FACT BOX - 12 US officials have publicly resigned in protest over Biden's Gaza policy since Oct. 7

FACT BOX - 12 US officials have publicly resigned in protest over Biden's Gaza policy since Oct. 7

'The administration’s policy in Gaza is a failure and a threat to US national security,' former government officials say in joint statement

By Rabia Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) – Twelve US government officials have resigned in protest over President Joe Biden’s Gaza policy, accusing his administration of complicity in the killing and starvation of Palestinians as Israel’s war on Gaza approaches it ninth month.

"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," they said in a joint statement released Tuesday.

But the unprecedented wave of resignations since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7 last year has yet to lead to a significant shift in the US policy on Gaza as the flow of US-made weapons to Israel continues despite massive civilian deaths, the risk of regional escalation and damage to America’s global standing.

The following are the 12 US officials who quit over Gaza since Oct. 7

- Maryam Hassanein

Maryam Hassanein, who was a special assistant at the Interior Department, resigned from her position on Tuesday, accusing the administration of dehumanizing Arabs and Muslims.

"As a Muslim American, I cannot continue working for an administration that ignores the voices of its diverse staff by continuing to fund and enable Israel's genocide of Palestinians," she said in a statement.

Hassanein, 24, became the youngest of the appointees who have resigned.

- Mohammed Abu Hashem

Mohammed Abu Hashem, 41, a Palestinian-American US airman who lost his aunt in an Israeli airstrike with many relatives injured, resigned on March 25 after a career of 22 years.

In an interview with the Washington Post, he said it was “extremely emotional” for him to know that "the amount of bombs that are being supplied to Israel was the cause of her death."

"I knew right then that I can’t be part of the system that enabled this," he added.

- Riley Livermore

Riley Livermore, a former Air Force officer, announced his resignation on June 18, saying he did not want to be working on "something that can turn around and be used to slaughter innocent people.”

“I think the dissonance just kind of continued to get louder and louder. It’s like ‘I can’t really do this anymore,’” he told the Intercept.

- Alexander Smith

Alexander Smith, a contractor with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), resigned in late May after he was offered an ultimatum after preparing a paper on Palestinian child and maternal mortality -- resign or be dismissed.

“I cannot do my job in an environment in which specific people cannot be acknowledged as fully human, or where gender and human rights principles apply to some, but not to others, depending on their race,” he wrote in his resignation letter, according to the Guardian.

- Stacy Gilbert

Stacy Gilbert, a senior official from the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, publicly announced her departure from the US government in late May in protest over National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20), which she said was wrong to conclude that Israel had not obstructed the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“I know the difference between right and wrong. What happened in this report is wrong, and this report is being used to justify continuing to do what we’ve been doing,” Gilbert told HuffPost in an interview.

-Harrison Mann

Harrison Mann, an army major recently assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency, resigned on May 15 and said in his resignation letter published on LinkedIn that the US's "nearly unqualified support" for Israel "enabled and empowered the killing and starvation of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians.”

Stressing that his work "unquestionably contributed to that support," Mann, who comes from a Jewish family of European origin, said: "This has caused me incredible shame and guilt.”

- Lily Greenberg Call

Lily Greenberg Call, a special assistant to the chief of staff at the US Department of the Interior, announced on May 16 that she resigned because of the administration's support for Israel's attacks on Gaza.

The Jewish American, who was appointed by Biden, said she joined the administration for "a better America,” adding: "I can no longer in good conscience continue to represent this administration."

Call said she has spent her entire life in the Jewish community in the US and Israel and people in her community lost loved ones during the attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7 last year, which killed around 1,200 people while hundreds were taken to Gaza as hostages.

- Anna Del Castillo

Anna Del Castillo, who was a deputy director at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, left her post in April in protest over Biden’s unconditional support for Israel.

- Hala Rharrit

Hala Rharrit, the State Department's spokeswoman for the Middle East and North Africa, resigned on April 25.

“I resigned in April 2024 after 18 years of distinguished service in opposition to the United States’ Gaza policy. Diplomacy, not arms. Be a force for peace and unity,” she wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Rharrit has worked in various roles at the State Department and was a spokesperson since August 2022, according to her LinkedIn page.

- Annelle Sheline

Annelle Sheline, 38, a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, resigned on March 27, accusing the administration of enabling atrocities in Gaza.

She wrote in an article for CNN that she was "unable to serve an administration that enables such atrocities" and resigned before the conclusion of a two-year contract.

"As a representative of a government that is directly enabling what the International Court of Justice has said could plausibly be a genocide in Gaza, such work has become almost impossible," she said. "Whatever credibility the United States had as an advocate for human rights has almost entirely vanished since the war began.”

- Tariq Habash

Tariq Habash, a Department of Education political appointee, resigned on Jan. 4 in protest over the administration's failure to halt Israel's "ongoing collective punishment tactics" against Palestinians in Gaza.

"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," he wrote.

Habash, who served three years as a special assistant in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, was the sole Palestinian-American appointee at the agency.

- Josh Paul

Josh Paul, who worked for more than 11 years as the director of congressional and public affairs at the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, which oversees arms transfers to foreign nations, publicly announced his resignation in a two-page letter in late October, becoming the first publicly announced resignation after Oct. 7.

He expressed his desire for the protection of innocent people -- Israeli and Palestinian.

"I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued -- indeed, expanded and expedited -- provision of lethal arms to Israel, I have reached the end of that bargain," he said, citing the Biden administration's support for Israel in its response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

- Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, resigned last month, citing family issues. But the Washington Post reported that he was a critic of Biden's "bear hug" approach to Israel during the war, and is described by people who know him as a stalwart supporter of Palestinian rights and statehood.

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