Pentagon Hits the Brakes on Travel to Israel, Warns Congress

Israel initiated a conflict against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on October 7 following a severe terrorist attack. Since then, numerous political and military figures have visited the region. Currently, the Pentagon is scaling back on planned trips to Israel.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin conveyed in a letter dated October 31, as reported by Punchbowl News correspondent Andrew Desiderio, that travel to Israel for Department of Defense personnel is now constrained. It’s important to note that these restrictions do not extend to Joint Chiefs of Staff C.Q. Brown, President Joe Biden, the president’s Cabinet, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Christopher Grady, or other chiefs or service secretaries.

The memorandum further indicates that Austin intends to dissuade members of Congress and their staff from visiting Israel presently. He specified that he has directed the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs to communicate to congressional leadership that Department of Defense assistance will not be accessible for any travel undertaken by members of Congress.

Lloyd’s memorandum coincided with the commencement of a ground invasion by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) into Gaza. The Biden Administration has urged Israel to temporarily halt its offensive to facilitate the delivery of assistance to innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip. Reports indicate that over 10,000 individuals, including thousands of children and at least 89 aid workers, have lost their lives in Gaza since the onset of the conflict.

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, expressed that Gaza is tragically becoming a burial ground for children. Additionally, Israel has experienced over 1,400 casualties, with a significant number occurring on October 7 during the terrorist attack orchestrated by Hamas militants.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has refused to cease the conflict until Hamas releases more than 200 hostages. The U.S. State Department has issued a level 4 alert for Gaza, advising Americans against traveling to the approximately 140-square-mile territory. Israel and the West Bank are under level 3 advisories, indicating that Americans are encouraged to reconsider travel to these regions.




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