What guilty verdict? Unfazed Republican donors focus on Trump’s polling

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WASHINGTON: A U.S. State Department official who resigned this week said Thursday her resignation was triggered by an administration report to Congress that she said falsely claimed Israel would not block humanitarian aid to Gaza, prompting her to resign in protest at President Joe Biden’s Israel policy.

Stacy Gilbert, who served in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Population, Refugees, and Migration, served as a subject matter expert on the report.

“There is clearly a right and a wrong, and what is in this report is wrong,” Gilbert said in an interview.

The United Nations and aid organizations have long complained about the dangers and obstacles in the delivery and distribution of aid to Gaza.

As the death toll of Palestinians in Gaza has risen to over 36,000 and the enclave has been gripped by a humanitarian crisis, human rights groups and other critics accuse the United States of supplying Israel with weapons and largely defending Israel’s behavior.

The State Department submitted the 46-page unclassified report to Congress earlier this month, as required by Biden’s new National Security Memorandum issued in early February.

Among other things, the report said that Israel had “not fully cooperated with the United States and other organizations” in bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza in the period after October 7.

However, this does not constitute a violation of a US law prohibiting the supply of weapons to countries that restrict American humanitarian aid.

Gilbert, who worked for the State Department for more than 20 years, said she notified her office the day the State Department’s report was released that she was resigning. Her last day of work was Tuesday.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters on Thursday that he would not comment on personnel issues, but the department welcomes differing viewpoints.

He said the government stands by the report and continues to pressure the Israeli government not to harm civilians and to urgently expand humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip.

“We are not a government that distorts the facts and the allegations against us are baseless,” Patel said.

The Israeli embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gilbert’s allegations.

Gilbert’s office was one of four offices that contributed to a secret memo, exclusively reported by Reuters in late April, informing U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel may be violating international humanitarian law.

Gilbert said the State Department pulled subject matter experts from working on the report to Congress when the document was still a rough draft about 10 days before the deadline. She said the report was then edited by higher-level officials.

In contrast to the published version, the last draft she saw stated that Israel was blocking humanitarian aid, Gilbert said.

Officials who resigned before Gilbert include Arabic-language spokeswoman Hala Rharrit and Annelle Sheline of the human rights office.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air and land war in Gaza. Israel launched its offensive after Hamas fighters entered southern Israel from Gaza on October 7 last year. According to Israeli sources, they killed 1,200 people and abducted more than 250.

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