UK USA Elections INLTV World News July 2024


Mowing the grass will continue in Gaza 24th June 2024

This picture taken from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip shows smoke plumes billowing during ongoing battles in the Sultan neighbourhood in the northwest of Rafah on June 18, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP) (Photo by BASHAR TALEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Smoke billows from the Sultan neighborhood of Rafah during Israel's military operation on June 18, 2024. 


 Netanyahu told Channel 4 "This is true. We will continue mowing the grass later"

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Continues to Mow The Grass In Gaza

UK Election Sky Results Roundup 4th July 2024

The long and bitter relationship between Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas : NPR Netanyahu will continue to mow the grass in Gaza to reduce the Palerinian Population with over 40,000 murdered over 100.000 seriously injured 1st 7 months of 2024

Destroying the Lawn in Gaza - Institute for Policy Studies 13th March 2024

The New Humanitarian | Major Gaza offensives to end soon, but not the war: Netanyahu

Netanyahu says Israel advancing to ‘end of the stage of eliminating’ Hamas’ army in Gaza | CNN

Netanyahu enjoys boost in poll after deadly ‘mowing the lawn’ in Gaza

UK's Lord David Cameron Congratulates Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu for successfully murdering over 20,000 Palestinian women and children and injuring over 70.000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem

"Job Well Done Bibi......

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, Israel, in June.

Netanyahu says IDF will control Gaza after war, rejects notion of international force

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, meets with mayors of Gaza border towns at IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv, on November 10, 2023 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

PM speaks to mayors of Gaza border towns on plans to rebuild after Hamas atrocities; meeting comes after premier criticized for failing to meet local leaders since Oct. 7 massacres

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, in Ramallah in the West Bank, November 5, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool photo via AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on March 19, 2023 [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, Israel, in June

Sky News and INLTVWorldNews Exposes Israel Is Deliberately Causing Children To Starve To Death In Gaza As Part Of Israel's 'Mowing The Grass - Palestinians Policy'

Sky News and INLTVWorldNews Exposes Israel Is Deliberately Causing Children

To Starve To Death In Gaza As Part Of Israel's 'Mowing The Grass - Palestinians Policy'

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Continues To

Mow The Grass In Gaza 7th July 2024 Part 2

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Continues To

Mow The Grass In Gaza 7th July 2024 Part 3

UK's Lord David Cameron Congratulates Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu for successfully murdering over 20,000 Palestinian women and children and injuring over 70.000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank

"Job Well Done Bibi......

Sky News and INLTVWorldNews Exposes Israel Is Deliberately Causing Children To Starve To Death In Gaza As Part Of Israel's 'Mowing The Grass - Palestinians Policy'

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly stated last week that his main aim is to use the 7th October2023 attack on Israel by Hamas (which a Five Eyes/Mossad/Cia/MI6 Security Agency insider has stated to USA Weekly was ordered, arranged and approved by Mossad and Israel's IDF using their operative asset Yahya Sinwar to carry it out in the name of Hamas) ... as an excuse to continue to make Gaza uninhabitable and to what he calls ...  'Mow The Grass' ....  which means over time reducing the Palestinian Population in Gaza and West Bank .... by killing or seriously wounding them with bombs, causing serious starvation and disease...

..... however all the Mainstream Press including Al Jazeera have  issued a 'D Notice' by The Five Eyes/Mossad/Cia/MI6 Security Agencies not to again mention this most alarming and horrific statement by made last week by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly stated last week that he wants to continue to what he calls 'Mow The Grass'... which he has been done with great success with an estimated over 40,000 Palestinians murdered and over 100 Palestinians seriously injured and over 70% of all building in Gaza turned into rubble....

Israel is said to be considering a deal which would see a top Hamas chief involved in planning the October 7 attacks to go free in exchange for a release of all remaining hostages. Yahya al-Sinwar has ruled the political wing of the Palestinian movement in Gaza since 2017 and has a long history of orchestrating attacks on Israel. He served 22 years in prison after he was convicted of planning the killing of two Israelis in 1989 and was only released as part of a prisoner exchange in 2011.

A Five Eyes/Mossad/Cia/MI6 Security Agency insider has stated to USA Weekly that the 7th October2023 attack on Israel by Hamas was ordered, arranged and approved by Mossad and Israel's IDF. using their operative asset Yahya Sinwar to carry out the 7th October2023 attack on Israel in the name of Hamas. then be allowed by Mossad and Israel to quietly leave Gaza to Egypt with his family through to Gaza's underground tunnels build and financed by Hamas with funding and approval and knowledge of Mossad and Israel..

" The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the Major Media.."

....Former CIA Director William Colby

The long and bitter relationship between Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas : NPR Netanyahu will continue to mow the grass in Gaza to reduce the Palerinian Population with over 40,000 murdered over 100.000 seriously injured 1st 7 months of 2024

Mowing the grass will continue in GazaThe New Humanitarian | Major Gaza offensives to end soon, but not the war: Netanyahu 24th June 2024

 Netanyahu told Channel 4 "This is true. We will continue mowing the grass later"

This is true. We will continue mowing the grass later,” Netanyahu told Channel 14 Television on June 23. Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza after the Hamas-led October 7 attacks on southern Israel, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 others were abducted.

Netanyahu says Israel advancing to ‘end of the stage of eliminating’ Hamas’ army in Gaza

By Tamar Michaelis and Sugam Pokharel, CNN Mon July 1, 2024
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, Israel, in June.
CNN — 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday the country’s military is nearing the “end of the stage of eliminating” Hamas’ army in Gaza.

“I returned yesterday from a visit to the Gaza Division. I saw very considerable achievements in the fighting being carried in Rafah. We are advancing to the end of the stage of eliminating the Hamas terrorist army; we will continue striking its remnants,” Netanyahu said, speaking to a group of mainly Israeli and international military officials studying at the National Security College.

He again vowed that Israel would achieve its goals in its war against Hamas: returning hostages from Gaza, eliminating Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, ensuring that Gaza will not constitute a threat against Israel and also returning displaced Israeli residents securely to their homes in both the south and the north.

This picture taken from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip shows smoke plumes billowing during ongoing battles in the Sultan neighbourhood in the northwest of Rafah on June 18, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP) (Photo by BASHAR TALEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Smoke billows from the Sultan neighborhood of Rafah during Israel's military operation on June 18, 2024.

Before launching a military operation in Rafah in May, Israeli leaders had maintained that the southern Gaza city was the last stronghold of Hamas.

