they didn’t harm civilians. And those same civilians went and then warned the enemy that they were coming. And these same good Israeli soldiers would then pay the price and were killed. So it’s presented as limited cases. Nakba was not something that was ever discussed. I’m sure it’s not discussed today, certainly not in schools. In Israeli schools today, you’re not allowed to mention the Nakba. There’s a directive by the Ministry of Education that even Palestinians are not allowed to mention the Nakba. But nobody ever talked about that. And the Arabs left, what are you going to do? There was a war and all these people left and this is the way it is. So none of that ever hurt, in any way, the image of us being this glorious heroic army, descendants of King David, and other great traditions of Jewish heroism. None of that ever hurt itself. So there’s no trauma because we did nothing wrong. If somebody did something wrong, well, it was a case of bad apples, it was limited to a particular circumstance, a particular person, a particular unit, and you get crazy people everywhere. What are you going to do? It’s never been presented as systemic. Today, we have a history so we can look back and if we do pay attention, and if we do read the literature, and if we do listen to Palestinians – And today there’s this great NGO called Zochrot, whose mission is to maintain the memory of the towns and cities that were destroyed in 1948 and to revive the stories of what took place in 1948 – They are uncovering new massacres all the time. Because as that generation is dying off, both the Israelis who committed the crimes and the Palestinians who were still alive at the time and survived, are opening up and telling more and more stories. So we know of churches that were filled with civilians and were burned down. We know of a mosque in Lydd that was filled with people and a young man went and shot a Fiat missile into it. All of these horrific stories are still coming out but Israelis are not paying attention, Israelis are not listening. Whenever there’s an attack on Gaza – And as you know very well, these attacks began in the fifties with Ariel Sharon, by the way – There is always a reason. Because at first they were infiltrators, and then they were terrorists, and now they’re called Hamas, and whatever the devil’s name may be there’s always a very good reason to go in there because these are people who are raised to hate and kill and so on. So it’s a tightly-knit and tightly-orchestrated narrative that is being perpetuated and Israelis don’t seem to have a problem with that. Chris Hedges: And yet carrying out acts of brutality. The occupation – Huge numbers, a million Israelis are in the states. Large numbers of Israelis have left the country. I’m wondering how many of those are people who have a conscience and are repulsed by what they have seen in the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps I’m incorrect about that. Miko Peled: I don’t know. In the few encounters that I’ve had with Israelis in the US over the years, the vast majority support Israel, support Israel’s actions. It’s interesting that you mentioned that because I got an email from someone representing a group of alumni of Jewish Day Schools. These are Zionist schools all over countries where they indoctrinate the worst Zionism: secular Zionism. And they are now appalled by the indoctrination to serve in the IDF. A very high percentage of these students grew up, went to Israel, joined the IDF, took part in APEC events, and so on. And now they’re looking back and they’re reflecting and they’re feeling a sense of anger that they were put through this and lied through their entire lives about this. So that’s an interesting development. And if that grows, then that might be a game changer because these are the most loyal American Jews. The most loyal to Israel. But by and large, Israelis that I meet, with few exceptions, support Israel and they’re here for whatever reasons people come to America: They’re not unique, they’re not necessarily here because they were fed up or they were angry, or they were dissenters in any way, shape, or form. Around DC and Maryland, there are many Israelis. Sometimes you’ll sit in a coffee shop or go somewhere, you hear the conversations, and there’s no lack of support for Israel among these Israelis as far as I can see. Chris Hedges: Let’s talk about the armies. You were in the Special Forces elite unit. Talk about that indoctrination. I remember visiting Auschwitz a few years ago, and there were Israeli groups and people flying Israeli flags. But speak about that form of indoctrination and its link, in particular, to the Holocaust. Miko Peled: The myth is that Israel is a response to the Holocaust. And that the IDF is a response to the Holocaust; We must be strong, we must be willing to fight, and we must always have a gun in one hand or a weapon in one hand so that this will never happen again. And what’s interesting is, when you talk to Holocaust survivors who are not indoctrinated, who did not get pulled into Zionism – Which there are very, very many – They’ll say the notion that a militarized state is somehow the answer to the Holocaust is absurd because the answer to the Holocaust is tolerance and education and humanity, not violence and racism. But nobody wants to ruin a good myth with the facts. So that’s the story. The story is because of Auschwitz, we represent all those that were killed, perished by the Nazis, and so on, and therefore we need to be strong. And the Israeli flag represents them, and the Israeli military represents them. It’s absurd, it’s absolute madness. I went to serve in the army willingly, as most young Israelis do. In my environment, refusing or not going was not heard of, although there were some voices in the wilderness that were refusing and questioning morality. But I never did. Nobody around me ever did until I began the training and you began patrolling. I remember – You and I may have talked about this once – We were an infantry unit, a commando infantry unit. And suddenly we were given batons and these plastic handcuffs and were told to patrol in Ramallah. And I’m going, what the hell’s going on? What are we doing here? And then we’re told if anybody looks at you funny, you break every bone in their body. And I thought, everybody’s going to look at us, we’re commandos while marching through a city. Who’s not going to look at us? I was behind. I didn’t realize that everybody already understood that this is how it is, this is how it’s supposed to be. I thought, wait, this is wrong. Why are we doing this? We’re supposed to be the good guys here. And then there was the Lebanon invasion of ’82 and so on. So that broke that in my mind, that was a serious crack in the wall of belief and the wall of patriotism that was in me. But this whole notion that somehow being violent and militaristic and racist and being conquerors is somehow a response to the horrors of the Holocaust is absolute madness. But when you’re in it nobody around you is asking questions. You don’t ask questions either unless you’re willing to stand out and be smacked on the head. Chris Hedges: Within the military, within the IDF, how did they speak about Palestinians and Arabs? Miko Peled: The discourse, the hatred, the racism, is horrifying. First of all, they’re the animals. They’re nothing. It’s a joke, you see, it’s horrifying. They think it’s funny to stop people and ask them for their ID and to chase them and to chase kids and to shoot. It all seems like entertainment, you know? I never heard that discourse until I was in it. Then afterward, when I would meet Israelis who served, even here in the US, the way they joked around about what they did in the West Bank, the way they joked around about killing or stopping people or making them take their clothes off and dance naked, it’s entertainment. They think it’s funny. They don’t see that there’s a problem here because racism is so ingrained from such a young age that it’s almost organic. And I don’t think it’s surprising. When you have a racist society, and you have a racist education system that is so methodical, that’s what you get. And the racism doesn’t stop with Palestinians or with Arabs; It goes on to the Black people, it goes on to people of color, it goes to Jews or Israelis who come from other countries who are dark-skinned, for some reason. The racism crosses all these boundaries and it’s completely part of the culture. Chris Hedges: You have very little criticism of the IDF, almost none within the Israeli press, although there is quite a bit of criticism right now, of Netanyahu and his mismanagement and his corruption. Talk a little bit about the deification of the IDF within the public discourse and mainstream media and what that means for what’s happening in Gaza. Miko Peled: Well, the military is above the law. It’s above reproach, except from time to time. So after the ’73 war, there was an investigation. Earlier this week, there was, in the cabinet meeting… The cabinet meets every Sunday. And the army chief of staff was there and he was… This was leaked from the cabinet meeting. It was leaked that some of the more right-wing partners – It’s funny to say right-wing partners because they’re all this right-wing lunacy in the Israeli cabinet – But the more right-wing settlers that are in the cabinet were attacking the army, were attacking the chief of staff because he decided to start an inquiry because it was catastrophic when the Palestinian fighters came in from Gaza, there was nobody home. They took over half of their country back. They took 22 Israeli settlements and cities. They took over the army base of the Gaza brigade, which is supposed to defend the country from exactly this happening. And there was nobody in the… They took over the base. So he initiated an internal inquiry within the army, and they’re criticizing him and what you see in the Israeli press is two very interesting things: One is something went horribly wrong and we need to find out why, but we should wait because we shouldn’t do it during wartime. We shouldn’t criticize the army during wartime. We shouldn’t make the soldiers feel like they have to hold back because if they need to shoot, they should be allowed to shoot. And the other thing we see is that politically, everybody is eating each other up. They’re killing each other politically in the press. So everybody that’s against Netanyahu and wants to see it is attacking him. His people are attacking the others for attacking the government. It seems like there’s this paralysis as a result of this infighting that is affecting the functionality of the state as a state. Israelis are not living in the country, Israel is not the state that it was prior to October 7, it was paralyzed for several weeks, and now it’s still paralyzed in many ways. You’ve got missiles coming from the north, you’ve got missiles coming from the south. You’ve got very large numbers of Israeli soldiers being killed and thousands being injured and the war’s not ending. They’re not able to defeat the Palestinians in Gaza, the armed resistance, and so on. So all of this is taking place and you read the Israeli press and it’s like this cesspool that’s bubbling and bubbling and bubbling, and everybody’s attacking everybody else. And the army, it’s true, they are above reproach mostly, but this particular time the settlers are very angry. Another reason is because the the military decided to pull back some of the ground troops, understandably, since they’re being hit so hard. And I remember that happening before when the army pulled back out of Gaza, they were being attacked for stopping the killing, for not continuing these mass killings of Palestinians. Chris Hedges: Well, you had what? 70 fatalities in the Golani Brigade? And they were pulled back. This is a very elite unit. Miko Peled: Yeah, it’s very interesting because many of the casualties are high-ranking officers. You have colonels, lieutenant colonels, and very high-ranking commanders within Israeli special forces who are being killed. And they’re usually killed in big bunches because they’ll be in an armored personnel carrier or they’ll be marching together. And in Jenin a few days ago, they blew up a military vehicle and killed a bunch of soldiers. So Israelis are scratching their heads, not knowing what the hell is going on and what to do, because number one, they were not protected as they thought they were. And I’m sure you know this, the Israeli settlements, the kibbutzim, the cities in the south that border Gaza, [inaudible 00:25:59], they enjoy some of the highest standards of living among Israelis. It’s a beautiful lifestyle. It’s warm, it’s lovely. Agriculture is… And I don’t think it ever occurred to them that Palestinians would dare to come out of Gaza fighting and succeeding the way they did. The army was bankrupt. It was gone, the intelligence apparatus was bankrupt, and nothing worked. And it is reminiscent of what happened in 1973. This is far worse but it is reminiscent. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the October 7 attacks were exactly 50 years and one day after the 1973 October war began and the whole system collapsed. So that’s what we’re seeing right now. Chris Hedges: How do you read what’s happening in Gaza, militarily? Miko Peled: The Palestinians are able to hold on and kill many Israelis. And even though the Israelis have the firepower and they’ve got the logistics, supply chains are not a problem. Whereas Palestinians, I don’t know where they’re getting supplies. I don’t know where they’re getting food to continue fighting. They’re putting up a fierce resistance. I don’t think that militarily there’s a strategy here. This is revenge; Israel was humiliated, the army was humiliated, and they needed to take it out on somebody. So they found the weakest victims they could lay their hands on, and these are the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. And so they’re killing them by the tens of thousands. I don’t think anybody believes in such a thing as getting rid of Hamas. I don’t think anybody believes that that’s possible. I don’t believe anybody takes seriously or believes that you can take too many people out of Gaza and spread them around the world and into other places, even though that’s what they’re saying. But as long as Israel is allowed to kill, and as long as the supply chain isn’t interrupted, they’re going to continue to kill. Chris Hedges: And they’re also creating a humanitarian crisis. So it’s not just the bombs and the shells, but it’s now starvation. Diarrhea is an epidemic, sanitation is broken. I’m wondering at what point this humanitarian crisis becomes so pronounced that the choice is you leave or you die. Miko Peled: That’s always the big question for Palestinians. And the sad thing is that Palestinians are always being placed in these situations where they have to make that choice. It’s the worst form of injustice. And you know this, you’ve been in war zones. We don’t know how many bodies are buried under the rubble and what that’s going to bring up. And there are hundreds of thousands now who are suffering from all kinds of diseases as a result of this environmental catastrophe. And you remember, what was it? 2016 or something, 2017? The UN came out with a report that by 2020, Gaza would be uninhabitable. I don’t think the Gaza Strip has ever been inhabitable. It’s been a humanitarian disaster since it was created in the late forties and early fifties because they suddenly threw all these refugees there with no infrastructure and that was it, and then began killing them. I was talking to some people the other day, as Americans, as taxpayers, wouldn’t we want the Sixth Fleet, which is in the Mediterranean, the US Navy Sixth Fleet, to aid the Palestinians? To provide them support? To create a no-fly zone over these innocent people that are being massacred? As Americans, shouldn’t that be the natural ask, the natural desire to demand our politicians to use? Because American naval vessels have been used for humanitarian causes before. Why aren’t they supporting the Palestinians? Why aren’t they providing them aid? Why aren’t they helping them rebuild? Why are American tax dollars going to continue this genocide rather than stop it and aid the victims? These are questions Americans need to ask themselves because it makes absolutely no sense. It is absolute madness that people are allowing their government to support a genocide that’s not even done in secret. It’s not even done in hiding it. It’s on prime time. Everybody sees it. Everybody knows what’s going on. And again, for some strange reason, Americans are allowing their military and their government to aid the genocide. And there’s no question that it’s genocide. The definition of the crime of genocide is so absolutely clear, that anybody can look it up and compare it to what’s been going on in Palestine. So that to me is the greatest question: Why aren’t Americans demanding that the US support the Palestinians? Chris Hedges: Well, according to opinion polls, most Americans want a ceasefire. But the Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. Biden is one of the largest recipients of aid or campaign financing from the Israel lobby. This is true for both parties. Chuck Schumer was at the rally saying no ceasefire. Miko Peled: Which is odd. A ceasefire is a very small ask and I don’t know why we always ask for the bare minimum for Palestinians. But let’s talk about ceasefire. Israeli soldiers are being killed as well in very large numbers. How has ceasefire suddenly become an anti-Israeli demand? But it’s a very small ask. I don’t know how it was or where it was that this idea of demanding a ceasefire came up because that is not a serious demand. Ceasefire gets violated by Israel anyway, within 24-48 hours. You know that historically Israel always violated ceasefires. What is required here are severe sanctions, a no-fly zone, immediate aid to the Palestinians, and stopping this and providing guarantees for the safety and security of Palestinians forever moving forward so this can never happen again. That’s what needs to be asked. At this point, after having sacrificed so much, after having shown much of what I believe is immense courage, Palestinians deserve everything. We as people of conscience need to demand not to ceasefire, we need to demand a dismantling of the apartheid state and a full stop and absolute end to the genocide and guarantees put in place that Palestinian kids will be safe. I was talking to Issa Amro earlier in Hebron. It’s ridiculous when nobody even talks about what happens in the West Bank. Friends of mine who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, nobody dares to leave the house, nobody dares to text. They’re afraid to walk down the streets. Their safety is not guaranteed by anyone. Palestinian safety and security are left to the whims of any Israeli, and that should be the conversation right now, after such horrendous violence. That needs to be the demand. That needs to be the ask when we go to protests when we make these demands like a ceasefire. And even that, Israel is not willing. And these bouts of political supporters of Israel here in America are not willing to entertain a ceasefire. I believe it’s a crazy part of history that we’re experiencing right now and it’s a watershed moment. October 7 created an opportunity to end this for good, to end the suffering of Palestinians, the oppression, and the genocide for good. And if we being people of conscience don’t take advantage of this now and bring it to an end, we will regret this for generations. Chris Hedges: The Netanyahu government is talking about this assault on Gaza, this genocide continuing for months. There are strikes, and have been strikes against, now Hezbollah leaders. What concerns you? How could this all go terribly wrong? Miko Peled: It’s already gone terribly wrong because of the death and destruction of so many innocent lives is… I don’t even know that there’s a word for it. It’s beyond horrifying. Netanyahu is relying on the restraint of Hezbollah and the restraint of Iran and the restraint of the Arab governments has all been neutralized either through destruct, being destroyed, or through normalization. So he’s relying on that and he knows that he can keep triggering, he can keep bombing Lebanon, bombing Syria, instigating all of these things and it won’t turn into an all-out war. Because at the end of the day, even though Lebanese, Hezbollah, and Palestinian fighters have shown that they’re superior as fighters, they don’t have the supply chains, they don’t have the warplanes, they don’t have the tanks. So more and more civilians are going to be hurt. So I don’t think it’s going to turn into a regional war by any stretch of the imagination. And so Netanyahu is betting on that, and that’s why he’s allowing this to go on. And for him, this is a win-win. There’s no way that he can be unseated by anybody that’s around him. There’s no opposition. And as long as this goes on, as long as everybody’s in a state of crisis, he can continue to sit in the Prime Minister’s seat, which for him is the end all and be all of everything. And the world is supporting. The world, as governments of the world, I should say. I do interviews with African TV stations, Indian TV stations, and Europeans; Everybody is supporting Israel. Everybody listens to what I have to say, and they think I am a lunatic for supporting terrorism or whatever it is they, however, it is that they frame it. But I don’t see this ending unless there is massive pressure by people of conscience on their governments to force change, to force sanctions, to force the end of the genocide, and the end of the apartheid state. Chris Hedges: I want to talk about the shift within Zionism itself from the dominance of a secular leadership to – We see it in the government of Netanyahu – The rise of a religious Zionism, which is also true now within the IDF. And I wondered if you could talk about the consequences of that. Miko Peled: Sure. So originally, traditionally, and historically, Zionism and Judaism were at odds. And even to this day ultra-orthodox Jews reject Zionism and reject Israel by and large. But after 1967, there was this new creation of the Zionist religious movement. And these are the settlers who went to the West Bank and they became the new pioneers. And they are today, they make up a large portion of the officers and those who joined the special forces and so on. In the past, in the army, the unofficial policy was that these guys, should not be allowed to advance. The current chief of staff comes from that world, which is a huge change. There are several generals and high-ranking commanders and so on who come from that world. The reason that it was the unofficial policy that these guys should not be promoted was that it’s an incredibly toxic combination, this messianic form of Judaism, which is an aberration. It’s not Judaism at all, with this nationalist fanaticism. This combination is toxic and look what it created. It created some of the worst racists, some of the most violent thugs that we’ve seen, certainly in the short history of the state of Israel, although I don’t know that they’re any less violent than the generation of Zionists of my father who are secular. This was a big concern in the past but now they’re everywhere and look at its current government. They hold the finance ministry, they hold the national security ministry, certainly in the military they’re everywhere, they hold many sub-cabinets, and they’re heads of committees in the Knesset, and so on. And they’ve done their work. They worked very hard to get to where they are today, which is where they call the shots. And Netanyahu’s guaranteed to remain in power. They’re his support group. That’s why you could have had, as we had earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting in the streets and it didn’t affect him because he has his block in the Knesset that will never leave him as long as he allows them to play their game. And this is what’s happening. So in terms of violence and the facts on the ground, I don’t think these guys are any worse again than my parents’ generation who were young Zionists and zealots at the time and committed the 1948 Nakba and ran the country and operated the apartheid state for the first few decades. But it’s a new form of fanaticism being that it is religious as well as fascist. So it’s very toxic. And they have more of a stomach for killing civilians than we’ve ever seen before, even for Israelis. These numbers are beyond belief, even for Israel. Chris Hedges: I’m wondering if this religious Zionism probably has its profoundest effect within Israel, in terms of shutting down dissidents, civil liberties, this kind of stuff. Miko Peled: Well, Israelis love them. Israelis love these guys because they’re religious but they dress like us. They don’t look like the old Jews with the big beards and everything; They’re cool. They wear jeans. And the reason I say this is because one of their objectives is to take over Al-Aqsa and build a Jewish temple. They’re destroying Al-Aqsa and they conduct these tours. In the old city of Jerusalem, there’s a particular path that you take from where the western wall is up to Al-Aqsa, which is open for non-Muslims. And so they hold tours and there’s several odd times throughout the day. I’ve taken some of these tours to see what it’s about, what these guys do, you know? These are prayer tours and hundreds of thousands of Israelis go on these tours. And these are Israelis who are not religious at all, these are secular people. I see the people that go on the tours. To give you an idea of what this is about, you go up on that bridge and then you wait until the tour starts because you have to go in a group. And there’s a massive model of the new temple, of the Jewish temple that is going to be built there. And then you have a huge group of armed police –They’re not soldiers, they’re police but dressed completely militarized. And Muslim Palestinians are not allowed – That accompany the tour all around and they stop and they pray and they stop and they pray and they stop and pray at various places. The whole thing takes maybe an hour. But the interesting thing is that the people who go on these tours are secular Israelis. And then as I was doing this, I was remembering, even as a kid growing up completely secular, we would sing songs about the day that we build a temple. Why did we sing songs about building a temple? Because it went beyond our religious significance and became a national significance. And there’s no question in my mind that Netanyahu and secular Israelis would love to see this idea of destroying Al-Aqsa and having a Jewish temple there. It’s a sign that we’re back, King David is back. Even though it has nothing to do with history and there’s no truth in it, the connection that we are descendants of King David is something Israelis love. That’s what this is about, the relationship between the so-called settlers. That’s what they’re called in Israeli jargon. They’re called the settlers. Regular secular Israelis are an interesting one because on the one hand, they’re looked down upon because they’re religious, but on the other hand, they’re a cool religious. So there is an affinity. Chris Hedges: Great. That was Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. I want to thank the Real News Network and its production team: Cameron Granandino, Adam Coley, David Hebden, and Kayla Rivara. You can find me at chrishedges.substack.com. Creative Commons License Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license. https://therealnews.com/the-idfs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-israeli-society https://telegra.ph/The-IDFs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-Israeli-society-04-02
    THEREALNEWS.COM
    The IDF's war crimes are a perfect reflection of Israeli society
    Miko Peled, author and former member of IDF Special Forces, explains how Israel indoctrinates its citizens in anti-Palestinian racism from the cradle to the grave.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 175: ICJ orders Israel to stop famine in Gaza as Israel continues to raid hospitals
    The International Court of Justice imposed new provisional measures in South Africa’s case against Israel for its genocide in Gaza, ordering Israel to ensure the entry of food and other supplies in order to stop the spreading famine.

