RAMALLAH/Tel Aviv (dpa) – Israel on Tuesday called the British Parliament’s symbolic vote backing statehood for Palestine a “troubling message” that threatens the prospects for peace while the
Palestinians described it as correcting a historical injustice. The 274-to-12 vote late Monday was non-binding. The Israeli Foreign Ministry criticized the resolution, which called for a two-state solution to the conflict, writing in a statement that “the route to Palestinian statehood runs through the negotiation room.”
“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,” the statement said.
In Ramallah, however, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki called on the British government to honour the vote and recognize the state of Palestine “to show its support for the peace process, the two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state that will live in security and peace alongside Israel.”
Palestinian political analyst Jihad Harb said the British vote was significant in the sense that Britain plays a central role in European politics and has influence on US policies in the region.
“The shift in European public opinion has begun to influence the positions of the European parties,” he said.
“We have noticed a change in the policies of some traditionally pro-Israel European states, such as Holland, and recently, Sweden said it intends to recognize Palestine,” he said.
He called French recognition of Palestine “inevitable” after France announced it will hold a joint meeting for the French and Palestinian governments next year.
The vote in Britain came after Sweden’s newly installed government announced this month that it would become the first country in Western Europe to formally acknowledge Palestinian statehood.
The UN General Assembly voted in 2012 to grant “non-member observer state” status to the Palestinians after full membership was blocked in 2011 in the Security Council.