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Updated Jul 10, 2024, 1:54pm EDT
Middle East
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Semafor Signals

Israeli military returns to Gaza City, as US opinion on war starts to shift

Insights from CNN, Politico, and The New York Times

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Reuters/Dawoud Abu Alkas
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The News

Israel ordered residents of Gaza City to evacuate, as the military launched strikes and a ground operation months after intense fighting last occurred there.

Israel has recently been returning to areas of Gaza where it previously fought Hamas forces, in a sign of the conflict potentially dragging on to become a war of attrition.

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The estimated quarter of a million people who live in Gaza City were instructed to take routes south to shelters, but United Nations officials criticized the evacuation orders as unclear and unsafe.

Israel also launched a strike in southern Gaza on Wednesday that local authorities said killed at least 27; an UN agency leader said it was the fourth strike in four days that hit or damaged a school building.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Ceasefire chances dim despite Hamas softening

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Source:  
CNN

The Israeli military’s return to Gaza City comes as confidence has waned that talks between Israel and Hamas representatives might result in a ceasefire and hostage deal. Hamas recently agreed to compromise on its demand that Israel commit to a permanent ceasefire prior to any further agreement, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested Israel wouldn’t budge on its insistence of “total victory” over Hamas. Those non-negotiables block “any possibility of progress from the Israeli side,” a former Israeli hostage negotiator said.

US support for Israel campaign rises, slightly

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Sources:  
Gallup, Politico

Americans still tend to oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza, but new Gallup polling shows US support for Israel’s operations has slightly increased since March. Some 42% of US adults approve of Israel’s campaign, up from 36% several months ago. The increase is largely due to an uptick in Republican approval, their support rate for Israel’s operation, 76%, is at its highest since the war in Gaza began. Less than 25% of Democrats support Israel, however. Despite increased scrutiny and a diplomatic row over arms deliveries, the US government remains Israel’s biggest backer. But some world leaders fear Biden’s reluctance to be more forceful with Israel jeopardizes his reelection effort and could foment diplomatic discord among the US and its allies, Politico reported.

Biden adviser emerges as key Mideast diplomat

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Source:  
The New York Times

One of Biden’s most trusted national security advisers, Amos Hochstein, has emerged as a key player in determining what happens on the Israel-Lebanon border, The New York Times reported. Hochstein, who was born in Israel but who also has Hezbollah’s respect, has become Biden’s “diplomatic point man for preventing clashes across the Israel-Lebanon border from exploding into a war that could be even more devastating than the conflict in Gaza,” the Times wrote. US officials have warned that as Israel backs off its campaign against a weakened Hamas, the chances for war with Hezbollah rise. Hochstein’s test will be to find a way to avoid that outcome.

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