Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

UK’s Palestine Vote: More Than Symbolic

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 14th October, 2014

Palestine stateLast 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.

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4 Responses to “UK’s Palestine Vote: More Than Symbolic”

  1. Delighted to have watched the stirring debate and historic vote! Thankfully our MPs have finally taken a step in the right direction. I hope that you heard the ICAHD representative, Ruth Edmonds, who participated in the LDFP panel discussion at the fringe meeting during the recent party conference in Glasgow. I have fond memories of attending the fringe event a few years ago when Jeff Halper was invited to participate and sitting next to you at dinner together following the event.

  2. Humaira Sanders said

    Jonathan, I am delighted about the vote too. I do feel as well, that we must ask questions of the rich countries of that region who should have done something to help the people of Palestine. For example, they could have invested in jobs over the last 40 years at least. The West should play its part but so should the hugely rich neighbours too.

  3. George Alexander said

    The last time I checked international law (and not the oil-kowtowing opinion of the FCO), Israeli building in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) was perfectly legal. Also, you will find that the area is not occupied.

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