War on Gaza ignites revolt in UK’s foreign office: Declassified UK

War on Gaza ignites revolt in UK’s foreign office: Declassified UK

A former aid official reports that hundreds of civil servants have penned a letter to David Cameron, urging the government to disclose its legal counsel regarding whether its backing of “Israel” violates international law.

  • Revolt in the foreign office: Declassified UK
    David Cameron, then Britain’s prime minister, walks alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in al-Quds on March 12, 2014. (AFP)

Amid the UK’s continued involvement and backing of “Israel’s” genocide in Gaza, an escalating number of employees within the Foreign Office, reportedly as many as 300, have formally expressed apprehensions to ministers, advocating for a shift in direction, Declassified UK reported on Thursday.

This is prompting some staff members in the UK to decline assignments related to the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza due to fears of being complicit in war crimes.

These individuals are scrutinizing ministerial decisions and policies concerning Gaza, and they are requesting access to the legal guidance that underpins these actions, as per the report. Despite parliamentary appeals, the government has thus far declined to release this legal advice.

Declassified UK reported, citing a former aid official, that hundreds of civil servants have written to David Cameron urging the government to publish its legal advice on whether its support to “Israel” breaches international law. 

Civil servants speak out

However, Foreign Secretary David Cameron has not directly addressed the concerns raised by civil servants regarding UK policy and potential breaches of international humanitarian law in Gaza, the report stressed.

Instead, he delegated the task to Christian Turner, the Foreign Office’s political director, who met with a small group of individuals expressing these concerns. The meeting, held in person at the department’s headquarters on King Charles Street, was conducted without minutes, and attendees were prohibited from taking notes, as per the report.

This departure from the standard procedure is highly irregular within the civil service, as notes are typically taken to document decision-making processes and discussions. The lack of documentation, as per the report, raises suspicions that efforts were made to suppress legitimate concerns expressed during the meeting.

This meeting is viewed as part of an attempt to silence dissenting voices within the department, potentially shielding individual civil servants from accountability regarding their involvement in issues concerning Palestine, it emphasized.

The report went on to say that some staff members are even declining assignments related to the crisis due to fears of being complicit in war crimes.

Expressing concerns about policy is a fundamental aspect of a civil servant’s role, serving to ensure that the UK adheres to its international and domestic obligations. This role becomes especially crucial when faced with ministers or, as in this case, senior civil servants who may be acting in violation of these agreements, the report stressed.

Read more: Declassified UK uncovers UK 60 flights to ‘Israel’ during war on Gaza

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