Israeli cruelty reaches new low; United Methodists divest from Israel – Day 209

Israeli cruelty reaches new low; United Methodists divest from Israel – Day 209

Israel booby-traps food, snipes at aid-seekers (again), withholds bodies of Palestinians who died in inhumane prison conditions, threatens PA over ICC possible arrest warrants; antisemitism bill offers Israel impunity; United Methodist denomination divests; World Press Freedom Day honors Palestinian journalists; Turkey breaks trade relations with Israel; Biden speech throws pro-Palestine protesters under the bus; campus protests continue to grow, spread across the globe; former CIA officer “welcomes the student rebellion against Israeli atrocities”

By IAK staff, from reports

Boy loses limbs after ‘hidden explosive charge’ in food aid detonates

ReliefWeb reports: A teenage Palestinian boy is the latest to be severely wounded while opening “booby-trapped food”, according the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“A 14-year-old boy was seriously injured and sustained limb amputations after opening a booby-trapped can of food found while looking for his belongings in his house that had been shelled by Israeli forces in Khan Younis,” OCHA said, citing Gaza authorities.

The boy, who was wounded in the blast on Monday, is just one of “many people recently injured” from aid supplies rigged with hidden explosive charges, the UN agency added.

Surgeons report an unprecedented number of amputations in Gaza
Surgeons report an unprecedented number of amputations in Gaza (photo)

Deadly attack on aid convoy in Gaza City

Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reports from Rafah: This is not the first time we’ve seen deliberate attacks on aid seekers or aid distribution centers.

What happened was a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian relief approached an Israeli military checkpoint at the Kuwait traffic circle, and soldiers opened fire. One truck driver was killed instantly and several other people were wounded.

It was several hours before paramedics were allowed into the area, which has been designated a combat zone by the Israeli military. We’ve seen in the past that aid seekers who approached the traffic circle searching for food and water supplies were also killed.

NOTE: 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. 
In mid-March, Israel promised to “flood” Gaza with aid, but has failed to do so.

Bodies of 500 slain Palestinian prisoners withheld by Israeli authorities, says official

WAFA reports: The National Campaign to Retrieve the Bodies of the Martyrs said that the Israeli occupation authorities continue to withholding the bodies of 500 slain Palestinians who died inside Israeli occupation jails, including the bodies of 58 others since the beginning of 2024.

The campaign considered withholding the bodies of slain Palestinians in the cemeteries and refrigerators to be a violation of the principles of international humanitarian law and relevant international norms.

“Withholding the bodies in the cemeteries and the occupation’s refrigerators constitutes an affront to the human dignity of a person, during his life and after his death, and a collective punishment.”

Israel tells U.S. it will punish Palestinian Authority if ICC issues warrants

Axios reports: The Israeli government warned the Biden administration that if the International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, it will take retaliatory steps against the Palestinian Authority that could lead to its collapse, two Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Israeli officials have grown increasingly concerned over the last two weeks that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is preparing to issue arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Herzi Halevi.

The ICC, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, has been investigating since 2021 possible war crimes by both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants dating back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war.

That investigation has been extended to the Oct. 7 attacks and the war that has been raging in Gaza since then, according to the prosecutor’s office.

U.S. and Israeli officials said Israel told the Biden administration that if arrests warrants are issued, it will consider the Palestinian Authority responsible and retaliate with strong action that could lead to its collapse.

NOTE: Israel has also “told” the US and others that UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7th attacks – but never provided evidence. UNRWA meanwhile lost hundreds of millions of dollars in donations.
In general, Israel has not proven itself trustworthy. Among Israel’s lies are numerous atrocity stories about the October 7th attack that have since been proven untrue (more examples here). In addition, a number of the Israeli soldiers and civilians killed on October 7 were shown to have been killed by Israeli fire – a fact that is absent from the official Israeli narrative. The Israeli military has also disseminated false stories about civilians captured.
Previously, Israel has been caught in many lies – for example, this and this and this.
In a speech that was largely fantasy, Israeli PM Netanyahu points to where Israel was supposedly located in 1948
In a speech that was largely fantasy, Israeli PM Netanyahu points to where Israel was supposedly located in 1948 (photo)

House passes antisemitism bill

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted hours ago to approve a one-sided, and dishonest proposal about campus antisemitism that ignored anti-Palestinian racism and conflates criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism.

