Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Meeting With Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant

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Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant to the Pentagon for his first visit to Washington in his current role.  This visit is occurring after nearly six months of close cooperation between the two leaders following Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack and is a testament to the United States’ unwavering support for Israel’s long-term security.  The Secretary and Minister affirmed their shared interest in defeating Hamas.

Secretary Austin and Minister Gallant discussed the importance of prioritizing civilian protection in the event of military operations in Rafah, the dire humanitarian situation across Gaza, and threats to regional security. The Secretary stressed that the United States and Israel have a moral imperative and a shared strategic interest in safeguarding civilians, noting that operations in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and implementable plan that ensures the safety of and humanitarian support for civilians sheltering there.

The Secretary urged the Minister to expand entry points for humanitarian assistance and address distribution challenges inside of Gaza. The Secretary emphasized that the U.S. government’s plan to establish a temporary maritime corridor to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza is one part of a sustained international effort to deliver more aid and must be matched by increased delivery of assistance by ground.

The Secretary and the Minister reaffirmed the urgent need to secure the release of all hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza.  Secretary Austin reiterated his support for a diplomatic solution to resolve tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border that will allow Israeli civilians to return to their homes in northern Israel as quickly and safely as possible.  The Secretary made clear that the United States remained committed to deterring any regional actors from exploiting or expanding the conflict beyond Gaza.

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