U.S. State Department official quits over Israel policy

“The fact is, blind support for one side is destructive in the long term to the interests of the people on both sides. I fear we are repeating the same mistakes we have made in these past decades, and I decline to be a part of it for longer”

— Josh Paul, director at the U.S. State Department

That was Josh Paul, an 11-year veteran of the State Department, explaining his decision to resign Wednesday from his post as Director of Congressional & Public Affairs, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, in a post on his LinkedIn account.

“Let me be clear: Hamas’ attack on Israel was not just a monstrosity; it was a monstrosity of monstrosities,” said Paul, who was responsible for “shaping and implementing an holistic communications strategy in support of U.S. security assistance, arms transfers, and global defense partnerships,” according to his account.

He said while further escalations by Iran-linked groups would exploit an already tragic situation, he believes “the response Israel is taking, and with it the American support both for that response, and for the status quo of the occupation, will only lead to more and deeper suffering for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people — and is not in the long-term American interest.”

Josh described the U.S. response as “an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy and bureaucratic inertia,” as well as deeply disappointing and not surprising. He said that both Palestinians and Israelis have a right to flourish, with kidnapping children and taking people at gunpoint from their villages as Hamas did in its shocking attack, an “enemy to that desire.”

“And collective punishment is an enemy to that desire, whether it involves demolishing one home, or one thousand; as too is ethnic cleansing, as too is occupation, as too is apartheid,” said Paul, adding that third parties like the U.S. have a duty to help those “caught in the middle, and that of generations to come.”

In the two-page post, Paul said that given his role is “solidly in the arms transfer space,” he would be rushing more arms to the Israeli side of the conflict that he sees as “shortsighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory,” to American values.

Paul’s post drew over 400 comments.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have died since Hamas crossed into Israeli territory nearly two weeks ago, with roughly 200 people believed to have been kidnapped. That has led to a Israeli seize of Gaza — the country’s health ministry calculates 3,478 people have died, with more than 12,000 wounded.

An explosion at a hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday is believed to have killed hundreds, sparking international outrage and protests. Both the Israeli military and Hamas have blamed each other for that attack.

In Israel on Wednesday, President President Biden pledged support for Israel, telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. doesn’t believe his country was responsible for the hospital blast. Israel said Wednesday that it would allow in humanitarian aid from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

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