Weekend Review: Dozens Killed by Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza
At least 42 people died in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Sunday, and 50 more were left wounded. The attacks targeted a street of residential buildings and stores, toppling three structures.
On Saturday, the offices of the Associated Press and other media outlets fell. Along with Sunday’s damages, many of the Gaza City’s tallest buildings have now been toppled by Israel. However, Israeli officials allege they only target known locations of the leaders of Hamas, a militant group in control of Gaza.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Joe Biden that “the uninvolved were evacuated” before the strikes on Saturday. Biden then affirmed his “strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas.”
At least 188 people, including 41 children, have been killed in Gaza since the fighting escalated last Monday. Israel has reported 10 killed, two children, in that same time.
On Saturday, protests in countries around the world demonstrated support for Palestine. In cities like D.C., Paris, and Valencia, thousands took to the streets in opposition to the escalating violence. Some carried signs reading “Free Palestine” and “SaveSheikhJarrah,” referencing a neighborhood in East Jerusalem where many Palestinian families face eviction by an Israeli court.
Many Middle Eastern governments have condemned the actions of the Israeli military. According to BBC News, the U.N. Security Council is holding an emergency meeting.
Netanyahu said on Sunday that the attacks will “continue at full force.”
NYT Investigation Links Sickle Cell Trait Found in Black People to Reports of Deaths in Police Custody
A New York Times investigation found 47 reports of sickle cell trait causing or being listed as a major factor in police custody deaths over a span of 25 years. The hereditary trait is mostly found in Black people and can lead to the development of sickle cell disease. However, absent the disease, it is medically benign until such development occurs.
Notably, Derek Chauvin’s lawyers cited the trait as a factor in George Floyd’s death. The Times‘ research found that none of the victims in the examined deaths had sickle cell disease, only the genetic trait.
The reports showed that officers used forceful tactics and restraints in many of the cases. That included 19 cases of restraint that could have interrupted the detained person’s ability to breathe. Many of the deaths were eventually labeled undetermined, accidental, or natural.
According to a researcher who studies sickle cell conditions and deaths in custody, a discernable pattern has developed in which the trait is listed with other conditions to reduce accountability for law enforcement.
Biden Revokes Some of Trump’s Controversial Presidential Proclamations
On Friday, President Biden revoked several plans and proclamations made by former president Trump during his time in office. Among them, he rescinded orders to ban immigrants unable to afford health insurance, severely punish monument vandals, and erect a sculpture garden for American heroes.
Among the most controversial of those orders was Trump’s command last June to aggressively prosecute any person “that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue.” Many of the statues which were targeted for destruction depicted pro-slavery Confederate figures.
Trump had also picked figures for the statue garden, ranging from pop star Whitney Houston to evangelical Christian Billy Graham. However, no site was picked for the project, which was also never funded by Congress. Biden formally scrapped the plans on Friday.
Trump’s order that immigrants prove they can cover costs of health insurance was blocked by a federal judge. Biden revoked the order, promising his team is “committed to expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare,” even for non-citizens.
WHO Recommends Delay in Children’s Vaccination, Share with Covax Effort Instead
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended wealthier nations with a surplus of Covid-19 vaccines delay vaccinating teenagers and children. Instead, they recommend sharing vaccines with a global effort to ensure fair access called COVAX.
The COVAX plan was developed with the first intention of vaccinating 20% of the population in the 92 poorest participating countries. This would start with a push to vaccinate health care workers around the world.
Citing the grave spike of cases and deaths in India, WHO officials warn that the second year of the pandemic could be even deadlier than the first on a global scale. Many health care workers in India have not been vaccinated and are battling the deadly wave at the risk of their own lives.
Last week, President Biden laid out plans to being vaccinating 12 to 15 year-olds in the U.S. Canada also authorized use of the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12.