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Senior US State Department official and expert on Israel-Palestine resigns amid Gaza war

Andrew Miller becomes most senior US official dealing with Israeli-Palestinian affairs to resign since October
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks to reporters after a meeting with families and supporters of Israelis held hostage in Gaza by Palestinian fighters on 11 June 2024.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks to reporters after a meeting with families and supporters of Israelis held hostage in Gaza by Palestinian fighters on 11 June 2024 (Jack Guez/AFP)

A senior US State Department official who served as deputy assistant for Israeli-Palestinian affairs said on Friday that he was resigning from his post, citing family obligations, according to a report by the Washington Post.

The newspaper reported that Andrew Miller told his colleagues he had seen his family "sparingly" amid the Israeli war on Gaza that has been going on for more than eight months.

The Post further reported that Miller was one of the officials in the administration who recognised the risks of President Joe Biden's administration's "bear hug" strategy, referring to the full-fledged support Washington gave to Israel after it launched a war on Gaza following the 7 October attacks by Hamas.

"Andrew brought deep experience and sharp perspective to the table every day," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told the Post. "Everyone here is sorry to see him go, but we wish him well in his next endeavors."

Miller is now the most senior official with an Israel-Palestine portfolio to step down from his job since the war on Gaza began in October.

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On 7 October, Palestinian fighters led by Hamas broke out of Gaza and launched an attack on southern Israel, resulting in the deats of about 1,200 people and taking more than 200 people captive.

Israel responded with a declaration of war on the besieged Palestinian enclave, launching first an indiscriminate aerial bombardment campaign followed by a ground invasion of Gaza.

Israeli forces have killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Israel's military has also devastated civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, and targeted medical workers, journalists and aid workers.

While Miller did not cite the war as his reason for leaving, he joins more than a dozen staffers and officials across the Biden administration who have left - the latter individuals have cited their opposition to the war as their reason for resigning.

Earlier this week, the Intercept reported that a 16-year veteran of the US air force was resigning from his job because of the war.

Last month, two officials of Jewish heritage, one in the White House and another in the Pentagon, also resigned, similarly citing Washington's support for the war on Gaza.

And in March, Annelle Sheline, a foreign affairs officer in the State Department, resigned from her position. Sheline said she tried raising concerns about US support for Israel through dissent cables and speaking up at staff meetings, but noted it was pointless "as long as the US continues to send a steady stream of weapons to Israel".

All of the resignees, save for Miller, have publicly expressed dismay at the fact that Washington has yet to use any real leverage to rein in Israel's conduct in the war. Legal experts have stated that Israel has committed numerous human rights violations in its war, which could trigger some US laws to halt arms sales to the country.

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