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Biden 2024 campaign staff demand his support for Gaza ceasefire

A group of staff members for President Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign have issued a statement demanding his support for a ceasefire in Gaza as the death toll from Israel’s bombardments climbs to more than 20,000 Palestinians.

The letter from 17 current aides for the president’s campaign warns that the administration’s support for Israel’s military actions “has been fundamentally antithetical” to the values of “justice, empathy, and our belief in the dignity of human life” that they say serve as the “backbone” for his campaign and the Democratic Party.

“And we believe it could cost you the 2024 election,” they wrote.

The letter was posted to Medium and verified as authentic by Politico, which first reported on its release.

It’s the latest indication of growing dissent within the Biden administration following a series of dissent memos from administration officials, political appointees, and White House and congressional staff demanding urgent US support for a ceasefire in the crisis.

On Wednesday, an appointed official at the US Department of Education announced his resignation from the administration for its support of Israel’s “continuous assault and ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians in Gaza.

“It should go without saying that all violence against innocent people is horrific. I mourn each and every loss, Israeli and Palestinian. But I cannot represent an administration that does not value all human life equally,” Tariq Habash wrote in a resignation letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona shared with The Independent.

He is the second Biden administration official to resign over US support for Israel’s retaliatory campaign and ongoing siege in the wake of Hamas attacks on 7 October. Josh Paul, a now-former senior official at the US State Department who managed arms deals on behalf of the US government, resigned later that month with a warning that the administration’s position “will only lead to more and deeper suffering for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people.”

More than 800 federal employees and independent agency staffers have renewed their calls for the president’s support for a ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and the immediate de-escalation of violence in Gaza.

An open letter from more than 500 people from across the US who worked on Mr Biden’s 2020 campaign, including Democratic National Committee staff members, told the president that he wields “significant influence in this perilous moment” to support a ceasefire agreement.

The latest statement from staff with his current campaign demands the administration “publicly call for – and use financial and diplomatic leverage to bring about – an immediate, permanent ceasefire” in Israel’s devastating war against Hamas in Gaza.

Mr Biden also is urged to “advocate for de-escalation in the region, including demanding that Hamas release all hostages and that Israel release the over 2,000 Palestinians in administrative detention being held without charge” and for the US to end unconditional military aid to Israel.

The letter calls for Mr Biden to investigate whether Israel’s actions violate human rights and for the administration to “take concrete steps to end the conditions of apartheid, occupation, and ethnic cleansing that are the root causes of this conflict.”

Dissent from within his own campaign and administration follows a series of polls showing most Americans disapprove of Mr Biden’s handling of the crisis. Sixty-one per cent of Americans, including 76 per cent of Democratic voters, support calls for a permanent ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza, according to polling from Data for Progress.

A recent CBS News/YouGov poll similarly found 61 per cent of Americans disapprove of the Biden administration’s response, including 68 per cent of people between ages 30 and 44, 63 per cent among Americans ages 45 to 64, and Americans age 65 and older.

The Independent has requested comment from Mr Biden’s campaign.

A statement from a campaign official to Politico reiterated that Mr Biden believes “Israel has a right and obligation to defend its people after the October 7 terrorist attack.”

“He also knows the importance of earning the trust of every community, which is why he is working closely and proudly with leaders in the Jewish, Muslim and Palestinian communities in America,” the official said.