Wednesday, the House voted 320 to 91 in bipartisan support of the misleading, politically motivated Antisemitism Awareness Act (H.R. 6090), instead of taking unifying steps to address antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia in our society.

Seventy House Democrats and 21 House Republicans voted against the bill, which instructs the Department of Education to utilize the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) controversial and widely disputed definition of antisemitism.

In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:

CAIR unequivocally opposes antisemitism in all its forms. Those members of Congress who voted against this act understand that the IHRA definition too broadly censures critiques of the Israeli government, its policies, and its genocidal and discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian people.

Numerous human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Israeli organization B’Tselem, have condemned the Israeli government’s actions as violations of international human rights law and acts of apartheid…

(Read CAIR’s full statement here.)

Destruction in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 30. According to the United Nations, it will take years to clear the rubble.
Destruction in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 30. According to the United Nations, it will take years to clear the rubble. (photo)

34 Republican senators urge Biden to stop plan to welcome Gazan refugees

Andalou Agency reports: A total of 34 Republican senators demanded US President Joe Biden stop his potential plan to accept Palestinian refugees from the Gaza Strip.

“Your administration’s reported plan to accept Gazan refugees poses a national security risk to the United States,” senators led by Joni Ernst wrote in a letter to Biden.

The letter came amid reports that the Biden administration is considering bringing some Palestinians from Gaza to the US as refugees.

Senior officials across several federal US agencies have discussed the practicality of different options to resettle Palestinians from Gaza who have immediate family members who are American citizens or permanent residents, a report said, citing internal federal government documents, CBS News reported Tuesday.

NOTE: The vast majority of Israelis reportedly support the collective starvation of Gaza as Israel’s war drags on. The Israeli public as a whole appears unfazed by its country’s branding as occupier, genocidal, and practitioner of apartheid, and does not protest the theft theft of Palestinian land, vigilantism against indigenous Palestinians, and the racist views of many Israeli leaders.
Yet the US welcomes Israelis to our shores with special visit incentives.
Meanwhile, all Palestinians, who are the recipients of Israel’s occupation, genocide, apartheid, etc. are considered a threat, as militants among them fight for the people’s basic human rights.

ICC Prosecutor calls for end to intimidation of staff, statement says

The Prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court called on Friday for an end to what it called intimidation of its staff, saying such threats could constitute an offense against the world’s permanent war crimes court, Anadolu Agency reports.

In the statement, the ICC Prosecutor’s office said all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence its officials are prohibited and must cease immediately.

The statement, which named no specific cases, followed Israeli and American criticism of the ICC’s investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave.

Last week, Israel voiced concern that the ICC could be preparing to issue arrest warrants for government officials on charges related to the conduct of its war against Palestine in Gaza.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said any ICC decisions would not affect Israel’s actions but would set a dangerous precedent.

israel is under investigation at the icc; there is hope for Palestinian justice

United Methodist Church votes to divest from Israel bonds

Mondoweiss reports: On April 30, 2024, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, made a groundbreaking call for church investment managers to exclude the bonds of three countries – Israel, Turkey, and Morocco – that are holding subject populations under prolonged military occupation.

It is the first such divestment action by a major Christian denomination.

The church resolution, “Excluding Government Debt of Countries Involved in Prolonged Occupations,” makes clear the church’s desire to avoid profiting from the suffering and oppression caused by these decades-long occupations: Israel’s occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip since 1967, Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus since 1974, and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara since 1976.

On World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO awards Press Freedom Prize to Palestinian journalists

WAFA reports: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided to award the Guillermo Cano Prize for Press Freedom this year to Palestinian journalists who covered the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

Nasser Abu Bakr, the head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, accepted the award from UNESCO Assistant Director-General Tawfik Jelassi and members of the UNESCO Prize Committee during a festival organized by the organization in the Chilean capital, Santiago, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, which falls on May 3rd of every year.

