Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pasta alla norma (Eggplant pasta) in the Kitchen

Jaime loved "Roasted Eggplant in the Kitchen."  Why?  Among other things, a garden that's producing tons of egg plants.  For anyone in the same situation, Jaime notes Tin Eats' Pasta all norma:

800g / 1.6 lb eggplant , cut into 2.5cm/1" cubes (2 medium/large ones)
 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

Pasta Sauce:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves , finely minced
1/2 small onion , very finely chopped (or 2 eschallots)
1/4 cup dry white wine , anything not too sweet or woody (Note 1)
700g / 24 oz tomato passata (aka tomato puree, Note 2)

1/4 cup water
1 tsp dried Italian herbs or oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes , optional (for a hint of heat)
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

300g / 10 oz spaghetti or other pasta, long or short (macaroni, rigatoni, penne, ziti, fettucini, bucatini)

 1/2 cup basil leaves , roughly chopped (Note 3)
 Parmesan cheese , grated (or ricotta salata if you have it – more traditional)

Roasted eggplant:
Preheat oven to 240°C / 450°F (220°C fan). Line a tray with baking / parchment paper.
Toss eggplant with oil, salt and pepper. Spread on the tray and roast for 20 minutes.
Flip, then roast for a further 5 minutes. Cool on tray (this helps the eggplant hol

Cooking pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Start cooking the pasta a couple of minutes after you start making the sauce (next section), until al dente or to your liking.

Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, cook for 20 seconds until golden, then add onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent and cooked through.
Increase heat to medium-high and add wine, if using. Let it simmer, scraping the base of the pan to deglaze, until the wine mostly evaporates.
Add tomato passata. Now pour the water into the passata bottle, screw on the lid, shake, and pour that in too (waste nothing!)
Add dried herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in eggplant, then add cooked and drained pasta. GENTLY toss until pasta is coated in the sauce (so the eggplant doesn't turn into complete mush!).
Serve immediately, garnished with a good pinch of fresh basil and parmesan.

Recipe Notes:
1. Wine – excellent way to elevate simple quick simmer sauces like this, adds depth of flavour. You can’t taste the wine and the alcohol is cooked out. Omit if you can’t consume alcohol.
I use sauvignon blanc and pinot gris as they are my standard drinking wines. You do NOT need to use an expensive wine, you can’t tell the difference. I like to pick up bargain bottles when I see them at the liquor store for cooking purposes only. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays then once frozen, in containers in the freezer – for easy use going forward.
2. Tomato passata – pureed, strained tomatoes, sometimes labelled Tomato Puree in the US (here’s a photo of Mutti brand Tomato Passata sold at Walmart). Readily available in Australian supermarkets nowadays, alongside pasta sauces. Smooth and thick rather than chunky like canned tomato, so no need to simmer to break down the tomato.
Crushed canned tomato can be used instead, but simmer sauce for 20 minutes to soften the tomato (adjust pasta cooking time start too, accordingly).
3. Fresh basil is a key element of traditional Pasta alla Norma. However if you don’t have it, you can compensate by adding other herby flavours such as:
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves – this is really good, it’s my favourite when I don’t have basil!
1/2 tsp dried thyme or oregano – extra, added into the sauce
4. Making ahead / reheating: Toss eggplant in sauce then cool and use as needed. For reheating pasta already in sauce, this pasta reheats better than most because it’s quite saucy from the Tomato Passata. Just reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes on high (for 1 serving), using water as needed to loosen.

News?  CNN reports:


Rudy Giuliani was served Friday with notice of his indictment related to an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona, according to Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes.

“The final defendant was served moments ago,” Mayes, a Democrat, said in a post on X in which Giuliani is tagged. “@RudyGiuliani nobody is above the law.”

The summons is a formal notice that a defendant has been criminally charged and must appear before a judge. Richie Taylor, a spokesperson for Mayes, previously told CNN that the attorney general’s office had tried for weeks to locate Giuliani.

Caroline Wren, a GOP operative and adviser to Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, told CNN she was hosting Giuliani’s 80th birthday party in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday evening when the former New York City mayor was served.

