In this section, we’ll provide an overview of the situation and introduce the main points of the article.
The State Department’s Dilemma
Explore the challenges and internal frustrations faced by the State Department regarding President Joe Biden’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Blinken’s Focus on Israel
Discuss Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s stance on supporting Israel and the concerns raised by the department’s experts.
“There’s basically a mutiny brewing within State at all levels,” one State Department official said.
Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, fighting in the region has killed more than 4,000 people, and Israel is preparing a ground invasion of Gaza that is expected to claim tens of thousands of additional lives.
Biden and Blinken say they want to help Israel decisively defeat Hamas, but that they do not want to see suffering among ordinary Gazans or a broader regional conflict. Both have recently visited Israel, and Blinken is prioritizing an attempt to open the Gaza-Egypt border to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged region and let some civilians out.
Two officials told OopsTopthat diplomats are preparing what’s called a “dissent cable,” a document criticizing American policy that goes to the agency’s leaders through a protected internal channel.
Such cables are seen within the State Department as consequential statements of serious disagreement at key historical moments. The dissent channel was established amid deep internal conflict during the Vietnam War, and diplomats have since then used it to warn that the U.S. is making dangerous and self-defeating choices abroad.
The cable would come in the wake of Josh Paul, a veteran State Department official, announcing his resignation on Wednesday. After more than a decade of working on arms deals, he said, he could not morally support the U.S.’s moves to supply Israel’s war effort.
“In the last 24 hours, I’ve been getting an immense amount of outreach from colleagues… with really encouraging words of support and a lot of people saying they feel the same way and it’s very difficult for them,” said Paul, whose departure was first reported by OopsTop.
Paul described that as surprising: “My expectation was that no one would want to touch me with a 10-foot barge pole… because of the sensitivity of anything to do with Israel.”
Contacted for comment for this story on Thursday, a State Department representative directed OopsTopto remarks earlier in the day from agency spokesperson Matthew Miller.
“One of the strengths of this department is that we do have people with different opinions. We encourage them to make their opinions known,” Miller said in those remarks. “It, of course, is the president that sets policy, but we encourage everyone, even when they disagree with our policy, to let… their leadership know.”
“Secretary Blinken has spoken to this on a number of occasions, when he’s said that he welcomes people exercising the dissent channel,” he went on. “He finds it useful to get conflicting voices that may differ from his opinion. He takes it seriously, and it causes him to reflect on his own thinking in terms of policymaking.”
Biden and Blinken have publicly spoken of both Israel’s right to defend itself and their expectation that Israel will “abide by all international law,” Miller said.
“Multiple officials said they have heard colleagues talk about quitting.”
Explore the rising dissent within the State Department and the potential consequences.
The Ongoing Conflict
Provide an update on the Israel-Palestine conflict, including the toll it has taken on the region.
Biden and Blinken’s Objectives
Discuss President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s stated goals in the conflict and their recent visits to the region.
Detail the preparation of the “dissent cable” and its significance in State Department history.
The Resignation of Josh Paul
Examine the reasons behind Josh Paul’s resignation and the reactions it has garnered.
Include comments from State Department representatives on the importance of diverse opinions and the role of the dissent channel.
Challenges in Decision-Making
Highlight the complexities of decision-making at various levels within the State Department.
U.S. Role at the United Nations
Discuss the U.S. mission to the United Nations’ veto of a resolution and the administration of military aid for Israel and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians.
Examine the impact of U.S. policies on its relations with Arab governments.
Discuss the perception of Secretary Blinken’s awareness of the department’s morale crisis.
Explore the various ways in which negativity is manifesting within the State Department.
The Use of Language
Examine the avoidance of specific phrases in official statements and the challenges in changing U.S. policy.
The Dissent Cable’s Potential Impact
Discuss how the dissent cable’s language and the number of signatures can influence policy.
Explore the influence of external factors, including House Republicans’ efforts to access dissent cables.
The Silence on Israel-Palestine
Discuss the “culture of silence” and the feelings of shame among State Department staff regarding this issue.
The Role of Tom Sullivan
Examine the role of Tom Sullivan and his impact on departmental decisions.
Secretary Blinken’s Message
Include the message sent by Secretary Blinken to State Department staff.
Summarize the key points of the article and provide a closing statement.
Now that we have outlined the structure, we can start developing the content for each section. Let’s begin with the Introduction, and once you’re ready, we can continue with the subsequent sections.