Read in full: Resignation letter from US official who stop over Gaza struggle | EUROtoday

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A contractor with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has resigned in protest over the Biden administration’s help for the struggle in Gaza — and in an interview with The Independent stated that political stress from the White House was silencing dissent on the company.

Alex Smith, a senior adviser on gender, maternal well being, baby well being, and diet, stated he was given a alternative of resigning or being fired after a presentation he was resulting from ship on baby mortality amongst Palestinians was cancelled by USAID management.

In his resignation letter to the pinnacle of USAID, Samana Power, he alleged that the company was treating the struggle in Gaza and Palestinians in a different way than different conflicts and humanitarian emergencies.

Read his resignation letter in full under:

(Alex Smith)
(Alex Smith)
(Alex Smith)

27 May, 2024

Dear Administrator Power,

After years of service to USAID, this will likely be my final communication to your workplace in my place as a Senior Advisor on Gender, Maternal Health, Child Health, and Nutrition.

This is a heartbreaking and harmful second in world historical past. Since October final yr, Israel has launched a lethal marketing campaign of collective punishment, ethnic cleaning, mass hunger, and cultural erasure of the Palestinian folks in Gaza and the West Bank. More than 35,400 folks (two thirds of them ladies and kids) have been killed in Gaza, and one other 500 folks (100 of them kids) have been killed within the West Bank. At least 10,000 extra persons are lacking beneath the rubble. More than 7,350 West Bank Palestinians have been kidnapped, typically with out cost or in “administrative detention.”

Over 1.7 million folks, greater than 75% of Gaza’s inhabitants, have been displaced since October. The UN estimates that round 640,000 Gazans have been displaced from Rafah, since May sixth. Hundreds of 1000’s of youngsters and different civilians are liable to dying or life-long sickness resulting from poor dwelling circumstances and intentional hunger. Over 79,000 folks in Gaza have been injured. UNICEF estimates a thousand kids have misplaced a number of limbs. The intentional bombing of all 36 of Gaza’s hospitals means most Palestinians lack entry to even fundamental first support, not to mention maternal care and different very important well being providers.

Rather than sanctioning this horrific violence, the United States has persistently supplied political cowl for Israel’s actions, blocked UN votes for ceasefire and recognition of Palestinian statehood, dismissed the opportunity of authorized redress within the worldwide courts, and supplied tens of billions in monetary help and arms to proceed the slaughter. Years in the past, I learn your whole books on genocide, on the integrity of worldwide humanitarian techniques, and on idealism. I had thought that you just and our management at USAID would absolutely communicate out or permit others to talk out about what’s true and what’s proper in a framework of worldwide regulation.

USAID has all the time prided itself on our packages supporting democracy, human rights, and rule of regulation. USAID defends human rights norms and worldwide regulation when Ukrainians endure from Russia’s crimes. In Ukraine, we name for authorized redress when persons are victimized, and identify perpetrators of violence. We even work with human rights organizations gathering proof for worldwide prosecution. We boldly state “Slava Ukraini” in peppy promotional movies. When it involves the Palestinians, nevertheless, we keep away from saying something about their proper to statehood, the abuses they’re at the moment struggling, or which powers have been violating their fundamental rights to freedom, self-determination, livelihoods, and clear water. When Ukraine was invaded, we at USAID volunteered and rallied with Ukrainian companions to plan for the “day after the war” and rebuilding of well being techniques. For the Palestinians, nevertheless, no such plan exists, and worse: the US continues to disclaim very important funding to the simplest support coordinator, UNRWA, regardless of zero proof of malfeasance.

On May twenty second, 2024, I used to be scheduled to current a session to a convention of USAID colleagues and companions. My summary “An Intersectional Gender Lens in Gaza: Ethnicity, Religion, Legal Status, and Maternal/Child Health Outcomes” was submitted in February 2024 and vetted for high quality in three rounds by 35 reviewers. My presentation was one of some chosen out of 368 submissions. One of the dialogue themes of the convention targeted on intersectional gender and the truth that “indigenous women and women from racial and ethnic minorities often experience higher maternal mortality rates and other negative maternal health outcomes.” My presentation addressed this concern immediately, citing UN and US authorities sources and information. It targeted on maternal and baby well being outcomes in Gaza and the long-term implications of ravenous and bombarding pregnant ladies on this and former conflicts.

One day earlier than I used to be to current, nevertheless, I obtained from management a listing of phrases I used to be forbidden to say, together with “Israel-Gaza border,” “Palestinian state,” and “Palestinians” in reference to Palestinian/Arab residents of Israel who determine as Palestinians. I used to be additionally advised {that a} UN OCHA map of Gaza which precisely describes the 2022 borders was “unacceptable.” Later the identical day, my session was canceled with out rationalization. Every reference to it was quietly deleted from the convention web site. This choice denied the convention contributors the chance to obtain correct, related, data-driven details about a critical world well being and human rights disaster.

On the identical day that I used to be to have given my presentation primarily based on credible reporting, information, and details, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs advised Sky News, “there is no famine in Gaza and there never has been famine in Gaza.” What a tragic state of affairs we’re in when offencive, maybe prison, misinformation and propaganda might be broadcast to thousands and thousands world wide whereas on the identical time vital and correct info can’t be whispered at a convention on gender equality and human rights.

As a Senior Advisor on Gender, Maternal Health, Child Health, and Nutrition, it has been my job to handle dangerous social and human rights points impacting well being outcomes in a variety of contexts, together with conflict-affected areas. I’ve carried out these duties for 4 years, offering technical and coverage help throughout our missions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. As particular wants arose, I additionally volunteered for rotations on the COVID Vaccine Task Force, the Gender Equality and Womenʼs Empowerment (GenDev) Hub, and the Ukraine Response Management Team (RMT).

I can not do my job in an atmosphere during which particular folks can’t be acknowledged as totally human, or the place gender and human rights ideas apply to some, however to not others, relying on their race. I can now not in good conscience proceed to be silent amidst USAID’s de facto coverage of ignoring human struggling when that struggling is perpetrated by an ally. Actively silencing dialogue of Palestinian lives and the continued world well being catastrophe is dehumanizing, not solely to the folks of Gaza, however to the folks of the United States who need to know the extent to which we’re paying for and supporting crimes in opposition to Palestinians.

I sincerely hope that in future years the leaders of USAID regain their ethical footing and communicate honestly in vital and harmful occasions reminiscent of these.


Alexander Smith