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‘Complicity’: Leaders, activists slam US for sending more arms to Israel




The United States has greenlighted the transfer of a new $2.5bn weapons package, comprising bombs and fighter jets, to Israel, according to US media reports.

Despite expressing concern about civilian casualties in Gaza, the White House arms package includes more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound  (900kg) bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound (225kg) bombs, according to Pentagon and Department of State officials, the Washington Post reported.

The 2,000-pound bombs, which can inflict damage to people up to 1,000 feet (300 metres) away, have been “linked to previous mass-casualty events throughout Israel’s military campaign in Gaza”, the US publication said.

Many leaders and human rights activists around the world have criticised the US for sending more arms to Israel, especially as the Benjamin Netanyahu government promises to launch an offensive in Rafah, the last refuge of more than a million displaced Palestinians in Gaza.

Here are some key reactions:

Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In a statement posted on X, the ministry condemned Washington’s actions and said that “demanding Netanyahu to stop killing civilians and supplying him with weapons is an unprecedented principled and moral contradiction”.

The ministry also expressed regret at the “ongoing failure” on the part of the UN Security Council and of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to ensure Israel respects their decisions.

Former Palestinian politicians

Hanan Daoud Ashrawi, a Palestinian politician who also served as the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process, said US President Joe Biden’s actions were astounding.

“The hypocrisy of Biden’s hollow words & crocodile tears on the ‘humanitarian disaster’ in Gaza while showering Israel with the most lethal & destructive military supplies capable of pulverising buildings & human beings instantly is astounding!” she said in a post on X.


The group has “strongly” condemned Washington’s arms transfer to Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

In a statement Hamas said that this arms package only “confirms the full partnership of this administration in the brutal war of extermination” against Palestinians in the enclave.

Hamas also said the move shows the United States is only insisting on increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza and protecting civilians to “cover up the ongoing crimes” of its ally Israel.

“We call on the international community and the United Nations to impose a complete ban on the supply of weapons to the criminal Zionist entity, and to take steps to stop the aggression, leading to holding the occupation and its leaders accountable for the violations and crimes against humanity they have committed,” the statement added.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi called on the international community to stop supplying Israel with weapons.

“UN agencies are telling horror stories of suffering in Gaza. Over 30,000 killed. Over two million people starved. These facts shame the world,” he posted on X.

“Weapons must stop flowing to Israel. Israel must be forced to end this catastrophe. This is what international law, what human values, demand,” he added.

Greece’s former finance minister

Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister of Greece and founder of the Greek political party MeRA25, called Biden a war criminal.

“In 2001, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin earned the war criminal label over Chechnya. In 2003, Bush-Blair were the war criminals viz Iraq. Over the past six months, Biden became complicit in Israel’s war crimes. Today, with this latest release of weapons, Biden has become a fully fledged war criminal too,” he said in a post on X.

US Senator Bernie Sanders

Sanders slammed the move as “obscene”.

“The US cannot beg Netanyahu to stop bombing civilians one day and the next send him thousands more 2,000-pound bombs that can level entire city blocks,” he said in a post on X.

“We must end our complicity: No more bombs to Israel,” he added.

Pro-Palestine protesters

At pro-Palestine demonstrations in San Francisco in the US, protesters denounced the US government’s actions of arming Israel as “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Demonstrators blocked roads on Friday after a US warship in the port was suspected of being used to carry weapons to Israel. They also said they are concerned the vessel, USNS Harvey Milk, may deliver supplies to Israel’s military as it continues its deadly attack on Gaza.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that our government continues to fund and supply the Israeli military as it carries out genocide against the people of Gaza,” said Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

Jewish Voice for Peace Action

The global movement of Jewish people and allies working towards justice and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis expressed on X that “cruelty knows no bounds”.

“Over 32,000 Palestinians brutally massacred by Israel, children being starved to death under siege, the World Court investigating plausible genocide, hundreds of thousands of voters protesting at the ballot box.

“And Biden keeps sending Israel weapons,” the group said.


In a post on X, Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch, slammed the US for arming Israel.

“Biden is sending Israel 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs. These are the huge bombs that Israel has repeatedly used even though they are utterly inappropriate for a populated place like Gaza because they predictably kill, main, and destroy over very wide areas,” he said.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Middle East-focused rights organisation DAWN, called President Biden “two-faced”.

She added that while Biden has criticised Israel for their atrocities in Gaza, “he’s actually rewarding them for their filthy fight with billions more in the most lethal weapons – including 2,000 pound bombs that even the US & other countries no longer use in battle because of their catastrophic impacts”.


