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Early Edition: June 13, 2024


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

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR

Hamas has proposed changes to the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal. Hamas leaders told Arab mediators “they want Israeli forces to withdraw from territory alongside Egypt by the end of the first week after a deal is signed, and to completely withdraw from Gaza and announce a permanent cease-fire before the group releases additional hostages in a second phase.” According to the mediators, Hamas added those changes after an Israeli hostage rescue operation on Saturday killed hundreds of Palestinians. Summer Said, Rory Jones, and Alan Cullison report for the Wall Street Journal.

The World Health Organization chief said yesterday that much of Gaza was facing “catastrophic hunger” and that “famine-like conditions” have spread through the enclave. “Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Ephrat Livni reports for the New York Times.

Israel’s military denied striking a designated “safe zone” in Gaza today after the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported the region was hit by “land, sea and air strikes.” According to WAFA, Al-Mawasi, a coastal region west of Rafah previously designated by Israel as a safe zone, was bombarded early today. Separately, Israeli tanks advanced deeper into the western area of Rafah today, residents reported. Lucas Lilieholm reports for CNN.

Israel’s top general met earlier this week in Bahrain with his counterparts from several Arab militaries to discuss regional security cooperation, according to two sources. The meeting was facilitated by U.S. Central Command and has not been publicly disclosed due to the political sensitivities around the Gaza war. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich has signed an order to transfer $35 million of tax funds to “the families of the victims of terrorism.” The funds are what Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Sam Sokol reports for The Times of Israel.

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — U.S. RESPONSE 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that some of the changes requested by Hamas to the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal were “unworkable.” Speaking in Qatar, Blinken said Hamas had requested “numerous” changes to the deal, adding, “Some of those are workable changes, some are not … It’s time for the haggling to stop.” Andrea Mitchell and Alexander Smith report for NBC News.

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS

G7 leaders are gathering in Italy today for the group’s annual summit. Representatives from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Britain will discuss a range of issues, including the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. According to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Biden will urge fellow leaders to support ceasefire negotiations and encourage Hamas to accept the U.S.-backed proposal. The summit will also involve leaders from Africa and the Indo-Pacific region, and will discuss economic cooperation with developing countries. BBC News reports; Reuters reports.

The U.N. Security Council is slated to vote today on a U.K.-drafted resolution demanding a halt to the siege of El Fasher in Sudan’s North Darfur region by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, diplomats said yesterday. Reuters reports.

A group of Russian navy ships, including a nuclear-powered submarine, arrived in Cuba yesterday morning in a sign of bolstering ties between the two Cold War allies. Patrick Oppmann, AnneClaire Stapleton, Natasha Bertrand, Haley Britzky, Sergey Gudkov, and Sophie Tanno report for CNN.

France will postpone its controversial electoral reform in New Caledonia, which sparked deadly riots on the island territory last month, French president Emmanuel Macron said yesterday. The Guardian reports. 

The French conservative party Les Républicains voted yesterday to expel their own president, Éric Ciotti. Ciotti had attempted to seal an agreement with the far-right National Rally for the upcoming legislative snap election. Macron yesterday appealed for the French people to come together and vote against extremist parties in the election. Victor Goury-Laffont reports for POLITICO; Roger Cohen reports for the New York Times.

A brawl erupted in Italy’s parliament yesterday. A video of the incident shows the scuffle breaking out during a vote in the lower house on the government’s controversial bill which paves the way for greater autonomy in Italy’s regions. Seb Starcevic reports for POLITICO.

The leader of South Africa’s Inkatha Freedom Party said yesterday his party has agreed to form part of a government of national unity that includes the African National Congress (ANC) and the biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). The announcement marks the first official sign that a government of national unity has been agreed. Danai Nesta Kupemba reports for BBC News.

Armenia’s leader yesterday declared his intention to leave a Russia-dominated security alliance of several ex-Soviet nations, as relations with Moscow deteriorate. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his government will decide later when to leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a grouping that includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Avet Dumourian reports for AP News.

Protests erupted yesterday after Pashinyan said that a peace treaty with Azerbaijan was close to completion, but that his country would not accept Baku’s demands that it change its constitution. It is the latest in a series of protests denouncing Pashinyan’s policies, including the return of ruined villages to Azerbaijan. Felix Light reports for Reuters.

The European Court of Justice today ordered Hungary to pay the equivalent of $216 million for failing to comply with the bloc’s asylum rules despite a previous court ruling. The court also imposed a daily fine of €1 million for each day Hungary fails to comply going forward. Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán slammed the ruling as “outrageous and unacceptable.” Ella Joyner reports for ABC News.

Violence flared yesterday in Buenos Aires after Argentina’s Senate narrowly approved President Javier Milei’s controversial economic reform package. Petrol bombs were seen being thrown in what locals described as a “battlefield,” as demonstrators clashed with riot police. Jaroslav Lukiv and George Wright report for BBC News.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS

President Biden and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy plan to sign a 10-year security agreement today at the G7 summit that will commit Washington to supply Kyiv with a broad range of military assistance, Jake Sullivan said. The deal aims to commit future U.S. support to Ukraine even if former President Trump wins November’s election, officials said. Ellen Nakashima and Michael Birnbaum report for the Washington Post.

NATO defense ministers gathered in Brussels today hoping to agree on a new plan to provide long-term security assistance and military training to Ukraine, after Hungary promised to not veto the scheme as long as it’s not forced to play a role. Lorne Cook reports for AP News.

A Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s southern city of Kryvyi Rih killed at least nine people and injured 29, local officials said. Jaroslav Lukiv reports for BBC News.

Zelenskyy yesterday said he held “productive” talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman focusing on this week’s Peace Summit in Switzerland and improving bilateral relations. Reuters reports.

ISRAEL-HEZBOLLAH TENSIONS

The Biden administration is scrambling to prevent an all out war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, U.S. officials say. The White House believes that a ceasefire in Gaza is the only solution to significantly de-escalate tensions along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

HOUTHI DEVELOPMENTS 

The U.S. military said a Greek-owned ship in the Red Sea has been hit by an unmanned surface vessel launched by Yemen’s Houthis, causing severe flooding and damage to the ship. The Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack. George Wright reports for BBC News.

DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS

The House voted yesterday 216-207 to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to release audiotapes of President Biden. The vote is largely symbolic, as it refers the matter to the Justice Department which would most likely decline to prosecute its own leader. Katy Stech Ferek and Sadie Gurman report for the Wall Street Journal.

A group of immigrant advocacy groups has sued the Biden administration over Biden’s recent directive that effectively halts asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border. The lawsuit is the first test of legality of Biden’s border policy. Meanwhile, the head of the U.N. refugee agency said today that the new asylum restrictions may violate refugee protections under international law. Sueng Min Kim and Rebecca Santana report for AP News.

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