the change is coming

Three months of war between Israel and Hamas have sharply split Californians, with stark divisions between the state's older and younger voters, a new statewide poll finds.
Voters younger than 30 are far more likely to sympathize with Palestinians more than with Israelis, while those older than 65 side with Israel, according to the new poll by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.
By 55%-18%, voters younger than 30 say Israel should agree to a cease-fire even if that would mean Hamas remains a force in Gaza.

Among voters older than 65, opinion is almost the reverse: By 52%-32%, those voters believe Israel should keep fighting until Hamas is no longer viable. Twenty-seven percent of the youngest voters and 16% of those over 65 had no opinion, the poll found.

The survey finds similarly sharp divisions along ideological lines, with the state's most liberal voters overwhelmingly saying Israel is using too much military force in the war, while conservative voters say that the use of force has been about right or too little.

i am appalled by the assault on gaza.  but i am happy to see the world's reaction.  this has been an issue to me since college.  and back then, it was an emerging issue in the u.s. in terms of people seeing the horror.  i used to cry about that all the time.  i mean tears running down my face.  and c.i. would say, 'you know what's right and it's just going to take other people awhile to see it.'  and i could see it growing, for example, in england but we seemed to lag way behind over here.  then came the iraq war.  and c.i. said then that this war was going to awaken people here to the treatment of palestinians.  she'd noted, even in college, that this was generational and each generation in america would be more and more aware.

and that has turned out to be right. i am glad that i've lived to see the change (which gives me so much hope for humanity) but i wish it had come sooner and it's still not gone far enough.  but i believe there will be peace for the palestinians.  again, i hope to see it in my lifetime.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot

Friday, January 12, 2024.  Another Mom For Bigotry goes down and flames out, Iraq has an unidentified flying object and a say-one-thing-to-the-people-whisper-something-else-to-the-US-government-privately prime minister, South Africa lays out the case on genocide being carried out in Gaza, and much more.

One of those wind down the weeks with a ton of topics to cover.  Let's start with the US and some good news.

Let's all have a good laugh with Paul about Moms for Bigotry just living their own true selves and getting exposed for it.  John Russell (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Blair was arrested on January 5 and charged with seven counts of theft of property. Local ABC affiliate WATN reports that she was caught on security camera “skip scanning” items at the self-checkout at her local Target store in Collierville, Tennessee, on seven separate dates between November 25 and December 20. According to the Los Angeles Blade, the stolen items ranged in price from $63.38 to $140.49 and totaled $728.61.

You know this wasn't her first time.  And she thought she could sit in judgment?  Do we need to send some social workers out to check on her children since clearly she is not just a flawed human being (as we all are) but she's also a criminal.  

Those busybodies should have been told to shut up long ago.  But you had 'left' posers who  thought they were cool -- or at least said they were cool and treated them like they were cool so that Mother Tucker Carlson would bring them on his FOX "NEWS" show.  Rights and LGBTQ+ people be damned, those 'left' posers just wanted to sit down with Tucker on TV.  And I mean people like Glenneth.  And I'm going to stop right there because there's another name that I'm going to take the newsletter -- don't know if you caught this week but a certain woman apparently is no longer Tucker's pal and realizes how toxic he is -- after going on his FOX "NEWS" show repeatedly, after defending him when FOX "NEWS" rightly fired him, after . . .  And apparently now you just dispatch your husband to act like none of that ever happened and have your husband explain -- on streaming -- that you've always been opposed to Tucker.

An unidentified flying object seen in a video flying over a U.S. operations base in Iraq has been officially named "the jellyfish" UAP, according to UFO enthusiast Jeremy Corbell.

The UFO enthusiast shared the "RAW footage" of the October 2018 sighting on his YouTube channel on Tuesday. The video appears to show the jellyfish-like object flying over a military base at a consistent speed and moving in one direction. Corbell said the vehicle was filmed over the Persian Gulf at night on an undisclosed day and time.

Corbell, who has reported on UFOs for years, said the object moved through a sensitive military installation and over a body of water, where it eventually submerged. After around 17 minutes, Corbell said the UAP reemerged from the water and flew suddenly at a speed far more rapid than what technology could capture on camera.

"This UAP of unknown origin displayed transmedium capability," Corbell posted on X (formerly Twitter). "The origin, intent and capability of the Anomalous Aerial Vehicle remains unknown."

Not that it matters since the government can't seem to do much of anything. Lara Seligman  and Erin Banco (POLITICO) report:

Iraq’s prime minister privately told American officials that he wants to negotiate keeping U.S. forces in the country despite his recent announcement that he would begin the process of removing them from the country.

