Daily Sabah/Associated Press – November 16, 2023
Israel drops leaflets warning civilians of wider attacks in S. Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS, GAZA STRIP
Israel, signaling a possible expansion of operations in Gaza's south, dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to flee, residents reported Thursday, pressuring hundreds of thousands of people crowded into U.N.-run shelters and family homes who had already heeded earlier evacuation orders issued in the north.
If Israeli troops move south, it is not clear where Gaza’s population can flee, as Egypt refuses to allow a mass transfer onto its soil.
Meanwhile, soldiers continued searching Al-Shifa Hospital in the north, in a raid that began early Wednesday that has yet to uncover evidence of the central Hamas command center that Israel has claimed is concealed beneath the complex. Hamas and staff at the hospital, Gaza's largest, deny the allegations.
Broadening the offensive to the south – where Israel already carries out daily air raids – threatens to worsen an already severe humanitarian crisis in the besieged territory. Over 1.5 million people have been internally displaced in Gaza, with most having fled to the south, where food, water and electricity are increasingly scarce.
The war, now in its sixth week, was triggered by a wide-ranging Hamas attack into southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and captured some 240 men, women and children. Israel responded with a weekslong air campaign and a ground invasion of northern Gaza, vowing to remove Hamas from power and crush its military capabilities.
More than 11,200 Palestinians have been killed, two-thirds of them women and minors, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 have been reported missing, with most believed to be buried under the rubble. The official count does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths.
Israeli troops on Wednesday stormed into Gaza’s largest hospital, searching for traces of Hamas inside and beneath the facility, where newborns and hundreds of other patients have suffered for days without electricity and other basic necessities.
Troops were searching the underground levels of the hospital on Thursday and detained technicians responsible for running its equipment, the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said in a statement.
After encircling Shifa for days, Israel faced pressure to prove its claim that Hamas was using the patients, staff and civilians sheltering there to provide cover for its fighters. The allegation is part of Israel's broader accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.
The military released video from inside Al-Shifa that showed three duffel bags it said it found hidden around an MRI lab, each containing an assault rifle, grenades and Hamas uniforms, as well as a closet that contained a number of assault rifles without ammunition clips. The Associated Press (AP) could not independently verify the Israeli claims that the weapons were found inside the hospital.
Patients' lives at stake
Hamas and Gaza health officials deny militants operate in Al-Shifa – a hospital that employs some 1,500 people and has more than 500 beds. The Palestinians and rights groups accuse Israel of recklessly endangering civilians.
Munir al-Boursh, a senior official with Gaza’s Health Ministry inside the hospital, said that for hours, the troops ransacked the basement and other buildings, including those housing the emergency and surgery departments, and searched the grounds for tunnels. Troops questioned and face-screened patients, staff and people sheltering in the facility, he said, adding that he did not know if any were detained.
"Patients, women and children are terrified,” he told the AP by phone Wednesday.
The military said its troops killed four Hamas members outside the hospital at the start of the operation, but through days of fighting, there were no reports of members of Hamas firing from inside Al-Shifa. There were also no reports of any fighting within the hospital after Israeli troops entered.
The military said it was carrying out a "precise and targeted operation" in a specific area of the hospital, and that its soldiers were accompanied by medical teams bringing in incubators and other supplies.
At one point, tens of thousands of Palestinians fleeing Israeli bombardment were sheltering at Al-Shifa, but most left in recent days as the fighting drew closer. The fate of premature babies at the hospital has drawn particular concern.
The Health Ministry said 40 patients, including three babies, have died since the hospital's emergency generator ran out of fuel Saturday. There was no immediate word on the condition of another 36 babies, who the ministry said earlier were at risk of dying because there is no power for incubators.
The leaflets, dropped in areas east of the southern town of Khan Younis, warned civilians to evacuate the area and said anyone in the vicinity of Hamas fighters or their positions "is putting his life in danger.” Similar leaflets were dropped over northern Gaza for weeks ahead of the ground invasion.
Two local reporters who live east of Khan Younis confirmed seeing the leaflets. Others shared images of the leaflets on social media.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday the ground operation will eventually "include both the north and south. We will strike Hamas wherever it is.”
The military says it has largely consolidated its control of the north, including seizing and demolishing government buildings. Video released by the army Thursday showed soldiers moving between heavily damaged buildings through holes blown in their walls.
On Thursday, the military said it had blown up a residence belonging to Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader based abroad. It was unclear if anyone was inside the building.
Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have already crowded into the territory’s south, where a worsening fuel shortage threatens to paralyze the delivery of humanitarian services and shut down mobile phone and internet service.
Conditions in southern Gaza have been deteriorating as bombardment continues to level buildings. Residents say bread is scarce and supermarket shelves are bare. Families cook on wood fires for lack of fuel. Central electricity and running water have been out for weeks across Gaza.
Israel allowed a small amount of fuel to enter Gaza on Wednesday, for the first time since the war began, so that the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, which is providing basic services to hundreds of thousands of people, could continue bringing limited supplies of aid through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
The fuel cannot be used for hospitals or to desalinate water, and covers less than 10% of what the agency needs to sustain "lifesaving activities,” said Thomas White, the agency’s Gaza director.
The Palestinian telecom company Paltel, meanwhile, said it expected services to halt later Wednesday because of the lack of fuel or electricity. Gaza has experienced three previous mass communication outages since the ground invasion.
‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 40:
Israeli forces storm Al-Shifa Hospital, strip-naked and arrest people inside
Israeli forces took dozens of Palestinians captive inside Al-Shifa and bombed their way into floors and rooms. The Palestinian health minister warned of a massacre to be committed in the complex.
