On October 19, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is scheduled to arrive in Israel for a two-day visit, during which he will engage in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. Following his visit to Israel, Sunak plans to visit several other capitals in the region. This diplomatic initiative comes in the wake of visits by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on October 17 and US President Biden on October 18. French President Emmanuel Macron has also expressed his intention to travel to the region when a productive agenda and concrete actions are identified.
Sunak’s visit is part of a broader effort by foreign leaders to prevent the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict. However, the specific countries on Sunak’s itinerary have not been disclosed by his office. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has announced plans to send approximately 20 truckloads of aid to the Gaza Strip, according to a statement from US President Joe Biden. The Israeli government has granted permission for humanitarian aid to enter southern Gaza from Egypt, with the condition that none of it is diverted to the Hamas militant group.
On October 18, while making a refueling stop in Germany aboard Air Force One, President Biden mentioned that he had received assurance from Egyptian President Sisi during a phone conversation following his visit to Israel. During the same announcement, President Biden pledged $100 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza and the West Bank. He also expressed his intention to seek unprecedented support from Congress for Israel’s efforts against Hamas. Evidence from the Pentagon suggested that Israel was not responsible for the explosion at a Gaza City hospital on the night of October 17, as relayed by President Biden.
A White House statement on October 18 outlined President Biden’s plan to deliver a speech from the Oval Office on the night of October 19. The speech would address the U.S. response to Hamas’ attacks on Israel and touch upon Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Jack Lew, the nominee for ambassador to Israel under the Biden administration, informed a Senate panel on October 19 that he would work toward advancing pre-war negotiations to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. President Biden shared his intention to submit a supplemental request to Congress, amounting to approximately $100 billion. This request would cover defense assistance for Israel and Ukraine, funding for border security, and aid for nations in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan. These statements were made as President Biden returned to Washington following his visit to Israel.
The United States utilized its veto authority within the United Nations Security Council to reject a resolution addressing the current conflict. Originally proposed by Brazil, the resolution faced an abstention from both the United Kingdom and Russia. Ultimately, 12 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution.