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Gov. Greg Abbott signs Texas voting bill into law, overcoming Democratic quorum breaks – The Texas Tribune

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SB 1 makes up Republicans’ third attempt to pass a far-reaching law that restricts how and when voters cast ballots. It takes particular aim at voting initiatives used in diverse, Democratic Harris County in the 2020 election.

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Though delayed by Democratic quorum breaks, Texas has officially joined the slate of Republican states that have enacted new voting restrictions following the 2020 election.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 1, sweeping legislation that further tightens state election laws and constrains local control of elections by limiting counties’ ability to expand voting options. The governor’s signature ends months of legislative clashes and standoffs during which Democrats — propelled by concerns that the legislation raises new barriers for marginalized voters — forced Republicans into two extra legislative sessions.
SB 1 is set to take effect three months after the special legislative session, in time for the 2022 primary elections. But it could still be caught up in the federal courts. Abbott’s signature was both preceded and followed by a flurry of legal challenges that generally argue that the law will disproportionately harm voters of color and voters with disabilities.
On top of two federal lawsuits filed last week, three new lawsuits, including one in state district court, were filed Tuesday shortly after it became law.
While SB 1 makes some changes that could expand access — namely increasing early voting hours in smaller, mostly Republican counties — the new law otherwise restricts how and when voters cast ballots. It specifically targets voting initiatives used by diverse, Democratic Harris County, the state’s most populous, by banning overnight early voting hours and drive-thru voting — both of which proved popular among voters of color last year.
The new law also will ratchet up voting-by-mail rules in a state where the option is already significantly limited, give partisan poll watchers increased autonomy inside polling places by granting them free movement, and set new rules — and criminal penalties — for voter assistance. It also makes it a state jail felony for local election officials to proactively distribute applications for mail-in ballots, even if they are providing them to voters who automatically qualify to vote by mail or groups helping get out the vote.
“One thing that all Texans can agree [on] and that is that we must have trust and confidence in our elections. The bill that I’m about to sign helps to achieve that goal,” Abbott said before signing the bill. “The law does, however, make it harder for fraudulent votes to be cast.”
Abbott signed the bill surrounded by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the bill’s lead authors Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, and Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, as well as other Republican lawmakers.
Texas Republicans began the 2021 legislative session staging a sweeping legislative campaign to pass new voting restrictions and election rules, proposing significant changes to nearly the entire voting process and taking particular aim at local efforts to make voting easier. It was formally touched off by Abbott early this year when he named “election integrity” one of his emergency items for the legislative session despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Republican lawmakers framed their push for SB 1 as an effort to safeguard elections from fraud and to standardize election practices.
SB 1 makes up Republicans’ third attempt to pass the far-reaching changes to elections, denounced by advocates for voters with disabilities, voter advocacy groups and civil rights organizations with histories of fighting laws that could harm voters of color. Democrats echoed that opposition as they fled the state this summer and left the Texas House without enough members to conduct business for weeks.
The law already faces two legal challenges from Harris County and a coalition of community and advocacy groups that argue SB 1’s rewrite of Texas voting laws creates new hurdles and restrictions that will suppress voters and violates the U.S. Constitution and numerous federal laws.
Abbott’s signature Tuesday drew three more lawsuits that also argue the changes to elections in SB 1 are unlawful because they will disproportionately burden voters of color and voters with disabilities.
