Wednesday Briefing: Israel Plans a Long-Term Role in Gaza

As the Israeli military campaign against Hamas entered its second month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered some indication of Israel’s plan for the war’s aftermath. He said that Israel will need to oversee the security of the Gaza Strip once the fighting is over to prevent future attacks.

Netanyahu provided few details about the plan, but said in an interview with ABC News that he thought Israel would “have the overall security responsibility” of Gaza “for an indefinite period.” His plan, if enacted, would appear to stop short of a full re-occupation of Gaza — a move the U.S. and others have warned against.

Israel has said its aim is to destroy Hamas, but Netanyahu did not say who should govern the enclave after Hamas is gone. It remains unclear whether the Palestinian Authority, which controls some parts of the West Bank, could have a part in governing the territory.

In Israel, there appeared to be broad political support for Netanyahu’s stance. Military analysts have said the nation faces a tough choice between reoccupying Gaza and withdrawing, and warning that the civilian suffering caused by the airstrikes and ground invasion could lead to the emergence of a new group promoting violent resistance to Israel.

The initial loans were mostly part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which was started in 2013 to finance development projects and strengthen ties in more than 150 countries. But now, the Chinese state banks that provided most of the infrastructure loans have reduced their new lending, and rescue loans to low- and middle-income countries have soared.

Background: Many Chinese loans from the Belt and Road Initiative were used to build expensive projects that have not spurred economic growth and have loaded countries with debt they are now unable to repay.

A mixed report: The International Monetary Fund raised its growth forecasts for China for this year and 2024, but it warned of risks to China’s economy from its finance and real estate sectors.

A Russian missile strike on a group of soldiers assembled to receive medals has drawn rare criticism of Ukraine’s armed forces. Nineteen soldiers were killed in the attack on the ceremony held Friday. Soldiers and Ukraine’s civilian leadership say the gathering in plain sight was reckless and a preventable tragedy.

The ceremony, critics said, was straight out of a Soviet-era military handbook, in which soldiers stood at attention before a table spread with medals and removed their helmets. Many of the victims appeared to have died from head injuries.

Reaction: The Ukrainian government is investigating the deaths, and the commander of the brigade has been suspended pending the inquiry’s results.

Separately, Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating a bizarre explosion at a birthday celebration that killed an aide to Ukraine’s top military commander. Ukrainian officials said the aide received a box containing six grenades as a birthday gift and that his son mistakenly pulled a grenade’s ring.

When you die, what do you want to have happen to your remains? The answer, for some: shoot them into space.

For these people, that wish may be the culmination of a lifelong fascination with space exploration. Or, a space burial could signal acceptance of the idea that, in the end, a void awaits us.

In a recent episode of “The Simpsons,” which is now in its 35th season, Homer suggested he would abandon one of his best-known bits: throttling his son, Bart. The move appeared to acknowledge that one of the oldest recurring gags on the popular cartoon show was a clear form of animated child abuse.

In the episode, Homer meets a neighbor who compliments his handshake grip. “See Marge? Strangling the boy has paid off,” Homer says to his wife. “Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”

In recent years, Matt Groening, the show’s creator, has made moves to update its humor. In 2020, Hank Azaria said he would no longer voice the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an Indian convenience store owner. Viewers of Indian descent have criticized the character as nothing more than a racist caricature.