On Monday, MPs took the historic step of voting to recognise the state of Palestine.
Labour MPs alongside the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, have long called on Parliament to recognise Palestine as a state. Labour has previously called on the government to back the Palestinian bid for official statehood recognition at the UN in 2011 and 2012.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said:
“I have long campaigned with many Parliamentary colleagues for Palestine to be recognised as a state.
“Monday’s vote in Parliament marks a significant opportunity for Britain to show leadership in recognising the statehood of Palestinians and reinvigorating the peace process. Only this summer, we saw an onslaught of shocking violence over the 50-day conflict between Israel and Gaza. Over 2100 Palestinian men, women and children were killed; 66 Israeli soldiers and five Israeli citizens also lost their lives. Irreversible damage caused to Gaza's infrastructure has left at least 100,000 Gazans without a home. With winter fast approaching there is an urgent need to house those that have taken refuge in makeshift camps and UN shelters.”
Supporting Palestinian statehood, Rushanara added:
"Everybody wants to see a two state solution – a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel at peace with its neighbours. Today’s votes moves us towards that goal. Statehood is essential for Palestinians to build a country and economy in the 21st century. Labour believes that statehood for the Palestinians is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised.
"Recognition of a Palestinian state paves the way for its people and Government to express themselves in a meaningful, democratic way and give hope to a people in desperate need.
“The Palestinian people are asking to be heard and recognised and we cannot ignore them. Parliament has taken this momentous step to recognise the fundamental right of statehood for the Palestinian People.”
1. The motion states: "This House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the State of Israel." With a manuscript amendment “,as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.” The vote is on a non-binding motion for the recognition of a Palestinian state. While the vote is symbolic, if passed, it would not commit the UK government to officially recognise the state of Palestine as this currently counters government policy.
2. International donors have pledged a total of £5.4bn towards rebuilding Gaza far exceeding the original request made by the Palestinian Authority at $4bn. The UK has pledged a further $32m for bomb disposal and medical aid.