Palestine

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Fresh audio product: Gaza and the larger political context; why people hate inflation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/05/2024 - 8:51am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

May 23, 2024 Mouin Rabbani on the war on Gaza, and the broader context of the Israel–Palestine conflict • Stefanie Stantcheva on why people hate inflation (papers here and here)

Video: right-wing extremist Ben-Gvir rants Israel will never allow Palestinian statehood

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/05/2024 - 8:27am in

Racist Israeli security minister chooses Islam’s second holiest site for petulant outburst after Ireland, Spain and Norway declare Palestine a state

Far-right Israeli security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir chose to taint Islam’s second holiest site with his presence for a deranged rant after three European nations all recognised Palestinian statehood.

Ben-Gvir raged that the site ‘belongs only to the people of Israel’, despite the Al Aqsa mosque being officially under Muslim administration by agreement between Israel and Jordan, before ranting that ‘we’ will ‘never allow any surrender that includes even a declaration of a Palestinian state’:

The bad news for the petulant settler-colonist is that Palestine has no intention of surrendering – while support for Israel’s apartheid regime is disappearing fast worldwide, as people wake up to the murderousness of the occupiers.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

US, Israel rant as Ireland, Spain, Norway recognise Palestinian statehood

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/05/2024 - 7:50am in

Netanyahu and Biden governments in meltdown again as three countries bypass US veto and declare Palestine a state

Norwegian, Irish and Spanish governments declared Palestine’s statehood

The US and Israeli governments have reacted with fury to announcements by three European governments, at the same time, that they are recognising Palestinian statehood. Ireland, Norway and Spain have all now formally declared Palestine to be a state.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu – probably soon to be declared by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be wanted for war crimes – raged that the three nations were giving ‘Khamas’ a ‘reward for terrorism’. A Biden government spokesman claimed that the US condemned the recognition because it had been granted ‘unilaterally’ rather than through negotiation – ironic and deeply hypocritical considering that the US vetoed a recent application by Palestine to the UN Security Council motion for full membership of the UN. Several leading pro-Israel politicians called for the ICC to be ‘punished’, with a couple admitting that if Israel is held to account for its war crimes, ‘you know they’ll come for us next’.

Well done Ireland, Norway, Spain and, especially, the people of Palestine. Shamefully, there is no prospect of the UK following suit with either the Tories or what now passes for the Labour party in power after the newly-declared general election.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

‘Israeli soldier’ from notorious unit confesses to US citizen’s killing

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/05/2024 - 6:33am in

In recordings obtained by The Grayzone, a self-proclaimed soldier from Israel’s infamous Netzah Yehuda battalion detailed his unit’s killing of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American, and flaunted his genocidal views. After announcing plans to sanction the battalion, the Biden administration has inexplicably pulled back. The Biden administration has balked after announcing plans to sanction five units of the Israeli military accused of wanton human rights abuses in the occupied West Bank. “Four of these units have effectively remediated these violations, which is […]

The post ‘Israeli soldier’ from notorious unit confesses to US citizen’s killing first appeared on The Grayzone.

The post ‘Israeli soldier’ from notorious unit confesses to US citizen’s killing appeared first on The Grayzone.

Video: Belfast’s huge pro-Palestine mural

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/05/2024 - 1:47am in

Irish city stands in solidarity with the people of Gaza

A huge mural showing solidarity with the people of Gaza against occupation and genocide now stands in Belfast. The beautiful artwork, filmed by JT MacLochlainn, consists of a series of panels depicting the suffering and spirit of the Palestinian people, emblazoned with a ribbon containing the poem by Prof Refaat Alareer, the Palestinian poet murdered, along with several family members, by Israel last December:

Alareer’s full, achingly evocative poem reads:

If I must die,

you must live

to tell my story

to sell my things

to buy a piece of cloth

and some strings,

(make it white with a long tail)

so that a child, somewhere in Gaza

while looking heaven in the eye

awaiting his dad who left in a blaze–

and bid no one farewell

not even to his flesh

not even to himself–

sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up above

and thinks for a moment an angel is there

bringing back love

If I must die

let it bring hope

let it be a tale

In October last year, as bombs fell on Gaza, Alareer paid tribute to the fans of Celtic who were raising flags and banners in solidarity. The Scottish football club is supported by many Irish Catholics, who well understand occupation and oppression under centuries of English rule and who have shown resolute solidarity with the Palestinians as another occupied people. Celtic fans paid a moving tribute to him after he was murdered in a targeted Israeli attack and have continued to show support for Palestinians, despite attempts by the football club’s administration to discourage them.

