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’, with the implication that the US and UK governments should be summoned before a ‘war crimes tribunal’ at once.
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 and ignored.
It is the latest sign of significant levels of dissent within the governments of some of Israel’s key Western allies, and that a large number of officials consider that their leaders are war criminals and should be summoned before a tribunal!
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.
In this official’s opinion ‘What’s really different here is we’re not failing to prevent something, we’re actively complicit.’
In fact the statement is signed by civil servants from the US, the EU and 11 European countries including the UK, France and Germany.
The statement says that 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.’
It adds: ‘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.’
The identities of those who signed or endorsed the statement have not been made public and the BBC has not seen a list of names, but understands that nearly half are officials who each have at least a decade of experience in government.
The US State Department, the European Union Commission and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have been approached for comment.
The statement suggests that while Israel’s military operation has caused unprecedented destruction of lives and property in Gaza, there appears to be no workable strategy to effectively remove Hamas as a threat, nor for a political solution to ensure Israel’s security in the longer term. It calls for the US and European governments to ‘stop asserting to the public that there is a strategic and defensible rationale behind the Israeli operation’.
It adds: ‘The problems with the Gaza war are so serious and the implications are so serious that they feel compelled to go public,’ he said.
The statement continues: ‘Israel’s military operations have disregarded all important counter-terrorism expertise gained since 9/11… the operation has not contributed to Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas and has instead strengthened the appeal of Hamas, Hezbollah and other negative actors’.
The officials say they have expressed their professional concerns internally but have been ‘overruled by political and ideological considerations’.
Clearly the time for organised mass action to stop this war has arrived.
In fact, the TUC leaders must be told bluntly by its members that it must call a general strike to stop the imperialist attack on Palestine or resign to make way for those who are are willing to lead mass action to bring down the Tories and bring in a Workers Government.
A workers government will stop the war and lead the way for the establishment of the State of Palestine, and for the establishment of a Workers Republic and a planned socialist economy in the UK.
Take action now to stop the war! Go forward to the State of Palestine and to the victory of the World Socialist Revolution!