Let’s build a broad coalition of support for Gaza

BARONESS WARSI ON BBC Today Saturday August 9th on why she resigned:

I HOPE MY RESIGNATION BRINGS TOGETHER A
BROAD COALITION OF SUPPORT TO START
TACKLING THE ISSUES THAT I RESIGNED FOR

“There was no clear language from the government in relation to the condemnation of what had happened. There was no clear commitment that we would lead the international effort on accountability on both sides for what had happened over the weeks before.

“I think it was the lack of support for international justice and accountability for the crimes that have been committed on both sides. I’ve been very clear that those who are alleged to have committed war crimes should be held accountable on both sides because that is the only way that you will start to tackle the culture of impunity.

“It cannot be right that we find ourselves every two or three years with a conflict like this were innocent people lose their lives children lose their lives and then we go back to business as usual.

“This crisis is not a crisis between two religions. It has therefore got nothing to do with whether someone is a Christian or a Muslim or indeed Jewish. I have a very long and proud history of speaking out on the issue of anti-semitism against the persecution of Christians worldwide. I led the government effort on freedom of religion and belief.

“Hamas is a terrorist organisation and I have no doubt that they have in no way acted in the best interest of the Palestinian people. But I also made it clear that Israel as an occupying power has a responsibility not just to the Israelis but also to the people that it occupies.

“I have always believed in the right of Israel to exist, not just exist but to exist in a secure way, but I do not believe that the actions that Israel has taken in the last few weeks are either in Israel’s interest. I do not believe that they in the interests of long-term secure stability or security for Israel and I do not believe that this was the way in which Israelis needed to conduct themselves to be able to achieve their ends.

“Our policy is morally unjustifiable. We need to be much more front-footed in dealing with the sending of arms into the region. We need to suspend all arms export licenses immediately. We need to work with countries that have influence with those countries who supply arms into Gaza and to Hamas to also step up their efforts to ensure that we stop weapons getting into an area where children are being killed.

“My departure clearly says that the Government’s policy on Gaza is morally indefensible. My departure clearly says that it is a policy that I could no longer support and put my name to. Long after politics has come and gone I want to be able to live with myself and by resigning and stepping down I can live with myself.

“I hope that my resignation, if it does anything in any political party or indeed people who are not involved in politics, I hope what it does is it brings together the support of a broad coalition to start tackling the issues that I resigned for.

“While we are still turning on our television screens and seeing innocent people being killed, what we need to do right now is to put all our efforts into making sure that we move the Government’s position, that they suspend the arms export licenses immediately that they start to lead the international effort on accountability on both sides and that they move towards a Middle East policy which is in the long term sustainable. There is no point in us talking about a two-state solution if we don’t do the simple things like recognising Palestine in the way the majority of the world has at the United Nations.

“I will now continue the work in relation to finding a way forward through this crisis and do what I can to support the broad coalition of support that there is out there both in politics and outside.”

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