Friday, January 27, 2023

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Israel’s unlikely coalition: is this the end for Netanyahu?

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Israel has a new coalition government made up of eight very different parties. But having ousted Benjamin Netanyahu, can it hold together?

Israel’s longest-serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, was ousted from office on Sunday by a coalition of rival parties from across the political spectrum. Yair Lapid, a centrist former TV news anchor, won a confidence vote in parliament by 60 to 59 seats giving the new coalition a razor-thin majority.

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Oliver Holmes, tells Rachel Humphreys that Netanyahu’s downfall was marked by jubilant celebrations from his political opponents. But the new coalition of eight parties is far from stable. Dahlia Scheindlin tells Rachel that despite the momentous week in Israeli politics it may not produce a significant change of course on the biggest issues facing the country. And it may not be the last act for Netanyahu in Israeli politics.

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The conflict in the Middle East is sustained by the silencing...

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Throughout history, our story has been narrated by others who treat our rights as less deserving of recognition

The silencing of the Palestinian story is nothing new. In 1950s Britain, a few years after Israel was established, even the name Palestine went out of use. When asked as a child where I came from, people would think I’d said Pakistan.

I remember how frustrating it was that no one wanted to hear our story, as if we had invented it. “It’s the land of the Jews,” I was repeatedly told. “The Arabs are only squatters on it.” Israel’s stunning victory in the 1967 war compounded these attitudes, and the Zionist narrative of Israel’s moral right to exist in the Jewish people’s “ancestral land” became supreme. Constantly made to understand we were second-class human beings with no valid right to “someone else’s country” was demoralising and intimidating.

Related: Renewed diplomacy is urgently needed to prevent another Gaza war | Jane Kinninmont

Ghada Karmi is a Palestinian writer. She has published two memoirs of Palestine

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House votes to establish commission to investigate Capitol attack – as...

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– Joan E Greve and Maanvi Singh

A group of anonymous Capitol Police officers expressed “profound disappointment” in House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell over their opposition to creating the commission.

“It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th. Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of the USCP,” they said in a letter.

NEWS: MEMBERS of the U.S. Capitol Police have issued a statement to members of Congress expressing "profound disappointment" with McConnell and McCarthy's positions on the Jan. 6 commission, citing the "trauma" that officers endured that day. pic.twitter.com/CRweVhIAnD

Before the vote to establish a commission on the Capitol attack, the House defeated an effort by minority leader Kevin McCarthy to end the mask mandate in the chamber.

Several Republican lawmakers have been refusing to wear masks. Nancy Pelosi has maintained that the mask mandate should remain in place, as it’s unclear that all the lawmakers and their staff have been vaccinated. Several Republicans have publicly rejected the vaccine or refused to disclose whether or not they had gotten it.

The House voted 252-175 to establish a commission investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol. Among those who voted in favor of establishing the commission were 35 Republicans.

John Katko, the Republican ranking member of the House homeland security committee helped write the bill to establish the commission, had urged his fellow Republicans to support the proposal.

Republicans in Congress are rebelling against the mask requirement on the House chamber, which remains in place due to Covid-19 safety concerns from Democrats, who hold the majority.

During votes on Tuesday, several Republican lawmakers refused to wear masks as they stood in the chamber and encouraged other members to join them.

White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said he met with Israel’s Meir Ben-Shabbat and Egypt, as the Biden administration urges de-escalation.

I spoke with Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat and the Government of Egypt again today about the ongoing crisis. The United States is engaged in intensive diplomacy and our efforts will continue.

Related: Israel-Gaza conflict: France adds to ceasefire pressure on US as violence rages

For nearly a century she was denied a voice by a culture of silence. Finally, at the age of 107, Viola Fletcher got a national stage on Wednesday to bear witness to America’s deep history of racial violence.

Fletcher is the oldest living survivor of a massacre that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 31 May and 1 June 1921 when a white mob attacked the city’s “Black Wall Street”, killing an estimated 300 African Americans while robbing and burning more than 1,200 businesses, homes and churches.

Related: ‘I am seeking justice’: Tulsa massacre survivor, 107, testifies to US Congress

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

Although most House Republicans are expected to oppose the January 6 commission bill, the GOP members who are participating in the floor debate have largely spoken in favor of the legislation, a New York Times reporter noted.

House Republicans are going to vote against the Jan. 6 commission but not seeing a lot standing up during the floor debate to publicly argue against it.

John Katko, the Republican ranking member of the House homeland security committee who helped craft the bill to form a bipartisan commission to study the January 6 insurrection, urged his fellow Republicans to support the proposal.