An attendee of the party told CNN that Giuliani was served papers by two agents of the Arizona attorney general’s office in the late hours of the birthday bash. “They stormed him on his way out,” the attendee said, adding that “many of the guests were visibly upset.”     

He belongs in prison for trying to overthrow the government.  In earlier times, he would have faced a firing squad for that.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, May 17, 2024.  The International Criminal Court hears more about the slaughter in Gaza, aid workers continue to be targeted, students continue to protest, and much more.

The International Rescue Committee is warning the scale of the crisis in southern Gaza “defies imagination” as Israel intensifies its attack on Rafah while key border crossings remain shut down. More than 600,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah despite having no safe place to go. Another 100,000 Palestinians have fled in the north. Overnight, Israel deployed an additional commando brigade to Rafah. This is a Palestinian woman in Rafah who is in mourning after Israel killed her husband and son.

Afaf al-Halqawi: “My son was beautiful as a moon. He was a groom. He went inside to his bride, thank God. … There’s no safe place, not in Rafah, not in Khan Younis. They slaughtered Jabaliya, they slaughtered al-Nuseirat, and they slaughtered Rafah. Safety is only with God. May God have mercy on us.”

On Wednesday, Israel shelled a clinic in Gaza City run by the U.N. aid agency UNRWA, killing at least 10 displaced Palestinians, including children. Earlier today, Israeli forces targeted residential buildings and an ambulance in Jabaliya, killing multiple Palestinians, including a pregnant woman. Separately, five Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday in Jabaliya when they were shelled by an Israeli tank. Seven other Israeli troops were injured in what’s being described as a friendly fire incident.

As appalling as that news is -- and it's disgusting -- grasp that this news is from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW! and the White House has no response and the Israeli government continues to assault Gaza -- with US approval and weapons.  Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) observes this morning:

The US has long been Israel’s largest arms merchant. For the last four years, the US has supplied Israel with 69% of its imported weapons, from F-35s to chemical munitions (white phosphorous), tank shells to precision bombs. Despite this, the Biden administration claims not to know how these weapons are put to use, even when they maim and kil American citizens.

Since the start of the latest war on Gaza, the US has had both defense department and CIA officials in Israel helping the Israelis with intelligence, logistics, targeting and bomb damage assessment. Still, the Biden administration claims not to have any hard evidence that the weapons it has transferred to Israel have been used to slaughter civilians, torture detainees or restrict the flow of humanitarian aid to starving, dehydrated and sick Palestinian civilians.

Under pressure from Bernie Sanders, Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkeley and other congressional Democrats, in February, President issued National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20, or “National Security Memorandum on Safeguards and Accountability With Respect to Transferred Defense Articles and Defense Services”), which directed the State Department to “obtain certain credible and reliable written assurances from foreign governments receiving [U.S.] defense articles and, as appropriate, defense services” that they will abide by U.S. and international law. NSM-20 also requires the Departments of State and Defense to report to Congress within 90 days on the extent to which such partners are abiding by their assurances. “assessment of any credible reports or allegations that defense articles and, as appropriate, defense services, have been used in a manner not consistent with international law, including international humanitarian law.” The NSM-20 report also required the Biden administration to assess whether Israel has fully cooperated with United States Government-supported and international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance in the area of conflict. They missed the 90-day mark by two days, likely to push the release of the report to late on a Friday afternoon, a traditional dead zone for news you’d like to bury. 

Since October 7, the Biden administration has approved more than 100 Foreign Military Sales arms transfers to Israel. Two of the shipments used an emergency authority to circumvent Congressional review. The surge of weapons transfers to Israel began in early October and so much material was being shipped that the Pentagon had a difficult time finding enough cargo aircraft to deliver them. While the Pentagon regularly details weapons sent to Ukraine, it has only issued two updates on the kind and amount of weapons sent to Israel. But those two reports, both issued in December, suggest that the weapons included artillery shells, tank rounds, air defense systems, precision-guided munitions, small arms, Hellfire missiles used by drones, 30-mm cannon shells, PVS-14 night vision devices and disposable (though probably not biodegradable) shoulder-fired rockets. In late October, one sale to Israel including $320 million worth of JDAM kits for converting unguided “dumb” bombs into GPS-guided munitions. This was in addition to a previous sales of $403 million worth of the same guidance systems. From October 7 to Dec. 29 alone, US weapons shipments to Israel included 52,229 M795 155-millimeter artillery shells, 30,000 M4 propelling charges for howitzers, 4,792 M107 155-mm artillery shells and 13,981 M830A1 120-mm tank rounds.