    Qassam MuaddiMarch 29, 2024
    Two injured Palestinian children are being treated by doctors on the floor of a hospital in southern Gaza, following Israeli airstrikes.
    Injured Palestinian children are brought to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah for treatment following Israeli attacks on the southern Gaza Strip,on March 29, 2024. (Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images)
    Casualties

    32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
    597 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Advertisement

    Watch now: NOURA ERAKAT on Witnessing Palestine with Frank Barat
    Key Developments

    Israeli forces killed 71 Palestinians and wounded 112 in air and artillery strikes across the Gaza Strip.
    Israel’s raid into al-Shifa hospital enters its 12th day, destroying more buildings in the vicinity of the hospital.
    Israel releases 102 Palestinians detained from Gaza in recent weeks.
    Israel admits eight soldiers wounded in 24 hour period as fighting between Israeli army and Palestinian resistance intensifies in Gaza City and in Khan Younis.
    ICJ orders new provisional measures in South Africa’s genocide case against Srael, including provisions to prevent famine.
    North Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was feared missing since March 19 after reporting that Israeli forces killed her brother in front of her, reappears on Twitter and confirms that she is alive.
    At least 40 Syrian soldiers and Hezbollah fighters killed in Israeli strikes on Aleppo, Syria.
    UN special rapporteur for Palestine says, “there is enough grounds to believe that Israel is committing genocide.”
    West Bank: One Palestinian teenager was wounded in al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron, in an Israeli raid.
    West Bank: Israel raids Nablus and the refugee camps of Shu’fat and Qalandia north of Jerusalem.
    71 Palestinians killed, death toll rises to 32,623

    The Palestinian health ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that 71 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip, while 112 others were wounded in the past day.

