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article imageBritain's first Muslim foreign minister quits over Gaza

By Robert Weller     Aug 5, 2014 in World
London - Even after the last of Israel's troops had pulled out of Gaza on Tuesday, Britain's first Muslim foreign secretary, Lady Warsi, resigned. She quit on Twitter, not even extending a warning to her government.
Lady Warsi said London's Israel policy was “morally indefensible." the Guardian reported."
Warsi announced her departure on Twitter on Tuesday, 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.”
Relations between Israel and the U.S. were no better. Israel's spying on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Washington's blunt language on Tel Aviv's killing of nearly 2,000 Gazans, mostly women and children, left Israel with few friends. It's strongest Muslim friend, Turkey, jumped ship weeks ago.
"This is the most sustained period of antagonism in the relationship,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel who now teaches at Princeton. “I don’t know how the relationship recovers as long as you have this president and this prime minister," he told the New York Times.
Negotiators from Israel and Palestine were headed to talks in Cairo. Israel would not identify them. Ma'an said the Palestinian leaders were Islamic Jihad member, Khaled al-Batsh, and senior Hamas officials Khalil al-Haya and Emad El-Elmy,.
Meanwhile, it was reported "Egypt's contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza starting from 0500 GMT tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, and an agreement for the rest of the relevant delegations to come to Cairo to conduct further negotiations," an Egyptian official in told AFP.
"The Palestinians have agreed to a ceasefire proposed by Egypt," Azzam al-Ahmed, leader of the Palestinian delegation, told reporters in Cairo.
The situation was murky because some reports said the withdrawal was ongoing, and others said it would not be complete before Tuesday morning.
AFP later Tuesday said all Israeli troops were gone.
Israeli Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Israeli forces would have left Gaza before a 72-hour truce, scheduled for 8 a.m. local time (5 a.m. GMT), the BBC reported.
Israeli officials vaguely were claiming they had completed their proclaimed goal of destroying tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel, in the same fashion the Vietcong used in Vietnam.
Some war historians credit the tunnels with forcing the US to withdraw. Although the Vietnamese tunnels were vastly larger than in the smaller Gaza area, it was unclear that Hamas and its supporters would be unable to replace them.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encourage "utmost restraint" before the new, 72-hour truce in the deadly almost month-old conflict, Agence France Press reported.
Israel’s world reputation has suffered dramatically because of the more than 1,700 mostly women and children killed in Gaza. In several cases Israeli airstrikes hit schools being operated by the United Nations.
Israel launched the invasion when intensive warplane strikes were unable to stop the launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel.
In fact, the notoriously inaccurate rockets, and effective Israeli air defense system, had meant only a handful of deaths for Tel Aviv. A total of 67 Israeli soldiers were killed.
The invasion tested relations with the White House, especially after it was reported Israel had spied on US Secretary of State John Kerry during recent peace
talks.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden reported US intelligence had provided data to help Israel attack targets in Gaza.
More about Israel, Withdrawal, War crimes, Gaza
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