Marc Owen Jones, associate professor of Middle East studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar, told Al Jazeera that while Washington is publicly pressuring Israel to “dial back” its war in Gaza, its policy moves are sending an entirely different signal.

The unfettered assistance to Israel is undermining Biden’s efforts to reposition the US as a “moral authority in the world,” he noted.

“Biden is breaking, or at least not enforcing, the Leahy laws,” he said, referring to US human rights laws that bar the US from supplying weapons to countries plausibly engaged in rights abuses.

“How is Biden going to position himself as any kind of moral authority when he is contravening laws that are meant to defend the human rights of people like those in Palestine? The US’s policy is actually just business as usual.”

Laura Blumenfeld, a Middle East analyst at the Johns Hopkins University, told Al Jazeera the arms shipment to Israel “puts Biden on a tightrope”.

“It’s all about balance … Despite the fog of war, the administration has been clear about its red lines legally, morally and diplomatically,” the analyst said, adding that the decision to ship more weapons suggested Israel had not yet crossed that line in the eyes of Biden.

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NPR editor resigns after accusing US outlet of liberal bias





Uri Berliner quits broadcaster days after being suspended over essay accusing network of lacking viewpoint diversity.

A senior editor at a public broadcaster in the United States who accused his employer of liberal bias, igniting heated debate about standards in journalism, has resigned.

Uri Berliner, an editor with National Public Radio (NPR), announced his resignation on Wednesday just over a week after he published an essay accusing the outlet of being fixated on race and identity and lacking “viewpoint diversity”.

“I am resigning from NPR, a great American institution where I have worked for 25 years. I don’t support calls to defund NPR. I respect the integrity of my colleagues and wish for NPR to thrive and do important journalism,” Berliner said in a resignation letter posted on X.

“But I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm the very problems at NPR I cite in my Free Press essay.”

My resignation letter to NPR CEO @krmaher

— Uri Berliner (@uberliner) April 17, 2024

NPR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Berliner’s resignation came after NPR on Friday slapped the editor with a five-day suspension without pay in response to his essay calling out the network.

In the essay published in The Free Press, Berliner argued that the outlet had lost the public’s trust by putting a progressive slant on coverage of major news stories, including the COVID-19 pandemic and claims that Donald Trump colluded with Russia.

“There’s an unspoken consensus about the stories we should pursue and how they should be framed,” Berliner wrote.

“It’s frictionless – one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad and the dire threat of Republican policies. It’s almost like an assembly line.”

Berlinera also cited voter registration data that he said showed there were 87 Democrats and no Republicans on staff at the outlet’s Washington, DC, headquarters.

Berliner’s essay promoted public pushback from NPR employees, including recently-appointed CEO Katherine Maher, whose own views came under scrutiny after conservatives surfaced old tweets expressing progressive views.

“Asking a question about whether we’re living up to our mission should always be fair game: after all, journalism is nothing if not hard questions,” Maher said in a memo to staff that was also published online.

“Questioning whether our people are serving our mission with integrity, based on little more than the recognition of their identity, is profoundly disrespectful, hurtful, and demeaning.”



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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More than 11,000 evacuated in northern Indonesia as Ruang volcano erupts





Authorities further extend exclusion zone after volcano sends ash and smoke more than two kilometres into the sky.

More than 11,000 people have been told to evacuate from around the Ruang volcano in northern Indonesia amid fears it could collapse causing a tsunami, after erupting multiple times.

Mount Ruang, located in in North Sulawesi Province, first erupted at 9:45pm (13:45 GMT) on Tuesday sending billowing clouds of smoke and ash high into the sky.

After four more eruptions on Wednesday, Indonesia’s volcanology agency raised the alert level for the 725-metre (2,379-foot) high mountain to four, the highest on the scale.

They also widened the exclusion zone around the crater from four kilometres (2.5 miles) to six kilometres (3.7 miles).

More than 800 people were evacuated initially from Ruang to nearby Tagulandang Island, which is located more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of the provincial capital, Manado.

But officials said on Thursday morning that more people would need to be evacuated as a result of the widening exclusion zone, and would be taken to Manado.

“At least 11,615 residents who are in the risk area must evacuate to a safe place,” Abdul Muhari, the head of the disaster agency’s disaster data, communications and information centre was quoted as saying by the Kompas newspaper.

Officials also worry that part of the volcano could collapse into the sea and cause a tsunami as it did during a previous eruption in 1871.

