Stunning State Department memo warns diplomats: No Gaza ‘de-escalation’ talk

Stunning State Department memo warns diplomats: No Gaza ‘de-escalation’ talk

HuffPost reports:

As Israel escalates its attacks on Gaza, the State Department is discouraging diplomats working on Middle East issues from making public statements suggesting the U.S. wants to see less violence, according to internal emails viewed by HuffPost.

In messages circulated on Friday, State Department staff wrote that high-level officials do not want press materials to include three specific phrases: “de-escalation/ceasefire,” “end to violence/bloodshed” and “restoring calm.”

The revelation provides a stunning signal about the Biden administration’s reluctance to push for Israeli restraint as the close U.S. partner expands the offensive it launched after Hamas ― which rules Gaza ― attacked Israeli communities on Oct. 7.

The emails were sent hours after Israel told more than 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza that they should leave their homes and shelters ahead of an expected ground invasion of the region. On Thursday, the United Nations said Israel had given Gazans a 24-hour deadline to move to the south of the strip, and warned that it would be “impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences.”

Asked about Israel’s evacuation order on Friday, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby declined to reject or endorse it, calling it “a tall order.” [Continue reading…]

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