Sun. May 19th, 2024

Biden’s arms threat to Israel ‘better than nothing’ but too late, say U.S. officials who resigned over Gaza policy

By 37ci3 May11,2024

Several former Biden administration officials resigned over the US’s handling of Israel’s deadly situation Attack in Gaza They say they salute President Joe Biden the threat to stop arms shipments as “a step in the right direction”.

“It’s better than nothing,” said Josh Paul, who previously served for more than 11 years as director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He resigned at the end of October He said that the US has “blind support” for Israel.

But he told NBC News in a phone interview this week: “I think it’s too late for the 35,000 people who have been killed in Gaza, if not more — and what we really need is a new policy.” believes that Washington should reconsider whether security assistance to Israel is in the national interest of the United States.

A growing number of US officials, including officials closely involved in the arms trade and human rights policy, have resigned over the Biden administration’s continued arms transfers to Israel for its war in Gaza.

Management An arms shipment was stopped last weekConcerns about the Rafah attack included 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs, according to a senior administration official.

But there is the United States continued to send military aid Two U.S. officials familiar with the transfers told NBC News that the shipment, including offensive and defensive weapons, has been sent to Israel since its inception. They said that assault weapons include firearms.

Hala Rharrit, US diplomat and veteran foreign service officer resigned from the State Department last month Biden reacted with measured optimism to the president’s comments, protesting his administration’s policy regarding Israel’s attack on Gaza.

Hala Rharrit, a US diplomat and veteran foreign service officer who resigned from the State Department last month.
Aunt Rharrit.US Department of State

“Hopefully this is the beginning of an actual policy change that will result in fundamental change,” Rharrit said in a phone interview Friday, “and not just a show, ‘that we’re doing something to stop them from coming in.’ , but we won’t do enough.'”

Annel Cheline, who He resigned from the State Department‘s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor was less optimistic in March. “I’m not holding my breath,” he said.

Sheline said he believes Israel is clearly “breaking a lot of laws and violating a lot of these borders,” often contradicting the administration’s public statements: “I really don’t expect that we’re going to see real change.”

“The red line continues to move”

Their comments come after Biden said during an interview CNN On Wednesday, the US will stop the delivery of weapons and artillery shells – He said the Israeli military used 2,000-pound bombs to kill Palestinian civilians. If Israel launches a full-scale attack on Rafah to destroy Hamas.

The warning reverberated across Israel, sparking concern and anger among Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and officials there. said on Thursday that his government would “stand alone”. if it loses military support from its closest ally and largest overseas arms supplier.

Rharrit said that while he welcomed Biden’s signal that he was willing to change U.S. policy on the war, as well as the White House’s decision to freeze arms transfers last week, he was concerned that “a red line has been drawn.”

He noted that Israel already has boots in eastern Rafah orders evacuation about 100,000 people on Monday. And he asked how the United States would determine and respond to a full-scale attack.

The Israel Defense Forces have already taken control of the Rafah crossing and said that they are targeting the operations of militants in the area there. Aid groups say it has prevented aid from entering for days The video was shot by an NBC News crew on the ground shows scenes of death and destruction in some parts of Rafah.

Paul, who worked at the State Department office that oversees US arms sales, noted that the Biden administration missed Wednesday’s deadline to submit a report to Congress on whether Israel used US weapons in Gaza in violation of international law and US policy. Israel launched an attack on the enclave in response to Hamas attacks on October 7, in which 1,200 people were killed and 250 people were taken hostage.

After Biden said on Wednesday that civilians in Gaza were being killed “as a result” of bombs sent into Israel and other ways they go after population centers, Paul said he “couldn’t see that this report is not true.” Israel is indeed using US-supplied weapons to go after civilian areas. does”.

US officials who resigned in response to the war in Gaza say Biden's arm is a
Josh Paul, a former State Department official and activist, called for a cease-fire during a demonstration outside the White House.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The contents of the report remain unclear, but Thursday Axios He said he would present a highly critical analysis of Israel’s behavior in Gaza, but refrained from concluding that military forces violated the conditions for the use of US weapons. NBC News could not immediately independently verify the report, which was cited by three unnamed officials.

“Sorry for taking so long”

sent by the Biden administration thousands of bombs and other ammunition already in the course of the war to Israel and Paul said that even without US military support, “Israel has a deep weapons stockpile and has every opportunity to continue this operation if it chooses.”

But, he said, if the US changes its policy and stops sending weapons to Israel indefinitely, “then it really starts to limit Israel’s ability to use these weapons in Gaza.”

Ultimately, Paul said, it is “important” that the United States “finally shows that it is willing to use the leverage that arms transfers provide, despite the fact that they have repeatedly said they never will.”

The US has long been Israel’s biggest arms supplier, followed by Germany, a trend that continues amid Israel’s assault on Gaza, despite Biden himself calling Israeli forces’ bombing of the enclave “indiscriminate” in December.

The UN's Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) said on Friday that around 110,000 people have fled Rafah for safety.
Surrounded by grieving relatives, a pregnant woman mourns the death of her husband in Rafah on Friday. Doaa Albaz / Anatolia via Getty Images

“I’m sorry it took so long for the administration to get to this point,” Paul said. he said he hoped the development would open a “broader conversation” beyond Rafah about US security assistance to Israel, including whether it is “in fact in the US national interest”.

After Israeli and Hamas delegations left Cairo this week without an agreement to end fighting in Gaza and secure the release of hostages still being held there, Paul and Rharrit said the US must increase pressure on both sides.

“We as a nation must press for a diplomatic solution,” Rharrit said. “If we use our military assistance, it could have a significant impact on Israel’s concessions to end the war.”

“More bombs, more killing is not the answer.”

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By 37ci3

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