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"Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." -- Bruce Lee

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The Rafah border crossing into Gaza remained closed on Wednesday following its capture by Israeli forces, cutting off vital aid deliveries after the UN’s World Food Program warned Palestinians in northern Gaza are already facing a “full-blown famine.”

Israeli sources told The Times of Israel that the Rafah crossing with Egypt will remain closed amid Israeli military operations on the Palestinian side, and it’s unclear how long that will be. The US claims it’s opposed to Israel restricting aid shipments into Gaza, but President Biden backed Israel’s operation to capture the crossing, which has tightened the starvation blockade.

Israel claimed on Wednesday that the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing that connects Gaza and Israel was re-opened. But both the US and the UN said no aid entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom since there is no one to distribute it and there are active military operations in the area. Gaza border officials said six of their employees came under fire when trying to approach the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Only the northern Erez border crossing remains open, and only a small number of trucks have entered. Israeli authorities said 60 aid trucks came through the Erez crossing on Tuesday, just a fraction of the 500 aid groups say is needed at a minimum, a level that has not been reached since October 7.

Rafah has been the only entry point for fuel, which is needed to deliver aid, power hospitals, and for other humanitarian purposes. The UN’s child relief agency, UNICEF, said the closure of the Rafah crossing threatens the entire humanitarian relief effort.

“With that crossing now being closed, our whole humanitarian operation on the ground is compromised,” said UNICEF spokesman Ricardo Pires, according to The Washington Post. “If the crossing is not urgently re-opened, the entire civilian population in Rafah and in the Gaza Strip will be at greater risk of famine, disease and death.”

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Nearly 1,425 people have been arrested on Jan. 6 charges, with 2024 arrests running at almost double the rate from 2023 and 2022, a U.S. Department of Justice report shows.

Capitol Police officers use pepper spray and tear gas to clear protesters from the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Through close of business on May 3, the FBI has arrested 1,424 suspects in the 40 months since the breach and violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the DOJ reported in its monthly update.

That includes 159 people who were arrested during the first four months of 2024, nearly double the 83 arrested during the same period in 2023 and the 85 arrested in the same period in 2022, DOJ records show.

The FBI has made 391 Jan. 6 arrests since May 2023 and 614 arrests since May 2022, according to DOJ data.

Jan. 6 is the largest, most sweeping investigation in FBI history—one that DOJ leaders have pledged will continue unabated. The DOJ has until Jan. 6, 2026, to charge individuals before the statute of limitations expires.

Some 1,334 people have been charged with entering and remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds, the most common Jan. 6 misdemeanor. Of those, 127 people were charged with entering and remaining while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

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During RTX’s May 2 annual meeting, the company board and its financiers voted on a shareholder resolution proposing a report that would detail the human rights impact of the defense conglomerate.

In a recorded message, Sister Ann Scholz of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative fund urged shareholders to vote in favor of the proposal. “The intent is to help RTX ensure that its business practices are aligned with its human rights commitments and obligations as articulated in the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” said Sholz.

The resolution, which would be non-binding if adopted, only received 5.41% of votes, according to preliminary results. A similar proposal at Lockheed Martin failed.

Transparency around the defense industry could reveal uncomfortable truths for Wall Street. Many of the investors in the defense industry claim to adhere to internationally- agreed-upon frameworks such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.N. Guiding Principles, which states that businesses should “avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved.”

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Ukraine’s security services said on Tuesday that they foiled a plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Two colonels in the State Guard of Ukraine, which counts the protection of top Ukrainian officials among its duties, were identified as part of a group allegedly working with Russia’s FSB security agency to assassinate President Zelenskyy, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) head Vasyl Malyuk, and military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov.

This marks one of the highest-profile attempts on Zelenskyy’s life since Russia commenced its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It is also the first time that high-ranking officials were part of such a plot, according to Kyiv. It is unprecedented that “such a high-ranking official of the state security department has become [the] enemy’s moles,” SBU spokesman Artem Dehtiarenko told Politico.

News of the alleged plot comes on the heels of months of internal turmoil in Kyiv, including frequent firings and arrests of top and senior officials over corruption and espionage charges, as well as Zelenskyy’s decision to fire Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) and the second most popular public official in the country, Valery Zaluzhny.

These developments, when viewed against the backdrop of Ukraine’s dwindling battlefield prospects, point to a degree of internal Ukrainian vulnerability that should alarm Western policymakers.

