More than 800 officials in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union released a public letter of dissent on Friday against their governments’ support of Israel in its war in Gaza.

The letter is the first instance of officials in allied nations across the Atlantic coming together to openly criticize their governments over the war, say current and former officials who are organizing or supporting the effort.

The officials say that it is their duty as civil servants to help improve policy and to work in their nations’ interests, and that they are speaking up because they believe their governments need to change direction on the war. The signers say they have raised concerns through internal channels but have been ignored.

“Our governments’ current policies weaken their moral standing and undermine their ability to stand up for freedom, justice and human rights globally,” the letter says, according to a copy obtained Thursday by The New York Times. It adds that “there is a plausible risk that our governments’ policies are contributing to grave violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide.”

The Israeli military launched a bombing and ground campaign in Gaza after Hamas fighters invaded Israel on Oct. 7 and killed about 1,200 people while abducting about 240, Israeli officials said. More than 27,000 people in Gaza have been killed and nearly 2 million have been displaced since Israel’s offensive began, according to the health ministry in Gaza and United Nations officials.

The document does not include the names of signers because they fear reprisal, said one organizer, an official who has worked in the State Department for more than two decades. But about 800 current officials have given approval to the letter as it has quietly circulated among employees at the national level in multiple countries, the official said.

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