US State Dept staffer resigns over Washington’s Gaza policy

Washington: A US State Department staffer responsible for promoting human rights in regions including Gaza has resigned in protest of the continued delivery of weapons from the US to Israel.

Annelle Sheline left the State Department on Wednesday after having served for a year as a foreign affairs officer at the Office of Near Eastern Affairs in the department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, according to an editor’s note from CNN proceeding an opinion piece by Sheline in which the employee explained the reason for her resignation.

In the article published on CNN’s website, Sheline blamed the US government for offering support, both diplomatically and militarily, to “atrocities committed” by the Israeli military in the ongoing war in Gaza, and the “killing of Palestinians by armed Israeli settlers” in the West Bank. These actions by Israel “meet the crime of genocide”, she said, citing testimonies by experts on genocide.

“Unable to serve an administration that enables such atrocities, I have decided to resign from my position at the Department of State,” Sheline said.

Sheline said she had not initially planned a public resignation. “Because my time at State had been so short — I was hired on a two-year contract — I did not think I mattered enough to announce my resignation publicly. However, when I started to tell colleagues of my decision to resign, the response I heard repeatedly was, Please speak for us.”

“Across the federal government, employees like me have tried for months to influence policy, both internally and, when that failed, publicly,” she said.

“My colleagues and I watched in horror as this administration delivered thousands of precision-guided munitions, bombs, small arms and other lethal aid to Israel and authorized thousands more, even bypassing Congress to do so. We are appalled by the administration’s flagrant disregard for American laws that prohibit the U.S. from providing assistance to foreign militaries that engage in gross human rights violations or that restrict the delivery of humanitarian aid,” wrote Sheline in the article.

None of Sheline’s posts on X can be seen anymore, with a note on the page of her account saying “these posts are being protected”.

The latest episode followed the stepping down for a similar reason in October of Josh Paul, a senior State Department official in charge of overseeing foreign arms transfers, as well as the self-immolation of US airman Aaron Bushnell in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. in February.

During a press briefing at the State Department on Wednesday, Matthew Miller, the department’s spokesperson, said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken not only “has instructed his team … to make sure people have an opportunity to make their views known, but also has taken those dissenting ideas into account when making policy decisions”.


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