    In Gaza City, the Israeli army continued its raid on al-Shifa Hospital for the 12th day. Local sources reported that Israeli forces burned and demolished several buildings in the surroundings of al-Shifa.

    Medical sources said that Israeli forces continue to hold 160 Palestinians, including medical staff, in the Human Development building in the al-Shifa complex.

    In Deir al-Balah, in the center Gaza Strip, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian homes on the beachfront. In Al-Maghazi refugee camp, east of Deir al-Balah, an Israeli strike on the Mousa family home killed six people, including both parents and four children, wounding several of their neighbors.

    In Khan Younis, Israeli strikes killed 12 Palestinians, while a nurse was reported killed by Israeli troops at the Nasser hospital.

    In Rafah, in southern Gaza, Israeli strikes on the east and center of the city killed at least 12 Palestinians, including children.

    Viral journalist reported missing reappears, Israel releases 102 Gaza detainees

    The Israeli army released 102 Palestinians who were detained from the Gaza Strip and held in Israeli custody for several days and weeks, according to local media reports.

    According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, nine of the released are paramedics who work for the society and who were detained for 46 days. Three of the released were taken to some of the few remaining operating hospitals in Gaza to be treated from the effects of torture, the group said.

    Meanwhile, Palestinian journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was reported missing in the surroundings of al-Shifa since March 19, posted on social media Thursday for the first time in 12 days.

    “I survived,” Bayan wrote on Thursday on X. Her last tweet before she disappeared read “Israeli forces killed my only brother in front of my eyes.”

    Bayan is one of the few Palestinian journalists still reporting from Gaza City and the north. She and her family were staying in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital, where her family returned after being displaced in the early weeks of the Israeli assault when her brother was killed.

    After activists and journalists began sounding the alarm over Bayan’s feared disappearance, Reporters Without Borders demanded in a statement that Israeli forces provide information about Bayan’s whereabouts, assuming that she was detained.

    Palestinians remaining in Gaza City continue to face severe shortages of supplies, especially of food. “Hunger, the shortage of goods and skyrocketing prices have made people [in Gaza City] lose taste for life,” Huda Amer, another Gaza-city-based journalist, told Mondoweiss. “We hear bombings and shootings in the street”, she added.

    UN rapporteur says ‘enough grounds’ for genocide in Gaza

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, said that there are “enough grounds” to believe that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

    Albanese made her remarks on Thursday during the presentation of her report entitled “Anatomy of a Genocide” to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    The report, which was released earlier this week, indicated that Israel was violating three of the five acts described in the Genocide Convention.

    Albanese said that she has received threats because of her report, and that she has been pressured and “attacked” since the beginning of her mandate.

    Commenting on Albanese’s report, the White House’s spokesperson Mathew Miller accused Albanese of “making antisemitic comments,” and that the entire post of human rights rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian Territories was “unproductive.” In February, Israel denied Albanese entry to the country.

    On Thursday, the International Court of Justice ordered a new set of provisional measures to prevent genocide, including provisions to prevent famine.

    The measures were requested by South Africa as part of its ongoing case against Israel at the international court.

    The ICJ judges noted that “Palestinians are no longer facing the risk of famine … but famine is setting in”. The court ordered Israel to ensure the “unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. The order is legally binding, though, like the initial provisional measures granted by the court back in January, and since ignored by Israel, the court does not have an enforcement mechanism.

    Already, 31 Palestinians, mostly children, have died of food shortage in the Gaza Strip since Israel imposed a total blockade of food, water, electricity, and fuel on the 2 million people living there in the immediate aftermath of October 7.

    Israeli army wounds on Palestinian, raids West Bank towns

    A Palestinian man was wounded in the stomach by Israeli forces on Thursday night during an Israeli military raid on the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

    Local media sources reported that Israeli forces fired light flares before entering the camp, and that they were confronted by local youth throwing stones. Israeli troops responded with live fire, wounding one man.

    Israeli forces also raided Shu’fat and Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, and Nablus in the northern West Bank.

    Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to impose tight control on checkpoints in the Jordan Valley as they continue to search for the gunman behind yesterday’s shooting at an Israeli settlers’ bus north of Jericho, which wounded three Israelis.

    Israel has arrested more than 7,800 Palestinians since October 7. Currently, at least 9,100 Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons, including 50 women, 200 children, and more than 3500 detainees without charges.

    BEFORE YOU GO – 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/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-175-icj-orders-israel-to-stop-famine-in-gaza-as-israel-continues-to-raid-hospitals/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 175: ICJ orders Israel to stop famine in Gaza as Israel continues to raid hospitals The International Court of Justice imposed new provisional measures in South Africa’s case against Israel for its genocide in Gaza, ordering Israel to ensure the entry of food and other supplies in order to stop the spreading famine. Qassam MuaddiMarch 29, 2024 Two injured Palestinian children are being treated by doctors on the floor of a hospital in southern Gaza, following Israeli airstrikes. Injured Palestinian children are brought to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah for treatment following Israeli attacks on the southern Gaza Strip,on March 29, 2024. (Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images) Casualties 32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139. 597 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Advertisement Watch now: NOURA ERAKAT on Witnessing Palestine with Frank Barat Key Developments Israeli forces killed 71 Palestinians and wounded 112 in air and artillery strikes across the Gaza Strip. Israel’s raid into al-Shifa hospital enters its 12th day, destroying more buildings in the vicinity of the hospital. Israel releases 102 Palestinians detained from Gaza in recent weeks. Israel admits eight soldiers wounded in 24 hour period as fighting between Israeli army and Palestinian resistance intensifies in Gaza City and in Khan Younis. ICJ orders new provisional measures in South Africa’s genocide case against Srael, including provisions to prevent famine. North Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was feared missing since March 19 after reporting that Israeli forces killed her brother in front of her, reappears on Twitter and confirms that she is alive. At least 40 Syrian soldiers and Hezbollah fighters killed in Israeli strikes on Aleppo, Syria. UN special rapporteur for Palestine says, “there is enough grounds to believe that Israel is committing genocide.” West Bank: One Palestinian teenager was wounded in al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron, in an Israeli raid. West Bank: Israel raids Nablus and the refugee camps of Shu’fat and Qalandia north of Jerusalem. 71 Palestinians killed, death toll rises to 32,623 The Palestinian health ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that 71 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip, while 112 others were wounded in the past day. In Gaza City, the Israeli army continued its raid on al-Shifa Hospital for the 12th day. Local sources reported that Israeli forces burned and demolished several buildings in the surroundings of al-Shifa. Medical sources said that Israeli forces continue to hold 160 Palestinians, including medical staff, in the Human Development building in the al-Shifa complex. In Deir al-Balah, in the center Gaza Strip, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian homes on the beachfront. In Al-Maghazi refugee camp, east of Deir al-Balah, an Israeli strike on the Mousa family home killed six people, including both parents and four children, wounding several of their neighbors. In Khan Younis, Israeli strikes killed 12 Palestinians, while a nurse was reported killed by Israeli troops at the Nasser hospital. In Rafah, in southern Gaza, Israeli strikes on the east and center of the city killed at least 12 Palestinians, including children. Viral journalist reported missing reappears, Israel releases 102 Gaza detainees The Israeli army released 102 Palestinians who were detained from the Gaza Strip and held in Israeli custody for several days and weeks, according to local media reports. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, nine of the released are paramedics who work for the society and who were detained for 46 days. Three of the released were taken to some of the few remaining operating hospitals in Gaza to be treated from the effects of torture, the group said. Meanwhile, Palestinian journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was reported missing in the surroundings of al-Shifa since March 19, posted on social media Thursday for the first time in 12 days. “I survived,” Bayan wrote on Thursday on X. Her last tweet before she disappeared read “Israeli forces killed my only brother in front of my eyes.” Bayan is one of the few Palestinian journalists still reporting from Gaza City and the north. She and her family were staying in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital, where her family returned after being displaced in the early weeks of the Israeli assault when her brother was killed. After activists and journalists began sounding the alarm over Bayan’s feared disappearance, Reporters Without Borders demanded in a statement that Israeli forces provide information about Bayan’s whereabouts, assuming that she was detained. Palestinians remaining in Gaza City continue to face severe shortages of supplies, especially of food. “Hunger, the shortage of goods and skyrocketing prices have made people [in Gaza City] lose taste for life,” Huda Amer, another Gaza-city-based journalist, told Mondoweiss. “We hear bombings and shootings in the street”, she added. UN rapporteur says ‘enough grounds’ for genocide in Gaza The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, said that there are “enough grounds” to believe that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Albanese made her remarks on Thursday during the presentation of her report entitled “Anatomy of a Genocide” to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The report, which was released earlier this week, indicated that Israel was violating three of the five acts described in the Genocide Convention. Albanese said that she has received threats because of her report, and that she has been pressured and “attacked” since the beginning of her mandate. Commenting on Albanese’s report, the White House’s spokesperson Mathew Miller accused Albanese of “making antisemitic comments,” and that the entire post of human rights rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian Territories was “unproductive.” In February, Israel denied Albanese entry to the country. On Thursday, the International Court of Justice ordered a new set of provisional measures to prevent genocide, including provisions to prevent famine. The measures were requested by South Africa as part of its ongoing case against Israel at the international court. The ICJ judges noted that “Palestinians are no longer facing the risk of famine … but famine is setting in”. The court ordered Israel to ensure the “unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. The order is legally binding, though, like the initial provisional measures granted by the court back in January, and since ignored by Israel, the court does not have an enforcement mechanism. Already, 31 Palestinians, mostly children, have died of food shortage in the Gaza Strip since Israel imposed a total blockade of food, water, electricity, and fuel on the 2 million people living there in the immediate aftermath of October 7. Israeli army wounds on Palestinian, raids West Bank towns A Palestinian man was wounded in the stomach by Israeli forces on Thursday night during an Israeli military raid on the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Local media sources reported that Israeli forces fired light flares before entering the camp, and that they were confronted by local youth throwing stones. Israeli troops responded with live fire, wounding one man. Israeli forces also raided Shu’fat and Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, and Nablus in the northern West Bank. Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to impose tight control on checkpoints in the Jordan Valley as they continue to search for the gunman behind yesterday’s shooting at an Israeli settlers’ bus north of Jericho, which wounded three Israelis. Israel has arrested more than 7,800 Palestinians since October 7. Currently, at least 9,100 Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons, including 50 women, 200 children, and more than 3500 detainees without charges. BEFORE YOU GO – 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/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-175-icj-orders-israel-to-stop-famine-in-gaza-as-israel-continues-to-raid-hospitals/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 175: ICJ orders Israel to stop famine in Gaza as Israel continues to raid hospitals
    The International Court of Justice imposed new provisional measures in South Africa’s case against Israel for its genocide in Gaza, ordering Israel to ensure the entry of food and other supplies in order to stop the spreading famine.
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  • ‘No, dear. I will never leave Gaza.’
    I tried to convince my parents to leave Gaza, but my father’s resolute refusal caught me off guard. “No, dear. I will never leave Gaza,” he stated firmly. The weight of our conversation lingered long after we said our goodbyes.

