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18 July, 2024
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Biden admin criticized as official resigns over Israel policy

US official resigns, criticizes arms sale to Israel

Source: The Guardian

A veteran US state department official has quit over what he described as the Biden administration’s “intellectual bankruptcy” in sending more weapons and ammunition to Israel, as Gaza health officials said Israeli bombing had killed more than 3,700 people.

Josh Paul, the director of congressional and public affairs for the state department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, said in a letter posted on LinkedIn that the government “rushing” to provide arms to Israel was “shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse”.

In the letter, first reported by HuffPost, Paul said Hamas’s attack on Israel was “a monstrosity of monstrosities”.

“But I believe to the core of my soul that the response Israel is taking, and with it the American support both for that response and for the status quo of the occupation, will only lead to more and deeper suffering for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people,” he wrote.

“This administration’s response – and much of Congress’s as well – is an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.”

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Joe Biden plans to ask Congress to approve $10bn in “mostly military assistance” for Israel.

Paul described the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs as “the US government entity most responsible for the transfer and provision of arms to partners and allies”.

In his 11 years at the bureau, Paul said, he had “made more moral compromises than I can recall”.

“I knew [the role] was not without its moral complexity and moral compromises, and I made myself a promise that I would stay for as long as I felt the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do,” he wrote.

“I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued – indeed, expanded and expedited – provision of lethal arms to Israel, I have reached the end of that bargain.”

Biden met Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Speaking afterwards, Biden said he had urged restraint from Israel, and said Netanyahu had committed to allowing desperately needed humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.

Gaza health officials say Israeli bombs have killed 3,785 people so far, and wounded more than 12,000. The area has been bombarded by Israeli airstrikes since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on 7 October, killing more than 1,400 Israelis and taking at least 199 people hostage.

On Thursday, the international charity Action Against Hunger said the lack of access to water in Gaza was “a health crisis on the brink of explosion”. The UN estimates there are fewer than three litres of water per person each day for the 2.3 million people living in Gaza, half of whom are children.

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