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  • Individual members of Israel’s security forces are tipping off far-right activists and settlers to the location of aid trucks delivering vital supplies to Gaza, enabling the groups to block and vandalise the convoys, according to multiple sources.

    Settlers intercepting the vital humanitarian supplies to the strip are receiving information about the location of the aid trucks from members of the Israeli police and military, a spokesperson from the main Israeli activist group behind the blockades told the Guardian.

    The claim of collusion by members of the security forces is supported by messages from internal internet chat groups reviewed by the Guardian as well as accounts from a number of witnesses and human rights activists.

    Those blocking the vehicles say the aid they carry is being diverted by Hamas instead of being delivered to civilians in need a claim relief agencies reject.

    Rachel Touitou, a spokesperson for the Israeli group Tzav 9, said the group had been blocking trucks as they made their way through Israel since January, on the grounds that the aid they carried was “hijacked” by Hamas once it reached Gaza.

    “When a policeman or soldier’s mission is supposed to protect Israelis and instead he is sent to protect humanitarian aid convoys – knowing it will end up in the hands of Hamas – we cannot blame them or civilians who notice the trucks passing by their towns for providing intel to groups trying to block that aid. Yes, some of our intel comes from individual members of Israeli forces,” Touitou added.

    Videos last week showed aid convoys blocked and vandalised by Israeli settlers at the Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The incident, in which activists threw boxes of supplies to the ground, sparked outrage, with the White House condemning the attack as “completely and utterly unacceptable behaviour”.

    Touitou said: “It was not Tzav 9 that burned the trucks … this was not our action,” adding that other groups were responsible for the arson attack.

    The settlers say they are blocking the aid trucks in order to stop supplies reaching Hamas and accuse the Israeli government of giving “gifts” to the Islamist group.

    “Our purpose is to highlight that feeding your enemy, in this specific case Hamas, especially during a time of war, is immoral,” said Touitou. “Israel has been delivering this humanitarian aid without expecting anything in return. And 80% of the population agrees with our stance. Hamas is reselling this aid to civilians, which is meant to be distributed for free. We will continue to block this humanitarian aid until they can prove that it is reaching the civilians.”

    Palestinian lorry drivers delivering aid to Gaza have described to the Guardian “barbaric” scenes” after their vehicles came under attack, claiming that Israeli soldiers escorting the convoy did nothing to intervene.

    Yazid al-Zoubi, 26, a Palestinian lorry driver who was attacked by the protesters last week at Tarqumiya checkpoint, said: “There is full cooperation between the settlers and the army. We are shocked and surprised that the army did not provide us with any kind of protection. Even though they were present and watching what was happening. The army was at the service of the settlers.”

    Two soldiers from Israel’s Home Front Command refused an order to evacuate protesters who blocked aid trucks in the Makhash area last week, according to the IDF. One of them was sentenced to 20 days in prison, Israel’s national broadcaster, Kan, reported.

    An IDF spokesperson said: “A female reserve fighter refused to carry out a task to maintain order in an area that was defined as a closed military area and as a result she was brought to disciplinary proceedings accordingly. The fighter was convicted of the crime of refusing an order. This is an incident that is not consistent with what is expected of IDF soldiers while fulfilling their mission.”

    Footage of the incident obtained by the Guardian appears to show Israeli soldiers escorting the convoy, taking no action against the settlers.

    The same settlers and far-right activists often notify their members in advance about the times and locations that aid trucks are heading towards Gaza, citing that they receive this information from the Israeli police and military.

    In one such message seen by the Guardian, far-right activists alerted members that they would “receive preliminary information about the planning of moving trucks, from border crossings’ soldiers and police”.

    In another message in a settler WhatsApp group, a member wrote on Sunday: “I received information from an officer in the IDF that they bring the trucks in front of Ofra [a settlement] into Bitin [a Palestinian village].”

    “When an emergency call about a convoy of trucks is received,” the first message says, “the group opens for discussions, and when this happens please only send messages related to the blockade, such as locations, photos, information and hitchhiking.”

    Touitou said that most of the information they received came from civilians. “Often it is the same Israelis who report aid convoys passing by. After eight months into the war, Israelis are frustrated with how aid is being managed in Gaza. If it is soldiers, policemen, or civilians like me, you cannot expect us to accept that aid will end up in the hands of Hamas.”

    Sapir Sluzker Amran, an Israeli human rights lawyer who last week visited the Tarqumiya checkpoint to document the settlers’ actions and to prevent the aid from being looted, said she was beaten and slapped by a settler and that Israeli security forces did nothing to stop the assault.

