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Israel-Hamas War: Will a Storm of Dissent in Washington Alter Biden’s Israel Policy?

Israeli army soldiers position themselves with their Merkava tanks near the boundary with the Gaza Strip, on 9 October 2023 (AFP)
Israeli army soldiers position themselves with their Merkava tanks near the boundary with the Gaza Strip, on 9 October 2023 (AFP)

As U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wraps up his extensive Middle East round-up in hopes of deescalating the current conflict ignited by the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, new reporting reveals that the Biden administration is facing mutiny inside the State Department, protesting support for Israel.

Upon the completion of his trip, Sec. Blinken sent a lengthy message to the American diplomatic corps, describing the current conflict as "challenging" for State Department employees and reiterated calls for Israel to respect the "rule of law and international humanitarian standards" while backing the country's right to defend itself in the wake of Hamas attack.

"It is strange, but not surprising, that career State Department officials did not publicly protest when the Biden Administration failed to deter Russia from invading Ukraine; they did not publicly protest when the Biden Administration funneled tens of billions of dollars to the Iranian regime, nor did they publicly protest when we funneled aid to Hamas," Gabriel Noronha, former State Department official under the Trump administration, said to The Foreign Desk.

"The choice of many career diplomats to suddenly find their voice when our ally defends itself against unprovoked terror attacks is revealing," he added.

The statement by Blinken and the administration's actions have led to objections inside the State Department, National Security Council, and other agencies. Administration officials have expressed concerns about Israel's bombing campaign and raids in Gaza, believing that such actions have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and mounting civilian death toll, despite Israel’s policy of only targeting Hamas terror infrastructures and attempting to minimize civilian casualties by alerting communities ahead of their missions.

Current and former State Department officials have talked to the administration about Israel "violating international humanitarian law" and are angry that the President immediately offered Israel unfettered military support.

Others in the diplomatic corps are upset by the White House's rush to back widespread Israeli military operations in Gaza.

In response to the ongoing mutiny in the State Department, spokesperson Matthew Miller has stated that Sec. Blinken has " spoken to this on a number of occasions when he's said that he welcomes people exercising the dissent channel."

"He finds it useful to get conflicting voices that may differ from his opinion. He takes it seriously, and it causes him to reflect on his own thinking in terms of policymaking," Miller added.

The latest reports inside the Department of State are nothing new.

Last Friday, The Washington Free Beacon reported that an employee in the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs Bureau accused President Biden of being complicit in a "genocide" as Israel defends itself against Hamas terrorism.

Sylvia Yacoub, who is a career foreign service officer who works on Middle East issues, used her X (Twitter), platform to bash her boss, President Joe Biden, and lash out at the administration's support for Israel against Hamas.

"Far too many diplomats do not understand the basic imperative that successful nations know well: that we must stand with our allies to defeat the scourge of terrorism. Reform to the Foreign Service is clearly needed." Noronha told The Foreign Desk.

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