Biden tells Netanyahu he ‘expects significant de-escalation today on path to ceasefire’ – live

Israel is ‘determined to continue this operation,’ Netanyahu says after Biden urges de-escalation
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to dismiss Joe Biden’s calls for a de-escalation of the violence in Gaza, as Israel and Hamas continue to exchange attacks.

Netanyahu applauded the efforts of Israeli forces after a visit to the country’s military headquarters earlier today.

The prime minister said Israel is “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.” He pledged that the military will work “to return the calm and security to you, citizens of Israel”.

Netanyahu also said he “greatly appreciates the support of the American president,” even though his latest statement appears to clash with Biden’s requests.

The US president spoke to Netanyahu earlier today, and he “conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” according to a White House readout of the call.

Today so far
Here’s where the day stands so far:

Joe Biden told Benjamin Netanyahu he expects a “significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” according to a White House readout of the latest call between the US president and the Israeli prime minister. The call comes as Israeli forces and Hamas continue to exchange attacks in Gaza, where more than 200 people, most of them Palestinian, have already died as a result of the violence.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell announced he opposes the bipartisan bill to form a commission to study the Capitol insurrection. The Democratic-controlled House is expected to pass the bill later today, but McConnell’s stance indicates the hurdles the legislation will face in the evenly divided Senate.
Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre testified before a House committee, as lawmakers consider whether to compensate the massacre survivors and their descendants. One survivor, 107-year-old Viola Fletcher, told the committee, “I am here seeking justice. I am here asking my country to acknowledge what happened in Tulsa in 1921.”
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Texas governor signs extreme six-week abortion ban into law
Mary Tuma reports for the Guardian from Austin, Texas:

Today, the Texas Republican governor, Greg Abbott, signed into law one of the most extreme six-week abortion bans in the US, despite strong opposition from the medical and legal communities, who warn the legislation could topple the state’s court system and already fragile reproductive healthcare network.

“This bill ensures that every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” said Abbott, flanked by several members of the Texas legislature this morning.

Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), passed by both chambers of the Republican-dominated Texas legislature, bars abortion at six weeks of pregnancy with no exception for rape or incest, amounting to a near-total ban as most women are not aware they are pregnant at this stage.

While a dozen states have passed similar so-called “heartbeat” bills – bans on abortion once embryonic cardiac activity is detected – none have yet been enforced due to court challenges.

Unlike those measures, the Texas version absolves the state from enforcing the law. Instead it allows any private citizen the extraordinary authority to sue an abortion provider – they do not need to be connected to the patient or even reside in the same state, opening up the floodgates to harassing and frivolous civil lawsuits that could shut down clinics statewide.

“This law is so broadly written it could target not just abortion clinics and staff but anyone that volunteers or donates to an abortion fund or activist organization like ours,” says Aimee Arrambide, executive director of reproductive rights advocacy group, Avow Texas.

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