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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  July 30, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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amy: from new york, this is democracy w! >> human rights watch conducted in-depth investigations -- involved serious violations of war crimes. amy: human rights watch is calling on the international criminal court to open a war crimes probe into israel over its assault on gaza, which
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killed palestinians, including 66 children. we will air a disturbing video report documenting the findings. we look at the fallout from ben & jerry's decision to halt ice cream sales in israeli settlements. the israeli government claims the move is anti-semitic and wants the company prosecuted in the u.s. under anti-boycott laws. many jewish groups support ben & jerry's decision >> we have been outraged and appalled by the over-the-top aggresve attacks on ben & jerry's. amy: we go to guatemala, where thousands took to the streets thursday for a national strike demanding the resignation of the right wing president. >> we are sick and tired of living in this situation. starting today, we are not going to let this corrupt government.
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the people have to be more united than ever. amy: the protests in guatemala follow the ouster of the nations top anticorruption prosecutor, who was forced to flee guatemala in fear of his life. all that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president biden announced new requirements for civilian federal employees amid the surge in covid-19 cases from the rapidly spreading delta variant. president biden: every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. anyone who does not attest or is not vaccinated will be required to test one or two times a week to see if they have
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acquired covid, socially distance, and generally will not be allowed to travel for work. amy: president biden also directed the pentagon to work towards a vaccine mandate for all military members and also called on states and local governments to use federal funding they received to offer a $100 incentive for vaccinations. new york city is launching that initiative today. meanwhile washington, d.c., has rejoined other localities in reinstating an indoor mask mandate for all. according to an internal cdc report, infections of the delta variant could be just as transmissible from breakthrough infections in vaccinated people as from the unvaccinated and could be more severe with each infected person able to infect 8 to 9 others. the document also said the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and more contagious than the viruses that cause the common cold, the seasonal flu, and other easily transmitted
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illnesses. the house is expected to consider a bill today which would extend a nationwide moratorium on evictions set to expire tomorrow, saturday. nearly 12 million people in the u.s. are behind on rent. on thursday, biden urged congress to find a way to extend the ban since the cdc is no longer able to do so as a result of a supreme court ruling last month. also, the european union has surpassed the u.s. in inoculations. in international news, britain's u.n. ambassador has warned that half of burma's population of 54 million could contract covid-19 in the next two weeks amid the ongoing turmoil following a military coup in february. pakistan is enacting an air travel ban for anyone cannot provide a vaccine certificate. it is also mandating all public
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sector workers get vaccinated, as well as public transport and retail staff and teachers and students 18 and older. meanwhile, record cases have been reported japan and in tokyo this week as the olympics continue. israel said it will be offering booster shots of the pfizer vaccine to people over 60, the first country to do so. this despite less than 10% of palestinians in the occupied territories having been fully vaccinated. in haiti, health workers say hospitals are becoming overwhelmed due to a surge in cases as haiti grapples with a worsening economic and political crisis in the wake of the assassination of president jovenel moise. this is hospital director dr. nathalie colas. >> sometimes we have almost 60
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patients at the hospital who need oxygen while we only have 10 oxygen banks available. the areas where we can get oxygen are inaccessible. it is a very stressful situation for us. amy: both the house and senate passed a $2.1 billion emergency spending package for capitol security in response to a funding crisis incurred by the january 6 insurrection. the measure also includes funds for resettling afghans who worked with u.s. forces during the occupation of their country. the first evacuation flight for afghan interpreters and others arrived at washington dulles airport early this morng. a new watchdog report says over 80 afghan troops were killed during the taliban offensive this spring in more than two dozen insider attacks as the u.s. withdrawal was under way. in other news from afghanistan, at least 80 people have been killed in flash floods in a
