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US urges Israel’s defence minister to avoid Further escalation in Lebanon

In a recent meeting in Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant to avoid further escalation in Lebanon while discussing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. This meeting, which lasted two hours at the State Department, focused on indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas, aiming for a deal that would ensure the release of all hostages and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

The context of this meeting includes increasing tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, with exchanges of fire raising concerns about a broader conflict. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that Israeli forces are transitioning from the most intense phase of the Gaza war to a more defensive posture on the northern border. Despite Netanyahu’s public criticism of the US for delays in weapons deliveries, Gallant emphasized the importance of quickly resolving differences between the US and Israel to strengthen their alliance and achieve shared goals.

Blinken’s subsequent visit to Qatar underscores the importance of diplomacy in addressing the ongoing conflict. Qatar has been a key mediator, and the US hopes to bridge the gaps between the demands of Hamas and the conditions set forth in President Joe Biden’s May 31 ceasefire plan for Gaza.

Additionally, Gallant met with CIA Director Bill Burns to discuss efforts to free the hostages from Hamas, reaffirming Israel’s commitment to returning them safely to their families.

Despite recent friction over weapons shipments, the US continues to support Israel’s security, although a shipment of high-payload munitions remains on hold. The Biden administration is focused on preventing a resurgence of Hamas control in areas previously targeted by Israel, as seen in Gaza City and Khan Yunis.

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