NEWS GLEAMS | Hospital and School Struck in Gaza; King County Creates Office of Gun Violence Prevention | #schoolsaftey

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨ Gleaming This Week ✨


Photo: Anas-Mohammed/

Hospital and School Bombed in Gaza; President Joe Biden Visits Israel While Arab Leaders Cancel Summit

Gaza Hospital Bombing Kills Hundreds; Causes Confusion

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, a bombing at al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the central Gaza Strip killed hundreds, according to Palestinian health officials. The attack on the civilian facility has caused international condemnation and mass protests worldwide, though Palestinian and Israeli authorities point to different aggressors. The hospital is run by the Christian humanitarian organization the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and it has in recent days become a site for internally displaced Palestinians seeking aid and shelter amid Israeli air attacks. 

The health ministry in Gaza has blamed Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and said the blast at the hospital was caused by an Israeli air raid, while Israel has claimed the explosion was due to a misfired rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group. PIJ has denied the allegations.

Claims of video evidence from Israeli leadership were outed as misinformation. According to Newsweek, “Official X accounts for the State of Israel and Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., posted a video that claimed to show a rocket fired from Gaza caused the explosion at the hospital. However, the video was later deleted from the accounts after Aric Toler, a journalist on the visual investigations team at The New York Times, disputed the accuracy of the footage due to time stamps on the video. According to messages posted on X by Toler, the time stamps on the video shared by the Israeli accounts showed it was recorded at least 40 minutes after the explosion took place.” Another video, since verified by The New York Times, shows the moment of the explosion.

On Oct. 18, U.S. officials, citing preliminary satellite intelligence, said Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital, prompting President Biden to tell Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a rare meeting Wednesday that “it was done by the other team, not you,” according to an account in The New York Times.

The Gaza Health Ministry has been stating for nearly a week that its ambulances and medics have been deliberately targeted. According to U.N. estimates, 28 medical staff have died thus far, as well as 11 U.N. workers and 18 Palestinian journalists.

On the same day as the al-Ahli Arab Hospital attack, CNN reported that Israeli warplanes killed 18 when they hit two refugee camps and a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees. According to reporting by Al Jazeera, UNRWA said Israeli bombs hit one of its schools earlier this month, and that four others have been damaged by Israeli bombings since Oct. 7.

Considerable documentation exists to show that Israel has introduced false information in the past concerning crimes against Palestinians. In 2022, Palestinian American journalist and Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by the IDF. As reported by The Guardian, “The IDF initially denied responsibility for killing Abu Akleh and pointed the finger at Palestinian gunmen. But investigations by the United Nations and several news organizations concluded that the journalist was not near Palestinian gunfire when she was killed, and that Israeli forces were almost certainly responsible. The UN said that Israeli soldiers fired ‘several single, seemingly well-aimed bullets’ at Abu Akleh and other journalists.”

Middle East Eye has confirmed that Israel’s attorney general and communications minister have approved plans to ban Al Jazeera from reporting on the ground from within the Gaza Strip. Al Jazeera, a Qatari news outlet, is one of the few international news organizations with journalists with a presence in Gaza and Israel, especially since new reporters are not allowed into the Gaza Strip at this time. Despite clear markings on their vehicle and clothing, two Al Jazeera journalists were shelled by Israeli forces on Oct. 13; a Reuter’s videographer, Issam Abdallah, was killed.

President Joe Biden Visits Israel; Summit with Arab Leaders Canceled

U.S. President Joe Biden continues to pledge unwavering support for Israel and has not called for a ceasefire. He has also joined Netanyahu in denying that the hospital attack was made by Israel, instead placing the blame on Palestinians. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you. But there’s a lot of people out there not sure,” Biden said during a televised press conference in Israel on Oct. 18.

Biden has told reporters that the Pentagon has shown him evidence that Israel was likely not involved in the attack, though the evidence has not been shared. Last week, Biden came under criticism for saying he saw pictures of babies who were beheaded by Hamas; after no evidence could be found, the White House walked back his comments.

Biden’s trip to Israel follows the cancellation of a previously scheduled meeting in Amman, Jordan, which was canceled after the hospital bombing. Present at the meeting would have been Jordanian President King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas spoke publicly for the first time following the hospital bombing, stating, “What is taking place is genocide. We call on the international community to intervene immediately to stop this massacre. Silence is no longer acceptable.” He has been criticized for remaining silent, aside from written statements, up until this point.

As a member of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. has recently vetoed a Russia-led draft resolution for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, due to the resolution’s lack of specific condemnation of Hamas. On Oct. 18, however, the U.S. also vetoed one proposed by Brazil, which did condemn Hamas. A “no” vote from any of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States — stops any measure from passing. The United States was the only party in the 15-member Security Council that voted no. Russia and the United Kingdom abstained.

