A former senior US State Department staffer has admitted that domestic policy concerns are leading US officials willfully to ignore Israeli “war crimes” and to suppress the opposition to arming the regime.
Josh Paul, who was the director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, for over 11 years, on Wednesday said that many officials are disturbed by the actions of the Israeli military but they turn a blind eye to rules governing arms transfers.
“It is my opinion that Israel is committing war crimes in its actions in Gaza right now. And it’s not just my opinion. I’ve actually heard from officials across government, including elected officials at a very senior level, who share that opinion but aren’t willing to say it in public,” he told AFP.
Paul whose resignation last month caused a stir in Washington, admitted that “criticism of Israel is often seen as a third rail in American politics, particularly in Congress,” and “this is a deterrent to US officials to come out and say in public what they believe in private.”
The rules restricting arms transfers are weak which leaves space for policymakers, in a “willful” manner “to simply not decide” whether the Israeli military has violated human rights in Gaza, he said.
The former official added that the United States keeps supplying weapons “where it was clear — and as we have seen — that they were going to be used to kill so many civilians.”
Paul resigned on October 18, due to a policy disagreement concerning the US’s continued lethal assistance to the Israeli regime.
"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 said then in a post on his LinkedIn account.
His interview came as the Biden administration has been unequivocally backing Israel since the regime waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm into the occupied territories in response to the occupying regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.
The US has been a steadfast supporter of Israel for decades, both diplomatically and militarily. Each year, the US provides around $4bn of military support to the regime and since war broke out between Israel and Hamas last month, the US sent an additional $14bn in military aid.
A report published by Bloomberg on Wednesday stated that the Pentagon has secretly increased its military aid to Israel, including more sophisticated missiles and equipment, by delivering more laser-guided missiles for the regime’s Apache gunship fleet as well as bunker-buster munitions, 155mm shells, night-vision devices, and new army vehicles.
Protests have flared across the US over the ongoing war and their country's support of the regime, especially on US college campuses, as people call for an end to the Israeli onslaught in Gaza.