‘Pivotal Ally’ – Gallant Heads to Washington for Talks amid US-Israel Tensions

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. (Photo: U.S. Secretary of Defense, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Gallant’s visit follows American discontent sparked by a recent video in which Netanyahu accused the United States of delaying the arrival of American weapons to Israel.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday called the United States a “pivotal ally,” emphasizing upcoming “critical meetings” in Washington to address the war in Gaza and rising tensions with Hezbollah on the northern front.

Gallant made these statements before departing for Washington on an official visit of unspecified duration, amid strained relations between the governments of Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden, as reported by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

“The meetings with senior (US) government officials are critical for the future of the war,” Gallant reportedly said.

“We are prepared for any action that may be required in Gaza, Lebanon, and in additional areas,” he added.

Israel’s defense minister also underscored that “the United States is our most vital and pivotal ally, and our relations are especially crucial at this time, perhaps more so than ever before.”

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Gallant’s remarks come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Washington on Tuesday for withholding weapons and ammunition from Israel.

In response, the White House canceled a strategic meeting with Israel that was scheduled for Thursday, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Gallant’s visit, which began on Sunday, marks his second mission to Washington since the start of the Gaza conflict, aimed at discussing developments in Gaza and northern Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that those close to Gallant blamed Netanyahu for the arms crisis with Washington, citing his failure to manage the situation intelligently and calmly, according to sources close to the minister.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the government approved the appointment of Foreign Minister Israel Katz as acting defense minister during Gallant’s visit to Washington.

The visit’s agenda includes discussions at the Pentagon with senior American policy and defense officials regarding ongoing security developments in the region.

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Gallant will reportedly confer with his American counterpart, Lloyd Austin, about the situation in northern Israel and continued cooperation with Washington amid fears of escalation leading to a regional war. They will also discuss “the next day” options in the Gaza Strip.

Gallant’s visit precedes Netanyahu’s upcoming speech before Congress in July, the content of which has raised concerns at the White House following the recent video in which the Israeli prime minister appeared critical of Washington.

On June 15, the US Secretary of Defense invited Gallant to visit the Pentagon to discuss security developments in the Middle East. Gallant had previously visited the United States in March to discuss an attack on Rafah after an invitation from the Pentagon.

Since the beginning of the Gaza conflict on October 7, Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity Party, who resigned from the war government before Netanyahu dissolved it, visited Washington in March to discuss war affairs. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid also visited the United States in April to discuss the regional situation, while Netanyahu has not yet visited Washington since the outbreak of the war.

(PC, AJA, Anadolu)

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