U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently addressed the growing internal discord within the State Department and the broader Biden administration regarding the U.S. approach to the Israel-Hamas war. In an email to staff, following his recent travels, Blinken acknowledged the widespread dissent and the emotional toll the conflict has taken on the department's personnel.
This acknowledgment comes in the wake of CNN's report last week, revealing that hundreds at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an open letter demanding a ceasefire. Additionally, the existence of a "dissent memo" within the State Department indicates a broader unease.
Last month, a State Department official even resigned in protest over the administration’s policy on the conflict.
Blinken's Personal Reflections and Policy Overview
In his poignant message, Blinken wrote, "I know that for many of you, the suffering caused by this crisis is taking a profound personal toll.
The anguish that comes with seeing the daily images of babies, children, elderly people, women, and other civilians suffering in this crisis is wrenching. I feel it myself”. He recognized that some department members might disagree with the current strategies or have suggestions for improvement.
Addressing these concerns, Blinken informed staff that forums have been set up in Washington, D.C., to gather employee feedback, emphasizing that their input is shaping policy and messaging. In his email, he provided an overview of his Middle East and Asia trip, reiterating the U.S.'
s primary goal: to end the conflict swiftly while supporting Israel's right to defend itself in line with international humanitarian law. He also acknowledged the Palestinian civilian casualties and the need for more effective measures to reduce their suffering.
Blinken's communication highlighted a commitment to Palestinian-led governance in Gaza, advocating for the unification of Gaza and the West Bank. He stressed the importance of a sustained mechanism for Gaza's reconstruction, signaling a nuanced approach to the crisis and the U.S.’s role in it.