Netanyahu said last month that the “intense phase of the war with Hamas (in Gaza) is about to end,” and that the military’s focus could then shift to Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

“It doesn’t mean that the war is going to end, but the war in its current stage is going to end in Rafah. This is true. We will continue mowing the grass later,” Netanyahu told Channel 14 Television on June 23.

Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza after the Hamas-led October 7 attacks on southern Israel, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 others were abducted.

Israeli attacks in Gaza have since killed at least 37,718 Palestinians and injured another 86,377 people, according to Gaza health officials.


Most read

Middle East crisis — explained

The long and bitter relationship between Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas


Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) speaks to soldiers on a visit to the northern Gaza Strip on Dec. 25, 2023. Netanyahu says the militant group Hamas must be destroyed in the current war in Gaza, though some critics say that goal is unrealistic. Avi Ohayon/AP

In 1996, Israel faced a critical election for prime minister. The conservative candidate, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the underdog. The heavy favorite for prime minister was Shimon Peres, the dovish incumbent and the leading advocate for a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

As the election approached, Hamas suicide bombers carried out several deadly attacks, killing more than 50 Israelis.

Professor Nathan Brown, a Middle East expert at George Washington University, said this had a powerful impact on Israeli voters.

"Suddenly Netanyahu's message, which was, 'we can't trust the peace process,' started making an awful lot more sense," said Brown. 

Those Hamas attacks boosted Netanyahu at the polls.

"In a very narrow victory, he was elected prime minister. So there was kind of a symbiotic relationship between them," Brown added.

Setting the stage for the current war

After many twists and turns over the years, this tortured relationship is now playing out in the full-scale war in Gaza.

"Obviously, there is no love lost between Netanyahu and Hamas," said Khaled Elgindy with the Middle East Institute in Washington.

They may be sworn enemies, yet they also kind of need each other. On multiple occasions, the hardline policies of one have been used to the advantage of the other.

"Hamas became useful to Netanyahu as a way to ensure that a cohesive Palestinian leadership did not emerge, and therefore there couldn't be a Palestinian state," said Elgindy.

In turn, Hamas has never negotiated with Israel and benefits from Netanyahu's recurring security crackdowns against Palestinians, said Nathan Brown.

"When the peace process looks like it's viable, Hamas is in a bind" he said, noting that at various times Palestinians believed the talks could lead to a Palestinian state. But, he added, when the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations break down, Hamas then goes to the Palestinian people and says, "We told you so."

Poisoning the Hamas leader

In 1997, just a year after Netanyahu was first elected, he approved an attempt to kill Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, who was then in exile in neighboring Jordan.

Israeli agents poisoned Mishal — but he survived — and the plot was exposed.

Jordan's King Hussein was furious and said a peace treaty with Israel was at risk. Netanyahu's government was forced to send the antidote for the poison to Jordan to help Mishal recover. The Israeli leader also had to release Hamas' imprisoned spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin.

"That incident set the kind of tone for the relations between Netanyahu and Hamas. And things have been complicated ever since," said Ghaith al-Omari at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Former Hamas leader Khalid Mishal was poisoned by Israel in 1997 while in exile in Jordan. He survived the attack. Mishal, shown here in a 2008 photo in Damascus, Syria, has stepped down from the top position, but is still a prominent Hamas figure. He now lives in Qatar. BASSEM TELLAWI/AP

Al-Omari advised the Palestinian negotiating team back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when serious talks were taking place. Hamas, he recalled, repeatedly undermined those talks.

"Every time we would make progress in negotiations, Hamas would blow up a bus or a cafe," he said.

There have been no serious negotiations for a long time. Hamas has controlled Gaza for 17 years, and Netanyahu has been Israel's prime minister for more than 13 of the past 15 years.

Hamas attacks, Israel 'mows the grass'

This period has followed a pattern. Hamas denounces Israel's tough restrictions on Gaza, and periodically steps up attacks.

Israel's military hits back, and has a term for this, says Khaled Elgindy.

"They call it 'mowing the grass,' because every now and again, you have to go in and sort of cut everything down to size," he said

Palestinians displaced by the war in Gaza sit at the southern end of the territory along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The barrier in the background is the border between Gaza and Egypt. The fighting has pushed most of Gaza's population into the southern part of the territory. Hatem Ali/AP

In recent years, Netanyahu made limited concessions toward Gaza.

Nearly 20,000 Palestinians were permitted to enter Israel to work. The wealthy Gulf nation of Qatar was allowed to send up to $30 million a month to Gaza. This approach was known as "quiet for quiet."


Ghaith al-Omari says this suited Netanyahu. It allowed Gaza to function at a minimal level. At the same time, the Israeli leader could still argue that it was impossible to negotiate with the Palestinians as long as Hamas ruled Gaza.

"While he wanted to keep Hamas weak, he had no problem keeping them in control of Gaza," he said. "Hamas understood this. And until Oct. 7th, they played the game."

Yet this game — which helped Netanyahu and Hamas stay in power — was a chronically tense standoff, not a solution. It collapsed when Hamas unleashed its massive attack on Oct. 7.

Speaking to NPR in November, Netanyahu said Hamas must now be destroyed.

"Once you eliminate Hamas — and we have to eliminate Hamas — otherwise, this evil will spread," Netanyahu said. "But once we defeat Hamas, we have to make sure that there's no new Hamas, no resurgence of terrorism."

Khaled Elgindy said eliminating Hamas is unrealistic.

"At the end of the day, Israel is not going to destroy Hamas. But what sort of Hamas is left?" he said. "Will it be a Hamas that is more pragmatic and therefore inclined to moderate? Or will it be a more radicalized Hamas?"

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's political future is in jeopardy, said Ghaith al-Omari.

"The intelligence and security and military failure of Oct. 7 all happened under his watch," he said.

Still, he noted that the Israeli leader has been a remarkable political survivor.

"One of the jokes in Israel is that a cat has Netanyahu lives. It's impossible to write him off," al-Omari added.

For now, Netanyahu and Hamas are locked in their bloodiest battle yet, and neither is going down without a fight.

Greg Myre is an NPR national security correspondent who was based in Jerusalem from 2000-2007


The New Humanitarian | Major Gaza offensives to end soon, but not the war: Netanyahu 

  1. Home    Middle East and North Africa   Palestine
  • 24 June 2024

Major Gaza offensives to end soon, but not the war: Netanyahu

The Israeli military may soon scale back operations in the Gaza Strip, but that doesn’t mean its brutal, nearly nine-month military campaign will be coming to an end any time soon, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In an interview with Israeli media on 23 June, Netanyahu said his military’s ground invasion of Rafah, which began on 6 May, will soon draw to a close and would be the last major offensive of the war. That, however, “doesn't mean that the war is about to end”, Netanyahu added.

