Morning Brief

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Netanyahu Pledges to Continue Gaza Campaign

Cease-fire negotiations have proved fruitless as Israeli ground forces join the fighting.

By , the newsletter writer at Foreign Policy.
Palestinian paramedics search through rubble.
Palestinian paramedics search through the rubble of a collapsed Palestinian family’s house, destroyed following an Israeli air strike the previous day in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 13. Qusay Dawud/AFP

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Cease-fire attempts falter as Israel-Gaza conflict enters fifth day, Armenia’s prime minister condemns an Azerbaijani incursion, and Chile prepares to elect a constituent assembly to write a new constitution.

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Israel’s Gaza Campaign Enters Fifth Day

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Cease-fire attempts falter as Israel-Gaza conflict enters fifth day, Armenia’s prime minister condemns an Azerbaijani incursion, and Chile prepares to elect a constituent assembly to write a new constitution.

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please sign up here.

Israels Gaza Campaign Enters Fifth Day

Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza continued through Thursday night into Friday morning in what the Associated Press has described as the “heaviest attacks yet” in the five-day conflict. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in this week’s aerial assault, and hundreds more have been injured. Hamas continues to launch rockets from Gaza, and nine people have been killed in Israel so far.

Despite an earlier miscommunication that a ground invasion had begun, Israeli ground forces still remain just outside Gaza but have added artillery barrages to the rolling airstrikes.

In the face of ongoing Hamas rocket fire, Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport was closed to incoming flights on Thursday. Israel’s military said more than 1,700 rockets have been launched by Hamas and other groups from Gaza, and Israel’s Iron Dome defense system had blocked 90 percent of them. Three rockets were launched from inside Lebanon on Thursday but ultimately landed in the Mediterranean Sea. Hezbollah has denied any involvement.

No cease-fire. Egyptian-led efforts to broker a cease-fire have so far been fruitless as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to continue fighting. “The last word has not been said, and this operation will continue as long as necessary in order to restore the quiet and security to the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said on Friday morning. U.S. President Joe Biden cast his judgment on Israel’s bombing campaign, saying on Thursday he saw no “significant overreaction” by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Hamas military spokesperson Abu Obeida said the group’s forces did not fear a ground invasion, saying it would allow its fighters to “increase our catch” of dead or captured Israeli soldiers.

Democratic party discord. Frustrations within the Democratic Party were given voice on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as a string of House members from the party’s progressive wing spoke out in support of Palestinian human rights. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American representing the Detroit area, chastised the Biden cabinet and party leaders on both sides for their silence on the issue. “To read the statements from President Biden, Secretary Blinken, General Austin, and leaders of both parties, you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all,” Tlaib said.

A safe perch. As Palestinians and Israelis fear death from above, one man is safer than ever. Netanyahu, serving in a transitional capacity after April’s inconclusive general election, looks set to stay in power indefinitely. Naftali Bennett, the head of the hard-right Yamina party, announced on Thursday he was ending coalition negotiations with the centrist Yair Lapid and restarting talks with Netanyahu’s Likud party. A right-wing coalition would still come up short of a parliamentary majority however, raising the prospect of an unprecedented fifth Israeli election within two years.

What We’re Following Today

Colombia’s unrest. Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum announced her resignation on Thursday, making her the second member of Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez’s cabinet to depart amid nationwide protests over the past three weeks. Blum follows former Colombian Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla out the door after he took the fall for putting forward the tax reform proposal that sparked the initial protests. Demonstrations have now evolved to include calls for a basic income, an end to police brutality, and the withdrawal of a health reform bill.

Azerbaijan’s incursion. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of an act of “subversive infiltration” on Thursday, saying Azerbaijan’s army had advanced two miles into Armenia’s southern territory. The encroachment was repelled, Armenia’s defense ministry reported, but has again raised tensions following a six-week war between the two countries in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh late last year. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price “urged restraint” from both parties while French President Emmanuel Macron has called for an “immediate” withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from Armenian territory.

Russian-based ransomware. Biden said on Thursday that hackers responsible for the shutdown of a crucial fuel pipeline are likely based in Russia and said he would discuss the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although making clear he did not hold the Russian government responsible for the attack, Biden said his administration has been “in direct communication with Moscow about the imperative for responsible countries to take decisive action against these ransomware networks.”

Even though the pipeline is now back online as of Thursday, panic buying had caused mass gasoline shortages across the eastern United States, with more than 70 percent of stations pumped dry in Washington and North Carolina.

Keep an Eye On

Chile’s constitution writers. Chileans go to the polls on Saturday and Sunday to choose who will sit on a 155-member constituent assembly charged with drawing up a new constitution. As John Bartlett reports in Foreign Policy, it will mark “the first time in Chile’s history that it has had the opportunity to draft a constitution through a fully democratic, participatory process.” The ballot follows a referendum in October of last year, when 78 percent of Chileans voted to replace the constitution established during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.

Chip shortages. A global shortage of computer chips could last for another two years, the president of technology giant IBM said on Friday. A combination of factory closures during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and surging demand for electronic devices has helped drive scarcity. The shortage is expected to damage the global car industry, with the sector forecast to miss out on $110 billion in revenue this year alone.

Odds and Ends

Sydney’s only two casinos are removing a key aspect of the gambling experience—cash—to convince Australian government regulators of their commitment to a clampdown on money laundering. Crown Resorts, which operates one of the casinos, came under fire in February after a government inquiry found the company facilitated money laundering and pursued commercial relationships with organized crime groups. The move to go cashless is part of a bid to secure a gaming license for Crown Resort’s Sydney casino, which has only operated as a hotel since the $1.7 billion dollar facility opened in December 2020.

Colm Quinn is the newsletter writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @colmfquinn

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