This 44th week has been marked by a series of tragic events that have captured international attention.
The tense geopolitical landscape further intensified on Monday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood firm against global pressure for a ceasefire, emphasizing that Israel was in a state of war. Netenyahu rejected US Secretary of State Blinken's calls for a humanitarian ceasefire, saying Israel will continue to bombard Gaza with "all of its power."
On Tuesday, over 195 Palestinian casualties were reported from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp, fueling worldwide demands for accountability and peace.
Thousands gathered on Saturday in New York and Washington in powerful protests supporting Palestinian rights. The air was charged with solidarity as chants of "Free, free Palestine!" and calls to end American aid to Israel. A parallel scene unfolded in the United Kingdom, where thousands of protesters marched in various cities for the fourth consecutive week. Meanwhile, today, thousands took part in a pro-Palestinian rally in Tehran and Melbourne.
At Cambridge University, students made their stance clear by projecting messages on King’s College Chapel, accusing Israel of genocide and demanding a ceasefire. On Wednesday, AutonoMa invited students and staff to reclaim democracy with them as they occupied the common room and lecture hall in University College Maastricht. The group called out the University for their silence in the face of genocide as they organized a full day in solidarity with Palestine. Free Palestine Maastricht followed by issuing a statement on Friday demanding Maastricht University to take a stand against the censoring of Palestinian voices and to sever ties with Israeli institutions.
Despite a general silence from Western powers, UN Secretary-General Guterres made an impassioned plea on Saturday evening for a humanitarian ceasefire, “This must stop”. His call came amid harrowing reports of an Israeli airstrike targeting the Maghazi refugee-camp, an ambulance convoy, three hospitals, and a UN-run school in Gaza The staggering toll of more than 9,700 killed, over 4,000 children, over the last 29 days underscores the urgency of his message.
The week was further marred by tragedy as northwestern Nepal was struck by an earthquake measuring 5.6 magnitude on Friday, claiming the lives of at least 157 individuals. Nepal lays where two tectonic plates meet, making quakes a common phenomenon to the region. Search and rescue efforts are underway with officers fearing the death toll rising further as they reach remote districts near the epicenter. Landslides covered trails and extensive debris blocked many roads, costing the authorities time as they diverted to find alternative routes. Raminda, where the epicenter lies, has not been reached yet.
On a more progressive note, on Friday President Emmanuel Macron initiated steps to enshrine the right to abortion in the French constitution. This stems from the promise the President made on International Women’s day in response to the US overturning their federal abortion rights; that France will engrave the freedom of women to access abortion in its constitution. The proposal was passed in both the National Assembly and Senate, and has now begun legal proceedings with the Council of State. Abortion has been legal in France since 1975 and enjoys widespread support with 89% approval.
On the same day, a New York jury delivered a verdict that resonated through the financial sector, finding Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, guilty of fraud and conspiracy. The high-profile trial exposed a vast web of deception, raising concerns about the practices within the cryptocurrency industry.
I pray that next week brings peace to the people of Nepal, Gaza and Israel, may the skies clear and when the dust settles that those responsible for these crimes against humanity be brought to justice.