BY MUSTAFA ABU SNEINEH
11,255 killed*, including 4,630 children, and 29,000 wounded in Gaza
196 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,200
*This figure covers the casualties from October 7 to November 14.
In hospital raid, Israeli forces took captive dozens of displaced people, relatives of patients and the injured inside Al-Shifa, after stripping them of their clothes, blindfolding them, and taking them to “unknown” locations.
The buildings of the nephrology and the internal medicine departments at Al-Shifa Hospital were the first to be stormed by Israeli forces overnight, Al-Jazeera reported. Israeli forces also detonated a medicine storehouse at the hospital.
White House backs Israeli accusations of a Hamas command underneath Al-Shifa Hospital, which Hamas denied. Hospital staff have called on independent, third-party investigators to come to the hospital and investigate the claim, which they also say is false.
Hamas: White House adoption of false claims of command center under Al-Shifa is a “green light to the [Israeli] occupation force to commit more massacres against civilians.”
Health official: Israeli forces shot at Palestinians who left the Al-Shifa complex through the “safe corridor” which they set up.
Belize severs ties with Israel and withdraws the accreditation of Tel Aviv’s ambassador.
Israeli forces storm Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility
Israeli forces and tanks stormed on Wednesday morning Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, following a late-night threat call to the hospital’s medical staff warning them of an imminent incursion inside the sprawling complex at “any minute”.
Currently housing thousands of patients, doctors, and civilian families, Al-Shifa has been a primary target of Israel since the beginning of its war on Gaza. In recent days Israel and the US have been ramping up claims of alleged “intelligence” to support Israel’s allegation of a Hamas command center that it says lies beneath the hospital.
Bottom of Form
Following the threatening call on Tuesday night, Al Jazeera reported that hospital staff warned Israeli forces that there were thousands of civilians and patients in the wards.
Ashraf Al-Qudra, the Ministry of Health spokesman, who broke the news of the raid plan during a live call on Al-Jazeera Arabic, said that Palestinians inside Al-Shifa were terrified upon hearing the news, leaving many in a state of panic.
Wednesday morning local time, shortly after 8am, Israeli tanks and forces bombed the northern wall of Al-Shifa complex and made their way through to the main courtyard and to various medical buildings that make up the hospital.
By noon Wednesday, reports confirmed that Israeli forces were inside all the buildings of Al-Shifa complex. Al-Jazeera reported that dozens of displaced people and relatives of patients and the injured were arrested, after being stripped of their clothes and blindfolded, and taken to “unknown” destinations.
No pictures are coming from inside Al-Shifa complex during the Israeli storming and internet and signal communication are unstable.
Eyewitnesses told Al-Jazeera Arabic that forces ordered civilians and medical staff to move to the upper floors of the buildings, and that they could hear explosions in the lower floors of the complex, but could not confirm what it was. Shrapnel from Israeli explosives reportedly fell on civilians and shattered windows in the hospital.
The buildings of the nephrology and the internal medicine were the first to be stormed by Israel forces, who detonated a medicine storehouse, Al-Jazeera reported. Then it stormed the facilities of maternity and the specialist departments.
Israeli forces detonated some doors and shouted in loudspeakers at young men who were sheltering in the hospital to hand themselves in.
Later on Wednesday morning, after destroying medical stores inside the hospital, the government of Israel posted photos and videosﾠon social media claiming to show its soldiers delivering aid to the hospital. Earlier this week Israel also published videos showing its soldiers delivering a number of gallon tanks of fuel to the area outside Al-Shifa, claiming that Hamas refused the ﾓoffering,ﾔ Medical staff at the hospital, however, said its staff were too fearful to go outside and receive the fuel because of Israeli snipers positioned around the hospital, and that the fuel provided by Israel would only be enough to power parts of the hospital for 30 minutes.
Prior to the storming on Wednesday morning, Al-Shifa has been under Israeli siege for the past six days. People attempting to leave the premises were under the danger of being shot by Israeli forces, while witnesses inside the hospital say that they were coming under fire while moving within the complex as well. Ambulances were also blocked from rescuing the injured or transferring the bodies in the hospital’s vicinity.
There are unconfirmed figures of thousands of patients, injured, displaced people and medical staff inside the hospital, which went completely out of service on Sunday, November 12th. The hospital had already been suffering from food and water shortages, as well as the deaths of dozens of patients, including premature babies, due to lack of oxygen and electricity at the hospital.
On Tuesday, just hours before the Israeli raid, medical staff and volunteers dug a mass grave to bury 170 bodies that had been piling up at the hospital and were beginning to decompose, as the hospital has no mortuary refrigeration.
Except for the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza’s Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, all of northern Gaza’s hospitals have gone out of service due to the lack of fuel, medical supplies, and intense damage sustained by Israeli bombardment. Even the Al-Ahli hospital is running on limited and stopped receiving patients as they ran out of fuel, medicine and suffered damages to the facilities. However, Al-Ahli also has limited resources to treat mild and moderate cases only, health officials say.
US backs the Israeli storming of Al-Shifa Hospital
The US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby backed Israel’s plan to storm the Al-Shifa complex, repeating the unverified Israeli allegation that a command center for the Palestinians resistance lies underneath it.
Kirby said on Tuesday that there were tunnels for Hamas and Islamic Jihad underneath Al-Shifa “to conceal and to support military operations and to hold hostages.”
Kirby said the information was gathered from a number of “intelligence methods,” and added that President Biden downgraded the classification level of some US intelligence data in order to share with the media, Reuters reported.
“Hamas and the PIJ members operate a command and control node from Al-Shifa in Gaza City. They have stored weapons there and they are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility,” he said.
