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Morning news brief

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

The truce between Hamas and Israel is over.

SHAIMAA AHMED: Hello, Leila. It is true. The pause is over, and they've resumed the attack.

FADEL: Shaimaa Ahmed sent me this voice note this morning. She's a 20-year-old computer engineering student in central Gaza.

AHMED: We woke up today to the sounds of gunfire, tank fire, cruise ship fire and gunfire. It's coming from all directions.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, Israel says Hamas opened fire first with rockets. Each side, then, blames the other for the collapse of a seven-day cease-fire. They are talking of renewing it. But as they talk, the new Israeli airstrikes have killed multiple family members, including children.

FADUA MAGDAD: (Non-English language spoken, crying).

FADEL: NPR's Daniel Estrin is with us now from Tel Aviv. Hi, Daniel.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Hi, Leila.

FADEL: So, you know, I was just listening to so much pain in those cries. Can you tell us what we were hearing there?

ESTRIN: Our producer Anas Baba recorded that in a hospital in southern Gaza. It's Fadua Magdad (ph) crying out for her 5-year-old daughter, Juri (ph), who died. And she said, "my beloved, it was going to be your birthday. I was going to make you a cake." He filmed 12 bodies there at the hospital, wrapped in white body bags. He said they're members of four different families killed in an Israeli strike. Here is what Anas Baba also told me.

ANAS BABA, BYLINE: We were totally surprised. Most of the people were in the market because today is Friday, and the markets are totally going to be, like, crowded with people. Most of the residents of the south - they were expecting that this Friday is going to be, like, with having the family reunion and to have, like, a good lunch because I was - and this is another bombardment, Daniel. This is another bombardment in Rafah city. It's very close to me. This is the second one.

FADEL: So people caught off guard. I mean, how did the cease-fire break down?

ESTRIN: Well, there was rocket fire on Israel from Gaza just before the cease-fire was set to expire. Israel blamed Hamas for not releasing all the female hostages it agreed to. Hamas said Israel was refusing its offers for - to release the bodies of hostages that were killed and other hostages. When the cease-fire broke down, our colleague Brian Mann was at a Tel Aviv square where there were supporters of hostages gathering, and he spoke to Yoav Shalhav (ph), who knows two people being held hostage in Gaza. This man told him that Israel should prioritize their release before renewing the military campaign against Hamas. He said that should be the first priority, and then dealing with Hamas should be the second priority. Qatar says it's mediating between Israel and Hamas now to return to the cease-fire, but the bombing in Gaza complicates those efforts, it says.

FADEL: Yeah, I mean, and the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, just left Israel. Did his visit make any difference here?

ESTRIN: Blinken did call for Israel to announce specific safe zones where civilians in Gaza can go to and be safe from bombings. Israel says it did drop leaflets saying where people should evacuate. And this morning the army posted an interactive map online, with neighborhoods numbered for future evacuation if instructed. But Leila, this is a very complicated-looking map online. Just navigating it on your phone is difficult. And if people in Gaza - they don't often have internet connection. Just main street names are posted there. We don't know if Israel has already used this map to announce evacuation zones. We do know that there are already children and family members dead this morning.

FADEL: NPR's Daniel Estrin. Thank you, Daniel.

President Biden insists Ukraine and Israel both need more money from Congress.

INSKEEP: That's what he says. But right now, a separate negotiation over border policy is holding all that up. Some House Republicans are insisting that they will not vote for Biden's latest Ukraine aid package unless it is attached to their preferred border security measures.

FADEL: NPR's Franco Ordoñez has been covering this from Capitol Hill, and he joins us now. Hi, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hey, Leila.

FADEL: So immigration has been a difficult issue for Congress. What are they trying to achieve this time?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, I mean, these talks have been very different than they have in the past. I mean, for example, it's unlikely to include a path to citizenship or really any form of legalization for the undocumented, which has been a longtime goal for Democrats. The focus is instead on border security and specifically tightening the rules for asylum and making it harder for asylum-seekers to stay in the country while their cases can be decided. Now, Senator Thom Tillis, he's helping lead the negotiations for Republicans. He told us yesterday that Democrats don't want, you know, to recognize that the numbers in Congress have changed.

THOM TILLIS: They have to understand that we rightfully will get something more conservative than some of the deals that I negotiated in the last Congress. It hasn't quite set in yet to some of my friends who are looking at this on this side of the Capitol Hill that we actually have control over one of the chambers.

ORDOÑEZ: Now, as negotiations move along, the Senate Majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is planning to hold a vote next week on some elements of this plan. But he really wants to force that along, and he hopes that will do it. But it's really not expected to pass. They really need more time.

FADEL: What about Democrats in the White House? No path for citizenship, no legalization - it doesn't sound like something that will resonate with their supporters.

