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Resignation of Senior State Dept Official Andrew Miller Highlights Strains in US-Israel Relations

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Edited by:  TJVNews.com

The resignation of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs Andrew Miller, announced on Friday, has ignited a debate within diplomatic circles and the media regarding the underlying reasons for his departure, according to a Times of Israel report. While Miller cited personal reasons, the timing and context of his resignation have led to various interpretations and reactions from both Washington and Jerusalem.

Andrew Miller, a senior official in the US State Department, informed his colleagues of his decision to step down, citing a need to spend more time with his family. According to the information provided in the TOI report, as the Gaza conflict nears its ninth month, Miller has reportedly found it increasingly difficult to balance his professional responsibilities with his personal life. A second source close to the situation confirmed that his family commitments were a significant factor in his decision.

The Washington Post’s coverage framed Miller’s resignation as part of a broader trend of disillusionment among State Department officials regarding President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza conflict, as was noted in the TOI report. According to the Post, there is frustration within the department over Biden’s perceived reluctance to adopt a tougher stance on Israel.

However, reactions from within the State Department have been mixed. A senior State Department official, who requested anonymity, emphasized the significance of Miller’s departure for Israeli policymakers rather than for those in Washington. The TOI reported that the official highlighted Miller’s reputation and support for the US-Israel relationship, suggesting that his resignation should serve as a wake-up call for Jerusalem.

“There’s no question that Andrew’s resignation should be a wake-up call for Jerusalem. If [the Israeli government is] creating an environment where people like him are resigning, they’re clearly doing something very wrong,” the senior official told the TOI.

Conversely, another State Department official, also speaking anonymously, disputed the narrative that Miller’s resignation was politically motivated. “This account is incorrect. Andrew resigned purely for personal reasons,” the official told the TOI, underscoring the non-political nature of Miller’s decision.

Miller’s resignation is likely to have implications for both US policy and its diplomatic relations with Israel. His well-regarded status in Israel suggests that his absence might affect the dynamics of US-Israeli communications and negotiations, as was indicated in the report.

While some junior employees specifically cited disagreements with the administration’s support for Israel during the Gaza war, Miller’s resignation is seen differently due to his significant influence on Middle East policy.

“The previous resignations have all been relatively junior and generally not people who held portfolios with significant influence on Mideast policy. Andrew, on the other hand, was the top State Department official completely dedicated to Israeli-Palestinian issues,” the official explained to the TOI. Despite the State Department’s role, it was acknowledged that the White House has a greater control over policy decisions regarding the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The senior State Department official highlighted a recent video released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Netanyahu accused the US of withholding weapons shipments to Israel, as per the TOI report.  The US insists that only one shipment of high-payload bombs has been withheld, while all other transfers are proceeding as scheduled. Despite this clarification, Netanyahu amplified his criticism on Friday without specifying which shipments have been delayed.

The official argued that such conduct from Netanyahu is causing Israel to lose some of the most nuanced and supportive voices within the US administration.

“Those of us at senior levels in the administration see what in fact our policy is, and to hear Prime Minister Netanyahu completely distort what we know to be our actual policy — it’s deeply frustrating and it’s bad for Israel,” the official told the TOI.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, who is not related to Andrew Miller, issued a statement acknowledging the loss. “Andrew brought deep experience and sharp perspective to the table every day. Everyone here is sorry to see him go, but we wish him well in his next endeavors,” he said, as was indicated in the TOI report.

Andrew Miller himself did not respond to requests for comment from the TOI,I leaving his personal perspective on the situation unspoken.




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