United States

Top Israeli cabinet official to meet with U.S. leaders in Washington despite Netanyahu’s opposition

White House pushes for Israel-Hamas cease-fire

White House pushing for cease-fire plan in Israel-Hamas conflict


Washington — Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz is set to meet with top leaders in Washington this week, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes it. 

Vice President Kamala Harris, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are each set to meet Monday with Gantz, who is the chairman of the National Unity Party and a political opponent of Netanyahu. Brett McGurk, the national security council coordinator for the Middle East, is also scheduled to meet with Gantz Monday. On Tuesday, Gantz is expected to have a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  

Gantz’s visit to Washington is taking place against Netanyahu’s will, an Israeli official confirmed to CBS News. The prime minister has ordered Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and the Israeli Embassy to boycott Gantz’s meetings with Harris and Sullivan, even though it is customary for the ambassadors to appear with foreign leaders during visits.  

Gantz is arriving in Washington as the Biden administration has seemed to take a tougher rhetorical stance on Israel, as the death toll in Gaza has risen to more than 30,000 since the war began nearly five months ago.

The U.S. conducted its first airdrops of food aid into Gaza over the weekend. And Harris gave some of the administration’s most forceful remarks about Israel and Gaza on Sunday, demanding an “immediate” cease-fire for at least the next six weeks.  

The U.S. has been advocating for the six-week cease-fire for weeks, which would allow for the release of additional hostages. A senior U.S. administration official said over the weekend that Israel endorsed a framework for a cease-fire and hostage release. But according to Israeli media, the government boycotted the talks on Sunday after Hamas rejected demand for a complete list of living hostages.

Margaret Brennan contributed reporting.

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