For over seven months, this genocide has been allowed to continue.  At TRUTHOUT, Sharon Zhang reports:

In an emergency hearing furthering South Africa’s genocide case on Thursday, South Africa warned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel has begun a new stage of genocide in Gaza that the court must move against with “extreme urgency.”

South Africa’s legal team is seeking provisional measures from the ICJ for Israel to immediately withdraw from Rafah and take every action possible to surge humanitarian aid into Gaza, on top of orders for Israel to comply with provisional orders the court issued in January and March.

“Israel is escalating its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, and in so doing, is willfully breaching the binding orders of this court,” South African ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela said in opening remarks.

“South Africa had hoped, when we last appeared before this court, to halt this genocidal process to preserve Palestine and its people,” Madonsela continued. “Instead, Israel’s genocide has continued apace and has just reached a new and horrific stage.”

In oral arguments, the South African delegation stressed the profound danger that Israel’s invasion of Rafah poses for the future of all Palestinians in Gaza, citing Israel’s near-total aid blockade and violent dismantling of nearly all basic infrastructure, including the region’s medical system.

Molly Quell (AP) points out, "It was the third time the International Court of Justice held hearings on the conflict in Gaza since South Africa filed proceedings in December at the court, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, accusing Israel of genocide."  John Bacon and Jorge L. Ortiz (USA TODAY) note, "Israel will provide a response in court Friday. Israeli officials have previously denied in court claims the country's military campaign violates the 1949 Genocide Convention, arguing that it stepped up efforts to provide humanitarian aid for Gaza in accordance with previous court orders."  The hearing continued this morning.  ALJAZEERA notes:

The main argument Israel was bringing today was that the fact that South Africa says that there is at least not enough humanitarian aid coming into Rafah is basically a lie, according to Israel.

And also they said that South Africa’s claim that Rafah is this last refuge for the people in Gaza is untrue. They say they acknowledge that there are a lot of civilians there, but they also say it’s a Hamas stronghold and they have to continue this military operation.

So basically rejecting South Africa’s request to the court to order Israel to stop its military offensive in Rafah and also withdraw from Gaza altogether.

It was an interesting hearing this time, because in the beginning Israel said it didn’t have enough time to prepare – there was far too short notice.

That hearing has completed for today and the court hears testimony again tomorrow.  

And the assault continues and many in the media try to spin the 'pier' as good news when the reality remains that aid is just not getting in.  Cindy McCain spoke about the crisis to SKY NEWS.

Starving children and adults in Gaza are dying after being reduced to the "size of a skeleton", according to the World Food Programme boss.

Cindy McCain, executive director of the UN agency, said her staff describe it as "a complete disaster" and there are serious problems getting trucks in safely and in sufficient numbers.

Israel's offensive following the Hamas attack on 7 October has displaced much of Gaza's population, many of whom are fleeing again as Israel escalates attacks in the southern city of Rafah.

Hundreds of thousands are starving and desperate, and Mrs McCain told Sky News the reality is devastating.

She told Yalda Hakim: "Imagine a child wasting into the size of a skeleton - and of course passing from it - and an adult doing the same thing. That's what we're seeing on the ground.

"If we could get in now we might be able to fend off a hardcore famine, but we're not there yet and we're not getting in."

Cease-fire would be the best, Cindy told SKY NEWS, but she doesn't see it happening any time soon. 

The Israeli government continues to block aid.  That is not by chance.  A pattern emerges, as Owen Jones notes, if you pay attention.

