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Hamas released two women who were among around 220 hostages taken to Gaza when the militant group — designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union — attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7. Qatar and Egypt were intermediaries in arranging their release.
There are growing calls in Israel for a rethink of the scope of any ground invasion of Gaza, amid concerns over the fate of hostages and the threat of a full-on Hezbollah attack from the north. Meanwhile, the US is sending more forces to the Middle East, and China’s foreign minister has reiterated calls for Israel to protect civilians ahead of his visit to Washington.
(All time stamps are Israeli time)
State Street CEO Says the War’s Weighing on Global Markets (9:00 a.m.)
“Geopolitics is weighing on investment markets now as much as anything,” State Street Corp. Chief Executive Officer Ron O’Hanley said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Saudi Arabia. “We’re seeing a humanitarian crisis unfolding of an extraordinary magnitude, and I think investors and the world at large are looking at this and taking a pause and saying, we need to see how this is going to play out.”
Saudi PIF Chief Pledges to Be ‘Catalyst for Change’: FII Update
He spoke at the kingdom’s flagship investment conference, called the Future Investment Initiative.
Qatar Urges ‘Serious’ Global Stance to Stop Escalation (9:00 a.m.)
Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad called for a “serious” international stance to counter a “dangerous escalation” that threatens the entire region, and said his country is becoming a more prominent mediator via diplomatic channels.
Fate of 200 Hostages Taken by Hamas Hinges on Qatar Channel
During a televised speech, the emir said Israel “can’t be given an unconditional, green light to kill” and warned the war would only exacerbate feelings of oppression for generations to come. The only way to guarantee peace for Israelis and Palestinians is to establish a Palestinian state, he said.
France’s Macron to Call for Resumption of Peace Process (7:30 a.m.)
President Emmanuel Macron, whose visit follows those by leaders from the US, Germany, the UK and others, is set to meet Netanyahu and French families affected by the Oct. 7 attacks.
He’s expected to call for the resumption of a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the creation of a Palestinian state and the “halting of colonization” of the West Bank, according to his office.
France Is on Edge After Israel-Hamas War Reopens Old Scars
US Weighs Evacuation Plan If War Widens, Post Says (6:41 a.m.)
The Biden administration is looking into the possibility that thousands of US citizens will need to be evacuated from the Middle East if the Israel-Hamas conflict expands, the Washington Post reported, citing four officials familiar with the contingency planning.
One official said it would be irresponsible not to have a plan, which the people called a worst-case scenario. There were about 600,000 Americans in Israel and another 86,000 believed to be in Lebanon when Hamas first attacked this month, the Post reported.
Biden-Netanyahu Call Centers on Hostages, US Military (5:25 a.m.)
Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the release of two hostages from Gaza on Monday, as well as plans for additional US military deployments in the region.
Biden also emphasized the need to keep humanitarian aid moving into Gaza, the White House said in a statement, adding that the two leaders plan to speak again in the coming days.
US, Europe to Meet Over Hamas Fundraising, Ukraine (3:51 a.m.)
US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo will travel to Europe from Oct. 27-Nov. 1 to discuss efforts “to deny Hamas and other terrorist organizations the ability to raise and use funds.” They will also discuss initiatives to “degrade Russia’s ability to financially sustain its illegal war in Ukraine,” the department said in a statement.
On Friday, Adeyemo will discuss the effort to prevent Hamas from accessing funds during a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London. On Oct. 31, he’ll speak at a conference in Berlin.
Blinken Plans UN Meetings on Tuesday (3:25 a.m.)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to New York to take part in a ministerial meeting at the United Nations Security Council about the Middle East, his spokesperson said in a statement, without detailing who he would be meeting with.
China Repeats View That Israel Must Protect Civilians (2:55 a.m.)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated that Israel must protect civilians even as it has the right to defend itself in a conflict. The remarks come as Wang prepares for a high-profile visit to Washington.
“Every country has the right to self-defense but should abide by international humanitarian law and protect civilians,” Wang told his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen in a telephone call Monday, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.
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Abhinav Thawait is a globe-trotting correspondent with a passion for international affairs. With a background in international relations, he offers a global perspective on the most pressing issues around the world. Abhinav’s curiosity takes his to the far corners of the earth, where he seeks to share untold stories and diverse viewpoints.