Kirby added that “hospitals and patients must be protected” and “Hamas actions do not lessen Israel’s responsibility to protect civilians in Gaza”.
Hamas has repeatedly denied this accusation, and Palestinian factions and health officials have called repeatedly for international teams and independent investigators to visit Al-Shifa and other hospitals to conduct an investigation.
On Wednesday, Hamas said in a statement they hold “the Israeli occupation and President Biden wholly responsible for the assault on al-Shifa medical complex.”
“The adoption by the White House and the Pentagon of the occupation’s false claim that the resistance is using al-Shifa medical complex for military ends has given the green light to the occupation to commit more massacres against civilians,” it added.
Early on Wednesday, the Arabic spokesman of the Israeli forces Avichai Adraee tweeted that Israeli forces were carrying out an operation in “certain parts” of Al-Shifa based on intelligence information.
He claimed that there was a “safe corridor” for people to leave Al-Shifa. According to medical officials, Israel forces shot at Palestinians who left the complex through the “safe corridor” which they set up. Eyewitnesses also told Al-Jazeera that they were asked to stay away from windows and doors as snipers were shooting at anyone looking outside.
Israeli forces said they were met with explosive devices and armed clashes from Palestinian fighters before their incursion into Al-Shifa.
Haaretz reported that the Israeli forces’ primary goal of storming Al-Shifa was to destroy Hamas network and their stash of weaponry and to possibly rescue captives.
Muhammad Zaqout, the General Director of Gaza Hospitals, confirmed that not a single Palestinian bullet was fired from inside Al-Shifa when forces stormed the complex on Wednesday morning, and that Israeli forces encountered no resistance.
“The occupation forces stormed the surgical and emergency buildings in Al-Shifa complex, entered the emergency department, and are now searching the hospital’s basement,” he told Al-Jazeera.
Media cameras have been focused for the past 40 days of the war on the emergency building of Al-Shifa.
“The occupation army believed that its soldiers entering the Shifa complex would be a victory for it, but it did not find any evidence of the existence of resistance,” he added.
There are an estimated 1,500 medical staff and 7,000 people inside Al-Shifa, according to Zaqout. However, figures are hard to confirm as Gaza lacks proper internet and telecommunication signals.
Condemnations of Al-Shifa Hospital raid
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) voiced its alarm over Israel’s raid on the Al-Shifa Hospital on Wednesday, saying “We are extremely concerned about the impact on sick and wounded people, medical staff, and civilians,” adding that “all measures to avoid any consequences on them must be taken”.
Senior UN aid official Martin Griffiths wrote on X that he was ﾓappalledﾔﾠby the raid on Al-Shifa hospital, saying “the protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns. Hospitals are not battlegrounds.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, described the raids as “deeply concerning.”
Mai al-Kaila, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Minister of Health in Ramallah condemned the raid on Al-Shifa hospital, saying that Israeli forces bore responsibility for the safety and lives of patients in Al-Shifa, and warned of a massacre to be committed inside it.
Al-Kaila said that the meek global reaction to Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip had emboldened it to storm Al-Shifa, in violation of international law. She added that since October 7th, Israeli forces have killed 198 medical staff in the Gaza Strip.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the UN Security Council and the international community “must shoulder its moral responsibilities and work to put pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to stop its continued aggression, war, and targeting of civilians, especially women and children, which may not be justified under any justification or excuse.”
Al-Shifa is one of Gaza’s oldest medical facilities, built atop of a British barracks in 1946. The complex includes buildings for surgery, internal disease, obstetrics and gynaecology, a nursery for premature babies, emergency department, intensive care units, radiology and blood bank.
It has 500 to 700 hospital beds and serves the medical needs of almost half a million people in Gaza. It is built on 45,000 square meters of land in western of Gaza City, and employs 1,500 medical staff, including 500 doctors and 760 nurses.
Wednesday was not the first time Israel raided Al-Shifa Hospital. Prior to 2005, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, its forces stormed and targeted Al-Shifa during the First and Second Intifadas multiple times.
The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday evening that 11,451 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank since October 7, and 31,700 have been wounded.
The ministry said it is facing difficulty updating casualty figures due to the lack of communication services in northern Gaza hospitals.
In the Gaza Strip alone, an estimated 11,255 have been killed, including 4,630 children, 3,130 women, and 682 elderly, while 29,000 were wounded. Almost 3,250 people are missing and believed dead or trapped under the rubble, including 1,700 children.
Ground invasion: Israeli forces capture Palestinian parliament, Hamas says it destroyed Israeli tanks
As Israel’s ground invasion moves deeper into Gaza, Israeli forces said it captured the Palestinian parliament in Gaza City and released a photo of soldiers inside it. It also announced the control of the police headquarters in Gaza.
At least 49 Israeli soldiers were announced dead in the battles with Palestinian factions. The fighting between Israeli forces and resistance fighters did not stop since Israel invaded Gaza on October 28.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are still launching rockets at Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza Strip and as far as Tel Aviv and armed clashes are still taking place in northern and southern parts of Gaza City.
On Wednesday, Hamas said it launched rockets on Asqalan (Ashkelon), where sirens went off, and that it attacked Israeli military vehicles with the 114mm Rajum rocket launcher, and in Deir Al-Balah, it targeted tanks with 105mm Al-Yaseen shells.
Islamic Jihad said on Wednesday that it shot down an Israeli Skylark drone.
In southern Lebanon, Israeli forces fired into the town of Al-Khiam, and launched airstrikes on the Merkaba and Kafr Kila villages, after a drone was launched from Lebanon setting off the sirens in the Israeli towns of Kiryat Shmona and Margaliot in north of occupied Palestine.
