The British parliament has finally voted to recognise the Palestine as a state. The vote was overwhelming on Monday of this week—with 274 votes to 12.
It reflects an important shift. In 2012, when the United Nations voted to recognise a Palestinian state, Britain abstained.
But now there is a growing unease among Western rulers.
They fear that some of Israel’s actions could destabilise the Middle East rather than helping protect their interests. And they recognise the anger that Israel’s attacks on Palestinians have sparked among ordinary people.
However, the vote was symbolic and the government says it will ignore it. Politicians voted to treat Palestine as a state “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”.
A two-state solution won’t free Palestine. It will leave Israel free to continue its oppression.
Some MPs backing the motion hoped to undermine Palestinian resistance. Labour shadow foreign office minister Ian Lucas said it would “strengthen the moderate voices among the Palestinians”.
Meanwhile the British government continues to approve licences for selling weapons to Israel. David Cameron refuses to impose an arms embargo. Israel’s fighter jets and helicopters have contained parts made in Britain.
So it’s nice that politicians got around to recognising a state for the Palestinians. It would be nicer if they took some action to stop them being killed.