The pattern has been attacking aid workers -- such as murdering the 7 World Central Kitchen workers, the continued attacks by Israeli 'civilians' on aid convoys -- attacks that result in no legal consequences.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Aid agencies are running out of food in southern Gaza amid Israel’s ongoing offensive in Rafah. The World Food Programme says it’s run out of stocks in Rafah and has suspended food aid distributions there for several days. No food has entered the two main border crossings in southern Gaza for more than a week, since the Israeli assault on Rafah began and Israeli forces seized control of and closed the border crossing with Egypt. Some 1.1 million Palestinians are on the brink of starvation, according to the U.N., while a full-blown famine is taking place in the north. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said today, quote, “The impact is devastating for over 2 million people.”

AMY GOODMAN: This comes just days after Israeli settlers blocked aid trucks headed to Gaza through the occupied West Bank from Jordan. Footage of the incident shows settlers raiding the aid trucks, throwing food into the road and setting fire to vehicles at the Tarqumiyah checkpoint near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian truck drivers say they fear for their lives after the attack.

ADEL AMER: [translated] We went to the checkpoint, and after the check, we were surprised to see settlers on the roundabout of the checkpoint. They damaged the cars. They tore the tires off the trucks. They threw the contents of the truck on the ground. We gathered some of the products and sent some of those products on to a bulldozer and sent them to sheep farms. Around 15 trucks were damaged. Their haul was damaged. Windows of the trucks were broken. Some drivers were beaten. Some of the products were thrown away, and the whole loss for Hebron is around $2 million.

AMY GOODMAN: At a White House press briefing Monday, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan was asked by reporters about the attack on the aid convoy.

JAKE SULLIVAN: It is a total outrage that there are people who are attacking and looting these convoys coming from Jordan, going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian assistance. We are looking at the tools that we have to respond to this, and we are also raising our concerns at the highest level of the Israeli government. And it’s something that we make no bones about. This is completely and utterly unacceptable behavior.

AMY GOODMAN: The attack on the aid convoy was the culmination of weeks of Israeli settlers attempting to block aid trucks from reaching Gaza.

For more, we’re going to Tel Aviv to speak with Sapir Sluzker Amran, an Israeli human rights lawyer and peace activist who documented the attack on the aid convoy right near Hebron. She’s the co-director of Breaking Walls, an intersectional feminist grassroots movement.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Sapir. It’s so good to have you with us. If you can describe exactly what took place, how you ended up there when the Israeli settlers attacked the aid convoy, and what exactly they did to the convoy and to you?

SAPIR SLUZKER AMRAN: Thanks, and thank you so much for having me. Before we get into details, just to say from Tel Aviv that we are calling for ceasefire and safe return of the hostages, and hope to see this war ending as soon as possible and not seeing another one.

So, I came on Monday. It was after a few months where they’re organizing those kinds of actions, those looting actions. Settlers and their supporters, they are organizing in those WhatsApp groups, getting notifications from inside information, actually, to know where the trucks are going and coming from, and then trying to block them or to loot and destroy the entire food on the trucks. And when I came on Monday, it was to — I wasn’t sure. It was trying to document — it was after seeing those footages, those videos that they published a few months now, trying to organize groups. But people were afraid. And they should be afraid, because they’re coming with guns and knives and axes even. And the police and the IDF is totally on their side and not protecting us. But when I was there, I came to document and to understand a bit what’s going on.

And then, after they had this, like, first round of looting the convoy there, they started to go to another crossing in order to see if there was more trucks there, because they got an inside information again that there might be other trucks a few minutes’ drive from that crossing. I was there with another activist, and we went to the drivers of the trucks to see if we can help. And they were very surprised. They didn’t understand why there were Jewish people, Israelis, that want to help them. It took them a minute to understand that we are Arabs, but not Palestinians, we are Arab Jews, and we are with them. So, we started to pack everything again on one of the trucks. And we almost finished, and then they came back, more people — I think there were around few dozens, and then it became almost 150 people. At that time, they did whatever they want.

