Israeli defense minister discusses Rafah op, humanitarian aid with US officials

Gallant is scheduled to meet U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday morning.

By David Isaac, JNS

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant met separately with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday in Washington, D.C., to discuss Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas.

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said Blinken reiterated the United States’ support for defeating the terrorist organization, including in Rafah, but also expressed opposition to a major ground operation in the city.

“The secretary underscored that alternatives exist to a major ground invasion that would both better ensure Israel’s security and protect Palestinian civilians,” said Miller.

“Secretary Blinken also discussed the need to immediately surge and sustain additional humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of civilians in Gaza,” he added.

In Gallant’s meeting with Sullivan, which was held in private and lasted over an hour, the two reviewed efforts to secure the release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas and the steps required to ensure the destruction of the terror group’s governing and military capabilities, according to an Israeli Government Press Office statement.

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“The outcomes of this war will shape the region for years to come,” said Gallant, and will send a signal to the common enemies of both Israel and the United States.

Sullivan tweeted on Monday, “I was pleased to welcome Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant to the White House today. We had a constructive discussion on how best to ensure Hamas’ lasting defeat in Gaza.

“I conveyed President Biden’s iron-clad support for Israel’s security and defense against all threats, including Iran. I welcomed Yoav’s commitment to take additional steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he added.

Gallant is scheduled to meet U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday morning.

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Monday that he expected the conversation to focus on “addressing the threat of Hamas, while also taking into account civilian safety.”