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Retired US General Mark Milley on Tuesday bizarrely defended Israel's slaughter of civilians in Gaza by saying that "we" in America also "slaughtered people in massive numbers -- innocent people who had nothing to do with their government."

He made the comments while speaking at the Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security in Washington, DC. 

Milley said pro-Palestine protesters in America "are out there supporting a terrorist organization" and insisted they're on the "wrong side." 

Milley further justified Israel's war crimes by pushing the debunked Hamas mass beheadings/mass rape hoaxes and comparing Hamas to "the Nazis."

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A silent sentinel watches over every corner in the bustling streets of Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, where the ancient echoes of history collide with the modern hum of daily life. This sentinel is not a person but a network of surveillance technology known ominously as the “Hebron Smart City.” Designed by Israeli authorities, this system blankets the city in a web of cameras, sensors and even automated weapons, tracking every movement of its Palestinian residents.

“Palestinians in Hebron are the most surveilled people on the planet,” explains journalist and activist Mnar Adley, highlighting the omnipresence of cameras and face-scanning technology. Adley says that the area, also known as al-Khalil to Palestinians, has become a testing ground for Israel’s surveillance apparatus, with advanced technologies like the “Wolf Pack” surveillance system in operation. This system collects vast amounts of data on Palestinians, including their personal details and movements, creating an atmosphere of constant surveillance.

Izzat Karake, a member of Youth Against Settlements, echoes this sentiment, noting the discomfort caused by constant surveillance. “Wherever I go as a Palestinian, I can see cameras,” he told MintPress while pointing out dozens of Israeli military cameras lining the streets. “We are constantly under surveillance.”

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A bipartisan pair of AIPAC-funded congressmen are pushing a new bill to create an "October 7th remembrance curriculum" to be taught in high schools across America. 

"I am proud to introduce new bipartisan legislation with @RepSteel to create an October 7th remembrance curriculum," Rep Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), who is funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said. 

"10/7 was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust," he added. "By teaching about that awful day and the hate that followed, we can combat surging antisemitism."

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When, as expected, President Joe Biden signs off on the Antisemitism Awareness Act the Department of Education will be empowered to send so-called antisemitism monitors to enforce civil rights law at public schools as well as at colleges to observe and report on levels of hostility towards Jews. The monitors’ reports will eventually wind up in Congress which can propose remedies as required, including cutting funding and recommending civil rights charges in extreme cases. One of the more regrettable features of the act is that it accepts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism as it applies to the state of Israel, making criticism of the Jewish state ipso facto antisemitism. Its text includes the “targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity” as an antisemitic act. In reality, however, actual antisemitism is not as prevalent as Israel partisans claim. Most of what they call antisemitism is simply criticism of the legally self-proclaimed apartheid “Jewish State” and most of the animosity Israel experiences is opposition to its brutal treatment of the Palestinians. Giving legal sanction to that presumption that Israel must be protected from bigots means that the United States is well on the way to forbidding any criticism of Israel at all. Americans can criticize their own country or nations in Europe, or at least they are able to do so currently, but bad-mouthing Israel could soon constitute a criminal offense.

Webmaster addition: 

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Rafah Invasion: Everything that’s happened so far

Israel began its invasion of Rafah, ordering the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. "I do not feel safe in any place in Gaza," Saadi Salem tells Mondoweiss as he attempts to flee Rafah. "The killing is in every corner around the Gaza Strip."

It’s a scene that has played over and over again in the southern Gaza city of Rafah since the beginning of the war: mothers with sad and pale faces carrying their children on their shoulders and in their hands, balancing many bags on their backs, surrounded by more children carrying bags and belongings, and men and elderly people pulling carts and pieces of luggage. The remnants of their homes and possessions now follow them throughout their displacement. Even with no place to go, they took to the streets looking for a safe place in Rafah. The only safe place left.

Now those same scenes play out again in Rafah, this time, as people try to escape the one place they thought was safe. As people take to the streets frantically, Israeli airstrikes are nonstop, hitting several targets across the city of Rafah. 

On May 6, Israel began its usual method of displacing civilians in Gaza; this time, in Rafah. Warplanes started dropping leaflets over people’s heads, ordering them to leave their homes and go to areas that the army says are safe. And once again, as people looked to the so-called safe zones, they saw people and homes being bombed and targeted. 

