Senior State Department official handling military assistance stepping down

During Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis's tenure, US surged assistance to Israel in wake of Oct. 7 Hamas attack

Iclal Turan  | 10.07.2024 - Update : 10.07.2024
Senior State Department official handling military assistance stepping down


A senior State Department official in charge of US security assistance and arms sales is stepping down from her position this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Tuesday, without elaborating on why.

"Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis will be stepping down from her position this month after nearly three years of serving the Department with distinction," Blinken said in a statement.

"During her three years in the department, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has provided $51.4 billion of US security assistance to Ukraine, surged assistance to Israel in the wake of the October 7 attacks, furnished Taiwan with billions of dollars in military equipment to enhance its self-defense capabilities, and launched the first Taiwan Foreign Military Financing program," he said in the statement.

Blinken also praised Jessica Lewis' "vision" for transitioning countries away from Russian defense articles, and for the completion of a record number of security cooperation agreements with "critical partners and Allies".

A group of pro-Palestine protestors organized a protest outside Lewis's Capitol Hill home in May, holding up signs saying “14,500+ children murdered thanks to Jessica Lewis” and “Jessica Lewis, you have blood on your hands.”

In response to Anadolu's question on whether Lewis' departure is in any way related to the Biden administration's Gaza policy, a State Department spokesperson said: "Her decision to leave was a matter of personal choice, not Department policy. "

It has been learned that Lewis intended to leave last year but she chose to continue after Oct. 7 because of the ongoing work.

Twelve US government officials have publicly resigned since Oct. 7 last year in protest over President Joe Biden’s Gaza policy, accusing his administration of complicity in the killing and starvation of Palestinians.

"America’s diplomatic cover for, and continuous flow of arms to, Israel has ensured our undeniable complicity in the killings and forced starvation of a besieged Palestinian population in Gaza," they said in a joint statement released last week.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

More than 38,200 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 88,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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