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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back yesterday against President Biden’s recent warning that Israel will lose international support if its “incredibly conservative” government continues down its current path. In a video, Netanyahu said he has led a successful campaign aimed at “countering international pressure to end the war ahead of time and mobilize support for Israel,” appearing to cite a recent Harvard-Harris poll that found more than 80% of those surveyed in the United States supported Israel more than Hamas in the current war. “This gives us more backing to continue the war until the total victory,” Netanyahu said. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

Hamas officials said yesterday that there has been no breakthrough in the mediated talks with Israel aimed at pausing the war and a prison-hostage exchange, a day after Biden said he was hopeful a ceasefire could start next week. A Hamas spokesperson said that the group had yet to formally receive “any new proposals” since senior Israeli officials met with mediators in Paris last week to advance a possible deal. Another Hamas official said yesterday that the group was sticking to its demand for a long-term ceasefire. Qatar, a key mediator in the talks, noted that “efforts are ongoing” and that all parties are conducting regular meetings. Aaron Boxerman, Hwaida Saad, Raja Abdulrahim, and Michael Levenson report for the New York Times.

Israeli negotiators have signaled that Israel could release a group of high-profile Palestinian prisoners serving lengthy jail terms in exchange for the release of some of the Israeli hostages still being held in Gaza, officials said. The shift in Israeli negotiating strategy could help persuade Hamas to agree to a deal that would temporarily pause fighting in Gaza. Ronen Bergman and Patrick Kingsley report for the New York Times.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich vowed to continue expanding settlements in the West Bank, defying international pressure to stop building on land that Palestinians view as core to a future independent state. Late yesterday, Smotrich announced the approval of a new settlement called Mishmar Yehuda and said work would continue on authorizing additional settlements. The move comes days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington considered Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be inconsistent with international law. Reuters reports.

At least a quarter of Gaza’s population – 576,000 people – are one step away from famine and nearly the entire population desperately needs food, U.N. humanitarian officials said yesterday, adding that levels of desperation are leading to some aid trucks being shot at, looted and overwhelmed by hungry people. As dire as the situation is today, U.N. humanitarian coordinator Ramesh Ramasingham told the U.N. Security Council, “there is every possibility for further deterioration.” Edith M. Lederer reports for AP News.

Israel will take measures to protect civilians if it expands military operations in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told CNN yesterday. 

Hospitals in Gaza are facing dire conditions, with some operating without electricity, water, and low levels of medical supplies, the Hamas-run health ministry said yesterday. The situation is especially critical at Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, the ministry said, where the generator has stopped, the sewage network has collapsed, water has been cut off, and more than 120 patients need to be evacuated to receive care. In northern Gaza, the Al-Awda Health and Community Association warned that its hospital faces “complete cessation” of services within the next 48 hours.

Israel held local elections yesterday, the first time that voters have gone to the polls since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. Voters were choosing municipal and regional officials, who are responsible for issues like education, garbage disposal and park cleaning, in a vote delayed from Oct. 31 due to the war. Results are not expected for a few days until absentee ballots are tallied. Adam Sella reports for the New York Times.


Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah will halt attacks on Israel if Hamas agrees to a proposal for a truce with Israel in Gaza, unless Israeli forces keep shelling Lebanon, according to two sources familiar with Hezbollah’s thinking. “The moment Hamas announces its approval of the truce, and the moment the truce is declared, Hezbollah will adhere to the truce and will stop operations in the south immediately, as happened the previous time,” one of the two sources said. Laila Bassam and Maya Gebeily report for Reuters.

The emir of Qatar spoke yesterday of “a race against time” to secure hostage releases as part of the diplomatic push for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza. Speaking at a dinner on a two-day state visit to France, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani noted that both countries are working intensely on Gaza diplomacy but spoke soberingly about the mounting civilian death toll. “The world sees a genocide of the Palestinian people. Hunger, forced displacement, savage bombardments are used as weapons. And the international community still hasn’t managed to adopt a unified position to end the war in Gaza,” he said. Sylvie Corbet and John Leicester report for AP News.

