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After a tense meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin met with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant. Gallant, on his second day of meetings in the United States, discussed issues of military collaboration and strengthening the air capacity of the Israeli army. He also met with the director of the CIA, William J. Burns, who participated in negotiations between Israel and Hamas in Doha last week.

The relationship between Israel and the United States has been strained due to pressure from the White House for Israel to reduce the intensity of its offensive on Gaza to minimize civilian suffering. However, Austin emphasized that Israel has the right to defend itself and that the United States will always support it because their bond is “unbreakable.” The urgent relief of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza remains a priority, with both Gallant and Austin discussing ways to address it.

Gallant’s meeting with his American counterpart came after Netanyahu criticized the White House for allowing an immediate ceasefire resolution in Gaza, which was the first in six months of war. In addition, Netanyahu canceled a visit to Washington by two of his advisors as a clear sign of anger regarding the situation in Gaza. Friction between Israel and its closest ally has put their bilateral relationship to a turning point but not breaking point.

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