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US State Department official resigns over Biden’s decision to boost military support for Israel amid Gaza war

A US C-17 sits at the Nevatim Air Base in the desert in the occupied territories on October 13, 2023 with crates of American munitions for Israeli regime. (Photo by AP)

A senior US State Department official involved with transferring arms to key American allies has resigned over President Joe Biden's decision to continue sending weapons and ammunition to the Israeli regime amid its intensified raid on Gaza.

Josh Paul, who has been the director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, for over 11 years, in his resignation letter published on LinekdIn on Wednesday, said “blind support for one side is destructive in the long term to the interests of the people on both sides.”

“This Administration's response - and much of Congress' as well - is an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia. That is to say, it is immensely disappointing, and entirely unsurprising,” he wrote.

In his two-page letter, Paul said that American support of Israel only leads to more and deeper suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians, adding, “I fear we are repeating the same mistakes we have made these past decades, and I decline to be a part of it for longer.”

“We cannot be both against occupation, and for it. We cannot be both for freedom, and against it. And we cannot be for a better world, while contributing to one that is materially worse,” he continued.

“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 shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse,” he added.

A must read.

My former colleague Josh Paul resigned today from the @StateDept office that approves arms transfers because of the Biden admin's decision to rush arms to Israel.

I have deep respect for Josh and I know he did not take this decision lightly.

Read his letter.

— Brian Finucane (@BCFinucane) October 18, 2023

In an interview with the Huffington Post on Wednesday, Paul said that Israel’s cutting off of water, food, medical care and electricity to Gaza, a territory of over two million people, should prompt protections in a number of longstanding federal laws intended to keep American weapons out of the hands of human rights violators. But those legal guardrails are failing, he said.

He noted that he had encountered other dilemmas while working on military assistance inside the State Department, but that he had always felt he could “bend things in the right direction.” Not so this time, which was the biggest reason he resigned, he said.

The State Department declined to comment, citing policy on discussing personnel matters.

His decision came as the Biden administration has been unequivocally backing Israel during the last week. Even after a horrifying Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza that killed at least 500 Palestinians, Biden – while visiting the occupied territories – echoed the Israeli administration’s line that the devastation was caused by a misfired Hamas rocket.

While Biden was still in Tel Aviv, more American warships and forces were heading toward the region, and about 2,000 troops in the United States were preparing to deploy if called on, to assist Israeli forces.

Israel has been raining bombs on the Gaza strip for the past 12 days since the Gaza-based resistance movements of Hamas launched Operation al-Aqsa Storm against the regime in response to its campaign of aggression, violation, and bloodshed against Palestinians. Over 3,500 people have died and some 13,000 others been injured so far as a result.

Moreover, in the recent movements, hundreds of protesters, including American Jews and allies worried about Palestinians in Gaza, on Wednesday occupied a building of the US Congress, urging lawmakers and Biden's administration to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Also pro-Palestine demonstrations have been held across the globe over the past week or so in opposition to the Israeli siege of Gaza and the horrors perpetrated against the Palestinians.

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