News Releases

South African Group Urges Banning Israel from Olympics

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The Olympics start in Paris on Friday.

AZHAR SAKOOR, azhar@psayl.co.za, @azhar_sakoor
Sakoor is executive member of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance Youth League in South Africa. The group has organized a petition urging “for the ban of Israel from participating in the Olympic Games. This action would mirror the historic decision to ban apartheid South Africa from international sporting events due to its policies of racial segregation and oppression.

“The parallels between the apartheid policies once practiced by South Africa and those currently enforced by Israel against the Palestinian people are unmistakable. As South Africans who have lived through and triumphed over apartheid, we have a moral obligation to stand against similar injustices wherever they occur.

“The Olympic Games are a global symbol of unity, peace, and respect for human dignity. Allowing Israel to participate despite its ongoing violations of international law and human rights undermines these core values. Just as the international community rallied to isolate apartheid South Africa, we must now call for the exclusion of Israel from the Olympics until it ends its discriminatory practices and respects the rights of the Palestinian people.”

See from Human Rights Watch: “World Court Finds Israel Responsible for Apartheid.

Al Jazeera reports: “Athletes from Russia and Belarus were banned from world sport following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but the IOC [International Olympic Committee] orchestrated their gradual return under a neutral banner, subject to strict conditions.”

Netanyahu Visit: Crimes and Lies

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is in Washington, D.C. Major protests begin Wednesday at 11 a.m. around the Capitol, prior to Netanyahu’s address there, which is reported to begin at 2 p.m.

Al Jazeera reports: “At least 70 people were killed in an Israeli attack on eastern Khan Younis which began minutes after the Israeli military issued mass evacuation orders. … UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine] chief Philippe Lazzarini said that Israeli forces shot at a UN convoy heading to Gaza City on Sunday despite the movement being approved by Israeli authorities. Israel’s Knesset passed three bills banning UNRWA, and designating it a ‘terrorist organisation.'”

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052@gmail.com, @richards1052
Silverstein writes at Tikun Olam. In “Netanyahu Lied, Gazans Died: Most Hamas Fighters Now Outside Rafah” Silverstein reports that Netanyahu continued pushing for an invasion of Rafah even though Israeli military officials assessed that the majority of Hamas’s forces were no longer there. On May 24, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, which it refused to do.

The International Criminal Court head prosecutor has filed for an arrest warrant for Netanyahu for “Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime. … Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime.” Silverstein wrote the piece “Mossad Mafia Threatens ICC Prosecutors, Journalists.

In a piece from 2016, “Netanyahu: Ethnic Cleanser,” Silverstein noted that in 1989, Netanyahu advocated for Israel to conduct “mass expulsions” of Palestinians while the world was focusing on the Tiananmen Square protests.

CNN reported recently of Netanyahu adding new demands in negotiations: “The new demand could potentially upend progress in hostage negotiations and raises further questions about Netanyahu’s commitment to Israel’s own proposal for a deal that has become the basis for detailed negotiations.”

HASSAN EL-TAYYAB, hassan@fcnl.org, @HassanElTayyab
Director of Middle East policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, El-Tayyab is participating in a news conference at the National Press Club this morning along with Israeli and U.S. military veterans, calling for a ceasefire. For contact with the veterans, contact Jacob Thomas, jacob@commondefense.us.

Some background on Netanyahu:

In its application to the International Court of Justice, South Africa quoted Netanyahu’s words to show genocidal intent: “‘We’re facing monsters, monsters who murdered children in front of their parents. … This is a battle not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilization against barbarism.’ On 28 October 2023, as Israeli forces prepared their land invasion of Gaza, the Prime Minister invoked the Biblical story of the total destruction of Amalek by the Israelites, stating: ‘you must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.'” [PDF]

See from The Intercept from 2015: “Benjamin Netanyahu’s Long History of Crying Wolf About Iran’s Nuclear Weapons,” which notes: “In his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism, Netanyahu asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in ‘three to five years.'”

