DECEMBER 9, 2022
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US State Department Falsifies Report to Shield Israel from Humanitarian Aid Blockade Allegations

US State Department Falsifies Report to Shield Israel from Humanitarian Aid Blockade Allegations

The US State Department has come under fire for allegedly falsifying a report to absolve Israel of blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, according to a report by The Guardian on May 31. This move disregarded the judgment of its own internal experts and has sparked significant controversy.

Stacy Gilbert, a former senior US official who resigned in protest, revealed that the original draft of the report clearly stated that Israel was impeding US-provided humanitarian aid to Gaza. This draft was based on the consensus of State Department experts. Gilbert, who served as a senior civil-military adviser in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, was among those who helped draft the report mandated under National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20).

However, higher-ranking officials within the State Department edited the draft to suggest that Israel was not blocking aid. The final version, published on May 10, stated that the State Department did not "currently assess that the Israeli government is prohibiting or otherwise restricting the transport or delivery of US humanitarian assistance" in Gaza.

This alteration ensured that the US could continue to export weapons to Israel amidst its ongoing assault on Gaza, which has resulted in over 35,000 deaths and put hundreds of thousands more at risk of starvation. Under the Foreign Assistance Act, the US is required to cut arms sales and security assistance to any country that obstructs the delivery of US aid.

Since October 7, Israeli leaders have openly expressed their intent to prevent food and other aid from entering Gaza. The Israeli military has been responsible for the deaths of aid workers, police providing security to aid convoys, and Palestinian civilians seeking to collect food aid.

Gilbert, with twenty years of service in the State Department including several war zones, stated that the report’s conclusion contradicted the overwhelming consensus of State Department experts. She emphasized that there was a general agreement among experts that Israel was limiting the amount of food and medical supplies crossing into Gaza.

“There is consensus among the humanitarian community on that. It is absolutely the opinion of the humanitarian subject matter experts in the State Department, and not just in my bureau – people who look at this from the intelligence community and from other bureaus. I would be very hard pressed to think of anyone who has said [Israeli obstruction] is not an issue,” Gilbert said. “That’s why I object to that report saying that Israel is not blocking humanitarian assistance. That is patently false.”

Gilbert explained that by the end of April, the subject matter experts were removed from the report’s editing process. When the report was released on May 10, she was shocked by its final content. “I had to reread it. I had to go back and print out that section and read it because I could not believe it stated so starkly that we assess that Israel is not blocking humanitarian assistance.”

Immediately after reading the report, Gilbert sent an email to her superiors and announced her resignation in response to the falsified conclusions.

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen echoed Gilbert’s concerns, stating, “Stacy Gilbert’s statements further corroborate the concerns I have expressed that the findings of the bureaus and experts most involved with the distribution of aid and compliance with international law were bypassed in favor of political convenience.”

The Joe Biden administration, led by Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, has been criticized for its strong support of Israel’s actions in Gaza, providing both weapons and funding that have contributed to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

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