Former U.S. Officials Warn: Gaza Policy Makes U.S. a Target

The group of former officials of the United States government claims that Washington's support for Israel's war in Gaza threatens national security

by Sededin Dedovic
Former U.S. Officials Warn: Gaza Policy Makes U.S. a Target
© Ahmad Hasaballah / getty Images

Twelve officials, who resigned over the past nine months in protest of U.S. policy, stated in a letter published on Tuesday that President Joe Biden's support for Israel means Washington has "undeniable complicity" in killing and starving Palestinians in Gaza.

They characterized the White House's policy towards the conflict as a "failure and a threat to U.S. national security." While Biden and his administration have rhetorically urged Israel to exercise restraint, Washington continues to provide military and diplomatic support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition government, which includes hardline nationalist parties.

As a result, several officials have resigned in protest since Netanyahu launched the war in Gaza following Hamas' attack on southern Israel on October 7. Maryam Hassanein, who resigned as special assistant at the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, was the latest to step down.

She was among the signatories of the letter, along with former officials from the State Department, USAID, the military, and four members of political staff. "American diplomatic cover and continuous weapons supply to Israel have ensured our undeniable complicity in the killings and forced starvation of the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza," the letter stated.

"This not only is morally reprehensible and clearly violates international humanitarian law and U.S. laws but has also placed a target on America’s back," warned the former officials. The letter comes amid ongoing international protests over Israeli actions in Gaza, with increasing criticism of U.S.

military and diplomatic support for its ally. Gaza's Ministry of Health reports nearly 38,000 Palestinians killed in the war, with fears many more remain trapped under rubble as Israeli bombings flattened densely populated areas of the besieged enclave.

Hamas' October attack, governing Gaza, killed around 1,200 people. Approximately 250 were abducted and taken into Gaza. An estimated 120 remain in captivity. With Israel blockading Gaza, 2.4 million people in the enclave are also plunged into a deep humanitarian crisis, lacking food, water, medicine, and fuel.

Palestinian children hold placards during a march demanding an end to the war and their right to live, education and play on Feb© Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

While Washington has called for more aid to be allowed into Gaza, Israel continues to impose strict restrictions.

Former officials argue in their letter that Israel's ability to enforce this blockade on Gaza is another failure of U.S. policy. "Instead of holding the government of Israel accountable for its role in arbitrarily obstructing humanitarian aid, the U.S.

has defunded the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Gaza, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian assistance," the letter stated. "Rather than using our immense power to establish guardrails that could steer Israel towards lasting and just peace, we have enabled its self-destructive actions that have deepened its political quagmire and contributed to its enduring global isolation." The statement added that U.S.

policy towards the Middle East has also damaged the "credibility of American values," as the U.S. condemns Russia's war on Ukraine while "unconditionally arming and justifying Israel's war." Former officials outlined steps for the government to ensure this, including implementing the Leahy Laws, which prohibit military aid to forces involved in human rights violations, ensuring greater humanitarian aid to Gaza, and rebuilding territories, according to Al Jazeera.

Thomas Friedman: Joe Biden, AIPAC, and Congress support "extremist" Israeli government

American journalist Thomas Friedman believes Israel needs a moderate, realistic government to pull it out of this multiple crisis.

"The Israel we knew has disappeared" - reads the headline of an article written by American journalist and political analyst Thomas Friedman on November 4, 2022, shortly after the victory of the far-right government coalition that has ruled Israel since those parliamentary elections.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir react after sworn in at the Israeli © Amir Levy / Getty Images

In his article published this week in The New York Times, Friedman wrote that he intended that phrase as a warning to draw attention to the extent of extremism in this coalition.

While these extremists have already caused significant damage, as Friedman sees it, President Joe Biden, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and many members of Congress have not made an effort to understand the extent of this government's extremism, writes Al Jazeera.

The article criticizes the decision of House Speaker Mike Johnson and his colleagues in the Republican Party to invite Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress on July 24. It emphasizes that the unstated goal of this invitation is to create a rift among Democratic supporters that would alienate American Jewish voters and donors and compel them to turn to Donald Trump on election day.

According to the article, Netanyahu understands that all of this is connected to U.S. domestic politics, and for this reason, his acceptance of the invitation to speak before Congress is nothing more than an act that implies "betrayal" of President Biden, who rushed to give full support to Israel after Hamas attacked it on October 7.

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