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Stark images of murder and torture in Israel leave US senators in tears and silence

WASHINGTON (JTA) — If there’s a trait that unites the 100 members of the U.S. Senate, it is volubility: These folks, who invented the filibuster, know how to talk.

It was remarkable to see them then exiting a screening room on Tuesday in the bowels of the Capitol building, barely able to shape their mouths into a single word.

The unusual silence came after two senators, Jacky Rosen, a Jewish Nevada Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, screened for their fellow senators 43 minutes of harrowing footage of the carnage Hamas terrorists committed on Oct. 7.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, said as she walked away, her eyes filled with tears.

Israel’s government, which produced the film to combat denial about the horrors the unfolded during the attack, has made the video available for private screenings, on strict condition that its images are not shared. It has been shown in statehouses and Hollywood, and New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who leads the Democratic minority in the U.S. House of Representatives, has screened the video for House members.

The latest viewing comes at a pivotal time for support in Washington for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. A short ceasefire is now underway as Israel trades Palestinian prisoners for some of the 240 hostages Hamas terrorists abducted on Oct. 7. Israel wants to resume the war soon to maintain its momentum. But even as President Joe Biden staunchly supports Israel’s aims — to return the hostages and dismantle Hamas — the Biden administration is pressing Israel for assurances that it will protect Gazan civilians when it resumes its campaign. And skepticism of how Israel has waged war in Gaza has increased among Democrats, with 49 members of Congress now supporting some sort of extended ceasefire, a dynamic that Punchbowl News reported has Israelis so concerned that they dispatched a senior military figure to speak to congressional Democrats on Monday.

Two Democrats who back a ceasefire were among the 40 senators from both parties who attended the screening. Massachusetts Dem. Elizabeth Warren blanched and brushed away a reporter as she exited, whispering “No comment.” Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin was the first to leave. A reporter asked him if seeing the violence changed his outlook in any way.

“All I know is that it was horrific and this makes it clear just how horrible it was,” he said before ducking into a senators-only portion of the building.

Most of the senators exiting the room said nothing, despite pleas from reporters. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, held upon her hand and kept walking, her eyes cast down. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat whose mother is a Holocaust survivor, literally ran out of the room. (A spokeswoman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency he was “deeply disturbed” by what he saw but was also rushing to preside over the Senate floor.)

Only Rosen and Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, spoke at any length to reporters. Cruz, a skilled orator, spoke slowly and deliberately in low haunted tones, fixating on the joy evident in the terrorists as they carried out their butchery.

“Much of the footage is from Hamas’ own body cams from their own cell phones,” Cruz said. “We saw terrorist celebrating as they murdered children and women as they desecrated the bodies we saw them beheading bodies with knives we heard audio of the terrorists calling their parents celebrating people that murder.”

He paused a long moment. “There is a level of evil and hate and depravity that defies words,” he said.

For Cruz, what he saw made Israel’s case for continuing the war. For Rosen, it was a case she felt he had to make to the Senate; she said in a statement after the screening that she was hoping to convince her colleagues to support $14 billion emergency aid package to Israel that Biden has requested.

“It’s important that we see it now in real time because Hamas has avowed to repeat this day, over and over, over and over,” she said in a low, reverent tone, her face still blanched white. “We need to move forward to find a way to end the cancer that is Hamas terror. And that’s what we need to do. That’s what I’m going to focus on.”

Her aide reminded her she had a meeting. It would have to wait. “I’m going to take a moment for myself after this,” Rosen said.

The post Stark images of murder and torture in Israel leave US senators in tears and silence appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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