Video footage showed flows of red lava streaming down the mountain, reflected in the waters below, and billowing clouds of grey ash above Ruang’s crater.

Muhammad Wafid, the head of Indonesia’s geological agency, earlier said Ruang’s initial eruption sent an ash column two kilometres (1.2 miles) into the sky, with the second eruption pushing it to 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles).

The volcanology agency said volcanic activity had increased at Ruang after two earthquakes in recent weeks.

Indonesia, which sits along the ‘Ring of Fire’, a horseshoe-shaped series of tectonic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean, has 120 active volcanoes.

In 2018, the eruption of Indonesia’s Anak Krakatoa volcano triggered a tsunami along the coasts of Sumatra and Java after parts of the mountain fell into the ocean. Hundreds of people were killed.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 784





As the war enters its 784th day, these are the main developments.

Rescue workers at the site of a collapsed building in Chernihiv. There is an excavator at the front on top of the rubble. The buildings, which are several stories high. are behind.

Rescue workers at the site of Wednesday’s missile attack on Chernihiv [Genya Savilov/AFP]

Here is the situation on Thursday, April 18, 2024.


  • At least 17 people were killed in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv after it was struck by three Russian missiles. Emergency services said 60 people, including three children, were injured. About 250,000 people live in Chernihiv, which is about 150km (90 miles) north of the capital, Kyiv.
  • One woman was injured by falling debris after Russian forces brought down a done over the Voronezh region. Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said air defence also destroyed 14 airborne targets over the southern Belgorod region. No injuries were reported.
  • The BBC reported the number of Russian soldiers killed in the war in Ukraine had topped 50,000. The data was compiled by BBC Russian, independent media group Mediazona and volunteers.
  • Colonel Serhii Pakhomov, acting head of the Ukrainian military’s atomic, biological and chemical defence forces, told the Reuters news agency that Kyiv had recorded about 900 uses of riot control agents on the front line by Russia in the past six months. The gases, banned for use on the battlefield by the international Chemical Weapons Convention, are being used to try and clear trenches, Pakhomov said. Some 500 troops had required medical help after exposure to toxic substances on the battlefield and at least one soldier died after suffocating on tear gas, he added.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian military attacked a large Russian airfield at Dzhankoi in the north of occupied Crimea. A series of explosions were reported at the base. There were no reports of damage.

Politics and diplomacy

  • US House Speaker Mike Johnson said the House would hold a long-delayed vote on a $60bn aid package for Ukraine on Saturday. The bill, passed by the Senate in February, has been held up amid objections from far-right members of Johnson’s Republican party.
  • Writing in the Wall Street Journal, US President Joe Biden urged Congress to approve the package saying the conflict was at a “pivotal moment”.
  • China said that “a lot of work” would need to be done before a planned peace conference on the Ukraine war could take place in Switzerland. It did not say whether it would attend the meeting, which is expected to take place in June.
  • Russia’s FSB security service arrested four people, accusing them of sending money to Ukrainian armed forces and planning to join the country’s military.
  • France appointed investigating magistrates to run a war crimes investigation into the death of Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, a dual French-Irish national, who was killed covering the war in Ukraine in March 2022. Producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova was also killed when the news team’s vehicle came under fire in Horenka near Kyiv. Correspondent Benjamin Hall was badly injured.
  • Cybersecurity firm Mandiant warned a cyber group known as Sandworm, with links to Russian military intelligence, is emerging as a significant global threat after playing an increasingly critical role in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Sandworm “is actively engaged in the full spectrum of espionage, attack, and influence operations”, Mandiant said.


  • President Zelenskyy, addressing the European Council by videolink hours after the Chernihiv attack, pleaded for more defence systems. Zelenskyy said Ukraine should enjoy the same cover from aerial attacks as Israel, which was able to intercept a barrage of drones and missiles fired by Iran last weekend. “Our Ukrainian sky, the sky of our neighbours deserves the same level of defence,” he said. “All lives are equally valuable.”
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other senior German officials pressed fellow European Union members to take action as soon as possible to boost Ukraine’s air defences. On Saturday, Germany announced it was sending an additional Patriot air defence system to Ukraine.
  • NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the NATO-Ukraine Council will meet on Friday to discuss ways on how to provide more air defence systems for Kyiv.
  • A crowdfunding initiative launched by a Slovak group on Monday has so far raised 750,000 euros ($798,000) from members of the public. The group, Peace for Ukraine, hopes to raise one million euros ($1.07 million) for the Czech Republic’s initiative to buy ammunition for Ukraine. Slovakia’s government has refused to send military aid to Kyiv.

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