Israeli Defense Minister says freeing hostages is Jewish state’s priority

Israeli Defense Minister says freeing hostages is Jewish state’s priority
Israeli Defense Minister says freeing hostages is Jewish state’s priority

Yoav Gallant, visiting Washington, also called this Monday, June 24, for close cooperation with the United States while last week was marked by tensions between the two countries.

Visiting Washington, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant committed this Monday, June 24 to working for the return of hostages from Gaza and called for close cooperation with the United States, after the rare tensions of the latter weeks.

Yoav Gallant met with the head of the CIA, Bill Burns, the main American responsible for negotiations aimed at obtaining a cease-fire and freeing the hostages held by Hamas. He then spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“I would like to emphasize that Israel’s primary commitment is to return the hostages, without exception, to their families and homes,” Yoav Gallant declared before beginning his meetings.

“We will continue to make every effort to bring them home,” he added.

An “extremely important” alliance with Washington

Yoav Gallant’s visit to Washington comes after a week of tensions between Israel and Washington over the delivery of weapons, against a backdrop of humanitarian disaster in Gaza. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “intense” phase of fighting was “about to end” in Rafah, in the south of the besieged territory.

“The alliance between Israel and the United States (…) is extremely important,” affirmed Yoav Gallant in a conciliatory tone, adding that ties with Washington “are the most important element for our future from the point of view of from a security perspective.

Yoav Gallant’s comments also come against a backdrop of regular protests in Tel Aviv against the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding early elections.

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of Israelis have been protesting against the management of the war in Gaza and the Prime Minister’s inability to negotiate the release of hostages. The Israeli defense minister is also scheduled to meet officials at the White House and speak with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin on Tuesday.

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