All Israel

Israeli DM Gallant calls on US to 'increase pressure on Hamas,' work together in 'military and diplomatic efforts'

US defense secretary says safety of Rafah's civilians is a ‘top priority’ for US; calls for PA control over Gaza

Gallant meeting with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in the Pentagon, on March 26, 2024 (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/IMoD).

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant continued his U.S. visit on Tuesday by meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, amid the continuing rift between the two governments over Israel’s war strategy in the Gaza Strip.

Gallant and Austin spoke about the requirements “to ensure the destruction of the Hamas terrorist organization, as well as ongoing efforts to ensure the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza,” according to a statement from Gallant’s office.

During remarks delivered to the press before the meeting, the Israeli defense minister said: “The negotiations on the hostage issue and Hamas positions, require us to join hands in our military and diplomatic efforts, and to increase pressure [on Hamas].”

The call to increase pressure on Hamas came against the background of ongoing tensions between Israel and the United States over the American abstention from the latest UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution, which called for a ceasefire not contingent on the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas.

“Today’s resolution gives Hamas hope that international pressure will force Israel to accept a ceasefire without the release of our hostages," Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response.

Following the UNSC resolution, Gallant had stated Israel would “act against Hamas everywhere, even in areas where we have not been yet,” a reference to the U.S. objecting against Israeli plans to enter the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

“We have no moral right to stop the war in Gaza until we return all the hostages to their homes,” he added. “If we don’t reach a clear and absolute victory in Gaza, it could bring a war in the north closer.”

In Austin’s remarks before the meeting, he reiterated the U.S. position that “protecting Palestinian civilians from harm is both a moral necessity and a strategic imperative,” criticizing the “humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip and calling for “immediate increases in assistance to avert famine.”

“The number of civilian casualties is far too high, and the amount of humanitarian aid is far too low,” he added.

While Austin called the safety of the civilians in Rafah “a top priority” for the U.S., he emphasized that the U.S. and Israel still shared the goal “of seeing Hamas defeated.”

The U.S. defense secretary also echoed the Biden administration’s insistence that a post-war strategy includes “renewed cooperation with the Palestinian Authority” and other regional partners to “move toward a two-state solution,” which Israel emphatically rejected in recent months.

Before meeting with Austin, Gallant said he would talk about “the growing threats on our northern border,” a region from which tens of thousands of Israelis are being evacuated amidst daily Hezbollah attacks.

“We also face attacks from 7 different fronts - all led by Iran. While I sit here in the Pentagon, Hamas leader Haniyeh is meeting with Iranian leadership,” he added.

In addition, Gallant raised the “important cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. defense establishments to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.”

The Axios news outlet reported last week that Gallant intended to bring with him a list of specific requests for U.S. weapon systems, including short-term requests for the Gaza War, as well as long-term requests, such as the additional purchase of F-35 and F-15 fighter jets.

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

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories