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


Israel and Hamas for the first time in months are negotiating details of a possible deal to release Israeli hostages and for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, according to two Israeli officials and a source with direct knowledge. Israeli officials said that while there are still gaps between the parties, Hamas’s response last week to a hostage deal framework proposed by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt have allowed negotiations to progress. The main sticking point remains Hamas’s demand that Israeli forces withdraw from the corridor it created south of Gaza City, which prevents the return of Palestinians to the north of the Strip. Other sticking points include Hamas’s demand for a permanent ceasefire, and the ability to choose which Palestinian prisoners will be released, especially those who are serving life sentences. A senior Israeli official said an Israeli negotiations team will stay in Doha to continue talks. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam brigades, said that its forces were “engaged in fierce clashes with enemy forces” at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital after Israeli forces used tanks and bulldozers to raid the medical complex yesterday. The Israeli military said that Hamas fighters had shot at its soldiers from within the complex and soldiers had returned fire, while the Hamas-run health ministry said Israeli forces had launched missiles at the complex and fired into surgery rooms. Israel said its forces killed 20 militants, including the head of operations for Hamas’s internal security forces, Faiq Mabhouh, who was “armed and hiding in a compound” at the hospital. Hamas has not confirmed his death or role in the group. The New York Times reports. 

Famine is imminent in northern Gaza where 70% of the population are suffering “catastrophic” levels of hunger, a U.N. backed report said yesterday. All 2.2 million people in Gaza do not have enough food to eat, with half of the population on the brink of starvation and famine projected to arrive in the north “anytime between mid-March and May 2024,” according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report. The IPC warned that acute hunger and malnutrition have already “far exceeded” the threshold for famine in northern Gaza, with the report warning of a “a “major acceleration of death and malnutrition.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this is “the highest number of people facing catastrophic hunger ever recorded … anywhere, anytime” by the IPC. CNN reports.

Israeli authorities are preparing to send a group of Palestinian patients who were being treated in East Jerusalem hospitals back to Gaza this week. The group of 22 Gazan Palestinians includes five newborn babies and their mothers, cancer patients now in remission, and a few companions who had accompanied them, according to hospital officials. They had all received permission from Israeli authorities to travel to Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem for advanced medical care – most before the Oct. 7 attacks. CNN reports. 


At the request of President Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed yesterday to send a team of military, intelligence, and humanitarian officials to Washington to discuss alternatives to a promised Israeli invasion of Rafah, the city that has become the last refuge for roughly half of Gaza’s population, according to Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. In a phone call yesterday, Biden told his Israeli counterpart that any efforts to “smash” into Rafah, as Netanyahu has vowed repeatedly to do, could be disastrous when there are other options for defeating Hamas, Sullivan said. The team of Israeli officials will hear U.S. concerns about Israel’s plans for Rafah, and the U.S. team will “lay out an alternative approach that would target key Hamas elements in Rafah and secure the Egypt-Gaza border without a major ground invasion,” Sullivan said. Zach Montague reports for the New York Times.

The entirety of Gaza’s population is facing acute food insecurity and in need of aid, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said today, marking the highest-level U.S. endorsement of the dire international assessment of Gaza’s humanitarian crisis. “According to the most respected measure of these things, 100 percent of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity. That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified,” Blinken said, referring to the ICP report released yesterday. Blinken was speaking to reporters alongside Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo as part of a multi-region tour, which will include visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt later this week. Michael Birnbaum reports for the Washington Post.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Blinken “will discuss efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages, intensified international efforts to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and coordination on post-conflict planning for Gaza, including a two-state solution,” during this week’s visit with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi. 

The deputy commander of Hamas’s military wing, Marwan Issa, “was killed in an Israeli operation last week,” Sullivan told reporters at a White House briefing yesterday. A senior Israeli official said Israel had not confirmed Issa’s death but that there were many indications he had been killed. Israeli officials have said that Issa was targeted by an Israeli airstrike on the night of March 9-10. Neither the Israeli military nor Hamas have commented on Sullivan’s remarks at the time of writing. Adam Rasgon reports for the New York Times.


Israel denied the chief of the U.N. agency that supports Palestinians (UNRWA) entry to the Gaza Strip yesterday, according to the agency and the foreign minister of Egypt. Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s commissioner general, said that Israeli authorities had blocked him from making a visit that was “supposed to coordinate & improve the humanitarian response.” At a news conference with Lazzarini in Cairo, the foreign minister of Egypt also expressed dismay over Israel’s denial. The Israeli defense ministry’s agency that oversees policy for the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, said that Lazzarini’s request for entry to Gaza “was not submitted by the necessary coordination processes and channels,” adding that “this is another attempt by UNRWA to blame Israel for their own mistakes.” The New York Times reports. 


China’s Foreign Ministry said its envoy Wang Kejian spoke with Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh in the first known meeting between a Chinese and Hamas official publicly acknowledged by Beijing since Oct. 7. During Sunday’s meeting in Qatar, Wang and Haniyeh “exchanged views on the Gaza conflict and other issues,” the ministry said. The Chinese ministry added that last Wednesday, Wang visited the occupied West Bank and met with Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad Al-Maliki. Wang told Al-Maliki that China is “deeply concerned” about the war and the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and that China has been working hard to bring about a ceasefire. Wang then visited Israel last Thursday and met with the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s head of Asia and Pacific Bureau. Wayne Chang, Simone McCarthy, Nectar Gan, and Celine Alkhaldi report for CNN.

The European Union will impose sanctions on an undisclosed number of “extremist settlers” in the West Bank, E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. Sanctioned individuals face European travel restrictions and could have their assets seized, he added. The Washington Post reports. 


