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Is your MP voting to recognise Palestine? Here are 17 reasons why they should

xbrh_RecognisepalestinepicMPs will have a once-in-five-years chance of voting on a vital issue for Palestinians. Easington MP Grahame Morris has secured a full-day debate next Monday (13 October) ending with a vote at 10pm on a motion for the UK to recognise Palestine.

No party has whipped its MPs to attend, or back the motion (despite Labour’s declared support for recognition), but you can urge your MP to turn up and vote the right way. Even if you think you know how they’ll vote, make sure you contact them before Monday.

Take two or three minutes of your time to write to them using the simple e-tool here, tell them you won’t vote for any MP who doesn’t turn up and vote, raise the issue on local media, visit their surgery, phone them on the day to ask if they are there, tell them to cancel engagements, get to the Commons and vote. If you need reasons to do this, here are seventeen (courtesy of Martin Linton):

  1. Because the Foreign Office has been saying for years that we will recognise the Palestinian state “when the time is right” and the time is right now. Sir Vincent Fean, Britain’s official representative to the Palestinian Authority until he retired earlier this year, says that “the time is right for the United Kingdom to recognise the state of Palestine. … If we choose to act decisively, we change the dynamic in the EU and at the UN. A further abstention is abdicating responsibility.”
  2. Because the United Nations promised when Israel invaded the West Bank in 1967 that it would secure the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and that it would stand by the principle of the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”.
  3. Because it is disingenuous to condition the recognition of a Palestinian state on “the conclusion of successful peace negotiations”. Every round of peace talks in the last 20 years – Madrid, Oslo, Annapolis and most recently the Kerry talks – has failed because of illegal settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land.  If the Israelis were serious about concluding an agreement with the Palestinians, they would have stopped the building of illegal settlements. And if they are not serious, isn’t UK recognition of a Palestinian state exactly the kind of thing that will focus their minds on what they need to do?
  4. Because 138 out of 193 UN member states already do. As Baroness Warsi said in her resignation statement: “There is no point in us talking about a two-state solution if we don’t do the simple things like recognising Palestine in the way the majority of the world has.”
  5. Because – as former foreign secretary Jack Straw said three years ago – “it is vital … that the UK and other European countries have the courage to point the way forward. I believe the way forward is for the international community to recognise a Palestinian state alongside Israel”.
  6. Because “we have waited too long: we should recognise Palestine, preferably bringing with us the few remaining EU refuseniks and aligning them and us with most of the rest of the world.” Oliver Miles, former UK Ambassador to Libya and Greece.
  7. Because President Barack Obama said in a speech in 2010 that he looked forward to welcoming “an independent sovereign state of Palestine” as a new member of the United Nations by September 2011.
  8. Because Britain has already said in 2011 that Palestine passes every test for statehood: in a statement to the UN Britain said “the Palestinian Authority has developed successfully the capacity to run a democratic and peaceful state, founded on the rule of law and living in peace and security with Israel… Palestine largely fulfils the legal and technical criteria for UN membership, including statehood, in as far as the Occupation allows.” The World Bank, the IMF and the EU have similarly declared Palestine to be ready for statehood.
  9. Because granting recognition will renew the Palestinians’ belief in the path of non-violence and international action and it will weaken support for the path violent resistance, which leads nowhere.
  10. Because Palestinians have the right to self-determination, guaranteed by the UN charter and by successive UN resolutions.  It does not need to negotiate this right with anyone.  Israel does not have a veto. There will have to be negotiations over how this happens, but not over whether it happens. As Douglas Alexander said at Labour’s conference last month, “recognition of Palestine is not a gift to be given, but a right to be had”.
  11. Because the Palestinians recognised the State of Israel as part of the Oslo Accords 1993 and it was part of the Oslo Accords that the Israelis would end the occupation and recognise a Palestinian state by 1999 – but they never did.
  12. Because recognising Palestine is a good starting-point for negotiations.  It means that both sides are at least nominally at the same level. Recognition does not remove the need for negotiations and it does not prejudice those final status negotiations. On the contrary, it assists them. As the Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi put it: “Those who claim to support the two-state solution must realize that in order to reach it, what’s missing is a sovereign Palestinian state.”
  13. Because Britain did not oppose UN recognition in the UN General Assembly vote in 2012. If we were not against the UN recognising Palestine, how can we be against the UK recognising Palestine? And when you look at the nine countries that voted against recognition  (the vote was 138 for, nine against), you won’t know whether to laugh or cry: Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Panama, the Czech Republic, Israel, Canada and the United States.
  14. Because when the Israelis say that recognising Palestine as a state would be “premature” you have to remember that negotiations started in 1992 and have got absolutely nowhere. “It would have been better for Israel to .. say yes to a Palestinian state…. Then Israel could hold .. negotiations, government to government, on an equal basis aimed at reaching a solution for two states.”  Zahava Gal-On, chairwoman of the Meretz party in Israel.
  15. Because “Britain, more than any country, has an obligation to the Palestinians and we should fulfil that obligation by recognising Palestine” – says Baroness Patricia Morris, Chairwoman of the Conservative Middle East Council. “As a good friend of Israel and Palestine, the UK has always supported a viable Palestine alongside a secure Israel, and we believe this vote will help to move us closer to that goal; at the very least it will mean that the Palestinians can sit a little taller at the negotiating table.”
  16. Because “our position not to recognise Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in November 2012 placed us on the wrong side of history and is something I deeply regret not speaking out against at the time.” Conservative Foreign Office minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi explaining her decision to resign over the Government’s policies towards Palestine in August 2014.
  17. Because Britain recognised Israel in 1950. It did not ask anyone’s permission. Equally it should now recognise Palestine and it does not need to ask Israel for permission. Recognition is a purely bilateral diplomatic issue.