So, I want to be specific. This event, I got a message on WhatsApp that this event’s starting, and they’re asking people to come around 9:30 in the morning. They were there on their way. So they were there at 10 a.m. I came at 12:00. I left, though, for my own safety. Around 3 p.m., there were dozens of people, and people kept coming. So, it happened for hours. There were a few soldiers there without a supervisor. They didn’t know what to do. They were just going around, maybe two policemen, and that’s it. And what the settlers did is tearing up the entire food that was there. There were bags of rice, bags of sugar and instant noodles in bags. And they did it in a way that we cannot repair it. They did it in a way that they were tearing everything down, jumping on the instant noodles so we cannot save it. And, yeah, that was the situation.

We saw a lot of families there. I think that the youngest person that was there was maybe 3 years old, a kid with his father, like it was like a fun day, a festival day, and more teenagers that were there. And they did whatever they want. They laughed, they enjoyed, and they said it was the best action that we had 'til now. It was in Tarqumiyah crossing. And I think many came because it's in the area of the settlers, so it was very easy for them just to be first and to hold those trucks.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Sapir, could you talk about what the settlers did specifically to you, what happened to you? And then explain who the settlers are and what their justification is for doing that, for disrupting the aid convoys and destroying all the aid. They say that the aid is helping Hamas, and they want to obstruct its delivery until the hostages are released. Who are the settlers? And do they have any connection to the government?

SAPIR SLUZKER AMRAN: Yeah. So, I think, just to say, I’m not the story here. Yes, I will share that I was injured. One of the settlers — so, I was — I’m not sure how, but I couldn’t stand aside when I saw them running again, going on the trucks with sugar bags, going on the trucks with their knives and weapons and axes and all kinds of sharp objects and tearing down everything. And I couldn’t. And I started to run towards them and document it and tell them, “Please, stop. Stop. What are you doing? This is food. This is food. Like, you have to understand, inside of ’48, inside Israel, we have more than 2 million people that are under the poverty line. This is food. We have, an hour from now, people that are hungry. They can be your family that are hungry an hour from here.” And they didn’t care about it.

So I went on the truck and tried to stop them. And I called and I screamed on the IDF. There were like very young soldiers. I told them, “Come! Come and help me! This is your role! This is not my role! Come and help me! I can’t do it on my own!” And my friend was documenting it and trying also to talk with them and trying to stop them while they were doing it. And they tried to prevent her to photograph. And she managed to do it anyway.

So, when I was on the truck, yeah, one of the settlers, in front of an IDF that was right next to us, he kind of slapped me extremely hard, and then he was trying to escape. The police was there. The police took him. I told them, “I want to press charges.” They said, “No,” and they hid him so I couldn’t document him, even though I have his photo and the video. And then, after 10 minutes, he came back, like nothing was happened. So they took him only to protect him, not for something else.

And I was the only one that the government, that the IDF, the police, asked for to see an ID. All that time, they didn’t ask anyone from them, from the settlers, to get out of this area, that it was like a parking lot — only us, only the two of us, just the two of us. And they were just sitting there or standing there while I was telling them, “You’re standing right here. You see someone with a knife. That person, a teenager, took a knife at me.” I told them, “You see him. At least take the knife. At least take the knife so, like, he won’t attack me.” And they didn’t care about it. They were just standing aside like there is nothing that they can do, like it’s normal, what’s happening.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Sapir, we only have a few minutes left —


AMY GOODMAN: — and we want to know: Who are these Israeli settlers? Who are the people that destroyed the aid truck?

SAPIR SLUZKER AMRAN: Yeah, so, those are the people, settlers, that are, you know, living in the settlements. They’re Orthodox Jews. They’re from the national Zionist Jewish stream, Zionist stream. They have many supporters in government. They are the government. It’s not that they’re supporters.

And we know that yesterday — I want to say something like that right now I can show you — I can add you right now, Amy, to a WhatsApp group, because they’re organizing right now to do it again. So, they have this information. No one is trying to stop them. I think maybe it’s not clear that nothing has changed from Monday. They are still doing it. I don’t know what is showing on the international media, what the Israeli government is publishing. But they are doing it right now, with their names, with their numbers, and they don’t care about presenting even theirselves and documenting theirselves, because they know that nothing is going to happen to them, no circumstances, no objects, and nothing will happen at all.

