The House of Commons’ symbolic debate and vote on Palestinian statehood in London Monday is a mistake and does not advance the cause of peace, British parliamentarian David Burrowes told The Jerusalem Post.
“The vote to look at a pre-emptive recognition of a Palestinian state, way before successful peace negotiations, is not right,” Burrowes said.
“It might make a political statement, it may have meaning to Labor politicians, but it won’t go anywhere in being able to support peace.” said Burrowes.
He represents Enfield Southgate suburban area of London for the Conservative party and chairs its Christian Fellowship group.
While his colleagues are busy arguing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has chosen a more old fashion shoe leather approach to the issue by visiting Israel and the West Bank.
“I wanted to see the reality on the ground,” Burrowes said.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron clarified on Monday that the country’s policy will not change, even if lawmakers on Monday vote in favor of a motion stating that the government should recognize Palestine as a state.
"I've been pretty clear about the government's position and it won't be changing," Cameron's spokesman
Britain does not recognize Palestine as a state, but says it could do so at any time if it believed it would help the long-running peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.
Burrowes is one of 20 parliamentarians on the three-day trip organized by the Israel Allies Caucus.
On Sunday they visited the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and its nearby industrial park Mishor Adumim, where some 2,500 Palestinians work together with Israelis.
“Just to hear that Israelis and Palestinians are working together in the thousands, that is more meaningful that what is happening in the British parliament,” he said.
He suggested that his colleagues would do better to follow in his footsteps by investigating the complex situation for themselves rather than making meaningless political statements.
He clarified that he is also opposed to efforts by European activists and governments to boycott West Bank settlement products.
It prevents Palestinians from earning a living so they can feed and care for their families, Burrowes said.
“If we take that away form them, that is not doing them any good. It is not supporting the long term cause of coexistence,” Burrowes said.