Also in 2015, Netanyahu claimed, “There have been no new settlements built in 20 years.” (From “Democratic think tank lets Netanyahu lie unchallenged.”) The International Court of Justice in its recent ruling on the legality of Israel’s prolonged occupation stated [PDF] that the Israeli settlements have continued to be built and that they must be dismantled.

In 2002, Netanyahu spoke before a Congressional committee: “There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking, is working, is advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons. … Once Saddam has nuclear weapons, the terror network will have nuclear weapons. … If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”

After Step Aside Joe — Now What?

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JEFF COHEN, jeff@rootsaction.org, @Roots_Action
Cohen is co-founder of RootsAction.org, which has been sponsoring the “Step Aside Joe” campaign. He is a retired journalism professor at Ithaca College and founder of the media watch group FAIR. Cohen was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The group states: “We’re glad to see that Joe Biden has finally ended his presidential run. When we launched our ‘Step Aside Joe’ campaign 20 months ago, we’d hoped he would withdraw early enough for there to be an open primary process like in 2020, allowing the Democratic Party to consolidate behind a candidate strong enough to repel Donald Trump’s neofascism. While time is now short, we still hope that the Democrats will find a candidate who will animate the same kind of multigenerational, multiracial coalition of working people and grassroots activists that defeated Trump in 2020.”

Cohen supports an open selection process. Regarding Vice President Harris, Cohen notes parallels with 1968. “If she’s the nominee, will she separate herself from Biden on Gaza? If she can’t, I feel it’s a long shot that she can win, because it will keep many young activists, racial justice organizers, Arab and Muslim activists on the sidelines. (TV news just announced that she’ll be with Biden when he meets Bibi this week.)

“We’ve been here once before in history. I was 16 when LBJ shocked the political world and announced he wasn’t running again. It was over Vietnam. Vice President Humphrey couldn’t separate himself from LBJ on the war — until it was too late and he’d lost credibility.”

World Court Rules Overwhelmingly Against Israel’s Occupation

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UN whistleblower Craig Mokhiber said this morning: “The World Court has just rejected all Israeli, U.S. and western objections, ruled that the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (and all settlements), is entirely unlawful and declares Israel is committing racial segregation/apartheid in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories.]

“Importantly, they also ruled that the Oslo agreements do not and cannot trump the obligations of international law, which protect the rights of the Palestinian people.

“And it rules that Israel must evacuate all settlers, dismantle settlements and the wall, provide full reparations to Palestinian victims, and allow all Palestinians who were forced out to return.

“All states and international organizations must end any aid or assistance to the occupation and must take action to ensure that Israel complies and ends the occupation.” See his full thread. See full video of ruling, clips and written opinion is expected shortly here.

For background, see IPA release: “As World Court Rules on the Israeli Occupation, the U.S. Refuses to Recognize the Geneva Conventions.”

These legal scholars who have followed the case are available for interviews:

MICHAEL LYNK, mslynk@uwo.ca, @MichaelLynk5
Lynk served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory from 2016 to 2022. He is a non-resident fellow at DAWN. He will be participating in an X Space discussion at noon ET.

JOHN QUIGLEY, quigley.2@osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley’s books include The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict (Cambridge University Press). He said today: “The court was not asked whether Israel’s occupation was lawful from the beginning in 1967. It was not asked that question, which is the one it should have been asked. The occupation was illegal from the moment it began.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle@illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He represented Bosnia at the International Court of Justice (also called the World Court) in its Genocide Convention case against Yugoslavia. He has been featured on IPA news releases including “New World Court Order Against Israel: Could Uniting for Peace Stop Israel’s Assault?

J.D. Vance on Abortion Privacy

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Reporting by The Lever found that Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Donald Trump’s pick for vice presidential nominee, signed onto a letter pressuring federal regulators to “kill a privacy rule that prevents police from accessing the medical records of people seeking reproductive services.” 