Ireland remains a nation divided, with Belfast officially the capital of Northern Ireland and part of the UK, despite limited devolution.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Breaking: Feinstein confirms GE candidacy vs Starmer

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/05/2024 - 8:59pm in

Constituency resident who served Mandela as ANC MP will stand in Holborn and St Pancras

Andrew Feinstein (image: Skwawkbox)

Former African National Congress (ANC) MP Andrew Feinstein has confirmed this morning that he will stand against Labour leader Keir Starmer in Holborn and St Pancras at the next general election.

Feinstein, a Jewish activist who lives in the constituency, is a former Labour member who has called for a new left movement outside the party, has been vocal against Israel’s genocide in Gaza, has consistently stood up for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from prison, has an impeccable track record on human rights and represents the integrity that Starmer claims but has completely failed to show. He had previously indicated his willingness to stand, if the results of canvassing showed there was demand in the constituency for a challenge.

Such is the gulf in track record and personal qualities that Starmer’s team was said to be ‘raging’ at the prospect that he might stand. The prospect of a confirmed candidacy is unlikely to make them any happier.

Feinstein at Monday’s rally for Julian Assange outside the High Court in London

Announcing his confirmed candidacy, Feinstein said:

Our democracy is in crisis. The two main parties are virtually indistinguishable in their offers of permanent austerity, forever wars and environmental degradation.

Keir Starmer, the MP for Holborn and St. Pancras where my family and I have lived for around 22 years, is emblematic of this crisis. His politics are mendacious, unprincipled and in the interests of his billionaire donors rather than the constituents he was elected to serve.

I have seen real leadership in action: I was privileged to serve under Nelson Mandela as an MP in South Africa. His leadership was selfless, principled, accountable, transparent and honest. Everything that Keir Starmer is not.

His almost immediate abandonment of many of the ten progressive pledges on which he was elected to lead the Labour Party is a clear sign he cannot be trusted.

Starmer has now gone a step too far by refusing to support an unqualified ceasefire and a halt to arms sales to Israel amid the greatest human tragedy since World War Two: the genocide being committed in Gaza.

How is it possible that a former human rights lawyer, who must see the horrific images that we all view on our screens every day, has not even commented on the highest court in the world’s interim ruling that Israel is likely committing genocide and ethnic cleansing?

The ICC’s decision to seek an arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes, including “starvation of civilians, wilfully causing great suffering and cruel treatment”, casts Starmer’s support for a siege of Gaza – cutting off water and power – in an even more appalling light.

His attempts to deny such support, despite video evidence confirming it, smacks of a remarkable lack of honesty or contrition.

He has backed the Conservative government’s indefensible position on the crisis, rather than demanding an end to the carnage, to occupation and to apartheid – the only route to a just peace in the region.

The Labour Party’s appalling stance on Gaza has fuelled a concern, enunciated most explicitly in a report written by Martin Forde KC, that the party operates a ‘hierarchy of racism’.

It oxymoronically expels life-long anti-racist Jews, supposedly to combat antisemitism, while taking little if any action against Islamophobia and anti-black racism.

As Nelson Mandela opined: “You are either against all forms of racism and discrimination, or you are part of the racism problem.”

The UK government, supported by the Labour Party, is not only enabling and facilitating the genocide in Gaza, but also profits from it through the continuing sale of the weapons being used to kill innocents.

I believe these arms sales are in contravention of British arms export controls, our obligations under international law and as signatory to the International Arms Trade Treaty.

