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Biden says "Israel has a right to defend itself," expresses hope conflict will end soon

President Biden told reporters Wednesday it's his "expectation and hope" that there will soon be an end to fighting between Israel and Hamas, which has killed scores of Palestinians and several Israelis.

Details: Biden, after speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that he hoped the conflict would be "closing down sooner than later," despite Israel's government announcing plans to scale up its military offensive.

  • Biden added that "Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory."

Of note: Comments by Biden and his administration have angered progressives in his Democratic Party, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who called it "wrong."

  • She tweeted that "blanket statements like these" with "little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle" of violence "dehumanize Palestinians" and imply the U.S. will "look the other way at human rights violations," pointing to the "expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa" Mosque.

What to watch: Per Axios' Barak Ravid, the Israeli security cabinet approved Wednesday military plans for broadening the operation against Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Why it matters: Israeli officials said there is no deadline for ending the operation but it will focus for now on air strikes with no ground forces.

For the record: Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting that Israel doesn’t want a cease fire at the moment, per Ravid.

  • Both Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi added that the international community understands the Israel's actions and doesn’t put pressure on ending the operation for now.

Go deeper: Casualties pile up with no signs of ceasefire from Israel, Hamas

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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