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Pentagon hosts Gallant as US seeks to avert Israel-Hezbollah war

Washington's defense chief is warning of "terrible consequences for the Middle East" as Israel and Hezbollah inch toward all-out war, but Israel's defense minister is making no commitments.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stand during an honor cordon at the Pentagon on June 25, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia.

WASHINGTON — Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on Tuesday as Washington presses for an end to the eight-month-long war in Gaza in hopes of averting a likely more devastating conflict over Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

“Hezbollah's provocations threaten to drag the Israeli and Lebanese people into a war that they do not want. Such a war would be a catastrophe for Lebanon, and it would be devastating for innocent Israeli and Lebanese civilians,” Austin said at the top of the meeting at the Pentagon.

“Another war between Israel and Hezbollah could easily become a regional war, with terrible consequences for the Middle East, and so diplomacy is by far the best way to prevent more escalation,” the US defense chief continued.

Biden administration officials led by special envoy Amos Hochstein are assiduously pushing indirect talks toward a three-phase de-escalation plan that envisions Hezbollah's forces in southern Lebanon pulling back from the disputed demarcation line with Israel.

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