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. I mean, really, for sure. I mean, advocates have spoken out against these particular changes. They argue that it's going to remove key avenues for the most vulnerable to get to safety. And there's no question that these have been difficult discussions for the Democrats. I mean, Senator Dick Durbin told us yesterday he's very worried about an outcry from progressives. And here's Senator Chris Murphy talking about some of the challenges just yesterday.

CHRIS MURPHY: This is really hard. This is really hard. I wish the Republicans weren't forcing us into this position.

ORDOÑEZ: I mean, the dynamics have changed. I mean, the border crisis is not just a border issue anymore. Big cities like Chicago and New York are scrambling to accommodate busloads of arriving migrants. And you have Democratic mayors - Democratic mayors - and Democratic governors calling on Biden to do more on the border. Now, the White House - they say they're taking action, but it's also beating the drum about the crisis in Ukraine and the dangers of Vladimir Putin. Just yesterday, the White House warned that they probably have only until the end of the year before they run out of money to support Ukraine.

FADEL: So how is it that we got here? I mean, Ukraine has had strong bipartisan support for so long. Why such a dramatic change among Republicans all of a sudden?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, I mean, some of it has to do with the declining U.S. support for the war as it's dragged on. You also have a new speaker in the House who's much more aligned with the hard right. And that faction has increasingly been calling for an end to Ukraine funding. The new speaker - that's Mike Johnson - he's made it very clear to negotiators just this week that the House will not support a Ukraine deal unless there are specific changes to the border, significant changes. And while some have suggested Johnson could surely look to Democrats to get help to get the deal across the finish line, as Republicans tell us, that's just a recipe for Johnson losing his speakership job.

FADEL: NPR's Franco Ordoñez. Thanks, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FADEL: Georgia last night played host to an unusual debate between one governor who's also a presidential candidate and another governor who people think could be one.

INSKEEP: Yeah, it was between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who's running for the Republican presidential nomination, and California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom. Fox News billed this as a red-state-blue-state debate, which was not subtle at all. There was a background of blue for Newsom and a background of red for DeSantis. The debate was hosted by Sean Hannity.

FADEL: Here now to fill us in is NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro. Hi, Domenico.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Good morning, Leila.

FADEL: Good morning. So tell us what happened, and why did it even happen in the first place?

MONTANARO: Well, you know, these are two guys who really like the spotlight a lot, but it was DeSantis who really had a lot more on the line here because he's the one actually running for president right now. That's a point Newsom made early and often.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GAVIN NEWSOM: There are profound differences tonight, and I look forward to engage him. But there's one thing in closing that we have in common, is neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024.

MONTANARO: You know, Newsom was happy to needle DeSantis over and over again during this debate. Conservatives and some Democrats have needled Newsom in essentially accusing him of running a shadow campaign. Newsom tried to make clear over and over again that that's not the case, defending President Biden often during this debate. But Newsom has thrust himself into the conversation for the presidency. And if he's not angling to run this cycle, which he stresses he's not, he certainly appears to be doing so, positioning himself at least for 2028.

FADEL: And you said there seemed to be more on the line for DeSantis here. How did he handle the debate?

MONTANARO: You know, I think his people feel really good about it. It was certainly a friendly environment for him. The topics benefited his point of view, talking about people moving out of California because of high taxes, immigration, violent crime, homelessness, you get the idea. And the California liberal reputation is going to be a hurdle for Newsom if he does decide to run at some point. You know, DeSantis stressed that Biden wants to replicate the California model for the nation. Newsom was quick to counter, charging that Florida's tax system hurts working people, that DeSantis bullies the marginalized and that women's reproductive rights are under assault because of Florida's six-week abortion ban. Here's how DeSantis shot back.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RON DESANTIS: You know he's lying to you about all these other facts and figures, about all this other stuff. He's just throwing stuff out to see what sticks against the wall. This is a slick, slippery politician.

MONTANARO: You know, DeSantis went after Newsom on the debate about books in schools, even the cleanliness, you could say, of California cities in pretty provocative ways. He brought on stage what appeared to be a page from a graphic novel with partially blacked-out images showing sexual acts that he's claiming is in California schools, as well as a map of, frankly, well, poop that he said is from an app depicting parts of San Francisco.

FADEL: OK, he's really pulling out all the stops there. Do you think any of what he did helped him get what he needed out of this debate, which is to get a boost in the Republican primary?

MONTANARO: Yeah, I'm not sure it did. You know, time's really running out for DeSantis. He's trailing former President Trump by a lot. There's only 44 days to the Iowa caucuses, which - where he needs to do really well. It's tough for him because Newsom seemed not only to want to defend California, but also try to tank DeSantis' campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NEWSOM: When are you going to drop out and at least give Nikki Haley a shot to take down Donald Trump and this nomination? She laid you out.

FADEL: Oh.

MONTANARO: It's tough to debate a man with nothing to lose. In the end, neither of them may be elected president in 2024, but this could be a preview of the next presidential cycle.

FADEL: NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Thanks, Domenico.

MONTANARO: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.