The notoriously corrupt British defence sector has for decades routed money to our main political parties and to individual politicians – mostly once they have left office, for decisions taken while in office.

These companies are the most heavily subsidised by the public purse, meaning that we the taxpayer are subsidising the arms being used in Gaza, the undermining of the rule of law and the corrupting of our political system.

I am committed to rooting out corruption in politics. I resigned from the South African Parliament on principle in 2001 because our then President Thabo Mbeki refused to allow an unfettered investigation by my oversight committee into a massively corrupt arms deal which benefited senior ministers, officials, corporate executives and my own party.

Since then, I have spent the past 23 years investigating and writing about political corruption, especially in the global arms trade: the most corrupt of all trades – the bribes from which oil the wheels of our political system.

Starmer’s growing authoritarianism comes as no surprise to those of us who live in Holborn and St. Pancras. Since he became our MP in 2015, Starmer has brought divisive, factional politics to the area.

Decent, committed and competent residents were purged from Labour Party structures. We witnessed undemocratic local selection processes that became a feature across the country. It fosters real concern about what a Starmer-led government will do in power.

What seems clear is that not only will the disadvantaged be ignored, but our civil rights and civil liberties will be even more restricted than they have been under the Tories, in a failing attempt to quell opposition to their complicity in genocide.

As a constituency MP Starmer has failed the people of Holborn & St. Pancras. Rents have soared, social housing is inadequate and there’s far too much homelessness. Our increasingly privatised NHS is failing – yet Starmer’s Labour will only privatise it further. Public transport routes have been reduced, benefits slashed and the cost of living crisis makes daily life a struggle for so many, compounding child poverty.

I will address these crucial issues by demanding greater investment from local and national government in opposition to the Labour Party’s self-imposed, punishing fiscal constraints. I will oppose privatisation of vital services and create consultative local fora between affected residents and service providers.

As a Member of Parliament, I will guarantee the people of Holborn and St. Pancras that I will hold a weekly surgery to address their needs and issues. Constituents will be invited to Parliament every week to observe the workings of our sclerotic legislature and my work there.

To revitalise our democracy, I will undertake a monthly public report-back session and engage with local residents before every significant Parliamentary vote. I will work exhaustively to represent all the people of the constituency who will, after all, be paying my salary. And if Camden workers are on strike, I will always support them and stand by them and their unions on a picket line.

We urgently require a new politics: a people-centred politics focused on the many not the super wealthy; a politics driven by integrity and honesty, rather than opportunism and mendacity; a politics in pursuit of greater justice and equality at home and abroad, and a more peaceful, environmentally sustainable, less corrupt Britain and planet.

Feinstein’s supporters in the area, who include left-wing groups OCISA, For the Many and The Collective although he is not part of their groups, are wasting no time in starting their campaign. OCISA members will be out in force handing out leaflets at tube stations around the constituency from 4.30pm this afternoon:

A campaign leaflet created by Feinstein’s supporters

News of his campaign and fundraising plans will be published at andrewfeinstein.org.

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US Congress passes Act to defund Defense, State Depts and NSC unless Israel gets all arms

US political insanity regarding Israel in a nutshell as politicians move to cripple their own government unless it enables foreign regime’s genocide

The US Congress has passed a bill that will de-fund the Defense Department, State Department and National Security Council if Joe Biden does not immediately agree to send Israel any and all weapons it wants, with no strings attached.

Biden had delayed some shipments of the largest and most indiscriminate bombs, in a token effort to show that he is not enabling Israel’s genocide, after polling showed many usual Democrat voters will not back him in November’s presidential election because of his support for Israel despite its slaughter of tens and tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children and its deliberate creation of famine in Gaza. But it seems even that token show of resistance is intolerable to Zionist groups.

