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Former US military intelligence official says he resigned over Gaza war

May 13, 2024 at 9:22 pm

A view of the North side of the White House, Washington, DC, USA [Getty]

A former US military intelligence official released a letter on Monday that explained to his colleagues at the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) that his November resignation was in fact due to “moral injury” stemming from US support for Israel’s war in Gaza and the harm caused to Palestinians, Reuters reports.

Harrison Mann, an Army Major, would be the first known DIA official to quit over US support to Israel. A US airman fatally set himself on fire in February outside Israel’s embassy in Washington and other military personnel have protested.

Mann said he kept quiet about his motives for resigning for months out of fear.

“I was afraid. Afraid of violating our professional norms. Afraid of disappointing officers I respect. Afraid you would feel betrayed. I’m sure some of you will feel that way reading this,” Mann wrote in a letter shared with colleagues last month and published on his LinkedIn profile on Monday.

The Defence Intelligence Agency did not respond to a request for comment.

READ: US airman sets himself on fire in front of Israeli Embassy in Washington

Mann’s case differs from other US government officials, including several State Department officials, who publicly deplored US policy as they resigned rather than waiting months to explain their departure.

Man said he felt shame and guilt for helping advance US policy that he said contributed to the mass killing of Palestinians.

“At some point — whatever the justification — you’re either advancing a policy that enables the mass starvation of children, or you’re not,” Mann wrote.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas over a 7 October attack in which Israel says the group killed about 1,200 people and took more than 250 people hostage.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed and 78,827 injured in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. There has been increasing concern about the lack of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza by Israel, and growing US and international warnings about the risk of famine.

The high death toll has fuelled pro-Palestinian protests that have swept college campuses across the United States and pushed Democrats in key battleground states to vote “uncommitted” to signal their unhappiness ahead of this year’s presidential election.

President Joe Biden, a staunch supporter of Israel, put a hold on one package of arms,  in a major policy shift that became public last week, and his administration said the US was reviewing others.

The Biden administration, on Friday, said Israel’s use of US-supplied weapons my have violated international humanitarian law during its military operation in Gaza, in its strongest criticism, to date, of Israel.

READ: Over 100 active duty US military personnel condemn Israel war crimes in Gaza