Gallant tells US envoy Amos Hochstein there is a ‘short window’ to reach deal with Hezbollah

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (right) meets US special envoy to the region Amos Hochstein at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, January 4, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (right) meets US special envoy to the region Amos Hochstein at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, January 4, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tells US special envoy to the region Amos Hochstein that there is “a short window of time for diplomatic understandings” to be reached with Hezbollah, as the Lebanese terror group carries out daily attacks on northern Israel.

“There is only one possible result — a new reality in the northern arena, which will enable the secure return of our citizens,” Gallant says to Hochstein, according to remarks provided by his office, referring to residents of the northern border area who were displaced by the attacks.

“Yet we find ourselves at a junction. There is a short window of time for diplomatic understandings, which we prefer. We will not tolerate the threats posed by the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah and we will ensure the security of our citizens,” he adds.

Gallant’s meeting with Hochstein at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv was also attended by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Herzog, and other senior defense officials.

The Defense Ministry says Hochstein was briefed on “the security situation on Israel’s northern border and the conditions required by the defense establishment to facilitate the secure return of Israel’s northern communities to their homes in the region.”

“Gallant reflected the determination of Israel’s defense establishment to change the security reality in northern Israel and along the border with Lebanon, and emphasized the top priority of enabling over 80,000 displaced Israelis to return to their homes,” his office says.

Gallant’s office adds that the defense minister expressed his appreciation to Hochstein for “his work in the region and for reflecting the United States’ and US President Biden’s commitment to the security of the State of Israel.”

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