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20 Oct, 2023 09:35

US State Department arms-transfer chief resigns over Israel

The official has characterized Washington’s rush to provide military aid as “shortsighted” and “destructive”
US State Department arms-transfer chief resigns over Israel

A senior official in the US Department of State responsible for weapons transfers has resigned in protest, stating that Washington’s rush to arm Israel was “shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse.”

Josh Paul had served as the director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) for more than 11 years. On Wednesday, he published his resignation letter on his LinkedIn profile. HuffPo was the first major news outlet to report it on the same day.

Paul said he took the job knowing that it entailed “moral complexity and moral compromises” and strived to make sure that “the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do.”

“I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued – indeed, expanded and expedited – provision of lethal arms to Israel – I have reached the end of that bargain,” he explained his decision.

Washington was repeating the same mistakes that it made for decades, he wrote. The policy is “an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.”

The letter cited Paul’s academic experience in the Middle East and official work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He said he had “deep personal ties” to both sides of the conflict, and denounced the biased approach, which he claimed obfuscates wrongdoing by the party that the US is partnered with.

Paul condemned the murder of civilians by “terrorists” whether the victims “dance at a rave” or “harvest their olive grove” and the kidnapping of children “whether taken at gunpoint from their kibbutz or taken at gunpoint from their village.”

Collective punishment is an enemy of the desire to build a better world, “whether it involves demolishing one home, or one thousand; as too is ethnic cleansing; as too is occupation; as too is apartheid,” he stated.

Violence escalated in the region after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise incursion into southern Israel this month, killing hundreds of people and capturing scores of hostages. Paul described the raid as “a monstrosity of monstrosities” in his letter.

Israel responded by ramping up its blockade of Gaza and subjecting it to intense bombardment. The Israeli government said it was determined to “obliterate” Hamas.

US President Joe Biden visited Israel on the day Paul tendered his resignation letter, pledging to ask Congress to allocate additional aid to meet the ally’s military needs. He will reportedly ask for $10 billion in emergency spending this week.