Commitment to our citizens more than anything else: Israel Defense Minister to US envoy

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Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has said that the commitment to the citizens of the country is more important for the government than anything else. He conveyed this to Amos Hochstein, the visiting special envoy of US President Joe Bien, in Tel Aviv on Sunday, said the minister’s office. It may be noted that Hochstein played a major role in brokering arrangements between Israel and Lebanon, such as the late 2022 agreement delineating the maritime border between the two countries.

In November 2023 also, Hochstein landed in Israel in an attempt to curb the re-emerging violence between Hezbollah and Israel. The Defence Minister’s office said in a statement that Gallant emphasised the need to solve the crisis in North of Israel with the Hezbollah.

Gallant told Hochstein that his country was ready to resolve the crisis (in the North) through diplomatic means, but were prepared for any other option. The minister also discussed the need for a change in the security situation in the North of Israel as also on the need for the displaced residents of Israel back to their homes.

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Gallant, according to the statement, also thanked Hochstein for the role the US has played in working to achieve a diplomatic solution and change the situation on Israel’s border with Lebanon. Minister-without-portfolio and National Unity Chair Benny Gantz also met Hochstein, according to a statement issued by his office.

Gantz, who is also a former Chief of Armed Staff, expressed his appreciation to Hochstein for the efforts the US has taken to help address the challenges of the region. These issues included the hostages held by Hamas, Iranian terrorism, and regional stability. Gantz, according to the statement, also emphasised to Hochstein that Lebanon bears full responsibility for the terrorism coming from within its territory.

Gantz further said that unless Lebanon and the international community acted to remove the threat within Lebanon, Israel would broaden its military activities in the north in order to do so. He also noted that these potential military activities would take place irrespective of the war in Gaza.