BREAKING: UK Parliament Votes by a Landslide to Recognise the State of Palestine

Activists project Palestinian flag onto Westminster

Activists project Palestinian flag onto Westminster

The UK Parliament voted in a landslide 274-12 on the evening of Monday 13th October to unilaterally recognise the state of Palestine.

The House of Commons debated on a substantive motion: “That this House calls on the government to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel”

What Does It Mean?

Tens of thousands joined the Free Palestine march in August

Tens of thousands joined the Free Palestine march in August

The debate was a Backbench Business Debate (BBD). Backbench MPs can make applications for debates and the Backbench Business Committee (BBC) decides on whether to allow the debate time in parliament. It is the BBC who are responsible for making the debate happen.

The application was originally presented to the BBC on 8th April 2014. They deferred their decision until after recess. Sources within Westminster told Scriptonite Daily that the primary reason for this was a rival application submitted by a coalition of Labour, Lib Dem and Tory friends of Israel.

Grahame Morris MP (Labour) re-presented the application again last Tuesday with the support of two Lead Members: Sarah Teather MP (LIB) and Crispin Blunt MP (CON). Labour’s Gerald Kaufman MP joined Morris, and the pair persuasively argued the case for the debate.

It’s the government, not the House that recognises states. Plus, it’s a BBD so the motions are none binding. Essentially, the vote is a clear expression of the will of the House.

It is a PR disaster for the government, to refuse to recognise Palestine while an almost complete majority of MPs expressed the opposite view.

It will put pressure on Labour to back up Douglas Alexander’s stance that a future Labour government would recognise the state of Palestine, after the UK government abstained on the 2012 UN General Assembly vote.

The government will also have to clarify their position. While paying lip service to the notions of Palestinian statehood, the coalition government have contradicted this in actions, such as the decision to abstain on the 2012 UN vote.

This is in line with the policy of US President Barack Obama who has also made repeated public appeals for the two-state solution, while veto-ing Palestine’s bid to become a member of the United Nations. He publicly criticized Israel for expanding its illegal settlement construction, yet vetoed a planned UN Security Council Resolution to tackle the problem.

This vote is intended to put some space between UK and US policy on the matter.

Speaking before the vote, Labour’s Grahame Morris MP told Scriptonite Daily:

“I’m delighted that we have secured this debate. Abstaining on the recognition of the state of Palestine in the UN General Assembly was an utterly shameful act that placed the UK on the wrong side of history.

The consensus from all Westminster parties is that the only resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is a just peace founded on a two-state solution. So far, this has been government policy in rhetoric only.

We know that only independence and sovereignty for Palestine can save the two-state solution. We hear a lot of talk in support of the peace process but on October 13th MPs will have the opportunity to back up their words with actions.”

The Bottom Line

A001In my view, the two-state solution is dead in the water – and would be a mistake even if it was still plausible.

Firstly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again publicly promised to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state as recently as July this year. Telling a press conference on July 11th:

“There cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,”

If Israel doesn’t relinquish security control, Palestinians cannot establish a state. The alternative, then, would be a single state in which Palestinians are second class citizens, under occupation and without democratic rights.

“That sentence, quite simply, spells the end to the notion of Netanyahu consenting to the establishment of a Palestinian state,” summed up Times of Israel editor David Horovitz, whom Ha’aretz described as a Netanyahu supporter.

So long as Israel remains wedded to the Zionist notion of a Jewish state, it will have to maintain its occupation of the Palestinians, in order to a) avoid the demographic realities that would undermine the racial character of the state, and b) avoid the democratic realities that would undermine the racial character of the state.

Secondly, there is a matter of principle here too. When we were calling for the end of Apartheid South Africa, we did not suggest separation, giving the white establishment control of the territory they’d ethnically cleansed and colonized while granting black South Africans the bantustans and townships. Why would we do so here?

