U.S. diplomat who quit over Biden administration’s Gaza policy speaks out

U.S. diplomat who quit over Biden administration’s Gaza policy speaks out

CNN reports:

Hala Rharrit never expected that she would choose to leave her career as a US diplomat.

She had spent her “entire adult life” at the State Department having joined the foreign service in 2006, raising her hand for one of the toughest postings — Yemen — for her first assignment and going on to serve in places like Hong Kong, Qatar and South Africa. About a year and a half ago, after mostly behind-the-scenes roles, Rharrit became an Arab language spokesperson for the State Department.

“I had full intentions of continuing on in my career until I reached senior levels. I never had the intention of resigning,” she told CNN.

But the US government’s policy on the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza “unfortunately really, really changed that,” she said.

Rharrit is the first-known career US diplomat to resign over the administration’s position on the war, which has lasted more than six months and taken the lives of more than 34,000 people in the coastal enclave, according to Palestinian authorities. Two other State Department officials — Josh Paul and Annelle Sheline — have also resigned in protest of the US’ policy, which has sharply divided the domestic population inside the United States, as seen in the major campus protests, and has sparked outcry globally.

Rharrit told CNN that she and her colleagues were “horrified” by the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7, which triggered the war in Gaza.

“Everyone was sort of bracing themselves, ‘Oh, my goodness, what’s going to happen next?’” Rharrit recounted. She said they “knew obviously there was going to be a forceful reaction, but I don’t think anyone predicted the outcome would be 34,000 killed, famine conditions.”

Rharrit told CNN there wasn’t one particular incident that prompted her to resign, but rather the cumulative build-up of events throughout the war — and the growing sense of that her warnings about “destabilizing” policy were going unheeded.

“I’m fundamentally concerned that we’re on the wrong side of history and we are hurting our interests,” she said, referring to the Biden administration’s strong backing for Israel in the war with Hamas. [Continue reading…]

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