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taliban-controlled village in nuristan province. scientists warn extreme weather events will get worse due to the climate catastrophe. united states is returning some 17,000 archaeological treasures to iraq that were looted during the decades of war and u.s. occupation. some of the artifacts date back 4,000 years. baghdad's culture minister is praising the move as an unprecedented restitution. the u.s. is reportedly planning to impose sanctions on iran's drone and guided missile programs. this comes following reports the biden administration is weighing tightening oil sanctions on iran if talks to relaunch the nuclear deal, which the u.s. unilaterally withdrew from, fail. iran has repeatedly said it will not recommit to the agreement until the u.s. lifts its devastating sanctions. in the occupied west bank, israeli forces shot dead a palestinian at a protest that
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took place during the funeral of a 12-year-old palestinian boy killed by israel just one day earlier. 20-year-old shawkat khalid awad reportedly died from gunshot wounds to the head and the stomach. israeli forces also fired tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, and stun grenades at the mourners. in hong kokong, the first protester to be tried under a sweeping national security law was sentenced to 9 years for "inciting terrorism and secessionism." tong ying-kit was arrested in 2020 while riding a motorbike and flying a flag with the slogan "liberate hong kong, revolution of our times." over 100 people have been arrested under the legislation, following months of massive mobilizations in 2019. in climate news, researchers found greenland lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass due to ice melting over just one day this week, an event that's only happened three times in the last
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decade. that melt is large enough to cover the entire state of florida in at least two inches of water. a massachusetts court has charged theodore mccarrick, the former archbishop of washington , d.c., with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception in 1974. 91-year-old mccarrick, who was defrocked in 2019, is the highest-ranking catholic official in the u.s. to face criminal charges for sex crimes. massachusetts law stops the clock on the statute of limitations if someone accused of a crime leaves the state. missouri congressmember cori bush has introduced the unhoused bill of rights. the bill would protect the human rights of unhoused people, including freedom from harassment by law enforcement. it would also work to permanently end the unhoused crisis by 2025 through increasingffordable housing, universal housing vouchers, and ensuringunding of essential
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social services and housing programs. this is congressmber bush. >> i sit here today is a formerly unhoused congress member. i am outraged. there is n reason we can fund wars and weapons, but we cannot provide universal housing and health care. the urgency of this crisis has never been more clear as the covid-19 crisis exposes how many of our neighbors live one misstep away from becoming unhoused. amy: in brooklyn, new york, the mutual aid collective "the gym" is speaking out after they were attacked at their storefront space in bushwick by the nypd over the weekend. 14 people were arrested, one person was hospitalized, and others injured. new york officials have called for an investigation into the attack. members of the gym held a press conference earlier this week. >> this community experiences a
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crackdown against a safe space. does not live in the five boroughs, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on saturdays violence followed by four days of around-the-clock surveillance. you cannot stop us because we will be here every day until the worlds ample resources are freely available to all. amy: meanwhile, in a separate incident, police arrested at least 11 demonstrators who shut down a lower manhattan street in front of city hall at a "housing not shelters" thursday. housing rights advocates were calling out the city'plan to transfer thousands of unhoused people from hotels back to shelters, where they face increased precarity and possible covid exposure. hundreds of striking alabama coal miners traveled to new york city this week and held a protest in front of the offices of hedgeund blackrock, the largest shareholder of warrior met coal. over 1,000 members of the united mine workers of america have
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been on strike since april 1 after rejecting a new contract that refused to restore their full pay, after miners took a pay cut in 2016 to help keep the company afloat. carl levin, longtime liberal senator from michigan, passed away at the age of 87. he was known for doggedly pursuing tax fraud and going after wall street's financial crimes. levin also led opposition to the resolution that granted then-president bush authority to invade iraq. and a 25-foot totem pole from the lummi nation arrived in washington, d.c., after a more than 20,000-mile cross-country journey through sacred lands. interior secretary deb haaland blessed the pole thursday during a ceremony on the national mall. it was carved from a 400-year-old red cedar tree and will serve to raise awareness of
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native issues and protecting sacred sites. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. human rights wat is callg on thinternatiol criminal crt to on a obe into appart israi war cres committed duri its recent 11-dayssault on gaza at killed 260 palestinians, including 66 children. human rights watch included israel had committed apparent war crimes after closely examining three israeli strikes that killed 62 palestinians in may. u.s.-made weapons were used in at least two of the attacks investigated. human rights watch released this video to accompany its report. a warning to our audience, the video includes graphic content, including the sounds of military atcks on civians. >>1 days ohostilits began