More than a dozen Democrats colluded with Republicans to pass the new Act titled “To provide for the expeditious delivery of defense articles and defense services for Israel and other matters” by 224-187 votes. The text of the Act reveals the genocidal insanity of a majority of US politicians, most of whom will have received significant funding from pro-Israel groups, or else been threatened that the same groups will fund their opponents at the next election. It mandates the defunding of the three key government departments if Biden does not submit and send Israel :

The world has not gone insane in the fact that so many western politicians – including in the UK – are prepared not just to turn a blind eye to genocide, but to actively enable it. It has long been insane, but the madness has been exposed by apartheid Israel’s nakedly genocidal ambitions.

Biden is said to be prepared to veto the legislation if the Senate does not block it.

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ICJP director warns UK MPs ‘justice is coming’ over complicity in Israeli war crimes

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/05/2024 - 8:29am in

Senior lawyer says ‘ink is almost dry’ on the guilt of many MPs who have enabled and covered Israel’s atrocities

Keir Starmer, Rishi Sunak and other UK MPs may be looking uneasily over their shoulder tonight after receiving a renewed warning from the lawyer leading a pro-Palestinian justice group about their own guilt regarding Israel’s war crimes, after International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan announced he has requested arrest warrants for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant.

Tayab Ali, a partner in Bindmans, one of the world’s leading human rights law firms, and a director of the International Centre for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) published his stark warning on Twitter/X this evening, telling MPs who have supported and enabled Israel’s atrocities against the people of Gaza that it is now too late for them to do much to avoid their guilt and complicity, because ‘the ink of history on your potential complicity is almost dry and you already made your decision’ – and that ICJP will be demanding personal legal accountability for guilty MPs:

Scotland Yard has already called for evidence after the ICJP warned Tory PM Rishi Sunak and notionally-Labour leader Keir Starmer that it would prosecute them if they colluded in war crimes against the Palestinian people. Starmer has even gone as far as to tell a radio interviewer that Israel had a ‘right’ to cut off food, water and fuel from Gaza, with several of his front bench MPs publicly defending his statement until he later tried to pretend he hadn’t said it.

Israel has killed at least 40,000 civilians and potentially as many as 100,000, overwhelmingly women and children, with double that number maimed and wounded and many more set to be murdered as Israel continues its invasion of Rafah and its block on the entry of food, fuel and medicines for more than two million people.

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Demands to Halt UK Trade Talks and Arms Sales with Israel As Netanyahu Faces Potential Arrest Over War Crimes Claims

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/05/2024 - 11:53pm in

Calls to suspend UK trade talks and arms sales to Israel have been renewed after the International Criminal Court announced that it is seeking arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as the leaders of Hamas, over alleged violations of international law. 

The ICC alleges that Netanyahu and Gallant bear criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza in its response to the 7 October Hamas terror attacks last year.

They are accused of using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare – a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which came into force in 2002. 

They are also accused of “wilfully” causing great suffering, serious injury, and cruel treatment, which are classified as war crimes.

If arrest warrants are issued, Netanyahu and Gallant, along with the three senior Hamas individuals also charged by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), would be active in the 124 countries that are parties to the Rome Statute – including the UK. That means that UK police would have an obligation to arrest those individuals if they travelled to the country.

The UK Government has said it does "not think the ICC has jurisdiction in this case".

The ICC charges include wilful killing and murder as war crimes, with specific reference to attacks on Gaza’s civilian population. 

The allegations also state that Netanyahu and Gallant intentionally directed attacks against civilians, violating multiple articles of the Rome Statute. 

And the court contends that Israel systematically deprived Gaza’s civilian population of essential supplies and services, including food, water, and electricity, as part of a siege strategy.

The actions are described as part of a “widespread and systematic attack” against Palestinian civilians, aiming to eliminate Hamas, secure hostage returns, and “collectively punish” Gaza's population.

“These crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day,” the prosecutors argue. 

The effects of Israel blockading Gaza and closing border crossings for aid include severe malnutrition, dehydration, and increasing deaths, with famine present in some areas and imminent in others, they allege. 

Hamas leaders are accused of attempting “extermination” as a crime against humanity, and using murder as a crime against humanity. 

