Friday, May 24, 2024

Another Biden admin. staffer quits over US stance on Gaza war

Another staffer in United States President Joe Biden’s administration has publicly resigned in protest against the US’s continued support for Israel amid its war on Gaza which has so far killed more than 35,000 Palestinians.

Lily Greenberg Call, a special assistant to the chief of staff in the US Interior Department, wrote in her resignation letter that she could not “in good conscience continue to represent” the administration, The Associated Press news agency reported on Wednesday.

Call, who is Jewish, also condemned comments Biden has made since the Gaza war began in October, including one where he warned “there wouldn’t be a Jew in the world who was safe” without the existence of Israel.

“He is making Jews the face of the American war machine. And that is so deeply wrong,” she told the news agency in an interview.

A handful of Biden administration officials and appointees – including a former US Army officer – have publicly stepped down over the US’s Gaza policy since the conflict began on October 7.

The resignations have come amid widespread anger in the country about Biden’s unequivocal support for Israel, despite the mounting death toll in the Gaza Strip and accusations that Israeli forces are committing genocide against Palestinians in the enclave.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict began, and Israel’s continued assault and siege on the territory has created a dire humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced.

But despite the dire toll of Israel’s military offensive, and a recent decision to pause one US weapons shipment to Israel, the Biden administration signalled this week that it plans to send another $1bn in military assistance to Israel.

The news drew condemnation from rights advocates, who for months have urged Washington to suspend all weapons transfers to its top Middle East ally.

A recent US Department of State report found that Israeli forces likely used US-supplied weapons in a manner “inconsistent” with international law. However, it stopped short of identifying violations that would put an end to Washington’s ongoing military aid.

On Wednesday, Josh Paul – a former State Department official who resigned in October over the US’s Gaza policy – said the latest Biden administration resignation signalled that “the tide is turning”.

Paul noted in a post on LinkedIn that US university students, Democratic Party voters, as well as Biden’s own staff and political appointees have all made clear they are opposed to his Middle East policy.

The US president, who is seeking re-election in November, faces growing disapproval among key segments of his Democratic base over his Gaza stance.

Young people, progressives, and voters of colour, among others, have said they would not vote for him in the upcoming elections if he does not change tack.

“How many more Palestinian lives will it take before President Biden catches up to the American electorate and ceases American support to the war crimes being committed with our funding, with our arms, by Israel?” Paul wrote.

Call, the staffer who resigned from the Interior Department, also said Israel’s Gaza war and US support for it were “disastrous”.

“I think the president has to know that there are people in his administration who think this is disastrous,” Call told The Associated Press, adding, “Not just for Palestinians, for Israelis, for Jews, for Americans, for his election prospects.”

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