British minister resigns over UK’s Gaza policy

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Baroness Sayeeda Warsi resigned from the Office of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

OB-LW739_warsi0_F_20110117042232British foreign office minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi resigned Tuesday from her post as Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs over her disagreement with the official United Kingdom government policy on the Israel-Gaza crisis. “With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister and tendered my resignation,” Warsi announced on her Twitter account.

    Warsi, the first female Muslim to serve as a minister in the United Kingdom and a member of the Conservative party has been a member of the House of Lords since 2007. She formerly served as co-chair of the Conservative party and also served as Minister for Faith and Communities – a post from which she had resigned as well.

    Warsi, a daughter of Pakistani immigrants, had worked as a lawyer prior to her career in politics.

    Downing Street said that they are “reviewing” the resignation.

    The United Kingdom’s new foreign minister Philip Hammond issued a stern condemnation of the situation in Gaza in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph earlier this week, calling it “simply intolerable.”

    Hammond told the paper that he has received thousands of emails from concerned citizens, many of them expressing “horror” at the cost in civilian lives of Israel’s strikes on the strip in response to Hamas attacks. He said that the British public is “deeply disturbed” by what they’re seeing in the media.

    “But what has struck me most looking at my own constituency in-box as well as the thousands of emails that I’m receiving from the general public here is that it isn’t just the Muslim community that’s reacting to this. It’s a broad swathe of British public opinion that feels deeply disturbed by what it is seeing on its television screens coming out of Gaza,” Hammond said.

    A unnamed Israeli official expressed “astonishment” at Hammond’s comment, calling it a retreat and withdrawal from the original British position to a neutral position that does not fit the real British position on the conflict – a statement that, ironically, Warsi seems to agree with.