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Gallant Meets Austin at the Pentagon, Finds No Change in US Policy

March 27, 2024 (EIRNS)—Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was at the Pentagon yesterday to meet with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The upshot of the latest readout is that, despite all the crocodile tears and faux commitment to addressing humanitarian concerns, no changes in US policy are forthcoming. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still has the green light from Washington to go ahead with his campaign of genocide in Gaza.

After the meeting, an unnamed senior defense official came out to brief reporters on background at the Pentagon on the meeting. “The secretary made clear throughout the conversation that Israel’s long-term security remains a core U.S. interest,” the official said. “He said that we share the view that Hamas must be defeated, and that the attacks of October 7th can never be repeated. He spoke about his hopes that negotiations will soon produce the release of all hostages. The hostages should be released in any event, but that those negotiations will produce success, and recommitted to ensure that Israel always has what it needs to defend itself.”

The official said that Austin “expressed the view that Hamas’ remaining battalions in Rafah must be dismantled, that that’s a legitimate goal that we share.”

The only disagreement between the two sides, supposedly, is how to go about destroying those Hamas battalions in Rafah while safeguarding the more than one million civilians who are desperately trying to cling to life there. Austin “stressed that the United States and Israel have both a moral imperative and a shared strategic interest in safeguarding civilians, innocents who are noncombatants and need to be protected. Obviously, there have been far too many civilians already, civilian casualties in Gaza.”

Regarding Rafah, Austin “expressed our goal to help Israel find an alternative to a full-scale, and perhaps a premature military operation that could endanger the over 1 million civilians that are sheltering in Rafah. And to do that, there’s a requirement to ensure that those civilians can depart, can do so safely and can have their humanitarian needs met as they make their way to other parts of Gaza.” Austin also took note of the “really dire conditions throughout Gaza,” but apparently without acknowledging that it’s Israel which is causing these conditions.

The official was peppered with questions on what alternative to an all-out assault on Rafah that the US is presenting to Israel, but he would only speak in vague terms. To the extent that they discussed it, the official said that it included sequencing and precision targeting.

“Do you believe the Israelis are actually listening to anything you’re saying?” Reuters asked the official.

“I believe Minister Gallant did express his commitment to address those (humanitarian) issues,” the official replied.