U.S. forces destroyed seven anti-ship missiles, three drones, and three weapons storage containers in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen yesterday, U.S. Central Command said, adding that the strikes took place in “self-defense.”


Armed groups broke into several electrical stations in Haiti, stealing documents and destroying equipment in an attack that has left areas of Port-au-Prince in darkness. The country’s power company announced yesterday that vandals had attacked four of its substations and the Varreux Power Plant in Port-au-Prince, making them all “completely dysfunctional.” The attackers took electrical installations, batteries, computer and office equipment, and important documents, the company said, leaving several areas in the capital without power, including the entrance of the U.S. embassy. The company said officials were working with authorities to restore power and security to the areas. Char Adams and Fredlyn Pierre Louis report for NBC News.

Blinken reiterated America’s “ironclad” security commitments to the Philippines during a visit to Manila today. Tension has grown between Manila and Beijing in recent months over competing claims in the South China Sea, with Blinken saying that “these waterways are critical to the Philippines, to its security, to its economy …. They’re also critical to the interests of the region, the United States and the world.” Blinken is due to discuss trade with Filipino officials, a senior State Department Official said. His visit comes as the White House announced today that Biden will host a summit with Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in April. Tom Bateman reports for BBC News.

Armenia could face a war with Azerbaijan if it does not compromise with Baku and return four Azerbaijani villages it has held since the early 1990s, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a video published today. Pashinyan was speaking during a meeting yesterday with residents of border areas in northern Armenia’s Tavush region, close to a string of deserted Azerbaijani villages that Yerevan has controlled since the early 1990s. Azerbaijan has said the return of these lands, which also include several tiny enclaves entirely surrounded by Armenian territory, is a precondition for a peace deal to end three decades of conflict over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which Baku’s forces retook last September. Felix Light reports for Reuters.


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has hailed the “return” of Crimea to Russia at a concert marking the 10th anniversary of the illegal annexation of the territory from Ukraine. Putin said Crimea had “returned to its home harbor” and that it would move forward with Russia “hand in hand.” Putin made the comments while addressing thousands in Moscow’s Red Square, a day after claiming a landslide election victory. China, Saudi Arabia and India all congratulated Putin, while the Western governments and the United States condemned the vote as a sham. Vicky Wong reports for BBC News.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today sought to convince European allies that the Biden administration is still committed to supporting Ukraine, even as Washington has essentially run out of money to continue arming Kyiv and amid few indicators that Congress will move to approve new funding. Austin is leading the monthly meeting known as the Ukraine defense contact group held in Germany, including around 50 allies that have been militarily supporting Ukraine. “The United States will not let Ukraine fail …. This coalition will not let Ukraine fail,” Austin said at the start of the meeting. Idrees Ali reports for Reuters.


Former President Trump’s comments yesterday that “any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion” and “should be ashamed of themselves” met with fierce backlash from incensed Jewish Democrats in Congress including “several of the most staunchly pro-Israel moderates.” Trump spokesperson Karoline Leavitt responded saying in a statement that Trump “is right.” Andrew Solender reports for Axios.

The U.S. Supreme Court has again blocked a Texas immigration law that the Biden administration has called unconstitutional from taking effect. The law, SB4, would allow local and state police to arrest those illegally crossing the border from Mexico, and would be among the toughest immigration measures in any U.S. state. In yesterday’s ruling, the Supreme Court imposed an administrative stay, meaning the law cannot be enforced while emergency appeals from the Biden administration and other challengers play out. Justice Samuel Alito’s brief order also suggested the court could take additional action, and marks the third time the conservative justice has paused SB4. Bernd Debusmann Jr reports for BBC News.


The judge overseeing Trump’s classified documents case issued an unusual order late yesterday regarding jury instructions at the end of the trial — even though she has not yet ruled on a trial date or a host of other issues. U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon instructed lawyers to file proposed jury instructions by April 2 on two topics that are related to defense motions to have the indictment dismissed outright. Judge Cannon’s two-page order also suggests an openness to some of the defense’s claims that the Presidential Records Act allows Trump or other presidents to declare highly classified documents as their own property. National security law experts say that is not what the law says, or how it has been interpreted over decades by the courts. Devlin Barrett reports for the Washington Post.  

Trump cannot find a private company to guarantee the $464 million he has been ordered to pay in a New York civil fraud case. Trump said the bond is “impossible for any company, including one as successful as mine,” while his lawyers said they had approached 30 companies without success. New York’s attorney general has vowed to seize Trump’s assets if he does not pay the fraud judgment. Madeline Halpert reports for BBC News.

The judge overseeing Trump’s criminal trial prosecution in New York has denied his attempts to exclude evidence relating to the Access Hollywood tape and testimony from key witnesses from his upcoming criminal trial, but prosecutors will not be allowed to play the tape to jurors. Judge Juan Merchan rejected the defense’s argument that Trump’s former lawyer should be allowed to testify because he has a history of lying and that calling him to the witness stand would be suborning perjury. “This Court has been unable to locate any treatise, statute or holding from courts in this jurisdiction or others that support defendant’s rationale that a particular witness should be kept off the witness stand because his credibility has been previously called into question,” Merchan said. Judge Merchan also ruled that Stormy Daniels is also able to testify, saying that the “probative value of the evidence is evident.” Aaron Katersky and Peter Charalambous report for ABC News.

Former President Trump adviser Peter Navarro must report to prison today, making him the first high-ranking Trump official to serve prison time over actions related to the Jan.6 Capitol riot. It follows the Supreme Court rejecting Navarro’s bid yesterday to remain free while he appeals his conviction for contempt of Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts said that he saw no reason to disagree with the determination of a federal court of appeals that Navarro had not “met his burden to establish his entitlement to relief.” Sareen Habeshian reports for Axios.