First and foremost, this edition of our weekly Sunday Summary needs to address pressing news concerning the war between Hamas and Israel. We arrive now at the end of the 5th week of the conflict, and more lives are taken every day. The numbers keep getting more devastating by the minute with nearly 12 thousand lives taken in Palestine at the moment of writing this, almost half of them were children. The Israeli Defense Forces continue to attack Hospitals in the Gaza Strip, searching Hamas operation bases everywhere, half of which are now destroyed. Despite the loss of lives provoked by Israel's strikes, the state remains ready to stick to its initial position and eradicate the movement of Hamas in Palestine. Sadly, this means that the civilian death toll will only rise in the hunt for Hamas fighters.
Our hearts are with the ones who have lost their loved ones and every individual who may be affected, directly or not, by the war.
Countrywide, the legislative elections are coming very soon now in the Netherlands. If you live in the Netherlands and if you’re a student in Maastricht, you have probably experienced the struggle to find accommodation in the city. Like everywhere in Europe, the Dutch housing market is extremely tight, with a shortage of around 400,000 homes in the country. No government has tackled the problem, and the traditional parties could pay the price in the elections. The association ‘Woonprotest’ claims that the number of homeless people in the country, as well as the accommodation prices, are rising. Residents of the Netherlands are increasingly protesting about the housing crisis: housing should not be a business and it is wrong to make a profit out of it. This crisis caused by real estate speculation is also a direct consequence of the outgoing government's policies. The latter had promised a solution to the crisis persisting for nearly ten years claiming it would build new accommodations. As elections grow even closer, this problem is likely to influence the outcome of the November 22nd legislative elections.
Shifting more south in our European neighbors, this week the Spanish Prime Minister won the support of Catalan independence activists, at the expense of concessions that infuriate Spain. This controversial support is a means for Pedro Sánchez to hope for a coalition in his government. This is the only way he can maintain his position as President of the Government and form a new alliance with Sumar, the left-wing coalition. Indeed, the elections of last July were unable to provide a clear route for any of the main parties to create a government, thus inhibiting the Prime Minister from continuing negotiations and compromises for further support in Parliament. For the past weeks, the Prime Minister has been negotiating with former Catalan Representative Carles Puigdemont, exiled to Belgium in 2017 after the illegal independence referendum. The seven seats in Parliament acquired by the separatist party of Puigdemont, and now in agreement with Sánchez’s government, are highly controversial for the supporters of Catalonia’s separatist party. Sanchez’s party has agreed to approve an ‘Amnesty Law’ for those related to the independence movements between 2012 and 2023, in return for their backing. The lack of details and clarity on this law has already provoked demonstrations of disagreement from the Spanish people, as well as doubts from the European Commission. The latter requested the Spanish government to give more information regarding the agreement.
Last but not least, across the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil has brought us good news on the environmental side. Brazil has recorded a significant drop in deforestation in the Amazon less than a year after President Lula came back to power. On the 9th of November, the Brazilian Space Research Institute published the very much expected results from the new policy of its government. Indeed, during Lula’s campaign, reducing the amount of deforestation in Brazil was one of his main points of focus on the agenda. The results of the report showed a decrease of 23% percent in the destruction of the tropical forest this year compared to previous years. This can only raise our hopes for better future management of biodiversity in Brazil and ought to trace the path to a total stop of deforestation. However, this result does not erase the threat of droughts and fires continuing to threaten the world's largest rainforest.