Internal State Dept. memo accuses Israel of ‘war crimes’

Staffers are allowed to disagree with policy through an official dissent channel; a hundred signed onto the anti-Israel missive.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An internal State Department memo signed by a hundred staffers has accused Israel of committing “war crimes” in Gaza and slammed the Biden administration’s support of the Jewish state.

The five-page document, obtained by Axios, was submitted November 3 through an official dissent channel set up as a way for employees to disagree with U.S. foreign policy.

It harshly criticized Israel for limiting humanitarian aid to its enemy, and the IDF bombing campaign of Hamas targets, which has displaced nearly a million Palestinians.

These “all constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law,” the memo stated.

The Palestinians had fled south after Israel warned them for weeks to go so they wouldn’t get hurt in its ground operations in the northern Gaza Strip, which began October 28, three weeks after Hamas’ invasion of Gaza envelope communities and its massacre of 1,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

The authors wondered why these alleged crimes have not led to White House condemnation or a “reassessment” of America’s support for its Middle Eastern ally. Instead, they wrote, “We doubled down on our unwavering military assistance to the (Israeli government) without clear or actionable redlines.”

The memo also complained that the White House has “displayed a clear disregard for the lives of Palestinians, a documented unwillingness to de-escalate, and, even prior to October 7, a reckless lack of strategic foresight.”

The signatories were additionally irked that President Joe Biden had not accepted Hamas’ unproven word for the number of deaths it claimed the IDF has caused.

Biden had said a week earlier, “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war.”

In the same speech, Biden had also said that Israel should be “incredibly careful” to only “go after” Hamas fighters and not civilians. He has since publicly repeated this warning several times.

The memo did not mention that the terrorists use civilians as human shields, embedding their military sites in and under private homes, mosques, schools and hospitals, which is internationally considered a war crime.

There has been at least one other internal missive critical of the current pro-Israel stance of the administration. On Saturday, Politico reported on a dissent memo that demanded that the U.S. join international calls for a ceasefire, which Israel has consistently refused until Hamas returns all 240 hostages it grabbed on October 7.

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Its authors also wanted the White House to publicly criticize what they called “Israel’s violations of international norms such as failure to limit offensive operations to legitimate military targets.” Keeping complaints private “contributes to regional public perceptions that the United States is a biased and dishonest actor, which at best does not advance, and at worst harms, U.S. interests worldwide,” they wrote.

According to the State Department, senior officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, take seriously their staffers’ disagreement with policy, even when it comes from only 100 out of more than 75,000 employees.

Although not necessarily connected to the memos, both Blinken and the president pressured Israel into agreeing last week to daily “humanitarian pauses” to allow more civilians to flee the war zone and receive more aid.