Violence flares in Israel and the West Bank
Violence has gripped Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank since Thursday in a series of attacks that have left more than 20 people dead, beginning with an Israeli military raid in the West Bank in which 10 people were killed.
A Palestinian man was fatally shot yesterday outside an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and Palestinian officials said that across the region, Israeli settlers carried out 144 attacks against Palestinians and their properties. On Friday, a Palestinian gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. On Saturday, an attacker shot and injured two Israelis near another Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.
The Israeli police said that they had arrested relatives and neighbors of the perpetrator of the Friday attack. On Sunday morning, the police emptied his family home and sealed it off. Israel regularly demolishes the family homes of accused attackers, a practice that rights groups and the U.N. say amounts to collective punishment.
Response: Israel’s far-right government announced a number of measures to punish Palestinian attackers and those who support them, it said. The government said it planned to expedite gun licenses for Israeli citizens, reinforce military and police units to carry out more arrests of Palestinians, and conduct operations aimed at seizing Palestinians’ weapons.
Occupation: Palestinians across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza expressed widespread anger about their treatment by Israelis, particularly after the deadliest year for West Bank Palestinians in more than a decade and a half. That backlash could decide whether this is the start of a renewed wave of violence.
The fight to seize the Donbas region
Russian forces wrestled for control of villages in eastern Ukraine near the city of Bakhmut over the weekend, the latest flash point as Moscow tries to seize the whole of the eastern region of Donbas.
The status of the village of Blahodatne is in dispute. Ukraine said yesterday that its soldiers had repelled attacks on it and on several other settlements in the area. But a day earlier, the Wagner private military company, fighting on Moscow’s behalf, claimed that it had captured the village. Russia’s defense ministry has not confirmed the report.
Blahodatne lies between Soledar, a salt-mining town that Russian forces recently captured after weeks of intense fighting, and a road that runs north from the city of Bakhmut. The road serves as a crucial supply line for Ukrainian forces defending the city. Moscow aims to encircle Bakhmut, cut off its supply routes and then force the city’s defenders to withdraw.
Casualties of war: Many civilians have followed a directive from the government in Kyiv to leave Donetsk, which is in the Donbas region. Those who have stayed remain vulnerable to shelling and artillery attacks, with dozens killed in recent weeks.
Nadhim Zahawi is ousted by Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, fired Nadhim Zahawi, the chairman of the Conservative Party, over his personal tax affairs. The ouster came yesterday after Sunak’s ethics adviser concluded that a failure by Zahawi to promptly disclose an inquiry into his taxes, which resulted in a settlement and penalty of an estimated 5 million pounds, was a “serious breach” of the ministerial code.
Zahawi is the second minister in three months to be forced out over accusations of wrongdoing. Gavin Williamson resigned in November as a minister without portfolio after accusations of bullying. Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, is under investigation for multiple charges of bullying.
The ouster of Zahawi, who served previously as chancellor of the Exchequer, is a stinging blow to Sunak. The prime minister rose to power by helping topple a scandal-scarred predecessor, Boris Johnson, but his government has been unable to shake off many of the same ethics problems.
Background: Zahawi came to national prominence in late 2020 after being named by Johnson to lead the deployment of coronavirus vaccines during the depths of the pandemic. He had also served as education minister and chancellor.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Calling the French the French
It was a “style tip” from the The Associated Press Stylebook that appeared to strain taste and diplomacy: “We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing ‘the’ labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college educated.”
The French, who noticed they had been placed between the “mentally ill” and the “disabled,” had some things to say about it. In a post on Twitter, the French Embassy in the U.S. suggested that it had renamed itself “the Embassy of Frenchness.” (One journalist posited that the French could rebrand as “people experiencing a croque-monsieur.”)
“Certainly, no French diplomat has ever complained that being called an envoy of ‘the French’ was somehow dehumanizing,” our Paris bureau chief, Roger Cohen, writes. “In fact, the French rather like being stereotyped as the French, if that is the issue. They undergo Frenchness with considerable relish.”
One Times reader in Paris, in a comment on the article, had another suggestion: “Will somebody please interview “Emilie” (in Paris) and find out what she thinks. Then we’ll really know what to make of this.”
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