March 25, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israeli Defense Minister Visits Washington to Push for Expedited Military Aid

March 25, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israeli Defense Minister Visits Washington to Push for Expedited Military Aid

Latest Developments

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant arrived in Washington this week, reportedly to request expedited shipments of weapon systems from the United States. The visit marks Gallant’s first to the United States as defense minister.

Gallant is scheduled to meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on March 26. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Gallant met on March 25 and discussed “how best to ensure Hamas’ lasting defeat in Gaza,” Sullivan said on X. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Gallant are also expected to meet. Gallant is being joined by several senior Israeli officials representing the Israeli Defense Ministry, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories.

Expert Analysis

“Gallant’s trip to Washington comes at a critical juncture for the U.S.-Israel relationship. While both countries still agree that Hamas must be destroyed, there is disagreement on whether Israel needs to carry out a full-scale operation in Rafah. However, Israel is also looking ahead to a potential all-out war against Hezbollah and needs ammunition and additional military supplies from Washington to win a war against the Iran-backed terror group in Lebanon. Jerusalem must balance prosecuting the current war against Hamas while factoring in the possible demands of a potentially devastating future war and — perhaps most importantly — keep America close.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“A well-armed Israel reduces the chances that Hezbollah will escalate the conflict into a major war a scenario that is in both Washington and Jerusalem’s interest to avoid.” Ryan Brobst, FDD Senior Research Analyst

March Phone Call Between Austin and Gallant

Austin and Gallant spoke about “the negotiations for the release of hostages and a temporary ceasefire” during a phone call on March 20, according to the Pentagon. Austin also emphasized considering “alternatives to a major ground operation in Rafah, while reiterating the shared goal of defeating Hamas.” Furthermore, the two discussed “the need to do more to protect civilians and urgently increase the flow of aid into Gaza through land crossings.” Austin last met Gallant on December 18 in Tel Aviv.

Disputed Slowdown of U.S. Weapon Exports to Israel

An unnamed senior Israeli official reportedly told ABC News on March 14 that Israeli officials believe U.S. military aid shipments to Israel are “very slow” compared to previous periods in the five months since October 7. The statement came as the United States expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in Gaza and Israel’s potential military operation in Rafah. The IDF declined to comment on the Israeli official’s statements, and U.S. officials denied reports of deliberate delays of military aid or policy changes toward Israel. In response to the allegation, White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby said, “We continue to support Israel with their self-defense needs. That’s not going to change.”

Israeli, U.S. Officials to Meet in Washington to Discuss Rafah Operation,” FDD Flash Brief

Netanyahu: Halting Gaza War Means Losing It,” FDD Flash Brief

How to Ensure Israel Has the Weapons It Needs,” by Bradley Bowman and Richard Goldberg

Prospects for War With Hezbollah Drawing ‘Closer,’ Israeli Defense Minister Says,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Secretary of Defense Visits Israel, Bahrain, and Qatar,” FDD Flash Brief


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