Israeli forces will be redeployed to the northern border with Lebanon, where skirmishes with the Iran-aligned Lebanese political party and militant group Hezbollah have been escalating, increasing fears of a wider regional war. But the Israeli military will also continue “mowing the grass” in Gaza “all the time” with the aim of destroying Hamas, according to Netanyahu.

In the interview, the Israeli prime minister rejected a proposal for a phased plan that would result in a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, which had been backed by the US and the UN Security Council.

Israel’s invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, has displaced over one million Palestinians, many of whom had already been forced to flee multiple times. It has also ground already beleaguered humanitarian aid operations to a near standstill. An already dire, man-made hunger crisis has been growing worse, taking a particularly heavy toll on children.

Overall, children account for around 40% of the casualties from Israel’s military campaign, according to health officials in Gaza. Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 15,000 children. At least another 10,000 people are missing and presumed dead under the rubble of destroyed buildings. Save the Children estimates that more than 5,000 of these are children.

A new report from the NGO highlights the steep toll Israel’s military campaign has taken on children in Gaza. In addition to those killed and missing, others have been maimed beyond recognition, the bodies of children have been found in mass graves, an unknown number have been detained and disappeared, and more than 17,000 have been orphaned or separated from their families, according to the report. 

For more on the devastating situation in Gaza, take a look at our recent coverage.   

Destroying the Lawn in Gaza - Institute for Policy Studies 13th March 2024 


Destruction in Rafah, November 2023#

Destroying the Lawn in Gaza

Time is running out to save Palestinians and the possibility of a Palestinian state.

March 13, 2024 John Feffer Originally in Foreign Policy In Focus

Ever since it withdrew its settlements in 2005, Israel has periodically attacked Gaza. This shelling of locations throughout the narrow strip of land gave rise to the Israeli expression “mowing the lawn.” In other words, Israel was bombing Gaza on a regular basis to “maintain order.”

Over the last few months, Israel has gone far beyond its past campaigns of aerial bombardment. It has systematically destroyed Gaza in an effort to wipe out Hamas. In the course of this campaign, Israel has now killed over 30,000 Palestinians. The majority of the victims are women and children. The war has destroyed nearly half of all residential buildings. In the midst of an intensifying food crisis in Gaza, Israel has even bombed a food distribution warehouse.

Thanks to this destruction, an overwhelming portion of the population—75 percent or 1.7 million people—has been displaced. Most of those fleeing people have ended up in Rafah, a city in the south. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that he plans to send Israeli forces into this remaining, overcrowded enclave. The civilian casualties will be catastrophic.

The Biden administration has made a few faint protests, with the president saying that Netanyahu should pay more attention to the lives of Palestinian civilians and that his actions are hurting, not helping Israel. Netanyahu has shrugged off the criticism, adding that he and the U.S. president “agree” on the goals of the war, a comment perhaps intended maliciously to harm Biden’s reelection prospects.

Biden hasn’t spelled out any consequences for Netanyahu crossing the “red line” of sending troops into Rafah. But apparently there is much talk going on within the administration. According to Axios:

U.S. officials say an Israeli military operation in Rafah would likely lead to a significant shift in U.S. policy — including an end to the defense of Israel at the United Nations and restrictions on the use of U.S. weapons by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza.

That probably doesn’t sound like much, but it could be a turning point that leads eventually to a rupture in the U.S.-Israeli alliance.

Such a rupture is made all the more likely by the actions of Israeli settlers. While all eyes are focused on Gaza, these settlers are expanding their control of territory in the West Bank through a campaign of intimidation and violence. “The U.N. has recorded five hundred and seventy-three attacks by settlers in the West Bank since the war began, with Israeli forces accompanying them half the time. At least nine people have been killed by settlers, and three hundred and eighty-two have been killed by Israeli forces,” writes Shane Bauer in The New Yorker. “Settlers have burned cars and houses, blockaded roads, damaged electricity networks, seized farmland, severed irrigation lines, attacked people in their fields and olive groves, and killed, all without repercussion.”

Even as they acknowledge their harm of their actions, settlers have cited U.S. history to justify their actions. Bauer quotes one settler: “America came with ships and killed all the Indians and made them slaves. It’s terrible, but now America doesn’t say, ‘We’re sorry, take the land back.’”

Forget about a two-state solution. From the mainstream Israeli perspective, the future of Palestine is a set of disconnected reservations of barren land with no prospects.

Israel is a state built by reparations, those paid by Europe to the Jews that survived the European onslaught of World War II. That origin story has not translated into comparable empathy toward those who have lost and continue to lose land to Israeli settlers. The reparations movement to atone for the theft of native lands—in the United States and elsewhere—is thus so critical not only to compensate the victims but also to rob aggressors everywhere or historical examples to exploit.

The situation today in Gaza is dire. Rather than repeat myself, let me just reprint myself. Below is what I wrote a decade ago after yet another assault on Gaza. So little has changed, and what has changed has been for the worse. Netanyahu has clearly not learned anything from the mistakes of the past. The real question is: will the Biden administration?

Mowing the Lawn (FPIF, 2014)

The Palestinians of Gaza are guilty of that new post-Cold War misdemeanor: voting while Muslim. The punishment for this crime has been eight years of economic hardship, international isolation, and periodic Israeli bombardments.

Like the Algerians in 1990 and the Egyptians in 2012, Gazans went to the polls in 2006 and voted for the wrong party. Rather than supporting the secular choice, they cast their ballots for Hamas. Not all Palestinians are Muslim (6 percent or so are Christian). But by opting for the Islamic Resistance Movement—Hamas, for short—Gazans had effectively nullified their own ballots.

It didn’t matter that the EU and other institutions declared the elections free and fair. The results were what mattered, and Israel’s judgment carried the day. Even though the newly elected government extended an olive branch to both Israel and the United States, the Israeli government didn’t consider Hamas a legitimate political actor.

“Israel stated that Hamas were terrorists and Western leaders did not challenge this line,” writes Cata Charrett in an excellent piece at Mondoweiss. “On the contrary, they refused to meet diplomatically with Hamas leaders, they cut off all possible financing to the newly elected government, and they supported Israel’s complete sanction and seizure of Gazan territory.” A direct peace overture to President George W. Bush offering a long-term truce went unanswered.

