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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Another Biden official resigns over Israel policy

A veteran State Department staffer also left his post in October over Washington’s support for the IDF campaign in Gaza

A senior official at the US Department of Education has resigned in protest at President Joe Biden’s support for Israel, saying the administration has turned a blind eye to “atrocities” against Palestinians since the start of the war in Gaza.

Policy adviser Tariq Habash, a Palestinian-American, left his position on Wednesday, explaining in a resignation letter that he could not continue to “represent an administration that does not value all human life equally.”

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“The actions of the Biden-Harris Administration have put millions of innocent lives in danger, most immediately for the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians living in Gaza who remain under continuous assault and ethnic cleansing by the Israeli government. Therefore, I must resign,” Habash wrote“I cannot stay silent as this administration turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives, in what leading human rights experts have called a genocidal campaign by the Israeli government.”

Biden has voiced strong support for Israel’s retaliation to a Hamas terrorist attack in October, which claimed some 1,200 lives and saw more than 240 people taken hostage by Palestinian militants. However, the two-month operation has left much of Gaza in ruins, killing more than 22,000 people and injuring thousands more, according to local health officials.

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Despite repeated warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza by international rights groups, along with the United Nations, Washington has offered little public criticism of the Israeli campaign, and continued to pledge military support.

Other senior officials have voiced similar concerns, with 11-year State Department veteran Josh Paul – the longtime director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs – also resigning in October over the US’ “blind support” for Israel.

I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict, that I believe to be short-sighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse,” Paul wrote in a statement explaining his resignation.

Biden visited Israel on the day Paul tendered his resignation, pledging to ask Congress to allocate additional aid to meet the ally’s military needs. Though he has made good on that promise, lawmakers remain deadlocked over a new aid package, with Republicans in the House demanding sweeping border reforms before approving additional assistance for both Ukraine and Israel.