European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor has called on Members of the British Parliament to vote against next week’s motion tabled by the opposition Labour in the House of Commons that would recognize Palestine as a state.
The motion, due for debate in Britain’s lower house of parliament on October 13, will ask lawmakers whether they believe the government should recognize the state of Palestine. The move however is unlikely to shift the government’s official policy but is merely designed to raise the political profile of the issue.
“It should be clear that true peace will only be achieved between the parties, and responsible members of the international community should only consider taking steps that will help and advance a negotiated solution and not take unilateral steps. Such steps move us further away from peace and will only embolden the Palestinians to stay away from the negotiations table,’’ Kantor said.
He aslo noted that ‘’as the international community is confronting the threat from radical Islamists, we should consider the danger that without a carefully negotiated process, a new state of Palestine could immediately be taken over by Hamas and become another theocratic terror state.”
“Coming so soon after the referendum of Scottish independence, this motion reeks of hypocrisy,” Kantor said. “I am certain the majority of British lawmakers would rightly have been outraged if other nations would have preempted the decision and recognized an independent Scotland.”
The motion asking for the recognition of a Palestinian state is unlikely to win approval through the British parliament because it is at odds with official policy, but even if it did pass, it is non-binding and would not force the government to changes its diplomatic stance.
“We continue to believe that negotiations toward a two-state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground,” a Foreign Office spokesman said.
“It’s against the government position, but it’s not an attack on them as such, we just feel that now’s the time shout out loud that this should be done,” said Grahame Morris, the MP from the opposition Labour party who is sponsoring the debate.
“Not only is statehood the inalienable right of the Palestinian people, but recognising Palestine will breathe new life into a peace process that is at an impasse,” he contended.
Some MPs have added the amendment that such recognition should only come “on the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority”. A vote on the original motion would only take place if politicians reject the amendment.
The debate in Britain comes as Sweden’s new centre-left government announced its decision to officially recognise a state of Palestine, a move that has been sharply criticised by Israel. The Swedish ambassador to Israel was summoned to the foreign ministry last Monday.