Israel Raids the Associated Press and Seizes Equipment Over War Coverage

“On April 1, Israeli lawmakers passed a law that would allow the government to shut down foreign news networks deemed a threat to national security. The Times of Israel reported that the law was specifically intended to target Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network that has often been accused of anti-Israel or pro-Hamas bias.
“The terrorist channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel,” Netanyahu pledged in an April 1 post on X (formerly Twitter). “I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity.” Netanyahu charged that the network had “harmed Israel’s security, actively participated in the October 7 massacre, and incited against [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers.”

The move was broadly denounced. “Such slanderous accusations will not deter us from continuing our bold and professional coverage,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.”

“On May 5, Israel forcibly closed Al Jazeera’s satellite office in Tel Aviv, seized its broadcast equipment, and blocked access to its websites and broadcasts from within the country, after the government unanimously approved a proposal to do so.

Then on Tuesday, Israel did the same to the A.P.

The country’s communications ministry had ordered the A.P. to cease its live broadcast of footage from Gaza last week, which the outlet refused to do. As a result, officials seized broadcast equipment, saying in a statement that “the communications ministry will continue to take whatever enforcement action is required to limit broadcasts that harm the security of the state.”

“The AP complies with Israel’s military censorship rules, which prohibit broadcasts of details like troops movements that could endanger soldiers,” the outlet noted. “Al Jazeera is one of thousands of AP customers, and it receives live video from AP and other news organizations.””

“Hours after the seizure, the A.P.’s story was updated to say that “Israel’s communications minister ordered the government to return a camera and broadcasting equipment it had seized from The Associated Press, reversing course hours after blocking the news organization’s live video of Gaza.” It noted that this came after “the Biden administration, journalism organizations and an Israeli opposition leader condemned the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pressured it to reverse the decision.””

What the backlash to student protests over Gaza is really about

What the backlash to student protests over Gaza is really about

Egypt rips Israel’s ‘desperate attempts’ to deflect blame for Gaza crisis

“Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz said it was up to Egypt to open the Rafah crossing, going as far as saying he addressed that need with some of his European counterparts. “The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends,” Katz said in comments released by his office.
That did not sit well with Egyptian foreign ministry officials, who issued a statement decrying “the desperate attempts of the Israeli side to hold Egypt responsible for the unprecedented humanitarian crisis facing the Gaza Strip,” and adding, “The foreign minister called on Israel to fulfil its legal responsibility as the occupying power, by allowing aid to enter through the land ports under its control.”

Though it worries about a large influx of Palestinians fleeing the violence, Egypt has maintained its side of the crossing has been open since the war started.”

Blinken delivers some of the strongest US public criticism of Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday delivered some of the Biden administration’s strongest public criticism yet of Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza, saying Israeli tactics have meant “a horrible loss of life of innocent civilians” but failed to neutralize Hamas leaders and fighters and could drive a lasting insurgency.
In a pair of TV interviews, Blinken underscored that the United States believes Israeli forces should “get out of Gaza,” but also is waiting to see credible plans from Israel for security and governance in the territory after the war.

Hamas has reemerged in parts of Gaza, Blinken said, and “heavy action” by Israeli forces in the southern city of Rafah risks leaving America’s closest Mideast ally “holding the bag on an enduring insurgency.”

He said the United States has worked with Arab countries and others for weeks on developing “credible plans for security, for governance, for rebuilding” in Gaza, but ”we haven’t seen that come from Israel. … We need to see that, too.”

Blinken also said that as Israel pushes deeper in Rafah in the south, a military operation may “have some initial success” but risks “terrible harm” to the population without solving a problem “that both of us want to solve, which is making sure Hamas cannot again govern Gaza.” More than a million Palestinians have crowded into Rafah in hopes of refuge as Israel’s offensive pushed across Gaza. Israel has said the city also hosts four battalions of Hamas fighters.

Israel’s conduct of the war, Blinken said, has put the country “on the trajectory, potentially, to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas left or, if it leaves, a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy, and probably refilled by Hamas. We’ve been talking to them about a much better way of getting an enduring result, enduring security.”

Blinken also echoed, for the first time publicly by a U.S. official, the findings of a new Biden administration report to Congress on Friday that said Israel’s use of U.S.-provided weapons in Gaza likely violated international humanitarian law. The report also said wartime conditions prevented American officials from determining that for certain in specific airstrikes.”

US says Israel’s use of US arms likely violated international law, but evidence is incomplete

“The finding of “reasonable” evidence to conclude that the U.S. ally had breached international law protecting civilians in the way it conducted its war against Hamas was the strongest statement that the Biden administration has yet made on the matter. It was released in a summary of a report being delivered to Congress on Friday.
But the caveat that the administration wasn’t able to link specific U.S. weapons to individual attacks by Israeli forces in Gaza could give the administration leeway in any future decision on whether to restrict provisions of offensive weapons to Israel.

The first-of-its-kind assessment, which was compelled by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats in Congress, comes after seven months of airstrikes, ground fighting and aid restrictions that have claimed the lives of nearly 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

While U.S. officials were unable to gather all the information they needed on specific strikes, the report said that given Israel’s “significant reliance” on U.S.-made weapons, it was “reasonable to assess” that they had been used by Israel’s security forces in instances “inconsistent” with its obligations under international humanitarian law “or with best practices for mitigating civilian harm.”

Israel’s military has the experience, technology and know-how to minimize harm to civilians, but “the results on the ground, including high levels of civilian casualties, raise substantial questions as to whether the IDF is using them effectively in all cases,” the report said.”

Strapped down, blindfolded, held in diapers: Israeli whistleblowers detail abuse of Palestinians in shadowy detention center

“At a military base that now doubles as a detention center in Israel’s Negev desert, an Israeli working at the facility snapped two photographs of a scene that he says continues to haunt him.
Rows of men in gray tracksuits are seen sitting on paper-thin mattresses, ringfenced by barbed wire. All appear blindfolded, their heads hanging heavy under the glare of floodlights.

A putrid stench filled the air and the room hummed with the men’s murmurs, the Israeli who was at the facility told CNN. Forbidden from speaking to each other, the detainees mumbled to themselves.

“We were told they were not allowed to move. They should sit upright. They’re not allowed to talk. Not allowed to peek under their blindfold.”

Guards were instructed “to scream uskot” – shut up in Arabic – and told to “pick people out that were problematic and punish them,” the source added.”

The untold story of Arab Jews — and their solidarity with Palestinians

The untold story of Arab Jews — and their solidarity with Palestinians