    Ghada HaniaMarch 30, 2024
    A Palestinian man sits near the damage to a building after an overnight Israeli air raid in Rafah, southern Gaza, March 29, 2024. (Photo: Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images)
    A Palestinian man sits near the damage to a building after an overnight Israeli air raid in Rafah, southern Gaza, March 29, 2024. (Photo: Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images)
    I sip my coffee, pondering whether my mother has enough coffee stocked at home. Recognizing the importance of this question, especially during the sacred month of Ramadan when she typically begins her fast with a sip of coffee, a ritual I have mirrored, I resolve to call her via WhatsApp.

    Dialing her number, I encounter the frustration of a phone call that fails to connect, indicating a lack of internet service. Undeterred, I make my way to the nearby supermarket, where I top up my phone with 60 RM, the maximum allowed per charge. With experience guiding me, I opt for three charges, estimating that 180 units should afford me about a 35-minute conversation.

    Each call to my mother serves as a conduit for updates on her well-being, my father’s health, and the overall status of our extended family, all residing together in one apartment.

    During Ramadan, these conversations delve into her preparations for breaking the fast. Perhaps this time, she’s managed to procure budget-friendly alternatives from the market, steering away from the monotony of canned meals like beans, hummus, or tuna, and perhaps opting for cherished dishes like chicken maqloubeh or mloukhiyyeh, beloved by both herself and our family.

    As the phone finally rings after multiple attempts, I eagerly await my mother’s answer. When she finally picks up on the fifth try, I greet her affectionately, “Hello, my love. How are you?”

    “I am fine, my dear Ghadoosh,” she responds, using her term of endearment for me.

    I ask about her third-day iftar meal, to which she replies, “Today, we’re preparing beans with lemon and tomato, served alongside saj bread.”

    “You know we’ve finished building a clay oven on the roof of the house, and we use it to bake bread.”

    “Oh, that sounds good, Mom. Bon appétit,” I replied, understanding how monotonous it can be to eat the same meal for more than 100 days.

    Concerned about her health, especially given her diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), I ask about her condition. She acknowledges her discomfort, expressing gratitude for the doctor’s recommendations to avoid certain foods. Unfortunately, everything the doctor recommended is either unavailable or too expensive to afford.

    As our conversation progresses, the familiar sound of her voice brings comfort, even amidst the backdrop of challenges we face. Every time we talk, there’s a quiet sadness that hangs in the air, partly because of the miles between us and the heavy load of worries we both carry.

    “All praises to Allah,” my mother began, her voice tinged with discomfort. “I have persistent abdominal pain, but it’s bearable. It will pass,” she reassured me.

    Responding like a concerned physician, I rushed to advise her, “Mom, please pay careful attention to your diet and hydration during Ramadan. Make sure you drink plenty of water and consume nourishing foods like dates, while avoiding anything that exacerbates your discomfort. Choose light, healthy meals like thyme and cheese with bread, and incorporate olive oil. If canned foods like hummus, beans, or chickpeas make you feel tired or worsen your symptoms, refrain from eating them. Your well-being is paramount, so take care of yourself, my love. Remember to say bismillah before each meal, and trust in Allah for strength and healing.”

    “Okay, my love. Don’t worry,” she responded, her tone conveying gratitude for my concern.

    “How is your husband and his family?” she inquired. “How is your mother-in-law? Please convey my regards to them, and I hope we can meet soon once the war ends, Allah willing, if we are still alive on that day.”

    “Oh, mom, please don’t say that. May all negativity fade away. May Allah safeguard you and bring us all together again.”

    My husband’s family and I are unable to communicate with each other within Gaza due to poor connectivity. Therefore, when I speak to my husband’s relatives, I extend greetings from my family, and when I converse with my own family, I convey greetings from my husband’s family.

    “How are my sisters, mom? Have you been in touch with Sara? Did you manage to visit Mona?” I asked anxiously.

    “Sara is still in Gaza with her kids, husband, and his family. They’re facing immense struggles to find food and water. I’ve only managed to contact her once during these difficult months. Sadly, the call was abruptly cut off, and I couldn’t even say goodbye,” my mom explained with a heavy heart.

    “Mona and her family are living in a tent in Khan Younis. The conditions are harsh — when it rains, the tent floods, and when it stops, the sand’s smell makes them sick,” she continued.

    “We’ve had limited contact with your sisters, Ghada. Last week, we were able to confirm Sara’s well-being through one of your father’s cousins in Gaza. However, you know there’s a famine in the north. May Allah ease their hardships,” my mom said tearfully.

    After composing herself, she added, “Mona visited us briefly yesterday. Thankfully, she and her kids are doing okay. Don’t worry, dear.”

    “Don’t cry, mom. Let’s pray. It’s our most powerful tool. May Allah alleviate their suffering, guide us all, and bring an end to this war. May the situation improve,” I reassured her.

    The wail of an ambulance interrupted our conversation. My mother’s voice, usually composed, now shook with emotion as she recounted the struggles since being forcibly displaced from Gaza City to Rafah. Reflecting on our decision to settle in Rafah in my uncle’s home due to the lack of available housing, she expressed her sorrow, “If we had a home in Gaza, we would never have left, Ghada. They’ve destroyed everything in Gaza: the trees, the stones, the streets. There’s nothing left, my dear. The city has transformed; you wouldn’t recognize it.”

    “Inshallah everything will improve, mom. We’ll rebuild the city again,” I said optimistically.

    She replied softly, “Inshallah, dear.”

    I broached the topic of leaving Gaza for Malaysia, but his resolute refusal caught me off guard. “No, dear. I will never leave Gaza,” he stated firmly, revealing a depth of sentiment I hadn’t fully grasped before.
    I seized the opportunity to speak to my father, eagerly greeting him, “Hello, Dad. How are you?”

    His warm voice comforted me, assuring me, “Everything is good, dear. Don’t worry. We’re in good spirits, and as long as we have each other, we’ll be fine.”

    “How much is the fish per kilo?” I asked. My father has always had a deep love for fish, enjoying it day after day before the war.

    He replied with sadness, “The price for a kilo of sardines is around 130 shekels. That’s the cheapest rate in the market. Prices have increased tenfold.”

    Despite his assurances, I couldn’t shake the heavy burden weighing on my heart. “May Allah protect you, dear Baba,” I said, my voice trembling with emotion. “I know it’s not easy, but please stay steadfast. Your strength gives me hope.”

    I broached the topic of leaving Gaza for Malaysia, but his resolute refusal caught me off guard. “No, dear. I will never leave Gaza,” he stated firmly, revealing a depth of sentiment I hadn’t fully grasped before.

    “We’ve purchased tents in case the situation deteriorates further. We’ll relocate to Nuseirat refugee camp or Deir al-Balah,” he added.

    The weight of our conversation lingered long after we said our goodbyes. Despite my efforts to offer comfort, I couldn’t shake the sense of helplessness that settled over me, leaving me feeling powerless to ease their suffering.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/no-dear-i-will-never-leave-gaza/
    ‘No, dear. I will never leave Gaza.’ I tried to convince my parents to leave Gaza, but my father’s resolute refusal caught me off guard. “No, dear. I will never leave Gaza,” he stated firmly. The weight of our conversation lingered long after we said our goodbyes. Ghada HaniaMarch 30, 2024 A Palestinian man sits near the damage to a building after an overnight Israeli air raid in Rafah, southern Gaza, March 29, 2024. (Photo: Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images) A Palestinian man sits near the damage to a building after an overnight Israeli air raid in Rafah, southern Gaza, March 29, 2024. (Photo: Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images) I sip my coffee, pondering whether my mother has enough coffee stocked at home. Recognizing the importance of this question, especially during the sacred month of Ramadan when she typically begins her fast with a sip of coffee, a ritual I have mirrored, I resolve to call her via WhatsApp. Dialing her number, I encounter the frustration of a phone call that fails to connect, indicating a lack of internet service. Undeterred, I make my way to the nearby supermarket, where I top up my phone with 60 RM, the maximum allowed per charge. With experience guiding me, I opt for three charges, estimating that 180 units should afford me about a 35-minute conversation. Each call to my mother serves as a conduit for updates on her well-being, my father’s health, and the overall status of our extended family, all residing together in one apartment. During Ramadan, these conversations delve into her preparations for breaking the fast. Perhaps this time, she’s managed to procure budget-friendly alternatives from the market, steering away from the monotony of canned meals like beans, hummus, or tuna, and perhaps opting for cherished dishes like chicken maqloubeh or mloukhiyyeh, beloved by both herself and our family. As the phone finally rings after multiple attempts, I eagerly await my mother’s answer. When she finally picks up on the fifth try, I greet her affectionately, “Hello, my love. How are you?” “I am fine, my dear Ghadoosh,” she responds, using her term of endearment for me. I ask about her third-day iftar meal, to which she replies, “Today, we’re preparing beans with lemon and tomato, served alongside saj bread.” “You know we’ve finished building a clay oven on the roof of the house, and we use it to bake bread.” “Oh, that sounds good, Mom. Bon appétit,” I replied, understanding how monotonous it can be to eat the same meal for more than 100 days. Concerned about her health, especially given her diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), I ask about her condition. She acknowledges her discomfort, expressing gratitude for the doctor’s recommendations to avoid certain foods. Unfortunately, everything the doctor recommended is either unavailable or too expensive to afford. As our conversation progresses, the familiar sound of her voice brings comfort, even amidst the backdrop of challenges we face. Every time we talk, there’s a quiet sadness that hangs in the air, partly because of the miles between us and the heavy load of worries we both carry. “All praises to Allah,” my mother began, her voice tinged with discomfort. “I have persistent abdominal pain, but it’s bearable. It will pass,” she reassured me. Responding like a concerned physician, I rushed to advise her, “Mom, please pay careful attention to your diet and hydration during Ramadan. Make sure you drink plenty of water and consume nourishing foods like dates, while avoiding anything that exacerbates your discomfort. Choose light, healthy meals like thyme and cheese with bread, and incorporate olive oil. If canned foods like hummus, beans, or chickpeas make you feel tired or worsen your symptoms, refrain from eating them. Your well-being is paramount, so take care of yourself, my love. Remember to say bismillah before each meal, and trust in Allah for strength and healing.” “Okay, my love. Don’t worry,” she responded, her tone conveying gratitude for my concern. “How is your husband and his family?” she inquired. “How is your mother-in-law? Please convey my regards to them, and I hope we can meet soon once the war ends, Allah willing, if we are still alive on that day.” “Oh, mom, please don’t say that. May all negativity fade away. May Allah safeguard you and bring us all together again.” My husband’s family and I are unable to communicate with each other within Gaza due to poor connectivity. Therefore, when I speak to my husband’s relatives, I extend greetings from my family, and when I converse with my own family, I convey greetings from my husband’s family. “How are my sisters, mom? Have you been in touch with Sara? Did you manage to visit Mona?” I asked anxiously. “Sara is still in Gaza with her kids, husband, and his family. They’re facing immense struggles to find food and water. I’ve only managed to contact her once during these difficult months. Sadly, the call was abruptly cut off, and I couldn’t even say goodbye,” my mom explained with a heavy heart. “Mona and her family are living in a tent in Khan Younis. The conditions are harsh — when it rains, the tent floods, and when it stops, the sand’s smell makes them sick,” she continued. “We’ve had limited contact with your sisters, Ghada. Last week, we were able to confirm Sara’s well-being through one of your father’s cousins in Gaza. However, you know there’s a famine in the north. May Allah ease their hardships,” my mom said tearfully. After composing herself, she added, “Mona visited us briefly yesterday. Thankfully, she and her kids are doing okay. Don’t worry, dear.” “Don’t cry, mom. Let’s pray. It’s our most powerful tool. May Allah alleviate their suffering, guide us all, and bring an end to this war. May the situation improve,” I reassured her. The wail of an ambulance interrupted our conversation. My mother’s voice, usually composed, now shook with emotion as she recounted the struggles since being forcibly displaced from Gaza City to Rafah. Reflecting on our decision to settle in Rafah in my uncle’s home due to the lack of available housing, she expressed her sorrow, “If we had a home in Gaza, we would never have left, Ghada. They’ve destroyed everything in Gaza: the trees, the stones, the streets. There’s nothing left, my dear. The city has transformed; you wouldn’t recognize it.” “Inshallah everything will improve, mom. We’ll rebuild the city again,” I said optimistically. She replied softly, “Inshallah, dear.” I broached the topic of leaving Gaza for Malaysia, but his resolute refusal caught me off guard. “No, dear. I will never leave Gaza,” he stated firmly, revealing a depth of sentiment I hadn’t fully grasped before. I seized the opportunity to speak to my father, eagerly greeting him, “Hello, Dad. How are you?” His warm voice comforted me, assuring me, “Everything is good, dear. Don’t worry. We’re in good spirits, and as long as we have each other, we’ll be fine.” “How much is the fish per kilo?” I asked. My father has always had a deep love for fish, enjoying it day after day before the war. He replied with sadness, “The price for a kilo of sardines is around 130 shekels. That’s the cheapest rate in the market. Prices have increased tenfold.” Despite his assurances, I couldn’t shake the heavy burden weighing on my heart. “May Allah protect you, dear Baba,” I said, my voice trembling with emotion. “I know it’s not easy, but please stay steadfast. Your strength gives me hope.” I broached the topic of leaving Gaza for Malaysia, but his resolute refusal caught me off guard. “No, dear. I will never leave Gaza,” he stated firmly, revealing a depth of sentiment I hadn’t fully grasped before. “We’ve purchased tents in case the situation deteriorates further. We’ll relocate to Nuseirat refugee camp or Deir al-Balah,” he added. The weight of our conversation lingered long after we said our goodbyes. Despite my efforts to offer comfort, I couldn’t shake the sense of helplessness that settled over me, leaving me feeling powerless to ease their suffering. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/no-dear-i-will-never-leave-gaza/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘No, dear. I will never leave Gaza.’
    I tried to convince my parents to leave Gaza, but my father’s resolute refusal caught me off guard. “No, dear. I will never leave Gaza,” he stated firmly. The weight of our conversation lingered long after we said our goodbyes.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 175: ICJ orders Israel to stop famine in Gaza as Israel continues to raid hospitals
    The International Court of Justice imposed new provisional measures in South Africa’s case against Israel for its genocide in Gaza, ordering Israel to ensure the entry of food and other supplies in order to stop the spreading famine.