Current State of Affairs in the Israel–Palestine Conflict

Israel declared war on Gaza following the atrocities committed on Oct. 7 by Hamas, which infiltrated into Israel by land, air, and sea; 1,400 people, including women, children, and the elderly, were killed during that attack. An estimated 199 hostages, including 13 Americans, remain in Hamas’ custody. Hamas has stated it will not release hostages, while Turkey has said it is currently in diplomatic talks with Hamas for their release, though there is “nothing concrete.” Hamas, different from the Palestinian government ruled by Abbas, has control over the Gaza Strip.

Following ongoing Israeli airstrikes, the Gaza Health Ministry says 3,478 Palestinians have been killed, with an estimated 12,000 injured and over 1,000 who have remained trapped under building debris. The U.N. estimates that 52 Palestinians have also been killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces since the beginning of the conflict.

Oct. 18 marks the 11th day of the siege on Gaza, where food, water, electricity, and fuel have been unable to enter the area, which houses 2.3 million Palestinians. Domestic and international aid agencies, including the United Nations, UNICEF, the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, are calling for humanitarian ceasefires and working to establish humanitarian corridors for aid. Humanitarian aid and resources already await at the Egypt-controlled border at Rafah, but disagreements between Egyptian and Israeli officials on the terms have stifled attempts to allow the aid in. Past attempts — including those by the United States — to get foreign nationals and Palestinians with dual citizenship out of the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border have also failed thus far.

The White House confirmed on Oct. 18 that it has approved $100 million in humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. However, though talks are supposedly underway to bring it into the Strip, no access has yet been finalized. Meanwhile, beginning in 2016 with former President Barack Obama, the United States has maintained an ongoing pledge of $38 billion of funding to Israel, between 2017 and 2028. Israel is one of the most well-armed and well-resourced military forces in the Middle East.

Photo attributed to Dow Constantine, King County Executive (under a under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license).

King County Creates Regional Office of Gun Violence Prevention

King County Executive Dow Constantine has announced the launch of the Public Health — Seattle & King County Regional Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which will help address gun violence across the county and “ensure comprehensive coordination and collaboration.” The office hopes to work with similar offices around the country and leverage federal resources to combat gun violence.

The office plans to secure additional resources and implement strategies for community violence intervention (CVI), including the expansion of services to Kent, Burien, and Skyway in 2024. It also plans to launch a training academy to support community-based workers working to combat gun violence.

The Regional Peacekeepers Collective Strategy (RPKC), which was created after 2021 to help address gun violence, has been supporting “culturally responsive BIPOC-led community organizations that provide tailored intervention, prevention and restoration services” by enrolling young people into its programs, supporting families impacted by gun violence, hosting community engagement events, responding to critical incidents, and distributing lockboxes to encourage safe storage practices of firearms. 

“The CVI work with the RPKC collaborative partners is the most important collaboration between the county and community-based organizations (CBOs) in its history. By uniting CBOs under a common mission of curing the disease of gun violence, we have broken down silos and forged a strong partnership with Harborview Hospital. These partnerships enable us to provide direct services and case management to individuals impacted by gun violence, offering needed relief in times of trauma. The CVI work puts us on the front end of gun violence with prevention and intervention models and also on the back end dealing with the trauma of gun violence,” said Community Passageways Founder and CEO Dominique Davis, via the press release, in support of the formation of the department. “The new department of gun violence will be a key component to the success of this community organization and government partnership.”

T’Challaween Returns on Oct.28; Join as a Volunteer!

The South Seattle Emerald invites participants of all ages to participate in T’Challaween, a lively 1-mile costume parade that takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, along Beacon Hill’s 18th Avenue South Healthy Street. An event for all ages, the parade promises fun and excitement, featuring “no-touch” candy tossers along the route. Additionally, dedicated event staff will be on hand to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all attendees.

The route spans from South College Street to the Spokane Street entrance to Jefferson Park, and individuals can join the parade at any point along the way. In addition to booths set up by the Emerald, other community members will also participate by giving out candy from their homes.

For those unable to join in person, the event will be livestreamed, offering a virtual experience of the festivities. Emerald photographers will also capture the magic of T’Challaween, preserving the memories for years to come.

In adherence to safety measures, all participants are encouraged to mask up and practice social distancing to protect themselves and others, especially the vulnerable members of our community.

Volunteers Are Needed!

T’Challaween’s success hinges on the support of our community. We are seeking over 60 dedicated volunteers to help make this event a memorable and impactful experience. Please fill out our Google Form to sign up and be part of this incredible celebration!

Learn more about this year’s T’Challaween event on the South Seattle Emerald. RSVP on Facebook, or contact us at [email protected].

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the editor-in-chief of REDEFINE, a co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and a film educator at the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they previously served as executive director and played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. After a recent stint as the interim managing editor at South Seattle Emerald, they are moving into production on their feature film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy. Learn more about them at

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