Joint Statement of U.S. Government Officials who have Resigned over U.S. policy towards Gaza, Palestine, and Israel

Dear BCC’d Media and NGO colleagues, and other friends,

Attached please find the first Joint Statement from all of us who have publicly resigned from the Biden Administration over U.S. policy towards Gaza, Palestine, and Israel.  The Statement can also be found online via:

We are releasing this Joint Statement ahead of and in connection with the July 4th holiday, because our resignations, as this statement lays out, reflect our continuing service to this nation.

The statement, whose theme and title is “Service in Dissent,” contains five sections:

  • Overview and introduction
  • The Current Crisis – an explanation of the damage our current policies are doing in Gaza, to the Palestinians, to Israel, and, more broadly, to America’s national security.
  • How did it go wrong? – An overview based on our collective personal experiences within the U.S. Government of why and how U.S. policy has gone so far off the rails.
  • What is to be done? – Six concrete recommendations based on our government experience and observations
  • Our message to our former colleagues – from our hearts, a message of support and encouragement to the former colleagues still in government who are struggling with their role in this crisis.

The message is signed by all twelve of us who have publicly resigned.  Many of you are already in contact with many of them; I would encourage you to particularly reach out for comment to the newest resignees, namely Maryam Hassanien who resigned today, SMGST Abu Hashem who resigned from the U.S. Air Force after a U.S. munition killed his aunt in Gaza, and Maj Riley Livermore whose resignation from the Air Force went public on June 18th.  In addition, with her signature on this letter, Anna Del Castillo makes public her resignation from the White House over this issue (which took place in April).  The complete list of signatories is as follows:

SMSgt Mohammed Abu Hashem
First Sergeant
316th Civil Engineer Squadron
U.S. Department of the Air Force

Anna Del Castillo
Former Political Appointee & Deputy Director
Office of Management & Administration
The White House

Lily Greenberg Call
Former Political Appointee
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior

Stacy Gilbert
Former Senior Civil-Military Advisor
Bureau of Population, Refugees, & Migration
U.S. Department of State

Tariq Habash
Former Policy Advisor & Political Appointee
Office of Planning, Evaluation & Policy Development
U.S. Department of Education

Maryam Hassanein
Former Special Assistant
Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Land and Minerals Management,
U.S. Department of the Interior

Maj Riley Livermore
Former Futures Flight Commander                                
413th Flight Test Squadron
U.S. Department of the Air Force

MAJ Harrison Mann
Former Army Officer and Executive Officer
Middle East/Africa Regional Center
Defense Intelligence Agency

Josh Paul
Former Director in the
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Hala Rharrit
Former Diplomat and State Department Spokesperson for the Middle East & North Africa
U.S. Department of State

Annelle Sheline
Former Foreign Affairs Officer
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor
U.S. Department of State

Alexander Smith
Senior Advisor
Global Health Bureau
U.S. Agency for International Development  

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need contact info for any of these former officials: all would be glad to speak with you regarding the Joint Statement and their service – in dissent.

Josh Paul

The full Joint Statement follows here:

Service in Dissent

Joint Statement of U.S. Government Officials who have Resigned
over U.S. policy towards Gaza, Palestine, and Israel

We are former U.S. Government Officials who resigned from our respective positions over the

last nine months due to our grave concerns with current U.S. policy towards the crisis in Gaza,

and U.S. policies and practices towards Palestine and Israel more broadly. We are subject matter

experts representing the interagency, and are a multifaith and multiethnic community of

professionals and patriots dedicated to the service of the United States of America, its people,

and its values. Whether in the civil service, foreign service, armed forces, or as political

appointees, each of us has sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United

States, and as our nation celebrates its Independence Day, each of us are reminded that we

resigned from government not to terminate that oath but to continue to abide by it; not to end

our commitment to service, but to extend it.

Alone, we each made the somber and difficult decision to resign based on the individual

circumstances we encountered at different times during these past nine months as we performed

our specific jobs. But today we stand united in a shared belief that it is our collective

responsibility to speak up.

