Senior State Department officials held hearings for diplomats working in six US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa, amid ongoing internal protest against President Joe Biden's administration's approach to the war on Gaza, as the department scrambles to address criticism it faces from its staff in Washington and abroad.

The network explained – in a report by Olivia Gazis and Camilla Schick – that these sessions came amid protests by diplomats and ministry employees as the war on Gaza entered its second month, and the high rate of "civilian casualties in Gaza as a result of Israeli military reprisals."

A memo was submitted to the department's opposition channel, which the department declined to comment on, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken personally met with the presenters, a mechanism created during the Vietnam War for diplomats to present their views to senior officials, without fear of reprisals or negative effects on their careers.


Vidanant Patel, deputy spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, said: "We are proud that the department has a consistent procedure for employees to express political differences directly in this building without fear of reprisals."

Sources told the network that virtual meetings were held with U.S. embassy staff in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq and Oman, and that additional courses would soon be held for staff working in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, to address the concerns of diplomats working in this field, as well as to disseminate mental health resources provided by the ministry.

In Washington, Blinken and acting Vice President Victoria Nuland met several times with staff from across the department, and two sources familiar with the matter said the meetings were emotionally charged and included frank exchanges, and Blinken also met with groups at the department, including Jewish Americans, Muslims and Arabs in foreign affairs agencies.


Josh Boulos, a former State Department employee who worked on arms transfers in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, resigned and posted a letter explaining his disagreement with the administration's decision to provide additional lethal support to Israel, calling it "short-sighted, destructive, unjust, and contrary to the values we publicly espouse."

The United States and Israel have publicly opposed a ceasefire in Gaza, despite the number of victims of the Israeli aggression exceeding 11,4 martyrs, including more than <>,<> children, and tens of thousands of wounded, amputees and missing persons.

International organizations have strongly condemned these growing casualties, with UN Secretary-General António Guterres calling Gaza a "graveyard for children" and repeating calls for a ceasefire.