(JTA) — The Lincoln Memorial closed temporarily on Wednesday after its steps were vandalized with graffiti reading “Free Gaza” in multiple places.
U.S. Park Police are investigating the graffiti, which was discovered Wednesday morning at the Washington, D.C. monument, according to ABC News. Crews were dispatched to clean up the vandalism. The steps of the memorial were splattered with red paint and pro-Palestinian messages, which the National Park Service said could take some time to complete.
“National Park Service conservators have begun the process of removing the paint this morning, though it may take multiple treatments over several days to remove all of it,” spokesperson Mike Litterst said Wednesday.
By the evening, according to a local Fox affiliate, most of the paint was removed. One more treatment of the graffiti was scheduled for Thursday morning.
Steps leading to the Lincoln Memorial have been defaced with red paint. @NationalMallNPS crews are cleaning it up. No word on who did this but that person/persons have left the area. Updates as we get them. @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/bpAtZwbiBz
— Bob Barnard (@barnardfox5dc) December 20, 2023
Images from the scene show that the words “Free Palestine” and another message that includes the phrase “land back” were spray-painted at the base of the memorial near the reflecting pool.
Last month, protestors spray-painted “Free Palestine” on several statutes at Lafayette Square, a park near the White House.
Jewish sites in the United States and across the world have been hit with antisemitic and anti-Israel graffiti since the war between Israel and Hamas began on Oct. 7. The targets have included several synagogues, the New York office of a Jewish member of Congress and London’s Holocaust library.
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Obituary: Stanley Plotnick, 82, an e-commerce pioneer in Montreal—and a major philanthropist for Canadian and Israel-based projects
Stanley Plotnick, who played multiple leading roles for decades in the Montreal and Canadian Jewish community and was a major philanthropist for Israel-based projects, died on Feb. 19 at age 82. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Plotnick was a pioneering entrepreneur in the field of information technology, specifically e-commerce, and founded […]
Israel Denies UN Report Claiming Israeli Forces Assaulted Palestinian Women
Israel has denied allegations made by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) charging Israeli forces with rape, abduction and extrajudicial killings of Palestinian women in Gaza, labeling them “despicable and unfounded.”
The UN experts’ statement released on Monday said there were “credible allegations of egregious human rights violations” by the Israel Defense Forces against Palestinian women and girls.
“Many [Palestinian women and girls] have reportedly been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, denied menstruation pads, food and medicine, and severely beaten,” the statement from the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said. “On at least one occasion, Palestinian women detained in Gaza were allegedly kept in a cage in the rain and cold, without food.”
“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence,” the statement added.
The report did not mention how it carried out its investigation and neither did it provide any evidence of its allegations.
The Israeli government’s response was swift and stern.
“Israel forcefully rejects the despicable and unfounded claims published today by a group of so-called UN experts, including one who just days ago legitimised the massacre of October 7 in which more than 1,200 people were murdered, executed and raped, and another who publicly doubted the testimonies of Israeli victims of gender-based and sexual violence,” Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva said in a statement.
The experts cited in the UN report include Francesca Albanese, the UN monitor who came under fire for justifying the Hamas-led attack on October 7 because it was “in response to Israel’s oppression.” Albanese also denied that rapes and beheadings against Israelis ever took place. Another of the experts listed, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls Reem Alsalem, likewise denied sexual violence against Israeli women, calling it “disinformation.”
“These [UN] mandate holders have remained silent on the horrific sexual violence and gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas on and since October 7. It is clear that the co-signatories are motivated not by the truth but by their hatred for Israel and its people,” the Israeli statement said.
Israeli MK Danny Danon (Likud), who served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said that the statement was “nothing more than an endorsement of terror and genocide.”
“Where were these purported ‘experts’ when instances of violence occurred, such as when Hamas committed heinous acts against women, children, and families, raping, torturing and burning people alive?” Danon told The Algemeiner.
“Where are these ‘experts’ today to speak out for the innocent women and children and the remaining hostages, brutally kidnapped by Hamas and still held by the terror group with zero access to any form of humanitarian aid?”
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, lawyer and chairwoman of legal aid group Shurat HaDin who has in the past represented the families of Israeli terror victims in cases against Hamas, said Monday’s report came as “no surprise” given the UN’s anti-Israel bias.
“Hamas is losing the war, so its supporters rush to help it in its last dying moments. The sole weapon of Israel’s enemies is illusory slander plots against Israel,” Darshan-Leitner told The Algemeiner.
Darshan-Leitner went on to note that the accusations against the IDF were the same atrocities perpetrated against Israeli women on October 7.
“Since they want to keep symmetry between Israel and Hamas, they pretend everything that Hamas has done against Israel on a monstrous scale Israel has done also on a lower scale. But lies have to be proven,” she said. “Israel does not rape, Israel does not kidnap babies, Israel does not separate children from parents. Only the Hamas monsters do that as their go-pro cameras have proven.”
The UN statement also claimed that an “unknown number” of Palestinian women and girls had “reportedly gone missing after contact with the Israeli army in Gaza” and went on to say that there were reports of at least one female infant was “forcibly transferred by the Israeli army into Israel.”
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Saudi Report Says Hamas Chief Sinwar Escaped to Egypt with Hostages, Israel Denies
Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, may have escaped with hostages to Egypt via tunnels in Rafah, the Saudi-based Elaph news site reported on Tuesday citing an Israeli security source.
Israeli officials later denied the claim saying there was no intelligence to support it.
According to the Arabic-language report, Sinwar fled to Egypt through the vast network of tunnels in Rafah along with his brother Mohammad Sinwar and other key Hamas operatives.
The IDF said later on Tuesday that it had no reason to believe that Sinwar was not still in Gaza.
Elaph, based in London, has in the past broken stories involving Israel and citing Israeli sources, including a December report about secret negotiations taking place in Europe between Qatar and Israeli officials for the release of the hostages still being held in Gaza.
Last week, the IDF shared footage showing Sinwar in a tunnel in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, accompanied by his wife, children and his brother Ibrahim Sinwar. The footage was captured days after the October 7 attack by his terror group and corroborated IDF claims that Sinwar had fled Hamas’s headquarters in northern Gaza and moved to the tunnels beneath Khan Younis, exploiting a humanitarian corridor that the IDF had opened to ensure the safe passage of civilians from Gaza City.
“The hunt for Sinwar will not stop until we catch him, dead or alive,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said at the time.
Israeli media has reported that Sinwar has been incommunicado with Hamas for several weeks as he attempts to elude Israeli forces.
The army has refrained from entering Rafah, the remaining Hamas stronghold, amid strong pressure from the US and UN. But fighting continued in Khan Younis on Tuesday, with IDF operations at the Nasser Hospital. Over 200 individuals at the hospital were detained under suspicion of terrorist activities, with many reportedly linked to the hostages held by Hamas, the IDF said.
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