A cease-fire in Gaza
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire late last night, which appeared to hold as of this morning. The move is expected to end a three-day conflict that has killed dozens of Palestinians, destroyed buildings and resulted in the deaths of two key leaders of Islamic Jihad, Gaza’s second-largest militia.
The fighting began on Friday afternoon when Israel launched airstrikes to foil what it said was an imminent attack from Gaza. The fighting revealed simmering tensions between Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian militia that was badly damaged by the fighting, and Hamas, the militia that runs Gaza and which opted to remain on the sidelines of the conflict.
Israel declined to reveal further details about the cease-fire agreement. However, Islamic Jihad said that it had received assurances from intermediary Egyptian officials that Egypt would lobby for the release of two of the group’s leading members, Bassem Saadi and Khalil Awawdeh, who are detained in Israeli jails.
Strategy: Israel has offered small economic concessions to ordinary Gazans — notably 14,000 work permits to help improve the Palestinian economy. The approach has helped convince Hamas to stay out of this particular conflict and likely shortened its duration.
International context: Morocco and the U.A.E. — two of the three Arab countries that formalized ties with Israel in 2020 — expressed concern about the violence but avoided criticism of Israel. Only the third country, Bahrain, directly condemned Israel’s strikes.
Rockets land near nuclear plant in Ukraine
Rockets landed on the grounds of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, posing the latest threat to Europe’s largest nuclear facility. Russia and Ukraine blamed one another for the attack, and fighting in the southern region has prompted fears of a major accident.
Russian forces have controlled the plant since March, using it as a base to launch artillery barrages at the Ukrainian-controlled town of Nikopol across the Dnipro River for the past month. Saturday’s assault included a volley of rockets that Ukrainian officials said damaged 47 apartment buildings and houses.
The fighting, along with Russia’s occupation of parts of the plant and the stress borne by plant workers, prompted Rafael Grossi, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, to warn last week that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated.” Concern about safety at Zaporizhzhia has mounted since a fire broke out as Russian forces took control.
Context: Since invading Ukraine in February, Russia has made it a priority to seize and target critical Ukrainian infrastructure like power plants, ports, transportation and agricultural storage and production facilities.
More from the war in Ukraine:
A historic U.S. climate bill passes the Senate
The U.S. Senate yesterday passed legislation that would make the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change. Paid for by tax increases, the measure would inject more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs, allowing the U.S. to slash its greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
The final tally was 51 to 50, along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote. The bill will provide billions of dollars in rebates for Americans who buy energy-efficient and electric appliances as well as tax credits for companies that build new sources of emissions-free electricity, such as wind turbines and solar panels.
For Democrats, passage of the measure capped a remarkably successful six-week stretch that included final approval of a $280 billion industrial policy bill to bolster American competitiveness with China and the largest expansion of veterans’ benefits in decades. Republicans have condemned the climate legislation as federal overreach and reckless overspending.
Background: Initially pitched as “Build Back Better,” a multitrillion-dollar, cradle-to-grave social safety net plan on the order of the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, Democrats scaled back the bill in recent months and rebranded it as the Inflation Reduction Act. Its passage is a major victory for President Biden and his party.
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Around the World
The London public housing project Trellick Tower, built in 1972, has gone from eyesore to Brutalist icon. Its apartments, located near expensive Notting Hill, are snapped up as soon as they are listed.
Now, residents fear that Trellick’s success has made the tower vulnerable. Given the dire shortage of affordable housing in London and the valuable real estate occupied by Trellick, it is likely that developers will attempt to build on the site in the future — despite the best efforts of its inhabitants.
ARTS AND IDEAS
What should an L.G.B.T.Q. museum be?
Queer Britain, a new museum near London’s King’s Cross station, is Britain’s first L.G.B.T.Q. museum. It joins an array of international institutions whose directors are carefully considering how to frame queer history — and sometimes coming to different conclusions, Alex Marshall reports for The Times.
Queer Britain’s inaugural exhibition seeks to represent the diversity of queer experience, with items on display including banners from this year’s Trans+ Pride parade, a rainbow hijab and the door to Oscar Wilde’s prison cell. “So much of the history of L.G.B.T.Q.+ people has been about erasure,” said Joseph Galliano-Doig, the museum’s director. “For us this is saying: We are here, and our stories deserve to be told.”
In Berlin, the Schwules Museum takes an explicitly political stance, seeking both to recognize queer history as part of collective, mainstream history and, as one board member put it, “to challenge problematic discourses which are dominant within the queer community.” The museum is currently hosting an exhibition about Tuntenhaus, a renowned gay activist squat in Berlin.
As they continue growing, how these museums decide to present L.G.B.T.Q. history will remain an urgent question. “From the earliest days, history was a tool in the construction of queer identity,” said Huw Lemmey, the co-host of the “Bad Gays” podcast. “Museums aren’t independent reporters on the past, they’re part of an ongoing process of identity formation, so the stakes are very high.”
Read more about the aims of queer museums.