Senior advisers to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told U.S. officials that his declaration was “an attempt to satisfy domestic political audiences” and that Sudani himself “remained committed” to negotiating the coalition’s future presence in Iraq, according to a Jan. 6 State Department cable obtained by POLITICO.

So he's called for US troops to be expelled publicly, he has declared US troops assaults on Iraq's military are a violation of its national sovereignty but that's just to appease the Iraqi people.  

Interesting.  And telling.  So we're still where we were back in late 2003.  A puppet government can't rule Iraq without US forces because it's not of the people and by the people.  In March, the 'new' Iraq will be 21 -- drinking age!  That's how long US forces will have been on the ground to impose the government on the people.  It's not taking.  How many more years are going to be wasted on this?  The Iraqi people have the right to have a government that they want, that they choose.  

Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reported yesterday, "The Iraqi government has started disseminating a survey through SMS, asking citizens of the country whether or not they support the expulsion of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS), amid a series of American retaliatory strikes targeting bases of government-linked militia groups."  What's the point?  When you know the prime minister has been lying publicly about this, what's the point in even taking a minute of your time to vote in that nonsense poll?

Now let's move to the assault on Gaza.  This is from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: South Africa has accused Israel of acts of genocide against Palestinians in opening remarks today at a historic hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. At the hearing, South Africa demanded an emergency suspension of Israel’s aerial and ground assault on Gaza, which it said was intended at bringing about, quote, “the destruction of the population of the territory.” In a detailed 84-page document launching the case late last year, South Africa alleged that Israel has demonstrated that intent. The International Court of Justice is hearing South Africa’s arguments today, and we’ll hear Israel’s response to the allegations on Friday. South Africa’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola addressed the court at the opening of the hearing.

RONALD LAMOLA: Madam President and distinguished members of the court, it is an honor for me to stand here in front of you on behalf of the Republic of South Africa on this exceptional case. “In extending our hands across the miles to the people of Palestine, we do so in the full knowledge that we are part of a humanity that is at one.” These were the words of our founding president, Nelson Mandela. This is the spirit in which South Africa acceded to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crime of Genocide in 1998. This is the spirit in which we approach this court as a contracting party to the convention. This is a commitment we owe to the people of Palestine and Israelis alike.

As previously mentioned, the violence and the destruction in Palestine and Israel did not begin on the 7th of October, 2023. The Palestinians have experienced systematic oppression and violence for the last 76 years.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was South Africa’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola addressing the court at the opening of the hearing. South Africa lawyer Adila Hassim was next. She began by citing Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza in her opening argument.

ADILA HASSIM: For the past 96 days, Israel has subjected Gaza to what has been described as one of the heaviest conventional bombing campaigns in the history of modern warfare. Palestinians in Gaza are being killed by Israeli weaponry and bombs from air, land and sea. They are also at immediate risk of death by starvation, dehydration and disease as a result of the ongoing siege by Israel, the destruction of Palestinian towns, the insufficient aid being allowed through to the Palestinian population, and the impossibility of distributing this limited aid while bombs fall. This conduct renders essentials to life unobtainable.

AMY GOODMAN: South African lawyer Adila Hassim continued by laying out what South Africa says was a series of genocidal acts, including mass killing, displacement, denial of humanitarian aid, and more. She began on the mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza.

ADILA HASSIM: The first genocidal act committed by Israel is the mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza, in violation of Article II (a) of the Genocide Convention. As the U.N. secretary-general explained five weeks ago, the level of Israel’s killing is so extensive that nowhere is safe in Gaza. As I stand before you today, 23,210 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during the sustained attacks over the last three months, at least 70% of whom are believed to be women and children. Some 7,000 Palestinians are still missing, presumed dead under the rubble.

Palestinians in Gaza are subjected to relentless bombing wherever they go. They are killed in their homes, in places where they seek shelter, in hospitals, in schools, in mosques, in churches, and as they try to find food and water for their families. They have been killed if they failed to evacuate, in the places to which they have fled, and even while they attempted to flee along Israeli-declared safe routes. The level of killing is so extensive that those whose bodies are found are buried in mass graves, often unidentified.

In the first three weeks alone following 7 October, Israel deployed 6,000 bombs per week. At least 200 times, it has deployed 2,000-pound bombs in southern areas of Palestine designated as safe. These bombs have also decimated the north, including refugee camps. Two-thousand-pound bombs are some of the biggest and most destructive bombs available. They are dropped by lethal fighter jets that are used to strike targets on the ground by one of the world’s most resourced armies.

