More than 400 US government officials from 40 government agencies sent a letter on Tuesday to President Joe Biden, opposing his support for Israel in its war on the Gaza Strip, and demanding a ceasefire.
The letter, first reported by the New York Times, signed by political appointees and staff members from the State Department, White House, National Security Council and Justice Department, is part of a series of internal dissent channels within government agencies about the Biden administration's approach to Israel amid soaring civilian casualties as a result of Israel's ongoing bombing campaign on Gaza after an attack October 7 by Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
The letter seeks an immediate cease-fire and urges Biden to "stop the bloodshed caused by Israel’s retaliatory military campaign in Gaza, according to the report.
"We call on President Biden to urgently demand a ceasefire; and to call for de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip," the New York Times quoted the letter.
Support for ceasefire
"The overwhelming majority of Americans support a ceasefire," the letter said, citing a poll by Date for Progress released October 18 - 19, showing 66% of Americans, including 80% of Democrats, as saying the US should pressure Israel to impose a ceasefire.
"Furthermore, Americans do not want the US military to be drawn into another costly and senseless war in the Middle East," it said.
The letter came after at least three internal dissent channels have been filed by dozens of State Department employees in addition to an open letter by some employees of US Agency for International Development (USAID) that criticised the Biden administration's policy on Israel.
Asked about a recent memo signed by 100 State Department and USAID employees on Monday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said one of the strengths of the agency is the "diversity of views," adding the department "welcome people to make those views known."
Miller said Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with several people from different bureaus within the State Department to hear what they think about the US policy on the conflict.
"He encourages people to provide feedback. He encourages people to speak up if they disagree. It doesn't mean that we're going to change our policy based on their disagreements," Miller said.