From Washington to Milan to Paris to Malta and Jerusalem, tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched Saturday, calling for a halt to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. The Associated Press says the marches reflected the growing disquiet about the mounting civilian casualty toll and suffering from the Israel-Hamas war. Protesters, particularly in countries with large Muslim populations, including the US, the UK, and France, expressed disillusionment with their governments for supporting Israel while its bombardments of hospitals and residential areas in the Gaza strip intensify. In London, pro-Palestine protesters laid effigies of dead babies in Trafalgar Square.
In Valletta. crowds condemn Metsola
In Malta, protestors, mostly clad in black and waving the Palestinian flag, marched from Freedom Square to the law courts in Valletta, chanting “Free, free Palestine” and “Ceasefire now”. The protestors criticised European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, with many shouting “Metsola, you can’t hide, you enabled genocide”. She had been criticised for backing Israel following the 7th October attacks and for visiting the country and meeting the Israeli President together with EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, without any mention of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. The Palestinian Ambassador to Malta, Fadi Hanania, called on the Maltese government to speak at the UN Security Council and advocate for an end to the killing.
Anti-government protest held outside Netanyahu’s residence
Protesters gathered outside the Jerusalem residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, demanding Netanyahu resign over his handling of the 7th October terror attack, the Times of Israel reported. The protesters, some of whom carried Israeli flags, chanted “Jail now!” as they demonstrated. Many of them demanded a ceasefire with militant group Hamas in order to facilitate the return of more than 200 hostages who were kidnapped from Israel during the attack in Southern Israel. Other anti-government demonstrations were held in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba, and Eilat.
51 Palestinians killed in Israeli raid of refugee camp
At least 51 Palestinians were killed Saturday in an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian official news agency WAFA said the Israeli warplanes targeted civilian homes in the Al-Maghazi camp, leaving dozens also injured, mostly women and children. The Israeli bombing caused the total destruction to the home and severe damage to the neighbouring homes and infrastructure.
Israel strikes Hezbollah targets on Lebanon border
The Israeli military exchanged fire with Hezbollah militants on Saturday as skirmishes with the group continue at the Lebanon-Israel border. The Iran-backed militant group launched rockets towards Israeli targets, the Associated Press reported. It said its fighters attacked at least six Israeli posts along the border, saying that “direct hits were scored and technical equipment was destroyed”. The organisation’s Al-Manar TV also reported that fighters shot down a spy balloon that Israel’s military posted over the northern town of Misgaf Am. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the strikes and Israel’s response. Meanwhile, the US embassy in Beirut issued a security alert urging all US citizens to leave the country while flights are available.
Blinken brushes off Arab leaders’ calls for ceasefire
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rebuffed suggestions by Arab leaders for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas terrorists during a visit on Saturday. Blinken appeared at a news conference in Amman, Jordan with the foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt. The Arab leaders argued that Israel’s offensive in Gaza was killing a high number of civilians and needed to pause immediately. But Blinken refuted both officials’ claims and argued that Israel has a right to defend its citizens. “A ceasefire now would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on 7th October 7,” the US official maintained. “No nation, none of us would accept that … So it is important to reaffirm Israel’s right and its obligation to defend itself.”
ECB expects to bring inflation back to 2% in 2025
ECB President Christine Lagarde has told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that the Bank expects to bring inflation back to 2% in 2025. Lagarde also talked about the effects of climate change on prices: “When we measure inflation, we pay attention to the headline rate,” she said, “but we also try to understand what’s underneath the more variable components. One of those components is food. Will the price of food increase in the future? This is a possibility when considering, for example, the impact of climate change. Droughts, floods, higher temperatures, and rising sea levels will most likely have an impact in the future on food prices,” she said.
4.4 million people are stateless
At least 4.4 million people in 95 countries are stateless or of undetermined nationality, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Saturday. In its annual report marking the 9th anniversary of its #IBelong campaign, the UNHCR said the actual figure globally is believed to be significantly higher, “given the relative invisibility of stateless people in national statistical exercises”. The agency noted that stateless people, often belonging to minority groups, are often deprived of human rights and access to basic services. This leaves them “politically and economically marginalized and vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse”.
‘Britain’s loneliest sheep’ rescued after two years
A lonely ewe that was stranded on the foot of some cliffs in the Scottish Highlands for at least two years has finally been rescued. The Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) previously described any attempts to save the sheep in Cromarty Firth as “incredibly complex”. A hovercraft company had even offered to help ferry the animal, dubbed “Britain’s loneliest sheep”, due to concerns that rocky terrain on the shore would make it impossible to use a dinghy or boat. In the end, a group of five farmers managed to haul her up a steep slope to safety, and have since named her “Fiona”.
Main photo credit: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images