President Joe Biden’s approach to the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine is fueling mounting tensions at the U.S. government agency most involved in foreign policy: the State Department.
Officials told HuffPost that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his most senior advisers are overlooking widespread internal frustration. Some department staff said they feel as if Blinken and his team are uninterested in their own experts’ advice as they focus on supporting Israel’s expanding operation in Gaza, where the Palestinian militant group Hamas is based.
“There’s basically a mutiny brewing within State at all levels,” one State Department official said.
Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, fighting in the region has killed more than 4,000 people, and Israel is preparing a ground invasion of Gaza that is expected to claim tens of thousands of additional lives.
Biden and Blinken say they want to help Israel decisively defeat Hamas, but that they do not want to see suffering among ordinary Gazans or a broader regional conflict. Both have recently visited Israel, and Blinken is prioritizing an attempt to open the Gaza-Egypt border to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged region and let some civilians out.
Two officials told HuffPost that diplomats are preparing what’s called a “dissent cable,” a document criticizing American policy that goes to the agency’s leaders through a protected internal channel.
Such cables are seen within the State Department as consequential statements of serious disagreement at key historical moments. The dissent channel was established amid deep internal conflict during the Vietnam War, and diplomats have since then used it to warn that the U.S. is making dangerous and self-defeating choices abroad. [Continue reading…]