Tuesday Briefing: Israel’s New Phase in Gaza

An Israeli soldier during a military tour for journalists in Gaza yesterday.Credit…Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times

Israel said it was shifting its war in Gaza

Israel has begun a new and less intense phase of its invasion of Gaza, its military said, after weeks of pressure to scale back its offensive. But its chief of staff said that the country was ready for “another war” against Hezbollah, which said a commander was killed in a strike in Lebanon.

The Israeli military’s top spokesman said the new phase would involve fewer airstrikes and ground troops in Gaza after a drawdown began this month. He said Israel would now focus on Hamas’s southern and central strongholds.

“We can expect more targeted operations rather than wide maneuvers,” Patrick Kingsley, our Jerusalem bureau chief, told us. “Whether that alleviates civilian suffering remains to be seen: The strikes are clearly still continuing, killing scores every day, and more than 80 percent of Gazans are displaced, many of them with no home to return to.”

The killing of the Hezbollah commander, Wissam Hassan al-Tawil, came a day after Israel said that it had killed at least seven Hezbollah members in the Radwan unit, which Israel says aims to infiltrate its northern border. A Lebanese official said al-Tawil was in that unit.

Lebanon: Hezbollah attacks damaged an Israeli military base on Saturday, one of the group’s biggest assaults in months. The Biden administration has been calling for an agreement that would move Hezbollah forces away from the border.

Diplomacy: Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, arrived in Israel yesterday for talks aimed at preventing the conflict from escalating into a broader regional war.

Nawaz Sharif at a rally in Lahore in October.Credit…Rahat Dar/EPA, via Shutterstock

A ruling will allow Sharif to run again

Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned a law that barred politicians with past convictions from seeking political office. The move paves the way for a former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to run in elections on Feb. 8.

Sharif, a three-time former prime minister, was disqualified from running for office for life in 2017. He never finished out any of his terms, having been toppled either by corruption allegations or a military coup. He left for London in 2019 but returned in October to revive his political career.

Context: Pakistan has been reeling from a political and economic crisis since April 2022, when former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in jail but remains widely popular, was ousted by a parliamentary vote of no confidence after losing the support of the military establishment.

The Vulcan Centaur rocket lifted off yesterday.Credit…Gregg Newton/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A rocket to challenge SpaceX

The Vulcan Centaur rocket lifted off early yesterday morning from Cape Canaveral, Fla., sending a robotic spacecraft toward the moon. The rocket launched successfully, but a spacecraft it carried malfunctioned and likely will not be able to land on the lunar surface.

The Vulcan was built by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which could challenge the primacy of SpaceX.

It also carried a secondary payload for Celestis, a company that sends people’s ashes or DNA into space. Among those whose remains are on this journey is Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. Samples of hair from three American presidents are also onboard.


Around the World

A rally in 2022 in support of Bilkis Bano, the woman who was gang raped in 2002.Credit…Dibyangshu Sarkar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • India’s top court restored life sentences for 11 Hindu men who were convicted of gang-raping a Muslim woman during Hindu-Muslim mob violence in 2002.

  • China said it had detained a foreign consultant that it accused of spying for Britain.

  • TikTok quietly curtailed a tool used to measure popularity after results were used to scrutinize content related to geopolitics and the Israel-Hamas war.

  • Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne of France resigned ahead of a widely expected cabinet reshuffle by President Emmanuel Macron.

  • Ukraine has shifted almost entirely into a defensive mode. Its soldiers say that operating near the front line is more dangerous than ever.

Other Big Stories

The incident happened at 16,000 feet.Credit…via Reuters
  • An Alaska Airlines plane, which lost part of its fuselage on Friday, had previously been restricted from long flights over water.

  • Pope Francis called surrogate motherhood “despicable,” urging a universal ban.

  • A.I. chatbots are set to advance rapidly this year. They may expand beyond text and start to behave more like humans.

  • After years of mystery, a data analyst cracked a code hidden in a secret pocket of a dress from the 1800s.

A Morning Read

Some humans are buried at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, near New York City.Credit…Sarah Blesener for The New York Times

She had no next of kin, no funeral and no further instructions: She simply asked that her ashes be interred at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, north of New York City.

But who was this woman who had died more than 2,000 miles away? And why would she be laid to rest at a pet cemetery, all alone?

Lives lived: Franz Beckenbauer, a towering figure in soccer who led West Germany to World Cup championships as a player in 1974 and as coach in 1990, has died at 78.


The “Oppenheimer” team accepts an award.Credit…CBS

The highs and the lows of the Golden Globes

“Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster biopic, all but swept the Golden Globes. The film won five trophies — best drama, director, actor, supporting actor and score. (“Barbie,” its box office twin, was the most nominated film, and won in the rather meaningless category of best blockbuster.)

But the prizes were only part of the show. In our recap of highs and lows: Jo Koy’s widely panned monologue, a surprise upset for best screenplay and Steven Yeun’s entertaining speech. Check out these glamorous backstage portraits of the winners.

As for the red carpet: Stars wore ball gowns, sequins and lots of red. Here’s a selection of those who stood out above the rest.


Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Hadas Smirnoff.

Mix: A pungent chile sauce kicks up this nutritious vegetarian grain bowl.

Listen: Questlove made a playlist for our 6-day Energy Challenge.

Travel: Enjoy a decadent Swiss breakfast and visit a jazz bar in Zurich.

Read: Try an underappreciated murder mystery by Winnie-the-Pooh’s creator.

Primp: Put your makeup on in good lighting.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

Suggestions? Write to us: [email protected].

Jonathan Wolfe contributed reporting.

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