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Jake Sullivan heads to Israel amid signs of a rift between Netanyahu

Jake Sullivan heads to Israel amid signs of a rift between Netanyahu

Amos Ben Gershom/Israeli Government Press Office/Handout

In this photo released by the Israeli government press office, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Kirya in Tel Aviv on Thursday, December 14, 2023.


Washington
CNN

President Joe Biden The National Security Advisor will meet with senior Israeli officials over the next two days The White House is putting pressure on the Israelis And to be more precise in their operations against Hamas in Gaza.

Come visit Jake Sullivan It also opened the general rift Between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the increasing civilian casualties in Gaza and differences of opinion about what the future of the Palestinians should look like after the end of combat operations. Sullivan is also scheduled to discuss efforts to release the eight American hostages still under Hamas control.

Sullivan will meet with Netanyahu, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and senior Israeli military commanders throughout Thursday and Friday. The White House is putting pressure on the Israelis And to be more precise in their operations against Hamas in Gaza.

In a meeting on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant told Sullivan that the war in Gaza would continue “for more than several months,” according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.

“It will take a period of time – it will last more than several months, but we will prevail and we will destroy them (Hamas),” Galant said, according to a transcript of the meeting published by the Israeli Defense Ministry on Thursday. .

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Gallant also thanked Sullivan for US support for the Israeli campaign in Gaza, saying: “The United States and Israel have common interests and common values, and in this war, we also share common goals.”

John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said during a press conference at the White House on Wednesday that Sullivan would have “very serious conversations” with Israeli officials during his visit. Kirby said Sullivan would discuss with the Israelis “efforts to be more precise, more accurate, and to reduce harm to civilians.”

It will also discuss the return of hostages taken by Hamas. Eight Americans are among more than 100 hostages held by Hamas since the movement’s attack on Israel on October 7. More than 1,200 Israelis and foreigners were killed in the attack.

More than 18,000 Palestinians were killed and more than 50,000 injured in the ensuing Israeli response, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry.

Biden met with family members of the eight American hostages at the White House on Wednesday.

A person familiar with the matter said that before arriving in Israel, Sullivan traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In Saudi Arabia, the official said he intends to discuss the Biden administration’s broader diplomatic efforts to maintain stability in the region, including efforts to deter Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. He also tried to build on the work that was underway before the October 7 attacks on normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which included steps toward building peace with the Palestinians.

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CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.