“SB 1 is an arduous law designed to limit Tejanos’ ability to exercise their full citizenship,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, which is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed in Austin on Tuesday. “Not only are we filing suit to protect the right to vote for all people of color, and the additional 250,000 young Latino Tejanos who will reach voting age in 2022, but to protect every Texan’s right to vote.”
Another legal challenge was filed in state district court in Harris County and raises claims that the law runs afoul of the the Texas Constitution, including its protection against racial discrimination.
In forcing two special sessions, Democrats gave advocates and local election officials more time to push for fixes to the initial legislation. That included a crucial change to a portion of the law that now requires voters to provide their driver’s license number or, if they don’t have one, the last four digits of their Social Security number on applications to vote by mail and on the envelope used to return their completed ballot.
Those numbers must match the information contained in the individual’s voter record. Originally, the legislation required those numbers to match what a voter included in their voter registration application, which could have been submitted years if not decades before. Earlier this summer, the Texas secretary of state’s office indicated 2 million registered voters lacked one of the two numbers in their voter file despite their efforts to backfill that information.
As it worked toward getting the legislation across the finish line, the House also made changes Democrats had been pushing for, including requiring training for poll watchers. Republicans also ditched controversial provisions that would have restricted Sunday voting hours and made it easier for judges to overturn elections — both of which they tried to walk away from after Democrats first derailed the legislation in May during the regular legislative session.
Even with some of those changes, a group of plaintiffs in another federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Antonio, including Houston Justice and the Arc of Texas, say the legal intervention was needed to “ensure that the State does not continue to erect barriers” that have both the “intent and effect” of suppressing the votes of marginalized Texans.
“These provisions will harm all Texas voters, but consistent with Jim Crow era tradition, the burdens will be disproportionately borne by Black and Latino voters and voters with disabilities,” the plaintiffs said in their complaint. “S.B. 1 intentionally targets and burdens methods and opportunities of voting used by and responsive to the needs of voters of color, particularly Black and Latino voters, and other vulnerable voters, as evidenced by the 2020 elections.”
There are also questions on whether the U.S. Department of Justice will sue Texas over the new law, as it did Georgia earlier this year after lawmakers there passed a new law to tighten elections.
It remains unclear what, if any, Congressional action could affect the new law.
House Democrats who ditched the state Capitol decamped to Washington, D.C., to lobby for movement on federal voting rights legislation that could preempt the Texas legislation. That includes a measure known as the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that would reinstate federal safeguards for voters of color, including federal preapproval of election law changes, in states with histories of discrimination like Texas.
The legislation was voted out of the U.S. House but faces tough odds in the Senate. Still, Texas Democrats are now framing the gap between Abbott’s signature and when SB 1 goes into effect as Congress’ last chance to act to halt the changes.
“What we have left in front of us are 90 days,” state Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, said before a House vote on the bill last month. “We have 90 days from the end of this session to act. The clock is ticking.”
James Barragán contributed to this report.
Disclosure: Texas Secretary of State and Arc of Texas have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
Join us Sept. 20-25 at the 2021 Texas Tribune Festival. Tickets are on sale now for this multi-day celebration of big, bold ideas about politics, public policy and the day’s news, curated by The Texas Tribune’s award-winning journalists. Learn more.
Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn’t cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Do you value our journalism? Show us with your support.
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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli leaders on Sunday credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct Iranian attack involving hundreds of drones and missiles, calling the coordinated response a starting point for a “strategic alliance” of regional opposition to Tehran.

