Israel Latest: Saudi Minister Says Talks on Ties Still on Table

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said talks toward a normalization of ties with Israel remain on the table, though they have always been “contingent on a pathway to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian question.”

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Israel said its troops are fighting inside Gaza City as they move toward its heart from the north and south. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel could keep security control over Gaza for an “indefinite period,” suggesting a longer-term role in the besieged territory.

Netanyahu spoke to ABC News as the war with Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the US and Europe, entered its second month. The UN warned more maternity supplies, fuel and water are needed in Gaza, where it estimates about 180 women give birth daily.

Click here for more on the war between Israel and Hamas, which is designated a terrorist group by the US and European Union.

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

Saudi Minister on Talks Toward Normalization of Ties With Israel (3:47 a.m.)

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s minister of investment, said talks toward the normalization of ties with Israel remain on the table but have always been “contingent on a pathway to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian question.”

“That was on the table — it remains on the table and obviously the setback over the last month has clarified why Saudi Arabia was so adamant that resolution of the Palestinian conflict has to be part of a broader normalization in the Middle East,” Al-Falih said on a panel at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore.

When asked whether Saudi Arabia would use economic tools such as the oil price to achieve a ceasefire, Al-Falih laughed and said: “That is not on the table today. Saudi Arabia is trying to find peace through peaceful discussions.”

Aid Convoy Comes Under Fire, Red Cross Says (12:30 a.m.)

The International Committee of the Red Cross said a humanitarian aid convoy came under fire in the Gaza Strip. The ICRC did not specify the source of fire, but said it was “deeply troubled” over the episode.

A driver was lightly wounded and two of the five trucks were damaged. The trucks were carrying medical supplies to health facilities, including Al Quds hospital in Gaza City, which Israel has demanded evacuation amidst bombings in the vicinity of the medical center. Thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought shelter at the hospital. The convoy changed course and delivered the aid to the Al-Shifa hospital in the city according to the Red Cross.

US Having ‘Tough Conversations’ With Israel Over Gaza Bombing (9:19 p.m.)

The Biden administration is talking to Israel about respecting humanitarian law and keeping its airstrikes against the Gaza Strip proportional, Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said, amid growing condemnation of the civilian toll.

“We’re going to continue to have these kinds of conversations,” Singh said at a briefing. “That’s what a good partner does — is also having these tough conversations.”

Singh declined to say if Israel has violated international or humanitarian law with its strikes against the Gaza Strip, and said the US puts no conditions on the use of weapons it sends to Israel. But the US has been “very clear that humanitarian law, proportionality, always be taken into consideration when conducting any kind of response within Gaza,” she said.

Israel Says Displaced Gazans Allowed to Return: WSJ (8:47 p.m.)

Gazans who leave the area or are internally displaced would be allowed to return once the fighting is over, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“After we eliminate Hamas, everyone can go back to their homes,” Cohen said. Israel has been bombarding targets in Gaza since shortly after the fighting started Oct. 7, including in residential areas.

Israeli Troops Advancing Toward Heart of Gaza City, Gallant Says (8:15 p.m.)

Israeli troops are advancing from the north and south toward the heart of Gaza City, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a press briefing Tuesday. The soldiers are fighting within the built-up part of the city, he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated in a separate televised statement that there would be no ceasefire until the 240 hostages taken from Israel are freed.

UN Says 180 Women in Gaza Give Birth Daily Amid Limited Supplies (8:06 p.m.)

Only two truckloads carrying maternity supplies have entered Gaza so far, according to Natalia Kanem, executive director for the UN Population Fund. The UN estimates some 50,000 pregnant women live in the region. Over 5,500 children have been born since the war started as about 180 women give birth there every day, she said.

Allowing fuel and clean water into Gaza is needed to provide safe childbirth conditions, Kanem said Tuesday at UN headquarters in New York City.

US Says It Assisted 400 People Leaving Gaza (6:56 p.m.)

The US has assisted “more than 400 US citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other eligible individuals to depart Gaza,” said Vedant Patel, US State Department spokesman, without providing further details.

Global Affairs Canada said the first group of approximately 20 to 25 Canadians crossed the Rafah border into Egypt, and that it expects up to 80 citizens, permanent residents and eligible family members will leave Gaza Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the Rafah border crossing reopened Monday, when some foreign nationals and dual citizens as well as “a handful of injured people” were allowed to enter Egypt from Gaza.

Israel Sells Record $1 Billion in Retail-Like Bonds Since War Began (5:18 p.m.)

Israel Bonds, which is registered in the US and separate but affiliated to the Ministry of Finance, has sold more than $1 billion of retail-like bonds since Oct. 7. That’s a record for a monthly period and has almost doubled the organization’s issuance for the year so far.

There has been the “highest surge of investment ever,” Dani Naveh, chief executive officer of Israel Bonds, told Bloomberg.

Israeli Army Identifies Launches From Lebanon (4:57 pm.)

The Israeli army said it identified 20 launches from Lebanon toward Israel and that it is shelling their origin. It didn’t give further details in a brief text.

Earlier in the day, the army had fired at a group in Lebanon trying to launch missiles and said it attacked a Hezbollah position.

US Diplomat in Beirut Urges Calm on Israel, Lebanon Border (3:40 pm)

Amos Hochstein said preventing hostilities on the frontier “should be the highest priority for both Lebanon and Israel” and said the US “does not want to see conflict in Gaza escalating and expanding into Lebanon.”

His remarks came after he met in Beirut with Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri, Iran-backed Hezbollah’s top ally in the country. Hezbollah, a militant group in Lebanon, has been engaged in cross-border attacks with Israel since the conflict began.

Hochstein, special presidential coordinator for global infrastructure and energy security, is credited for successfully mediating a historical deal that demarcated disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel last year.

Israel Army Says Closing in On Gaza City With Focus on Tunnels (2:15 p.m.)

Israeli Defense Forces are trying to take out Hamas tunnels as troops close in on Gaza City, spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said in a briefing with journalists.

While it appears that aerial strikes ‘’to some extent are affecting their capability to fight back,” underground passages remain a threat, Hecht said. “We know they are acting from within tunnels and popping up from within tunnels.”

The army began closing in on Gaza City on Monday. Also on Monday, troops located a number of tunnels inside a residence in a civilian neighborhood and destroyed them, the army said in a text message.

Israel Reserves Fall by $7.3 Billion in October (1:38 p.m.)

Israel’s foreign reserves fell by more than $7 billion in October, to $191.2 billion, as the central bank sought to defend the shekel following the start of the war.

At the onset of the conflict, the Bank of Israel pledged to sell as much as $30 billion from its roughly $200 billion in foreign-currency reserves — and to provide as much as $15 billion more via swaps — to support the shekel.

Netanyahu Sparks Talk of Gaza Future (12:50 p.m.)

Netanyahu kicked off a debate about any future Gaza security regime with his comments to ABC.

“Israel for an indefinite period will have the overall security responsibility because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it,” Netanyahu said, according to excerpts of an interview that aired late Monday. “When we don’t have that security responsibility what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn’t imagine.”

Asked about the prime minister’s statement, his foreign policy adviser Ophir Falk said: “There are a number of options being discussed for the day after Hamas.”

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