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British Parliament Recognises Palestine state

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London sunsetA motion forwarded by Labour MP Grahame Morris seeking recognition of Palestine state was passed with huge majority at British Parliament. 274 members favoured the motion against 12.  

Recognising Palestine as a state would be a “symbolically important” step towards peace, British MPs said during the debate.

Morris said relations between Israelis and Palestinians are “stuck at an impasse”.

The vote is symbolic but could have international implications.

In 2012 the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to that of “non-member observer state”.

The assembly voted 138 to nine in favour, with 41 nations – including the UK – abstaining.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers are set to abstain from the vote on Mr Morris’s motion, which states that “this House believes that the government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel”.

Current UK government policy, as set out by former Foreign Secretary William Hague, is that it “reserves the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace”.

Opening the debate, Mr Morris told MPs recognising Palestine would be a “small but symbolically-important” step towards peace.

He said he would support an amendment from Labour’s former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to recognise Palestine as a state as a “contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”.

He said: “There are rejectionists in both Israel and Palestine, those that oppose any type of political settlement, and they would be delighted to learn that the British Parliament has refused what the vast majority of states around the world have already accepted.”

Another former foreign secretary, the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind, said he too wanted to see a two-state solution but added: “Symbolism sometimes has a purpose, it sometimes has a role, but I have to say you do not recognise a state which has not yet got the fundamental ingredients that a state requires if it’s going to carry out its international functions and therefore, at the very least, I would respectfully suggest this motion is premature.”