After a four-hour debate during which over 50 MPs spoke, the British Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor of the government recognizing Palestine as a state on Monday night.
The ayes had it when 274 MPs voted to adopt the non-binding motion and only 12 voted against it.
The original motion stipulated that “this House believes that the government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”
During the debate it was amended to include the words “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”
It should be noted that “non-binding” means non-binding:
Prime Minister David Cameron and his government ministers abstained from the vote, which was called by an opposition lawmaker, and Cameron’s spokesman earlier said foreign policy would not be affected whatever the outcome.
It should also be noted that the amended resolution doesn’t make any sense. If the action is intended to contribute to a two-state solution, then that implies that a Palestinian state doesn’t yet exist to recognize.
Of course it doesn’t make sense even without the amendment, because ‘Palestine’ has no borders or economy short of the international dole, and its unity government is a sham which does not control much of its population.
The practical significance is that a huge majority in Parliament thinks that the creation of an Arab state in the territories would be a good thing. This seems to be the conventional wisdom everywhere in Europe, despite the clearly horrendous security consequences for Israel.
In fact, as the debate shows, many of the MPs think that supporting a Palestinian state is the moral position to take, even going so far as to cite the Balfour declaration! The irony in this is that Britain acted consistently during the Mandate period and afterwards to subvert the intent of the declaration and the Mandate to provide for a national home for the Jewish people.
In fact, from a moral point of view, Britain ought to be harshly criticized for its actions in shutting the door to escape for millions of future victims of Hitler’s Holocaust before and during the war, as well as cruelly preventing survivors from reaching Palestine until its rule was ended in 1948, not to mention assisting the Arabs in their war against the new state of Israel afterwards. It is remarkably hypocritical today for MPs to claim that morality drives them to continue the cynical anti-Jewish policy they have followed since the 1920s.
The resolution was aided — in fact, it came up early in the debate — by a statement signed by 363 Israelis urging Parliament to approve the resolution. This statement, unlike the amended parliamentary resolution, doesn’t mention negotiations between Israel and the PA:
We, Israelis who worry and care for the well-being of the state of Israel, believe that the long-term existence and security of Israel depends on the long-term existence and security of a Palestinian state. For this reason we, the undersigned, urge members of the UK Parliament to vote in favor of the motion to be debated on Monday 13th October 2014, calling on the British Government to recognize the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel.
The signers are the usual suspects, led by Alon Liel, a former Foreign Ministry director who has come out in favor of cultural boycotts of Israel and who sees the alternative to an independent ‘Palestine’ as an “Israeli apartheid state.” Others are the heads of foreign-supported left-wing NGOs like Peace Now, Breaking the Silence, Physicians for Human Rights (Israel), the New Israel Fund, etc. Left-wing politicians, academics, artists and journalists round out the group.
These 363 more or less lead what they call the “Peace Camp” in Israel, which clings to the counterfactual idea that peace is obtainable by giving the Arabs what they want — something which has been disproved by events multiple times. But since the salaries and careers of many of them have come to depend on it, they are unable to notice this. The movement has minimal grass-roots support in Israel and would probably vanish if the foreign sources of money dried up.
The UK resolution, as amended, is similar to the statement made by the new Swedish Prime Minister, who also started out declaring that Sweden would recognize ‘Palestine’, but then walked it back, with the Swedish Embassy in Israel saying that this would only happen once negotiations had produced a two-state solution.
Both of these acts are practically meaningless, but indicate the degree to which Europeans have accepted the Palestinian and left-wing narratives of ‘a people under occupation’ — rather than an old-fashioned war against Jewish self-determination.