Three Hamas figures are accused of leading the terrorist group’s efforts to take hostages and use rape and other acts of sexual violence, as well as torture, as crimes against humanity, among other charges. 

UK Arms Sales Continue

The UK Government has granted licences for the sale of British weapons to Israel under a wide range of categories in recent years, according to the Global Legal Action Network. Since 2015, there has been £472 million in limited value ‘standard’ licence grants, and 58 unlimited value ‘open’ licences.

This includes sales of body armour, military communications equipment, military electronic equipment, components for military radars and targeting equipment, components for military aircraft displays and unmanned air vehicles, components for military support and combat aircraft, naval vessel components, and much more.

"Given that these items are all capable of being used in Israel’s actions against Palestinians, many of which are criminal acts under international criminal law, there is plainly a ‘clear risk’... meaning the Government should not be issuing these licences" under its own rules, a spokesperson for the Global Legal Action Network said in November.

However, since then, the UK Government body responsible for decisions on arms exports has refused to change its rules on sending military gear to Israel.

The Scottish National Party's Westminster Leader Stephen Flynn MP said: "This is a deeply serious development that once again pulls into sharp focus the full extent of the horrors committed by Hamas, as well as the grotesque and deadly Israeli Government response.

“Both the UK Government and the Labour Party must stand by international law and, whilst this application for an arrest warrant is determined, confirm that they will both fully support the final determination that is made by the court.

“In the meantime, the supply of arms to Israel must be halted and an immediate ceasefire demanded. Westminster’s equivocation has left it complicit in the deaths of thousands of civilians and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people must now stop."

The SNP has previously attempted to table a motion to force the UK Government to immediately end arms sales to Israel, but the move was blocked. 

A letter signed by 134 MPs and Lords from across the political spectrum earlier this month called on the Foreign Secretary and Business Secretary to "immediately suspend export licenses for arms transfers to Israel". 

An Israeli official told The Times of Israel that ICC chief Karim Khan’s statement was a “baseless blood libel against Israel” that “crossed a red line in his lawfare efforts against the lone Jewish state and the only democracy in the Middle East”.

Foreign Office in Firing Line

But a UK-based non-profit consisting of lawyers and campaigners, the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians, welcomed the move.

Representatives had submitted evidence to the ICC, collected from “first-hand eyewitnesses including from a significant number of medical professionals who have been in Gaza since October”, according to the group.

It said its investigation team included former British police detectives, who collected the evidence to British police force standards. 

The ruling came amid reports that there were threats and attempts to undermine the independence and impartiality of the ICC – cited in the organisation's statement today. 

The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians says that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office must now take “clear action to protect the rules-based international order by supporting the ICC’s move”.

“FCDO must ensure with all certainty that it is in no way complicit with the current Israeli Government, especially now that the war crimes of its leadership have been made more explicit than ever,” a spokesperson said.  

Tayab Ali, director of the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians, added: “Whilst many doubted the ICC would apply for arrest warrants for Israeli suspected war criminals, we did not.

"Any independent analysis of the evidence will result in an overwhelming appreciation that Israel has engaged in the most serious of war crimes. It was on this analysis that we based our view and trust in the ICC that it would live up to its mandate.

“But now, finally, the ICC has taken the first step to break impunity and hold Israeli politicians and military personnel accountable.

“We will continue to provide the ICC with credible evidence of war crimes and work with the international community to guard the ICC against unlawful interference with its proceedings. There is still a long road ahead before we can say that justice has been done.”

Emily Apple, Media Coordinator for Campaign Against the Arms Trade, added that the UK Government "cannot ignore the implications" of the ICC potentially issuing arrest warrants.

"Israel is committing horrific war crimes with the aid of UK military equipment. Time and again, Sunak and Cameron have refused to suspend arms sales. But the law is clear - the UK must suspend arms sales when there is a clear risk they could be used in violations of International Humanitarian Law," Apple told Byline Times.

Five Steps to for UK to Change Course

Last month, 1,100 lawyers, academics, and retired judges, including the former President of the Supreme Court Baroness Hale, signed an open letter and legal opinion to remind the British Government of its obligations under international law.

