A historic thing has been announced from the House of Commons today. For the first time in our history the MPs of this nation have urged the government to recognise the Palestinian state.
This support from MPs towards Palestine could well see a drastic shift in UK policy towards the region and in particular Israel. MPs urged the government to “recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel” as part of a “contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution”.
This represents a dramatic change considering that a two state solution has always been difficult to establish and this vote comes following yet another breakdown of negotiations between the two warring nations.
Our government however is not bound by this vote and does not have to acknowledge the vote nor recognise Palestine. Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said a Palestinian state would “only be recognised when the time was right”, and went on to add that the timing of when the UK opts to accept Palestinian statehood is “critical”. He insisted “You can after all only play this card once.”
The truly fascinating aspect of this was that there was massive by-partisan support for this vote. Mr Ellwood was backed by Labour and former foreign secretary Jack Straw, who was the man who pushed the amendment to recognise Palestine as a “contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”.
The debate may have come about because of the summer conflict along with the breakdown of communication. The conflict claimed 2,100 Palestinians, who were mostly civilians, as well as 70 Israelis; all but six of the Israelis were soldiers.
When asked if the consequences of MPs backing a Palestinian state would be helpful, Mr Ellwood replied by saying “We have made our position absolutely very clear that Britain defends the right to choose our moment which is appropriate for the peace process and when we make that bilateral decision.”
Mr Ellwood would continue and say “”We commend the leadership of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Rami Hamdallah, who I met last week, and their commitment to securing cooperation and institutional reform.” He rounded out his speech by emphasising “Only an end to the occupation will ensure that Palestinian statehood becomes a reality on the ground.” There was also emphasis placed on the UK with Ellwood stating we “will bilaterally recognise a Palestinian state when we judge that it can best help bring about the peace.”
As can be seen the vote has had an effect in that there are people high in government will be discussing this issue again. The point must be raised, and when the House of Commons stands so united on an issue the government must take notice. When a vote is won by a majority of 262, with only 12 MPs opposing the motion, the government must seek to service the issues discussed.
Israel and Palestine have been at war now for essentially the entire time Israel has existed and yet it is only now a two party solution is being suggested by the West. The death of over 2,000 Palestinians may well have woken up the West. When more than 500 innocent children are killed peace has to be reached. This level of disregard for who was killed would not be tolerated from any other country and yet there has been no solution. Israel has a right to defend itself. Does it have a right to murder thousands of innocents for the crime of living in Palestine?
Peace has to be reached. There has to be an end to this violence. In a region that has known nothing but war the time to lay down arms in defence of the people needs to come soon.