But Israel’s War Cabinet met without making a decision on next steps, an official said, as a nervous world waited for any sign of further escalation of the former shadow war.

The military coalition, led by the United States, Britain and France and appearing to include a number of Middle Eastern countries, gave Israel support at a time when it finds itself isolated over its war against Hamas in Gaza. The coalition also could serve as a model for regional relations when that war ends.

“This was the first time that such a coalition worked together against the threat of Iran and its proxies in the Middle East,” said the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

One unknown is which of Israel’s neighbors participated in the shooting down of the vast majority of about 350 drones and missiles Iran launched. Israeli military officials and a key War Cabinet member noted additional “partners” without naming them. When pressed, White House national security spokesman John Kirby would not name them either.

But one appeared to be Jordan, which described its action as self-defense.

“There was an assessment that there was a real danger of Iranian marches and missiles falling on Jordan, and the armed forces dealt with this danger. And if this danger came from Israel, Jordan would take the same action,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said in an interview on Al-Mamlaka state television. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Sunday.

The U.S. has long tried to forge a regionwide alliance against Iran as a way of integrating Israel and boosting ties with the Arab world. The effort has included the 2020 Abraham Accords, which established diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab countries, and having Israel in the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East and works closely with the armies of moderate Arab states.

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The U.S. had been working to establish full relations between Israel and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack sparked Israel’s war in Gaza. The war, which has claimed over 33,700 Palestinian lives, has frozen those efforts due to widespread outrage across the Arab world. But it appears that some behind-the-scenes cooperation has continued, and the White House has held out hopes of forging Israel-Saudi ties as part of a postwar plan.

Just ahead of Iran’s attack, the commander of CENTCOM, Gen. Erik Kurilla, visited Israel to map out a strategy.

Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, on Sunday thanked CENTCOM for the joint defensive effort. Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia are under the CENTCOM umbrella. While neither acknowledged involvement in intercepting Iran’s launches, the Israeli military released a map showing missiles traveling through the airspace of both nations.

“Arab countries came to the aid of Israel in stopping the attack because they understand that regional organizing is required against Iran, otherwise they will be next in line,” Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel’s military intelligence, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said he had spoken with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and that the cooperation “highlighted the opportunity to establish an international coalition and strategic alliance to counter the threat posed by Iran.”

The White House signaled that it hopes to build on the partnerships and urged Israel to think twice before striking Iran. U.S. officials said Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would not participate in any offensive action against Iran.

Israel’s War Cabinet met late Sunday to discuss a possible response, but an Israeli official familiar with the talks said no decisions had been made. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing confidential deliberations.

Asked about plans for retaliation, Hagari declined to comment directly. “We are at high readiness in all fronts,” he said.

“We will build a regional coalition and collect the price from Iran, in the way and at the time that suits us,” said a key War Cabinet member, Benny Gantz.

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Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel that hit an Iranian consular building in Syria this month and killed two Iranian generals.

By Sunday morning, Iran said the attack was over, and Israel reopened its airspace. Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, claimed Iran had taught Israel a lesson and warned that “any new adventures against the interests of the Iranian nation would be met with a heavier and regretful response from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The foes have been engaged in a shadow war for years, but Sunday’s assault was the first time Iran launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran said it targeted Israeli facilities involved in the Damascus strike, and that it told the White House early Sunday that the operation would be “minimalistic.”

But U.S. officials said Iran’s intent was to “destroy and cause casualties” and that if successful, the strikes would have caused an “uncontrollable” escalation. At one point, at least 100 ballistic missiles were in the air with just minutes of flight time to Israel, the officials said.

Israel said more than 99% of what Iran fired was intercepted, with just a few missiles getting through. An Israeli airbase sustained minor damage.

Israel has over the years established — often with the help of the U.S. — a multilayered air-defense network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats, including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets.

That system, along with collaboration with the U.S. and others, helped thwart what could have been a far more devastating assault at a time when Israel is already deeply engaged in Gaza as well as low-level fighting on its northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

While thwarting the Iranian onslaught could help restore Israel’s image after the Hamas attack in October, what the Middle East’s best-equipped army does next will be closely watched in the region and in Western capitals — especially as Israel seeks to develop the coalition it praised Sunday.

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In Washington, Biden pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would hold talks with allies. After an urgent meeting, the Group of Seven countries unanimously condemned Iran’s attack and said they stood ready to take “further measures.”

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s war in Gaza. In the Oct. 7 attack, militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also backed by Iran, killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

Hamas welcomed Iran’s attack, saying it was “a natural right and a deserved response” to the strike in Syria. It urged the Iran-backed groups in the region to continue to support Hamas in the war.

Hezbollah also welcomed the attack. Almost immediately after the war in Gaza erupted, Hezbollah began attacking Israel’s northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.

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Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Michelle L. Price in Washington; Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran; Samy Magdy in Cairo; Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan; and Giada Zampano in Rome contributed to this report.

