Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Good sports do exist and we should applaud them

I played softball and basketball and ran track in school and we learned that it was about the game and that the worst thing you could be was a sore loser.  Obviously, Riley Gaines never learned that lesson.

Cyclist Kristen Chalmers is in hot water with some.

And she’s an overnight hero for others.

The cisgender woman who lost a race to two transgender women said after the race she didn’t care if she lost to trans women.

“It would be ridiculous to say that my life has been ruined by getting third,” Chalmers told NBC News. “I had a great race, and it would have been more boring if it had been a smaller field without such strong competitors in it.”

For that, some — including the usual suspects — have lashed out at her.

“She is a traitor to ethical and fair sport,” said Riley Gaines, while also tweeting that Chalmers was expediting her own erasure. “And she’s a traitor to women.”

Good for Kristen Chambers. 

And, no, Bullly Gaines, she's not a traitor to women.  Bully Gaines is a traitor to women and a poor sport.  Good for Kristen Chambers who is a good sport and who is about the competition -- not all the petty vain things that motivate Bully Gaines. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, December 12, 2023. Butcher Biden plans to allow the assault on Gaza to continue through January, over 85% of the population is displaced and Joe Biden is apparently shooting for a full 100%, the Israel government is yet again attacking hospitals and doctors, and much more.

This morning, Felicia Schwartz (FINACIAL TIMES OF LONDON) reports, "Washington expects the most intensive phase of Israel’s war on Hamas in southern Gaza to be scaled back and become more targeted as soon as early January, US officials said. [. . .]. But Washington expects a switch in tactics, likely in January, away from a full ground offensive to raids in pursuit of senior Hamas leaders and other high-value targets, said several US officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

That may be the most evil and inhumane thing reported thus far.  

Yasmine Salam (NBC NEWS) noted yesterday that " an estimated 1.9 million Palestinians" were displaced -- that's over 85% of the population.  So the Israeli government needs the remaining weeks of December to kick that up to 100% and to allow Israeli settlers to steal the Palestinian homes in Gaza?

Let's stop pretending that there is any humanity in the US policy.  It has thus far allowed the Israeli government to carry out War Crimes and destroy the Palestinians.  Former US President Jimmy Carter long ago noted that the Israeli government had created an apartheid system.  

The United Nations General Assembly will on Tuesday resume its emergency session on the situation in Gaza, days after the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire.

UN staff in Gaza feel abandoned after the US veto, a top official said. They "cannot understand" why a ceasefire has not been agreed upon after thousands have been killed and displaced, the UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told CNN.

The number of people killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7 has risen to 18,205, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in the enclave said Monday. 

The UN staff feel abandoned?  That's not at all surprising considering the actions of the US government and the statements of US President Joe Biden.  

In the aftermath of the U.N. failing to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Palestinian activists and social media influencers are calling for a global strike on Monday, Dec. 11.

The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces issued a call for the strike to include “all aspects of public life” for those across the West Bank, and the world. 

Edward Helmore (GUARDIAN) adds, "Along Palestine Way in the city of Paterson [New Jersey], dozens of business owners, community leaders and families with young children, swathed in keffiyeh scarves against the cold, heeded the call from Palestinian leaders to show, in symbolic, political and economic terms, deepening anger and distress about an Israeli military operation that began after a Hamas cross-border attack on 7 October." 

The assault on Gaza continues.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the [. . .] Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."  ABC NEWS notes, "In the Gaza Strip, at least 18,200 people have been killed and more than 49,600 others have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to figures released by Gaza's Hamas-run Ministry of Health and the Hamas government media office."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

Israeli forces are targeting and operating near two hospitals in northern Gaza, the Kamal Adwan Hospital and the Al-Awda Hospital, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The director of Al-Awda Hospital, Ahmed Muhanna, said Israeli tanks were surrounding the hospital.

Doctors Without Borders said one of its surgeons was injured inside Al-Awda Hospital by a shot fired from outside the facility.

“Reports coming out of Al-Awda hospital are harrowing and we are gravely worried for safety of patients and staff inside,” Doctors Without Borders said.