The rule––the HIPAA Privacy Rule to Support Reproductive Health Care Privacy––was issued by the Biden administration in April 2024 and was designed “to prevent state and local police in anti-abortion states from using private records to hunt down and prosecute people who cross state lines in search of abortion services.” Experts fear that a Trump-Vance administration would succeed in rescinding the privacy rule.

HELEN SANTORO; hsantoro@levernews.com 
    Santoro is a reporter for The Lever focused on health care. 

Santoro told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “J.D. Vance is well-known for his work prior [to becoming a senator] as an author. But in light of Trump picking Vance as his vice presidential nominee, it’s important to look into these figures and their backgrounds across party lines.” This reporting may not surprise readers “who know about Vance’s views. But it’s good to expose the fact that he was on this letter that was designed to allow authorities to hunt down and prosecute individuals who cross state lines for abortion services.”

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires medical professions to “safeguard patient health information,” Santoro noted. “HIPAA is really important in terms of protecting medical information. In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Biden administration expanded the HIPAA rule to further protect those seeking abortion and other reproductive services. In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, lawmakers including J.D. Vance wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services rejecting the ruling [on HIPAA], urging them to withdraw it, and calling [abortion] a brutal act that destroys the life of an unborn child.” The rejection of the HIPAA expansion “didn’t end up happening. But it was a clear attempt [by Vance and other Republican lawmakers] to further limit abortion access in this country.

“It isn’t surprising that [Vance] signed onto the letter. We’ve heard the ‘abortion is not healthcare’ argument before. Along with exposing [Vance’s] beliefs and potential policies, it’s important to remember the research on this: that 42 percent of women who get abortions in the U.S. are black, that the number of people traveling across state lines are rising because of strict anti-abortion laws. This is a real issue affecting people every day. 

“J.D. Vance opposes abortion rights, even in cases of incest and rape. Given Trump’s track record of going along with these far-right abortion pushes, it will be interesting to see what happens as this campaign moves forward and if Trump is reelected. The GOP seems to have stepped back somewhat from its [most hardline] positions on abortion.”

As World Court Rules on the Israeli Occupation, the U.S. Refuses to Recognize the Geneva Conventions

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On Friday, the International Court of Justice (also called the World Court) is set to issue its “Advisory Opinion in respect of the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The case was heard in February, see video and report.

This case is years in the works, with the UN General Assembly having passed a resolution asking for the ruling in 2022. See Al-Haq position paper on the case, below.

This case is related to the 2004 ICJ case which found that Israel’s “construction of the wall and its associated regime are contrary to the relevant provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” The current case questions the legality of the 57-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as a whole.

However, the U.S. and Israel have refused to recognize the applicability of the Geneva Convention to the Palestinians. See Sam Husseini questioning State Department officials, “State Dept. Deceits on Geneva Convention.”

The Times of Israel recently reported that Finance Minister Bezalel “Smotrich calls on Netanyahu to annex West Bank if World Court declares settlements illegal.”

In December, Akbar Shahid Ahmed reported in the Huffington Post in “Amid U.N. Security Council Intrigue, U.S. Privately Moves To Block Another Option For International Accountability For Gaza” that: “The Biden administration is finalizing plans to urge Switzerland to reject a request from Palestine and its supporters to hold a conference on violations of the Geneva Conventions.”

Jewish News Syndicate reports: “The International Criminal Court in The Hague is expected to issue arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant within the next two weeks, according to Israel’s Channel 14.”

Netanyahu is scheduled to give a speech at the U.S. Capitol on July 24. Major protests are expected.

These legal scholars who have followed the case are available for interviews:

MICHAEL LYNK, mslynk@uwo.ca, @MichaelLynk5
Lynk served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory from 2016 to 2022. He is a non-resident fellow at DAWN.

JOHN QUIGLEY, quigley.2@osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley’s books include The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict (Cambridge University Press). He recently wrote the piece “Forget the Security Council: The General Assembly Can Admit Palestine.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle@illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He represented Bosnia at the International Court of Justice in its Genocide Convention case against Yugoslavia. He has been interviewed by MSNBC, CBS News and other outlets on the South Africa genocide case against Israel. See a recent interview by Rachel Blevins.