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10 years after armed standoff with feds, Bundy cattle still grazing disputed land…

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10 years after armed standoff with feds, Bundy cattle still grazing disputed land…

BUNKERVILLE, Nev. (AP) — The words “Revolution is Tradition” stenciled in fresh blue and red paint mark a cement wall in a dry river wash beneath a remote southern Nevada freeway overpass, where armed protesters and federal agents stared each other down through rifle sights 10 years ago.

It was just before noon on a hot and sunny Saturday when backers of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, including hundreds of men, women and children, made the U.S. Bureau of Land Management quit enforcing court orders to remove Bundy cattle from vast arid rangeland surrounding his modest family ranch and melon farm.

Witnesses later said they feared the sound of a car backfiring would have unleashed a bloodbath. But no shots were fired, the government backed down and some 380 Bundy cattle that had been impounded were set free.

“Since then, we’ve relatively lived in peace,” Ryan Bundy, eldest among 14 Bundy siblings, said in a telephone interview. “The BLM doesn’t contact us, talk to us or bother us.”

“The BLM does not have any comment on this subject,” agency spokesman John Asselin said in response to email inquiries about the standoff, Bundy cattle grazing today in Gold Butte National Monument and the more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees and penalties the BLM said Bundy owed in 2014.

At the ranch, Cliven Bundy greeted guests this week while cradling one of 74 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren that he has with his wife, Carol Bundy.

“We’re all a little bit older,” he said, “but we’re still doing the same thing: ranching.”

Later, watching two of his sons and a friend rope yearling bulls in a pen, the plainspoken and photogenic rancher — who rallied followers through a bullhorn that day saying, “Let’s go get those cattle” — recalled being arrested, jailed for nearly two years and brought to a trial that was dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct.

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Ranch hands rope a bull on the Bundy ranch, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Bunkerville, NV. Ten years have passed since hundreds of protesters including armed riflemen answered a family call for help which forced U.S. agents and contract cowboys to abandon an effort to round up family cattle in a dispute over grazing permits and fees. Despite federal prosecutions, no family members were convicted of a crime. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

 

Ranch hands rope a bull on the Bundy ranch, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Bunkerville, NV. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

 

“I’ve had that dot on my forehead and on my chest, and I’ve had my family with dots on their foreheads,” the 77-year-old family patriarch said of the feeling of being in target crosshairs. Courtroom evidence later revealed that federal agents with rifles had camped for days in hills around Bundy’s ranch before and during the showdown on April 12, 2014.

His family and followers were unfairly targeted by heavy-handed government agents, Bundy said, but rescued by backers including militia members and supporters he calls “we the people.”

“They were announcing on their bullhorn: ‘You’re defying a federal court order. We demand you to disperse or we will fire on you,’” said Mike Bronson, 68, a family friend from Midway, Utah, who recalled kneeling in a prayer ring in front of the corral beneath the overpass. “That’s exactly what they said. Time after time.”

The outcome of the tense confrontation reverberated. In January 2016, Bundy’s eldest sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and several other men who were at the Bundy ranch in 2014 led a weekslong standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. It ended with their arrests after a protest spokesperson, LaVoy Finicum, was shot dead by state police at an FBI roadblock.

 
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“Revolution is Tradition” appear freshly stenciled on a cement wall, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Mesquite, NV beneath a freeway overpass where armed protesters and federal government agents stared each other down through rifle sights 10 years ago. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

 

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Some heard echoes of Bunkerville and Malheur when rioters clashed with police on Jan. 6, 2021, outside and inside the halls of Congress and temporarily blocked certification of the 2020 presidential election.

“Bunkerville was an early warning sign of the MAGA/Trump movement,” said Ian Bartrum, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, law professor who has studied and written about the standoff and federal land policy. He cited “a growing militia movement looking for someone to fight.”

“I think we can safely say, 10 years later, the Bundys won that fight, and federal regulators don’t seem at all eager to try again,” Bartrum said. “We have bigger problems than cattle on public land at this point.”

