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Latest news on Gaza conflict

Blinken in Turkey for Gaza Strip talks

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a press briefing on Nov. 4, 2023 in Amman, Jordan. 

Jordan Pix | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Ankara, Turkey, where on Monday he is expected to hold a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on developments in the Gaza Strip, Turkish state-run outlet Anadolu reported, according to a Google translation.

Blinken has been carrying out a regional tour of the Middle East that included stops in Jordan and Iraq over the weekend. Last week, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, in two separate encounters.

Turkey has repeatedly voiced support for the Palestinian people, supplying humanitarian aid and urging an end to hostilities. Erdogan has also accused Israel of crimes against humanities in the strip, where the Israeli military says it is carrying out a military campaign targeting Hamas positions and commanders, rather than civilians.

The U.S. has been a stalwart supporter of Israel’s right to self-defense following the Oct. 7 terror attacks orchestrated by Hamas, but has increasingly begun to call for a humanitarian pause to fighting to assist Palestinian civilians.

Commanders of the two largest military forces in the NATO alliance, Turkey and the U.S. enjoy a strategic partnership repeatedly strained by Erdogan’s exclusionary domestic policies and oft-touted “special relationship” with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Ruxandra Iordache

IDF says it struck over 450 Hamas targets in overnight operation

The Israel Defense Forces took control of a Hamas compound and struck over 450 aerial targets in an overnight operation, the military said in a Telegram update.

It said that the targeted compound included observation posts, training areas and underground tunnels, and that Hamas operations were also killed during the offensive.

CNBC could not verify the report.

The IDF has repeatedly stated an official goal to fully eliminate Hamas’ military capabilities in the Gaza Strip and has run multiple campaigns targeting senior Hamas commanders in the enclave.

Ruxandra Iordache

Israel Defense Forces say they paused fire for evacuations twice over the weekend

The Israel Defense Forces paused fighting twice over the weekend to facilitate civilian evacuations within the Gaza Strip, a spokesperson said in an TV interview with CNN.

“Yesterday and today, with prior notice, for many hours and warning, we facilitated, we stopped firing in certain areas,” IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said, in a video clip published overnight. He added that humanitarian corridors were opened for the “unhindered flow of the Palestinian civilians south, to safer areas.”

Israel has repeatedly instructed Palestinian civilians to leave the north of the enclave and head south of the Wadi Gaza wetlands.

“Even these efforts were hindered by Hamas,” Conricus said.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Israeli Army spokesperson for international media, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.

Jalaa Marey | Afp | Getty Images

Israel has faced significant pressure and backlash over its ongoing bombardment of the Gaza region, which it says it is conducting, alongside a ground advance, to demilitarize the positions and senior commanders of Palestinian militant group Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration has repeatedly rejected calls for a cease-fire.

Human rights groups have warned of the exacerbating humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, where civilians have been deprived of Israel’s food, water, fuel and electricity resources and receive limited aid through the Rafah crossing that borders Egypt.

Ruxandra Iordache

UN agencies, humanitarian organizations call for immediate cease-fire

Leaders of United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations issued a joint statement calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire.

They called Palestinian militant group Hamas’ terror attack on Oct. 7 “horrific.”

“However, the horrific killings of even more civilians in Gaza is an outrage, as is cutting off 2.2 million Palestinians from food, water, medicine, electricity and fuel,” they said.

The leaders again asked all parties to respect international humanitarian and human rights laws. They also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilian hostages.

“An entire population is besieged and under attack, denied access to the essentials for survival, bombed in their homes, shelters, hospitals and places of worship. This is unacceptable,” the statement said.

“It’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now.”

— Christine Wang

Kamala Harris to call foreign leaders to discuss humanitarian aid

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will call foreign leaders Monday to discuss efforts to increase humanitarian relief to civilians in Gaza, the White House said in a statement. The Biden administration did not specifically mention which leaders she would be speaking to.

— Christine Wang

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy: ‘Russia is very happy with this war’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives at the European Political Community Summit in Granada, Spain, on Oct. 5, 2023.

Juan Medina | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday said that the Israel-Hamas war plays to the advantage of Russia by diverting attention away from its siege of Ukraine.

“Of course, Russia is very happy with this war,” he said in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They just want to divide the world and to take focus from Ukraine to another war.”

He noted that Russia’s stance in the Israel-Hamas war could be a signal of how the month-long conflict might spread to other parts of the Middle East and beyond.

He added that Russia could take advantage of the Middle Eastern instability and make the region another target of invasion: “They began in Ukraine. After Ukraine, in the Middle East, they will continue their plan.”

Historically, Russia has maintained productive diplomatic relations with Israel. But Iran’s support of Russia amid its assault on Ukraine puts the Kremlin in a more complex geopolitical position. Its stable relationship with Israel and budding relationship with Iran causes tension in who Russia sides with.

The Israel-Hamas war also poses trouble for Ukraine financial support from the U.S.

American lawmakers have been at odds about whether to continue funding Ukraine when it now has another ally at war. Zelenskyy said that U.S. funding will be the most crucial over the next year. He said that reducing Ukrainian resources would fulfill Russia’s goal of destabilizing Europe so that it could pursue a larger takeover.

“Now is a very important moment not to lose the will, not to lose this strong position and not to lose your democracy,” Zelenskyy said.

Rebecca Picciotto

Palestine ambassador to U.K. after Blinken’s Ramallah visit: The U.S. should be ‘an honest mediator’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) shakes hands with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas during their meeting in Jordan’s capital Amman on October 13, 2023.

Jacquelyn Martin | AFP | Getty Images

Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom, said Sunday that the United States has not taken a hard enough stance in support of Palestinians.

“We need to see the U.S. playing the role of an honest mediator, not adopting the Israeli narrative,” Zomlot said in a Sunday interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We need a grown-up in the room and that is the U.S.”

Zomlot’s comments followed a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the West Bank city of Ramallah earlier on Sunday where notably, no joint statement was issued afterward. Zomlot said that is because there is still tension between the U.S. and Palestine.

A statement from Blinken’s office noted the points where the two leaders are on the same page: the necessity for humanitarian aid, prioritizing civilian lives and finding a pathway to Palestinian independence.

But Blinken and Abbas still diverged when it came to demands for an immediate ceasefire. Blinken has expressed support for “humanitarian pauses” of the violence in order to ease aid deliveries and hostage rescues. However, he has also continued to stand by the U.S. position that a total ceasefire could allow Hamas to regroup and repeat its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Palestine wants the U.S. to favor a ceasefire.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t heard that and that’s why we did not come up with a joint statement,” Zomlot said.

Rebecca Picciotto

Senators threaten U.S. military action if Iran expands Israel-Hamas war

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, will introduce a non-binding resolution in the Senate on Monday threatening U.S. military action against Iran if it expands the war between Israel and Hamas.

Such an expansion may occur by “activating” Hezbollah or by killing American troops through Iran-backed proxies in Syria or Iraq, Graham said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed militant group based in Lebanon, which shares a border with Israel’s north.

“There is no Hamas without the ayatollah’s support. There’s no Hezbollah without the ayatollah’s support,” Graham said. “The Great Satan in the region isn’t Israel or the United States, it’s Iran.”

Hasan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, threatened escalation with Israel on Friday, in his first address since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

A Senate resolution is meant to deter Iran from stoking a broader regional conflict, the senators said.

“It’s aggressive but it’s absolutely necessary,” Blumenthal said.

“[Iran] is financially fueling, equipping, supplying all of these proxies that have as their goal to disrupt and destabilize the region,” he added.

— Greg Iacurci

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