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between the israeli military and palestinian armed groups. the fighting took place amid escating -- and the prolonged closure in the gaza rip. these reflect the israeli governments crimes against humanity oapartheid d persecion. [shouting] >> human rights watch conducted in-depth investigations into three israeli rikes th killed 62 palestinian civilians and serious violations of war crimes. >> armed group attacks caused civilian casualties. >> shortly after 6:00 p.m. on may 10, a guideissile struc four hous belonging to an
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extended family. membs theamily we paing process barley for imal feeinto sakat the me. my other ani wereround 200 mete away. when they stru our childre we wer facing the events. we saw it withur own eyewhen theyere hit. i ran to them right away. i found our chilen scatter. they were scattered on the floor, ripped to pieces, blood d brain frments. [shouting] >> isrli authoties have said that the attack involved a misfired palestinian rocke coming frotheest but has produced no evidence tback up its aim. witnessesaw a munitn approaing them from the east,
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israel. based on evidence the scene of thettack and witns descriptns, we determined the six children and twodults re most likely killed by a type of guided missi used to attack military vehicles or personnel in the open. six days after the attack, the israeli authorities also distributed a photo of one man killed, they said had been killed in unspecified locations. human rights watch interviews with witnesses indicate the man was a civilian. our rearch uncovered n evidence oa milita target or near thsite. we therere found the attack to be unlawful. >> it was a scene i could never expect. eryone cri and screams ery day. do you know what my wife wants? she wants me to sell the house. she cannot accept how her
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children were all killed. >> the refugee camp located northwest of gaza city is one of the most densely populated places in the rld. about 1:40 a.m. on may 15, and israeli airstrike destroyed a three-story building in the camp, killing two women and eight of their children. >> i lived with my wife and five children in the house. our home was filled with love, peace, and happiness. wead been ving herfor 30 years. there was no phone call, no order to vacate. that night i went to make bread for dinner. l of a sden there s the sound of an explosion in the air. i und th my own he had be strk.
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[shoing] >>he israe military said it struck theuilding beuse seni hamas offials were there. it separately said they had targeted aunker unr or nea the buildi. none othe witnesses human rights watch interviewed were aware of a militants or milita targe in or neathe building. the israeli authorities have presenteno such evidence. [shouting] >> i had a reaty. i had a drm here. i d a family here. now i have no family and no home. my onldaughter a i a on the street. they destroyed everything in my life. they destroyed my life entirely. >> at about 1:00 a.m. on may 16,
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the israeli military launched an attack in the heart of gaza city along five streets causi three multistory residential buildgs to collapse. >> me, my father and mother, and my bther and sister, we heard the sound of loud explosions. after the second missile landed, the house started to sway right and left as if it were about to fall down d collaps i pulledyister tord the llwa a held h in order to shie her. suddenly we sathe thir missilcoming fm the wiow. the entire walcollapse e whole floor suddenly disappeared. and everything fell on us. afterwards, the fourth missile came down on us and destroyed everything. >> human rights watch determined
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that the three buildings collapsed after missiles struck the road or sidewalk next to the buildings. the israeli military said they targeted tunnels used by armed groups. later they said the attack had targeted an underground command center, t without providing any details or evidence. >> why didhey kill mfamily? why did they kill my mother and father? why did they turn me into an orphan? whoill in t end give me justice? >> the attacks killed 44 civilians, including 12 men and 18 children. they injured about 50 others. the israeli military used powerful weapons in a heavily
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populated residential area putting the lives of scoreof civilis at risk. since then th have produced no evidence of a military target in the vicity to justy the atta. there was military target, they also have not shown that it was important enough to jusfy theisk to cilians. as result, tse attac are unwful. the u.n. saythat iaeli airstrik in m killed at leas129ivilia, includg 66 children. the israeli military said palestinian armed groups in gaza fired more than 4,360 missile resuing in 12 deas. seral pastiniansied in ga when ckets fid by arm grou fellhort.
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rockets that lestinian armed groups fire at isel are inhently indiscriminate when directed tard areas of civilians. their u in such circumstances violates the laws of war and ounts to w crimes. for years, israeli and palestinian authorities have systemically faid to credibly investigate alleged war crimes. internatnal criminal court prosecutors should investigate israeli attacks gaza tt evidtly kille civilians unlawfully and other grave abuses, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. amy: that new video produced by human rights watch. the video was released along with a new report titled "gaza: apparent war crimes during may fighting."