AMY GOODMAN: South African lawyer Adila Hassim concluded her remarks by outlining the need for an emergency suspension of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

ADILA HASSIM: All of these acts, individually and collectively, form a calculated pattern of conduct by Israel indicating a genocidal intent. This intent is evident from Israel’s conduct in specially targeting Palestinians living in Gaza; using weaponry that causes large-scale homicidal destruction, as well as targeting — targeted sniping of civilians; designating safe zones for Palestinians to seek refuge and then bombing these; depriving Palestinians in Gaza of basic needs — food, water, healthcare, fuel, sanitation and communications; destroying social infrastructure — homes, schools, mosques, churches, hospitals; and killing, seriously injuring and leaving large numbers of children orphaned.

Genocides are never declared in advance. But this court has the benefit of the past 13 weeks of evidence that shows incontrovertibly a pattern of conduct and related intention that justifies a plausible claim of genocidal acts.

In the Gambian Myanmar case, this court did not hesitate to impose provisional measures in relation to allegations that Myanmar was committing genocidal acts against the Rohingya within the Rakhine state. The facts before the court today are, sadly, even more stark and, like the Gambian Myanmar case, deserve and demand this court’s intervention.

Every day there is mounting, irreparable loss of life, property, dignity and humanity for the Palestinian people. Our newsfeeds show graphic images of suffering that has become unbearable to watch. Nothing will stop the suffering except an order from this court. Without an indication of provisional measures, the atrocities will continue, with the Israeli Defense Force indicating that it intends pursuing this course of action for at least a year.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: South African lawyer Adila Hassim. She was followed by attorney Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, who outlined what South Africa said was clear evidence of genocidal intent by Israel.

TEMBEKA NGCUKAITOBI: The intentional failure of the government of Israel to condemn, prevent and punish such genocidal incitement constitutes, in itself, a grave violation of the Genocide Convention. We should recall, Madam President, that in Article I of the convention, Israel confirmed that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law, and it undertook to prevent and to punish it as such. This failure to prevent, condemn and punish such speech by the government has served to normalize genocidal rhetoric and extreme danger for Palestinians within Israeli society.

As MK Moshe Saada from the Likud party has said, the government’s own attorneys shares his views that Palestinians in Gaza must be destroyed. I quote: “You go anywhere, and they tell you to destroy them. In the kibbutz, they tell you to destroy them. My friends at the state attorney’s office, who fought with me on political issues in debates, said to me, 'It is clear that we need to destroy all Gazans.'” “Destroy all Gazans.”

Israel is aware of its destruction of Palestinian life and infrastructure. Despite this knowledge, it has maintained — and indeed intensified — its military activity in Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: Excerpts from South Africa’s arguments at the historic hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague accusing Israel of acts of genocide. When we come back, we go to Johannesburg and Jerusalem for response.

There were many other topics we didn't get to, sorry.
The following sites updated:


i'm sick of these nut jobs

1st, stan and my posts on this week's episode of 'fargo:''

how tired of the nut jobs are you?  because i'm getting pretty sick of them.

they conspired and plotted to overthrow 'roe.'  and that's not been good enough for them.  'mediastouch network' reports:

Republican Florida State Representative David Borrero has introduced a bill to ban abortions in the state from the moment of "fertilization" with no exceptions for rape or incest. An exception exists in the bill to save the life of the mother, but recent court rulings in Texas against individuals like Kate Cox, who had to flee the state to receive lifesaving healthcare despite her doctor stating an abortion was necessary, have proven that life of the mother exceptions are a farce.
The measure, H.B. 1519, states that a qualifying medical emergency would be “an emergent physical condition in which an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.” 

Like anti-abortion measures in Texas and other states, the Florida bill doesn't target women receiving abortions, but rather seeks to prevent abortion by criminalizing the procedure itself. The bill classifies “performing or attempting to perform an abortion" as a third-degree felony. Doctors who perform abortions could face up to 10 years in jail, up to $100,000 in fines, or both.