The Israel Defense Forces said it could not comment on troops' locations.


The attacks on the two hospitals are nothing new, the Israeli government has repeatedly targeted hospitals throughout the assault on Gaza.  From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: United Nations Palestinian aid agency UNRWA is warning society in Gaza is, quote, “on the brink of full-blown collapse” as Israel continues its devastating assault that’s killed 18,000 Palestinians in Gaza, including over 7,000 children.

We turn now to a doctor in Gaza, Ahmed Moghrabi. He works at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, one of few hospitals still functioning in southern Gaza. We reached him yesterday.

DR. AHMED MOGHRABI: Hello, Deena. Yeah, I am talking to you from the Nasser Hospital — it’s in Khan Younis, south of Gaza — where I’m working as a head of plastic and burn department. It’s been 64 days since the aggression actually started against Gaza. I can tell you here, actually, I’m working since the beginning of this war. Actually, I’m so exhausted. So exhausted. Forty percent of the injured people from explosions are children. They are seriously injured. Actually, this morning — actually, I’m working since early morning 'til midnight every day. Every day we are here at the hospital, actually, it's like a siege, all troops around us.

What is going here actually is real massacres all over around. If you see the pictures and the videos, actually, you will be shocked. There is no words — no words can describe what is going here. What is going here actually is a real genocide. You know, hundreds and thousands of people, actually, are passing away every day because of these attacks. They’re attacking schools. They’re attacking church, mosques, civilians’ areas, everywhere. Everywhere, they’re attacking. Oh my god, I can’t describe what is going here. It’s massacres. Massacres, what is going here. The entire families are wiped out, actually. I don’t know, really. Actually, I became — I developed like psychological disorder to see these children actually are, you know — how to say it? — like — how to say? — I don’t know how. They are burned 'til bone. They are burned ’til bone, children. If you see my [inaudible], you will see all these, you know, horrible — it's horror, horror, horror, what is going here. My god, I hope this will end soon.

I don’t know if anybody could help us. If you hear me — actually, I thought we are alone here in this world. We are living in big prison under siege, actually, and nobody listen to us. Nobody want actually to — how to — to adopt our Palestinian narrative, actually. Everybody listens to the Israeli narrative. Just listen to Palestinian narratives. We are here living under siege in a big prison. We are human being. Me, like you, I’m a human being. I’m a human being. I want to live in peace. I want a better future for my children. Really, this I want. This I want.

You know, actually, Israel is supported by the whole world. You give Israel these mass destruction weapons. But on the other hand, nobody gives us even food. Here, I can’t find food, clean water. Me as a surgeon, I can’t find clean water to drink. I can’t find food. I eat only once a day, Deena. Yes, once a day. I can’t afford my children food. I can’t see my children, because I can’t provide simple, simple, you know, food for living. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t provide this food to my children. We eat once a day, simple rice. You know, my little daughter yesterday, 2 years old, she asked me — you know, she asked me apple, an apple. There’s nothing here. Nothing here.

We are dying from starvation. From everything, we are dying now. All over, actually, they send these rockets over our heads everywhere, every time. Please, please stop this war against us. Please stop the genocide against us. Stop this war. Please, please, I beg you.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Ahmed Moghrabi, who works in Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which is one of the few hospitals still functioning in southern Gaza.

We end today’s show with Dr. Tarek Loubani, emergency room medical doctor who works at the London Health Sciences Center in Ontario, Canada. In 2018, Dr. Loubani was among 19 medics shot by the Israeli military in Gaza. In October, he was arrested for nonviolently protesting for a ceasefire. He’s a Palestinian refugee, a member of the Glia Project, creating open-source medical devices for low-resource settings.

You hear your colleague in Nasser Hospital talking about not being able to feed his own children, not to mention what’s happening in the hospital, Dr. Loubani. You’re in constant contact with medical staff in Gaza. Tell us what you understand at this point.

