A senior adviser to the United States’ administration under President Joe Biden has travelled to Israel for talks on preventing the spread of war into Lebanon and the wider region.
According to the outlets, Axios and Reuters, which quoted anonymous American and Israeli officials, Biden administration adviser, Amos Hochstein, arrived in Israel yesterday to discuss with Israeli officials the escalating clashes and strikes across into and from Lebanon.
An Israeli official was cited as saying that Hochstein was set to meet with Israel’s Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, Minister for Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, military Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi and Israeli National Security Advisor, Tzachi Hanegbi.
Hochstein’s visit comes around two weeks after he visited Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, for the same purpose, working on efforts to ensure Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip does not spread north of Israel by involving the Iran-backed group, Hezbollah.
Since the renewed hostilities began a month and a half ago, Hezbollah and Israeli forces have engaged in strikes and frequent clashes with one another along the Israel-Lebanon border. Although no major escalation has yet taken place, the US is reported to be significantly worried about the situation erupting into an all-out conflict engulfing northern Israel and southern Lebanon, potentially drawing in American forces and causing the conflict to spread across the wider region.
One US official was quoted as saying that this trip to Israel “builds on Hochstein’s visit to Beirut earlier this month where he made clear the United States does not want to see conflict in Gaza escalating and expanding into Lebanon”.
During the talks, Biden’s Energy Security Advisor “will emphasise that restoring calm along Israel’s northern border is of utmost importance to the United States and it should be a top priority for both Israel and Lebanon.” Last year, Hochstein helped to finalise a maritime demarcation deal between Beirut and Tel Aviv, ensuring a level of cooperation amid their aims to explore and discover offshore energy supplies.