House of Lords: Britain must recognise Palestine, pressure Israel

House of Lords: Britain must recognise Palestine, pressure Israel
3 min read
05 May, 2017
The recommendation was part of a major report released by the British House of Lords on Tuesday which provided an uncompromising critique of UK foreign policy in the Middle East.
The British House of Lords says the UK must consider recognising Palestine [Getty]

The British government should give "serious consideration" to recognising Palestine as a state, the British House of Lords said this week.

The recommendation was part of a major report released by the British House of Lord's International Relations Committee on Tuesday, which provided an uncompromising critique of UK foreign policy in the Middle East.

The committee, led by Conservative former Foreign Office minister Lord Howell, said that "on its current trajectory, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is on the verge of moving into a phase where the two-state solution becomes an impossibility."

If Israel continues to reduce the viability and possibility of a two-state solution Britain should support UN Security Council resolutions condemning such violations.

"The Government should give serious consideration to now recognising Palestine as a state, as the best way to show its determined attachment to the two-state solution."

If Israel is unwilling to negotiate a two state solution, it should be considered a "single jurisdiction" which controls both the Israeli and Palestinian population, the committee added.

Such a designation would effectively recognise Israel as an apartheid state.

"The politics and policies of Israel diminish the possibilities of peace, specifically the rapid expansion of settlements beyond the agreed 1967 borders of Israel," the Lords said.

The report urged more "political robustness" in the UK's dealings with Israel, lamenting that the country has been treated with "kid gloves" despite its repeated and continuing violations of international law.

The report also focused on the Trump administration's "mercurial" and "unpredictable" nature, urging the UK to distance itself from the US and radically rethink its policies in the Middle East.

The report lambasted President Trump's disavowal of the two-state solution, his continued threat to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and the choice of David Friedman, an advocate for settlements, as US ambassador to Israel.

It recommended that the UK play an active role in European diplomacy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reprimanding the "degrading, dismissive attitude" UK Prime Minister Theresa May took towards the Paris peace conference in January organised by France, which Britain refused to align itself with.

"The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute must remain high amongst British foreign policy priorities," the report on Israel and Palestine concluded.

"The Government should be more forthright in stating its views on these issues despite the views of the US administration."

Last month, the British government responded to the Balfour Apology Campaign headed by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) by refusing to apologise for the 1917 Balfour Declaration that was seminal in the subsequent creation of the state of Israel.

The declaration itself has been widely recognised as a major milestone of British colonial policy in the Middle East between 1917 and 1948 and one which paved way for the creation of Israel.