Voting while Christian or voting while Jewish has not led to similar results. Christian Democrats have won elections in Europe without generating boycotts or warnings about an imminent descent into clerical autocracy. The ultra-religious Shas party has participated in ruling coalitions in Israel without incurring the wrath of the international community.

But Hamas, its critics insist, is different because it is fundamentally anti-democratic. Ditto the Muslim Brotherhood. Even Turkey’s Justice and Development Party and Tunisia’s Ennahda are suspect, according to those who hold to the dictum that Islam and democracy are fundamentally incompatible.

The fear of Islamic fundamentalism taking over the Middle East through the ballot box began in 1990 when the Islamic Salvation Front won 55 percent of the vote in local elections in Algeria. The following year, with the Front poised to win the national elections, the Algerian government banned the party and jailed its leaders, precipitating a civil war that left more than 100,000 people dead. At the time, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Edward Djerejian declared that the U.S. government opposed what it called “one person, one vote, one time.” Washington worried about the possibility that Islamist parties would use democratic means to rise to power and then kick away the democratic ladder beneath them.

This prospective outcome prompted the United States to continue supporting its traditionally authoritarian allies in the region. The Arab Spring offered some hope that the United States had changed this policy, with the Obama administration withdrawing its support, albeit reluctantly, from Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak just before he stepped down in early 2011. But the older preference for status-quo strongmen has reasserted itself, as Washington has looked the other way at Nouri al-Maliki’s obvious faults in Iraq, continued to support the royal elite in Bahrain, and quickly moved to embrace coup leader Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in Egypt.

Let me be clear: I wouldn’t vote for Hamas. And I would rather that the party clearly recognized the right of Israel to exist (just as I would prefer the Republican Party to recognize the right of gay marriage to exist).

But my preferences are beside the point.  Hamas represents a large constituency. Many Gazans voted for the party because they were disgusted with the corruption of the secular Fatah movement and were impressed with the social service system Hamas had created. Like other resistance movements—the African National Congress, the Irish Republican Army—Hamas was on its way toward becoming a political party. If such a party takes power only to behave undemocratically—as the Muslim Brotherhood arguably did in Egypt—that’s a different question. But if you claim to respect democracy, you must recognize the results of free and fair elections. And if you want a party to change its position—and it’s willing to talk—you have to sit down at the table and negotiate with it.

But Israel—and by extension the United States—didn’t choose this option. As a result, a border conflict has raged ever since, with two particularly severe flare-ups in 2008-9 and 2012.

Last month, Hamas and Fatah set aside their own substantial grievances and forged a unity agreement on administering both Gaza and the West Bank. Here was a perfect opportunity for Israel to move forward with a new deal. In reality, however, this was a signal for Israel to go on the offensive. It just needed an excuse. When Gazan militants linked to the Islamic State (formerly ISIS), but not Hamas, kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers, Netanyahu had his excuse.

Israel’s latest bombing campaign has already left nearly 200 Palestinians dead. Roughly 70 percent are civilians; more than 30 of the victims are children. Israeli bombs have fallen on houses, apartment buildings, a disability center, a café. Foreigners have even volunteered to be human shields at a hospital that has already been struck twice. The Israeli Defense Forces maintain that they warn residents of a building beforehand of a strike, but this practice is inconsistent.

Some Israelis refer to their periodic shelling of the Palestinian territory as “mowing the lawn.” It is a disturbing metaphor because it is so indiscriminate. They don’t talk about “weeding the garden” or “pruning the trees.” A lawnmower cuts down everything in its path—grass, weeds, wildflowers. Also, a lawn needs constant mowing, suggesting that Israel plans to conduct bombing campaigns on a seasonal basis.

But Netanyahu may well see an opportunity to eliminate Hamas altogether. The organization no longer can count on support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or Syria’s Assad. Ties with Iran were also strained by the support Hamas provided to rebels fighting in Syria. Nor can the territory rely on supplies coming in through tunnels from the Sinai. Those to the right of Netanyahu—unbelievably, the Israeli political spectrum has such ultraviolent frequencies—are reportedly pressing the government to launch a ground offensive. Mowing the lawn would then quickly become a scorched earth policy.

It’s not a fair fight. The casualty rates are grotesquely asymmetrical. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has reduced the number of casualties on the Israeli side to a single death so far. Gazans have fled by the thousands to the southern part of the territory while Israelis have set up plastic chairs on a mountain overlook to watch the bombs explode in Gaza as if they were fireworks.

In this way, Israel has entered the same murky moral territory that the United States entered during the conflicts in Kosovo and Libya. It is currently waging effectively risk-free warfare. Governments that don’t have to deal with public response to the deaths of either soldiers or civilians are freed of the conventional political calculus involved in prosecuting a war. Such a government may also be less willing to compromise, for there is no significant counterweight to military action, at least when it comes to aerial attacks.

So far, however, it’s been Hamas that has rejected the latest ceasefire, brokered by Egypt. Hamas has its reasons. It wants the release of its members who were rearrested in June after being set free in a deal in 2011. And it wants an end to the blockade that has turned Gaza into a virtual prison for its inhabitants. But Egypt’s deal didn’t reflect any of these concerns.

The major players continue to violate the most fundamental rule of conflict resolution: taking into consideration the underlying interests of all parties to the conflict. The problem goes back at least to 2006, when Hamas won an election that Israel and the United States failed to recognize.

Netanyahu still believes that he can bomb Gazans into changing their underlying interests. The real question is: how long will the Obama administration persist in supporting this delusion?

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus. His latest book is Right Across the World: The Global Networking of the Far-Right and the Left Response.




 'There's not a huge amount of money,' says new chancellor Reeves 

By Faisal Islam and Chris Newlands, Economics editor and Business reporter

Rachel Reeves has issued a damning assessment of the state of the UK’s finances.

The new chancellor of the exchequer said she was inheriting a depleted economy from the Conservatives that would create a “challenge” for the new Labour government.

“There’s not a huge amount of money there,” Ms Reeves told the BBC. “I know the scale of the challenge I inherit.”

Ms Reeves said she would lean on the private sector to cover the shortfall.

“Private-sector investment is the lifeblood of a successful economy. We need to unlock private-sector investment,” she said.

Sir Keir Starmer has become the UK's first Labour prime minister since 2010 after his party's landslide general election victory.

Labour is returning to power with a huge parliamentary majority of 174, following a collapse in support for the Conservatives.

Ms Reeves' comments on the economy come 14 years after Labour’s ex-Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, left a note for his successor to say there was "no money" left when his party lost power in 2010.

