Netanyahu cast doubt on a two-state solution
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared to rule out a postwar peace process that would lead to the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, rebuffing calls from the U.S. to start working toward that ultimate goal. He vowed not to compromise on the goal of “total victory” over Hamas and urged the public to prepare for long months of fighting.
“Israel must have security control over all the territory west of the Jordan,” he said, referring to an area that includes occupied territory that Palestinians hope will one day become their independent state. “This clashes with the idea of sovereignty. What can you do?” He said he had told as much to the U.S., a key ally to Israel.
Matthew Miller, a U.S. State Department spokesman, reiterated the Biden administration’s position, saying that there is “no way” to rebuild the Gaza Strip and provide lasting security and establish governance there without establishing a Palestinian state, and stressing that this position had been put to top Israeli officials.
Security concerns: The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, said that Hamas’s Oct. 7 surprise attack — which Israeli officials have said left 1,200 dead — had made most Israelis fear for their safety. “Every Israeli wants to know that he will not be attacked in the same way from north or south, or east,” he said.
In other news from the war:
Germany is at an economic ‘standstill’
The German economy contracted 0.3 percent, official figures showed this week, meaning that the largest economy of the 20 countries that use the euro is also the worst performing. Industrial production has fallen five months in a row.
Since it was rebuilt after World War II, Germany has been Europe’s main driver of economic growth, becoming an industrial powerhouse known for vast factories and fine-tuned engineering. But its automakers are struggling to keep up with those in China, and it must compete with the U.S. to attract tech giants.
Last year, Germany faced a fiscal crisis largely because of a 17-billion euro ($18.5 billion) gap in the budget. The discrepancy was driven by the country’s so-called debt brake, a law enshrined in its constitution to keep public deficits low. Those restrictions are preventing badly needed investment in public infrastructure.
Quotable: “The economy is at a standstill in Germany,” said Siegfried Russwurm, the president of the Federation of German Industries. “We don’t see any chance of a rapid recovery in 2024.”
Iceland scrambles to shelter volcano evacuees
Thousands of people were evacuated from Grindavik, a fishing town of about 3,700 people in southwestern Iceland, after volcanic eruptions, and experts consider it uninhabitable in the near future. The authorities are now working to house the residents — around 1 percent of the nation of 400,000 people — and help to contain their financial losses.
Some displaced residents are now living in hotels or apartments, while others are staying in summer cottages or with other family members. After the eruption, banks agreed to freeze mortgage payments, but residents said they could not receive insurance payouts unless their houses were directly destroyed.
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Emily Nagoski, a sex educator, wrote the book on women’s sexuality. But privately she and her husband were cycling in and out of monthslong sexual dry spells stemming from work stress and health problems.
The experience left her feeling “stressed. Depressed. Anxious. Lonely. Self-critical,” she said. “Like, how can I be an ‘expert’ — and I say that with heavy, heavy air quotes — and still be struggling in this way?”
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Profiting from the news business
The billionaires who own The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and Time magazine, despite their business acumen and tech knowledge, have struggled with the perplexing question of how to make money off their digital publications. Despite considerable investment and intensive efforts to drum up new revenue streams, all three outlets lost millions of dollars last year.
Not every media organization owned by a billionaire faces such troubles. The Boston Globe has been profitable for years, and The Atlantic had more than 925,000 subscribers as of last summer, though it is not yet profitable. But the difficulties facing these companies and others like them are only getting more severe as web traffic and search referrals ebb.