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UK Minister Quits Over Britain's Gaza Policy

  • VOA News

FILE - Britain's Chairman of the Conservative party Sayeeda Warsi speaks on the opening day of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, England.

FILE - Britain's Chairman of the Conservative party Sayeeda Warsi speaks on the opening day of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, England.

A British minister resigned on Tuesday, citing the government's position in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, now in its fourth week.

In a resignation letter posted on social media, Sayeeda Warsi called the U.K.'s policy on Gaza "morally indefensible."

She wrote, "Our approach ... 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."

A Conservative and the country's first Muslim cabinet member, Warsi served as Senior Minister of State and Minister for Faith and Communities.

Pressure has been on Prime Minister David Cameron and his coalition government to take a harder stance against Israel after the Gaza conflict, which has killed more than 1,800 Palestinians, many of them civilians, and 67 Israeli soldiers and civilians in nearly a month of fighting.

Critic of prime minister

Labour leader Ed Miliband last week accused Cameron of "inexplicable" silence over the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

"What I want to hear from David Cameron is that he believes that Israel's actions in Gaza are wrong and unjustified, and we haven't heard that from him," Miliband said.

In a statement from Downing Street on Tuesday, the prime minister said he regretted Warsi's decision, adding that the government's policy is "consistently clear."

"The situation in Gaza is intolerable and we’ve urged both sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional cease-fire," the statement read.

Warsi had commented on a near-daily basis about the Gaza conflict on Twitter since fighting began in earnest last month.

"Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children? Whatever our politics there can never be justification, surely only regret," the former minister wrote on July 24.

In an interview with The Huffington Post United Kingdom after her resignation, Warsi said that "as the minister for the International Criminal Court, I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years helping to promote, support and fund the ICC. I felt I could not reconcile this with our continued pressure on the Palestinian leadership not to turn to the ICC to seek justice."

On Tuesday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki met with International Criminal Court prosecutors at The Hague to push for an investigation into war crimes allegations in the Gaza conflict.

The Palestinian Authority is not a member of the court, but al-Malki said he had met with prosecutors to discuss a timeline to join the ICC.

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