The note, which Mr Byrne later said was a joke, read: "Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid there is no money. Kind regards - and good luck! Liam.

Despite Ms Reeves’ comments, the economy improved in the run-up to the election, growing by 0.7% between January and March, which was slightly more than initially estimated.

The upward revision meant the UK was the fastest growing economy in the G7 group of nations in the first three months of this year.

But, while the UK has emerged from the economic recession it entered in the final months of 2023, many households may not be feeling better off, with budgets having been stretched by rising prices in recent times.

Interest rates are currently at their highest level for 16 years at 5.25%, meaning people are paying more to borrow money for things such as mortgages and loans, although savers have also received better returns.

And the latest figures on the economy show it failed to grow in April after particularly wet weather put off shoppers and slowed down construction.

Ms Reeves said that reform of the planning system was "front and centre" of Labour's plan to grow the economy.

In order to build the 1.5 million homes and the energy infrastructure that Labour has committed to, "we need to change how our planning system works - speed it up, stop the bureaucracies that are tying up investments in red tape," she said.

“Stability is needed after the last 14 years - five prime ministers, seven chancellors, 12 different plans for growth, each delivering less than the last. But alongside stability, we need investment."

Rachel Reeves: Who is the UK's new chancellor?

Labour must act now to reboot the economy

Labour's Keir Starmer becomes UK prime minister

The Londoners in the new cabinet


Yorkshire MPs take centre stage in Keir's cabinet


Starmer names first cabinet after landslide win

Election fallout: deep shifts in Muslim and Jewish voting

In the 2024 UK general election, Labour suffered some surprise seat losses over its stance on Gaza.


BBC InDepth

Composite image of Douglas Alexander and Jacqui Smith

Starmer appoints two figures from Blair and Brown era as ministers

Jacqui Smith and Douglas Alexander are given junior ministerial roles from the new prime minister.



Migrants crossing the English Channel on a small boat

Last two migrants bound for Rwanda to be bailed, home secretary says

New Prime Minister Keir Starmer confirms the scheme is now "dead and buried".



What went wrong for the Conservatives?

By Ione Wells, Political correspondent
Reuters Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, leaving Downing Street

The Conservative Party had become accustomed to almost being the Manchester City of politics.

A blue, winning machine for so long that some of its key players could barely remember anything else.

But their streak - that delivered Tory prime ministers in four elections in a row - has been brought to a dramatic end.

Many Tories, both winners and losers, are almost speechless and still processing it.

One told me they were simply "not coherent".

A post-mortem on what went wrong with their tactics and leadership, and where to go next, is now beginning.

When I speak to Conservatives, several themes come up repeatedly.

Some feel Labour's policy offering was not drastically different to theirs, but think the choice became more about perceptions of "competence".

They have had five leaders, and prime ministers, in less than 10 years.

Seismic events, from Brexit to Covid to multiple leadership contests, splintered the party into ideological factions. Some Tories spent more energy plotting to take each other down than their opposition - and never really patched things up.

Scandals rocked the party in a whack-a-mole fashion, from lockdown parties to sexual misconduct allegations to a mini-budget that contributed to raising interest rates. An election betting saga was the cherry on top.

When I asked former Chief Whip Sir Mark Spencer during the campaign if the party had a conduct problem, he mentioned that other parties also had to suspend MPs for poor behaviour - which is true - but conceded this had become too regular.

Then there was the undoubted desire for change - a word Labour deployed in its campaign.

The cost of living, NHS waiting lists, and small boats were all issues voters raised on the doorstep - and felt had been getting worse, not better.

Nigel Farage's late return to the fray meant the latter theme became a particular thorn in Tory sides, with some right-leaning voters who switched to Reform UK wanting tougher immigration policies and lower taxes.

Rhetoric and policies attempting to win them back alienated some more centrist Tories who abandoned the party for Labour or the Liberal Democrats, leaving the Tories pincered in between.

This was a more comfortable switch for some centrists who didn’t feel they could vote Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

Did these circumstances mean defeat was inevitable? Most Tories I've spoken to describe the result as "not unexpected", but some feel the scale of it could have been mitigated.

There were avoidable gaffes - like Rishi Sunak leaving D-day commemorations early.

While Boris Johnson was prone to gaffes too, some of his fans felt Mr Sunak didn’t charm voters back in the same way. The former prime minister still yielded chants of ‘Boris! Boris!’ at an eleventh-hour rally to try to energise the campaign.

There is still a lingering bafflement among some about why Mr Sunak decided to call the election in July.

Their campaign guru, Isaac Levido, had argued for a later date - hoping by then there would be more "measurables" to demonstrate their policies were having an impact.

A flight of asylum seekers taking off to Rwanda, for example, or an interest rate cut.

But he lost that argument. And the Conservatives had little evidence in their armoury of some of their policies working when they went to the electorate.

The risk of the alternative, Mr Levido's critics argued, was that more bad news could come down the road for the Tories - more Channel crossings this summer, more offenders being released because of prison overcrowding, universities going under.

But policy and identity wise, what else could the Conservatives have done? That's where their focus will lie now as a search for the soul of the party begins.

What - and who - could come next?

Mr Sunak has confirmed he will resign as Tory leader once arrangements are in place to choose his successor.

There have been murmurings for the last few weeks about whether an interim leader is appointed to avoid the awkwardness of, for example, the former PM having to do Prime Minister's Questions from the opposition benches.

Could this be someone who served in the cabinet previously - like Sir Oliver Dowden, James Cleverly, or even Jeremy Hunt, who just about scraped back into the Commons?

If so, it would probably need to be someone who doesn't actually want to run for leader full time.

Otherwise, Mr Sunak could stay on until the next Tory leadership contest concludes.

There are some MPs who have been working behind the scenes for a long time on shoring up their support, including Kemi Badenoch (the bookies' favourite) who is on the right of the party, and Tom Tugendhat, who is more to the centre.

Former contenders like Suella Braverman and former Sunak ally-turned-critic Robert Jenrick are tipped to run too.

They both spent time in the Home Office, are on the right of the party, and have criticised the government's record on immigration.

One interesting thing to note, though, is who the remaining Tory MPs are, and what that might mean for who wins support among the parliamentary party.

I've had a quick skim over the new intake of Tory MPs and who they backed in the first Tory leadership contest of July-September 2022.

Interestingly, the majority are Sunak-backers, with a hefty chunk of Liz Truss supporters too.

Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch have lost a couple of their key allies on the right of the parliamentary party. A couple of Mr Tugendhat’s backers are gone too

Some of the most notable Conservative losses this election

Why do the leanings of the remaining MPs matter? Well, partly because this will determine how the Tory party decides to shape itself going forward.

