UK’s Palestine Vote: More Than Symbolic
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 14th October, 2014
Last night the British House of Commons voted by 274 to 12 in favour of a motion to recognise the state of Palestine. Though the vote has no binding implication for the UK Government (whose Ministers abstained, as is usual in such circumstances), its moral force should not be underestimated. Coming soon after Sweden’s announcement that it will indeed recognise Palestine, and ahead of similar parliamentary votes in France, Ireland, Denmark and Finland, the House of Commons vote is bound to influence EU thinking on the matter. Already, two-thirds of the member states of the United Nations have given Palestine full recognition, and it is well time that the EU and its members did the same. Israel’s government is, of course, furious, and even more contemptuous of Europe than ever. But Bibi Netanyahu should think hard about the fact that he and his colleagues have outraged even formerly pro-Israeli opinion in much of Britain by their flagrant violation of both the spirit and the letter of international law, not least by authorising ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank. It is in Israel’s own interests to make sure a two state solution is viable, but time for that has almost run out. In the meantime, the British government should accept the clear feelings of parliament and of a large body of British public opinion that giving the Palestinians the dignity and diplomatic clout of state recognition is long overdue.