    “The settlers had guns and knives,” Sapir said. “I asked the IDF soldiers to stop them as what they were doing was illegal, but they asked me to leave. At some point, as I was trying to prevent an aid truck from being vandalised, a settler slapped me very hard and went away. I filmed him and took photos of him. I went to the police and asked them that I needed their help as I wanted to press charge against the man. Again, they asked me to leave. The Israeli forces let the man who attacked me free to vandalise the trucks.”

    Alleged collaboration between the army and the settlers has been denounced for years by Palestinians and human rights organisations. In 2016, the IDF corporal Elad Sela, a resident of the Bat Ayin settlement who served in the Etzion regional brigade, was sentenced to 45 months in jail for passing on classified information to extreme activists, allowing them to evade arrest and continue their activities.

    In October 2022, Maj Gen Herzi Halevi, who lived in the West Bank settlement of Kfar HaOranim, was appointed as Israel’s military chief of staff, in a move that highlighted the army’s relationship with settlers.

    The Israeli police and Cogat, an Israeli defence ministry agency, declined to comment on the allegations that members of the security forces were helping those blocking aid deliveries.

    In a statement, Nir Dinar, the head of the IDF’s international press department, rejected the allegations as “a baseless claim that I am hearing for the first time”. Dinar said police were investigating incidents relating to the blocking and vandalisation of the convoys. “IDF is working to prevent these kind of events,” he added.

    On Sunday, the far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, suggested the government itself should be stopping aid trucks to Gaza instead of leaving it to groups of activists.

    “We are in a democratic country and I am in favour of freedom of protest. They are allowed to demonstrate,” he said in an interview with Army Radio. “I am against them attacking and burning trucks … It’s the cabinet that should be stopping the trucks.”

  • as Israeli forces continue to pummel Gaza, claiming to be targeting the remaining Hamas brigades, they have also swept up thousands of Palestinians in raids in the West Bank. The majority, according to the Palestinian prisoners’ commission, are not aligned to Hamas.

  • Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi was confirmed dead by state media on Monday morning, after a helicopter he was traveling in alongside Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and seven others crashed in foggy conditions in the country's remote northwest on Sunday.

  • The chief prosecutor of the international criminal court has said he is seeking arrest warrants for senior Hamas and Israeli officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his defense minister, Yoav Gallant.

    Karim Khan said his office has applied to the world court’s pre-trial chamber for arrest warrants for the military and political leaders on both sides for crimes committed during Hamas’s 7 October attack and the ensuing war in Gaza.

    He named Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip, and Mohammed Deif, the commander of its military wing, considered to be the masterminds of the 7 October assault, as well as Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the group’s political bureau, who is based in Qatar, as wanted for crimes of extermination, murder, hostage taking, rape, sexual assault and torture.

    Netanyahu and Gallant are accused of extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, the denial of humanitarian relief supplies and deliberately targeting civilians. “These acts demand accountability,” Khan’s office said in a statement.

    The ICC has previously issued warrants for the Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. Israel is not a member of the court and does not recognise its authority.

  • Pro-Palestinian protesters set up a new encampment at Drexel University in Philadelphia over the weekend, prompting a lockdown of school buildings, a day after authorities thwarted an attempted occupation of a school building at the neighboring University of Pennsylvania campus.

    Up to 60 protesters were at the encampment on the campus' Korman Quad Sunday, Drexel President John Fry said in a statement, adding that the university was speaking with demonstrators — most of whom he said were not affiliated with the school —in an effort to end the protest.

    “This demonstration already has proved intolerably disruptive to normal University operations and has raised serious concerns about the conduct of some participants, including distressing reports and images of protesters subjecting passersby to antisemitic speech, signs and chants,” Fry said, declaring that “this encampment must end.” He said the school was communicating with local officials and Philadelphia police to ensure campus safety “and the continued operations of our academic and research endeavors.”

    The encampment at Drexel, which has about 22,000 students, was set up after several hundred demonstrators marched from Philadelphia’s City Hall to west Philadelphia on Saturday. About a dozen tents remained Sunday, blocked off by barricades and monitored by police officers. No arrests were reported. University buildings were open only to those with clearance from security officers.

    On Friday night, members of Penn Students Against the Occupation of Palestine had announced an action at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fisher-Bennett Hall, urging supporters to bring “flags, pots, pans, noise-makers, megaphones” and other items.

