Factbox-US officials who have resigned to protest Biden’s Gaza policy

By Thomson Reuters May 31, 2024 | 5:13 PM

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Joe Biden’s support for Israel during its eight-month war in Gaza has spurred at least eight U.S. administration officials to quit, with some accusing the U.S. president of turning a blind eye to Israeli atrocities in the Palestinian enclave.

The Biden administration denies this, pointing to its criticism of civilian casualties in Gaza and its efforts to boost humanitarian aid to the enclave, where health officials say more than 36,000 have been killed in Israel’s assault.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after Hamas-led militants stormed into Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking 250 hostage, according to Israeli figures.

These are the eight officials.

Josh Paul, director of the State Department’s bureau of political military affairs, left in October in the first publicly known resignation, citing what he described as Washington’s “blind support” for Israel.

Harrison Mann, a U.S. Army major and Defense Intelligence Agency official, resigned in November over Gaza policy and went public with his reasons in May.

Tariq Habash, a Palestinian American, quit as special assistant in the Education Department’s office of planning in January. He said the Biden administration was turning a “blind eye” to atrocities in Gaza.

Annelle Sheline resigned from the State Department’s human rights bureau in late March, writing in a CNN article that she was unable to serve a government that “enables such atrocities.”

Hala Rharrit, an Arabic language spokesperson for the State Department, quit in April “in opposition to the United States’ Gaza policy,” she wrote on her LinkedIn page.

Lily Greenberg Call was the first Jewish political appointee to resign, having served as a special assistant to the chief of staff in the Interior Department. She wrote in the Guardian in May that she resigned because “as a Jew I cannot endorse the Gaza catastrophe.”

Alexander Smith, a contractor for USAID, quit in late May, alleging censorship after the U.S. foreign aid agency canceled publication of his presentation on maternal and child mortality among Palestinians. The agency said it had not gone through proper review and approval.

Stacy Gilbert, who served in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, quit in late May. She said she resigned over an administration report to Congress that she said falsely stated Israel was not blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; editing by Rami Ayyub and Cynthia Osterman)