A State Department official, Shoshana Sheline, recently resigned from her role as a foreign affairs officer in protest of U.S. policy toward Israel and Gaza. Sheline, who joined the State Department through an Arabic language fellowship, found it increasingly difficult to carry out her duties due to what she saw as a lack of willingness to push for change in the conflict. Despite expressing her concerns internally and participating in dissent cables, Sheline felt that she was unable to make any meaningful impact on policy from within the organization.

State Department spokesperson Matt Miller acknowledged the existence of diverse views within the department regarding the conflict in Gaza. However, he stated that any potential shift in U.S. policy would ultimately be up to President Joe Biden and senior leaders in the administration. Sheline’s resignation marked the second public departure from the State Department over concerns about U.S. support for Israel since the conflict in Gaza began almost six months ago, with the first being veteran official Josh Paul’s resignation from the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

The Gallup poll released on Wednesday indicated a significant shift in American public opinion regarding Israel’s military actions in Gaza. The poll showed that 55% of respondents now disapprove of Israel’s actions, compared to 45% in November, with only 36% in favor. Sheline’s resignation came amidst this changing public sentiment and after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza for the rest of Ramadan, a move that was allowed by the U.S. in a shift from its previous stance.

Sheline expressed her concern that the administration’s support for Israel had taken precedence over upholding the rule of law and addressing other significant international issues. She emphasized the importance of the U.S. re-establishing its leadership on human rights, international institutions, and climate change, issues that she felt were being overshadowed by its unconditional backing of Israel. Sheline’s decision to resign highlighted the ongoing debate within the U.S. government over its stance on the conflict in Gaza and the broader implications of its support for Israel.

The clash between the U.S. government and its ally Israel over the conflict in Gaza has led to increasing criticism from both within and outside the State Department. Shoshana Sheline’s resignation shed light on the challenges faced by those who seek to advocate for a shift in U.S. policy on Israel. As the Biden administration navigates this complex issue, the growing disapproval of Israel’s actions among the American public and within the government raises questions about the future of U.S. relations with Israel and its approach to the conflict in Gaza.

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