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Graduates turn their backs to Biden during commencement speech

US President Joe Biden’s commencement address at Morehouse College has spurred some students to turn their backs to him over his support for Israel and its war on Gaza.

“It’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, that’s why I’ve called for an immediate ceasefire,” Biden said. “I know it angers and frustrates many of you including in my family,” he said.

One graduate appeared to hold up a Palestinian flag briefly and an audience member stood and turned their back with their fist raised.

Some graduates wore keffiyehs – the black-and-white headscarves that have become an emblem of solidarity with the Palestinian cause – tied around their gowns, while the valedictorian called for a permanent and immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

A Morehouse College graduate with his back turned holds a Palestinian flag while US President Joe Biden speaks during a commencement ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia, May 19

Any Israel-approved group ruling post-war Gaza to face opposition: Report

Locals in Gaza say no Israel-approved group could take control in the war-torn coastal enclave, according to sources cited by Israeli media outlet Haaretz.

One unnamed prominent personality in Gaza told Haaretz: “Anyone who dares to take on the task is at best an executive contractor who has no ability to withstand pressure, and at worst will be under the auspices of Israel, and therefore will not receive cooperation from the Palestinian factions, including from the Palestinian Authority for its mechanisms, certainly not from Hamas.”

Moreover, political factions in Gaza and senior officials in Ramallah are unanimous regarding what they deem to be the “ultimate solution to the situation” – the introduction of a “multinational force into Gaza that will operate under the auspices of the United Nations”, Haaretz reported.

This arrangement would be for a limited time period, Haaretz noted, until a political process is undertaken to reach a two-state solution, the media outlet said.

Israel seeks US support against establishment of Palestinian state

Israel has called for bipartisan support from the United States against the establishment of a Palestinian state.

European Union members including Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta have said they could recognise a Palestinian state this month, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, who met top US House of Representatives Republican Elise Stefanik earlier, said if a Palestinian state was established, Iran would use it as a base to “work towards the destruction of Israel”. He did not explain his logic.

He told Stefanik the US must lead a resolution at the International Energy Agency’s council next month to promote further sanctions against Iran to stop it obtaining nuclear weapons and supporting groups like Hamas.

Smotrich slams Gantz for post-war plan demand

Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has taken to X to speak out about war cabined minister Benny Gantz, calling his actions “far beyond irresponsible” and even bordering on “crime”.

Yesterday, Benny Gantz threatened to quit the government of Benjamin Netanyahu should the prime minister fail to present a post-war plan for Gaza by June 8.

“When our best warriors and commanders sacrifice themselves and some are killed in the war, he stabs them in the back, weakens them and the war and basically tells them that they are just dying because the war has been lost,” Smotrich said in his post.

He added that Israel will “eliminate Hamas and control Gaza as much as is necessary to ensure the security of the residents of the south and the return of the abductees”.

Stefanik calls for wiping Hamas ‘off the face of the Earth’ and touts Trump policies in speech to Israeli Knesset

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik delivered remarks at the Israeli Knesset Sunday, saying victory for Israel in the war against Hamas starts with “wiping” those responsible for the October 7 terrorist attacks “off the face of the Earth” and calling for a return to former President Donald Trump’s policies.

“Total victory starts, but only starts, with wiping those responsible for October 7 off the face of the Earth. There can be no retrievable dignity for Hamas and its backers,” she said in her speech in which she called herself a “leading proponent and partner” to Trump and sharply criticized the Biden administration.


“When the enemy is inside the gates of the United Nations, America must be the one to call it by its name and destroy it. President Trump understood that,” Stefanik said.

“But you know as well as I that the enemy is inside more than just the gates of the United Nations. It is also in powerful Western institutions in my country and beyond, where the virus, the vile virus of antisemitism is spreading. This is why total victory means not just physical self-defense but ideological self-defense,” added Stefanik, who claimed that pro-Palestinian protesters on college campuses who are calling for a ceasefire in the conflict are “cosplaying Hamas.”

In a rare instance of a member of Congress publicly criticizing the American president to a foreign government, Stefanik went after Biden, saying there is “no excuse” for his administration blocking military aid to Israel.