The army began ordering a large part of Rafah, the entire eastern part of the city, telling people to leave their homes and move West. The leaflets weren’t the only warning. Bombs have been dropping in eastern Rafah as well, over the heads of their residents, intimidating people, and spreading fear in their hearts, forcing them to move. 

Additionally, Muhammad Al-Najjar Hospital, located east of Rafah, was one of the areas ordered with evacuation by the army, with patients and medical personnel evacuated to field hospitals in other parts of Rafah.

Over the past few days, Palestinians have been evacuating the Eastern part of Rafah, which is home to at least 250,000 Palestinians, both locals and displaced people who had arrived in Rafah since the beginning of the war, upon orders from the army for people to seek shelter and safety in Rafah. 

Despite causing the immediate re-displacement of around 250,000 people, among a city that is now home to an estimated 1.5 million, the Israeli army claims that its operations in Rafah are limited and small. 

Within just a few hours of the start of the invasion, the Israeli army had also taken over the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, the only bridge between Gaza and the outside world –  one of the only outlets for humanitarian aid, for the evacuation of the wounded, and for some, the only way they have been able to escape the genocide.

At the time of publication, the army had been enforcing the complete closure of the Rafah crossing for three days in a row, with reports that once its “operations” are complete, Israel will hand the crossing over to a private American firm.

With leaflets flying, bombs dropping, new “safe zones” and “evacuation routes” being drawn up, and the closure of Gaza’s only connection to the outside world, millions of people in Rafah alone are now once again asking: where will we go?

Claire's Observations:  And Biden, in his alleged "punishment of Israel" claims that Israel really hasn't hit Rafah's "population centers" yet, while bombs are falling on Palestinian homes?!?!?  What the hell is this man thinking?!?!

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On Monday, Israel intensified its airstrikes on Rafah, bombing more than 50 sites in the heart of the city. Video footage on Twitter showed plumes of smoke rising from the makeshift encampments and residential buildings where more than 1.4 million refugees are presently huddled in the most densely populated place on earth. Israel’s air campaign was accompanied by a sizable ground-offensive that deployed tanks and armored vehicles to the southern border where Israeli troops quickly seized the Rafah Crossing without resistance.

The sudden uptick in violence has triggered widespread panic among the Palestinians many of who have already gathered their families and belongings onto carts and buses and fled northward to safety. The opening assault on the civilian enclave is reminiscent of earlier attacks on Gaza City and Khan Younis both of which followed a similar pattern. The launching of random bombings is designed to amplify feelings of terror within the population while the humanitarian blockade tightens the stranglehold on critical food and medical supplies. The objective here is not to kill as many Palestinians as possible, but to force them into sprawling tent cities where they will languish amid the rubble until the international community finds a way to spirit them out of the country. For Israel, the endgame has always been ethnic cleansing, a comprehensive erasure of the native population. The ground invasion of Rafah represents the final phase of that maniacal strategy. This is from an article at the World Socialist Web Site:

The assault on Rafah comes despite the acceptance by Hamas Monday of a proposal for a temporary cessation of hostilities in exchange for the release of hostages. But after spending weeks attempting to blame the Palestinians for the ongoing war, Israeli officials flatly rejected the proposal….

In response to the murderous Israeli onslaught, multiple US officials reiterated their unlimited support for Israel. “We have always made clear that we are committed to Israel’s defense,” said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel on Monday. “That commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad.” US reiterates “ironclad” support to Israel as Netanyahu launches assault on Rafah, World Socialist Web Site

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In recent years we have literally seen millions of Americans relocate from blue states to red states.  In some cases, there is simply a desire to be around other like-minded people.  In other cases, specific political policies that have been enacted in certain states have motivated large numbers of people to relocate.  This was particularly true during the pandemic.  Of course there are also many that are just trying to escape the crime, drugs, homelessness and violence that are plaguing so many major cities in blue states.  For those that are trying to raise a family, finding a safe environment for their children is often of the utmost importance.  As a result of the factors that I have just mentioned, we have been witnessing a “mass exodus” to “Red America” that is unlike anything we have ever seen before.  Vast numbers of people have been moving from blue states such as California, New York and Illinois to red states such as Florida, Idaho and Montana…

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America might have to bomb Amsterdam.

In a rules based order, we cannot allow people to criticize Jews. It’s a direct attack on our values of who we are in a democracy.

