On Monday Parliament will vote on a motion which will decide if the UK recognises Palestine as a State.
The Motion is: “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”
A permanent end to the continuing conflict between Israel and Palestine is a cause that I have sought to support for many years. As a long-time supporter and patron of the Bereaved Families Forum Parents Circle, a grass-roots organisation which brings reconciliation and tolerance in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and having visited these regions myself, I have seen the devastating impact of continued fighting on both Palestinian and Israeli families.
Through supporting this organisation, I have also seen that cooperation and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian communities is possible and that violence is not an inevitable and permanent state of affairs in this region.
It is for this reason that I support a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
The Labour Party has consistently supported the principle of recognising statehood for the Palestinians. Both in 2011 and in 2012 we urged the Government to support the Palestinian’s bid for recognition at the UN.
It’s for this reason that the Labour Party will also be voting for the Motion, because it reflects our support for the principle of recognition of Palestinian statehood, and we welcome the opportunity for MPs to affirm support for that principle through this backbench debate in the House of Commons.
In a speech to the Labour Party conference in Manchester a few weeks ago, Ed Miliband committed the next Labour government to working towards the crucial task of making this two-state solution a reality. He wants the British Government to help bring about “two states for two people, Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side”. There cannot be peace in the region until Israel and Palestine recognise one another as separate and independent states and are recognised as such by the international community.
I will be voting in favour of this motion. The British Government’s recognition of Palestine as an independent state separate from the state of Israel is an important first step towards a two-state solution in the region and a stable and permanent peaceful relationship between the two. The House will also be debating on whether or not to include an amendment to the motion that recognition of Palestine as an independent state would only take place ‘on the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.’ Given that international recognition of Palestine as an independent state is an important step towards the two-state solution, I believe such an amendment to the motion is misguided.
Recognising Palestine and Israel as independent and separate states will help to put the current Palestinian authority on an equal footing to the state of Israel in future peace negotiations and l would hope that this would make any such negotiations more likely to be successful and permanent.