So, they are connected to the government. We know that some of them are working with the government. We know that some of them — I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re funded from the government. We have MKs, members of the parliament, the Israeli parliament, that are supporting it and coming to those actions. We have someone that is a CEO of a right-wing organization that just got, a few months ago got — he has a photo with one of the MKs, the chairman of the Knesset, giving him a diploma to thank him for his service to Israel. OK? So, they are — last week, it was the mayor of one of the big cities in the south of Israel. They are the blood, and they are part of it. What you are doing is just, we can call it, privatization, privatization of the violence, which means that the government know. They hide because of the U.S. They have to pretend that they are obeying international law. But, in fact, they don’t want to. So they have these kids, they have these settlers, they have their supporters, that they are part of their political parties, and also they’re also funding them, to tell them, “Go to this crossing and handle it.”


SAPIR SLUZKER AMRAN: So, that’s why the police is not intervening, because the police belongs to Ben-Gvir and those kinds of people. So, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Sapir Sluzker Amran, I want to thank you so much for being with us, Israeli human rights lawyer and peace activist, who went to the Tarqumiyah crossing in Hebron to document the attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy by Israeli settlers. She’s also the co-director of Breaking Walls, an intersectional feminist grassroots movement.

We had this in The Times of Israel: Israeli extremists mistook, on Wednesday, two days after the attack on the convoy she described — they mistook a regular commercial truck traveling in the West Bank for a convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza and attacked the vehicle. The vigilantes set a fire in the road, dumped the truck’s contents onto the pavement and assaulted the Palestinian driver. Video from the scene showed the driver lying on the street bloodied.

When we come back, we’ll talk with Human Rights Watch about their new report on Israeli forces attacking humanitarian aid convoys in Gaza. The group has also documented Russian forces executing surrendering Ukrainian soldiers. We’ll go to Kyiv to speak with the HRW representative, and we’ll look at ethnic cleansing in Sudan. Back in 20 seconds.


AMY GOODMAN: Voices of some the hundred university professors and faculty and their allies from higher education institutions across New York, gathering yesterday at Grand Central Station during rush hour to sing and read out a joint letter from faculty across a number of schools calling for an end to genocide in Gaza.

, the lies spread about UNRWA in an attempt to destroy that UN agency, you name it.


In the face of Israel's ongoing attacks on Rafah and on UNRWA, Iraq has pledged US$25 million to support Palestinian refugees through the agency.

The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement on Tuesday, stating that the country will contribute US$25 million to UNRWA.

Omar Al-Barzanji, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, expressed condolences to the victims of the Israeli invasion of Rafah during a joint press conference with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, who paid an official visit to Baghdad. Al-Barzanji also condemned the Israeli incursion into Rafah.

He also expressed Iraq's concern about the severe funding shortage faced by UNRWA and its inability to assist Palestinian refugees, reaffirming Iraq's rejection of the restrictive policies imposed on UNRWA and calling for increased support for the agency. 

While courts and elected officials do nothing, students are the ones standing up and demanding an end to the slaughter in Gaza.

That solidarity march took place today.  LE MONDE notes that the protests that began in the US are spreading across Europe, "The exam period, the end of the academic year, heavy-handed police evacuations and campus closures have, in some places, weakened student activism against the war in Gaza, particularly in the United States and France. But elsewhere across Europe, protest hotspots are emerging, with students calling for an end to Israeli bombardments in Gaza and for their universities to cut ties with companies and institutions linked to Israel."  France and Australia were the first to follow the US students.  Australian students are witnessing bullying and intimidation.  Eric Ludlow and Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) report:

Over the past 24 hours, a campaign against student protest encampments opposing the Israeli genocide in Gaza has ratcheted up sharply. Two universities have issued eviction notices, others have held “crisis meetings,” and at the University of Melbourne, a senior manager has made a frothing denunciation of protesters and called for the police to mobilise against them.

