Third Biden appointee resigns over accusations of enabling ‘genocide’ in Gaza

Maryam Hassanein, the first Muslim-American appointee to resign, condemns Biden’s support for Israel amid escalating conflict.

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Maryam Hassanein, a political appointee in the Department of the Interior, has resigned in protest of President Joe Biden’s support for Israel, denouncing the conflict in Gaza as a “genocide” against Palestinians. This resignation marks the third from Biden’s administration over the issue, highlighting growing internal dissent.

Hassanein, who served as a special assistant and assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management, announced her resignation on social media. She cited the administration’s actions as “dehumanizing” to Muslims and Arabs, and credited campus protests at George Washington University for solidifying her decision.

“It has become clear to me that I do not have a place in this administration,” she wrote on the social media platform X. The Institute for Middle East Understanding noted that Hassanein is the first Muslim-American to resign from the Biden administration over its stance on the Israeli conflict.

In her resignation statement, Hassanein expressed deep disappointment in the administration’s failure to uphold the justice it promised. “When my family and I, alongside other Muslims and Arab Americans, turned up to vote for President Biden in 2020, it was because the Biden campaign promised justice. That promise and faith in the administration has been shattered,” she stated.

Hassanein’s resignation follows that of Josh Paul, a career foreign service officer who oversaw U.S. weapons deliveries to Israel. Paul criticized the rapid pace and lack of oversight of these deliveries, which were scaled up following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7. Additionally, Lily Greenberg Call, another political appointee in the Department of Interior, resigned in May, and Tariq Habash, a Palestinian-American, resigned from his position at the Department of Education in January.

President Biden has defended his support for Israel, emphasizing the importance of standing with a democratic ally in the face of Hamas’s terrorist attacks. However, he has also criticized the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the severe military campaign in Gaza aimed at defeating Hamas.

Critics of Biden’s policy have called for an immediate halt to U.S. weapons supplies to Israel, arguing that such measures could be used as leverage to stop Israel’s military operations. Biden has proposed a six-week ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, contingent on Hamas releasing an estimated 120 hostages taken during the October 7 attack. The administration aims to use this pause in fighting to scale up humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza and work towards negotiating a permanent end to the conflict.

Hassanein described her resignation as a stand against the administration’s actions, which she believes contribute to the genocide in Gaza. “Marginalized communities in our country have long been denied the justice they deserve. I joined the Biden-Harris administration with the belief that my voice and diverse perspective would lend a hand in the pursuit of that justice,” she said in her statement. “However, over the past nine months of Israel’s genocide in Gaza, this administration has chosen to uphold the status quo instead of listening to the diverse voices of staff urgently demanding freedom and justice for Palestinians.”

Her resignation has been met with support from various advocacy groups. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, praised Hassanein’s decision, stating, “We welcome this principled resignation by another Biden administration official who took up their post believing they could help the nation, but instead realized they were becoming complicit in the administration’s enabling of the far-right Israeli government’s genocide in Gaza.”

Awad further criticized President Biden, asserting that the administration has lost credibility on human rights issues. “President Biden must reverse course and end our nation’s complicity in genocide, forced starvation, and ethnic cleansing,” Awad said. “He must demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire, an end to the occupation, and justice for the Palestinian people.”

The Biden administration has been a staunch supporter of Israel, even as the conflict in Gaza has drawn international condemnation. United Nations officials, human rights experts, and countries involved in an International Court of Justice case led by South Africa have labeled the assault on Gaza’s 2.3 million people as genocidal. Despite this, Biden has approved billions of dollars in military assistance and provided diplomatic support for Israel.

According to Palestinian and international agencies, at least 37,925 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed by Israeli forces, with upwards of 87,000 others wounded. Additionally, at least 11,000 people are missing and presumed dead beneath the rubble of destroyed or damaged buildings. Israel has also faced accusations of deliberately starving Gazans through a crippling siege and blockade, resulting in dozens of deaths from malnutrition.

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Jordan Atwood is a dynamic War and Politics Reporter known for his incisive analysis and comprehensive coverage of international conflicts and political landscapes. His work is driven by a commitment to uncovering the truth and providing a clear, informed understanding of complex geopolitical events. Jordan's reporting not only captures the realities of war but also delves into the political strategies and implications behind them, making his work essential for those seeking a deeper understanding of world affairs.

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