The Genocide Convention case is ongoing and has resulted in Orders by the ICJ for Israel to stop its offensive in Rafah, which Israel and the U.S. have continued to ignore.

The Al-Haq report states that “the prohibition in Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that ‘the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,’ was intended to prevent ‘a practise adopted during the Second World War by some Powers which transferred parts of their own populations into occupied territories for political and racial reasons or, as they claimed, in order to colonise those territories.’ Under international law, there is neither ‘permanent occupation’ nor ‘settler-occupation.’ Therefore, Israel’s policies and practices are more akin to those of colonial powers than those of an occupying power.”

* RNC Protests * “Wars Overseas Will Come Home”

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Common Dreams reports: “With Media Enamored by U.S. Presidential Race, Israeli Massacres in Gaza Get Even Deadlier.” The International Court of Justice will issue its opinion on the legality of Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian land on Friday.

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan@earthlink.net @ColeenRowley
A resident of Minnesota, Rowley was just with a group of peace activists at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They had a big red “Stop the Genocide” banner. See “For many RNC protesters, there is dissatisfaction with both Republicans and Democrats.” She notes that the local police were “dialogue police” who actually helped ensure peaceful protests.

She has long connected an increase in domestic U.S. violence with wars. See her 2018 interview “FBI Whistleblower: America’s Culture of Violence Starts With Perpetual Wars.”

Rowley is a retired FBI agent and was named one of TIME magazine’s Persons of the Year in 2002. Since 2004, she’s been speaking at academic and other professional venues with an emphasis on ethical decision-making. She is a long-time member of Women Against Military Madness and Veterans for Peace.

MATTHEW HOH, matthew.hoh@icloud.com, @MatthewPHoh
Hoh is the associate director of the Eisenhower Media Network. He is a former Marine Corps captain, an Afghanistan State Department officer and a disabled Iraq War veteran. He just wrote the piece “Defending Democracy” on his Substack. “The elected majorities of both political parties argue Israel’s genocide of Palestinians must be supported because Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. $175 billion, in just 2 1/2 years, has been appropriated for war in Ukraine to defend democracy. The GOP and the Democrats have brought about a needless and reckless cold war with China, again, because of democracy.

“The wars I took part in, Afghanistan and Iraq, were waged by the U.S. under banners of freedom and democracy. The same with Libya and Syria. Millions were killed, wounded and made homeless. The hot wars of Cold War I that killed tens of millions were justified by the need to make the world safe for democracy.

“For generations, U.S. political and military leaders, amplified constantly by an enthusiastic media, have asserted to the American people that the slaughter of millions around the world has been necessary to protect democracy from what are almost always described as historically dangerous forces. …

“Wars overseas will come home.”

Hoh is a board member of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

The Only Kind of “Political Violence” All U.S. Politicians Oppose

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NATASHA LENNARD, natasha.lennard@gmail.com, @natashalennard
Lennard is a columnist for The Intercept and author of Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life.

She just wrote the piece “The Only Kind of ‘Political Violence’ All U.S. Politicians Oppose.” She writes: “A bipartisan sampling of the world’s greatest perpetrators and enablers of political violence has rushed to condemn political violence following the shooting attempt on former President Donald Trump on Saturday.

“Politicians swiftly coalesced around the language of ‘political violence,’ rather than terrorism, to describe the assassination attempt, carried out by Thomas Matthew Crooks, who was shot dead at the Western Pennsylvania rally. Taken together, the outpourings of condemnations betray a clear agreement on what constitutes political violence, and in whose hands the monopoly on violence should remain.

“‘The idea that there’s political violence … in America like this, is just unheard of, it’s just not appropriate,’ said President Joe Biden, the backer of Israel’s genocidal war against Palestine, with a death toll that researchers believe could reach 186,000 Palestinians. Biden’s narrower point was correct, though: Deadly attacks on the American ruling class are vanishingly rare these days. Political violence that is not ‘like this’ — the political violence of organized abandonment, poverty, militarized borders, police brutality, incarceration, and deportation — is commonplace.