If the Amsterdam government won’t silence these protesters, the US government is going to have to take charge and shut their filthy antisemite mouths.

These protests are a threat to the sovereignty of Israel and therefore a threat to the sovereignty of the United States. Bombing Amsterdam in response to these protests would be an act of basic self-defense.

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UCLA receives the most college admission applications of any college in the United States: 109,000, far ahead of UC Berkeley’s 88,000. It has an impressive campus located between Sunset and Wilshire Boulevards in the heart of the south slope of the Hollywood Hills on the west side of Los Angeles. So, UCLA is a big deal.

I mentioned this earlier, but the evidence continues to pile up that the big brawl on UCLA’s central quad last week was largely started by pro-Israel Israelis and perhaps other Jews: the Jewish version of the Men with Gold Chains whom I talk about a lot in describing the modern San Fernando Valley.

The Western half of Los Angeles, with UCLA at its center, is home to a sizable number of Israelis and other Jews from places like Iran, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (the ex-Soviets are often part Jewish and part Slav, Armenian, or the like).

However, the term “Jewish violence” is almost off-limits in the press.

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Three decades ago in my book, The New Color Line, I pointed out that Alfred W. Blumrosen, compliance chief of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, turned the statutory language of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on its head and used the EEOC to create race-based legal privileges for blacks, thereby reducing white Americans to second-class citizenship. In place of equal employment opportunity Blumrosen and the liberals of the time used “affirmative action” to create and enforce privileges for blacks in university admissions, hiring and promotion. These privileges created in defiance of Congress by a regulatory authority were the opening wedge against our then merit-based system and created the acceptability of racial discrimination against white Americans. At the time the liberals admitted that it amounted to privileged treatment of a race, but said it was to be temporary in order to give blacks a leg up. It has now been 60 years, a time period that is not temporary. As I pointed out, once privilege is set in law, it becomes a property right of the privileged supported by the passage of time and precedent after precedent. Even though the racial privilege is unconstitutional, those privileged by it have squatters’ rights in the privilege.

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Yitzhak Yosef, the chief rabbi of the apartheid state of Israel, exposed for the world the Jewish mentality of that racist state when he unashamedly asserted that “Blacks Are Monkeys.” When confronted, the preeminent spiritual leader of the Chosen People doubled down and said that it was not his fault, that the sub-humanity of Blacks is a root teaching of Judaism’s holiest of holy books—The Talmud. So easily did the Hebrew word for “nigger” fall off the chief rabbi’s lips that one gets the impression that Judaism’s highest leadership circles are filled with hood- and sheet-wearing klansmen… Well, they are.

Blacks have been under the woefully false impression that among all whites their best friends have historically been the Jews. But, as the good Chief Rabbi has indicated, their Cheshire smiles and glad-handing Black people conceal a deeply entrenched racial viciousness that is at the very core of the world’s system of white supremacy. And it has been that way throughout the ages. The record of Jewish slave-trading is massive, and Jewish apologists have never been able to refute it. But these were not the acts of Jewish outcasts in the back alley of the shtetl: the mind of the slave-trader was shaped by the hallowed pulpits of the world’s most prominent synagogues. So let us review the racial record of Jewish community leaders—the rabbis and spiritual leaders at the center of Jewish life—going back in history to the most prominent in the Jewish world.

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by Dave DeCamp 

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Shia militia Kataib Hezbollah renewed calls for the US to leave Iraq as it appears there has been no progress on a withdrawal in negotiations between Baghdad and Washington.

Abu Ali al-Askari, a spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah, said the group “did not perceive the American enemy’s seriousness in withdrawing the troops and dismantling its spy bases in Iraq.”

Al-Askari added that Kataib Hezbollah hasn’t “seen the necessary seriousness from the Iraqi government to remove them.”

Kataib Hezbollah and other Shia militias suspended attacks on US forces in February under pressure from the Iraqi government and Iran following the drone attack on Tower 22 in Jordan that killed three US Army Reserve soldiers. US bases in Iraq and Syria were attacked in April, but there were no casualties, and there have been no attacks since then.

US bases came under hundreds of attacks between mid-October and early February that started in response to US support for the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. In response, the US bombed Kataib Hezbollah and other militias that are members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella group that’s part of Iraq’s security forces.

