LONDON – Pro-Palestinian MPs used the last Foreign Office Questions session in the House of Commons prior to Britain’s general election on May 7 to demand recognition of a Palestinian state. But their calls fell on deaf ears, though not before ministers registered renewed complaints about Israel’s settlement expansion.
“Palestinian statehood” has been one cry heard persistently during Foreign Office questions over several years but it gained a major boost when the Commons expressed overwhelming support for early recognition in a non-binding vote last October.
Both Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Middle East minister Tobias Ellwood told MPs that until the results of the Israeli election are known, any such discussions were irrelevant. Ellwood added that whilst the government favored the establishment of an “independent Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel,” the UK would only recognize a Palestinian state bilaterally “at a time when we judge it best to help bring about peace.”