VP Harris meets Gantz in DC, expresses ‘deep concern’ on humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US Vice President Kamala Harris “expressed her deep concern about the humanitarian conditions in Gaza,” but also credited Israel’s “constructive approach” in the ongoing hostage negotiations, during her meeting with visiting war cabinet minister Benny Gantz earlier today, according to a White House readout.

Harris is one of several top US officials meeting with Gantz, who embarked this week on a visit to Washington seen as partially aimed at smoothing over tensions in Israel-US ties, as the latter increasingly loses patience with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prosecution of the war.

Netanyahu refused to sign off on Gantz’s visit, which he views as part of an effort to undermine his authority, and ordered the Israeli embassy in Washington not to provide the war cabinet minister with any assistance while Gantz is in town.

The US readout of Harris’s meeting with Gantz is largely a collection of talking points regarding the war, including a condemnation of Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught; support for Israel right to defend itself; the need for Israel to present a “credible and implementable humanitarian plan” for how it will protect civilians if it chooses to expand its ground incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah; the need for Israel to take additional measures to increase the flow of aid into Gaza; and the need for a six-week ceasefire that would allow for the release of the hostages and the entry of aid into and throughout Gaza.

Harris “expressed her deep concern about the humanitarian conditions in Gaza and the recent horrific tragedy around an aid convoy in northern Gaza,” the US readout says.

The vice president also “discussed the urgency of achieving a hostage deal and welcomed Israel’s constructive approach to the hostage talks,” it adds.

A readout from Gantz’s office was not immediately available.

Earlier today, Gantz met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and White House Mideast czar Brett McGurk. He will meet tomorrow with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Most Popular