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


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday he intends to press ahead with an offensive in Rafah, the region where around half of Gaza’s 2.3 million displaced civilian population are seeking refuge. “We’ll go there. We’re not going to leave them. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is? That October 7 doesn’t happen again,” Netanyahu said, referencing President Biden’s ‘red line’ comments over a prospective Rafah invasion. “We’ve destroyed three-quarters of Hamas’ fighting terrorism battalions. And we’re close to finishing the last part in warfare,” Netanyahu said, adding that fighting would not “take more than two months.” He also directly addressed criticism from Biden, who has said that the Israeli leader is “hurting Israel more than helping Israel.” Netanyahu said he did not know “exactly what the president meant” and that the Israeli people support his rejection of a Palestinian state. Paul Ronzheimer and Carlo Martuscelli report for POLITICO.

Netanyahu has denied that people are starving in Gaza and blamed Hamas for the lack of humanitarian aid entering the besieged enclave. Responding to claims by the U.N. that those in Gaza are facing famine, Netanyahu said, “We don’t have that kind of information. That’s not the information we have. And we monitor it closely,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel’s policy is to “put in as much humanitarian aid as we could.” When asked why more aid is not reaching Gaza by land, Netanyahu said “Hamas is coming at gunpoint and stealing the food. Humanitarian deaths and starvation is, for us, it’s a tragedy. For them, it’s a strategy.” Paul Ronzheimer and Carlo Martuscelli report for POLITICO.

Hamas’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh blamed Israel for the collapse of ceasefire talks ahead of Ramadan, saying in a televised address yesterday, “We don’t want an agreement that doesn’t end the war on Gaza.” Haniyeh said Israel had not committed to end the fighting and withdrawing troops from Gaza. Haniyeh added that Hamas is open to continuing negotiations on “any formulas that will end this aggression.” Rachel Pannett reports for the Washington Post.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz will today lead a special delegation in New York that includes family members of hostages held in Gaza for a discussion at the U.N. Security Council about the findings of a U.N. report on sexual crimes committed by Hamas, Netanyahu’s Office announced.

A road being built by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has reached the Mediterranean coast, a CNN analysis of satellite imagery shows. The east-west road is being built across the four mile wide strip — known as “the Netzarim Corridor” —  which divides the north of Gaza from the south. The IDF said they were using the route to “establish (an) operational foothold in the area” and allow “the passage of forces as well as logistical equipment.” The military added that the road existed before the war and was being “renovated” due to armored vehicles “damaging it,” saying there was “no beginning and ending.”

At least 31,112 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its military assault of the besieged enclave after the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks, the Hamas-run health ministry said today. The figure follows Netanyahu saying yesterday that at least 13,000 “terrorists” were among the Palestinians killed. 


President Biden warned on Saturday that an Israeli operation in Rafah would cross a “red line,” but that he is “never going to leave Israel” or cut off all arms supplies. In an interview with MSNBC, Biden said in response to a question about a prospective invasion of Rafah, “The defense of Israel is still critical. So there is no red line I am going to cut off all weapons, so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them,” referring to the anti-missile interceptors. “But there’s red lines that if he crosses…. You cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead,” he added. Meanwhile, one of Biden’s closest allies, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), said in an interview following a recent visit to Israel, “This possible upcoming assault on Rafah is, in many ways, the biggest test this relationship will face in this conflict.” When asked whether Washington will reach a point it needs to question the terms of its military aid to Israel, Coons said, “I think we’re there.” Michael R. Gordon, Dion Nissenbaum, and Vivian Salama report for the Wall Street Journal

A U.S. Army vessel loaded with equipment to build a temporary pier offshore of Gaza to deliver vital humanitarian supplies has departed Virginia for the eastern Mediterranean, U.S. Central Command said yesterday. The vessel set sail less than 36 hours after Biden’s announcement, with Pentagon officials saying the pier could take as long as 60 days to build. Once established, it is expected to facilitate the delivery of 2 million daily meals. 

