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The state of Palestine

palestine flagThis summer’s violent assault against the Gaza Strip pushed the Palestinian issue to the top of the political agenda like never before.

The latest stage of Israel’s episodic devastation of Gaza — a process Israeli military strategists chillingly refer to as “mowing the lawn” — shocked the world and in doing so woke up millions to the horrors being visited upon the Palestinian people.

As Israel unleashed its full military might against the civilian population of Gaza, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Britain in protest.

It was magnificent to see so many ordinary people mobilise in opposition to Israel’s occupation and the dispossession, violence and suffering it entails.

The “morally indefensible” position of the Con-Dem coalition even provoked a government resignation and inspired the largest anti-war protests in more than a decade, bringing the Palestinian issue fully into the mainstream of British politics.

There has been a lively divergence of views in Westminster this summer but the one point of agreement is that the only way to break the cycle of violence is to address the root causes of the conflict — namely the illegal occupation and the ongoing denial of Palestinian rights, including the right to statehood.

I’m pleased to announce that an application I submitted with the support of Crispin Blunt MP and Sarah Teather MP for a back-bench business debate on Palestine has been successful.

Next month Parliament will have six hours to debate the future of the two-state solution and will have the opportunity to vote on a motion calling on the government to recognise the state of Palestine.

I believe the government’s abstention on the vote for Palestinian statehood in the UN general assembly in 2012 was an utterly shameful act that placed Britain on the wrong side of history.

Margaret Thatcher was an important ally of South African apartheid long after the tides of world opinion were flowing against her and it seems David Cameron has followed her lead in placing himself on the wrong side of oppression and injustice.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I was proud of Ed Miliband’s principled support of Palestinian statehood at the time.

In the words of Douglas Alexander, “Palestinian statehood is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised.”

Yet for too long the international community has cruelly refused the Palestinian people this right and by doing so has hindered the realisation of peace and security in the region.

The two-state solution has been Britain’s stated policy aim for decades, but in politics talk often comes cheap.

So far the government’s support for a two-state solution has been in rhetoric only.

Not only is statehood the undeniable right of the Palestinian people but only an independent and sovereign Palestinian state can save any hope of a two-state solution.

We hear a lot of talk in support of a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. On October 13 MPs will have the opportunity to back up their words with action.

11 Comments

  1. McCurry says:

    You won’t get a two state solution without first achieving coexistence. If two people cannot live as neighbours, then they cannot live as neighbouring countries.
    The author is quite wrong to say that the Palestinians have never been given statehood. They have, but then immediately started a war which ended their statehood.
    Coexistence is the pathway to peace.
    A two state solution will only follow once that has been achieved.

  2. Robert says:

    Or once Israel has taken them over.

  3. Shirley Knott says:

    McCurry
    You demonstrate your complete lack of knowledge of the facts in your comment. Israeli ‘hasbara’ (propaganda) absolutely always puts all responsibility on Palestinians – yet the facts invariably prove the opposite.
    The most recent murderous onslaught of Gaza by Israel, for instance? I’m sure you’d say “but rockets!” Without remembering
    a) Israel’s humiliation at being blamed for the failure of the “peace” process
    b) Israel’s fury at the unity government (fatah/hamas)
    c) Israel’s rampage through the West Bank after the discovery of the bodies of 3 murdered Jewish youths – collective punishment of a captive/oppressed population which resulted in at least 9 deaths, theft of money and valuables worth around £3m, massive destruction of property – which the facts (not rumours or hasbara) suggest was carried out by members of a clan vaguely affiliated with hamas, but who did not themselves agree with the unity govt decision
    d) during this rampage Israel also carried out incursions and bombings on Gaza – but not until some of it’s own personnel were killed did hamas finally begin firing its own rockets at Israel.

    Neither the ideology of likud and its coalition partners or hamas are worthy of any admiration, but Israel ‘s brutal treatment of Palestinians, who are under their control, undoubtedly involved numerous war crimes which will never be addressed. I too hope our MP’s can back up words with action!

  4. John reid says:

    Shirley Knott, am curry pointed out Palestine got statehood, then lost it with the 6 day war, they didn’t lose it because as you our I, Israel started the recent troubles

    1. McCurry says:

      @John Reid, Did they start the suicide bombings? The stabbings, shootings and rocket attacks? This goes back to day one, it didn’t “start” last week.
      @ Shirley, Egypt also blockaded the Gaza strip. The Muslim Brotherhood lifted the blockade for a while then reimposed it when people started getting shot. Is that Egyptian propaganda?
      All I said is they need to live together peacefully before they can live together as neighbouring states. Making that separation wall a border is not going to create peace in itself.

  5. John Reid says:

    But at least the right ,have been right about it in the past, the left now are in denial, not only from Israels actions but turning a blind eye to other Islmaic extremists who’ve harboured, anti semetic views in recent years

    1. David Ellis says:

      More like anti-Jewish views and can you blame them given the success the Zionists have had in painting their racist war against the Arabs as the work of Jews.

  6. David Ellis says:

    It is via the bogus two state lie that the Stalinist and degenerate UK left actually support Zionism and of course those elements of the Palestinians against whom a national democratic revolution should actually be aimed.

    Down with the two-state lie. Down with Zionism. Down with the Ghetto Gangsters and Bantu Bosses. For a unified (Israel, West Bank, Gaza) secular, democratic Palestine in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and those of no faith can live in harmony and to which the refugees can return to new jobs and homes. Direct all EU and US subsidies to that end and away from the Zionist war mongers and land thieves. In the meantime support BDS and physical support to Palestinians everywhere.

  7. James Martin says:

    And what do you mean by co-existence McMurray? Who is not currently ‘co-existing’? Are the continual land-thefts in the West Bank and the influx of colonial occupier settlers an example of ‘co-existence’, or do you see ‘co-existence’ as a master/slave issue?

    As to history, Jews co-existed peacefully for 100s of years in the region before the creation of Israel, but I guess you can say that ‘co-existence’ went out of the window in 1948 and the orgy of ethnic cleansing that the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba that saw huge numbers of Palestinians terrorised and driven from their homes, and that was followed by Israeli laws that prevented their return. Yes, let’s have ‘co-existence’ McCurry, but let’s have the truth first please.

    1. McCurry says:

      @James Martin, I’d say that if the Labor Party are in then its co-existence by your definition. If the majority of each community are accepting the right to exist of the other, then it would be a start.
      It wouldn’t be coexistence if the Palestinians voted for Hamas again.

  8. John reid says:

    John McDonnell more on ,bombing Jews to death?

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