Josh Paul, the U.S. Department of State official overseeing arms transfer and provision to foreign powers, announced on Wednesday via LinkedIn his resignation over the Biden administration’s dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His decision came following the “continued—indeed, expanded and expedited—provision of lethal arms to Israel,” explained Paul in his lengthy two-page resignation letter. “I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict,” he stressed.
Paul expressed disapproval over the amount of U.S. military aid directed to Israel, his country’s closest ally in the Middle East, and because he has “reached the end of the bargain” over the supply of lethal weapons to Israel.
His departure coincided with President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, and his plan to secure $100 billion of aid for Ukraine and Israel.
The Senior official believed that Israel’s response to Hamas’ attack as well as the robust U.S. support for that response and the status quo of the occupation would only worsen the situation for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people, which was, according to him, not in the long-term interest of the U.S.
Paul described the Biden administration’s response to this conflict as well as the Congress as, “an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.”
The State Department official viewed blind support for one side of the conflict as shortsighted, unjust, contradictory to the values they espouse, and destructive in the long term, adding, “I fear we are repeating the same mistakes we have made these past decades, and I decline to be a part of it for longer.”
The Senior official spent more than 11 years in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He advocated for Afghan refugees, pushed back on pending Administration decisions to transfer lethal weapons to countries that breach human rights, and most recently supported Ukraine’s defense in the face of Russia.
The Israel-Palestine conflict holds a very special place in Paul’s heart, as he wrote his master’s thesis about Israeli counterterrorism and civil rights, he recounted, worked in Ramallah, advanced security sector governance within the Palestinian Authority, and liaised with the IDF. ‘I have deep personal ties to both sides of the conflict,” said Paul in his resignation letter.