Just days after Sweden became the first major European nation to officially recognize the state of Palestine, the British parliament is set to vote on motion asking the UK government to do the same, according to media reports.
The non-binding motion, which reportedly has the backing of opposition Labour party MPs, will be presented before the House of Commons on Monday. The motion is largely symbolic and is not expected to change the government’s policies on Palestine even if it is passed, according to media reports.
“For too long the international community has cruelly refused the Palestinian people this right and by doing so has hindered the realization of peace and security in the region,” Labour MP Grahame Morris, who will present the motion on Monday, said, according to The Guardian. “Not only is statehood the undeniable right of the Palestinian people, but only an independent and sovereign Palestinian state can save any hope of a two-state solution.”
As of now, the UK does not recognize Palestine as a state. In 2012, it had also abstained from a United Nations General Assembly vote to upgrade Palestine’s status to a “non-member observer state.” However, Britain’s current stand on the issue is that it “reserves the right to recognize a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace, “ the BBC reported, quoting former Foreign Secretary William Hague.
More than 130 countries around the world currently recognize the state of Palestine, but most Western European and North American nations have yet to do so.
The vote in the UK comes amid overtures elsewhere in Europe to recognize Palestine officially. Last week, Sweden officially recognized Palestine as a state, stating that it was necessary for a “peaceful coexistence” in the region. The move was reportedly criticized by Israel, which said that the decision made the prospect of peace “more distant.”