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Israel charges soldiers for looting Palestinians’ property during Gaza war

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Israeli military prosecutors have filed charges against three soldiers for alleged theft from Palestinians, and related offences, during last summer’s Gaza war, the military said on Monday.

They were the first indictments relating to the 50-day “Operation Protective Edge”, the subject of a United Nations enquiry which is to report its findings shortly.

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An Israeli army statement said that charges were filed in a military court last week against three soldiers accused of “a looting crime” in Shejaiya, east of Gaza City.

“Two soldiers are charged with looting money amounting to 2,420 shekels ($620, 565 euros) from a building in Shejaiya in which the troops were stationed, and another is accused of aiding and abetting the crime,” it said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in November appointed a five-member panel to investigate Israeli attacks on shelters of the UN Palestinian refugee agency during the July-August Gaza war and the discovery of Hamas weapons at UN sites.

It is expected to publish its findings within days.

“On seven occasions six UNRWA facilities were hit directly or indirectly and dozens of civilians, including UNRWA staff, were killed,” agency spokesman Chris Gunness said on Monday.

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The conflict ended with a truce between Israel and the territory’s Islamist de facto rulers Hamas after the deaths of about 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

Israel maintains that Hamas militants used schools to store weapons, and fired rockets from the vicinity of schools.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has set up a separate commission of enquiry into the actions of both sides, due to report in June.

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The Palestinians last month joined the International Criminal Court in a move they hope could open the door to prosecution of Israeli officials for alleged war crimes.

The Israeli military is holding its own investigations, with dozens of cases currently open.

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2020 Election

If Democrats fight right-wing ‘fake news’ fire with fire, we all lose

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Democrats are increasingly worried about losing the 2020 presidential election to Donald Trump. The party is in seeming disarray from the botched Iowa caucuses and the failure of an "electable" frontrunner to emerge early in the primary season. Trump's fundraising and digital operations are humming, buoyed in part by his acquittal at the Senate trial which refused to remove him from office for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 elections and obstructing the House's investigation of it.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Soledad O’Brien shames 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey team for photo-op with Trump while wearing MAGA hats

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In an early Sunday morning tweet, award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien expressed her dismay with members of the 1980 Gold Medal-winning Olympic hockey team for celebrating their historic win over the then-Soviet Union -- dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" -- with Donald Trump while wearing "Make America Great Again" hats.

According to O'Brien, seeing them hand Trump a photo-op filled her with "disappointment."

Taking to Twitter, she wrote, " Ugh.... so disappointed by the @1980MiracleTeam . I loved watching that game as a kid with my dad. Loved watching the movie with my kids. To see them on a stage, in maga hats—kinda crushing I have to say."

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2020 Election

‘Nice deflection, Mr President’: Adam Schiff busts Trump for trying to blame him for his leaky administration

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) took a shot at President Donald Trump on Sunday morning after the president tried to blame him for the leak describing a classified meeting lawmakers had with an intelligence official who warned the bipartisan group that the Kremlin is trying to help the president get re-elected.

As the president prepared to leave the White House for India, he told reporters that Schiff was to blame for the leaked meeting story, with the president insisting he personally had not been briefed on the report explosive report.

Responding to a 'Meet the Press" clip of the president making his accusation, Schiff tweeted back: "Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. You’ve betrayed America. Again."

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