On Monday, British parliamentarians voted in favor of recognizing Palestinian statehood in a non-binding motion. The vote is unlikely to change UK government policy but is considered a symbol of the growing voice for recognizing Palestinian statehood.
The motion was passed after 274 lawmakers voted in favor and 12 voted against, to “recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”.
The vote comes after the Sweden announced that it would recognize the state of Palestine, becoming the first EU nation in Western Europe to make the move, drawing the ire of the Israelis. The British government need not act on the motion as it was initiated by an opposition party member, and said that it will recognize the state of Palestine only at the appropriate moment.
“The aspirations of the Palestinian people cannot be fully realized until there is an end to the occupation… and we believe this will only come through negotiations.Only an end to the occupation will ensure that Palestinian statehood becomes a reality on the ground.The UK will bilaterally recognize a Palestinian state when we judge that it can best help bring about the peace”, Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said.
“It’s absolutely clear that Israel-Palestine relations are stuck at an impasse, as is our foreign policy”, Labor party MP Grahame Morris said before he opened the vote. He added that it was opportunity to translate “talk about the two-state solution” into action, arguing that the UK has a moral responsibility because of its colonial past in the region.
Less than half of all MPs cast their vote, which drew cross-party support and was backed by 192 labor MPs and 39 Conservative MPs. British Prime Minister David Cameron and other members of the government abstained from voting.