“’Everybody must condemn it,’ Biden said of the assassination attempt.

“And condemn it, most everyone in the Democratic political establishment has: ‘Political violence is absolutely unacceptable,’ wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on X. ‘There is absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy,’ tweeted former President Barack Obama, who oversaw war efforts and military strikes against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan with massive civilian death tolls; Obama added that we should ‘use this moment to recommit ourselves to civility and respect in our politics.’ ‘There is no place for political violence, including the horrific incident we just witnessed in Pennsylvania,’ wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

“The chorus of condemnation was predictable and not in itself a problem: There’s nothing wrong with desiring a world without stochastic assassination attempts, even against political opponents. But when you have Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Israel Katz of the fascistic ruling Likud Party, tweeting, ‘Violence can never ever be part of politics,’ the very concept of ‘political violence’ is evacuated of meaning.

“The problem is not so much one of hypocrisy or insincerity — vices so common in politics that they hardly merit mention. The issue, rather, is what picture of ‘political violence’ this messaging serves: To say that ‘political violence’ has ‘no place’ in a society organized by political violence at home and abroad is to acquiesce to the normalization of that violence, so long as it is state and capitalist monopolized.

“As author Ben Ehrenreich noted on X, ‘There is no place for political violence against rich, white men. It is antithetical to everything America stands for.'”

Election Denialism as a National Security Issue

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A recent Ipsos/Reuters poll reported that “two out of three Americans say they are concerned that political violence could follow the Nov. 5 election.” According to election integrity experts, the public fears multiple kinds of election-related violence: pre-election, election day, and post-election. 

KAREN GREENBERG; kgreenberg3@law.fordham.edu 
    Greenberg is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law. She is the co-editor of Our Nation at Risk: Election Integrity as a National Security Issue

Greenberg told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “A number of things come under the rubric of election violence when you talk about what people are worried about and what state, local, and federal agencies are worried about. There are pre-election, election day, and post-election worries. It’s a big basket. The thing that comes to mind most quickly is threats to poll workers… [as well as] threats to people who might show up at the polls in certain localities. The threats to election workers are both pre-election and day-of.” One Brennan Center survey found that since 2020, “38 percent of local election officials experienced threats, harassment, or abuse for doing their jobs.”

Some workers have chosen not to continue working the polls because they “don’t want to subject themselves to that treatment, [such as] threats or misbehavior or their families being threatened,” Greenberg said. Free and fair elections are in danger “when election workers are getting threats and don’t want to do election work for legitimate reasons… Is there a mechanism by which to calm election workers, to give them a sense that they will be protected?” Since 2021, the Department of Justice has attempted to create such a mechanism via the Election Threat Task Force, which aims to address threats to election workers. To date, the task force has prosecuted 17 cases. 

Greenberg suggests that there is reason to believe the election will be more safe and secure than past elections. “There is a full-throated effort to take care of this, and I think we’ll be better prepared.” In a recent piece for TomDispatch, Greenberg and Julian Zelizer wrote about the history of the electoral system and reforms to it. “We’ve known about vulnerabilities in the electoral system since the founding of the country,” Greenberg told the Institute for Public Accuracy. “Incrementally, we’ve tried to fix them––usually after there’s been some sort of crisis,” such as after the 1876 contested presidential election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden. 

In recent years, increased federal funds have been directed toward reforms. Since 2020, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and Congress have allocated an extra $205 million for election protection. Congress has passed the Electoral Count Reform Act, which attempts to improve the process of certifying the vote and ensure a smooth transition of power. Congress also passed legislation in 2022 to establish a Foreign Malign Influence Center to counter foreign disinformation. These reforms address the problems of election denialism and claims of fraud. “No matter how much integrity the election has,” Greenberg added, “it’s important that the messaging around this election is clear [and] that the processes are clear.”

