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Tuesday Briefing: U.N. Voted for a Gaza Cease-Fire

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The U.N. Security Council yesterday passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza for the month of Ramadan, which has two weeks remaining. The vote broke a five-month impasse during which the U.S. vetoed several calls for ending the war, while the humanitarian toll of Israel’s military offensive climbed higher. The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor. The U.S. abstained, which allowed it to pass.

The resolution demands the unconditional and immediate release of all hostages but it does not make the demands for a cease-fire conditional on hostage release — one of Israel’s stated objections to the measure. It remained unclear whether Israel or Hamas would heed the resolution’s call for a halt in hostilities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the U.S. for allowing the resolution to pass, saying that the abstention “harms the war effort as well as the effort to liberate the hostages.” The Israeli leader said he would cancel a planned high-level delegation to Washington. President Biden had requested the meeting to discuss alternatives to a planned Israeli offensive into Rafah, which American officials have said would create a humanitarian disaster.

On the ground, the Israeli military said its forces had surrounded a hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza while continuing a raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in the north for an eighth day.

Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to cover up a sex scandal will start on April 15, after a judge denied an attempt by the former president to delay it further. The ruling makes it all but certain that Trump will be the first former American president to stand trial. It may also be the only trial he faces before the election.

Separately, in Trump’s fraud case, a court lowered his bond to $175 million while he appeals the $454 million judgment against him. The ruling was a crucial and unexpected victory for the former president. If the court denied his request, and if he then failed to obtain the half-billion-dollar bond he would have needed, Trump could have lost control over his bank accounts and even some of his marquee properties.

Trump has 10 days to secure the new bond, which should be within reach, according to two people with knowledge of his finances. Trump’s new social media company, which increased his net worth by billions, will start trading publicly today.

The U.S. imposed sanctions yesterday on Chinese hackers who were accused of working as a front for Beijing’s top spy agency. The U.S. said the hackers were part of a broad effort to place malware in U.S. electric grids, water systems and other critical infrastructure. U.S. intelligence agencies have warned in recent months that the malware appeared to be intended for use if the U.S. came to Taiwan’s aid.

The British government yesterday accused China of cyberattacks that compromised the voting records of tens of millions of people, and announced sanctions against two individuals and one company implicated in the attacks. The government had disclosed the attacks last year but did not identify those behind them.

My colleague Amelia Nierenberg went to Iceland to see the aurora borealis. To tourists, it might seem like the northern lights dance across Iceland’s sky every night. But as she pounded the pavement with her eyes on the stars, she found that the light show can be elusive.

Alexei Ratmansky’s new dance for New York City Ballet, “Solitude,” is a reaction to the horrors of the war in Ukraine.

Ratmansky grew up in Kyiv, and his piece offers a chilling view of the war while avoiding sentimentality. It was inspired by a photograph of a father kneeling next to the body of his 13-year-old son after he was killed by a Russian airstrike at a bus stop in Kharkiv. That grief, our critic wrote in February, is apparent from the start in this “heartbreaking” work. Watch a section of it, performed by Joseph Gordon.

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