Government Minister Sayeeda Warsi quits over the Tory-led government’s ‘indefensible’ position over Gaza despite a recent shift in Cameron’s usually unequivocal backing of Israel.
Two weeks is a long time in politics and during this current cease fire we can reflect on the changes in public and political opinion about Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, including its innocent civilian population.
At a local level Banbury has played its part. At the town hall meeting on 24 July, Banbury’s MP Sir Tony Baldry angered Banbury residents by toeing the Cameron line and refusing to condemn Israeli actions.
Watch Warsi’s Channel 4 interview – 5 August 2014
Following Ed Miliband’s condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza on Channel 4 News (3 Aug 2014) and demanding that David Cameron/British Government be much less timid and do the same, David Cameron warned Israel that it is “wrong and illegal” to target civilians (4 Aug 2014). These are his strongest comments so far on the conflict in Gaza.
Just before that announcement Number 10 accused Miliband of playing politics and undermining peace efforts. However, Milliband quoted Cameron when he was in opposition, and he called Israel’s incursion into Lebanon in 2006 “disproportionate and wrong”.
Miliband said that Israel’s actions are unjustified and unacceptable and that these outrages are losing Israel friends in the international community. He continued, “Speaking out is necessary to put the pressure on Israel and, of course, there must also be pressure on Hamas, a terrorist organisation, to end this violence.”
On Tuesday 5 August Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi resigned saying, “The Prime Minister had lost moral authority, undermined the national interest and deprived Britain of its historic role as an honest broker in the Middle East by refusing to condemn the aggressive Israeli response to the Hamas rocket attacks as disproportionate.”
In a comment piece in the Guardian, political columnist Rafael Behr said, “Warsi has long held the view that British interests are harmed by the perception of official indifference to Palestinian suffering, and has tried, with escalating levels of irritation, to get that point across in private. She will surely also have been struck in recent weeks by the scale of public outrage over Gaza. She is not alone. Many MP’s inboxes are aflame with demands that Israel be unequivocally denounced, often with the assertion that silence is complicity in child-murder, sometimes with threats of retribution.”