update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

In meeting with Blinken, Gallant urges more pressure on Hamas

"The eyes of both our enemies and our friends are on the relationship between the U.S. and Israel," said the Israeli defense minister.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., June 24, 2024. Credit: Mark Stewart/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., June 24, 2024. Credit: Mark Stewart/U.S. State Department.

During a meeting in Washington on Monday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant raised the need for all parties to put more pressure on Hamas to release the hostages held in Gaza, according to a Defense Ministry readout of the tête-à-tête.

Gallant also brought up the importance of promoting a governing alternative in Gaza for “the day after” the destruction of Hamas.

“The eyes of both our enemies and our friends are on the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. We must resolve the differences between us quickly and stand together—this is how we will achieve our goals and weaken our enemies,” Gallant was said to have told the top diplomat.

Gallant also told Blinken of Jerusalem’s plans to confront ongoing Hezbollah terrorist attacks on the Jewish state’s northern border with Lebanon, either through a diplomatic agreement or military action.

Gallant was said to have stressed “the importance of the U.S. standing with Israel in this mission, and its impact on the actions taken by Hezbollah and Iran,” per his ministry.

Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman, said the officials “discussed ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of all hostages and alleviates the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

Blinken also “emphasized the need to take additional steps to protect humanitarian workers in Gaza and deliver assistance throughout Gaza in full coordination with the United Nations,” and “underscored the importance of avoiding further escalation of the conflict and reaching a diplomatic resolution that allows both Israeli and Lebanese families to return to their homes,” Miller stated.

Earlier in the day, Gallant called his plans to meet with two top U.S. officials “extremely important and impactful on the future of the war in Gaza and our ability to achieve the goals of the war.”

Prior to his meeting with U.S. officials, including CIA director William Burns, Gallant stated in Hebrew that he planned to “discuss the hostage issue,” which he has been dealing with since the first day of the war.

“I would like to emphasize that it is Israel’s primary commitment to return the hostages, with no exception, to their families and homes,” he said.

Gallant described the upcoming meeting with Blinken as “critical” and said, “among other topics, we will discuss the transition to ‘Phase C’ in Gaza and its impact on the region, including vis-à-vis Lebanon and other areas.”

Gallant was also scheduled to speak with White House senior advisor Amos Hochstein and Brett McGurk, White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.

“We are discussing a variety of issues,” said the defense minister, noting that like in prior meetings, the goal is to “reach agreements and solve issues,” even when the challenges are formidable. “And I am sure this will be true this time as well.”

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