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Arabic language spokesperson of US State Department, Hala Rharrit, resigned. (Photo: via US State Department website)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“I resigned April 2024 after 18 years of distinguished service in opposition to the United States’ Gaza policy,” Hala Rharrit announced.

The Arabic-speaking spokesperson of the US State Department has resigned, stating her opposition to Washington’s policy concerning the war on Gaza, marking at least the third departure from the department due to the same issue.

Hala Rharrit, who also served as the Dubai Regional Media Hub’s deputy director, had been working with the State Department for nearly two decades, initially joining as a political and human rights officer, according to information on the department’s website.

She expressed her decision to resign On her LinkedIn profile. “I resigned April 2024 after 18 years of distinguished service in opposition to the United States’ Gaza policy,” she wrote 

In response to inquiries about Rharrit’s resignation during a press briefing on Thursday, a State Department spokesperson said that the department has mechanisms for staff to voice dissent regarding government policies.

Previous Resignations

Nearly a month earlier, Annelle Sheline, from the State Department’s human rights bureau, also announced her resignation, while Josh Paul, another State Department official, resigned in October. 

Criticism has been mounting globally and from various human rights organizations towards the United States for its support of Israel amidst the ongoing genocidal war on Gaza, which has killed and wounded well over 100,000 Palestinians.

In November, over 1,000 officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a branch of the State Department, signed an open letter urging for an immediate ceasefire. 

Additionally, cables expressing criticism of the administration’s policy have been submitted through the State Department’s internal “dissent channel,” according to Reuters news agency.

Widespread Dissent

Last January, the British newspaper The Guardian reported that “dissent inside the Biden administration over the president’s Gaza policy is growing”.

Tariq Habash, a senior official in the US Education Department and of Palestinian-American descent, decided to resign while a letter signed by several campaign staffers called for an immediate ceasefire and the conditioning of aid to Israel. 

“I hope it resonates with the president and the people who are making policy decisions on this issue that is affecting millions of lives,” Habash was quoted as saying.

“I cannot stay silent as this administration turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives,” the official wrote in his resignation letter.

Following Habash’s resignation, the White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said that “people have the right to voice their opinion,” wishing him the “best in his future endeavors,” The Guardian reported.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

 According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,305 Palestinians have been killed, and 77,293 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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