Today I have written to my MP to ask her to attend the debate and support the motion in the House of Commons next Monday, which calls for the UK to recognise a Palestinian state. I urge others to do the same – you are very welcome to use my letter as a template. The UK recognised the state of Israel in 1950, without any negotiations or pre-conditions. Surely the Palestinians are entitled to the same? The UK’s stated policy towards Palestine and Israel is that there should be a ‘two-state’ solution, but how can that be achieved when we will only recognise the right of Israel to exist?
I am writing as a constituent to ask that you attend the debate and support the motion being put to the House of Commons on Monday 13th October, specifically that ‘This House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel’.
As you will know, the Labour Party supported recognition when the Palestinians took their case to the UN General Assembly in 2011. Just last month, at our party Conference Douglas Alexander reiterated that support for recognition saying ‘recognition of Palestine is not a gift to be given, but a right to be had.’
This statement clearly indicates that support for Palestinian recognition should not be subject to preconditions. So I trust you will vote for the motion, and against the amendment demanding that Palestinians only receive recognition from the UK in return for accepting Israel’s demands in negotiations. The Israeli government has repeatedly refused any clear parameters for negotiations, refusing to negotiate on the basis of international law and relevant UN resolutions.
Britain has accepted Palestine’s right to statehood. There is no excuse not to recognise Palestine , or to delay recognition according to Israel’s wishes. Britain, as the former colonial power, failed the people of Palestine in 1948 and we must not continue to fail these stateless people.
Recognising Palestine is to recognise Palestinian right to self-determination. Bilateral recognition of Palestine is in the UK’s hands: Israel should have no right of veto over Palestinian self-determination. Israel argues that recognition of a Palestinian state should only come through negotiation, but the right to statehood and self-determination should not be in the hands of the Israeli state. When Britain recognised the state of Israel in 1950, there was no negotiation.
Those on both sides of the debate about recognition repeatedly state their desire for a ‘two-state’ solution, but those who fail to support this motion are, in effect, only prepared to recognise one state. How can that be conducive to their expressed desire of a ‘two-state’ solution? Unless we recognise a Palestinian state, talk of a ‘two-state’ solution will remain cheap rhetoric.
I realise that Backbench debates are not subject to Party discipline, so you will vote according to the wishes of your conscience and your constituents. I trust that you make the right choice and I urge you to vote ‘yes’ to the motion and against any amendments.