WASHINGTON (Agencies): An internal dissent memo within the US State Department has accused President Joe Biden of “spreading misinformation” on Israel’s assault against the Gaza Strip and has acknowledged that Israel is committing “war crimes”, in what is the latest occurrence of dissent in American policy bodies during the ongoing hostilities.
According to the news outlet, Axios, which obtained a copy of the memo, the five-page document accused President Biden of “spreading misinformation in his October 10 speech”, in which he stated support for Israel in its retaliation against Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas.
The memo called on Biden to go further in questioning Israel’s actions, such as imposing a total siege on Gaza and cutting off all energy, aid, food and water supplies to the land strip. Those actions “all constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law”, the memo stated.
It urged senior US officials to reassess the country’s policy toward Israel and to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, where Tel Aviv’s bombardment and invasion has killed over 11,000 Palestinians, around 70 per cent of whom are women and children.
The US government has “failed to reassess our posture towards Israel”, the memo stated. “We doubled down on our unwavering military assistance to the (Israeli government) without clear or actionable redlines.” It added that “Members of the White House and (the National Security Council) displayed a clear disregard for the lives of Palestinians, a documented unwillingness to de-escalate, and, even prior to October 7, a reckless lack of strategic foresight.”
The document also criticised Biden for “questioning the number of deaths” in Gaza, referring to a press conference on 27 October when he said that he had “no confidence” in the Gaza Health Ministry’s figures amid claims that it exaggerates numbers of those killed.
The dissent memo also strongly urged for the US government to “advocate for the release of hostages by both Hamas and (Israel)”, acknowledging and expressing concern over the “thousands” of Palestinians currently detained by Israeli authorities throughout the Occupied Territories, many of them “without charge”.
Transmitted to the State Department’s policy office on 3 November, the memo was organised by a junior diplomat named Sylvia Yacoub, a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Middle East Affairs. It has reportedly gained notable support and has been signed by 100 State Department and USAID employees.