    The university said campus police, supported by city police, removed the demonstrators Friday night, arresting 19 people, including six University of Pennsylvania students. The university’s division of public safety said officials found “lock-picking tools and homemade metal shields,” and exit doors secured with zip ties and barbed wire, windows covered with newspaper and cardboard and entrances blocked.

    Authorities said seven people arrested would face felony charges, including one accused of having assaulted an officer, while a dozen were issued citations for failing to disperse and follow police commands.

    The attempted occupation of the building came a week after city and campus police broke up a two-week encampment on the campus, arresting 33 people, nine of whom were students and two dozen of whom had “no Penn affiliation,” according to university officials.

    On Sunday, dozens of George Washington University graduates walked out of commencement ceremonies, disrupting university President Ellen Granberg’s speech, in protest over the ongoing siege of Gaza and last week’s clearing of an on-campus protest encampment that involved police use of pepper spray and dozens of arrests.

    The ceremony, at the base of the Washington Monument, started peacefully with fewer than 100 protesters demonstrating across the street in front of the Museum of African American History and Culture. But as Granberg began speaking, at least 70 students among the graduates started chanting and raising signs and Palestinian flags. The students then noisily walked out as Granberg spoke, crossing the street to a rapturous response from the protesters.

    Students and others have set up tent encampments on campuses around the country to protest the Israel-Hamas war , pressing colleges to cut financial ties with Israel. Tensions over the war have been high on campuses since the fall but demonstrations spread quickly following an April 18 police crackdown on an encampment at Columbia University.

    Nearly 3,000 people have been arrested on U.S. campuses over the past month. As summer break approaches, there have been fewer new arrests and campuses have been calmer. Still, colleges have been vigilant for disruptions to commencement ceremonies.

    President Joe Biden told the graduating class at Morehouse College on Sunday, which included some students wearing keffiyeh scarves around their shoulders on top of their black graduation robes, that he heard their voices of protest and that scenes from the conflict in Gaza have been heartbreaking. He said given what he called a “humanitarian crisis” there, he had called for “an immediate cease-fire” and return of hostages taken by Hamas.

    The latest Israel-Hamas war began when Hamas and other militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking an additional 250 hostage. Palestinian militants still hold about 100 captives, while Israel’s military has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants.

  • Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has undergone another operation two days after being shot multiple times and remains in serious condition, officials said Friday.

    Fico, 59, was attacked as he was greeting supporters after a government meeting in the former coal mining town of Handlova. A suspected assailant has been arrested.

    Miriam Lapunikova, director of the University F. D. Roosevelt hospital in Banska Bystrica, where Fico was taken by helicopter after he was shot, said Fico underwent a CT scan and is currently awake and stable in an intensive care unit. She described his condition as “very serious.”

    She said the surgery removed dead tissues that had remained inside Fico’s body.

    “I think it will take several more days until we will definitely know the direction of the further development,” Robert Kaliniak, the defense minister and deputy prime minister, told reporters at the hospital.

  • On Thursday, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusimuzi Madonsela, requested the court to order Israel to “immediately, totally and unconditionally, withdraw the Israeli army from the entirety of the Gaza Strip.”

    The South African legal team framed the Israeli military operation as part of a genocidal plan aimed at bringing about the destruction of the Palestinian people.

    In past rulings, the court has rejected Israel’s demands to dismiss the case and ordered it to prevent acts of genocide against the Palestinians, while stopping short of ordering it to halt the assault.

    On Friday Noam told the ICJ that there is a “tragic war going on but no genocide”. “This war, like all wars, is tragic. For Israelis and Palestinians and it has exacted a terrible human price but it is not genocide,” he said.

  • Israel on Friday defended the military necessity of its Gaza offensive at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after South Africa asked judges to order it to halt operations in Rafah and completely withdraw from the Palestinian territory.

    Reuters reports that Israeli justice ministry official Gilad Noam called South Africa’s case, which accuses Israel of violating the genocide convention, “completely divorced from facts and circumstances”.

    According to Reuters, before Israel’s presentation at the ICJ, several dozen pro-Israeli protesters gathered outside, displaying photographs of hostages taken by Hamas on 7 October and demanding their release.

  • Via ABC News- The situation in Ukraine is so serious that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had to cancel a planned trip to Spain and come straight to Kharkiv -- the country’s second largest city, which is again in real danger from the Russian advance.

    With exclusive access, ABC News joined Zelenskyy on a tour of a hospital in the city, with Zelenskyy, where he met soldiers injured in the northern defense, and presented them with medals of valor.

