US government employees to stage hunger strike for Gaza in protest at Biden’s Israel support

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US government employees to stage hunger strike for Gaza in protest at Biden’s Israel support

Employees from over two dozen US government agencies are planning hunger strike on Thursday to protest against President Joe Biden’s policy toward the war-torn Gaza Strip and Israel’s use of starvation as a “weapon of war” in the besieged territory.

Feds United for Peace, representing employees from twenty-seven US government agencies and departments, said the “day of fasting for Gaza” aims to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Participating federal employees are set to show up to their offices dressed in black or wearing keffiyeh scarves or other symbols of Palestinian solidarity.

A federal employee speaking on behalf of the group cited a UN report that up to two million people in the territory are at risk of famine, saying the Day of Fasting is a response to Israel’s use of “starvation as a weapon of war by intentionally withholding food from entering Gaza.”

Feds United for Peace also organized an office walkout in solidarity with Palestinians earlier in the month, which drew reactions in Washington, with national security officials from both parties criticizing their protests as insubordination.

“They deserve to be fired,” the House speaker, Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, said.

Feds United for Peace representatives say that their goal is to force a conversation in their offices, where many federal employees might support a ceasefire but fear retribution for speaking out, or are afraid to even casually discuss politics because doing so might hamper their efforts to work on policy effectively.

Israel unleashed a war in Gaza on October 7, killing more than 26,600 Palestinians, according to the latest count from the Gaza Health Ministry, with the majority women and children.

It also imposed a total blockade on the territory and restricted food, water, and fuel from entering. The blockade, the civic destruction, and the relentless bombardment of the Strip are pushing Gaza’s essential services and resources to the brink of collapse.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has warned that a dire situation is unfolding in Gaza as half a million individuals are facing the threat of catastrophic hunger.

The people of Gaza account for a staggering 80 percent of the global population facing famine or catastrophic hunger, as reported by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Israeli genocidal war on Gaza also prompted other US government employees to organize against the war under other umbrellas as well. Staffers for Ceasefire, for instance, put on a vigil for Gaza outside the White House in December.

Last week, Staffers for Ceasefire published a statement in opposition to the efforts of senior White House officials to boost morale that has flagged as a result of opposition to the US’s support of Israel.

“While White House chief of staff Jeff Zients throws a morale-booster party for staff tonight, a child in Gaza is killed every 8 minutes,” Staffers for Ceasefire said in a statement. “We are disgusted by this display of complete apathy towards the lives that have been taken in the region over the last three months.”

In early January, a senior political appointee from the education department, Tariq Habash, resigned in protest.

At Biden’s 2024 re-election headquarters, campaigners have also anonymously signed petitions.

More than a thousand officials from the development agency USAid signed a letter in support of a ceasefire.

Government employees say that even though their substantive criticisms of the administration’s policy do not seem to be changing policy, the barrage of dissenting actions have reached the Oval Office.

Van Jackson, a political scientist who worked in the Pentagon during the Barack Obama administration, said the recent protests from US public servants were unprecedented. 

“We are in uncharted territory, and no presidential administration in the past 40 years has been denounced by its own staff like this – not collectively, not so publicly, and not with this regularity,” Jackson wrote in his newsletter Un-Diplomatic.


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