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we are joined now by omar shakir, israel and palestine director at human rights watch. he is joining us from jordan. what were you most shocked by in these interviews in this investigation into what happened in israel's last attack on gaza? omar: some of the testimonies we collected are me of the most harrowing have ever come across. u.s. strikes that wiped out entire families. you had families reduced from having seven or eight kids to one surviving member. you had people whose entire lives d homes and businesses and wives and children gone in a flash. those testimonies are so important toiscuss today because the international community focuses on gaza when there are armed hostilities, but
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two months later these families continue to deal with the aftermath on their lives. it is critically important to them that there is accountability for these serious abuses and that steps are taken by the international community to prevent another cycle of bloodshed and oppression. this will not be the first and will not be the last unless we take definitive action. amy: what has been the response of the israeli government to your report? omar: we specified the strikes we were looking into. we sent them a number of detailed questions. they replied to our letter saying they were not obligated under israeli law to answer our questions and providing a list of general assertions, stating that they took measures to minimize the impact of their strikes and that fault belongs to hamas because according to them they fired from populated
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areas and saying that they would investigate the strikes. these are the same allegations, e same claims they trot out ea time. they did so in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019. they are doing so today. there is a mechanism within israel that ensures these abuses are not investigated. that is why it is so important that the international criminal court include these attackas well as their larger context, including apartheid and persecution, and the formal probe they are currently working on. amy: i wanted to ask you about the change in perception in the u.s. about what is happening with the israeli government and the occupation. i remember that from page -- front page photo display. it was friday, may 28. the headline was they were just
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children. it shows scores of more than 65 children's faces in gaza who died in the attack. omar: that sort of reporting should be the norm. it is unfortunate that has not been the case. the reality is that too often palestinian deaths, when they are covered, just this week as you mentioned today, you had a 20-year-old callous tinian who was -- palestinian who was killed in a protest over the killing of a 12-year-old. -- had their offices rated this week by the israeli army. these sorts of events do not make the international news cycle. these events highlight the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. apartheid and persecution are
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the reality for millions of palestinians. i think we saw a shift in the latest hostilities, including members of the u.s. congress, who did not just focus on the latest palestinian rocket or israeli airstrike, but looked at with a described as the root causes of the conflict. that is so important. the first step to solving any problem is to diagnose it correctly. recognition needs to happen. the action needs to be taken that is commensurate with that problem, ending complicity with grave crimes and ensuring accountability for them. amy: you talked about the killing of the 12-year-old palestinian boy. he was named mohammed, sat in the backseat of his father's car in an israeli checkpoint. the 11th palestinian child killed in the occupied west bank
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this year. that is according to defense for children international. yesterday, israeli forces raided the group's main office, seizing files about palestinian children in israeli detention. can you comment on this? omar: absolutely. there has been a systematic assault on human rights advocacy, on the individuals and groups that are reporting, documenting, speaking out against the reality of israeli oppression. for international groups, that can take denial or deportation. palestinianroups face the worst. this is not the only example of the army rating a human rights organization. it happened a couple of years ago. it is not limited to that. there are palestinian human rights defenders that are sitting in israeli players and -- israeli prison.