    Qassam MuaddiMarch 29, 2024
    Two injured Palestinian children are being treated by doctors on the floor of a hospital in southern Gaza, following Israeli airstrikes.
    Injured Palestinian children are brought to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah for treatment following Israeli attacks on the southern Gaza Strip,on March 29, 2024. (Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images)
    Casualties

    32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
    597 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    Israeli forces killed 71 Palestinians and wounded 112 in air and artillery strikes across the Gaza Strip.
    Israel’s raid into al-Shifa hospital enters its 12th day, destroying more buildings in the vicinity of the hospital.
    Israel releases 102 Palestinians detained from Gaza in recent weeks.
    Israel admits eight soldiers wounded in 24 hour period as fighting between Israeli army and Palestinian resistance intensifies in Gaza City and in Khan Younis.
    ICJ orders new provisional measures in South Africa’s genocide case against Srael, including provisions to prevent famine.
    North Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was feared missing since March 19 after reporting that Israeli forces killed her brother in front of her, reappears on Twitter and confirms that she is alive.
    At least 40 Syrian soldiers and Hezbollah fighters killed in Israeli strikes on Aleppo, Syria.
    UN special rapporteur for Palestine says, “there is enough grounds to believe that Israel is committing genocide.”
    West Bank: One Palestinian teenager was wounded in al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron, in an Israeli raid.
    West Bank: Israel raids Nablus and the refugee camps of Shu’fat and Qalandia north of Jerusalem.
    71 Palestinians killed, death toll rises to 32,623

    The Palestinian health ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that 71 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip, while 112 others were wounded in the past day.

    In Gaza City, the Israeli army continued its raid on al-Shifa Hospital for the 12th day. Local sources reported that Israeli forces burned and demolished several buildings in the surroundings of al-Shifa.

    Medical sources said that Israeli forces continue to hold 160 Palestinians, including medical staff, in the Human Development building in the al-Shifa complex.

    In Deir al-Balah, in the center Gaza Strip, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian homes on the beachfront. In Al-Maghazi refugee camp, east of Deir al-Balah, an Israeli strike on the Mousa family home killed six people, including both parents and four children, wounding several of their neighbors.

    In Khan Younis, Israeli strikes killed 12 Palestinians, while a nurse was reported killed by Israeli troops at the Nasser hospital.

    In Rafah, in southern Gaza, Israeli strikes on the east and center of the city killed at least 12 Palestinians, including children.

    Viral journalist reported missing reappears, Israel releases 102 Gaza detainees

    The Israeli army released 102 Palestinians who were detained from the Gaza Strip and held in Israeli custody for several days and weeks, according to local media reports.

    According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, nine of the released are paramedics who work for the society and who were detained for 46 days. Three of the released were taken to some of the few remaining operating hospitals in Gaza to be treated from the effects of torture, the group said.

    Meanwhile, Palestinian journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was reported missing in the surroundings of al-Shifa since March 19, posted on social media Thursday for the first time in 12 days.

    “I survived,” Bayan wrote on Thursday on X. Her last tweet before she disappeared read “Israeli forces killed my only brother in front of my eyes.”

    Bayan is one of the few Palestinian journalists still reporting from Gaza City and the north. She and her family were staying in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital, where her family returned after being displaced in the early weeks of the Israeli assault when her brother was killed.

    After activists and journalists began sounding the alarm over Bayan’s feared disappearance, Reporters Without Borders demanded in a statement that Israeli forces provide information about Bayan’s whereabouts, assuming that she was detained.

    Palestinians remaining in Gaza City continue to face severe shortages of supplies, especially of food. “Hunger, the shortage of goods and skyrocketing prices have made people [in Gaza City] lose taste for life,” Huda Amer, another Gaza-city-based journalist, told Mondoweiss. “We hear bombings and shootings in the street”, she added.

    UN rapporteur says ‘enough grounds’ for genocide in Gaza

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, said that there are “enough grounds” to believe that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

    Albanese made her remarks on Thursday during the presentation of her report entitled “Anatomy of a Genocide” to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    The report, which was released earlier this week, indicated that Israel was violating three of the five acts described in the Genocide Convention.

    Albanese said that she has received threats because of her report, and that she has been pressured and “attacked” since the beginning of her mandate.

    Commenting on Albanese’s report, the White House’s spokesperson Mathew Miller accused Albanese of “making antisemitic comments,” and that the entire post of human rights rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian Territories was “unproductive.” In February, Israel denied Albanese entry to the country.

    On Thursday, the International Court of Justice ordered a new set of provisional measures to prevent genocide, including provisions to prevent famine.

    The measures were requested by South Africa as part of its ongoing case against Israel at the international court.

    The ICJ judges noted that “Palestinians are no longer facing the risk of famine … but famine is setting in”. The court ordered Israel to ensure the “unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. The order is legally binding, though, like the initial provisional measures granted by the court back in January, and since ignored by Israel, the court does not have an enforcement mechanism.

    Already, 31 Palestinians, mostly children, have died of food shortage in the Gaza Strip since Israel imposed a total blockade of food, water, electricity, and fuel on the 2 million people living there in the immediate aftermath of October 7.

    Israeli army wounds on Palestinian, raids West Bank towns

    A Palestinian man was wounded in the stomach by Israeli forces on Thursday night during an Israeli military raid on the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

    Local media sources reported that Israeli forces fired light flares before entering the camp, and that they were confronted by local youth throwing stones. Israeli troops responded with live fire, wounding one man.

    Israeli forces also raided Shu’fat and Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, and Nablus in the northern West Bank.

    Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to impose tight control on checkpoints in the Jordan Valley as they continue to search for the gunman behind yesterday’s shooting at an Israeli settlers’ bus north of Jericho, which wounded three Israelis.