In court, federal prosecutors cast the Bunkerville confrontation as an insurrection against the U.S. government. Nineteen people from 11 states, including Bundy and four sons, were arrested in 2016 on charges including conspiracy, assault on a federal officer and firearms counts. Most remained jailed for nearly two years.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mike Bronson speaks from the Bundy ranch, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Bunkerville, NV. Ten years have passed since hundreds of protesters including armed riflemen answered a family call for help which forced U.S. agents and contract cowboys to abandon an effort to round up family cattle in a dispute over grazing permits and fees. Despite federal prosecutions, no family members were convicted of a crime. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

 

Mike Bronson speaks from the Bundy ranch, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Bunkerville, NV. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

 

Five defendants pleaded guilty before trial, several were acquitted of all counts and some were convicted of lesser charges. One remains in federal prison. No Bundy family member was convicted of a crime.

Today, family members estimate that more than 700 Bundy cattle graze widely in the scrubby green Virgin River valley surrounding the 160-acre (64.7-hectare) Bundy ranch and in Gold Butte, a scenic and archaeologically rich Mojave Desert expanse half the size of the state of Delaware that then-President Barack Obama designated a national monument in December 2016.

Conservation groups including the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project are suing to prod the government to remove cattle and protect the desert tortoise, a species deemed in 1990 to be threatened by habitat loss that advocates blame on grazing.

“The desert tortoise is at the heart of it,” said Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds executive director. “Cattle continue to graze illegally … causing irreversible damage to ecological values.”

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A motorist enters the Gold Butte National Monument near the Bundy ranch, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Bunkerville, NV. Ten years have passed since hundreds of protesters including armed riflemen answered a family call for help which forced U.S. agents and contract cowboys to abandon an effort to round up family cattle in a dispute over grazing permits and fees. Despite federal prosecutions, no family members were convicted of a crime. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

 

A motorist enters the Gold Butte National Monument near the Bundy ranch, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Bunkerville, NV. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)
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“I think you can look at the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 and draw a straight line to Malheur and Bunkerville,” Molvar added, “as emblematic of insurrectionist movements in the United States and the failure of federal prosecutors to fully enforce the laws.”

Bundy argues the federal government does not have authority to regulate lands his Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints family settled some 150 years ago. He insists questions of local sovereignty have never been answered to his satisfaction. He says he believes a jury would agree.

Arden Bundy, the youngest son at age 26, has a social media following with YouTube videos titled “The Bundy Ranch.” Wearing body cameras, he and brother Clancy Bundy and cowhand Cache Burnside ride hard on horseback roping bulls across the scrubby range, aided by the family dog, Kaylie. They call it “gully jumping.”

The April 2014 standoff was a victory, Arden Bundy said, because “nobody got killed and the cows came back.”

Asked what would happen if the government tried again to round up Bundy cattle, he was direct.

“If we have to call people, we’ll call all our followers from YouTube and social media,” Arden Bundy said.

“There was 1,000 there last time,” Cliven Bundy said. “There’ll be 10,000 there next time.”

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The US welcomes the new Palestinian government following its repeated calls for political reform

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The US welcomes the new Palestinian government following its repeated calls for political reform

JERUSALEM (AP) — A three-ship convoy left a port in Cyprus on Saturday with 400 tons of food and other supplies for Gaza as concerns about hunger in the territory soar.

The World Central Kitchen charity said the vessels and a barge carried enough to prepare more than 1 million meals from items like rice, pasta, flour, legumes, canned vegetables and proteins. Also on board were dates, traditionally eaten to break the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

It was not clear when the ships would reach Gaza. The first ship earlier this month delivered 200 tons of food, water and other aid.

The United Nations and partners have warned that famine could occur in devastated, largely isolated northern Gaza as early as this month. Humanitarian officials say deliveries by sea and air are not enough and that Israel must allow far more aid by road. The top U.N. court has ordered Israel to open more land crossings and take other measures to address the crisis.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s state-run Al Qahera TV said truce negotiations between Israel and Hamas will resume Sunday, citing an unnamed Egyptian security source. The channel has close ties to the country’s intelligence services.