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there are human rights defenders who face a travel ban that seems lied to the work they do promoting awareness and an end. it is important to speak out and defend the space for human rights advacy. if the international community cannot protect the space for human rights groups to report on human rights abuses, how are they going to stop human rights abuses in the first place? this is part of a systematic practice. amy: omar shakir, israel and palestine director at human rights watch. we will link to your report titled "gaza: apparent war crimes during may fighting." we will ask you to stay with us for our next segment as we look at the fallout from ben & jerry's decision to halt ice cream sales. the israeli government says the move is anti-semitic, but many
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jewish groups, including jay street, support ben & jerry's decision. stay with us. ♪
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amy: this is democracynow,, the war and peace report. i am in the goodman. after the iconic ice cream brand announced it is halting sales in the occupied west bank, israel has asked 35 state governors to enforce state laws which make it a crime to support
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the boycott, development, and sanctions movement, or bds. last week the head of the new york state common retirement fund wrote to unilever saying it was examining whether ben & jerry's had violated state policy on israeli boycotts. meanwhile brad lander, the democratic nominee for new york city comptroller, criticized the state's position saying quote "actions that erase the distinction between israel and its settlements in occupied territory are effectively endorsing annexation and today's unjust one-state status quo." the founders of ben & jerry's, who no longer have operational control of the company, have defended the company's decision. writing in the new york times, ben cohen and jerry greenfield describe themselves as proud jews and supporters of the state of israel. they write quote, "we believe this act can and should be seen as advancing the concepts of justice and human rights, core
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tenets of judaism." meanwhile, a number of jewish groups including j street, the new israel fund and americans for peace now, all of whom oppose bds, have defended ben & jerry's decision and rejected accusations that the company's decision was antisemitic. we are joined now by logan bayroff, the vice president of communications of j street and still with us is omar shakir, israel and palestine director at human rights watch. we welcome you both. let's begin with logan. talk about this maximum pressure campaign israeli government is bringing in the response around the u.s. logan: yes, thank you for having me on. what we are seeing is an aggressive, over-the-top, full-court press from senior
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officials in the israeli government and some senior leaders in right-leaning american jewish pro-israel groups in the u.s. to target ben & jerry's for the fact that they made a principal decision to respect the distinction between the state of israel and the territories it occupies beyond the green line. while they will continue to do business in israel, they no longer want to sell their ice cream in settlements that are illegal under international law in territory that is occupied. simply for making at princal decision, they are facing calls to have constitutionally dubious anti-boycott laws deployed against them to potentially prevent them from doing business in stas across the country or impose some penalty or sction on the parent company of ben & jerry's. they are somehow anti-semitic or
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in league with terror, completely over-the-top, insane accusations that are designed to intimidate ben & jerry's and not just a major ice cream company but all those including many american jews who want to protest and speak out against the injustice of occupation, including groups like j street who support and care about palestinian rights and understand the occupation needs to end if we are going to end the conflict. amy: this is not priced responding to questions on ben & jerry's earlier in the week. >> i don't have a reaction regarding the actions of a private company. what i will say is that we firmly reject the bds movement, which unfairly singles out israel. the biden harris administration
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will always respect the first amendment rights of the american people. the u.s. will be a strong partner in fighting efforts around the world that potentially seek to delegitimize israel and will work tirelessly to support israel's further integration into the international community. amy: if you could respond and also talk about the letter that your group j street and new israel fund and others have written to 35 u.s. governors. logan: i will take those -- they are sort of related. it is notable the israeli government has been writing to governors rather than the federal government. there has been an effort going on for years to pass and push these insidious, constitutionally dubious anti-bds laws at the state level. there have been efforts at the federal level that groups like j
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stet have advocated block. we said th legislation does not represent the majority of the american jewish community who thinks first amendment rights are important and any form of boycott is protected political free speech and who thinks these attacks are dangerous and do not do anything to help american jews or even israel. we succeeded in blocking those at the federal level. they have passed at the state level. that is why you have the effort of the governors to go around the power of theresident or the power of congress to conduct foreign policy and have state government intervening because they want to speak out against the occupation or support palestinian rights. j street has joined a number of
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cases where these laws have been struck down in places like arkansas and georgia. many are still being passed. ny are still on the books. you have these legal efforts moving forward to target ben & jerry's as a test case to intimidate and suppress other companies or individuals who might want to say we want to find a way to push back against what is happening in the occupied territories. amy: i want to bring omar back into the conversation and get your response with human rights watch. axios had a very interesting piece on this maximum pressure campaign. they wrote, on july 22, the israeli foreign ministry sent a diplomatic cable ordering them to start a pressure campaign
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against ben & jerry's and unilever in order to convince them to negotiate. israeli diplomats were instructed to encourage demonstrations against ben & jerry's and unilever offices and put pressure on distributors for both companies. the foreign ministry asked the diplomats to ask for public statements condemning the companies and push for public protests. the diplomats were instructed to echo those protests on social media for maximum flexibility. this final example, the israeli embassy in washington and israeli consulates around the u.s. were asked to push for the activation of anti-bds legislation in several states and engage with governors and state officials like attorneys general. i was reading from axios. your response. omar: it is clear that they are
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trying to follow the airbn model. when airbnb made a decion a couple of years ago to stop listing in the occupied west bank because doing so made some complicit and serious human rights abuses, they undertook a similar strategy a eventually bullied airbnb into caving. ben & jerry's is a deeply principled company with clearly articulated values and are acting pursuant to those. at its core, it takes the principl of human rights and social justice seriously. settlements are illegal. they arere war crimes under the fourth geneva convention. when businses operate in the west bank, they are bennett it fitting from -- benefiting from and contributing to the entrenched system.