Arrests in the West Bank continue; Belize cuts ties with Israel
In the West Bank, 196 Palestinians have been killed and 2,700 wounded since October 7th, as Israeli forces ramp up raids in the occupied territory.
On Tuesday evening, the ministry of health announced the death of Yamen Kamel Ateeq from the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Ateeq had succumbed to wounds he sustained after being shot with two bullets by Israeli forces on October 29.
Overnight Tuesday Israeli forces arrested 54 Palestinians, including a number of female university students from Hebron. Forces raided houses and arrested people from Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Ramallah and Jerusalem, Wafa reported.
Meanwhile on Tuesday evening, the government of Belize, a nation on the eastern coast of Central America and on the Caribbean, said it was severing ties with Israel. Belize follows Bolivia, who cut its diplomatic ties with Israel in October.
In a statement, Belize said that Israeli forces “engaged in incessant indiscriminate shelling” in Gaza that has killed more than 11,000 innocent civilians, mostly women and children.
“The bombardment has destroyed many buildings and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and other constructions,” adding that Israel has “systematically violated international law, international humanitarian law, and the human rights of Gazans.”
Belize withdrew the accreditation of Israel’s ambassador in the country.
The censure of Rashida Tlaib, the Creole uprising, and the American Civil War
By Tom Mackaman
Congress’ November 7 censure of Rep. Rashida Tlaib for her condemnation of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza—in a motion championed by none other than the fascist congresswoman from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene—is a milestone in the decline of American democracy. Twenty-two Democrats joined the entire Republican delegation to denounce Tlaib.
The facts of the genocide are not in dispute. It is being broadcast live, for all the world to see. High-ranking Israeli figures call Palestinians “animals,” demand the nuclear annihilation of Gaza, and invoke a new “Nakba” of forced dispossession for its 2 million residents, among other blood curdling statements. But, of course, Tlaib was not censured because of the facts. Her offense is that she dared to express sympathy for the Palestinians, a sentiment which runs counter to the aims of American imperialism.
As noted in a World Socialist Web Site Perspective published November 9, this is the first time in American history that a member of Congress has been censured for political speech. There is, however, a highly revealing historical antecedent, as the Perspective also noted:
While Rashida Tlaib is the first US House member to be censured solely for political speech, there is one other representative who was censured for his political actions. Representative Joshua Giddings of Ohio was censured in 1842 for violation of what was known as the “Gag Rule,” imposed by the pro-slavery Democratic Party majority in 1836, after a flood of anti-slavery petitions and resolutions had been submitted to the House. This rule, in effect until 1844, barred any discussion or proposal in the House on the subject of emancipation.
Giddings introduced a series of resolutions in support of 128 slaves who had rebelled and seized control of the American slave ship Creole in 1841. They diverted it from its course, from Virginia to the slave market in New Orleans, and forced the crew to sail them to the Bahamas, then a British territory, where slavery had been abolished. The colonial authorities declared the slaves free, but the US government, under President John Tyler, sued for their return to the slave owners.
To understand the Creole affair, and its connection to the censuring of Tlaib, some historical background is necessary.
Britain and the US had joined in abolishing the transatlantic slave trade, in 1807 and 1808, respectively. But in perverse fashion, the banning of the transatlantic trade, coupled with the explosion in cotton production paced by British industrialization, actually increased the value of slaves and breathed life into an internal American slave trade, which soon became the second most lucrative business in the South, after cotton itself, as the historian Ira Berlin noted.
The depletion of the soil in Virginia after two centuries of tobacco production might otherwise have confirmed the Founders’ hopes that slavery would wither away as it had done in the North in those years—Washington, for example, switched Mount Vernon away from tobacco to cereal production, while Jefferson, who continued to raise tobacco, died more than $100,000 in debt at Monticello on July 4, 1826. Though tobacco had indeed declined, this new internal trade in human beings revived slavery in Virginia and linked “the Old Dominion” to the new states of the Black Belt (named so for the rich alluvial soil conducive to cotton production), including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, whose plantations had a seemingly insatiable demand for slave labor.
Many of the slaves caught up in this inhuman traffic were “sold down the river”—a saying applying to transfers carried along the South’s many slow, navigable rivers, which then entered American English as a rough synonym for the word “betrayal.” But many others were transported on slave ships, the “coastwise slave trade,” as it was called. Because these slaves transported by the coastwise trade were not brought from Africa or other lands, they did not fall under the ban on the American and British prohibition of the transatlantic slave trade. However, because they were moved on the high seas, the slaves’ legal status as chattel might possibly be challenged.
This is the background to the uprising on the Creole, which in 1841 was en route from Newport News, Virginia to New Orleans, the country’s biggest slave market, when a slave named Madison Washington launched an attack that overcame the crew, killing one. The slaves on the Creole, aware that the British Empire had abolished slavery in 1833, demanded that the ship be steered to Nassau, in the West Indies. Arriving on November 9, 1841, British authorities freed 128 slaves aboard the vessel in accordance with the law.
The southern oligarchy, and its representatives in Washington, were outraged. Secretary of State Daniel Webster, a northern Whig, led the diplomatic charge against Britain. The clamor threatened even war. Ultimately, an arbiter selected to settle the dispute ruled in favor of the US, requiring Britain to pay $110,330 in total damages to American claimants who had lost their human property.
The Creole affair took place during what came to be called “the sectional crisis” between North and South. The two-party system of Democrats and Whigs was built on the suppression of the slavery issue, much as the Democratic and Republican parties today depend on the suppression of the class question. To head off the growing influence of the antislavery movement, abolitionist literature was banned from the mails of the South, and a “gag rule” was imposed on the reading of abolitionist petitions in Congress—both measures in obvious contravention of the First Amendment.
