British cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi, a senior foreign office minister, has resigned her position in protest of the UK’s policies regarding the conflict in Gaza.
“With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on Gaza,” Warsi said in a Twitter post.
Warsi, the first Muslim to serve in a British cabinet, said that Britain’s policies on Gaza were “morally indefensible”.
“For some weeks, in meetings and discussions, I have been open and honest about my views on the conflict in Gaza and response to it,” she said in her resignation letter.
“My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally, but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza, is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically,” she said.
Warsi, who is of Pakistani descent, was made a member of parliament’s upper House of Lords in 2007. She was appointed by Cameron’s cabinet when his coalition government took power in 2010.
“Particularly as the minister with responsibility for the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and Human Rights, I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is not consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for international justice.”
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s government has drawn criticism, especially from the main opposition Labour party, for not taking a clear stance against the Israeli aggression in Gaza.
Labour leader Ed Miliband last week accused Cameron of “inexplicable” silence over the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
“The government needs to send a much clearer message to Israel that its actions in Gaza are unacceptable and unjustifiable,” Miliband said.
Several world leaders and prominent international figures have come out in condemnation of Israel’s seemingly indiscriminate killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip.
The bombing by Israeli forces of a UN-run school, which resulted in the death of 10 people, has drawn the most criticism against Israel since the start of the four-week conflict.
Head of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon has condemned the shelling of the school, calling it a “moral outrage and a criminal act”, and a “gross violation of international humanitarian law”.
Jen Psaki, the US State Department spokeswoman, said that Washington was “appalled” by the attack and called for a “full and prompt” investigation into the incident.
French President Francois Hollande also criticized the attack, calling it “unacceptable” and demanded “that those responsible for this violation of international law answer for their actions”.
Humanitarian groups estimate that some 1,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s four-week war on the Gaza Strip.