Western officials in protest over Israel Gaza policy

By Tom Bateman
Feb3 2024

More than 800 serving officials in the US and Europe have signed a statement warning that their own governments’ policies on the Israel-Gaza war could amount to “grave violations of international law”.

The “transatlantic statement”, a copy of which was passed to the BBC, says their administrations risk being complicit in “one of the worst human catastrophes of this century” but that their expert advice has been sidelined.

It is the latest sign of significant levels of dissent within the governments of some of Israel’s key Western allies.

One signatory to the statement, a US government official with more than 25 years’ national security experience, told the BBC of the “continued dismissal” of their concerns.

“The voices of those who understand the region and the dynamics were not listened to,” said the official.

“What’s really different here is we’re not failing to prevent something, we’re actively complicit. That is fundamentally different from any other situation I can recall,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The statement is signed by civil servants from the US, the EU and 11 European countries including the UK, France and Germany.

It says Israel has shown “no boundaries” in its military operations in Gaza, “which has resulted in tens of thousands of preventable civilian deaths; and… the deliberate blocking of aid… putting thousands of civilians at risk of starvation and slow death.”

“There is a plausible risk that our governments’ policies are contributing to grave violations of international law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide,” it said.

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