    Israel has arrested more than 7,800 Palestinians since October 7. Currently, at least 9,100 Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons, including 50 women, 200 children, and more than 3500 detainees without charges.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-175-icj-orders-israel-to-stop-famine-in-gaza-as-israel-continues-to-raid-hospitals/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 175: ICJ orders Israel to stop famine in Gaza as Israel continues to raid hospitals The International Court of Justice imposed new provisional measures in South Africa’s case against Israel for its genocide in Gaza, ordering Israel to ensure the entry of food and other supplies in order to stop the spreading famine. Qassam MuaddiMarch 29, 2024 Two injured Palestinian children are being treated by doctors on the floor of a hospital in southern Gaza, following Israeli airstrikes. Injured Palestinian children are brought to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah for treatment following Israeli attacks on the southern Gaza Strip,on March 29, 2024. (Ahmed Ibrahim/APA Images) Casualties 32,623 + killed* and at least 75,092 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 450+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139. 597 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments Israeli forces killed 71 Palestinians and wounded 112 in air and artillery strikes across the Gaza Strip. Israel’s raid into al-Shifa hospital enters its 12th day, destroying more buildings in the vicinity of the hospital. Israel releases 102 Palestinians detained from Gaza in recent weeks. Israel admits eight soldiers wounded in 24 hour period as fighting between Israeli army and Palestinian resistance intensifies in Gaza City and in Khan Younis. ICJ orders new provisional measures in South Africa’s genocide case against Srael, including provisions to prevent famine. North Gaza-based journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was feared missing since March 19 after reporting that Israeli forces killed her brother in front of her, reappears on Twitter and confirms that she is alive. At least 40 Syrian soldiers and Hezbollah fighters killed in Israeli strikes on Aleppo, Syria. UN special rapporteur for Palestine says, “there is enough grounds to believe that Israel is committing genocide.” West Bank: One Palestinian teenager was wounded in al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron, in an Israeli raid. West Bank: Israel raids Nablus and the refugee camps of Shu’fat and Qalandia north of Jerusalem. 71 Palestinians killed, death toll rises to 32,623 The Palestinian health ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that 71 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip, while 112 others were wounded in the past day. In Gaza City, the Israeli army continued its raid on al-Shifa Hospital for the 12th day. Local sources reported that Israeli forces burned and demolished several buildings in the surroundings of al-Shifa. Medical sources said that Israeli forces continue to hold 160 Palestinians, including medical staff, in the Human Development building in the al-Shifa complex. In Deir al-Balah, in the center Gaza Strip, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian homes on the beachfront. In Al-Maghazi refugee camp, east of Deir al-Balah, an Israeli strike on the Mousa family home killed six people, including both parents and four children, wounding several of their neighbors. In Khan Younis, Israeli strikes killed 12 Palestinians, while a nurse was reported killed by Israeli troops at the Nasser hospital. In Rafah, in southern Gaza, Israeli strikes on the east and center of the city killed at least 12 Palestinians, including children. Viral journalist reported missing reappears, Israel releases 102 Gaza detainees The Israeli army released 102 Palestinians who were detained from the Gaza Strip and held in Israeli custody for several days and weeks, according to local media reports. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, nine of the released are paramedics who work for the society and who were detained for 46 days. Three of the released were taken to some of the few remaining operating hospitals in Gaza to be treated from the effects of torture, the group said. Meanwhile, Palestinian journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who was reported missing in the surroundings of al-Shifa since March 19, posted on social media Thursday for the first time in 12 days. “I survived,” Bayan wrote on Thursday on X. Her last tweet before she disappeared read “Israeli forces killed my only brother in front of my eyes.” Bayan is one of the few Palestinian journalists still reporting from Gaza City and the north. She and her family were staying in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital, where her family returned after being displaced in the early weeks of the Israeli assault when her brother was killed. After activists and journalists began sounding the alarm over Bayan’s feared disappearance, Reporters Without Borders demanded in a statement that Israeli forces provide information about Bayan’s whereabouts, assuming that she was detained. Palestinians remaining in Gaza City continue to face severe shortages of supplies, especially of food. “Hunger, the shortage of goods and skyrocketing prices have made people [in Gaza City] lose taste for life,” Huda Amer, another Gaza-city-based journalist, told Mondoweiss. “We hear bombings and shootings in the street”, she added. UN rapporteur says ‘enough grounds’ for genocide in Gaza The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, said that there are “enough grounds” to believe that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Albanese made her remarks on Thursday during the presentation of her report entitled “Anatomy of a Genocide” to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The report, which was released earlier this week, indicated that Israel was violating three of the five acts described in the Genocide Convention. Albanese said that she has received threats because of her report, and that she has been pressured and “attacked” since the beginning of her mandate. Commenting on Albanese’s report, the White House’s spokesperson Mathew Miller accused Albanese of “making antisemitic comments,” and that the entire post of human rights rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian Territories was “unproductive.” In February, Israel denied Albanese entry to the country. On Thursday, the International Court of Justice ordered a new set of provisional measures to prevent genocide, including provisions to prevent famine. The measures were requested by South Africa as part of its ongoing case against Israel at the international court. The ICJ judges noted that “Palestinians are no longer facing the risk of famine … but famine is setting in”. The court ordered Israel to ensure the “unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. The order is legally binding, though, like the initial provisional measures granted by the court back in January, and since ignored by Israel, the court does not have an enforcement mechanism. Already, 31 Palestinians, mostly children, have died of food shortage in the Gaza Strip since Israel imposed a total blockade of food, water, electricity, and fuel on the 2 million people living there in the immediate aftermath of October 7. Israeli army wounds on Palestinian, raids West Bank towns A Palestinian man was wounded in the stomach by Israeli forces on Thursday night during an Israeli military raid on the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Local media sources reported that Israeli forces fired light flares before entering the camp, and that they were confronted by local youth throwing stones. Israeli troops responded with live fire, wounding one man. Israeli forces also raided Shu’fat and Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, and Nablus in the northern West Bank. Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to impose tight control on checkpoints in the Jordan Valley as they continue to search for the gunman behind yesterday’s shooting at an Israeli settlers’ bus north of Jericho, which wounded three Israelis. Israel has arrested more than 7,800 Palestinians since October 7. Currently, at least 9,100 Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons, including 50 women, 200 children, and more than 3500 detainees without charges. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-175-icj-orders-israel-to-stop-famine-in-gaza-as-israel-continues-to-raid-hospitals/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 175: ICJ orders Israel to stop famine in Gaza as Israel continues to raid hospitals
    The International Court of Justice imposed new provisional measures in South Africa’s case against Israel for its genocide in Gaza, ordering Israel to ensure the entry of food and other supplies in order to stop the spreading famine.
    0 Comments 0 Shares 3690 Views
  • Firm helping Israel spy on Gaza includes genocide advocate
    Michael F. Brown Rights and Accountability 28 March 2024

    Palestinian children and adults try to secure food
    Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli major general, has pushed for a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, a position which has contributed to desperate scenes of Palestinians trying to secure food.
    Mahmoud Issa DPA
    The Israeli military is using Corsight facial recognition technology to collect information about Palestinians in Gaza according to The New York Times.

    “The facial recognition program, which is run by Israel’s military intelligence unit, including the cyber-intelligence division Unit 8200, relies on technology from Corsight, a private Israeli company, four intelligence officers said.”


    The Israeli military also employs Google Photos.

    Israel’s apartheid army detained, interrogated and beat Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, a graduate of Syracuse University, with the assistance of Corsight’s facial recognition technology. Other Palestinians have been similarly detained via Corsight technology.
    Abu Toha notes Palestinians have died in Israeli custody.

    There is little complaint from western politicians. Corsight’s complicity isn’t seen as an urgent matter.

    Nor, for that matter, do most of these politicians give sufficient attention to Israel’s genocidal policies in Gaza.

    Board of directors

    Unmentioned by the Times is that Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli major general, serves on the board of directors of Corsight.

    When Eiland joined the board in January 2021, Igal Raichelgauz, chairman and founder of the Cortica Group, stated, “We are excited to add Giora to the company board, we believe that due to his extensive experience in the national security field, Corsight will continue growing into new markets and territories and lead the face recognition market in Israel and in the world.” Corsight is a subsidiary of Cortica, a firm focused on artificial intelligence.

    Eiland is a proponent of the ethnic cleansing of the occupied territory of Gaza.

    He wrote for the Israeli publication Ynet on 12 October that “One option is a massive and complex ground operation, with no regard to duration and cost, while the second option is to create conditions where life in Gaza becomes unsustainable.”

    In fact, Israel has done both.

    Eiland noted, without voicing dissent, that “Israel has already begun suspending the supply of diesel, fuel, electricity and water, as well as closing the border crossings. Yet, it remains uncertain whether these measures are enough.”

    He then moved to ethnic cleansing.

    “Israel issued a stern warning to Egypt and made it clear that it would not permit humanitarian aid from Egypt to enter Gaza. Israel needs to create a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, compelling tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in Egypt or the Gulf.”

    He said nothing of wanting such an arrangement to be temporary.

    Eiland then jumped beyond an ethnic cleansing of “tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands.” He wrote: “The entire population of Gaza will either move to Egypt or move to the Gulf.”

    The retired general also recommended targeting civilian vehicles in Gaza.

    “Every vehicle in Gaza is considered a military vehicle transporting combatants. Therefore, there is no vehicular traffic, and it does not matter whether it is transporting water or other critical supplies.”

    Such rhetoric amounts to abetting war crimes and has had real consequences for Palestinian children such as 6-year-old Hind Rajab who, according to the Palestine Red Crescent, the Israeli military killed earlier this year in a car along with other family members.

    Eiland pushed collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza as well.

    “The UN secretary-general has initiated humanitarian aid to Gaza. The Israeli condition for any aid should be a visit by the Red Cross to Israeli hostages and especially the civilians among them. Until this happens, no aid of any kind will be permitted to enter into Gaza.”

    Hinting at the overwhelming violence to come against Palestinian civilians, Eiland wrote of the developing Israeli attack: “It is comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to the launch of an atomic bomb in Japan.”

    The Israeli military has killed over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza since 7 October, including more than 13,000 children. The International Court of Justice deems it plausible that Israel is engaged in genocidal actions in the small coastal territory.

    Eiland wrapped up his opinion piece by declaring, “As a result, Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist, and I say this as a means rather than an end. I say this because there is no other option for ensuring the security of the state of Israel. We are fighting an existential war.”

    This goes beyond ethnic cleansing to genocide talk when speaking of “a place where no human being can exist.”


    Omer Bartov, a professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Brown University, documented this and more from Eiland in a November opinion piece in The New York Times.
    He cited a column Eiland wrote in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. The Brown University professor quoted Eiland as writing, “The state of Israel has no choice but to turn Gaza into a place that is temporarily or permanently impossible to live in.”

    Bartov also quoted Eiland for maintaining, “Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieving the goal.”

    Then he cited the same Ynet quote noted above that “Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.”

    Bartov commented, “Apparently, no army representative or politician denounced this statement.”

    Eiland continued with the genocidal talk in November when he wrote, “The international community warns of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and of severe epidemics. We must not shy away from it, as hard as it is. After all, severe epidemics in the south of the Strip will hasten victory.”


    Corsight, with its invasive technology against a largely refugee population dispossessed in 1948, should expect heavy criticism with a board member calling for the ethnic cleansing of Gaza and to make the place uninhabitable.
    Of course, Democratic Majority for Israel received scant attention when it came to light that its board member Archie Gottesman once issued her own genocidal call against Palestinians in Gaza when she tweeted: “Gaza is full of monsters. Time to burn the whole place.”

    Ethnic cleansing and genocide against Palestinians don’t properly register with most western politicians who, of course, are providing weapons to Israel to carry out the devastation in Gaza.

    That Corsight carries out “global operations and support in the US, UK, Singapore, Australia, and R&D in Israel” with the backing of a board member proponent of ethnic cleansing and genocide will not be a significant concern in Washington.

    Popular concern, however, may prove to be a different matter.