DR. TAREK LOUBANI: What Dr. Ahmed is saying is exactly what we’re hearing all across the Gaza Strip from the hospitals there. Really, the situation, it’s not teetering on verging on collapse; it has — the medical system has fully collapsed. And the only reason we are using these words to mitigate the devastation and the absolute collapse is because the absolute bravery and incredible resourcefulness of the Palestinian doctors, who have done just an amazing job trying to provide care for their patients. These are people — these are doctors who themselves, like you said, are starving, literally starving. They themselves are getting killed, are being arrested, are having their families harmed, and still they show up to work every day, like Dr. Ahmed does, bravely and to face a new day of horrors.

AMY GOODMAN: [inaudible] are telling doctors to leave their patients, particularly in northern Gaza, and move south. Also, doctors, like the head of a hospital in northern Gaza, are being arrested. Can you talk about what you understand at this point?

DR. TAREK LOUBANI: The arrests are a new dimension here. We’ve always been used to a doctor here and there being killed. However, we’ve had over 250 — I think it might even be up to 300 now — healthcare workers who have been killed during this war on Gaza. As well, Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya was one of the first arrested.

But I can tell you the story of one of my students, a young doctor who graduated only a couple of years ago, who I’ve been teaching throughout his residency. He was an emergency medicine doctor. And he was, in fact, the valedictorian, Saleh Eleiwa, the highest-ranking student in his medical class, a delightful human being who had never stopped smiling, and then was arrested because he wouldn’t leave his patients until it was too late. He was at the Al-Shifa Hospital.

That’s the story — his story is one of 41 stories that we have so far. Only a few of them have been released since. What the people who have been released tell us is that they are being tortured right now. They are being, quote, “interrogated.” And I know this because I’ve been in Israeli jails, I’ve been interrogated in those ways, I’ve been tortured, I’ve been beaten. And so I know what they’re experiencing. And that was for me as a young Canadian. Now, what, mind you, these people who the Israelis want to see confessions from, who the Israelis are convinced are doing bad things, despite the fact that all they have done throughout this war and ever is take care of their patients.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Tarek Loubani, if you can talk about the warnings that the death toll could be dwarfed by those who die of diseases now, with the lack of clean water, the close proximity of everyone now being pushed south, diseases like diarrhea, scabies, measles, meningitis, acute viral hepatitis? What do you understand?

DR. TAREK LOUBANI: Before this war, the hospitals in Gaza were full, because things happen to people day by day. And now those chronic diseases, the people with those chronic diseases, like diabetes or diseases that need medications or cancers, those patients are all starting to die. It’s been two, going on three months now that they haven’t been able to receive proper care. And that means proper medical care.

Now, the foundations of life aren’t proper medical care; they’re water, they’re food, they’re psychological safety. And so people are starting to die from those things, as well. We’ve already had our first starvation deaths. Predictably, they’re in the very young and the very old. And as time goes on, we will see these deaths start to come in from the margins, come in from people who are sick and vulnerable, to everybody, because right now the normal Palestinian has not — in Gaza, has not been able to eat or drink for weeks, if not months. When we’re talking about the treatment of many of these problems that they’re facing right now, the treatment is proper food, it’s rest, it’s clean water. And those things are not available. So, yes, the predictions right now is that in the next few weeks it will be like falling from a cliff, and we will see 20,000, 30,000 people dying.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Tarek Loubani, I want to thank you for being with us, Canadian Palestinian emergency room doctor, joining us from London, Ontario, spent years traveling to and working in Gaza.

Democracy Now! produced with Renée Feltz, Mike Burke, Deena Guzder, Messiah Rhodes, Nermeen Shaikh, María Taracena, Tami Woronoff, Charina Nadura. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday accused Israeli forces of delaying an aid and ambulance convoy and abusing medical personnel as they tried to transfer critically wounded patients to a hospital in southern Gaza, resulting in at least one death.

In a detailed account of what it called a "high-risk mission" conducted on December 9, the WHO said that as the emergency convoy made its way to Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital to deliver medical supplies and pick up badly injured patients, it was inspected by Israeli forces at a checkpoint and crew members were forced to leave the vehicles.

