US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for over an hour in Ramallah in a surprise visit on Sunday.
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.
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Live updates (all times EDT):
Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023
6:30 pm: Skepticism surrounds European role in Gaza peacekeeping force
Analysts have poured cold water on the European Union committing troops to an interim international peacekeeping force on the ground in Gaza if Israel succeeds in overthrowing Hamas in the territory it has controlled since 2007, Jack Dutton reports.
5:30 pm: Pentagon deploys submarine to region
The Pentagon announced on Sunday evening that it has deployed one of its submarines to Middle Eastern waters as the Israel-Hamas war approaches its second month. US Central Command made the announcement in a tweet, saying that an Ohio-class submarine has arrived in the region.
“On November 5, 2023, an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” CENTCOM said, without offering its location.
4:15 pm: CIA Director Bill Burns arrives in Israel
CIA Director Bill Burns arrived in Israel on Sunday and met with Mossad chief David Barnea as Washington seeks a humanitarian pause in the conflict. Burns is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday before heading to Egypt and the Gulf.
1:50 pm: Pro-Palestinian protesters try to storm Turkish air base hosting US troops
Turkish police responded with tear gas and water cannons as hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters tried to storm Incirlik air base in southern Turkey on Sunday, just hours before Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to arrive in Ankara for talks with Turkish officials.
Incirlik, in Turkey’s Adana province, has been used as a support base for operations in Iraq and Syria by the international coalition against the Islamic State and houses a number of US troops.
1:45 pm: Blinken visits Iraq amid regional tour
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Iraq Sunday as part of a regional tour that included Israel, Jordan the West Bank and Cyprus. He will travel from Iraq to Turkey on Sunday.
Blinken met in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and also visited the US Embassy.
Washington has warned Hamas-aligned regional groups against getting involved in the conflict in Israel. In the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that killed over 1,400 Israelis, Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria have intensified attacks on US targets.
Speaking to the press after his meeting with Sudani, Blinken described the discussions with the prime minister as “good” and “productive,” noting that the United States would “do what’s necessary to protect our personnel and military facilities.”
1:10 pm: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Arab League condemn Israeli minister's nuclear threat
Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Arab League condemned a statement from Israel's Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu that dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza is "an option."
Following the minister's statements in a radio interview Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Eliyahu was indefinitely suspended from the government, saying his claims "are not based in reality."
In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said that Netanyahu's decision to merely suspend and not dismiss the minister "reflects the height of disdain for all human, moral, religious and legal standards and values of the Israeli government."
Arab League Secretary Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the Jordanian Foreign Ministry also condemned his comments.
12:45 pm: Paltel says phones, internet cut again in Gaza
Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel said Sunday there had been "a complete interruption of all communications and internet services in the Gaza Strip."
"The main routes that were previously reconnected [were] cut off again from the Israeli side," the company said in a statement.
Last weekend, Israel cut communications for over 24 hours as the Israeli military stepped up its bombardment and ground operations in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks that left more than 1,400 dead in Israel. Communications were restored last Monday after the US government "made clear" that phone and internet services should resume in the besieged enclave, the State Department said at the time.
9:00 am: Pope Francis reiterates call for cease-fire
In his weekly Sunday address in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis repeated his call for a cease-fire to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
"I pray you to stop in the name of God," he said. "Cease the fire.”
“Let’s think about the children, all the children involved in this war. Like in Ukraine and in other conflicts, their future is being killed,” he added.
8:00 am: Blinken meets Abbas in Ramallah
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to the West Bank, where he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas urged an “immediate cease-fire,” his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a readout, “The Secretary also expressed the commitment of the United States to working toward the realization of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
7:00 am: Gaza death toll hits 9,770
The death toll in Gaza has reached 9,770 Palestinians, including 4,800 children, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Sunday.
6:30 am: Fidan calls Egyptian, Jordanian foreign ministers
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan spoke with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts in separate phone calls on Sunday to discuss the situation in Gaza, including hostage talks and a cease-fire.
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