    Corsight
    The New York Times
    Google Photos
    Mosab Abu Toha
    Syracuse University
    Igal Raichelgauz
    Cortica Group
    Giora Eiland
    Ynet
    ethnic cleansing
    Hind Rajab
    Palestine Red Crescent Society
    collective punishment
    International Court of Justice
    Gaza genocide
    Omer Bartov
    Brown University
    Democratic Majority for Israel
    Archie Gottesman
    Yediot Ahronot

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-f-brown/firm-helping-israel-spy-gaza-includes-genocide-advocate
    Firm helping Israel spy on Gaza includes genocide advocate Michael F. Brown Rights and Accountability 28 March 2024 Palestinian children and adults try to secure food Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli major general, has pushed for a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, a position which has contributed to desperate scenes of Palestinians trying to secure food. Mahmoud Issa DPA The Israeli military is using Corsight facial recognition technology to collect information about Palestinians in Gaza according to The New York Times. “The facial recognition program, which is run by Israel’s military intelligence unit, including the cyber-intelligence division Unit 8200, relies on technology from Corsight, a private Israeli company, four intelligence officers said.” The Israeli military also employs Google Photos. Israel’s apartheid army detained, interrogated and beat Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, a graduate of Syracuse University, with the assistance of Corsight’s facial recognition technology. Other Palestinians have been similarly detained via Corsight technology. Abu Toha notes Palestinians have died in Israeli custody. There is little complaint from western politicians. Corsight’s complicity isn’t seen as an urgent matter. Nor, for that matter, do most of these politicians give sufficient attention to Israel’s genocidal policies in Gaza. Board of directors Unmentioned by the Times is that Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli major general, serves on the board of directors of Corsight. When Eiland joined the board in January 2021, Igal Raichelgauz, chairman and founder of the Cortica Group, stated, “We are excited to add Giora to the company board, we believe that due to his extensive experience in the national security field, Corsight will continue growing into new markets and territories and lead the face recognition market in Israel and in the world.” Corsight is a subsidiary of Cortica, a firm focused on artificial intelligence. Eiland is a proponent of the ethnic cleansing of the occupied territory of Gaza. He wrote for the Israeli publication Ynet on 12 October that “One option is a massive and complex ground operation, with no regard to duration and cost, while the second option is to create conditions where life in Gaza becomes unsustainable.” In fact, Israel has done both. Eiland noted, without voicing dissent, that “Israel has already begun suspending the supply of diesel, fuel, electricity and water, as well as closing the border crossings. Yet, it remains uncertain whether these measures are enough.” He then moved to ethnic cleansing. “Israel issued a stern warning to Egypt and made it clear that it would not permit humanitarian aid from Egypt to enter Gaza. Israel needs to create a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, compelling tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in Egypt or the Gulf.” He said nothing of wanting such an arrangement to be temporary. Eiland then jumped beyond an ethnic cleansing of “tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands.” He wrote: “The entire population of Gaza will either move to Egypt or move to the Gulf.” The retired general also recommended targeting civilian vehicles in Gaza. “Every vehicle in Gaza is considered a military vehicle transporting combatants. Therefore, there is no vehicular traffic, and it does not matter whether it is transporting water or other critical supplies.” Such rhetoric amounts to abetting war crimes and has had real consequences for Palestinian children such as 6-year-old Hind Rajab who, according to the Palestine Red Crescent, the Israeli military killed earlier this year in a car along with other family members. Eiland pushed collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza as well. “The UN secretary-general has initiated humanitarian aid to Gaza. The Israeli condition for any aid should be a visit by the Red Cross to Israeli hostages and especially the civilians among them. Until this happens, no aid of any kind will be permitted to enter into Gaza.” Hinting at the overwhelming violence to come against Palestinian civilians, Eiland wrote of the developing Israeli attack: “It is comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to the launch of an atomic bomb in Japan.” The Israeli military has killed over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza since 7 October, including more than 13,000 children. The International Court of Justice deems it plausible that Israel is engaged in genocidal actions in the small coastal territory. Eiland wrapped up his opinion piece by declaring, “As a result, Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist, and I say this as a means rather than an end. I say this because there is no other option for ensuring the security of the state of Israel. We are fighting an existential war.” This goes beyond ethnic cleansing to genocide talk when speaking of “a place where no human being can exist.” Omer Bartov, a professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Brown University, documented this and more from Eiland in a November opinion piece in The New York Times. He cited a column Eiland wrote in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. The Brown University professor quoted Eiland as writing, “The state of Israel has no choice but to turn Gaza into a place that is temporarily or permanently impossible to live in.” Bartov also quoted Eiland for maintaining, “Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieving the goal.” Then he cited the same Ynet quote noted above that “Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.” Bartov commented, “Apparently, no army representative or politician denounced this statement.” Eiland continued with the genocidal talk in November when he wrote, “The international community warns of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and of severe epidemics. We must not shy away from it, as hard as it is. After all, severe epidemics in the south of the Strip will hasten victory.” Corsight, with its invasive technology against a largely refugee population dispossessed in 1948, should expect heavy criticism with a board member calling for the ethnic cleansing of Gaza and to make the place uninhabitable. Of course, Democratic Majority for Israel received scant attention when it came to light that its board member Archie Gottesman once issued her own genocidal call against Palestinians in Gaza when she tweeted: “Gaza is full of monsters. Time to burn the whole place.” Ethnic cleansing and genocide against Palestinians don’t properly register with most western politicians who, of course, are providing weapons to Israel to carry out the devastation in Gaza. That Corsight carries out “global operations and support in the US, UK, Singapore, Australia, and R&D in Israel” with the backing of a board member proponent of ethnic cleansing and genocide will not be a significant concern in Washington. Popular concern, however, may prove to be a different matter. Corsight The New York Times Google Photos Mosab Abu Toha Syracuse University Igal Raichelgauz Cortica Group Giora Eiland Ynet ethnic cleansing Hind Rajab Palestine Red Crescent Society collective punishment International Court of Justice Gaza genocide Omer Bartov Brown University Democratic Majority for Israel Archie Gottesman Yediot Ahronot https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-f-brown/firm-helping-israel-spy-gaza-includes-genocide-advocate
    ELECTRONICINTIFADA.NET
    Firm helping Israel spy on Gaza includes genocide advocate
    Retired general Giora Eiland has promoted making Gaza “a place where no human being can exist.”
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 170: Israel assaults al-Shifa, Nasser, and al-Amal hospitals in one day
    Mustafa Abu SneinehMarch 23, 2024
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Casualties

    32,223 + killed* and at least 74,518 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
    594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    Israeli forces commit eight massacres in Gaza, kill at least 84 people and injure 106.
    Israeli forces shell and bomb vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, killing one volunteer with PRCS.
    PRCS says Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both al-Amal Hospital and al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.”
    Wafa reports infected wounds of injured Palestinians inside al-Shifa due to lack of essential medical supplies.
    Al-Jazeera Arabic reports Israeli tanks ran over evacuating people from al-Shifa Hospital, shows blurred footage of Palestinian with marks of tank wheel on lower body.
    Jamila al-Hissi, survivor of storming of al-Shifa, tells Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.”
    UN chief Antonio Guterres says “horror and starvation stalk the people of Gaza” in visit to Rafah crossing.
    U.S. Secretary of State warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Rafah offensive would “further isolate” Israel in the region.
    Netanyahu hopes to invade Rafah with “the support of the U.S., but if we have to – we will do it alone.”
    Hamas says 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza as “he did not escape the lack of food and medicine.”
    Dozens of settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem to mark Jewish holiday of Purim.
    Israeli forces block Palestinian Christians in occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to participate in Palm Sunday.
    Al-Amal Hospital in ‘extreme danger’ as Israel attacks

    Gaza’s two major hospitals were under attack on Sunday morning as thousands of Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been living under bombardment for the past 170 days.

    Overnight, Israeli forces committed eight massacres in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 84 people and injuring 106. Thousands remain under the rubble of bombed buildings.

    Israeli forces shelled and bombed the vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Amir Abu Aisha, a volunteer with the PRCS, was killed by Israeli gunfire inside al-Amal.

    His last post on Instagram was a video of Israeli airstrikes near al-Amal.

    PRCS said the medical team inside the facility are “in extreme danger…and are completely immobilized.”

    “They are unable to bury the body of our colleague Amir Abu Aisha within the hospital’s backyard,” PRCS continued as Israeli forces razed and excavated the area.

    Since October, Israeli bombardment killed at least 364 medical workers in the Gaza Strip, including doctors, nurses, and paramedics, and damaged dozens of clinics and ambulances.

    On Sunday morning, PRCS also said that Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both Al-Amal Hospital and Al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.”

    PRCS said that one of the displaced Palestinians at al-Amal was “injured in the head,” while Israeli drones are ordering that all people inside the hospital “leave it naked.”

    “Smoke bombs are being launched at the hospital to force the staff, wounded, and displaced individuals to leave it,” the PRCS wrote on in a post on X.

    “Israeli vehicles [are] surrounding Al-Amal Hospital and are now bulldozing the area in front and around it and closing the hospital gates with barriers,” the post added.

    Israeli atrocities in al-Shifa, say eyewitnesses

    In northern Gaza, al-Shifa Hospital has been under Israeli assault for a week.

    Israeli forces continued to besiege, shell, and bomb al-Shifa Hospital and its vicinity for the seventh day in a row, saying that Hamas senior leaders had used the facility, a claim which the movement denies.

    Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians and officials while storming al-Shifa, including Faiq al-Mabhouh, an officer in the Gaza Police force who was responsible for the successful deliveries of food, rice, and flour to thousands of inhabitants of northern Gaza.

    Hamas accused Israel of attempting to spread chaos and civilian disorder by killing officials who coordinate with clans, the UN, and international groups to prevent a famine in the north Gaza.

    On Saturday afternoon, at least five people were killed by Israel and several injured in the al-Shifa medical complex, while Palestinians and medical staff have been living with little food and water. Wafa news agency reported that the wounds of some injured Palestinians inside Al-Shifa got infected and inflamed amid the lack of essential medical supplies.

    Al-Jazeera Arabic reported that Israeli tanks ran over Palestinians who were ordered to evacuate the hospital. Al-Jazeera released blurred footage of a person’s dead body with marks of a tank wheel on his lower body.

    Jamila al-Hissi, a Palestinian woman who survived the Israeli storming of al-Shifa, told Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.”

    “This is what we witnessed. They raped women. They kidnapped women. they executed women, pulled bodies from under the rubble, and unleashed their dogs to eat them. Is there anything worse?” Al-Hissi told Al-Jazeera in a phone call.

    She left with her daughter, who was bleeding, and evacuated a building belonging to the UN Development Program (UNDP), which was set on fire by Israeli forces, who also burned and destroyed several buildings surrounding al-Shifa in the past days.

    It is unclear how many people remain inside al-Shifa, but prior to Israel’s second storming of the hospital since November, there were 7,000 patients and injured people receiving treatment administered by hundreds of medical staff.

    Al-Shifa is one of Gaza’s oldest medical facilities, built on top of a British barracks in 1946.

    The complex includes several buildings for surgery, internal disease, obstetrics and gynecology, a nursery for premature babies, an emergency department, intensive care units, a radiology department, and a blood bank. Some of these buildings have been damaged, burned by Israel, or have ceased operating fully due to the lack of fuel to generate electricity.

    The complex is built on 45,000 square meters of land west of Gaza City. Prior to October of last year, al-Shifa employed 1,500 medical staff, including 500 doctors and 760 nurses.

    Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said on Sunday that “Horror & starvation stalk the people of Gaza.”

    “Any further onslaught will make everything worse. Worse for Palestinian civilians, for the hostages, for all people of the region,” he added.

    Guterres visited Egypt on Saturday to inspect the Rafah land crossing, and al-Arish General Hospital in northern Sinai to check on injured Palestinians receiving treatment.

    Israeli forces bomb Rafah, Khan Younis, and Deir al-Balah

    Wafa reported that Israeli forces bombed a house in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip overnight, killing at least eight people in the al-Hakar area. Meanwhile, in Rafah, Palestinian rescue teams recovered the bodies of eight Palestinians under the rubble of a bombed house belonging to the Farwana family in the Jneina neighborhood.

    In Khan Younis, Israeli forces heavily bombed areas in the southeastern part of the city, besieging the Nasser and al-Amal hospitals. In Rafah, they bombed a house near the Rabaa School, killing at least two people, Wafa reported.

    The Israeli government has vowed to invade Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are currently displaced and live in shelters. During his visit to Israel on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that an offensive on Rafah would “further isolate” Israel in the region, according to Reuters.

    Blinken, who met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that “a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it,” although the U.S. shares Israel’s goal to “defeat Hamas.”

    “It risks further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing,” Blinken said during a press briefing after the meeting.

