British MPs fail in pressing again for Palestinian recognition

"Palestinian statehood" has been one cry heard persistently during Foreign Office questions over several years.

By JERRY LEWIS
March 6, 2015 00:20
2 minute read.
The statue of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill is silhouetted in front of parliament

The statue of Britain's former Prime Minister Winston Churchill is silhouetted in front of the Houses of Parliament in London. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

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.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


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.”

Margaret Ritchie of the Social Democratic and Labor Party (of Northern Ireland) suggested that if recognition was still conditional on negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, in effect it gave Benjamin Netanyahu – or his successor – a veto over what she said would be “the UK’s sovereign decision to recognize Palestine.”

Ellwood tried to put her right. Recognition was not what he termed a “tick box” process but rather one which would have consequences “and which is therefore best used at a time when it will advance the process and leverage positive change.” However, he carefully refrained from spelling out who it was intended the leverage would be used against.

Labor’s Ian Austin, one of Israel’s staunchest friends, said that Palestinian statehood could not be imposed from outside; it could only come about after proper negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“We need to see the demilitarization of Gaza with Iran no longer sending rockets to Hezbollah and Hamas,” he added. The minister not only agreed, he also added that the Palestinian Authority had to “reassert itself in Gaza” and not just have what is known as a “technocratic government” there.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Liberal Democrat MP Duncan Hames lamented the fact that “the sovereign will of Parliament” had already spoken on the subject, voting by an overwhelming margin, and he asked how the timing of such an announcement could “be at odds with the sovereign will of MPs.”

Later Hammond said that as soon as the Israeli elections were completed, the UK would press the United States to revive the peace initiative and, he added, then “all parties needed to show bold political leadership.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

September 19, 2018
U.S. seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran

By REUTERS