February 21, 2024

President Biden is facing deep anger over his solidarity with Israel among his supporters and even from some staff members, particularly those with Arab or Muslim backgrounds, who have said they feel disenchanted with the president. And for many in the Arab community, his words and actions after the Oct. 7 attacks have left them feeling like an afterthought in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Biden administration officials say the president’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself after Hamas’s deadly assault is only part of the story, and that Biden’s stance has allowed him to wield influence with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on issues like humanitarian aid and to make more forceful calls for the protection of Palestinian civilians.

Biden has long been a champion of Israel and of Jewish nationalism, saying often that “you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” His unwavering support has at times put him at odds with some other Democrats, particularly among a left-leaning coalition that sees the Palestinian cause as an extension of racial and social justice movements.

Fifth day of cease-fire: Twelve hostages — 10 Israelis and two Thai nationals — were delivered into Israeli territory, and Israel released another 30 imprisoned Palestinians, the Israeli authorities said.

Analysis: Both Israel and Hamas are reaping benefits from the temporary truce, writes Patrick Kingsley, our Jerusalem bureau chief, but as the hostage-for-prisoner exchanges continue, Israeli leaders may feel growing pressure to resume the war.


As the host of the U.N.’s climate talks, the United Arab Emirates is expected to play a central role in forging an agreement to depart from coal, oil and gas. But behind the scenes, according to a leaked document, the nation intended to pursue a contradictory goal: to lobby on oil and gas deals around the world.

The file has cast a pall over the climate summit, which begins tomorrow, and experts have questioned whether the U.A.E. is blurring the boundary between its standing as host of the conference and its position as one of the world’s largest oil and gas exporters.

The talks opening this week are being led by Sultan Al Jaber, who also heads the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, or Adnoc, which provides about 3 percent of the world’s oil. He also runs the smaller state-owned renewables company Masdar.

Related: Pope Francis will not attend the climate summit, following his doctor’s orders as he recovers from a bout of flu and lung inflammation.

From the region: Saudi Arabia will host the World Expo 2030, a victory for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, as he seeks to reshape its authoritarian image.


Ukrainian officials said that Marianna Budanova, whose husband leads the country’s intelligence operations, had been poisoned and was recovering in a hospital. News of the incident has led to widespread speculation that Russia, which has a long history of poisoning adversaries, is stepping up efforts to target Ukraine’s senior leadership.

In other news from the war:

Gold bars small enough to fit in carry-on cases. Apartments in Tokyo. Large stacks of foreign currency. Affluent Chinese have moved hundreds of billions of dollars out of China this year, in a sign of concerns about the country’s sputtering pandemic recovery.

Charles Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s hugely successful investment firm, died at 99.

Dutch soccer’s criminal underworld: Organized criminals have targeted players for their own ends.

Fighting on the ice: All 10 skaters in an N.H.L. Senators-Panthers game were ejected from the ice for misconduct.

Soccer and the climate crisis: How does the sport become more sustainable?

Every year, the staff of The Times Book Review debate which books — five fiction and nonfiction — would make their year-end list. “We spar, we persuade and (above all) we agonize until the very end,” they said. Here are a few that made it through the arduous process:

  • “The Fraud” by Zadie Smith, a tale of 19th-century London centered on a real-life criminal trial over the impersonation of a nobleman.

  • “The Bee Sting” by Paul Murray, a tragicomic tale about an Irish family whose fortunes plummet after the 2008 financial crash.

  • “Fire Weather” by John Vaillant, an account of a raging 2016 wildfire in Canada, and the perfect storm of factors that led to the catastrophe.

Read the full list here, and listen to Times editors discuss their picks on the Book Review podcast.