“I strongly believe this is a fair and necessary legislation,” Katko said in a House floor speech. “I encourage all members, Republicans and Democrats alike, to put down their swords for once, just for once and support this bill.”

The House is now beginning up to one hour of debate on the bipartisan bill to form a 9/11-style commission to study the Capitol insurrection.

The House is beginning up to one hour of debate on H.R. 3233 - National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act (Sponsored by @BennieGThompson / Homeland Security Committee.)

The family of US Capitol Police Officer Howard “Howie” Liebengood has put out a statement in support of the bipartisan bill to form a commission to study the January 6 insurrection.

Liebengood died by suicide days after the insurrection, making him one of two US Capitol Police officers who died in the immediate wake of the attack.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood would still be with us if not for the January 6 attack.

Here is a new statement from his family, who I'm proud to represent, in support of the January 6 commission: pic.twitter.com/oScbWm4Rzd

House speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference to emphasize her support for the bipartisan bill to create a 9/11-style commission to study the Capitol insurrection.

The Democratic speaker noted that Republican congressman John Katko secured many of his party’s requested changes to the legislation, yet House minority leader Kevin McCarthy is still not supporting it.

Speaker Pelosi on Republican opposition to bipartisan Jan. 6th commission: "It sounds like they are afraid of the truth and that's most unfortunate, but hopefully they'll get used to the idea that the American people want us to find the truth." https://t.co/MHd3o5VNJF pic.twitter.com/nEoOTNdfmu

The US mission to the UN pushed back against a French proposal for a Security Council resolution on the violence in Gaza.

When asked about the French proposal today, a US spokesperson told Reuters, “We’ve been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate.”

Related: US calls on Israel to ‘de-escalate’ Gaza violence in push for ceasefire

Coral Murphy Marcos reports for the Guardian:

The St Louis lawyer who pointed a rifle at BLM protesters outside his home is running for the US Senate in Missouri.

Joe Biden will award his first Medal of Honor on Friday, as South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits the White House.

“On May 21, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., will award the Medal of Honor to Colonel Ralph Puckett, Jr., United States Army, Retired, for conspicuous gallantry during the Korean War. President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea will join this ceremony,” the White House said in a new statement.

According to a new book, in conversations with advisers and donors during the Trump administration and the 2020 election, Barack Obama called Donald Trump a “madman”, a “racist, sexist pig”, “that fucking lunatic” and a “corrupt motherfucker”.

More often: ‘I didn’t think it would be this bad.’ Sometimes: ‘I didn’t think we’d have a racist, sexist pig.’ Depending on the outrage of the day … a passing ‘that fucking lunatic’ with a shake of his head.”

Related: ‘Madman … racist, sexist pig’: new book details Obama’s real thoughts on Trump

Some Republican lawmakers are admitting that they do not support the creation of a commission to study the Capitol insurrection because they worry the panel’s findings could hurt them in next year’s midterms.

“I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders -- not relitigating the 2020 elections,” Senate Republican whip John Thune told CNN.

Donald Trump has responded to reports today that the attorney general’s office in New York has opened a criminal investigation into his business activities and those of other Trump family members.

The attorney general, Letitia James, had been conducting a civil inquiry into the Trump Organization and, according to the Washington Post, in April informed the former president’s lawyers that the investigation had expanded.

Related: New York attorney general opens criminal investigation into Trump Organization

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to dismiss Joe Biden’s calls for a de-escalation of the violence in Gaza, as Israel and Hamas continue to exchange attacks.

Netanyahu applauded the efforts of Israeli forces after a visit to the country’s military headquarters earlier today.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

Mary Tuma reports for the Guardian from Austin, Texas:

Today, the Texas Republican governor, Greg Abbott, signed into law one of the most extreme six-week abortion bans in the US, despite strong opposition from the medical and legal communities, who warn the legislation could topple the state’s court system and already fragile reproductive healthcare network.

Related: Texas governor signs extreme six-week abortion ban into law

Joe Biden closed his remarks at the Coast Guard commencement by telling the graduates that the country needs them.

The president said members of the youngest generation, such as the graduating cadets, make him optimistic about America’s future.

Joe Biden told the Coast Guard cadets that they will be graduating into a changing world.

“We’re at a significant inflection point in world history,” the president said at the commencement ceremony.

Joe Biden is now delivering the keynote address at the US Coast Guard Academy’s 140th commencement exercises in Connecticut.

The president applauded the cadets’ commitment and perseverance, noting they chose a “more difficult path” than many of their high school classmates.

