US Officials Resign Over Biden Administration’s Gaza Policy, Form Group to Pressure for Change

A group of US officials who resigned in protest over the Biden administration’s Gaza policy is organizing to support ongoing dissent and push for policy changes. More than half a dozen officials publicly left their positions, citing their inability to continue working under current policies. Additional resignations have occurred quietly.

President Joe Biden has faced mounting pressure domestically and internationally due to his support for Israel amidst an eight-month conflict in Gaza with Hamas. This war has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian casualties, mass displacement, and severe hunger in Gaza. Despite the administration’s increasingly stern rhetoric urging Israel to protect civilians and allow more aid, policy changes have been minimal.

Among the publicly resigned officials are Josh Paul, Harrison Mann, Tariq Habash, Annelle Sheline, Hala Rharrit, Lily Greenberg Call, Alex Smith, and Stacy Gilbert. They expressed frustration that their expertise and concerns were ignored, and warned that US policy is harming the country’s credibility. “When you have numerous career professionals and presidential appointees … who have resigned over this policy, it’s an indicator that something is going wrong,” Mann told CNN.

The resignees aim to support colleagues who share their views, whether they choose to stay or leave the government. They also seek to increase pressure on the administration to change its approach. “We’re thinking about how we can use our shared concern and to continue to press together for change,” said Paul, a former State Department official who resigned in October.

Gilbert, a veteran diplomat, highlighted a specific instance where she felt sidelined. She was working on a report about Israel’s use of US weapons and humanitarian aid restrictions. However, the report was taken over by higher-level officials, and its conclusions differed from her expectations. Gilbert described the report’s assertion that Israel was not blocking humanitarian aid as “appalling,” prompting her resignation in May.

The Biden administration maintains that it values differing opinions. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stated, “We listen to people. We want to hear their opinions. We want to hear the expertise that they bring to bear. But ultimately, it is the president, the secretary, other senior officials that make the decisions about what the policy of the United States ought to be.”

USAID Administrator Samantha Power acknowledged the internal dissent, particularly in an agency focused on humanitarian efforts. She emphasized the importance of hearing critical viewpoints and ideas for improvement.

The group of former officials is leveraging their collective power to influence policy and support current government employees who share their dissenting views. “If we can be a resource to help others find their voice, find a way to try to affect some policy change, that would be useful,” said Gilbert.

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