UK Labour Member: We Shouldn’t Have Recognized ‘Palestine’

A candidate for the leadership of the British Labour party on Tuesday said the party should not have voted in favor of the motion to recognize the Palestinian state, The Independent reports.

The candidate, Liz Kendall, argued that recognizing Palestine was not the “right thing to do” and argued that a “responsible opposition” would not have done it.

“The question asked about hostility [between Labour and the Jewish community] and I think that really did come to a crunch in the vote on the House of Commons on recognizing the Palestinian state,” she was quoted by The Independent as having said during an event hosted by the Jewish Chronicle newspaper.

“I don’t think it was a three-line whip, I’ve never broken a three-line whip, but I did abstain because I didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” said Kendall.

“The way we achieve peace is through a two-state solution and negotiation, not through passing resolutions in the House of Commons or the United Nations,” she added.

“I don’t believe we would have done that had we been in Government and I believe a responsible opposition that seeks to become the Government should behave in the same way – particularly over such an important issue as this.”

Kendall added that she had come under a lot of pressure from her own constituents to back the vote but had not done as they asked.

The British vote to recognize “Palestine” was the first in a series of votes in parliaments of European countries recognizing a Palestinian state.

After Britain, Sweden announced it officially recognized the state of "Palestine". Spanish lawmakers have also adopted calling on the government to recognize a Palestinian state.

A similar vote is planned in Belgium, where legislators are working on a resolution to recognize a Palestinian state, though the government said last week any timing to proceed will depend on European Union action.

In December, Portugal's parliament adopted a resolution calling on the government to recognize a Palestinian state, though Portugal's Foreign Minister Rui Machete said after the vote the government "will choose the moment best suited" to recognize the Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Authority estimates that 135 countries have now recognized “Palestine” as a state, although that number is disputed.


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