The majority of British MPs representing the three major political parties (Conservatives, Labour & Liberal-Democrats) have voted in favour of recognizing a Palestinian state, in a symbolic move showing that Israel is losing support of public opinion in Britain.
In a historic non-binding vote on a motion tabled by Labour’s Grahame Morris, 274 MPs against 12 approved the move “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” and called on the UK government “to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel”.
During the Commons debate, Mr Morris said recognising Palestine as a state would be a “symbolically important” step towards peace, saying relations between Israelis and Palestinians were “stuck at an impasse”.
However, the Middle East minister Tobias Ellwood said the government reserved the right to recognise Palestine when it was “appropriate for the peace process”. He also criticized Israel’s settlement-building in Palestinian occupied territories which made “it hard for Israel’s friends to make the case that Tel Aviv is committed to peace”.
For his part, Sir Alan Duncan, a former minister in the Department for International Development, who voted for the motion, condemned Israel’s settlements policy, saying building on Palestinian land is the manifestation of a ‘wicked cocktail’ of wrongdoing.
According to some analysts, this is one of the strongest attacks on the government of Binyamin Netanyahu by a major British politician, who slammed the Israeli government for its “reprehensible” behaviour in encouraging and supporting the creation of “illegal colonies”.