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they receive permits and access to infrastructure that are systematically denied to palestinians. they are providing jobs and revenue that goes into further entrenching these war crimes settlements. they also operate in a system in which you have dual legal regimes. the same story that sells ben & jerry's, if it palestinian and israeli works there, they are governed under different systems. businesses under the u.n. guidin principles have a duty not to contribute to human rights abuses. that is a decision ben & jerry's made following their international legal obligations. these anti-boycott laws are not just posing issues under the first amendment, they are actually punishing companies that do the right thing. human rights watch does work around the world. we are calling for companies that operate in settlements to
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do the same thing that companies everywhere else do, which is end that complicity. amy: how will this go down in israel and the occupied territories? it will not take place for another year becse of a contract ben & jerry's has with a local distributor. omar: that is correct. in essence this decision says they are not going to operate settlements. because their curren distributor in israel was not willing to agree to that decision, they will not be renewing their agreement with that distributor beyond the end of 2022. to t extent that they continue to operate in israel, they will ensure they do so without operating in the occupied territory, which remains occupied territory under international law and where the
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israeli government routinely systematically is abusing the rights of palestinians. amy: a more secure, we want to thank you for being with us. speaking to us from jordan. and logan, vice president of communications for j street. next, we go to guatemala, where thousands took to the streets thursday for a national strike, demanding the resignation of right-wing president alejandro giammate. stay with us. ♪
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amy: guatemalan feminist hip hop
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artist rebeca lane. we end today's show in guatemala, where thousands of people took to the streets across the country thursday for a massive national strike demanding the resignation of right-wing president alejandro giammate, as well as other government officials. major highways were blocked for hours as protesters marched through guatemala city and in rural communities denouncing corruption, a worsening economic crisis and the government's catastrophic mishandling of the pandemic. covid-19 cases continue to skyroct, with hospitals collapsing or on the verge. meanwhile, less than 2% of the population of guatemala has been vaccinated. the national strike was called upon by indigenous leaders, who vowed they won't stop until there is radical change in the country. this is indigenous rights defender maria caal sholl, speaking thursday from the
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region of alta verapaz. >> we have been resisting and will continue to resist against these injustices that have indigenous communities on our knees. we will continue to protect our dignity, what our ancestors inherited to us, those who have been disappeared, persecuted, and assassinated for over 500 years. amy: and this is a student movement leader speaking from a roadblock in guatemala city thursday. >> we must learn we have to be part of the change. the region has to learn collectivity because individuality is only going to make our situation worse. amy: the national strike comes after rent mobilizations in respse to the abrupt ousti last week of guatemala's top anti-corruption prosecutor, juan francisco sandoval, who was then forced to flee the country.
