US State Department arms-transfer chief resigns over Israel

Lazy eyes listen


A top State Department official in charge of weapons transfers resigned in protest, claiming that Washington’s hurry to supply Israel was “shortsighted, destructive, unjust, and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse.”

For more than 11 years, Josh Paul was the director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM). He posted his resignation letter on his LinkedIn site on Wednesday. The Huffington Post was the first major news organisation to report it the same day.

Paul stated that he accepted the job understanding that it required “moral complexity and moral compromises” and that he worked hard to ensure that “the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do.”

“I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued – indeed, expanded and expedited – provision of lethal arms to Israel – I have reached the end of that bargain,” he explained his decision.

He said that Washington was making the same mistakes it had done for decades. The strategy has been described as “an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.”

Paul’s academic background in the Middle East and official engagement with Israel and the Palestinian Authority were mentioned in the letter. He claimed to have “deep personal ties” to both sides of the conflict and criticised the biassed approach, which he claimed obfuscates misbehaviour by the group with which the US is associated.

Paul decried “terrorist” murder of people, whether the victims “dance at a rave” or “harvest their olive grove,” as well as kidnapping of children “whether taken at gunpoint from their kibbutz or taken at gunpoint from their village.”

Collective punishment is an enemy of the desire to build a better world, “whether it involves demolishing one home, or one thousand; as too is ethnic cleansing; as too is occupation; as too is apartheid,” he stated.

Violence escalated in the region after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise incursion into southern Israel this month, killing hundreds of people and capturing scores of hostages. Paul described the raid as “a monstrosity of monstrosities” in his letter.

Israel responded by ramping up its blockade of Gaza and subjecting it to intense bombardment. The Israeli government said it was determined to “obliterate” Hamas.