Today is has been reshared by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, urging the Government to take, amongst others, five key actions: 

  • To work actively and effectively to secure a permanent ceasefire in Gaza; 
  • To take all available measures to ensure safe access to and delivery of the essentials of existence and medical assistance to Palestinians in Gaza, including confirmation that UK funding to UNRWA will continue with immediate effect; 
  • To impose sanctions upon individuals and entities who have made statements inciting genocide against Palestinians; 
  • To suspend the provision of weapons and weapons systems to the Government of Israel;
  • To suspend the '2030 Road Map for UK-Israel bilateral relations' and negotiations towards an enhanced trade agreement, and to initiate a review into the suspension of the UK’s bilateral trade agreement with Israel and consider the imposition of sanctions. 
  • To work actively and effectively to secure a permanent ceasefire in Gaza; 
  • To take all available measures to ensure safe access to and delivery of the essentials of existence and medical assistance to Palestinians in Gaza, including confirmation that UK funding to UNRWA will continue with immediate effect; 
  • To impose sanctions upon individuals and entities who have made statements inciting genocide against Palestinians; 
  • To suspend the provision of weapons and weapons systems to the Government of Israel;
  • To suspend the '2030 Road Map for UK-Israel bilateral relations' and negotiations towards an enhanced trade agreement, and to initiate a review into the suspension of the UK’s bilateral trade agreement with Israel and consider the imposition of sanctions. 
  • Government Quizzed

    Conservative Ministers Andrew Mitchell MP and Alan Mak MP are set to be questioned by the cross-party Business and Trade Committee on Government policy on UK arms exports to Israel tomorrow.

    The committee is likely to ask about the scale of UK military and 'dual-use’ (civilian and military) exports to the country, and whether they remain confident that licencing decisions remain compliant with domestic and international law.

    The UK is still engaged in ongoing trade talks for a possible trade deal with Israel, Rishi Sunak's spokesman confirmed to journalists in recent weeks.

    A Government spokesperson told this outlet: "We do not believe that seeking warrants will help get hostages out, get aid in, or deliver a sustainable ceasefire. This remains the UK's priority.

    "As we have said from the outset, we do not think the ICC has jurisdiction in this case. The UK has not recognised Palestine as a state, and Israel is not a state party to the Rome Statute."

    If you have a political story or tip-off, email josiah@bylinetimes.com.

    Israeli army airdrops photos of children with warning to run to IDF in psych warfare

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/05/2024 - 8:17am in

    Vile psychological warfare as flailing occupiers try to turn Palestinians against each other

    The Israeli military has begun airdropping leaflets with the faces, names and security numbers of Palestinians, including children, claiming they have been exposed as collaborators with Israel and listing a number to call to ‘save yourself’, in a naked attempt to sow suspicion and division among the Palestinians of Gaza, who refuse to allow their spirits to be broken by Israel’s genocide and endless war crimes. At least one child pictured is a toddler of two or at most three years old.

    The disgusting tactic exposes the desperation of an occupying, apartheid state whose own commentators and media are voicing opinions that Israel has lost the so-called ‘war on Hamas’ in which Israel has murdered as many as 100,000 innocent Palestinians and wounded around twice as many.

    Leaflets showing adults have also been dropped:

    United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese, who has announced her finding that Israel is indeed committing genocide, confirmed the foul tactic in a post outlining the way in which Palestinian children are threatened and blackmailed by Israeli forces, a practice dating to long before 7 October, a phenomenon she dubbed ‘unchilding’:

    Albanese also spoke to Watermelon Reports and described how thousands of children are kidnapped by Israel and held, sometimes for years, without limit:

    More than two thirds of those murdered by Israel since 7 October last year have been women and children, with many tens of thousands more maimed or orphaned in targeted attacks on family homes, including the families of medics, journalists and UN workers. The apartheid, racist state has nothing but contempt for the lives of Palestinian innocents, even the youngest and most vulnerable.

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