Blinken to meet Netanyahu, war cabinet on brief visit

US Secretary of State to spend just hours in Israel on Friday before continuing on his Mideast tour; PMO confirms Gallant will travel to D.C. to meet US counterpart; Dermer, Hanegbi also set to travel to Washington to discuss Rafah

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Israel on Friday for a short visit before continuing on his Mideast tour. He will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with the war cabinet before taking off again.
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Meanwhile Israel confirmed that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will be traveling to Washington to meet with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon. Netanyahu approved Gallant's visit, which will be his first since the start of the war in Gaza and will take place amid tensions between Israel and the United States, especially over the planned Israeli offensive on Rafah.
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יצחק הרצוג ואנתוני בלינקן בפגישתם ביום ה-124 למלחמה
יצחק הרצוג ואנתוני בלינקן בפגישתם ביום ה-124 למלחמה
Antony Blinken
(Photo: Oren Ben Hakun)
At the same time, and at the request of U.S. President Joe Biden, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi also will travel to Washington to meet senior officials there. Their visit was described by the Prime Minister's Office as taking place for the benefit of continuing the war.
The two officials are expected to discuss the IDF plans for the assault on Rafah. "The prime minister made clear that he is determined to operate in Rafah and destroy the remaining Hamas battalions there, while providing humanitarian solutions for the civilian population," according to a statement from the PMO. Dermer and Hanegbi will be accompanied by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major-General Ghassan Alian.
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אוהלים ברפיח
אוהלים ברפיח
A tent city in Rafah housing displaced Gaza citizens
(Photo: Bassam Masoud / Reuters)
The White House said in a statement that in the Monday telephone call between Biden and Netanyahu the leaders agreed that their teams meet to exchange views on alternatives that would focus on key Hamas figures and would secure the Gaza-Egypt border without a large-scale operation in Rafah.
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