BB Debate on UK Government recognition of the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel
Thursday 24th February 2022
Today’s debate on the UK Government’s recognition of the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel is long overdue.
I find it heart-breaking that after decades of violence, illegal occupation, demolition of Palestinian homes and complete disregard for human rights, we are still debating the very basics.
In October 2014, the House of Commons voted in favour of recognising the state of Palestine, to secure a two-state solution.
The UK Government has since not recognised this statehood and even abstained in the UN General Assembly vote that granted Palestine non-member observer status.
A woeful decision that also undermines the sovereignty of Parliament.
This inaction has only cost lives and entrenched the de-facto annexation of Palestinian land and sends a loud and clear message that Palestine is not equal.
Of the 193 member states of the United Nations, 138 have recognised the State of Palestine.
The UK is not one of them.
In response to a Written Question I had tabled, the Government outlined, and I quote: “that the UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace”.
The verdict given by the international community and multiple human rights organisations clearly dictate that the time is now.
A two-state solution and equality cannot be discussed without talking about occupation, which is the root cause of so many of the issues at hand.
Settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law. And such actions entrench divisions and make peace harder to achieve.
The shocking scenes at the holy Al Aqsa Mosque last year resulted in the spill over of violent conflict within Israel’s recognised international borders.
While the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land risks making the occupation irreversible.
UK recognition would be more than symbolic. It would be the first step to signify a parity of esteem for two peoples – Israelis and Palestinians by the UK.
If the UK Government continues this trajectory of inaction, there won’t be a Palestine to recognise.
The only way to achieve a new momentum is to bring both nations to an equal footing, so that negotiations can turn from those between “occupier” and “occupied”, to talks between two neighbouring sovereign nations.
So, if the Minister is serious about a genuine two-state solution, will he now do the right thing and officially recognise the state of Palestine?
You can watch clips from my speech here.