Gallant to meet Austin in Europe after PM blocks ministerial visits to Washington

Defense minister expected to discuss with his counterpart the growing involvement of Iran in the West Bank and Gaza but will avoid raising concerns over the U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal, since a decision was already taken in Washington on the matter

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will meet with his American counterpart Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Belgium on Thursday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned his ministers from traveling to Washington on official business.
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יואב גלנט ולויד אוסטין
יואב גלנט ולויד אוסטין
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, last March
(Photo: Ariel Hermoni)
Netanyahu has yet to be invited to the White House, after six months in office, to meet U.S. President Joe Biden who has explained his decision by citing concerns over the government's push to overhaul the judiciary in a manner considered by Washington as an assault on Israel's democracy.
Gallant and Austin will discuss the threats posed by Iran but the meeting was not expected to focus on Israeli concerns that the administration was prepared to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. According to sources familiar with the defense minister's positions, Gallant does not want to "waste time" on the matter since the U.S. has already made its decision.
The senior defense officials will discuss strengthening the bilateral security cooperation and future joint military drills. Gallant will also present Austin with evidence of the growing Iranian involvement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He will express the position that American projection of strength in the region is vital to alert Iran of a credible military option in response to its continuing development of nuclear weapons.
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איראן משמרות המפכה הציגו טיל חדש היפרסוני
איראן משמרות המפכה הציגו טיל חדש היפרסוני
Iran reveals its hypersonic missile last week
The defense minister will in his meeting, raise the need to preserve Israel's military edge amid changes in the Middle East and expects to hear from his counterpart about the U.S. position on the importance of maintaining calm on the Palestinian front, as was expressed in past meetings.
From Belgium Gallant is expected to travel to Paris for meetings with other ministers of defense.
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