Why is the U.K. Debating Whether to Recognize a Palestinian State?
by Richard Millett
With the British Parliament due to take up six hours of precious debating time on Monday over whether to recognize a “state of Palestine,” Vincent Fean’s article in The Guardian sums of the ignorance of those who will vote for such recognition.
Fean uses Sweden, which recently recognized “Palestine,” as a precedent for Monday’s vote. But as Amotz Asa-El points out in the Jerusalem Post, this move says more about Sweden than anything else. Asa-El writes of the Swedish government’s social and economic failures:
“Unable to affect the domestic scene, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven fled to a foreign affair where talk is cheap and responsibility is everyone else’s except his.”
And so it is with British politicians. With May’s general election starting to loom large on the horizon and UKIP continuing to take votes from all the main parties (they have just won their first ever Member of Parliament), many of our Parliamentarians would rather flee to a foreign issue that is certain to win them votes due to the vehemence of many voters where Israel is concerned.
Fean thinks the debate, and subsequent vote, is important because we, Britain, have a “bigger share of responsibility than all the 135 (countries that already recognise “Palestine”) put together.” But do we really?
Britain operated the “Palestinian” Mandate that ended in a 1947 UN vote to partition the land, a vote that was rejected by all Arab leaders. Britain’s responsibility ended then.
Fean also obliges the Israel-haters with the usual “The illegality of settlements, the separation barrier, and the demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank is incontestable.” Really? Incontestable? Who said? A court? An international court, maybe? Of course not! There has never been such a decision.
The ICJ’s Advisory Opinion on such “illegality” is just that, an Advisory Opinion. It wasn’t a proper court case.
In fact the only case I know of that relates directly to the issue of “illegality” is the recent British Supreme Court case Richardson and another v DPP in which, because it could not be proved that Israeli-owned Ahava’s London shop was selling illegal products, those who occupied the shop forcing it to close down for some three hours were found guilty of aggravated trespass. Therefore, Ahava’s factory in the West Bank is, in fact, legal.
As for home demolitions, once again they turn on the legalities of each individual case. Illegal Jewish homes are also demolished.
Perhaps the most risible part of Fean’s article is this:
“The United States should guarantee the safety of both peoples with US or Nato troops during the full, phased withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestine, endorsed in a unanimous security council resolution.”
Really? Fean must not have been near a radio or television for the last three years and so not seen what Assad and the Islamic State have been doing to their own people while the U.S., UN, and NATO all watched on. Never again? Don’t believe it.
If Monday’s debate ends with a vote in favour of recognizing the “state of Palestine,” there will be no change on the ground. Israel won’t suddenly give up its security requirements because of our Parliament. That would be suicide.
The recognition will only ratchet up the expectation of the Palestinians and lead to more bloodshed and violence on both sides. This blood will be on the hands of the likes of Fean and our politicians who vote in favor on Monday.
Our politicians should get back to representing their own constituents instead of desperately trying to buy votes by fleeing to foreign fields.