"This past year there can be no doubt the class of '21 is ready for whatever its mission may be," Pres. Biden says delivering the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. https://t.co/BydPADz8Ea pic.twitter.com/GaBEv5IUlh

It is also worth noting that there were 10 congressional investigations into the 2012 attack on US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, as an NBC News editor points out.

In case you were wondering as McConnell makes the case that the two existing congressional investigations into the Jan. 6 attacks are sufficient and nothing new could be learned by a bipartisan commission, the number of congressional investigations conducted about Benghazi: 10

It’s worth comparing Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s comments today to what he said about the Capitol insurrection in January.

McConnell voted against convicting Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection, but he made clear that he held the former president directly responsible for the violence of January 6.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has announced that he will oppose the bipartisan bill to form a September 11-style commission to study the Capitol insurrection when it comes up for a Senate vote.

“After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January 6,” McConnell said on the Senate floor moments ago.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th.” pic.twitter.com/DwoNRrxzPb

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer denounced House Republicans voting against the bipartisan bill to form a commission to study the Capitol insurrection.

“Shame on the Republicans for choosing the ‘big lie’ over the truth -- not all Republicans, but the majority who seem to be doing it,” Schumer said on the Senate floor moments ago.

.@SenSchumer slams GOP over Jan 6 commission:

“Shame on the Republicans for choosing the Big Lie over the truth … Shame on them for defending the mob over our Capitol Police officers, and shame on the House Republican leadership for punishing Republicans who tell the truth …” pic.twitter.com/eKs47oHKAh

A 107-year-old woman, the oldest living survivor of the Tulsa race massacre, has received a standing ovation for her testimony to a congressional committee.

Viola Fletcher told the House of Representatives’ judiciary subcommittee that she was visiting Washington for the first time in her life. Wearing an aquamarine jacket, glasses and headphones, she read steadily from a prepared statement.

WATCH: Complete statement from 107-year-old Viola Fletcher, the oldest living survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre: "I'm here seeking justice and I'm asking my country to acknowledge what happened in Tulsa in 1921."

Full video here: https://t.co/zsDBRKWjCK pic.twitter.com/hJFv4GY3mt

More than 200 people, the vast majority of them Palestinian, have been killed in the past week as Israeli forces and Hamas exchanged attacks in Gaza.

“Even if the airstrikes and the rockets stop, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis has entered a new stage,” the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Oliver Holmes, says.

Joe Biden’s phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu came as the Israeli prime minister pushed back against demands for an immediate end to the violence in Gaza.

“We don’t stand with a timer,” Netanyahu said at a briefing with foreign ambassadors this morning, per Walla News correspondent Barak Ravid.

BREAKING: Netanyahu says in a briefing to foreign ambassadors: “We don’t stand with a timer. We want to achieve the goals of the operation. Previous operations lasted a long time so it is not possible to set a time frame on the operation”

Deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre held a short press gaggle aboard Air Force One moments ago.

Jean-Pierre reiterated the readout from Joe Biden’s call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, during which the US president expressed his expectation for an immediate de-escalation and pathway to ceasefire in Gaza.

The Guardian’s Martin Chulov and Julian Borger and agencies report:

Egypt has urged a brokered end to the fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza, and France has called for a UN security council resolution on the violence, as international pressure for a ceasefire intensifies.

Related: Israel-Gaza conflict: France adds to ceasefire pressure on US as violence rages

Joe Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today as Israeli forces and Hamas continued to exchange attacks in Gaza.

“The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

Related: Biden’s meek stance on Gaza ceasefire does little to quell progressive ire

Although most House Republicans are expected to vote against the January 6 commission bill, as many as 50 members of the GOP caucus may support the legislation, according to Punchbowl News.

We hear that anywhere between 20 to 50 Republicans could vote for this commission, with the total very fluid. Republicans are concerned about a “jailbreak,” in which a flood of lawmakers back the legislation en masse.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to put the January 6 commission bill on the Senate floor for a vote, despite Republican opposition.

“I will put the January 6 Commission legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote, period,” the Democratic leader said. “Republicans can let their constituents know, are they on the side of truth or do they want to cover up for the insurrectionists and for Donald Trump?”

CHUCK SCHUMER: “I will put the Jan. 6 commission legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote, period. Republicans can let their constituents know: Are they on the side of truth or do they want to cover up for the insurrectionists and for Donald Trump?" pic.twitter.com/NXusryVlOL

The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly, Coral Murphy Marcos and agencies report:

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy has long said the 6 January commission should also investigate leftwing groups that protested against police violence after the murder of George Floyd.

Related: Kevin McCarthy rejects bipartisan plan for 9/11-style Capitol attack commission

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

Later today, the House is expected to pass a bill that would establish a September 11-style commission to study the Capitol insurrection.

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