Israel Latest: Blinken Returns to Tel Aviv in Bid to Contain War

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to return to Israel on Monday, after meeting Arab leaders to discuss the war and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza. President Joe Biden is also weighing a trip to Israel, adding to the US diplomatic push.

(Bloomberg) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to return to Israel on Monday, after meeting Arab leaders to discuss the war and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza. President Joe Biden is also weighing a trip to Israel, adding to the US diplomatic push. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz plans to travel to Israel, Bild Zeitung reported. Meanwhile, Israel is keeping open a safe corridor from north Gaza  — more than 600,000 people have already left Gaza City and its surroundings for southern Gaza — and the army is evacuating some residents from northern Israel, near the border with Lebanon.

Earlier, the US said it held talks with Iran through back-channels and warned Tehran against escalating the conflict. 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)

Markets Steady (10:20 a.m.)

Oil and gas prices were little changed on Monday, taking a pause after significant rallies last week. Brent crude held just below $91 a barrel in London, with traders closely watching US efforts to prevent the war between Israel and Hamas turning into a wider regional conflict.

US equity futures edged higher, while Europe’s stock benchmark was little changed, Treasuries fell along with gold and the dollar. “I’m sure that the headlines will remain a very unpleasant for some time to come,” Mark Matthews, head of Asia research at Julius Baer, said on Bloomberg TV. “But I also think that markets can go up regardless.”

Germany’s Scholz Plans Visit to Israel, Bild Reports (10:12 a.m.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz may travel to Israel on Tuesday, Bild Zeitung reported, citing Israeli sources it didn’t identify. Scholz hosted Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Berlin on Friday, saying he sees a “mediating role” for the emirate. 

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 via Rafah crossing. Six cargo planes worth of supplies from other countries are also waiting to enter when the crossing opens. 

Italy’s Meloni to Meet Jordan’s King Abdullah in Rome (9:20 a.m.)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Rome late Monday morning. The talks are part of a diplomatic effort by Italy to help ease tensions, protect civilians and prevent a regional escalation.

Israel Evacuates Residents Who Live on Lebanon Border (9:16 a.m.)

Israel’s army said it’s evacuating residents in the north who live up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Lebanon border. The evacuation order applies to 28 communities, whose residents will be housed in state-funded guest houses, the Ministry of Defense and Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

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.”

Malaysia PM Plans to Discuss Palestinian Issue With Muslim Leaders (7:08 a.m.)

Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told Parliament he would hold talks with leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Turkey on their next course of action regarding Gaza.

“The West is hypocritical on what is happening in Palestine,” he said on Monday. “It was quick to take action when Russia invaded Ukraine but it is slow in its response to what is happening in Palestine now.”

Hamas Officials Killed, Israel Military Says (4:10 a.m.)

Several Hamas officials, including those in the military and financial sectors, have been killed, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus said in a session with journalists on the X social media platform.

Conricus said Hamas is trying to hide behind civilians as Israel hunts its commanders. “We are not trying to kill civilians. We are at war with Hamas,” he said. 

One Israeli civilian was killed by anti-tank missiles fired across the border from Lebanon, he said. 

Biden Is Considering Visit to Israel (3:01 a.m.)

US President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel after being invited by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to two people familiar with the internal discussions.

No decision’s yet been made, the people said. Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said in a statement the White House did not have travel to announce.

Thirty US Citizens Confirmed Dead (12:09 p.m.) 

The US State Department confirmed the deaths of 30 American citizens since the violence started and that another 13 American nationals remain unaccounted for, according to a spokesperson. 

The government is working to determine the whereabouts of the missing Americans and is advising the Israeli government on hostage recovery efforts. 

Israel Says More Than 600,000 Gazans Have Moved South (8:30 pm)

More than 600,000 people from Gaza City and its surroundings have relocated south, following instructions from the Israel Defense Forces, IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said. 

This is despite efforts by Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, to keep them in the north to serve as human shields, he said. Hagari urged those remaining in the north to evacuate for their safety.

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