Thirdly, Israel is buckling internally under the weight of this racist project. As a prominent Jewish-Israeli activist within the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement told me in Tel Aviv:

The Zionist project, particularly in Palestine, is a supremacist project. It’s not only a colonialist movement in that it demands the theft of resources, natural and human, of the indigenous people…But also says that this land is ours and only ours; and if you are not part of us you don’t belong here”

The consequences of which have been described by Gideon Levy, esteemed Israeli journalist and editor of Ha’aretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper:

“All the seeds of the incitement of the past few years, all the nationalistic, racist legislation and the incendiary propaganda, the scare campaigns and the subversion of democracy by the right-wing camp – all these have borne fruit, and that fruit is rank and rotten. The nationalist right has now sunk to a new level, with almost the whole country following in its wake. The word “fascism,” which I try to use as little as possible, finally has its deserved place in the Israeli political discourse.”

So let’s be clear on what the real end goal needs to be: one secular state where citizens are granted equal rights and responsibilities, regardless of their race or religion.

In the meantime, anything that puts pressure on governments in the West to promote the rights of self-determination, cultural identity and recognition of the plight of the Palestinians is no bad thing.


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14 thoughts on “BREAKING: UK Parliament Votes by a Landslide to Recognise the State of Palestine

  1. With regard to the Balfour Declaration – and the role of David Lloyd George in it – it is a fact that as a young lawyer, Lloyd George attended the first World Zionist Congress – with Herzl – in Basel in 1897.
    While Balfour was arguably more interested in getting Jews to leave England, Lloyd George – presumably from a perspective of a Christian Zionist – wanted to see a restoration of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
    It was Lloyd George who played a far more significant role than Balfour after the declaration was issued.
    The actual circumstances under which the declaration was issued still – I believe – remain murky, as all the historical evidence I have seen so far suggests it was a negotiated document between Rothschild and fellow Jewish Zionists – on the one hand – and British powerbrokers like Lord Milner, Lloyd George, Balfour and senior British civil servants.
    I have a theory – which is as yet unsubstantiated – that Lloyd George and others in his Cabinet did not want the war to end in 1917 but wanted it extended into 1918. I believe this aspiration received support from the Jewish Zionists in Britain and America (possibly in Germany too) and resulted in the Zimmerman Telegram, which was designed to bring the US into the war.
    By extending the war for – at least – another year, this made it possible for Britain to expand its operations in the Middle East such that British and Allied forces were able to overthrow the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and – with the French, through the Sykes-Picot Agreement – carve up the Middle East in such a fashion that Britain ended up controlling all of Palestine, receiving the League of Nations Mandate to do so.
    Thus, Britain made it possible for increasing numbers of Zionist Jews to migrate into Palestine, thus setting the scene for their eventual takeover of large parts of the area within less than 30 years.
    One final point: Great News from Ireland, where the Senate has recommended that Ireland recognise the State of Palestine. Following on from developments in Sweden and Britain, this sends a very clear signal that civilised European countries were appalled by – and condemn the atrocious behaviour of – the zionists’ murders in Gaza, from where our courageous host brought daily reports during the 50 day assault recently.

  2. Pingback: UK Parliament votes by a landslide to recognise the State of Palestine | marthiemombergblog

    • Milliband is unbiased and does agree to fair play – that is why he left his Labour MPs free to vote according to their conscience.
      If he ends up leading the UK Government from May 2015, this may mean UK Government policy towards Palestine will change radically.
      The Tel Aviv regime have received fair advanced warning.
      They need to stop obstructing the peace process and negotiate the best deal they can get – NOW!