    Netanyahu, however, appeared to be undeterred in invading Rafah, stating in a video statement that he told Blinken, “I hope we will do it with the support of the U.S., but if we have to — we will do it alone.”

    Meanwhile, fighting is still ongoing between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, Hamas said that a 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza.

    “Although he survived the army’s attack, he did not escape the lack of food and medicine,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades wrote in a video message.

    In another video, Hamas fighters fired al-Yaseen 105mm anti-tank shells on Israeli military vehicles in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

    Israel had been blocking sufficient food and medical supplies from entering Gaza, although some of them were funded or sponsored by ally countries such as the UK.

    The Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, accused Israel last week of delaying U.K. aid to Gaza, which was stopped at the crossing point for three weeks.

    Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Pruim

    Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday morning to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim, which ends on Monday.

    Israeli forces emptied the al-Aqsa compound of Palestinian worshippers on Saturday evening in preparation for the settlers’ tour, Wafa reported. Israeli forces barred Palestinians from staying overnight in al-Aqsa’s al-Qibli mosque after Ramadan’s tarawih prayers ended, which were attended by 45,000 people.

    During Ramadan, it is worshippers often stay in mosques overnight to pray after tarawih. In 2021, Israeli forces raided the al-Qibli mosque, firing bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters at worshipers who were performing night prayers and reciting the Quran.

    Israeli settlers’ storming of al-Aqsa further escalated tensions in the city, according to Wafa, as Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from entering the site on Sunday morning.

    Wafa said that two settlers were dressed up as Jewish temple priests. Settlers have long stated their wish to rebuild the third Jewish temple in the middle of the al-Aqsa compound atop the Dome of the Rock.

    Meanwhile, Israeli forces blocked Palestinian Christians in the occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to take part in the commemoration of Palm Sunday, the anniversary of Jesus’s entry into the city. Those who participated in the ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher were Palestinians from Jerusalem or from inside Israel.

    Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank overnight, from the towns of Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, and also Jerusalem. Since October, 7,755 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This figure, released by the Ministry of Detainees’ and Ex-Destainees’ Affairs, does not include Palestinians who were released later or those arrested from the Gaza Strip.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-170-israel-assaults-al-shifa-nasser-and-al-amal-hospitals-in-one-day/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 170: Israel assaults al-Shifa, Nasser, and al-Amal hospitals in one day Mustafa Abu SneinehMarch 23, 2024 Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for treatment following Israeli airstrikes, March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Casualties 32,223 + killed* and at least 74,518 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147. 594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments Israeli forces commit eight massacres in Gaza, kill at least 84 people and injure 106. Israeli forces shell and bomb vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, killing one volunteer with PRCS. PRCS says Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both al-Amal Hospital and al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.” Wafa reports infected wounds of injured Palestinians inside al-Shifa due to lack of essential medical supplies. Al-Jazeera Arabic reports Israeli tanks ran over evacuating people from al-Shifa Hospital, shows blurred footage of Palestinian with marks of tank wheel on lower body. Jamila al-Hissi, survivor of storming of al-Shifa, tells Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.” UN chief Antonio Guterres says “horror and starvation stalk the people of Gaza” in visit to Rafah crossing. U.S. Secretary of State warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Rafah offensive would “further isolate” Israel in the region. Netanyahu hopes to invade Rafah with “the support of the U.S., but if we have to – we will do it alone.” Hamas says 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza as “he did not escape the lack of food and medicine.” Dozens of settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem to mark Jewish holiday of Purim. Israeli forces block Palestinian Christians in occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to participate in Palm Sunday. Al-Amal Hospital in ‘extreme danger’ as Israel attacks Gaza’s two major hospitals were under attack on Sunday morning as thousands of Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been living under bombardment for the past 170 days. Overnight, Israeli forces committed eight massacres in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 84 people and injuring 106. Thousands remain under the rubble of bombed buildings. Israeli forces shelled and bombed the vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Amir Abu Aisha, a volunteer with the PRCS, was killed by Israeli gunfire inside al-Amal. His last post on Instagram was a video of Israeli airstrikes near al-Amal. PRCS said the medical team inside the facility are “in extreme danger…and are completely immobilized.” “They are unable to bury the body of our colleague Amir Abu Aisha within the hospital’s backyard,” PRCS continued as Israeli forces razed and excavated the area. Since October, Israeli bombardment killed at least 364 medical workers in the Gaza Strip, including doctors, nurses, and paramedics, and damaged dozens of clinics and ambulances. On Sunday morning, PRCS also said that Israeli tanks and forces are “besieging both Al-Amal Hospital and Al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire.” PRCS said that one of the displaced Palestinians at al-Amal was “injured in the head,” while Israeli drones are ordering that all people inside the hospital “leave it naked.” “Smoke bombs are being launched at the hospital to force the staff, wounded, and displaced individuals to leave it,” the PRCS wrote on in a post on X. “Israeli vehicles [are] surrounding Al-Amal Hospital and are now bulldozing the area in front and around it and closing the hospital gates with barriers,” the post added. Israeli atrocities in al-Shifa, say eyewitnesses In northern Gaza, al-Shifa Hospital has been under Israeli assault for a week. Israeli forces continued to besiege, shell, and bomb al-Shifa Hospital and its vicinity for the seventh day in a row, saying that Hamas senior leaders had used the facility, a claim which the movement denies. Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians and officials while storming al-Shifa, including Faiq al-Mabhouh, an officer in the Gaza Police force who was responsible for the successful deliveries of food, rice, and flour to thousands of inhabitants of northern Gaza. Hamas accused Israel of attempting to spread chaos and civilian disorder by killing officials who coordinate with clans, the UN, and international groups to prevent a famine in the north Gaza. On Saturday afternoon, at least five people were killed by Israel and several injured in the al-Shifa medical complex, while Palestinians and medical staff have been living with little food and water. Wafa news agency reported that the wounds of some injured Palestinians inside Al-Shifa got infected and inflamed amid the lack of essential medical supplies. Al-Jazeera Arabic reported that Israeli tanks ran over Palestinians who were ordered to evacuate the hospital. Al-Jazeera released blurred footage of a person’s dead body with marks of a tank wheel on his lower body. Jamila al-Hissi, a Palestinian woman who survived the Israeli storming of al-Shifa, told Al-Jazeera Arabic that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.” “This is what we witnessed. They raped women. They kidnapped women. they executed women, pulled bodies from under the rubble, and unleashed their dogs to eat them. Is there anything worse?” Al-Hissi told Al-Jazeera in a phone call. She left with her daughter, who was bleeding, and evacuated a building belonging to the UN Development Program (UNDP), which was set on fire by Israeli forces, who also burned and destroyed several buildings surrounding al-Shifa in the past days. It is unclear how many people remain inside al-Shifa, but prior to Israel’s second storming of the hospital since November, there were 7,000 patients and injured people receiving treatment administered by hundreds of medical staff. Al-Shifa is one of Gaza’s oldest medical facilities, built on top of a British barracks in 1946. The complex includes several buildings for surgery, internal disease, obstetrics and gynecology, a nursery for premature babies, an emergency department, intensive care units, a radiology department, and a blood bank. Some of these buildings have been damaged, burned by Israel, or have ceased operating fully due to the lack of fuel to generate electricity. The complex is built on 45,000 square meters of land west of Gaza City. Prior to October of last year, al-Shifa employed 1,500 medical staff, including 500 doctors and 760 nurses. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said on Sunday that “Horror & starvation stalk the people of Gaza.” “Any further onslaught will make everything worse. Worse for Palestinian civilians, for the hostages, for all people of the region,” he added. Guterres visited Egypt on Saturday to inspect the Rafah land crossing, and al-Arish General Hospital in northern Sinai to check on injured Palestinians receiving treatment. Israeli forces bomb Rafah, Khan Younis, and Deir al-Balah Wafa reported that Israeli forces bombed a house in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip overnight, killing at least eight people in the al-Hakar area. Meanwhile, in Rafah, Palestinian rescue teams recovered the bodies of eight Palestinians under the rubble of a bombed house belonging to the Farwana family in the Jneina neighborhood. In Khan Younis, Israeli forces heavily bombed areas in the southeastern part of the city, besieging the Nasser and al-Amal hospitals. In Rafah, they bombed a house near the Rabaa School, killing at least two people, Wafa reported. The Israeli government has vowed to invade Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are currently displaced and live in shelters. During his visit to Israel on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that an offensive on Rafah would “further isolate” Israel in the region, according to Reuters. Blinken, who met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that “a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it,” although the U.S. shares Israel’s goal to “defeat Hamas.” “It risks further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing,” Blinken said during a press briefing after the meeting. Netanyahu, however, appeared to be undeterred in invading Rafah, stating in a video statement that he told Blinken, “I hope we will do it with the support of the U.S., but if we have to — we will do it alone.” Meanwhile, fighting is still ongoing between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, Hamas said that a 34-year-old Israeli captive died in Gaza. “Although he survived the army’s attack, he did not escape the lack of food and medicine,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades wrote in a video message. In another video, Hamas fighters fired al-Yaseen 105mm anti-tank shells on Israeli military vehicles in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Israel had been blocking sufficient food and medical supplies from entering Gaza, although some of them were funded or sponsored by ally countries such as the UK. The Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, accused Israel last week of delaying U.K. aid to Gaza, which was stopped at the crossing point for three weeks. Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Pruim Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday morning to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim, which ends on Monday. Israeli forces emptied the al-Aqsa compound of Palestinian worshippers on Saturday evening in preparation for the settlers’ tour, Wafa reported. Israeli forces barred Palestinians from staying overnight in al-Aqsa’s al-Qibli mosque after Ramadan’s tarawih prayers ended, which were attended by 45,000 people. During Ramadan, it is worshippers often stay in mosques overnight to pray after tarawih. In 2021, Israeli forces raided the al-Qibli mosque, firing bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters at worshipers who were performing night prayers and reciting the Quran. Israeli settlers’ storming of al-Aqsa further escalated tensions in the city, according to Wafa, as Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from entering the site on Sunday morning. Wafa said that two settlers were dressed up as Jewish temple priests. Settlers have long stated their wish to rebuild the third Jewish temple in the middle of the al-Aqsa compound atop the Dome of the Rock. Meanwhile, Israeli forces blocked Palestinian Christians in the occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem to take part in the commemoration of Palm Sunday, the anniversary of Jesus’s entry into the city. Those who participated in the ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher were Palestinians from Jerusalem or from inside Israel. Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank overnight, from the towns of Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, and also Jerusalem. Since October, 7,755 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This figure, released by the Ministry of Detainees’ and Ex-Destainees’ Affairs, does not include Palestinians who were released later or those arrested from the Gaza Strip. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-170-israel-assaults-al-shifa-nasser-and-al-amal-hospitals-in-one-day/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 170: Israel assaults al-Shifa, Nasser, and al-Amal hospitals in one day
    Israeli forces ordered Palestinians inside al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis to leave “naked,” while survivors of the al-Shifa Hospital raid witnessed numerous atrocities committed by the Israeli army. In Jerusalem, Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa.
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  • https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/12/haiti-crisis-jovenel-moise-gangs-water-way-out
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/12/haiti-crisis-jovenel-moise-gangs-water-way-out
    WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM
    Haiti crisis: how did it get so bad, what is the role of gangs, and is there a way out?
    Caribbean country has been in turmoil since the assassination of the president, Jovenel Moïse, in 2021
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