First British Minister Resigns Over "Morally Indefensible" Gaza Policy

While in the US there has been nothing but political propaganda and a constant Obama defense of John Kerry over his disastrous, to date, handling of the deteriorating situation in the middle east, in the UK the internal discord has finally moved beyond merely posturing and has claimed the first political career, when overnight a minister in the Foreign Office, Baroness Warsi, announced she has resigned from the government, saying its policy on the crisis in Gaza is "morally indefensible", is not in Britain's national interest and will have a "long term effect on our reputation internationally and domestically".

She adds that the decision "has not been easy" but there is "great unease" within the Foreign Office over "the way recent decisions are being made." According to BBC, Lady Warsi, who was previously chairman of the Conservative Party, became the first female Muslim cabinet minister when David Cameron took office in 2010. The prime minister thanked her for her "excellent work", adding that he wanted an "unconditional ceasefire" in Gaza.

Labour backed Lady Warsi's comments, but Chancellor George Osborne called her resignation "disappointing and frankly unnecessary". 

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Lady Warsi grew up in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and worked as a solicitor before entering politics. She was demoted from the cabinet to a middle-ranking Foreign Office post in 2012, being made minister for faith and communities at the same time.

 

She wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: "With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza."

 

Several backbench Conservative MPs have called on Mr Cameron to take a more robust line with Israel amid concerns its actions in Gaza are "disproportionate".

According to a BBC analysis of her departure, the minister has "chosen a day when the prime minister is away to hand in her resignation. She is the first minister in four years of coalition government to resign over a matter of policy."

She clearly believes - as probably the most prominent British Muslim politician in the country - that she can no longer stand by a prime minister and a government that she feels is using a "morally indefensible" policy when it comes to Israel and the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

 

She has made it clear that her Muslim faith and her personal beliefs must come before her political beliefs and career.

 

The Conservatives, traditionally, have close ties to the Israeli government and it is far more difficult for David Cameron and those at the top of his party to speak out more strongly about Israel than others, who have a different policy.

In other words, acting based on her beliefs instead of ulterior lobby interests: strange. Her full letter below:

Dear Prime Minister

For some weeks, in meeting and discussion, I have been open and honest about my views on the conflict in Gaza and our response to it.

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.

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 neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice. In many ways the absence of the experience and expertise of colleagues like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve has over the last few weeks become very apparent.

This decision has not been easy. It has been a privilege to serve for 3 years in your Shadow Cabinet and over 4 years in your Cabinet. Introducing you in Blackpool in 2005 as you made your bid for leadership I had the pleasure of being there at the start of the journey and it would have been rewarding to have been there til the end.

The last decade has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best in the Conservative Party and indeed in Government. William Hague was probably one of the finest Foreign Secretaries this country has seen and has been inspirational. He dismantled foreign policy making by sofa government and restored decision making and dignity to the Foreign Office. There is however great unease across the Foreign Office, amongst both Minister and senior officials, in the way recent decisions are being made.

Eric Pickles has supported me tirelessly in our work on combating hate crime. Challenging anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia and the pioneering work of celebration faith in the public sphere. This new found confidence in Government has allowed me to take the very public International lead on religious freedom, specifically on the ever growing crisis of the persecution of Christians. However, early evidence from the Home Office and others shows that the fallout of the current conflict and the potential for the crisis in Gaza and our response to it becoming a basis for radicalisation could have consequences for us for years to come.

From both Eric and William I learnt the art of reconciling passion and idealism with pragmatism and realism, but I always said that long after life in politics I must be able to live with myself for the decisions I took or the decisions I supported. By staying in Government at this time I do not feel I can be sure of that.

It is therefore with regret that I am writing to resign.

You will continue to have my personal support as leader of the Conservative party as you continue to ensure that our Party evolves to meet the challenges we face in Britain today and ensure that the Party is relevant and responsive to all communities that make up today's Britain.

Yours sincerely

Sayeeda

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