Two More US Officials Resign over Gaza War, Double Standards – Report

Two more US officials have resigned over the ongoing genocidal war in Gaza. (Design: Palestine Chronicle, via UNRWA, Screen grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“I cannot do my job in an environment in which specific people cannot be acknowledged as fully human, or where gender and human rights principles apply to some, but not to others, depending on their race.”

Two more US officials have resigned over the ongoing genocidal war in Gaza in protest at the handling of information about the situation in the enclave, according to The Guardian.

Alexander Smith, a contractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) resigned after a presentation he prepared on maternal and child mortality in Gaza and the West Bank was canceled at the last minute, the paper reported on Thursday.

Smith said he was given “a choice between resignation and dismissal” after preparing a presentation on maternal and child mortality among Palestinians.

The paper said Smith was a senior adviser on gender, maternal health, child health, and nutrition, and after four years at USAID, chose to resign on Monday.

State Department is Wrong

In another resignation, Stacy Gilbert, a State Department official from the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, objected to an official finding by the department.

Gilbert sent an email to colleagues explaining that she was leaving “because of an official finding by the department that Israel was not deliberately obstructing the flow of food or other aid into Gaza.”

The paper, citing the Washington Post, said that Gilbert took issue with a formal State Department report to Congress on May 10.

“Gilbert sent an email to staff Tuesday explaining her view that the State Department was wrong to conclude that Israel had not obstructed humanitarian assistance to Gaza, officials who read the letter said,” the Post reported.

A State Department spokesperson, when asked about Gilbert’s resignation, reportedly said that “we have made clear we welcome diverse points of view and believe it makes us stronger”.

‘Inconsistencies in USAID Approach’

In Smith’s resignation letter to the head of the agency, Samantha Power, “he complained about the inconsistencies in USAID’s approach to different countries and humanitarian crises, and the general treatment of Palestinians,” according to the report.

“I cannot do my job in an environment in which specific people cannot be acknowledged as fully human, or where gender and human rights principles apply to some, but not to others, depending on their race,” he reportedly wrote.

Paper ‘Cleared for Publication’

Smith had been scheduled to present a paper to an internal USAID conference which “had been cleared for publication by the conference organisers.”

However, the paper said, that when it came to the attention of USAID’s Middle East section on May 20, Smith was asked to make redactions.

According to the paper, Smith said those edits “included removing a slide outlining applicable international humanitarian law, and any language implying recognition of a Palestinian state, including references to agencies which have Palestine in their title, like the UN Family Planning Association (UNFPA) Palestine.”

After 24 hours of discussing edits, the report continued, “the USAID leadership changed its mind and ordered Smith’s talk to be cancelled altogether, deleting mention of it from the conference website.”

A USAID official, the report continued, said his talk had been canceled because it was outside his area of expertise, but Smith argued that “his expertise in maternal and child health and nutrition was relevant in all areas of humanitarian crisis.”

‘Option to Resign’

Two days later, Smith was given the option by Highbury, his direct employer, gave him the option to resign “if he chose to.”

In his resignation letter, The Guardian reported, Smith wrote that “USAID has always prided itself on our programs supporting democracy, human rights, and rule of law,” adding “In Ukraine, we call for legal redress when people are victimised, and name perpetrators of violence … We boldly state ‘Slava Ukraini’ in peppy promotional videos.”

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“When it comes to the Palestinians, however, we avoid saying anything about their right to statehood, the abuses they’re currently suffering, or which powers have been violating their basic rights to freedom, self-determination, livelihoods, and clean water,” he reportedly said.

The latest resignations bring the total number of US administration officials to have publicly resigned over US policy on Gaza to nine, according to The Guardian.

Over 36,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 36,284 Palestinians have been killed, and 82,057 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in the enclave.

Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza – Civilians Killed as Israeli Genocide Continues

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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