Voting on Palestine

Parliaments across Europe, including the House of Commons, have been debating whether to recognise Palestine officially as a state. The European Parliament had a similar debate last month, led by my Labour colleague Richard Howitt, and this week will take a final vote on the matter.

A message from Parliament in support of recognising Palestinian statehood would send a clear signal to both sides that European Union countries continue to believe that a two-state solution is the best way forward. I and my Labour colleagues will be supporting the vote, but it’s not yet clear whether a majority of MEPs will do so.

In any case, votes like this — symbolic or otherwise — cannot substitute for resuming proper negotiations between the two parties. It is 21 years since the Oslo Accords launched the peace process. Talks have tarried too long, while the situation on the ground has worsened. As I have argued before, the international community must press both sides to make the necessary compromises.

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