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US State Department Israel-Palestine expert resigns amid Gaza war

June 21, 2024 at 8:30 pm

The US Department of State building is seen in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019 [ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images]

A senior State Department expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and sceptic of President Joe Biden’s handling of Israel’s war on the besieged Gaza Strip has resigned, according to a report published Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Andrew Miller, the deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, was a critic of President Joe Biden’s “bear hug” approach to Israel during the war, and is described by people who know him as a stalwart supporter of Palestinian rights and statehood , the Washington Post newspaper reported.

Miller told colleagues that he is leaving his post because he has rarely been able to see family during the course of Israel’s eight-month war, and that if not for them he would have preferred to stay in his job to “fight for what he believes” , the Post reported.

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His resignation comes on the heels of at least eight other Biden administration officials’ departures who left in protest of the war in Gaza, and the President’s hitherto refusing to break lockstep with the Israeli government. But Miller’s resignation is notable as it marks the departure of the most senior official with a role in Israeli-Palestinian policy-making.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but spokesperson, Matthew Miller, confirmed the departure in a statement to the Washington Post, saying, “Andrew brought deep experience and sharp perspective to the table every day.”

“Everyone here is sorry to see him go, but we wish him well in his next endeavours,” he added.

One US official said Miller pushed for the US to use its leverage over the Israeli government, including the substantial military, economic, political and diplomatic support it provides to Tel Aviv, more effectively.

“He’s certainly on the more progressive side of administration officials when it comes to the region, including on Israel-Palestine, but he has also never been a ‘burn it all down and forgo pragmatism’ type,” the official said. “He has always advocated that the United States should support Palestinian rights and statehood, but his advocacy while in government has generally been quiet and measured.”

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