British MPs to vote on recognizing Palestinian state
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British MPs to vote on recognizing Palestinian state

Labour lawmaker hopes that if his non-binding motion passes, UK will recognize Palestine — and EU will follow suit

British Prime Minister David Cameron (front, center) speaks during a debate in the Houses of Parliament, Friday, September 26, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Parliamentary Recording Unit)
British Prime Minister David Cameron (front, center) speaks during a debate in the Houses of Parliament, Friday, September 26, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Parliamentary Recording Unit)

LONDON — British lawmakers will on Monday take part in a non-binding vote on recognizing the Palestinian state that is being closely watched in the region for signs of shifting attitudes.

The vote will be on a motion that is being put forward by Grahame Morris, an MP from the Labour opposition party.

“If the vote is a success it would put a tremendous amount of pressure on the current government and the next government, which is likely to be a Labour government, to recognize Palestine as a state,” Morris said in an email.

“The UK recognizing Palestine could give decisive momentum to more EU states following suit,” he said.

“Recognition now would be a clear and legitimate message that Britain and others recognize Palestinian rights and that the illegal settlement enterprise has no validity”.

The move comes after newly-elected Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven earlier this month announced his intention to recognize a Palestinian state, provoking anger in Israel, which summoned the Swedish ambassador. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman also chided Loefven and his government in an op-ed published in a major Swedish newspaper.

Morris’ team said he would have the support of his party as well as some lawmakers from the ruling Conservatives.

An AFP count shows 112 countries have recognized the state of Palestine.

Britain abstained in 2012 from a vote in the United Nations on giving the Palestinians the rank of observer state, which was granted despite opposition from the United States, Israel and other countries.

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