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Blinken acknowledges disagreements within State Department over Israel-Hamas war in email to staff


Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday acknowledged disagreements within the State Department over the Biden administration’s approach to the war between Israel and Hamas.

His message to staff, sent on the heels of his recent travels, comes amid growing anger and dissent, not only from State Department staff, but also within the Biden administration as a whole . CNN reported last week that hundreds of staff members at the US Agency for International Development had signed an open letter calling for a ceasefire, and there were reports of a “note of dissent” at the within the Department of State.

“I know that for many of you, the suffering caused by this crisis is having profound personal consequences,” Blinken wrote in his email Monday, which was seen by CNN. “The anguish that comes with seeing daily images of babies, children, elderly people, women and other civilians suffering from this crisis is heartbreaking. I feel it myself.

As CNN reported, some of the most violent reactions came from inside the State Department, including from an official who publicly resigned from the agency last month over the approach to the conflict by the Biden administration. Elsewhere in the administration, officials are furious over rising civilian deaths.

The top US diplomat noted in the message that “some people within the Department may disagree with the approaches we are taking or have opinions about what we can do better.”

“We held forums in Washington to hear your feedback and urged managers and teams to have frank discussions in posts around the world, precisely so that we could hear your comments and ideas. I have asked our senior leaders to continue to do this,” Blinken wrote.

“We listen to you: what you share informs our policy and our messages,” he said.

In his email, Blinken provided an overview of his trip to the Middle East and Asia last week, saying that “the overriding goal of the United States remains the same: to end this terrible conflict as quickly as possible.” , while supporting the rights of Israel. and the obligation, in full compliance with international humanitarian law, to ensure that a terrorist attack like that of October 7 does not happen again.

He reiterated that “far too many Palestinian civilians have died” and that “much more can and must be done to reduce their suffering.”

“As I have said privately and publicly, we believe that the voice of the Palestinian people must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza,” Blinken wrote. “We believe in Palestinian-led governance of Gaza, with a unified Gaza Strip with the West Bank. The reconstruction of Gaza must be supported by a sustainable mechanism.

HuffPost was the first to reportt in Monday’s email.

At a State Department briefing Monday, spokesperson Matthew Miller noted that “the State Department, like any organization, not only in government but around the world, has people having diverse points of view.

“One of our strengths as an organization is that we have this diversity of viewpoints and we invite people to make their views known,” Miller said. “The secretary has met with a number of people from all levels of the department, from different offices within the department, to hear exactly what they think about our policy, both in relation to Israel and its conflict with Hamas, and in relation to others. issues, including highly controversial issues.

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