‘Catastrophic consequences’ in Rafah due to Israel’s actions, bystander Power warns as more staffers resign

‘Catastrophic consequences’ in Rafah due to Israel’s actions, bystander Power warns as more staffers resign

Politico reports:

USAID head Samantha Power warned on Wednesday that Israel’s military operation in southern Gaza is having “catastrophic consequences” despite Biden administration efforts to minimize the negative impacts.

“Despite currently more limited military operations around Rafah and the Egypt/Gaza border, the catastrophic consequences that we have long warned about are becoming a reality,” Power said during a virtual event with governments that aid the humanitarian response in Gaza.

Her comments are one of the harshest assessments yet from the Biden administration of the Rafah operation. Since it began earlier this month, administration officials have repeatedly said Israel’s operation does not cross its red lines because Israel is conducting targeted strikes rather than a major ground operation. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports:

Alexander Smith, a contractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said he was given a choice between resignation and dismissal after preparing a presentation on maternal and child mortality among Palestinians, which was cancelled at the last minute by USAID leadership last week.

Smith, a senior adviser on gender, maternal health, child health, and nutrition chose to resign on Monday after four years at USAID. In his resignation letter to the head of the agency, Samantha Power, he complained about the inconsistencies in USAID’s approach to different countries and humanitarian crises, and the general treatment of Palestinians.

“I cannot do my job in an environment in which specific people cannot be acknowledged as fully human, or where gender and human rights principles apply to some, but not to others, depending on their race,” he wrote.

“USAID has always prided itself on our programs supporting democracy, human rights, and rule of law,” Smith wrote in his resignation letter. “In Ukraine, we call for legal redress when people are victimised, and name perpetrators of violence … We boldly state “Slava Ukraini” in peppy promotional videos.”

“When it comes to the Palestinians, however, we avoid saying anything about their right to statehood, the abuses they’re currently suffering, or which powers have been violating their basic rights to freedom, self-determination, livelihoods, and clean water,” he said. [Continue reading…]

In January, Agnieszka Sykes, a global health specialist who left her job at USAID, challenged Power at a public event, saying: “You wrote a book on genocide and you’re still working for the administration: You should resign and speak out.”


Comments are closed.