Planes from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and France joined a Jordanian airdrop operation along the coast of Gaza yesterday, the Jordanian military said in a statement. It marked the first time Egypt has airdropped aid to Gaza since the start of the war, and also appeared to be the first for the U.A.E. The New York Times reports. 


The Biden administration gave Israel until mid-March to sign a letter, provided by White House yesterday, that gives assurances it will abide by international law while using U.S. weapons and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, three U.S. and Israeli officials told Axios. The assurances are now a requirement under a memorandum issued by Biden earlier this month. While it does not single out Israel, the new policy came after some Democratic senators expressed concern over Israel’s military campaign. If Israel does not provide the assurances by the March deadline, U.S. weapon transfers will be paused.

Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen said yesterday that she urged Netanyahu in a letter to take steps to strengthen the Palestinian economy and warned the economic crisis in the West Bank could have negative consequences for Israel. Speaking at a press conference in Brazil, Yellen said, “The United States has urged the Israeli government to release clearance revenue to the Palestinian Authority to fund basic services and to bolster the economy in the West Bank.” Yellen also noted the suspension of Israeli permits for the 150,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank has “hurt the Israeli economy,” a source said. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

The United States will provide $53 million in additional aid to support humanitarian programs that are delivering desperately needed assistance to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a press briefing yesterday. The new package will bring the total amount of U.S. aid delivered to Gaza during the war to $180 million, Kirby said, adding, “There’s no question that much more aid is needed to address the critical and urgent needs on the ground.”


Iran has made a concerted effort to rein in militias in Iraq and Syria after the United States responded with a series of airstrikes for the killing of three U.S. Army personnel this month. U.S. officials say that since Feb. 2, there have been no attacks by Iran-backed militias on U.S. bases in Iraq and only two minor attacks in Syria. The Biden administration has previously made clear that Tehran would be held accountable for operations by proxy forces, but it has avoided any direct attack on Iran. Farnaz Fassihi, Eric Schmitt, and Julian E. Barnes report for the New York Times.


A rocket exploded late last night off the side of a ship traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen in the latest suspected attack carried out by the Houthis, authorities said. The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center, which oversees shipping in the Mideast, reported the attack happened around 70 miles off the coast of the Houthi-held port city of Hodeida, adding that “The crew and vessel are reported to be safe and are proceeding to next port of call.” The Houthis have not claimed the attack at the time of writing. Jon Gambrell reports for AP News.

The U.S. Central Command said its aircraft and a coalition warship shot down five Houthi one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the Red Sea last night. “CENTCOM forces identified these UAVs originating from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the U.S. Navy and coalition ships in the region,” it said. 


Several NATO countries have ruled out deploying troops to Ukraine, after French President Emmanuel Macron said that “nothing should be excluded.” A White House statement said that “President Biden has been clear that the US will not send troops to fight in Ukraine,” while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there had been no change to the agreed position that no European or NATO country would send troops to Ukraine. A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also said there were no plans for a large-scale military deployment to Ukraine, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s office said Italy’s support to Ukraine “does not include the presence of troops from European or Nato states on Ukrainian territory.” Lipika Pelham and Lou Newton report for BBC News.

A Russian court sentenced one of the country’s most prominent human-rights activists to 30 months in prison for criticizing the war in Ukraine, as part of a widening campaign to crush dissent and enforce domestic support for Russia’s full-scale invasion. Oleg Orlov, the 70-year-old co-chair of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning group the Memorial Human Rights Center, was found guilty of discrediting the Russian military, according to the ruling of the Golovinsky Court of Moscow. Representatives of the embassies of at least 19 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany attended his trial, according to Memorial. Ann M. Simmons reports for the Wall Street Journal

North Korean munition factories are “operating at full capacity” to produce weapons and shells for Russia, according to South Korea’s defense minister, Shin Won-sik. The weapons and military equipment, which include millions of rounds of artillery shells, are being delivered to Russia in exchange for shipments of food and other necessities, Shin’s ministry said. The comments come after the U.S. State Department released a fact sheet on Friday stating that North Korea has delivered more than 10,000 containers of munitions or related materials to Russia since September. Yoonjung Seo and Helen Regan report for CNN.

