With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaling an imminent down-shift in the Gaza campaign amid preparations for a potential offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Biden administration officials see a narrow opportunity to pump the brakes.

Topping their concerns is averting an all-out war between the two sides, which US officials fear could drag in other Iranian-armed militias in Iraq and Syria and potentially even the United States and Iran itself.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant received a red-carpet welcome in Washington this week as the White House seeks to win over some of the more sober strategists remaining in Netanyahu’s government.

“Another war between Israel and Hezbollah could easily become a regional war, with terrible consequences for the Middle East,” US defense chief Lloyd Austin said in unusually pointed remarks at the top of his meeting with Gallant on Tuesday. “Diplomacy is by far the best way to prevent more escalation.”

Hezbollah has now launched more rockets and drones into Israel during the ongoing Gaza war than Hamas has. The tit-for-tat strikes over the border are preventing at least 80,000 Israelis and at least 90,000 Lebanese citizens from returning to their homes.

US officials have grown increasingly worried that Israeli leaders’ strategic concerns and rhetorical brinkmanship on both sides could make confrontation inevitable.

President Joe Biden’s top energy envoy, Amos Hochstein, returned last week from his fourth trip to Beirut in the last nine months, part of an effort in parallel with French diplomats seeking to negotiate an off-ramp to avert disaster.

It’s not clear whether Hochstein’s latest visit achieved any concrete gains. In a fiery speech last Thursday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah once again ruled out halting the cross-border strikes until a permanent cease-fire in Gaza is reached.