The Administration’s policy in Gaza is a failure and a threat to U.S. national security. America’s

diplomatic cover for, and continuous flow of arms to, Israel has ensured our undeniable

complicity in the killings and forced starvation of a besieged Palestinian population in Gaza. This

is not only morally reprehensible and in clear violation of international humanitarian law and

U.S. laws, but it has also put a target on America’s back. This intransigent policy risks U.S.

national security and the lives of our service members and diplomats as has already been made

evident with the killing of three U.S. service members in Jordan in January and the evacuations

of diplomatic facilities in the Middle East, and also poses a security risk for American citizens at

home and abroad. Despite this, the Administration’s choices have continued to threaten U.S.

interests throughout the region. Our nation’s political and economic interests across the region

have also been significantly harmed, while U.S. credibility has been deeply undermined

worldwide at a time we need it most, when the world is characterized by a new era of strategic


Critically, this failed policy has not achieved its stated objectives—it has not made Israelis any

safer, it has emboldened extremists while it has been devastating for the Palestinian people,

ensuring a vicious cycle of poverty and hopelessness, with all the implications of that cycle, for

generations to come. As a group of dedicated Americans in service of our country, we insist that

there is another way. In this Statement, we describe the current crisis, explain what we have

seen, and address the Biden Administration with policy proposals that we, based on our

extensive experience in government, believe must be adopted, including to ensure that

catastrophic policy failure like this can never happen again. Finally, but with the deepest

devotion, we address the thousands of honorable individuals still in government who are

struggling on a daily basis with difficult moral and personal choices.

The Current Crisis

U.S. policy choices have begotten a disaster. First and foremost is the catastrophic and rapidly

escalating humanitarian crisis that the Israeli government has created for the Palestinian people,

for whom the missteps of the ink of American bureaucracy has been paid in the blood of

innocent men, women, and children. To date, over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed, the vast

majority of civilian and humanitarian infrastructure has been destroyed, thousands of innocent

people remain missing under the rubble, and millions continue to face a manufactured famine

due to Israel’s arbitrary restrictions on food, water, medicine, and other critical humanitarian

goods. Yet, rather than hold the Government of Israel responsible for its role in arbitrarily

impeding humanitarian assistance, the U.S. has cut off funding to the single largest provider of

humanitarian assistance in Gaza: UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinians.

Second, we note with further concern and sadness that U.S. policy for many years, but

particularly since October 2023, has not only contributed to immense humanitarian harm, but

has failed when measured against its own declared intent: to contribute to the peace and safety of

all in the Middle East, and particularly that of Israel. Rather than using our immense leverage to

establish guardrails that can guide Israel towards a lasting and just peace, we have facilitated its

self-destructive actions that have deepened its political quagmire and contributed to its enduring

global isolation; there is no regional settlement, no agreement with autocratic regimes, no

diplomatic step short of the resolution of the Palestinian right to self-determination that can

provide Israel with real security.

Third, U.S. policies in this regard have been deeply damaging not only for U.S relations in the

region, but for our global credibility, the credibility of U.S. values, and the credibility of the West

—a particularly perilous state of affairs in the context of this era of strategic competition. Not

only have we inflicted deep and lasting damage to our relations across the region and destabilized

the Middle East, but our policies towards Gaza have led us to double-down on our support to

brittle regional autocracies as a hedge against public opinion. Meanwhile, on the global stage,

who does not see us as hypocrites when the United States condemns Russian war crimes while

unconditionally arming and excusing Israel’s? Who does not now laugh when Secretary Blinken

describes the “rules based international order” while simultaneously undermining it in favor of

Israel?—a tragedy after the decades Americans have spent building that order.

How did it go wrong?

Each of us has had our own experience of the cascading failures of process, leadership, and

decision-making that have characterized this Administration’s intransigent response to this

continuing calamity. Taken together, these paint a picture of an overlapping and systemic set of

problems in this Administration’s policy approach, and a series of warnings that have gone


In our collective experience, we have seen for years the silencing of concerns about Israel’s

human rights record and the failure of the Oslo process and broader U.S. policy. We have seen

debate silenced in government; facts distorted; laws sidestepped and wilfully ignored, even

violated; and lawyers working overtime to avoid faithfully implementing the law. We have seen

America, in a process turned on its head, rush to arm Israel even as civilians are massacred with

U.S. arms, and efforts to share intelligence with Israel that have contributed to this catastrophe.

