Six months into its war against Hamas in Gaza, Israel is running out of options.

Pressure is mounting both domestically and internationally for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to shift course. Yet, as Middle East politics expert Ian Parmeter explains, he has backed himself into a corner.

At the start of the war, he set a high bar for victory: the complete destruction of Hamas and release of the Israeli hostages snatched during Hamas’s deadly raid into southern Israel on October 7.

He has achieved neither. And the war has reached a devastating stalemate, with more than 33,000 Palestinians now dead and famine looming.

As Parmeter notes, many Israelis want Netanyahu to prioritise the return of the hostages. And Israel’s chief ally, the United States, has made clear its growing frustration with the course of the war and the growing humanitarian crisis.

Netanyahu’s problem now is US President Joe Biden has limited Israel’s freedom of action in prosecuting the war. Given that, a diplomatic solution seems the only way forward – if the two sides can find a way to get there.

Justin Bergman

International Affairs Editor

Facing enormous pressure at home and abroad, how much longer can Israel continue its war in Gaza?

Ian Parmeter, Australian National University

US President Joe Biden’s recent warning to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has limited Israel’s options in Gaza. And neither of Israel’s war objectives appear to have been met.

A person in Texas caught bird flu after mixing with dairy cattle. Should we be worried?

C Raina MacIntyre, UNSW Sydney; Ashley Quigley, UNSW Sydney; Haley Stone, UNSW Sydney; Matthew Scotch, Arizona State University; Rebecca Dawson, UNSW Sydney

For now there’s no spread of H5N1 between humans, which is good news. But bird flu is evolving, and we need to stay vigilant.

What is a sinkhole? A geotechnical engineer explains

Francois Guillard, University of Sydney

When the soil ‘ceiling’ collapses, you end up with a hole exposing a cavity previously hidden underground.

Will introducing independent doctors at games help the AFL tackle its concussion problem?

Stephen Townsend, The University of Queensland; Steven Rynne, The University of Queensland

The AFL may appoint independent doctors at games to assess players for potential head injuries – can this help the concussion issue?

Government gives its special adviser on aid workers’ deaths a wide brief

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Former Australian Defence Force Chief Mark Binskin has a wide remit, but it’s unclear how he’ll obtain the information needed for his investigation.

We saw one of the most powerful magnets in the Universe come to life – and our theories can’t quite explain it

Marcus Lower, CSIRO; Gregory Desvignes, Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy; Patrick Weltevrede, University of Manchester

Astronomers caught the bizarre ‘awakening’ of an incredibly rare magnetic star.

We can’t eradicate deadly cane toads – but there’s a way to stop them killing wildlife

Georgia Ward-Fear, Macquarie University; Rick Shine, Macquarie University

New research suggests if we can’t eradicate cane toads, we can teach wildlife not to eat them.

Antarctica’s sea ice hit another low this year – understanding how ocean warming is driving the loss is key

Craig Stevens, University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau

Ocean warming seems the main driver of Antarctica’s sea-ice loss. But as satellites show, the change is not universal and sea ice persists in East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea.

Critics can’t decide if Andrew Scott’s Ripley is mesmerising or charmless – exactly as Patricia Highsmith wrote him

Joy McEntee, University of Adelaide

The character of Tom Ripley was never meant to be pigeonholed. He is, in many respects, a walking contradiction – much like Highsmith herself.

Gender is not scary, argues Judith Butler. But right now, it represents the threat of social change

Louise Richardson-Self, University of Tasmania

In her new book, Who’s Afraid of Gender?, feminist philosopher Judith Butler explains how gender and sex are socially constructed, while fighting critics who see gender as a threat to the social order.

Health + Medicine

  • Could my glasses be making my eyesight worse?

    James Armitage, Deakin University; Nick Hockley, Deakin University

    Ever felt like your new glasses are making your ‘natural’ eyesight worse? It could be in the eye of the beholder.

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy

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