Gallant meets Lloyd Austin
Gallant meets Lloyd AustinCredit

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant today (Tuesday).

Secretary Austin made clear that the US commitment to Israel's security is steadfast and unwavering and affirmed that the Department of Defense is focused on initiatives that deepen military cooperation between the two countries. The two leaders discussed the range of Iran-backed threats to regional security and stability and agreed to continue working together to counter these threats.

During their conversation, Secretary Austin underscored the United States' belief that broad consensus through political dialogue, especially in the coming weeks and months, are critical elements of a resilient democracy. He also expressed concern regarding the urgent need for Israeli and Palestinian Arab leaders to take meaningful steps to ensure stability in Judea and Samaria. Secretary Austin called for Palestinian Arab leaders to condemn terrorism and take active steps to prevent violence. He urged Minister Gallant to address extremist settler violence against Palestinian Arab civilians and continue the Israeli Ministry of Defense's efforts to improve economic opportunities for Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

Minister Gallant Minister noted that Israel is a strong democracy and will remain as such in the future. Minister Gallant also raised the importance of completing the Arrow-3 for Germany agreement. The parties also discussed IDF activities in Jenin. Minister Gallant emphasized that the fulfillment of PA activities in the territories under its responsibility, is a security interest for Israel. He highlighted that the IDF will operate as required to defend Israeli citizens. Minister Gallant expressed his appreciation to the administration and to Secretary Austin for their commitment to the security of the State of Israel and to ensuring Israel’s qualitative military advantage in the region.

The discussion comes a day after the Knesset passed the coalition's Reasonableness Standard bill, which was criticized by the Biden Administration, and demonstrates that security cooperation between the US and Israel is not affected by the controversy over the legislation.