Palestinian Statehood: a right to be recognised, not a gift to be given

9th October, 2014 10:19 am

Palestinian flag

The weeks of bloodshed witnessed in Gaza this summer, and the breakdown of meaningful negotiations in April this year, are a painful and stark reminder of how distant and difficult the prospect of a peaceful resolution to this conflict remains.

But events of recent months only underline the dangers for both Palestinians and Israelis of a resumption of violence and bloodshed, and reinforce the urgent need for a return to meaningful negotiations.

Labour fully supports two states living side by side in peace, and recognised by all of their neighbours: This conflict will only be resolved ultimately by both sides engaging in a negotiated peace process towards that two state solution.

But the tragedy is that today, there is not only no peace, but also no process. And in this environment, despair dominates as hope struggles to survive.

Labour believes statehood for the Palestinians is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised: That is why since 2011 Labour has supported Palestinian recognition at the United Nations and called on the government to support this important principle.

After decades of diplomatic failure there are those on all sides that today question whether a two-state solution is any longer possible. That is why Labour believes that, amidst the undoubted despair and the disappointment, the international community must take concrete steps to strengthen moderate Palestinian opinion, encourage the Palestinians to take the path of politics, reject the path of violence, and rekindle hopes that there is a credible route to a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel achieved by negotiations.

We are clear that Palestinian recognition at the UN would be such a step. That is why I called on the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in 2011 and in 2012 to commit Britain to supporting the Palestinians’ bid for recognition at the UN. I made clear then that our support for the principle of UN recognition was not a means of bypassing the need for talks, nor was it an excuse for inaction in seeking to get negotiations re-started.

It has never been the case that recognition can only follow the conclusion of the negotiations. The 2002 Roadmap says that during its second phase, the UN, European Union, Russia and the United States would promote the international recognition of a Palestinian state, including possible UN membership.

Labour’s consistent support for the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood, as part of continuing steps to achieve a comprehensive negotiated two state solution, is why we will be voting to support the principle of Palestinian statehood when the House of Commons debates the issue on Monday.

The motion before the House on Monday does not commit Labour to immediate recognition of Palestine, or mandate the UK government to immediately bilaterally recognise the State of Palestine, but it does reaffirm Labour’s support for the principle of recognising Palestinian ‎statehood.

‎The timing and the mechanism by which Palestinian recognition takes place will continue to be matter decided by an incoming Labour Government. We have made clear previously that steps taken by individual governments outside of a wider international process won’t contribute to meaningful progress in negotiations towards a two state solution. There is, however, already a determined international push to achieve Palestinian recognition at the UN, including fourteen EU nations who voted in favour of Palestine securing ‘enhanced observer status’ at the United Nations in 2012 – with only one EU member voting against.

Although the motion to be debated in the Commons on Monday results from a decision by the backbench business committee, it is an important opportunity for MPs on all sides to place on record their support for the recognition of the Palestinian right to statehood and debate the urgent need for a return to peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

As Labour has argued over recent years, recognition of Palestinian statehood by the international community can be an important contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.

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  • swatnan

    ‘Statehood’ has to be earned, and I’m not convinced that the Palestinians through all their machinations and prevarications and corrupt leadership these past 50 years have earned it. But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, just to smote the eye of that belligerent Israel. But the proposed ‘2 State Solution’ will never work.

  • Danny

    Your positioning on Palestine will be irrelevant if you persist with your cowardly, not-as-Tory-as-the-Tories approach to May 2015.

  • JohnJustice

    If MPs vote to recognise the Palestinian state it will prove one thing. Crime not only pays but war crimes pay even more.

    This vote and similar votes in other countries come in the wake of another round of fighting in Gaza involving Gazan civilians being used as human shields, the indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilian areas of Israel and the construction of tunnels to convey terrorists into Israeli territory whose purpose was to kill as many Israelis as possible. All these actions have been internationally condemned as war crimes regardless of what the Israelis may have done.

    To reward these actions with recognition of the Palestinian state will only validate the actions of Palestinian extremists in the eyes of the Palestinian people and spur them into carrying out more atrocities in pursuit of their goals.

    It will also fly in the face of Western policy towards terrorism in general, that such dastardly acts should never result in gains for those committing them.

    As a longstanding member of the Labour Party I am disgusted with the simplistic line being taken by Douglas Alexander and Ed Miliband on this issue. I am seriously considering withholding my support for them.

    • ColinAdkins

      Oppressed people have often resorted to struggle to fight colonialism and achieve nationhood. I believe Israel was in part founded on similar lines. That being said the tactics of Hamas beggars belief as they are attacking a part of Israel/Palestine which will be Israel in a two state solution. However this is not sufficent grounds to deny an oppresessed people national self-determination.
      Peace will more likely arise out of a two state solution and therefore should not be a prerequisite for it happening. Why should Palestinians be denied what Israelis take for granted? So there is no loss to Labour I will consider withholding support if they do not support the creation of a Palestinian state.

      • JohnJustice

        Struggling to achieve nationhood is one thing, DELIBERATELY targeting civilians to achieve this is quite another.

        I repeat such action should be condemned not rewarded.

        • ColinAdkins

          So punish all Palestinians. What is this but collective punishment?

          • JohnJustice

            So what’s the alternative? Leaving them to fire their rockets and launch their terrorist attacks from built-up areas unchecked in case civilians get caught in the cross-fire?

