UK Labour will recognise Palestinian state 'as soon as possible', vows Jeremy Corbyn

UK Labour will recognise Palestinian state 'as soon as possible', vows Jeremy Corbyn
British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to recognise an independent Palestinian state if his party is elected to government.
2 min read
26 September, 2018
Jeremy Corbyn used his keynote speech to slam Israeli killings of Palestinians [AFP]

UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his party's committment to recognising a Palestinian state, telling supporters at a conference in Liverpool on Wednesday that it would happen immediately if Labour were elected to government.

The veteran MP's words was met by a rapturous applause across the conference floor, where a number of Palestinian flags could be seen.

"As my great Israeli friend Uri Avnery who died this year put it: 'What is the alternative to peace? A catastrophe for both peoples'," Corbyn said, quoting a prominent peace activist who died in August.
"And in order to help make that two-state settlement a reality we will recognise a Palestinian state as soon as we take office".

The Labour leader used his keynote speech to slam Israel's "continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements and the imprisonment of Palestinian children", which he described as "an outrage". 

He also criticised Israel's killing of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border and the introduction of the "discriminatory Nation-State Law", which critics say has made non-Jewish Israelis second-class citizens in their own country.
Corbyn, a long-standing supporter of the Palestinian cause, has in recent months been the subject of intense media scrutiny amid claims of rampant anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Palestinian flags featured prominently at the
Labour Party conference in Liverpool [AFP]
Amid the furore, the Labour Party earlier this month adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism, which has been criticised as shielding Israel from criticism.

The document, which uses examples to illustrate the IHRA's definition of anti-Semitism, equates describing the creation of the state of Israel as a racist endeavour with anti-Semitism.

With this background to the Labour conference, it seems that many supporters of the party were keen to express their support for Palestine at the gathering by waving flags and banners that read: "I support Palestine."

Expanding on world issues in his speech, Corbyn also accused condemned the UK government's support for Saudi Arabia, which has been locked in conflict in Yemen since 2015.

"Today's Conservative government continues to collude with the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen, turning a blind eye to evidence of war crimes and the devastating suffering of millions of civilians," he said.

The Labour Party, led by Corbyn, is preparing for the possibility of a snap general election if Prime Minister Theresa May faces a vote of no-confidence over her handling of the UK's exit from the European Union.

At the conference, Labour pledged to vote down the prime minister's Brexit deal proposals and tabled the idea of a new referendum on whether to stay in the EU.