Smoke from an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip as seen from Sderot, Israel, yesterday.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
Diplomats race to ease the Gaza crisis
Diplomats from the U.S., Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries were locked in frantic talks yesterday to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Clashes along Israel’s border with Lebanon and Israeli airstrikes inside Syria stoked fears of a wider conflict in the region.
Israel’s new emergency wartime government held its first formal meeting amid a total breakdown of trust between the citizens and the state, which appeared to be preparing for the invasion. “We will take Hamas apart,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, according to a statement.
Yesterday, Israel’s military offered residents of Gaza a three-hour midday window to leave via a main highway, but Gaza’s Health Ministry refused to evacuate hospitals.
“There is nowhere in Gaza that can accept the number of patients in our intensive care unit or neonatal intensive care unit or even the operating rooms,” said Dr. Muhammad Abu Salima, the director of Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical complex.
At least 2,670 people in Gaza have been killed over the past week, according to the ministry. An Israeli strike on a home in Rafah, near the closed Egypt border crossing, killed at least 17 members of a family, Palestinian news media reported. These maps show the position of the strikes in Israel and Gaza.
Nearly half of Gaza’s population of more than two million people have already been displaced and are facing dwindling supplies of food and water. Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, told CNN that Israel had restored the water supply to part of Gaza, though there was no immediate confirmation from officials there or in Israel.
Lebanon: Fighting along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon has escalated. Yesterday, at least one Israeli civilian was killed and three others were wounded after Hezbollah, the powerful Iran-backed group that dominates southern Lebanon, fired missiles on the Israeli border community of Shtula.
Syria: Israeli airstrikes on the international airport in Aleppo, Syria, overnight materially damaged the site, according to Syrian state media. Earlier in the week, Israel said it had attacked airports in Aleppo and Damascus, the Syrian capital.
New Zealand’s new conservative government
Voters in New Zealand on Saturday ousted the party once led by Jacinda Ardern and elected the country’s most right-wing government in a generation. New Zealanders overwhelmingly cited cost of living as the primary concern driving their vote.
The next prime minister will be Christopher Luxon, a former chief executive of Air New Zealand, whose center-right National Party will lead a coalition with Act, a smaller libertarian party. It is the first time National, which last governed alone in the early 1980s, has been in a coalition with a more conservative partner.
What’s next: The new government is unlikely to make significant changes on many social issues, a former press secretary for the National Party said. But Act may push its own priorities, including a referendum on the role of Indigenous Maori people in policymaking.
“What they actually want is a referendum which defines away any kind of standing or rights guaranteed to Maori by the Treaty,” Thomas said, referring to an 1840 agreement that still governs legislation.
Australia rejects Indigenous referendum
On Saturday, Australia voted “no” on a referendum that would have given Indigenous Australians a voice in Parliament in the form of an advisory body. It failed to win a majority in a single state.
Polls showed the proposal was broadly supported by the country’s Indigenous people, who make up less than 4 percent of the nation’s population. Many of them saw it as a sign of Australia taking a step to address centuries of abuse and neglect.
It was conceived by Indigenous leaders to address entrenched and growing disadvantage in their communities. For Joe Ross, an Aboriginal leader in Fitzroy Crossing from the Bunuba tribe, the debate and the ensuing result showed “the real underbelly of this country.”
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Megafires, like the ones that erupted in Australia in 2019 and 2020 and scorched the country’s rainforests, dwarf typical wildfires in size. Driven by climate change, invasive species and fire-suppression regimes, they kill plants and animals that might have survived smaller blazes. In the longer term, changing fire patterns could drive some species out of existence, transform landscapes and utterly remake ecosystems.
This incendiary age, which some scientists have called the Pyrocene, could lead to “a wholesale conversion of what habitats are where on the planet,” said Dr. Karen Hodges, a conservation ecologist at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. “Right now, everybody is talking about fires and smoke and who dies, because of the immediacy of this fire year. But really, truly, the long-term consequences are much more severe and sustained.”
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That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Justin
P.S. Here’s how The Times figured out what it’s like to be 13.
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