Giddings, a congressman “notorious for endorsing slave rebellion,” introduced a series of resolutions defending the freedom of the slaves aboard the Creole, in open defiance of the gag rule. He argued that because the Creole was on the high seas and sailing under a US flag, “the persons on board cease to be subject to the slave laws” of the southern states. Rather, national law applied, and the slaves, in taking over the ship and sailing it to the British West Indies, had asserted “their natural rights of personal liberties.”
Though Giddings was censured 125-69, with members of his own Whig Party joining the majority, and though he was disallowed from speaking in his own defense, he wound up “doubly vindicated,” as James Oakes puts it. First, after resigning, he was sent back to Congress by his Ashtabula, Ohio constituents in a landslide vote just a few months later. Second, his constitutional interpretation of slavery—that it was a state and not a federal institution, and that therefore the national government could legislate against it where state laws did not apply—became the central legal strategy of the antislavery movement that “would run through the politics of the 1850s, be articulated by Abraham Lincoln as a politician and president, and finally be made explicit in the Constitution in post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution,” in the words of William Lee Miller.
The gag rule was repealed in 1844, two years after Giddings’ censure. It was a sweet victory for John Quincy Adams, the former president and son of the Founding Father John Adams. Quincy Adams had been the tireless leader of the struggle against the gag rule. Earlier, in 1840, he had served as the victorious attorney for the defense of Africans—illegally taken into slavery—who had mutinied aboard the ship the Amistad. Later, he led the fight against the Polk administration’s annexation of Texas and the drive to war with Mexico—a land grab for the expansion of slavery that would cost Mexico more than half its territory. Adams suffered a massive stroke on the floor of Congress on February 21, 1848, dying two days later. The same day Adams collapsed a young congressman from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, was seated in the House for the first time. Lincoln roomed with Giddings during his one term in Congress.
John Quincy Adams
Giddings’ vindication in the Creole affair indicated that sentiment in the population was moving against slavery. Likewise, though Tlaib has been censured, the overwhelming mood on a global scale, growing stronger every day, is that the ongoing mass murder of Palestinians is a crime of historic proportions. On Capitol Hill, opposition to genocide is isolated. But among the working masses of the world, a deep sense of solidarity dominates, as proven by what may well be the largest wave of antiwar demonstrations in world history.
The present members of the 118th Congress, it is safe to assume, know almost nothing about the sectional crisis, much less the Giddings censure carried out by their forbears in the 27th. The greed and venality of these so-called “representatives of the people” is exceeded only by their ignorance of history. If they knew anything at all about the past, they might be aware that history shows, countless times over, that the oppressed rise up against their oppressors.
From the peasant Jacquerie against the French nobility in 1358 to Pontiac’s Rebellion of 1763, to China’s Boxer Rebellion of 1899, to Kenya’s Mau Mau uprising against the British in 1955, such bloody uprisings have occurred again and again. The rebels, history also shows, kill not only soldiers but civilians. It is believed, for example, that Pontiac’s Indian forces killed upwards of 500 settlers in western Pennsylvania and other frontier areas, often quite brutally. Yet serious historians do not simply condemn such uprisings. It is generally accepted that the insurgents have struck out against conditions heavily shaped by their oppressors.
Slave uprisings in the American South, such as that aboard the Creole, form part of this long history of rebellion. There are many examples: Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, the German Coast Uprising of Louisiana in 1811; Denmark Vesey’s conspiracy of 1822; Nat Turner’s uprising of 1831; the Amistad mutiny of 1839; and John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, to name some of the more noted. These slave revolts all failed, much like the periodic eruptions of Europe’s peasants did. To kill a master in the South or a lord in Russia, to sack his plantation or manor house, even to torch those papers that the slaves and peasants somehow knew codified their degradation—none of this could overturn an entire economic system.
Yet the slave uprisings of the South form part of a historical development that ultimately culminated in the Civil War—a revolution led and organized by Lincoln and the Republican Party. This revolution called forth, through the Emancipation Proclamation, an exodus of slaves that grew in conjunction with the movements of the Union forces in the South. Wherever the Grand Army of the Republic ventured, what W.E.B Du Bois called a “general strike” of the slaves followed. Such a generalized slave uprising had been predicted by Frederick Douglass as early as 1853 in a short novel he wrote that was inspired by the Creole. “There are more Madison Washingtons in the South,” Douglass wrote of the leader of the slave mutiny. “[A]nd the time may not be distant when the whole South will present again a scene something similar to the deck of the Creole.”
Trotsky, in his brilliant Their Moral and Ours, drew out the connection between the revolutionary violence of the American Civil War and that of the Russian Revolution, and indeed all uprisings of the oppressed. He wrote,
Lincoln’s significance lies in his not hesitating before the most severe means once they were found to be necessary in achieving a great historic aim posed by the development of a young nation. The question lies not even in which of the warring camps caused or itself suffered the greatest number of victims. History has different yardsticks for the cruelty of the Northerners and the cruelty of the Southerners in the Civil War. A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains—let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are equals before a court of morality!
As Trotsky’s insight also suggests, the ruling classes in history—the lords, masters, colonizers and capitalists—always respond with great moral indignation at the uprisings of the oppressed—How dare they! John Brown made a similar point when he told the court, during his trial for his abortive attempt at triggering a slave uprising at Harpers Ferry in 1859:
Had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends … and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment. ... I believe that to have interfered as I have done—as I have always freely admitted I have done—in behalf of His despised poor was not wrong, but right.
