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A Girl Scouts troop offers hope and 'sisters for life' for migrant children

GSA troop 6000

The world is very gray today: It's raining in New York City.

From the outside, the building looks like any other old hotel in midtown Manhattan, but it is one of the largest migrant centers for families with children in the city. About 3,500 people are housed here.

Inside the building, the light is dim and there's the constant murmur of people shuffling in and out. Somewhere in this labyrinth of hallways, there's a room that's in technicolor.

This is the meeting point for a Girl Scouts troop, in partnership with New York City Health and Hospitals.

One by one, the scouts start trickling in. Their ages are kindergarden through 12.


Trapped in Rafah, U.S. medical volunteers say they can't save lives and can't evacuate

US med volunteers trapped in GazaWhen Zain Abu Obeid died on Sunday at the last functioning hospital in Rafah, there was no one to collect the 7-year-old boy's body from the morgue. He had been injured in an Israeli airstrike that killed his entire family, according to members of a U.S. medical team trapped at the European Hospital following Israel's closure of the nearby border crossing.

Conditions are so dire that the hospital staff are operating without light due to fuel shortages.

"You can see how everything is dark. The only light is coming from outside," Dr. Ammar Ghanem, vice chair of the Syrian American Medical Society, said in a video that he filmed on Monday and sent to NPR. The video showed doctors and nurses in the intensive care unit working in what little daylight was coming through the small windows.

Israel seized the Rafah crossing with Egypt last week as part of an assault on the nearby city of the same name, aimed at rooting out Hamas militants after a Hamas attack last October killed almost 1,200 Israeli civilians and security forces, according to Israeli government figures. Gaza's health ministry says more than 35,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in seven months of war.


‘Total outrage’: White House condemns Israeli settlers’ attack on Gaza aid trucks

Settlers attack Gaza aid trucks

The White House has condemned an attack on an aid convoy heading to Gaza by Israeli settlers who threw packages of food into the road and set fire to the vehicles.

Video of the incident on Monday at Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, showed settlers blocking the trucks and throwing boxes of much-needed supplies on the ground. Photographs from the scene showed piles of damaged aid packages and drifts of rice and flour across the road.

Late on Monday, photos began circulating on social media showing the trucks on fire.


About 300,000 Gazans Have Fled Rafah, U.N. Says

Gazans fleeing Rafah

The main United Nations agency aiding Palestinians in Gaza said early Sunday that about 300,000 people had fled over the past week from Rafah, the city in the enclave’s southernmost tip where more than a million displaced Gazans had sought shelter from Israeli bombardments elsewhere over the past seven months.

The U.N. agency, known as UNRWA, made the announcement on social media hours after the Israeli government issued new evacuation orders in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza, deepening fears that the Israeli military was preparing to invade the city despite international warnings.

The World Food Program echoed those warnings on Sunday, expressing concern about displacement of civilians and saying that a full-scale invasion of Rafah would be “catastrophic.”

“Families are once again on the move, searching for shelter, food, water — but with fewer resources,” it wrote on social media.


The students protesting in Dublin are on the right side of history – and they know it

Trinity CollegeWho tends to get the big foreign policy calls right: student protesters, or their detractors? Answering this question, it turns out, is useful if you don’t want to end up judged poorly by history.

Student protesters were vilified when they stood against the Vietnam war, yet now, who would have wanted to be on the side that denigrated them variously as naive, dupes and extremists? How should we look back at the students suspended after walking out of lessons in protest at the impending war in Iraq in 2003? Today we might say they come off looking pretty good, having had far more foresight than the seasoned politicians and ageing media commentators who cheered that particular cataclysm on back then.

That legacy loomed large on Wednesday in a courtyard at Trinity College Dublin, filled with students waving Palestinian flags alongside the Irish tricolour, as the triumphant student union president, László Molnárfi, told them their protests would succeed in Ireland, the US and across the world “because our cause is right”. The students were jubilant, because they had won.


Pro-Palestine student protests continue at weekend commencement ceremonies

Pro Palestinian graduates

Pro-Palestine protests have continued at multiple universities this weekend, with students attempting to send a message during their commencement ceremonies.

Student at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill protested outside campus buildings, splattering red paint on the steps of one, the News and Observer reported.

“Today is UNC’s graduation commencement and students have established an encampment at the famous bell tower, where many graduates will want to take their graduation photos,” National Students for Justice in Palestine posted online.

At the end of the chancellor’s commencement address, students moved up the center aisle carrying two Palestinian flags. They were met with boos and people chanting “USA!” The people were ushered away by police, the outlet reported.


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

IDF torture 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.


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