The Government should follow the lead of the Labour Party and support the Palestinian bid for recognition at the United Nations

Simon Danczuk MP

The Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, Simon Danczuk MP welcomed the announcement from the Shadow Foreign Minister, Douglas Alexander MP, supporting the Palestinian bid for recognition at the United Nations.

Mr Danczuk backed the letter Douglas Alexander sent to the Foreign Secretary William Hague today, calling on the Government to support the recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this week.   Mr Danczuk said, “Supporting the recognition bid was the right step to take in order to help achieve a just and viable two state solution in the Middle East.”

The case for recognition was made clear by the World Bank, IMF, UN and EU who all assessed the performance of the Palestinian Authority as part of the two-year development plan and reported that it was ready for statehood.  The UK Government has been a major donor supporting the Institutional development of the Palestinian Authority over many years.  We now need to back our investment with the political support it requires.

Public opinion is strongly on the side of the Palestinians, with opinion polls showing 71% support for the Palestinian bid to be an independent state.  Parliamentary opinion is moving strongly in favour of Palestinian recognition, as shown by the strong support for the parliamentary motion calling on the UK to vote yes, which was has been supported by nearly 100 MPs from all parties.

President Obama promised in his speech to the UN last year that Palestine would be “a new member of the United Nations” by September 2011. That promise was endorsed by the UK. We should honour that promise.

Mr Danczuk urged William Hague to be decisive and show the leadership necessary to support the recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN.  He said “The UK cannot support the right to self-determination in every country in the Middle East and then deny the same right to the Palestinians, in violation of international law and UN resolutions, especially when they are pursuing their aims in a peaceful non-violent manner.”

“If the Government and International community fail to support recognition of Palestine’s right to statehood then Palestine’s chance of achieving a two-state solution will continually shrink with every day that passes.  By showing leadership and supporting recognition, the UK can help pave the way to negotiations between Israel and Palestine for the first time on a basis of equality as neighbouring independent states.”