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Monday Briefing – The New York Times

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No other episode in the past half-century has tested the ties between the U.S. and Israel so significantly as the current war in Gaza. President Biden’s initial resolve to stand by Israel has given way to frustrating phone calls, sharp public comments and exhausting marathon meetings as the relationship has grown fraught.

Time and again, Biden and his team have intervened to steer Israel away from what they consider the excesses of its retaliation for Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack — only to have the Israelis defy them at critical moments. Among Democrats, resistance to Biden’s backing of Israel is growing, and the U.S. has found itself at odds with other countries at the U.N.

The friction appears to be coming to a head as the new year arrives and as the death toll in Gaza mounts, though there is no serious discussion inside the administration of a meaningful change in policy, like cutting off the arms supply to Israel. Conversations between Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are increasingly strained.

What’s next: The sharpest dispute between Washington and Jerusalem has centered on what to do in Gaza after the war ends. Netanyahu has resisted suggestions that a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank, run a post-Hamas Gaza, to be followed eventually by the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Analysis: Within Israel, there is nearly universal support for the toughest action against Hamas and little concern about possible consequences.

In other news from the war:

  • Despite his plummeting popularity, Netanyahu has made clear he has no intention of resigning after the war ends.

  • Defying U.S. pressure, Israeli forces deepened their engagement in Gaza. Some 165 people were killed in a 24-hour period, Palestinian health officials said on Saturday.

  • American helicopters sank three Houthi boats in the Red Sea after coming under fire, killing all the crew members, the Pentagon said.


As both Russia and Ukraine fail to make substantial advances on the front in their war, Ukraine has been turning to guerrilla tactics, including sabotage, assassinations and the targeting of Russian trains and tunnels.

Russia is using similar tactics. Last month, 14 people were convicted in Poland on charges of carrying out sabotage under the direction of Russian intelligence, Polish officials said. Russia’s main targets were trains moving military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, officials said.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, the longest-serving monarch in Europe, announced in her New Year’s speech that she would abdicate her throne on Jan. 14 after more than a half-century. Her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, who is 55, is set to succeed her.

Margrethe, 83, said that her age and health were factors in her decision. “Such a long time does not pass unnoticed for anyone — not even me,” she said. “Time wears, and ailments increase.”

Greggs, a mass-market bakery founded in 1939 to deliver door-to-door baked goods to mining communities around Newcastle, England, is riding out Britain’s cost-of-living crisis with gusto.

Most of the omnipresent chains that clutter Britain’s dwindling high streets are barely tolerated. But while Greggs has faced some criticism for its more calorific products, the company remains beloved.

Tom Wilkinson, known for his performances in movies like “Michael Clayton” and “The Full Monty,” has died at 75.

The Wild West: Remembering “Soccer Twitter” in the early 2010s.

Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia: One year on.

The Times asked readers if they’d ever made New Year’s resolutions that had changed their lives. Here are some of our favorites, lightly edited and condensed. Read the full list here.

Every night a calendar pop-up reminds me to record a “joy note,” and I enter one or more things that gave me joy during the day. At the end of 2023, I will have 365 or more reminders of things that gave me joy. No one else will see my notes, but I will always have them as a record to inspire me. — Denise Abboud, Cleveland

In January 2023, I resolved to buy only secondhand clothes (except for basics like underwear) as my small attempt to help the planet. Almost a year later, and I haven’t bought anything new. I have discovered a new world of secondhand shops and apps — and even the joys of shopping in my closet. — Claudia Rosani, Milton Keynes, England

During the darkest period in my 60 years, I resolved to try every new thing offered to me. Some were duds, but each one taught me something or made the next new thing easier. Now, two years later, my life is vastly different. I accepted jobs overseas. I made deep new friendships outside my typical circle. I met a partner whom I plan to marry. I’m invigorated again. I would never have imagined these results. — Paul Murdoch, Jacksonville, Ore.

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