Vice President Harris meets with Israeli Minister Benny Gantz at the White House: NPR

Former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, second right, meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, Israel, on February 8.

Mark Schiefelbein/AP


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Mark Schiefelbein/AP


Former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, second right, meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, Israel, on February 8.

Mark Schiefelbein/AP

Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Israeli Defense Cabinet member Benny Gantz at the White House on Monday, as the United States looks to secure a temporary ceasefire to bring more humanitarian aid to Gaza and release hostages, the White House announced. The official said.

“The vice president will stress the need to reduce the number of civilian casualties,” the official said. The official added that Harris also intends to express his concern for the safety of people in Rafah and “the importance of creating a hopeful political horizon for the Palestinian people.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will also attend the White House meeting, the official said.

In addition, Gantz intends to meet with Democratic and Republican members of Congress during his visit, his office said in a press release.

The visit of the former Israeli military commander threatens to deteriorate his relations with his political rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. An Israeli source familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly told NPR that Netanyahu is upset with Gantz for arranging a trip to Washington without his knowledge.

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Following the Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7, President Biden strongly supported what he said was Israel's right to defend itself. But as the civilian death toll in Gaza rose, Biden became openly critical of Netanyahu's military response. Last month, Biden said the response was “exaggerated” and also said that Netanyahu's government risked losing global support because of its actions in the sector.

The Hamas-led attack killed about 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials. The Israeli response resulted in the deaths of more than 30,300 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

On Saturday, the United States began dropping much-needed air aid into the Gaza Strip. Delivering aid to Gaza has proven difficult, due to ongoing fighting and poor coordination with the Israeli army.

On Thursday, 115 people were killed after Israeli forces opened fire on a large crowd of Palestinians trying to get food from an aid convoy that entered Gaza City, according to Gaza health authorities. Israel said that dozens of people were run over or run over by trucks as they gathered around the aid convoy, and says its soldiers opened fire when crowds moved toward its forces and put them in danger. Many, if not most, of those injured had gunshot wounds, according to officials at hospitals treating the victims.

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