A lawyer for the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been briefly detained in Moscow. Russian media said Vasily Dubkov was held for “violating public order,” but Russian officials have not confirmed that he was arrested or the reason why. Dubkov told the news outlet Verstka he was freed later yesterday. Ido Vock reports for BBC News.

Australia’s spy chief said a former politician “sold out” Australia to a foreign intelligence service and that his agency had confronted the spymasters to let them know they had been caught. Director-General of Security for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Mike Burgess, said yesterday he had declassified details of the operations, but did not name the country involved or the politician. Kirsty Needham reports for Reuters

Two candidates for mayor of the central Mexican town of Maravatio were killed just hours apart, according to the Prosecutor’s Office of Michoacan state. Armando Pérez of the conservative National Action Party and Miguel Ángel Reyes from the ruling leftist party Morena were both found dead in their personal vehicles with gunshot wounds, the prosecutor said in two separate statements. Abel Alvarado reports for CNN.

Former Guinean opposition leader Mamadou Oury Bah has been appointed Prime Minister by the country’s military junta, a week after it abruptly dissolved the government. His appointment comes amid growing dissatisfaction with the junta. Gloria Aradi reports for BBC News.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will co-host a summit with Albania’s government today that is meant to encourage further support for Kyiv by southeastern European countries. Zelenskyy called the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama “Ukraine’s unwavering friend,” adding that the two would “discuss defense and political cooperation, support for the Peace Formula, and security agreements.” It follows Zelenskyy’s visit to Saudi Arabia yesterday where he met the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where Zelenskyy pushed for a peace plan and the return of prisoners of war in Russia. Llazar Semini reports for AP News.

A court in southern Russia has jailed a Ukrainian man for 11 and a half years after convicting him of espionage for trying to procure secret missile components for Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported today. The agencies cited Russia’s FSB security service as saying that 57-year-old Sergei Krivitsky was an agent for Ukrainian military intelligence, and it is unknown whether he pleaded guilty or not. Reuters reports.


The U.S. Army is reducing the size of its force by about 24,000, or almost 5%, and restructuring to be better able to fight the next major war. The move comes as the service struggles with recruiting shortfalls that have made it impossible to bring in enough soldiers to fill all the jobs. The cuts will mainly affect already-empty posts, rather than soldiers, including in jobs related to counterinsurgency that ballooned during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with around 3,000 cuts coming from the Army special operations forces. At the same time, the plan will add about 7,500 troops in other critical missions as well as five new global task forces with enhanced cyber, intelligence, and long-range strike capabilities. Lolita C. Baldor reports for AP News.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) both described yesterday’s White House meeting between Biden and congressional leaders as “intense” amid tension over Ukraine aid. Schumer later said the intensity was due to “the urgency of supporting Ukraine and the consequences to the people of America, to America’s strength if we don’t do anything and don’t do anything soon.” Julia Mueller reports for The Hill.

An Indiana man has pleaded guilty to threatening to kill an election worker in Michigan, the Department of Justice announced yesterday. Andrew Nickels, 37, called the clerk of a local election office and left a threatening voicemail to kill the official shortly after the 2020 election. 

A federal judge in Washington state yesterday dismissed a lawsuit an alleged top al-Qaeda operative brought against two psychologists the CIA hired to manage the spy agency’s use of waterboarding as part of its interrogation of terror suspects. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice ruled that the suit was precluded by a 2006 federal law limiting the ability of war-on-terror detainees who are not U.S. citizens to sue in U.S. courts over their detention or treatment. Josh Gerstein reports for POLITICO.