Politicians jostle for the moral high-ground over Gaza

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The Prime Minister has launched a staunch defence of the government’s position on Gaza following the untimely resignation of Baroness Warsi. David Cameron said he had been ‘consistently clear’ in calls for peace adding the crisis in the region had become ‘intolerable’.

Lady Warsi announced her departure from the government on Twitter this week by saying: “With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza.”

One senior ministerial colleague questioned the timing of her resignation in light of the Israeli ceasefire in Gaza.

George Osborne said, “I think this is a disappointing and frankly unnecessary decision. The British government is working with others in the world to bring peace to Gaza and we do have now a tentative ceasefire, which we hope will hold.”

But Warsi hit back against the Chancellor’s criticism by saying: “George is a very good friend of the Israeli government” and there have been other murmurings of discontent within Conservative ranks at lack of criticism over Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza.

Speaking on Channel 4 news, the former Foreign Office minister Sayeeda Warsi added: “Without dropping people in it, I can say there is unease on the backbenches, there is concern at ministerial level.”

The Liberal Democrats have gone even further in their criticism over the government’s failure to confront Israel. Nick Clegg has called for a total ban of the  arms licences to Israel which currently allows British defence firms to sell weapons, which are then alleged used by Israeli military on the heavily dense civilian Palestinian population.

He said on C4 news: “If I was Prime Minister, the suspension would have already happened.”

Almost 1800 Palestinian civilians have died, Israel has lost 64 soldiers and three Israeli civilians have been killed in the one month conflict but the Liberal Democrat leader has described Israel as acting ‘disproportionately’ to the threat posed by Hamas.

On Sunday, the leader of the opposition told the Guardian he felt more needed to be done to curb the actions of Israel military in Gaza.

Ed Miliband criticised the Prime Minister’s response to the crisis. He said: “With the breakdown of Friday’s ceasefire and the prospects of peace seemingly distant, it is now more important than ever that the international community acts to get the two sides to agree to a renewed ceasefire, and thereafter to re-establish meaningful negotiations to achieve a two-state solution.

“David Cameron should be playing a leading role in these efforts to secure peace. He is right to say that Hamas is an appalling, terrorist organisation. Its wholly unjustified rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, as well as the building of tunnels for terrorist purposes, show the organisation’s murderous intent and practice towards Israel and its citizens.

“But the prime minister is wrong not to have opposed Israel’s incursion into Gaza. And his silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel’s military action will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally.”

The crisis in Gaza, has impacted Westminster politics more than any politician, commentator or journalist had ever imagined. The public are seeing harrowing images from the Gaza conflict beamed onto their television screens every day. Most of the victims of the war have been innocent women and children who have been caught in the cross-fire.

As Vince Cable put it, none of the main political parties want to be caught on the wrong side of public opinion, especially with the general election looming large next year.

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