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Israeli DM Gallant heads to Washington to discuss next phase of Gaza War, confrontation with Hezbollah

Israeli officials expected to discuss preparations for offensive against Hezbollah

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant speaks to the press before departing for an official visit to Washington D.C., June 23, 2024 (Photo: Shachar Yuman)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant left on an official visit to Washington D.C. on Saturday night, following an invitation from U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

In a visit overshadowed by the recent disagreement over accusations made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. is holding up the delivery of weapons to Israel, Gallant is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Austin, as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior U.S. officials. 

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has denied withholding or delaying weapons to Israel.

Gallant is expected to discuss operations to achieve Israel’s war goals against Hamas, returning the hostages held by Hamas, and efforts to achieve regional stability. 

The defense minister is also expected to discuss cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli defense establishments, including weapons deliveries, as Israel is reportedly preparing for increased conflict against Hezbollah. 

Gallant is being accompanied by the director-general of the Defense Ministry, Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir, Chief of Staff Shachar Katz, Military Secretary Brig.-Gen. Guy Markizano, and director of the Policy and POL-MIL Bureau, Dror Shalom. 

In comments before his departure, Gallant said: “Tonight I will depart to the United States, upon invitation by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The United States is our most important and central ally. Our ties are crucial and perhaps more important than ever, at this time.” 

“During these meetings, I plan to discuss developments [on the southern and northern fronts], in Gaza and Lebanon,” Gallant stated. “These [discussions] are particularly important and impactful at this time. We are prepared for any action that may be required in Gaza, Lebanon, and in additional areas.” 

Gallant said Israel is focused on completing the war effort in Gaza. 

“The transition to ‘Phase C’ in Gaza is of great importance. I will discuss this transition with U.S. officials, touching on how it may enable additional things [to take place], and I know that we will achieve close cooperation with the U.S. on this issue as well.” 

The trip to Washington marks Gallant’s second visit to the U.S. since the start of the war in Gaza.

While in Washington, the senior Israel defense officials are expected to meet with their U.S. counterparts to discuss the current situation. The U.S. will reportedly attempt to persuade Israel not to invade.

However, Israel has tens of thousands of civilians who have evacuated their homes due to constant attacks by Hezbollah and is seeking to restore calm so that civilians can return home. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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