newsIsrael at War

Gallant heads to Washington for meetings ‘critical to this war’

The Israeli defense minister is scheduled to meet with top U.S. officials to discuss developments in Gaza and Lebanon.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant takes off for Washington, D.C., June 22, 2024. Credit: Shachar Yuman/Israeli Defense Ministry.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant takes off for Washington, D.C., June 22, 2024. Credit: Shachar Yuman/Israeli Defense Ministry.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant took off for Washington, D.C., overnight Saturday for meetings with top U.S. officials.

“The United States is our most important and central ally,” said Gallant shortly ahead of his departure. “Our meetings with U.S. officials are critical to this war,” he added.

“During these meetings I plan to discuss developments in Gaza and Lebanon,” he continued. “We are prepared for any action that may be required, and in additional areas.”

Gallant noted that the Israel Defense Forces was transitioning to “Phase 3” of its war against Hamas in Gaza, hinting that the heavy fighting would soon wind down and the military would switch to more targeted raids.

This will “enable additional things,” said the defense minister, possibly referring to a military campaign against Hezbollah in the north, “and I know that we will achieve close cooperation with the U.S. on this issue as well.”

Gallant is reportedly set to meet with his counterpart Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Director William Burns, among other top U.S. officials.

Senior U.S. officials have assured Israel that Washington is prepared to “fully back” its ally in the event of a further escalation on the northern border, CNN reported on Friday, citing a Biden administration official.

The Biden administration would offer Israel the security assistance it needs to fight Hezbollah, the senior official stated, adding however that the U.S. would not deploy American troops to the ground in such a scenario.

Gallant’s visit comes amid accusations the Biden administration is slow-rolling military aid to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message last week that “in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition [from] Israel.”

The Israeli premier went on to state that this was happening while Israel, “America’s closest ally,” was fighting for its life “against Iran and our other common enemies.”

“Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks. I certainly hope that’s the case. It should be the case,” he added.

The White House has insisted that it only paused a single shipment of 2,000-pound bombs over concerns that they could cause civilian casualties.

“We genuinely do not know what [Netanyahu’s] talking about,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday. “We just don’t.”

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