Austin becomes latest US official to visit Israel as Biden administration presses for strategy shift from Netanyahu

CNN — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is visiting Israel on Monday to get a clearer assessment from Israeli officials on their military operations, marking the latest administration official to visit the country amid an intensifying rift between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over mounting civilian casualties in Gaza . Biden is under increasing pressure, domestically and internationally, to push Netanyahu away from the heavy bombardment of Gaza, which has sparked global outcry and calls for a sustained ceasefire. CNN reported earlier this month that US officials expected Israel could transition by January to a lower-intensity, hyper-localized strategy that narrowly targets specific Hamas militants and leadership. A senior defense official said Sunday that Israel’s security establishment is assessing the conditions necessary to move to that next phase of the conflict “on an hourly if not daily basis” and that Austin wants to hear “a very clear articulation of their self-assessment” on Monday. Austin will receive updates on how the Israel Defense Forces, the War Cabinet and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant are assessing the current phase of the campaign in Gaza, while also getting a sense of what metrics they’re using to transition to the next phase, the official said. Gen. CQ Brown Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will also be in Israel, joining Austin for “meetings with senior Israeli officials,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said last week. Austin’s conversations will focus on “the assessment of the campaign to date, specific operational milestones that need to be achieved,” the defense official said, adding that “we would expect any partner to be planning for what comes next.” Austin’s visit comes on the heels of a visit to Tel Aviv by national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and just days after blunt remarks by […]

See also  The 43 Best Fully Remote Jobs to Apply for in January 2024

Click here to visit source. Austin becomes latest US official to visit Israel as Biden administration presses for strategy shift from Netanyahu

By Donato