Benny Gantz meets senior US officials in Washington

Against the background of the normalization talks with Saudi Arabia and the US concern that Ben-Gvir and Smotrich would refuse concessions to the Palestinians as part of the agreement, Gantz met with US national security adviser in Washington: '[We discussed expanding Israel's integration in the region'

Opposition National Unity party head Benny Gantz is visiting Washington and met Wednesday with senior Biden administration officials of the American administration, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Gantz' office reported that they "discussed promoting Israel's vital security interests, expanding its integration in the region, and dealing with the threat The Iranian and with Iran's proxies in the Middle East."
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Gantz's visit to Washington is taking place against the backdrop of the talks for normalization with Saudi Arabia , and the fear in the White House of the possibility that government ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich will refuse concessions to the Palestinians within the framework of the agreement and thwart it. According to reports in the US, senior officials in the White House previously looked into whether a unity government could be formed in Israel in order to pass the agreement. Gantz has promised in the past that if the agreement was reached in a responsible manner, he would support it from the outside, without joining the government.
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בני גנץ וג'ייק סאליבן
בני גנץ וג'ייק סאליבן
Opposition National Unity Party head Benny Gantz meets with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington
(Photo: Yossi May)
A month ago, the leader of the opposition, Yair Lapid, visited Washington, and held a series of meetings with senior Biden administration officials , senators and public figures, including President Joe Biden's special envoy for the Middle East, Brett McGurk. In the shadow of the contacts with Saudi Arabia, Lapid requested that they preserve "Israel's security interests in any future agreement" and said that "strong democracies do not endanger their security interests in order to solve political problems."
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is expected to head to Washington later this month for a meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington. This is the first time that a minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's government, with the exception of Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, will meet in Washington with a counterpart, and comes after Priome Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations Assembly.
About a week and a half ago, Netanyahu finally met with Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations Assembly in New York, more than nine months after he formed his government, an unusually long amount of time despite the warm and historic relations between the US and Israel. Although Netanyahu was not invited to the White House, it seems that the meeting with the American president nevertheless caused him to lift the ban on his ministers meeting their counterparts until such a meeting took place.
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