Gantz arrives in Washington ahead of meetings with Harris, Blinken

After reportedly hiding plans for US trip from Prime Minister Netanyahu, Minister Gantz lands in Washington.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Minister-Without-Portfolio Benny Gantz (National Unity) arrived in Washington D.C. Sunday, ahead of a series of planned meetings with senior Biden administration officials, in a trip that was reportedly kept secret from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Gantz, a long-time rival of Netanyahu, left the Opposition and joined the government following the October 7th invasion.

Sunday’s trip was, according a source cited by Yedioth Aharanoth, planned without Netanyahu’s knowledge or consent, constituting a major breach of Israeli government protocol, which requires “every minister to clear travel in advance with the prime minister, including approval of the travel plan.”

A spokesperson for Gantz claimed that the minister had in fact notified Netanyahu of the planned trip.

“Minister Gantz personally updated the prime minister on his own initiative on Friday of his intention to travel, in order to coordinate the messages to be transmitted in the meetings,” Gantz’s office said in a media statement.

The National Unity party chief and former Defense Minister is slated to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday to discuss plans for the post-war administration of the Gaza Strip, reforming the Palestinian Authority, and the Biden administration’s concerns over Israel’s looming ground operation in the city of Rafah on the Egyptian border.

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More than half of the Gaza Strip’s estimated population of nearly 2.3 million is currently located in Rafah.

Later on Monday, Gantz is slated to hold a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Middle East envoy Brett McGurk.

Gantz is also expected to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

The minister’s trip comes as Qatari, Egyptian, and American brokers convened in Cairo attempt to bridge the gap between Israel and Hamas and reach a hostage deal.

While the Biden administration claimed Israel has already agreed to a ceasefire as part of an agreement, Jerusalem has balked at Hamas’ demand for a military withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and end to the current war, with the Israeli war cabinet voting unanimously not to send representatives to the Cairo talks.

Transportation Minister and Netanyahu ally Miri Regev (Likud) blasted Gantz’s Washington trip, hinting that it was orchestrated by the Biden administration in a bid to subvert the Netanyahu government.

“There is only one Prime Minister that makes decisions, and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu,” Regev told Radio Kol Chai Sunday.

Gantz “entered the government and said he was in favor of unity, so what happened? We are still in a multi-arena war.”

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“It may be that the Americans hear a weakness” in Gantz’s positions, Regev added.

Fellow Likud minister David Amsalem made similar claims, accusing Gantz of being used by the Biden administration to undermine the Israeli government’s position.

“Americans probably see you as the address to lead the process for a Palestinian state and the cessation of fighting in Gaza,” Amsalem tweeted Sunday morning.

“Mr. Gantz, you joined the emergency government in order to create unity during an emergency, not to be a Trojan horse. Your trip this morning to the U.S. is totally against government protocol (and you’re the one who is always whining that people are violating agreements).”

“I remind you that you joined the emergency government to create a consensus during wartime, not to stop the IDF from winning the war or to make an opportunity to lead the process of establishing a Palestinian state that will eliminate the State of Israel!”