Brown was hanged on December 2, 1859. He left a final, prophetic note in his jail cell: “I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away, but with Blood.” The Civil War was 16 months away. Union soldiers marched to battle singing the anthem, “John Brown’s Body”:
He captured Harper’s Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,
And frightened “Old Virginny” till she trembled thru and thru;
They hung him for a traitor, themselves the traitor crew,
But his soul is marching on.
The mortal fear of the of the ruling classes—the inner knowledge that a day of reckoning may come—is also revealed by the furious, psychopathic revenge they exact against uprisings, as the Palestinians are now experiencing, and which was so often on display in the vicious reprisals of slave masters.
As Hegel observed in his lord-bondsman dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit of 1805-1806—a section of his work that was influenced by the great slave uprising of the Haitian Revolution— the very being of the master is secured only by the subjugation of the slave, and vice versa. Frederick Douglass, his biographer David Blight observes, seemed to have been somehow “intuitively aware of Hegel’s famous insight.” As the great abolitionist put it in introducing the section of his autobiography describing his own physical rebellion against a brutal overseer, Mr. Covey, “You have seen how a man is made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” Douglass might have been speaking for all slaves, and all the oppressed, when he added, in a comment about his mood in the wake of the beating he gave Covey, that he had resolved “however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.”
Yet history shows that to overturn oppressive social orders, the violent actions of individuals and small groups do not suffice. The organized revolutionary violence of the masses is required. This is what Trotsky had in mind when he wrote of Lincoln “not hesitating before the most severe means” posed by developments. Lincoln would have agreed with Trotsky’s assessment, saying once “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.”
In his First Inaugural Address, delivered one month before Fort Sumter, the first battle of the Civil War, Lincoln had offered the South an olive branch, appealing famously “to the better angels of our nature.” In his Second, delivered one month before his assassination, Lincoln offered a searing promise of historical retribution:
Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
1. Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998.
2. Miller, William Lee. Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress. First Vintage books edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1998: 444-446.
3. Sinha, Manisha. The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016: 414.
4. Oakes, James. The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2022: 47.
5. Miller, 448.
6. Blight, David W. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018: 249.
7. Blight: 40.
Palestinians sue Biden for failing to prevent genocide in Gaza
The federal lawsuit accuses President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of complicity in genocide.
By Prem Thakker
A group of Palestinian human rights organizations, residents of Gaza, and U.S. citizens with family members impacted by Israel’s ongoing assault jointly sued President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Monday for failing to “prevent an unfolding genocide.”
The 89-page lawsuit, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights in a California federal district court, traces 75 years of history and analyzes acts committed and rhetoric espoused by the Israeli government that exhibit a disregard for international law. It is accompanied by a declaration from a genocide expert who describes Israel’s actions as signs of genocide and argues that the Biden administration has breached its duty under international law to prevent it.
“Under international law, the United States has a duty to take all measures available to it to prevent a genocide. Yet, Defendants have repeatedly refused to use their obvious and considerable influence to set conditions or place limits on Israel’s massive bombing and total siege of Gaza,” the lawsuit reads.
“Despite escalating evidence of Israeli policies directed at inflicting mass harm to the Palestinian population in Gaza,” the Biden administration has opposed “a life-saving cease-fire and lifting of the siege, even vetoing United Nations measures calling for a ceasefire,” the lawsuit continues. “Instead, their actions to fund, arm, and endorse Israel’s mass and devastating bombing campaign and total siege of the Palestinians in Gaza constitutes a failure to prevent an unfolding genocide and complicity in its development.”
The Biden administration’s opposition to a ceasefire comes despite mass protests across the U.S. (and the world) urging the government to act to save Palestinian lives, and the suit follows dire warnings from human rights and United Nations experts that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza and that its actions may amount to a genocide. The Center for Constitutional Rights, or CCR, a U.S.-based nonprofit, itself warned Biden, Blinken, and Austin last month that they could be held responsible for failing to prevent — and indeed supporting — Israel’s crimes in Gaza.
“To be culpable, the provider need not share the recipients’ genocidal intent.”
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs ask the court to enjoin the U.S. officials from providing further military, financial, or diplomatic support to Israel. In a press release, CCR said that some courts have identified “the providing of weapons and other materials to the perpetrators of genocide as a form of complicity. To be culpable, the provider need not share the recipients’ genocidal intent.”
The Pentagon declined to comment, and the White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Israel has severely escalated its campaign against Gaza in recent days, spurring hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to leave their homes in northern Gaza for the southern part of the strip. The bombing campaign has targeted locations that American officials have described as sacred, including hospitals and corridors that Israel had designated as “safe.” Gaza officials have deemed some hospitals out of service because of the intensity of the bombing, to the point of removing babies from incubators.
Meanwhile, after weeks of American officials prodding Israel to follow international law, Israel’s own officials are clear about their intentions. “We are now actually rolling out the Gaza Nakba,” Avi Dichter, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and former Shin Bet security agency head, said on Saturday.
THE PLAINTIFFS IN the lawsuit include the Palestinian human rights organizations Defense for Children International – Palestine and Al-Haq; Gaza residents Omar Al-Najjar, Ahmed Abu Artema, and Mohammed Ahmed Abu Rokbeh; and U.S. citizens Mohammad Monadel Herzallah, Laila Elhaddad, Waeil Elbhassi, Bassim Elkarra, and “A.N.,” who all have family members who have been killed and displaced by Israel’s war.