The language banning abortion at "fertilization" would outlaw abortion in cases of non-viable pregnancy, miscarriage, and most notably ectopic pregnancy, which is a highly fatal condition. It is also a stepping stone to banning contraception. Republicans have repeatedly falsely claimed in court, such as in the Hobby Lobby case, that IUD's and other contraception that prevent fertilization are forms of abortion. 

i have no sympathy for these idiots and am sick of them trying to destroy our world.  you don't want an abortion?  don't have 1 if you're a woman.  if you're a man and don't like abortions - find a woman who agrees with you before you get in bed with her.  and then mind your own damn business.

and let's not forget the leader of the nut jobs - senior crazy himself, donald trump:

He was asked about abortion by an Iowa voter, and responded: “For 54 years they were trying to get Roe v. Wade terminated, and I did it, and I’m proud to have done it.”
There you have it: "I did it, and I’m proud to have done it." For my money, that’s the whole shootin’ match.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned with the help of conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices Trump picked for the primary purpose of overturning Roe v. Wade, Americans have been mad. And they have voted as such, helping Democrats over-perform in a string of elections and beating back every attempt to adopt draconian abortion laws at the state level.

Trump can’t help but brag about taking away the reproductive health care rights of millions of women, because he brags about everything. At the same time, it’s a political albatross with a coast-to-coast wingspan, and he seems to know it.

p.o.s. garbage.  

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, January 11, 2024.  Looking at the mind-set of some who play the victim even when they aren't and use it to fuel their hatred, the genocide trial began today, and much more.

Let's start with the letter again.  From yesterday's snapshot:

I guess the question is about the silence -- the silence of Julianna Margulies, Mayim Bialik, David Schwimmer and all the other hate mongers who refuse to call out these attacks on journalists.  Is it because they're filthy liars.  I read their whiny little letter and thought, "Al Jolson was in Blackface.  He was in Blackface."  Yet what they're whining about in the letter is that he played a character who is first  generation born in the US and is moving away from the traditions of his immigrant parents  -- demographically speaking, studies show this but I guess sociology and demographics weren't courses you studied.  

But you ignore that reality and instead try to turn a highly offensive film -- due to Blackface -- into something else completely.  

Have you no shame?

 We're not linking to the piece of garbage letter that they signed but we will not how racist the ones signing that letter are.

An e-mail to the public e-mail account makes a point (that friends made over the phone -- first to make it was a Jewish director who -- unlike the signers of that letter -- has actually been nominated for an Academy Award) of noting that Al Jolson was Jewish.  That is correct, the star of THE JAZZ SINGER was Jewish.  So was the director.  So was the screen writer.

This is important -- to the arts and to Gaza -- Gaza being the reason we are starting with it -- to note.

They don't know demography, they don't know sociology and the writers and signers of that letter -- most of whom never had a successful film career and never, ever will -- maybe Josh Gad can star in THE JENNY CRAIG STORY as her father? and David Schwimmer as grandpa can do that  same mugging and slow burn he does in pretty much every role when he's not just furrowing his brow like he does when he switches from comedy to drama -- the diversity and inclusion project of the Board of the Academy of Arts and Sciences was about providing a seat at the table for all.

There has been no historical (or modern) denial of Jewish people from Hollywood films.

 There's never been a Jewish movie star in the US?

Except Barbra Streisand.

And Goldie Hawn.

And Paul Newman.

In fact, let's note a few who starred in at least three movies from major US film studios.  Robert Downey Jr., Kate Hudson, Gene Wilder, Matthew Broadrick, Dyan Cannon, Laurence Harvey, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robby Benson, Tony Curtis, Barbara Hershey, Eddie Fisher, Dustin Hoffman, Shelley Winters, Debra Winger, John Garfield, Luise Rainer, Woody Allen, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Mare Winningham, Sean Penn, Kevin Kline, Madeline Kahn, Gilda Radner, Paul Rudd, Natalie Portman, Shia LaBeouf, James Caan, Jonah Hill, Douglas Fairbanks, Bette Midler, Armie Hammer, Jerry Lewis, Tony Randall, Rosanna Arquette,  Lauren Bacall, Gina Gershon, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Vic Morrow, Jason Segel, Lee Grant, Jennifer Connelly, Alicia Silverstone, Judy Holliday,  George Segal, Richard Benjamin, Jack Black, Charles Grodin, Elliott Gould, Leslie Ann Warren, Walter Matthau, Scott Glenn, Richard Dreyfuss, Albert Brooks, Amy Irving, Carol Kane, James Franco, Ellen Barkin, Adam Sandler, Kyra Sedgwick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, Winona Ryder, River Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Adrien Brody, Elizabeth Banks and Jake Gyllenhaal.  And that's just off the top of my head.

Now try doing the same with African-American actors who've starred in at least three films from major US film studios.  Or with Asian-Americans.  Or with . . . 

