The New York Times 2024-07-08 08:09:56

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 traffic to a standstill at several major intersections in cities and on highways across the country. 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

Follow live updates on France’s election here.

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.

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Flooding and Landslides Kill at Least 15 in Nepal

Landslides and floods set off by torrential rains have killed at least 15 people in Nepal in the last 24 hours, officials in the small Himalayan nation said on Sunday, expressing fear that with further heavy rains expected, that number could rise.

Eighteen people were also injured in the flooding over the past 24 hours, and two are missing, said Dan Bahadur Karki, a police spokesman. Dozens of people were evacuated to safety, including some pulled from the rubble of their damaged homes.

Officials said the landslides had hampered vehicle traffic in most parts of a country where the terrain already makes travel difficult. Highways were damaged, as were the serpentine roads that connect cities with mountain villages. Military and police forces were deployed to help clear the roads.

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‘A Little Scary’: Ukraine Tries to Stay Neutral in U.S. Political Dogfight

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Ukraine, which depends on American military aid for its survival, has long tried to maintain bipartisan support in the United States. That has never been easy, but it is getting harder, especially with the increased possibility that Donald J. Trump, no great friend of Ukraine, will return to the White House.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is asked in nearly every interview what a second Trump administration would mean for Ukraine. While Mr. Zelensky chooses his words carefully, sometimes the emotional weight of the assumption behind the question — that Mr. Trump could end American military assistance, allowing Russia to succeed in destroying the Ukrainian state — spills into view.

Mr. Trump’s claim last week during his debate with Mr. Biden that he alone knew the path to peace is “a little scary,” the Ukrainian president said in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News.

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Is This Vibrant Democracy in Japan, or Has the Circus Come to Town?

When voters in Tokyo cast their ballot for governor of the world’s largest city on Sunday, they were spoiled for choice.

Fifty-six candidates contended for the office, a record. One who styled himself “the Joker” proposed legalizing marijuana and said polygamy could address the nation’s declining birthrate. Another was a pro wrestler who hid his face on camera and vowed to use artificial intelligence to complete governmental tasks. There was a 96-year-old inventor who said he would deploy gas-fueled cars that do not emit carbon, and a 31-year-old entrepreneur who took off her shirt during a campaign video and promised “fun things.”

It might look like democracy run amok. But in fact, the race was profoundly status quo, and the incumbent, Yuriko Koike, as expected, won a third term.

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