Why Votes to Recognize ‘Palestine’ Will Destroy Peace
Although it isn’t binding, the British parliament voted in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state. Of the 650 Members of Parliament (MPs), only 286 voted. Of these, 274 voted in favor of a non-binding motion to “recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.”
Whatever one thinks of this vote, it is a sign of shifting public opinion in the United Kingdom and beyond. The debate in the House of Commons came after the new center-left Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven, unilaterally announced that Sweden would recognize the state of Palestine. If this move is deemed to be constitutional, it would make Sweden the first nation in the European Union to recognize Palestine.
Many contend that the war in Gaza influenced British public opinion against Israel. Others maintain that the vote was merely the evolution of attitudes promoted by home-grown Muslims.
Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, said even though the vote isn’t binding on the British government, it is “significant.” Alas, it is. The resolution was welcomed by Palestinians and criticized by Israel.
In a statement responding to the vote, the Israeli government said, “Premature international recognition sends a troubling message to the Palestinian leadership that they can evade the tough choices that both sides have to make and actually undermines the chances to reach a real peace.” It is logical to ask why the Palestinians should negotiate at all when the end game has been established.
For years, a two-state solution has been bandied about, but arriving at an understanding about the boundaries and security remain in limbo. Suppose there is a sovereign Palestinian state with rockets that can paralyze Ben Gurion airport and reach every Israeli population center – is that a state Israel can countenance?
British parliamentarians may believe they are contributing to a negotiated peace, but in fact by suggesting a Palestinian state be imposed on Israel, they are bringing Israel to the brink of war.
This British vote is emblematic of a willful European tilt to the Palestinian position. There will undoubtedly be other symbolic gestures of this kind across the continent. Public opinion has been mobilized by Muslims, anti-Semites who no longer feel restrained by standards of public decency, left wing activists, and those influenced by news accounts in the Israeli war against Hamas.
European newspaper editorials invariably contend that anti-Israel sentiment is not related to anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism masquerades as the pursuit of social justice, not bigotry. But for so many in Europe today starting with the continent’s MPs, the question that remains is “whose justice?”
If Zionism is perceived as the original sin, only dismantling the Jewish State can redress it. But for Jews with a memory, the main guarantor of Jewish security since the end of World War II has been the sovereign state of Israel. This state wasn’t born on the ashes of the Holocaust, but it is the last fortress against its reenactment.
Votes in European parliaments may make politicians feel good, but the actual effect is pernicious since a message is sent to the Palestinians that they don’t have to reach ends through negotiation and concessions; the European parliaments will do that for them.
Dr. Herb London is President of the London Center for Policy Research and co-author with Jed Babbin of “The BDS War Against Israel.”