Saturday, October 18, 2014

179.3 - Good News: House of Commons supports Palestinian state

Good News: House of Commons supports Palestinian state

One other bit of Good News I want to note.

On October 13, the British House of Commons voted in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state.

The motion stated:
That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.
The vote was 274 to 12.

David Hearst, editor of Middle East Eye, noted the anger in many voices in the debate over the measure, such as that of Sir Alan Duncan, the former Tory minister for international development, who likened the settlements in the West Bank to apartheid and said they represented a "wicked cocktail" of occupation. The next day, Duncan told a British military think tank that "Anyone who supports illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian land is an extremist who puts themselves outside the boundaries of democratic standards."

Hearst suggests that "Incrementally Israel is losing impunity for its actions," something that may be reflected in the statement of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called on Israel to scrap plans to expand settlements in East Jerusalem, calling the plans a "clear violation" of international law.

The resolution is non-binding and has no legal impact on government policy and is unlikely to have any immediate impact on government policy; in fact, government ministers were told to abstain on the vote. But coming at a time when, as I noted two weeks ago, Netanyahu wants to turn the clock back to a time when the rights of the Palestinians were not even on the agenda, this vote is a welcome declaration of support for the right of Palestinians also to have what the Israelis already have: a homeland.

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