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Israeli defense minister calls Washington ‘pivotal ally’

June 23, 2024 at 11:53 am

Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant gives a speech in Tel Aviv on December 18, 2023 [ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel’s defence minister on Sunday called the United States a “pivotal ally,” highlighting upcoming “critical meetings” in Washington to address the war in Gaza and rising tensions between Tel Aviv and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Anadolu news agency reported.

Yoav Gallant’s statements were made shortly before his departure for Washington on an official visit of unspecified duration, amid a crisis in relations between the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the administration of US President Joe Biden, as reported by daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

“The meetings with senior (US) government officials are critical for the future of the war,” said Gallant.

“We are prepared for any action that may be required in Gaza, Lebanon, and in additional areas,” he added.

He also stressed that “the United States is our most vital and pivotal ally, and our relations are especially crucial at this time, perhaps more so than ever before.”

Netanyahu criticised Washington on Tuesday for withholding weapons and ammunition from Israel.

The White House responded by cancelling a strategic meeting with Israel that was scheduled for Thursday, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

Since the beginning of the war on Gaza on 7 October, the US has provided substantial quantities of weapons and ammunition to Israel, according to both American and Israeli sources.

READ: Key facts about Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant

US President Joe Biden previously suspended a limited arms deal with Israel, citing concerns about the protection of civilians.

But his demonstrations of solidarity with Israel and Netanyahu, even if strained in recent months, have angered millions of Americans firmly opposed to Israel’s war on Gaza, including many voters who normally support Biden.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since a 7 October, 2023 attack by Hamas.

The Palestinian death toll from relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last October has exceeded 37,500, according to the Ministry of Health in the besieged enclave.

More than 85,600 people have also been injured in the onslaught, the Ministry added.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.