The UK is moving towards recognising a Palestinian state as well as stressing the importance of a two-state solution on January 29, BBC News reported.
Since Lord David Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary, despite not being an MP, in November following a cabinet reshuffle, the former premier has been ever present in the Middle East.
Cameron recently began his fourth visit to the region and spoke at the Conservative Middle East Council, described as an organisation that was founded to help politicians of the governing Conservative Party to “better understand Middle Eastern issues”.
During a speech, the Foreign Secretary said that his country, “should be starting to set out what a Palestinian state would look like – what it would comprise, how it would work.
“As that happens, we, with allies, will look at the issue of recognising a Palestinian state, including at the United Nations. This could be one of the things that helps to make this process irreversible.”
His remarks stoked a degree of backlash from some Conservative lawmakers. MP Greg Smith said, “Surely the only political objective in Gaza is inextricably linked to the security objectives in Gaza, because the grim reality is that Hamas does not seek a ceasefire and Israel cannot be reasonably expected to pursue one with a group that actively seeks its destruction.”
Former minister Theresa Villiers said in parliament,”Bringing forward and accelerating unilateral recognition of Palestinian state would be to reward Hamas’ atrocities”.
Notably, on a motion backing a ceasefire in Gaza in November, zero MPs of the government party backed it and more generally, nor did the majority of lawmakers despite overwhelming support in the country for such a move according to polling carried out since October.
With regards to the recognition of a Palestinian state, Downing Street reiterated their approach as the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said, “We’ve always been clear that we will recognise a Palestinian state at a time it best serves the cause of peace, and we are committed to the two-state solution.”
Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot hailed the move on X (formerly Twitter) on January 30 saying, “This is historic. It is the first time a U.K. Foreign Secretary considers recognising the State of Palestine, bilaterally and in the UN, as a contribution to a peaceful solution rather than an outcome. A U.K. recognition is both a Palestinian right and a British moral, political, legal, and historical responsibility.
“If implemented, the Cameron Declaration would remove Israel’s veto power over Palestinian statehood, would boost efforts toward a two-state outcome, and would begin correcting the historic injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people by colonial Britain’s Balfour declaration.”
Despite being an Israeli ally, many of the UK’s prominent cabinet members were concerned at the far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks.
During a phone call with President Biden on January 19, Netanyahu reiterated that he is totally dismissive of the idea of recognising Palestine.
His comments were lambasted by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, noting that it was disappointing to hear.
The cabinet minister said, “I think it’s disappointing to hear Benjamin Netanyahu saying he doesn’t believe in a two-state solution. In fairness, he’s said that all of his political career, as far as I can tell. I don’t think we get to a solution unless we have a two-state solution.”
BBC News/ The Telegraph/ The Guardian