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US official resigns over Washington’s support for Israel’s ‘genocidal’ war on Gaza

This picture taken on January 3, 2024 shows a view of buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment in the central Gaza Strip. (Photo by AFP)

A senior US Department of Education official has resigned over the Biden administration’s continued support for Israel’s “genocidal” war on the Gaza Strip, saying Washington dehumanizes Palestinians and enables their ethnic cleansing.

Tariq Habash, special assistant in the US Education Department’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, announced his resignation on Wednesday in a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

“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,” Habash wrote.

Habash, who is Palestinian-American and served in the administration for nearly three years, further said “I cannot represent an administration that systematically dehumanizes Palestinians and enables their ethnic cleansing.”

“I cannot be quietly complicit as this administration fails to leverage its influence as Israel’s strongest ally to halt the abusive and ongoing collective punishment tactics that have cut off Palestinians in Gaza from food, water, electricity, fuel, and medical supplies, leading to widespread disease and starvation,” he added.

He also pointed in the letter to the actions of the Biden administration that have put millions of innocent lives in the besieged Gaza Strip in danger.

Today, I resigned from the Biden-Harris Administration. I cannot represent an administration that systematically dehumanizes Palestinians and enables their ethnic cleansing. The President must call for a permanent ceasefire.

— Tariq Habash (@tariqhabash_) January 3, 2024

Habash, a special assistant who focused primarily on student loan issues and had volunteered on Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, is the second US official who resigned publicly since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza on October 7.

Josh Paul, former director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs State Department official, resigned in October in protest against what he called the administration’s “blind support” for Israel.

Biden has faced growing calls to support a ceasefire from within his administration, Congress members, and his presidential campaign staff since the start of the war.

On Wednesday, 17 Biden re-election campaign staffers issued a warning in an anonymous letter that Biden could lose voters because of this conflict, calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Last month, Biden administration staffers and political appointees held a vigil in front of the White House, calling for a permanent ceasefire.

The United States has since supplied the Tel Aviv regime with more than 10,000 tons of military equipment and used its veto power against UN Security Council resolutions that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In a statement on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he had made a second emergency determination covering a $147.5m sale of arms to Israel amid Tel Aviv’s ongoing war in Gaza.

The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has claimed the lives of more than 22,313 people, most of them children and women. At least 57,296 Palestinians have also been wounded.

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