1,000+ USAID officials sign letter urging Biden for Gaza cease-fire.
Unease within U.S. government over Biden’s support for Israel.
More than 500 Biden campaign workers call for immediate cease-fire.
Over 1,000 officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have collectively signed an open letter, urging the Biden administration to promptly call for a cease-fire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The letter, as reported by Reuters, underscores a growing unease within the U.S. government regarding President Joe Biden’s consistent support for Israel in response to the October 7 attacks by Palestinian Hamas militants, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis, predominantly civilians.
The Biden administration has resisted appeals from Arab and Palestinian leaders, as well as others, to demand Israel to halt its offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.
The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 Palestinians, including over 4,500 children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
“(W)e are alarmed and disheartened at the numerous violations of international law; laws which aim to protect civilians, medical and media personnel, as well as schools, hospitals, and places of worship,” the letter reads.
“We believe that further catastrophic loss of human life can only be avoided if the United States Government calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.”
Released on November 2, the letter has amassed 1,029 signatures from personnel within the U.S. aid agency. While the names of the signatories remain undisclosed, the letter indicates that officials from various bureaus in Washington, as well as those stationed globally, have lent their support by signing.
“We appreciate the ongoing dialogue we have with our dedicated staff and partners, and continue to welcome our team to share their opinions with leadership,” USAID Spokesperson Jessica Jennings said in an emailed response.
Amid nationwide protests in the United States and global calls for a cease-fire, there is growing apprehension among officials regarding the U.S. response to the Middle East crisis. This unease includes the public resignation of a State Department official who opposed continued lethal assistance to Israel.
On Thursday, over 500 individuals from Biden’s 2020 election campaign published a letter urging the president to endorse an immediate cease-fire. Additionally, congressional staffers staged a vigil at the Capitol demanding a cease-fire, as documented on social media.
A source familiar with the situation described “deep frustration” among officials since the October 7 events, criticizing the administration for providing what they perceive as unchecked support to Israel for its military offensive in Gaza.
The source revealed the drafting of at least four dissent cables for the State Department’s internal channel, allowing diplomats to express concerns anonymously to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The existence of dissent cables is not officially confirmed by the State Department.
In response to these concerns, the department has conducted several listening sessions in the past month, including at U.S. missions in the Middle East, as reported by two attendees. Deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel emphasized the importance of direct engagement with the workforce, alluding to listening sessions held with concerned staff led by Blinken and other leaders.
“We also recognize that this has been a trying time for our workforce,” Patel said.
“We have ensured that our missions around the world, particularly those that might be more heightened attention right now to what’s happening in the Middle East have access to those resources and are able to interface with department leaders about not just what’s happening in the region, but the ways that this department can continue to serve them.”
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