Israeli Defense Chief Heads to US to Discuss Next Phase of Wars in Lebanon, Gaza

A prosecutor at the International Criminal Court is seeking an arrest warrant for Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant

The Israeli defense minister Gallant is traveling to the US to discuss the next stage of the wars in Gaza and Lebanon. Washington is pushing for Tel Aviv to bring the conflicts to an end, while the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu is demanding more weapons from the US.

Before leaving for his visit to the US, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant indicated that Tel Aviv may want to reduce operations in Gaza in preparation for a larger war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since Israel began its onslaught in Gaza, Israeli forces have traded tit-for-tat attacks with the militant group.

The fighting between Hezbollah and Israel has displaced hundreds of thousands, killed nearly 500 in Lebanon, and caused over two dozen deaths in Israel.

“We are prepared for any action that may be required in Gaza, Lebanon, and in more areas,” the defense chief said. “The transition to Phase C in Gaza is of great importance. I will discuss this transition with US officials, how it may enable additional things and I know that we will achieve close cooperation with the US on this issue as well.”

It is unclear when Israel plans to transition to lower-intensity military action in Gaza. Last week, deputy to the US president Amos Hochstein told Lebanese leaders that major Israeli operations in Gaza would take five more weeks.

The talks between Gallant and his American counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, come amid a growing divide in Tel Aviv’s and Washington’s visions for the Middle East.

The Biden administration is hoping that a ceasefire in Gaza will end the fighting along Israel’s northern border as well. Meanwhile, some in Tel Aviv believe a transition to a lower-scale operation in the Strip will allow Israeli forces to be relocated to fight Hezbollah.

The White House appears to be attempting to deter the Israeli leadership from pursuing this course. On Thursday, CNN reported speaking with three US officials who said that the Biden administration believes that Hezbollah is capable of overwhelming Tel Aviv’s air defense systems.

Still, Hochstein told Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati that the US would aid Israel’s war should hostilities significantly escalate. However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to say he is unhappy with the supply of weapons he is receiving from the US.

Over the weekend, White House officials told top Israelis visiting the US that Washington would provide Tel Aviv with security assistance should war with Hezbollah break out.

Gallant’s visit to the US comes weeks after an International Criminal Court prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for the Israeli defense minister and PM for war crimes committed in Gaza.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.