The United States conducted a joint operation yesterday with the Royal Jordanian Air Force to airdrop humanitarian assistance into northern Gaza, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. Meanwhile, Gaza’s Civil Defense said yesterday that the use of aid drops into Gaza has not “limited the famine crisis” but rather “increased the number of victims,” leading to casualties and injuries. They did not specify how many people were killed or injured, nor which countries delivered the aid that led to injuries. Casey Gannon reports for CNN.


Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Saturday that he will propose “granting Spain’s recognition for the Palestinian state.” “I do this out of moral conviction, for a just cause and because it is the only way that the two states, Israel and Palestine, can live together in peace,” Sánchez added, whose comments add to other European leaders calling for a two-state solution. AP News reports.

Sweden and Canada said they will resume aid payments to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The aid agency faced international funding boycotts following accusations that at least 12 of its staff were involved in the Oct. 7 attacks. The U.N. has said it is investigating, with France’s foreign minister leading a review. Lipika Pelham reports for BBC News.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s presence at the opening of a Holocaust museum in Amsterdam sparked protests over Israel’s military operations in Gaza. Activists calling for a ceasefire gathered near the National Holocaust Museum in the city’s Jewish quarter, where both Palestinian and Israeli flags were seen being held. Some protesters climbed onto police vans, and riot police beat them away as they started to throw fireworks and eggs, Dutch media outlet De Telegraaf reported. The museum said it had invited Herzog before the Oct. 7 attacks and that he represented the homeland of Dutch Holocaust survivors who had emigrated to Israel. Rachel Russell reports for BBC News.


 The United States, France, and Britain downed dozens of drones in the Red Sea on Saturday night after the Iran-backed Houthis targeted a bulk carrier and U.S. destroyers in the region, the U.S. military said in a statement. Reuters reports.


The U.S. military said Sunday it had flown in forces to bolster security at the U.S. embassy in Haiti and allow nonessential personnel to leave, amid a surge of gang-related violence against the Haitian government. U.S. Southern Command said that “no Haitians were on board the military aircraft,” quashing speculation that senior government officials may be leaving the region as civil unrest grips the country. The European Union’s delegation in Haiti said yesterday that it has temporarily closed its offices and reduced its presence in the country, while a spokesperson for Germany’s foreign ministry told AFP that the German ambassador and permanent representative in Port-au-Prince left for the Dominican Republic. Evens Sanon reports for AP News.

Portugal’s center-right Democratic Alliance coalition claimed victory in a close snap election yesterday in which the far right surged and no party secured a majority of seats in parliament. “The Portuguese people have spoken,” Democratic Alliance leader Luís Montenegro said, although it remains unclear how he will be able to govern in a parliament split along the right, the left, and the far right. With 99 percent of votes counted, the Democratic Alliance secured 79 seats, the Socialists 77, the far-right Chega party 48, with a host of smaller parties picking up the remainder. Four of the 230 seats in parliament will be allocated after the foreign vote is finalized next week. Aitor Hernández-Morales reports for POLITICO.

The leader of Yemen’s branch of al-Qaeda is dead, the militant group announced yesterday, without providing further details. Khalid al-Batarfi had a $5 million bounty placed on him by the U.S. government. In the announcement, the group said Saad bin Atef al-Awlaki would take over as its leader, on whom the United States has a $6 million bounty. Jon Gambrell reports for AP News.

A top general from Sudan’s army ruled out a truce during Ramadan unless the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leave civilian homes and public facilities. The statement comes after the army claimed advances in Omdurman, and follows a U.N. Security Council appeal for a truce during Ramadan. The RSF said it welcomed the call for a ceasefire and that the army had rejected its offer to hand over 537 prisoners of war in its custody. El Tayeb Siddig and Khalid Abdelaziz report for Reuters

Taiwan’s top security official told parliament today that China runs “joint combat readiness patrols” near the island every 7-10 days on average and that the operations show how Chinese forces are trying to “normalize” drills near Taiwan. Taiwan National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Ming-yen added that, “We do not see any signal of a war in the Taiwan Strait breaking out.” Reuters reports.


Ukraine strongly rejected a call by Pope Francis for Kyiv to negotiate an end to the war with Russia and have “the courage to raise the white flag.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the comments as “virtual mediation,” and Ukraine’s foreign minister said it will “never raise any other flags” than the country’s blue and yellow colors. BBC News reports.