June 26, 2024 | Flash Brief

Gallant Underscores U.S.-Israel Bond During Multi-Day Trip to Washington

June 26, 2024 | Flash Brief

Gallant Underscores U.S.-Israel Bond During Multi-Day Trip to Washington

Latest Developments

Following a series of high-level meetings in Washington, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized the enduring bond between the United States and Israel in remarks on June 26. “In every family — and we consider the American people our family — disagreements may arise,” Gallant said, referencing recent tensions between Washington and Jerusalem. “Yet like all families, we discuss our disagreements in-house, and remain united.” That familial bond “reflects a simple truth: our nations are tied by shared interests and more importantly, values,” Gallant added.

Gallant offered his observations one day after he met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The two defense chiefs discussed “efforts to de-escalate tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border,” the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and Iran’s “destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East,” according to a readout from the U.S. Department of Defense. Austin also warned that war in Lebanon would be “catastrophic” and “devastating,” emphasizing that “principled diplomacy is the only way to prevent any further escalation of tensions in the region.”

Expert Analysis

“Secretary Austin’s comments during Gallant’s visit crystallized the disconnect between Washington and Jerusalem. Austin said he wants Israel to avoid a war with Hezbollah, which he says could expand to a regional war. Gallant knows that Hezbollah is already at war with Israel and that Iran’s regional war continues to play out on multiple fronts.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“American support for Israel is essential during wartime, particularly with a conflict shaping up to be as complicated as the one with Hezbollah. While Israel remains committed to defending itself by itself, it will need both diplomatic backing and a consistent supply of weapons from the United States to prosecute this potential war to completion.” — David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

Netanyahu, White House Spar Over Weapons Shipments

Gallant arrived in Washington in the shadow of a rift between the Biden administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During a cabinet meeting on June 23, Netanyahu referenced a “dramatic decrease in the munitions coming to Israel from the U.S.” He said the slowdown began about four months ago but noted, “In light of what I have heard over the past 24 hours, I hope and believe that this issue will be resolved in the near future.”

Days earlier, Netanyahu posted a video on X in which he accused the Biden administration of withholding weapons from Israel. White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on June 20 that the video was just as “vexing and disappointing to us as much as it was incorrect.” Netanyahu then said that he was “ready to suffer personal attacks” so long as Israel “receives from the U.S. the ammunition it needs.”

Gallant’s Washington Meetings

Gallant met with U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein shortly after arriving in Washington on June 23. The two discussed the Lebanese front, including “the actions required to ensure the safe return of Israeli communities to the north.” Gallant noted that “Israel is preparing for every scenario both militarily and diplomatically.”

The next day, Gallant met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Gallant and Blinken “discussed ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of all hostages and alleviates the suffering of the Palestinian people,” the U.S. State Department said. Blinken also emphasized the importance of developing plans for postwar Gaza and resolving tensions along the Lebanese border diplomatically.

Gallant also met with CIA Director Bill Burns, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and several members of Congress while in Washington. Gallant reiterated on June 26 that Israel is not at war with the Palestinian or Lebanese people but with “Hamas, Hezbollah, and their backer — the Iranian regime.” He further maintained that Israel is “committed to bringing the hostages home,” defending the people of Israel, and “facilitating the delivery of essential humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

Israel Expects U.S. Arms Shipment Hold-Up Will Be Resolved Soon,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Envoy Arrives in Israel Amid Growing Focus on Hezbollah Escalation,” FDD Flash Brief

Reports Claim U.S. Delaying Munitions to Send Message to Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power