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UK Parliament backs recognition of Palestinian state - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Pro-Palestine demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament as MPs debate the recognition of Palestine as a state, in London, United Kingdom, on October 13, 2014. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

Pro-Palestine demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament as MPs debate the recognition of Palestine as a state, in London, United Kingdom, on October 13, 2014. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The UK Parliament voted to recognize the state of Palestine alongside Israel in a House of Commons debate on Monday.

Voting 274 to 12, MPs supported a motion put forward by Labour MP Grahame Morris to urge the government to recognize Palestinian statehood.

The vote was symbolic and the government is not bound to do anything in response.

Labour MP Katy Clark said: “Tonight is the time for the UK to send a clear message that we recognize Palestine as a state. Those who say that this is just a gesture and that it does not matter what the UK Parliament says are simply mistaken.”

Labour MPs were instructed they could not vote against the motion as it represented party policy, but were allowed to abstain.

The motion stated: “This House believes that the government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

Conservative MP Malcolm Rifkind said the vote was premature as there is currently no united Palestinian government. “For me, the most important question is what practical benefit agreeing this motion would have,” he told the House. “It might make us feel good and it might make us act in a similar way to a number of other countries around the world, but recognizing a state should happen only when the territory in question has the basic requirements for a state.”

The US and most European countries do not recognize Palestinian statehood; however Sweden’s newly elected government recently declared its intention to recognize the Palestinian territories.

In 2012, the United Nations implicitly approved recognition of a Palestinian state by upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s observer status at the UN to “non-member state” from “entity.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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