          • ColinAdkins

            Try stopping oppressing a whole people and strive for a comprehensive peace settlement. The if the Palestinians breach that Israel will have my whole support in defending themselves.

          • Guest

            So give Hamas free access to Israel, then.

            Oh wait, blood in the streets, problem solved!

          • MontyBest

            I remind you 2 Israeli Jews were killed and 2,000 Paletinians…

            Who is the terrorist?

        • MontyBest

          Only ISRAEL targets civilians, the rockets have no targeting capability, and usually do absolutely no harm!

      • MontyBest

        Most of Hamas rockets/mortars fall on land illegally occupied/annexed by Israel.

        • Guest

          Ah, yes, so that’s your current excuse for supporting Hamas I see.

    • djkm

      So Hamas predates the desire for Palestine to be considered a state? Show your working.

    • MontyBest

      Israel is the biggest terrorist state, founded on murder and continued that since before 1948.

      • Guest

        Yes yes, it’s always the Jews doing it.

        • MontyBest

          Yes, it is always Israel that murders thousands of innocent civilians.

  • Pete C

    100% proof – terrorism does work. Go read the Hamas constitution – for
    them the only solution is a one state solution, routed in their view of
    Dar al Islam – No Israel whatsoever, no Jews on Palestinian soil –
    genocide – that’s what you’re giving support for as surely as your
    predecessors did at the evian conference in 1938. Nice PC policy made on
    fluffly ignorance always come back to bite us.

    • MontyBest

      I would refer you to the score card; Israel has murdered thousands and thousands, and their losses are insignificant in real terms.

      • Guest

        Support Hamas! Jewish lives are worthless.
        Support Blood Death Slaughter!

        What?10% of your hype.

        • MontyBest

          Umm, I seem to remember that the Blood Death Slaughter numbers shows that Palestinian deaths are counted in the thousands when Jewish Civilian lives can be counted on the fingers of one hand!

          The slaughter, year after year, decade after decade is a form of Genocide began in the 1940’s, and it is the Jews that are doing the murders. From the Stern Gang to Netanyahu all terrorists, all killing Palestinian civilians, and the world has had enough of the Jews getting away with it Scott free!

  • Jonathan

    So, Douglas Alexander, when terror is called ‘ISIS’ and threatens the UK you support opposing it, but when it’s called ‘Hamas’ and threatens Israel, you support it (Hamas being part of the Palestinian government).

    Rewarding Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields will simply encourage them to perpetrate more terror.

    I will be resigning from the Labour Party because of your complete hypocrisy.

  • Sunshine

    Trying to avoid a terrorist attack by playing nice with Hamas?

  • Hugh

    Who are the true Jews?

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Oh that. What a surprise (not).

      • Hugh

        Oh, what? I’ll be interested to see how fantastically you’re able to miscontrue this.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          No, no, keep going.

          • Hugh

            I’d like to, but I rarely find I’m able to predict how you’re going to interpret words. Perhaps you could nail down your objection.

            Personally, I find the idea that there is a group of “true Jews” who all hold the same view on Israeli statehood (presumably making those who disagree untrue Jews) preposterous. Don’t you?

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So try using plain English.

            And that you try and use a *tiny* minority of Jews to decry us…

  • Pete C

    OMG as a nation have we not learned one thing in the last century? Yes there are lots of Palestinians killed – why? Because Isreal retaliates. Let’s apply this logic to all our laws, someone tries to break into your house to rape your daughter – you thump him to stop and they take your house away and he gets compensation – of your daughter.

    Go read the history, want some pointers – Google Mohammad Amin al-Husayni – the leader of the Arabs in Palestine one of the highest ranking Nazi supporters to escape Nuremburg – he thought Hitler was soft in the final solution, we let him go because we wanted Arab Oil.

    Check out where Palestine was on the original two state plan – east of the Jordan not west, but the king of Saudi stole Palestine for one of his henchmen, and again we said nothing because we wanted oil.

    Google Palestinian Authority and map and see how many of those maps have no Israel on it whatsoever – those are in the books they give their schoolchildren paid for by EU funds.
    Go read the Hamas Covenant see what they want, no two state solution, ever – ‘The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it.’ (Article 11). ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and
    trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding
    behind me, come and kill him.’ (Article 7) When you support Hamas this is what
    YOU calling for – this is your view of justice – genocide.
    Those numbers of dead you worry about so much could be evened up by the flick
    of a button, switching off the Iron Dome defence system – but how many million
    Jews have to die this time before we see Anti-Semitism as the evil curse it is.

    • MontyBest

      If someone came to my home to rape my daughter i would have every right to “you thump him to stop”, you do not have the right to drop 6 times in weight more bombs on a tiny strip of land called Gaza, than were dropped on Britain during the whole of world war 2 in just a few days…

      Israel is the terrorist state, it is them that murder DAILY palestinians, it is they that ‘blow up houses’, it they that steal lands year after year and colonise land that does not belong to them!

      Israel is the problem, Gaza is the symptom of the cancer that Israel is!

  • MontyBest

    Your grasp of history is pathetic, the UK abstained in the vote to give Israel the land they they are supposed to occupy, like most terrorist states however Israel has stolen and annexed the rest year after year, whilst creating a concentration camp in Gaza…

    Much like the Warsaw Ghetto but every 2 years the jews murder around 2,000 civilians and destroy their total infrastructure, (water, sewage, electricity, hospitals) as well as making 150,000 homeless by destroying their homes, contrary to the Geneva Convention and International law.


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