Blinken faces State Department disagreement over Biden’s Gaza policy

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Moving to address disagreements within the ranks of the State Department over the Biden administration’s policy on Israel and the war in Gaza, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told department staff on Monday that “we are listening ” to those who “disagree with the methods we are. taking.”

In a nationwide message circulated after Blinken returned over the weekend from a trip to the Mideast and Asia, the top US diplomat acknowledged that some diplomats have expressed doubts about US aid to Israel while pressing an attack on Hamas that has been a large civilian death. More than 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza have died in the attack, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Multiple cables about the issue were sent through the State Department’s dissident channel, US officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue. The department’s dissent system was established during the Vietnam War to allow diplomats to express disagreement with official US policy without fear of reprisal.

Blinken’s Monday letter to the State Department, obtained by The Washington Post, was designed as an update to staff following a nine-day trip in which he visited eight countries and the West Bank.

“I know that for many of you, the suffering caused by this crisis takes a deep personal toll,” he said in the memo, which was first reported by The New York Times.

“I also know that some people in the Department may not agree with the methods we are using or have ideas on what we can do better. We have organized forums in Washington to hear from you, and we urged managers and teams to have open discussions at posts around the world in detail so that we can hear your thoughts and ideas. I have asked our senior management to continue to do so. We’re listening: what you share informs our policy and messaging,” he wrote.

The US is being warned about its global standing as Gaza’s suffering continues

Blinken’s letter to employees was also sent to employees of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), where more than 1,000 employees have endorsed an open letter urging the Biden administration to call for An immediate ceasefire in the war, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Post.

The agency’s staff said they were “horrified and dismayed by the violations of international law; laws aimed at protecting civilians, medical workers and the media, as well as schools, hospitals, and places of worship.”

Referring to the dire humanitarian situation in Israel and Gaza, Blinken told staff that he is aware that “the suffering of this crisis takes a deep personal toll. The anguish that comes with seeing daily images of babies, children, elderly people, women and other civilians who are suffering in this crisis is very intense. I feel myself.”

Gaza must not be reoccupied, it should be run by Palestinians, says Blinken

While Blinken’s letter does not seem to quell internal frustration that the Biden administration is not putting enough pressure on Israel to stop the killing of civilians, US officials credited him for being more proactive by dissenting USAID administrator Samantha Power, who did not speak directly to the USAID Open Letter or contact the organizers.

“The silence from leadership on the internal letter is frustrating and disappointing,” a USAID official told the Post, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal disagreements. We would like to acknowledge from USAID leadership that they heard the 1,060 [and growing] the number of employees who signed the letter requesting a cease fire. There are over 200 signatories from the Jordan, Egypt, and West Bank/Gaza Missions alone, as well as hundreds from the Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs, and the Middle East Bureau. These are people in the trenches trying to deliver aid, and they recognize that it is not effective without stopping hostilities.”

A USAID spokesperson said separately that the agency’s leadership has held meetings three times a week since the start of the Israel-Gaza war to coordinate a response to the crisis. They have also sent memos throughout the organization providing resources to employees affected by the conflict and recognizing their work.

“This is an ongoing conversation with our staff, who are dedicated to helping those around the world and really feel deeply about the events that are going on,” said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

“All the work we are doing, both internally and externally to support workers and externally to help get humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, guided by the expertise of our staff in the region and those in Washington,” the official said.

Blinken’s approach to civil tax increases evolved over his last one trip, urging Israel in increasingly strong terms to ease the suffering of the people of Gaza. Humanitarian efforts for Gaza have also become central to US diplomacy with Israel.

“Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Too many have suffered in the past few weeks, and we want to do everything to prevent harm to them,” he told reporters in New Delhi, the last stop of the tour. It has also outlined a basic vision for post-conflict Gaza that puts Palestinians at the heart of its future.

At least one of the dissent cables was installed early in the conflict, when the Biden administration was aggressive in efforts by Israeli leaders to reduce civilian deaths. And at least one State Department official, Josh Paul, who worked in the bureau that organizes military aid to foreign governments, resigned because of disagreements about the administration’s policy.

Israel-Gaza war

Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, is “not functioning” after days without power, water or reliable internet, the World Health Organization said. Understand what is behind the Israel-Gaza war.

Hosts: Officials say Hamas terrorists kidnapped about 239 hostages in a coordinated attack. Four hostages have been released – two Americans and two Israelis – while families are holding out hope. One Israeli hostage who was released reported on the “spider web” of the Gaza tunnels she was in.

Humanitarian aid: The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said it has received more than 370 trucks with food, medicine and water in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing in Egypt. However, the PRCS said, there has not yet been permission to import fuel to power hospitals, water pumps, taxis and more.

Conflict between Israel and Palestine: The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has a complicated history, and its rulers have been at odds with the Palestinian Authority, the US-backed government in the United States. West Bank. Here is a timeline of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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