Does it decide to elect someone on the right of the party, like Ms Badenoch, Mrs Braverman or Mr Jenrick, to try to stave off the growing influence of Reform UK who have now won several seats?

Some in the party argue not being tougher on issues like immigration was part of their downfall.

Or does it try to shift back toward the centre ground with a candidate like Mr Tugendhat or Mr Hunt to reclaim some of the space Labour is now trying to occupy on the political spectrum?

Some in the party argue the Tories' drift to the right was part of the problem, and alienated socially liberal, but fiscally conservative, voters.

The answer will be the result of a lot of tussling and soul-searching over the weeks to come.

Nigel Farage speaking to the media during a visit to Wyldecrest Sports Country Club in Corringham, Essex
Nigel Farage entered Parliament at the eighth attempt when he became Reform UK MP for Clacton

Tories must embrace Farage, says ex-minister

Tory says party must go "centre right", while Labour MP says Starmer won't change things overnight.

Tories must embrace Farage, says ex-minister

By Shelley Phelps, Westminster correspondent, BBC Wales News

The Conservative Party would not be where it is now after a landslide defeat if it had "embraced" Nigel Farage, a former Tory minister has said.

Sarah Atherton, who won Wrexham in 2019 but lost her seat to Labour on Thursday, said the now Reform UK leader should have been brought into the Tory fold “in some way”, such as becoming an MP or peer.

She said Rishi Sunak's defeated government had not listened to MPs on immigration "and when they realised it was the key issue on the doorsteps, it was too late".

Meanwhile, a new Welsh Labour MP has said change under Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer would take time, "but rest assured that work has started already".

Claire Hughes, who won in Bangor Aberconwy with a majority of nearly 5,000, told Newyddion S4C there was not a "burning enthusiasm" for politicians after 14 years of Conservative government.

"I spoke to thousands of people on the doorstep during the campaign who told me they had lost trust in politics and in politicians in particular," said the Labour MP

"I don't think there any love letters being written to politicians but that why we're here now to rebuild that trust."

Asked when people could expect to see change, Ms Hughes said: "It won't be overnight, but rest assured that work has started already."

 Ministry of Defence Former Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton sitting at a desk in front of two Union flags and Ministry of Defence logos when she was appointed a defence minister in 2002
Sarah Atherton, who became a defence minister in 2002, lost her Wrexham seat after one parliamentary term

Ms Atherton was one of the Tories who were all defeated in Wales last Thursday, as the party saw its 2019 total of 14 MPs reduced to none.

Wrexham was among the swathe of north-east Wales seats that returned to Labour this time after five years with a Conservative MP.

Ms Atherton, speaking to BBC Wales as she cleared out her Westminster office, said of Mr Farage, who is now the MP for Clacton: "He's a very successful politician, you cannot argue that and he certainly was instrumental within Brexit.

"I think Nigel Farage should have been embraced within the party. At what position and where that would be debatable, but he should have been embraced.

"We certainly, I don’t think, would have been in this position right now if we'd have done that."

Ms Atherton said immigration was the “key issue” in her patch and Reform UK “really took my votes” .

"If I'd have had the Reform vote I would have won,” said Ms Atherton.

She lost to Labour's Andrew Ranger, who had a 5,948 majority. The Reform candidate in Wrexham received 6,915 votes.

"They [the government] did not listen to us [MPs] on immigration and when they realised it was the key issue on the doorsteps, it was too late."

New Bangor and Aberconwy MP Claire Hughes (left) during the election campaign with Labour colleagues Vaughan Gething, Angela Rayner and Jo Stevens sitting on a bench in a seafront shelter

New Bangor and Aberconwy MP Claire Hughes (left) during the election campaign with Labour colleagues Vaughan Gething, Angela Rayner and Jo Stevens

Ms Atherton said a lot of Reform members in Wrexham were ex-Conservatives and had spoken to her at the election count.

“They said we haven't turned to Reform, you've made us go to Reform because you didn't listen, Brexit was about controlling borders and you didn't do that.

"We need to look at what we promised the people when I was elected in 2019 and adhere to that, and that means immigration and that means moving centre right."

Ms Atherton, an armed forces veteran, criticised Mr Sunak's decision to leave D-Day commemorations early, as well as the timing of the election.

She said cuts in energy prices and mortgage rates happened during the campaign, but "that did not cut through at all".


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Who are the new MPs in Wales?

We've got to take our time,' says Braverman on Tory leadership


Who could replace Rishi Sunak as party leader?


What happens next to the Conservative Party?



Northern Ireland general election aftermath 

Aftershocks of election being felt in Northern Ireland

By Enda McClafferty, Northern Ireland political editor
PA Media A man empties voting slips from a ballot box onto a table with four people wearing blue bibs sitting at it. Photo taken inside the Lagan Valley constituency count centre at South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon.
Voting slips being emptied from a ballot box at the Craigavon count centre

The "earthquake" may have passed but the aftershocks are still being felt right across Northern Ireland's political landscape.

It was the most dramatic of outcomes to a most undramatic election campaign.

Now the parties have started to look beneath the surface to understand why the plates moved and to assess if the new fault lines are permanent.

But they will be mindful about over-analysing the results when so many other factors came into play.

Firstly, the turnout of 57% was the lowest in the history of Westminster elections.

A July snap election - peak holiday period - was always going to drive the numbers down.

Only three constituencies had a turnout in the 60s while others struggled to get above 50%.

Boundary changes also played a key role in shaping the final result as voters headed for new polling stations and a new list of candidates.

While the Richter scale did jump on Thursday in some constituencies, the Westminster needle shows little over all change.

The nationalist vote increased from 40.1% to 40.4% while the unionist vote has dipped from 43.2% to 43.1%.

There is also no change on the green benches - with nine nationalist MPs, eight unionist MPs and one Alliance MP.

But there is the potential for greater change.

Largest party

Sinn Féin is now the largest party at Westminster without breaking any sweat.

Though it didn't add to its seven seats, it increased its vote to 27% despite not fielding candidates in four constituencies.

It also claimed 67% of the overall nationalist vote and in the process pushed the once marginal seats of North Belfast and Fermanagh South Tyrone beyond the reach of unionists.

PA Media Cathal Mallaghan, centre, with Mary Lou McDonald holding up his left arm and Michelle O'Neill holding up his right arm

Sinn Féin MP for Mid Ulster Cathal Mallaghan celebrates his election with Michelle O'Neill and Mary Lou McDonald at Magherafelt


Sinn Féin tightened its grip in South Down and recovered lost ground in Foyle, where the SDLP majority has been greatly reduced.