The US airstrikes on Iraq, which were not coordinated with Baghdad, prompted Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to call for the US-led foreign coalition in Iraq to withdraw. The US and Iraq began talks on the future of the presence, but after al-Sudani recently visited Washington, there was no sign that a withdrawal would happen anytime soon. As long as the US refuses to leave Iraq, where it has 2,500 troops, there’s always a chance of attacks restarting.

The US has been under pressure to leave Iraq since January 2020, when Iraq’s parliament voted to expel US forces due to the US drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and PMF leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The US has been able to stay because of the enormous economic leverage it has over Iraq.

Since the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s foreign reserves have been held by the US Federal Reserve, giving Washington control over Baghdad’s dollar supply and the ability to devalue the Iraqi dinar. The US also keeps tight control over Iraq’s ability to pay its neighbor Iran for much-needed electricity.

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Israel’s seven-month bombardment of Gaza has caused more destruction than the controversial firebombing of the German city of Dresden near the end of the Second World War, analysts of satellite images said on Tuesday.

Nearly 75 percent of buildings in Gaza City have been damaged or destroyed, five hospitals have been completely destroyed, fewer than one in three hospitals are even partially functioning, 408 schools out of 563 have been damaged and 53 completely destroyed, and more than 60 percent of mosques have been reduced to rubble.

“The fastest rates of destruction were in the first two to three months of the bombardment,” said Corey Scher, a satellite image analyst at the City University of New York in the US. “The rate of damage being registered is unlike anything we have studied before. It is much faster and more extensive than anything we have mapped.”

In comparison, four air raids on Dresden in February 1945 destroyed just under 60 percent of the city’s buildings. US and British bombers dropped more than 3,900 tonnes of high-explosive and incendiary devices that devastated more than 6.5 km2 of the city in one of the most controversial acts of the war.

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Israeli bombing hit a UAE field hospital in the southern city of Rafah in the devastated Gaza Strip on Tuesday, injuring two people.

Three projectiles fell on the medical facility, with an Emirati security guard among the injured, Arabi21 reported.

Israel also bombed other buildings in central Rafah, where most of the Gaza Strip's population have taken refuge.

On Tuesday, Israel launched a ground assault on the city, taking control of Rafah's border with Egypt and sparking fears of a humanitarian crisis.

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Hours after Israel’s military told them to seek a new place of safety, Gazans in the southern city of Rafah took to the streets Monday night to celebrate: At the 11th hour, Hamas said it had accepted a proposal for a cease-fire. People cheered. Sweets were passed around. 

A few hours later, it became clear that the celebrations were premature. The agreement accepted by Hamas turned out to be a counteroffer that Israel hadn’t seen and wouldn’t agree to, shattering hopes of an imminent end to months of hostilities.

On Tuesday, Israel seized control of the Gaza side of a key crossing to Egypt, an operation the Israeli military described as “very precise and limited in space,” even as high-stakes talks for a cease-fire continued in Cairo.

An Israeli delegation, Hamas officials, mediators from Qatar and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency arrived in Cairo for discussions on a cease-fire proposal from the militant group. CIA Director William Burns arrived there from Qatar as he visits the region to further the Biden administration’s efforts to help mediate a cease-fire deal.

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Three people have been arrested after a rabbi struck a pro-Palestinian protester on a Manhattan street, with witnesses saying the 57-year-old driver, Reuven Kahane, tried to drive into the protesters on purpose.

New York Police Detective Melissa Delacruz said Tuesday's incident happened around 8:45 am [local time] near the intersection of 72nd Street and Park Avenue on the Upper East Side.

About 25 protesters had been wrapping up a demonstration outside a building and were walking away when two of them got into an argument with a driver. The driver then struck a 55-year-old protester with his vehicle.

The demonstrator was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. The motorist, the demonstrator and another demonstrator were taken into custody, Delacruz said.

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Jordan said on Tuesday Israeli settlers attacked a humanitarian aid convoy on its way to Erez crossing in northern Gaza and "tampered with its contents" in the second such incident in less than a week.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sufyan Qudah said the convoy which goes through the Israeli-occupied West Bank from Jordan later managed to continue on its journey and reach its destination in war-devastated Gaza.

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 by Dave DeCamp

President Biden told CNN on Wednesday that the US would stop sending heavy bombs to Israel if its military launched a major invasion of Rafah and acknowledged that Israel has been killing civilians with US-provided munitions.

