What guilty verdict? Unfazed Republican donors focus on Trump’s polling

WASHINGTON: A US State Department official who resigned this week said Thursday that her resignation was precipitated by an administration report to Congress in which she said she falsely stated that Israel was not blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, prompting her resignation in a sign of protest against President Joe Biden’s Israeli policy.

Stacy Gilbert, who worked in the State Department’s Office of Population, Refugees and Migration, was the subject matter expert who worked on the report.

“Clearly there’s a right and a wrong, and what’s in this report is wrong,” Gilbert said in an interview.

The United Nations and humanitarian groups have long complained about the dangers and obstacles in getting aid and distributing it across Gaza.

As the Palestinian death toll in Gaza has topped 36,000 and the enclave has been gripped by a humanitarian crisis, human rights groups and other critics have accused the US of providing weapons to Israel and largely defending Israel’s conduct.

The State Department submitted the 46-page unclassified report to Congress earlier this month, as required by a new national security memo Biden issued in early February.

Among other conclusions, the report said that in the period after October 7, Israel “did not fully cooperate” with US and other efforts to get humanitarian aid to Gaza.

But he said that did not constitute a violation of a US law that blocks the supply of arms to countries that restrict US humanitarian aid.

Gilbert, who worked for the State Department for more than 20 years, said she notified her office on the day the State Department report was released that she would resign. Her last day was Tuesday.

US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters Thursday that he would not comment on personnel issues, but that the department welcomes differing viewpoints.

He said the administration stands by the report and continues to press the Israeli government not to harm civilians and urgently expand humanitarian access to Gaza.

“We are not an administration that twists the facts, and the allegations that we have are baseless,” Patel said.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gilbert’s allegations.

Gilbert’s office was one of four contributors to a confidential initial prospectus memorandum, which Reuters exclusively reported in late April, that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Israel may be violating international humanitarian law.

Gilbert said the State Department removed subject matter experts from working on the report to Congress when the document was in rough draft about 10 days ahead of schedule. She said the report was then edited by senior officials.

Gilbert said that, contrary to the published version, the latest draft she has seen states that Israel is blocking humanitarian aid.

Among the officials who resigned before Gilbert were Arabic language spokeswoman Hala Rharrit and Annelle Sheline of the Office of Human Rights.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air and ground war in Gaza. Israel launched its offensive after Hamas fighters crossed from Gaza into southern Israel on October 7 last year, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 250, according to Israeli figures.

Leave a Comment