Whether the crackdown is being nationally coordinated or not—and the timing strongly indicates that it is—the repressive actions of university administrations are in line with demands from the political and media establishment, particularly Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

This week, he has denounced the protests as “divisive” displays of “hatred” and “ignorance” that do not “have a place” in society. Albanese claimed that antisemitism is greater than at any point in his lifetime, in a deepening of the lying conflation of opposition to Israel’s horrific war crimes with anti-Jewish bigotry.

The remarks have had the character of an incitement to the Zionist thugs and far-right forces who, on three occasions over the past fortnight, have violently attacked student encampments in the dead of the night. They have been aimed at creating a climate of intimidation and manufactured hysteria in which the university administrations will feel compelled and emboldened to dismantle the protests.

That was underscored by a statement from University of Melbourne deputy vice-chancellor Michael Wesley yesterday. Referencing the fact that students at the university are continuing an occupation of the Arts West building they began on Wednesday, Wesley declared that “red lines have been crossed.”

Without evidence, he said protesters were “intimidating” other people and “have caused considerable damage.” Speaking more like a national security official than an academic administrator, Wesley asserted that “intelligence” had shown that many involved were not students but “professional protesters.”

“They are outside agitators and the sort of actions they are taking suggest to us that they could be potentially dangerous,” he said. “The way they have organised themselves within the building would suggest to us that they are preparing to resist being forcibly evicted.”

The deputy vice chancellor menacingly stated that police would now “be including the campus in their regular patrols. When it comes to ending the protest, we will largely be reliant on Victoria Police. This is going to be a very substantial operation.” Victoria Police this morning stated there had been no formal eviction notice from the university, and so they could not immediately act.

Wesley’s comments, however, are chilling. The use of quasi-military terminology about “red lines” and “substantial operations” is a warning that the university authorities are prepared to greenlight violence against protesters who are not accused of physically harming anyone, or of committing any real wrongdoing.

In the US, KTVU reports, "Officers have arrested at least 12 Gaza war protesters on Thursday, who took over a vacant building near UC Berkeley's campus one day earlier, university officials say.  Campus police and outside law enforcement agencies responded to Anna Head Hall on Thursday to clear the building. The university-owned building is off campus. Several others, who occupied the building, were forcibly removed."  Nollyanne Delacruz (EAST BAY TIMES) reports, "Twenty students from St. Mary’s College in Moraga occupied a chapel and eight students began a hunger strike on Wednesday night to push the university to disclose all of its financial investments and divest from any corporations supporting Israel’s war in Gaza. The students remained in the Chapel of the Most Blessed Virgin, near the entrance to campus, on Thursday. They also called on the school to not remove a vigil dedicated to Palestinian children killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 at the St. John the Baptist De La Salle statue on the campus."  And Maya Stahl, Sarah Huddleston and Shea Vance (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) report:

Barnard College celebrated its Commencement on Wednesday afternoon at Radio City Music Hall. Among the plush red chairs, graduates stood out in their Pantone 292 regalia, with many donning keffiyehs, pinning signs to their robes calling for divestment, and painting their caps.

Many graduates pinned to their regalia red poppies with the names of children killed by the Israeli military in Gaza, and several wore stoles with yellow ribbons, a symbol calling for the return of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 224 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "Gaza death toll reaches 35,303, with 79,261 wounded"  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


On bodies trapped under rubble, ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

We’re talking about a three-storey building that housed not only residents but also dozens of other displaced Palestinians in Rafah that made it to Nuseirat three days ago.

I met the neighbours. I met the family. I met one of the relatives of people still trapped under the rubble earlier today. They were telling me heartbreaking things.

Imagine escaping the air strikes in Rafah, looking for a safe space but being killed after three days of evacuating – not only being killed but being trapped where the Civil Defence teams do not have any equipment to remove or pull these people from under the rubble.

I saw Civil Defence teams doing their best to pull people from under the rubble. They were digging with their bare hands, with very basic tools. This was not the first time we have seen this scene. We have been seeing this for more than seven months now.

Unfortunately, it may come to a point where the Civil Defence teams will give up on this house because there are more people being targeted every single hour across the Gaza Strip.

April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Harrison Loves Josh" went up last night.  The following sites updated: