UK parliament to vote on Palestinian statehood

UK parliament to vote on Palestinian statehood
Non-binding vote in Britain comes on the heels of Sweden's recognition of a Palestinian state.
2 min read
13 October, 2014
London saw protests over Israeli assault on Gaza [Getty]

British lawmakers are expected to hold a vote on the recognition of a Palestinian state later today.

The resolution is non-binding and will not hold the legal power to change government policy.  

"If the vote is successful it would put a tremendous amount of pressure on the current government and the next government, which is likely to be a Labour government, to recognise Palestine as a state," said Labour MP Grahame Morris, who proposed the back-bench debate.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset was expected to attend the parliamentary session as an observer. Tibi said that it was an "important political event" and that the current negotiation process had "run its course".  

In 2012, the United Nations voted to give Palestinians the title "observer state", despite objections from Britain, the United States and Israel.

Today’s vote comes after the Social Democratic leader of the newly elected Swedish government, Stefan Lofven, told lawmakers that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could only be resolved through a two-state solution requiring "mutual recognition" and a will from both sides to co-exist peacefully.

If the vote is successful,
it would put a tremendous
amount of pressure on the
government... to recognise
Palestine as a state
- Labour MP Grahame Morris

Sweden would recognise a Palestinian state, he said, but did not specify any further details.

Palestinian reaction

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki welcomed the Swedish statement.

"In the name of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership, we thank and salute the Swedish position," he said in a statement.

However, not all Palestinians are supportive of these initiatives. Advocacy groups have said that such diplomatic statements were "pointless", "limited" and "do not comply with Palestinian demands".

Morris disagrees. "Recognition now would be a clear and legitimate message that Britain and others recognise Palestinian rights and that the illegal settlement enterprise has no validity," he said.