Two members of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), a humanitarian aid group that took part in the mission, were detained for more than an hour, the WHO said, noting that one staffer saw a PRCS worker "being made to kneel at gunpoint and then taken out of sight, where he was reportedly harassed, beaten, stripped, and searched."

When the convoy was finally permitted to advance to Gaza City, one of the aid trucks and an ambulance were hit by bullets.

WHO staff described the scene at Al-Ahli Hospital—one of the few medical facilities still operating in the strip—as "utter chaos and a humanitarian disaster zone."

As the convoy made its way back south with wounded patients, the convoy was stopped again at the same checkpoint, delaying care for critically wounded Palestinians who were searched by armed Israeli soldiers.

"One of the same two PRCS staff temporarily detained earlier on the way in was taken for interrogation a second time," the WHO said Tuesday. "The mission made numerous attempts to coordinate his release, but eventually—after more than two and a half hours—had to make the difficult decision to leave the highly dangerous area and proceed, for the safety and well-being of the patients and humanitarian workers."

According to PRCS, one of the patients aboard the convoy died from untreated wounds during the delay.

This is appalling and disgusting.  An immediate -- and real -- cease-fire is needed.  The Israeli government needs to be called out.  Sophie Squire (UK SOCIALIST WORKER) notes, "One senior United Nations (UN) official in early December warned that half of Gaza’s population was starving." That was only a week ago and already it's more than half the population.  Andre Damon (WSWS) reports:

As Israel continues its bombing, starvation and ethnic cleansing of the people of Gaza, hunger has reached epidemic proportions. Nine in 10 people in Gaza reported going to bed hungry, the United Nations’ World Food Program reported.

More than half of the population—over 63 percent—reported going for days without food. “Hunger stalks everyone,” UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine), the United Nations body responsible for Palestinian refugees, wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Too many people haven’t eaten now for two, three days in the Gaza Strip.”

UN Special Rapporteur on Food Michael Fakhri told Al Jazeera Arabic, “Every single Palestinian in Gaza is going hungry,” in an interview, in which he identified the mass murder of the population of Gaza as “genocide.”

These reports follow a veto Friday by the United States of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire. This week, a non-binding ceasefire resolution is expected to pass the United Nations General Assembly. The United States, meanwhile, doubled down on calling for a “military” solution to the crisis, in an open endorsement of the genocide.

These are crimes against humanity and the world is watching.  Yasmine Salam (NBC NEWS) notes:

Twelve-year-old Do’a Atef spends her days knocking on doors begging for food, or gathering firewood from a dusty hill near a refugee camp outside Rafah, in southern Gaza, to cook the few tomatoes and peppers given to her by strangers.

Do’a told NBC News that she was displaced from her home in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, along with her parents and seven siblings, and they are now sleeping in tents. They are so thirsty, “we drink dirty water,” she said. “My siblings are crying all day.”

They couldn’t find flour, they were cold, there was no bathroom for them to use, no diapers for her baby brother, and no milk to give him. Two months ago, Do’a said, she used to read in school and play with her friends. “Now, all we do is bring firewood and walk barefoot.”

Do’a’s situation underscores a bleak reality for many in Gaza, as the Israeli military’s ground invasion and aerial bombardment continues, displacing an estimated 1.9 million Palestinians into shrinking “humanitarian zones,” mostly in southern Gaza. A dire food and water shortage is putting many at risk of infection and death, according to humanitarian aid groups that stressed difficulties in delivering aid due to the intensity of hostilities.

Butcher Biden's how Joe'll be known historically.  He has no one to blame but himself.  He's refused to listen to his own advisors.  The world watches with horror and disgust.  From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn now to look at how the Biden administration is facing widespread condemnation around the world for vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution Friday calling for a Gaza ceasefire. The Palestinian U.N. envoy, Riyad Mansour, criticized the U.S. veto.

RIYAD MANSOUR: It is disastrous that the Security Council was again prevented from rising to this moment to uphold its clear responsibilities in the face of this grave crisis threatening human lives and threatening regional and international peace and security.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood defended the U.S. decision to veto the ceasefire resolution.