“To be honest, it’s difficult to revisit all the scenes of the past weeks. They open a door to hell when I recall them,” said Al-Najjar, a 24-year-old intern physician who works at Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis, Gaza, in a statement. “I’ve lost five relatives, treated too many children who are the sole survivors of their families, received the bodies of my fellow medical students and their families, and seen the hospital turn into a shelter for tens of thousands of people as we all run out of fuel, electricity, food, and water. The U.S. has to stop this genocide. Everyone in the world has to stop this.”
The plaintiffs trace their case back to the 1948 Nakba (Israel’s displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians) and up to the present day to demonstrate Israel’s persistent violations of human rights and international law. The lawsuit notes that in September, for example — just weeks before Hamas’s attack on Israel — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held up a map before the U.N. General Assembly titled “The New Middle East” that totally erased the existence of Palestine.
The lawsuit also presents a meticulous timeline from October 7 up to November 8, detailing the scale of violence Israel has inflicted upon Gaza, including its siege and bombing campaign that has now displaced nearly 2 million Palestinians and killed over 11,000. It details Israel’s targets during the military campaign, including repeat bombings of refugee camps and hospitals, and statements by Israeli officials that demonstrate a disregard for international law.
“The emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy,” Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on October 10, discussing the “hundreds of tons of bombs” Israel had already dropped by then.
“Human animals must be treated as such. There will be no electricity and no water [in Gaza], there will only be destruction,” said Israeli Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian. “You wanted hell, you will get hell.”
Since those remarks, the Israeli military has waged a campaign that has left millions of Palestinians displaced, thirsty, hungry, sick, and without fuel; launched indiscriminate airstrikes; and used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon that causes burns, in densely populated areas, in direct contravention of international law.
Biden, Blinken, and Austin, meanwhile, have repeatedly affirmed support for Israel. In one instance, after it was widely reported that Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called Palestinians in Gaza “human animals,” Austin assured his counterpart that the U.S. was ready to deploy additional military aid to Israel.
Biden, backed by nearly every congressional Republican and most Democrats, is preparing to send $14 billion in military aid to Israel. (Biden’s request to Congress for the funding includes an unprecedented loophole that would allow the White House to approve $3.5 billion in future weapons sales without notifying Congress, In These Times reported.) The lawsuit notes that Israel has been the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign aid since World War II. As of January 2023, America had sent $260 billion (adjusted for inflation) in military and economic aid to Israel since 1946, and as of March, Israel had $4.4 billion worth of American-provided munitions.
In the diplomatic arena, the U.S. has repeatedly used its veto power in the United Nations to block resolutions critical of Israel’s human rights and international law violations. Amid the current war, the U.S. has opposed multiple resolutions calling for a ceasefire.
“We have lost so many people, but there are still many more who are living, and we owe it to them to do everything possible to stop this genocide,” said Herzallah, one of the plaintiffs with family in Gaza. “I have done everything in my power: I have participated in protests, sit-ins, wrote letters to my representatives, civil disobedience. Now I am asking the courts to end this ongoing genocide.”
Gaza: War on We, the People and Arab-Muslim’s Shame
by Dr Mahboob A Khawaja
Witness to Insanity in Gaza
Discarding cynicism and political expediency, conscientious global scholars and realist humanistic leaders highlight the current catastrophic war on Gaza (Chris Hedges and Peter Koenig “The Horror, The Horror” in Gaza. Chris Hedges. What Is the UN Good for? Where Is the Human Rights Commission When It Is Needed? Global Research: 11/13/2023): as “The Horror is beyond words and beyond imagination. The Horror is of blood and shredded children. The Horror is of thousands and thousands – tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands — dead bodies disintegrating in the rubbles of indiscriminately IDF-bombed hospitals, apartment buildings, mosques – you name it.” https://www.globalresearch.ca/horror-gaza-what-un-good-where-human-rights- commission-when-needed/5839831
Where is the so called International Humanitarian Law and the protocols of the Geneva Conventions offering protection to civilians in war against forced displacement, working of hospitals and medical professionals and supplies of unrestrained foods and other necessities for human survival? Well, these were written words in dried ink many decades ago and now subject to interpretation of political agenda manipulated and coerced by American politicians and Israeli leaders. In essence, the whole world has come to stand still and lingers on the whim of President Joe Biden and Israeli PM Netanyahu whatever they perceive of the International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions becomes a reference point. As of this writing, Al-Shafia the main hospital in Gaza was raided by the Israeli armed forces and its lifelines were forcibly halted by the occupying Israeli forces asking the doctors to surrender. You wonder, what medical doctors have to do with the military insurgency and action wanting them to surrender. Are the medical doctors a combatant force? The global mankind does not ask for bogus statements and condemnation of the Israeli onslaught and clear violations of the rule of engagement in war but it wants a swift action to stop this insanity and unwarranted violent action against the hospital and its staff. Are there any people having living consciousness – any leaders to demand an immediate withdrawal of invading Israeli forces and return to normalcy of the hospital and its serving medical professionals? There are NONE whatsoever at the time of this submission. It is all quiet on that moral and political front of humanitarian obligations under the UN conventions and the Charter. Mocking its Charter obligations, the UN Security Council failed to protect the civilians from terror of daily bombardments of hospitals and places of worship across Gaza.
Are We, the People not witnessing a cataclysmic bloodbath being unleashed by continuous aerial bombardments and destruction of lives and habitats across Gaza? The EU leaders are uncertain and often giggle watching the insane developments taking shape in Gaza because the victims are not of Anglo-Sextan race but happen to be Arab Palestinians and Muslims of colored complexion and ethnicity. Does it not unfold an impulse of lost civilizations? It is not a fiction but a prevalent reality unfolding a sudden and inexplicable plunge into tyranny of killings of civilians and forcible displacement of millions that the so called international Humanitarian Law forbids and others define the violent developments as “crimes against humanity.”
