The Biden administration is facing internal dissent over its support for Israel’s tactics in Gaza on a scale not seen inside the government since the 1980s.

Officials from the administration say that they don’t take the deaths in Gaza lightly, and have been working around the clock trying to get more aid into Gaza. White House officials also pointed out that a pause in the fighting which was extended Thursday is proof of their diplomatic efforts. They say it has helped secure the release dozens of Hamas hostages and allowed more humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinians of Gaza.

“A policy that has failed to bring peace”

According to the State Department, so far only one employee has resigned due to this issue.

Josh Paul, former head of the Department’s Political-Military Affairs Bureau, resigned from his position in protest in October. He said he couldn’t accept that America gave weapons to Israel without more stringent conditions.

Paul said in an opinion piece in The New York Times that he resigned on October 18 because he could not support the use of U.S. arms in the conflict in Gaza where a thousand civilians would be killed. I saw no willingness to reevaluate a policy that had not brought peace to the region and actually undermined Israeli security and regional stability.

Since 1970, State Department diplomats have had a formal mechanism to express their disapproval of a policy. This channel, called the “dissent channels”, is confidential and officers in the foreign service are not allowed to discuss their disagreements publicly.

According to two U.S. government officials, at least three dissenting cables were submitted to the State Department leadership.

State Department and USAID have acknowledged that some employees may have concerns about the administration’s policies regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict and have encouraged a “candid exchange” with their staff.

Blinken wrote in a letter sent to employees in the beginning of this month: “We have organized forums in Washington so that we can hear from you. We’ve also urged managers to hold candid discussions in their posts around world, precisely to get your feedback and ideas.” “I have asked our senior management to continue doing this.” What you say is influencing our policies and messages.

The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the union representing the diplomatic corps of the State Department, expressed “heartening” satisfaction with the way the administration responded to internal dissension.

Tom Yazdgerdi, the president of the association, said: “We are aware that some Arab American and Muslim American employees at the State Department, and elsewhere, have expressed concern about the current policy.”

We know that these employee group representatives met with Secretary Blinken, and other State leadership members. This is important because it allows dissenting opinions to be heard, and we hope that they are considered,” said he.

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