US President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel as part of a global diplomatic push to prevent the war from engulfing the wider region. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is also visiting Israel Tuesday and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to Tel Aviv Monday, after meeting Arab leaders to discuss the conflict and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.
(Bloomberg) — US President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel as part of a global diplomatic push to prevent the war from engulfing the wider region. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is also visiting Israel Tuesday and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to Tel Aviv Monday, after meeting Arab leaders to discuss the conflict and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.
Efforts by the US included back-channel talks with Iran about the risks of escalation.
Israel says it’s keeping open a safe corridor for evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip, with more than 600,000 people having already left for the south. The Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas — designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union — have killed at least 1,300 Israelis. Palestinian officials say Israel airstrikes have killed more than 2,650 people in Gaza.
(All timestamps are Israeli time)
Shekel Sinks to Eight-Year Low (12:47 p.m.)
Israel’s currency fell to the weakest level since April 2015 and heading close to 4 shekels-per-dollar.Dollar bonds fell, but stocks rose the most in two weeks as investors assessed US diplomatic efforts to contain the conflict.
Pessimism about the currency may be receding. The Bank of Israel’s unprecedented measures have slowed the currency’s decline and will still leave reserves at elevated levels at the end of the program, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.
The TA-35 Index headed for the biggest gain since Oct. 1 on a closing basis, as bank shares rallied.
France in Contact With Israel to Allow Gaza Aid (12:40 p.m.)
France is in contact with Israeli officials to ensure the passage of humanitarian aid to Gaza, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said during a press conference with her Egyptian counterpart in Cairo. She added the country is allocating EU10 million ($10.5 million) for humanitarian work in Gaza.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that, while Cairo has been looking to allow aid in to Gaza, Israel hasn’t “taken a stand” that would allow his country to open the Rafah crossing with Gaza.
Yellen Says US Economy Can Afford to Support Israel (12:15 a.m.)
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US economy is strong enough to support Israel in its military response to the conflict with Hamas, even while continuing to provide assistance to Ukraine.
“America can certainly afford to stand with Israel and to support Israel’s military needs and we also can, and must, support Ukraine in its struggle against Russia,” Yellen told Sky News Monday. “America stands behind Israel. Period.”
Scholz to Visit Israel Tuesday, Meet Netanyahu (12 p.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Israel on Tuesday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a person familiar with the plan.
Scholz will then travel on to Egypt, where he will meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
EU Leaders to Discuss Next Steps in Conflict (12:00 p.m.)
European Union leaders plan to use a virtual meeting Tuesday evening to discuss next steps to be taken to address the crisis in Israel and Gaza, as well as to align more closely on their messaging, according to an EU official.
The video conference comes after a confused week of messaging from EU officials about the status of Palestinian aid, as well as criticism from some officials that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was stepping beyond the limits of her role in issuing foreign-policy stances for the bloc.
Read More: Understanding the Roots of the Israel-Hamas War: QuickTake
Israel Army Says Evacuation in North is for Possible Operation (11:34 a.m.)
Israel’s army said it’s evacuating residents close to the border with Lebanon to allow for potential military action. The evacuation of Israelis living within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the border aims to reduce the risks and allow bigger freedom for a potential operation against Hezbollah, said Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari.
“If Hezbollah decides to test us, our response will be lethal,” he said.
The IDF said 199 people were taken hostages and believed transferred to Gaza.
Iran Says Multiple New Fronts Possible (11:28 a.m.)
The opening of new fronts in the war may not be limited to a single border and “could be as broad as Palestine’s geography,” Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a press conference. Iran doesn’t recognize Israel, which borders Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt as well as the Palestinian Territories.
“Resistance” fighters that Iran is in touch with can sustain their fight against Israel for a long time, Kanaani said. Iran calls Hamas, Hezbollah and other armed groups in the region that are fighting against Israel “the resistance axis.”
Egypt Aid Group Says over 100 Trucks Ready to Cross into Gaza (10 a.m.)
Convoys of humanitarian aid are lined up in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula Gaza Strip, waiting to cross into Gaza, according to the CEO of the Egyptian Food Bank. About 2,000 tons of supplies are loaded on 115 trucks that are waiting for the green light to enter Gaza from Egypt via the Rafah crossing. Six cargo planes worth of supplies from other countries are also waiting to enter when the crossing opens.
IDF Opens Safe Corridor out of North Gaza (7:58 a.m.)
The Israeli military said it will refrain from targeting a designated axis in Gaza from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. local time on Monday to allow safe evacuation from north Gaza to the area south of Wadi Gaza and Khan Yunis.
Israel Announces Another ‘Safe Passage’ For Gazans to Move South
The IDF has been urging residents of Gaza City and north Gaza to evacuate “for their own safely” and said last night that 600,000 people had left the area. Israel blames Hamas for trying to stop this mobilization and has repeatedly said it knows that the evacuation “will take time.”
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