When will Sweden join NATO?
In less than a week, NATO leaders will meet in Vilnius, Lithuania. But the prime minister of Sweden will continue not to be among them, given the continued opposition of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to Sweden’s membership.
Erdogan has blocked the bid, saying Sweden has harbored Kurdish exiles and refugees affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey considers a terrorist group. Every other country has voted for Sweden’s inclusion — except Hungary, whose foreign minister said that his country would sign off once Turkey had done so.
The issue is critical for NATO, which is loath to show signs of internal division at the alliance’s annual summit, particularly as the war in Ukraine grinds on. Sweden broke from decades of neutrality after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year by seeking to join the alliance.
U.S.-Sweden relations: In a meeting at the White House, President Biden told Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden that he was “anxiously looking forward” to the country’s acceptance. The U.S. leader said he supported the sale of long-desired fighter jets to Turkey — but it is unclear what else might convince Erdogan to budge.
Israel’s incursion in the West Bank ends
The Israeli military’s 48-hour operation in the West Bank city of Jenin ended early yesterday morning, according to officials. The operation was one of the largest in many years against armed militant groups, but few on either side harbored any illusions, saying that the groups that had lost weapons and people to the incursion would rebuild and that the troops would be back.
Three decades after the Oslo peace process, prospects for peaceful coexistence or Palestinian statehood seem ever more remote. Underlying sources of Palestinian anger remain, including the West Bank occupation dating to the 1967 Middle Eastern war, continued encroachment by Jewish settlements and a lack of economic opportunity.
Ultranationalist members of Israel’s government reject any talks or political progress with the Palestinian leadership, which is weak, divided and unwilling or unable to police rising hotbeds of militancy.
The latest: Israeli analysts said the military had achieved tactical success in Jenin. But the episode lacked any deeper strategy and could spur even more violence and revenge attacks, others said.
Related: Young Palestinians fighting against Israel are recording farewell messages to their loved ones on their phones.
Tensions surge around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of plotting to sabotage the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine, which has become one of the war’s main flash points. The leader of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency called for greater access for inspections, even as analysts said that the immediate risk of serious harm to the facility appeared low.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, citing the country’s intelligence service, said that Russian troops who seized the plant last year had placed objects that look like explosives on the roof of several power units. A Kremlin spokesman said that Ukraine had planned to sabotage the plant and that Russia took measures to counteract the threat.
Separately, Ukraine’s military launched an overnight strike on the Russian-occupied city of Makiivka, demonstrating the ability to attack targets deep behind Russian lines, even as Ukraine’s troops fight in grueling trench warfare to reclaim land.
On the ground: Ukrainian authorities conducted drills last week to test their emergency response, though some residents in the city of Nikopol, just a few miles from the plant, said they had no plans to leave, in part because they have nowhere else to go.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
The best films of 2023 (so far)
Our critics picked six films to watch this summer. Read the full list here.
“Asteroid City”: Wes Anderson’s latest follows the staging of a play about the goings-on in a small desert town in the 1950s. “The film is about desire and death, small mysteries and cosmic unknowns and the stories that we make of all the stuff called life,” Manohla Dargis writes.
“Sanctuary”: A wealthy heir and a longtime employee vie for control over their uncommon relationship in this twisty duet directed by Zachary Wigon. Jeannette Catsoulis’s take: “Sexual but not sexy, ‘Sanctuary’ is fantastically dynamic and emphatically theatrical.”
“Full Time”: In Éric Gravel’s film, a single mother who is the lead chambermaid of a five-star hotel in Paris must navigate the overwhelming demands of her routine. It “moves with the breathless tension of a Safdie brothers joint,” Beatrice Loayza writes.
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