But most strikingly it is closing in on what were once considered safe DUP strongholds - like East Londonderry.

Kathleen McGurk came within 179 votes of taking the seat from Gregory Campbell - who had a majority of more than 9,000 votes - though more unionist candidates were in the race this time.

Expect that to become a top target for Sinn Féin next time round and don't be surprised if the party adds another assembly seat at the expense of the SDLP.

Jim Allister impact

Sinn Féin is already plotting its next moves while the DUP is in full crisis mode.

Losing three of its eight seats was a crushing blow and will see the party returning to the green benches this week without a Paisley in its ranks for the first time in more than 50 years.

However, the pain has been softened slightly by the removal of its most ardent opponent Jim Allister from the blue benches at Stormont.

Though it was the most eye-catching result on the night, the DUP vote in North Antrim had been falling and the TUV was in the best position to strike.

Despite what its opponents said, the TUV's presence on the ballot paper did not cost unionism a seat by splitting the vote.

In Lagan Valley, the TUV candidate polled less than Sorcha Eastwood’s winning margin.

But the TUV did come within 179 votes of being accused of costing Gregory Campbell his seat in East Londonderry.

Jim Allister will now team up with the five Reform MPs at Westminster but he may struggle to be as effective as he was at Stormont.

PA Media Jim Allister standing in the centre of the photo holding onto a railing with his left hand. The background is a blurred count centre.

TUV leader Jim Allister won the Westminster seat in North Antrim

Alliance take Lagan Valley

Losing Lagan Valley to a non-unionist for the first time in the constituency’s 40-year history was just as painful for the DUP as losing North Antrim.

Sorcha Eastwood turned a 6,500 vote deficit into a 3,000 vote victory.

Her popularity pulled in votes from the across the political spectrum as she cashed in on tactical voting from nationalists and increased support from unionist areas.

 PA Media Sorcha Eastwood, left, smiling and giving a thumbs up beside Eoin Tenneyson, also smiling and giving a thumbs up
Sorcha Eastwood celebrating with Eoin Tenneyson MLA at the South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon

Ms Eastwood's brand of politics struck a chord while the DUP camp struggled to emerge from the shadow of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

The circumstances of his shock departure from the party and appearance in court were the focus of almost every conversation on the door steps, according to DUP canvassers.

There was also no denying the sense of anger and frustration over the deal the party negotiated - and was accused of over-selling - to restore Stormont.

As a result, many DUP voters opted to stay at home or vote for other candidates.

This played well for the Ulster Unionists who, as expected, comfortably won back the seat in South Antrim.

It pitched its most high-profile candidate against the DUP's most low-profile outgoing MP and it paid off.


Tactical voters

Tactical voters may have helped the Alliance party to snatch a DUP seat in Lagan Valley but they deserted the party in North Down.

Those who helped Stephen Farry claim the seat when the Brexit battle was at its heights returned to their core political bases.

That cleared the way for Alex Easton to fulfil his lifelong ambition in becoming the latest in a long line of independent MPs in North Down.

PA Media DUP leader Gavin Robinson (right) shakes hands with Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (centre).

Gavin Robinson secured the Belfast East seat

Alliance leader Naomi Long also lost out in a more crowded field as DUP leader Gavin Robinson stretched his lead over his long time challenger.

Though defeated, Ms Long appeared relieved to be returning to her job as Justice Minister and not to the back benches in Westminster.

It may be the last time we see the Robinson/Long showdown in East Belfast.

Finding common ground

Overall, the Alliance vote dropped by almost 2% which has stalled the party's recent surge. However, it will be encouraged by the performance in East Antrim where it has significantly closed the gap on the DUP.

For the SDLP, it was mission accomplished returning its two MPs who will now hope to bolster its support under a Labour government.

The cry for unionist unity will grow louder from those on the DUP benches.

They will point to places like Lagan Valley where the combined unionist vote was around 29,000 while a non-unionist candidate won with over 18,000 votes.

But adding up the figures is the easy part; finding common ground to bring the unionist parties to together remains a massive challenge.

To quote UUP Minister Mike Nesbitt, it will be "incredibly messy" but worthwhile.

That will be clear this week when four faces of unionism appear on the benches at Westminster - the DUP, UUP, TUV and independent Alex Easton.

More on this story

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Hilary Benn is new Northern Ireland secretary

Who are Northern Ireland's seven new MPs?


Hilary Benn is new Northern Ireland secretary

By Raymona Crozier, BBC News NI politics producer
Getty Images A close-up shot of Hilary Benn

Hilary Benn has been appointed the new Northern Ireland secretary following the Labour Party's general election victory.

Mr Benn is a veteran parliamentarian representing Leeds Central in the House of Commons since 1999 and now the new Leeds South constituency.

He had been the shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland since September 2023.

He also served in the cabinet from 2003 to 2010 under Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

More recently, he served as shadow foreign secretary and chairman of the Brexit select committee.

Mr Benn is the son of former cabinet minister and veteran left-wing campaigner Tony Benn, who also served in Labour cabinets in the 1960s and 70s.

During his time as the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Mr Benn was vocal on issues such as the Legacy Act, the redevelopment of Casement Park and the restoration of power sharing.

On Friday, Tánaiste (Irish Deputy Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said he had a "positive" first call with Mr Benn.

"A strong and visible joint approach between the Irish and British governments on Northern Ireland is the bedrock of positive progress and I look forward to working closely with the secretary of state in this respect," he said.

"We had a constructive conversation on legacy issues and agreed to work together on a path forward."

What are his views on the Legacy Act?

The Troubles Legacy Act was passed in September despite opposition from all of Northern Ireland's political parties, several victims' groups and the Labour Party.

It ended historical inquests and transferred of Troubles-era cases to a new body known as the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR).

It also provided a conditional amnesty for people suspected of crimes committed during the Troubles and introduces a ban on inquests and future civil actions related to the Troubles era.

The High Court later ruled this clause was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In May, Mr Benn said Labour would remove the immunity element from the act because of the High Court ruling, although he noted the government had appealed.

Mr Benn said his party would also restore civil cases and inquests.

Speaking about the ICRIR, he said: "I would not scrap it, I will see how it goes. In the end the test for this is will it work for families.

"In the end if families find that ICRIR works for them - and there are some reforms that we could make to boost confidence in it - then that will put us in a much, much better place than where we are at the moment."

