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WASHINGTON: A US State Department official who resigned this week said Thursday that his resignation was precipitated by an administration report to Congress in which he falsely claimed that Israel was not blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, prompting it to resign in protest of President Joe Biden’s Israel policies.

Stacy Gilbert, who served in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, was a subject matter expert who worked on the report.

“There’s clearly a right and a wrong, and what’s in that relationship is wrong,” Gilbert said in an interview.

The United Nations and humanitarian groups have long complained about the dangers and obstacles of sending and distributing aid across Gaza.

As the Palestinian death toll in Gaza surpassed 36,000 people and a humanitarian crisis engulfed the enclave, human rights groups and other critics criticized the United States for supplying weapons to Israel and largely defending the conduct of Israel.

The State Department submitted the 46-page unclassified report to Congress earlier this month, as required by the new National Security Memorandum released by Biden in early February.

Among other findings, the report said that in the period following October 7, Israel “did not fully cooperate” with U.S. and other efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

But he said that did not amount to a violation of U.S. law that blocks the supply of weapons to countries that restrict U.S. humanitarian aid.

Gilbert, who worked for the State Department for more than 20 years, said she notified her office the day the State Department report was released that she was resigning. Her last day was Tuesday.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters Thursday that he would not comment on personnel matters, but that the department welcomes diverse perspectives.

He said the administration supported the report and continued to press the Israeli government to avoid harming civilians and urgently expand humanitarian access to Gaza.

“We are not an administration that distorts the facts, and the allegations we have are unfounded,” Patel said.

The Israeli embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gilbert’s allegations.

Gilbert’s office was one of four that contributed to a classified initial options memo, reported exclusively by Reuters in late April, informing U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel may violate international humanitarian law.

Gilbert said the State Department removed subject matter experts from working on the report to Congress when the document was a rough draft about 10 days before the deadline. She said the report was then drafted by more senior officials.

Contrary to the published version, the last draft he saw stated that Israel was blocking humanitarian assistance, Gilbert said.

Officials who resigned before Gilbert included Arabic spokeswoman Hala Rharrit and Annelle Sheline of the human rights office.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air and ground war in Gaza. Israel launched its offensive after Hamas fighters crossed from Gaza into southern Israel on October 7 last year, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 250, according to Israeli counts.

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