ROBERT WOOD: The United States engaged in good faith on this text. We proposed language with an eye toward a constructive resolution that would have reinforced the life-saving diplomacy we have undertaken since October 7, increased opportunities for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, encouraged the release of hostages and the resumption of humanitarian pauses, and laid a foundation for a durable peace. Unfortunately, nearly all of our recommendations were ignored. And the result of this rush process was an imbalanced resolution that was divorced from reality, that would not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way. And so we regretfully could not support it.

AMY GOODMAN: The United Nations General Assembly will hold an emergency session on a Gaza ceasefire Tuesday.

To talk more about the U.S. veto of the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, we’re joined by Shibley Telhami, professor of peace and development, University of Maryland, also senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy. He’s co-editor of the book The One State Reality: What Is Israel/Palestine?

Professor Telhami, thanks for rejoining us. Talk about the significance and the reaction to the U.S. veto of the Gaza ceasefire resolution.

SHIBLEY TELHAMI: Well, it’s an extraordinary act. I mean, think about it this way. Whatever the representative of the U.S. says, there were 13 members, including pro-U.S. members, like France, who voted for the resolution. Only one other country did not vote for it. It abstained. That’s the U.K., sticking with U.S. So, think about that. This is the U.S. trying to take a leadership role globally on many issues, including Ukraine, and it goes against a global consensus on an issue that is humanitarian.

This resolution didn’t call for an end to the fighting and a ceasefire that ends the fighting. It called for a humanitarian ceasefire. Every internatonial human rights organization and aid organization — I talked to two heads of aid organizations just last week. They said it’s impossible to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza without a ceasefire. You can’t just trickle it in. The needs are so massive that you need a ceasefire to deal with that.

If you look at it also from the point of view, even American, of public opinion, you have a majority of Americans, according to polls, who support a ceasefire. You have, from the president’s point of view, two-thirds of Democrats who do not approve of the Israeli military action in Gaza. And it’s not just Democrats. You have, essentially, two-thirds of people of color, as Gallup polls them, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans. You have a majority, two-thirds, of young people of all types, not just Democrats, who disapprove the operations. You have a majority of women. Essentially, every major constituency of the Democratic Party, the president’s Democratic Party, who wants this. And the president goes against it in the international community. Think about what that does to America’s standing in the world, let alone, obviously, to continuation of the death and destruction in Gaza.

And I want to say here that it is the puzzle for me, as somebody who has known the president before he became president, as somebody who’s been watching — and I’m a realist in terms of how politics take place — I’m still shocked by the degree to which this decision that has been taken vis-à-vis this particular crisis after October 7 has been a personal decision by the president of United States. It was really acting on his preferences, his beliefs, rather, it seems to me, than the consequences for American foreign policy and for America’s national interest, which have been huge from the beginning.

It could have been anticipated that his massive support and even the backing of this vague idea of destroying Hamas was going to lead inevitably to mass destruction in Gaza, and it was going to, therefore, also bring possible blowback on the U.S., because the U.S. now is seen as a sponsor of this war, as a party to this war. There’s a danger of blowback that would be unfortunate, devastating across much of the Arab and Muslim world that we see now. There’s also, of course, the chance of escalation that we see in Lebanon, and perhaps even bringing Iran in, in a way that would be hugely detrimental to American interests and draw the U.S. in.

And the idea that you give — you know, you support Israel’s right to self-defense, of course. Israel has a right to defend itself. Every country does. But to give that government to define what is right of self-defense, when you know there are members of this government who want a lot more than self-defense, including things that are at odds with American interests, that are at odds with American values, and to give them license to do so, including the possibility of drawing the U.S. into war with Iran, that’s the thing that seems to be shocking to me as an analyst viewing this episode in American foreign policy.

AMY GOODMAN: Shibley Telhami, we want to thank you so much for spending this time with us, professor of peace and development at the University of Maryland, senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy.

Next up, we speak to a doctor in Gaza. Stay with us.

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