Israel war cabinet member Gantz to meet top US officials in Washington

Israel war cabinet member Gantz to meet top US officials in Washington
Israel war cabinet member Gantz to meet top US officials in Washington

Hello and welcome to the details of Israel war cabinet member Gantz to meet top US officials in Washington and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Israel’s military response has claimed 30,410 deaths, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas government’s Ministry of Health. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, March 4 — Benny Gantz, an influential member of Israel’s war cabinet, will meet in Washington today with top US officials to discuss efforts toward a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and increased humanitarian aid, a White House official said.

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Gantz is to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and separately with White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan, the official said yesterday, speaking on grounds of anonymity.

“The vice president’s meeting is part of our continued efforts to engage with a wide range of Israeli officials on the war in Gaza and planning for the day after,” the White House official said.

Another US official said that Gantz would also meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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Gantz’s visit comes as the United States, Israel’s strongest military and diplomatic backer, seeks a new pause in the nearly five-month war between Israel and Hamas.

But the visit by centrist Gantz, a former military chief, appears to have caused some division in the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Mr. Gantz, your entry into government was intended to create unity at a time of emergency, not to be a Trojan horse,” said Doudi Amsellem, minister of regional cooperation, in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

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Gantz, a current minister without portfolio, has long been a rival of Netanyahu’s, and his centrist National Union party enjoys broad support at a time when the Israeli coalition government appears increasingly fragile.

The 64-year-old said Sunday on X that he had already met in Washington with the executive board of AIPAC, a powerful pro-Israel lobby group.

He said he conveyed his “profound appreciation” for the group’s work to strengthen the US-Israeli alliance and “combating distressing levels of antisemitism across America”.

The White House official said Harris would discuss with Gantz “the urgency of securing a hostage deal, which would allow for a temporary ceasefire, and the need to significantly expand and sustain aid flows into Gaza, given the dire humanitarian situation”.

The United States launched its first airdrop of food into Gaza on Saturday, and the White House official said it was “prepared to do more to increase aid, including through airdrops” and a possible maritime corridor.

The Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in the death of around 1,160 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures, with around 250 people believed to have been taken hostage.

The Israeli army says 130 hostages remain in Gaza, of whom 31 are believed to be dead.

Israel’s military response has claimed 30,410 deaths, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas government’s Ministry of Health.

With Palestinians in Gaza facing an increasingly untenable situation, including desperate shortages of food, international calls for a ceasefire have been multiplying.

President Joe Biden faces increasing pressure, including from fellow Democrats, to exert stronger pressure on Israel over its war conduct.

The White House official said “the vice president will reiterate Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of continued Hamas terrorist threats” — while insisting on the urgency of a hostage deal, increased aid and a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, negotiations in Cairo resumed Sunday in an effort to craft a truce during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year will begin on March 10 or 11. — AFP

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