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Gallant speaks with Moroccan counterpart as Israel readies to aid in quake response

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Saturday’s events as they happen.

Biden gives Saudi Arabia’s MBS a hearty handshake after awkward fist bump

NEW DELHI — The Saudi crown prince once vilified by US President Joe Biden has been elevated from a fist bump to a hearty handshake.

Biden warmly greets Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman, after they appeared together along with several other leaders at the Group of 20 summit today in New Delhi. The leaders had gathered to announce an ambitious plan to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe.

Biden smiles and shakes hands with the crown prince, who is often referred to by his initials MBS, as the announcement wrapped up. This year’s G20 host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, quickly drapes his own hand over their hands.

The cordial greeting was a sharp contrast to the last time Biden and the crown prince met, just over a year ago, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During that encounter, Biden awkwardly greeted the crown prince with a fist bump, a moment roundly criticized by human rights activists, who were already upset at Biden’s decision to meet with the Saudi leader.

Bin Salman has been harshly criticized for his human rights violations. US intelligence officials determined that the prince approved the 2018 murder of the US-based writer Jamal Khashoggi, who was a tough critic of the kingdom’s ruling family,

Tel Sheva man is 172nd member of Arab community killed in homicide this year

A man shot dead in the southern Bedouin town of Tel Sheva is the 172nd member of Israel’s Arab community to be killed in a homicide since the start of the year, according to the Abraham Initiatives anti-violence group.

The organization says 77 people were killed during the same span last year.

Gallant speaks with Moroccan counterpart as Israel readies to aid in quake response

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks with his Moroccan counterpart Abdellatif Loudiyi, as Israel readies to dispatch a search-and-rescue team to Morocco after a devastating earthquake in Morocco that killed over 1,000 people.

“A significant part of the Abraham Accords is our commitment to stand by our partners during difficult times. The State of Israel is prepared to assist the Kingdom of Morocco,” Gallant is quoted as saying in a statement from his office, referring to a series of US-backed normalization deals.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry says it will join the military and Defense Ministry in dispatching a delegation to Morocco that will include doctors and nurses, along with the provision of medical equipment.

The Health Ministry says it has been in touch with Israeli hospitals interested in assisting the delegation.