'Everything that's on the table' in Gallant U.S. trip

Defense Minister, to meet with high-ranking US officials to discuss Rafah offensive, IDF re-entry into al-Shifa hospital, humanitarian aid, Hezbollah and Iran's regional ambitions

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant will travel to Washington D.C. on Sunday afternoon at the invitation of the Biden administration. This visit comes as Israel faces critical political, military, and security decisions regarding a potential hostage- prisoner swap deal.
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In Washington, Gallant will meet with key figures like Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director Bill Burns, and Special Envoy for Lebanon Amos Hochstein. He will also hold discussions with AIPAC representatives and members of Congress.
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Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
(Photo: Defense Ministry)
Accompanying Gallant is Eyal Zamir, Director-General of the Ministry of Defense, who will continue talks with American officials. Also present will be Dror Shalom, Chief of the Defense Staff, and Col. Elad Goren responsible for Gaza Strip humanitarian aid. They will join discussions on operations in the Strip. The visit aims to strengthen Israeli-American cooperation during a sensitive time for regional security issues. Gallant's perspective provides strategic insights that could impact collaborative policy decisions going forward.
Alongside his counterparts, Gallant is poised to address the agenda concerning Rafah and the matter of humanitarian aid. The discussions will center on Israel's plans for Rafah and its commitment to increasing assistance to Gaza. Additionally, Gallant will emphasize the importance of continued transfers of American weaponry to Israel, despite reports suggesting a potential halt. Strengthening security ties with the United States and garnering ongoing international support for equipment and weaponry will be key objectives.
Furthermore, Gallant will engage in talks regarding efforts to secure the release of captives. A meeting with the head of the CIA, who will be returning from the Middle East with the Israeli delegation, is scheduled. The "day after" issue in the Gaza Strip is expected to be another topic of discussion, with Gallant presenting his plan for a gradual transfer of control to local Palestinian forces. Humanitarian aid, a matter of great concern to the Americans, will also be a significant focus, particularly in relation to the demand for a credible evacuation plan for the Gazan population in Rafah.
Gallant will present information to his American counterparts highlighting a significant increase in the delivery of humanitarian aid. The data reveals that the average number of trucks per day rose from dozens in January to over 100 in February and 250 in March. Gallant will counter claims of hunger in Gaza, citing Israel's strict calorie measurement, which demonstrates that even if only half of the aid reaches the residents, each Gazan citizen receives an average of 1,600 calories per day, far from hunger.
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Lloyd Austin
Lloyd Austin
U.S Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin
(Photo: Maya Alleruzzo / AP)
It is estimated that the figures are even higher in Israel, as Palestinians have their own nutritional auxiliary supplies and additional aid enters the Strip. Gallant has already shared these key research findings with Secretary of State Blinken and is expected to present them to other senior officials in the government as well. Gallant is slated to discuss a range of issues, such as operational data indicating no civilian casualties resulted from recent actions at al-Shifa hospital, while over 100 militants were killed.
Coordination with the US on establishing barriers between Gaza and Egypt will also feature in talks. When addressing Lebanon, Gallant will underscore the need to return northern residents and preference for an accord enabling troop withdrawals, like Resolution 1701, though hinges on Lebanon confronting Hezbollah. Should political headway stall, military moves and infrastructure harm may ensue. Continuing to counter Iran as the driver of regional terrorism through proxies such as Hezbollah and arms to Hamas, as well as the Islamic Republic's ongoing nuclear ambitions, are other issues Gallant may raise.
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