update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Gallant meets with White House envoy Hochstein in Washington

The Israeli defense minister reiterated his commitment to changing the security situation on the Lebanese border.

U.S. presidential adviser Amos Hochstein (left) and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Washington, June 24, 2024. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/IMoD.
U.S. presidential adviser Amos Hochstein (left) and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Washington, June 24, 2024. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/IMoD.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met on Monday in Washington with White House senior adviser Amos Hochstein.

The two men discussed the ongoing conflict against Hezbollah and the “actions required to achieve a framework that enables the safe return of Israeli communities to their homes in the north,” according to an Israeli readout.

Gallant reiterated his commitment to changing the security situation on the northern border.

He told Hochstein that the transition to “Phase 3” in the war against Hamas in Gaza will impact developments on all fronts, and that Israel is preparing for every scenario both militarily and diplomatically.

Hochstein, a senior adviser for energy and investment to U.S. President Joe Biden, met last week in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The White House official rejected Jerusalem’s demand that a diplomatic deal to end the conflict in the north be based on the implementation of U.N. Security Resolution 1701—which was adopted to end the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and calls for a demilitarized zone from the U.N.-demarcated Israel-Lebanon Blue Line border to the Litani River some 18 miles to the north.

Instead, he said it should include a range of options, including moving Hezbollah six miles from the border. He stressed that the United States was concerned about further escalation and called for calm on both sides.

Hochstein then traveled to Beirut last Tuesday, including for talks with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a powerful ally of Hezbollah.

On Sunday, Gallant kicked off his visit by meeting with Howard Kohr and Arne Christenson, AIPAC’s outgoing CEO and its managing director for policy and politics respectively.

Gallant thanked Kohr and Christenson “for an important discussion at the start of my visit to Washington.”

“We are committed to ensuring a strong U.S.-Israel alliance,” the defense minister said. “The United States is the most important ally of Israel—and more central than ever before.”

He is scheduled to meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA director William Burns, among other officials.

“During these meetings, I plan to discuss developments in Gaza and Lebanon,” Gallant said on Saturday night ahead of his departure for the United States. “We are prepared for any action that may be required, and in additional areas.”

The defense minister hinted that “Phase 3” of the war in Gaza would see the heavy fighting soon wind down and the military switching to more targeted raids.

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

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