The New York Times 2024-07-08 04:09:50

In Rafah, We Saw Destruction and the Limits of Israel’s Gaza Strategy

The armed convoy of jeeps filled with reporters rumbled into a dusty Rafah, passing flattened houses and battered apartment buildings.

As we dismounted our Humvees, a stillness gripped this swath of southern Gaza, near the border with Egypt. Slabs of concrete and twisted rebar dotted the scarred landscape. Kittens darted through the wreckage.

Streets once bustling with life were now a maze of rubble. Everyone was gone.

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After 9 Months of War, Israelis Call for a Cease-Fire Deal and Elections

Israelis on Sunday marked nine months since the devastating Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7 and the start of the ensuing war in Gaza with a nationwide day of anti-government protests at a time that many here view as a pivotal juncture in the conflict.

Primarily calling for a cease-fire deal with Hamas that would see hostages return from captivity and for new elections in Israel, protesters brought morning traffic to a standstill at several major intersections in cities and on highways across the country. By lunchtime, much of central Tel Aviv was blocked in one of the biggest protests in months.

Some progress has been made in recent days for a resumption of negotiations toward a tentative deal after weeks of an impasse, even as the fighting continues in Gaza, where an Israeli strike hit in the area of a U.N. school on Saturday, and across Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

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Turnout Is High as France’s Snap Election Enters Its Final Hours

Voters in France went to the polls in droves on Sunday in the final round of snap legislative elections. The results could force President Emmanuel Macron to govern alongside far-right opponents or usher in chronic political instability weeks before the Paris Summer Olympics.

Turnout at 5 p.m. local time was the highest in over two decades, at about 60 percent, the Interior Ministry said. That was much higher than during the previous legislative elections in 2022, when the participation rate at the same time was less than 38 percent, reflecting persistent interest in a vote that will determine the future of Mr. Macron’s second term.

Mr. Macron called the elections for the 577-seat National Assembly, France’s lower and more prominent house of Parliament, last month in a risky gamble that appeared to have largely backfired after the first round of voting last week.

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