At defense press conference, Israel says no war deadline, US pushes two-state solution

Netanyahu has rejected a proposal that the Palestinian Authority rule Gaza after the war and insisted that Israel have full security control in Gaza.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

On Monday night, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke at a joint press conference in Tel Aviv with the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin during which Gallant insisted there would be no timetable set for the war and Austin urged a two-state solution.

Although the Biden Administration has been urging Israel to enter into a new, less-intense phase of the war by the beginning of January 2024, in his remarks during the press conference, Gallant insisted there would be “no timetable” for the war and emphasized that the task to eliminate Hamas would be a long and difficult one.

Regarding Hezbollah, Gallant admitted that even though Israel did not seek war on a second front in the north, “Israel will not hesitate to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon if a diplomatic solution to the terrorist organization’s presence on the border with Israel is not found.”

Austin, a retired four-star general, oversaw U.S. forces in the Middle East and led U.S. forces in Iraq, reaffirmed his support for Israel in its goal to defeat Hamas.

He said, “I talk to Galant every day on the phone, and I am happy to be in Israel even on difficult days like this. I am coming with an unequivocal message – US support for Israel is unwavering.”

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Austin discussed the threat the Iranian-backed Houthis have posed in the Red Sea and the formation of an international force to combat the terrorist threats on commercial and military vessels.

The Defense Secretary then encouraged Israel to show more restraint when dealing with Gazan civilians and to establish a two-state solution after the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has several times rejected a proposal that the Palestinian Authority rule Gaza after the war and has insisted that Israel have full security controls in Gaza after dismantling Hamas in the region.

The press conference followed a meeting between Lloyd Austin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during which he showed the Defense Secretary pictures of the hostages and reiterated his determination to completely eliminate Hamas.

Also attending were Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Major General Tzachi Hanegbi, Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Hertzi Halevi and the Prime Minister’s military secretary Major General Avi Gil.

On the American side, the meeting was attended by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown, Secretary of Defense Rgt. Kelly Magsman and Deputy US Ambassador to Israel Stephanie Alt