Former Officials Say US Has 'Undeniable Complicity' in Israeli Killing, Forced Starvation of Palestinians in Gaza

A Palestinian boy stands next to U.S.-manufactured ammunition, with the remnants of rockets nearby, in Khan Younis, Gaza on June 04, 2024.

(Photo by Doaa Albaz/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Former Officials Say US Has 'Undeniable Complicity' in Israeli Killing, Forced Starvation of Palestinians in Gaza

"The administration’s policy in Gaza is a failure and a threat to U.S. national security," said 12 ex-officials who resigned from the Biden administration over its support for Israel's war on Gaza.

Former Biden administration officials on Tuesday sharply criticized its Gaza policy, arguing that the continued supply of weapons to Israel is not only "morally reprehensible" but also a violation of U.S. and international law.

In a joint statement, 12 officials who've resigned in protest in the last nine months set forth a list of recommendations and urged their former colleagues in the administration to use American leverage to help bring an end to the assault on Gaza.

"The administration's policy in Gaza is a failure and a threat to U.S. national security," the statement says. "America's diplomatic cover for, and continuous flow of arms to, Israel has ensured our undeniable complicity in the killings and forced starvation of a besieged Palestinian population in Gaza."

The 12 signatories included former officials from a wide range of posts and backgrounds.

One was the the administration's latest defector: 24-year-old Interior Department special assistant Maryam Hassanein, who resigned on Tuesday, tellingHuffPost that "serving in the administration in any capacity does essentially make you complicit in the genocide of the Palestinians." Hassanein was the first Muslim American administration appointee to resign, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which applauded the resignation on social media. She said the administration was engaging in the "dehumanization of Arabs and Muslims."

Another signatory was Harrison Mann, the most senior military official to have left in protest of the Gaza war. Mann had been a major at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He made the news this week when he toldThe Guardian that Israel was seeking out a war with Lebanon for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's political gain.

Stacy Gilbert, a 20-year-old State Department veteran who resigned in May over a key report, dealing in part with whether Israel was blocking humanitarian aid to Gazans, that she says contained "patently false" findings, was also among the statement's signatories, as was Lily Greenberg Call, a former Interior Department official who was the first Jewish American appointee to resign in protest of the administration's war policy.

The joint statement, timed to come on the week of Independence Day, warns that the U.S. government is risking its international credibility and the safety of its own citizens by putting a "target on America's back."

The authors argued that the administration was "willfully violating multiple U.S. laws and attempting to deny or distort facts, use loopholes, or manipulate processes to ensure a continuous flow of lethal weapons to Israel." They cited the Leahy Laws that forbid providing military support to forces engaged in human rights violations.

The U.S. provides Israel with billions of dollars per year in military aid and has significantly increased its support during the war. In April, President Joe Biden signed a bill providing at least $15 billion in military funds for Israel.

The former officials called for an end not just to the U.S. supply of weapons for the war but also the "diplomatic cover" the U.S. provides for Israeli military occupation and settlements in Palestinian territory. The administration should announce that U.S. policy is "to support self-determination for the Palestinian people," they wrote.

The 12 ex-officials also called for an "immediate expansion" of humanitarian aid to Gaza and funding to help rebuild the territory.

Their statement comes as Israel continues to pummel Gaza with strikes that kill Palestinian civilians. Nearly 38,000 Gazans have been killed in the last nine months, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Several strikes that killed Palestinian civilians, including a massacre in Rafah in late May that killed at least 45, have been undertaken with U.S.-made weapons, forensic analyses have showed.

The conditions for those that have survived the Israeli bombardment are dire, with Gazans forced to live amid sewage and debris.

"Civilians in Gaza are clinging to their dignity under the most inhumane conditions," Sigrid Kaag, United Nations senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The war has not merely created a humanitarian crisis, it has unleashed a maelstrom of human misery," she said.

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