Third Biden political appointee resigns over US support for Israel

A Biden political appointee in the Department of the Interior has resigned in protest over the president’s support for Israel, criticizing its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip as a “genocide” against the Palestinians living there.

Maryam Hassanein, who was a former special assistant, credited protests on college campuses in support of Palestinians in Gaza, particularly at George Washington University, for cementing her decision to resign. A Muslim-American, Hassanein criticized the administration for “dehumanizing” Muslims and Arabs.

“It has become clear to me that I do not have a place in this administration,” she wrote in a statement posted to the social media site X.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding, a nonprofit organization, said Hassanein is the first Muslim-American to resign from the Biden administration in opposition to the Israeli war.

“When my family and I, alongside other Muslims and Arab Americans, turned up to vote for President Biden in 2020, it was because the Biden campaign promised justice. That promise and faith in the administration has been shattered,” she wrote.

Other public resignations include Josh Paul, a career foreign service officer overseeing U.S. weapons deliveries to Israel, who criticized the pace and lack of oversight in deliveries that were scaled up following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Lily Greenberg Call, another political appointee in the Department of Interior, resigned in May, while Tariq Habash, a Palestinian-American, resigned from his position at the Department of Education in January.

President Biden has defended his support for Israel as standing with a democratic ally in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack of Oct. 7, but has criticized the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for carrying out a punishing campaign in Gaza to rout Hamas.

Critics of Biden’s policy toward Israel have called for the president to halt U.S. weapons supplies as leverage against Israel to stop its military operations.

Biden has called for a six-week cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, contingent on Hamas releasing an estimated 120 hostages it kidnapped from Israel on Oct 7. The administration wants to use the pause in fighting to scale up humanitarian aid delivery to Palestinians in Gaza and work to negotiate a permanent end to the war.

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