As US Aid Shipments Begin, Gaza Pier Denounced as ‘PR Move’

As humanitarian shipments began trickling into Gaza via a U.S.-built temporary floating pier, Palestinians and aid workers on Friday renewed criticism of what they called an expensive and largely ineffectual publicity stunt that is no substitute for a cease-fire and opening of more land crossings into the besieged coastal enclave.

U.S. Army Central Command said that “trucks carrying humanitarian assistance began moving ashore” at around 9:00 am local time Friday as part of “an ongoing, multinational effort to deliver additional aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza via a maritime corridor.”

The $320 million Trident Pier – which consists of a floating offshore barge and 1,800-foot causeway to the shore—is expected to eventually accommodate up to 150 trucks per day. According to United Nations agencies, an average of 200 trucks entered Gaza each day last month, far fewer than the prewar daily mean of more than 500 truckloads that U.S. and U.N. officials say are required to meet the needs of a population facing critical shortages of food, water, medicine, and other lifesaving supplies.

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Leaked USAID Document Concludes Israel Impeded Gaza Aid

Officials at the United States Agency for International Development concluded in a confidential memo to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel is violating a White House directive by blocking humanitarian aid from entering the besieged Gaza Strip during its ongoing genocidal assault on the Palestinian enclave, according to a report published Friday.

Devex‘s Colum Lynch reported that the confidential communication – entitled Famine Inevitable, Changes Could Reduce But Not Stop Widespread Civilian Deaths – states that USAID “assesses the government of Israel (GOI) does not currently demonstrate necessary compliance” with a February 8 White House memo requiring the secretary of state to obtain assurances from governments receiving U.S. military aid that such assistance is used in compliance with human rights law.

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26 House Dems Voice ‘Deep Concern’ Over Biden Claim That Israel Is Legally Using US Arms

More than two dozen House Democrats on Tuesday challenged the Biden administration’s claim that Israel is using U.S.-supplied weapons in compliance with domestic and international law—an assertion made amid an ongoing World Court probe of “plausibly” genocidal Israeli policies and practices in Gaza.

Citing “mounting credible and deeply troubling reports and allegations” of human rights crimes committed by Israeli troops in Gaza and soldiers and settlers in the occupied West Bank, 26 congressional Democrats led by Texas Reps. Veronica Escobar—who co-chairs President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign—and Joaquin Castro asked U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines “whether and how” their agencies determined Israel is lawfully using arms provided by Washington.

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‘Do the Right Thing,’ Say Assange Defenders as Biden Mulls Dropping Case

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday said his administration is weighing the Australian government’s requests to drop charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been deprived of his freedom since 2010 and is currently jailed in London’s notorious Belmarsh Prison while fighting extradition to the United States.

Asked by reporters at the White House about requests from Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and members of the country’s Parliament for the U.S. and United Kingdom to drop the extradition effort and charges against Assange – an Australian citizen – Biden said that “we’re considering it.”

Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, responded to Biden’s remarks on social media. “Do the right thing,” she wrote. “Drop the charges. #FreeAssangeNOW.”

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World Marks Six Months of ‘Relentless Death and Destruction’ in Gaza

Peace and human rights advocates on Sunday renewed calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and an increase in lifesaving humanitarian aid for its starving people as the embattled enclave marked six months since the start of Israel’s genocidal retaliation for the October 7 attacks.

In six months of bombardment by air, land, and sea following the Hamas-led attacks that killed more than 1,100 people in Israel – with over 240 people taken hostage – Israeli forces have killed or maimed more than 116,000 Palestinians, including people believed to be dead and buried beneath the rubble of hundreds of thousands of bombed-out homes and other buildings. Gazans – especially children – are starving to death as Israel severely restricts the amount of aid allowed to enter the strip. Women are “burying their newborns every day” as they have nothing to feed them.

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Doctor at Israeli Detention Camp for Gazans Blows Whistle on War Crimes

A doctor at an Israeli field hospital inside a notorious detention center where hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are temporarily held is sounding the alarm about torture and horrific conditions at what some human rights defenders – including Israelis – are calling “Israel’s Guantánamo Bay” and even a “concentration camp.”

In a letter to Israel’s attorney general and defense and health ministers viewed by Haaretz – which reported the story Thursday – the anonymous physician describes likely war crimes being committed at the Israel Defense Forces’ Sde Teiman base near Beersheva. Palestinian militants captured by IDF troops, as well as many civilian hostages ranging in age from teenagers to septuagenarians, are held there in cages, 70-100 per cage, until they are transferred to regular Israeli prisons or released.

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