Israel Latest: UK’s Sunak Visits as Diplomatic Efforts Intensify

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel as part of a two-day regional trip, the latest diplomatic effort to contain the impact of the Israel-Hamas war and speed the entry of vital aid to Gaza. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is due in Egypt on Thursday.

(Bloomberg) — UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel as part of a two-day regional trip, the latest diplomatic effort to contain the impact of the Israel-Hamas war and speed the entry of vital aid to Gaza. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is due in Egypt on Thursday.

US President Joe Biden, after speaking to his Egyptian counterpart, said as many as 20 truckloads of aid will be able to enter Gaza via neighboring Egypt. Israel says it will allow aid into southern Gaza only if it’s sure none will be diverted to Hamas. Biden also said he would ask Congress for “unprecedented support” for Israel.

On global markets, investors continued to seek haven assets on concern the crisis will escalate, keeping gold prices near an 11-week high. Israel’s shekel slid for a ninth day.


Shekel Slides Again (9:35 a.m.)

The shekel weakened for a ninth day, its worst streak since 2020. The currency fell 0.1% to 4.03 against the dollar in early trade, near an eight-year low reached earlier this week. Israel’s dollar bonds declined 1.6% this week through Wednesday.

Globally, investors continued to seek haven assets on concerns over escalation, with gold prices approaching an 11-week high. Stocks in neighboring Egypt, have rallied to fresh highs despite the tensions, as local investors hedge against expectations of another currency devaluation and record inflation.

Sunak Lands in Israel (9:10 a.m.)

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived Thursday in Israel, where he’ll have meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. He’ll then head to “a number of other regional capitals,” his office had said in a statement Wednesday, without specifying what other countries are on his itinerary.

Sunak Lands in Israel as UK Joins Effort to Contain Conflict 

He is following German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who visited on Tuesday, and US President Joe Biden, who was there on Wednesday. French President Emmanuel Macron is considering a visit “as soon as I consider that we have a useful agenda and very concrete actions to drive forward.”

Kuwait Lender Sees War Escalation Hitting Foreign Investment (8:05 a.m.)

Rising violence in Middle East will “impact definitely FDIs” and “no doubt lead to more pressure on hope for soft-landing scenarios for the global economy,” National Bank of Kuwait Deputy Group CEO Shaikha Al-Bahar told Bloomberg TV.  

Although high oil prices benefit Gulf states, the impact is global, she added.

Israel Says It Hit Hundreds of Hamas Targets in Past Day (7:37 a.m.)

Israel’s military struck more sites in Gaza, including tunnel shafts, positions for launching anti-tank missiles and intelligence infrastructure, it said in statement. Numerous Hamas operatives were targeted and more than 10 killed in a “precision aerial strike.”

Also killed, according to the Israel Defense Forces, was Rafat Harb Hussein Abu Hilal. He was the head of the military branch of the “Popular Resistance Committees” in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. The PRC is a grouping of armed factions that have similar aims to Hamas.

Biden to Address Nation on Thursday (12:15 a.m.)

Biden will deliver a speech from the Oval Office late Thursday “to discuss our response to Hamas’s terrorist attacks against Israel and Russia’s ongoing brutal war against Ukraine,” the White House said.

Biden returned to Washington after a visit to Israel on Wednesday lasting about eight hours. He is considering a supplemental request to Congress of about $100 billion that would include defense assistance for Israel and Ukraine, along with border security funding and aid to nations in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter.

Boeing Speeds Delivery of GPS Kits for Israel (7: 35 p.m.)

Boeing Co. is speeding delivery to Israel of as many as 1,800 kits that convert unguided bombs into precision munitions, according to congressional aides and a US official.

Boeing Speeds Delivery of GPS-Guided Bomb Kits to Israel

The Joint Attack Direct Munition, or JDAM, kits were pledged under a 2021 deal worth some $735 million. They were due to be delivered over several years, but that timetable has now been accelerated.

Biden’s Israel Envoy Pick to Push On With Saudi Deal (6:44 p.m.)

Jack Lew, Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, told a Senate panel Wednesday he would advance pre-war negotiations to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia after the conflict ends.

The Biden administration, prior to the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, was pursuing a deal aimed at Saudi recognition of Israel in exchange for American security guarantees for Riyadh. Saudi Arabia paused the discussions amid the violence between Hamas and Israel, Bloomberg News reported.

“It was the mission I thought I was going over to start with,” Lew told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. “I dearly pray we get back to that mission.”

Israel Sets Conditions on Gaza Aid (6:29 p.m.)

The Israeli government said it will allow humanitarian aid into southern Gaza from Egypt as long as it can be sure none will be diverted to Hamas.

Israel Says Gaza Can Get Aid Via Egypt If Hamas Doesn’t Take It

The government said it had agreed to allow deliveries of food, water and medicine for the civilian population in the south. Last week, Israel told residents of northern Gaza to move to the south as it continues airstrikes and prepares a ground offensive. 

Israel also demanded that the Red Cross be given access to hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, amid calls for the relief group to be allowed in to help residents there.

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