update deskIsrael at War

‘Who wrote this thing??’ State Department official asks of $1 million grants to investigate Israel

The unnamed official questioned why the U.S. government is paying to investigate its ally for human rights abuses, per the Washington Free Beacon.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Feb. 17, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Feb. 17, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

A U.S. State Department prospectus in February 2022 for one or two grants—each valued between $493,827 and $987,654—called for “strengthening human rights and accountability in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza.” One of the aims of the project to possibly include was the “documentation of legal or security sector violations and housing, land and property rights.”

The latter drew criticism from a State Department official, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday.

The notice “specifically says it may include documentation of violation of land property rights! (I mean, come on!) Who wrote this thing??” the official penned to colleagues, per the online publication.

The employee’s issue wasn’t that the department’s democracy, human rights and labor (DRL) bureau “funds programs in European countries or other countries we are allied with,” the official wrote. “The issue is that DRL is funding a program to collect evidence of human rights abuses and atrocities in a country that is our ally.”

The official told colleagues that such department grants had only been issued previously for major human-rights violators.

“I went down a bit of a rabbit hole” on the Israel notice, “but from what I saw, I think our DRL colleagues are in a bit of denial and don’t want to see the reality,” the official wrote.

Foggy Bottom wouldn’t tell the Free Beacon if any of the grants have been issued. It said the grants were “part of internal deliberations processes.”

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