The comments marked the first time Biden appeared to put conditions on US military aid to Israel, but it might not make a difference. A US official told The Washington Post a day earlier that Israel already had enough munitions supplied by the US and other countries to launch a full-scale assault on Rafah.

In the interview, President Biden claimed that Israel had not “gone in Rafah” despite launching an operation to capture the Rafah border crossing, ordering an evacuation of eastern parts of the city, and launching heavy airstrikes.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” he said.

“They haven’t gone into the population centers. What they did is right on the border. And it’s causing problems with, right now, in terms of – with Egypt, which I’ve worked very hard to make sure we have a relationship and help. I’ve made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet: They’re not going to get our support, if in fact they go on these population centers,” Biden added.

The interview came after US officials said that the administration had paused a shipment of 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs that was bound for Israel. However, US officials also announced a new $827 million weapons package for Israel, the contents of which are unclear, and vowed Israel would get all of the $17 billion in new military aid that was recently authorized.

Claire's Observations:  This is election year virtue signalling, writ large.  Israel already has more than enough bombs to bomb Rafah into molten glass.  Their problem?!?  The world can see what Israel is doing, on social media, and just don't particularly like that Israeli politicians are describing cold=blooded murder (primarily of Palestinian women and Children) as "self-defense".  This is the real reason US pols want to ban TikTok; people are getting a real picture of what is going on in Gaza through a number of posts there, about the carnage being created by the IDF.

There is only one word with which to describe what the IDF is doing, under orders from their leadership; it's the word "genocide", and Biden himself is up to his neck in innocent Palestinian blood.

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Hungary will not participate in NATO's long-term plan to aid Ukraine, its foreign minister said on Wednesday, calling the plan a "crazy mission".

NATO allies agreed in April to initiate planning on long-term military support for Ukraine against Russia's invasion, through setting up a fund worth 100 billion euros ($107 billion).

Under the plans, NATO would take over some coordination work from a U.S.-led coalition known as the Ramstein group.

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A third mass grave has been discovered in the ruins of Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical complex in the Palestinian enclave. 

At least 49 bodies have been recovered so far from the mass grave, the government media office in Gaza said on Wednesday. 

"Government crews are still recovering more bodies until now," it said. "The exhumation operations have not finished, and we expect to find dozens of new bodies."

Footage shared online by local journalists showed bodies being uncovered and examined by civil defence teams amid the wreckage of the medical facility, which has been ravaged by Israeli attacks. 

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Israeli bulldozers, under the protection of police forces, on Wednesday destroyed 47 Bedouin homes in the southern Negev region, in the largest day of demolitions in years.

The demolitions, near Umm Butin village, targeted the houses of members of the same family, Abu Asa, leaving hundreds of them without a home.

Israeli authorities carried out the demolition under the pretext that the structures did not have the proper building permits, which are very rarely granted to Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev desert, known as the Naqab in Arabic.

Several Abu Asa family members decided to burn down their own homes prior to the operation rather than watch the Israelis destroy them. One Palestinian, Ahmed Abu Asa, was arrested after he tried to obstruct the bulldozers.

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The British government has issued a new guidebook to all sitting MPs to help them spot “conspiracy theories”.

Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt  MP, who commissioned the guide, has warned that:

The proliferation of conspiracy theories across the UK is deeply disturbing. They are deliberate campaigns to spread disinformation and fear […] If they go unchallenged we risk the public being conned and their wellbeing potentially damaged. These campaigns are also a threat to the health of our democracy. It is essential that we give the public and their representatives the tools they need to combat this phenomenon.”

And claimed the aim of the new guide was to:

protect the public from the damaging effects of misinformation and safeguard the integrity of our democratic process,”

Which sounds just lovely, doesn’t it?

Oh, and just in case any of you are still caught up in the party politics illusion, the guide has full cross-party support, the Shadow Leader of the House called it “a must-read”.

The report was co-written by “experts” representing several non-governmental organisations, and fact-checkers including:

  • FullFact – funded by (among others) Google, Facebook and the Open Society Foundation.
  • The Institute for Strategic Dialogue  – funded by (among others) the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, Facebook, over a dozen national governments and the UN.
  • Global Network on Extremism and Technology  – The academic research arm of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a thinktank “designed to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms”…and which is funded by (among others) Facebook, Amazon, Youtube and Microsoft.
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