‘I cannot be quietly complicit’: Biden official resigns over Gaza assault

"I cannot represent an administration that does not value all human life equally."


Tariq Habash, a Palestinian American serving as a policy adviser in the Education Department’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, announced his resignation on Wednesday. His departure is a direct response to the Biden administration’s support for Israel amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza, marking a growing dissent within the U.S. government.

Habash, who actively participated in President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, served in a role shaping education policies. His Palestinian American background profoundly influenced his view on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, driving his decision to resign from an administration he believes is complicit in injustices against Palestinians.

In his resignation letter, Habash stated, “I cannot represent an administration that does not value all human life equally.” He expressed deep concern over the U.S. administration’s stance, particularly its alleged indifference to “the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives.”

Habash’s letter further accused the administration of turning a “blind eye to the genocidal campaign by the Israeli government” and participating in “the abusive and ongoing collective punishment tactics” in Gaza.

Habash’s resignation follows that of Josh Paul, a State Department official who resigned in protest against the U.S. stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict. This pattern of resignations reflects a broader discomfort within the U.S. government about the handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Despite the internal criticism, the Biden administration has maintained its support for Israel, emphasizing Israel’s right to defend itself. This policy has sparked significant debate within the U.S., with critics arguing that it undermines a balanced and peaceful resolution to the conflict.

South Africa’s appeal to the International Court of Justice to declare Israel’s actions in Gaza as genocide reflects the global concern over the crisis. Legal experts have suggested that Biden administration officials might face legal consequences for their support of these actions.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached a critical point, with nearly all of the 2.3 million residents displaced and a reported death toll of nearly 30,000, mostly women and children. The Israeli offensive has devastated Gaza’s essential infrastructure, leading to widespread disease and starvation.

Habash’s resignation has elicited varied reactions from government officials and international organizations. While some support his stance, others continue to back the Biden administration’s policies. Human rights organizations have emphasized the disproportionate impact on Palestinian civilians and have called for an immediate ceasefire.

Reflecting on his decision, Habash poignantly remarked, “I mourn each and every loss, Israeli and Palestinian. But I cannot be quietly complicit as this administration fails to leverage its influence as Israel’s strongest ally to halt the abusive and ongoing collective punishment tactics that have cut off Palestinians in Gaza from food, water, electricity, fuel, and medical supplies, leading to widespread disease and starvation.”


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