A US State Department official resigns and says that the US report on Gaza is inaccurate

Written by Daphne Psalidakis and Humeyra Pamuk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A US State Department official who resigned this week said on Thursday that her resignation came because of a report the administration submitted to Congress in which it said that Israel was not blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, which prompted her to resign in protest against US President Joe Biden. Biden’s policy towards Israel.

Stacy Gilbert, who worked in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, was an expert on the subject who worked on the report.

“Clearly there is right and wrong, and what is in this report is wrong,” Gilbert said in an interview.

The United Nations and relief organizations have long complained about the risks and obstacles to aid access and distribution throughout Gaza.

With the Palestinian death toll in Gaza exceeding 36,000 and a humanitarian crisis sweeping the territory, human rights groups and other critics have criticized the United States for supplying weapons to Israel and have largely defended Israel’s behavior.

The State Department submitted the 46-page unclassified report earlier this month to Congress as required under a new national security memorandum that Biden issued in early February.

Among other conclusions, the report said that in the period following October 7, Israel “did not fully cooperate” with US and other efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

But she said this did not amount to a violation of US law prohibiting the provision of weapons to countries that restrict US humanitarian aid.

Gilbert, who has worked at the State Department for more than 20 years, said she informed her office on the day the State Department report was released that she was resigning. Her last day was Tuesday.

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State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters Thursday that he would not comment on personnel issues, but the department welcomes diverse viewpoints.

He said the administration is committed to the report and continues to pressure the Government of Israel to avoid harming civilians and urgently expand humanitarian access to Gaza.

“We are not an administration that distorts facts, and the allegations we have are baseless,” Patel said.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gilbert’s accusations.

Gilbert’s office was one of four offices that helped prepare a confidential preliminary options memorandum, published exclusively by Reuters in late April, which informed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel may be violating international humanitarian law.

Gilbert said the State Department prevented subject matter experts from working on the report to Congress when the document was a rough draft about 10 days before it was due to be delivered. She said the report was then edited by senior officials.

Gilbert said that, in contrast to the published version, the latest draft she viewed stated that Israel was blocking humanitarian aid.

Among the officials who resigned before Gilbert were Arabic language spokeswoman Hala Harit and Anil Shelin of the Human Rights Office.

More than 36,000 Palestinians were killed in the air and ground war launched by Israel in Gaza. Israel launched its attack after Hamas fighters crossed from Gaza into southern Israel on October 7 last year, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 250, according to Israeli statistics.

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(Reporting by Daphne Psalidakis and Humeyra Pamuk; Additional reporting by Matt Spitalnik and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Don Durfee and Cynthia Osterman)

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