Gallant meets Lloyd Austin
Gallant meets Lloyd AustinCourtesy

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke on Wednesday with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant “to discuss the situation in Gaza and the United States' ironclad support for Israel,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

According to the statement, “Secretary Austin reiterated strong US objections to the International Criminal Court prosecutor's outrageous application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders.”

Austin “underscored the urgent need to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza across all available crossings. Secretary Austin encouraged the Israeli government to conclude talks with Egypt to reopen Rafah Crossing and resume the flow of aid from Egypt through Kerem Shalom. The Secretary also advocated for an effective mechanism to deconflict humanitarian and military operations inside Gaza,” the statement continued.

“Secretary Austin and Minister Gallant acknowledged a shared interest in the enduring defeat of Hamas and the urgent release of all hostages, and they discussed how best to defeat Hamas' Rafah remnants while minimizing civilian harm,” it concluded.

Earlier this week, Gallant met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan at the Ministry of Defense Headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Gallant briefed Sullivan on developments in the war against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, as well as the various efforts made to ensure the return of 128 hostages held by Hamas.

Gallant and his delegation also presented the humanitarian plans undertaken in Gaza that complement operational activities on the ground. This includes significant efforts to evacuate the civilian population in Rafah, facilitating the provision of humanitarian services, and operating in a precise manner to avoid harm to uninvolved civilians.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration is softening its opposition to the IDF's opposition in Rafah after the IDF successfully evacuated over 800,000 civilians from the city.

An American official said that during Sullivan's visit to Israel, the US found that Israel was incorporating many of the administration's concerns over the humanitarian situation in Rafah into its planning for the operation.