Reuters Hilary Benn walking into No 10 Downing Street. He has a smile on his face and he's wearing a suit and a red tie

Hilary Benn was seen entering No10 on Friday afternoon 

What about Casement Park?

Labour could not "write a blank cheque" to rebuild Casement Park in west Belfast in time for Euro 2028, Mr Benn said in June.

Speaking to Good Morning Ulster, Mr Benn said everyone "would like Casement to be built" in time for the tournament.

He said it was not clear what the final cost of the project would be.

When the stadium was first proposed in 2011, the estimated cost was £76m with £61m coming from Northern Ireland's power-sharing government at Stormont and £15m from the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which owns the ground.

However it is now suggested the stadium could cost more than £300m.

"The question is, where is the rest of the very considerably increased amount of money that will be required?" said Mr Benn.

"I can’t give a blank cheque and you wouldn’t expect me to given the huge rise in the costs there have been and we don’t yet know what the full sum is."

He added there is a responsibility on the UK government to make a contribution but that he would commit to sitting down with all parties to see whether they could "contribute more".

What does his appointment mean for Stormont?

Mr Benn was involved in cross-party talks aimed at restoring the Stormont institutions when he was shadow secretary of state.

He welcomed the deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) brought about the return to devolution in Northern Ireland in February.

Asked for his views on potential reform of the power-sharing rules to prevent future collapses of the institutions, Mr Benn insisted the responsibility for stability lay with locally-elected politicians.

“When we stand for office, our constituents expect us to go to work and do our job, not to say ‘well, actually there’s a reason why we don’t want to participate in the institutions’,” he said.

“I just have this feeling that after all of the ups and downs and the start and stop there has been, this is a particular moment, it seems to me, for the future of Northern Ireland, and that the people who can ensure that the institutions endure are the politicians who are working in this place.

“I really hope that that is going to be the case, because it’s the best thing for the people of Northern Ireland, for its economic future and for the functioning of a power-sharing democracy here.”

What about the Windsor Framework?

The Windsor Framework is the post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, which is still opposed by some unionists.

Labour say they are committed to implementing it in good faith while they also want to reshape aspects of the broader EU-UK deal.

Speaking to BBC NI last month, Mr Benn was clear that sticking with the framework was a prerequisite for improving overall relations with the EU.

He said the prize could be a new agri-food deal with the EU which could soften the Irish Sea border.

"We have signed an international agreement, if we don’t honour it there is absolutely no prospect at all of negotiating an agreement that really would help," he said.

"It won’t be easy to negotiate but we’re committed to starting the process."


What are his views on an Irish unity referendum?

As Northern Ireland Secretary, Mr Benn is the only person with the power to call a referendum on Irish unity, known as a border poll.

He has defended his party leader's view that a vote is “not even on the horizon”.

The remark was made by Sir Keir Starmer to BBC News NI in October.

But Mr Benn said it “reflected the current reality”.

He was asked about the issue at a fringe meeting of the Labour conference in Liverpool.

He replied: "The conditions in which a border poll would be held are very, very clear.

"They’re set out in the Good Friday Agreement and everyone’s read it and everyone knows what it says."

At the time, when Stormont was still not sitting, he said the priority was restoring it rather than a border poll.


Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer hosts his first Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London, following the landslide General Election victor

What can we learn from Starmer's first day as PM?

BBC's Political Editor Chris Mason decodes the early signs of the new Labour government.

What can we learn from Starmer's first day as PM?

By Chris Mason, @ChrisMasonBBCPolitical editor


The last time I recall a cabinet meeting on a Saturday was during the Brexit years and the time before that was due to the Falklands War.

In other words, they are rare.

This one was about cracking on, and being seen to crack on, with the job of government with a momentum and energy.

Standing in Downing Street and watching and talking to ministers – as we will get used to calling them – there was a first day at school vibe.

Easy smiles, time to chat with the security staff, an excitement to clutch a red ministerial folder.

The novelty will no doubt wear off for them, and the slog of governing kick in. But this time, at least, there was a knowing awareness of the magnitude of this moment for them.

It is 14 years since Labour ministers wandered around in Downing Street.

And it is 27 years since they last kicked the Conservatives out of office.

A couple of hours later Sir Keir Starmer looked comfortable, even relaxed, in the role of prime minister in his first news conference.

Us reporters were led to the State Dining Room in the heart of No10, rather than the specially designed room in No9 built by the last government and associated in particular with rows about parties during the pandemic.

These kinds of things do not happen by accident and who knows if this government will use the newer room on camera in future, but it was a visual marker of change.

Sir Keir claimed to us that his government would confront the challenges it confronts with what he called a “raw honesty”.

He and his ministers have already described prisons and the NHS in England as “broken”.

How long there will be a patience with them blaming their predecessors, let’s see.

What we will see next – and has been telegraphed in advance – is a blitz of activity and travel from the prime minister.

It turns out that when you win a general election the meeting, greeting, dashing and smiling roadshow doesn’t end with a trip to the polling station.

Sir Keir will travel to Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff in the next day or so and will meet England’s mayors on Tuesday.

After that it will be a flight to Washington DC for the annual summit of the Nato defence alliance.

A chance for the prime minister to meet fellow world leaders – and to be on a stage only presidents and prime ministers get an invite to.

The week after (in other words, inside the next fortnight) there will be a King’s Speech – the State Opening of Parliament – where the government will set out its planned new laws.

And then Keir Starmer will welcome around 50 fellow European leaders to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire the day after, for a meeting of what is known as the European Political Community, a new-ish body separate from the European Union.

A whopping majority after offering “change” – coupled with a low turnout and a share of the vote lower than any other single-party post-war government – may afford this administration little time to demonstrate, if it can, that it is capable of delivery.

There are determined not to waste any time.

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Centrist Masoud Pezeshkian will be Iran’s next president

Iran election: Reformer Masoud ...

Pezeshkian acknowledges ‘difficult path ahead’ after winning run-off election with 53.7 percent of the vote.

Iran’s president-elect Masoud Pezeshkian has promised to serve all Iranians in his first public address after being declared the winner of an election run-off against his hardline rival Saeed Jalili.

Speaking from the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday, Pezeshkian said his victory will “usher in a new chapter” for the country.

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“We are ahead of a big trial, a trial of hardships and challenges, simply to provide a prosperous life to our people,” he said during brief remarks at the mausoleum of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Pezeshkian also hailed the relatively high turnout in Friday’s polls, promising to listen to the voices of the Iranian people and “fulfil all the promises” he made.