Biden to visit Israel; Gaza aid deal hopes rise

Uncertainty over Gaza-Egypt crossing at Rafah lingers

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip remained closed Tuesday as there was a growing confusion around when and where the crossing could re-open, allowing for a flow of refugees and much-needed humanitarian aid.

Trucks carrying aid for the Gaza Strip arrived on Tuesday at Rafah, Reuters reported, but there was no confirmation about when the convoy will be allowed into Gaza. On Monday, crowds of Palestinians were also seen gathering around the crossing’s gates, hoping for an escape.

Rafah border crossing Gaza Egypt
A satellite image shows the Rafah Border crossing between Gaza, and Egypt on Sunday.Maxar Technologies / AP

The Rafah crossing is the only border crossing into besieged Gaza not controlled by Israel, and the world’s attention has been fixed on it in recent days amid a growing humanitarian crisis in the densely populated enclave.

Egyptian officials said Monday that Israel was not cooperating on making the crossing operational. It was expected Sunday that the crossing would re-open to allow foreign national Palestinians out and aid in, but no truce conditions were established to allow that to happen.

Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital ‘crowded beyond imagination’

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One of the major hospitals in the Gaza Strip, Al-Shifa hospital, has now turned into a shelter for many seeking refuge after their homes were leveled from Israeli bombings.

“It is so crowded — beyond imagination. We can’t even move because of people blocking everywhere,” plastic surgeon Dr. Mohamed Ziara said in a series of video messages sent to NBC News.

Israel embarked on a withering air campaign against Hamas militants in Gaza after they carried out a brutal attack on Israel on October 7 that left more than 1,400 people killed in Israel.
Ambulances crowd the entrance to the emergency ward of the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on Sunday night.Dawood Nemer / AFP – Getty Images

Every corridor or department is blocked, he said. “They don’t have food, they don’t have water and they’re trying just to stay alive.”

“The team is so exhausted, we have only three doctors instead of nine. Actually, one of them was killed two days ago while he was going home after a full day’s shift. And he was bombed with his whole family in the whole building,” he said.

Donald Trump calls to bar potential refugees from Gaza

Former President Donald Trump called for barring potential refugees from Gaza from entering the U.S. “We aren’t bringing in anyone from Gaza, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya or anywhere else that threatens our security,” Trump said at his campaign event in Clive, Iowa, on Monday.

Read more here.

Biden to travel to Israel Wednesday amid war with Hamas

President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced, saying one of the president’s goals is to reaffirm U.S. “solidarity with Israel and our ironclad commitment to its security.” We have details from NBC News’ Peter Alexander.

How the U.S.- Israel agreement on aid came together

Secretary of State Antony Blinken before boarding his plane in Cairo en route to Jordan on Oct. 15, 2023.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken before boarding a plane in Cairo en route to Jordan on Sunday.Jacquelyn Martin / Pool via AFP – Getty Images

In every stop he made after his trip to Israel last week, Arab leaders told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the U.S. must do something to solve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, a senior State Department official said.

When Blinken called Biden after his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to relay their message, Biden asked his top diplomat to go back to Tel Aviv to work out a plan, the official said.

What followed was nine hours of negotiations between the U.S. and Israel, the senior State Department official said, as the two sides hashed out the details of the plan.

On Monday Blinken announced that the U.S. and Israel “have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza — and them alone.” The plan could also include creating areas to keep civilians safe, he said.

During the discussions about the agreement, Blinken and the U.S. delegation set up next to the Israel prime minister’s Cabinet meeting. Every so often Netanyahu would go over, and the two sides would exchange papers, the senior State Department official said.

Blinken also reiterated to Israel’s president today that every Arab leader he met with in the region expressed the importance of dealing with the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the official said.

Israel says it killed four people trying to infiltrate fence bordering Lebanon

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ASHDOD, Israel — The Israeli Defense Forces said this morning it killed four people who were trying to infiltrate a security fence bordering Lebanon.

Israel says it killed four people trying to infiltrate fence bordering Lebanon.
Aerial footage released by the IDF shows individuals close to the border fence, before an explosion. IDF

“A short while ago, IDF observation troops spotted a terrorist squad attempting to infiltrate the security fence with Lebanon and plant an explosive device,” a spokesperson for the IDF said.

It shared video appearing to show people moving near a fence before a blast dominates the screen.

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