They're whining -- Julianna and company -- about how they were portrayed in a movie (a racist and offensive film to African-Americans but they ignore that to whine about themselves).  Oh, boo hoo.  You know I'm always the wrong one to whine to.  Stand up for others, absolutely, but cry for yourself never cuts it with me.  So they want to whine that in 2024, they feel misrepresented by a film made in 1927.  But they can't be even honest -- again, this ties in the slaughter going on in Gaza -- about what took place.  No, they have to whine that they have been victimized by others.  Again, the star of the film, the director, the writer -- all Jewish.  In terms of racism, they all failed.  In terms of telling the story of 20th century immigration in the US, they were on stronger ground.

Again, learn demography.

But they want to find a new injury to be outraged about, even if they have to go back nearly 100 years, and they want to blame it on others.  

In their laughable letter, they write, "The absence of Jews from 'under-represented' groupings implies that Jews are over-represented in films, which is simply untrue."

Do you get it?

And let me be clear, this sentence was pointed out to me -- this time  from a friend who is Jewish, I didn't get there on my own, and is an Academy Award winning film producer.  

In the minds of these people -- this group of of 'wronged' Jews -- there is no equality.  There is only under or over represented.

Again, the issue is a seat at the table, a way to influence and ensure fairness in portrayals.  

It's not my fault if, for example, Clifford Odets is the Jewish person given a seat and mails off all these letters to Jack Warner about how he's trying to take the Jewish factor out of the script he's writing for HUMORESQUE.  That's not on me or anyone but Odets.  (And, yes, that did happen and is documented.)  

Jewish business people and artists have always been part of Hollywood's entertainment industry -- as actors, as directors, editors, writers, producers, agents, managers, crew members . . .  MGM was formed by Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn and Marcus Lowe.  Another three Jewish men formed COLUMBIA PICTURES: Joe Brandt and Harry and Jack Cohn.  Do we want to do PARAMONT?  Adolph Zukor, Jesse L. Lasky, Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman.

They had a seat at the table and they were able to add their input.  And many of them made historic and lasting contributions.  

The groups highlighted by the Board are groups who have suffered historical discrimination in the Hollywood film community.  That was the whole point the Academy was trying to address.  I do so love it, as a member of the Academy, when those who aren't want to try to 'correct' what we're doing.  Again, David Schwimmer, you're never going to be a member of the Academy -- no one in your peer group mistakes what you do for actual acting -- let alone good acting.  

But this group of whiners can't tolerate inclusion or equality.  They're of the opinion that there is only under representation and over representation -- per their own letter.

And doesn't that go to the historic treatment of Palestinians and the lies that those who support that treatment tell themselves and others?  

A group of pampered whiny self-described victims want to push other people around using their 'victimhood' -- that's the writers and signers of that ridiculous letter and it's those who are okay and cheering on the murders of children, of the elderly, of women, of men, of journalists, of medical professionals.  It's the same thinking -- where you only think about yourself.  

That never works for me.  And it's not working for most of the people in this world which is why, around the world, you see protests against the slaughter of Gaza.

NBC NEWS notes:

The United Nations’ top court has heard South Africa’s case that Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip amounts to genocide against Palestinians, an accusation that Israel strongly denies and has dismissed as "atrocious and preposterous." South Africa is initially asking the International Court of Justice to order an immediate halt of Israel’s offensive, though a decision will likely take weeks. 

CNN's Antoinette Radford adds:

Mr Vusi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Hague ended day one of the hearing by detailing the country’s requests for provisional measures.

He requested the measures be considered "as a matter of extreme urgency".

Among the provisional measures requested include:

  • That Israel suspends its military operations in and against Gaza
  • That Israel ensures its military - and any associated groups stop any military operations
  • That Israel stops killing Palestinian people
  • That Israel stops displacing Palestinian people from their homes and ensures they have access to food, water, healthcare and basic infrastructure
  • That Israel take "all reasonable actions within their power to prevent genocide" 


Anna Holligan and Oliver Slow (BBC NEWS) explain:


Israel will offer its defence on Friday, but has previously said its actions in the Gaza Strip are justified because it is responding to Hamas's deadly attacks on 7 October.

But speaking in court on Thursday, South Africa's Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said that no attack "can provide justification for or defend breaches of the [Genocide] Convention".

Israel is a signatory to the Genocide Convention of 1948, which defines genocide and commits states to prevent it.

The ICJ is the United Nation's highest court, based in The Hague in the Netherlands. Its rulings are theoretically legally binding on parties to the ICJ - which include Israel and South Africa - but are not enforceable. 

At COMMON DREAMS, BRETT WILKINS offers this overview:

Two Israeli lawmakers from right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party doubled down Wednesday on calls to destroy or depopulate Gaza, prompting an admonition from the country's attorney general on the eve of an emergency hearing in the South African-led genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

In an interview with Hakol Baramah radio, Deputy Knesset Speaker Nissim Vaturi said he did not regret his November call for Israel to "stop being humane" and "burn Gaza now."

"I stand behind my words," Vaturi said, according toThe Times of Israel. "It is better to burn down buildings rather than have soldiers harmed. There are no innocents there."

Referring to Palestinian civilians trapped in northern Gaza, Vaturi added that he has "no mercy for those who are still there."

"We need to eliminate them," he asserted.

On Tuesday, Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara cautioned government officials against making inflammatory statements like Vaturi's.

Baharav-Miara said officials are "obligated to act according to the principles of international law and the laws of war."

"Statements that call for, among other things, intentional harm to uninvolved citizens, are against the prevailing policy and may constitute criminal offenses, including incitement," she added.

Vaturi's remarks came as more than 90,000 Palestinians have been killed, wounded, or left missing by 96 days of largely indiscriminate Israeli bombardment of Gaza, where around 90% of the territory's 2.3 million residents have been displaced and most of its infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to Palestinian and United Nations officials.

Meanwhile, Haaretzreported that Danny Danon, a former United Nations ambassador now serving in the Knesset, said in a Wednesday radio interview that Israel must "not do half a job" in Gaza.

That, Danon said, means "voluntary migration" of Palestinians from Gaza—a euphemism, critics say, for an ethnic cleansing campaign akin to the Nakba, or "catastrophe," in which more than 750,000 Arabs were forcibly expelled from Palestine during the war to establish the modern state of Israel in 1948.

In November, Danon co-authored a Wall Street Journalopinion piece suggesting the ethnic cleansing of some of Gaza's population to Western countries that would accept the refugees.

Danon and Vaturi's remarks came as the International Court of Justice prepared to convene an emergency hearing Thursday in The Hague in a genocide case against Israel filed by South Africa and backed by nations including Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Venezuela, Jordan, and Bolivia.

The filing in the World Court specifically mentions "direct and public incitement to genocide by senior Israeli officials and others."


From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

Several United Nations agencies, including the World Food Programme, say Israel’s bombardment of Gaza could lead to a famine throughout the entire Gaza Strip within six months, unless immediate action is taken. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians are now in Rafah, and many are waiting in line for hours for small amounts of food, as aid agencies struggle to meet the demand.

MARIAM AL-AHMAD: [translated] I came here to get food. I’ve been here since 9 a.m. just to get a plate full of food, because the situation is very difficult. We are from Gaza City, and we came to Rafah. The people of Rafah received us and welcomed us, but the numbers are large, and the situation is very difficult. … There is no money to buy food, and there’s no flour. We have no money to buy anything at home. There is no gas or anything that would help us to cook even a plate of lentils. We come here to get this plate of food, and it is not enough.

AMY GOODMAN: This comes as hundreds of trucks trying to bring aid to Gaza are backed up for miles in Egypt at the Rafah border crossing and have been forced to wait for weeks to enter. On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron urged Israel to lift barriers on delivering humanitarian aid into Gaza, citing, quote, “real widespread hunger.” Cameron was cross-examined by the Scottish MP Brendan O’Hara.

BRENDAN O’HARA: Two or three minutes ago, in answer, a reply to the chair, you said — and I quote — “One of the things we’d like the Israelis to do is switch the water back on.” Now, that says that they turned it off. It says that you recognize they have the power to turn it on. Therefore, isn’t turning water off and having the ability to turn it back on but choosing not to — isn’t that a breach of international humanitarian law?

DAVID CAMERON: It’s just something they ought to do, in my opinion.

BRENDAN O’HARA: No. Of course they should do it. Every human being would say you don’t cut people’s water supply off. But I’m asking you, in your position as foreign secretary —

DAVID CAMERON: Well, I don’t know. I mean —

BRENDAN O’HARA: — around a point of international humanitarian law. If Israel have the power to turn the water back on that they turned off, surely, that is a flagrant breach of international humanitarian law.

DAVID CAMERON: Well, I’m not a lawyer. My view is they ought to switch it on, because the north of Gaza, the conflict is now effectively over there, and so getting more water and power into northern Gaza would be a very good thing to do. You don’t have to be a lawyer to make a judgment about that. You just have to be a human being.

AMY GOODMAN: Last month, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution to immediately increase aid deliveries in Gaza, and Human Rights Watch accused Israel of using starvation as a method of warfare, which violates international humanitarian law.

Well, for more, we’re going to Tel Aviv. We’re joined by Sarit Michaeli, international advocacy lead for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which has just published a new report, “Israel is starving Gaza,” that says starvation is, quote, “not a byproduct of war, but a direct result of Israel’s declared policy.”

Sarit, welcome to Democracy Now! Lay out exactly what you found and what you feel can be done about it.

SARIT MICHAELI: Well, in very basic terms, almost everyone in Gaza is hungry almost all of the time. Two-point-three million people are surviving mostly on sometimes one meal a day, people skipping meals in order to feed their children, people busy constantly looking for the next meal, for the next source of food for them and their families and children.

And all of this is happening in a place that is pretty much an hour’s drive from here — right? — where supplying humanitarian assistance and food and all the necessities, like water and other things that people rely on, should not be a difficult problem. We’re not talking about some sort of remote region internationally. We’re talking about an area that is accessible, where the things that impede this provision of food for people who are starving is a declared policy by Israel — the fact that Israel isn’t allowing enough trucks in, the fact that Israel isn’t providing the ability, the logistical infrastructure to actually drive this food into Gaza through places where it’s possible to do, and many other decisions taken by the Israeli government that are impacting this, that are making it — making the amount of assistance that is coming into Gaza simply a fraction of what the population need.

And, Amy, you quoted the international experts on this issue. Within a month, they expect almost all of the residents of the Gaza Strip to be up to what is phase three of this scale of horror of hunger. And this is simply unacceptable when it’s very clearly preventable. And the things that were said in the British Parliament by Minister Cameron are very clearly a clarification that this is the result of Israeli policies and actions. This is not just some sort of coincidence or just some unfortunate byproduct of war.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Sarit, I wanted to ask you: How is Israel controlling the food supply, especially in Rafah, where Rafah leads into Egypt? So, how exactly does it manage to continue to — 


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: — prevent trucks from getting in?

SARIT MICHAELI: So, Juan, let’s even look at the past situation. I mean, Gaza was on the brink of collapse even before this war began with the horrific October 7th attack by Hamas against Israelis, right? So, this has been a situation of food insecurity since the beginning of the Israeli blockade on Gaza almost 17 years ago. But the Israeli decisions to cut off electricity, to cut off the water supply, that Israel sells Gaza, to not allow all of the movement of the international humanitarian provision of supplies, those decisions made it almost impossible, from the start, for even bakeries to operate and provide for the people. And now what we — so, the collapse was very quick and based on a very long period of deprivation.

But now the issue really is that there needs to be hundreds of trucks entering Gaza every day, and just a fraction of that is entering. This is happening because the Rafah crossing is just not equipped for the movement of goods. Goods should be entering Gaza through other border crossings, that are generally with Israel, not with Egypt. Israel is also prohibiting the provision of food purchased on the Israeli market, so the aid agencies have to bring it from Egypt, which is even more difficult. Plus, there are also many restrictions on the ability to distribute it once it actually gets into the Gaza Strip. And then we see these awful images of desperate people charging these provision convoys that are coming in, and taking what they can, because they are simply so desperate, and the food isn’t reaching some areas of Gaza. So you have a situation where in some areas of Gaza things are only just bad, whereas in others things are just absolutely atrocious. And this is not a very large area.

So, certainly — and I think it’s recognized now by the international community — the Israeli government is at fault, is responsible for this. And this should lead to immediate international action, not simply conversations with Israeli policymakers, but actually clear clarifications that Israel is violating both its legal obligations — i.e. this is a war crime — and also that this is simply an immoral way to treat a civilian population.

AMY GOODMAN: After a visit to the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, U.S. Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Chris Van Hollen blasted the Israeli process for screening the aid. Senator Van Hollen spoke to CBS Face the Nation. This is what he said.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Many items that should be allowed to go into Gaza — water sort of filtration systems, other systems like that — were in a warehouse of rejected items that we visited. While we were there, we saw a truck turned away that had a big box from UNICEF, which is, of course, the U.N. organization that helps children. It was a unit to help with water desalinization. It was rejected. And when one item on a truck is rejected, the entire truck is rejected. The other big issue is within Gaza, the so-called deconfliction process, which is just a fancy name for those who are providing humanitarian assistance to have the confidence that they can deliver it without being killed.

AMY GOODMAN: If you can talk more about this, Sarit? Again, the senator, Van Hollen, is the one who has also called for the release of more information about the Israeli sniper who murdered Shirin Abu Akleh on May 11th, 2022, in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.