  3. I have always recognised Palestine and its people .
    The corrupt wesminster english state and its own stance in forming a Jewish state by the execution of early palestinian leaders and intellectuals.
    This perfidious Albion and its slinking about in the shadows , has the blood of thousands of Palestinians on its hands and yet, they now think this paltry half assed action can wipe the slate clean .
    One wonders why it has taken so long with so much genocide, life is littered with so much good intentions only to be routed up a cul de sac.
    Typical of the english state to make it look as if they are doing so much good via their state media , yet we all know the truth, still, do we the people of these islands really want to know the truth can the majority hack the truth.
    Ask the majority about palestine and what goes on there daily, the abuses the killings the illegal settlements
    ect ect, if the jeudaistic christian media of the west reported daily on the atrocities in Palestine , listed the names of all the palestinians murdered .
    Life there might be different.
    Where was the full house on this vote ,a question I would ask, sadly I know the truth , those friends of Israel those Zionists in the corrupt westminster parliament.
    I do not recognise what is the illegal state of Israel, all based on a ficticious book of religious fairy stories.
    The hypocricy of the english state , the glove puppets of USrael.
    What now this gesture, where to go from here?
    Is it back to strictly or eastenders or coronation street or big brother, another box ticked on the way to Perdition.

    • As i recall the Prime Minister at the time of the Balfour declaration was Lloyd Geroge – so not at all English then. Just saying.

  4. Attacks on Al Aqsa compound proof Israel not interested in peace:

    (CHICAGO 10/13/2014) – The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is outraged that Israeli forces today fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians inside Al Aqsa mosque, disrupting the holy site’s sanctity and safety. The Palestinians were taking refuge from aggressive Israeli settlers, who, with increasing frequency, have been harassing Palestinian worshipers at Islam’s holiest site in Palestine and third holiest place overall.

    After dawn prayer today, extreme right settler groups, protected by Israeli soldiers and police, entered the Al Aqsa mosque compound for the second time in less than one week. At the same time, most Palestinian men under 50 and nearly all women were banned from offering prayers in the mosque, in contravention of international law.

    Israeli attacks against Al Aqsa are not new. For instance, in 1967, immediately after the end of the Six Day War, “the Israeli army chief rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up the mosque ‘once and for all,’” according to published historical accounts.

    What’s changed is the frequency of settler incursions into the Muslim holy site, coupled with discussions in the Israeli Knesset about dividing Al Aqsa in the manner of the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, which apportioned two-thirds of the mosque for Jews, prohibiting the area to Palestinians. The Jerusalem Municipality also is discussing plans to turn the courtyard area between the Dome of the Rock mosque and Al Aqsa into a public park. Israeli authorities already have given the extremist settler group Elad the right to create an oversized ‘visitor center’ that will abut the mosque compound, further cutting off Palestinians from their historical religious site. UNESCO is so concerned about recent ‘Judaization’ developments in Jerusalem it dispatched a fact-finding committee to study the issue in April.

    All these actions come at a time when Israeli settlers have forcibly moved into Palestinian homes and the creation of new settlements in East Jerusalem are planned.

    “Israel has no intention whatsoever of allowing Palestinians sovereignty over anything, even their religious sites,” said AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian. “While these attacks on Palestinians at Aqsa are reprehensible, they are only symptomatic of the larger problem here, the Zionist colonial desire for all of Palestine and Israel’s desire to annex all of Jerusalem, thereby negating any hope for peace.”

    AMP calls upon President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to unequivocally call upon Israel to immediately cease all hostilities at Al Aqsa mosque compound and to respect Palestinians – both Muslims and Christians – the right to worship in peace and security.

    ———————————————————————- ———-

    American Muslims for Palestine
    10101 S. Roberts Road
    Palos Hills, IL 60465
    [email protected]

    This may be in frustration and retaliation at the UK Government vote to recognise Palestine. Whether the Two-State solution is good or bad, Israel doesn’t seem to like it.

  5. Yeh, it was good. I was there listening to the whole debate, one MORE after another
    it was exciting and encouraging the other know the vote was gonna go our way
    Let’s hope that actually translates into something positive for the people of Gaza

  6. Pingback: BREAKING: UK Parliament Votes by a Landslide to Recognise the State of Palestine | Scriptonite Daily | Britain Isn't Eating

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