In his speech, Abu Bakr described the event as historic and significant, emphasizing the significance of UNESCO granting the Press Freedom Award to Palestinian journalists who covered the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

He expressed a mixture of joy and pride combined with sadness for the loss of Palestinian journalism martyrs. He also emphasized determination and resolve to hold accountable and prosecute the criminals who killed these journalists, who revealed to the world the truth about Israeli occupation and its crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Turkey halts all trade with Israel over war

Middle East Eye reports: Turkey suspended all trade with Israel effective immediately over the humanitarian crisis it has caused in Gaza, the Turkish trade ministry announced on Thursday.

“Export and import transactions related to Israel have been stopped, covering all products,” the ministry said, “until the Israeli Government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of behaving like “a dictator” for breaking bilateral agreements between the two countries.

(Read about the serious ramifications of the trade ban on the Israeli economy here.)

President Biden addresses student protests

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today responded to remarks by President Biden about the ongoing student protests against the far-right Israeli government’s genocide in Gaza:

President Biden’s claim that “dissent must never lead to disorder” defies American history, from the Boston Tea Party to the tactics of civil disobedience that suffragists, civil rights activists, Vietnam War protesters and anti-apartheid activists used to confront injustice.

To make matters worse, President Biden’s vague, both-sides speech failed to specifically mention and condemn the violent attacks that pro-Israel rioters and law enforcement officers have launched against students protesting the Gaza genocide at UCLA and other schools across the country.

The White House has repeatedly rushed to condemn any allegation of antisemitism, even if unverified or manufactured, but repeatedly failed to call out specific incidents of violent anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia caught on camera–even after Muslim and Palestinian American leaders ask them to do so.

If President Biden is concerned about unrest on college campuses, he should start specifically condemning attacks on peaceful protesters and stop funding the genocide that has triggered student protests. Until then, he’s part of the problem.

The president also said the protests have not caused him to reconsider his approach to Israel’s war on Gaza.

Al Jazeera adds, Kali, a student protester at George Washington University in Washington, DC, said of Biden’s remarks, “For the Biden administration to demonize us in this way is honestly incredibly disappointing,” Kali told Al Jazeera. “It paints a target on the backs of Arab, Muslim, Palestinian, anti-Zionist youth.”

Biden did not comment on university policies or the use of force by police. Nor did he remark on reports that pro-Israel demonstrators had attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the UCLA encampment this week.

The Muslim Caucus chairperson for College Democrats of America, the university arm of the Democratic Party said

“In our point of view, it’s not just good policy to oppose the genocide; it’s good politics. He has done neither, and we’re really disappointed to see that,” said Pyarali, a senior at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Former CIA officer says he “welcomes the student rebellion against Israeli atrocities,” blasts Biden, Mike Johnson, Congress

“The [US government], which has become the full-time defender of Israel, will be bleating in unison that the demonstrators are “antisemites” and even Hamas-aligned “terrorists,” demeaning them to such an extent that anything done to them will be considered okay by the media and opinion makers. There will not be a critical word uttered about what Israel is doing apart from vague Biden-esque appeals to take some “humanitarian” steps to kill less, which are routinely ignored by Netanyahu.

A state trooper on a bicycle pepper sprays pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of Texas in Austin
A state trooper on a bicycle pepper sprays pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of Texas in Austin (photo)

Students erect pro-Palestine encampments across Canadian campuses

Reuters reports: Students at the University of Toronto set up an encampment in a fenced-off grassy space at the school’s downtown campus where some 100 protesters gathered with dozens of tents.

According to a statement from organizers, the encampment will stay until the university discloses its investments, divests from any that “sustain Israeli apartheid, occupation and illegal settlement of Palestine”, and ends partnerships with some Israeli academic institutions.

“If public disruption is the only way to get our voice heard, then we are willing to do that,” said University of Toronto graduate student and encampment spokesperson, Sara Rasikh.

Students also set up encampments at McGill University in Montreal, the University of British Columbia and the University of Ottawa.

