Israel says UK Palestine vote undermines peace prospects
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Israel says UK Palestine vote undermines peace prospects

Left-wing Knesset members blast government for failing to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative, as proposed by Egypt’s president

Illustrative: The British Parliament voting whether to recognize a Palestinian state in 2014. (screen capture)
Illustrative: The British Parliament voting whether to recognize a Palestinian state in 2014. (screen capture)

The Foreign Ministry warned Tuesday that the previous day’s vote by British Parliament in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state risked undermining the prospects for peace, as various left-wing MKs slammed the government for failing to advance the peace process.

“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,” said a statement from the ministry.

Labor leader and opposition head Isaac Herzog said the UK vote was “another resounding failure for Netanyahu and Liberman’s camp,” and urged the Israeli leadership to advance Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s call to adopt the Arab League Peace Initiative.

Herzog conceded that international hostility toward Israel was rampant, but said the prime minister and foreign minister were nonetheless to blame for the present political situation.

“A cold wind is blowing at Israel from every corner of the world, but the prime minister and foreign minister refuse to deal with the facts, and are bringing upon us a harsh political storm,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog speaks during a party meeting in the Israeli parliament, July 28, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)
Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog speaks during a party meeting in the Israeli parliament, July 28, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Rather than capitalizing on the Egyptian president’s willingness to push the peace process forward, he wrote, Prime Minister “Netanyahu prefers confronting the whole world, from President Obama to other allies, in order to divert the public’s attention away from his serious failure on the issues of the cost of living and housing.”

Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said the British parliament vote shows that “the world is sick of the diplomatic paralysis, and will seek to impose on us that which we don’t do ourselves.”

“Every day that passes without action, first and foremost the adoption of the regional initiative, as requested by the Egyptian president and other partners in the Middle East and entire world, worsens Israel’s deteriorating diplomatic state,” he wrote in a statement.

Opening a Gaza reconstruction conference in Cairo on Sunday, Sissi urged Israel to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, based on the Arab Peace Initiative, first proposed in 2002.

“I call on the Israeli people and the government: now is the time to end the conflict,” Sissi said in his opening remarks.

Netanyahu had signaled willingness to resume peace talks brokered by Arab countries in his UN General Assembly address on September 30.

“I believe peace can be realized with the active involvement of Arab countries, those that are willing to provide political, material and other indispensable support,” he said.

On Tuesday, MK Ahmad Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al), who had traveled to London to lobby for the passage of the bill, hailed the British parliament’s vote on Tuesday.

British house of commons، مجلس العموم البريطانيהפרלמנט הבריטי כית בישיבה על ההצעה להכיר במדינה פלסטיניתالان اتواجد في…

Posted by ‎Ahmad Tibi احمد طيبي‎ on Monday, 13 October 2014

Late Monday British MPs voted 274 to 12 for a nonbinding motion to “recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

The resolution was welcomed by the Palestinians.

“It will enhance the European voices calling for the recognition of the State of Palestine and will create the right environment for the international community to grant the Palestinian people legal parity and rights,” senior Palestine Liberation Official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.

The debate in the House of Commons came after the Swedish government announced it would recognize a Palestinian state — it would be the first EU member in Western Europe to do so — drawing anger from Israel.

The Palestinian Authority estimates that 134 countries have recognized Palestine as a state, although the number is disputed and several recognitions by what are now European Union member states date from the Soviet era.

Britain abstained in 2012 from a vote in the United Nations on giving the Palestinians the rank of nonmember observer state, which was granted over the objections of the United States and Israel.

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