Just one weeklong cease-fire has been achieved in the war that began after Hamas-led militants stormed across southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 others hostage. On Saturday, some Israelis again rallied to show frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and urge him to resign.

Families of hostages vowed to take to the streets across Israel. “Give the negotiations team a wide mandate and tell them, ‘Don’t come home without a deal, bring back our loved ones,’” said Raz Ben Ami, wife of hostage Ohad Ben Ami.

Nearly six months of war has destroyed critical infrastructure in Gaza including hospitals, schools and homes as well as roads, sewage systems and the electrical grid. Over 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million has been displaced, the U.N. and international aid agencies say.

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Palestinians collect their belongings from the rubble of a residential building for the Moussa family after an Israeli airstrike in the Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

 

Palestinians collect their belongings from the rubble of a residential building for the Moussa family after an Israeli airstrike in the Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

 

In the coastal tent camp of Muwasi, mothers said they feared young children were losing memories of life before the war. “We tell them to write and draw. They only draw a tank, a missile or planes. We tell them to draw something beautiful, a rose or anything. They do not see these things,” said one mother, Wafaa Abu Samra. Children piled up for turns on a small slide twice the length of their bodies, landing in the sand.

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Gaza’s Health Ministry says 32,705 Palestinians have been killed, with 82 bodies taken to hospitals in the past 24 hours. The Health Ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in its toll but has said the majority of those killed have been women and children.

Israel says over one-third of the dead are militants, though it has not provided evidence to support that, and it blames Hamas for civilian casualties because the group operates in residential areas.

Israel’s military on Saturday acknowledged shooting dead two Palestinians and wounding a third on Gaza’s beach, responding to a video broadcast earlier this week by Al Jazeera that showed one man falling to the ground after walking in an open area and a bulldozer pushing two bodies into the garbage-strewn sand. The military said troops opened fire after the men allegedly ignored warning shots.

Israel’s military said it continued to strike dozens of targets in Gaza, days after the United Nations Security Council issued its first demand for a cease-fire.

Aid also fell on Gaza. The U.S. military during an airdrop on Friday said it had released over 100,000 pounds of aid that day and almost a million pounds overall, part of a multi-country effort.

The United States also welcomed the formation of a new Palestinian autonomy government, signaling it was accepting a revised Cabinet lineup as a step toward political reform. The Biden administration has called for “revitalizing” the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in the hope that it can also administer Gaza once the war ends.

 

 

 

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Palestinians inspect the damage to a residential building for the Moussa family after an Israeli airstrike in the Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

 

Palestinians inspect the damage to a residential building for the Moussa family after an Israeli airstrike in the Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

 

The authority is headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who chose U.S.-educated economist Mohammad Mustafa as prime minister this month. But both Israel and Hamas — which drove Abbas’ security forces from Gaza in a 2007 takeover — reject the idea of it administering Gaza. The authority also has little popular support or legitimacy among Palestinians because of its security cooperation with Israel in the West Bank.

More than 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank or east Jerusalem since Oct. 7, according to local health authorities. Dr. Fawaz Hamad, director of Al-Razi Hospital in Jenin, told local Awda TV that Israeli forces killed a 13-year-old boy in nearby Qabatiya early Saturday. Israel’s military said the incident was under review.

Israel has said that after the war it will maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and partner with Palestinians who are not affiliated with the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. It’s unclear who in Gaza would be willing to take on such a role.

 
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Palestinians inspect the damage to a residential building for the Moussa family after an Israeli airstrike in the Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

 

Palestinians inspect the damage to a residential building for the Moussa family after an Israeli airstrike in the Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

 

Hamas has warned Palestinians in Gaza against cooperating with Israel to administer the territory, saying anyone who does will be treated as a collaborator, which is understood as a death threat. Hamas calls instead for all Palestinian factions to form a power-sharing government ahead of national elections, which have not taken place in 18 years.

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Associated Press writers Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Jack Jeffery in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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Find more of AP’s war coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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