Recognising Palestine: the changing dynamic

After Sweden announced its intention to recognise the State of Palestine (on this open link: http://different-traditions.com/?p=1975), France announced that it is considering doing the same (open link: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/europe/47081-141013-israeli-official-uk-parliament-bid-on-recognizing-the-state-of-palestine-likely-to-pass).

Then suddenly the British Parliament voted 274 in favour vs. 12 against to recognise the State of Palestine on October 13th:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/mps-vote-to-recognise-palestinian-state

None of this is exciting in the global context because actually, after the 2012 UN vote, 130 countries have already come to recognise Palestine as a state. The whole matter thus relates purely to European countries slowly and belatedly breaking out of their long time pro-Zionist positions.

The Commons motion in the UK Parliament was tabled by the Labour MP Grahame Morris, and backed by Ed Miliband. Note that Ed and David Miliband’s mother, Marion Kozak, is a signatory to (and apparently a leading force in) Jews for Justice for Palestine (see this on their website at: http://jfjfp.com/?page_id=9).

But a large number of Labour MPs were given permission to stay away from Westminster for the vote, making it impossible for Miliband to enforce a party whip on the vote. Chief among the Labour rebels on this issue was Ed Balls, who is big within the Labour Friends of Israel. The vote has, in the context of the large number of absentees from the vote, been called by David Cameron a “symbolic vote”, once which will not necessarily change Foreign Office policy.

Nevertheless, the vote has happened. So what drove it – essentially – given that people like Richard Ottaway, Conservative chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee, voted in favour of the motion? First there was Baroness Warsi’s devastating attack on Conservative/Coalition policy towards Gaza (on this open link: http://different-traditions.com/?p=1771). But secondly – according to Ottoway- there was, equally importantly, the general revulsion at Israel’s latest and brazen land grab of 950 acres of West Bank Palestinian farmland to build new settlements, something that not only the UK, France, Italy, and New Zealand all forcefully complained officially about to the Israeli government, but also the US!

Recognising the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel has always been the political centrepiece of the “two-state solution”, but the Israeli incursions with their illegal settlements outside 1967 borders, has made this solution almost irrelevant. European countries had so far held off recognising Palestinian rights on the basis that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine must be reached first, but they have stubbornly refused to concede that Israel has never negotiated peace in good faith. Now that they are beginning to do what they should have done years ago, it is too late.

It is also too late for those Israeli politicians who want to see a “pure Jewish” state in the long-term, and who are spending the vast majority of their country’s resources on subsidising  Zionist extremists to settle on Palestinian land. The only conceivable long term outcome is now a “one-state” solution which, if to avoid the ultimate status of international pariah as an apartheid state, will have to become fully democratic: democratic here meaning recognising the full Palestinian right of return. So Israeli obduracy will have ultimately undermined their stupidly blinkered goals.