Pulitzer Prize Board commends student journalists covering pro-Palestinian demonstrations

As the Pulitzer Prize board gathers to announce this year’s winners on May 6, it has released a statement to recognize the efforts of student journalists covering pro-Palestinian demonstrations:

As we gather to consider the nation’s finest and most courageous journalism, the Pulitzer Prize Board would like to recognize the tireless efforts of student journalists across our nation’s college campuses, who are covering protests and unrest in the face of great personal and academic risk.

We would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary real-time reporting of student journalists at Columbia University, where the Pulitzer Prizes are housed, as the New York Police Department was called onto campus on Tuesday night.

In the spirit of press freedom, these students worked to document a major national news event under difficult and dangerous circumstances and at risk of arrest.

Jessica Seinfeld Funds Pro-Israel Counterprotests at UCLA

The Daily Beast reports: Jessica Seinfeld, cookbook author and wife to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, is funding a pro-Israel counterprotest at UCLA—where violence broke out Tuesday night after a mob attacked demonstrators inside a pro-Palestine encampment.

A GoFundMe for the effort, which Seinfeld promoted in an Instagram story this week after contributing at least $5,000, has since made the majority of its donations anonymous. The fundraising page has raised more than $93,000 as of Wednesday and also changed its organizer name and description since launching over the weekend.

“I just gave to this GoFundMe to support more allies like yesterday’s at UCLA,” Seinfeld wrote this week. “More cities are being planned so please give what you can. Donations are annonymous [sic]. We will continue to share our light and love, as proud American Jews.”

Read the Los Angeles Times’ coverage of the UCLA protests and counterprotests here– a rare example of mainstream media coverage of the issue that tells the truth.

Police officer fired gun while clearing protesters from Columbia building

New York media report: “Police officer fired gun while clearing protesters from Columbia building: DA Bragg….. Bragg’s office is conducting a review.”

The gunfire came as police officers stormed Hamilton Hall late Tuesday. Pro-Palestinian protesters had been barricaded inside for more than 20 hours. Video showed officers with zip ties and riot shields streaming through a second-floor window. Police had said protesters inside presented no substantial resistance.

Hamilton Hall was similarly seized in 1968 by students protesting racism and the Vietnam War.

More than 2,000 people have been arrested during pro-Palestinian protests at college campuses across the United States in recent weeks, according to an Associated Press tally Thursday.

Beyond Columbia’s New York campus, demonstrations and arrests have occurred in almost every corner of the nation.

Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s ‘Handala’ Ship Sets Sail Again From Norway

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s (FFC) vessel Handala has set sail to several Northern European countries.

Handala’s “For the Children of Gaza” mission departs from Norway to challenge and break the inhumane blockade of Gaza and to shed light on the consequences of the inhumane measures taken against Palestinian children by Israel, with the support of the US and other countries, despite the global outcry for a permanent cease fire and the end of an occupied Palestine.

‘It feels important to be able to participate in a manifestation that draws people’s attention to Israel’s genocide in Gaza”, said Stefan. Sundström is among the human rights activists and artists traveling on or meeting Handala.

Handala sailed in 2023 to ports in northern Europe, and restarted today in Oslo, with plans to visit the following ports in Sweden.

NOTE: Read about the individuals who launched the flotilla movement over 16 years ago here.

More News

Al Jazeera: ‘Greater than an encampment’: Why Gaza student protests strike a chord
Al Jazeera: Activists say UCLA Palestine encampment assault followed days of harassment
Electronic Intifada: US implicated as Israeli impunity nears its end
Middle East Monitor: Saudi Arabia arrests critics of Israel as normalization talks continue
Middle East Eye: Gaza is the greatest test liberalism has faced since 1945. And it is failing
The New Arab: ‘We were tortured and starved’: Released Palestinian prisoners reveal horrific levels of oppression in Israeli jails
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – May 2: at least 35,162* (34,622 in Gaza* (at least 14,690 children, 9,680 women), and at least 503 in the West Bank (117 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 42,510 Palestinian deaths.

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 2: at least 81,664 (including at least 77,816 in Gaza and 5,000 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – May 2: ~1,418 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 262 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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