They say their administrations risk complicity in “one of the worst human disasters of this century” by ignoring their expert advice on the conflict, wrote BBC News, which obtained a copy of the document. The letter is the latest sign of significant dissent within the governments of some of Israel’s key Western allies, according to the website.
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One of the signatories to the statement, a US official with more than 25 years of national security experience, told the BBC of the “constant disregard” of their concerns. “The voices of those who understand the region and its dynamics have not been heard,” the official said.
“What’s really different here is not that we can’t prevent something, but that we actively participate in it. This is fundamentally different from any other situation I can remember,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Israel showed “no restraint” in its military operations in Gaza, the statement said, which its signatories said resulted in tens of thousands of avoidable civilian casualties. “Deliberately blocking aid has put thousands of civilians at risk of starvation and slow death,” the letter’s signatories also claim.
Israel launched attacks on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip on October 7 in immediate response to a large-scale terrorist attack on southern Israel in which Palestinian militants killed over 1,200 people and kidnapped over 240.
Hamas, which the US and EU designate as a terrorist organization, released some of the hostages under the only temporary truce at the end of November, mostly in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. Over 27,000 people have been killed in Israeli military operations, according to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority.
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“There is a likely risk that our governments’ policies contribute to serious violations of international law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide,” the letter said.
Strategy is missing
The identities of those who signed or endorsed the statement were not released, and the BBC has not seen the list of names, but the site said it was made up mostly of civil servants, each with at least a decade of experience in government positions.
The letter also states that although Israel’s military operation has caused unprecedented damage to life and property in Gaza, there appears to be no workable strategy to effectively eliminate Hamas as a threat, nor a political solution to ensure Israel’s security in the long term.
The letter calls on the US and European governments to “stop making public claims that Israel’s operation has a strategic and defensible justification”.
Israeli officials consistently reject such criticism. In response to the new statement, the Israeli embassy in London said it was bound by international law.
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