    “It’s really important for me to be here,” he told us, as we walked the corridors.

    In each ward, he stopped as an officer read out the names of each injured soldier. He approached each bed and presented them with a medal. But this was a very rushed visit. The president’s safety is always a concern, but this trip to Kharkiv was a risk and his team moved quickly around the building.

    “The situation is very serious,” Zelenskyy said. “We cannot afford to lose Kharkiv.”

    As he stood near the injured soldiers, he was very clear that the delay in U.S. aid has had a direct impact on the war, and the situation along the northeastern border. Hundreds had lost their lives or been wounded in the last few days, he said. Many were soldiers from this region, so it was important for him to be there, supporting them, he said.

    Is it America’s fault, we asked him, what’s happening now in Kharkiv?

    “It’s the world’s fault,” he replied. “They gave the opportunity for Putin to occupy. But now the world can help."

    He’s always careful not to criticize the U.S. But this was a slightly more frank Zelenskyy than we usually see.

    We asked how he felt the visit this week by Secretary of State Antony Blinken had gone. The U.S.'s top diplomat on Wednesday announced an additional $2 billion in aid, adding to the $60 billion promised in late April. Zelenskyy paused. I could sense his frustration.

    “Dialogue is good,” he said. “But we need help now.”

    There’s a sense here, near the brutal fighting on the front line, that the visit wasn’t much more than a show of support.

    “All we need are two Patriot systems,” he said. “Russia will not be able to occupy Kharkiv if we have those.”

    I told him many Americans are worried about how much money is being spent on Ukraine. And in this election year it’s going to be an issue that American voters pay attention to.

    “That money is not given to Ukraine,” he said. “It’s money spent in American factories, creating American jobs… And we are not just fighting for our freedom. If not Ukraine, it would be another country.”

    After the president left, we returned to some of the soldiers he’d visited.

    Maxim, who nearly died in Vovchansk on Wednesday, had his leg raised with three huge metal pins keeping it straight. These are the men protecting Kharkiv. He didn’t seem too bothered with his medal.

    “It’s an honor,” he told me. “But I’d prefer to award this to the men who saved my life.”

  • A furry pitch invader paused Major League Soccer play on Wednesday as a rogue raccoon ran onto the field during a match between the Philadelphia Union and New York City FC.

    The athletic critter ran the length of the pitch at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, deftly evading capture while sprinting stadium staff tried to apprehend it using a trash can.

    “We need to find him a ball because he’s moving very well in the center of midfield,” a commentator quipped during the kerfuffle, adding that it was “entertainment of its own kind.”

  • Tensions at the University of California, Irvine campus escalated Wednesday as a group of several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters entered a lecture hall and surrounded the building, according to school officials.

    The Irvine Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Department were called to the scene after the university called for mutual aid from local law enforcement agencies, UC Irvine said in an emergency update.

    Authorities were seen putting protesters in zip-ties and escorting them away from the main protest area.

    "The police have retaken the lecture hall," UC Irvine spokesperson Tom Vasich said by telephone from the scene. "The plaza has been cleared by law-enforcement officers."
    Vasich said there were a "minimal number of arrests" and characterized the protesters as "begrudgingly cooperative."

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy travelled to Kharkiv on Thursday, days after Russia opened up a new front in the war with an incursion across the border in the north of the region.

    Zelenskiy posted to Telegram to say that he had held a meeting there with senior leaders, posting that:

    As of today, the situation in Kharkiv oblast is generally under control, our soldiers are inflicting significant losses on the occupier. But the direction remains extremely difficult – we are strengthening our units.

    He said that during the meeting, which included commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyi, discussions included “in detail the prospects of the combat situation, the threats in the coming days and weeks, and our, Ukrainian, opportunities to counter Russian offensive plans.”

  • Reuters reports that the suspect in Fico’s assassination attempt acted alone and had previously taken part in anti-government protests, according to the country’s interior minister. He suggested that the suspect disagreed with the government’s justice and media policies and the attack was premeditated. According to Associated Press, Matus Sutaj Estok described the suspect as a “lone wolf” who did not belong to any political groups.

  • The U.S. military finished installing a floating pier for the Gaza Strip on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war.

  • Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico is undergoing surgery after being shot five times Wednesday in an assassination attempt, according to officials.

    The gunman is in custody and no one else was injured in the attack, they said.

    Fico won a third term as Slovakian prime minister last October after running a campaign that criticized Western support for Ukraine.

The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all is the person who argues with him.
— Stanislaw Jerszy Lec