We have seen peaceful protests met with rancid accusations of antisemitism and with violence,

while an Administration that previously fought for free speech on college campuses stood by as

it was silenced. We have seen unconditional U.S. support for Israeli military operations in Gaza

make it impossible to advocate for human rights in the Middle East and lead regional advocates

to turn their backs on our diplomats. We have seen a U.S. Government that dehumanizes both

Palestinians and Jews, making the former victims of its weapons and the latter scapegoats for its

war machine. We have seen an Administration that is willing to lie to Congress, and a Congress

that punishes the truth.

Both our individual and common experiences demonstrate an Administration that has prioritized

politics over just and fair policymaking; profit over national security; falsehoods over facts;

directives over debate; ideology over experience, and special interest over the equal enforcement

of the law. The impact of these injustices has resulted in tens of thousands of innocent

Palestinian lives taken, reflecting a clear picture to the world of whose lives matter, and whose

lives simply do not to United States policy makers. As members of the United States

Government, each of us witnessed this abrogation of American values, leading us to resign.

What is to be done?

  • A fundamental principle, and the first step in correcting U.S. policy, is for the

Government of the United States to faithfully execute the law. It is abundantly clear that

the Administration is currently willfully violating multiple U.S. laws and attempting to

deny or distort facts, use loopholes, or manipulate processes to ensure a continuous flow

of lethal weapons to Israel. As practically every credible and independent international

human rights organization has identified, there have been clear gross violations of human

rights by units of the Israeli security forces, dating back well before 2023, that should

compel ineligibility determinations under the Leahy Laws. As multiple credible

humanitarian aid organizations have identified, Israel has also, and continues to,

arbitrarily obstruct U.S.-funded humanitarian assistance, which should trigger a

suspension of security assistance under Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act. A

government that acts above, or around, the laws set by elected legislatures is not a

government that is faithful to the Constitution, or to its commitments to the people of

these United States.

  • Secondly, we believe the U.S. Government should use all necessary and available leverage

to bring the conflict to an immediate close and to achieve the release of all hostages, be

they Israelis kidnapped on October 7th, or the thousands of Palestinians, many of them

children, sitting uncharged in Israeli administrative detention.

  • Third, we believe the United States should commit the funding and the support needed

to ensure an immediate expansion of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, and

the reconstruction of that territory—a moral obligation given that the harm and

destruction to-date has largely been dealt by American weapons.

  • Fourth, we believe the United States should immediately announce that the policy of the

United States will be to support self-determination for the Palestinian people, and an end

to military occupation and settlements, including in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

  • Fifth, we believe there is an urgent need for change in the organizational cultures and

structures that have enabled the current U.S. approach. This includes the strengthening

of oversight and accountability mechanisms within the Executive Branch, greater

transparency regarding arms transfers and legal deliberations, an end to the silencing and

sidelining of critical voices, and statutory change via the legislative process; we commit to

working with the Executive and Legislative branches to detail and pursue such reforms.

  • Finally, we believe freedom of speech is under threat in this country, and we abjure

political pressure on colleges and universities in particular that have led to a militarized

police response to peaceful protests, and we call upon the U.S. Government, including

the Departments of Education and Justice, to take any and all necessary steps to protect

free speech and nonviolent protest.

Our message to our former colleagues:

Your voice matters. We write to you with hope that you will use your positions to amplify calls

for peace and hold your respective institution accountable to the violence unfolding in Palestine.

We thank those of you who are working day in and day out to press for just and equitable

policies that protect all lives. We recognize the systemic obstacles you face, both as you perform

your work, and as you consider leaving it. We particularly embrace those of you representing

America’s diversity who feel that your voices have been disempowered, ignored, and tokenized.

We are with you, and we know that a better way is possible, but only when we are all brave

enough to challenge institutions and outdated forces that attempt to silence us.

We encourage you to keep pushing. In our experience, no decision point is too minor to

challenge, so while you are in government service, use your voice, write letters to leaders in your

agencies, and bring up your disagreements with your team. Speaking out has a snowball effect,

inspiring others to use their voice. There is strength in numbers, and we urge you to not be

complicit. We encourage you to consult with your Inspectors General, with your legal advisors,

with appropriate Members of Congress, and via other protected channels, to question the

veracity and/or legality of specific actions or policies. There are resources, and you have

advocates, including all of us, who can support you in speaking your truth.

We close with wisdom from Dr. Martin Luther King in his message about the Vietnam War that

resonates today: “the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak … for we

are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.” May we all

have the moral courage to speak and push for a better world, for a better America.

Signed, this week of July 4, 2024.

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