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Israel-Gaza situation has Biden facing bipartisan criticism
Israel-Gaza situation has Biden facing bipartisan criticism | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Israel-Gaza situation has Biden facing bipartisan criticism

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week.

Of course, the Middle East is leading our concerns and the headlines right now. There is no deal despite Bill Burns, the most respected senior interlocutor the United States has to offer, director of the CIA, making a last-ditch effort last week in the region, including Israel, to try to get everyone to agree to a short-term cease-fire, in return for significant numbers of hostages being released. Did not happen. Lots of reasons for that. One is because it's hard to talk with Hamas, engage with Hamas. It is a terrorist organization. A lot of people refuse to negotiate with terrorists. And also because, by the time you get a message through to the leadership, it takes usually a minimum of a week, sometimes two, and things change quickly.

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FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 7, 2024.

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool/File Photo

Netanyahu fires back at Biden over arms threat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahusaid Thursday his country would “stand alone” and fight “with its fingernails” if Joe Biden followed through on a threat to cut certain arms shipments to the Jewish state.

A day earlier, Biden said he’d stop sending certain kinds of shells, bombs, and other offensive weapons to Israel if Netanyahu proceeded with an invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians, many displaced from elsewhere in Gaza, are currently sheltering as famine spreads across the strip.

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President Joe Biden speaks at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the US Capitol on May 7, 2024.

Allison Bailey/NurPhoto via Reuters

Biden’s “ironclad” support for Israel faces its sternest test

President Joe Biden has what appears to be a political mission impossible: finding a thread that unites the pearls of Democrat support over the war in Gaza.

The Israeli military has started pushing into Rafah, despite US warnings against ground operations. That will exacerbate political strains at home for Biden as he tries to hold together his coalition of forceful progressives, who are critical of Israel, and steadfast moderates, who support the Jewish state.

Eurasia Group US Director Clayton Allen said the decision to delay delivery of some offensive weapons, specifically systems that would be utilized in an expanded offensive in Rafah, while at the same time leaning into his public statements of support for Israel, reinforced the untenable nature of the U.S. position.

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With a Rafah invasion, is the Israel-Hamas cease-fire dead?
Rafah invasion: Did Israel violate any cease-fire agreement? | Ian Bremmer | World In :60

With a Rafah invasion, is the Israel-Hamas cease-fire dead?

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

With Israel beginning its invasion of Rafah, is the recent Hamas agreed to cease-fire dead?

No. Though, of course, it was never really alive. Wasn't alive because the Israelis didn't agree to the terms that the Palestinians and Hamas did. But they are still negotiating and Israel's initial foray across the border to take over the crossing in Gaza is not, considered a redline, by the Americans, though it is disrupting humanitarian aid, and it's certainly not a full fledged invasion. So, I mean, again, escalation, lots of warnings, expectation that invasion is going to ensue quickly. But still a possibility that you get a short term cease-fire, a short term cease-fire. We'll see.

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An Israeli medic walks near soldiers and an ambulance after Hamas claimed responsibility for an attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing near Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel, on May 5, 2024.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israel and Hamas deal up in smoke?

Hope for a cease-fire faded again Sunday as Hamas left the talks in Cairo. This came just days after the group said it saw the latest proposal – thought to have included a 40-day pause in fighting in exchange for the release of hostages – “in a positive light.” But Hamas’ insistence that a deal for the hostages bring an end to the war was a non-starter for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Our test is to continue and stand together until we reach victory,” Netanyahu said Sunday. Hamas plans to return to Cairo on Tuesday, but Israel, which is preparing for a ground operation in Rafah that’s set to start “soon,” ordered around 100,000 civilians living in parts of Rafah to evacuate on Monday morning.

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Café Esplanade, a fancy coffee shop that was designed by a celebrated modernist architect and frequented by many from Brno’s once-thriving Jewish community.

Brno Architecture Manual

Stop with the “1930s” stuff

A few weeks ago, I was standing on a little triangle of clumpy, unkempt grass between two plastic garbage cans and an electrical transformer on a street corner in Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic.

Before World War II, this little patch of grass was the site of the Café Esplanade, a fancy coffee shop designed by a celebrated modernist architect, where the cream of Brno’s once-thriving Jewish community would go to read the papers, chat, and smoke. Later, they would begin to speak in hushed voices about what was going on next door in Germany and Austria.

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Israel intent on Rafah invasion despite global backlash
Israel seems intent on Rafah invasion despite global backlash | Ian Bremmer | World In :60

Israel intent on Rafah invasion despite global backlash

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

How will the international community respond to an Israeli invasion of Rafah?

Very, very badly. You see that the Israeli prime minister and War Cabinet continues to say that no matter what happens with the hostages and a potential deal, and everyone's trying to get one done at the last minute, that the intention is still very much to fight on the ground there. I don't think that's a bluff. And especially because it's supported by the entire Israeli political spectrum and the population, they believe that you've got to take out Hamas. And beyond that, there's also the concern about Hezbollah. So I think the international response is going to be very negative. It is certainly going to push back the possibility of any Saudi normalization, and it's going to lead to a lot more demonstrations and hostility against Israel in the United States and in Europe.

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The view Thursday night from inside the Columbia University campus gate at 116th Street and Amsterdam in New York City.

Alex Kliment

From the inside out: Is Columbia’s campus crisis calming down?

Special report by Riley Callanan and Alex Kliment

Late Thursday night, the words “New Shafik email drop” rippled through the protest site known as the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on Columbia University’s lawns.

The protesters had been waiting to hear whether the New York Police Department was on its way, knowing that the deadline for negotiations with the administration of university President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik was rapidly approaching.

The police would not, in fact, be coming, the email said. Shortly after that news broke, student negotiators returned from talks to report that while there had not been progress on their demands to divest from Israel or give amnesty to the suspended students, they had had a small win: No new deadline to end the protests had been set. The encampment’s leaders continue to demand that Columbia’s endowment divest from any Israeli-related holdings and offer amnesty to students suspended over the protests last week.

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