7 Comments

  1. The most popular Palestinian faction, Hamas, rejects international law as the work of the devil. In any future Palestinian government Hamas will play a leading role. Indeed Mahmoud az Zahar one of Hamas’ founders, was Palestinian foreign minister for some time and displayed contempt for international law. Moreover Mahmoud az Zahar in 2005 announced that Hamas renounced Palestinians’ claims to Palestine and declared Palestine open to settlement by Muslims from all over the world once the “Jewish filth” was removed. Thus Hamas rejects the idea of the nation state which is fundamental to international law.
    Moreover, Mosab Hassan Yousef, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosab_Hassan_Yousef the son of a Hamas founder, has persuasively testified that the destruction of Israel is not Hamas’ end goal. He said Hamas will also target Europe and the Americas.
    http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/highlight/son-of-hamas-leader-says-destruction-of-israel-is-not-hamas-end-goal/53d688d4fe344487ae0004cf?cn=tbla
    Hamas’ purpose is consequently not liberating of Palestine, but establishing a world-wide Islamic Caliphate. It is not a liberation movement but an imperialist movement.
    Since 1945 international law has set itself the goal of preventing brutal Fascist empires like Nazi Germany and imperial Japan from conquering the planet. Like Hamas, these empires despised human rights and international law.
    It cannot be the purpose of international law to assist in the establishment of Fascist empires. Hamas’ goal is to establish a Fascist empire.
    Consequently recognising Palestine would be a step toward the downfall of international law.
    Moreover Palestine is already a failed state. It is run by gangs and powerful families. Christians are persecuted by Hamas and other radical jihadi groups in Gaza and the West Bank. Although the Palestinian population has multiplied six-fold since 1948, the number of Palestinian Christians has shrunk to half of what it was then.

    1. Robert says:

      The way I look at things, Israel was land taken it’s not very big when taken in 1948 but it is growing now by stealth and land stealing and house building .

      I cannot say I know enough about Hamas to be honest are they fighters or are the terrorist then again the same can be said of Israel.

      I normally stay off these threads but over the years I’ve felt that unless Palestine gets it’s own land and country then Israel will keep on stealing more and more of it, the more they steal the more anger it gets and Hamas grows .

      But sadly like most things these day it’s not my war

  2. David Ellis says:

    This is not a vote to recognise Palestine. It is a vote to recognise the bogus Zionist peace lie and condemn Palestinians to slow extinction in the Gaza Ghetto, strangulation in the West Bank and permanent refugee status for the already cleansed. Nobody should be boosting the credibility of this lie with stunts like this. Only a principled approach can solve the Palestinian question and a principled approach would call for a unified (Israel, Gaza, West Bank), secular, democratic Palestine in which Muslims, Jews, Chrisitians and those of no faith can live in harmony and to which the refugees can return to new jobs and homes.

  3. John Teid says:

    The israel 1967 war, that saw the 6 day war, is hardly a good thing, neither is quoting Jack straw,and who were the govt that recognised Israel in 1950′ the Attlee govt.

  4. swatantra says:

    The Vote is a complete waste of time and will have no effect whatsoever on Israel. They’ll continue to ignore it, as they have with countless UN resolutions. I’m coming to the view that the only way the issue will be settled is on the battlefield, an all out war between the protagonists, and the West should stand by and watch and await the outcome, and not interfere to save the Israelis.

    1. Robert says:

      Then Israel will become the biggest country in the area maybe the biggest because it will not stop and would I suspect ensure it is the power house.

      What ever Israel does America will be behind it and, the Jewish people who would go to Israel to help it the most modern weapons and Nukes and what you have is Israel that is now not much bigger then Wales ending up bigger then the UK or bigger.

      We are already struggling to recover from the banking mess another large scale war would see countries like the UK maybe having it’s own riots and wars.

  5. Danny Lonergan says:

    Well done mp,s who voted to recognise the state of Palestine,you cheered us up,such a small thing,has such effect on Israel,even the article I read,on Israel being the most racial hating country in the world,dont think I will ever holiday there,thanks to all the articulate articles I have read on this site.

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