Hospital explosion: Yesterday, the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City was struck in the single deadliest day of violence since October 7. Hundreds of people have allegedly died, with some estimates claiming as many as 500, though it is hard to confirm the exact toll at this stage. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says it was an accidental explosion by the group Islamic Jihad; the terrorist group says the IDF is deflecting blame and is actually responsible for the attack.
The IDF "was not firing in the area, Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said," reports the Associated Press. Per Hagari, "Israeli radar confirmed a rocket barrage fired by the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery at that time of the blast, around 6:59 p.m."
"The misfired rocket hit the parking lot outside the hospital. Were it an airstrike, there would have been a crater there; instead, the fiery blast came from the misfired rocket's warhead and its unspent propellant," said the IDF spokesperson.
"We were operating in the hospital, there was a strong explosion, and the ceiling fell on the operating room. This is a massacre," said Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah, a London-based doctor who traveled to Gaza and was at the hospital during the attack.
Paralyzed: "Life in Gaza is paralyzed, with all institutions and private sectors closed, affecting the people's access to basic needs, particularly health," the hospital's director, Suhaila Tarazi, wrote last week, in a plea for help after fighting in the region started on October 7 following Hamas' single-day massacre of 1,300 Israelis, including civilians.
The primary concern is, of course, the many innocent people who were slaughtered in the hospital attack, and the fact that Gaza's hospital capacity is further crippled. "If someone doesn't die from the bombardment, then he'll die from the lack of medical service," said the director of Al Shifa Hospital (which is likely to run out of fuel to power generators today) several days ago. Death tolls will rise. Speculation abounds as to who carried out the attack. But the response around the world makes clear that things are about to get worse.
Protests in the West Bank, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Iran, and Iraq: At least "half a dozen cities in Iran" have experienced demonstrations in response to the hospital attack. "There is the sense that this was something catastrophic," says Al Jazeera correspondent Dorsa Jabbari.
In Istanbul, protesters tried to enter the Israeli consulate and set things on fire outside of it. In Jordan, where protests erupted and demonstrators tried to storm Amman's Israeli embassy, President Joe Biden's visit—planned to happen within the next few days—was called off. (Biden just landed in Israel a few hours ago, where he has been meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.)
In Beirut, protesters reportedly threw Molotov cocktails at the U.S. embassy, which started a fire. Family members of embassy personnel and non-essential staff are being given the option to leave Lebanon. Hezbollah, which has been striking Israel from the north, called for "a day of unprecedented anger" in Beirut in response to the hospital explosion.
American journalists think they're on the case: "No Palestinian rocket can cause the carnage & mass death we saw in that hospital," wrote Gaza Fights for Freedom director Abby Martin on Twitter/X. "Israel warned evacuation before bombing it. Officials gloated about it before denying. Shame on all media stenographers repeating Israel's lies to deflect the perpetrator of this egregious war crime."
"If in fact it's confirmed that the Israeli military lied about bombing a hospital today then that fact should be included in every story they are quoted in from now on to give readers the ability to judge their trustworthiness as a source," wrote journalist Hamilton Nolan. (The reverse is true as well, but not mentioned.) One Los Angeles Times reporter even got the Hamas vs. Islamic Jihad distinction wrong in the process of claiming that "the burden is on Israel to demonstrate its extraordinary claim that a Hamas rocket—which usually kills maybe one at a time—somehow leveled a hospital."
Major news organizations were initially quick to run with the Hamas description of events and blame before, in many cases, changing their headlines to be less credulous. Biden, on the other hand, was quick to endorse the IDF explanation. Some journalists have offered useful context about past Israeli military denials, without jumping to the conclusion that this is necessarily a case of that. The fact of the matter is that we don't know right now and anyone claiming to know with certainty at this stage is probably incorrect. More details will likely emerge over the next few days.
Scenes from New York: Jewish city councilwoman Inna Vernikov, who represents Brooklyn's Brighton Beach, West Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Gravesend, Midwood, and Sheepshead Bay, was arrested for carrying a gun at a pro-Palestine rally.
Vernikov's only "crime" was being seen "with the butt-end of a firearm protruding from the front portion of her pants" according to police sources and The New York Post. She did not brandish or otherwise use the gun. In fact, the Ukrainian-born councilwoman has long been a supporter of gun rights and even has a concealed carry permit. Still, it is illegal to carry in certain places in New York, like protests and school grounds. She turned herself in and "was booked later Friday on a Class E felony … which can carry up to two to five years behind bars," per the Post.
In my opinion, we actually need more cool Eastern European ladies who carry, not fewer.
- Thread showing last night's protests around the world.
- Jim Jordan is "the perfect speaker for a policy-free GOP," writes Reason's Eric Boehm.
- Good case for the importance of encryption.
- FTX and the use of customer funds for political donations.
- This is an impressively scathing letter from (former) University of Pennsylvania donor and prominent investor/hedge fund guy Jonathon Jacobson to the school's president, pledging to give literally $1 annually if she "find[s] employment elsewhere" and the school's trustees "grows the backbone" needed "to fulfill its mission."
- Against helicopter parenting.
- Good point:
This article demonstrates the point I have been making till I am blue in the face.
If the scientific establishment do not stand up and say "a lab leak is plausible in this case, we need to investigate and learn lessons about which research projects were unwise", then the world…
— Matt Ridley (@mattwridley) October 17, 2023
- I've been saying this for a while:
The hall monitors at school grew up to become tech journalists pic.twitter.com/0dwy47wMTa
— Ana Mostarac (@anammostarac) October 18, 2023
- But liberals just got done telling us how bad Amy Coney Barrett is…so how is it that she could be supporting a Supreme Court code of ethics?
Last week I tweeted that to respect free speech, Congress must not cut federal funding to colleges that refuse to punish students for their statements justifying, and in some instances celebrating, the horrific violence against Israeli citizens.
— Joe Cohn (@JoeatFIRE) October 17, 2023
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