Congress poised to invite accused war criminal Netanyahu to Washington – Day 229

Congress poised to invite accused war criminal Netanyahu to Washington – Day 229

House leader Johnson (funded by AIPAC) set to defy ICC; Israeli forces kill 12 Palestinians in Jenin; 896 settler attacks; 10 NGOs call for “media access to Gaza”; some biscuits make their way to Gazans’ mouths; 1,400 Israeli academics call for ceasefire; Gazans getting 1/4 of the water they need; much more.

By IAK staff, from reports

Speaker Johnson plans to invite Netanyahu to address Congress in wake of possible ICC warrant:

ABC News reports: House Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters Tuesday that he’s moving ahead with an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress despite an International Criminal Court prosecutor saying he would apply for a warrant to arrest Netanyahu for war crimes.

US House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks at the Capitol building in Washington, DC in January 2024
US House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks at the Capitol building in Washington, DC in January 2024 (photo)

(AIPAC was Johnson’s top donor in 2023.)

Johnson said that an invitation hasn’t been sent out yet because he was awaiting word from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to join the invitation. Schumer told reporters Tuesday he is open to the idea.

Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin warned that if Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress, he’d help the ICC serve the warrant to Netanyahu in the House chamber.

“If Netanyahu comes to address Congress, I would be more than glad to show the ICC the way to the House floor to issue that warrant,” Pocan posted on X Monday. “Ditto for Hamas leader.”

There is considerable evidence that Israel is committing war crimes. For example, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention stated that “Israel is Committing Genocide across Palestine.”

NOTE: ICJ to rule on Israel’s military assault on Gaza Friday:

Asked on Thursday if Israel would comply with a potential ruling to suspend an operation in Rafah, Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman said that “no power on earth will stop Israel from protecting its citizens and going after Hamas in Gaza.”

It is the fourth time South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice for emergency measures since the nation launched proceedings alleging that Israel’s military action in its war with Hamas in Gaza amounts to genocide.

Bodies are buried in a mass grave in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip
Bodies are buried in a mass grave in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip (photo)

Israeli forces kill 12 Palestinians in two-day raid on West Bank, including 4 teens, a surgeon, and a school teacher:

WAFA reports: Another Palestinian, Mustafa Ibrahim Musa Jabareen, 30, has succumbed to the wounds he sustained from Israeli gunfire in the northern West Bank city of Jenin and its refugee camp. This brings the death toll in the city of Jenin and its camp since the beginning of the Israeli aggression Tuesday morning to 12.

Among those killed are four children, two 15-year-olds and two 16-year-olds. Israeli forces, the ministry added, wounded at least 25 during the raid that began on Tuesday morning.

DCI reports that an Israeli sniper targeted a 15-year-old with bullets in the head, chest, and foot while the boy was returning home from school on his bicycle.

Israeli forces and settlers have killed 43 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, including two United States citizens, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

124 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale military offensive on the Gaza Strip.

“Israeli forces besieged several hospitals in Jenin and impeded the movement of ambulances and paramedics. Israeli military bulldozers destroyed civilian infrastructure in Jenin refugee camp and several neighborhoods throughout the city.”

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) reported that surgeon Usaeed Jabareen, from the Jenin government hospital, was among those killed.

A schoolteacher and a student are also among the dead, Wafa said, quoting hospital director Wissam Bakr.

Israeli forces have killed 517 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since October 7, the ministry said.


Palestinian students surround the body of their school teacher, Allam Jaradat, during his funeral at a mosque in Silat al-Harithiya, east of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, following the Israeli raid
Palestinian students surround the body of their school teacher, Allam Jaradat, during his funeral at a mosque in Silat al-Harithiya, east of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, following the Israeli raid in May (photo)

896 settler attacks since October 7:

OCHA reports: Between 14 and 20 May, Israeli settlers perpetrated 28 attacks against Palestinians, and these led to the injury of ten Palestinians (by settlers or Israeli forces) and/or damage to Palestinian property.

Overall, since 7 October, Israeli settlers have perpetrated 896 attacks against Palestinians.

Committee to Protect Journalists and 9 human rights and press freedom organizations call on ICJ to order unimpeded media access to Gaza:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), ARTICLE 19 and partners on Wednesday issued a statement in support of South Africa’s urgent request to the International Court of Justice to order Israel to facilitate unimpeded media access to Gaza.

In a joint statement, nine human rights and press freedom organizations noted that Israel has failed to comply with the ICJ’s January 26 order to “take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of Article II and Article III of the Genocide Convention.”

“Despite the valiant efforts of Palestinian journalists who continue reporting despite a daily struggle to survive, Israel’s censorious actions make it nearly impossible to comprehensively, continuously and independently document what is happening on the ground in Gaza and risk significantly hampering future accountability efforts,” the signatories stated.

The statement noted that journalists, independent human rights investigators, fact-finding missions, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) still do not have access to Gaza, prohibiting the effective preservation and retention of evidence of potential war crimes.

“Israel’s near-total ban of foreign journalists from Gaza and its increasing constraints on outlets like Al Jazeera and The Associated Press, combined with a struggling Palestinian press corps, means South Africa’s ICJ request for unimpeded media access is urgent and vital,” said CPJ Director of Advocacy and Communications Gypsy Guillén Kaiser.

To date, at least 105 journalists and media workers – 100 of them Palestinian – have been killed since the war started on October 7, 2023. There is evidence that at least three of these journalists were targeted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF); CPJ is actively looking into other cases where there is evidence of a possible targeting.

(Read the full statement here.)

Mourners at the funeral of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Abu Hatab.
Mourners at the funeral of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Abu Hatab. (photo)

6 days later, first food from US built pier is finally delivered to Gazans – a “limited number” of biscuits:

The UN World Food Program has distributed the first food to have arrived from a US built pier in Gaza. (The pier cost American taxpayers $320 million.)

The UN said it has handed out a “limited number” of high energy biscuits, marking the first time food from the pier has been distributed to Palestinians by the UN.

The biscuits came in one of the first shipments unloaded from the pier Friday, WFP spokesman Steve Taravella said.

A Navy official told that two Navy destroyers are providing security in the waters around the pier.

NOTE: Thousands of aid trucks are reportedly waiting at the southern border of Gaza, where Israel has made it extremely difficult to pass, employing complicated and arbitrary procedures. Israel has on multiple occasions fired at individuals waiting for food aid (recently killing over 100 at one time), at least once allegedly sending fake text messages to Gazans, telling them to assemble and then shooting at them when they did; Israel has also attacked food aid convoys and those who accompanied them several times. Additionally, Israeli citizens have blocked a border crossing for weeks with no meaningful attempt by Israel to reopen it; they have also attacked trucks they believed were heading to Gaza, destroying their contents and in some cases starting them on fire.
In mid-March, Israel promised to “flood” Gaza with aid, but has failed to do so.
The US has for months expressed its desire to see appropriate amounts of humanitarian aid reaching the starving people of Gaza on one hand, while undermining Gaza’s largest aid organization on the other.
Meanwhile, the US has built a “temporary pier” off the Gaza coast to receive aid by sea – and has, along with other countries, airdropped packages of aid into Gaza – a practice that has caused over 20 Palestinian deaths due to malfunction.
The Biden administration has so far not used its leverage as the provider of billions of dollars in military aid to and for Israel (with one exception), a move that could potentially end the war in short order.

Israeli army confirms video of soldier throwing a Quran into a fire:

The Israeli public broadcaster Kan reports that the military confirmed a soldier uploaded a video of himself throwing a Quran into a fire in Gaza.

The soldier posted the footage on Instagram.

The military said it opened an investigation, telling the broadcaster the incident is “not consistent” with its values.

NOTE: Israeli attacks have destroyed at least 341 mosques and all 3 churches in Gaza.

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy urges Israelis to acknowledge responsibility for the war in Gaza:

He said he hopes that “Israelis will start to look upon themselves and not to blame the whole world for what’s going on”. “The notion right now in Israel, as usual, is that the whole world is against us, the whole world is anti-Semitic and let’s get together, we the victims of the world.

“I don’t know how long it will last because there must be cracks,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Israelis should start to ask themselves, ‘Where is my responsibility’? Is it really only the world’s blame? Or maybe there were crimes of war in Gaza. Maybe our leaders should be brought to justice.”

Over 1,400 Israeli academics call for end to war, hostage release:

Times of Israel reports: Over 1,400 academic staff and administrators from institutions of higher education in Israel have signed a petition urging the Israeli government to promptly end the war in Gaza and to secure the immediate release of the hostages.

The petition — titled “A Call on the Israeli Government to End the War and Ensure the Return of the Hostages” — states, “We, faculty and administrative staff at academic institutions in Israel, call on the Israeli government to end the war in Gaza without delay and ensure the immediate return of the hostages,” emphasizing that both these things are “moral imperatives that align with Israel’s interests.”

The petitioners argue that Israel had the right to defend itself following Hamas’ horrific attacks on October 7. However, “this initial purpose has been exhausted, partly because the government has deliberately avoided setting a strategic or political vision beyond the war, instead aiming for an undefined ‘complete victory’ which, even according to senior military officials, is not only unachievable but likely to result in the death of the hostages.”

The petition says that the right to self-defense “does not grant the right to wage a war without a realistic end or one aimed at the political survival of the leadership.”

Along with causing “tremendous harm to civilians in Gaza, starvation, and unprecedented destruction of infrastructure,” the signatories say prolonging the war has led to many Israeli casualties, “mental harm to hundreds of thousands, enormous economic damage, and a severe deterioration of the rule of law,” in Israel and the West Bank.

Gazans getting only a quarter of the water they need:

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports: Most Palestinians in Gaza are getting only a quarter of the water they need every day, that’s about four litres, according to the United Nations.

A lot of it is polluted and salty, leading to a public health crisis.

ICC Prosecutor Neglects Crimes Committed Against Palestinian Prisoners in Arrest Warrants for Israeli Officials:

Statement from Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Group: On May 20, 2024, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that he had requested arrest warrants for two high-profile Israeli officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Security Minister Yoav Gallant.

The Prosecutor stated that he had reasonable grounds to believe that Netanyahu and Gallant had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza from at least October 8, 2023.

The decision made by the ICC Prosecutor to hold Israeli officials accountable for their crimes marks a significant step towards ending decades of impunity for crimes committed in occupied Palestine. This decision underscores the importance of international justice in addressing long standing oppressions and human rights violations.

Addameer welcomes the decision of the ICC Prosecutor’s Office; however, the commission of crimes by Israeli citizens and officials far predates October 8, 2023. Since the Nakba in 1948 during which 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes, and never allowed to return, Palestinians have been victims of international crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Despite the importance of this decision, the Prosecutor completely neglected the crimes committed against Palestinian prisoners. He did not address at all the violations committed against Palestinian prisoners for many years, which have significantly escalated after October 7.

(Read the full statement here.)

UCLA police chief reassigned after pro-Palestine encampment violence:

Los Angeles Times reports: UCLA Police Chief John Thomas has been removed from his post and reassigned, officials said, weeks after he faced sharp criticism for security failures that led to violence at a pro-Palestinian encampment.

School administrators cited security shortcomings for the action against the California public university’s police chief John Thomas, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He had faced criticism after a pro-Palestine encampment on the campus was attacked by what the university described as a “group of instigators”.

Just before midnight, a large group, wearing black outfits and white masks, of Israel partisans arrived on campus and tried to tear down the barricades surrounding the encampment.

It took at least three hours for police to respond to the violence at the encampment, which came as similar camps were set up in solidarity with Gaza at universities across the US.

RECOMMENDED READING: Detailed study finds 99% of pro-Palestine protests at US universities are peaceful
In early May, police arrested around 200 protesters from the anti-war encampment at UCLA, with the campus police restricting access to the area, and police helicopters hovering overhead.
In early May, police arrested around 200 protesters from the anti-war encampment at UCLA, with the campus police restricting access to the area, and police helicopters hovering overhead. (photo)


Al Jazeera: UNRWA says food distribution in Rafah suspended, citing insecurity.
Mondoweiss: A Tale of Two Commencements: How Gaza solidarity encampments are changing the way we see university education.
Palestine Chronicle: Lifting the veil of cruel deception: demystifying Israel.
Middle East Eye: War on Gaza: How Israeli torture methods resemble Islamic State horrors.
The New Arab: Can Karim Khan and the ICC survive the West’s double standards?
IMEMC Reports.

Translation: Footage documenting Israeli forces arresting a number of young men and abusing them in Jenin in the West Bank.

Palestinian death toll from October 7 – May 22: at least 36,166* (35,709 in Gaza* – 4,959 women (20%), 7,797 children (32%) identified – and at least 517 in the West Bank (~117 children). This does not include an estimated 10,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 43,640 Palestinian deaths. (Information on Gaza statistics here.)

At least 42 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank).

At least 31 Palestinian children and several adults have died due to malnutrition**.

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

About 1.1 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – May 22: at least 84,406 (including at least 79,990 in Gaza and 5,040 in the West Bank).

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – May 22: ~1,433 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 283 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza; 16 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

Times of Israel reports: The IDF also listed 41 soldiers killed due to friendly fire in Gaza and other military-related accidents – nearly 16%.

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel on October 7 were caused by Israeli soldiers.

*Previously, IAK did not include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile was being disputed. However, given that much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene, and since the UN and other agencies are including the deaths from the attack in their cumulative totals, if Americans knew is now also doing so.

**Euro-Med Monitor reports that Gaza’s elderly are dying at an alarmingly high rate. The majority die at home and are buried either close to their residences or in makeshift graves dispersed across the Strip. There are currently more than 140 such cemeteries. Additionally, according to Euromed, thousands have died from starvation, malnourishment, and inadequate medical care; these are considered indirect victims as they were not registered in hospitals. 

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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