Dozens of US government workers will stage a one-day hunger strike to protest the Biden’s administration support for Israel amid the war with Hamas.
Members of Feds United for Peace told The Guardian that employees from over two dozen government agencies – including the Departments of Defense and State – plan on a day of fasting on Thursday.
The officials participating will show up at work either dressed in black or wearing ‘keffiyeh scarves or other symbols of Palestinian solidarity.’
They said they are protesting ‘starvation as a weapon of war by intentionally withholding food from entering Gaza,’ where more than 26,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the war began, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory.
The activist federal employees say their goal is to force a conversation in their offices. They claim many federal employees support a ceasefire but are scared of speaking out for fear of retribution.
Dozens of US government workers will stage a one-day hunger strike to protest the Biden’s administration support for Israel amid the war with Hamas
Over 26,000 people have died in Gaza since the start of the Hamas-Israel war
Residents and civil defense teams carry out a search and rescue operation around the rubble of a building demolished after an Israeli attack in El-Zawaida, Gaza on January 29
The group, which also includes staff at Homeland Security, cited the United Nation’s report that said as many as two million people in Gaza are on the verge of famine.
Feds United for Peace is the same group that organized a walk-out they called a ‘Day of Mourning’ earlier this month to protest the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The walk-out never happened, according to Al Jazeera, and the group instead took a collective leave from their jobs to mark 100 days of the Israel-Hamas war on January 16.
“It was never designed as a walkout. It was designed as a day of mourning. And employees took different types of leave for this day of mourning and used it in different ways,’ one of the organizers told the Qatari state media outlet.
Still, the planned walk-out drew criticism for Republicans in Congress, with some, including Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, arguing the employees should be fired.
Other groups of federal employees supporting a ceasefire in Gaza have recently emerged, including one called Staffers for Ceasefire that published an open letter top Biden on January 3.
The 17 staffers called upon President Biden to demand a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
President Biden was hit from the inside after a group of 17 current Biden campaign staffers published a letter slamming Biden for his approach to the Israel-Hamas war out of ‘tough love’
‘As your staff, we believe it is both a moral and electoral imperative for you to publicly call for a cessation of violence,’ Biden’s campaign staffers wrote.
‘Complicity in the death of over 20,000 Palestinians, 8,200 of whom are children, simply cannot be justified.’
There are concerns that Biden’s support for the conflict is costing him significant political currency, particularly with young voters, just as his 2024 re-election campaign heats up.
The Biden administration has so far sent upwards of $14 billion to Israel alongside significant military support, with United Nations estimates placing the number of displaced Palestinians since at 1.9 million people – 85 percent of its population.
The protests lay bare the tensions Biden is facing within his own party as he struggles with the fallout from his handling of the war while honoring the First Amendment rights of his critics to speak out. Biden’s ability to navigate those crosscurrents will be critical to his reelection effort as he tries to energize Democrats this fall, especially young people who are particularly concerned about the war’s effects.
‘The president is concerned, as I said at the very outset, with the 100-plus hostages,’ national security spokesman John Kirby has said. ‘He’s not looking at the electoral calendar’
Biden’s administration keeps pressing Israel to reengage with Palestinians as partners once fighting in Gaza is over and support their eventual independence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps saying no.
That cycle, frustrating to much of the world, seems unlikely to end, despite Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s fourth urgent diplomatic trip to the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas war started. Though the United States, as Israel’s closest ally and largest weapons supplier, has stronger means to apply pressure on Israel, it shows no willingness to use them.
Biden and his aides have said they do not want to see any civilians die in Hamas-ruled Gaza, and Biden helped broker a temporary ceasefire that saw critical aid reach the territory and the release of some hostages held by the militants.
During a visit to Tel Aviv, Biden warned the Israelis not to be ‘consumed by rage.’ But Biden has also said he believes Israel has the right to defend itself and he has asked Congress for billions to help Israel in its war effort.
‘The president is concerned, as I said at the very outset, with the 100-plus hostages,’ White House national security spokesman John Kirby said. ‘He’s not looking at the clock and the electoral calendar.’
Democratic voters in New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday were roughly split on how Biden has handled the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to AP VoteCast. Just 4 in 10 of those who disapproved of how Biden has managed the conflict voted for him. But among those who approve of Biden’s leadership in the Middle East, nearly 8 in 10 voted for him.