Greenberg noted that experts are still calling for more state funding for election protection. “The proof will be in the pudding,” Greenberg said. “We’ll find out [how much extra protection is being offered] as we go forward… We know the names of a variety of [initiatives] throughout the government that are attending to this,” including the Electoral Count Reform Act and Election Threat Task Force, “but we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.” 

Greenberg also noted the importance of the courts and Congress in shoring up election integrity. “The role of the Supreme Court is important,” Greenberg added. “In 2000, in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court decided the election. Prior to that, the Supreme Court had been reluctant to get involved in presidential elections. That was a big threshold… After Bush v. Gore, after the gutting of the heart of the Voting Rights Act, after 2020, we’ve seen that this electoral system has been under tremendous attack. Our Nation at Risk talks about what can change that isn’t just one-liners: not just ‘get rid of the Electoral College’… It’s the citizenry, the Supreme Court, and Congress. They’re all addressable. It’s not just chaos versus a perfect system.”

Israel’s Famine, Ethnic Cleansing and Settlement Plans Proceeding

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Democracy Now reports: “U.N. Experts Declare Israel’s ‘Targeted Starvation Campaign’ Has Led to Famine and Genocide” and “Their Goal Is Total Ethnic Cleansing: Mustafa Barghouti on Israel’s Expulsion Order for Gaza City.”

JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN, sarinj111@gmail.com
Loewenstein is former Associate Director of Middle Eastern Studies and Senior Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has lived and reported from Gaza and Beirut. She highlights a series of critical recent reports:

Haaretz reports in “Road to Redemption: How Israel’s War Against Hamas Turned Into a Springboard for Jewish Settlement in Gaza” that: The army’s activities in the occupied areas are diverse: expanding military bases, building infrastructure and even paving roads, all while under persistent Hamas fire. Based on satellite imagery analysis and other open sources, Haaretz calculates that the Israeli army now controls about 26 percent of Gaza. … After nine months of war, the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Gazans to the southern part of the Strip is becoming permanent. The IDF has occupied strategic areas from which Gazans fled, flattened them and turned them into positions used to control the Strip.” Haaretz reports that Israel has a plan in place which includes surrounding the Gaza strip and cutting it in half.

AP reports: “The Israeli military urged all Palestinians to leave Gaza City and head south Wednesday, pressing ahead with a fresh offensive across the north, south and center of the embattled territory that has killed dozens of people over the past 48 hours. The stepped-up military activity came as U.S., Egyptian and Qatari mediators met with Israeli officials in the Qatari capital, Doha, for talks seeking a long-elusive cease-fire deal with Gaza’s Hamas group in exchange for the release of dozens of Israeli hostages it is holding. …

“Israel informed people in Gaza of the evacuation order by dropping leaflets urging ‘all those in Gaza City’ to take two ‘safe routes’ south to the area around the central town of Deir al-Balah. Gaza City, it said, will ‘remain a dangerous combat zone.’ … Israeli troops have pushed into parts of Gaza City in recent days, triggering the flight of thousands of Palestinians trying to escape shelling and airstrikes. This past week, the military ordered Palestinians to evacuate from eastern and central parts of the city. …

“Israeli bombardment early Wednesday hit four houses in Deir al-Balah and the nearby Nuseirat refugee camp, killing 20 Palestinians. Among the dead were six children and three women, according to officials at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where the casualties were taken. An Associated Press reporter counted the bodies. The house hit in Deir al-Balah was inside the ‘humanitarian safe zone’ where Israel has told Palestinians to flee for refuge.

“Israel’s new ground assault in Gaza’s largest city has prompted what the U.N. called a ‘dangerously chaotic’ exodus of people scattering in multiple directions, unsure where to go. Some have fled to other parts of the north. The new Israeli military leaflets encouraged a mass movement south to the purported ‘humanitarian zone,’ promising that people leaving Gaza City on the defined routes would not be stopped at Israeli checkpoints.”

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