Your Wednesday Briefing: Tensions Rise in the West Bank

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Israeli forces carried out a major raid against a new Palestinian militia in Nablus, a city in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian officials and militia members said the raid yesterday killed a leader of the group and four other men.

Israel has blamed the militia, known as the Lions’ Den, for a rise in shootings that it says are aimed at its troops and Jewish settlements; one shooting killed a soldier this month. The militia, which emerged this year and does not answer to any of the established Palestinian factions, is steadily gaining support among young people.

Many Palestinians have championed the group’s fighters as popular heroes. These young Palestinians are as frustrated with the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited authority over parts of the West Bank, as they are with Israel.

The predawn raid came ahead of Israel’s general election, its fifth since 2019, set for next Tuesday. It could add to right-wing momentum and strengthen Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to retake power.

Context: The Israeli army has kept Nablus under a tight siege for about two weeks. Palestinians have decried the move as a collective punishment.

Background: This year has already been the deadliest in the West Bank since 2015 for Palestinians in the conflict with Israel, much of which has been focused on Nablus and Jenin. There has been a notable rise in violence against Palestinians by extremist Jewish settlers.

The Sunday airstrike in northern Myanmar targeted the territory of ethnic Kachin rebels. People had gathered for an outdoor concert to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Kachin Independence Organization, one of the largest and most active ethnic groups in the country, which has been fighting the military for years.

Since the coup, the organization has joined with pro-democracy forces and has helped train soldiers from the People’s Defense Force, an armed resistance group. The organization pledged to step up its military activities against the junta in retaliation.

Military: The junta said that the site of the bombing was a Kachin army base, not a concert venue, and said widespread reports of civilian deaths, including the deaths of the performers, were “rumors based on fake news.”

Context: The Kachin Independence Organization has long sought autonomy for Kachin State, which borders China and India and is well known for its lucrative jade trade.

There are two higher courts above the appellate division, culminating in the Supreme Court, but Griner’s lawyers said they had not decided whether to take the case any further. Higher courts in Russia are not known for overturning verdicts, especially in a case involving foreign policy and the interests of the Kremlin.

The U.S. has proposed exchanging Griner and Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine held since December 2018, for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year federal prison sentence, according to a person familiar with the talks. But negotiations have dragged on for months.

Background: Griner was arrested days before Russia invaded Ukraine after she arrived in Russia with a small amount of hashish oil.

Threats: Russia and Ukraine accused each other of planning attacks to spread radioactive material, raising fears in the West that Moscow’s claims could be a pretext for an escalation. President Biden sharply warned Moscow against using a tactical nuclear weapon.

The pandemic prompted more employers to consider remote work arrangements. As a result, the share of adults with disabilities who are working has soared.

A man with autism spectrum disorder, which has made it difficult for him to find steady work, recently landed a full-time job — with a 30 percent raise. “If I have my bad days, I just pick up the laptop and work from home,” he said.

Adidas said it was immediately ending its partnership with Kanye West, now known as Ye, who made a series of antisemitic remarks and embraced a slogan associated with white supremacists this month.

In so doing, the German sneaker giant ended what may have been the most significant corporate fashion partnership of Ye’s career. It’s not the first to go: After days of notable silence, Balenciaga, the fashion house that had Ye walk down its runway, cut him loose. CAA, the talent agency that represents Ye, also dropped him as a client.

Like many of Ye’s other fashion connections, Adidas seemed to be dragging its feet, perhaps hoping for a public apology. Now, Ye’s economic future and his status as a pop culture icon may be in peril.


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