Friday Briefing


The Israeli military has limited time to carry out its operations in the Gaza Strip before anger among Arabs in the region and global frustration over the rising civilian death toll constrain Israel’s goal of eradicating Hamas, U.S. officials said this week.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, has said that there will be no cease-fire until all of the people taken hostage by Hamas are freed. But he also seemed to understand that Israel did not have unlimited time to achieve its objectives.

The country has agreed to put in place, in selected areas of northern Gaza, daily four-hour pauses in its assault on Hamas to allow civilians to flee or simply to go outside without fear of danger, according to the White House. It was the culmination of days of pressure from President Biden as the casualty toll continued to mount.

In other news from the war:

Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister and a progressive, sealed a deal to extend amnesty to Catalan separatists in exchange for their political support. The deal is likely to allow him to stay in power but has caused turmoil throughout Spain, doubts in Europe and questions about the country’s stability.

Sánchez, acting as a caretaker prime minister after inconclusive snap elections in July, backed the amnesties related to an illegal referendum that shook Spain in 2017 to receive the critical support of the Junts party, which supports Catalonian independence from Spain. He will, with their support, most likely avoid new elections.

The proposed amnesties, something Sánchez had previously said he would never do, incited an uproar, even as his allies sought to frame them as instrumental in putting a fraught period of history behind the country. Thousands of protesters have angrily surrounded the Socialist Party headquarters in Madrid in recent days.

Suella Braverman, the British secretary responsible for law enforcement and national security, is facing calls for her resignation after writing a newspaper article that attacked London’s police force over its approach to a pro-Palestinian protest, and that implicitly challenged the authority of the prime minister, Rishi Sunak.

Popular with the hard right, Braverman is a divisive figure at the heart of the governing Conservative Party. Her opinion piece, published in The Times of London, accused the police of bias in its reluctance to ban a pro-Palestinian protest march, and called protesters “hate marchers,” “Islamists” and “mobs,” despite demonstrations being mostly peaceful.

Sadiq Fitrat Nashenas, 88, is one of the last living stars of a golden era for Afghan music. He recently returned to the stage after a nearly 20-year absence. For his fellow exiles, he evokes the Afghanistan they left behind, and the one that could have been.

“The Marvels,” starring Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, will this week become the 33rd entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As usual, it’s a feel-good action spectacle that reminds us that heroes are just like us. And like its precursors, the movie will also most likely dominate the box office.

But unlike Larson’s first film as the character, this one is expected to fall short of Marvel Studios’s expectations. That could be because of so-called superhero fatigue, but it may also have to do with the movie’s unfavorable reviews. Our critic wrote: “It’s almost as if the suits at Marvel Studios know it doesn’t matter if their movies are any good.”


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