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he went over the border into el salvador. the move also prompted the u.s. government to suspend some of its cooperation with guatemala's attorney general. for more we go to guatemala city where we're joined by lucrecia hernandez mack, guatemalan physician and a member of the guatemalan congress with the political party movimiento semilla. that is the seed movement. in 2016, she became the first woman to lead the ministry of health in guatemala. she is the daughter of the late guatemalan anthropologist myrna mack, who was assassinated by u.s.-backed security forces in 1990. we're joined by andrea, maya k'iche leader, journalist and human rights defender. welcome both to democracy now! can you talk about the significance of these events? >> these manifestations and
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demonstrations are sort of like the thirdhapter of our history in the fight against corruption that started in 2015. in 2015, we saw the international commission. we saw cases that reveal the president involved in corruption. we saw many demonstrations, a national strike that finally made the president and vice president resigned. we had a second chapter where the corrupt strike back. public institutions started to beakenver like the constitutional court, the
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electoral cords, etc. finally, francisco sandoval is ousted. this is the third chapter where people in guatemala are outraged. we go back to the streets and demand for the president and attorney general to resign also. we see that we are fed up with corruption. we continue to go this way, we have no public institutions free of corruption. this is the moment where we have united political parties with social movements and rural communities hidden from the urban areas, motor taxis, think
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tanks, activists, everybody is coming together to say we do not want this anymore. this is a movement that has been led by ancestral authorities we are saying we do not want this anymore. amy: you are in western guatemala. this was an indigenous led mass protest. can you talk about what is happening in your area and the significance of the indigenous leadership and the guatemala blockade, people taking to the streets and blocking the highways? lucrecia: thank you for this space. i think it is important to say that indigenous people have been bilizing for more than 529
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years against colonialism, corruption. the indigenous governmenwhere i teach from decided to call for sustained mobilization and call the international strike reunited with indigenous governments from all over the country because we are tired how in the midst of the pandemic the government are stealing the money from the vaccines and militarizing the country. the prosecutor was investigating a recent meeting between the president who received in recent weeks investment related to mining companies in guatemala and that are violating the rights of the community, and area of exploitation, mining and
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feels very hard the effects of the pandemic and climate crisis. a lot of communities have been militazed during the pandemic. we have not received special programs during the pandemic. the voices of the women as u heard at the beginning is telling how a lot of companies is operating in their lands without consultation from the community. we see the preoccupation how the president is reuniting with these mining contractors a few months before -- because the counity nes to give their opinion about the mining operation in the area. during the pandemic, there were multiple evictions wre a lot of indigenous communities were
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expelled from their lands. the special prosecutor was investigating against the president when he was removed from his position. as indigenous people, we have always been organizing against the exportation of the land, the defense of the water and t territories. we are tired that this state that is very well administrated are just denying our access for our life and dignity. when the people say indigenous communities are blocking the roads, we said no, we are mobilizing for a life in dignity or we can have change in the way our country is organized because the ones who have been blocking the roads are the elites that refuse to make changes.
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amy: you are in congress. people outside of guatemala might not be familiar with the term, the corrupt pact, talking about a group of business people, political leaders, if you can describe what they are and their ascendancy in congress and what it means for human rits all over guatemala. >> they were visible when in congress there was an attempt to protect the president back in 2017. what we see is that this is the alignment of the economic elite, politicians, even drug traffickers here in guatemala as
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well that have links to politicians. we also see public authorities involved. they have taken over public institutions in order to protect themselves from justice and guarantee their impunity. they have taken the electoral court, the supreme crt of justice, the constitutional court. they are going after human rights ombudsman. they have used public institutions to pursue independent justices and civil society leaders and activists with campaigns, threats,
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harassment, criminals and complaints. they are undermining the state for their own benefits. they are uermini democracy and justice system. we can no longer tolerate anymore aance of this pact of the corrupt. amy: let me ask andrea about the indigenous demands for the guatemalan government to establish a player a national state. what does that mean? >> the proposal to a new potical pact because we know it is not going to be easy.
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a national popular assembly because it is important and urgent to transform the political facts thatave denied the very existence of indigenous authorities in ways that we administer our lands. that needs to change. we need a country where the people can live in respect. that means sitting down and speaking with the politicians and the people organized all over guatemala. we know it is going to be a task. it is going to be a long way to go. it is an urgent thing we need to keep doing. the conditions we live and are ugly. amy: in this last minute, you are the first woman minister of health of guatemala before you became a congress member. describe the covid situation
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right now. lucrecia: what we are seeing now is the overlapping of the political csis with the econom crisis and health crisis. the health crisis is not only a problem with the vaccine. we have less than 2% of our population vaccinated. right now, we are in the third wave. we are seeing record figures of cases and deaths. hospitals are saturated. the health workers are burned out. that is why we saw health workers yesterday participating and joining and supporting the national strike. the government is very reluctant in resisting to take measures to control the pandemic. amy: i want to thank you both
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for being with us. we will continue to follow the situation. lucrecia mack and andrea joining us from western guatemala. i'm amy goodman.
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