Last night, the relaxed and smiling US President Biden on screen utters few words to Israel to ‘protect the sanctity of Al-Shifa hospital’ but stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire. Is there
another name to political cruelty? President’s Security Advisor Jack Sullivan contends that ‘we do not want to see any firefight and attack on hospitals.’ What do you mean Mr. Sullivan, do you think the global humanity is just digits and numbers without any moral intellectual fabric unlike yours? They know you are on a dubious track of thinking and doing the things. The Al-Shifa occupied hospital has some 700 patients, about 40-50 kidney patients waiting for dialysis, 200 or ore medical doctors and staff pushed in a room by the Israeli forces and more importantly, 36 premature born babies (plus 3 have already died), and without electricity and incubators. What a tragic humanitarian crisis in the making by armed intervention of the few mindless and belligerent politicians? Israeli ministers are reported to nuke the enclave of Gaza and to displace civilians to other countries. To stop the horrors against humanity, urgent action is needed to protect sanctity of the hospitals and emergency services. Are we at the dead-end of inhuman catastrophe? And not even the Humanitarian Law, Geneva Conventions, the ICRC and Red Cross able to ensure the safety of the hospital.
Global Outrage against Planned Atrocities on Gaza
The voices of public consciousness echo across many continents to “ Stop the War in Gaza”, “Let Palestinians Live”, and stop the “Crimes against Humanity by America and Israel.” No wonder who listens to these inner voices of humanity when unabated bombardments are destroying Gaza. How strange all American and European proponents of human rights, law and justice, liberty and equality are plagued with dormant ideas and fake statements of “humanitarian pause” rather than calling for an immediate ceasefire and halt to indiscriminate bombing of hospitals, places of worships, civilians dwellings supporting life and civility in the 21st century of informed humanity. These encompassing realities are not the media disinformation but truths and facts of prevalent lifelines across Gaza. That is how the Two WW happened. There is much evil and less goodness in the 21st century global affairs – amassed collection of unthinkable junk history. The animals live and do not reflect on the imperatives of life whereas, we the human beings cannot act like animals as we are suppose to be intelligent and responsible species on this Earth. At the edge of reason, notion of evil leads to realization of evil and the tyranny of war must be stopped.
Are the Arab-Muslim Leaders Waiting for the End of Time and History?
If there were responsible Arab-Muslim leaders in tragic humanitarian crisis situation, they should have exercised the capacity to intervene and stop the carnage of American-Israeli unwanted attack on Gaza and its innocent masses. The oil exporting Arab countries are the major buyers of weapons and military hardware from America and Western Europe. Is that weaponry meant just for a show case or is it meant to be sued in defense of the Arab-Muslim national interest? America and Israel needed a moral, intellectual and political challenge to stop the miscalculated onslaught on Gaza but it was nowhere to be seen on the Arabian horizon. The Arab-Muslim leaders lack moral and intellectual integrity and carry no weight on global moral scale as once they used to be enriched. The media report cites Emir of Qatar talking to President Biden and calling for a ceasefire. Was President Biden so dumb and dull not to have listened to such a vital conversation for a logical action? A prince of Arabia calls the Israeli attack as a “war crime.” Strangely enough and contrary to conventional wisdom, what does a prince know about the war and crimes against humanity and its encompassing reality on Gaza to make a meaningless statement. What should have been the priority agenda of peace and conflict resolution is lost between competing political interests and competing moral claims. What a shame, what a grace to masses expectations that Arab-Muslim leaders would act to defend them and their rights, human dignity and sustainable future.
Please see more by this author, “How Did Arab Leaders Betrayed Islam and Defied the Logic of Political Change, Peace and Security”, Uncommon Thought Journal: 10/7/2023;
Israel-Palestine Conflict: Saga of Peacemaking, Equal Rights and Two States: Countercurrents.org:10/20/2023 https://countercurrents.org/2023/10/israel-palestine-conflict-saga-of- peacemaking-equal-rights-and-two-states/
Are there any Arab Leaders Capable of Peaceful Future-Making?
Surprisingly enough, there are no Arab leaders equipped with knowledge-based courage, wisdom and intellectual capacity to discuss the current conflict at a global platform. What is the real problem? The contemporary oil richer Arab leaders live in palaces protected by Western mercenaries, not with people and their agenda includes good times with bland European-American females, football matches, Olympic games and watching camel and horse races. They lack competence to deal with war and conflicts. Most are authoritarian dictators, former tribal agents turned into royals, princes, kings and presidents and simply act as puppets and subservient to the American, British and French colonial policies and practices in the region. They could never think outside the box and are devoid of knowledge and conventional wisdom to act for Islam and the masses. In Chapter 60:5 (Al-Quran), Prophet Abraham prays to God: Our Lord! Make us not – a test and trial for the Disbelievers;
But forgive us, our Lord! For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
The November 11, Arab-Muslim OIC gathering in Saudi Arabia did nothing useful to demonstrate its ability and relevance to global affairs. The Arab leaders failed miserably to offer any sense of security to the besieged masses of Palestine. Courage is a characteristic of intelligent leaders; but shame to those who could not offer any protection against American complicity and Israeli killing of the civilians in Gaza. It is no surprising to think that all the Arab-Muslim leaders have very little sense of reality, wisdom and accountability to be effective leaders.
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution and has spent several academic years across the Russian-Ukrainian and Central Asian regions knowing the people, diverse cultures of thinking and political governance and a keen interest in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. 12/2019.
is tax deductable.