SARIT MICHAELI: Yeah, absolutely, Amy. Well, we certainly appreciate the leadership that Senator Van Hollen and, actually, Senator Merkley are showing on this issue. And it is absolutely crucial that U.S. lawmakers, both from the more progressive part of the Democratic Party but also from the mainstream, security-oriented, kind of more established part of the Democratic Party, are engaging with President Biden to demand action on this issue — simply an unconscionable situation that is unfolding in front of us.

Now, I’d like to refer to the second part of Senator Hollen’s discussion of the dangers inside of Gaza. Yes,, absolutely, there’s been another update by the office of — the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs discussing an additional rejection by the Israeli authorities of another attempt to coordinate the transfer of medical goods into hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip. This was only the day before yesterday, apparently. So, we’re seeing that there are simply so many difficulties in trying to bring the aid, deliver the aid, with safety for the aid providers, obviously, in this area that is bombed.

And this brings us to the essential issue, which is that there needs to be a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. There needs to be a halt to Israeli airstrikes and bombardments in order for this food and aid and assistance — and not only food; medical supplies and other necessities have to be provided. And this is one — the continuation of the hostilities is making this provision far too dangerous and impossible currently. This is one other reason why we need this to stop.

B’Tselem has called for a ceasefire. But, of course, the most important reason for this to stop is to stop the killing of civilians, of women and children and human beings in the Gaza Strip, in a way that absolutely is disproportionate to what is facing Israel right now, and to the policies of, basically, airstrikes bombing residential homes. All of this is one — you know, and the huge death toll, 23,000 Gazans and counting, as a result, you know, that can only be described as a revenge attack after the horrific death toll that Israelis have suffered. But we simply cannot accept. You know, it’s certainly not moral, and it’s certainly not legal, that we inflict such a degree of suffering on Gazans — we Israelis — regardless of how much we have suffered and how horrific we have been affected by this. There is simply no justification for the continuation of this Israeli attack on Gaza, and it has to stop. There has to be a ceasefire.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Sarit, I wanted to ask you — you’re talking to us from Tel Aviv. How aware are Israelis of the catastrophic situation so close to where most of them live? And is there any significant portion of the population that cares?

SARIT MICHAELI: Well, unfortunately, Juan, the situation is very, very depressing and just painful when we look at the responses of many Israelis, possibly even the majority of Israelis, to what we see now in Gaza. I think the majority of Israelis still support what we are doing there. There is very little protest or very little rejection of the methods that Israel is employing in its attack against the civilian population of Gaza. The Israeli media doesn’t really broadcast much information about the suffering of Gazans, the devastation, the utter devastation, of infrastructure and the loss of homes, and human beings being killed on a daily basis, on an hourly basis.

But one of the saddest aspects of this is that even when people are aware of it, there are so many politicians and influencers and people who are simply rejecting any need to respect the humanity of people in Gaza. And unfortunately, some of the people who are aware of the huge price, the horrific toll that Gazans are paying, are not — you know, are simply OK with it. And this is one of the most depressing aspects of what is going on now in terms of the total dehumanization of Gazans among many people in Israel.

There are — I should mention there are Israelis who are opposed to this situation. There are Israelis who are calling to recognize the humanity of Gazans. But we are in the minority, unfortunately.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, we have less than a minute left, but I wanted to ask you, quickly — you’ve also been monitoring the violence in the West Bank, that has gotten far less attention. Could you talk about what you’ve chronicled?

SARIT MICHAELI: Absolutely, yes. So, since October 7th, there has also been a massive increase in the violence by Israeli soldiers and also security forces and Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. It has led to a really large number of Palestinians killed by soldiers and by Israeli settlers. It has led to takeovers of land by settlers, to the removal, to the forcible transfer of Palestinian herding communities from very large parts of the West Bank. It’s led to, you know, the total destruction of the olive harvest, for example, as a coordinated campaign by settlers to damage the Palestinian economy. And all of these things are happening with very little international attention.

And again, this has got to end. There has to be a recognition of what is going on throughout the West Bank, of Israeli actions there. And as we call when it comes to the situation in the Gaza Strip, there has to be international action to hold Israeli policymakers accountable for their decisions that have led to these horrific results, horrific outcomes.

AMY GOODMAN: Sarit Michaeli, we have to leave it there. We thank you so much for being with us, with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

Gaza remains under assault.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is now well over  20,000. NBC NEWS notes, "The vast majority of its 2.2 million people are displaced, and an estimated half face starvation amid an unfolding humanitarian crisis."    THE GUARDIAN notes, "A total of 23,210 Palestinians have been killed and 59,167 have been wounded in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

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