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Wednesday Briefing: U.S.-Israel Divisions Grow

Relations between the U.S. and Israel appear to have sunk to a new low after the U.S. abstained from a U.N. vote that allowed a Gaza cease-fire resolution to pass — and domestic politics in both countries are adding to the division.

In the U.S., President Biden is facing outrage from supporters and global allies about the toll of civilian deaths in the war, and Israel’s seeming reluctance to allow enough aid into Gaza. At the same time, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his former ambassador to Israel have amplified policy proposals embraced by Israel’s far-right wing, which call for the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza and the annexation of the West Bank by Israel.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing sharp criticism from his far-right coalition partners over any indication that he is hesitating in the war against Hamas or in the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu and his far-right partners have made increasingly bellicose remarks against the Biden administration. In a recent interview, the national security minister accused Biden of tacitly supporting Israel’s enemies.

Even as the Biden-Netanyahu rift grows, Israel’s defense minister yesterday tried to shore up U.S. support during a second day of meetings with top Biden administration officials in Washington. The Israeli military yesterday pressed on with its bombardment of Gaza, saying its fighter jets had struck “over 60 targets.”

A massive cargo ship leaving the Port of Baltimore in Maryland lost power and hit a major bridge yesterday, causing it to collapse and sending vehicles on the bridge falling into the river. Six construction workers who were on the bridge doing repairs are missing as divers and other emergency workers continued to search for them. Two workers have been rescued.

The ship issued a mayday call shortly before the collision, which occurred around 1:30 a.m., and gave officials enough time to stop traffic at both ends of the bridge. No injuries were reported on the ship, which was bound for Colombo, Sri Lanka, according to MarineTraffic, a maritime data platform. Here’s a detailed look at where the ship was at the time of the collision.

The governor of Maryland called the episode a terrible accident, adding that there was no credible evidence of a terrorist attack. An inspection of the cargo ship last year at a port in Chile reported that the vessel had a deficiency related to “propulsion and auxiliary machinery.”

Background: Baltimore is an important trade hub that ranks first in the U.S. by the volume of automobiles and light trucks it handles.


At least five Chinese workers were killed yesterday when a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into their convoy in northern Pakistan, officials said. The driver of the vehicle was also killed. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The laborers were working on the Dasu dam, a hydropower project in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The assault comes amid a spate of terror attacks in Pakistan, as the country’s faltering ties to the Taliban affect regional security.

Ocean Conservation Namibia, a nonprofit group, estimates it has rescued around 3,000 seals entangled in marine garbage since 2020. The videos of its rescues have become a sensation online, suggesting that the group has threaded a tricky needle: calling attention to the growing crisis of marine trash but with a feel-good ending for the affected animals.

Beyoncé’s new album, “Cowboy Carter,” which explores and tests the boundaries of country music, is an extension of her exploration of how Black creativity fuels all corners of popular music.

But Beyoncé is Black, and a woman, two groups that the contemporary country music industry has consistently marginalized and shortchanged. No amount of built-in celebrity appears likely to undo that, our critic Jon Caramanica writes. But whether or not the industry behind the music welcomes Beyoncé is irrelevant. She’s embracing the music as art and inspiration, not the industry, he wrote.

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