New Delhi: More than 500 political appointees and staff members from about 40 US government agencies sent a letter to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, in protest against his unwavering support for Israel.
The letter, presented to Biden and his cabinet, calls for the president to seek an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and to push Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the territory.
The letter first denounced the Hamas attack on October 7 that killed 1,200 Israelis, then called on Biden to de-escalate Israel’s military campaign in Gaza which has now killed over 11,000 people, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
“We call on President Biden to urgently demand a cease-fire; and to call for de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” the letter said, according to the New York Times.
The letter reflects mounting unease and internal dissent within the Biden administration about Biden’s Israel policy. It is the latest of several protest letters from government officials, including three internal memos sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and an open letter signed by more than 1,000 employees of the US Agency for International Development.
While the signatories of the letter are anonymous out of concern for their jobs and personal safety, two political appointees who helped organise the letter said the majority of the signatories were political appointees of various faiths who worked in agencies from the National Security Council to the FBI and the Justice Department.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans support a ceas-fire,” the letter states, linking to a poll from October showing that 66 percent of Americans, including 80% of Democrats, believe the United States should put pressure on Israel for a ceasefire.
“Furthermore, Americans do not want the US military to be drawn into another costly and senseless war in the Middle East.”
The Biden administration has recently started voicing concern over high death tolls in Gaza, however, Biden and Blinken are understood to remain opposed to a ceasefire.
Instead, they have called for humanitarian “pauses,” which provide a temporary break in hostilities to allow for defined humanitarian missions like aid deliveries to Gaza and the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.