As the war entered its 27th day and with Gaza still in dire need of humanitarian aid, Dick Durbin of Illinois became the first US senator to call for a cease-fire.
Rina Bassist, Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, Elizabeth Hagedorn, Adam Lucente, Jack Dutton, Jared Szuba and Al-Monitor’s contributors on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel contributed to this blog.
Click here for our most recent updates.
Live updates (all times EDT):
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
4:57 pm: US senator says Israeli operations cause “unacceptable level” of civilian harm
Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called on Israel on Thursday to rethink its campaign to destroy the threat posed by Hamas in Gaza amid the mounting killing and maiming of civilians.
Israel’s military effort in Gaza “is causing an unacceptable level of civilian harm,” Murphy said in a statement. The senator stopped short of calling for a cease-fire but urged Israel “to shift to a more deliberate and proportionate counterterrorism campaign” against the Palestinian militants.
4:00 pm: Pentagon does not support a cease-fire in Gaza
The Pentagon does not support a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas at this stage, spokesperson Pat Ryder said on Thursday. “We do not support a cease-fire in that that gives Hamas time to regroup, which is something that would put Israeli citizens and others in danger,” Ryder said. Instead, the Pentagon and the White House now favor a “humanitarian pause” to allow aid into Gaza.
President Joe Biden said earlier that he would support a “humanitarian pause” to let additional aid into the Palestinian enclave and to “give time to get the prisoners out.”
Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) became the first member of the US Senate to call for a cease-fire.
2:39 pm: US follows Hamas' money trail
The US government is ramping up its efforts to cut off Hamas’ access to its international financial network and other revenue streams. In recent weeks, the Treasury Department has imposed two rounds of sanctions against the group, including on Hamas members managing assets in a secret portfolio of real estate and other investments worth an estimated $500 million or more, with companies operating in Algeria, Sudan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Elizabeth Hagedorn reports.
11:48 am: Durbin first US senator to call for cease-fire
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is the first US senator to call for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza.
Asked by CNN whether it’s time for a cease-fire, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat said, “I think it is,” adding that the release of hostages should be part of any arrangement. “That should be the beginning of it,” Durbin said. “An effort should be made to engage in conversation between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
The Biden administration has proposed a more limited “humanitarian pause” to allow for aid deliveries and evacuations. Despite growing calls from progressive Democrats and Arab governments, the administration has stopped short of calling for a cease-fire, which it says would only benefit Hamas.
11:17 am: Cross-border fire escalates between Israel, Hezbollah
Israel carried out airstrikes and shelled several areas in southern Lebanon, including near Naqoura, the official National News Agency reported. The outlet also reported that two missiles were fired from Wadi Khansa.
The Israeli military said in a post on X that it had struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon following several launches from the country toward Israeli territory. Earlier, Hezbollah said it had shot down an Israeli drone near Malkia, in northern Israel, the group’s affiliated news outlet Al-Manar reported.
Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah is expected to make his first address about the Israel-Hamas war on Friday at 3:00 pm Beirut time.
10:45 am: Bahrain has not recalled ambassador to Israel, say diplomatic sources
Bahrain has not recalled its ambassador to Israel, two diplomatic sources have told Al-Monitor. The Bahraini parliament issued a statement on Thursday saying, “The Israeli ambassador to the kingdom of Bahrain has left Bahrain, and the kingdom of Bahrain decided to recall the Bahraini ambassador from Israel to the country.”
But two diplomatic sources have confirmed to Al-Monitor that the ambassador was not recalled and the parliament’s statement was not on behalf of the government in Bahrain.
One source said that Bahraini Ambassador to Israel Khaled Yousef Al-Jalahma is in Manama now for a personal engagement and not because of a recall. “There has been no recall of ambassadors and no cutting of ties,” the source added.
6:50 am: Gaza death toll breaks 9,000
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said the number of people killed in the enclave has risen to 9,061, including 3,760 children. Another 32,000 people have been injured, the Hamas-affiliated Safa news agency reported.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Wednesday that more than 1.4 million people in Gaza have been displaced, more than half the population. OCHA added in its press release that Gaza City and northern Gaza have been “largely cut off” from the rest of the Strip as a result of Israeli ground operations and clashes with Palestinian militants.
6:20 am: Saudi king, crown prince order relief campaign for Palestinians in Gaza
Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the creation of a national fundraising campaign for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center. On the X platform, the center said that the king and crown prince have donated 50 million riyals (about $13 million) and 20 million riyals (around $5 million), respectively.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached catastrophic levels amid intense Israeli airstrikes and an ongoing blockade. Saudi Arabia and Israel had been in US-mediated talks on a deal to normalize relations before the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war.
5:38 am: Germany bans pro-Hamas activities, networks
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said she was immediately banning activities supporting Hamas, which the European Union had already designated as a terrorist group. Faeser also ordered the dissolution of the German branch of Samidoun, “which describes itself as a network of solidarity for Palestinian prisoners.”
1:30 am: Egypt to help evacuate 7,000 foreigners stranded in Gaza
Egypt is working to facilitate the evacuation of about 7,000 foreigners and dual nationals from the Gaza Strip, the Foreign Ministry said. In a meeting with foreign diplomats, Assistant Foreign Minister Ismail Khairat said the concerned authorities in Egypt are preparing “to facilitate the reception and evacuation of foreign citizens from Gaza through the Rafah crossing.” A small number of US citizens trapped in Gaza have managed to escape to Egypt after the Rafah border crossing was opened on Wednesday, the first time civilians have been able to flee the Palestinian territory since Israel began its bombing campaign more than three weeks ago.
Click here for our most recent updates.